What is the experience of going to sea to sell hope? Dialogue with Entrepreneurs of Mysticism (Part 1)

What is the experience of going to sea to sell hope?  Dialogue with Entrepreneurs of Mysticism (Part 1)

Cui Huaizhou is an old colleague and friend of mine. Last week I invited him to live broadcast Lianmai to discuss the business of “selling hope”, and also talk about our thinking about entrepreneurship, going overseas, and user needs. The following is the transcript of the live broadcast. The full text is longer and will be sent out in two batches.

Me: When Huaizhou first went to sea, it was the first tool product, right? Because the start-up cost of tools is relatively low, but in the process of converting tools to short videos, some difficulties may be encountered. Why did you turn to the current direction of astrology and divination?

Cui: I have always been a short video and community product manager. No matter in Baidu, Pea Pod, Kuaishou or YY, when I started my own business, I also made a short video community product for the Indian market, but I did It took only 6 months to start at the beginning of 19 and reach the end of 19, and then soon discovered that it could not continue.

Frankly speaking, I think that product is good. Our first product in India, the first product that we started our own business, had 200,000 DAU (daily active users) at that time, and the retention could reach 60~65% the next day. In fact, it’s not bad, just a few months. In this way, basically 95% of users are naturally new. That project was abandoned in the second half of 2019. The core is our judgment on the entire overseas market.

The first point is that if you want to make short videos and community products, there is actually a very direct external factor, which is confidence in the direction of the capital market.

At that time in India, TikTok was very good. No one can predict TikTok will be killed in India later, so in 2019, no VC is willing to invest in a short video product in an overseas TikTok dominated market. So it was very passive at the time. Investors in India and China said that TT is already close to 100 million DAU. Why do you want to do it? We are also unable to answer this question fundamentally and resolve their concerns.

The second point, a very direct problem, is that we choose to be a short video community in India. India’s entire country has low ARPU (average revenue per user) and low eCPM (advertising revenue per thousand impressions) . It is very difficult to make short-term income for short-term video products.

Including TikTok also proposed an 8-year war of resistance plan in India at that time, that is, I did not make money in the first 7 years, I will burn for 7 years, and then make money back in the 8th year. You can imagine how difficult it is to monetize in the Indian market.

Then on the third point, we ourselves have seen a better business model in India, which is astrology, astrology business. At the beginning, the first transition to doing Indian astrology and divination was the direct factor, which was that it was a good business opportunity. This is quite straightforward, because we did not have money.

India is a religious country, everyone believes in this, and everyone is willing to spend money to find astrologers offline, to pay, it is such a business that is very close to money.

But last year we did a round of financing, and one of the top VCs in India invested in our astrological project. After we further thought about it, I would understand the matter of astrology and divination, which is not only a good business model, I will also Think it is a very good and valuable product.

How to understand that a feudal superstitious product is a good product? It is a very good business model, this is easy to understand, because everyone prays to God and worship Buddha willing to spend money. But when the data came up last year, the income was still good, because I am an atheist myself, I would ask myself what is the value of this thing?

I have to pass this test myself, because I don’t have any religious beliefs, and I don’t believe that anyone can know the fate of others. How can I do this for a long time? This is a very, very idealized state of a product manager, and one has to ask about the reason and the meaning. I also know that many practitioners in many industries do not need to know the meaning of doing this. He can still make a fortune in a muffled voice, but I can’t. I will go after, what is the value of astrology and divination to users?

We have done a lot of research on users of our own platform, including our astrologer’s research. I have come to a very core understanding. In fact, what the user wants to obtain, or what he gets after spending money, is not The answer to a divination, such as whether you can get rich in the future, is not the case.

What users really get from these astrologers and spend money to buy, I define it as hope. Since it is such an industry that can sell hope, if you stand from this perspective, you will understand that human nature is common.

In our daily life, we always face the pain and anxiety of the stage, right? I would even abstract it as saying that this is a bug caused by genes, because we can never be happy all the time. This is a setting of genes. It is very evil. After you get anything, you Soon I started to feel that this was justified. Happiness is always short-lived. It is genes that manipulate us through hormones, so everyone will need to gain more confidence, hope and courage periodically.

