Tom Herman Interview

Tom Herman Interview

Photo of Tom Herman

Tom Herman’s Biography

Tom brings over 20 years of executive experience starting companies and leading product development teams. He currently serves as the Vice President of business development for AirCarbon Pte Ltd, a Singapore based commodities exchange built on blockchain for carbon trading.

He was the CEO and co-founder of DashBid Media, a video advertising exchange in New York City and the 2nd fastest growing company in NYC in 2015. Tom also served as COO of JumpTV where he built operations for streaming over 200 live linear TV stations leading up to JumpTV’s IPO. In addition to carbon trading, he has built platforms and exchanges for the travel, real estate, video advertising, and streaming media industries.

Tom’s career began in Boston, MA and has ranged from Indonesia, the Caribbean, and Latin America to Singapore where he currently resides with his family. Tom was featured in the 2020 Artisan Entertainment movie about the formation of govWorks during the dot com bubble.

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NFTs, Gamification & Climate Change


B.L. Ochman: Welcome to the Beyond Social Media Show. I am here today with Tom Herman. And he’s currently the Vice President of Business Development for Air Carbon, a Singapore based commodities exchange that’s built on the blockchain for carbon trading. And don’t worry about it, Tom is going to explain all this in plain English.

He’s got more than 20 years of experience starting companies and leading product development teams. And he’s got a really exciting startup that’s called Meta Carbon that will bring gamification to the education and marketing of carbon offsets and climate change. And he’s also a movie star. We’ll talk about that later.

So welcome, Tom. We’re going to talk about voluntary carbon offsets, climate change, NFTS and how these topics will be coming together in marketing, advertising and PR. So welcome, Tom, I’m so glad that we have the time to spend together today. Can you start by just explaining what voluntary carbon offsets are?

How Carbon Offset Impact Climate Change

Tom Herman: Thanks, BL. It’s fun to be here with you today. And yes, I’m happy to talk about carbon. I spend most of my time thinking about carbon. A carbon offset broadly refers to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions or an increase in carbon storage through land restoration, or the planting of trees. And it’s used to compensate for emissions that occur elsewhere.

A carbon offset credit is basically a transferable instrument that’s certified by a government or an independent certification body to represent an emission reduction, and generally is measured in tonnes of co2, or equivalent because some greenhouse gases, like methane are not actually co2. The purchaser of an offset or or a carbon credit can retire it to claim the underlying reduction toward their own greenhouse gas reduction goals. Basically, the key concept is that offsets are used to convey net climate benefit from one entity to another.

Because greenhouse gases mix globally in the atmosphere, it doesn’t matter where exactly they’re reduced. From a climate change perspective, the effects are the same if an organization ceases emission causing activity or enables equivalent emission reducing activity somewhere else in the world. And carbon offsets are intended to make it easier and more cost effective to pursue the reduction elsewhere.

How Climate Change Impacts PR & Marketing

B.L. Ochman: So we’ll get into the details of meta carbon, your startup and your plans to gamify voluntary carbon offsets and involve NFT’s and games like Minecraft that involve children. I think that’s really the exciting part of this. But we do also want to explain to the marketers and PR people and advertising people who listen to this podcast, how this is going to impact them. So we’ll get to that.

But your company maintains that in order to achieve the Paris Accord goals that limit global warming, that every company, every bank, every insurer, every investor is going to have to adjust their business models and make credible plans for transition and implement them. So how big a market is this? For the sellers of these offsets?

Multi-billion Dollar Carbon Offset Markets

Tom Herman: There’s really two markets, there’s a regulatory compliance market, where companies generally in high carbon intensity industries, like the production of steel, cement, energy, transportation, are required by local regulations in their country or their state or province to either reduce or offset carbon emissions through renewable energy credits or carbon offsets.

That market is multi hundreds of billions of dollars. And then there’s the voluntary carbon market where companies decide to offset or reduce their carbon emissions, either because they believe in it intrinsically, or their customers or their investors insist that they do so. And that market right now is somewhere in the $50 billion range, but growing very rapidly.

