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Russ Johns 0:01
Welcome to the #piratebroadcast, where we interview #interestingpeople doing #interestingthings where you can expand your connections, your community, #kindnessiscool and #smilesarefree. Let's get this party started.
It's another beautiful day for a #piratebroadcast. I want to welcome back Marc. Marc has been here in the pirate vicinity more, in kind of an almost a cinematic look because his internet was down and it wasn't quite operating as needed. We brought Marc back. What we want to do is get a clear view of Mark, make sure that we have a perspective that we can talk about and share with you and thank you so much for being here. If you're watching the show live if you're watching the replay. Appreciate you All gratitude in the world. MarC and I. I think there's a connection here and we really enjoy having conversation. The #piratebroadcast always brings #interestingpeople doing #interestingthings and I know you're doing a lot of interesting things right now and I just want to give you a shout out your cloud water brand is good stuff and I am going to order more and I just want to check in how are you doing and welcome back?
Marc Siden 1:30
Well, it's good to be here. Good to be seen. We could just end the podcast now. Because now everybody knows what I look like but I'm grateful to be back and yeah, I mean, we just Rift and had a wonderful conversation last time and I think we connected and it's good to be here. I'm doing okay. As I said in our preview here, it's an interesting time to be a human being a CEO. A father, a member of community, but we're all learning how to navigate cross waves of so many things, intersections we want to partake in a positive the positivity of community and promote the harmony that I think most, I hope all of us want in the world. We also have business to do, right. How do you stay sensitive and not try too hard. There's nothing to prove here. the authenticity of our brand is what it is, but we also have to pay the bills. Right.
Russ Johns 2:36
Marc Siden 2:37
Very interesting time, you know, for us in the team to sit around and talk about sensitive topics and viruses and doing business.
Russ Johns 2:47
Well, Let's dive into that because a lot of people are being disrupted right now as a result of either the Coronavirus And the pandemic and stay at home orders. Now, some locations are starting to open up, they're seeing a direct correlation between that, and the incidence of cases going up. I don't know that we're out of the water with this and just like any CEO, and especially someone in your arena that is pushing the boundaries of not only one the product because you're dealing with a new product that's kind of on the edge of understanding. You have to educate people on what it is and why it's here and why it's valuable. Not only that, and then on top of it, we have this challenging divide and Black Lives Matter and some of the challenges in the conversations that are taking place around that and inequality.
It's almost like David and Goliath in the challenging time of educating people on What it's like to experience this racial divide or this this prejudice or this bias that we feel or have against either what your doing who you are or where you.what what's happening in your world and as a CEO, how do you navigate through that? That sea of uncertainty?
Marc Siden 4:24
Well, I wish there was a handbook but I think what you default to is really your root DNA, your ethos I feel most proud about our brand and our team is because it's a really great group of authentic people that care deeply about what's going on so much so that we talk as much about how we participate in providing support to our black brothers and sisters, people. We all have people close to us thst have been impacted for years. This is a very meaningful time for a lot of us. It's great just to have an open and honest conversation.
Some people say, hey, you don't want to talk about that in business. Well, I say bullshit, particularly at a time where excuse my language, but this is the time to really express yourself. At the same time, we have to do business, right? I mean, I don't think any movement or virus wants us to go out of business, because we lean too hard one way or another. It is a delicate balance and the way you navigate that it's just really open and honest, because we don't all have the answers, but when great people who are caring sit in a room. It's not about a debate who's right or wrong, you tend to find that balance. I think we're doing a great job with that.
Russ Johns 5:49
Well, and I think also, I think you kind of stepped on it is is this, this idea of understanding. We were talking before the show, and it's really about listening and understanding what is it that we can do? It's what is it that we need to change? How do we feel? How do we perceive because we may be doing something that we're not even aware of, because of the environment we were raised in. It may not be malicious in our approach. However, It may not be perceived as being correct. Education, I think, has, has to play a huge part in our society, across the board, across all levels. Just an understanding and start listening and caring about how people are feeling or being perceived in their lives. Because it's, we can all do better. We can all do better. That's where I default to.
Marc Siden 6:56
Yeah, I agree. I think there's a lot of people who want to do better and I think there's some people But who are conflicted for that exact reason. They have goodness in their hearts and we say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I don't think it's somebody's fault that they were born white and privileged and maybe in an atmosphere that didn't afford them diversity or certain culture, and maybe they didn't learn it at home for one reason or another, it's not a knock. Here we are now having made significant progress in the world in the gay community with women and also people of color for inclusion. There's a long way to go.