How to provide these positive incentives? In the real world, there are many things being offered. For example, religion is a typical industry that provides confidence and hope for everyone. It has been doing this for thousands of years. In the Middle Ages, the church still sold indulgence coupons. That was a very nasty model. As long as you buy that coupon, your sins will be washed away. Religions are now more civilized. Now religions say that you are going to donate. After you donate, a god will give you some strength. In fact, it is essentially selling hope, courage and belief.

We also have some things in our actual lives, which are actually to provide us with hope. For example, tobacco and alcohol. In the abstract, they sell hope. Drink a drink when you are unhappy , and your life will be happy; when you are troubled, go downstairs and smoke a cigarette, and everything will be better. Astrology and divination are actually a service of providing hope.

But here comes a further question: Is it correct for us to sell hope? Are our values ​​correct? Can we really provide hope?

If the service we sell is fake, and the user has no hope after spending the money, it is equivalent to deceiving the user, or providing no value in a real sense. But in fact, we have seen from the background that users often write us thank-you letters, which is an interesting phenomenon.

Indian users wrote thank-you letters, saying that Master XX had changed my destiny. We also doubt it is true? Is there really a master who can change the fate of users? We went to look at his entire chat history and the process of divination, and found that this master provided users with a positive energy service.

For example, a typical Indian user, a little girl, came to ask if her boyfriend had cheated, and whether she and her boyfriend would get married. This is a very common question.

What was the answer given by the Indian astrologer? The answer this master gave her was to tell her, what is the matching degree between you and your boyfriend and your horoscope, what kind of problems you will encounter next, how do you face it positively, and how Treat your boyfriend, how to make this relationship better, how to guide your behavior and make your decisions.

In fact, the master is not saying that you are suitable or inappropriate for him throughout the whole process. Generally, there is no such a yes and no answer. Instead, he tells her how you should face this relationship and how to make yourself better. You will find that this is actually an emotional consultation and a psychological healing service. This kind of thing is called sales hope, and it will really change the future of users.

I saw a friend in the live broadcast room said that it sounds like a counselor. Yes, we rethinked the entire astrology and divination market throughout last year and discovered that it is actually a psychological consulting industry under the cloak of mysticism. For thousands of years, those religious masters or occult masters have been doing psychological counseling under the guise of various mysterious powers.

Even when I was in India, I personally found an astrologer to do the calculations for me. Frankly speaking, I don’t believe it, but the master told me, Alan (my English name) , your career will go smoothly in the coming year. Although I don’t believe it, I am very happy to hear it. Do you know that this is a very strong psychological suggestion. I feel the value that the master gave me. Although I don’t believe it, I want to just in case?

Me: In other words, what this thing gives you is the power of emotions, not the power of facts.

Cui: Yes, emotional value. The answer that users want is not a yes or no answer, or a specific answer. What users want to gain is actually a kind of power, or we call it hope. Moreover, users do not really pursue this matter in a real sense. In the end, what the master said is right or wrong, or in other words, there is no right or wrong at all.

In fact, many investors will also ask us, what is your accuracy rate? This is a typical perspective from a layman thinking about this matter, including many users who will say to each other that the so-and-so master is very accurate. In fact, the master does not deliberately avoid the problems of accuracy and inaccuracy. Its accuracy rate is not It is not a 50% thing, but a question of probability. He will tell you that there is a high probability that you will go well in the future. What kind of problems you want to avoid is actually a service of psychological counseling and emotional healing.

Me: Just now a friend asked how many astrologers there are in India, do you have any data?

Cui: There are a conservative estimate of 2 million astrologers in India. He will obtain astrological qualifications in various training courses. There is also a saying that there are about 5 million astrologers in India, which may include a lot of part-time jobs.

