[00:00:00]Kriti: Hey guys, welcome to WhyFI Matters!
As much as I love having grownups on the podcast, just because they have so much wisdom and experience it also love interviewing fellow teenagers who are doing inspiring and impactful things. So I'm super excited to introduce you all to teen entrepreneur and fellow podcaster Benjamin Wong. Ben is the host of YoungTrep with Benjamin Wong, a conversation-based podcast with the world leading experts on entrepreneurship, health and wellness. He is also the co-founder of Rich Kids Global, an online education site dedicated to helping kids become rich in mindset, purpose, and passion. And he's also the founder of Kids CEO media, and the recipient of the communicator award of distinction. With all of these amazing ventures and podcasts he's created, Ben strives to foster his entrepreneurial. Throughout each and every one of his ventures. And in this episode, you can only just see how passionate he is about everything he does. Not only is he passionate about Kids CEO, Rich Kids Global and his podcast, but he's also an NFT nerd or non fungible token nerd.
And it's a super cool concept that I'm sure you've heard NFTs get tossed around in conversation, but I personally don't know much about them. So I can't wait to explore what they are and learn more about what they are from a fellow teenager. I'm with Ben today, Ben has been featured on many media sites, such as ABC and NBC, and I hope you enjoy the interview.
Hi, Ben, thank you so much for coming on WhyFI Matters, today. I am super excited to have you on the show and I'm personally excited to talk to someone who's younger. I've talked to a lot of adults recently and it's great to really understand their insight and amazing to talk to someone who's been there and done that. But I'm super excited to get to know you more, get to know your whole process and why you got into all of this entrepreneurship and being creative and yeah, you're only 15. So yeah, you are very young and you're doing all of these amazing things. So I'm super excited to get to know Benjamin Wong!
[00:02:35]Ben: I'm super excited to be here, especially talking about a bunch of new things going on. Podcasting, which I, which it was your podcast here.
Uh, so lost some good shit experiences there to NFT land, which is a big, new, new thing that I'm trying to educate a lot of people about. But I'm excited.
[00:02:52]Kriti: Yeah. Same. So could you just first off tell us a little bit about yourself?
[00:02:57]Ben: I'm Ben I Benjamin Wong.
I'm from Upland, California, which is a town 30, 40 minutes away from Los Angeles. I'm most ways in the ordinary teen, but I have a love of entrepreneurship. Don't know exactly where it came from, but I've always loved selling things on the street to making a quick buck. To doing things like investing and now all on an empty land I'm homeschooled.
So I spent. Part of my day, part of my week working on business and a bunch of new projects that are broken all the time. And that's a little briefer about me.
[00:03:30]Kriti: Amazing. So, you said that you don't really know how you got into an entrepreneurship. Do you think that you've always had this sort of passion for being creative and not just being a consumer?
Um, you know, obviously we have that. Age like traditional, you know, lemonade stand kid or for me, I was, um, do you know what, um, rainbow loom is? I don't know if you, yes, yes. I would sell those. I also have business called “case tapery”. Duct tape was a huge thing like for like in my school, at least. So we would like make amazing like duct tape, close ducks, like for dolls or like duct tape bags. But that was kind of like my businessy thing. Like, when I was little, that's what I was doing, but I was always wanting to create in that sense. So I was wondering if it's the same thing for you?
[00:04:31]Ben: Oh yeah, totally.
I mean, my first ever, like, I guess major in a way was avocados. It was 2015. That was the year of star wars. When that came out.
[00:04:43]Kriti: Huge fan of star wars. I went to the theater with my dad the day it came out. I still have pictures of us at the theater. I loved force awakened.
[00:04:55]Ben: Yeah. I mean, it was a great movie and I hadn't really heard of star wars before neither the Marvel either. But two of my best friends took me to see the movie and afterwards, like all things, you know, I think that's another potential reason why from entrepreneurship is like curiosity that I've always had.
Got super curious. I saw the movie went and saw all the other movies and all the TV shows and stuff like that. And have you ever heard of the Funko pops?
[00:05:22]Kriti: The, yeah, I have, Hermione Granger.
[00:05:26]Ben: Yes. I always liked those types of things like collecting Funko pops, everything.