I think people there's different, I will call them factions, ones who really care and are a little confused, ones who are biased for one reason or another, and then just outright unfortunately racists who don't have an aperture to opening up to what's going on. I think educating that those different kind of levels is very important. It's great to see how many people are behind this movement and How many white people are behind this movement and say, Hey, we really care. One of my friends who's I consider a brother, he's African American. And we talk all the time. He said, this feels different. You'll hear that a lot in, the media or social or people being interviewed, this feels different. This feels like a tipping point. I don't think there's a turning back from this the same way, there's no turning back with COVID unless there's a vaccine.
The vaccine for this is reading systemic racism at the institutional level, and then helping people understand how they can be part of that community to support it, just by giving a quality nobody's asking for more or less, they just want to fit in and be included no special handouts. I think this Black Lives Matter set some people off to think, well, you want more than me or you matter more than me, and that's obviously not the case here. It takes education and some patience, to be honest.
Russ Johns 8:57
Well, I did a two minute tip the other night where it's like If this was a catastrophe some sort of a weather anomaly that came in and caused destruction and damage, there'd be a lot of people out there helping. It's no different because it's this long term kind of undermining of racism that has traveled through decades, centuries. What I think a lot of people misunderstand is it's not that Iwant to have less is that I just want to be seen as an equal opportunity individual, no black, no white, no color at all. I just want to be equal in what my opportunities are. We just went through this, a few years ago with the me to movement and the fact that There's a lot of things that are taking place that should not be taking place.
Marc Siden 10:04
Russ Johns 10:05
I think this is a movement where people just want to vote, they want to be heard, they want a voice, and they want it to be able to explain and have people understand and listen to what they're doing.
Marc Siden 10:20
Yep. I agree, and I think on the other side of this, you mentioned me too. I think there's lessons to be learned at the institutional level about me too, in terms of who's allowed and unable to do what, right, so if there was a sexual harassment case at a company, and it was reported, you would single out that individual and you would discipline them, right. If a couple of weeks went by, and you found out there were a few more now you start to ask, Well, why is it okay? That this is happening at this company? What's going on there? Now you start looking at the institutional level
All the people at The Weinstein Company weren't bad people, but for some reason there was this environment that allowed this to go on where people either aided and abetted because they didn't say anything. They were too scared to say something. It was a toxic environment. I mean, to brought that down, right? Look, change is interesting. The pendulum goes to the totally the other side, where I've been in conversations where guys are like, I can't even hire a woman now. That's not sustainable. That's a natural reaction to like, wait, if I sneeze, I can get in trouble. Right?
Russ Johns 11:30
I'm not gonna go to meetings alone with the woman.
Marc Siden 11:33
Yeah. Right. And then you find your middle ground. I think the same thing is in law enforcement. I have family who are police, and you can support Black Lives Matter and racial equality and not also have to, put away with the police. It's an important institution, but at the high institutional levels. There's obviously been enablement for this and the justice in the Justice system there's been enable that so you have to break down at the institutional level and then parry pursue, it starts to come down where things are acceptable or not right. These reforms again, to funding the police is kind of that acute reaction, and I don't want to get into some of those issues today. I think they're still working themselves out. There are amazing cops out there ones I do charity work and who are amazing people. Unfortunately, and I speak to them there is some platform issues here that allow this to go on, and that has to go away. That's when you find your middle ground.
Russ Johns 12:36
I think at the core, we are all individuals. If we have as an individual influence over other people and have, like you have direction and you have the ability and opportunity to direct people in a certain way and your individual habits and traits in Greek conceptions are going to drive how you decide what takes place. That's all institutional levels. I think generalization over over a group of individuals is a big mistake. I think safety of the officers. It's like, yeah, there are bad cops. Yeah. There are bad people everywhere.
Marc Siden 13:20
Russ Johns 13:21
There are people that are malicious. They just have no interest in helping others. They don't want to listen to any other perspective. Those are the exceptions to the rule, not the rule.
Marc Siden 13:34
Yep. Then look, the media obviously puts accelerant on all this and is now selling certain headlines, the way they sold COVID. That doesn't mean COVID isn't real. It doesn't mean that there's issues in police or doesn't mean racism isn't real, but the people make more money and get more energy when there's hating and divide going on. Unfortunately, that's been a major platform in our country for some time and If I had a dream there'd be a middle aisle in this country where you didn't love Trump hate Trump, you didn't just hate Democrats, what democrats black, white, there would be some middle ground where That just does not exist. You can name any institutional debate like gun control you there's no middle aisle, right.
