Camille Moore joins us in studio on campus at StartWell to relate her founder story and share perspective on Third Eye Insights‘ approach to enabling professional services through branding.
The conversation is fun and far reaching – touching on some of StartWell founder Qasim Virjee’s own experiences as one of the first people online in East Africa, digitising a methodology for Placemaking and experiencing corporate politics at IBM.
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Qasim Virjee 0:28
Welcome back to the Start world podcast. Once again, I am Qasim in studio on King Street West here in Toronto at start Will’s campus. Today for the 44th episode of our podcast, I’m joined in studio by the lovely Camille Moore from Third Eye insights. And I’m very, very interested to hear all about what you guys do and more importantly, what you do. Because I’ve seen you’re on campus, we’ve talked, we’ve bantered a little bit. But we haven’t really dug into kind of like the state of marketing, and how you guys are like ahead of the curve, and what you know you want to be doing with your company. So all that is stuff that we can talk about. Welcome to the studio. Thank you. Awesome. So let’s start with introductions. Camille, who are you? What do you do?
Camille Moore 1:18
Wow, that’s a deep question. My name is Camille more i co own Third Eye insights. Third, eye Insights is a very cool marketing agency that we kind of define as an agency that specializes in branding, strategy and experience. We specialize in marketing professional services. So that’s anyone or any business that sells a service opposed to a product. So I I tend to not mark it a mug, I would mark it
Qasim Virjee 1:58
like I do you This is my job. Market struggle mugs.
Camille Moore 2:04
So that’s kind of the niche that we got into and apparently it’s working, it’s doing well.
Qasim Virjee 2:12
Well, it’s interesting, because professional services people, accountants, lawyers, doctors, doctors, the furthest thing from from what they want to be thinking about and wasting to them their time on is like talking to people that are not their patients or clients. And figuring out why it’s important to do.
Camille Moore 2:30
It’s a really interesting personality that gets into sort of like professional services, because they tend to not be very creative. So the whole concept of marketing themselves or their business is totally abstract to them. But it’s also really interesting because the same professions are Creedence professions. So they tend to have they’re at the kind of the the upper end of society, you know, lawyers and doctors are, or were once very well looked up to. It’s very hard to become a living in the 50s. Ma’am, exactly. But that’s but that’s the most interesting thing about digital marketing and what we do, because it was so it had so much credibility before the advent of the Internet. So what made a doctor or a lawyer, so prestigious is that they held all the information, right? So they were attended to attract encyclopedic brains, people who could just memorize and textbooks of information test well, and then the average person wouldn’t have access to the information. But what changed was Google, and how the average person is educated. And we require information before hiring, to make a decision. So think about the last time you went to a doctor’s office, you’ve pre diagnosed yourself, you’re just going in to get the corroboration on your pre diagnosis.
Qasim Virjee 4:02
A funny example because you know, my wife’s a family practice, doctor, she’s a doctor, a GP. So yeah, in some ways, that’s true for me less than others, maybe yes, I like to. I like to think I have a doctor in the family. But that also means I don’t have a doctor in the family. They’re like, that’s the furthest thing from what I want to be talking about right now. Go away with your problems, go see your own doctor. That’s what my wife tells me all the time.
Camille Moore 4:25
But also, like I’m sure your wife you’ve seen with her colleagues, like the first thing that most of them are doing for, there’s so much foreign stuff that comes into their office, they go in the back room and Google it on Mayo Clinic, or they’re Googling it as well trying to figure things out when they get really rare cases in front of them, like the internet changed our access to information. And that’s why marketing is so important for service providers, because as you said, they’re often very bad at marketing themselves. They’re often they use a convoluted or different language than the end user is using to try to find them. That’s a great point as a problem solving service provider and then third The accurate like, you have to be ahead of the information, you have to give away the information because some, your client or customer or patient is going to get it regardless. You want them to get it through you. And that’s more so with the lawyers that I would say a GP, but it’s just it’s interesting that that barrier to information has changed, or is Gone With the advent of Google. And that’s what we do.
Qasim Virjee 5:24
Yeah, you make these people accessible and kind of help explain what they do. Make them more visible,
Camille Moore 5:32
more visible. Yeah, more. Exactly. We create brands. So we create a brand and the brand is rooted and putting, so another piece that that’s probably worth explaining what’s interesting. So marketing in Canada, I would say is behind marketing in the States.
Qasim Virjee 5:50
Why is that? And then what are the like? In what ways? Is it behind? Is it to do with the population density or distribution? Or is it to do with,
Camille Moore 6:00
I also just think it’s, there’s probably a bunch of reasons that one of the main reasons, though is, like we’re also behind in fashion or behind in some would argue health care, like there’s, but I think it also is demand, like, we don’t have to work as hard because there’s not as many people so that I find the service providers, especially lawyers, like they’re really adverse to risk, they’re really adverse to change. And they look very much inside their inner circle to what the other people are doing. So they stay exceptionally antiquated, right? Because it’s it’s, it’s,
Qasim Virjee 6:33
we’re not a very competitive society. So the traditional industries don’t necessarily feel the need to innovate in these ways that you help with
Camille Moore 6:41
totally. But then also, the, because they’re looking inwards and their marketing is antiquated. And the same, it makes if I’m looking to hire a lawyer, yeah, the ability to decide which one is the best one for me, well, it’s a nightmare very hard, because all of their websites look the same. So we really focus on working with really cool people, first and foremost, like people that really care about what they do love, love their practice taking care of patients, clients, customers, and then using their humanity, and their uniqueness as their marketing differentiator. So that and the lawyers we work with their stories, like one of the one of our favorite, favorite lawyers is out of Albuquerque, New Mexico. And he got into personal injury law and until kind of going through the branding experience with us, didn’t connect that his father fought for union rights in New Mexico in the 60s, and a big part of his advocation for workers comp, personal injury comes from this almost like unconscious love for his father and like watching him as a child,
Qasim Virjee 7:59
he’s waving the flag that is dad, he grew up around that is that flag and
Camille Moore 8:03
what a great brand, like if you if you’ve been hurt, at your place of work, and you’re looking for the right person to fight for you that doesn’t see this as a cash grab. What a great marketing message to have.
