Business of Passion, Reality of Profit: What Aspiring Entrepreneurs Need to Know About Passion

People have many reasons for taking a chance on their business ideas, but if you look for commonality, it’s the passionate desire to build, regardless. Entrepreneurs are always doing something they want or something that will get them what they want. Still, the desire by itself is insufficient. What distinguishes them from dreamers is that they act and they persist.

WHAT does a professional human translator do by Marita Supa lgbtq entrepreneurs lesbian business startup owner lgbt founders global networking community online OutBuro

What Does a Professional (Human) Translator Do?

A translator is someone who converts the written word from one language to another. The most important requirement is that they be fluent in English and at least one other language. A translator is a specialist in more than one field, from basic ones like greetings to scientific, more complicated like nuclear engineering. To be a translator from one language to another, a person has to learn all the time. There are always new things that a translator can learn. Translators have help in CAT tools and machine translating software. Although artificial intelligence translation tools have made significant advances in the past few years, they are not without error and some of those errors could be costly making your business or project look unprofessional and miss opportunities.

Machine Only Translation Blunders

For example, taking one language and doing a strictly literal translation can sometimes create near comical results is using only AI tools and/or a translator not proficient in the common everyday use of the language with all the nuances. Take for instance messages you receive on LinkedIn or in your email. You have likely received a message recently here in 2020 with an introduction of “My Dearest….” or even “My Darling”. No American or any native English speaker anywhere today starts off a business communication like that – Full Stop Period. That is unless you are trying to sound like a 1940’s romance novel. Today it frankly sound creepy and is 99.99% sure to be SPAM. It wreaks of SPAM signals that will get your site, profile and email blocked.

If your business depends on foreign markets you should, NO, you MUST use a professional human translator who is fluent in your target audience’s language. Else, you are losing opportunities by not being viewed as credible.

What kinds of projects might you use a translator for?

  • Website text
  • Blog text
  • Video/movie subtitles
  • Print material text
  • SEO localization
  • Whitepaper text
  • Articles and Press Release text
  • Speech/Industry Talks translation
  • Client/customer templates messages such as prospecting and support
  • Any form of communication
christina wocintechchat com EkeThvO9VfM unsplash
Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash

What tools do professional translators use?

Most professional translators use some type of translation memory software, often called TM. The term Computer Assisted Translation is also used.

These programs compare each sentence in the text with previously translated sentences and phrases, to generate a possible translation. Then the human translator modifies this translation as needed.
There are many advantages to this. Mainly, the translator does not have to retranslate stock phrases or common terminology over and over again. They also have features to check for accuracy in numbers, or that a translator has translated certain terms consistently throughout the entire document. Many Programs today also let the translator send a phrase or sentence to be translated by an outside source, for example, a TM server run by an agency, or a machine translation service such as Google Translate.

There are several companies that offer the software and they all do more or less the same thing. They each have strengths and weaknesses. Some are more expensive and have more features. Some software is better suited for people working on very large projects that cannot be accomplished by one translator in the given time. The one I use is most suited for an individual freelance translator.
All of them should be used only by a translator. In fact, I believe it is much better for a translator to work without such a program, at least in the beginning, and then use the program only once they have learned the basics of translation.

Translators in some fields, such as marketing, sales catalogs, etc. don’t like to use TM. They say that it inhibits their creativity, and the result will sound too much like a translation.
Another type of translation that is growing is the post-editing of machine translation. In this method, a machine translation program is used to generate a first draft. Then a human translator revises it. The machine translations are getting better, but for now, most individual translators do not like to do this work. It’s usually not as interesting and some translators find that machine produced translations have strange and annoying errors in them. Also, the client in those cases often does not pay the translator as much. But the software is getting better, and most of us will be doing something along those lines in the future.

Quote by: Steven Marzuola

What are the different types of language translators?

Three main types of translation are human translation, machine translation, and post-edited machine translation. So you can call a person or a computer translator. And if it’s the former, you can distinguish translators based on what type of translation they specialize in.

So some distinguish between literary (prose, poetry, plays) and informative (scientific, technical, newspapers, documents etc) translation, on the one hand, and between written and oral translation (or interpretation), on the other hand. So there are interpreters and translators, and translators could be grouped into literary translators, science translators, technical translators and so on (the grouping is based on what kinds of works a translator translates).

And also there are two different types of interpreting: consecutive interpreting (the interpreter speaks after the source-language speaker has finished speaking) and simultaneous interpretation (the interpreter translates the message in the target-language as quickly as he or she can formulate it from the source language, while the source-language speaker continuously speaks).
Also, you can distinguish between intralingual translation (translation within the same language, which can involve rewording or paraphrase), interlingual translation (translation from one language to another), and intersemiotic translation (translation of the verbal sign by a non-verbal sign, for example, music or image). So you can say there are intralingual translators, interlingual translators, and intersemiotic translators.

Quote by: Darla Rogers

OutBuro Voices Interview Matthew French Awesomely Authentic Career Coach Educational College Prep Diversity Inclusion Consulting LGBT Professionals Gay Entrepreneurs LGBTQ Student Univerity Choices

Matthew French: Career Coach, College Prep, & Diversity Inclusion Consulting

In this episode of OutBüro Voices featuring LGBTQ professionals, entrepreneurs, and community leaders from around the world, host Dennis Velco chats without entrepreneur Matthew French.

OutBuro Voices Interview Matthew French Awesomely Authentic Career Coach Educational College Prep Diversity Inclusion Consulting LGBT Professionals Gay Entrepreneurs LGBTQ Students University

Matthew French (He/Him/His) is the Founder and ‘90s-nostalgic brain behind Awesomely Authentic, a career-coaching, and inclusion organization that focuses on the unique experiences of LGBTQ+ people as they navigate the milestones of choosing a college to attend, searching for that perfect job, or making your company more inclusive. 

Matthew French on OutBüro

With ten years of experience working with the LGBTQ+ community, eight years of professional career coaching, and a love of the ‘90s, he has blended all of these aspects together to create an authentically high-energy tailored experience to each client in order to help them reach their professional and career goals. 

Why the ‘90s, you ask? This was an era of aberrance, vibrant colors, and animated cartoons that have influenced the way Awesomely Authentic operates. The search for a college, internship, job, or even tackling your D&I Initiatives can be daunting, but we believe that ‘90s-era fun can be achieved along the way! 

To connect with Matthew find him on OutBüro here.

Join me and Matthew on OutBüro, the LGBTQ professional and entrepreneur online community network for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, allies and our employers who support LGBTQ welcoming workplace equality focused benefits, policies, and business practices.

Would you like to be featured like this? Contact the host Dennis Velco.

Conversation Transcript

The below was created through voice to text recognition. We will strive to edit for accuracy as time permits. It may not be perfect. It is being provided for the hearing impaired to still enjoy the interview. Currently full interview not present.

Unknown Speaker 0:11
Hi there this is Dennis belko without bureau that’s o UT a bu r Thank you so much for tuning in to this week’s episode. We are trying the videos. Once again we did do a video with Celia Daniels and then just did audios. We’re going to be trying to do more videos as we move forward and extracting that audio for the podcast. on any of the episodes shows. If you’re wondering where to find this on any of the episode shows or the out bureau comm name pad podcast page, simply check out just just right under the main headings. You will see three bars that are in gray and one will say where to listen and follow this podcast. We are on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google podcast, and many others. Please follow us on your favorite application today. And at any time you can come to the out your episode page to view the full video interviews like we’re doing today with the fantastic fantastic and fun today. Matthew French. Matthew, welcome to the show.

Unknown Speaker 1:27
Thank you so much for having me, Dennis. I’m super stoked to be here. I really appreciate I’ve given to have some time to chat.

Unknown Speaker 1:34
Awesome, awesome and look at that funding background that we have for Matthew and that is because his a company that is called awesomely authentic and where he is a career coach to students as well as professionals throughout their entire career from entry level such as students entering into the career marketplace. mid career and even senior career professionals. He helps you focus on your career and communicating what you have achieved and the value proposition that you have for prospective employers. So very pertinent to not only our out bureau on LinkedIn group where we have over currently 46, nearly 46 and a half thousand global members, but our site is out focusing on the LGBT professional and entrepreneurs. So as an entrepreneur who is also focusing on the career space, thank you so much for joining us, Matthew, again, and if you could please let’s start out by giving a little bit of kind of your career background and bringing you up to today which will pivot but give us a little bit of background as to your education, your background, and How that has begun to lead you into the direction that you are now taking as a as I believe you’re more of a startup, and but you have a long history, which has given you the foundation for this new startup. So give us some info.

Unknown Speaker 3:18
Sure. Yeah. So, I mean, I feel like with a lot of people and Career Services, so that’s where a lot of my background comes from. I went to Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, from a small town in Virginia, called Pocahontas, Virginia, so you should totally check it out. It’s very small. If you want to ride four wheelers or something in the woods, that’s a great place to go. Then I went to Old Dominion, did an undergraduate in communications, got really involved in the queer community during that time working in student orgs being a part of Hampton Roads LGBT Center, and then I was a column undergrad, so I was not sure what to do with that degree. I had dabbled in the world of entertainment through being a casting director. And that just, it just didn’t fill up my cup, you know. And so I decided to go to grad school. And I went to grad school at Old Dominion University where I focused on lifespan and digital communication, and specifically LGBT identities around fan communities. So around superheroes, and then I also focused on LGBT identities, and how they focused around technologies like using technology to stay connected and specifically looking at apps like Grindr. But during grad school, I got connected to my career center. I was like, cool, I get to plan events. I get to help students, I get to reach out to employers, this will be fun. And so I did that and that really led me on my whole career path of helping others demonstrate communicate their value to employers and how to best kind of demonstrate that not only to employees, what’s been said I feel like a lot of the people I work with really undervalue their skill sets. It’s Yeah, it’s an interesting world when you’re talking to people about their skills and their experiences and how they can utilize those. So working with students at Marymount Manhattan college was my first job out of grad school up in New York City in the Upper East Side, small liberal arts school about 2000 students mostly Performing Arts, some business and then I switched over to UNC Charlotte about five years ago, where I did career advising mostly for again liberal arts and science arts Media Design, and focusing in on an industry of arts media and design. So helping communicate everything from engineering, to communications to business if you want to work with Disney, you fall under my under my roof. So I would talk with those students about how to best frame their experiences for that particular industry and continually through all of them staying engaged with the LGBTQ community through different ways. And once COVID hit, you know, I just had a lot of outreach from people a lot of help was needed. And through leadership that I have and mentors that I’ve had, they really encouraged me to, you know, start my own consulting to help queer people find the spaces where they could flourish. Because I’m a big believer, I’m weird. And I think everyone has that right to be as weird or not weird as they want to be in their job to be as authentic as they can. So I love to keep it fun and funky and fresh and just kind of pulling from the 90s vibe of like bright colors to really set that tone or getting that professional experience started. Gotcha.

Unknown Speaker 6:46
And so you know, sometimes it’s it’s really hard for people to break through the noise. You know, when you’re looking at resume after resume or you know, once you’ve passed that article Official intelligence span and you’re getting to that human. Yeah, um, you know, having having your resume look really polished. Uh, but having that that spin having that that color palette that layout, that main headline and so forth. That speaks to the professional side, but also just has that poppin wow factor. Yeah, that that grabs that attention. I think that’s really important. And from what I seen, it seems like that’s something that you focus on, on bringing out the personalities of the people as well.

Unknown Speaker 7:35
Totally. Yeah. So this is like a fun little tidbit that I always encourage people to do is one way when you’re figuring out your brand and how you’re going to look to employers. A lot of times people are just like, I don’t know where to start with that. So the best way to start is start with yourself and thinking about what are maybe three brands that you love, that you use a lot you like what they’re doing, and the World, anything like that. And then once you have those three brands, go through their Instagram, go through their website, look at their logos, see what colors they have and which ones speak to you. And you’ll usually see common themes around colors, texts, shapes, that you can then kind of take and metamorphosize into your own personal brand that you can then use on your resume that bleeds over into your LinkedIn. If you have your own website, it can bleed over to there, it can bleed over out Bureau, it’s really about creating a consistent narrative about who you are, and letting that be the authentic self so that way employers are like, you come to life for me, you’re more than just a resume I understand you are based off of just looking at the tones and textures across all these platforms.

Unknown Speaker 8:45
Now, you know, I completely agree and that, you know, you you know, as a professional, you really do need to set your your own brand out there. And interestingly forget his name off the top of my head. But there is a person in my LinkedIn connections and he’s also in the group and I wish I could pull his name up right now, but he’s a realtor in the US and Canada, I forget which it’s not one of the main cities are popping into my head. But what was really interesting is as a realtor, he has he he has these small video monologues. And he talks about connecting with his, you know, audience and one video that he did literally just a week ago, already has, like over 250 likes over 100 comments. And, and well, I even commented to him I’m, you know, I rarely reach out and go beyond the purely professional realm but because we’re connected and we’ve had a little bit of dialogue in the past He was questioning whether he should or someone else was questioned whether he should still be doing it and what purpose of it is it and so forth and he’s like, this is my brand. This is what I’m doing. And I actually messaged him I said, Oh, keep it up handsome.

