“A piece of advice I have gotten and taken to heart is, “Be vigilant about your energy, thoughts, and actions.” I believe that the energy you put out into the universe will come back to you.It’s important to make sure you are putting out the right type of energy. I always tend to attract people based on what aspect of my life I am working on. Where I’ve had negative energy in the past, I have attracted people with characteristics that reflected my own negative ones, and were bad for me. I chalk those people up to my list of lessons learned.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Joana Gutierrez, the Founder and CEO of Meethappy. The Meethappy ecosystem consists of an AI assisted accommodation mobile application, partnered with TIPSc, a gratitude and recommendations based virtual currency, and The Real Meet, a digital series of interviews with celebrities and influencers conducted over a meal. These platforms work collectively to encourage authentic human interactions through technology, and provide the most accommodating experiences.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I was a former partner at an Emerging Markets Multi-Strategy Hedge Fund. I left hedge fund management and ventured into the tech world in 2017 after being recruited by a VC firm to run an AI focused software company. I also served as an adviser for an open-source protocol that improves the efficiency of AI training, which was the first decentralized network for AI and machine learning.
Why did you found your company?
Leaving inspired by building an AI software startup from scratch, I sought to create my own solution to my everyday problem concerning meetings. Working in finance, information is crucial to opportunistic investment decisions. I would often have to schedule meetings with sell side analysts, portfolio managers, and potential investors. Meetings that would take place beyond the office would occur anywhere from an easily accessible coffee shop to dinner in a Michelin Star restaurant. If I wasn’t familiar with the neighborhood, it would unnecessarily take time out of my day to figure out a place to meet, and then find a table at the chosen location. Whether it was searching for a place via a food blog or reviewing the worst reviews on Yelp to see if positive reviews were manufactured, or trying to ascertain the type of service level; all of these processes were especially important when meeting a potential investor. Meanwhile, I couldn’t even anticipate the type of cuisine my invitee would prefer. All of this activity was time wasted. I wanted to create something that would eliminate the hassle of finding venues to meet, and provided a sense of certainty of seamless accommodation during my meeting experience. My early career experience working for a five-star hospitality institution, known for its impeccable service experience gave me insight into the highest level standard of service. I also wanted to replicate that experience regardless of where I meet, while providing revolutionary value to both the consumer and the business owner. I believe I can help billions of people afford VIP meeting experiences while creating revolutionary value for company owners. This is how I came up with the idea for Meethappy and the surrounding Meethappy ecosystem.
What is it about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
Meethappy is disrupting the 799 billion dollar hospitality industry with its AI integrated mobile application with which users will recommend, search, reserve, order, and pay participating venues. The AI component is in the form of a recommendation engine, allowing the app to recommend places for you to meet based on your previous reservation preferences, in addition to the preferences of the person that you’re meeting with.
The Meethappy app is also revolutionary because with a US patent application, I have created an incentive model with which a business owner can place a minimum spending option for reservation on Meethappy so that they will know guaranteed revenue on every Meethappy reservation. For example, a coffee shop can now place a table for reservation for a minimum purchase of a cup of coffee and pastry per person, per hour. The same model would apply to a high-end restaurant or VIP entry at a posh nightclub. Guaranteed revenue for business owners creates incentive for them to provide the most accommodating experience possible to Meethappy customers.
As previously mentioned, The Meethappy ecosystem consists of an AI assisted accommodation mobile application, partnered with TIPSc, a gratitude and recommendations based virtual currency, and The Real Meet, a digital series of interviews with influencers conducted over a meal.
TIPSc is a gratitude and recommendation based virtual currency. It allows users to acknowledge individuals who go above and beyond to assist, accommodate, or provide you with a spectacular product or service. People can earn TIPSc by excelling in what they do. In addition, the value of TIPSc increases every time a user performs a transaction — users will be rewarded every time they show gratitude. Eventually, TIPSc will provide verified public recommendations on which individuals or institutions provide the best product and/or service. We will be thanking our guests by exchanging TIPSc on The Real Meet series, as gratitude for coming on the show and sharing with us.
I am also the Executive Producer of The Real Meet series. The show, which is currently in the pre-production stage, is a digital series that brings together influencers, celebrities, rising stars, and thought leaders to foster authentic connections, and possibly mark the beginnings of a rewarding venture. The show makes introductions and interviews guests over a meal while filming at various venues throughout New York City.