Qasim Virjee 8:15
But did you still? Did you get him to take the ads off the buses?
Camille Moore 8:21
Oh, yeah, absolutely. There is no size matter billboards, which kills me. But that’s so great, great thing to bring up. Yeah, there’s so much sameness and like, it’s so archaic. These billboard ads that say nothing to me, you probably say nothing to you. We want to find someone when our life is on the line. When it’s illness, something to do with the law, you want the best real estate, the best person for the job,
Qasim Virjee 8:49
maybe I don’t know the stats, maybe there’s a higher proportion of personal injury on the road, because people drove into buses. And hey, when you kind of wake up from Yeah, the ad causes the crash. And then you call the number for help.
Camille Moore 9:08
I also just said there’s so much variance, especially in the United States, like it obviously works. I who am I to say it doesn’t work. But because there’s so much variance, there’s so much business to be made for. That’s the whole like, that’s the whole argument is everything is in abundance, it’s not scarcity. You need to find more of the best people for you or the the ideal client for you. And the best way to find more of them is to put who you are front facing, right, because I have clients who are they’re very politically vocal. And that’s important to them if they only want to work with a certain kind of person, right? So be who you are. Whatever that means. Looks like
Qasim Virjee 10:00
that’s weird what you just said? Can you speak to an example? Yeah, like
Camille Moore 10:05
one of the. So one of the law firms that we work with does exceptionally well. Just does, reels talking about things that are in the news. So most recently is the Amber Heard Johnny Depp trial?
Qasim Virjee 10:18
Yeah, what the hell was that about? It, I just kept seeing it pop up on YouTube. And I was like, I watched two minutes of it. And I was like, Okay, this is weird. This is like, a new form of this is not OJ, you know,
Camille Moore 10:30
but it’s kind of it was, it was kind of the best case at the best time for kind of a me too movement gone wrong. Of like, people, people hungry for the lead, stop taking claims at face value and ruining people’s lives, when there are 10% of bad actors who are male who do bad things.
Qasim Virjee 10:54
So she was attacked, but she was basically saying you did something bad to me, I want money.
Camille Moore 10:58
And, and the popular opinion was, she was using kind of a, a social, a social movement, wrongly, right, disingenuously, and this lawyer, does reels and topics on a bunch of things, but gives kind of his respected opinion on a case like this. And where I’m going with this, as there are people who are out there that are pro Amber Heard, regardless of the outcome, and by him, vocalizing his educated opinion on something he can talk about, but it’s also kind of pop culture allows him to indirectly attract more of a kind of clientele that aligns with his values, right, which causes but in a world of, and Google reviews are so important for service providers, less negative reviews, because you’re able to work with more people that align with you as a human being.
Qasim Virjee 11:56
It’s super interesting, because fundamentally, what you said in your profiling of your customers as their service providers, yeah, right. And that aspect of service is historically, you know, personal, like, we talked about advertising on buses. But realistically, I mean, I think if I ask, you know, 10 out of 10 people, or nine out of 10 people that I would ask that I know, like friends, where did you find your doctor? Where did you find a lawyer? That’s like, let’s say, we’re not like, not a personal injury lawyer, maybe not a divorce lawyer, but kind of everyday stuff. Yeah. And it’s through personal referral. Totally. And so you’re looking for these, like networks of, you know, what would you call it like networks have of authentic feedback?
Camille Moore 12:44
Totally. But yeah, what’s interesting about that is, that’s kind of the the, I would say, the most common rebuttal I got is like, you know, most of my business comes in through referral or word of mouth. But that’s the best marketing. But what’s interesting about that is, if you ask me, Hey, Camille, do you know of a great hairstylist? Or do you know a great painter, right? I’m going to tell you a name, you’re probably going to google them to validate my referral,
Qasim Virjee 13:16
right, you want to get like 100%, I trust this, because if you check out
Camille Moore 13:19
their website, you’ll check out their Google reviews, you’ll go to their Facebook or their Instagram page. And that needs to support the referral that you got. And while you’re doing that, there’s ads that are popping up, there’s other competitors that are showing up, and you better be as good or better of all the noise that will come up in between finding that or what they find when they search you to ensure that that you get that referral, and there’s almost like an opportunity cost of all the business you potentially lost by not investing in that in that digital presence and doing it well. And then the to like, take it a step further. I find that especially in kind of what I’m doing and where I’m going, and probably also my age, there’s a lot, my network is my biggest asset, but they don’t know what I’m doing. And that’s why social media is so great, because it allows me to have my own megaphone to people that already know me, already have hopefully a good opinion of me and understand my skill sets my personality, etc. And now know what I’m doing so that if that conversation comes up, they might not have thought to refer me, but now they are because they’re they’re aware of the stuff that I’m doing it I’m posting,
Qasim Virjee 14:31
right. No, it’s super interesting. I think you’re right that like the nature like it’s very easy to say that conventional wisdom is that word of mouth is the best refer legend and that is somehow at odds with effortful marketing. You know, everyone wants to like until their shopkeeper they want to assume that shops will stay open because they’re literally you know how The door to the street and people walk in when they want to walk in, kind of what we saw in the pandemic, of course, is that retail collapses, when that’s the kind of status quo and there’s no pedestrians, of course, it dies. But it’s more than the people walking by is the people who want to get into that vicinity to walk in the door, etc. Like, so I think you need to put yourself out there, you know, you need to be on the street to be seen.
Camille Moore 15:22
Also, even if you look at like a year of business, like the amount of I would say, I’m a major evangelist for your brand, because you didn’t do anything at good enough, right? Like everything you’ve done, use me know what I’m saying everything you’ve done, you’ve taken a step further. No, is it none of it has been mediocre? Like, nothing you do is good? No, no, no, no, no, I’m saying the office and I’m saying, you know, stop it good enough. No, you, you you focused on branding, you’ve got great brand. Yeah, the experience is exceptional. Thank you. And your strategy for attracting who the kind of person that’s within the king was vibe and beyond, with the studio with your content creator studio with your like, the approach you took to the content of this business, you know, my story, I started at a co working space, down the street, we won’t name names, but I didn’t tell anybody to go there. If anything, it was like I just needed to get out of my house is good enough. And enough, it’s the difference between having a great experience and an okay, when that all makes me an evangelist for your brand and pushes referrals further than they have to extract out of me. Hey, do you know somewhere to work opposed to? I today was working at start? Well, I post about working at start? Well, I love the experience of start well, which is which is different?