Unknown Speaker 10:15
They’re also love your background, they just got a Danish modern

Unknown Speaker 10:22
bookcase behind and so forth. But, you know, even when looking for a job, what I recommend for for people to do is you know, whether that’s on LinkedIn and hopefully you’re also creating your brand on out o ut Is I constantly invite people to no matter what field they’re in, to begin writing and publishing articles even if that’s just one or two or three articles about their knowledge their take on the industry, their take on the technology whatever that happens to be, so that in addition to a professional profile, which is indexed and searched, and so forth, and people can find you, and when employers do then find you on that side, they know you identify and are an ally with the LGBT community, which you know, is diversity and inclusion recruiting. But then, as they see those articles that are also being posted, they see, oh, not only did they go to this school and have this degree and have this bit of, you know, professional education, look, there are so look at these articles that they’ve written in and around that topic. This is the kind of person that we want to hire someone who seems very comfortable in their knowledge and their ability to communicate that knowledge because you know, today, in today’s time, it’s very important to not only have the technical skills, but Have those soft skills as well. And being able to communicate, you know, your knowledge and taking complex ideas and theories and so forth and bringing them down into a, whether that’s a video conversation. And of course, you can also post videos on the site, but adore articles that demonstrates that you thoroughly understand your topic. And it’s going to make those employers go, Wow, that’s a really interesting person. I liked the content that they produced these few articles that really has helped set them apart in my mind.

Unknown Speaker 12:38
When value added its value added, right? It’s if you’re able to speak and demonstrate that you’re up on the industry standards. And you’re also able to, again, like you said, communicate those things. Employers are always looking for more tidbits again, to give them a more full picture of your narrative and who you are as a brand. So if you’re able to write those things, out, you know, I have to admit, I am not the best writer, but you put me on a video and I am there for it. So I already like on my website, I know writing isn’t my strong suit. It’s not something I really enjoy. But I really love doing vlogs. So I used transition line from a blog to a vlog because it’s working to my skills and my strengths, but it’s also a part of the brand, you know, right excitement, you know, and it’s trying to get that out there. And that’s what people have to think about. When you’re thinking about your brand. You’re thinking about how employers are going to perceive you. It’s always important to think about what is this demonstrating as a skill set, right? What is it demonstrating that you’re good at public speaking is demonstrating that you’re detail oriented, because the one thing especially disoriented, I cannot tell you how many people I’ve put, I’m detail oriented, and then they have a misspelling in the resume. So it’s like actually demonstrating those skill sets at work. It also gives you work samples, things you can add your portfolio. It’s it. Again, it’s all about giving the employer more information. On the upfront, because that will also help if employers are searching for you. Right? If you’re on LinkedIn and out Bureau and you have your own website, the likelihood of them digging in then and going for let’s say, your Instagram or your Facebook, maybe places you don’t want them to see as much of that’s less likely because they’ve already gotten enough to understand you as a professional from the things that you’ve already put out there that you are controlling.

Unknown Speaker 14:23
Well, speaking of those other apps, I will say on out bureau comm I’ve written twice, one article on security and privacy for the LGBT professional and it’s all about, you know, locking your locking your stuff down. And one of the things in a couple of articles that I’ve written is, you know, you know, just be very, very cautious and think really hard about the kinds of things that you post on any platform because once posted you may it’s never gone and you may think that Oh, I’ve deleted it from Facebook so therefore it doesn’t exist ball shit. It’s still out there it’s still on those servers because just because you delete something does not mean it’s truly deleted. And you know when you think about even those those apps like you mentioned Grindr, okay. One there’s also I’ve written about and people can Google This is that you know, the US government has warned about that and tick tock that they could be security issues because they share so much information with marketers and so forth. And and going to a point to is, you know, just, you know, when you think you’re in that one on one conversation with that hot stud, and you’re sending those picks up, know that that can be screen captured. Hello very easily. And used tomorrow against you or us at any point in the future against you. So just be very, very cautious of everyone be very, very cautious about, you know, what you send on any platform. And of course, yeah, and of course on out Bureau, it’s only professionally oriented content, no hot torsos shots, love them from my boys on Facebook. But you know, it’s it’s not appropriate for the workspace.

Unknown Speaker 16:32
So but it’s actually a good point. I would like to touch on that a little bit because it is a different aspect than what

Unknown Speaker 16:38
professional career counselors sometimes have to deal with. When you’re coming from the queer community. We’ve created our own spaces where we’re safe, right? So whether that be a drive bar or LGBTQ center, or you know, it used to be a lot of like Craigslist or you know those types of areas, being aware of your friends. And and how those things can come back to you. So having those conversations around, I do with clients, you know, quite a bit of saying like, what platforms do you use, like be aware that you’re you’re currently around people who are seeing you. So if you don’t want to be out of work, or you want to come out on your own terms that could hurt you. If someone works that institution or works at that company, and they’re on Grindr, or one of the apps, right, so it’s being aware that those things can come to you and being aware like, on your Instagram, I believe me, if I had a six pack, I would show it off as well. But what does that communicate to an employer if most of your shots tend to be of yourself? Barely close in some instances, and a lot of employers I’ve spoke with because, you know, I’ve worked with 2000 plus employers now from across industries. And the thing that they say consistently, especially around millennials, and Gen Z, below millennials is that what they worry about with us the most is that we are self serving and self obsessive. And so I’ve had employers tell me that if someone on their Instagram has too many selfies, that’s a red flag for them, because they really, they’re self centered, and they worry about their team. workability so it’s being aware of like, what does that communicate to you?

Unknown Speaker 18:17
Interesting, interesting. Okay. So it needs to be more group photos.

Unknown Speaker 18:24
From a dog in there, if you got a pop, like, you know, take a picture of some flowers, I don’t know, but it’s really thinking through like that brand. And I’m always very cautious. Actually, I don’t want to I’m cautious. I’m cognizant that you know, I everything I post is going to be seen by someone and you know, even sometimes adding in that little blurb if you’re currently working, like views are my own right because there are a lot of employers are cracking down on you’re not allowed a certain amount of social media. I know of employers in higher ranking government offices where they will actually sit down with you and want to go through all of your private messages on Facebook and Instagram. So yeah, it’s a lot so you just got to be aware that’s the whole that’s really is just like awareness building you know?

Unknown Speaker 19:08
Right right yeah especially in the government entities if you’re going for any level of security clearance you you depends on what you post yeah it can be done you can be over so so so so word of caution for everyone lock your stuff down and keep it clean if you need to go back and do your best yes it will still be out there on servers but not publicly visible. I for one my Facebook is is is locked down only people who are connected with me see what I post but what I post is very simple. Yes, I do go hiking and I occasionally post a hiking picture. But, but I don’t post a lot. Nothing like I do on LinkedIn. You know like once or twice A week on Facebook. And that’s it. So, anyhow, folks heed the warning from a career coaching professional. Be aware, read the articles on out bureau about privacy, and just, you know, take that into mind. So one of the other things that when we had our first conversation a minute ago or so, is, you know, the the concept of, you know, should you be out on your resume, since you’re focusing a lot of your attention, although not exclusively on the LGBT community? Could you talk a little bit about, you know, being out having indicators on your resume that you’re part of the LGBT community and what you have seen in and around that?

Unknown Speaker 20:45
Sure. So the first question I always ask is, where are you at and where do you want to? How open Do you want to be at your place of work? My boyfriend is a perfect example. He is an occupational therapist at a retirement community org working with a lot more elderly So, and he’s not really been involved in the queer community. But in his instance, like he feels more comfortable, like that’s his work life. And then this is his home life. A couple people were no but not he’s not something he’s out about. Whereas me, on the other hand, I am, like, everyone knows that I’m involved in queer things on campus. I’m involved in queer things in the community. So it’s really deciding for yourself, how out do you want to be? And then we work from there. So I let’s take example. And this is when we talked about was it let’s say you’re working at an LGBT Center or you volunteered in the LGBT Center, right? You’re learning a lot of awesome skills there. You can work learn things about communication, working with people during crises, doing programming, building networks, all of those awesome things that you can bring to a company. Now if you’re thinking about, you know, I want to be out on my resume. Those are great little signifiers to just demonstrate that you’re queer or an ally. So you can definitely then focus on those skills. But if you’re being thinking, well, I don’t know, if I want to come right out like that, you could say that you’re part of a community service organization. And then you focus on those skill sets, because those skill sets are the majority and the chunk that matters. But where it really changes up is you got to think past the resume too. You have to think past resume and think I’m going to have to go into an interview. Do I want to bring my significant other to the holiday party? Do I want to have a picture of them on my best? Those are all things you have to think through. And it’s hard to think through that on your own, especially if you’re going into particular industries or sections, or you’re at different hiring levels. These are all things you want to take into account. I mean, my personal perspective is the biggest thing that matters are the skill sets that you’re learning there. And that’s what we want to always communicate right. So I’ve definitely seen a wide array and this goes for everything likes, people who have things like around religion on their resume, party affiliations, anything like that, and there are some employers that I always say get a little iffy if something SJW like social justice warrior comes up in there. They get nervous because they’re like, oh, are they going to cause us think about something? Right? And then the thing, is that a place that I want to be, you know, right, right, it’s okay for you to interview the employer and decide if that’s a good place for you to be. And professionally and personally.

Unknown Speaker 23:29
Right. Well, I think that that’s a good point there. And it’s, uh, you know, especially in today’s time, you know, you have to make those personal decisions. And I have, you know, been in a LinkedIn group that I’ve had people say, you know, the well because also their career paths and there, they have none of their skill set has come from working with LGBT organizations and therefore, they you know, was was not pertinent to their Rear. And you know, so people have been like, well, it adds no value. So why would I put that? Well, of course, but there’s also people who have, you know, there’s very some very wonderful large LGBT focused organizations that, you know, have 50 100 600 employees, and you could be working in their IT department for several years, and maybe you’ve done some amazing things within that organization and you work there for three or four years and now transitioning to a different job and, you know, putting that skill set is very pertinent and, you know, having the, the having it on your resume, it’s, it’s, you know, everyone has their own personal journey and their own personal comfort level. You know, some people are again, like, well, it has no pertinence. I’m, you know, this is my career, and I just Treat it as a non issue and it’s nobody’s business what I do at home, and then other people are like, you know, no, I want to make sure that that they’re going to accept me and my full rainbow self and if they don’t screw them because I don’t want to go to work for someone who’s not going to accept me at all. I’m like fabulousness. Right, exactly, you know, everyone is on their own spectrum. And and so there’s no right or wrong answer to that question. It’s for you to answer for your individual self with you and your individual career path. And, you know, maybe for your career, you need to work for period at a homophobic organization, just because you want that skill set that they are going to offer for a year or two, but you know, it’s going to be like, Alright, I’m going to walk in there. I’m going to keep my head down. I’m going to get that on my resume, then I’m going to be like, you, bye bye. Next. I mean, I’ve had people talk about that too, like they knew that they were walking into an extremely homophobic environment, but they knew they were going to injure that just to because it was the only place that they could get the particular stuff on the resume that they needed for the next jump. And I think that’s also very important when you’re looking at your career. Because I get hit with questions all the time. And I’m always looking, let’s like, Look, I’m not I’m not the professional, you know, career coach. I’m not a professional diversity and inclusion consultant, but here are the people who are FYI. So do you. But as I, as I tell people in the past, it’s like, Yeah, sometimes, you know, when you’re looking at your career, you need to think about where you’re going to be where you want to be five years from now. And look for a job and a company that’s going to give you the skills that you’re going to need for your next Next move, you know, honestly be looking at because that’s why you have to interview essentially, and assess that organization. Does it have the job, the reputation that’s that you want? And does it have the the job opportunity that’s going to take you to that next level, either within that company or another company? Because let’s face it, companies are not loyal to you. They’re only loyal to they’re only loyal to their profits. Yeah, so most work most companies are you know, like, even here in Florida, it’s worth work at will estate or at will estate, meaning that they can let you go for no calls whatsoever at any time with no recourse. So many states are like that. And as soon as and, you know, unfortunately, with the COVID, you know, we’ve seen so many people have been laid off. I mean, with cause but you know, just realize that

Unknown Speaker 28:00
Companies are not going to look out for you.

Unknown Speaker 28:04
Period, you have to look out for you. So you are the numero uno, because as soon as their profits start dipping, they’re going to say goodbye. They’re going to say, so sorry, we’re laying you off. So you need to take that into your mind. And you need to realize that it’s no longer like my dad worked for two employers his entire life, you know, it’s no longer that way. And so you have to think of strategically What does this employer add value to me? Do they have all the benefits that I want do or do they have domestic partner benefits? Do they have all the LGBT benefits and inclusivity that I can actually go to work, be proud to work there. And for those people that I know throughout my career history, is this the type of employer that I would recommend to others. And if not, again, maybe it’s a strategic move. on your part, but you know you as an LGBTQ person need to seriously think is this the kind of employer that I want to work for because and just don’t take and hopefully all of you out there will start rating your encourage and recent past employers anonymously on out bureau calm, because, uh, frankly we’ll see I’m not trying to beat folks up. I’m not I just facts, just facts sweetie. But you know when you look at the list of employers who rank 100% on the HRC Human Rights Campaign on corporate Equality Index, don’t think at all that that hundred percent score is much more than yes effort. But But mostly a lot of marketing. are many of the organizations very proud and so forth. Yes. However, don’t think that just because a corporation has achieved that Very few limited 1000 level companies who have the privilege to be on that list and paid the money to be on that list $21 million a year

Unknown Speaker 30:13
total. So it’s not cheap.

