August 3, 2023

The Future Of Digital Collectibles - Hiram Vasquez | BCL #305

Hiram Vazquez has been working in the startup community for 13 years, having built innovative products for early stage companies such as Uber, as well as at Alexis Ohanian’s venture capital firm Seven Seven Six. While at Seven Seven Six, Hiram was part of the inaugural Operator in Residence program, where he built and managed the firm’s proprietary software Cerebro, in addition to supporting portfolio company founders in various capacities.

Upon completion of the program, Hiram became founder and CEO of LALA, the Web3 entertainment company that he incubated with Ohanian while at the firm, and which Seven Seven Six is the lead investor of. LALA is the world’s first digital collectible marketplace that allows fans of television shows and movies to own a piece of the revenue streams, in addition to giving new points of access to their favorite stories. Hiram’s inspiration for LALA stems from his childhood obsession with TV shows, movies, and video games. In addition to being geographically far away from Hollywood, most of the promotions, fan contests, or sweepstakes that Hiram would learn about from TV commercials or the back of cereal boxes were exciting for kids in the states, but not eligible for residents of Puerto Rico. He sought out different ways to allow fans to connect with their favorite entertainment no matter where they were located.

Hiram is passionate about bringing more representation to Web3 and the Entertainment industry and building forward-thinking products involving the democratization of access.

Hiram:Our biggest value prop is that for the first time ever, You as a fan of theWolf of Wall Street, you can own a piece of the revenue streams from Wolf ofWall Street. That's something that's never happened for a major feature film ora major movie.

Julian:Hey everyone. Thank you so much for joining the Behind Company Lines podcast.Today we have Hiram Vasquez, c e o, and founder of LALA. LALA is a digitalcollectible marketplace that for the first time ever, gives fans of movies andtelevision shows new points of access and ownership over their favoritestories.

Hiram, I'm soexcited to chat with you. Not only because of your entrepreneur journey andhonestly, the, the, the teams you've been a part of, the new product, the newidea, especially also LALA, is, is coming at a really interesting time. Peopleare aware of where entertainment is and a lot of the friction that'ssurrounding entertainment.

It's interesting tosee a lot of the kind of smaller, more up and coming or different avenuesreally erupting out of this restlessness. So we'll touch on that in asecond,  

but before we getinto all that good stuff, what were you doing before you started thecompany?  

Hiram:Yeah, that's a good question. And, and it's related to, to LALA.

Before starting thecompany I was working at 7 7 6. Yeah. Which is a venture fund founded by AlexisHanian co co co-founder or former founder of Reddit. And I was there as anoperator in residence. Yeah, it's a program where they were looking for.Different people with different backgrounds.

My backgroundspecifically is product. Yeah. But they're looking for operators withexperience in early stage startups and growth startups that have a track recordof success building product to help early stage startups build their own in theportfolio Sure. Of the fund build their companies.

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. So, and what, and what got you there?  

Hiram:That's a good question. I was actually, like 2020 or 2020 right after Covidhappened. Mm-hmm. I was working for a, an early stage startup that was about togo, like a growth stage startup. Yeah. And corporate travel and corporateaccommodations.

Yeah. Or short termrentals. Yeah. When Covid happened, business travel pretty much went to zeroovernight. Yeah, yeah. So the, the future of the company was, was very unclear.I was personally trying to figure out, what was gonna be my, my next step or mynext challenge. And, like I had as everyone else during Covid had a lot of timeto think about my, my journey and, and what I wanted to do.

And then one day Iwas on LinkedIn. And I, I used to follow Alex Hanian. Yeah. And he was he madea post. I was like, Hey, I'm starting this new venture fund where we arefocusing on giving underrepresented founders access to venture capital. Wow.Yeah. That to me, PR talk about giving points of access to, to underrepresentedpopulations, right?

Yeah. Yeah. Alexiswas, was building this venture fund to do just that, and that caught myattention. And he was also targeting operators from underrepresentedbackgrounds. Yeah. To come and join the team. So perfect. It was kind of a nobrainer. Also a very last minute decision. 'cause the deadline for theapplication was the day after Thanksgiving.

