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An antidote to the barrage of negativity.

Tony Samadani is the Co-Owner and Head of Strategic Partnerships at The Good News Network, a platform founded in 1997 as an antidote to the barrage of negativity experienced in the mainstream media. Tony joined the team in 2016 after a Google search for good news amidst a tumultuous, stressful time led him to the Good News Network website. The “plethora” of good news stories hooked him almost immediately.

Time is the most important currency. It’s the only currency that only depreciates.

Tony SamadaniCo-Owner, Head of Strategic Partnerships Good News Network


Katie Hankinson (00:01):

Hi, I’m Katie Hankinson and I’m Mickey Cloud. Welcome to building while flying a sasha group podcast, where we interview business leaders about how they tackle challenges, stay resilient and navigate ever changing skies.

Mickey Cloud (00:15):

Tony, welcome to building while flying. Thanks for being

Tony Samadani (00:17):

Our guest today. Ah, man, my pleasure and honor, man. How are you? Awesome. Awesome.

Mickey Cloud (00:22):

So Tony, uh, Samadani is an entertainment attorney, TV and film producer, and now co-owner of the good news network, the top ranked website for good news, uh, which started in 1997 as an antidote to the barrage of negativity experience in the mainstream media. Uh, so Tony, could you, could you start by telling us just kind of how you got involved at, at good news network and kind of what role was there as co-owner and head of strategic partnerships?

Tony Samadani (00:44):

Yeah, so, uh, I wish, uh, I could take credit for it, but it was, uh, started in a place where you were familiar with Manasas Virginia. Yeah. In 1997, by an amazing human being named Jerry, we Corley who at the time was working. She, you know, mother of three and working in the, uh, reporting business and noticed that, uh, good murders were at all time low in DC area at the time, but they were all, all time high on the news, like talking about it. So she said, how do we combat this? And everyone was like, oh, good, bad news sales are we doing? So she taught herself HTMO coding and started a little blog site called good news network. And just in, in all these decades later has been running it. Um, and with just a few volunteers and some family help. Amazing. Um, and she’s just, you know, we, so what I did was I did what millions of people do every month and I Google good news one day, um, and stumbled upon the site.

Tony Samadani (01:44):

And I had, I, I did it at a time where it was, it was definitely part of my fateful story cuz I was sick. Um, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s. I was, I was, you know, lost 30 pounds and dying of it. And, and so I was at a state of mind had I good Google, good news, uh, cuz it’s number one where, so yeah, for good news. And so had I done it, any other mindset, maybe I would’ve just done it and kind of what, you know, whimsically went by. Right. But because I instantly felt better by reading these stories, I felt hooked. Um, but I did it specifically, um, because I was, um, blessed and honored to have Muhammad Ali as a, as a spiritual mentor Morris. So his daughter, his uh, first child, Mary Molly. Yeah. And we had set aside to focus on good news cuz it was the height of Hillary and Trump on Facebook mm-hmm <affirmative> and everyone was, you know, it felt like you could already sense the vision happening.

Tony Samadani (02:37):

Yeah. And so I said, listen, I can’t stand the negativity. It’s literally killing me. So why don’t we go on and talk about good news on Facebook live, which had just launched. And so I, I Google good news to find good news stories to talk about <laugh> and that’s how I found the site and amazing. Yeah. So I reached out to Jerry who was, uh, you know, cuz I’m originally from Northern Virginia and I told her, I know you don’t know me and probably don’t believe me, but me and Ali’s daughter want to use your website, your Facebook page, if you don’t mind. Um, and cuz you have a lot of followers and uh, I don’t <laugh> and so, uh, and she said, you’re crazy. Who are you? But I don’t know why I’m trusting you, but sure. She gave me admin access that night.

Tony Samadani (03:14):

Wow. And uh, we just started going live and, and that experience talking to thousands of people at the time and just talking about good news and of course being with Miriam Ali was just, you know, was a great treat. Um, so I, I did that with no intention of trying to figure out a business model. Right. Um, I always knew was a diamond in the rough, you know, I mean you got a, a site that has three to 4 million uniques a month with $0 a mark. Right. And it is just, you know, the plethora of opportunities. So anyway, I just consulted for her for free cuz it was healing me. I felt like I was getting a lot of value out of the relationship and then she offered me an opportunity to come on board. And so I did and that’s how I started, um, amazing being part of good news network.

Mickey Cloud (03:56):

Awesome. Awesome. Well, before we dive further into kind of the, the good news network media business, I did wanna talk a little bit about kind of your, your approach to entrepreneurship and, and, and what it means for someone to be a social good entrepreneur. I’d be, I’d be curious to kinda hear how you define that, that term of social good entrepreneur.