Unknown Speaker 30:17
So realize, though, that even for example, Goldman Sachs again, not trying to beat folks up, just fat, just truth and facts and news is in the news, okay, they’ve been on the list of HR C’s corporate Equality Index ranked 100% for several years, and even just this past year yet again, was was touted as one of the best places in the financial sector to work for, okay, and they just had to settle a lawsuit where someone was after eight years of working there, got a new boss, and that new boss was a homophobic asshole, and started making comments like are you doing that? Because you’re gay. Why do you have to sound so gay? And making comments like that to the point where he brought it to HR, no action was taken until it got so bad that finally guess what they hired him saying that he was not interested in his work any longer. Well, excuse me, there’s a hostile work environment where I’m constantly being berated and discriminated against and harassed for being who I am as an LGBT person. HR hasn’t taken any actions against it except to so yeah, it might it might someone’s work performance declined a little bit because they don’t feel comfortable in their workspace and they don’t feel safe. Sure, but they used that as a reason to fire that person, which is been retaliation. So there was a lawsuit in and around that. So just I’m just saying, Be aware

Unknown Speaker 31:59
that Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 32:01
like bets. And I think that’s, you know, from the Career Coach perspective, I would say if a client came to me about those issues, I always, you know, definitely talk about what are your legal protections. But the thing that a lot of us, as LGBTQ people have to sometimes take on, that we don’t always want to take on right, is the spaces that we inhabit. by us, just being there is politicized and is, is made different, right? So a lot of times what we’re what we’re charged with is when we encounter those spaces is I always encourage clients to think through like, is this a space where you want to try to make change as a space where you want to back away and again, helping them kind of think through those things. I mean, I’m an educator, I’m from education. So I’ve been a part of a lot of like LGBTQ equality things over the years. So I’m usually in the space of like, I’m going to educate and I’m going to kind of changed from within and try to find ways that I can make that change like going to people and being like, we need to start go to the LGBT RG, we need to talk about this like making making a rustle about the things that like, are not connecting, right? If they’re on the HRC Equality Index, why is this happening to me and going into many organizations, organizations don’t do not that people based on their their perceptions on diversity and inclusion. And you have to like hit those people sometimes head on. And it’s really that decision. It’s not fair that we have to take up the mantle of being an educator or an activist and our role sometimes. But it’s kind of sometimes the name of the game of thinking through and I always like to think through it as you know, as a queer person who I’m okay with speaking up, like at least if I speak up now in an organization. Hopefully that makes at least some sort of change for the future. And that’s really what it’s about is Again, a lot of you know, career coaches, sometimes we use blanket type of advice. It doesn’t work that way, with queer people. We’re all coming from such diverse backgrounds, we’re all facing different intersectionalities of our identity around race, gender, socioeconomic status, that every single instance can be handled in a different way, depending on your personal preference. And so the person that’s there like, you know, I would have definitely have, like, encouraged them, like, what resources are available there, what resources are available, you know, around the surrounding community, and how do you connect those to make do or do what you know, if you’re not if you’re not longer able to do your job, because of those types of threats and those types of feelings that someone is targeting you. I mean, I think it’s very well to like go the go the legal route. It’s something that has to be done because change a lot of times can be messy and it’s important for people Not to go into looking at an employer like all they have these ratings, and there’s a lot of different rating systems. Just because they have those ratings does not mean that everyone in that company has that perception, I think we’re able to troublesome to is if your human resources departments are not stepping in, and that’s where I’ve never been one to be like, hierarchy, right? Like, oh, I report to this manager. And so I tell them that and then they’ll go and tell that person, I am the first one, like, if my direct supervisor does not do anything, or I feel like there’s nothing being done, I’m the first one to jump over everybody, and be like, okay, we’ll just go to the head honcho, because clearly, you know, so it’s really kind of like setting up those steps. And that’s where someone like, you know, talking to local community members reaching out on LinkedIn posting about hero, that’s where you can find what are some strategies of working around a lot of these things.

Unknown Speaker 35:53
Absolutely. And, you know, I’d like to clarify been very,

Unknown Speaker 35:58
very vocal. In my writings on it, you know, get I’m not trying to beat up. It’s just news facts right? And there and there’s other other organizations that I’ve, I’ve used in my examples in the past. But, you know, the thing is, is that the the policies of a company are the intent, and also the CIA, frankly,

Unknown Speaker 36:28
to help mitigate litigation in the future.

Unknown Speaker 36:33
For example, a lot of the companies who have LGBTQ inclusive policies also have what’s called forced arbitration. Which means when you come on board as an employee, you are signing away your right to publicly sue them, which so if you get discriminated against or harassed, you cannot put forth a public lawsuit you are forced into arbitration Which doesn’t see the light of public day, it keeps it out and no, so you can’t talk about it. So that way it keeps their image from being from it being known. So those are that’s why when you when you do post on out Bureau, it’s anonymous. We know who you are, but it’s anonymous publicly, so that you can still share it also, just in case you still feel like there’s a potential issue. I actually created a catch all employer box called out bureau so that because it’s really important for those those issues to be to become known as a collective. And over time, the goal is is that that will be able to as more and more people utilize the services and input the demographics and all those kinds of things as part of their review. That will actually be be able to partner with folks like yourself And the educational side provides to statistical data through it, but but realizing, as you pointed out that, you know, these larger organizations who have these, you know, wonderful and I do applaud everyone who has them, it’s a step in the right direction. But when they have 100, you know, just using the example of 100,000 employees, as you stated, The though all of those employees when someone when an organization enacts you know, LGBT friendly policies, non discrimination policies and so forth, that doesn’t just automatically, you know, overnight, turned all 100,000 employees into your day. Yeah, right, Rainbow waving, unicorn writing, loving, magical land, right. They still have their, they still have their biases, and so forth, those lifelong learning prejudices and biases that it’s a lot to overcome. We’ve seen that on race and we’ve seen In it on sexual harassment, you know, sexual harassment has been illegal here in the United States since 1978. Every year corporations put all kinds of effort into annual training, signing off and so forth. And yet it still happens. Right? So, you know, that’s something too. So it’s not that I’m necessarily I’m not trying to beat up organizations at all, but I’m just trying to, you know, reality check. Because when I don’t want companies to think that just because they are on those corporate Equality Index lists, that we think they’re perfect, because they’re not perfect.

Unknown Speaker 39:40
The work is never done, the work is never done. When you’re dealing with these identities, our I mean, our identities, guys that are politicized and it’s it is what it is, and that’s where we’re having to work within the spectrums of like, heterosexual life daily. So it is truly self worth. Just to kind of like work through.

OutBuro Interviews - Dr Jason Behrmann - LGBT Professional Gay Entrepreneur Startup Business Leader LTGBQ Rights Activist Ethics Artificial Intelligence Marketing Strategist

Dr. Jason Behrmann – LGBTQ Technologist Artificial Intelligence & Ethics

Dr. Jason Behrman is an Out LGBTQ entrepreneur, marketing & communications professional, LGBTQ rights activist, science & technology ethics thought leader, and artificial intelligence evangelist. His entrepreneurial spirit and drive have led him to not only launch his own initiatives but also to work in several startups in the vibrant technology-driven Montreal, Canada area.  He is a marketing and communications strategist with a keen ability to distill complex concepts into approachable, informative, and engaging messages to reach target audiences. 

Dr. Jason Behrman on OutBüro

In our casual conversation, we discussed Dr. Jason’s interesting career journey and chance meeting Dr. Laura of the longest-running radio show in North America where he became and still appears monthly to discuss the intersection of sex, relationships, dating, and technology. The conversation naturally went to gay dating/hook up apps and how they protect a user’s privacy or not. From non-personal ways of detecting a user is a real human or a spammy scamming bot to well-used apps caught selling user data such as marital status and HIV status to well known and obscure marketing companies. We also discussed how users should be very cautious of the information and images shared because some other real users might attempt to use that information against you be it now or anytime in the future.

As the conversation turned to his current work as the marketing and communications director at Zetane (see below) we delved into the exciting work they are doing to make creating artificial intelligence solutions easier through a framework and highly visual interface. My comparison for those that recall the DOS operating system, the now old and cumbersome way of creating AI solution requires a deep knowledge of code to do the simplest of tasks. Then along came Apple and Windows with a user graphical interface that nearly anyone could use. Zetane is that kind of leap forward revolutionizing ease of use for non-technical team members and speeding conceptual ideas to actual results in record time.

Dr. Jason described a Zetane passion project that demonstrates the ease and power. Shortly after COVID-19 hit the world, Zetane took current data sets of known virus proteins along with known drug therapies and ask their AI engine to explore potential matches that may have a neutralizing effect on the new virus that maybe could have been overlooked by humans due to the where volume of data. The Zetane tool shortly identified a list of possible effective treatments and these are in fact therapies under medical investigation.

Dr. Jason is an enthusiastic open mind always asking the big question and paying attention to the details.

He and his husband balance their busy work lives in part through their mutual love for gardening. They not only have an extensive home garden but also participate in a community garden. They strive to grow as much of their own food as possible and enjoy hosting dinner parties where they delight in sharing their harvest with friends.

Jason on:

Jason on SexTech segments on Passion, with Dr. Laurie on CJAD800 (my monthly radio discussion about the influence of technology on love, sex, relationships, and sexuality)

Zetane Artificial Intelligence bulding block platform


Zetane provides us with an integrated platform where we can visualize 3D model representations of the inputs or outputs in the same space as the neural network. This, in addition to the platform’s explainability features, allows us to build visually compelling demos to present to technical and non-technical people alike.”

At Zetane we’re looking for passionate contributors who want to commit to a startup and make a contribution to our mission, “to drive the democratization and explainability of AI and facilitate collaboration between subject matter experts and AI specialists.”

We are developing the world’s first 3D (and 2D) Artificial Neural Network design engine and editor that runs on GPU. The Zetane Engine is on the cutting edge of AI and graphics engine development, and we regularly tackle problems where no solutions currently exist.

Our team is composed of honest, hardworking, creative, curious, and humble folks. We work hard to listen to each other first and talk second, and are overjoyed to see each other succeed. Zetane is a place where you will be technically challenged and personally supported. If that sounds like your type of place, we would love to hear from you!

Conversation Transcript

The below was created through voice to text recognition. We will strive to edit for accuracy as time permits. It may not be perfect. It is being provided for the hearing impaired to still enjoy the interview.

Unknown Speaker 0:00
Hi there. This is Dennis Velco with out Bureau and you are tuning in to the out bureau podcast where we are interviewing LGBTQ professionals, LGBT, LGBT entrepreneurs and leaders within the community. And today, we’re so pleased to have Jason Behrman, he is hailing from the long distance of Montreal, Canada. And Jason is a technologist with a deep and rich background in marketing and communications, and is currently working in the exciting field which we will be getting to the exciting field of artificial intelligence. Welcome, Jason. And thank you so much for taking time out of your busy week to chat with us today.

Unknown Speaker 0:48
Well, thank you, Dennis, for the opportunity. I know we’ve been in conversations for quite some time, a few years actually on LinkedIn and it’s just interesting how we finally have the opportunity to have this channel. Cuz it’s been a long time coming.

Unknown Speaker 1:01
Yes, absolutely. Well, it has been a minute or so since we last chatted. So Jason, if you could please give our listeners a little bit of background overview and get them up to speed then of what you’re working on.

Unknown Speaker 1:19
Oh, my gosh. So you want like a career trajectory? Is that what you’re aiming for?

Unknown Speaker 1:23
Well, just a little bit of background so people know a little bit about you. Like, for example, I know you’ve mentioned the radio show that you’ve been doing for some time. And, you know, I know you were focusing on the LGBT and so forth, maybe just a little. There’s no, we’re just a little bit of info about you.

Unknown Speaker 1:53
Okay, so in terms of me, I mean, I guess one great way you could describe me as someone who was really adaptive And so that’s pretty much been my life as being adaptive and very agile. So I started my university education in biochemistry, and I did my bachelor’s and master’s in that field. And after, like a disagreeable, I guess, challenging experience I had during my master’s, I went into my PhD in another university. So that was initially at McGill. And then I went into a French institution, University of Montreal, and I did my doctorate in biomedical sciences, but a specialization in bioethics. Wow. And then after that, I went back into McGill to do my post doctorate and ethics and health policy. After that experience, decided that I just did not want to stay in academia because it was just driving me nuts. And I kind of accidentally fell into the technology sector, as I was contemplating like what new kind of jump jumped into some new opportunity I would like to pursue. And then lo and behold, I fell into the tech entrepreneurship community here in Montreal. And I found this like dynamic group of people that were very avant garde in terms of their thinking and very extrovert and very hopeful and and so motivated and I felt that that was a better fit for someone like me who was like this really like extroverted, eccentric kind of like gay guy. It wasn’t quite working really well in that very introverted, quiet, sullen academia or laboratory environment. And so going into that, then I started, I got into a technology entrepreneurship accelerator. And that’s when I started to dabble in entrepreneurship. And from running my own company. That’s how I was able to apply all the knowledge I gained in academia from all the writing and publishing and presenting all those like hardcore communication skills. I applied that in marketing and communications. And so that’s how my career grew from there. But other than that, I do a lot of work. I’m very passionate, since a very young age about activism. And it’s like in multiple fields. I’m very passionate about the environment, for example, but also LGBTQ rights and LGBTQ health issues. And there was a bit of a focus in some of my health research back in the day. But that budding activism encouraged me to get involved in a lot of like the not not for profit sector. And so I helped initiate this one not for profit now it’s called queer tech. It was originally called queer tech Montreal. And so what we do is we try to encourage greater diversity and visibility of LGBTQ professionals in the technology sector specifically. And from that opportunity, I was their Vice President for a while and then their Vice President of Marketing and Communications I was presenting some of our work and trying to promote greater inclusion of LGBTQ professionals in in the tech sector. And that got us a presentation at a human rights conference, focusing on LGBTQ issues here in Montreal, we usually have it every year as part of our pride festivities. And lo and behold, I was just there like I was having lunch and this woman sits across from me and I started having a conversation with her like, you sound oddly familiar. And then it came out that her name is Dr. Laurie. And Dr. Laurie potato has been running a radio show. It’s like one of the longest running radio shows in North America actually now. So it’s over 20 years. Wow. And she is a sexuality and sex education activist very, very hardcore. So she’s like one of these handful of early stage pioneer people that started to talk about sexuality and sex education in general, openly to the public. So, you know, like Dr. Ruth, she was in the 80s it was like that, that pioneering woman, she was so great. And then you know, like that. Yeah, she she was like a great inspiration in my life. I love this person. And then you know, you had like Dan Savage who came as well. So these are like Pinnacle people that have really like pushed forward sex positivity in society, and also greater visibility of important issues in sexuality that most people find too taboo to ever talk about.