Qasim Virjee 16:50
Yeah. And it’s I mean, like, okay, so ever since how long? Has it been? I don’t know, maybe at least a decade that people have been talking about using digital media to activate your brand, right? Probably. Now. It’s been 15 years, maybe since that book, The Cluetrain Manifesto. Yeah, right. Classic talking about like, long tail talking about putting stuff out there. Because a might be read in 10 years, or might be watched in five years, or, you know, the one out of 1000 people in the audience might actually connect with it in a way that would give you so much more value. So you’re kind of always investing in the future when you create content and put yourself out there and and market digitally.
Camille Moore 17:34
And two points that are quickly. Yeah, the real like the real estate concept. We always say, like real estate, the best time to have bought was 20 years ago. The second best time is today. Yeah. And now and it’s it’s not going anywhere like digital real estate is it’s it’s not only paramount, it’s literally whether you’re going to make it or not in the next decade, like the option to decide to do that has passed. It’s now what is your strategy and approach to do it and how basically minimal Are you going to be able to start because it’s just no longer a question and the point of the longtail that’s, that’s a concept that we’ve we’ve been able to scale based on like we’re not necessarily now we’re in a place as the agency that we’re big enough that we want to go after the behemoths. You want to work with the behemoths because they’re the ones that we can really do some cool stuff from in terms of like customer profile. Yeah, like now we’re able to do that. But we started by just working with mostly like people who left big firms to work on their own, that kind of a solopreneur where that there’s a long tail in their approach because you can be extremely successful with a great brand positioning value, and charging within whatever you can accommodate as kind of a small boutique shop or a one a one man show. But the longtail is something that in scale Seth Godin talks about this a big marketing guy. Everyone is always looking for just like that, that super small, the Nike the Adidas of the big but small percentage opposed to the the massive gap of who most what most people need. Most people need a website branding and logo and they’re ignored and they’ve they haven’t felt the need to adapt and they’re feeling that pressure now post COVID Especially
Qasim Virjee 19:29
as eyeballs have all opened up and you know, gotten a little red by staring at a screen so much.
Camille Moore 19:36
Totally but also it mean all service providers were mostly essential during COVID. So you didn’t buy Gone are the days where you like walk down the street and like use the lawyer on the corner like you could drive to Vaughn if they have the best reviews, right or the best marketing. So COVID really changed that for the old school thinkers that were like I don’t need to be online and COVID hit and cuz like, I’m not gonna survive because people aren’t walking into my front door anymore.
Qasim Virjee 20:05
Ya know, it’s crazy. I mean, so what have you seen in the last little while at your shop for inbound? Are you getting inbound? Or is it something like? Yeah, how do you attract new clients? Let’s leave it there as an agency yourself.
Camille Moore 20:17
It’s been a really crazy three years, and it feels like almost 30 Like I’ve squeezed in a lifetime and a half during the time of the pandemic. But it’s really interesting, actually, to explain to your listenership. Because initially we grew off of like referral word of mouth, people weren’t really doing this for providers or doing it in the way that we were doing. We looked at how brands like Nike and Adidas and Earthsea have these like experiences around their brand and Patagonia, which you can really understand without really under if you’re not a marketer, like, you know, the feel of the
Qasim Virjee 20:56
brand. Yeah, there’s values that kind of that align with it to their customers without knowing their
Camille Moore 21:01
brand guide. Right. So so we it started, it started kind of like taking off from there. And it was cool, because almost none of our clients were in Ontario, they were in Antigua and London, England and Poland. It was really cool during COVID. But one of what makes start was so great with you guys having these studios. What really changed was invest. It was a classic case of you’re so busy with what you’re doing that you don’t market yourself. And cobblers
Qasim Virjee 21:31
Camille Moore 21:32
yes. And I ordered the team and I decided, alright, let’s practice what we preach. You know, we get all of our clients on video, let’s get on video, let’s start actually showcasing what we do in a different way than how agencies now showcase our work on Instagram. So let’s get B roll behind the scenes of what we do and start actually putting ourselves out there. And it took about, I would say, four months to like really start getting anything. And then it just took off people that you hadn’t spoken to in like 10 years, we’re reaching out, I had like random people coming in off the internet. Last night I was at an event, which was like, actually a really big deal, who came over to me and started talking and they’d been following the agency for a few months. She loved it, she owns a medical spa. So now it’s kind of shifted, because we have the team to produce it for everybody else, just like you do. So now we’re kind of doing it for ourselves. So yeah, but that’s often service providers. As you said the Calvo shoe dilemma. You don’t put yourself out there. And that’s often your biggest hindrance to getting new business because there’s such an opportunity cost by not putting yourself out there it is so worth it to invest in yourself and your own brand.
Qasim Virjee 22:50
Yeah, there’s some sort of weird, you know, I don’t know, there’s this weird thing in business, right? Because especially in small business, I would say that way. Big business is its own beast and you know,
Camille Moore 23:02
faceless entity. Oh, my God, we got to put a face to the small business, which makes it nerve wracking stressful.
Qasim Virjee 23:08
Yeah. And also I, I’ll just throw it out there. Now this is gonna segue in but like, I hate the distinction between small and big business. It’s funny, I was talking to someone yesterday, right. And so you know, we have an internal media production company. And it’s growing a little bit, we got a couple of new people joining the team in a couple of weeks, and some really awesome media production clients. And what was funny is I was talking to someone about this the other day, and they’re like, Yeah, it’s so good. You know, it’s really cool. You’re doing because like, you know that people don’t really know if you’re a big brand or a small brand. Like they just I mean, of course you could compete with any big agency. And I’m like, wait, no, no, people, our customers don’t come to us, because they mistake us for like WPP Yeah, totally, you know, or cassette or anyone else that has massive payroll, and you know, minions and managers. Yeah, we’re boutique and we do some coolest shit. And people like what we do, and they connect with what we do. And I think this is what I’m getting at is this kind of like authentic brand, as expressed through content, you know, formed by the people. It’s an interesting thing, because very few organizations actually invest in that being part of their day to day, like creating that content. Yeah. And getting into the vernacular of digital media to be able to express themselves authentically and with ease, because it does take a lot of effort to produce content. Yeah, totally. And then choosing the right media is a whole nother thing. And that’s often what you come in, I would think, for your clients to do is to kind of help them guide them into what needs being done in terms of where to speak and what voice totally on point and do it in a way that you know is sustainable.
