Zakia Ringgold [00:00:00]:
Welcome to another episode of Business Tech Unraveled. I’m your host, Zakia Ringgold, where the goal of our podcast is to really help you to demystify some of the tech behind growing your business online. Now imagine a virtual space where learning isn’t confined to just the regular 4 walls or your typical Zoom meeting, but rather a dynamic and interactive experience. That’s exactly what we’re going to be exploring today. In the heart of this episode, we have a special guest joining us. He’s the visionary behind the platform that has redefined the way that we teach, interact and learn online. So please give a warm welcome to the founder of Go brunch, mister Richard Lowenthal. Richard, thank you so much for being here with us today.
Zakia Ringgold [00:00:57]:
It’s a pleasure to have you on the show.
Richard Lowenthal [00:01:00]:
Thank you very much for inviting and having me, Zakia. It’s a pleasure.
Zakia Ringgold [00:01:05]:
You are very welcome. Now For our audience, if you’re not already familiar, go brunch. It is a treat that you are going to really love today. This isn’t your average Zoom room experience. So as an educator, I’ve had the privilege of using go brunch to interact with my students in ways that I never thought possible. So in our live sub school, we created a unique virtual space, but it was several spaces. So whether you’re a professional seeking virtual co working space, an event organizer, or Simply intrigued by the potential of online connectivity, this is the podcast for you. Richard, would you be able to get us started by uncovering the inspiration behind GoBrunch?
Richard Lowenthal [00:01:59]:
Absolutely. Well, I think, you know, the main reason that why I’m create I created GoBranch is because I kinda was feeling lonely. And this was, I think, back to 2014. And, again, we I was working in office, But I remember coming back home and saying, hey. You know what? There should be a way for me to connect with my friends or everyone else in a easier way, more interactive way. And I remember that I was browsing different platforms, the different, you know, metaverses In early stages, and I found some interesting, perspectives, and I was thinking, hey. Maybe I can just take this idea and take to a more professional level.
Zakia Ringgold [00:02:47]:
Richard Lowenthal [00:02:47]:
And in terms of inspirations, I think, you know, What really inspired me was I had this vision of, you know, mixing LinkedIn with the metaverse, But I think I remember that I had a a top a top view perspective that I I think I probably got from PokerStars. Out have the thought view, and you can see all the players. And I think that was the main inspiration for the visual part of it. And but yeah. And and then, you know, I was attending a lot of webinars, and I was a little bit, You know, why why this is boring? Right? I don’t even know if these people here are here or not. And I was just thinking, hey. How can we just gather people with with you know, that lack to learn topics and start discussing something in a more casual way. Yeah.
Richard Lowenthal [00:03:36]:
That was the beginning.
Zakia Ringgold [00:03:38]:
Oh, wow. Wow. And That’s really interesting that you took something that you were seeing on the PokerStars and said, hey. How can it that top view infusing into your vision of what you wanted to create. I think that’s I think that’s interesting about how people can mix, Almost mixed media to create something that’s completely new and different and innovative, I think. So I think there is there’s something to be said about that.
Richard Lowenthal [00:04:05]:
Yeah. I think every time we create something, it’s always based on a vision that you have. Yeah. Sometimes for our, you know, from our childhood or sometimes it’s just, like, you know, come from our dreams. But yeah. Yeah. It’s, and in this case, I think, yeah, I just mix it a lot of stuff in my Mine, and that’s how I came up with the, you know, the initial idea of GoBunch.
Zakia Ringgold [00:04:28]:
What I’m going to do is I’m going to actually open up GoBrunch because we’ve talked about it at a pretty high level of where but I think seeing it is what will really help people to understand what we’re describing and not your average virtual experience, but in a complete immersive experience. So let’s go ahead and go into GoBrunch, and I’m gonna go ahead and open that up there. And for all of you that are watching the podcast, because it will be published on our, several video channels. You can actually see here, but we will try and speak through it for those that are listening on the audio podcast. But what I liked about it when I was first exploring it was coming to the website because it was very clear on, hey. You already see that it’s something different. It’s, it kind of feels like you’re in the space that, Like, you’re physically there even though you’re not. So that was something that initially sold me very, very quickly.