Unknown Speaker 6:28
And so, yeah, so I just met this person across the table. And I said to her, I go, you know, what, I remember calling you when I think I was like about 17 or 18 years old, and I was talking to you on the radio, and I was talking to your guests and expressing how much I appreciated this one teacher who went against the trend and was trying to encourage greater inclusion of LGBTQ issues in sex education in high school. And then she was like, oh, wow, that’s really great. So you know me for some time I’m like, Yeah, I definitely And then we just started talking more and more. And she’s like, Well, what do you do? And I’m like, Well, I’m a doctor of biomedical sciences. And this is all I do in the technology sector. And then she said, she goes, You know what, I’m looking for a technology expert to come on my show because she always has different kinds of people with different backgrounds that we’ll discuss. Family Law, fetishes and BDSM issues, LGBTQ issues, sexuality related to to youth sexuality related to the elderly, and she just has like these diverse kind of experts, and I just fell into becoming the sex tech guy. So I’m Dr. Jason on on passion radio passion on cjd 800 with Dr. Laurie and once a month I will come in and we will have about an hour long discussion talking about how technology influences any kind of aspect of sex, love, relationships and sexuality. And so these are some of the things I do on the side in terms of like activism. Okay, very interesting. And and I’m curious that you’re that you’re strong background in ethics and so forth. You know, having bridging ethics and technology is really critical because of course, online security and privacy issues and so forth. And have you guys had the opportunity to have those kind of discussions on on that particular show? Oh, all the time. Yes, that’s a common theme. I will talk about technology and its influence on sex, love relationships, and sexuality broadly construed. But I always make it a point to have like about 10% of the discussion about LGBTQ issues, so that it’s like representative of the populations. And so yeah, we always talk about mostly the social and ethical implications of new technologies out there. And yeah, it’s very common, I guess. If I could give a few examples related to LGBTQ issues,

Unknown Speaker 9:04
please go right ahead.

Unknown Speaker 9:07

Unknown Speaker 9:09
instead of being all doom and gloom, I’ll start on a positive note. So like one theme that is recurrent is how technology provides amazing opportunities for people to access information, and especially access information in an anonymous kind of way. And we see that these technologies, just like Internet platforms, different forms of apps and whatnot, are particularly of value to vulnerable populations and heavily stigmatized populations. So the quintessential example is LGBTQ youth in developing world nation where homophobia is rampant. You see, we see with technology today that we could access these populations now and wondrous ways and provide them with sex education that is empowering and helps protect their health and well being and it should be Essential, but given the challenges these populations face, it’s only through technology today that we are able to reach them. Right. So that’s one example of talking about social and ethical issues related to tech and sex. But there was like another really interesting issue where we were talking about dating apps. And one theme in general that I try to explain in detail to the population that listen to the population of listeners is that because we are LGBTQ there are particularities to our community and our sexuality, where technology can have a specific positive or negative influence on us that it would not necessarily have on the majority of the population that is heterosexual. And so one great example is like how dating apps have just kind of like exploded on the scene. And now it’s gotten to the point now where if you’re in the younger generation, chances are that if you have a significant other, you met them through technology You met them online, you met them through an app? Yes. And, and this is great. And it has like many, many positive influences on society. It has some negative ones, one of them being romance scams have really kind of proliferated on these new platform. Yes,

Unknown Speaker 11:17
they have.

Unknown Speaker 11:20
Yeah, it’s become like a pretty serious problem. So everybody’s aware of this. Most people who use dating apps have probably encountered an automated bot message that’s trying to get them to click on something or buy something or anything like none. Other people are just like full scale scammers, and they will try to, to win your heart over a period of several months and then try to get money out of you. Yes, I heard. So the point

Unknown Speaker 11:42
is, you know, it’s, it’s interesting. I’m a single guy and so forth. And yes, I have an app or two won’t give props to the names. But you know, I’ve had interesting experiences. It’s like when I’m a US veteran, And you know, some of those messages that come through, you know, they’re there, they have a nice looking photo, always say in their verse because they want to cover their bases. And then, you know, it’s always, oh, they’re looking for relationship. And of course, they use locations woofers to look like they’re, you know, 15 to 50 miles away often. And, again, what I have found I can typically spot those things fairly quickly again, because they’re either bots, or they’re running off of scripts and so forth. But very, very interesting. Lee just the other day. A nice photo looked like it was 50 miles or so way. And, I mean, literally, that one of the very first things was, you know, oh, I’m very interested in you. What’s your phone number? I’m like,

Unknown Speaker 12:52
Are you kidding me?

Unknown Speaker 12:56
cray cray.

Unknown Speaker 12:58
Yeah, you want to meet for coffee. So

Unknown Speaker 13:02
this example you give is, is quite typical. And in order for these dating platforms to keep like the highest quality of service for their users, they now are struggling to try to weed out all these fake accounts and malicious accounts. And so you have to do something that’s called like verification like how do you assess whether or not a person is a real person, and that this profile is legitimate. So the point I want to make here is is that the needs and the strategies we can employ to do this will not necessarily be universal, and sexuality and especially being being part of a minority group will have an influence on what strategies will work particularly well for those kind of vulnerable communities. So what we saw with Hornet, for example, was one app and they were trying to figure out a way to validate profiles using tech where people did not have to provide personal information because quite often what we will do is we’ll ask you to either prove your identity through a name, a phone number or something else that we could trace back to like a real person that you have to go through and click on and to confirm your identity. But many of these dating apps, they’ve empowered LGBTQ people throughout the world in order to meet other LGBTQ people, especially in areas where homophobia could be rampant or where being LGBTQ is illegal. And so now you’re faced with a challenge of like, Okay, how do we verify people’s accounts without outing LGBTQ people in hostile environments? And so rather than have people send in identifying information, which could be hacked, or a government could like, you know, demand that a company provide that information or whatnot, they chose to use different kinds of strategies where they can assess the movement of your mouse and also the different types of steps you take. As you Use the platform, you could find patterns that are very indicative of a human being actually using the platform versus like an automated mess, an automated system like the boss. And also you could see like how scammers that have like catfishing accounts. So these are fake accounts, quite often they will be running like multiples of them. And they’re trying to like cast a wide net to try to, you know, capture as many vulnerable people that they could scam as possible. Well, using technology, we could see these patterns. And that’s how you could identify the fake accounts from the legitimate ones. And that’s how you could give a verification signal to like an LGBTQ person’s account without having to out them. And I thought that was just like one interesting example of the intersection of tech and sexuality and how it’s particular to vulnerable minority groups like LGBTQ people in certain regions of the world. Wow. And

Unknown Speaker 15:52
that’s very innovative of them. You know, I thought that yes, being able to see you know, that the phone has had movement because a bot obviously is probably sitting on a server and sits still. And you know, if you’re accessing the same app through multiple accounts, that’s probably as as they and you have indicated is indicative of someone who’s catfishing or spamming so very interesting. And

Unknown Speaker 16:22
it’s like the dating app issue, though. It’s something that has come up repeatedly. I’ve given several expos essays on issues both good and bad about dating apps, and especially with ones related to the LGBTQ community. Some of them are fraught with a lot of controversy lately. You’re you’re American. So I think this will resonate with you, but the iconic one is like the first movers for hookup and dating apps for gay bisexual man, queer men was Grindr. And this app was highly successful and it was recently sold to a Chinese firm and they’re in Like mobile gaming and other kinds of software development. And yeah, they legitimately bought the app. And it kept growing and it kept being successful. And then all of a sudden, the American government came forward and said, Wait a minute, this could put could be like a security risk. Because you could get too much information on LGBTQ people around the world, but also maybe have like American politicians. Yeah. And that maybe some kind of Chinese firm could then use that to blackmail them or out them or whatnot. Well, so this is yes. Oh,

Unknown Speaker 17:39
yeah. Well, I actually read where, because I was warning people in the group on LinkedIn about that. And what they had found and proven was that the Grindr app and its holding company was selling information, including HIV status. And and other identical identifiable and information to marketing companies. And then those marketing companies were selling it to many, many others. And so that was one of one of the security issues that was raised by the US government. And I think since then, about six months ago at this point, which is may 30 2020, that’s six or eight months ago, I believe that they have put down a mandatory sell back to a US entity course. I don’t know how all that works and so forth. But, but yeah, they’re very, you got to be careful what you share online. It can be both the it could be beneficial and useful, but then, you know, user beware, right?

Unknown Speaker 18:57
Absolutely. And so there’s There’s a couple points here that I want to highlight. So yes, you’re absolutely correct, that there was a pressure to sail back to a wall, the sale of Grindr from the Chinese firm to another entity. And it’s just interesting to note how a dating app can be targeted. For concerns for national security. I try to wrap your head around that and like the new, brave new world that we’re living in, in terms of love relationships, and sexuality and technology, like how this is all coming together, and how like how much it can have an impact on our lives. So it’s to the point where, you know, governments start to become a little apprehensive as to who is controlling the love line, and who gets to connect with whom it’s quite fascinating. But the other issue that you raised was the issue about privacy and the cell, the sale of personal information to a lot of different people out there. So you You are correct. There was recently a report. There’s many out there. But the the latest one that I got to read, which was quite concerning, was a not for profit entity that is funded by the Norwegian government. And so the Norwegian government through this body did a full blown assessment of like the top 20 most popular apps on people’s mobile phones. And I believe like the top five are always like major major dating apps. And one of them was Grindr, for example. And they did identify that they were selling massive amounts of your information to third parties and like a lot of them I had never even heard of before, but their analysis show that they can sometimes be sharing information with up to over 100 different entities, and a lot of them are marketing firms. Some of them are even like major social media platforms like Facebook. For example, and I was like, really, Facebook wants even more information on me through a dating app like, Wow, I didn’t even know that, you know, there. There’s obviously no upper limit to collecting information on people. And the point I want to make here is, is that dating apps in particular, are a particular problem. So studies are showing that when it comes to divulging personal information, people are willing to say just about anything about their lives and their sexuality on a dating app. And so this is what I want to get across is like, what I’m trying to raise awareness with other people is that no matter what it is that you’re using, whatever the technology is, or whatever the platform it is, always keep in mind that you should only divulge information that you should feel comfortable saying out loud in public, and never assume that anything you provide to another person will remain just strictly between the two of you, and I’m hopeful for a brighter future. Where we will have stringent regulations that will protect individuals and especially vulnerable populations like LGBTQ people that are living in, in areas of the world where it poses a significant threat to their livelihoods being LGBTQ. But like the day that day has yet to come. And so the current regulations we have right now provide very, very little support for us in terms of protecting our identity, all of our personal information, our consumption habits, our personal preferences on any kind of like dimension out there. And yeah, so we come like full circle. That’s like just one, yet another example of like this dating app for LGBTQ populations. And yes, like you said, part of the information that they were sharing, not necessarily for sale, but sharing with other engineering teams in order to improve the service on these apps was information related to people’s HIV status, and Like a marital status, and so on and so forth. And you know, that gets kind of weird. Like, why are engineering teams that I’ve never even heard of maybe have like another company and some other area of the world, getting access to population level information on people’s HIV status. This is incredible, in some ways, because technology enables this to happen. But it’s also quite disconcerting that there’s very little oversight, and also very little understanding in these vulnerable populations. And also the average user of these dating apps that this is actually possible, and that this is actually something of concern and that you should like, you know, put your foot down and say, No, I don’t stand for this.

Unknown Speaker 23:45
Right. Well, you know, and it’s not all in the corporations, you know, are in my opinion, abusing the information, but you know, we also have to be as vulnerable community also have to be just aware and concerned that you know, infractions on your privacy can also come from other users of the apps. You know, when you when you put when you put forth that photo you know, I’m very cautious the food that I didn’t have know it’s, it’s Hey, you’re gonna see a torso shot Ray I’m in my bathing suit or I’m in a pair of shorts but I didn’t see anything other than that anymore. And um, you know, but like there there’s been political people who’ve been ousted, you know, because of their their profiles on dating apps and photos that they’ve sent. I forget the name of the person and I don’t want to give that individual you know, any props here, here but I believe it was Morocco a trans person. Not long ago, there was lots of news about it. You know, I for whatever reason, bitter queen who knows You know, basically announced to her followers on YouTube to all go on the dating app so that they could see that they’re, you know, neighbors and brothers and so forth. Were on those apps and therefore gay. And, you know, she, she later came out, you know, quote unquote, apologized saying that she was only trying to show visibility of the community. No, no, bitch.

