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Episode 144: Use Virtual Cooking Classes to Monetize and Reach Your Audience in a New Way with Taylor Dawson

In episode 144 we talk with Taylor Dawson from GE and founder of Chibo, an interactive virtual event that Megan has had the pleasure of being on to host live cooking classes for people to cook alongside of her in their kitchens.

We cover why food bloggers should tap into this new format of connecting with their audiences and determine if this is an opportunity for your business and as a revenue stream. We also talk about how to test out the waters for new projects before you go big.

Listen on the player below or on iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast player. Or scroll down to read a full transcript.


Guest Details

Connect with Chibo
Website | Instagram | Facebook

Bio
Taylor is the founder of Chibo, the leading platform for live interactive cooking classes. He is also the Director of Interactive Media for GE Appliances and an advocate for innovation within corporations. He loves cooking from scratch, designing and making things, and playing music.

Takeaways

  • Chibo was started to give people a community around their love of cooking.
  • Starting about 5 years ago, a team of 6 went up against bigger and more funded companies, did the hard work and are creating this unique, live, interactive cooking platform.
  • Covid created a vacuum which was a positive force, for the GE team to have to speed up their project from a year to just months but propelled them to put out a working platform to provide an amazing experience like they’d envisioned.
  • Early on Chibo made the decision NOT to outsource this job to a company and just brand it GE. They decided this would allow them to understand the intricacies of the platform and be the true experts and their technology is leading the pack as far as interactivity.
  • Chibo aims to provide a good experience for the host leading the activity as well as everyone who’s interacting alongside the host. They worked to make it time so that everyone could actually complete something together in the time allotted without losing anyone to frustration or the inability to complete the tasks.
  • Chibo has competition from other big companies but Taylor was able to see that the work they’d done prior to creating the current platform and checking out other existing online video applications, that those companies hadn’t done all the research they had. So he was proud of his team’s work, research and building a successful application.
  • A host can start with one cooking class and grow their audience from there and some hosts are successfully giving live cooking classes as additional revenue.
  • Taylor reminds us that humans are behind the technology being created and he was inspired by Steve Jobs and Taylor hopes to inspire his team.

Resources Mentioned

To apply to be a presenter with Chibo, apply here.

Want to learn more about revenue diversification?

Creating a great gift guide is discussed in episode 133 and they discuss how these are a solution for your audience, help you connect with them better and pump up your revenue.


Transcript

Click for full text.

Intro:

Welcome to Eat Blog Talk, where food bloggers come to get their fill of the latest tips, tricks, and insights into the world of food blogging. If you feel that hunger for information, we’ll provide you with the tools you need to add value to your blog. And we’ll also ensure you’re taking care of yourself, because food blogging is a demanding job. Now, please welcome your host, Megan.

Megan Porta:

Food bloggers. Hey, if you have not yet joined the new, amazing Eat Blog Talk community, you have to go do it. You will find so much value inside, including connecting with other food bloggers in a much deeper way and having access to all kinds of exclusive value, such as bonus podcast episodes and mastermind groups and Resources and Service Providers directory, and so much more. Go to eatblogtalk.com for more information. And we cannot wait to see you inside.

Okay. Food bloggers. Have you heard of Flodesk? The new big email marketing rage? This is an amazing new option for managing your email subscriber list. It is super easy to use and it comes with gorgeous, intuitive drag and drop templates. And Flodesk does not charge based on the number of subscribers. So your monthly rate will stay the same from month to month. Everyone pays $38 a month or use my affiliate link to get 50% off and pay only $19 a month. You guys, this is a fraction of the price of other email service providers, and you’ll be blown away by the beautiful and intuitive templates waiting for you inside. Visit eatblogtalk.com/resources to grab your link. Flodesk, the stunning new option for email marketing.

Today, I will be having a discussion with Taylor Dawson from chibo.com and we will talk about the emerging economy of interactive events. Taylor is the founder of Chibo, the leading platform for live interactive cooking classes. He is also the director of interactive media for GE appliances and an advocate for innovation within corporations. He loves cooking from scratch, designing and making things and playing music. Taylor, I’m so happy to have you here today, but first we want to hear your fun fact.

Taylor Dawson:

Yeah, I’m so excited to be here, too, Megan, and it should be noted that you have run at least one class on Chibo, so thank you!

Megan:

Just one so far, but one’s coming this week.

