Exponential Destiny is a 501(c)(3) educational non-profit organization that uses new technology and disruptive innovation to provide mentorship, up/re-skilling, and entrepreneurial training to public schools and organizations serving under-resourced communities. The Exponential Destiny program was founded by Marcus Shingles in 2015 when he “adopted” a High School in South Central Los Angeles to establish a new curriculum to teach exponential entrepreneurship.
Exponential Destiny is focused on immersing youth from underserved communities in the skills necessary to become modern-day entrepreneurs. The program’s goals include assisting young people in future-proofing themselves, developing peer-to-peer relatability, looking through a lens into the art of the possibility, setting expectations, and more. Participants, like today’s guests, are introduced to entrepreneurial thinking, educated not to be afraid of failure, and build competence in cutting-edge technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality, robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, networking, blockchain, and more. Ultimately, learning how to implement all this knowledge to make an exponential change in the way people and businesses think and act.
I’ve had the pleasure of having a great conversation with Marcus Shingles, the Co-Founder and CEO of Exponential Destiny, in episodes #161 and #246. Today is he’s joining me back on the show together with the Exponential Destiny core team, from which you will clearly see the exponential trajectory these young women and men are on.
The Exponential Destiny Core Team
Born in Los Angeles, has developed strong leadership skills through operating small businesses, helping manage his high school, and volunteering for political organizations. He enjoys project-based learning, which makes him proficient in accounting, human resources, and marketing.
Proud Los Angeles native, Pablo is the youngest of our team of entrepreneurs. He is ever adapting and honing his leadership, business management, content creation, and overall professional skill set daily. He is experienced in project writing, media creation, cultivating funding, public speaking, securing legal certifications. Pablo’s first-hand experiences with facilitating events and groups trace back to his role as ASB President and a plethora of campus chairman positions. As part of the graduating Class of 2020, he recently committed to attending the University of California Merced.
Samantha Aguilar Araujo
Proudly born and raised in South Central Los Angeles California, Sam wants to give back to the community through the arts. She is the first in her family to attend a university and is currently in her third year at California State University Los Angeles. She is pursuing an Art Education major with the main goals of creating a bridge between youth in South Central and the extensive art world by passing her knowledge to them while teaching them how to apply art in various areas of the world. Another part of her goal is to encourage and guide those who are passionate but afraid of art because of their background or the future to pursue it.
Kevin Vega is an Entrepreneur, current Chief Executive Officer of LopesEat, he is skilled in Sales, Public Speaking, Social Media, Marketing, and Videography. Kevin Vega was born in Los Angeles California and attended Nava College Preparatory Academy in south la, he took part in the exponential entrepreneurship course where he says his passion for entrepreneurship was born. He then took this passion and attended Grand Canyon University majoring in Business Entrepreneurship.
Iris Areli Ochoa Garcia
Iris Areli Ochoa Garcia was born on August 26, 2002, and lives in South Central Los Angeles. She went to Nava College Preparatory Academy for high school where she was Salutatorian. Now she attends the University of California Santa Barbara and is a first-generation student. She’s currently studying to receive her Bachelor’s in Biology.
Graduated from James Madison College at Michigan State University in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Relations and Policy. Works as a Strategic Support Associate with Jackson National Life with an Envestnet Institute on Campus Certification for broad-based training in asset and wealth management and interpersonal skills. Interested in the virtual space and the ways it can improve businesses and the world.
Proudly born and raised in South Los Angeles. In high school, I was exposed to entrepreneurship during high school in a program called Exponential Entrepreneurship opened my mind to new ideas and that’s when my passion for entrepreneurship was born. I am currently a sophomore at the University of California, Irvine. My goal in Irvine is to get my major in psychology with a minor in public health and somehow incorporate entrepreneurship in it all. My top traits are Public speaking, Sales, and Customer service.
And now here’s the Exponential Destiny team.
[3:32] What is Exponential Destiny?
[15:29] Why Marcus started Exponential Destiny
[22:21] All about the team
[29:06] Pablo’s experiences
[32:36] Samantha’s journey
[39:22] How Kevin got involved and his experiences so far
[44:18] Can a group like them be started anywhere?
[45:03] Iris and what she’s working on
[49:39] Zack on his experience with the project
[54:00] How Juan got involved with Exponential Destiny
[57:58] On placement for the team
[59:28] Marco on the team
Full transcript below
Video on The Young Team Making the Metaverse Real in South Central LA
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Podcast with Exponential Destiny. The Young Team Making the Metaverse Real in South Central LA.
metaverse, learning, marco, people, exponential, marcus, high school, project, vr, pablo, business, destiny, community, virtual reality, talking, school, company, working, big, created
Kevin Vega, Simon, Iris Ochoa, Marco Vargas, Juan Felix, Mike Malatesta, Marcus Shingles, Pablo Gonzalez
Mike Malatesta 00:05
Hey, everybody, welcome back to the how that happened Podcast. I’m so happy to have you here as I am with every episode. And of course, I have a very special episode to share with you today. But before I do that, I just want to remind everybody that my book owner shift how getting selfish, got me unstuck is at Amazon bestseller, yay. And it’s getting some great reviews. So if you haven’t picked up the book yet, you can pick it up at Amazon. And if you do and you like it, I’d be really grateful if you would leave me a review so I can understand what you got out of the book or what you liked about it, and others can as well. So let’s move on to why we’re here today. Today, I’m bringing you a glimpse into the future through the eyes and experiences of a group of young leaders and entrepreneurs who are involved with the Los Angeles based exponential Destiny program. So what is exponential destiny? And why is it important? The program was founded in 2015 by Marcus shingles, an amazing success story that you can learn all about by checking out episode number 161. And since I wrote that before, I knew he would actually be here you are getting Marcus in live and in person as well today, so big treat. So he founded that in partnership with a high school located in South Central Los Angeles. The program is focused on immersing youth from underserved communities in the skills necessary to become modern day startup entrepreneurs. The program’s objectives are to help your is the program’s objectives are to help young people future proof themselves build peer to peer relatability look through a lens into the art of the possible set expectations. And much more. Participants like Today’s guests are exposed to entrepreneurial thinking taught not to be afraid to fail, very important. gain expertise into cutting edge technologies like AR VR, robotics, AI, machine learning, connectivity, blockchain and more. And how to implement them to make an exponential change in the way people and businesses think and act. And you can learn more about what’s going on with this program at exponential destiny.com. So I’m going to turn over the microphone to Marcus shingles to as the as the co founder of the program along with Marco Vargas to talk about exactly what it is tee it up. And then we’re going to get the experiences from 123456 of the of the young leaders who have been involved in the program and experienced the program internet sharing the program with others. So Marcus, what where do we go?