Unknown Speaker 25:27

Unknown Speaker 25:28
you were you were being that you were being vicious, for whatever reasons. And you know, in that society, this is to your point, you know, not only, you know, even in, you know, you know, countries like where we live in Canada in the US, you know, where we have quote unquote, freedoms and so forth. But in countries like that people can be imprisoned, they could be shunned by their families, put on the streets and so forth, then

Unknown Speaker 25:57
fired from the job. Yeah, absolutely. on the job, this is a big issue in the US still. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 26:05
that could happen here too. So, and being outed, being shunned from your family and being put on the streets and so forth, even at young, you know, ages. So it’s a very, very, you know, people should be very cautious about how they utilize all apps. Mm hmm.

Unknown Speaker 26:26

Unknown Speaker 26:27
it’s it’s interesting that you say this, because you just touched on a few topics that I could I could give like a great overview of how all of this intersects. So we started talking a little bit about like, how I was doing activism in this nonprofit called queer tech. And one of the the goals of the organization was to encourage LGBTQ people to pursue careers in the tech sector, and, you know, show that there’s a place for you and also that we do need way more diversity in the tech sector and one of the reasons why we need more diversity in the tech sector is in order for people to add that LGBTQ perspective into technology development. So you were talking about, you know, people being outed by tech and you know, trans people being outed by tech. Yes, this does happen. So I could recall of an update they made I pardon me, don’t quote me on this, but I can’t remember which operating system it was. But I’m pretty certain it was something related to Google and Android. And the tech team at these prominent corporations which do not have a lot of diversity. It’s mostly hetero white male, some Asian as well, that have all gone to, you know, a handful of educational institutions in the world and they all come from like a certain socioeconomic status, and they’re the ones that quite often lead a lot of the tech development in Silicon Valley. And so when you have that kind of homogeneity in a workforce that’s developing technology, you can sometimes get, like tunnel vision, and you cannot see how problems that will affect certain communities will arise just because you just never even thought about thinking about, you know, the black single mom woman’s perspective and using an app, you know, like, right. And so yeah, so they did an update to the one of these operating systems. And it was just like the strangest fluke and they didn’t test it on any trans populations out there, because I bet you there weren’t any trans members that were part of the team. And when they did the update, what it did was it automatically reverted people’s profiles back to a gender that they had listed way back in the day. And so there was a few people that were using the system that had transitioned. And then people were using some of these software tools on this platform in the workspace, and this outed a handful of trans people and you know, some lost their jobs, some committed suicide. And it was just like, such an unexpected kerfuffle, you know, like, you know, you do a software update and then all of a sudden you out trans people by accident, you know? Wow and so stuff like this happens and this is why one of one of our modus operandi is to try to encourage greater diversity in these like fields that are impacting every aspect of society, namely technology to try to get as many voices into the development cycle as possible so that we could foresee these problems and make technology that is truly inclusive of everyone as it ought to be.

Unknown Speaker 29:36
laps Absolutely. And I and you know, talking about technology that that’s boy week, we could we could chat so much on and obviously you have a wealth of knowledge and information, you know, to do to be on the Dr. Laura show, and of course, whatever I’d love to do is have a link on the show notes to that so people can tune in and also hear you on a regular basis. So let’s kind of transition into the exciting stuff that you are working on now in artificial intelligence. It’s sounds so exciting.

Unknown Speaker 30:20
It is really exciting. And this is another situation where just being an agile and adaptive person, I was looking for opportunities at one period in my career, and I happen to live in Montreal, a really great city. But one of the things that’s really great about the city is that early on in the 80s. Well, let’s go into this a little bit deeper here. Canada has a very interesting way of funding, curiosity driven research. And so in the United States, it’s a little bit more focused towards Pure and Applied Research. So trying to fund studies that will like produce a product or you know, a pharmaceutical or some other kind of fundamental understanding that we could apply. But you know, there’s another side of research, which is just, you know, curiosity driven. So like, what is in the middle of an atom? Like, what is beyond our galaxy, you know, like, what’s going on there. And so one area that we funded heavily in the 80s was this thing of like thinking computers and trying to develop, you know, software that could piece together patterns and stuff like that. And at the time, people were like, Oh, that’s very cute. You know, that’s nice. And then, lo and behold, this is was like the nascent kernel of artificial intelligence. And it took about 30 years for it to become sophisticated enough and for like the computer processing power to reach a certain level that was both like performance as well as affordable. And now all of a sudden, we’re like, oh, that curiosity driven research has just exploded into You know, the next major impactful technology that that many people are saying will have as big an impact on society as electricity or the internet, you know. And so this all just kind of happened. This exploded on the stage in like the middle of my career entering into the tech sector. And I was like, Okay, I’m going to dive into AI. And I just started working at different kinds of AI startups here in Montreal, sometimes on just like short contract basis. And I just really beefed up my skill as someone who was like a more biomedical expert.

Unknown Speaker 32:37
By working getting my hands like actually dirty by working in these startups. I taught myself AI, and how to market it and how to communicate it. And so yeah, I’ve been in different kinds of industry verticals related to artificial intelligence, that span from business insights and analytics all the way to healthcare and trying to develop new technologies to assist doctors and helping people overcome depression, for example, but what I work in now is in like cutting edge software development for AI. So with that being said, we’re, we’re like in the 80s. Now we’re trying to develop AI, it’s kind of curiosity driven, people couldn’t really see like how this could actually work and, you know, industry or enterprise, then all of a sudden, it all started to come together. With that being said, like, up until, like very recently, all the tools that were developed to make AI was developed in this context of being a geek in a laboratory or a university kind of setting. And you do a lot of like theoretical research because it’s cool and interesting and you just try to push the limits of computation. You’re not really using tools because you want to build like the next killer software for a major financial company in order to root out fraud. For example. Apple, or build like the next killer software technology that will optimize how to place patients in a hospital so that you have the best use of space. And you know, it will simplify the workflow of different kinds of health professionals and their interactions with patients like these are like some of the cutting edge technology that’s coming forward. So now we now need to make a transition. So the old tools that we were using to do AI that was more like oriented towards curiosity driven research are now like obsolete. They’re just like, they’re, they weren’t built for that kind of vision of applying AI in the real world. A lot of these tools are disconnected and like disparate. So there’s like a whole bunch of different tools out there. A lot of them are built in something called Open Source. So that means like, you could tap the innovative potential of anyone in the world who has an internet connection and they could come in and they could all work together on building software tools for AI. That’s amazing in terms of like innovation because You get like thousands of like smart people all around the world that could contribute towards a project. But with that being said, Sometimes a concerted vision or like a unifying goal is absent. And so this is the problem we have today is that a lot of the tools are not all, like interconnected and working towards like some long term vision, which is, you know, applying AI in the real world. So the company I worked for now, it’s called attain, by the way, and we developed like the next generation of software tools that make it easier for people and teams of people to execute really complicated AI projects to solve problems in industry or an enterprise. And like, you know, applying AI to optimize electrical infrastructure or to predict when a fleet of vehicles will require maintenance, for example. So imagine if you’re a municipality like St. Petersburg, Florida where you are like Think of all the vehicles that your your the city actually has to run on a day by day basis such as like all the garbage collection trucks. Imagine if you could develop a software that could understand when these vehicles are most likely going to break down in the future so that you could like intervene ahead of time to make sure that you know, the garbage is always collected on time because nothing broke down unexpectedly. These are some of the projects that we were helping to advance using the tools that we developed at the chain, for example. And it’s pretty cool because we take a lot of like abstract concepts and AI, which is like a bunch of computer code that if if you’re an outsider and you look at it, you’re like, Okay, what’s that, and with our tool, it makes it visual. And so it’s an overlay to a lot of the complicated computer code you have but then it gives it more of something that is like tactile or immersive, you could zoom into it. You could flip it around. It’s like in a digital workspace and you could actually see, we call them models. So they’re AI models, how they are like hoovering up data, analyzing it and then spitting out outputs that could be like a prediction or you know, a recommendation. And it’s super cool because you could actually start to see what AI is, instead of just like abstract computer code. So that’s some of the fun I’ve been working on lately with this company.

Unknown Speaker 37:30
Okay, when we last did a quick catch up. Before scheduling this. You mentioned one of the projects regarding that’s pertinent today on cozy Yes. Tell us a little bit about that and how this application was use.

Unknown Speaker 37:45
Oh, that’s a really good example. And yeah, that has been a major project that we’ve been working on as attain kind of like a passion project, I guess you could say. So this is one of the applications of Have AI that is particularly amazing. Okay, so you have an unknown virus, it starts a global pandemic, we have to conduct very detailed, complicated long term investigations in order to find a cure and also to find a vaccine. So this is obviously going to take some time. What are we going to do in the interim? We can’t sit on our hands. So what we have to do is we have to do the best with what we already know. So how can we apply the knowledge that we already have in terms of viral ology and treatment strategies for people with different kinds of infections and whatnot? How could we maybe repackage this knowledge in a way that we could use it to fight this unknown Corona virus that just came to light probably in late November. And this is where AI is like super cool because you could develop the Smart software where you could push into it a bunch of information that we already have on hand, such as all the different kinds of protein structures of known viruses we’ve dealt with in the past. And we could like, push into these models, all the different kinds of drugs that we already have available today that we use to treat other kinds of viral infections such as HIV, such as Ebola, such as other opportunistic infections that people sometimes get after organ transplant. So the point I’m making is, is that we have a lot of information that’s out there already on other viruses and other treatments. Is there a way that we could kind of like, find a pattern in them? Is there something we could figure out if, if we would do like a very complicated high throughput analysis with cutting edge computers? Could they see something that the average human being can’t? And lo and behold, yeah, this is where we’re really applying AI and it’s called drug repurposing. That’s the sphere. So to give you an idea of how it works is, and we’re just one team of several people who have done something similar throughout the world. We jumped on information related to the genomics and proteomics, so the protein makeup of different viruses, and how those different proteins bind to different drugs, antiviral drugs. So once the model the AI model understands this kind of association between viral proteins and therapeutics, we could show it the proteins of this new virus this Coronavirus, SARS, co v2 and say, Hey, Ai, can you give us a best guess as to what drugs we have available might be able to bind to this and, you know, maybe might be able to stop its growth or its replication. And that’s a project we’ve developed now. And sure enough, it’s spat out a list of recommended antiviral drugs. And to our delight, some of these drugs have been matched confirmed as having therapeutic efficacy in clinical trials. Open clinical trials that have been published subsequently in prominent scientific journals like the Lancet. And yeah, so the point I’m making is that we could use AI today to really hit the ground running towards finding cures or interventions in areas that were just like a big, unknown and you know, like something that is just thrown in your face like a new virus, it’s like, we can actually intervene quite quickly now towards mitigating these problems using this cutting edge technology, which is just mind blowing, in my opinion.

OutBuro Podcast Full Introduction Dennis Velco LGBTQ Entrepreneurs LGBT Professionals Gay Business Owners Lesbian Leaders Queer Startups Nonprofits community

001 – OutBüro Podcast Introduction with Dennis Velco

A personal overview of the podcast focus and direction while seeking your topic suggestions, feedback, and guest recommendations. I provide my personal WHY this is so important to me and hope you will find inspiration and insights to grow as an LGBTQ professional, entrepreneur, and organization. Subscribe to the podcasts and join us on

We’ll chat with LGBTQ entrepreneurs about their inspiration, strategy, startup journey, successes balanced with insights from lessons learned.

We will be exploring way to launch, grow and expand your business from many perspectives.

OutBüro – Be inspired. Let’s chat, share, learn, and grow together. In each episode, we’ll have casual and informative conversations with interesting LGBTQ professionals spanning a wide range of fields.

Non-profits are a huge part of our community so we will chat with non-profit leaders about their organizations, their focus, and goals, successes, operational effectiveness, needs, and challenges.

We’ll also talk with leaders in Diversity and Inclusion consultants on creating safe and welcoming workplaces from an outside best practices view as well as corporate HR and D&I directors highlighting Successes and opportunities in their workplace for LGBTQ employees along with customers and clients.

Wil also have chats community allies across many sectors who strive to work with and promote the values of diversity.

Sound interesting?

Let’s learn, grow, and empower each other.
Listen to the podcasts on Better yet subscribe via your favorite audio platform.
Apple Podcasts
Google Podcasts
Pocket Casts

If you have topic ideas, would like to recommend future guests or to become a guest on the show please visit, under the More menu Select Contact Us and submit your topic request or potential guest information.

You also can do more than just listen.

Join the online LGBTQ professional an entrepreneur community at

  • Add your profile.
    Indicate if you are open to being a mentor or would like a mentor. Find each other via member search.
  • Indicate if you are an entrepreneur or would like to be. And so much more.
  • Join or start a group – industry, topic, or geographically focused.
  • Host your LGBTQ employee resource group there.
  • Share great content you find from across the web, publish articles, upload your portfolio
    to your profile to showcase your work.
  • Make new connections, reach out via the site’s messaging to explore new opportunities.
    Rate current or former employers as an employee, contractor, or intern.
  • Rate organization even as a volunteer.
  • tout how great they are to work for or areas they could improve on.
  • Rate business or organization as a customer or client.
  • Help build a full picture so prospective LGBTQ job seekers and consumers can make informed choices

You make the difference. Your voice matters. Be where you belong.

