Steve Grasso has worked on the New York Stock Exchange and on behalf of some of the largest funds in the world. He is one of the leading gurus in the financial sector, enjoying broad popularity thanks to his regular appearances on CNBC.
Today he agreed to be interviewed by Blockleaders’ Jillian Godsil on why he choose to be an advisor for Gojoy, the only shopping platform that offers hourly cash rewards on your purchases and that of your network for life.
Q1. You’ve joined the innovative e-commerce business Gojoy as an advisor – what attracted you to the Company?
Being on Wall Street, I’ve seen booms and I’ve seen busts. I’ve seen companies that can make it, companies that can’t and companies that I didn’t understand why they did make it. Often when companies go bust you can only see the reasons why in hindsight.
With Gojoy it was the ability to be part of this astronomical growth and potential – from the very beginning. When I heard the story I wanted to get involved with Gojoy: it was respectable, I understood the business model and they were helping people and doing good. In addition, they were also helping investors. Basically it ticked every box for me and that is why I decided to join the team.
Q2 What will you bring to the Company in addition to advice / guidance?
I’ve been on Wall Street for 26 years. I know plenty of funds and they know me; a factor of being on television and on the Street for so long. There is credibility and validity in my position so I can bring that to Gojoy. I should add that I do not take advisory roles often. In fact this is only one of two I have undertaken in my entire career.
This is not for the lack of being asked but it was the lack of positions to work with people that were trustworthy, and had a goal that I thought was achievable. Gojoy in addition to many other qualities had a business plan that was incredibly attractive – with a growth rate that could reach the stars and I was able to join at the beginning.
Q3. Is this the first blockchain /crypto company you're involved with? When did you first discover blockchain / crypto?
Bitcoin was created in 2008 but it took a little while to hit the general radar. On CNBC we first started tracking it pretty heavily around 2013. We used to have the Bitcoin Metre on the bottom of the screen where we would see the Bitcoin price and we really tracked it closely for the show. But the truth is, at that time, not too many people understood alternative currencies.
It was a real road block as people did not trust alternative currencies or Bitcoin – they still don’t.
Q4, Do you think the days of fiat are numbered? Do you see alt coins as another currency or asset class?
I don’t think the days are numbered for fiat. We live in a world that is vast and with a population that is vast and there will never be an ability to get rid of fiat currencies, The trust factor for fiat is leaps and bounds ahead of what it would be for alternative currencies - but it is not to say you cannot share the stage.
In answer to your other question, yes it can be an asset class as well. I don’t think it will replace 100% and there is a trust factor that we haven’t got to as yet.
Having said that, when you look at Gojoy, it is the perfect solution of using an alternative currency because it is basically invisible. You have the users, you have the vendors and you have the investors - you have all these groups getting what they want in a seamless fashion from Gojoy. It’s done automatically so it’s ingrained in the business plan. Members don’t see the alternative currency happening; they use the tokens on the website or they cash them out. Vendors don’t see it either; they are only interested in making their margins in the most efficient fashion. It’s invisible to all users and that is the perfect base case for an alternative currency.
Recommended for You
Don’t explain something to people who don’t trust it – they want to see it in use, in practice and if you can show them that they won’t lose any money and no one steals their account, then you gain the trust. Once you gain the trust, you gain the use. Once you gain the use, you gain the accessibility to everyone.
Q5. At the speed Gojoy is growing, what do you see are the major challenges (short-term and long-term)? How are you advising the Company to prepare for and/or sidestep these challenges?
The growth of Gojoy is pretty exponential. What can happen when companies grow at this speed is that sometimes they can grow too quickly and they don’t due diligence on what they should be doing for the end user and their experience, They wind up having unpleasant processes for their users and there isn’t a second chance at making the process enjoyable.
In a nutshell, if you are growing at an exponential speed and don’t make it an enjoyable experience for the end user, they won’t give you a second chance.
You want to make sure you limit your speed bumps, you want to fail but in real small doses in controlled environments so you come away with a learning experience that ultimately benefits the company..
Q6. Do you believe Gojoy's business model of incorporating philanthropy into its DNA is sustainable for the company and business in general?
I think you nailed it in your question. It is embedded in their DNA which means we can’t vary from it. There are many companies that make their billions and then they want to give to charity – I call it the guilt money. It is as if they feel they have done something wrong by making their billions. There is nothing wrong with making money and then helping charities but from Gojoy’s viewpoint it is incorporated from day one, from minute one, from second one.
Their process is a charitable one from the onset. They are giving back to members, community, investors and management from day one. They don’t have to make their money first and then try and find a charity. It is incorporated in their operations and their calculations so there is nothing to think about. This was an agreed upon strategy. The business was built on this idea of pulling people out of poverty in tier 2 and 3 cities in China and who knows where they go from here. They can replicate this on a larger scale globally. This is the vision of the CEO Steven Lin – to pull people out of poverty, or even to elevate them incrementally at first. This is such an amazing project – they are not just talking about it, they are doing it from day one.
Q7. How/where was your first meeting with Steven? Was it love at first sight? What did he say to you that resonated?
Steven and I met on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. We had a pre call to make sure we were aligned and then Steven came down to the floor of the NYSE and I showed him around. It’s not open to the public any more since 9/11 so I thought it would be interesting for someone who had never been before to understand what I did for a living. I am very defensive about taking on these advisory positions because I want to make sure the company and the people are aligned with goals and strategies. I don’t need to do this, I want to do this. It’s only been right for two difference companies so far – one of which is Gojoy.
When I met Steven I explained that all the years I’ve worked on Wall Street I’ve never had a contract. I’ve been a person who says your word is your bond. You look someone in the eyes and you shake their hand – you have an agreement. And if you don’t abide by it, they walk away or you do. But I have always abided by my word because I believe in the pillow test and the mirror test. You got to be able to sleep at night and you got to be able to look at yourself in the mirror. And if you’re not honest you can’t do either.
The moment I said that, Steven looked me in the eye and said ‘you have my word’. We shook hands. He told me the story of Gojoy. It was compelling from minute one. From the moment I met Steven he has not only abided by his word, but gone above and beyond anything we have agreed on or anything that we have agreed should be the focus and goals. The man is accessible to me – he never sleeps. He will text me in the middle of his night. He just doesn’t sleep. He is always accessible and pushing for one goal and that is to make Gojoy into a premium company that is pulling people out of poverty.
What better goal is that in life?
Steve Grasso was in conversation with Jillian Godsil