Zakia Ringgold [00:05:35]:
So I’m gonna go ahead and log in. Alright. So once we’re logged in, we’re brought into our space. So I’m going to just go into one of my spaces. And then, Richard, can you just kinda talk to us a little bit about it?
Richard Lowenthal [00:05:50]:
Yeah. Definitely. Well, again, I think you’re already mastering Go branch, right, because you have a lot of spaces.
Zakia Ringgold [00:05:57]:
Richard Lowenthal [00:05:57]:
But, yeah, I think, you know, the the the idea that you have is enable you to create any kind of space that you have in mind. And there are, you know, the 6 particular use cases that you can use here, like, for meetings, for creating co working spaces, which is the main one that we have people using it. Co working space there there are let let’s say 2 2 different examples here. The first one is imagine that you have your office, your virtual office, us, and you can have your team members’ offices inside the same space just like a building or just like a headquarters. But the second example that we have seen a lot of people using, especially for content creators, are together Community members. Many times, you know, we we are, you know, with within many we we are subscribed to many communities, And many times, it’s kind of boring for us just to get, like, a feed, and many times we want to connect with different members. In here, the idea that we we we had based it on, you know, one of you our users started using this way is, Hey. I have my old my room open 247, and my members can join at any time.
Zakia Ringgold [00:07:10]:
Richard Lowenthal [00:07:12]:
This was, you know, I think what, you know, pivoted us to this new, perspective Where people can use not only for a specific session, but it’s like a open a open room where that can Can be like business, working hours or, you know, you can use whenever you want. But yeah. And, this is the core working space. You you can definitely get way more engagement than just like the traditional feed. And inside your space. It can be your co working space. In addition to that, you can have your classroom. You can have events.
Richard Lowenthal [00:07:47]:
You can have webinars, and you can have showcase, which is, Let’s say you have an art gallery or you have a interior design for, you know, photos and you want to showcase all of them, you can just Add inside your your space.
Zakia Ringgold [00:08:03]:
Wow. And, you know, you saying that just now and walking through those different use cases in the spaces that are just kind of preconfigured, it goes back to what you said in terms of, initially, you were lonely. So, hey, why not have a space where people can come in. Right? And then as you were talking about the showcase, I was thinking about even real estate agents. Right? If they could showcase Or, have the spaces for the houses that they’re showing. That could be another way of maybe Meeting someone virtually that’s interested in the space or in the real estate and actually seeing it and kind of being in the space in talking to someone. So that’s a that’s another one for that showcase.
Richard Lowenthal [00:08:47]:
You’re absolutely right. Yeah. We have seen some people doing that. It’s really cool for, You know, joining real estate and and seeing, like because it’s not three d. Yes. 3 d is very this is one of the main Principles that I had since since the beginning. I did I didn’t want three d because I’ve I’m the kind of guy that feel a little bit dizzy when I’m in a three d three d space, like, moving over here and there. But here, it’s super simple.
Richard Lowenthal [00:09:13]:
And, again, I think the experience is very, very, very, Simplified for for, you know, for for a very comfy experience. And we have seen real estate. Some people using it as you know, if you’re a Car dealer. You can just show a picture of your car and then click on the engine to, you know, get a focus on it. There are many, different use cases that we we are we’re, you know, seeing from our users.
Zakia Ringgold [00:09:40]:
Okay. So what I’ll do is I’ll go into Myspaces, and you you’re giving me you said almost mastered assert it, but I was only able to do that because you offered a certification program. It was a 2 part program where you really had us think through what was the type of base that we wanted to create. So before I go into my space, can you tell us a little bit about that? Because I think that also speaks to you as a founder in how you are attempting to make sure that your users are capable of creating these kind of immersive spaces in the thought process behind it. So can you talk a little bit about the GoBrunch certification?