What Kind Of Companies Get Involved & Why?

B.L. Ochman: What kind of companies are getting involved?

Tom Herman: Oh, there are 1000s of companies involved and every day, we see more companies claiming that they will be carbon neutral or net zero by a certain date. So we’ve even seen some companies like Microsoft, indicate that they’re going to reduce not only their current emissions, but also they’re going to offset all emissions back to the day that they were founded, by reducing carbon somewhere else in the world.

They do this through a very broad set of initiatives that include finding renewable energy to run their data centers, offsetting through renewable energy credits, the the energy that they’re not able to direct source, and also reducing travel or adjusting travel, making internal adjustments to reduce their carbon emissions, and then offsetting everything else that they can’t.

Greenwashing Accusations

B.L. Ochman: So as I was researching this conversation, I saw advocates say that there’s enormous potential in combating climate change protecting nature, routing money to parts of the planet that need it the most, that are suffering the most from deforestation and climate change right now.

And that this is going to be the portfolios that are created here are going to be part of the solution to limit global warming. And then there’s also some blowback. It’s called greenwash and tell us what greenwashing is, and what companies can really do to prove that they’re in it for more than PR, because that’s what a lot of it sounds like.

Companies Must Reduce & Offset Carbon Emissions

Tom Herman: Yeah, well, there’s a lot of PR and PR, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. And it’s great if you’re a company to brag about the great work that you’re doing. But the greenwashing obviously comes in to play when someone decides to tell their customers that they’re carbon neutral, or that they’re doing something about the environment, when in fact, they’re buying carbon offsets of very low quality, that aren’t really making any difference in reducing carbon emissions, and at the same time, not actually working to reduce their own carbon emissions.

If we’re going to meet, we’re going to save the climate. And we’re going to meet our Paris accord goals. We need a strategy that includes all of the above, we need companies and individuals to do everything they can to reduce their carbon emissions. And what they can’t reduce, they should offset. So they got to be ready and willing to do both.

NFT Creatures For Climate Change

B.L. Ochman: So the goal of the climate accord is to achieve this goal by the year 2050. And so we have a long way to go. So I want to talk about your startup, let’s talk about virtual creatures and virtual habitats and your plans to gamify voluntary carbon offsets, and the role that NFT’s are going to play. Before we will have to just give a brief definition of NFTs for anybody who’s not paying attention right now. So NFT’s are non fungible tokens. And just give us a really brief explanation of where those come from.

How NFTs Block Fraud

Tom Herman: Sure, maybe I shouldn’t start with a little bit about Air Carbon where I am today, because a lot of my work with air carbon is what has inspired some of the new ideas for my startup, which is called Meta Carbon. Air Carbon is a commodities exchange, as you indicated based in Singapore, and we trade carbon offsets, and we do it through the blockchain, which means that when a project that is producing carbon offsets, maybe a forestry project or a methane capture project, they look to sell those to a company that needs to offset their carbon footprint.

And when they do it through us, they deposit those carbon offsets into the exchange, and we turn them into a blockchain token with all of the data associated with that carbon offset embedded within the token. This does a couple of things. But one of the great things about this blockchain process is it helps to avoid double counting. Once it’s tokenized, then it can only be traded or used, retired with that token, and you can have Well, it’s an intangible asset, kind of like advertising is an intangible asset.

And we all know, as the ad markets went programmatic and a lot more data got involved, and they grew very quickly, ad fraud became a big problem. One of the reasons it’s a problem is because ads are an intangible asset, and they’re very easy to fake and create fake ad impressions. You could, in theory, do the same thing. In the carbon offset space. I’m

B.L. Ochman: I’m actually going to interview Bob Hoffman, who is so anti programmatic he thinks it is the most evil thing on the planet. So yes, being able to copy something and fake it is a terrible thing. So this is a way to avoid that happening in this field.