Tony Samadani (04:15):

Yeah. I see, you know, you hear different, different, uh, definitions all the of time. You know, I had a lot, I was fortunate enough to create a show called hatched, which, uh, I co-created and we, uh, VE produced two seasons on, on the CW, similar to shark tank where we hatched products into retail and partnered with Walmart and, and uh, HSN and met a bunch of entrepreneurs, hundreds of ’em investors, amazing investors like the ring brothers and a bunch of people. And I’ve heard this term, you passed around right. Companies that give back products. And then I heard other investors say every company’s a social good. We employ employees. You know, like we give people jobs. That’s my good. Yeah. And there’s a lot of truth to that because that’s their truth. Right. And so, so that’s what I mean, everyone has a different definition.

Tony Samadani (05:01):

Some people be, feel like just by starting a company and employing people, that’s, that’s the good they’re doing. Even if the product itself is maybe not being good for people, right. Um, others take it more serious and they wanna make sure that it’s built into their DNA right now. We have, you know, it’s been around for years, but Mo I’ll tell you how new, uh, public benefit court corporations are. Right. They’re so new that try to call your local bank or your franchise city bank America. They don’t even have the ability to take, uh, a publicly benefit, a public benefit corporation, which you can build in Delaware. Right. And, and give you a bank account. Right. So a lot of times you, so, but that’s a great phenomenon because if you start a, a, a C a typical corporation, you’re not number one duty is to make profit, right.

Tony Samadani (05:44):

For your investors shareholders, but with the public benefit corporation, you have two duties. One is to the shareholders, the equal is to your public benefit. So what a great way that these have, you know, so, so as the years have gone and more entrepreneurs and, and have been fighting for. Uh, so, so to me, I define, um, a social good really? Is, is it goes both. I, I divide into three categories, both personally, professionally and spiritually. But to answer your specific question, I don’t know if I would put such a rigid definition. It’s what you believe that you’re do as you’re as a contribution. Right. But specifically that your ethos and your company, not only internally, you know, obviously with the right sort of, uh, culture, right. Diversity, all these things that are important, but then what are, what are you selling? You know, what is a product, a service you’re selling and how is that society? Right. And, um, and a lot of times I think that could come down to why you’re doing what you’re doing. Right. You know, a lot of times they say solve a problem, but it might be a problem you don’t even care to solve. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, uh, you just think it’s a good idea to make money <laugh> but well,

Mickey Cloud (06:52):

Anyway, no, I think that what you touched on there at the end, I also wanna kinda dive into of, of, you know, why you do what you do. And I know that, um, in, in our previous conversations you were, you were talking about how it took you a while to kind of figure that out. But once you did, it was kind of a bit of a game changer for you. So I’m, I’m curious when people talk to you about, you know, their, that the impact they wanna make or, or that they, they wanna be doing more like with, with their life, how, how do you kind of help them get started?

Tony Samadani (07:21):

Yeah. It starts how I start. So just to be clear so I can get, um, you know, for your listeners. Yeah. I’m actually, it, it’s funny this week. So hopefully by the time, uh, this, this airs, it will have already happen officially, but this week we’re launching good currency, a public benefit corporation. That’s new, the name of the brand that we’re launching the, and that is that actually is gonna acquire good news network. Um, and we’re gonna take it to whole new levels, but good currency is based on a philosophy that our purpose in life is to do good for ourselves and others daily, right. And to gamify, good to make everyday count, to take advantage of the most important, uh, currency we all share, which is time and a limited amount we have. So a lot of times, so, so the philosophy and I, and I can answer that a little deeper on another question, but this specific question, you know, a lot of times, if you go to these speaker engagements, like people wanna speak to speak, they want to be public speakers just to say, they wanna say, but if you, you know, they just wanna speak to speaker, they wanna do this to do this.

Tony Samadani (08:16):

And a lot of times, you know, like I just want to, you know, ask someone why they wanna be famous or why they want to be, you know, what do they wanna do? And a lot of times they haven’t taken care of themselves first. You know, like the airplane, when the, you know, oxygen levels are down, it puts your mask on yourself before you even put it on your child, which is contrary to what you think you do. Right. Right. You have to take care of yourself before you can help others. And so, you know, I, I, I think a lot of times we think we have to externalize and by helping others, but it starts with yourself like, really, why are you doing what you’re doing? I know Simon Sinek has start with why. And there’s a lot of, there’s a lot of truth to that, but really I divide my, and I tell, teach others to divide in this, the good currency formula, as we divide your day into every action.