Richard Lowenthal [00:10:18]:
Yeah. Sure. I think one of the challenges when we are dealing with technology is to educate the users. And Go branch can be used for a simple meeting. Like, imagine just a a replacement of a traditional meeting platform. But what we wanted to encourage our users is how to use in a more advanced way and create amazing spaces and unleash their creativity. And that’s why we created our our gold brand certification program that allows a lot of, you know, different experiences. Pretty much we divide it in 2 parts.
Richard Lowenthal [00:10:54]:
The first one is we teach people how to plan their spaces. Mhmm. Just like an architect, if you’re a designer space, you need some planning, And that’s what we did in in the, you know, in the designing stage. We we provide a template, And then people can just start planning what they they’re they’re, you know, they they’re thinking in adding inside of it. And the 2nd stage is like, okay. Now we are here, and I wanted to see you creating your space, and we’re gonna provide the best guidance that we can.
Zakia Ringgold [00:11:27]:
Perfect. Perfect. And I I must say, I’m gonna go ahead and sit. So I went into our suds and lather lounge, And this was kind of the space that I created around having a place where people could come and kind of interact. And this is where I leverage the, power of AI. I use chat GPT to generate a prompt To go to mid journey for it to create a space based on what it what it was that I was giving it. So this is a mid journey image that I was able to put in here.
Richard Lowenthal [00:12:01]:
Yeah. Again, and this is what is amazing. Right? Because we have seen, I think probably you are, you know, your mastery AI for creating images. And I’m not an expert in in in generating images using AI, and I usually use, like, image banks or just try to create something by myself. But, you know, I’m super willing to learn with you how you did that because it’s amazing.
Zakia Ringgold [00:12:25]:
Yeah. I just figured AI could probably tell me the right way to write the prompt that another AI in terms of midjourney would be able to do it. But I’ll be sure to share those prompts, and then, everyone in the GoBrunch community could use them to build out their spaces. But let’s talk about what we’re seeing in this space. So, I I have taken a seat here, but can you tell us about the kinda layout of this and and why someone would use it.
Richard Lowenthal [00:12:54]:
Yeah. Again, I think one of the main benefits in GoBrunge is the belief for you to Start a session, but you don’t have to end the session. And, again, many times we have 30 minutes meetings and we feel like the pressure. Right. Oh, okay. Bye, guys. And then it’s over. And if you’re kind of you know, depending what you have to do next, if you’re like, okay.
Richard Lowenthal [00:13:15]:
What what should I do next? With here, you can extend this working hours or extend this commitment that you previously have. And I had a session today, which it was, like, with, Peggy MacArthur. She was teaching for, photography. And, oh, how how to how she’s using Go branch for training people on and encouraging people to how to get best headshots. And at the end of this session was kind of, you know, a magical moment because everyone was networking and connecting with each other with no pressure of And I think, you know, this kind of environment that reflects your personality, right, your callers, The certification program, I remember that I you know, by checking their their spaces, it’s just like visiting your house. And we can easily understand your preferences. You can easily understand, you know, what, a little bit more about you. And I I think it reflects your personality, and that’s what is really magical.
Richard Lowenthal [00:14:22]:
And you feel way more comfortable because it’s just like city you on your how you know, you I mean, your living room in your at your house.
Zakia Ringgold [00:14:30]:
Yeah. Absolutely. And so this is the main entry point, and I love what you said about the magical moments. So when we’re crafting these experiences or these places and people are here, there is no pressure to hurry up and leave. It kind of feels like, Oh, we’re we’re just having a conversation, and the nice thing about this is I should just talk about what is within the screen for those who can’t visually see it because I have to remember it is a podcast. It is actually a complete room where you can choose where you wanna sit by simply clicking on any of the circles that are there. You have the ability to turn your microphone on, your camera on. You can even share your screen, And you also have the ability to record right from within the session.