I look forward to your feedback as we take this journey together.

Dialog Transcript

The below was created through voice to text recognition. We will strive to edit for accuracy as time permits. It may not be perfect. It is being provided for the hearing impaired to still enjoy the interview.

OutBüro, let’s chat, share, learn, grow, and be inspired together. In each episode, we’ll have casual and informative conversations with interesting LGBTQ professionals will chat with LGBTQ entrepreneurs about their inspiration strategies, startup journey, successes and balanced with insights from lessons learned. We’ll also talk with leaders in diversity and inclusion and community allies across many sectors. Please subscribe to the podcast and join the online community at out bureau calm that’s o ut

Hi there, this is Dennis Velco with OutBüro – o u t b u r o .com.

I wanted to take a little bit of time just to carve out here in the first episode of out barrows new podcast, which I am super, super excited about and give you a little bit of information as to why and how and so forth because, you know the how and really the why of it rather, as you’ll tell all of the episodes coming forward will be completely unrehearsed and unscripted. And you know, that’s part of what makes each of us unique and interesting is, it’s not that we’re all perfect, but that, you know, we have our little stumbles and our struggles and so forth and in your professional career. You might have started off in one direction. And through happenstance, it’s taken you into a whole new field. And so we’re wanting to explore that, as well as all of the aspects of entrepreneurialism.

And we’ll be getting that to that here in just a moment, but some of the background on inspiration. So now nearly 12 years ago at this point, as you’ll see, the date on this podcast is May 27, 2020, literally 12 months ago, sorry, 10 to 12 years ago, I launched the very first group on LinkedIn that would there was no Create button. And for it, I actually had to contact LinkedIn in order to start the group and through the course of the dialogue, through an email exchange with their Support ticketing system and so forth.

They agreed to start the group after I had put forth you know, like a whole page Use Case as to why it was important and so forth. And they agreed, did not know who to go to in the LGBT community. And I was the one bringing this and I’ve, you know, said, Hey, you know, well, if you’ll assign me as the administrator and moderator to it, I’ll take it on. And you know, just like growing a business and or growing your career, it, there was no blueprint back then for growing a LinkedIn group. And that group has been and still remains the largest LGBTQ professional and entrepreneurial group on LinkedIn.

As of right now, there are over 46,300 Global members. And I’m so proud of that. It’s It’s hard. It’s flows, and so forth. And I’m still constantly learning from the group members, what’s effective, and so forth. And so this podcast is going to also be a great opportunity for me to learn and through the course of those 12 years. So far of doing that on LinkedIn, I have had so many incredible conversations with group members, people who have reached out to me or something in their profile intrigued me, and maybe I had initiated the introduction calls and so forth. And so you know, finally you know, I’ve been building the OutBüro – o u t b u r o .com site for now, we’ll just say longer, longer than I would like to admit right now. But, you know, again, as entrepreneurs, especially like me, it’s A bootstrap startup company of one at this particular moment, doing everything and so forth myself. You know, sometimes we, we have struggles in the sense of, you know, what’s important and what do we need to focus on? And how are we going to connect with our audience, our customers, our students, our employees, and so forth? There are just so many potential facets. And, you know, these conversations that I have had with individuals throughout the years and especially over the last 12 months have just been inspirational to me what people are doing with their careers and with their businesses, and so finally, came upon some tools that make it somewhat easy. If you’re seeing what this is initially hosted on is a FM makes it very easy to do podcasts and broadcast to many platforms. And eventually, as this grows, perhaps it might graduate to a different platform, but that’s part of the journey, right, is utilizing what you have in front of you, and understanding your why and managing that group on LinkedIn. Because it just had to be there Damn it right it just had to be there. That was part of my case to LinkedIn. You know, you’re the largest platform for professionals and you know, dang it, you threw me in a university group because that was on my profile and I really need to be in the LGBT group because it needs to exist and you know, some, whatever your passion is, is kind of at the heart of what I’d like to discover and in bringing on guests on to the show is have them share They’re wise, why do they do what they do? Why are they passionate about it? What are their successes? What are some lessons learned maybe some tidbits and golden nuggets that we all can grow from. And, you know, I forget who who said it. So, you know, please put in the comments or something where this quote comes from, but there’s a quote out there in the universe that, you know, a wise person learns from the mistakes and or the lessons of another. And so, hopefully, this podcast will will do that. It’ll also hopefully bring some visibility and light to the community. For example, one of our early guests was born and raised in India. And so I know that in the LinkedIn group, I have members from India And members from other countries where they’re not as free to be themselves as we are in some of our, you know, Rainbow and gay unicorn cities that we might live in throughout the Western world. So I see this as an opportunity. For myself, I’m already having those conversations, right? I’m already doing it. So might as well put it into a podcast form, so that more people than just myself are hearing those conversations, and we all can benefit from it. So let me get into just a little bit now that of course, you could do is probably completely unscripted, which hopefully and by design, most of the conversations you know, we’ll have bullet points of what you know, we want to cover but you know, 99% of it will be completely unscripted. And so then there is even one person I’m booking her early that in addition to being a mental health therapist, she is also a stand up comic. So I’m very much looking forward to all of these conversations and bringing them to you. So just as a bit of information, so hopefully you will stay tuned and you will subscribe which I’ll give you all the places where you can subscribe to this podcast here in just a few moments. Wanting to give you a brief overview, and that is the outro podcast is about being inspired. Reaching and communicating, chatting, sharing, learning and growing together, in each episode, will be striving to have very casual and informal, yet informative conversations with interesting LGBTQ professionals spanning a wide range of fields. As I like to say I unison People will say, Oh, well you’re focused on the professionals. You know, and well, what does that mean? To me? If you’re working, you’re a professional, right? Even if you’re a professional dog walker, or you know you have a cleaning business and so forth, I strive to and or maybe you are a professional rocket science scientist at NASA, wouldn’t that be an interesting conversation about them and their life as a potentially out or not out, scientist and so forth. So Anywho, that’s a bit about what we’re going to be striving to get to when it comes to professional is people who have had careers and are on their way to career and, but hopefully those who have made it to some level of success in their professional life, so that they can talk about, you know, how they made it and their journey as an LGBTQ community member within that profession. Okay, so for example, there are many professions where being LGBTQ, even, you know, in very, you know, LGBT friendly, some have supposedly countries and so forth, it’s still within those industries can be very difficult. So those are definitely the kinds of people that I would love to get onto this program to talk about, maybe you know, what they’re doing in their own profession, but you know, even maybe, perhaps, what are they doing, if it pertinent, within a professional association, an LGBT professional association to further and advance the profession. And while you happen to be LGBTQ, right, we’ll also be chatting with LGBTQ entrepreneurs, about their Why Why are they hitting this? You know, what sparked their interest? You know, what was their inspiration? Whatever that might have been? What are the kinds of strategies that they are applying to their business to, you know, do that, that startup to grow the business to get the funding that they need to capture the clients and the customers and so forth, their marketing strategies and all of that good stuff, you know, how are they dealing? How do they get angel investing and venture capitalists and so forth to invest in their business or, you know, that small business loan and so forth? You know, so what was their total? What was their startup journey, as well as you know, talking about their successes, and balancing that with the insights of lessons learned, every single entrepreneur out there has made, you know, countless mistakes and so forth that, you know, hindsight is 2020 and, you know, that they personally have learned from so this is going to be an opportunity Ready to delve into some of those lessons learned from their own personal mistakes and so forth and help bestow that information on to all of us. So that we hopefully can learn from that, and not make those same mistakes and grow our business is, you know, a bit wiser from them being so generous and sharing that and being vulnerable as well, you know, it’s not always great to share those vulnerabilities will be also exploring ways to again, launch and grow and expand your business, again, from the many perspectives of entrepreneurs and community, nonprofit leaders and so forth who have, you know, done that been there and so forth and have that wisdom to share. And, of course, you know, in all regards to that, so mentioning nonprofits, you know, it’s a huge part of the LGBT community. So You know, we’ll be chatting with nonprofit leaders about their organizations. How were they started? Why were they started? What do they focus on? What kinds of, you know, goals? Do they have, again, similar to the entrepreneurs on the for-profit side? What have been their successes, their operational effectiveness? You know, what are some of the systems and practices and so forth that they have implemented in order to achieve what they have achieved? How do they go about, you know, funding? Is that grants is that corporate sponsorships? How do they do that we’d all love to know? And also, you know, what are some of the needs that they have, giving it also the platform and talking about that has given them the opportunity to also, you know, ask all of the listeners and folks on the website and then the little LinkedIn group, you know, if need be for, you know, a funding raise, and so forth. So, we’re also going to be expanding, you’re going to see it is going to be very diverse, very diverse, because that’s what I love. And I hope you’ll love it too. And, you know, if it’s only focus focused on one sector, you know, like LGBT nonprofits, well, you know, with that might have, you know, listenership and viewership, you know, sure, if it’s only focused on LGBT entrepreneurs, Well, sure, you know, there’s going to be listeners and so forth. But, you know, I, I’m taking the approach because there’s, you know, 46, you know, almost 46 and a half thousand global members in the group and they’re just not all nonprofit professionals. They’re just not all government employee professionals. You know, they’re just not all fortune 1000 level employees or just not all small business owners. You know, it’s Everything and their students as well. So, you know, it just makes sense that the out bureau podcasts, try to respect the diversity of its group members and followers and, you know, hopefully from all of this, you know, effort the that diversity in all of its totality will just continue to grow. So, with that, we’re going to be also talking with leaders in diversity and inclusion, looking at it from both sides. So bringing on inclusion and diversity consultants who their business and or their for-profit business or their nonprofit organizations, work with corporations and employers, giving them best practices and guidance and so forth to become better based on Best Practices lead Also, I’m hoping to have diversity and inclusion directors and HR directors who their job within the employer is to be the spearhead for those programs within their organizations. You know, so what kinds of things have they seen that work and you know, I’m hoping to attract you know, early very well, just a courageous probably corporations who value diversity and inclusion and would like to come on to the out bureau podcast to talk about, you know what they’re doing. But you know, I’m also going to ask them to as best as they can without getting, you know, their hand slapped internally, you know, to talk about the challenges, you know, let’s be real. It’s not easy. Because as leaders in those corporations trying to instill workplace cultures and values when you have, you know, thousands and thousands of employees who all bring their own unconscious biases and so forth, you know, to the workplace, it’s a damn difficult job. So, you know, I want to give, you know, the props and, you know, the accolades to those people who are taking on those challenges, because we’ll, we’ll save a lot of those kinds of conversations for when I have those particular people on board. I could get on a small soapbox here and get derailed. So we’re, again, we’re looking to have the the, you know, the casual and informative conversations, also with community allies. You know, we want diversity and inclusion as LGBT. You know, so staff working for employers. We want to champion out LGBT diversity inclusion as a community and individuals and organizations. But that also means that we have to respect and value diversity and inclusion. And that also means, you know, our heterosexual allies, you know, hey, you know, if you’re heterosexual, and you know, you are a community ally, and you’re doing something amazing within your employer, within your business, within your community, for the LGBT community, I would love to have you on the show. And, you know, talk about that, and, you know, talk about again, why being part of that community means you know, so much to you. So does that sound interesting? Chirp Chirp oh geez, I can’t hear you. So that’s where you’re going to need to, you know, put comments on whatever platform you’re listening to. And let me know. So I hope that sounds interesting to you because it certainly is interesting to me or I would not be dedicating so much time to this. So if you have a topic or an idea, a question even perhaps, put comments within all of the different applications that you might be listening to, and or go to the OutBüro – o u t b u r o .com. And under the more menu, up at the top, you’re going to see the contact us. And so there you will be able to provide, you know, an idea for a topic or a question that you might have that you would like me to strive to work into a future episode to answer for you. I’d very much appreciate that. So if you have recommendations for future guests, right now I am currently working on just booking the GS about eight or so people that I already have lined up. So that will keep me busy for at least a week or two. But we’ll be striving to expand that out as I grow. So if you have recommendations, please let us know even if that’s recommended in yourself, no problem with that whatsoever.

An LGBTQ Entrepreneur's Why - OutBuro - LGBT Startup Gay Business Owner Lesbian Professional Community Online

An LGBTQ Entrepreneur’s “Why”

The first step to any budding LGBTQ entrepreneur no matter what startup’s business may focus on it is understanding your “why”. It is important to have, acknowledge, and understand your “why.” Why is this important to you? This is vital because if you have your “why” that you believe in you are in a better position. You can push yourself through and over the hurdles that will inevitably arise. Being an entrepreneur is tough, risky, high pressure, challenging, and can often feel lonely. Your “why” becomes your mission, your passion, and your drive.

It likely will shape the products or services you offer. It can become a core part of your marketing. All great marketing is rooted in “why” and leveraging that to tell the story and connect the client/consumer with the brand and its products/services. An authentic “why” can help get others on board in the early stages to support your business venture. It becomes a tool for measuring your own definition of success and helps to keep you focused.

“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.”

Maya Angelou

Your “why” might strike you all a sudden or it may develop over time. It could be that something inspired you from your childhood. Maby you see a problem in the world and aim to be a part of creating a solution. Your “why” may have been inspired in a countless number of ways.