Tony Samadani (09:03):

From the time you wake up to the time you go to bed is divided into three categories, either it’s for your personal, your professional or your spiritual passions. Right. And the passion is an intense desire or enthusiasm to do something. Right. Okay. And your purpose in life, we believe is to do good for yourself and others to serve. Right. And so I, I, I really, we try to teach people that, you know, that’s a way that you realize it, how you’re wasting or spending your time wisely. Mm-hmm <affirmative> right. So I, and you write down every day and this is what I teach. You know, you write down a simple, my personal passion is to be a good father, brother, husband, son, healthy. For example, my professional is to work on good currency and scale, good news. Uh, my spiritual is to serve God. And so that every action I do throughout the day or inaction, um, I can see if it aligns with one of those, those, those passions, right.

Tony Samadani (09:51):

Which is, which is so I don’t. And a lot of times when I talk to people, it’s either they’re personally unhappy bad relationships, this or lack thereof professionally they’re in a, a career. They’re not so excited about their job. The investor passed on it, whatever it is. Yep. Uh, and then they just wanna get through the day, right. They wanna get through the week, they wanna do something mindless, but the truth is I try to teach ’em that. But if you knew that cur time is most important currency, it’s the only currency that only depreciates and never appreciates, except I try to teach people how to appreciate the thing that, and, and, and, and time is the most important currency. So once I get people to understand, you don’t wanna waste today is what you have. Like, you knew how much, if you can see everyone’s clock ticking down, you know, would you, but I’d be having this interview with you right now.

Tony Samadani (10:38):

I would, I would have to ask myself, is this worth my time? Yep. And the reason why I can, I’m so conscious of it now that I’m absolutely excited, cuz I’m like, this is not a waste of my time. This is right. And sometimes if you’re lucky, it could be part of your professional and spirit. Like one action can be, can it all three be multiple buckets. Yeah. And so that’s what I, I try to get people, including myself. It all started with myself. This is to heal myself. Yeah. Uh, for my sickness. But that’s what I try. It’s like, usually you wanna unpack a little bit more than what they’re telling you. There’s something either. There’s something that they’re trying to solve for themselves and if they don’t solve it, then they can have a lot of burnout. Right. Um, even with perceived success,

Mickey Cloud (11:20):

You know? Yep. I it’s interesting. I, I, uh, we did a project with a, uh, executive coaching company last year. And so as part of that, I got access to an executive coach. And um, this notion of time is currency was one that she brought up to me and I, I hadn’t admit, I had never really thought of it that way before. I think when people talk about time, they talk about like, oh, I wanna own my calendar. I wanna own my time. And it’s like, well, uh, you think about it less in, in that way and think about more of a, it’s a currency that reflects your priorities. It reflects how you spend your time is how you’re spending those dollars, that currency, whatever that. And, and so she had me start doing a very similar, um, exercise where every Sunday, before the week starts, I have to break.

Mickey Cloud (12:06):

I have to essentially say what my goals and what task I wanna accomplish in three core areas of my life. And, and, and for me, it was my, my family time. It was ex exercise and being healthy and then professional career time. And so, you know, I literally go through and write down everything I wanna accomplish for that week and then go to my calendar and start clearing things or moving things, doing the puzzle pieces of all right, how am I going to fit and make sure that I’m accomplishing one of those three things. And with all the time that I got bucketed for that, for that week.

Tony Samadani (12:37):

Yeah. That’s that’s yeah. It’s exactly the, the good currency formula was created. Um, by me trying to figure out a way that I can incorporate a formula to put all my other things I’m trying to com. So whether it’s this diet, that’s fad this, whatever you’re trying to figure outfit in, but then I wanted to make it fun. That’s why we called it good currency, cuz we want, you wanna do something with this. So I would have a, you’ll see this journal that we’re about to launch and this really fun app is, is, is uh, the good currency reward system. So like, you know, I, I, I just keep it simple. Each each action I fulfill that’s in line with one of my passions. I get a good currency point. Yeah. And then I say like, okay, golfing with my friends, you know? Yep. You know, it was like 200 good currencies, you know, massages.