Zakia Ringgold [00:15:21]:
Additionally, you have a chat box. So if you just wanna type some things in, Maybe you wanna share a link with attendees. You can put that in there as well, and then you can also see a listing of all of the attendees that are participating within the session. You also can see the name of the room that you’re in as well as kind of like a directory of all rooms within the space. So right now, we’re in my Suds and Lager Lounge. I’m gonna take this over to our co working space, which is known as our bubble hub. And this one is a little more, traditional in terms of, like, the coffee shop feel, and that’s what you get a chance to create with this. You can add for if you wanna keep it small and intimate to 2.
Zakia Ringgold [00:16:06]:
Is there a maximum room size, Richard for the spaces. I I’m not sure that I could hit it.
Richard Lowenthal [00:16:13]:
We because GoBrunch initially was used by, you know, For webinar purposes, we did have we did created a did create some some rooms for, larger audiences. And the largest one is a auditorium for 600 people.
Zakia Ringgold [00:16:30]:
Richard Lowenthal [00:16:31]:
Right. And inside your space, let’s say you have, like, a special event at some point with a lot of followers, subscribers, and all your community members together, and then you can use this space for this room in particular for for your session.
Zakia Ringgold [00:16:46]:
Absolutely. And so I’m just gonna scroll through just to show a few of them. I also created the SoapFlicks theater. And the idea behind this was I was able to embed some, YouTube videos in there. You can kinda sit down on the couch. So once I have a seat, you have the ability to play, and that’s just an embed. Talk about that. You have the ability to embed other items within your spaces.
Zakia Ringgold [00:17:13]:
So tell us about that.
Richard Lowenthal [00:17:15]:
Yeah. By the time that we, you know, we we were just trying to imagine, okay, people want to customize. People want to play with Customizations, and I had an idea. Okay. We need to create a Photoshop for customizing the room. Something really easy. And because people want freedom, we we we we’re thinking, okay. Let’s give the ability for them to embed anything they want.
Richard Lowenthal [00:17:40]:
And then we created this embedding tool where you can embed YouTube videos or you can embed music or playlists. Some people are embedding call to action buttons. You can embed, yeah, calendars. I think, you know, there there are many different possibilities here like agendas that you can, yeah, explore Once you are embedding. Right? And I I can see here the right side of the embedded pro this is I think it’s a Canva design.
Zakia Ringgold [00:18:12]:
It is. And I learned that in the certification training.
Richard Lowenthal [00:18:15]:
That’s right. Yeah. Many you know, embedding a Canva design is super Suitable because you can create menus like this one or sometimes people are using for calendars. Yeah. Yeah. It’s, it really, again, it’s we understand that we are using video conferencing in general for synchronous sessions. But we understand the best experience is when you blend a synchronous with asynchronous, and that’s what we have done here. Let’s say I I’m in your in your room, and even if you’re not there, I can interact with your books Mhmm.
Richard Lowenthal [00:18:53]:
Which is really cool. I can even buy your book. You. Once I’m waiting for you, right, for a meeting or even after your meeting. And, yeah, and I have this directory of rooms. Right? I think, you. Again, I have this metaverse vision in my mind, but something really easy that not necessarily you need, like, a special glasses for you. Has to be something easy for, you know, people to use on every single day.
Richard Lowenthal [00:19:20]:
And, yeah, It’s nice that you have have been using a lot of advanced features already.
Zakia Ringgold [00:19:25]:
For sure. And I’m just gonna click through some of them to show some of the additional tools. So we have, like, the bookshelf that Richard mentioned, and then there’s also, what we call the lather lounge, and this is where we’ve embedded a podcast. You can embed, music. So if you just want a calming, soothing space. I kinda tried to make this into, if I were to go to a spa and I was able to listen to, Some music. Well, here are some maker’s tales for you to listen to. We also created the soap studio, And this one, it’s not going to loop because I disconnected it.
Zakia Ringgold [00:20:04]:
But the live streams, when we go live, people who are in here would be able to watch those livestreams. So let me come back here. There’s also the auditorium, what you what you were mentioning. So let’s kinda do a quick demo. And this is kind of like if you were coming into a main space there. Let me take a seat, and I go to all rooms again. Then I have the office. I think that’s the last one.