Taylor:

A fun fact. My first name is not Taylor. That’s actually my mom’s maiden name. And she gave me that as my middle name. My first name is actually Jedidiah and people are often questioning where that came from. People have heard of Jebediah Springfield from the Simpsons, no relation. It’s actually a Mormon pioneer name, so I come from a Mormon pioneer stock. 

I don’t always necessarily identify with Mormonism entirely now, but there are important elements to that which make up my heritage. The reason I don’t go by Jedediah has a lot to do with the last two syllables of Jedediah, which are “diah,” which ends up being the first two syllables of another word that I will leave to your listeners. And that has a lot to do with being five years old.

Megan:

Oh my gosh. That is a fun fact. Does anyone in your family or anyone at all call you Jedidiah?

Taylor:

Here’s the problem with going by your middle name. It always comes back to haunt you, but when I was in middle school and high school (particularly in middle school) when they call out the role, they always call your first name, your legal name. This is just something that would happen every single year. They called out “Jebidiah,” “Jetta dye,” no one could ever pronounce it. Once they would do that, the cat was always out of the bag. 

Cause you know, when you’re a teenager, you’re really uncomfortable with being different. And then I didn’t learn to appreciate it until I was in high school when I recognized my differences were actually an okay thing. People started calling me Jedi, which was kind of a cool thing. It’s actually been a fun thing, a fun differentiator for me to have throughout my life.

Megan:

That’s cool. I love that. So our youngest son, his name is Samson and I just love that name cause it’s a little unique. It’s cute. And he hates it. He goes by Sammy. So he’s always experiencing that, too. In school on the first day of school, they’ll call him Samson Porta. And he’s like, “Oh, stop it. My name is Sammy.” He hasn’t yet gotten to that point where he identifies with his name being a little bit different and that being cool. But I think someday he’ll embrace Samson.

Taylor:

Yeah. 15 or 16. I mean, if we’re being honest it’s going to be awhile.

Megan:

Yeah. That’s all right. Well that was fun. Thanks for sharing that, Taylor. We’re here to talk about interactive events and as you know, interactive, virtual events are huge right now. And we’ve been a little bit forced into this new format because of everything that has transpired in 2020. They were a thing prior to that, but I think more than ever, they’re pretty big. And you are the founder of Chibo, which is an interactive platform for live cooking classes. 

I know that both content creators and home cooks, wanting to learn more about cooking, are really excited about this platform and what Chibo has to offer. It’s really cool. To start, I would love [it] if you gave us a little bit of background on yourself, as well as GE, Chibo and how these online events have transpired for you guys.

Taylor:

Yeah. The first thing you need to know about me is that I was trained as an engineer. I have two engineering degrees. If I end up getting a little bit nerdy, you’ll have to give me a little bit of grace for that. I work for GE appliances, actually. I founded Chibo along with the group of six of us who are on the team right now who were passionate about the idea of creating a community around cooking. Interestingly, we came up with the idea of doing this back in 2019. 

Well before Covid hit and not really understanding obviously what the impact would be of Covid and having, in a kind of dark way, become the beneficiaries of what has otherwise been a terrible time. We weren’t prophetic or anything. Actually, what we were trying to tap into was a trend that we saw with things like Peloton, for example. 

Peloton was moving fitness to the home and talking about how you could follow along and they were doing a fantastic job at that point, eight or nine years into their journey of creating community around exercise and fitness. The question that we’ve been asking at GE appliances probably for the last five years is: How do we build communities around the things that people are doing with our products, cooking or cleaning or just the things that people love to do? 

So we looked at a number of different trends and we realized that if we started some sort of a place where people could post recipes, that had been done like 10 years ago. If we started just making video content, that was something that had really taken off like five years ago. And we realized that if we really wanted to be in the game, then we would have to be ahead of the curve. 

We thought “ahead of the curve” could mean doing interactive video. To be honest, in the beginning of 2019 there hadn’t been a lot that would have been done around interactive video. Some of the other things that inspired us were things like Twitch, where people were live streaming. Even then, the level of interactivity was pretty low. What we decided was to benchmark Zoom and Google Hangouts and Adobe Connect and two or three other video platforms to find out if it was even a possibility to have one person instructing with a multiplicity. 

That’s my engineering terms coming up, probably because I’ve just been reading patents, a “multiplicity.” I will not apologize for it. What we realized was that in order for this to be powerful, we’d have to make it possible for not just five people or ten people to be able to do something, but we’d have to ultimately make it so a hundred people at a time could follow along or, or 1,000 or even 10,000 people could follow along. 