Tony Samadani (13:19):

So I gamify it. So I’ve been doing this for years and now we’re now turning it into an app so that it could be, um, more AI based. And, and, and, and not only that it’s now attached to good news network. So we’re going to feed you good news throughout the day. And actually that’s scientifically proven of the best studies from Harvard and others that if you can listen to, or watch like two to three minutes of good news a day, you lower your cortisol levels, which reduces inflammation, which was my issue with, with Crohn’s. And so good news saves lives. Right. It really can impact. So I think, um, what you did, and I don’t know if you stuck with it, but that’s, that’s kind of like why it’s both a physical journal in AI app that we’re doing. I wouldn, I just wanna share just a running Google

Mickey Cloud (13:59):

Doc <laugh> yeah.

Tony Samadani (14:00):

Or running Google doc. That’s great. That’s great. That’s awesome. So the, the, but it’s important cuz then you’re more conscious of this thing, right? Peter junker has a quote that says you can’t manage what you, how do you, man? You can’t manage what you don’t measure. You can’t measure what you can’t manage. Yep. Right. Well, how can you manage your time? It’s like, you know, they say plan for three to five years. That’s a similar quote is me going to a bank and saying, I wanna buy $2 million house or like, no problem. Can you put 20% down? I said, I have no idea. Well, can you put 10% down? I said, I have no idea. They’re like, well, do you have, how much money do you have in the bank? I, I have no idea, but I wanna buy that $2 million house. Right. They would laugh you out. Right. Right. Right. That’s like us planning five years as if we have this magic ball that we’re gonna be around for that long. Right. Yep. You wanna plan as if you are, but today is, is the thing that counts the most. Right. All

Mickey Cloud (14:47):

Right. So I wanna ask you about the name of your company. Good currency. Where did it, where did it come from?

Tony Samadani (14:52):

Yeah, it’s a great question. So my best friend in the world, since third grade, Dr. Jason, Harkey PhD in, uh, well masters in journalism and in public policy, I was just riffing it with them one day about how I was healing myself with this formula and how it’s time is a currency. And it’s all about doing, doing good and maximizing your time. It’s all about making sure you’re and I just come to saying good and currency and he’s like, bro, it’s good currency. And I said, oh gosh. That’s. I mean, I remember exactly where I was, it’s in my office and you know, sitting down on the carpet, just like with all these handwritten notes. And I said, that’s it. Yeah. Yeah.

Mickey Cloud (15:24):

I love when people can bring those things together for you. So you, you kind of mentioned that the, the purpose of the company is, is, you know, to, to do good for yourself and others daily. How does that as like a organizing philosophy guide guide you as a, as a, as a company.

Tony Samadani (15:40):

Yeah. It’s actually, yeah. It’s, it’s, it’s do good for yourself and others daily and then ultimately, um, to make sure it fits in with one of the buckets of inspire connect or experience. And so, and of course it’s tagline of the journal is to gamify. Good to make everyday count. Right. So it has to be fun. Right. We want a great fun in, in what we’re doing. So that really helps us guide. So it helps us stay, you know, it allows us to have the freedom, as I said, as a brand new company, we’re already gonna be launching with a couple verticals. Yep. Um, because it allows us to see what other people have already started it and see if we can just tag along our marketing and branding opportunities to them. Um, and it, it, quite frankly, if anything, it allows us to be more places than once.

Tony Samadani (16:23):

Yeah. Right. And so, and this was, this was not, uh, oh, we didn’t write this, this what’s our mission and our vision. Yeah. You know, this was, uh, we turned down millions of, of dollars a month and a half ago of someone good people that wanted to come in and I was energetically off. I didn’t feel this is before we had this succinct thing I just pitched to. Right. And so, um, that uneasiness was not aligned with what I was articulating. So it forced me to articulate this stuff. And once I articulated this, I realized I could not take this partnership. Yeah. And it was, it was on the outside the most ridiculous, stupid decision to not take this absolute, amazing amounts of money and people who sold companies, Facebook, like the team would’ve been awesome. But once I was able to think, and then to buy, and I looked at each other said, this is what we’re doing. It, it, so in real life we got, you know, so yeah. So yeah, so it helped guide those decisions, but then it ultimately allowed us because we had to articulate it to ourselves. Now we can be in the coffee business, we could be in this, we could be in that because we’re more of a brand and a philosophy than we are a specific, you know,

Mickey Cloud (17:31):

Vertical. Good, good service. Yeah. So, so wanna, I, you, you mentioned, you’ve already started kinda talking about where I wanted to go next with, with the, the launch of good currency and, and where, and kind of the evolution of, of the good news network. And, you know, I think right now, as I understand it, good news network is a pretty classic kind of web publishing company, right. Where there’s revenue off advertising, content, production, partnerships, podcasts, a book deal, some of those things. But like, I guess in what ways by launching good currency, which will kind of have these other elements, I guess, how does the good news network kind of brand, like what at the, what at its brand’s core allows you to kind of build the app, the journal, these other things that you kind of have planned for it.