Questions to Ask to Get to the Heart the “Why” of Your Business

  1. Why do I do what I do? Or Why do I want to do this?
  2. What does it mean to me, my family, my life, the community, others?
  3. What is the purpose for me, my family, my life, the community, others?
  4. How can it help me, my family, my life, the community, others?
  5. How can will it make a difference for me, my family, my life, the community, others?
  6. How will it support me, my family, my life, the community, others? In what ways?
  7. How will make me feel fulfilled and happy?
  8. What are there gaps that it might be able to be a part of filling and why does that matter?

“Why” and Your Story

Your “why” can become of your company origin story being the foundation of your mission, driving your vision, and demonstrating your commitment. It can lead customers to identify with it, fall in love, and become brand champions. With businesses and consumers being overwhelmed with social media, emails, text, and more your well-crafted message has the challenge and opportunity to stand out as authentic. If your target audience sees and feels your passion, they are more likely to appreciate it, connect with it and do more than become a client/customer to becoming a valued brand champion sharing it with all they know.

Your “Why” is Not Money

Well, technically it could be money, such as the desire to help LGBTQ people with their personal finances like my buddies at The Dept Free Guys. Their branding has their “why” message clearly throughout. John and David were $50,000 in dept. They made a plan and became debt-free. They want to help others do the same.

A true “why” is not “I want to get rich“. Businesses rarely make profits right away, so the dream of money alone will not be reason enough to see it through. Could your “why” lead to financial gain, comfort, and success as you define it? Sure. Amazing if it does. Naturally, as you build your business plan and start executing on making it a reality you’ll set targets.

On a pure financial front, maybe your “way” is simply so that you can support yourself and your family while being your own boss. That is perfectly fine. There are lots of entrepreneur ventures matched with your skills than can if well executed fulfill that worthy “why”. Maybe a franchise would be a good fit with a business model, suppliers, and marketing pretty much done for you. But if its a mindset of only greed and to hell with anyone or anything else, you will likely live a miserable life doing crap you really don’t enjoy and feel zero personal satisfaction doing it regardless of the money. Money cannot buy true happiness.

Surround Yourself with Support

It is often said, and I wholeheartedly believe, that no matter if you are an entrepreneur or building your professional career, you must surround yourself with likeminded people who support your vision and lift you up even if they don’t totally understand it right now. That support can be in person or even online. Ideally, you will have also have one or more mentors who can guide you as well as hold you accountable to reach the heights of what your “why” can contribute to yourself, the community, and those your serve.


Having your immediate and extended family support can be helpful. As LGBTQ persons sometimes that is not a reality due to homophia and learned biases. But if you are one of the lucky ones that you being LGBTQ does not negatively affect your personal family relationship, they also can support you in your entrepreneur startup vision. This support might be that they just lend an ear when you need to talk or it could be that they are the first finanical investors in your business.


I and most industry leaders believe that having a life partner who supports your entrepreneurial interests is vital to your potential success. You are taking a huge risk, will have sleepless nights, likely work long hours, and may have financial ups and downs. If your life-partner doesn’t fully support you, it WILL strain the relationship. As early as appropriate, start the dialog with your life-partner about your ideas. Does that person support you and have as best as possible an understanding of all the risks, challenges, and commitment involved? If so, GREAT! Be sure along your journey that you keep the lines of communication open so they are part of your journey and sense when you need that extra effort from them.

A personal Note

My ex-husband was not very supportive of my entrepreneurial drive. He was more comfortable with the illusion of stability working for someone else, commuting every day to an office, and sitting in a cubicle. We got into many heated discussions over the topic. He had a difficult time understanding that my entrepreneurial drive is at the foundation of who I am. The best years of our relationship were when I did business travel 50-80% but was also miserable due to that. So, for many reasons after 17 years we parted ways and divorced – now 3 years ago. I’ve been single since and hope to eventually stumble upon a life-partner that supports, challenges, balances, and compliments me – and me him.

Friends – Supportive, Negotiate and Edit

This also goes for people you consider friends. As you start and work to grow your business, as mentioned you may be working long and irregular hours. You’ll likely often be stressed out. You may have financial struggles. Are your friends really your friends? Are they there for you as best they can be or are they superficial who will complain when you are no longer as accessible or don’t have the time or funds to join them all the time for activities like you might have before? If you value that person, at the first sign of them being frankly clueless and/or selfish, schedule a time to have an honest conversation. Then time will tell if they are a supportive friend or not. If need be for those that prove to be superficial as quickly and kindly as possible either edit them out completely or move them to the occasional acquaintance category.

It is perfectly fine if a friend doesn’t understand your business or why you work so much. But a good friend will strive to understand that it is important to you and be there when you are able to hit the beach, go out dancing, go on a hike or bike ride, and also lend an ear when you need someone to talk to.

Seek Out Other Entrepreneurs

As an entrepreneur it is a great idea to build a network other entrepreneurs who do get you and what you are going through. They might also be a great resource to bounce ideas off of. They could be a good barter partner for services your business needs and referral source. They can be a great business and community resources. They can become great personal friends. And who knows, if the timing is right a mutual attraction, who knows maybe become a life partner. Who better to understand your and your entrepreneur’s journey than another entrepreneur?

Your “Why” Is Your Strength

When you boil down to your “why” it will give you strength. When you whole-heartedly believe in your message and your mission it’s easy to stop feeling self-conscious and just do it! You, like me, have something more important than your own insecurities to share. Your audience, customers, clients, constituents, employees, members, life-partner, family, friends, and the community, need you to shake away the clutter, identify and live your why and be as awesome, amazing, inspiring, and as kick-ass as you can be. They deserve it. You deserve it. You have the potential to be a great LGBTQ entrepreneur but they’ll never know it if you don’t step up, own it, and grow into your “why’s” potential. Plan don’t get stifled in thinking perfection is needed before starting. Most entrepreneurs, if honest, learn as they grow, and grow as they learn. Your first step is “why”.

LGBTQ Entrepreneur Business Opportunity Your next exit exit to being your own boss

Channeling Your LGBTQ Entrepreneurial Spirit in the Face of Crisis

We are facing unprecedented times, and the world may not look the same when we come out on the other side. But we will come out on the other side.

True entrepreneurs understand that opportunities are embedded crisis. You may have already been dreaming of business ownership or found yourself in an unanticipated career transition, but now could be the perfect time to make the decision to regain control of your financial future. We’ve already seen a shift in “essential” industries. We are all re-learning the value in sanitation and respect for senior citizens.

Entrepreneurship in the time of COVID-19 doesn’t just mean selling face masks (though we truly appreciate those). If opening a business to help rebuild the country’s spirit and enhance our found-again values aligns with your entrepreneurial dreams, then the right franchise could be your ticket to career freedom.

This crisis will end

Whether it ends in a few weeks or a few months, there will be life after lockdown. You’re taking precautions to make it through the pandemic, so why not take precautions to set yourself up for success after it? The journey to business ownership isn’t a fast one. In fact, the process of researching franchises to being awarded one can take between 8-16 weeks. The decision to embark on this path isn’t a purchase decision, but rather an education and timing decision. 

At the end of this road, there will be business casualties. But rather than letting fear of that dead-end keep you from opening your own business, take advantage of it. Lean into the presented opportunities of prime retail space, a motivated workforce, and hungry consumers ready to resume life outside their own 4 walls.

You have support

You’ve received an email from a business or two (or ten) reminding you to support your local businesses. You could own one of those local businesses. 

We acknowledge that sounds overly simple and is not intended to discount the hardships encountered over the past month. You’ve seen businesses forced to close. You’ve witnessed friends experience layoffs. You yourself may be a casualty of the economic times. We don’t say this to make light of your personal situation, whatever it may be. We say this to motivate. Humans are resilient and determined and come together most during hardship. As of right now, there are millions of Americans rallying to support each other. To support you.

In addition to the communities rallying to support local businesses, state and federal governments are falling over themselves to pass laws to increase the cash flow for businesses. They have already passed the unprecedented $2 trillion CARES relief act, with more money to follow. Also, the Impact For Small Business Act has secured an additional $50 Billion in SBA funding for the remainder of 2020 alone*. SBA rates are currently extremely low, with additional incentives as well, making it an ideal time to explore funding. 

Have Questions? Let’s Chat

Making Business Ownership Choices as an LGBTQ Entrepreneur

Uncover Your Next Step with Franchise Connect Pro

Craig Derene Partnered with OutBuro to Help LGBTQ Entrepreneurs Find Smart Businesses to Invest in as Franchises

It’s our passion to link professionals to a franchise perfect for them. As a Certified Franchise Consultant, I am passionate about helping everyone, including LGBTQ entrepreneur, find their best business opportunity match.

For insight on your next step, feel free to give me a call at 770-366-0715, send an email to craig@franchiseconnectpro.comconnect with me here on OutBüro, and/or check out our website  to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and more.

We look forward to assisting you. Stay safe, healthy, and motivated!

click here to schedule a call

*as of the time of article publishing


Be an LGBTQ Entrepreneur – Reduce Startup Struggles with a Franchise

We’ve all been there—a tough day on the job that makes us eager for a new opportunity. Those periods at work can be frustrating, leading our minds to wander, longing for the American dream. Whether you’re stuck in a cycle of routinely sifting through job openings or you’ve just come to the conclusion that you need a fresh start, the idea of becoming your own boss is a refreshing thought. It’s common and OK to be dissatisfied with corporate America, feeling like you’re meant for so much more.  You are reading this so YOU ARE MEANT FOR MORE.  Own that, explore your options and take action toward making a change.  A new opportunity might be on the horizon for you if you see it and seize it.  So let’s explore the reality of opening a small business and how a Franchise Consultant can help guide you to a successful investment of your time and resources and if an established proven business model cutting your startup learning curve and increasing your chances of business startup sucess is right for you .

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A great reason to start your own business is a recent study found that even being perceived as LGBTQ can impact your ability to get hired, get promoted and even if hired the salary the employer decides you are worth is typically less than what they’d offer a perceived heterosexual.

America has an estimated 1.4 million LGBT business owners as innovators, job creators, taxpayers, and providers of essential services that benefit our entire society. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender business owners are a vibrant, essential part of the small business engine that makes the U.S. economy run. That is why Franchise Connect Pro has partnered with OutBüro to help bring awareness and opportunities to the LGBTQ community.

Why owning a franchise may be the right choice for you

The truth about starting a small business

Many people looking to make a professional transition turn to starting their own business. Those who start a brand-new business offer unique products and services to the market, but the advantages of being an entrepreneur are usually exceeded by an overwhelming number of financial woes and time constraints.


While we definitely admire the drive and passion needed to start your own business, this might not be the most fruitful avenue for you, as shown in these facts of the reality of starting a small business:

Starting a small business might not be a practical option for you to invest your time and resources into, but there is thankfully another way: franchise ownership.

Investing in a Franchise

With a successful model and established brand in place, aspiring business owners can find success by becoming franchisees. Not only is franchise ownership successful in terms of finances in many cases, but it is also beneficial for your overall happiness and satisfaction with your career, as shown in these stats as reported by Small Business Trends.

  • 90% of franchise owners enjoy their business, and 85% positively support their franchisor.
  • Nearly 75% of franchisees would choose this path again if given the option.
  • Nearly 80% of franchise owners would recommend franchising with their brand to others.

If you’re a pizza lover, then you might think that owning a nationally recognized pizza chain will be the perfect opportunity for you, but that isn’t always the case. Your professional strengths and desires might be calling you to own a business in a different industry. Guidance in finding the perfect brand is where a Franchise Consultant can help.


Making the Right Choice: Working with a Franchise Consultant

Your next step should not be a guessing game. Owning a franchise will be an investment of your time and money. When working alongside a Franchise Consultant, you’ll get intuitive advice and insight on what option is best for you and your family, factoring in your ideal schedule, income, and industry. A Franchise Consultant will carefully contemplate and evaluate your drive and passion, taking into consideration factors such as when you want to work, where you want to work, and what line of business you want to be in.

Pairing you with a franchise that’s the best match for your personal and professional needs, a Franchise Consultant will work alongside you to make the most of your next career path. And, much like working with a realtor to shop for a new home, working with a Franchise Consultant is no cost to you!

Have Questions? Let’s Chat

Uncover Your Next Step with Franchise Connect Pro

It is our passion to link LGBTQ professionals to a franchise business opportunities perfect for them. As a Certified Franchise Consultants, we are passionate about helping people like you find their best match and increase your chances of business sucess through established business models and brand with recognition.

To explore your next step, give me a call at 770-366-0715 or send me a message here on OutBüroConnect with me on LinkedIn and check out the Franchise Connect Pro website to stay up to date with the latest trends and more.

How-to LGBTQ Entrepreneur's Competitor Analysis - OutBuro - LGBT Corporate Equality Employer Ratings Reviews Monitoring Employees gay lesbian business owner

How-to: LGBTQ Entrepreneur’s Competitor Analysis with Worksheet

As an LGBTQ entrepreneur with startup business should a competitor analysis to help you launch, remain focused, grow, adapt and own your market.

There are an estimated 1.4 million LGBTQ businesses total in the United States, according to the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.  As LGBTQ business owners we can face challenges others do not,  Some of these include disclosing their sexuality to their angel and venture capital investors, traditional loan officers, staff, co-workers and customers, landlords perhaps, and being a victim of harassment and discrimination based on who they are.  This could be an outright blatant, conscious yet not visible and simple unconscious bias of others.  