Cool. So it waslike, I was like, do I spend Thanksgiving, like filling out this applicationand all that? But yeah, over 1100 people applied. I was part of a team of threeoperators that, that got the job. So. Yeah. Super excited and  

Julian:yeah. That's great. Yeah,  

it what'sinteresting too, and obviously the audience doesn't know your background a lot.

This isn't yourfirst startup, this isn't your first kind of growth stage company. Describekind of what you've learned over time and, and coming from your background,what was particularly challenging about some of the learning curve, adjustingto just different markets and different startups.

Describe, yourjourney a little bit more. Pre operator, pre 7, 7, 6, kind of, up and coming,what you've seen and what you've experienced.

Hiram:Yeah. I would say the, one of the, the biggest learnings that I've experienced,especially when it comes to startups, is that you'll never going to have a fullset of data or information to make your decisions.

And you have to bevery comfortable in just, mitigating risk as much as possible, but sometimestaking too much time to make a decision. Can be a risk itself. Yeah. So it'salways a balance of, okay, like how much information do I need to make thisdecision and, and like measure or try to, to take that into considerationversus taking too much time to, to get the right answer.

And then youeither, like lunch too late or timing, like it's not in your favor. Yeah. So.So that's, that's definitely something that before starting working forstartups Yeah. And looking for the outside, I always thought that, like peoplealways knew what they were doing and like they were, like very taking, veryeducated guess.

And the facts arethat a lot of times it's just, making, making the best of a situation or, or,or. Try to make as much of an educated guess, but there are a lot ofunknowns.  

Julian:Sure, yeah. Yeah.  

Shifting focus to LALA It's interesting tothink about kind of the idea of ownership with, with entertainment and content,because it's not the first time it's been kind of, it's been proposed, right?

Not even in just ina web three space, but over overall with, certain crowdfundings. I think a lotof the independent films. And, and, and a lot of those they go through thosetypes of models almost as a seed stage startup, and then it continues to grow.Describe a lot of the process around like how these projects, think about a lotof these entertainment projects, how they get funded and what's the, what, whatis missing from the consumer level or that you saw that needed to kind of bringthose projects actually closer to who was ingesting them.

Hiram:Yeah, that's a, that's a good question and. The current process of, of how acertain project gets funded. Yeah. A lot of times it's a production company,right? The, the, the company that's, that's creating the, the movie or TV showthey get funding by pitching investors high usually, high net worth individualsor, or people that, that are in that scene.

And they, if it's asmall budget movie, they could just do that and yeah. And release as an indie.But that brings the challenges of, of distribution and, and all that. And thenfrom the studio backed movies, bigger, bigger budgets. But again, it, it'susually, like the studio puts buys the movie.

Mm-hmm. That othercreates or even sell phones. Part or the entire movie. Yeah. For them todistribute as they wish. And those are kind of like the, the, the, the Barbiesand the Yeah. Yeah. And the Ninja Turtles and the Oppenheimers. Yeah.  

Julian:What's it mean for them, the, those who do, fund smaller projects?

'cause it seemslike, you think about maybe larger studios, box office ticket prices. There's alot of revenue you can kind of track. But what's in it for those who arefunding smaller projects?  

Hiram:Well, what's in it is the hope that either they can find a big studio to buythe movie from them.

Mm-hmm. Which, ithappens all the time, and that's why a lot of the times at festivals like, likeCon and Sundance, In the movie, producers go there to show their movies forthis big studios to buy. Yeah. So, so that's, that's, and and then once they dothat, they have a participation in the movie.

They get picked upby a big studio with their distribution, they can make a good amount of money.Yeah,  


And then it can,and it seems like it also compounds. Once you have one decently successfulproject, you might have another. And it continues through this process, itseems like. It, it is, it productizes a lot of, the, the material, but a lot ofit, it seems like it's a little, I don't wanna say disconnected from theaudience, but it doesn't seem to necessarily, it's not like it, it doesn'tsound like the narrative is, I'm going to invest in this project because I wantto address this audience over this, particular topic.

