This interview has been transcribed from Prizeout CEO David Metz’s appearance on The GarVee Audio Experience, which originally aired on 6/17/21. For more information about this episode, click here.
Gary Vaynerchuk: The Gary Vee Audio Experience. Vaynernation, what is up? I am Gary Vaynerchuk. But you know that and I’m humbled by your subscription to the podcast. And before we get into my guest, and this new concept, these kind of 15 minute podcast blitz, to just talk to entrepreneurs and get some different perspectives, which is exactly what today’s episode is about. I met Dave through one of the key executives at VaynerX VaynerMedia, Nick Miaritis, and he’s homeys, and friends and partners with Dave and I’ve really enjoyed my interactions with him. And we’re talking about something else the other day said, hey, I’ve been playing around with this concept called like, podcast blitz, quick little shots, we do these 15 minute sessions internally at VaynerMedia at VaynerX at 1:37pm. every day, where we do little shots of break up the day with all the zoom culture, and I interview people and other times other people do things and said, “Why don’t I do that for my community”. So today’s the first episode of a podcast b litz, little 15 minute interviews, mainly with interesting people, things that are up, people are up to something new. Before I get into that, I want to give a huge shout out to everybody supporting V friends. I’m just completely and utterly blown away by the support. And I will not let you down. I will spend the next 40 years developing this intellectual property, speaking about 40 years in building. Dave, why don’t you tell the Vaynernation who you are, what company you’re running. And then maybe a little bit of an origin story Episode One, you know, comic book number one, like what kind of kid you were, and like, all the things that brought you to this moment, and then we’ll just do some rapid fire entrepreneurial questions. I just think you’re building an interesting business. So I thought it’d be interesting to people but why don’t you give a little three minute bio,
David Metz : Sure. David Metz CEO and co-founder of Prizeout. Born in Long Island born to entrepreneurial parents, they had an irrigation company, sprinklers. I worked for them many a summer. Played lacrosse in high school, got a scholarship to college, I was a history major had no idea what I wanted to do, traded on wall street for a little bit, started a company called Flugpo, which was online classifieds. Had a little bit of success there and then I kind of caught the entrepreneurial bug. From there, I started a board game called Gaggle, which was a trivia board game, which did fairly well and kind of.
David: Yeah, it was a physical game, I started in my apartment, I made a game out of cardboard and wrote questions on pieces of paper. And I would put Craigslist ads out, “test my board game for brownies and beer”. And I get these random people that would show up at my apartment, play the game for 20 minutes, tell me it’s too long, too short, what I can do better. I did that about 15-20 times until I came to what I thought was, was a perfect product, and then launched it and, you know, did the grind went to Christmas fairs and you know, pitch the game to people walking by and then eventually brought it to online, sold a bunch of copies kind of checked it off my bucket list. And then from there, I started a trivia app called FleetWit, it was a game where you could bet friends money that you knew more than them in sports, Game of Thrones, French literature, you name it. And you would bet your friend 10 bucks. And I needed a way for people to withdraw money. And PayPal takes a really long time to integrate. So I started to offer gift cards as a way for people to withdraw money, and they seemed to like it. And then I raised a little bit of money. And then I started to do paid acquisition. And then over time, it really started to bother me that I’m spending all this money on Facebook ads, but every time someone withdrew to a gift card, they’d be essentially withdrawing to a brand–Domino’s, Amazon, whatever–and those brands are essentially acquiring users, the same thing I was paying Facebook for. So then I would reach out to some of the brands like Papa John’s, and I say, Hey, would you pay me to feature your gift card as a withdrawal option? And they were like, “heck yeah”. And from there, that’s where I got Prizeout. And then I launched it and it’s kind of been been a rocket ship ever since.
Gary: Vaynernation Friends, this is why I have Dave on here. Dave is one of us. I’m one of you. We’re all one of the same which is I think people miss moments and what you did Dave well, in the story you just told is what I’m trying to push people towards doing more of which is sometimes we get into our cocoon, into our hamster wheel. I was just talking with Nick, our fellow buddy, in a meeting with a bunch of other leaders. And I’m like, you guys are living in your ecosystem, take a step out, look, and it’ll help you. You scratched your own itch. You listened to the market, you created a business, out of the subtleties of tasting it within a business. In a weird way, when you–I didn’t know about the board game, the physical–in a weird way, that was your progression from that board game. In a weird way, Prizeout is still linked to the board game, because the board game created a game in mobile, and you kind of just kept building until Prizeout happened.