Engaging Consumers In Climate Change

Tom Herman: Yeah, it also adds some level of transparency, because when transactions happen on the blockchain, they’re recorded publicly and immutably you can’t change. You know, that carbon offset has been retired and try and resell it or anything like that. So blockchain In distributed ledger technology is really great in that regard. And then the last thing about blockchain and air carbon that I would say is because these transactions are digital, they’re not high frequency, low latency like advertising, you know, but, but they can all be signed. And they can be signed by the various people who are responsible for verifying and auditing.

These individuals and organizations can have digital signatures, and those digital signatures can be stored right there on the blockchain, indicating that someone went to Kenya and looked at the forest, the trees were there, they were not cut down, they were growing, they had a certain biomass, and that they were registered and sold, all of that information is much more reliable when stored and because there’s so many different people involved in that organizations when it’s on blockchain, it’s more reliable.

So air carbon works in a b2b market, they work with large producers of carbon offsets, and large companies that have, you know, airlines and energy producers, and so forth, that need to purchase large chunks of carbon offsets to reduce their footprint. And in the process, some of those companies in particular, like transportation companies have come to us and said, Well, you know, this is a b2b relationship, we want to offset our emissions associated with the gasoline or electricity that our transportation vehicles are using. But we want to do it in a way that also engages our consumers.

Making Carbon Offers Fun

Tom Herman: And so that’s really what got me thinking about how could Uber or Lyft, not only offset not only invest in projects around the world that are absorbing carbon, but how can they let their customers know and educate their customers in the process? How can we make it fun and engaging, and still have that underlying climate benefit associated. And so one of the things that I came up with at Meta Carbon, was the idea of embedding games.

Let me back up and say one other thing about these carbon offsets, when you buy a carbon offset from a forestry project in Kenya, or a methane capture project in Sumatra, the projects are generally focused on more than just capturing carbon. They’re doing things associated with the community and the environment in other ways as well with clean water and so forth.

And when they do that, there’s a whole set of sustainable development goals that have been outlined by the United Nations. And they can apply to be certified to address some of these. So women’s empowerment, community health, food, clean water, etc. There are 17, sustainable development goals.

Helping Local Communities With Carbon Offsets

Tom Herman: I think it’s really interesting if you’re taking an Uber, and you are offsetting your Uber with carbon offsets, from a forestry project in Kenya, to understand how they engage the local community. What are the Sustainable Development Goals that they’re addressing? Are they providing local employment? Are they helping women to not have to gather firewood in dangerous situations or walk long distances to get clean water?

And are they providing education for youth, all of these things are interesting. And, if you look under the hood of these carbon credits, you can see that the product, many of these projects are super high quality, and they’re doing a lot of great stuff for the local community.

Media Explain It Poorly

B.L. Ochman: Seems to me, Tom, that these are not being well explained by the media.

Tom Herman: That is probably true. And in fact, his entire marketing organizations like Everland, in Stand for Trees, that are designed to help educate the public about these projects. But I think the idea of sustainable development goals as sort of a different concept from the actual carbon offsets that they’re associated with, or in my parlance, attached to, I think, is a great opportunity for education.

How Companies Can Gamify Climate Change

Tom Herman: So here’s an example of something you could do. If you’re a taxi provider in Southeast Asia, for example, where air carbon is based, you know that the taxi providers do all kinds of games. If you look at if you look at Grab or Go Jek or Diddy Chung, they’re developing super apps and when you take a ride, they’ll offer you Well, what specifically brought this idea to me was taking a Grab ride and seeing the Grab had a Chinese New Year game where every time you take a Grab ride, you get one of the zodiac symbols and if you get all of the zodiac symbols, then you get a free ride or a discount.

And it turned out that some of the zodiac symbols were easy to get. And I got most of them. And I was taking a lot of Grab rides when I was living in Singapore. But this last zodiac, which was like the year of the ox or something, I never was able to get it. So I didn’t get the discount, but I kept trying. And my kids were always interested every time we got in a cab, you know, what Zodiac did you get?

