AMA with Brian Brown

Welcome to the seventh post in our series of BAT Community-run AMAs.

The ongoing AMA series on Reddit is a seven-month-long event that features various guests from the Brave and BAT teams. The goal of the series is twofold: to give fans of the project an opportunity to interact directly with team members, and to give team members—especially those who operate largely behind the scenes—a chance to share their insights and offer the community a window into their work.

The most recent AMA took place on November 14th with Brian Brown, Brave’s Chief Business Officer. Over the course of the AMA, Brian fielded both pre-submitted and live questions from Redditors about a variety of topics. He described the process of reaching out to publishers, advertisers and prospective partners and what the general reception has been when pitching BAT & Brave’s new advertising model. (Apparently, it isn’t uncommon to hear “We are fans!”). Brian discussed upcoming marketing initiatives and a multitude of ways the BAT token could be used in the future. The AMA took a philosophical turn when Brian broached his inner Aristotelian, encouraging readers to be skeptical of the notion of “success” and to instead pursue excellence.

Highlights can be found below, with a link to the full AMA at the bottom of this post.

The next AMA will take place on Wednesday, November 21st, and will feature Brave’s Director of Business Development, Luke Mulks, to discuss BAT and Brave Ads.

For the full list of upcoming BAT Community AMAs through February 2019, see below.

shumwhere asks: What has been the biggest push-back you've gotten when pitching this new ad-tech model and what were the reasons why they weren't receptive to it?

Anytime there is disruption there are objectors. So think about all those buggy manufacturers that were tweaked about this new horseless carriage thing. I guess if you follow that analogy, Brave is trying to reduce horse manure. Anyway, the ad-tech LUMAscape contains a large mix of good and not so good actors. So there are and will be objections. That said, we are working with some of the largest brands and agencies because they see the writing on the wall. GDPR is just one big notice of this. The new California law. There will be more coming. The LUMAscape grew up organically behind one little innocent banner ad in the 1990s into a huge overrun surveillance economy. Stripmining consumers for their data and having them pay to upload had to end at some point and the smarter folks in the room realize that. People do care—and we help them care by giving a better experience, rewarding the user for browsing, stopping ad fraud and paying the publisher more. Ad fraud, according to Juniper, will hit 19B in 2018—thats 51M a day. As the CMO of P&G said: This crap has to stop—paraphrasing.

Jaedys asks: Donating/tipping seems to be a big thing on platforms such as YouTube, Twitch, Patreon and Chaturbate. One of the main reasons for this seems to be because it will result in the donator getting attention/recognition from the content creator, or enables them to request something. What are your thoughts on combining anonymity and individuation when tipping content creators with BAT, and how do you think you can improve on this compared to platforms that have a similar system already in place?

The key is a low cognitive load. People are good. They want to support creators. The Guardian now makes more from donations than ads. As long as we can make it super simple folks will respond. Your point is good about allowing people—even if anonymously—to get credit. We are thinking about this and more.

tsoneyson asks: One way I could see BAT/Brave really take off, is the ability to access paywalled content easily. Have you considered this as a feature? Like a few BATs in a few clicks per news article/sports event etc, if you don't want to commit to a subscription?

Yes, we've considered multiple layers of access to material by time, article, area, etc. We want to innovate with publishers to give them new ways to monetize. Programmatic is dying. Publishers realize they have to change—they are willing to innovate. You see the NYTimes and WSJ leading with subscriptions first because they realize the rest is folly. I think Slate even said they can get millions of readers in Apple News, but get more revenue from 50K visitors to their website—Ugh!

applebucks asks: First: What would you say is the biggest hurdle for publishers to become verified?

Second: Who does your outreach team typically get in touch with within companies to get them verified?

For me, getting verified for my website was easy and painless. For other companies, I imagine they would be reluctant because they just are not tech-savvy, or are afraid of taking on a mysterious new currency. I know plenty of wealthier folks who were reluctant to get into crypto because they lean more on the conservative side with their investments.

If you have not already, would you consider reaching out to employees in companies that would lean more towards the idea of bringing income to their company through futuristic means like BAT?

Thanks for the AMA!

I think the biggest hurdle for publishers is just hearing about us. But more and more now, we contact people and they say "we are fans." I randomly reached out to a top engineer in one of the biggest tech companies in the world and he said he is a big fan. We also have fans inside publications who advocate and just verify publishers without contacting us like The Guardian, Washington Post, etc.

We normally go very high in the org—C level just because they see the tectonic plates shifting and have less entrenched interests to protect.

We sometimes go through employees too. 😉

FriendlyNeighborCEO asks: What consumer marketing initiatives is Brave undertaking to increase user growth?