Marcus Shingles 03:07
Yeah. Thanks, Mike. appreciate seeing you again. And I’m really, I’m really glad that you have the extended team of, of exponential Destiny On The on your podcast, this is going to be an exciting conversation, because I’m excited about it. Because I haven’t really seen an opportunity like this in a generation. It let me let me set a little context here. Because I’m not saying that to be provocative. I actually think there’s something very interesting happening. So as you described, in 2015, I adopted High School and in South Central Los Angeles that most of these young people that are on the call now. Were part of that class, a good chunk of them. They were 15 year olds at the time. They’re now in their 1819 2021 year old kind of range. And Marco in particular, who was a valedictorian of the high school, you got a full ride scholarship at Dartmouth. first in his family to do so. He was, you know, kind of a natural born leader in the program, along with Kevin and Samantha. And the program itself was really an attempt to try to help a public high school in South Central Los Angeles, become more progressive and what they were teaching the relevancy of what they’re teaching young people, and fortunately, the principal Tommy Chang, and the superintendent Tommy Welch at the time. Were completely on board to take the high school and try to do something unique to teach kind of modern day entrepreneurialism. This wasn’t kind of a pipe dream.
Mike Malatesta 04:57
Okay, last, Marcus that we lose Mark
Marcus Shingles 05:01
skill sets that either.
Mike Malatesta 05:05
Yeah, you kind of you kind of froze up on us for a little bit. So you when you were saying this wasn’t just a pipe dream, let’s go back to that and then go,
Marcus Shingles 05:18
Mike Malatesta 15:26
Marcus, before you make the introductions, one question, you got it at the end of how you’re, you know, looking to maybe roll this out and how you’re going to take the experience from that what started at I think it started Nava College Prep Academy.
Marcus Shingles 15:41
And it’s the High School in South Central Los Angeles. It’s okay. It’s adjacent to Jefferson High School. Yeah.
Mike Malatesta 15:46
And so, so thanks for sort of giving us the seed of what the future might look like. But why did you start this in the first place? What, what prompted you to see this need or want to do it?
Marcus Shingles 16:00
Well, it’s I mean, it’s quite obvious. I had a lot of my families in the public school system or professors and universities. And I had two kids that were two adult children now that went through college, one of them went to a private school. And I didn’t feel like either of them got the edge, and they went to good schools, I didn’t feel like either we got the education to make them deployable in the new economy. Okay. I mean, I was constantly trying to interject to rescale them into I just said, example, my daughter was a biology major. And I was really emphasizing to focus on biotech, and to understand what CRISPR cast nine is, and gene editing, etc. And that whole field and that just wasn’t something they were talking about in their private school back back then. So my point is, I thought if if these if these educational institutions are struggling to keep up, and I was consulting some boards of MBA prom, an MBA programs, if these schools aren’t keeping up, can you imagine a public high school and in an under really underserved community, like South Central Los Angeles, so I reached out to a high school there that I read in the LA Times that was just trying to reinvent themselves. They’ve kind of hit scorched earth, and they’re trying to reinvent themselves. And the community adopted the school to try to reinvent it, they actually won the RFP bid against some region, you know, some firms that actually help schools reinvent themselves, the community actually want it. So anyways, I reached out to high school principal. And I basically said, you know, what, I’m talking to MB, I’m advising MBA programs. I’m talking to CEOs about the type of you know, fortune 100 CEOs I’m working with on the type of future of labor, AI, robotics, etc. A lot of the jobs that most people are getting trained for in school that Erica even exist, blue collar and white collar. So the thought was, I just have a passion for mentorship and working with young people. So I went, I contacted the principal from the high school and said, Hey, I’m looking upstream at the colleges that are going to recruit from your school, as well as the businesses that are going to hire labor. In addition, some kids may not have the option to go to college and and they have opportunities still to be professionally successful. In a for profit or nonprofit business, if they just learned as tools of a modern day entrepreneur, they don’t have to be dependent on on that. And my other premise was, I think kids will get really excited about this, because you walk into a classroom and you start talking about 3d printing and self care. This was before blockchain was on the radar, self driving cars were on the right arm. And so we’re getting in there talking about this in the school before any of this was even being talked about. I mean, you can, you can ask Mark on the team on the line right now, because they can flashback to when they were 15 years old. In terms of the way you know, I don’t know Marco, do you remember the first day I came to your guys class? Back in school? And what what do you guys think? Besides, you probably all thought I was a little nuts to
Marco Vargas 18:38
see that we thought you were crazy. Like a good kid. It was. It’s crazy to see how much has happened since then. Like we were talking about Bitcoin when I was 15 years old. And it was like $1,000. And it’s increased since then. But like, those are the kinds of experiences that we all had. And it’s definitely been, at least for me, like, it’s been a whole journey, right. And I think everyone has had their own journey as an exponential entrepreneur, you know, big thanks to the pilot program and our college trip, but the fact that like, you know, now that we’re adults, right, you know, young adults, and now we have the capacity to, you know, make this our full time career, and really build out a whole infrastructure for supporting communities like South Central. That’s, I think, the most exciting part of where we’re going. Now we have the, you know, the capacity and you know, the infrastructure to do that. And, Mike,
Marcus Shingles 19:30
let me just interject something real quickly, and that I really like you to talk to the team because I’ve I’ve said enough and you really got to hear from this group. But this is the goal that Marco and this Kevin, Sam Zack, Pablo Iris, the core leadership team of exponential destiny. We created this nonprofit. We incorporated about six months ago, because we have so much demand for schools and businesses that want to transform themselves around the metaverse, especially since Zuckerberg lit it up. Changing is coming Funny name, but we had already done a bunch of projects before then the goal is this. We are currently got funded to do we have seven schools we’re going to work with this year in 2022. We just did. Broward County School District in Florida. And maybe in your in your notes, you can post the we published the whole summit we did with the chief administration Officer of Broward County, the adult learners, the students, it was a three hour summit in virtual reality to transform how really was a proof of concept that test how do you transform education and learning using these tools. And it’s really important to see the reaction from the teachers and the students. And the school administrators who rolled their eyes initially when we approached them, and then, you know, they, it’s been transformative for them. So we’ve got seven schools that we’re going to do as well, some businesses that we’re we’re doing, but the key is this every school that we do, we walk into transform, we always go out to the community and identify people in really economically distressed situations could be a homeless shelter could be a domestic abuse support group for a single moms. It could be students from the actual high school, but people who are in situations where they’re really economically stressed, a lot of the jobs that they they, they may be we’re trying to prepare for with COVID are going to go away because of AI and robotics. That’s that’s a fact. And so we try to adapt when we go in and help the school. We also get six or seven people from these economically distressed situations, we mentor them, and they follow us along the project as we advise the school or the business just like I did with the original group. And the goal is that we then hire them and put them into professional careers. I met as Metaverse, designers on the next project, which is what the cycle that we started to do. So not only do we help transform a school or a business, but we’re using the labor we use the resources we use are these young people from these underserved or adult learners from let’s to get them to like between 50 and $70,000 a year professional salaries starting off, right, because the demand is there for that. Otherwise, this is going to be consumed by all the big consulting firms and that whole market. So we’re trying to make this model where we we upskill and rescale people, we made it a nonprofit model. So most of the focus our mission is strictly the upskilling the rescaling and transforming a you know a school or an organization.