Camille Moore 24:55
It’s interesting because you To me, you kind of fit into this like this other box. And it’s funny because I work with. So our arc role I would say to whatever kind of becoming is the professional branding agency. So like, we specialize in creating personal and professional brands, there’s kind of like a bit of an exit period, right where like we’ve, we’ve, we’ve built the brand, we’ve done the run, we’ve done the launch, we kind of tweak, manage, maintain, and then there’s a point where this is never ending, you’re never going to stop doing socials, or stop recording their podcasts or videos or whatever it may be. And it kind of makes sense, from a, like a, whether it’s like economically or even just kind of strategically or also, they’re more comfortable with it now to bring kind of somebody in house and then we get kind of hired or retained as more like their, their consultants or their strategic thinkers, but we kind of assist their team. You guys kind of come in as the kind of solution to that where their brand is built. They’ve they’ve been kind of coach, they’ve gone to the videos, they know that they need to continue it but like, where do you where do you go and everybody, everybody is creating content, whether you’re a freelancer, or whether you’re an influencer, or whether you own a deck building company, like that’s and podcasts are becoming so I didn’t want to say mainstream to like blue on it, but like it’s becoming more accepted within personalities that previously would be like, I’ll never do that, who’s gonna listen to what I have to say, like, you can find a podcast on anything, right. And that’s kind of what’s interesting about what you guys do is you kind of fill this gap of, of, you don’t need to work with the people that put the pieces together to continue working, as the brand continues to grow and evolve.
Qasim Virjee 26:58
Yeah, yeah. And it’s super interesting. I mean, I think, I think this is this is also in marketing. It’s interesting, because there’s, there’s been this like, elephant in the room for the last two decades, right, which is, big agencies typically suck shit, and they’re dying, you know, it’s just that they’ve, they’ve had various stages of cancer, that are killing them, slowly, and they get all these injections, to keep them alive, you know. And then, in the last 20 years, particularly with digital, all these micro agencies, you know, sprung up one of my, my, one of my companies was called Design guru, and that was, yeah, back in, you know, like 2005. And then I killed it about, you know, maybe 10 years, officially, 10 years later, something like that. But, yeah, but for the first five years, it was all inbound, 100%, inbound, interesting. And I never wanted to run a company doing what we were doing, which was context sensitive design and strategy work for the development of online communities. So this is pre social network in a popular context, pre Facebook, and working with everyone from nonprofits that are caused based organizations like the Stephen Lewis Foundation, to develop things like a multi platform tool for AIDS educators across the continent of Africa, to share knowledge about grassroots approaches to de mystifying AIDS and HIV. Wow, you know, where we had these mamas in Cameroon, texting, to a number that posted on a discussion board that could receive and reply messages from a website or from a couple different interfaces, wow. little tips and tools like today, I realized soccer is important to the boys in the village. So Marcus and I went, and I got him a brand new ball so that the kids would want to play with him. And suddenly they had a happy game. And he’s accepted now into the community. And you know, that’s something that was so adoptable by all of the educators in their network. And it was shared because of this platform allowed her to be able to post it with the tools that she had. So it’s like projects like that, to, you know, douchey corporate stuff for Coca Cola. So all of that was all inbound. And I had a particular methodology and it was placemaking, which is an urban kind of public space planning, approach methodology to creating context sensitive spaces through a mixture of observational analysis, and surveying. So you’re kind of like, it comes out of like public space planning in New York with an organization I worked with in 2004, called the project for public spaces. Taking a page from William White and Jane Jacobs, the idea of a city as being this place that should be furtive to community, and that’s why it exists. We all come together for a reason. This methodology of placemaking says okay, you Well, let’s say there’s a park. And young mothers aren’t taking their babies to that park, but is across the road from their house. Let’s figure out why. Let’s look at and they create this matrix of all these, like safety factors and stuff like that transit access and links, all the stuff, set up cameras, let’s watch the use cases, cool, look at population dynamics, and then survey all those people, including the guy who’s sleeping on the bench that everyone’s afraid of, but shouldn’t be, because he has, you know, a less comfortable place to sleep instead, let’s figure out this stuff. So really cool approach. Anyway, I took that methodology, I digitized it, thinking at the time that the world’s largest public space is the interwebs. And that’s what our approach was. So Design Group basically said, Let’s treat, you know, websites like public squares.