Do you see that alot, or is that just something that, we're not seeing from the outside, but itmay be being talked about behind the scenes?

Hiram:Yeah. It's interesting because a lot of the times, and, and this is why, tothis day there's, there's a lot of focus whenever a movie releases in the boxoffice, right?

Yeah. It's, it's,the studios can do a lot of research and, and have a big budget on formarketing and, and marketing campaigns. Sure. But at the end of the day, theydon't really know what the reception will be. For from fans until it's outthere and then, yeah. Let's see what, how they do during their first weekend inthe box office.

And that usuallydictates Yeah, kinda like the fate of the movie in a, in a, in a sense. Andalso it dictates how much more money the studio invests in the promotion of themovie. Yeah. Yeah. So, I, I, I know that from, from what I see, I, I know thatyou, you see where this is coming where, where, fans that could be potentially,interested in a movie, they don't really find out about this movie until itgets announced or when it gets marketed to the public or it gets in a, or itcomes to theaters.

Yeah. So how do youtap into a fan community? Where, someone might be interested in the topic thatyou're, of the movie that you're, you're creating mm-hmm. Or interested in, inthose stories before it comes out. How do you tap into that community? Yeah.That's, that's one of the problems that we're, that over time we think we LALAcan be that solution.

Yeah. Where we canYeah, solve that problem.  

Julian:It's fascinating to think about, I feel like if, if you could easily fall underthe, the thought of like, oh, you know how many consumers are actually, wantinga certain narrative or certain movie or, but you realize there's so much.

Fan favor around alot of these stories, right? Like, I think, I think if I, correct me if I'mwrong, but I'm pretty sure 50 Shade The Gray came out of like, some fan fictionof Twilight or something like that. Right. And it's like, it, it's so much morematerials generated by the audience that's consuming who actually enjoyed theseoriginal stories.

Do you see? How isit ga I guess, how is it? Where do you find that audience? Like where do youfind those people who want to see certain narratives being played out or wannasee certain adaptations on screen? Where do you find them and what types ofpeople are they, are they all part of entertainment?

Are they, on theperiphery? Who are these individuals?  

Hiram:Well, a lot of it, a lot of the conversation is happening online. Yeah. Likethe, the movie subreddit. It's actually this number six subreddit of the entireplatform with like over 30 million people. Yeah. Wow. So there's a, a lot ofpeople that breathe and live these movies and like really feel reallypassionate about this.

And they just,during their free time, they just write about it, discuss. Create fan art, etcetera, et cetera. It just so happens it, it's, it's happening in Reddit, inTwitter, in Instagram, in TikTok. Yeah. All these YouTube, all these differentchannels where fans are congregating by themselves.

Mm-hmm. To talkabout this, but there's. No the big studios, i p owners have never been able tolike plug into that conversation successfully.

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. I was gonna ask how I don't know if you have a percentage, but whatpercentage of, movies, TV shows are being made with the input or the thecollaboration with the audience or made for a particular type of audience?

How many of those,I guess, in your opinion, what, what would be the proportion?  

Hiram:The, to be honest, I'm not sure. Yeah. The one thing that, that it's very clearin Hollywood right now, it's like, it's all about known ip. Mm-hmm. And the,the argument that, there's so many reruns, we have, 10 fats on the Furiousmovies.

Six MissionImpossible movies. You have all these French big franchises, which, make a goodamount of money and, and, and, can't blame for, going after that. But so they,they're, I feel like the, the studios are trying to take out the, thoseunknowns Sure. From making these movies and going with the Sure Hits.

Julian:Yeah. Right. Yeah.  

Obviously they'reinvesting it because they have the Sure Hits, but is there any hesitation ofjust trying new things because you know it, it just won't be successful? Howmuch of that will impact, a large studio if something isn't successful thatthey've taken a chance on?

Hiram:That's a good question. And, and like this might be, this might be a hot topicwith people in the industry but I, I recently read this blog post or a ck ofhow, like back in the nineties, The head of studios were in their thirties, intheir forties, very young heads of studios and, and mm-hmm.