I am thrilled at the opportunity to create a series that celebrates the ambition and accomplishments of today’s most influential individuals. Being able to not only bring such parties together to discuss their ventures, charitable causes, and passions, but to share them over a wholesome meal is the epitome of what I believe is the recipe for meaningful, long-lasting connection. We have positioned The Real Meet series as the first aspect of the ecosystem to launch first. Stay tuned for The Real Meet.
We all need a little help along the journey — who have been some of your mentors?
Lucille Douglas has been a significant mentor throughout my career. She is a Managing Director of the Global Client Group at Deutsche Bank Asset & Wealth Management where she is one of the first females and people of color to attain a Managing Director title.
Another mentor of mine is Tom Batac, my uncle, and godfather, who is the Founder and President of Liberty Marble, an industrial stone fabrication company based in New York City. Growing up, rather than attending summer camps, my summers were spent at his company and going to business meetings with him and my cousin. My mother’s family had very humble beginnings living in the Philippines. He grew up as the youngest brother of eight children, with at times, no shirt on his back. He worked diligently throughout his career and eventually started his own company that worked with world-renowned real estate developers to build some of Manhattan’s most memorable buildings like Winter Garden Memorial at the Freedom Tower, and the iconic Apple Store on Fifth Avenue, among several other projects over the years. He has since opened another Liberty Stone location and several Liberty Loan, microloan companies in the Philippines.
My parents, Carlos and Cristina Gutierrez, have also played strong mentor roles in my life. They taught me the importance of having good moral values, and have supported me in every way throughout my entire life. Their own “come back” stories of built success continue to inspire me as I forge my own path.
How are you going to shake things up next?
With the A-list guest list, the content, and the innovative model of the show, we are looking to hopefully stream The Real Meet series in a potential partnership with Netflix.
With the issuance of our virtual currency, TIPSc, we are looking to build a decentralized app (DApp) that generates a feed of images of the best recommendations for outstanding people and services, similar to Instagram, and conduct TIPSc transactions by capturing an image of the exemplary product/service and send payment via a username, similar to Venmo. We would like to move forward into the future, where we see the TIPSc DApp as a possible performance tracking program for businesses, where they can use it to justify bonus compensation structures, also paid in TIPSc.
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
The first is, “Only take advice from someone that you would be willing to trade positions with.”
This allows me to take the person’s perspective into consideration, before acting on their advice.
For example, you may admire a person’s professional endeavors, but you might not fully see the quality of their personal life. . If a personal life or family is important to you then you may not want to take all of their advice.
A second piece of advice I’ve received is, “Fail early and fast.”
No one expects you to be perfect. We only hear of the glamourous success of entrepreneur life. This is not the case. It is a difficult path riddled with highs,lows, and detours. As long as you don’t give up, you will only get better and better. To quote Peter Marshall on the subject, “When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.”
Finally, a third piece of advice I have gotten and taken to heart is, “Be vigilant about your energy, thoughts, and actions.”
I believe that the energy you put out into the universe will come back to you.It’s important to make sure you are putting out the right type of energy. I always tend to attract people based on what aspect of my life I am working on. Where I’ve had negative energy in the past, I have attracted people with characteristics that reflected my own negative ones, and were bad for me. I chalk those people up to my list of lessons learned.
What’s a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Share a story with us.
Good to Great by Jim Collins;
Give and Take by Adam Grant;
Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss;
How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie;
Freakonomics Podcast by Stephen Dubner
All of these books and podcasts have been significant references for me when it came to tackling all aspects of life, my career, and my company. Whether it was strategizing and implementing a business continuity plan for a client, learning to read people’s motivations and intentions in a small amount of time, or even becoming more self-aware, these resources have proven useful time and time again.
Some of the biggest names in business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂
Arianna Huffington would be it. She has continued to serve as an inspiring model for powerful businesswomen and with the introduction of Thrive Global, an advocate for holistic wellness. She influences in a personal and a professional way. I want to thank Erika Ashley and her for providing me with a platform on which to share my endeavors.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Linkedin: /in/joanagutierrez; /therealmeet; /meethappy; /tipsc
Instagram:@the_realmeet @meethappy @meethappylive @tipsc_io
Facebook: @therealmeet @tipscvirtualcurrency @meethappy
Twitter: @joanawaldhari @meethappy @threalmeet @tipsc_io
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
Originally published at medium.com