Qasim Virjee 30:50
And then all these brands really kind of like loved it up. And that was a little bit back in the day where, you know, people had freedom at work. So going back to the small business, big, big business thing, the big business when it came to digital, whoever was on digital, internally, and all sorts of different teams and different companies, if they were multinationals, especially in like, let’s call it the end of the 90s, into the 2000s. They had free reign, they were like the golden children in the organization, because they were like, You’re tasked you’re under resourced. And because of that, we’ll give you extra freedom. And go and try and win us new markets go and try and expand territory for us go and try and test some shit, you know. And it wasn’t marketing, it was something new. And it was very cool, because all these organizations came to us saying, We want creative solutions that have legs, to really develop relationships with people using digital. And then of course, the social networks kind of corrupted the goodwill of these initiatives, I think. And then towards the end of the 2010 kind of era there that decade, everything became copycat. It’s like clients were looking for, like buttons, clients, were looking for what they saw elsewhere. Yeah. And not doing the legwork. Like when we took on a new project in 2006. Seven, I would do a six month analysis with all the stakeholders to really dive into what devices do they use physically? What websites do they watch, or look at stuff on, read on research on? And do a deep dive into each particular, you know, Persona identity that we define for an interface? And say, What Are they familiar with? What are they willing to learn in order to use this and create such a indepth, like, tool? That it was, it was just basically disheartening, when we saw like, that whole process, getting undermined by the want to copy something that’s not a context sensitive solution, so that I moved away from it and went in a startup stuff, and we started building products. But um, but anyway, fast forward to now. And I think there’s a renewed interest in kind of like, you know, if nothing else, forget about the medium, it’s about, you know, sharing that message with the people. So it’s kind of an exciting time, I think, for the large agencies to, you know, be further in the ground, and the micro agencies not necessarily needing to be called or seen as micro, they’re just more expert in what they do. Totally. And the agility that anyone can wield today, if they’re an expert in whatever field it is, in marketing is, is the value. So that’s really, really excited because you could sign any client, you know, I guess, I guess we could work with any customer,
Camille Moore 33:34
especially when you’re not in the CPG space, lie like consumer packaged, interesting point are, it’s so saturated, and and really, it comes down to like the RFP process where whoever can go in at the cheapest price wins. But like when you are when you’re competing in a different category. If you’re smaller, you’re more nimble, you’re more hungry, you’re you’re more, you’re more focused on what’s coming out, you’re not as comfortable, like you can’t teach hunger, right. And if you’re bloated and big with big payrolls, it’s like a rat race of like, you catch what you kill, because you got to keep the brick and mortar lights on, but when you are nimble, and when you’re young, like that’s a big thing to talk about, especially in digital marketing. Yeah, growing up with an iPhone is a massive advantage compared to I can eat up CMOS that are in their late 50s, early 60s For breakfast, like they, they it moves at such a rapid pace that there’s no competition except for in the CPG space, because it’s just it’s so saturated. And it sounds like that’s also kind of what happened to you as you were a first mover and
Qasim Virjee 34:49
yeah, in that space for sure. And I could have kept my studio alive picking and choosing projects, no problem. You know, we had enough business and enough of a portfolio to turn In a, you know, recurring revenue and ongoing projects annualized for years. But for me, I, I always like whatever I’m doing. I like kind of that feeling of Right Place Right Time. And as soon as that shifts for me, I want to go with it, you know. So for me, it was about tech startups and going into tech startup stuff. And then that was a whole wild ride all these different startups, everything from a creative portfolio platform called Introduction IO, which was before Behance. So you’re a serial printer. 100%. I’ve been running. Absolutely. I’ve been creating sustainable. This is an interesting, so huge, like financially sustainable bootstrap businesses. Since I was a teenager, I was one of the first people in East Africa online in 1995. So I was one of the first 100 People online in East Africa. I literally, when I was 15, I found the first ISP in Kenya, which was run out of a house that on a muddy road, down the road from where I lived. A friend of mine at schools father was in the government. And he threw there was this whole thing, like I was a tech geek, his son was a tech geek, and who subsequently dated meatloaves daughter at some point when he was at university in California. It’s very weird. This sounds like a book. Now my life is as many books but so what happened was this politician told his son was my friend Michael. He said, Hey, Michael, there these guys you really like computer stuff. You should go talk to these guys. He went there. He didn’t quite understand it. He was into this BBs stuff. But you know, he didn’t really understand it. Because in Africa, there weren’t many BBs is back then. So he had an ordered dial up, but he liked the idea. Him and I jammed on it. I went to that house at his behest, I talked to the politician who was there was a guy who became an MP and the Kenyan government who actually had run this or started this nonprofit. And the idea he had was, we want to take internet connectivity, and take it out to rural schools where we can’t afford textbooks. We can afford to subsidize computers, if we connect them to leased lines. Kids can learn digital literacy before the line on chalkboards. So that’s what we did. And I there was a commercial side and then there was this side to the business essentially, and I got a bag of usr robotics modems because a family friend owned the Yellow Pages and had a computer store and I would take those after school all over Nairobi, installing modems and teaching people with the internet was Wow, banks, hospitals, car insurance companies, and then average Joe at his house like 15 years old that was one of my first businesses to
Camille Moore 37:51
speak Swahili. A little bit cool. Yeah. Okay, very cool. My dad lives in Nairobi, too. Oh, yeah. Totally that He currently lives there. No, he grew up there till did was so random. It is I was like my favorite sorority trick when I was young. They would like bring your culture to school day. And my dad would put me in like traditional like Canyon garb and like, and it was just amazing because
Qasim Virjee 38:16
I was like, I don’t know much more but
Camille Moore 38:17
who know is so awesome. I went to school too. And like everyone Marco Eglington. Like I was like the cool kid nice. Like I was cool kid. Like, I was a cool little kid like I was coming into my African garb with my Kenyan food.
Qasim Virjee 38:31
Oh, I love it. Galleon, Sakuma Sukuma wiki. I can know your greens and like, it’s good, man. And yeah, much. Oh my. Yeah. So I kind of grew up in Kenya because from from 92. We moved there in 92. April Fool’s Day 99. Do we packed up and moved to Kenya? from Calgary? It wasn’t a joke. It wasn’t a joke. Exactly. I always say like, Oh my God. Like,
Camille Moore 38:53
that’s amazing why
Qasim Virjee 38:55
my parents are from there. So they always wanted to move back. Because all their friends, essentially, who stayed back in Kenya when, you know, the Idi Amin thing happened. And we had this exodus of East Africans in 1972 ish. People left because they thought the whole east African kind of community was going to crumble into dictatorship. It became, you know, they were all dictators. But at the same time, it wasn’t Idi Amin cutting off and eating heads, supposedly, you know anything about the whole thing,
Camille Moore 39:21
kind of I just I I know, there’s a ton of bad actors. And there was I know, I wouldn’t want to talk I don’t know enough to talk about it. But
Qasim Virjee 39:29
suffice it to say Idi Amin comes into power military coup, he’s the head of the military takes over it kills all the politicians. Yes. Overnight announces any foreign national. So that means it’s a racist policy. Anyone who’s not black? Get the hell out. Oh, gosh. You have like one week literally. foreign government scrambling to get people out there, right, India, repatriating brown people that have been three generations African. born there. Wow. And then Trudeau of course at the time, luckily, said okay, Canada is opening doors to anyone from East Africa just come, we’ll give you a passport to citizens. So that was the context in which my parents moved to Canada. And then, as they kind of, you know, rooted in, in Alberta and stayed in Canada, their friends who stayed back in Kenya, which didn’t go to shit, and actually became a very strong economic, you know, Center for the whole continent, and really the because of corruption, all those people got extremely rich. And they had like four sets of accounting. And, you know, they were first movers in like tires and batteries and cooking oil and you know, forget
Camille Moore 40:38
that bag. Right. And they made a bag. That was a big risk. Yeah.