We are doing all the usual suspect things: paid and organic growth, ASO, SEO, contests, partnerships, PR, etc. Normally, when you do a startup some VCs will say, "Hey, that's a really cool idea except you need a $100M marketing budget." The user growth pool for Brave acts like that for us—we will drive massive adoption through the UGP. Think of a partner that has 10s of millions of adblock users that offer them 0 revenue. We show up and say, hey, offer Brave and tell the user they will get a better experience and you'll get some referral tokens—ie revenue. Win-win.

thebanditbasher asks: Hi for a newbie like myself. I found switching between browsers like switching between web pages. It doesn't really make a difference which one I go for. I currently have invested in the token. But how do you plan to simplify the process of using the token? Plus making it as useful as the browser.

Our new interface simplifies it a lot. The goal is to push the crypto aspect into the background so it’s seen more like a frequent flyer mile. And maybe you could exchange it for AMEX membership points, or Reddit Coins, or fill in the blank. It will become easier and easier. Even now we auto translate BAT in the wallet into fiat, and we'll be doing more things like that. The token will be like points you earn in web experiences provided by publishers that treat it like a loyalty point.

TooFitToFat asks: How do you motivate yourself to be a successful individual?

Anytime you hear the word "success," become suspicious. It is one of the misused words. I think in some capacity Diogenes was "successful." But he lived in a barrel. When Alexander the Great asked him what he wanted, he just said, can you stand aside, you are in my sun. He had some other rather questionable habits I won't outline here. You can't go wrong by starting with Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics—Eudaimonia and all that. Pursue excellence. Avoid mirages of $ and fame and other crap—if you can, we are human and fail by degree. I'll be happy if I can get one person to show up to my funeral, but if they're busy, then Zoom in and play Iggy Pops “Passenger.”

Scoobytwo asks: How has the reception been to your business development efforts re. the Brave / BAT offering? What kind of business partnerships can you tell us about that are in the works?

I've been at a bunch of startups and I can say the reception has been excellent. We have a lot of inbound interest from publishers, Internet platforms, advertisers, brands, etc. And when we reach out at a high level to the C-suite of these companies we invariably get meetings. A few years ago the publishers were less receptive because they were still stuck on the crack of programmatic, but they see now that the revenue is dwindling, the fraud and privacy are becoming reasons to diversify revenue streams. They also see that Google and Facebook have not helped them as promised... 96% of all digital ad spend went to the duopoly according to Zenith.

So we have a bunch of great partnerships in the works, with publishers, internet platforms and advertisers. We are signing deals that will be live and or announced soon. They should help us drive millions of MAU into next year.

DirtyJannaMain asks: What will advertising for Brave look like?

It’s gonna be super cool and change advertising as you know it—think about good ads... that isn't an oxymoron. Think about something you actually want to see and can control.

Footnote: Sometimes ad and pub folks get tweaked about the changes and the blocking of trackers, etc. But if you ask them if they fast forward through ads on TV—guess what the answer is. Something has to change. We need a better model.

BullGeneral asks: BAT is one of the projects out there with an actual working product and token use case. I really really hope Brave browser succeeds and get more adoption, not just because I’m a BAT holder, but for the benefit of the entire crypto ecosystem. We really need a product that encourages adoption. as you can see, the current DApp user base is very very poor. Qn: What kind of partnerships are Brave pursuing and how do projects participate?

Yes, the current DApp user base is small. It should grow over time, but we have to grow now—as we do we will help the long-term prospects for DApps. I think you have to see Brave as a vanguard project, meaning we are blazing the path for blockchain, crypto, DApps, etc. We bring people in an environment they are familiar with and normalize concepts for people so they get used to them. Certainly, we will get the crypto-heads, but as we popularize the browser (already have millions of users) then people will see the functioning of blockchain and crypto in the background. The tokens will be like frequent flyer miles—almost gamified by us and large publishers and brands that are monetizing their ecosystems. You could see stock games with BAT. You could see a BMW ad that says open the door for X tokens, open the hood for Y tokens, or test drive for Z tokens.

In a way, Brave can act as a massive macro funnel for a bell curve of users that come into the platform and use the token with the crypto aspect pushed in the background. Then they can get normalized to other cryptos that join our platform, through wallets or other aspects... the modern browser is a platform—it’s not 2005 anymore and we ain't just a browser.

Read the full AMA here.

Read Sampson’s AMA from October 31st, 2018 here.

Follow the BAT Community’s Updates here:

Upcoming BAT Community AMAs:

November 2018
Luke Mulks, Director, Business Development (November 21st)
Alex Wykoff, User Research and Testing

December 2018
Ryan Watson and Kamil Jozwiak, DevOps and QA
Des Martin, Jan Piotrowski, and Brad Flora from the Business Development team

January 2019
Tom Lowenthal, Security and Privacy Coordinator

February 2019
Holli Bohren, Chief Financial Officer
Ben Livshits, Chief Scientist  

March 2019
Marshall Rose, Senior Software Engineer

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