Mike Malatesta 22:17
Okay, cool. All right. Good. Let’s let’s get to the let’s get to the intros and then we’ll we’ll go through everyone’s experience.
Marcus Shingles 22:25
So let me let’s do this. So Marco, I mentioned is the is my co founder. He’s also head of and president of the division that focuses on education institutions. Kevin is head of the commercial division, the group that works with businesses. Zach is our chief platform officer. So Zach is also my nephew lives in Michigan. And Zach is Michigan State graduate and he focuses on really being the relationship between all the vendors the the metaverse, platforms that are out there, there’s quite a few where we don’t really have any preference on which one we use. We use the ones the lowest cost that has the most amount of value for you know to work with. It has the most capability. Samantha is a is an art major at it. You see a SAM what’s the I know you so you see
the University Los Angeles. Yeah, so she’s a
Marcus Shingles 23:21
she’s a entered second or third year as art major. I like to call out Sam because her art major degree and is she’s our Chief Design Officer, which means she’s really great at going in and telling stories in the metaverse, which is a really a really important skill set. To be able to have that storytelling capability, that creative skill set. Iris, who I think is our youngest, as of right now am I right Iris? Are you the youngest one in the group right now on the leadership team? Yeah, also from South Central. Go ahead, Iris.
Iris Ochoa 23:50
I went, I’m going. I’m attending UC Santa Barbara. I’m in my second year. Um, right now I’m a pre bio, but I’m planning to change my major to sociology. And I kind of want to study how like, how schools will benefit off of like, VR and all this technological advancement.
Marcus Shingles 24:11
Yep, and then Pablo, and then Juan, who’s not on the call, but Pablo. Pablo is one of my favorite individuals because he’s got kind of Pablo, why don’t you tell the story about why you reached out to Marco like in go back to like the freezer where you’re where you had a bunch of coleslaw you’re trying to put into at the fast food restaurant. Can you tell a little bit that story about what gave you this is a great story, Mike because Pablo, you know graduated from high school was kind of going down this path of you know, fast food restaurants and stuff, didn’t know what he’s gonna do. But he he shows a lot of self initiative. Pablo, why don’t you take it from there. Describe that context.
Pablo Gonzalez 24:50
Yeah, so the story happened. Me team so I’m like I’m a junior in high school. I’m 16 years old. Businesses in and so what’s my community saw the fast food places everywhere I played all the major chains and the one that accepted me was a small like 10 by 10 foot Chicken Shack that sells fried chicken korma house cartridges chicken, I was there, I did not have probably one or two shifts, I was not employing more than 10 hours there. The life changing moment that I had was when I was making coastline, the freezer, I was elbow deep in I don’t know what what I’m seeing with the use of the coastline, you know, a carats. But as I was making that, you know, I kind of started to reflect on my career and what I want to do, you know, as a as a person and what are the, you know, is fulfilling for myself. And, you know, I can certainly, you know, think think as only those law, I can talk back about Aquino school at one point you and funnily enough, Marcos Marcus mentioned that, you know, that the program for Expo was you know, still, I don’t know, I decided to as high as high school so I can resell the Mark was going that he you know, went through the program and he had his own business as a within even even staffing companies are through that as well. So I contacted him, I said that I’m at a dead end job and I haven’t been more than more than 10 hours and said any way that you can bring me on the staff as you know, part time waiters, any anything in the company, you know, I was game for anything. And instead of offering me a job as a, you know, a best offering a waiter job, he offered me a job as their drone pilot. So they actually wanted to advance more into the field of cinema and get more competitive in the market. So he offered me a job as a drone pilot. And through there, I started I started you know, my, my schooling for becoming an FAA licensed drone pilot and ever since then, that I actually viewed that as you know, kind of like my biggest denistone into Expo I kind of learned about about tech in a different level of anyone just a regular smartphone or computer.
Marco Vargas 27:11
Don’t forget that we other conversations we’re having run Snapchat, you know that social
Marcus Shingles 27:16
media, the context the context here, Mike is Marco had his own business at age 1819 You know, Pablos, slinging coastline, this freezer, realizing what the heck the job is this and he remembers Marco Hey, this kid was pretty smart as a valedictorian of our high schools pretty smart guy. I wonder what he’s up to. So we took the initiative to call Marcos and Marco, I know you got some businesses, you’re running through the exponential entrepreneur, exponential Destiny program type of thing. And Marco had one business where he would cater parties and stuff. Yeah, waiters in distress. And they want Marco being such an entrepreneur wanted to get into providing when he catered a party wanted to do a drone footage up above the community there in south central where they could take photos and videos and stuff and post it on social media. You know, he wanted to do some marketing for the parties. And these were weddings and graduation parties in south central etc. So anyways, that’s what Pablo is describing as he called it Marco Marco was like, hey, I’ll give you the job. We need a drone operator. Pablo got FAA certified. And now you know, Pablo, Pablo is extremely inept at technology like he’s he’s really skilled and understanding tech he’s not only the drones but a lot of the the heavy tech stuff that we work with it exponential, definitely the LIDAR on your phone to take LIDAR of something on your iPhone and and bring it into virtual reality. Pablos like, he’s just a really advanced person in that field now.