Qasim Virjee 40:43
And they stayed and they made like, so much money got wealth got created, the years post independence in East Africa. Anyway, so my dad was wanting to try his had a business back then. And the recession hit here in the 90s, early 90s. And
Camille Moore 41:01
weird, Africa, boys. Yeah.
Qasim Virjee 41:03
And the catalyst was interesting. My dad was in kitchen cabinet, manufacturing, and renovations. And one night, someone left the paint booth door open in a rag spontaneously combusted. And it blew up the whole factory like, oh, my gosh, fire burned everything. Now, they find out the next day, that the accountant or bookkeeper didn’t renew the insurance a week before this. Oh my gosh. And so my dad was like, Okay, I have $25,000 in the bank. We’re packing up moving to Africa. So it was quite ballsy. And he’s an entrepreneur, and he always has been, so I get a lot of that from him. But anyway, so that was some of the impetus for moving there. And then it’s been a back and forth thing you know, and I’ve been in Toronto since 2005. Since I left, New York. So this is now home. Wow. Yeah.
Camille Moore 41:55
What a cool story.
Qasim Virjee 41:56
Yeah, there’s so many twists and turns, there’s so much to that. And the number of businesses I’ve started and put to bed is numerous. Like, I haven’t even created a list. But But yeah, there’s there’s definitely tons of lessons and, and I always found that like doing the services side of the digital stuff that I did as design grew, was actually Of course, it’s informed every business since then. But it’s it was one of the most exciting businesses because I just love dealing with different clients all the
Camille Moore 42:24
time. It’s so much fun, right? So much fun. I have like literally the best job in the world, like any given day, I am any, any single profession, dealing with complex problems, solving them. And then the kicker is telling them what to do. And then loving it. And it working. Like it’s it’s so stimulating for your brain. It’s so rewarding. It’s so enjoyable. It’s so much fun.
Qasim Virjee 42:54
So third eye insights has been three years running now.
Camille Moore 42:58
It started as a side hustle. Okay, so it’s been functioning for about six years. And and then to give to give this a SparkNotes quick run through Yeah, basically, it got to a point where I had a full time job. This was very much just like fun on the side. enjoyable. I liked it. I didn’t think that anything could possibly come out of it. And and I kept getting more referrals. But my full time jobs started becoming more demanding. And I was at this crossroads of, I got to pick one. And I didn’t think that working for somebody else was the best use of my skill sets. So I decided to take the plunge and do it. Yeah. And that was about three years ago. And then COVID hit. And I had heart failure, because I was like I mean, my generation in Canada hasn’t really gone through like a war, right? Or a pandemic, or a recession. Really, like we were too young. Yeah. 911 I was in grade one. So
Qasim Virjee 44:23
well, let’s just stop there. Grade One. 911 I could tell the story. I could tell you what happened that day. I could
Camille Moore 44:28
tell you to I was getting picked up grade one. My mom told me that for Batum I was like burned my mom’s Cherokee and I’m like mom had a really bad day at school today. She just looked at me. She goes sorted the world Camille. Wow, I’ll never forget it but so I had no idea what was gonna happen I was gonna cut out of it. And so I gave myself like three days to soak because I just figured like everything was going to go to the toilet and and read a whole bunch almost actually a lot of the books you have downstairs on the bookshelf, which makes me
Qasim Virjee 45:06
laugh when you were when you read those. Oh, yeah, you grew up on business books head down.
Camille Moore 45:11
I’m I wouldn’t say that I’m special or exceptionally smart. I just try. Like I just I just try, like I just read, consume whatever I can. But it ended up working. So three years of it being like, full time, kind of what it what it is now. Yeah. As Yeah, has been the Third Eye story.
Qasim Virjee 45:36
And so the lawyer thing. I met Mr. Miller. Yeah. So he’s one of the clients. Was he one of the first clients was were you working at his law firm before was Yeah, so that was the job.
Camille Moore 45:50
It was. So the story is funny. So I I wanted to be a lawyer. I wanted to be a lawyer since I was a child, but my concept of law was pretty much a mixture of Murphy Brown being told I’m really good at arguing. Yeah, but then Legally Blonde. Okay. And suits. Yeah, which came late. I’m like, This looks great. Totally. For me. Everyone is really fashionable. Looks like a great place to work. Yeah. So I was in my undergrad, and I’m like, Okay, this is that this is what I’m going to do. But I had to pay to go to school myself. Right. And that is a very expensive ticket is
Qasim Virjee 46:31
apparently expensive. Something by God, oh my god.