And I thought, hmm, we could do this with sustainable development goals. Every time you take a ride, you get it, you buy some carbon offsets to offset your ride. And associated with those are the Sustainable Development Goals. And if you can get all 17 or get a bingo of sustainable development goals, then you get a discount. So that sort of gamification is really what SDG, bingo, to be embedded

Creature Tokens & Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

B.L. Ochman: SDG being what?

Tom Herman: SDG sorry, these Sustainable Development Goals, they’re referred to as SDGs. So SDG, bingo, is a game that could be embedded into a lot of different apps or websites. And there’s others as well, if you’re a local coffee shop in New Canaan, Connecticut, where I live, you can also encourage people to offset carbon associated with the coffee growing regions of the world. And so again, using the concept of the Sustainable Development Goals, I’ve added another sort of playful concept, which is Creature Tokens.

So you think about all the habitats around the world that have endangered animals, or animals that at least need their habitat to be protected, and allow these projects. Now, if you look at the this Sumatra project, for example, they’ve got a lot of orangutans in that particular project that I’ve been working with,

B.L. Ochman: They’re endangered. Are they not?

NFTs In Plain English

Tom Herman: They are endangered. They’re in Sumatra, and Borneo at this point. I think those are the only places they live. So what we’re suggesting is that you can actually tokenize these animals. And this is where we get to what is an NFT? Well, these NFT’s are non fungible tokens. So let’s talk about the difference between fungible and non fungible tokens. Bitcoin is a fungible token. US dollars are fungible insofar as if you have a $1 bill, and I have a $1 bill, you’re probably happy to trade with me if I like yours better than mine.

They’re not exactly the same. They’re actually printed in different states and they have different serial numbers. But nonetheless, they’re fungible insofar as they have the same value. And there’s really no differentiation. The same is true with a bushel of corn, or a barrel of oil. Those are fungible commodities.

And air carbon is dealing mostly with fungible carbon. Air carbon is putting carbon into baskets along the lines of demand from the buy side, and one ton of carbon is like any other ton of carbon. It’s not as simple as that, because carbon offsets from a project in Sumatra are in fact quite different from carbon offsets from a methane capture at a landfill in New Hampshire.

Understanding The Blockchain

B.L. Ochman: So where does the blockchain come into this?

Tom Herman: All of this is built on blockchain. Tokens live on blockchain? So when you think about Bitcoin, Bitcoin is a primary blockchain and the tokens that have value have like $55,000 a token right because a Bitcoin right now is actually built on the Bitcoin blockchain, that’s where they live. There’s other blockchains like Ethereum, and then there’s sort of odd blockchains, like, well, or other tokens like Dogecoin that are all, you know, out there and used for different purposes, and have actually quite different carbon footprints. So that’s how they relate to blockchain. They’re all built on blockchain.

How Companies Can Use Creature Tokens

B.L. Ochman: So you have decided to have these creature tokens right there represent endangered creatures, and they will be NFT’s they will be non fungible tokens, which at the moment, is you know, the hottest topic on the planet that nobody understands. So, um, explain to us how companies are going to incorporate creature tokens and also give me some examples of what the creature tokens will be because you have levels of them. Sure.

NFTs Can Represent Anything

Tom Herman: So I would just say basically, what are non fungible tokens NFT’s. Those are tokens that basically represent the equivalent of a deed for a house. So if you own a house, you have a deed and you own that deed, and every house is different. So every deed is different. And an NFT is the equivalent of a deed, but it’s digital. And it can represent more or less anything. It could represent a very expensive watch. It could represent a ton of carbon, or it could represent a video from the NBA highlights of a certain game.

And in fact, one of the most popular NFT marketplaces right now is the NBA top shots. Top shots allow you to buy highlights from different basketball games, and you own them. by owning the NFT. You own the token, the token goes into your digital wallet, and attached to that token is the video. Now you might or might not own the copyright to that video, but at least you own it.