Zakia Ringgold [00:20:33]:
But just kind of showing that there are different types of spaces that you can create, and this is more of a one one one kind of a base where people can sit and interact with me if I if we just wanted to have a quick conversation.
Richard Lowenthal [00:20:49]:
Yeah. I love this one. Yeah. Because you can use the circle cams. Yeah. And but, yeah, many people, I think, you know, Sometimes you are tired and you don’t want to turn on your camera. And many of your environments, you don’t have to do that. You just need to keep your audio.
Richard Lowenthal [00:21:06]:
Yeah. And you just turn turn on your mic and you ask a question, and that’s what I have we have seen in many different communities. Like, they they use only their pictures, And many times, you just need to ask a question or make a comment and or, you know, again, I think you probably have seen this community from, Marissa from Greater Rules. Yes. And what what was interesting is that I I usually say, like, It it seems like many times a hair salon, like, you have a lot of right? Because you have a lot of interesting conversations happening all the time, And people don’t wanna miss it. Right? And they are just there for body doubling, which is this new concept for you to, you know, get Accountability and and commit on something during a specific time. But, yeah, it’s it’s really nice that you don’t have this pressure for turning on your camera. You just need to hit your mic, start speaking, and, yeah, once it’s over, you turn it off, but you can keep, in feeling the energy around you.
Zakia Ringgold [00:22:10]:
Absolutely. And I think that goes back to your point about those magic moments. I think I’m gonna take that away. Like, how can you Help to create an environment for those magical moments. And I think I think GoBrunch definitely, checks the box for that. So Now coming out of GoBranch, can you, what types of events and communities does GoBranch, cater to?
Richard Lowenthal [00:22:37]:
Right right now, I would say the main use the main use cases that we have are usually content creators in general and small entrepreneurs. They have you know, many times they have a community, but they have they’re struggling to engage with their members. Mhmm. And this is the number 1. Number 2 is we there are many companies, especially startups that they are struggling to get engagement with their team members. Not all companies are have this kind of culture. Right? It’s this matter of culture. And and some companies, they are using GoBranch as a 20 four seven office.
Richard Lowenthal [00:23:16]:
Us. And it’s and I have been using myself with my team members, and I’ll say the benefits are really, really you know, if they’re abnormals. Because first of all, I was using, like, you know, only messaging systems before. Mhmm. It was getting very, very bureaucratic in a sense that I have to tag someone and say, hey. Did you do that or, what what is your opinion about this? And sometimes we had to schedule a meeting. And if you’re with more 1 more more than 1 person, okay. How about tomorrow? Like, it’s like, okay.
Richard Lowenthal [00:23:55]:
This is kind of, You know, just breaks the culture or breaks the momentum that you have for starting a conversation. Yeah. What I can do right now, and that’s how Many companies have been using is I can’t just pop in in my team member’s office and Say, hey. You know what? I was thinking this. What do you think? And he’s just, you know, fire he fires his his mic, And we start a conversation. After that, if we need to to invite more team members, what I do is I use the broadcast to our rooms feature, And I just say, hey. Are you there? Yeah. Can you join Gabriel’s room for a moment? Because we are just you know, I I need your help here.
Richard Lowenthal [00:24:40]:
And then he just, You know, joins our our our room, and it’s super, super easy for us to start a conversation. And sometimes we just open a, Miro board And start collaborating. Right? This is but, yeah, communities and virtual offices, in summary, are the 2 main use cases that we have.
Zakia Ringgold [00:24:59]:
Communities in virtual. So what would you say are the key elements to make a successful event on GoBrunch. I think you started to hit on it a little bit about planning that experience. Can you tell us just a little bit more About that. What for those that have been really successful, why do you think that was?
Richard Lowenthal [00:25:18]:
I I think the fur the first That is you have to imagine GoBrunch as an extension of your house just the way you did. Yeah. Because this will make you feel comfortable. And whenever you are working online on your computer, you have your GoBranch room open. And if you need to speak with someone, you can, you know, quickly share your room link. And You you and and this person can join your room, which is, again, using the word magical. Right? Because when was the last time you get, like, an expected visit? You. Many times I have that.