Camille Moore 46:35
So I was like, Okay, well, I don’t have parents that are gonna fund this. So let me find myself an internship. So I mosey my way and found myself position at Mylars law. And it was, I really, I wouldn’t say I’m particularly religious, but I feel like it was really meant to be because he was a great person for how my brain thinks to work for he’s very out of the box thinker. Very interesting background, and very, very man, right? Yeah. And very much believes in, it doesn’t matter what credentials you have. It’s how hard you’re prepared to work. So he like I was like, thrown in with the sharks, like I was doing, like lawsuits, and second year university, I was sitting second chair and drug trials in London. And he was like, if this is what you want, here you go, it’s yours to lose. And I he’s a really amazing trial lawyer. Like he’s really, I would say, probably one of the best in Canada, like for how his, like, his understanding of human psychology and actually seeing like, real stuff and war, like just he doesn’t, he doesn’t screw around. Like, he’s a he’s a tough dude. But what I hated about the law was the clerical stuff. And I, as much chutzpah as I have, I don’t have the chutzpah to be to be a trial lawyer like he does. And I really gravitated that kind of like your story. This is when like, Facebook marketing was cutting edge. And I had done like a calm side course at Western and I like, got on Adobe, and I was like editing graphics. And so I kind of gravitated towards like doing socials for him. And I would like capture him doing ridiculous stuff, and like, film them and put it on Facebook and started working and making him a lot of money. And then he was like, Well, do you kind of want a job here? Like, well, we’ll pay you to keep doing this, because making lots of money, I’m like, Sure. And then he kind of started telling his buddies in London that we’re realtors and, and doctors, etc. Like, this is really working for my practice. You should try it. And I was a waitress at that time. And I’m like, this is way better money. Yeah, I just do some graphics on Adobe. And I don’t like I don’t have to work Friday, Saturday and Sunday night like this is amazing. So that’s kind of how like the third I started. And he’s like, there’s legs here. And he basically ended up sitting me down. Your, I think was your three in my undergrad and was like, if you want to go to law school will support it, you’ll you will be a great lawyer. But I don’t think you’ll be happy. Right? I think that this is really what you’re made to do. Like you’re you’re born for this, like, this is what you should get into, and we’re prepared to help you start this business. So that’s how the Third Eye insights ti kind of started and so yeah, so he was, and he still is a client, he now actually works for the agency, which is awesome. Because he loves to market. He’s got a great brain for it. He’s at a point in his life to where his law firm is doing really well. And we get really cool clients that it’s so awesome to be able to work with your mentor. Right like you, you get the kind of the new age like young approach, but some of like the strategy behind marketing. It’s, it’s timeless, right? Like Good thinking, in marketing is really hard to find. And when you have a good group of minds it gets, you get some really cool stuff done. So That’s how it started. Moore’s law is still a client, I get in trouble or in trouble all the time, because it doesn’t get the attention that it used to get. But yeah, that’s how it started. And that’s how I realized that I no longer wanted to be a lawyer. But instead it’ll tell lawyers what to do.
Qasim Virjee 50:19
Yeah. I like that. No, that’s brilliant. Man. I think it’s so cool that your, your company was born out of, you know, a real product market fit exercise. It’s like, yeah, these guys need this. But it wasn’t creating a business. It was about finding solution.
Camille Moore 50:35
Passion. Yeah, I say I am a huge advocate for young people. Regardless if you’re in a financial position or not. Go try what you think you want to do. Time is finite. Like, there’s so many people I know that go to law school, because they score well on the LSAT their parents and they think it’s a good thing to do, and they’re willing to pay for it. And you can’t get back four years of your life, even though
Qasim Virjee 50:57
it’s tough to go. Yeah, it’s tough to change gears. Once you’re on that trajectory. Totally. I know so many professionals, it’s weird, because it’s only since I got married, no, even even before I remember telling this to people, and they were surprised. I think at some point I counted, I knew before getting married, where, you know, I got more, I guess a bit in deeper with our community. And typically, there are a lot of professionals, I’m gonna smiley, I don’t know if you’ve heard of our people. But you know, a lot of professionals in the community. But before that, yeah, I knew at some point when I was like, 25, or something I knew, like 28 lawyers. Yeah. And just like personal connections, and all of those people now, or a lot of them are so set in their career. And they feel like they’ve kind of paid their dues so far, that there’s no way they can change careers. And there was a reckoning in the pandemic, where a lot of big firms totally the resignation even like, like, either they got, they were basically saying that, like everyone needs to pay out of pocket for a little while to recoup. Or, you know, people took some clients, and they splintered and started their own practices, all sorts of stuff happen. And it’s super interesting to just like, talk to some of the people I know, who are lawyers and say, like, what do you want to do? Like I just last weekend, I was at my friend’s house, she’s like a partner in a very big law firm. And her big dream is to open a cheese shop. And like, every time I talk about this with her, What’s stopping you?
Camille Moore 52:28
When are you going to do where you’re gonna do? Totally?
Qasim Virjee 52:31
Oh, it’s money. It’s this. It’s that if I can’t get my money out, now I have to essentially the same story. It’s safe.
Camille Moore 52:39
But we love what we do. Yeah, I see when it comes. You’re so happy you love what you do. I love what I do. Like what a gift and gifts, wrong word because you should love what you do. We spend so much of our lives in our work.
Qasim Virjee 52:54
But it’s like a dirty little secret. You know, like in society and in Canada, in our middle class nine to five society, like you can love what you do. Yeah, like, that’s not allowed. That’s like, that’s for the weekend. Yeah,
Camille Moore 53:04
no, that’s for after 8pm. You gotta love it. It’s like, you get one shot, you get one go, why not invest truly what your passion is and to do like, into what you do every day. And that’s, I really think that, whether it’s the schooling system, whether it’s societal pressure, whatever it is, it’s failing young people. And I think we’re seeing it with a great resignation. I think we’re seeing it with people talking about mental health and trying to achieve work life balance. I was actually in a meeting with a client, she’s brilliant. And she has a mental health app that’s kind of above and beyond just an app. But anyways, she was talking about how the future of healthcare and the future of benefits for like a workplace, it’s no longer like, let’s stop trying to say that there’s a balance between work and life. Your work is your life. Your life is your work. It’s all one, find joy and balance within. Like trying to stop separating them.
Qasim Virjee 54:11
Yeah. Hi. How can you live in the evenings and on the weekends? And then enjoy you’re doing in the daytime, your zombie?
Camille Moore 54:18
No, enjoy your work like, and that’s, it’s so, so simple, but so enlightening, especially when you’re someone like us, like I love what I do all day. I take a break from it. And I start again, the next day. It’s like my favorite hobby. Yep, that pays well and allows me to have really cool people that I get to grow
Qasim Virjee 54:38
my mind with. No, and it’s very interesting because I feel like there’s a lot of kind of generational bias, generational knowledge gap. That happens, you know, people for maybe centuries in their family in their genetics have been programmed away from risk taking which is cool. raisins. And then of course, aside from that, there’s societal stuff. We don’t think about it, but who moved here stole the land and created this country? And what of their culture? Is everybody subconsciously inheriting in a day to day that limits them being celebrators have their diversity of their opportunity, cultural difference, their difference? And because of that, you know, what’s holding us all back from being free, being happy, feeling enabled, feeling empowered, feeling honest, you know, and all this stuff. So that’s, you know, obviously, like, there’s a meta topics to unpack. But I and in my company, as you know, at start, well, I’m all for people embracing a path to success through happiness, totally. And we see it every day with people here, right? Everyone’s hopefully, for the most part, are happy, right loves
Camille Moore 56:00
working together loves what they do, and getting out of the house to like, separate work from life. But in a really positive space. Yes,
Qasim Virjee 56:09
but focusing on York feels like a second home, it’s you’re comfortable.