What we wanted to prove initially was that we could create an awesome experience where people could learn to do something that’s otherwise too complicated to even attempt and they have an instructor  who is teaching them at the same time as 99 other people. That was the challenge we were trying to solve. 

It turned out that we tried Zoom and we tried Google Hangouts because they’re designed for video conferencing; they do a really good job of video conferencing. And each one is a little bit different. Each one has some specific benefits and downsides, but none of them were really adequate to do what we were trying to prove, which was providing a really positive experience with interactivity and cooking. 

As it turns out, this is a very complicated thing to do.  When you have someone in one location doing the instructing, how [do you] accomplish all of these different things they’re cooking while many others are doing it in different locations? The way that we approached it really was we would spend every week trying one new platform. 

Sometimes we tried them for one or two weeks. We would learn whether or not that platform was capable. What we were first trying to do was just find out if there’s a platform that you can do this on. We don’t want to build it from the ground up. And then when we started to poke holes in them and find the issues, we decided that it was time to build our own proprietary platforms. 

So that’s what Chibo has become. It’s a place where people can host up to a hundred people running live interactive cooking classes. And of course we’re very conscious of the need to do it well. So we survey people afterwards and make sure that they’re having a positive experience. It did take us a lot of tweaking and a lot of testing and experimentation to get to this point, but once we got to the point where a high percentage of people were saying, “Wow, that was an amazing experience!” that’s when we really knew we had something. That was earlier this year right about the time that Covid hit, and we have been working since to scale.

Megan:

So the timing, I mean, it really was kind of coincidental that you guys had been working on this prior, and then Covid helped you guys expand a little bit. I love hearing stories like that, because as you mentioned, there’s so much darkness that came out of Covid for obvious reasons, sickness and all of that, but there are good things.

And I love hearing those stories, like the Peloton bikes. I like that you mentioned that too. With random companies we’re saying, “I never knew about them. They’ve been around, but here they are, they’re shining!” They’re finding their star moments here and I love those stories.

Taylor:

Well, that was the serendipitous part about it. The crushing reality part, and I’m sure every food blogger who’s listening to this can identify with it. As soon as Covid hit, even if there is an opportunity out there, you don’t always see it immediately. What we had been doing up to that point, because we were still pretty new in this journey, was we had been flying people to our studio and having them run their first one or two classes in our studio. It allowed us to develop a good relationship with them. It got them comfortable with the tech without having to run it all themselves.

 And immediately we had this switch flip and said, we can’t do that anymore. So how are we going to enable people to do what had been in our timeline six months or a year out? [We] switched to think about how we were going to make this possible for people to do it from home sooner. But we had to figure out how to do six to 12 months worth of work in one month or two months so that we could still continue running the business. 

Again, that actually ended up being a positive force, as well. I think it forced us to do something that we’d probably been delaying longer than we absolutely needed to. So at this point, we got it set up. Now it was a matter of having a phone and a laptop, getting them connected together in the right way and being able to use them as a multi-camera presentation. It sounds simple now in retrospect, but narrowing things down to that and figuring out exactly the right combination of devices and the right configurations for a broad range of people, was a significant creative effort on the part of my team.

Megan:

It’s just proof that sometimes outside factors force us into figuring out a problem, right? I mean, you guys were kind of in a hard spot. You knew you needed to figure this out quickly instead of six or 12 months down the road, and you did it and figured out it was possible. I think we get into that mindset where we have lots of time to figure something out, but when we’re forced into a timeframe, then we actually sit down and we do it. 

And your space is so unique. I want you to talk a little bit about that because a lot of food bloggers listening are not familiar with this really interactive platform that you guys have created. I was shocked to be in there to see how cool it was. You are doing everything live and people are watching you, they’re cooking with you, but they can also communicate with you. So can you talk about that a little bit? The full interactivity scope of the platform?

Taylor:

So there are a lot of places where you can go and watch. Food Network is a great example. They produce fantastic content. So actually before we even started, Food Network had announced that they were going to have some kind of an interactive experience in their mobile app. It hadn’t launched yet, but it launched a couple of months after we started and we tried it out. Again, the quality of the content from Food Network in their mobile app for this kind of interactive experience was very high. It’s exactly what you would expect from Food Network, but we were trying to prove something a little bit different. 