Why are there 2 million to 5 million astrologers? You can hardly imagine such a situation in China. India is a religious country. After I arrived in India, I found that on the streets you will see many astrologers opening shops, divination for others. In China, I have never seen any mall where a master opens a shop, and the domestic policy The environment does not allow it. But this is very common in India. Whenever you go to a shopping mall, you will see several astrologers open stores there.

So many years ago, there was a saying in India that ABC works in India means that the three types of ABC businesses are feasible in India. A is astrology, b is Bollywood, c is cricket.

These are three Indian national products, which are closely related to culture, so it is not surprising that we started from India to enter this market. I sometimes give another example to explain to Chinese friends, why do we do astrology in India? It’s like an American. If he comes to China, he wants to start a business and build a foot care app and an online service. How can he tell his American friends that this is a big thing in China? In other words, if he wants to make a Chinese medicine product in China, his American friends will not understand how there is such a strange thing, but once you bring it into the cultural scene, it is very natural.

After we did this business in India, when the A round of financing last year, the top VCs in India all shined. I* have seen a mobile Internet team for so many years , doing such a big piece in our country. thing. This direction is counter-intuitive to the Chinese, but it is justified for India.

Me: A friend in the comment area asked about similar domestic tests. Have you heard of this APP?

Cui: Yes, we heard about it a long time ago. The test constellation is a divination product based on live voice broadcast. We have some similarities in our business model. We are also a bilateral transaction between astrologers and users, a model of a marketplace.

We also did a lot of live broadcasts, we did video live broadcasts, and the main audio live broadcasts for the test. The testing is mainly done in the country, and frankly speaking, we have a lot of research on testing. In China, I think in terms of the big policy environment, it is not allowed to make a brand of astrology and divination in China, so you can look at the test constellation and a bunch of domestic constellation apps or services, including the official account, they Generally lean in two directions. By the way, let me share with you how to do occultism in China.


One type is to rely on the direction of Guoxue. Many such companies will say that we promote Guoxue and what we do is Fengshui gossip. This is Guoxue. The largest company doing feng shui and fortune-telling in China is a company in Guangzhou with a revenue of more than two billion yuan each year. They say that we promote Chinese learning, which is a way.

The second way is to rely on psychological counseling. They said that what we do is psychological counseling, and what we do is emotional counseling services. Like some public accounts, certain large public accounts will describe themselves as an emotional consulting service. He also said that he was a scene of psychological counseling.

Me: In the past, the same uncle was not also the constellation emotion.

Cui: Yes. It relies on the line of emotional counseling and psychological counseling, but frankly speaking, if you do this in China, there are problems at the value level. If you do astrology and divination, it is equivalent to promoting idealism. This matter It is politically incorrect, so we are determined not to do this at home. I think the domestic demand is actually quite large, but it is not suitable for brand and platform.

Me: Speaking of demand, I am actually doing a business similar to selling hope. Going back to today’s topic, I think that because people were “selling anxiety” in the past few years, I feel that “selling hope” is more hopeful in the past few years, because anxiety is really too much, at least I feel that there is no shortage of anxiety. , And then some popular nouns, such as PUA and involution, all reflect a kind of anxiety phenomenon.

What I do now is the same as yours in two points. One is to sell hope, and the other is human-based mental activity and brain science, which is brain physiology. It has a brain-physiological basis. What is it? Such things can give people positive feedback, whether it is from the psychological level or from the material level. Like you just said about smoking and drinking, this is actually a physical change that causes you to change your physiology, giving you a relatively positive feedback. Then the input of some information gives you hope and gives you some positive stimulation, which will make you better psychologically, and then feedback to feel better physically.

Of course, there are some behaviors, including things like lottery tickets and two dollars of dopamine. If you say it is expensive, I think it is not expensive. So I don’t know if you agree with me, that is, selling hope now is more promising than selling anxiety. At least this is the case in China, but I don’t know if it is the same in foreign countries.

Cui: I very much agree with this point of view. In fact, everyone has done a lot of selling anxiety, or they are selling anxiety, in essence, they are selling for the hope of making money. No one will say that they only do traffic, and then no matter what they realize. , He often provides a positive solution after selling anxiety.