How Creature NFTs Retain Value

Tom Herman: And there’s other things that have been tokenized. There’s a lot of art being tokenized. And music. Well, music is a is actually a really sensible thing to think about tokenizing into NFT’s in part because each piece of music is unique and different. But music is also inherently digital. It’s not something you can touch. And and it has all kinds of interesting rights associated with it. And one thing that’s interesting about NFT’s is they can be smart contracts, they can have rules built into them.

And one of the rules that’s really important for the creature tokens that I’m building is that when they change hands, not when they are sold, not all of the proceeds of the sale go to the seller, automatically when someone buys an NFT a small percentage or actually any percentage that you want to program into it when you originally mint the NFT (creating tokens is called minting.) When you mint the NFT, you can determine that 5% of the funds for buying that are going to be transferred to a third party like a carbon project.

So the the creature tokens are endangered species. So we go to the carbon project in Sumatra, and we say let’s take 100 of your orangutans. We could do 1000 of them. It doesn’t really matter how many there are, these are concepts, and we’ll embed a unique photo will give the the token some video as well. And in addition to the photograph, and the video will include a ton of carbon, or maybe two tons of carbon.

So you have all of these assets bound up into a non fungible token, which can then be auctioned, and it can be auctioned for $100. And by the way, a ton of carbon generally sells for anywhere from five to $20 a ton, maybe $50 a ton in some rare cases.

Why Is Carbon Traded?

B.L. Ochman: I am a little confused. I thought we’re trying to get rid of carbon. Why are people trading carbon?

Tom Herman: Well, people trade carbon for the same reasons they trade ads, or the same reasons they trade gold or oil. It’s a commodity so people buy and sell it. At the end of the day someone uses the gold, someone uses the oil and someone will use the carbon offset by retiring it to count against their carbon footprint. So before Microsoft gets the carbon offset from the project in Sumatra, there may be several buyers, there may be several investors in between.

How Meta Carbon’s Gamification Works

B.L. Ochman: So how is the gamification going to work?

Tom Herman: So the way that gamification works is in order to purchase you can purchase these creature tokens for cash. And if you do, then the cash goes to the project. And you can collect them kind of like a Topps baseball card, and you can put them in your virtual collection, which a lot of people are doing with artwork and many other things.

Creature Tokens Are Like Baseball Cards

B.L. Ochman: And so you actually just tokenize the baseball cards.

Tom Herman: Exactly. Yeah. And they’ve tokenized Magic the Gathering cards as well and all different kinds of collectibles. My son buys and sells Magic the Gathering cards. They range in price, the ones he deals with range from 15 cents to $20.

B.L. Ochman: Well, he’s 12. Wow. So that’s really fascinating.

Creature Token’s Ongoing Revenue Stream

Tom Herman: So he plays that game and so he saves money to buy cards sometimes and he buys a lot of cards in the one to $2 range. And he buys them at a local store. You know people have been trading Dungeons and Dragons stuff for a long time. So they trade Magic the Gathering, and now he can do it digitally. He lives in a digital world. He’s in Minecraft, right? He’s building stuff in Minecraft and, and he’s in other digital environments and he will and some of his friends, he doesn’t even know where they live, but he wants to be able to show them his Topps baseball cards, except in his case, their Magic the Gathering cards.

And I think he might be interested in collecting creature cards because the millennial generation, in addition to having different collecting habits, and being very digital, they also care a lot about the environment. So that’s how that’s how the creature tokens are made. If I buy a creature token for $100, and then I sell it to a friend for $150, I’ll get 95% of the money. And 5% of it goes to the project in Sumatra, if my friend then sells it for $220. Again, 5% goes to Sumatra. So there’s this potentially ongoing, this ongoing revenue stream.

B.L. Ochman: My understanding about how NFT’s work in art, for example, is that right now, if an artist is working in a traditional gallery situation, and their painting sells for, say $10,000, they get whatever percentage the gallery is giving them. 10 years from now, three or five years from now that same painting might sell for half a million dollars, and the artist won’t get anything. If it was an NFT, which is basically personal currency, you would always get a percentage.