Mike Malatesta 28:37
So probably you had your hand up. Did you have something to add? Or does
Pablo Gonzalez 28:40
it kind of bring those three full circle I can talk about the team you know, and I like organic we’ve been I remember was contacted Marco’s I was actually sitting in a subway with Iris over here talking about how much I hated churches it was something else that I was like a priori conversations I had with neighbors and many other team here way before expos even a thing. Kind of halfway through. But we all connect back and yeah, history.
Mike Malatesta 29:04
So Paulo, as long as I have you, why don’t we take you to like your present day experiences. So the last year or so that Marcus was sort of talking about how, you know, the teams come together and what the purpose is, what are you? What are you What are you personally into now and what is your experience been during that time? Yeah, so
Pablo Gonzalez 29:21
Well, currently, right now is learning in the, in the, in the Division of working with amount or organization, you know, that that’s one company that Mark was kind of, you know, I, I were working on at the time, we evolved it and it branched out into it’s a, you know, a completely different kind of energy zone. But in terms of Expo, I mean, it’s been an amazing I mean, we we’ve expanded tenfold and you know, I’m sorry learning bound passions, you know more about having visions with every Expo, I mean, it’s been I think that it you know, it’s amazing that that really youth in our community are able to, you know, so be a part of our community and onward, you know, and you can play with the dance show and really try to talk to them about their there’s a, there’s new skill sets that we that we have to offer you and talk to you about and
Marcus Shingles 30:14
maybe, maybe share what you did the show the Miami Project, don’t mention the client name, but share the work you did in Miami, just to give Mike in that group, a sense of the memory, okay.
Pablo Gonzalez 30:22
Okay. So, around marsta made like Ken and I were working with individually in Miami, he quit his job at a giant tech firm to you know, kind of pursue his own ambitions as an entrepreneur, he, he attended a 16 bit conference that that that we did in January and ambitions of starting Miami into this, this hub in VR, where people can kind of hop on a headset, and come in, and kind of just, you know, visit Madami investments in a way, you know, the natural community, oh, you know what it is, and I get the feel for restaurants, you know, shop owners, the whole nine yards. So Kevin and I were actually the leaders on that project. So we are flown out to Miami to support him in bringing along the, you know, the actual Miami landscape into VR. So my role in specific worlds but as a creation, so I was in charge of bringing in, for example, a storefront insert into reality. So using LIDAR scanning entire store friends, bring that into a multi programs on a computer, you know, taking that making it compatible with our software on VR. And, you know, just really creating several aspects of Miami into virtual reality either from scratch off from, you know, from not using tech, like the our drone modeling actually brought out my drone out to me. And so, I’m licensed with the FAA so, so a broker that I brought our, our drone and, and I feel the rocky parks kind of like Wynwood Walls, which the popular attraction for for tourists. So. So I was able to scan that her landscape and bringing that back, you know, bringing that kind of mesh into personality. So, essentially, you know, that project was kind of like, went out there and, you know, digitizing by me into a platform kind of like spatial or engage, and w’s.
Mike Malatesta 32:31
Nice. Nice, nice. Thanks for sharing that. Why don’t we go to Samantha Smith, Aguilar, why? Tell us a little bit about you and how you got into the program and what you’re working on?
Okay. Hello, I’m Simon. I’m currently a senior at Cal State LA. So I’m still studying while doing this. But the way I got involved was, I was in the entrepreneur class as well in high school. And I was in there, honestly, as a hobby trying to just learn all this new technology, do you see what’s going on in the world because I had no background experience with technology. I’m not a very technological person. And so I took the class for fun, and I did learn a lot. But fast forward a bit later, I was doing waiters in distress with Marco. So his waiting company at the moment as well for some little extra money here and there. And then fast forward a little more. Marco just sent me a random email to join the zoom on Sunday, like a Sunday morning. He’s like, join the zoom. And I was like, What is this? He gave me no background at all. So I joined and I saw Marcus’s face. So I was like, Okay, it’s, it’s about technology, I’m guessing. And it’s gonna be pretty innovative. I know. Just knowing Marcus and what he does. I was just like, Okay, I’ll just join. So I listened in and I heard a little bit of the background. And I started joining these daily calls that they started having and just learning. And then when they started talking about making it an actual business or nonprofit, that’s when I was like, Oh, this can actually become something really big. So I just continued learning and doing all these projects. So I started shadowing. And that’s where I started learning more. And that’s when I noticed it was a really creative process, which attracted me more because, again, I’m not the most technological person, I’m more of a creative person. So getting to see that creativity is leveraged in this area. That’s what really got me involved. And so at the moment right now, or, as I would say, through my journey. Yeah, as Mark has mentioned, I’m in charge of turning all these stories, or creating all this, all these stories based on static information that’s given from either companies or schools, depending on what we’re doing, and just transforming it into like a story mode almost. And I think it’s really important, because all this information is just there, and it’s really static most of the time. So it’s hard to retain. And that’s what I noticed in school as well. I think that’s why a lot of the times we don’t retain information is because we’re not being as hands on with it. We’re just taking it in and not reciprocating anything back. So I think we’re exponential destiny. That’s a good fair mixture of retaining information, but also giving it back. And,
Mike Malatesta 35:23
yes. So developing these stories would would would like what Pablo described as you know, taking this drone footage, would that be something that would kind of go to you and then you would create the story around? What, what the drone footage is showing? Or am I off base there with that? It kind
of depends. So sometimes they would ask me to come in and help them figure out what, what would work best for what they’re trying to do, because depending on the client, or the person in charge what they want. So they wouldn’t ask me to come in and just be like, Oh, does this look right? Do you think this would fit with what they’re asking from them. So it’s kind of more of a help, maybe
Marcus Shingles 36:03
a paste and maybe give the blend hub example. That’s a good example. Yeah, this is a client we had called blend hub. But go ahead, Sam,
we worked with a company called blend hub, which is a multi localized food company. So their goal was to try to repeat recreate one of their factories or hubs, as they call them in VR, which is trying to take their their mission and their objective of localized food production, which is having a farmer with their farm very close to their, their, what is their factories, to where they create their products. But it’s all having a locally based and having it locally, ship, or local workers kind of almost like our our mission in a way trying to have the community build their economy. So we helped them bring their their idea and their, their website almost to life because they had examples. And so we actually took one of their factories or a potential factory, because they’re all They’re all pretty similar in style and in architecture. So we took one of their factories, and we put in VR, and we just created the farm right next to it, we had a shipping area, we brought other machinery into VR, we brought other plans into VR, other information, we had a mission room where we had their history, their plans, and then we had a deal room, which is where they would try to communicate with people around the world in VR, because at the time, that’s when COVID was still very high, so we can meet in person. So yes, we help.