So, when the movie came round, onto one at that Chewbacca and tradition, Funko pop or whatever. And so in order to get that money, most kids either have two avenues. You either go with parents. Ask your parents yet, or use like allowance money or find another way to get up by yourself. So one day my two best friends were over and we were like, Hey, you guys want to go out and pick some avocados and we'll buy this, this cuts, it was called Smuggler's bounty. Like this mystery box. Uh, And so there's a chair. And so we literally got ladders in the garage and out a few avocado trees in my front yard. And so we climbed up the ladder kind of bladders and pick down, you know, 30, 50 avocados, and then took them to the street corner and wave people down and trying to get them to buy it.
And the, that was my first major thing. And, and then after that, it was a bunch of small things until I got into investing into the podcast world. And then now
[00:06:32]Kriti: Amazing. I think what your story shows is that how entrepreneurs have that affinity or the capacity to like problem solve their way out of situations. Oftentimes we would go ask for help, but I guess what you did was you tried to figure out an alternative path such as selling your avocado. And think that's really amazing. Um, and, uh, foreshadows everything that you've kind of been doing recently. So you are definitely a serial entrepreneur.
You are doing a lot of different things such as you started Kids CEO, Rich Kids Global YoungTrep, and you're also a podcaster. So can you tell us a little bit more about what inspired you to really start these things? And tell us a little bit about the story behind each of those different ventures.
[00:07:27]Ben: So I'll start with CEO. This was my 11th birthday. So this was four years back. On my 11th birthday. My dad decided to open me up a stock trading account, so very smart. And so on that 11th birthday, I had a stock account with like a hundred dollars in it.
And so I really loved the whole stock trading. I think it just goes down to the one, the ownership part of it. I would go around and telling my friends that I own Disney and things like that. And so it's a one that part. And then two also the making money from it, I made some pretty savvy moves. Early on, you know, AMD stock immense market devices at like $17.
And then I sold it for like 40, 49 or so. And I only bought two shares, so I didn't make that much money, but it was at that. And I would go around bragging to my grandparents, like about how much money I made and how how's the next Warren buffet. Uh, and so that's, that's how I got my foray into, into stock investing or trading or like, And then from there I being kid would go back around about these things.
I own Disney, I, in the next Warren Buffett, you know, I I'm so much money from the stocks. Right. And so, so naturally my friends got interested into these types of things and they would ask me about a stock investing or how they can create their own accounts. Oh, how their parents want them to do it.
And their tips. So around, was it 2019? Uh, late 2019, I think October. So we're on this time 2019, my mom convinced me to put it into a podcast. And then I hadn't listened to podcasts before. So it was still at a new thing, especially back in 2018. There were really no major kids podcasts. Rolled a podcasting was, was pretty amateur at the time.
So I decided to create a podcast. Uh, I did, you know, three or four episodes. You can go listen to them. Now I Kid CEO you from, from two, three years back. And I took a little break for school and it was really. March of 2020 with COVID I had the opportunity to.
[00:09:36]Kriti: Same. Well, I, I started WhyFI Matters and April 2020 when I released my first few episodes, because I took advantage of being remote. It's interesting because you, you decide to go into a space that you were unfamiliar with. Whereas I, on the other hand, I've been listening to podcasts for a very long time. I listened to podcasts all the time and I, it was something that I was like, I want to do that too, but I think it's interesting how you'd ventured into something that was different. Um, but yeah, that's pretty cool how your friends were interested in stocks? Um, cause honestly I don't see. I didn't see that. I wasn't interested when I was 11.
So good job for you getting that started like four years ago. Um, so yeah, you also have Rich Kids Global and YoungTreps. So can you tell us a little bit more about that?
[00:10:34]Ben: Yeah. So I guess I'll start with Rich Kids Global. Uh, and both go back to a summit I had in February of 2021. So earlier this year, I, throughout my time with the kids, you have built up a kind of community of kids. So I decided to create a summit, a virtual conference, where I was able to bring all these kids together. During a we had a pitch competition.
And during that competition, one of Oregon's two of the pitchers where their names were Luke and Alex, and they pitched an idea for a kid's education company. And then on the other hand with young chap, it was raising powered kids, the amazing team, uh, with Adam and Matthew Turin over there. And there were sponsors.