David: That’s fascinating. I actually, never, I’ve never thought of it that way. But you’re right. One thing led to another.
Gary: Yeah, I was listening. I was like, Oh, you went physical board game. It was during that era where mobile gaming was happening. You’re like, this is stupid. I’m doing the physical shit, I can go mobile. You went mobile, you iterated. And then the feature within the feature became the actual business literally, that fucking board game. You know, it’s funny the way you told the story, you’re like, I scratched that itch. It actually became the proxy to what you’re doing in a weird way. Similar for me, like, especially with V friends right now my crazy NFT project. It’s just a culmination of many things that I think a lot of people going through their career right now, the wins, the losses, the grinds, they don’t realize those are all ingredients that they’ve added to the repertoire. And if they can cook–this is the important analogy. If they can cook the meal, w ith those ingredients, they go. Like you. You not only came up with that hypothesis, you’ve executed to this rocket ship. What is the biggest thing? You’ve never had a rocket ship before? Right? Am I correct?
David: No. I’ve, I’ve sat on the other side of the table begging for money. And now I’m on the other side of the table where our rounds are massively oversubscribed. There’s not a week that doesn’t go by that some private equity or VC company tries to throw money In the last 45 days, we’ve had six acquisition inquiries. I would never appreciate this unless I went through kind of getting pooped on all those years.
Gary: So you thought it was–you would think it was normal?
David: I thought, you know, raising money or getting getting interest was the hardest thing in the world to do. And now being on the other side of the table. It’s–
Gary: What about, what about 40 operators in here? What is the biggest thing you’ve learned? navigating a rocket? Let’s use a different analogy, navigating a 300 mile an hour sports car versus a you know, so you know, this is the best part. I’ve had them to some of those lemons, you bought off the lot. Like what’s the what’s the biggest thing you’ve learned with context of the difference between a rocket ship and maybe let’s say a tortoise of a business that just plodding along?
David: I think that I could never be able to steer a rocket ship unless I learned how to steer the tortoise, or the tortoise first, right? Like I needed to, like I needed to get my Bachelor’s right, before I got my Masters, before I got my PhD, right. You would not respect money unless you’ve bootstraped, unless you’ve, you know, you’ve used your own money and you’ve had to worry about paying payroll and gone through all that tough stuff, to be in this position now and appreciate and be able to handle it. So if I was 22 years old, and people were throwing money at me, I would have no idea how to handle it. Unless I went through what I went through in the past.
Gary: Who who has giving you the best. Give me–Give me a great piece of advice from a family member a friend, if I said to you best business advice you’ve heard? Or, you know, and what was best for you? Right? That was best for you. Does anything stand out?
David: You know, it usually, you know, it’s hard for me just to come up with it usually comes in situational. You know, my parents ever since I was a little kid would always ingrain–because I was you know your, your classic ADHD hyper kid, right? I would, I would say whatever’s on my mind. And my parents constantly ingrained. You know, think before you talk, think before you talk. And it sounds so simple. And I didn’t realize it at the at the time when I was a kid. But now as an adult, it’s actually had a profound impact on me.
Gary: I love that. What um, what’s something that you’re affected by as a consumer day in this little blitz of–actually, by the way, I’m getting bombarded by my audience for jobs. When you’re on a rocket ship, you’re always hiring. Where can people find you and maybe find the company to do a little homework find you and maybe reach out for jobs? Let me just share it with–
David: Sure. You can–for jobs you can hit us up on LinkedIn just just search Prizeout the find more information,
Gary: Prizeout, right?
David: Prize–P-R-I-Z-E-O-U-T. Prizeout. You can get for jobs LinkedIn. And for more information, go to our website prizeout.com.
Gary: Love it. What about you as the consumer? I always think the people that have the wraps are real entrepreneurs, executed wins, losses and everything in between. I always loved their–I always want to ask on this show, this blitz podcast these 15 minute-ers. I wanted to ask them, What, what’s from their standpoint, what’s, what’s catching their attention? What’s catching your attention?
David: Wow. Since my life on–
Gary: Yeah, I know, you’re 24/7, but anything hitting?
David: It’s a good question. Um, it’s the standard stuff, you know, Slack is, is the future, you know, it defines my life. I’m on slack way more than I’m on Instagram, or Tiktok or Twitter, anything like that. I use slack more than I text more than I use the phone. That– that–that is my life right now. And I know that’s on. Everything’s important. Yeah, it has a greater hold me than, than social media ever did like if I don’t pick up my phone, and I don’t see a work slack.