Tony Samadani (18:13):

So I’m in DC right now, specifically for several these meetings. So good currency we’re launching as a way of life, a brand, right. This ethos that do good for yourself and others daily, um, how to gamify. Good. Right. And so we wanna work with either launch our own products and, or work with others who have that same ethos. Right. Um, so it may be funny cuz we’re a brand new brand, but we’re literally about to partner with a, uh, an amazing coffee company that is all organic from Ethiopia to Crenshaw devoting themselves, to helping reentry people, um, talking about working with the mayor Garett and all these, and we’re gonna, they’re gonna call it something else and now we’re gonna call it good currency. Copy. Yeah. Why? Because by buying this copy, it’s organic. It’s good for you. Yeah. And it’s good for others cuz it serves.

Tony Samadani (18:55):

Right. So all of a, and I’m launching this other thing. So good currency coach is the app version, right? It’s your daily coach. So we’re trying to build in this, we’re gonna have, do good currency wellbeing for the corporations. But what we wanna do is instead of having one central place where you go, we want good currency to be a place that allows whatever. So if you’re on calm or head space or all these other pro, whatever you already use, we wanna be able to reward you for that. Great. Right. So and so, so instead of having us or nothing, we want to have us as a way to help reward you for the good and you’re doing in these T tranches. So good news networks and natural fit. So one of the things that we are launching the philosophy of the good currency, the parent company on three buckets, one is to inspire.

Tony Samadani (19:36):

The second is to connect. And the third is to experience. So inspire is media, right? It’s podcasts or Tobi. And I Tobi African American guy, brother, my partner who spent 28 and a half years in prison for a murder. He didn’t do just recently on the Kelly Clarkson show. He saved thousand men’s lives by love it on him and uniting the whites to Crips the blacks, Mexican op like, and so his formula, he, he, he heard about the good currency and he said, that’s, that’s, that’s the formula of all formulas. This is what’s gonna work. And so yeah, we came together to launch this. So we’re gonna launch a podcast called good currency with Tony and Tobias. So we have the good, so it’s podcast, documentaries, film, television, but just cuz you inspire people like we all go to these events and stuff you inspire, inspire, but then without anything else you’re kind of left, like searching for more.

Tony Samadani (20:20):

So the second bucket is connect. That’s why we’re gonna acquire good news network and take that connection part and grow it from a nascent little site into not just articles but videos, podcast, good entertainment, good causes. Good. This. So almost like the, a good Google, like a place where you can discover all this aggregation of good, um, where celebrities, influencers, we have the brands we can talk about the good they do in a really holistic way. Yep. And then create that community of good currency. So that’s the connection to discover and, and to share. And then the third bucket is to experience, right? So it’s one thing to be inspired by content, another thing to connect with the community, but then you kind of wanna have tangible assets that you could better yourself. So that’s where the good currency coach comes in. Good copy, physical, you know, we’re, we’re launching these physical spaces.

Tony Samadani (21:04):

Um, and so those are the three, so, so good news network is such an important piece because a, because we, you know, I’m a co-owner and Jerry’s passing the Baton me, we have the most amazing, um, deal to like really acquire it and to take it to the next level. So that’s, it’s a great question you ask, cuz that’s one of the things that I’ve been, I turn down in the last few months more work than I would ever tell my wife <laugh> uh, because I cause, and, and not that they’re bad projects or films or television, but now I’m so conscious of, what’s not part of the brand. Right. And even though I just said a bunch of stuff to you that we’re gonna do. Yep. It it’s actually freedom because I’m not having to start all this up for scratch. Right. Good news network. We didn’t start from scratch the good coffee. We’re not starting from scratch. Yep. Even the app we were were, were acquiring off someone else who already started all the legwork. Yep. Right. And so it’s right. I believe in this collaboration over competition. Yeah. And so we’re able to look at likeminded people who may have already been trying to get their product or service off the ground. And we say, well, fits within our ethos, let’s work together. You know?