Like, they're a lotmore diverse stories being told. Yeah. In terms of type of stories and, andmovies and shows and less franchises like today. Yeah. And you see, like thehead of studios now they're like, they've been there for, for years and yearsand years. And there might be a correlation between that and the risk aversionof Mm sure.

Going after newprojects or taking those risks. Mm-hmm. Because at the end of the day, like ifyou have it, it's a, it's an industry that, like it's, it's risks. If, if, ifyou take risks that don't pay off, sure. It can be detrimental to yourcareer.  

Julian:It's so fascinating to think about how they. It is kind of counterintuitivethat the, the increase or the, the magnification of whatever project actuallydecreases the, I guess, level of innovation or level of, of trying somethingnew. It seems to, to to be more of the inverse and become more conservative inthe chances.

And and it seemslike that's what we see with a lot of these franchises. I'm, I'm curious tohear your take because those who don't know, know that, there's a lot ofstrikes going on in the entertainment industry, both from writers, from actors,And a lot of it's around a, a few different topics I think that's circulating.

What are sometopics that you've heard from your perspective and also, what is the cause of alot of this restlessness that you're seeing?

Hiram:Yeah, I think the two big topics right now is number one, the use of ai Yeah.And the creation of a show or a movie from one of the things that, that, thatcame out is, like from the writer's strike first that, that started before the,the actor's strike was the use of AI to write scripts.

Yeah. That's, that,that's, like they're writers are, are arguing that they, right now, a lot ofthe time, they don't make enough to, to, to make a living, to, to cover alltheir co their costs. So not only that, but they're also facing studios thatwant to use AI to. Kind of replace them or not have to use as many writers asas they do now, which, it's, it's very controversial.

Sure. I think, likethere, there's, there's a lot there and, on the, on the side of the writers, I,I can understand their concern. Yeah. Right.

And to be fair,like I, like I, I've, I've used ChatGPT and, and those in the existing tools totry to write something that sounds great and, or that, like connects on a, on adeeper level to.

To humans. Butthey're no, there are no Aaron Sorkin or you can't, you can't replace Yeah.Good writing with ChatGPT.  

Julian:So, yeah. Yeah. It's interesting to think about what that does and impact,because, there's so many different arguments going out there from what I'veheard about, like, well, what if it's just used for editing?

What if, andobviously the term slippery soap gets thrown around because, you do one thingand, and it leads and compounds onto something else. But in, in regards to,what the, the strikes had, have had an effect on, say the, the smaller, moreindependent type of projects I've heard.

My partner, she wasin entertainment, she keeps me fairly updated, so a little bit of a leg ahead.But she was talking about how, the smaller studios are open to making thosecompromises with these guilds or with these unions to actually. Whether it'spay writers more or give actors lunchtime, who knows?

There's a lot ofinteresting arguments going around. What is that? What, and, and she wasgetting excited about this potential of a, of a renaissance in a way. Have youseen a lot of, smaller, more independent, or even just through, LALA fundedprojects that are gaining more traction because of this turmoil with these bigstudios?

What is, what haveyou seen?  

Hiram:So today, actually today I saw a tweet I believe on Twitter, someone sayingthat the 8 24, which is the biggest independent studio out there they done agreat job. The reason why they are still they're actually, there's no strikefor them. The sign after. Yeah, gave them the green light to keep working ontheir productions.

It's because theyagreed to all of s gastros demands. I don't, I didn't read that from like amedia outlet or, so I don't, but if that's right, then that look that makesthe, the big studios look bad, right? Yeah. Because if it works for a smallerplayer, then. Why doesn't it work for, for the bigger ones with more resources?

Yeah. So there'ssomething there. But for the small, small producers or, or directors or, or, oramateur filmmakers having these tools for editing writing or, or, allowing themto, to at least. Use AI in different ways to, to accelerate the process. Can bea renaissance, can allow, a team of two or three filmmakers to create anamazing production because the tools are getting better.

Yeah. So thequality of the, of their content is getting better. And, and that's, like itdoesn't only apply to filmmakers, also to content creators. Yeah. Out there,for the younger gen generation, they prefer to be on TikTok than to spend 25bucks or 30 bucks to watch Yeah. A movie that might not be that good.