Gary: Because that’s, that’s because it’s your utility, right? Yeah. Yeah, that, you know, it’s funny. I, I bought, it’s got a social element to it, right?
David: Oh, for sure.
Gary: Kind of like the Reddit meets email ecosystem that it has.
David: Yeah, if I don’t, if there’s not something going on at work, then I feel like we’re not progressing. And I feel like I should be doing more, right? I need I need to be solving problems every day. And if there’s not a problem to solve, on slack.
Gary: We’re not going hard enough.
David: Exactly. So what do we need to do.
Gary: So what about some rapidfire? What’s your philosophy on hiring?
David: There’s two things we don’t tolerate: drama and entitlement. Those are two things we, I can’t deal with. We are moving too fast to have people come in and be cancerous. We are very much a meritocracy. I think New York is the best place in the world to hire because you have all these people that are brilliant, but are in jobs where they’re using 5% of their potential, and they don’t care about money. They want to be a part of something, something bigger than them. So what we offer is that, so I think we have the ability to be super selective, and we try to, you know, as cliche as it sounds, and Steve Jobs said, you know, hire slow and fire quickly.
Gary: What about what about things you admire in leaders that you’d like to be better at? A little self awareness, a little humility? What do you admire and other leaders that you’ve heard of, or you’ve seen, that you’d like to work on, since you’re still a youngster and have many more years of this?
David: Yeah, that’s a good question. I think it’s changed over the years. I think it used to be things that I’m never going to be good at, like my ADHD, I’ll never be good at details. I wish that I wish I could code.
Gary: I wish I, I don’t. I just want to surround myself with Epic details people who I love and trust.
David: And that that in the last two years has changed my life. I read this MIT study where it was like, stop trying to be what you’re not, and surround yourself with people that complement your weaknesses. And that like that has changed my life.
Gary: So I love that. It’s the greatest strength. One of the greatest strengths I have in business, no question. What about what I’m really curious about is what are you fascinated about in consumer behavior? Like, for example, I’ll give you one for me. And then you could give you another second to think–I’m fascinated by what people think is a waste of money and what they don’t think is a waste of money. So like, the same person can be like, super pissed about like, you know, buying a coffee for three bucks, and they’re like, That’s crazy. It’s got to be 25 cents, but will buy a $4,000 handbag in and think that’s like completely normal. You know, you know, I’m fascinated by consumer psychology, or what they do, or they don’t like, you know, like, the reason I’m really asking you is you’re getting to see a lot of data, like what they how they do and what they choose and this and that. I’m curious if anything stands out?
David: Yeah, so we so we’re a withdrawal option for various industries: insurance, payroll, gaming, gig economy, lottery, you name it anywhere where someone’s earned or won money. So let’s say somebody from gaming, right, you’re on PaddyPower, DraftKings, right, you won $100. Right? When you withdraw that money through Prizeout, you’re obviously selecting a gift card. But that behavior is very much more like I just won money, I want to treat myself, right. So they’re looking at much more luxury items. If you’re a gig worker, right. You work for DoorDash or something right or, or Waitr, and you’re using Prizeout to withdraw your earnings, it’s much more utility like I need gasoline, grocery, it’s Christmas time gifts for my kids, right? So depending on the vertical that they’re coming from dictates their their purchasing power, which has been really fascinating to see. And what’s even more fascinating is when someone buys a gift card through Prizeout–50 over 50% of users spend it within the first four hours. So we hate the word gift card because they’re not buying it for anyone but themselves. So once they buy it, they actually use it, which has been pretty, pretty fascinating as quickly as they do.
Gary: Dave, wrapping up the rapid fire podcast I’m excited about this format. What uh parting insights for all the entrepreneurs or operators, employees, investors? What’s a what’s a little Metz wisdom here on the part out?
David: Yeah, I think it’s I think, Gary, you actually kind of put it in my mind like, who would’ve ever thought that you went from a board game to disrupting FinTech. Like that that that’s the story and I never I didn’t realize until we started talking.
Gary: I’m here for that. Dave, thanks for being on the show. Everybody please hit me up on social let me know I want to do a look at these these blitzy introduce you to some people. I have the luxury of knowing a lot of people, some under the radar superstars like our man Metz here and I want to do more of this kind of stuff. Let me know if you like this format, the fast you saw the rapid style I kind of went with. Let me know what you think. And if we like it, we’ll keep doing more of these. Dave once again, Prizeout. Congrats. We’ll talk soon.
David: Thanks, Gary