Adam reached out to me, years ago and I always had him in the back pocket. And so, you know, when it came around to create the assignment, I would shout if you want to just tell the sponsor. And so after everything was over, they approached me about creating or being the host of their new podcast called.
Uh, and then I guess going back to the rich kids global afterwards, they, they, again reached out to me asking if I wanted to be a partner at their new project. And so like most things I said yes. And that's where we are now.
[00:11:54]Kriti: Amazing. So, um, kids, CEO is basically white. Um, you created, and can you tell us a little bit more about what you do on the podcast, um, who you interview?
[00:12:08]Ben: Yeah. So I think the role of kids, CEO, uh, the themes in content have changed a ton. I think that's something very consistent with me is being inconsistent, in a good way. I think.
[00:12:19]Kriti: I really loved that. I was just a butt in right here, but I really loved that because I started WhyFI Matters off. Um, and you know, I wanted it to focus on financial literacy because AI, I want to improve my own financial literacy, but I also love talking about so many different things and that I have a platform that I'm able to access people. And, kind of have mixed a few of my own little episodes and into the podcast.
I'm just adding a little flavor. Which I think if, when you're an entrepreneur, you're able, you give yourself the opportunity to do that. Um, but yeah, I was like, yeah, I I'm super, I love what you said, how the best part about what I'm doing is. It's ever changing because I'm always changing. So yeah.
I used to always get really upset with myself. Like why can I stick to something? But then over time I just realized that I'm changing a lot. My interests change all the time. You know, one time really. Interested in sports cards and other time I love comic books. Another time I NFTS. That was a cool part of Kid CEO in that and everything here, you can go, listen, I haven't deleted anything.
You can go back, could see you. And it's like season one, or maybe not even been diseasing and you can see how I've changed. Even my voice. You can see how it's changed. I'd go back and listen to episode one. My voice is like this high. I think now it's a great thing that I changed so much and able to finalize what I was successful at doing, which was interviewing amazing entrepreneurs and philanthropists did it looked up to, and I started that in September. And from there every single week for. Oh, wow. At least every single week until like December, I think I released new episodes interviewing a ton of amazing people.
[00:14:07]Kriti: Amazing. So, can you tell us about what you're doing now?
Cause obviously, are you, are you still making the episodes for your podcasts or, uh, you're doing something completely.
[00:14:21]Ben: So I'm doing a few things now, I guess I'll start with a YoungTrep. YoungTrep is still going and our new sites out every week, right? There's one out yesterday with Chloe Thompson.
Uh, so that that's still running and then kids CEO, is coming back. Uh, it's still early. So I'm working on a few things in the background, but I'm going to be, you know, making a ton of huge announcements come December. Uh, and then also working on a few new things now, including a weekly talk with, uh, LaFontaine is also known as a crypto coin kid, a Bitcoin cryptocurrency enthusiast. He's like what 12. And so you got started when he was nine. Um, and so I that's, that's one thing I'm working on is we do a weekly discussion type thing about cryptocurrency and NTS, and it's all simple talk, uh, um, Exactly. So the kids can come and even do explainers every episode. So, you know what you're talking about in very, very simple forms and as a way to keep kids involved and engaged and up-to-date with the whole, the ever changing crypto world.
And then I'm also working on potentially starting a every single day, a daily news. Uh, do the news briefer for could CEO's I might call it seven. I dunno. Something like that. Uh, and every single day, just keeping kids up to date with the world and that's something cool to something that is unique because I'm homeschooled. I have the ability to do that. Luckily.
Those are just two things I'm working on come . If you queue up today with me, we're going to have a ton of huge announcements, early December, but that's a little sneak peek of what's going on
[00:16:13]Kriti: I am looking forward to all of that. But, you've done a lot of different things and your entrepreneurial career already. I want to dive deep into something that you are very, very passionate about currently, which are nonrefundable token or NFTs. I'm willing to be completely transparent with you. Yes. I've heard about Bitcoin and Ethereum? But I very very, very small idea about what is going on.
And the thing is, I want to know what's going on, but anytime NFTs or Bitcoin is like me reading like a fricking paper on like Aristotle. Like I don't even know what's going on basically. It's just very confusing. So I want you to explain to me, very simple terms obviously, but, so I'm really excited that it's coming from a fellow teenager.
So first off, what exactly is like cryptocurrency and NFTs ?