In theory, Food Network’s app allows you to cook along, but we noticed a couple of things as we were watching it. One thing was the people hosting the classes weren’t actually going at a pace that anyone would actually be able to follow along. 

The interactivity was really limited, too. There was a separation between the person who’s in theory cooking at home, probably just watching, but in theory, cooking at home and the actual chef. There was a moderator between them and the moderator would allow the person who was cooking to see maybe some of the comments or bring some up off camera, but not necessarily allowed direct interaction. 

While I think there is value in that, what we were trying to prove is that you could actually have a cook-along demonstration where a large percentage of people, if not all of the people, were actually cooking along. That takes interactive media to its ultimate extreme right now. What is interactivity on Facebook? On Facebook interactivity could be as limited as giving a thumbs up, right? That’s a valuable interaction, but the ultimate extreme is that we are together, focused at the same time, doing something together simultaneously. 

Of course that is where the really big challenge comes in. How do you create a platform, a virtual experience that enables that to happen and enables it to happen in a way that’s satisfactory instead of frustrating. If you are ever creating a new technology platform or doing anything for that matter, set up a discipline where you force yourself regularly to engage in that activity and then evaluate yourself on a regular basis. What we did was we ran these weekly classes. 

The first platform we tried was Google Hangouts. And in the second or third week of doing that, we invited about five or 10 local people to our events. And then I dispatched someone to each of those homes. So there was a person in our studio who was cooking and our studio was really just a makeshift space. It wasn’t actually a studio. It was just a space, a kitchen that we had converted for this purpose. 

Then I dispatched someone to the homes of the people who were participating, and we had them watch these people as they were trying to cook along. And the first thing we noticed was the person who was cooking would go way too fast. As soon as the person at home gets one step behind, the brain is focusing on the step behind and they can’t pay attention to what’s happening. They would get frustrated and literally in week two or three, the person who I dispatched to this participant’s home said that the at-home participant literally ran out of the room crying because it was so frustrating for them. 

That is a good characterization of a lot of our first five, six, seven weeks of doing this, trying to understand how to pace it. Then we knew what types of indicators we had to put within the experience to make it possible for people to communicate back and forth. Because if you’re going to have a hundred people communicating, you can’t have them all talking at once. 

What we ended up doing was we stripped everything out except for the basic fundamentals. And then we added in things as we went that would reduce frustration and add some delight. The first time we did this, we made the blatant assumption that we needed all audio and all video from all parties coming in at all times. 

What that ends up being for the person who’s hosting the classes is an overload of information. I can hear everyone who wants to speak to me whenever they want to speak to me and I can see everything that they’re doing at any time. We pretty quickly found out that was a bad experience for both the person hosting and the people participating. 

Then we said, what if we can make an experience where the people who are participating don’t share their video. They’re worried about their house being a mess for the most part. What if we strip that out entirely and build an experience where participants can speak back to the host when they feel like they need it, when they need a little bit more instruction. 

We started with a very bare bones experience, and then we added really important features like allowing the host to start a session break. About every 15 to 20 minutes, if you’re doing something complex, you throw a session break out there and just ask people to respond if they need a little bit more time. 

That gives the host an opportunity to kind of relax, to take a bit of a cognitive break, because of course, teaching at the same time that you’re cooking can be a challenge, and maybe tell some stories around what they’re doing and become more personal about things. It gives people time to catch up and everyone feels comfortable with having been solicited by the host for the opportunity to take a break. 

By contrast, if the only way you have to say “I’m behind!” is to speak to the host where everyone can hear you say, “I’m behind, slow down,” that’s an uncomfortable experience. We had to learn how to create and make the experience comfortable for all of the people who were participating at the same time. 

It turns out that when you’re developing an experience for people, the ultimate end solution ends up feeling very elegant, but you only get there after a lot of struggle. I’m going to end up quoting Steve Jobs too many times, but I think the way that he talks about it is elegant. That simplicity is on the other side of complexity. 

You end up with a very simple understanding of how things are going to work and you think, “Oh, this is really easy.” Then you get into it and it gets complex and then ultimately you end up with an elegant solution. But only after realizing that elegant solutions solve all of the complexities while appearing very simple.