Richard Lowenthal [00:25:57]:
And I say, hey. Really not and it’s really nice. Really seeing you today. How can I help you? Or, you know, what What are you working on? And it’s super cool for for having this moment. This is step number 1. I think yeah. And Step number 2 is if you’re planning to use as a community space, I know many people love to create a lot of rooms, but 1st, starting, I would say 1, 2, 3 rooms are more than enough.
Zakia Ringgold [00:26:26]:
Richard Lowenthal [00:26:27]:
Right? Because people tend to concentrate in 1 single room because they don’t want to miss The main conversation that is going on.
Zakia Ringgold [00:26:37]:
That’s fantastic. That’s out advice. That’s actually really, really good advice. So I went a little bit over on our time, but I always have a hot seat question. It’s not really a hot seat question. How can people actually get GoBrunch? Where should they go, and how can they stay connected with you if they have questions? What what how do they do that?
Richard Lowenthal [00:26:59]:
Yeah. Well, they they can get in into our website. I I don’t know if you shared the link, but, yeah, feel free to Share with them your link, and they can sign up with with GoBrunch in the free version. The free version, you can trial you know, It has a some limits in terms of features, but you don’t have limit of timing. And then you can have, you know, unlimited unlimited time for your meetings for starting with Go branch. And once you feel comfortable, you can definitely, you know, check the plans and see which would which one is more suitable for your needs. And in addition to that, we have a lot of tutorials in our YouTube channel that you can check. And, yeah, like, you know, you.
Richard Lowenthal [00:27:43]:
It would teach you how to build your space. It’ll teach you how to start a meeting if you’re used to a more traditional meeting. And 3rd, you can Always join one of our, you know, daily demonstrations for just to, you know, just understand better your challenges, your business, And already recommend how you can get the best of Go branch for your particular use case.
Zakia Ringgold [00:28:08]:
Thank you so much. And I will put links to all of those resources right in the show notes. But, Richard, thank you so much for, number 1, Having the vision to say, I wanna top you, and then having the tenacity to go out and build a tool like GoBrunch that does really create those magical moments. And thank you for sharing your insights on Business Tech Unraveled.
Richard Lowenthal [00:28:33]:
I really appreciate, you know, being here. Thank you for for your invitation. Thank you for having me. And, yeah, cheers.
Zakia Ringgold [00:28:40]:
If you’re interested in exploring virtual spaces that go beyond the limitations of traditional Zoom meetings, GoBrunch is the answer. Whether you’re a professional seeking a virtual co-working space, an event organizer looking for a unique platform, or simply intrigued by the potential of online connectivity, this podcast is a must-listen. GoBrunch is a unique virtual platform that has revolutionized online learning and interaction. In this episode we explore the inspiration behind GoBrunch and take you through a guided tour of the platform, discussing its various use cases and benefits.
1. The power of combining different media and personal experiences to create something innovative.
2. The importance of interactive and engaging learning experiences.
3. How GoBrunch recreates the feeling of being physically present in a virtual space.
4. The versatility of GoBrunch, from co-working spaces to classrooms and showcases.
5. Real-life applications of GoBrunch, such as real estate showings, community engagement, and more.
Inspiration Behind GoBrunch
Founder, Richard Lowenthal felt lonely and wanted a more interactive way to connect with others. He was inspired by browsing different platforms and combining ideas from different sources, such as PokerStars and LinkedIn with the metaverse. He wanted to create a virtual space where people could gather, learn, and discuss topics in a more casual and engaging way.
Key Features and Use Cases of GoBrunch
- Co-working spaces can be designed like a virtual office, allowing team members to have their own offices within the same space
- Community members can have an open room where they can connect with each other anytime, increasing engagement compared to traditional online methods
- GoBrunch can be used by content creators, real estate agents, and other professionals to showcase their work and interact with interested parties