So if you sold your creature token, and then your friend sold the creature token, you would still get a percentage of the second and the third and the fourth sales, money marketplace.

What If Mark Cuban Bought A Creature Token?

Tom Herman: If Mark Cuban eventually came along and paid a million dollars for a rare creature token, then the project would get 5% of a million dollars. And when you think about it, if you think of some, Matisse, some famous artists, from way back when, if he had put an NFT in place to represent ownership of his paintings, then his family could be getting x percentage of every time it’s sold.

Disaster Girl’s NFT Bonanza

B.L. Ochman: And last week, we talked about on the show, disaster girl who became a meme when she was a child, because her father took a picture of her that just turned into a meme. And last week, she cashed out for half a million dollars with the original photo with which she paid off her college loans and contributed to nonprofits. So, you know, this is a whole new economy, and it is basically taking place, sort of underneath the current economy.

And it’s rising. It’s like the Cicadas that are coming next week. So tell us how, how can companies use creature tokens in marketing and PR? And do you have some examples of some that are already doing this type of thing?

How Delta’s Offsetting Carbon Emissions

Tom Herman: Sure, well, when you purchase an airline ticket from Delta, they offer you the opportunity to offset your carbon emissions, and it might cost you $20. But it’s really straightforward. It says, Would you like to offset your carbon emissions? Yes, no, if you say yes, they tack $20 on,.That’s almost literally it, there does happen to be a link at the bottom of the page to the project. But there’s no attempt to engage the user at that point.

And frankly, with something like travel, if you can engage the user, either at checkout, when they’re buying the ticket, or when they’re on the flight through the app, there’s a lot of opportunity to tell them about what Delta is doing. Delta is an example of an industry that is not going to get to carbon zero without offsetting anytime soon. In order to get there, they’re going to have to have probably electric planes.

Marketing Opportunities In Carbon Offsetting

B.L. Ochman: That’s not happening. Right?

Tom Herman: Yeah! So they’re one of many examples of the economy where offsets are going to have to happen. And what else is interesting is they fly to destinations. In many cases, maybe they’re flying to Colombia or Brazil, maybe they’re flying to Asia. And in these destinations.

There’s there’s people doing tourist activities that include visiting orangutans or visiting the aviary in Cartagena, Colombia where they have a really unique Andean Condor, that’s endangered. So being able to engage the flyer in some information about how delta is helping the destination that they’re going to is a is a really interesting marketing and educational opportunity.

Understanding Sustainable Development Goals

B.L. Ochman: What do you think it will take to get them to the point where they’ll do that and is your Meta Carbon planning to engage on that level?

Tom Herman: Yeah, we for sure want to provide them the tools to be able to engage their coffee drinkers or their airline passengers in understanding the impact of their activities, the impact of shipping coffee from Colombia to the United States, the impact of flying to a destination. And if you include the Sustainable Development Goals in the concept, then we can teach them even more not just about the environment, but also about this large segment of the world, which is currently bearing the primary brunt of the impacts of climate change.

Tom Herman: The Global North has spent the last 200 to 300 years industrializing, and generating wealth and value based on polluting the planet. And now that we’ve made all this money, and we’re rich and able to handle climate change, the vast majority of the impact of climate change is being felt in the global south.

So through voluntary carbon offset projects, there can be a win win when you can help the environment, you can do it in the most cost effective way and place to do it, which might not be in the United States, and which might not be by moving to an electric airplane. But in the process of reducing carbon emissions in Colombia or Brazil, instead of in the United States, you can also economically support a community that’s really being devastated by climate change. So there’s a whole bunch of different ways that it can be beneficial.

NFTs For Small Businesses

B.L. Ochman: And also small businesses, how would they become like, let’s say, a coffee shop, how would a coffee shop become involved?

Tom Herman: Well, a coffee shop could become involved by helping an individual to buy a creature token, by rounding up the price of every cup of coffee from $3.70 to $4. And then you have 30 cents of every purchase goes to buying carbon offsets. And when you get enough carbon offsets, then you get a collectible creature token, you know, you could get a baseball card instead.