In the end, speaking from a funnel of commercial realization, we still have to realize the realization through hope. It is ultimately a realization link, and in my opinion, hope is a bigger market.

I just made an analogy. Tobacco and alcohol are typical trillion-level national businesses. Another example is coffee. I would also think of coffee as an industry that sells hope. Of course so are lotteries, and so are games. They are both ways to change people’s physiological activities and brain structure, and to sell hope.

My understanding of the business model of selling hope is that I think it is common to all mankind. It does not distinguish age, race, or gender. Everyone just has different demands. In the end, it is the problem caused by our genes, or that is. Genes have caused some changes in the structure of the brain, so we continue to need to fill this hole, causing us to pay for it.

Me: Does anyone sell anxiety in India?

Cui: In overseas, there are also some products that sell anxiety, such as fitness products, and the kind of k12 cram school products in India, which are also typical of anxiety products, which are more similar to those in China. But fortunately, India itself is a religious country. Religions have been sold offline for thousands of years. Therefore, his industry is relatively mature and relatively large.

Me: And the negative stimulus in real life of Indians, such as suffering, poverty, and disease, seems to be enough, and there is no need to spend additional anxiety, just give him hope, is it all right, or give him Have fun, dance and sing, or watch cricket to let him release the pressure.

Cui: I think India has a religious culture, so most people are relatively peaceful. We only talk about individuals.

In religious countries, many people have religious sustenance, especially Hinduism. In Hinduism, it has three core doctrines, such as the cultivation of the afterlife, the caste system, and causal reincarnation. I believe that there will be an afterlife, so even if many people are poor and painful, he can still bear it. This also allows India, such a fragmented society, to be able to stabilize and the country to exist.

Many poor or lower-middle-class people in India feel that he has tolerated the pain of the present and the world for the purpose of cultivating the afterlife, so he may be more tolerant of anxiety because he has spiritual sustenance.

Me: But it’s too painful, so I need another hope, right?

Cui: Yes.

Me: So whether it’s caste or religion, India will give people a hint that your bad luck is arranged, not because you have done something wrong, because the matter is arranged, there is no way, are you happy? Happy is the same. So don’t think too much, it’s almost enough, don’t complain about anything, is it a bit like this?

Cui: To a certain extent, I am quite envious of people with religious beliefs, especially from India. I have gained such a recognition that he has sustenance in his heart and he can continuously gain power in his heart, although this power is Many of their gods gave him. He has a story in his heart. We call it a story line. Tell you why you are suffering now? Why are you doing this now? What will happen to you in the future?

Religion can answer the ultimate questions in philosophy, as long as you believe in him. But as mainland Chinese, our childhood education tells you that materialism is right and idealism is wrong, so we never thought that there is another way and another power can be found.

Including us in the United States, we have seen the same situation in Southeast Asia. A technologically advanced country like the United States is actually a religious country. The mainstream of the United States is still a Christian country. They still believe that there are still people in this world who will give him strength or comfort.

Me: India is said to have a lot of gods, and gods are also decentralized. You think this god is not suitable. Anyway, there is always a god that will suit you. According to my limited knowledge and understanding, the gods of Christianity and Catholicism are relatively single, and Buddhism is much better. Buddhism has many bodhisattvas. The twelve zodiac signs can correspond to bodhisattvas, but it seems that the number of bodhisattvas you can choose is less. Some, and Hinduism makes people feel that the gods and Buddhas are full of gods, just like opening blind boxes, so that everyone can pick their gods.

And they also have a complete timeline storyline, and they also have a complete view of the universe, explaining how these gods and Buddhas have evolved and how they are related to each other, similar to Chinese myths and stories. It’s just that we listen to the mythology and the story is over, and the children fall asleep after listening, they will still penetrate into their lives, and the three views that guide them will penetrate more thoroughly.

Cui: Yes, I think I have tried for a long time before substituting into the Indian way of thinking.

For example, in our shared offices in India, he will put a ganesha at the door, the Sanskrit name गणेश (Gaṇeśa) . You may have seen a god with an elephant nose in India, that’s it.