Camille Moore 56:13
But and this is all not to say that you can’t love what you do in law, or love what you do in the medical profession. But that goes back to what we were talking about with finding more of what you love, because there’s a lot of lawyers that really don’t jive with their clients and hate what they do because of who they have to work with. And that’s why branding is so important. Because if you love what you do, it’s rewarding to get more of the kind of clients you’d like to work with, which makes your job more rewarding. And it’s just it’s not a rat race, or you’re on the you know, the hamster wheel of I’m doing this for a paycheck. I hate it. How can I get through today? How do I get home
Qasim Virjee 56:55
most? I would say like this, right? I’ve worked on three continents, in the multitude of businesses I’ve run or worked for. I’ve witnessed all, almost all levels of like wealth and income firsthand. Yeah, I’ve shot documentaries in the slums of Kenya. And I know, you know, people who are hundreds of millionaires, if not billionaires, or I used to know, though, guys, give me a call. It’s been a while. But the thing is, it’s true. No matter who you are, no matter how much you make, there’s that question of like, you’re either striving for what is enough, you know, and a lot of the drama of your work is getting to a point where you can be able to earn, you know, that amount that enables you to feel comfortable. You don’t feel safe. And of course, there’s all these things to do. Returns. Yeah, to point. Yeah, so there’s the money stuff. And then there’s that like that can kind of take someone away from finding fulfillment in work. Yeah, and then there’s just politics. I see it as those two things. There’s like money issues, and then there’s politics. And people can be assholes, you know, and people can accept that truth to easily work with assholes support assholes and be beaten down and feel like it’s a necessary part of their work, because
Camille Moore 58:21
that’s our hashtag stop that stop.
Qasim Virjee 58:23
Yeah, yeah, exactly. Stop the asshole.com register. Yeah. It’s it’s an it’s a funny thing. I people shank each other, like I little blip. In my career was this hilarious period, when I worked for IBM, you know, and I’m not that guy, right? IBM is a Dilbert strip. And in a cartoon in a
Camille Moore 58:48
newspaper, literally, it’s so much red tape. It’s
Qasim Virjee 58:51
ridiculous. Like, I got fired by a guy who then himself apparently got fired for being like a racist, and other things. But when he fired me, it was hilarious because I had really never met him before. And he didn’t know anything about my job. I found out after the fact that I was hired in through the company that I worked with, ran a startup program for SoftLayer, which was a cloud infrastructure company. That was out of Texas, Texas, this Texas company couldn’t grow globally, because there was infighting amongst the owners. And none of them wanted to like go to Japan open a data center, but they needed to grow globally, otherwise, they were going to lose market share. And they would crumble. So they decided to put on the chopping block and sell it. Rackspace, and SoftLayer. were the two best kind of horses out there in the market. And IBM was a little screwed because the Pentagon had approached IBM to offer a tender on private cloud for the spy infrastructure. And it was a two billion dollar contract, they ended up picking up SoftLayer for something like one and a half or 1 billion. So they had turnkey infrastructure to win the bid, which they did. And then they had money in back from that one contract to scale growth globally. Now they had infrastructure, and a blueprint, because software was built to be modularly. scalable, without limits as a data center infrastructure. So every data center, every screw in every computer was exactly the same. The wiring was exactly the same. It was like an Ikea. And so they could roll them out anywhere. And they had all these redundancy plans and dark fiber around the world and stuff. Anyway, so IBM buys SoftLayer fires, all the SoftLayer employees offers them rehiring packages, which I think is illegal. If they want a job. That is then you work at IBM. And you’ll find out after the fact or at least for me that they only hired me because SoftLayer gave him a chunk of cash as part of that acquisition, to rehire their employees. But there was a cap on how long that cash was for it was to finish the employment year. So as soon as that employment year that we were mid urine, finished, IBM hadn’t in Canada, and also all the territories where are my colleagues were hired into IBM didn’t have money on its books budgeted for that role. Oh, interesting. So when the cash ran out, they didn’t try and find the money. They just said, we don’t need that role, I guess because we inherited it. So Ciao. But no one told me this, you know, until like, six months after I left IBM, a former manager three levels up, you know, gave me the full spiel. Wow. laughing because I was like, Okay, well,
Camille Moore 1:01:46
I mean, it’s not personal.
Qasim Virjee 1:01:47
Yeah, I’m like, Well, I was just trying to do good for IBM, you know, like, I don’t really care about that job as being like, pinning my hopes and dreams for life on it. So it was really interesting. But while I was there, I did witness what was I thought the hilarity of me being there, which was the shank fest, like, it’s not a joke, like, oh, yeah, how serious people every day are avoiding bosses and being on calls. And just doing like FaceTime. I don’t mean that the app, but like, they’re putting in FaceTime, whenever they can to just show up because showing up is their job. They don’t do work that newspaper out. And there’s 10s of 1000s or hundreds of 1000s of IBM employees. I can’t imagine fit that mo
Camille Moore 1:02:31
I can’t. I can’t imagine. Time is so precious. Yeah, just like wasting waste your life, like just showing up and watching YouTube videos all day. Like, it literally blows my mind. But that’s why I love working here because it makes it so productive. It’s so it’s so nice to get out of the house. Be able to be working around other super smart, cool people. It’s such a great motivator. Intimate spend your time. Better around good people. Yeah. And the good space. Thank you. Thank you.
Qasim Virjee 1:03:07
It was a pleasure chatting on this very long episode. Likewise. You’re great. Oh, so are you thanks so much. All right, um, before we leave our audience, Third Eye insights, anything coming up anything you want to like welcome feedback or participation partnership on if anyone’s watching this saying hey, Camille seems cool. I want to do some stuff with her and her people. I am open to anything. Okay, your website URL is third eye insights.ca Awesome. It’ll be underneath this video wherever it’s posted. And on the start will magazine. Amazing.