Yeah. To go to thetheaters to watch that movie. So Sure. Something will have to change. And, andthat's, that's kind of like where, where we come from.  

Julian:Yeah. Yeah.

I was gonna say, shifting our focus to LALA.What has been the experience of, of connecting consumers extremely close withthe stories that they love?

Describe somethings that have been interesting and, and some insights you've gained, butalso one thing that's particularly exciting is your current partnership withWolf of Wall Street, which I thought was particularly interesting being that itis a movie that's been out for a while. It seems like there's still, it's stillin popularity and.

How the heck wereyou able to go and partner with M J A and be able to, to create thiscollaboration and what does that mean for future partnerships for yourcompany?  

Hiram:Yeah, absolutely. Like working, working on our launch, we wanted to land a bigIP to, to make some noise. Considering, LALA is a new brand.

We announced acompany a few months ago. We launched our product very recently. We wanted to.Get as much brand awareness and imp and create as much impact as possible. Sogetting and also with an IP that people already know and love, and an IP thathas stayed relevant over the LA very relevant over the last decade.

Yeah. Which Wolf ofWall Street this year is actually the 10th anniversary, so. Oh, really? That'sone of the reasons why Yeah. Over the last years. Has become very relevant. Alot of memes out there being used on a weekly basis that I see on Twitter,Instagram, great talent, both on the director's side and the the actors.

Yeah, so all thosedifferent variables made it. A, a great option Yeah. To launch our, our, notonly our brand, but also our product with,

Julian:yeah. And, and what are some things that consumers can expect if, what doesthis launch mean for someone like me who say, as a fan of the movie now I'm, I,I can connect to it even further.

What can I expectout of LALA?  

Hiram:Yeah, absolutely. So our, our, our biggest value prop is that for the firsttime ever, You as a fan of the Wolf of Wall Street, you can own a piece of therevenue streams from Wolf of Wall Street. Yeah. That's something that's neverhappened for a major feature film or a major movie.

And it's somethingthat to me, it makes sense when, when you talk about, which you talk a lot ofto sort of founders, The reason why startup founders give equity to employeesis because they wanna participate in the ops upside of the company. They wantto the employees to act as owners. They want employees to care Yeah.

About the work thatthey do. That this is the same way that founders care. Yeah. So in an attentioneconomy, when there's so much competition for people's time, Yeah. How do you getpeople excited or get people to care about your content? Yeah. Over time,especially, like with all the, all the content that's being pumped out therewith AI content, it'll be even more.

Yeah. So how do youcompete?  

Julian:Yeah. It's interesting  

'cause it's alsonot just for say like the absolute fan, but I think anyone who wants to. Be apart of the development. And when did that, when did that change start? Becauseit seems like maybe it was covid where we hear, we felt a huge oversaturation of,things that necessarily were, were closely related to shows and TVs and thingsthat we liked, but I think lacked a lot of genuine new kind of adventure,intrigue, some kind of new experience, what does this mean in terms of notonly.

The connection theycan have with, with inter, the shows and, and entertainment that they like, butalso the development. Will they be part of the process? Do you envision thatbecoming maybe even a future aspect of LALA?

Hiram:Absolutely. Some of, so our, our North Star as a company is to allow fans tocreate new connections and new points of access.

Yeah, that's verybroad. On purpose. Right? But from giving ownership to people to give access tocertain events, certain screenings of new chapters of that IP or, or IP that's,that's attracts or directed to similar demographics is getting people moreinvolved in learning about the, the behind the scenes and how this.

How the sausagegets made. Yeah. And, and really like geek out in, in that world. But also,like learn or give access or, or, or to, to new experiences for them.  

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. Thinking about, the traction that you've seen so far, obviously theproducts launched have such exciting, traction up to this point.

What's particularlyexciting about the next phase of, of growth and, if everything goes well,what's the long-term vision?  