Mickey Cloud (22:10):

And that’s, what’s so important about having kind of that strong brand foundation is kind of what we call it, where it’s like, if you know your purpose, if you know your mission, your vision, if you, if that can, if you can distill it down into a, a few words and I know you got for you guys that’s, you know, do good for yourself and others daily, like boom, like that is, you know, and, and, and, and if you’ve got that inspire connect experience kind of framework’s that you just laid out, like it becomes this filter that allows you to look at opportunity and, and really know pretty quickly if that’s gonna be a decision you wanna go after or, or that’s right. Something

Tony Samadani (22:42):

You wanna do. And I gotta tell you, it it’s two things I wanna say. One is it it’s freedom for us. Because as a producer, see, I, we, uh, been an entertainment lawyer for 20 years, but I’ve been working in the TV and digital marketing production space for, for about six, seven years. Yep. And you know, mark cos is a great mentor of mine. He’s a partner of mine created some of the biggest shows in television. I got business a D D from him because you know, here he in, you know, running a very successful production company, him and his part, Eric Day sitting in one room and you’ll, they’ll have like 30 productions going on at once. And each production’s a separate business. Right? Like each production, it has a beginning, middle and end. And, and so I was like, wow, look how they were able to do all these LL they’re all LLCs.

Tony Samadani (23:23):

They’re all SEP. So I was always creating, you know, ideas, but they were all over the place. Right. So I was, oh, Anthony, what do you do? Um, my gosh, I’m exhausted. I have this, I have this, I, this, I have this. And then that’s where I got sick. You know, like I got sick at a time rather where I had two sons, two shows on air, my happy wife, like just bought a house. Like I shouldn’t have been sick like that. Um, but a naturalpathic doctor told me it’s 50%. You put your mind 50% we put in your body. And I realized it was my mind that I wasn’t allow with purpose. So the second thing I wanted to say is give credit to your company. I mean, I’ve known Joey qu since he was little kid. Yeah. Uh, he’s best friends with my little brother.

Tony Samadani (24:01):

Joey is the one who first read, like the draft. I was about to give it away for free last year. It was like, I just, whatever, just wanted to give it away. And he read it. He’s the one that told me, do you wanna be a branded house or house of brands? Yep. Right. And he goes, I think you’re, you’re, you’re a branded house. And I think you have gold with this. So I was like, what really <laugh>. And so Joey was the first one on to make me realize that there’s there’s and then, and then that, that mindset maybe, you know, open with Tobias and how everything started. So I love it. I definitely, uh, appreciate it. And

Mickey Cloud (24:34):

That Joe’s a, yeah. Been a long time colleague of mine. I’m totally makes sense. Uh, you know, I always always listen to Joe when he starts talking, so yeah. Um, I do wanna ask, uh, you know, you mentioned, you kind of came across good news network at a time when, when you really needed it. And so I’m curious to know, was there a specific story that kind of hit you that day? Or is there like a favorite story that you have that good news network has, has published?

Tony Samadani (24:59):

Um, it’s a great question. There wasn’t a specific story. As a matter of fact, it was the, the, the, the, the plus stories. Yeah. That were just headlines. I just, I was able to dive out, dive in just the headlines and scroll and scroll and scroll and scroll and scroll. I did it probably honestly, the first time I Googled it, cuz it’s number one. So I saw good News’s network. First. I was probably on there for an hour. That’s how I was able to see the instant, like my stomach pain went away. It was crazy. And I was like, no, this is just an anomaly. But cause I, this is when I wasn’t, I didn’t know about the science. I was just, and then I went on the next day and I started feeling better. I was like, wow, this stuff really works. Um, there’s a lot of great stories.

Tony Samadani (25:35):

There’s, you know, since I’ve been there. Well, you realize something that you have to have a little bit of thick skin because you know, good news for, someone’s not good news for someone else. Yep. Like when you start getting in to the political, all these other things, like, I don’t know why people go on good news networks, social pages, and then wanna hate on it. Like, you know, like just stop watching it. But I, as someone who, you know, as I said, Ali was a huge factor in my life and, you know, arguably one of the best humanitarians that are in Mon in our modern time. Um, but also one of the most amazing, uh, most well known am American Muslims. And I came from a Muslim Christian background. And, and, and so what I love are these, the stories that hit me the most are the ones of this interfaith love.

Tony Samadani (26:20):

Like we just did one, um, a couple days ago, uh, about this, uh, this Israeli woman who, um, wanted to show her child this, she wasn’t sick enough. She wanted to show her child what true, um, sacrifice was. And she donated a kidney to a three year old Palestinian boy. Wow. And the, the, the, the, the, the deal was that her, that his father would then donate a kidney to an Israeli, uh, child. And it was all successful. And I mean, I mean, I just get goosebumps thinking about the story now. Oh my God. So I’ve been sharing that with everyone. Like, that’s like, why aren’t we talking about this more often? Like these stories are unbelievable. And actually what I realized through the last, you know, four years is that the, there is so much more good than there is bad. Yeah. And there are so many more good people than there are bad. It’s just that the bad is, is the froth that just rises to the top mm-hmm <affirmative>. Yeah, exactly. So it’s more of a, those are the, the types of feelings, uh, the stories that I love, but, you know, yeah. And, and the ones that instantly, when I share them, people are like, ah, you know, like you