Russ Johns 14:31
No middle aisle
Marc Siden 14:32
There is no middle aisle, and
Russ Johns 14:34
I think the polarization of America has really been I mean, I think it was I don't know. I think it's increasing. The polar opposites, it's just amplification.
Marc Siden 14:48
Russ Johns 14:48
Marc Siden 14:49
Russ Johns 14:51
I just want to give you know, Fred's here in the room. Good morning. How you doing? absolutely everybody should be colorblind. Thank you so much. So and then, Dr. makeup, she asked, what's this webinar regarding what? It's just a conversation doctor. It's just a conversation. We're having #interestingpeople #piratebroadcasts is all about #interestingpeople doing #interestingthings. Marc, going forward, we understand and so as a business owner, what steps have you been taking or thinking about taking or enabling others to take in your organization that allows them to actually have some authority to make some changes or at least go out into the community and take some active steps in in helping others. lift themselves up and do something different, be different?
Marc Siden 15:57
Russ Johns 15:57
Does that work for yourself. How do you think about that?
Marc Siden 16:01
Yeah, I think a lot about it. I have a very extensive background in philanthropy and I donate what I believe is the most precious thing I have, which is my time I've been doing that. Since I'm in my early 20s, and particularly centered around a diversity and underserved kids and young adults in New York City, so I take that call it an institution of giving very seriously and when a brand jumps out and says, Hey, we're gonna give we're going to do I think that's great. I have a little extra sensitivity to that because it you can't just give for a day or a week and say, hey, look at us, you have to follow it up with action and the proper support and consistency. We had this conversation last week because people are saying, hey, let's donate a portion of proceeds.
Let's do this. Let's do that. I said, look, I think the way I landed on that is if you have an individual, if it's black lives matter, we're aligning with a platform called Black allies matter. I'll talk about that for a minute. If there's something that you feel passionate about, then I think you should make a donation. What we did for COVID, is we just donated thousands of bottles to the front lines, and then write about it, or I'm saying now, but just by example, we just did it. It was authentic, and we felt great. We've got a lot of thank yous and made us feel good. We came to that conclusion that it was more behind the scenes that we wanted to do this because when things like this come up, we also want to be able to help and so we're figuring that out right now. The first thing that we wanted to do, which I thought was responsible and everybody should do is participate in the blackout.
Call your social don't promote, let important voices be heard right now. As we come out the other end, because things change every day your feelings change information changes, then let's find something that is meaningful to us that will, if Russ calls me in a week or two, it's not like, yeah, we're done with that promotion or something. We've aligned ourselves and we have aligned ourselves with the platform that we intend to stay very involved with, and I want to be involved and to help educate people that fit into the category of, Hey I'm a white person, I accept my privilege. I'm a little conflicted. I don't quite understand help me to understand that is my favorite type of person and I don't know everything.
I've been exposed to some of this for years now and I have a front row seat to somebody who I consider a brother and we have very honest conversations and I can never fully understand but I can get close to being To then articulate that, as a white person to another white person to just understand that, wow, if this person can understand maybe I can, right. That's how we're talking about it as a business and on the other side, I said yesterday, look, we need to generate sales, we need to pay the bills. We don't have anything to prove here if we're authentic and real. All right, nobody's asking us not to stop doing business. Let's get back to business. I bifurcate that because sometimes I think it's like I said, it's dangerous to marry it.
Russ Johns 19:33
Marc Siden 19:33
That's kind of how we're proceeding.
Russ Johns 19:35
Well, I appreciate the effort because I'm always for the underdog. You've been dealt a couple of challenging blows here. I think it's a lot of it feels like overwhelming, and it's difficult situation. However, it's one of the things that entrepreneurs have to deal with on a regular basis, it's like, this is a challenge. How can we position the company, the organization, the conversations to actually get through this, and actually be stronger as a result of it? That's the conversation that really needs to happen is how do we grow from this experience? How do we exceed our expectations? As a result of our experience in this?
Marc Siden 20:23
Russ Johns 20:26
I was just gonna say and it's and it's your job and your responsibility as a leader to provide some of that vision. It's not always crystal clear. Sometimes it takes a listening to the community listening to the others and what the feedback is, and kind of taking that information in and coming up with a solution.