Marcus Shingles 37:39
So Mike, that was a good example. Like, it’s exactly like you said, Mike, Pablo, would take a drone, and go over the topography of like a farming community or something, he could even pull it off of Google Earth, he learned how to do that. And we could take the topography of an actual farming community, in some parts of the country in some part of the world, and bring that into virtual reality, which is the environment that this company blen hub would go to, in order to approach a local farming community say, hey, we can build a localized food production capability for you here. And so in virtual reality, we would create the farm we’d create the factory, and Sam was the story Narrative Designer of the whole thing, like how do you walk someone through this immersive and experiential model. And so everything from the farm where we had animals and livestock, in in crops to the factory, you get to walk in and see the factory and blend hub has done an amazing job with this, they put out a bunch of promotional videos, it’s part of their core strategy now as a business, and they really credit Sam and, and Pablo and the team for helping them, you know, design that. But keep in mind, rather than going to like a high end consulting firm to go build something like that, you know, we did this while also rescaling and upskilling resources. And I would argue that the quality and the creativity of it was was better because it was, you know, from this group of digital natives, you know,
Mike Malatesta 39:03
yeah, well, while she’s in school, as well. And so I’m saying I’ll leave you now, thank you for sharing that story. But I will, I will say that, boy, storytelling is going to be an important skill set in any verse, meta or otherwise. So I think you’re going down a really, really, really nice path there for a future. So, Kevin, why don’t you go next, let’s say Tell us how you got involved and tell us about a project you’re working on?
Kevin Vega 39:30
Oh, of course. First off, thanks for having us on the show. Mike. This is awesome. I’m there, but it’s my first time on a podcast so I’m excited to be here. You’re doing well. Yeah, I think I was also part of the expo, the original Expo group in high school. I remember kind of going to high school I was pretty good today. I will get really good grades. I remember all my teachers telling me Hey, Kevin, like, like start thinking about what you want to do in the future. I do want to be a doctor. Do you want to be a teacher right? They gave me all these options. But I remember thinking to myself, like, honestly, I don’t really feel passionate about any of these, right? And that’s when Mark is introduced to exponential entrepreneurship course or high school, right? And I was like, 1514, when this was first introduced, right? So to me, it was like, Whoa, like, there’s like this whole new, like entrepreneurship journey, right, that I could do. This new on, this is different career paths that I could take. And I didn’t know the option, right. So for me, this was this was it, it was like, it was crazy. I remember thinking like, hey, like, this is what I want to do. This is what I feel passionate about. Right? So right when the essential question, of course, was offered at my high school, I joined it, I went full on, I learned about drones, I learned about 3d printing, I learned about Bitcoin. And I remember thinking this, I remember thinking like, this is awesome. Like, I love this, right? So I graduated high school, I went on to Grand Canyon University, and I decided to major entrepreneurship, because that’s just how passionate I felt about it. I’m there, I started a business I created a food delivery service app, right? Um, with all these all these tools, I learned from exponential entrepreneurship. Right? I leveraged all this, I created an app on campus. And and that’s when I reconnected with Marco. Right. And then we started talking about Hey, um, you know, what, on Expo was great, maybe we should, um, this, maybe we should extend it right? Maybe we should figure out some sort of way to keep it going, even beyond high school. And then I remember, I think Marcus, contacted Marco, this is during COVID, about starting that daily series, that kind of our time, right? And that’s how I was like, hey, Marcus wants to start something. And so it all worked out perfectly. And then from there, we started doing these daily calls, and that’s where like, I’m exponential destiny was born. It was just, it was just this perfect thing that everybody wanted, and it was just meant to be. And I’m here I’m part of the commercial. I lead the commercial sector by special destiny. So any commercial clients, I can take data for example, I went to that trip with, um, with public to Miami. It was it was awesome. Um, this guy, he just he will he wants to kind of just put Miami his community into the metaverse, which is awesome. I was excited to be part of that. I’m currently we’re working with a client. I don’t think I can say his name. But um, he is a he’s a crazy performer. And he’s he wants to put his whole performance into the metaverse and it’s crazy because we got to experience this performance which he sells for a lot of money and we got to see it. Um, and I were working. I actually Zack and Pablo are against project working on are putting this whole performance into the metaverse, which is crazy. Being part of these huge projects being part of the future really is exciting. And everything we learn everything expands all the travel we get to do I’m just excited to be here. I’m excited to learn. And people keep telling me like this is work and stuff I got like I just really have fun with it. Like I have fun putting on this headset. I have fun building those rooms. Um, but yeah, that’s that’s what I did here. Expo.
Mike Malatesta 42:56
Nice. Thank you. That’s got to be heady stuff and work with this count with somebody like that. It’s kind of Yeah, it’s got a pinch yourself probably like it’s really, you’re creating something that’s not real for them. But it’s has probably doesn’t feel real to you either. Like, that’s
Marcus Shingles 43:11
it to give these guys you know, Mike, the reality is, I would argue that this team is probably this team of young people is probably the most experienced Metaverse, designers you can find in the world right now. And I don’t mean that facetiously. I mean, like, from the standpoint, they’ve been doing this for over a year and a half on all the different plan, like three or four of the top platforms creating these environments. You know, we’ve learned so much they’re way ahead of the curve, which is our goal to get a lot of other people ahead of the curve, you know, in the next year. Right? Yeah,
Marco Vargas 43:43
thanks anything crazy that I like, you know, we’re also all friends like outside of exponential destiny, like, several of us have known each other for years, and we’re all from the same community. I swear, like, you know, like, we like all day, like three or five minutes away from each other, which is like, really goes to show that like, the way exponential destiny has started was really from like a grassroot level that it was really something that was born inside the community. And it’s something that we want to you know, we want other, you know, other groups to be, you know, to be available all across the country, because it’s, you know, there’s some magic to the community we’ve created here.