Mickey Cloud (27:26):

Get that reaction. Yeah. Yeah. Awesome. Well, last question here. I wanna ask. So we, we often ask about kind of people’s pilots checklist, right. Cause when you’re building well flying it’s you gotta stay calm under pressure. And so yeah. You know, if you, if you’re back against the wall, if you’re facing a tough decision for your business, for yourself, what’s that kind of internal pilots checklist, uh, for you, that kind of helps you helps

Tony Samadani (27:48):

You get through it, to be honest with you, without trying to just like, say like, act like I’m plugging, good currency was not. And I repeat was not created to start a business mm-hmm <affirmative> or a journal or anything. It was a way to create that exact answer to that question. Hmm. And so therefore my checklist is very simple. It’s a good currency formula. Is this good for myself and others? Is this fit one of my personal professional, spiritual passions. And if it does boom it’s game on. Yep. You know, even if it’s small, this is the thing, this is a beautiful thing about the currency or at least this type of way of light. Even if it seems trivial or all, if it fits within your passions, it’s worth your time. Mm-hmm <affirmative> the only time I, I have a back against my wall is when, or when I feel like is, is usually when I’m off.

Tony Samadani (28:36):

Usually when I, I I’m, I know that it’s not, you know what I’m saying? Like, I know that this decision’s not, um, but there’s a faith. There’s a level of faith where you can put that autopilot on, you know, and just kind of trust because my true faith, my true belief, and even this formula is that, and this is the way the formula is set up. You make your intention, right. You write it out every day. Very simple. So you make the intention and then you create the act, which is to show up, but you never worry about the result. Yeah. That’s the freedom of it all because we’re not in charge of our results. Right. You can, I intended to be on this podcast. I knew that it was worth my time. I did the camera. I got the light in the back. <laugh> I did everything I could, but maybe the wifi went now.

Tony Samadani (29:26):

Yeah. Maybe something happened. Yeah. Then I’m not gonna beat myself up. Cuz I did. I intended and I showed up with my actions. The results are outta my hands. Yeah. And that’s where that’s sort of my checklist that I go on and, and uh, and you know, and then the other key thing is to make sure if you, if you’re in the, if you’re a pilot to make sure you have a, a really badass co-pilot yep. You know, like I don’t believe in going solo. Like I believe in having solo time, but it’s it to me, it’s about looking about who’s my who’s in my who’s in my plane, you know? Yeah. Like, yeah. So that’s, that’d

Mickey Cloud (29:58):

Be my answer. Yeah. It’s like, if you want to go fast, go, if you want to go far, go

Tony Samadani (30:01):

Together. I have a thing, uh, that I share on my email with everyone called who’s in your carpool. Mm-hmm <affirmative> me. You can apply the same concept to, well, I guess you couldn’t apply same concept to a plane, but you know, on the 4 0 5, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s, uh, you know, traffic, you see the carpooling it’s wide open, right? Yep. And you just want to go in there so bad, but you wouldn’t put in anybody in your car, you wouldn’t even put your own family members if they weren’t going the same direction as you. Right. Yeah. Like if you’re going northbound and they wanna go southbound, wouldn’t it make sense to have them in your car? Yeah. Right. And so a lot of times we just get people in our car thinking that, oh cool. I can jump in the carpool lane. But then a lot of times you get confused because you didn’t ask the right questions. Well, are you even going northbound? Or even if you’re going northbound, I wanna get off at, you know, uh, Woodland Hills, not San Francisco. Right. Right. So a lot of times it’s just, you just have to ask yourself the hard questions on, you know, not only what you’re doing, but who’s next to you and what they’re doing and the direction they’re going in. Yeah.

Mickey Cloud (30:55):

Awesome. So last one, if you weren’t being CEO of good currency, uh, what would you be doing? Yeah,

Tony Samadani (31:00):

I think I, yeah, I said this, like, I’d just be shooting in the dark, like I was prior to this. Yeah. Yeah. I’d be, I’d probably be sick and uh, you know, just shooting in the dark aimlessly, knowing that I’m not aligned with my purpose. Yeah.

Mickey Cloud (31:12):

Awesome. Well then good thing. You’re doing what you’re doing. Awesome. Thanks Tony.

Tony Samadani (31:15):

Awesome brother, take care. Mickey, have a good one.