I wonder if the startup teams of these technology companies also believe this? But they believe it. In fact, after thinking about it, it is the same as putting a god of wealth at the door, which brings good luck. Those well-educated technology companies don’t care about big companies and small companies. Those people feel that they deserve it. Every day at work, they have to touch the feet of the ganesha to bring good luck. If you ask him if he believes in religion, he says He doesn’t believe it, but religion is everywhere in his life. This is a kind of subconscious penetration of religion into the country.

Me: Since this is the case, you, as an outsider, do you have any experience or challenges when you build such a platform to serve their cultural soil, and are there any difficulties that can be overcome through a process?

Cui: In this business, overseas astrology, divination and occult business, I have one advantage and one disadvantage.

Let me talk about the advantages first. My advantage comes from my own interest in some occult things. I study meditation myself, I also study yoga, I also study brain science and psychology myself. I am essentially trying to understand why we humans encounter many problems in our lives.

For example, if I go to learn meditation, I finally understand meditation in the way of brain science. I think it is ultimately a change of the brain, or a kind of training.

Because I have some experience and some background, I have a higher acceptance of some counter-intuitive things, and I will not easily deny them.

It’s like I believe in data and science very much, but I think I can listen to and take a look at things that I can’t understand. This is my advantage, that is, I have a higher degree of openness. But my disadvantage is also obvious, that is, I am too logical, believe too much in data, and believe too much in science.

I joked to others that our astrological platform is data-driven. Our entire team from the Indian team to the Beijing team is data-driven. Our assessment of astrologers is entirely based on data. So the paradox is here. I still believe in the data, and I still believe in things that science can explain. This may in a sense limit my current views on many decisions.

I will forcefully think that it is a psychological counseling service that data can definitely explain. Then some friends will challenge me and say, if someone in this world really knows the fate of others, why can’t you believe this and make me dumb Speechless. I may have to grow up for a long time.

Me: I have also come into contact with the Eight Characters of the Book of Changes in China. Because of the Zhou Yi set of things, relatively speaking, its entire concept is still relatively complete.

One characteristic I found is that their main business model is not to consult with individuals. They will either face the company or the big boss because the customer unit price is relatively high; or they will do training, open up their branches, and then start a sect, get a bunch of apprentices and grandchildren, their influence will expand rapidly, and the unit price of training is obviously Higher than personal consultation. Individuals have thousands of dollars an hour at the end, and a bunch of people can save up for training, and then a few classes will cost tens of thousands of dollars per person. This kind of customer unit price is also higher.

But this theory is not logically self-consistent. On the one hand, according to your Bazi analysis, the accuracy is actually not bad. I understand that these things are ancient big data, whether it is Chinese and foreign occultism, if you want to give him a scientific explanation.

But on the other hand, they can’t explain one of my most basic problems, that is, there can be many people with the same horoscope. It has some permutations and combinations, like lottery tickets, but it is limited and can be exhaustively listed. The horoscopes are the same With so many people, is their destiny the same?

Then the master over there said differently, because there are still many external factors. Isn’t this abolished? There must be many external factors in one’s life, including encountering many different people, and they interact with each other. So there are too many variables in it, leading to your original seemingly deterministic, given result, because there are many random numbers in it, and then the whole algorithm is messed up.

Therefore, this matter is not a rigorous science that can be verified by experiments. At present, it can only stay in the so-called ancient big data. The accumulation of some laws based on observations by the ancients is like 24 solar terms. It is enough to guide farming, which is also very good. of.

Like these horoscopes, divination, I Ching, etc., a person’s life needs to be guided is limited after all. If you use it to guide a country or an enterprise, I think it is a bit of a joke, because there are too many variables. A person’s variables are relatively small and relatively controllable. Whether it is used to give him hope or to give him guidance, is it enough? I don’t know if you have something like this from an astrological point of view. Experience? I have only been in contact with Bazi, and I have never been in contact with astrology.

Cui: Because I myself am also a Tarot fortuneteller. I learned Tarot at an overseas institution and I have an elementary qualification certificate. As a person who believes in science and logic, I learned Tarot again. , I just want to know what kind of logic he is.