Mike Malatesta 44:20
So Marco, do you think that means that a group like this can be started anywhere, as well? So there’s really no
Marco Vargas 44:31
Yeah, no, 100 We were one of our initiatives for 2022 is like exponential Destiny chapters, right? So that way we can like, really provide the resources for other groups to like create their own local ecosystem. Of course, leverage, you know, the expertise that we borrow, you know, expertise and resources that we have available for them. I Chicago’s
Marcus Shingles 44:51
the big community, we’re going to in q1, we’re doing a big we got funded to do a real big project with one of the major high schools in in In Chicago, so start building a network in a chapter there.
Mike Malatesta 45:04
Marco, I’ll come back to you for more I want to go to Iris now it’s a Choa. Garcia is that how to say your name? Yeah. Okay. So tell us about your experience and what you’re working on now.
Iris Ochoa 45:15
Alright, so, um, I started with exponential Destiny when Pablo one day he he sent me a message and he was telling me how I’m how he’s part of a, like a group of people that are trying to, you know, expand this company. And, you know, I was I’m not a very technological person, either. Like Sam said, I’m more of like, I handwrite things a lot more I, I like to draw, like to paint that kind of stuff. So it’s like, like, I never really thought of like VR being a space where you can actually create things. Like I thought of VR as being like, more for like gaming, you know, I thought of VR, as if it was like a ps4. Like, you know, that kind of console. Okay, sure. And when Paulo was telling me how they’re trying to use VR to, you know, create spaces for companies, I was, like, Damn, that’s pretty cool. Like that. I’ve never heard about like, that kind of, you know, use for that for the VR. So then I hop on the Zoom, and then a lot of stuff that did not make sense to me, if I was being honest, at that time, I was like, you know, what, I’m kind of lost. Um, it sounds very interesting. But I was like, I don’t know if I don’t know if I’m going to be able to be like, good at this, because I’m not a very technological person. And it sounds a lot of like, like, it’s coding a lot. So I was like, Okay, I’ll still, I’ll still give it a shot. And then I started going to, I started attending these zoom meetings, um, I ended up choosing quacks. It’s a, it’s like a It’s a company that that does, like a leases apartments. And they wanted to, like make this apartment so that they could show their, the people who are going to rent these places, you know, how, how it looks like, what it looks like, inside because they rented to people that were, you know, out of state, maybe even out of the country. And, you know, it was very, it was a very smart idea back then. And I was like, Damn, that looks pretty cool. That looks pretty cool. And so I started learning a lot of the terms of markets what to use, and then I started getting more familiar with the, with the vocabulary, with, with the uses of themes, I started getting more used to using the VR, so you would go into VR to look at the space. And spatial what it was then is completely different from what it is now. Now, it’s a lot, it’s a lot more advanced. And you can you can really see how how, how deep people are going into this technology, because, you know, we did this project last year, and within that timeframe, you know, like now, it’s easier to bring in objects, it’s easier to move, it’s easier to use, like your Joi cons back then it was really hard to bring in an object, like you’d have to go through 10 steps, whereas now it’s only like a click of your of your computer. So you know, it’s it’s really like cool to see how how much, um, the metaverse you know, as you can see it has has expanded. And then now that Mark Zuckerberg has finally you know, change the name of Facebook to meta. It’s like everybody knows about it. But at least all of us already knew about it before before. You know, it became it blew up and it became such a huge deal. Yeah, and now I’m, I’ve been working with them. And I look at the news for you know, things about the metaverse. So people are what people are doing, what kind of, you know, tech, technological advancements have been happening. And then I’m also one of the team leaders. So when we have projects, I’m one of the people that you know, work with, with our clients, and then we go into the spaces and help them set them up. I really enjoyed our educational or educational project where we help these teachers and education educational advisors go into these spaces and like, really see how they can use them into their into in their classrooms, because I would have loved to go into VR when if I was you know, still in school, and was um, you know, you get ahead of you get ahead of the game, you know, and you start learning about things that you know, will actually better your career, and better your future and the possibilities.
Mike Malatesta 49:33
It’s it’s immersive learning on a whole new level. Yeah. Real immersive. Yeah. Cool. Thank you, Iris. Thanks for sharing that. Zach, how about we go to you, you are in charge of the platform. I’m not sure what that means. Exactly. So why don’t you tell us about your experience and what you’re working on?
Marco Vargas 49:51
Well, so to start off, I guess I graduated at Michigan State University in 2019. With a degree and social relations in public All CS, which was a degree I really enjoyed, it was a lot about politics. My focus was on civil rights and minorities in America. But it really didn’t have a career path attached to it, there wasn’t really a clear, oh, I’m going to go from this and become this. It was unclear path. And so getting out of college, I really had no idea what I wanted to do. I enjoyed college so much, I enjoyed learning so much, that once I was done, I was kind of lost. And so I eventually found myself working a desk job that I hated. Well, I kind of searched in the background for something that I had more passion for. And that’s when Marcus on Thanksgiving had introduced me to his exponential entrepreneurship series. And so I started while
Marcus Shingles 50:47
giving him last year, by the way, that wasn’t not the way it was.