And, but some people might prefer to be able to have a collectible that they can trade, or that they can show off, you could you could collect a whole bunch of these creature tokens and put them into your Minecraft world. Or you could put them into your zoom background. I mean, behind me, it’s just just the back of my guest room, right. But instead, people have lots of virtual backgrounds in zoom, and one of your virtual backgrounds could be your collection of NFT’s.

B.L. Ochman: I was in a webinar the other day with Andreessen Horowitz talking about NFT’s in art, and each of the people had their NFT artwork as their zoom background and they were beautiful.

Tom Herman: Well, I guess I need to do that as well. And you know, maybe I can do that maybe I should have done that before this

Companies Already On The Carbon Landscape

B.L. Ochman: Really get with the program! So are there already some programs in progress? There’s Code Redd. There’s Air Carbon Exchange, Terra Focus, how did those come about? And are those involved in NFTs or how are those working.

The Role Of Terra Focus

Tom Herman: So those are all different participants in the overall carbon landscape. Red Plus is a set of regulations associated with forestry projects. These describe what you need to do in order to generate carbon offsets as a forest and how you can create and qualify for sustainable development goals as well. Terra Focus is a project developer. So they work with local communities, they might lease a large tract of land from the Indonesian government and then do a reforestation project, or a protection project that generates carbon offsets.

Or they can purchase a piece of property from a mining company that did mountaintop removal, and they can restore it and put trees there to absorb carbon, which is kind of ironic, since the mining company blew the top off of the mountain to extract and burn the carbon that was in the form of coal under the ground, but it was done. And so now Terra Focus goes around and finds locations that either need to be reforested or protected in that kind of way.

They happen to be involved with a project on top of a mountain top that was removed. And air carbon is involved with the trading. It’s a trading platform with the trading of carbon offsets. So there’s a lot of different players in the ecosystem of carbon.

Financial Education For Kids Via Creature Tokens

B.L. Ochman: But none of them are going to do what meta carbon is going to do. And I think it’s a really exciting concept that has applications in so many areas. And that can make this real for so many people. But I particularly like that you’re going to involve kids, because one of the things that kids don’t get in school at all, is financial education, not at all.

And this is a way that may begin to creep into the curriculum. But I also think that corporate social responsibility right now is something that is so crucial. And that is expected by buyers. I mean, you want to know that your company’s taking a stand for things like this. So the opportunity is huge. So when is your startup going to launch?

Tom Herman: Hopefully, we’ll launch next month, I’ve already sold my first creature token. That’s great. on the down low, and it was purchased by a guy in Singapore. And there’s other issues to work out like one of the challenges is that the Ethereum blockchain where I’ve been building is very carbon intensive. I’m sure you’ve heard that, yes, a lot of electricity that’s about to change. I think that will change for the most part this summer.

Ethereum Upgrading To Proof Of Stake

Tom Herman: Ethereum is going through a major upgrade, that’s going to change it from a proof of work to a proof of stake. And proof of work, means you’ve done a lot of work. The work in this case is math. It’s computer cycles that use a lot of electricity. But proof of stake you don’t have to do a lot of work, you just have to say hey, I own enough of the Ethereum blockchain to have a vote. And that doesn’t take a lot of electricity. So the carbon footprint of the Ethereum blockchain is going to go down by I don’t know 99%.

How Tom Became A Movie Star

B.L. Ochman: But that’s really an important change. So I would also like you to tell us how you became a movie star. We can find your movie, I watched it.

Tom Herman: So long, long ago, I’m old now. But long, long ago. I was living in Boston, and a friend of mine asked me to start a company. This was in 1998, were in the midst of the .com bubble. And we started a company called GovWorks. And another friend of ours decided to film the process of starting what was this new frontier – the internet- and all these companies were being started. And so she started following us around.