Hiram:There's so much, but for, for the fans. For the fans is to, like to, to reallygive a, allow fans to. Live or relive these stories or connect with thesestories in a new way, in a deeper way to connect with each other by celebratingthese stories and creating a community around this.

And also to in, in,in, to be honest, to. Get more value from their money. Yeah. At the moment, orup to today, the relationship between IP owners and fans or community has beenpretty much one sided. Sure. With, fans always like having to pay or for everysingle point of contact with, with this IP or with multiple IP.

When now the, therehas to be a, there's gonna have to be a two-way relationship give and takebecause as I mentioned before, the competition's hard or, or it is tough rightnow. Yeah, it's gonna get tougher with user generated content. And also youngerfilmmakers that have. A, a, a very minimal budget, but are very resourceful.

And yeah, now thetools are getting a lot better. So yeah, the relationship will have to change.And, and it's not, and, and then on, on, why would studios want to change?Because with, and this is why, also like why now, question of why do we exist?With the advancement in blockchain technology, which is something that, that I,I do not focus on mm-hmm.

When I talk toLALA. But something that's important, it's like now you can understand whoyour, who your biggest fans are because you have a, a, a, a record mm-hmm. Orreceipts of like, who has held onto these collectibles for. Two or three yearsand who has gone to DC events related to this movie or to this TV show?

So you have arecord of, of all this, and you can make sense of who your top fans are in theindustry, where it's every movie for, let's say a franchise for let's saypheasant fears, which is the example that, that I used. Studios usually, have aa hundred million dollar budget. They start from zero pretty much in trying toget people to go to a theater, to watch a movie.

It's kind of like ablind process and it's very inefficient. So what if you knew. The top ahundred, top 500, top thousand fans that have watched every single movie thathave all the collectibles Yeah. That bought the action figures. And you candirectly connect with them and invite them to a screening of your new movie.

Yeah. It makes it alot more efficient.  

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. I you it's yeah,

I lived in the next section, I call it myfounder, f a q. So I'm gonna hit you with some rapid fire questions and I'mgonna add some things in here, but I always like to open it up with what'sparticularly hard about your job day to day.

Hiram:Particularly hard about my job day to day is that I, as a, as an early stagefounder, you get a lot of nos and you get a lot of people that don't, don't getyour vision or they, they don't know you, and they, they're not interested in,in, in talking to you or, or connecting with you or, or get or spend time withyou.

So that's somethingthat, like for every, I I was talking to another founder recently and he, he'slike a growth stage now, but he was like, yeah, like early stage, early daysfor early a hundred calls, I would get 99 those. Yeah. That's something that, that's,that's a fact that happens.  

Julian:Yeah. So, but it just, but it just takes that can difficult.

Right? Like it, itjust takes that one, right. The Wolf Wall Street Yes. Was a pretty nice Yes.Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely.  

How does thischange, how does LALA change the accountability for projects to actually getdone? Because you hear about delays all the time, you hear about changes andwho's working on certain projects, turmoil, conflict, is there, is there aworld where having people who, wanna see a project, finished and, and enjoy itand maybe even see its growth over time?

Does it change theaccountability for people who are creating it and also does it change howthey'll gain in reputation?  

Hiram:That's a good question. I, I believe that, like there, there's so many factorsthat, that are involved in making a movie. I. And so many variables of, ofthings that get delayed or, or, or things that go wrong, which, not unlikestartups, right?

Yeah, yeah. Likebuilding product or building software, it's usually takes a lot longer thanwhat, when you, what you estimate it'll take. Yeah. So building with, with alarger set of. Investors or people that, that, that are, like, that areinvolved in the fundraising Yeah. Will definitely put a more pressure, right?

Yeah. The same waythat, that, if you're a founder and you have one investor versus if you have 50investors asking you questions, it'll put a little bit more pressure and, andyou have to, be on top of everything. So. But you know, it's, it's verypossible that, that you'll have, like you'll have to get more, more Yeah, yeah.

On top of thingsand  

Julian:Yeah. Yeah.

I was thinking, one thing that wasparticularly I was excited about was seeing that a lot of the art was done bysomeone actually based in, in Lima, Peru. And yeah, I run a company, we've beenrunning it for over three years. We connect a lot of Latin American talent.