Why bother? I know what I’m doing.

There are many things a LGBTQ entrepreneur with startup business should have to help them launch, remain focused and grow including a business plan, a clear understanding of your target audience, a clear mission & vision, general marketing, great content marketing in all forms and clear understanding of the direct and indirect competition to become the front runner in the competitive landscape you are trying to grow your business in. 

Completing a competitive analysis will help you to better understand your industry market trends, identify your competitors, evaluate opportunities, analyze threats to your business or organization, adjust your go-to-market and positioning strategy accordingly.  Looking at our competitors analytically uncovers what works and doesn’t work. It helps you find that golden nugget of how to differentiate yourself in the market. Unknowingly they are essentially being a mentor to you and your startup.

So, let’s get growing your LGBTQ owned business so you can create job opportunities for others and grow your personal financial freedom and hopefully give support to the great LGBTQ non-profits supporting our community.

How Gay is This?

Now is creating such documents uniquely GAY?  Of course not.  Your sexual orientation does not play a role in the mechanics of creating a business plan or doing competitive analysis.  However, the individual(s) who are LGBTQ entrepreneurs can face challenges their heteronomative competitors may not.  There is little entrepreneur content out there that is LGBTQ centric – so we are helping to create it and OutBüro is a publishing platform for you to add to the collective knowledge and resources via posting your own articles.  It can be leveraged as marketing your knowledge, skills, products, and services targeting predominantly LGBTQ professionals and other entrepreneurs.

Perceived Competitor Maybe Synergy

I’d also like to add that we’d love to think that everyone in the LGBTQ community is open, welcoming and supportive of all other LGBTQ.  That sadly is not the case.  In business, it is the same.  You may have other LGBTQ businesses and even non-profits view your business as a competitor.  Maybe you are.  Maybe there’s some overlap of products and services yet the majority is different.  Unfortunately, even if another LGBTQ owned business or non-profit perceives you are in some way and scope encroaching on what they believe to be their domain – you are their competitor.  So you might as well do a competitive analysis on them to better understand their mindset.  Maybe you are a competitor.  Or maybe it’s an opportunity to partner.  After having done your homework, if they accept a call/meeting with you, you would be able to clearly articulate the synergies and joint opportunities and dispell their assumptions and maybe a partnership would improve both companies/organizations.

Get the OutBüro Competitive Analysis Worksheet

Get the OutBüro LGBTQ Business Owners Competitive Analysis Worksheet in Excel spreadsheet format. Click the image to download it now so you may reference it as you continue reading this resource article.

OutBüro - Resource - LGBTQ Business Owners Competitive Analysis Worksheet v 1-0 2020 Jan LGBT Entrepreneurs Business Owners Gay Lesbiann Queer

Competitive Strategy Benefits

Your competitors can come in many forms depending on the type of business you have. Maybe you are a dentist opening an office in an underserved community. It’s a potential that a medical non-profit serving that area could view you as a competitor since their funding may be based on numbers served.

Your competitors have likely been operating for a while. They have clients/customers and therefore making money. Those clients/customers to some degree like them, find value in them and respect them. No matter if you are opening a new local ice cream shop, bar, legal office, dentist office, or launching a potential industry disruptive technology, in all cases, you must understand your real and perceived competitors to ensure:

  • What they’re doing better than you right now so that you can strive to do it better?
  • What are their marketing strategies and tactics that seem to be working>?
  • What mistakes in your humble opinion or that’s been publically reported that you can strive to avoid and possibly capitalize on?
  • Don’t be modest here. What do you believe you are doing better? How are you different? Leverage these in your marketing.

Competitor as a Mentor

Well, most competitors won’t sit down over coffee and share their entrepreneur journey or provide business advice to help you not make the mistakes they have made. But they have achieved, to a level of success, what you strive for serving a similar target audience. Think like that, they’d make the great mentor. You still can learn a lot from what you can observe through completing a competitive analysis.

Even just one insight into how your competitor operates can give you great ideas. But after a full competitive analysis, all the gathered can drive your competitive strategy.

Who are your competitors?

There are two kinds of competitors to consider:

Companies/organizations who have similar products or services – i.e. McDonald’s and Wendy’s

Companies/organizations that have different products or services but who compete for the same dollar – i.e. McDonald’s and Papa John’s Pizza

Consider the example of Hulu. They don’t just compete with other streaming services, they compete with movie theaters, cable TV, YouTube. They are competing for your couch time. So the gym, social events, social media, and gaming could all be considered competition. Focus on your direct competitors first and then expand to consider indirect competitors too.

Questions while completing a competitor analysis

Starting off with the big questions like:

  • Who are the major players serving this market?
    • Use internet searches and other resources to locate them for the geographic area you intend to cover
  • How is the market split up between them?
    • If there aren’t reports, you might find their revenue reported on their website, or in articles and lastly, you might find the company tax reports.

Next go a little deeper, with more specific questions like:

  • How does the market think about these competitors?
    • Check out online reviews. Search for articles online.
  • What is their target demographic? Do they market to a target age group or income level? If B2B what size and kind of company is their ideal client/customer?
  • What sort of experience are they offering?
    • If a physical location, check out their office/store. Interact with employees. How is their customer service?
    • If they offer professional services such as consulting, check out their employee profiles on sites like LinkedIn. To be a real sleuth, create a temporary account so the competitor employees don’t see that it’s you checking them out.
  • How does their product or service look and feel? How does it work?
    • If local, check them out. If online and you’d like to sign up for their email marketing newsletters and maybe have a sales discussion including a product demo then again being a sleuth, use a pseudo name (i.e. John Smith), create a new Gmail email account, get a Google Voice phone number to use.
  • How are they delivering?
    • What do they charge? How do customers order? What reviews do they get?
  • Search, search and then search more.

Along the way keep asking if your business can differentiate itself in some way.

Identify competitor strengths and weaknesses

You’ll begin to see which ones will challenge you most as you learn more about your competitors. They might be in your region, or they might target the exact same market segment as you. List the strengths and weaknesses of these competitors.

Strengths might include things like:

  • huge brand awareness – they’ve been around forever and people trust them
  • great distribution – they’re in all kinds of shops, all over the place
  • really good networks – they’ve built lots of great relationships with buyers
  • low price point – It may be impossible for you to compete on the price. However, in many markets leading on price can be perceived as low quality.

Weaknesses might include things like:

  • Reputation – clients/customers don’t get a thrill buying from or interacting with them
  • Cheap packaging – their product packaging is not aligned with the target audience’s expectations
  • Lack of depth – the competitor has remained limited in service or scope that you may offer
  • Bad reviews/perception – clients/customers aren’t have left bad reviews online or you hear industry talk of clients/customers desiring an alternative
  • Poor client/customer service – consumers don’t feel valued which may tie into bad reviews
  • Lack of innovation – their product or service offering has not improved or evolved over time
  • Poor messaging – their online and offline marketing content is dated, stale and lacks excitement.

By understanding your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, you can figure out what differentiates you – and where you fit in the

Your advantages

When doing a competitor analysis, it’s important to consider your advantages. There may be things about your business that others can’t replicate, like:

  • Patents or licenses: Are you the only business that can produce a certain product?
  • Exclusive supply arrangements: You might be the only business in your area that can sell certain products.
  • Special processes: You might have a way of working that others don’t know about.
  • Innovation: Maybe your product or service is an industry disruptor.
  • Costs: Maybe you offer a wider service or better products at a similar cost. Again, don’t just try to be the lowest-priced offering.
  • Social reach: Maybe you are good at social media and content creation to attract the attention of clients/customers/members.
  • Customer Happiness: Maybe you provide such a great service/product and in all touchpoints, you and your team excel at customer service creating happy customers/clients.

It’s important to know where you have advantages like these. Leverage them in your online and offline marketing.

Do it again and again

Be sure to schedule at least every 6 months to update your competitor analysis and ask:

  • Have new competitors popped up?
    • How difficult would it be for a current competitor or a new company/organization to replicate you product/service and strategy? If easy, what can you do to make it more difficult?
  • Have current competitors made changes to their business/organization?
  • Have they improved on their weaknesses?
  • Have they added new products or services?
  • Have they updated their marketing?
  • Have these changes affected your own competitive advantage positively or negatively? If so, adjust to the evolving market in whatever manner is most effective to regain your competitive advantage.

Start your competitor analysis today

You don’t have to have an exhaustive competitor analysis to get started. It can take weeks to complete your first version working it into your business daily and weekly schedule. But, put it on your calendar so you are to be sure to get it done with as many competitors as possible at first, even if that is only 2-5. Fill in what you can find easily and then add to it as you go to learn more. It won’t complete itself and is a vital tool to understand your competitors and ensure your product/service and marketing is on target.


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10 Tips for LGBT Startup Entrepreneurs

An increasing number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer professionals are exploring the potential of starting their own company to become an LGBT entrepreneur. It sounds like an ideal job to work for yourself, to have no ceiling on your income potential, set your own daily schedule and do something you are passionate about and really believe in. And who knows. From being a dog groomer to dreams of becoming the next billion-dollar tech startup. The possibilities are almost limitless.

However, the harsh reality is, being self-employed can quickly become a burden and headache if not tackled in the right way. 20% of small businesses fail in their first year, 30% of small business fail in their second year, and 50% of small businesses fail after five years in business. Finally, 30% of small business owners fail in their 10th year in business. Such statistics are scary, but it reinforces the importance of knowing the key principles of entrepreneurship before setting off on an expensive venture.

1. Passion Drives

When looking at all the of hard work, long hours and financial commitment being passionate about what the business, industry, and clients can go a long way to sustain you during the startup and down times. Check out our article titled “Want to be an LGBT Entrepreneur? How to Start Business

2. Research It

No matter how much passion you have for something you also need to be somewhat convenienced that there is a market for your business. Check out our article titled ““>Market Research for LGBT Business Startups for a bit more information.

3. Support

Hopefully, you have the family, a life partner, and friends who believe in your vision and support you in any way they can. If not already consider joining your local LGBT Chamber of Commerce in your area. It’s a great way to not only stir business opportunities but also to network with peers for business coaching success support. Consider finding a mentor in that group or via OutBüro to be a business coach mentor either overall or within a particular area such as marketing or finance. As a small startup, you may be very knowledgeable about what you do, but as a business owner starting out you have to wear many hats and do it all or pay for it to be done. Getting coaching guidance can help you be effective and cut valuable dollars from hiring others. If you have success and talent to share with a startup entrepreneur you may also consider being a mentor to someone else and help grow the LGBT business community.

4. You have a Life – Hopefully

Launching and growing a business can be mentally and physically draining, in addition, to financially which all can add a huge amount of stress to your life. You have to take care of yourself first, your family, love and social relationships. Schedule time for the gym or other physical activities and outings with those that love and support you. If needed actually schedule this time so that your calendar app automatically reminds you of these important activities. This will aid in maintaining a balanced life and so can give your business all your energy when it’s time to focus on that. Ensure the business doesn’t 120% consume you.

5. Start Local/Small

Every business has to start small. Even Facebook and LinkedIn had small beginnings. Check out our article titled “The LGBT Entrepreneur10 Steps to the Perfect Business Plan”. Every business no matter the industry needs to prove there is an existing market. To get a good idea of your market review our article titled “Market Research for LGBT Business Startups”.

6. Cash Flow

Entrepreneurs have varying definitions of what this means, but at its core, cash flow is the most important factor in your early business’ success or failure. Without a positive cash flow, even the best business ideas will be bankrupt.

7. Lean and Mean

It’s easy to churn through cash in the business start-up stage when new entrepreneurs put their valuable early limited funds toward things like a cool downtown office space and provide employee perks that make working in the office seem like a trip to Dave and Busters.

It’s important to keep overhead low, especially during the startup phase. Keep a lean team and don’t sign up for unnecessary ongoing expenses. There are many ways to raise business capital. For ideas take a look at our article titled “How to Raise Money for Your LGBT Owned Business”. Check out our resource article titled “LGBT Entrepreneur Startup Venture Capital Funding” for a listing of venture capital who are LGBT themselves and/or open to business owners just like you.

8. Simple and Focused

So many entrepreneurs get exuberant about investing in trademarks, patents, complicated legal agreements, and company structures. However, these can drain your funds and time when you may be better off focusing on building your product or service, creating brand recognition in the most cost-effective manner you can, and an initial customer/client base.

9. Minimum and Grow

Craw, walk and then run is a great way to consider launching your business. In business, this is also termed as the minimum viable product (MVP), which is a product/service with just enough features/services to gain early customers and provide them with the value they appreciate and that you can do well. During this time is where you’ll acquire valuable feedback from the clients/customers/users to hone and grow your product/service.

10. Just Enough Talent

As an entrepreneur, you have to do so many jobs. It’s tempting to add staff, but really consider what a minimum viable team looks like before investing in employees. Check out our articles titled “LGBT Entrepreneurs Hiring Your First Employee”, and “How to Build a Great Team in Your LGBT Owned Business”.

We hope you found this and the related articles helpful. Do you have other tips? Please comment below. Join an OutBüro to discuss topics of related business ownership with your peers. If you don’t see a group you’d like, start it or use the Support | Contact Us form to request a new group be created. You may further use your OutBüro profile to post blog articles about your business or industry and content for all LGBT professionals and entrepreneurs to learn from. It is your community. Become an active part of it today.

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