[00:17:16]Ben: So I guess to start with blockchain, is basically a set of records that detailed transactions that are going on and verify they're real. And then cryptocurrency, it's essentially the currency that you use on blockchain transactions.
Exactly because you can use a dollar bill to give to someone in an Ireland. Right? And so you use cryptocurrency, which is decentralized, meaning there's no one in charge of it and no government or no entity really there's no bank that are, that are running this. And so it's completely transparent. And so with we're NFTs comes in is a form of digital ownership. So I got this out. It's a sports card. I've been doing sports cards ever since like August or so. And I don't know if you know who that is. This is a Ken Griffey, 1989 rookie card.
[00:18:09]Kriti: So, all I know about baseball is that the Cubs won the world series in 2016. And I went to their festival.
[00:18:17]Ben: I have no idea about baseball whatsoever on the big football. But Ken Griffey, that's more of an investment play with Ken Griffey, but basically essentially where the NFT is as to where right now I own, I guess, say I own this card. I bought it myself. I haven't. And NFTs is a form of digital ownership.
Right. So it was, I guess this is ownership. I have the card physically. I own it by having it in my hand. Whereas digital ownership is where there's a digital item, whether it's a video, whether it's a selfie, whether it's a this interview and making it available to be owned online. Right? So hypothetically, I could you take a selfie of me and you, and I could go list that as the NFT, it cannot be recreated. There's only one out there it's minted it's out in the world and people can buy it if they want to.
[00:19:16]Kriti: I don't know why they would want it. That's interesting.
Yeah, no, you bring up a very good point cause I know, digital art is a really, really big deal.
Could you like talk a little bit about digital art?
[00:19:31]Ben: Yes. So digital art, I think it's a start of the whole NFT evolution. Because ART, like our selfie or a drawing that I make, that's kind of the start of it. Because art is something that hasn't really been affected by the internet too much.
And now. And now this is making it so that you don't need the auction house. You don't need a huge following to go auction off a piece of artwork. You can just do it from your house and you can use the iPad or take a picture of his art and the mint it for free. And then you can get some purchases.
I read an article about a 14 year old, who made like $40 million on an NFT, 14 million. But, basically. Digital art is the start of the energy revolution. I think though, we're going to see an even greater impact through utility. For example, the Gary V V friends and utility is how a token can be used other than just being able to see it.
So, you know, a selfie of menu, you can see it and you can hang it up on your wall. If you want to. You can, in some cases, Put on a t-shirt a solid t-shirt. But utility is where the self you mean, you grants, you access to be on the show, whenever you want grants, you access to come on here and ask your guest question
[00:20:56]Kriti: ticket, like a
[00:20:58]Ben: ticket in a way. And it can be used for so many things like this. NFT could give you a discount at McDonald's. That's where I see an even greater use of it, because there's still going to be not a huge amount of digital artists and people are eventually not going to want to buy everything.
And especially because there's such high supply, anyone can do it. I can do it. You can do it. I probably, at some point we both will do it in our lives. And so there's such high supply. Digital art only a few, you know, 98% will fail, but there will be a few that become a millionaire. But in terms of utility, utilities are based on a lot more than just how people perceive it.
A piece of art is deemed valuable based on how people deem it. But in terms of utility entities, if this is a NMT that gives you a hypothetically stock in the company, that's a one way, if it gives you a ticket to the X conference, which is this huge celebrity event and the event is terrible and own goes, then that case, the NMT plummets, it's not just like people think of it.
Its value has gone down. If the event is really good, then the value of its can you go up as well? And also utility NFTs in my view are just a lot more fun and interesting, because of, uh, it allows people like me and you to discuss. Um,
[00:22:26]Kriti: right. So, like it's like a coupon in a sense.
[00:22:31]Ben: Yeah. Those are some uses of it. I'll with, with granted access. That's what I'm most educated on. I do a lot of research into those types of tokens, but I know there are a lot of things that you can do with NFT., State farm is running, event, this tomorrow until the seventh where you can go around like Pokemon go and collect the boss and the winners of it. I get NFTs. And that's still more of ART NFT, but what if that art NFT. 20% off state farm, hypothetically. Uh, and so there's, there's so many things you can do with NFTs and they all kind of also evolve around smart contracts, which are basic