With opportunitiesin the us Awesome. What's been particularly exciting about tapping intoresources in South America or in other parts that wasn't necessarily availableeven three, two, maybe even a year ago. What's been exciting about, utilizingand connecting with talent abroad for founder?

Hiram:Yeah, absolutely. Well, I'm, I'm, I'm part of that group, right? Like, I, I wasborn in Raven, Puerto Rico. So. I, when I started this company, I did not justwant to create new points of access to the consumers, the collectors. I alsowanted to create opportunities for the creators. Yeah. Who were also fans to beable to use this IP and co-create with this ip, which, in an industry that,that has so many very few gatekeepers and it's very relationship based.

Yeah, it's verydifficult for someone outside of that circle to have the opportunity to, tocreate with that, with that ip. So I was, I didn't, I wouldn't say that Iexcluded talent that doesn't fit that bucket, but, it's something, it'ssomething that I, I seek out to just look past just the US or, or just, likethe, the, the Hollywood.

Space or theentertainment space and look at, like what I actually found him on onInstagram. And his art is amazing and yeah, he's a fan of himself of the movie,so I'm glad that it worked out.  

Julian:That, that's so funny. We I'm watching new product and I was looking through alot of designers on Instagram, and it's so impressive to see not only who'sworking on what project, but what's popular, what's not popular, who has thecapacity to innovate.

I guess it, it, Iguess personal question, as a founder,

when you're going through that process, how doyou find the right person to develop, whether it's a brand image or a product,a, a piece of design when you personally, don't come from that as a founder, ormaybe you do, but you know, for most founders, they don't come from thatcreative of a, of a background.

How do you selectthe right person for your project? Is it, feel that,  

Hiram:that's a good question. Look, I, yeah, I, I definitely can design myself or Ihave very limited design. Skills. But I've always been good at curating.Mm-hmm. Back when I was when I was younger in, in my, in my high school collegedays, and then after that was with DJing.

Yeah, I used toplay a lot of different events and be able to, to adapt my style to the eventand the, the crowd at that event. Yeah. So, like that to, to startups, it, it'snot very different to, to be able to like, take cues from your audience andlike find the right fit for for what they would like.

Mm-hmm. And, andwith design and, and talent, I. That's why lean on on that. A lot of it's, it'sthe work that they're putting out there. Yeah. And then the conversations and,and see how they can fit into what I'm envisioning.  

Julian:Yeah. Relinquishing that trust though is a little, a little hard, but ittypically works out well.

When, when you do,enable people  

what's something,you know as a founder, you're, you're good at now, but you wish you were betterat earlier on.  

Hiram:That I'm good at now. I, I think just man empowering people. Mm. Just, I wishback then when I was younger in my, or earlier in my career, that I would justempower people and let them, do their thing.

I would say likejust that and over the idea of having control. Mm-hmm. Or yeah. Which isusually not the case. Yeah. But yeah, just empowering people makes adifference. And, and that's how you scale or, or, or your project scales.  

Julian:Yeah. Yeah. What do you think, increasing these points of access, not only for,fans and movie goers, but even for.

Internationaltalent, people, not, traditionally thought of when they're working on projectslike this, when you think about what that does,

what are someoutcomes that you hope that increasing points of access has, whether it's onyour product or on the world otherwise?  

Hiram:Yeah. Look, I, I, as I mentioned before, I grew up in Puerto Rico and, and. Newpoint of a access. I actually learned to speak English by watching movies andTV shows. And, and a lot of the merch that was, for example, like the homealone. Yep. Recorder that Kevin used, like that type of merch didn't make it toPuerto Rico.

When I was a youngkid, I wanted to get my hands on it, or like the sweepstakes that they, thatthey promoted in the back of cereal boxes. Always excluded Puerto Ricoresidents. Yeah. So that, the, the, the idea of new points of access andownership was a thing that became very personal for me.