Marc Siden 20:45
Yep. it's a challenge every day. We started with COVID. We made a commitment to ourselves with COVID that this is a time to be scrappy, creative. We're going to get some battle chops on and we're going to come out even stronger and better. We're working on some very exciting things that we're going to be announcing in the next couple of weeks here that we've had some, I don't wanna call it downtime, but we've had. I'm not traveling, we're all kind of in one place. I work during the day, and I think at night, and so does my team. We kind of committed to that. When George Floyd was murdered, and civil unrest started, and this next, and I'll call it the sea change of the civil rights movement is happening right before our eyes. We said, Look, we're going to participate in a similar way, right? We're going to be responsible to our ethos, and we're going to be responsible to our p&l right. There's nothing wrong with that
Russ Johns 21:49
Marc Siden 21:50
Nothing at all. And if we're a nonprofit, then we're focused on that. We're not a nonprofit we have investors, I have a fiduciary to run this business and The best interest of the business and, we have heart and soul that which is a fiduciary to devote something to our community.
Russ Johns 22:10
Good morning, Carl Scott. Carl is in Houston. He runs an organization. really a fantastic connector in Houston. Very in the Sal's in Houston as well. Happy Happy Wednesday Mary. Hi everybody. She and I have done a lot of training in the world of technology and media convention. Here's a point bringing up Marian and the fact mark that we have an opportunity to educate people we are the media now this this show here is it wasn't, I didn't have a producer come and reach out to me and say, Hey, Russ, would you want to start a show? Although if you want to show I'll talk to you about it. It's really the fact that we can all educate and be Educated.
Kenyatta Good morning. Thank you so much for being here. I love the fact that Kenyatta is another amazing individual. She's a super connector. She's somebody out in the community all the time educating, informing, helping and assisting others in the community. She's a writer out there. She's someone you need to know. And so mark, in order to kind of bring this back to, a level of responsibility, I think we really need to the lessons that I heard your share is that we need to increase our awareness.
We need to educate our communities and continue to bring awareness and education to the communities about what I think really it needs to be almost expansive into what prejudice actually is because I think a lot of people are prejudice without even knowing What that means what that can impact others do you would
Marc Siden 24:05
Russ Johns 24:05
Would you agree with that?
Marc Siden 24:07
Yeah, no, I absolutely agree. I think again, there's this fine lines between innocence and kind of, shading it one way or not. I see posts on Facebook where they say, Hey, what happened to George Floyd was horrible, but what about black on black crime or what about statistically this or statistically that and they don't realize they're fighting the current because they're not comfortable with what's going on and they're hiding behind some bias or privilege or whatever and I'm not here to analyze everybody. I think a great example is the kneeling during the NFL, because as much as I just gave myself all these toots, and whatever, it bothered the hell out of me, right. In the beginning, and because I had a perspective on it, and I didn't understand it.
As time went on, and I listened, I started to understand and I was elated that the NFL commit came out and said that I was elated that some other people came out against it and were immediately scorned and forced into that situation to gain perspective. Wait a second, the I'm getting this tidal wave of criticism. What's going on here. It's no longer acceptable, right to just be blind and tone deaf, if you want to be in society, you got to almost choose one side of the other. Like I said to you before, the new minority will become racism, right, and everybody else in the human race, and it's just not going to feel comfortable to be that person, but you have to start somewhere and gain perspective.
Listening and you're talking about awareness, but as individuals, we really have to open our aperture be willing to listen and learn and admit there's nothing wrong with saying, Hey, you know what? I was biased there was because it just move forward. That's all anybody wants. They're not gonna hold it against you, unless you're all out racist to say good for you for growing and accepting it and there's a lot of people out there that need that next level perspective education
Russ Johns 25:53
Really nothing wrong with saying you're wrong,
Marc Siden 26:18
Russ Johns 26:19
I was wrong. I can't change how I was born or who I came to be? I mean I'm a product of my experience, right, as we talked about, everyone is a product of their experience. I believe that like many people in the world, they every day is a choice. It's you when you have a choice and you make a choice, you and myself. I choose to have gratitude when I wake up. I choose to learn something every day I choose to improve who I am every single day and right now I'm choosing to understand what other people are feeling what other people are doing, and watching this landscape and saying, how does this impact the world? How does it impact me? How can I contribute? If you're not bringing me a solution, you're part of the problem
Marc Siden 27:21
Russ Johns 27:22
It's as simple as that. I just encourage everybody to start bringing a solution to the table, because there's right now, it doesn't seem like there's a clear answer anywhere except a little bit of kindness, empathy, understanding, and a willingness to learn.