Megan:

What you guys have settled on is really cool. And I could not have conjured it up in my mind. When I first heard of Chibo, I was intrigued and then getting into it as a host thought it was just brilliant. It’s very simple. People aren’t going to want to press a button or say something on their own, such as, “Hey, I’m behind.” But when the host prompts and says, “Okay, we’re going to take a little break, let me know when you’re ready,” then people are going to be much more inclined to say “I’m not ready yet!” It’s such a little thing, but such a game changer as far as making the whole event a success on both ends. 

It takes the pressure off the host. It takes pressure off the people following along. And you mentioned Food Network. They deliver amazing content and they put together great displays of food and they cook fabulous meals and recipes, but who can really follow along with them? It’s more just us watching them cook. It’s always been assumed that we can cook along if we want, but we don’t have all the ingredients ready and prepped. We can’t go through it that fast. Your platform creates a truly different and doable experience. You literally can join this experience and cook at the same pace as the host and have the same final product in the end, which is so cool.

Taylor:

Yeah. In fact, when we first started doing this, we used Peloton as our North star. Within a few weeks, we basically outlawed any references to Peloton for a long time. Because if you try too hard to take some seemingly analogous example, then it turns out you take that model too far. We found out that the model of how we were going to do this for Chibo had to be so different from the way Peloton works. 

As an example, like with a Peloton experience, anyone can hop in at any time and get value out of it. Right? All you do is start. You can hop in right in the middle and just start pedaling. You can’t do that with the Chibo experience. You have to be there at the beginning. If you’re not there on time, then you’ve missed a step and therefore you’ve missed the entire thing. So we had to develop ways of handling that. I also think a good counter example to Peloton is, if you want to start a Peloton class, the equipment is standard. It’s the same. Every time you put your gym shorts on, you put your shoes on and you get on the bike and start pedaling. 

With a Chibo experience, it’s different every time. You need the right ingredients and you need to be there at the right time. Sometimes you even need to do some prep work in advance. So we had to come up with elegant ways of getting that information to people and getting people prepared for it so that they would be there on time and that they understood exactly how to get set up in their kitchen. 

Because everyone’s kitchen is a little different. It turned out that there were a lot of little problems to solve that weren’t very analogous to that platform. It helped us a lot to break free from that paradigm and start to create our own paradigm.

Megan:

Obviously you learned that it’s possible to get things accomplished when you’re given a tight timeframe, but what other little lessons have you learned along the way from this experience of creating this awesome new platform?

Taylor:

As soon as Covid hit, we started seeing articles online about people who were hosting live cooking classes, almost exclusively on Zoom. Initially we were like, “Oh, this is scary.” Because people could easily just use Zoom. Every time I saw one of those classes, I would attend and just check it out. What I realized was the same thing we had learned a year previously. Zoom wasn’t the platform to do this on. Yet. It hadn’t developed the tool set that it needed in order to be the solution that we were providing. 

Ultimately what we realized was the solution we were providing to people was a place where they could grow an audience of people who are willing to pay for a ticket to a class and be able to have a lot of people join at the same time. As an example, we’ve had people who have started out being able to sell 10 tickets and they’ve quickly escalated after running five or six events to being able to sell a lot more than that. Some people 50, some 60, 70, some people 100. 

So they’re doing a good job making money and you can do that to a certain extent on Zoom, but it breaks after a certain number of people. It feels like the breaking point for a great experience in Zoom is somewhere around 10 people. Initially we had some fear about that. And then about a week ago, Zoom announced it was doing something called On Zoom and we were like, “Oh great!” On Zoom was targeting exactly our target demo, right? Creators who are doing interesting things that other people want to do with them. Because they’d seen a lot of people running these classes, cobbling together their own set of tools to get people to sign up for a class, to pay for it and all that. 

I think very rightly they responded to it. And when that happens, I think your listeners will identify with this. I felt stress and anxiety and got a big pit in my stomach because Zoom has like 1200 employees, probably a lot of them engineers and they could quickly bury us. So we were freaking out. I mean, I was freaking out. I didn’t express that to my team probably, but you internalize that and it becomes stress. So of course the next thing I did was sign up and then I realized that they haven’t cracked it yet. 

They’re focusing on a part of the problem, but not the main problem, which is there needs to be a different version of Zoom. Zoom itself has to be a different thing for this to really end up working. Otherwise you’re going to hit this breaking point and they might figure that out. If they do, then I’ll continue to be nervous, but I think the most important thing that I’ve learned this third round creating a venture for GE appliances is that we had an intuition that it could be good. 