We thought it would be an interesting case study for business school and so forth. But they ended up making what was really more of a theatrical release. It’s a story about the relationship of two guys who started a company, raised $60 million, and hired 300 people. And then it ends in bankruptcy. bubble implodes, the company goes through bankruptcy. And there are other highlights of the movie, one in particular, which I will share here in case any of your guests decide to watch the movie and ruin the

B.L. Ochman: I’ll include a link in the show notes. Yeah.

Tom Herman: But so the movie was called And, you know, as an artist, an entertainment movie that went into movie theaters and still played on some television network. It

B.L. Ochman: It was in movie theaters. I didn’t know that.

Tom Herman: Yeah, the opening was in New York City. That was fun. They had a little red carpet, and I got to walk on the red carpet. And it was a fun experience. And it’s resulted in me having the opportunity to speak in front of MBA classes and undergraduate classes on entrepreneurship. all over the country. And all over the world. I did it in Singapore, and I’ve done it in Latin America as well.

Meta Carbon Is Tom’s 6th Startup

B.L. Ochman: That wasn’t your only startup. I mean, tell us about how many more there have been.

Tom Herman: I’ve been involved with six startups at this point, various startups, mostly, you know, quite International, one of which ended in an IPO. One of which ended in a bankruptcy, several of which were, you know, moderately successful or didn’t really make much money for anybody.

And I think air carbon, which is the latest one, I was the third or fourth employee there, depending on how you count air carbon is doing really well and excited about it. They just raised a series of financing that was much more successful than we could have imagined and the market is growing. It’s in a really hot space. And so I’m excited about having helped that. And now that I’m back in the United States, I’m excited about doing what will hopefully be another successful startup in in Meta Carbon

How To Buy Creature Tokens

B.L. Ochman: Well, you know, Tom, I think our viewers might like to I mean, our listeners might like to get in on this. So where can we buy creature tokens?

Tom Herman: If you want to get involved in meta carbon, go to And there’s a sign up sheet there. So you can put your name on the mailing list. And next month when we launch, you can go ahead and buy a creature token. If you want to buy a creature token in advance, we do have a few. They’re not being auctioned, but they are available for sale. So you can reach me on LinkedIn and ask and I’m going to update my zoom background, as soon as this call is over. I’m going to hook up my habitat.

Create A Creature Token Habitat

B.L. Ochman: Oh, we didn’t get to that. You can put your creatures in habitats as well. So you can basically create your own game format, right?

Tom Herman: Exactly. Yeah, habitats are a fun part of the gamification.

See Educational Links In The Show Notes

B.L. Ochman: So I will put some educational links into the show notes that you’ve sent to me that helped me get educated. And I’ll put a link to your movie because people definitely should see your movie, and the link to the website. And I really appreciate you spending the time today. I know this is going to be a huge success. And I’m going to buy a creature token right away.

Tom Herman: All right. You’re the next one on the list. I’ll get you a creature. What kind of creature token what kind of destination Would you like to be associated with? Where would you like to collect from?

B.L. Ochman: Well, water, underwater would be fun in the rainforest.

Tom Herman: A rainforest. Would you like a bear a white bear from a northern forest?

B.L. Ochman: Oh, yeah. Yep. Polar Bear. Oh, polar bear. Sure. Or a whale? Do you have whales?

Tom Herman: You know, here’s the challenge with whales, like I’m trying to focus. That’s a good idea. I’m trying to focus on creatures initially, that are associated with carbon sequestration projects. So I can’t quite do anything. There’s got to be some broader project. So if there’s a whale preservation group that has some sort of habitat that they’re protecting, maybe I could make that happen, but whales are so free.

B.L. Ochman: Right? Okay, I’m definitely interested in bears. I’m interested in pandas. I’m interested in lions. I’m totally interested in lions. So anyway, I will definitely be the one who’s going to be buying your first tokens. And I’m sure our listeners are gonna want some too. Thanks so much, Tom. This was really exciting.

Tom Herman: Thank you. I appreciate it.

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