Marc Siden 27:40
Yep. I think people should check out Black Lives Matter. It's a platform that is really set up to help educate and to build awareness. There's no hate on there. There's no you're wrong. There's no and white people shouldn't feel ashamed to be white people. There could be some certain SAR or apologies people feel they want to give, but that's not what this is about. This is really about, Hey, did you know this about black history? Did you know the institutional seepage so you know that the American flag and where things were born and you might not like the truth, and you might not want to accept it, but the facts are there. I think this platform is is a gentle dose of that information.
They posted something from Michael che from Saturday Night Live, and there's like a, three minute video, watch it, it's hysterical. He just talks about Black Lives Matter and he kind of makes fun of it. And he's like, we just want civil rights. the gay community asked for equal rights. We're just asking for civil. I mean, he just kind of makes it comical. I found myself laughing out loud because it was a really great dose of just simplifying some of the stuff. It doesn't have to be that serious. It's a serious matter, but Learning doesn't always have to be learning. Take it except
Russ Johns 29:04
Marc Siden 29:04
It's like a dose of medication, it needs to come in a process. I think they're doing a great job of really going at it that way.
Russ Johns 29:13
Mentioned the site one more time.
Marc Siden 29:15
Black allies matter, they're on Instagram. Yeah. Something that cloud water is participating in and supporting, because we love we just love the trajectory of what they're doing, and that feeds into black lives matter. It feeds into this new institutional process that's being built overnight, which, you know, is obviously here to stay, and we're happy to be a part of it. Yeah.
Russ Johns 29:43
I think more and more CEOs and leaders like yourself, have to have to get involved and engaged and participate in the change because unless we change it's a dark place to dark place to go. So I Appreciate and applaud your efforts to to make the life of so many better place to live a little brighter. Thank you so much mark
Marc Siden 30:09
I've learned from some great people and I've learned firsthand from their pain. It's very real to me, very important. I see my kids, my kids went out to protest, they made their own signs they're posting on social. Somebody mentioned about everybody should be colorblind. I respectfully disagree. I think we should see color. I think black is a color brown is a color we should admire it, accept it and see it. I think people want to be seen. That's just my humble perspective on it. My kids have been swimming with friends who are black since they're two they don't never ask me about skin color. They have a different voice than all of us. It's so interesting to watch this younger generation. Just get out there and they tilt their heads at us and say what the hell are you people doing? What is goin on here?
I love that innocence, but I love the voice of the future, because they're growing up without this institutional seepage that a lot of us did. That's gonna break this chain in this process, and I can't wait for them to get older and start running this country in this world. Because not that it's not going to change before then, but this will reinforce that this equality is here to stay.
Russ Johns 31:22
Yeah. And then just acceptance of who we are. We're all unique. All individuals are unique. That's what makes the world a beautiful place is is our our unique gifts, our message and our ability to help others and make change happen.
Marc Siden 31:40
Russ Johns 31:41
Mark, I really appreciate the opportunity. I know we're over and I know you're a busy guy doing lots of great things. So I just want to appreciate and applaud cloud water and I love this stuff, actually. Mark.
Marc Siden 31:54
Thanks. We're proud of the brand. I'm glad we talked about something That's I think it's bigger than all of us. And I appreciate that.
Russ Johns 32:04
I think it's bigger than the brand, right.
Marc Siden 32:06
I hope the viewers Sometimes you do very specific podcast, but this is important hope people got something out of this and some leaders can understand what it's like to navigate through this. Just be yourself. You'll do the right thing?
Russ Johns 32:20
Marc Siden 32:21
Yep. Thanks, my brother.
Russ Johns 32:22
Let's keep you let's keep on the radar and make sure that as you progress through the navigation process, let's keep in touch and make sure that we give you updates and share those updates with people.
Marc Siden 32:35
I'm happy to love talking to you. Thank you so much for having me back.
Russ Johns 32:39
Thank you so much, everyone. Thank you so much for watching the #piratebroadcast. I know and love each and every one of you and just come in, join the pirate community, stay involved and engage and help each other out. Because as I always say, #kindnessiscool. #smilesarefree. You #enjoytheday.
Take care. Take care. Thank you for joining the #piratebroadcast. If you found this content valuable, please like, comment and share it across your social media channels. I would love the opportunity to help others grow in their business. #Thepiratesyndicate is a platform where you show up we produce the show. It's that easy. If you want to be seen, be heard and be talked about. Join #thepiratesyndicate today.
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