We tested that intuition, but the approach we took was that we’re going to be the people who become the experts in this, that we can be a new, invaluable technology. And we’re going to get deep into understanding the intricacies of the actual experience, which honestly wouldn’t be the first approach that a team that otherwise has a corporate background would go to. The first thing a corporate team might otherwise think about would be, let’s outsource a lot of this stuff and let’s just be kind of the owners of the brand. But let’s have an agency come up with what this experience is going to feel like. 

What we decided was, no, this is complicated. There are literally a million different permutations of the approach that we could take. The value that we gain here is by being the people who understand in-depth what the problems are, how to solve those problems, then build the platform in a way that addresses the problems. To date, no one has done that as well as my team has. So I think the thing that I’m most proud of is that we had that intuition when we started and we followed that and we’ve stuck to it until now. And because of that, our technology is leading the pack as far as interactivity of experiences.

Megan:

I love how you phrased that. That’s so perfect. I think it’s very important that you have stayed in the game and not outsourced it, like you mentioned. And food bloggers can relate to that, too, because there are so many parts of our jobs that we could easily hand off. And then when we do that, we lose something. If our touch isn’t in it, something is lost. 

The fact that you guys have all stayed in it and that you had that intuition early on, is so key for your success. I’m really excited to see where this takes you. I think you guys are going to grow very quickly, which kind of leads me to speaking to food bloggers. Food bloggers are listening, content creators who love sharing their passions for cooking. They are also business owners who are looking for additional avenues of inspiration as well as monetization. How can food bloggers start running these sorts of events on their own?

Taylor:

There are a number of different ways you can start doing this on your own. If you wanted to just try it out, you could literally get an Event Brite account and start selling tickets. Then link that up to your Zoom account and start teaching the basics. Send people who sign up the recipe, tell them what time to show up and then deliver the content to them. If it’s of interest, we’ve done a lot of the groundwork there and we can probably simplify that process for them. 

Chibo is taking on a limited number of new people before the end of the year. I think our goal was to bring on 50 people by the end of the year and we’ve got something like five to 10 slots left. We do have some availability before the end of the year. If interested, reach out at chi.bo/apply there, but the most important thing, period, in any journey is taking that first step. 

Personally, I think this is a direction that the world is going in. I wouldn’t have invested the last 18 months of my life in it if I didn’t believe that it was the direction the world is going. And I think that merits getting started. There’s something about this that can be very nerve-wracking for a lot of people. Because when we think about developing content, we expect that the content has to be perfect. Then you add the anxiety about doing something live. What the people who joined Chibo classes are looking for you is you in your most raw and human form. They’ve been following you and they trust you. They wouldn’t read your content if they didn’t. So you can take heart in the fact that they just want to get to know you on a more personal level and they want what they’re looking for. 

A lot of times, people won’t take the leap to making one of your recipes unless they feel like you’re there with them guiding them. They will get an enormous benefit out of actually being incentivized to do something along with you at the same time. And they’re going to enjoy it a lot. 

There are hurdles. There are technological hurdles, there’s an anxiety hurdle that a lot of people deal with. My team happens to have helped many, many people overcome those hurdles. We know what those hurdles are and we can address them with you if this is something you’re interested in doing.

Megan:

You guys are so great. I’ve recorded a lot of videos of myself, making recipes, but it’s different. There’s something different about being live and being raw, as much as you can prepare for the possibility that something is going to happen. My dog started barking ferociously at our neighbors during the video. And of course that sort of thing is going to happen. I think people realize that this is real life for us, too. It’s real life for the host. Not every situation is going to be perfect. And that is okay. I love that Chibo embraces that. 

For me, it was scary leading up to it because it’s a new challenge, but a gratifying one, too. As you mentioned, Taylor, there are people who follow us who love how our recipes look. Maybe they’ve made one or two recipes from our archives, but do they really dig in and make as much as they could? Having them pay a few dollars incentivizes them to show up and come to the class and actually make our food alongside us. 

This really is a valuable experience for people. The whole thing is just so cool. I love what you guys are doing. As Taylor mentioned, if you want to apply, they have a few spaces left, so go to chi.bo/apply to apply. Okay. Do you anticipate expanding the amount of hosts you have?