'cause it was,Hollywood was always very far away. Yeah. It seems like this elusive thing.Yeah. So I hope that the impact that I have, if anything is to. Prove that it'spossible to, to find talent outside of the entertainment space or outside ofthe, this, archetype for, for where talent lives or where or what talent lookslike to open, help open doors to, to amazing talent like that.

To help open doorsto people that are very passionate about these stories and want to get involvedin new ways. Yeah. That's, that's one of the things that I, I hope.

Julian:Yeah. This inspires, it's also amazing to see that from the studio perspectiveor whoever's making these projects, they can access more fans and, and it's soexciting seeing, one thing that's been increasingly, I think, more prevalent isthe global distribution of a lot of different type of, whether it's shows or tvlike.

It, it seems thatlanguage is no longer a boundary and it's really just about what's gonna grabattention. And that's interesting to see the dynamics of different culturesreally liking something from a completely, far off location that ended upadopting for some reason. There's a connection.

I know we're comingat the end of the show here, so I always like to ask this question  

whether it wasearly in your career or not, what books or people have had a lasting impact onyou?  

Hiram: Ithink that, that's a very good question. The one, one of of my favorite booksthat, it's not really an entrepreneurship books, but book, but it, it talks alot about entrepreneurship is Shoe Dog.

Yeah. The Nikefounder, Phil Knight. Yeah. And, and, and one of the things that, you know,that, that really stuck with me is just. How many times, like throughout his,his, his the beginning, the early days of Nike, or like so many barriers andblockers and emergencies that happened, like from the outside, a lot of timesin, when people look at, at a startup or a company that, that from theoutside's looking great, there's so much going on on the inside.

So many fires toput out. Yeah. And, and to know that companies like Nike also went through thatfor, periods like over like, I think it was like 10, the first 10 or 20 years.It was a lot of times it almost failed. Yeah. And he kept pushing. That'ssomething that, that really stayed  

Julian:with me.

Yeah. Yeah. It's sotrue. It's so true that, that, just knowing that someone else, went through asimilar. Process to really, I, I, people don't know what it means to deliver aproduct, a really high, valuable product, and how much work really goes into itbecause it's, it, it's gotta be so well thought out, gotta have a story, it'sgotta deliver consistently.

So many things.Right. We can think about. That's a good one. I, that's a good one. That onehasn't been brought up in a while, but I might have to throw that on my audiobooks. I selfishly asked that also for my own reading list. But last questionhere, Hiram, and, and it's been such a pleasure. Not only, learning about youand your, your background, your experience, what you think LALA can actually doin terms of increasing points of access.

Is there anything,any topic, any question I didn't ask you that I should have anything left onthe table here today?  

Hiram:Let's see. I  

mean, so one thingis that I pro I related to our product with W of Wall Street. We launched theproduct last week and we're making it very easy for people to, to buy intothis.

Yeah. Even thoughyes, we, these are digital collectibles on the blockchain. We are, we'reobstructing away all the friction from the experience of, of buying into this.So, we're providing a very. Common and experience in the way that you sign upwith your email. We don't have to use cryptocurrencies.

You just, sign up,pay with a credit card Yeah. Or debit card and you're in. We make it very easyand. Yeah, that's something that I'm super excited to have more people join ourcommunity. Our, our website is for anyone interest. Yeah, they cancheck it out.  


And where can wefind you?

Where, where can wefind you on socials? LinkedIn, you know where, where are you live?  

Hiram:Yeah. Twitter. Yeah, Twitter is at Hiram v. Yeah, you can find me, dmm me orfollow me or tweet at me and I'll, I'll respond. Always looking forward to forfeedback and meet new people. So,  

Julian:amazing, amazing Hiram, it's been such a pleasure having you on the show,learning about your experience, but also where you view this ownership and, andthis ownership to entertainment and consumer model.

So fascinating asit gets closer and closer together, as I think a lot of restlessness is reallykind of promoting that, that eventual future. So it's. It's awesome to see youat the head of it and, and where LALA will go. So thank you so much from, Ihope you enjoyed yourself on Behind Company Lines today.

Hiram:Thank you so much for having me on and, and it's great connecting with you aswell. Of course,  

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