Marco Vargas 50:51
It might have been two ago, oh, my gosh. Um, and so I started watching all the videos that they had put up on the website, until they started doing the Zooms where we all joined together. And once Marcus introduced us to the I think we did six, six or eight different projects that he was working on that we could shadow, I was like, Yeah, sign me up for all of them. I want to be at every single call. I mean, I like cut hours from work to go to these calls and listening in. Because I just wanted it was so much more interesting. And it’s so cool, the work that we were doing. And I was learning again, because watching shadowing Marcus on these calls, I was learning kind of the dialogue and the consulting model. And all the methods as well as learning all the platforms that we worked on. We’ve worked on just one platform at the time. I don’t know if I should bring it up, I think it was it was spatial at the time, I don’t know if that’s
Marcus Shingles 51:46
yeah, there’s three, there’s three major platforms that we use, because they’re the least expensive and the most productive expression for the for the market. Right now. This is an our judgment, they’re kind of the highest ranked ones. One is engaged. One is in one spatial ones engage. And one is gatherings. There’s also, you know, Facebook’s platform, as well, we like the platforms where the avatars look very, very realistic, which means you can’t have 100 people or 200 people in there because it will crash. So But businesses and schools, they want the emotional connection that’s more personable, you know, education, learning or communication training. So those are the platforms that today are leading the market that that we have that expertise in now.
Mike Malatesta 52:30
Okay, got it.
Marco Vargas 52:32
Yeah, so learning. I think one of the coolest things that for me, at that point, when we really started learning, the software’s was, um, I’d always enjoyed playing video games growing up. And I always enjoyed the games where I was able to create things, go into an editor mode, build things that I liked. But there was always limits to those games, where you’d have to kind of hack it to kind of build what you wanted. But we’d already done that in the software’s at this point. And we still do that kind of push the limits of what we’re capable. But we actually got to meet the software developers for these companies, and getting to have that relationship with the people who are actually building the software, and being able to like have them build special functions for special builder tools, and give us like, beta access to a lot of their stuff was really exciting to do and to learn and master for me, because I really enjoy doing that kind of building. Part of the project. And I asked so when I when we kept on introducing new software, it was just more things to master more things to learn. And so I do enjoy being a part of kind of every project that we touch on just so that I can kind of share that expertise and partner up with the right people to bring in the right tools to build each project. And that’s kind of where I’ve found my position and exponential destiny.
Mike Malatesta 53:53
Got it. And are you no longer working in an office? No, I couldn’t jog so long ago. Okay, good for you. Alright, well, thanks for sharing your experience x. So one once joined us, Juan Ramon, Ramon, Ramon or Romand. Felix? Ramon, Ramon, right, Juan Ramon one. So you got us just here at the end. So thank you for joining us. We’re basically going through each person and talking about how you got involved in exponential destiny, destiny in the first place and what you’re working on now what your experience has been
Juan Felix 54:31
one maybe you could share we mentioned you gave you honorable mentioned earlier. One about that you quit your job at Target to take on? Yes, yes. Yes. Why don’t you describe that a little bit because that’s a fun. Definitely. So um, you know, it’s a pleasure to be here. I would want to start off by saying that I started with exponential Destiny since I was like 15. So I was also on the, you know, the core group that started since high school. So that’s one of the things you know, I’ve always been passionate about, you know, just leveraging exponential technologies. Now, when I found out that you know, Marcus and Marco paired up again, that they were starting on a whole new exponential Destiny chapter. I was just, you know, I was so excited during high school, you know, that was all we kind of did, I was just with them kind of exploring the the new technologies, 3d printing, virtual reality, you know, all these emerging technologies. So now when I hear that they’re, they’re teaming up, I was like, wow, you know, at this point, I was, um, what was it like a year, a year ago, probably 2020. What was like 2019, like, the ending of 2019 is when we started from what I remember. And I was working over at a target the, you know, Target, like the retail store. And, you know, I had Target and I was going to school, so I was kind of bouncing target, my job, and school, I was doing full time both. So that was kind of one thing that I you know, I was going back and forth, back and forth. And now exponential destiny comes, I’m like, Whoa, like this, you know, this is my passion. I got I’ve been doing this since I was 15. So when it came to a point where i i chose just to be pro bono, it just turned out to be mentored by Marcus and exponential Destiny team. And so I quit my job at Target. And I was going on for like, four or five months, you know, just getting trained learning about the, you know, meeting with clients, learning about the new technologies and and learning about VR. Now, I come to the point where now, I’m working with a global consumer product company called senegence International. And what I’m doing is I’m helping them create, um, you know, their Metaverse experiences through in spatial so I’m helping them their new distributors come into the metaverse and learn about, you know, their products about, you know, their different, the, you know, the different spectrums of how they do their cells. They’re their training methods, you know, I’m just, I learned all of this just from that company in like, less than, like four or five months. And now I’m actually doing their work in the metaverse. He’s led me where I’m at. Yeah, yeah, he’s
Marcus Shingles 57:06
their lead. So that the funny thing here Mike was we did a project for a client senegence like an eight week sprint. This team did. Yeah, we help them really understand how to use Metaverse as a proof of concept like how could they use it in their with their 300,000 200,000 distributors, they have around the world, they consumer product company, cosmetics company. And when the project was over, the CEO asked me if I could continue on and continue helping them. I said, Well, you know what? Kwan was on my you saw Juan on the team there. Hire him away. For me. That’s that’s the whole goal was like, take him away and give him a job. And that’s what they did. They gave him a job. And he led he leads, you know, he’s 1920 years old. And he leads the, you know, the metaverse department for this company, you know, because he’s, it didn’t matter what his background or his resume or his college degree said, the companies need Metaverse, designers right now, and people that really don’t operate in this space. And he happened to be one of the more advanced people on the planet at the time. So he got that job.
Mike Malatesta 58:02
So is that the first the first full time placement of anyone?
Marcus Shingles 58:08
Well, we have, we have two types of placement, we have a company like that, that literally wants an employee. So we’ve done that. Zach worked for Zach, and Pablo, after we got done with one of our clients, a brokerage firm, they did this whole corporate trade, they created a university for this financial brokerage firm, where they created a university setting where you could get trained as a new recruit into this firm on all the, you know, day trading, or I don’t like all the broker trading stuff, they created a whole university, but Pablo and Zack did that. You know, they had their own direct relationships and contracts with the, with that company to do that work. So we’ve done a few things where you placed and then we as exponential destiny, that’s kind of what our model is we don’t we’re not a real consulting firm, per se, Marco and I and Kevin and others, you know, this core group goes and identifies clients, either a school or a commercial business. And then we identify the staff we have in our organization that we then put onto those projects, while we also upskill and rescale. Some people that shadow those projects. So right now you’ve got the leadership team on but we have calls every twice a week with an extended group with people from Baltimore and Chicago and Wyoming and all these other different disc areas that we’re expanding to, because we’re mentoring them, because we’re about to place them on the next round of projects that we do.