Taylor:

We do invest quite a bit of our own effort into onboarding people and for that reason, we have decided that we’re going to keep it to a limited number before the end of the year. I expect that at the beginning of next year, we will continue growing and start adding people at an even faster pace. I don’t want to discourage anyone from reaching out. I think there are still spaces and we value everyone who is interested in doing this. 

And we’ll have a conversation with you and decide if now is the right time. I think it is the right time. We’d love to have conversations whether or not you are ready to commit. At least we can give you more information about it. Now that we’ve done this with dozens and dozens of people, we understand what the landscape looks like, and we can even help consult you on how you should approach it and whether or not it’s the right time for you. We’re open to having conversations. 

A lot of times a conversation now can lead to you deciding that you want to do something three months from now and then being ultimately successful six months from now. If this is something that’s of interest to you, I encourage you to just reach out and I’ll talk to you or Abby from my team will talk to you and we’ll decide how to approach helping you get to your next step.

Megan:

I think it is the perfect time to do this. This virtual experience is so huge right now. And I don’t see that going away. I only see that growing. So even if you don’t get into Chibo or if you’re not interested in that, I would recommend that people at least get their toes wet with doing some sort of live classes for their audience, even if it’s just three or five people. There’s such value in this sort of experience as a home cook, as a food blogger and as a recipe developer. I really appreciate all of this information you’ve shared with us, Taylor. Is there anything you feel like we’ve missed that we should touch on before we start saying goodbye?

Taylor:

I don’t think so. I’ve been aching. You asked me to come up with a quote and it’s always a cop-out to quote Steve Jobs, first of all. So I apologize for that.

Megan:

Not at all. I disagree.

Taylor:

I’ve just been motivated by this particular quote and I think it’s a great fit for your audience. I’ve had the opportunity over the last year to talk with dozens and dozens of food bloggers and every single time I do the first question I always want to know is, “What motivated you to get into this?” Because it is a really challenging path. It starts out with just passion and a belief that you’re going to ultimately be successful. When you first start it, there’s very little evidence of that. You have to be optimistic, you have to stick to it and you have to be really disciplined. So I love talking with food bloggers for that reason, because every single one of them is a diehard entrepreneur, who’s quite often trying to juggle many different things at one time. 

I couldn’t identify with that as much before I started my own entrepreneurial journey that I’ve been able to go on within GE appliances. So I personally haven’t taken anywhere near the plunge that many of your listeners will have taken, but I like to get inspired by them. 

The thing I often try and go back to when I am getting frustrated or feeling like I’m not making the progress that I want is this. The idea that the general march of progress is that these things seem like they just happened to us, that they were just inevitable. The rise of personal computing or whatever, right? And it turns out those things were actually created by other human beings. And Steve Jobs used that knowledge, that understanding, with greater leverage than practically anyone else ever has. Knowing that was what made him so powerful. The way he said that is, “Everything around you that you call life was made up by people who are no smarter than you, and you can change it. You can influence it once you learn that you’ll never be the same again.”

Megan:

That is such a great quote. I love how you tied that into food bloggers, that fits so perfectly. And we do get caught up in that, right? Computers and technology are advancing rapidly, but there are humans behind it all. We have to give ourselves a little bit of credit. Thank you, Taylor, for sharing that. And thank you so much for being here today. I really appreciate you taking time out of your day to share value with food bloggers. 

Taylor:

Thank you, Megan.

Megan:

We will put together a show notes page for you, Taylor. If anyone wants to go visit that feel free, you can find that at eatblogtalk.com/Chibo. Taylor, tell my listeners the best place to find you online.

Taylor:

Honestly I do not manage my social presence nearly as well as I should have. So I’m on LinkedIn. You can reach out to me on LinkedIn and connect with me, please, and we can have a chat there. If literally anyone wants to talk to us, go on that application link. We’ll see your application immediately and we’ll set up a chat.

Megan:

Awesome. Well, thank you for being here, Taylor, and thank you for listening today, food bloggers. I will see you next time.

Intro:

We’re glad you could join us on this episode of Eat Blog Talk. For resources based on today’s discussion, as well as show notes and an opportunity to be on a future episode of the show, be sure to head to eatblogtalk.com. If you feel that hunger for information we’ll be here to feed you on Eat Blog Talk.


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Megan
Megan

Megan started her food blog Pip and Ebby in 2010 and food blogging has been her full-time career since 2013. Her passion for blogging has grown into an intense desire to help fellow food bloggers find the information, insight, and community they need in order to find success.

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