There are different genres all over the world. In China, there are things like Feng Shui, I Ching, and Bagua. In India, there are also ancient Indian Vedic horoscopes. In the West, there are Western horoscopes. We call modern horoscopes western astrology, and tarots. Some schools of esoterics have a lot of business of occultism. What is palmistry and face-to-face, but what is its ultimate logic?

After I went to learn Tarot myself, my experience is that, firstly, it is a psychological consultation and emotional consultation, which I have just shared.

The second perception is that it is actually a big data system, which is quite interesting. I have also engaged in some recommended content strategies in Kuaishou before. What is a typical feature of a recommendation system? It has a set of algorithms, and then there is a fixed input followed by a fixed output, but there is still a difference between the fixed output and the final display.

Let me give you an example, such as Western astrology. I suspect that the eight characters are the same as fortune-telling. You have a fixed birth date. Just enter it and you will get a specific horoscope or horoscope. But every fortuneteller’s interpretation is different. According to his experience, according to his own subjective feelings at the time, the interpretation is actually different.

Just now you also said that if your Bazi is a fixed thing, why did you really find a different master? There must be some differences in what he said, or even the opposite. You are going to ask the master why, the master will finally tell you impatiently, saying that my skill is different.

At the core, the algorithm is certain, but the right to explain lies in the fortuneteller’s personal experience and his emotional intelligence. How can he tell a story of his own? It makes you feel confident, powerful, and good. , He understands you, this is actually some abilities acquired. Whether we call it emotional intelligence, or people skills, or sales skills, this is something that astrologers need to continue to practice the day after tomorrow. In fact, you only need to calculate the things in the astrolabe, including a lot of software.

Me: So it seems that the short video recommendation algorithm is better. You don’t need to meet you to know what you like. The master also needs to meet you face to face. He needs to face-to-face for many of these Bazis in the Book of Changes. He does not do remote interpretation. This may also be the reason. It needs to continuously strengthen your positive feedback based on some real-time feedback from you.

For example, if you say a certain point, you are very happy, he says hey, right? Is that right? He needs to find the positive cycle.

Cui: If we do it overseas, we will do video live broadcast, we will not do audio live broadcast. The test is mainly voice live broadcast. My own understanding is that because of the process of building trust between people, it is actually efficient to see the other person’s face. This is the most human nature, why do you say? Evolutionary psychology may have to explain this. Why do I need to see the other person’s face to trust a person? Why don’t you send emails to communicate? The efficiency of sending emails seems to be very low.

This is an ability that humans have evolved over the past tens of thousands of years, which is to obtain a lot of information outside of the text through the other’s expression, attitude, and tone, so as to build trust, transmit trust, and transmit information.

So we do live video streaming. I think if we want to talk about it online, live video streaming is a kind of scene closest to the opposite of human beings online, a kind of simulation, just like the state of the two of us now, we call it The face to face of real time is better and easier to generate trust with users and convey emotions. In essence, I understand it as an emotional consulting service.

Me: Sometimes it’s okay for everyone. Even when there was only a phone before, you could make a phone call to make it clear, but you must meet each other, so you still need to travel. Otherwise, in theory, since the telephone and telegraph express delivery of these things, people can not travel, but why do people still have to travel? Except for some engineering situations where you have to go to the scene to operate, many business negotiations need to meet, or because people essentially need to see your face, or even see your face face to face, in order to establish trust.

There is a difference in the amount of information between seeing a face and not seeing it, just like if we have a voice connection, it is difficult to avoid saying that there is a rush or that we cannot get emotionally. After meeting, this kind of authenticity can also strengthen people’s confidence and trust. So live video streaming may indeed be the best way to communicate close to meeting at the moment.

(To be continued)

Judge: senior product manager, author of “Product Awakening”, WeChat public account : old driver of judge (ID: panguansays)

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/what-is-the-experience-of-going-to-sea-to-sell-hope-dialogue-with-entrepreneurs-of-mysticism-part-1/
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