Mike Malatesta 59:26
Okay, got it. Got it. One. Thanks for sharing your story and congratulations. That’s really, it’s really awesome. Marco, we’re gonna we’re gonna run this up with you. Okay, well, Vargas here.
Marco Vargas 59:37
Yeah, thank you so much. It’s great to hear everyone’s recollections of kind of how we got here. You know, my story definitely begins when I was 15 years old. Some context is, you know, I went and raised in South Central Los Angeles to undocumented parents from Guatemala. You know, they migrated here and in pursuit for the American dream and, you know, definitely wasn’t that Um, you know, we we’ve been here, growing up low income, you know, there are a lot of challenges of insecurity for housing, right? All the things that, unfortunately, are hurting residents in south central and beyond, right. But really the, to me, I think there was like a, you know, it started when I was 13 years old, but it’s been really been able to carry out throughout my life to now, when, you know, I just started learning new things, and, you know, through the initial pilot and our college prep, you know, when I was 15 years old, you know, getting exposure to like, you know, crazy concepts like Bitcoin and drone technology like that, that really, really helped me just think bigger and have like, larger ambition. And I think actually being able to apply it right, with friends, with mentors, over the years, you know, in the form of businesses and new ventures, projects, passion projects, has really been, I think, the reason why, you know, I am the person I am today, and at exponential destiny, when we first started, you know, I mean, it’s, you know, you’ve kind of heard both sides, you know, I was on the phone with, with Kevin and one year, and then Mike is on the other end, they were both saying the same thing, let’s do something. And then like, I was like, Okay, well, let’s fit it, this fits all three in the car. And then we we jumped, we jumped on the daily meetings, where we learned all about exponential technology, consulting Ray. And as Marcus said, there was a really big Flashpoint where like, you know, instead of just learning, you know, about exponential technology, we actually got to do hands on project work. And since then, our model has been fun, you know, Project hands on project, which has been fundamental to our HR Model X adventure destiny. And I think that’s really important. Because, you know, as a learner, I understand that, like, in general, like, students, specifically in the public school system, right, I think everyone deserves their own custom learning experience, right. But unfortunately, public schools provide that because of the resources that they have, right? Like, you can’t have a student like me who’s a project based learner in a lecture based classroom and be successful, that’s just not going to happen. And that’s why I think a lot of people kind of, you know, don’t check out and you know, and they’ll be, they’ll get labeled, and they’ll become statistics. And it’s very unfortunate. But I think that with what we’re doing, and you know, providing opportunity, you know, employment opportunities, for sure, but also like immersive and experiential learning experiences like that, that really is a game changer for us. And I know firsthand, because even me, like, I’m, you know, and I have a lot of love for, you know, my college, I was, you know, accepted to Dartmouth College. But I was three years in, right, and then, you know, we’re doing the virtual learning, and it just wasn’t working out for me, like I had a moment in like, and I love learning, I’ve always been, you know, learning to me was an escape from the trauma I had growing up, you know, the community. But like, you know, I had a, I had a really big moment when I told myself, and this was an independent comic, and I remember talking to so many people about this, like, I was like, damn, I kind of hate anything right now. And it’s like, it’s like, what, what, what about it wasn’t working, it was something different. But then what we’re doing it exponential Destiny showed me that like, well, like, you know, like, I have intellectual curiosity. It’s just about, like, I want to channel it, and I want to do it to projects. And that’s really was, that was like one of the really big moments that I actually decided to take a gap year from Dartmouth College, which is a big risk, because I’ve never done something like that in my life. And I would say like, you know, I balancing you know, businesses, and then also it’s been a blessing in school, right? Like, I mean, there’s a lot of things that a lot of decisions you have to make, relatively I’m really excited about what we’re 2022 is going because like, with exponential not exponential Destiny being a 501 C, three nonprofit, I, you know, where. And then of course, with the metaverse taking off, which is totally predictable. You know, I’m really excited about all the opportunities that you know, will come for everyone involved for those who are going to become involved. And I’m particularly dealing other education work that we’re doing because I think schools you know, are still you know, one of the best places for learning, right? It’s just that they need help and guidance. And I think that you know, when I talked to like my friends who are school administrators like came in you can hear from them like there’s there’s not enough resources right, not enough support and this could be like this gap that you know, exponential destinies working to to bridge and I’m, you know, I’m all for it.
Mike Malatesta 1:04:47
Well, thank you for that Marco and it’s this has been just a really amazing experience for me to be in the presence of, of all of you. Because I’m learning I’m learning So many things. So first I’m learning one, you know, just about what you’re working on, which is phenomenal. I’m learning that, you know, I’m learning that, you know, people there’s no boundaries, right? There’s a, there used to be boundaries, right. But this, this whole like thing called a computer is really changing, what used to be boundaries and, and to hear your experience about how you’re sort of pushing those boundaries away. And getting into these real life environments that you used to have to work, you know, used to have to work hard, and, you know, put in your time and, you know, prove all this stuff, and you’re coming into these environments, proving, helping people who, who, and companies who don’t know what they’re doing, and proving that that, you know, you don’t, you don’t necessarily have to put in 20 years to have a big impact on on people and companies and communities and futures. And it’s, it’s just been really great to hear these stories. Marcus, thank you so much for, for having the idea that sparked all of this. And for all of you. I mean, there were a lot of connections with Marco talk to me here. And Marco talks me here. And I hope all of you are talking to everyone in your networks that you’re meeting about this. Because the impact that it’s had on you and the opportunities that it’s created. And the opportunities you’ve created for other people seem to be like just the very start of something that is going to be amazingly huge and impactful for for the world. And it’s really fun to for me to get a little frenzied into each of your experiences. Thank you so much for being on the show. And I will keep in touch and I will keep watching and learning about what you’re doing. And huh. One of you is going to be our view is going to be something special. I can tell that right now. So you’re all special, but one of you I know it’s gonna be someone super well known at some point, and I don’t know which one it is and neither do you. So keep at it. Thank you so much for being on the show. Thanks, Mike. Thank you. Pleasure. Thank you. Thank you