Katie Hankinson (31:18):

Well, now that we finish that thoroughly interesting interview, we’re getting ready, but before we do Mickey and I caught up on some of the themes and topics that stuck out to

Mickey Cloud (31:28):

Us, yes. We liken this to the postgame show where we break down the key lessons we all can benefit from, including us here at the Sasha group here is the Sasha sidebar.

Katie Hankinson (31:40):

So Mickey, that was a great conversation with Tony around the good news network and good

Mickey Cloud (31:45):

Currency. Yeah. What, what energy from, from Tony and, and just infectious.

Katie Hankinson (31:50):

Yeah. And I love the fact that the whole, um, arrival for him at even the, what, what turned into a business opportunity came from a really personal story. Like he had a personal interaction with the good news network that kind of bought him BR back from the brink. Oh yeah. When he was at a particularly low time and that, that kind of opened up a pathway, that’s brought him to this whole huge business idea.

Mickey Cloud (32:15):

Okay. It just shows yeah. That like sometimes business ideas and everything can come from the most unexpected kind of places

Katie Hankinson (32:21):

Yeah. And turned him into a social good entre. Right. Um, I, I completely resonated with, um, the point that he made that obviously the kind of the thesis that this whole platform built on, which is that time is the most important currency and of the point about like, you have to appreciate the one thing that depreciates something <laugh>. Yep. Um, it’s so true. I mean, Gary says it all the time. It’s also something that if you think through that lens and you think about communicating to people about like, for all sorts of our clients and other brands that if it it’s not necessarily about the thing it’s about the time spent doing thing, um, I think it really changes the

Mickey Cloud (33:00):

Lens. Yeah. It’s such a, it’s an organizing principle in so many ways, whether it’s how you, you know, how you look at your perspective on your day to day and your life and what, and, and what, what you’re prioritizing, what you’re spending your time on as well as the, to your point, like how, how you’re approaching marketing messages to right. Yeah. To your customers, consumers. Yeah.

Katie Hankinson (33:22):

So the other thing, as, as he begin, began to kind of sh describe the shape of what the company or the organization was gonna shift to. So the creation of good currency as being the new umbrella, that’s gonna actually acquire the good news network. Yeah. It was so interesting. Cuz then it was kind of like you use saw what originally follows one of our philosophies, which is behave, not like a brand, but like a media company. Like that’s really the, the beginnings of this, where, where that organization began. But what they’re now looking at is a lot of what the diversification efforts are, are built around partnerships. So it’s not necessarily just around building this, this singular, um, company with a set of products within it. It’s actually going out and finding, it’s almost like the Supreme model. Mm-hmm, <affirmative> where you have a concept at the core.

Katie Hankinson (34:09):

And then you create IP and partnerships with a ton of other like-minded or values aligned organizations that live in those people’s spaces. So they then can be any format shaped size, you know, it’s really, we can do anything interesting. Yeah. It’s kind of interestingly, um, like decentralized in terms of how the brand is gonna show up. Um, and I think it will give and gives ’em a lot of possibilities, tons of possibility. And then good currency is the connected thread. So that gives people the ability to kind of aggregate what they’re finding to track where people are, are in the system and discover new of it. So it’s super interesting to see where that plays out.

Mickey Cloud (34:48):

Very interesting to see where, where, where like how, how the launch goes, how, you know, what, what, what the adoption starts to look like and then where, where, where it goes from there. Yeah.

Katie Hankinson (34:57):

And you know what, it also made me think as he was talking about the need for more good news in the world is why does the news always start with the bad? And like, it’s always like the one thing at the end, which is like, and in China, a baby Panda was born and you’re like, you feel so about the world that you’re this one tiny little drop emotion doesn’t yeah.

Mickey Cloud (35:17):

Well, have you been, have you been on the site recently? I was. I was like, I was like scrolling through it earlier, earlier, you know, just now. And like there are, some of the headlines are, are, are a pretty awesome, but then B I think there, it’s not just like good news. It’s it’s it’s in innovation. It’s progress. It’s I mean, this one abandoned airport turned into sensory experience park providing green refuge in crowded Taiwan city. Like that’s not just cool news. That’s like, I don’t know. That’s city planning, innovation, innovation. And, and I don’t know. I just, it was, I think that kinda stuff. Is it maybe, maybe, maybe it’s the innovation that’s uplifting. Yeah.

Katie Hankinson (35:53):

I, I actually think they’re a really good resource for just finding kind of interesting like cultural insights or innovations that content curation. Yeah. Can neither field feed content planning, or even just looking for like stuff to juice, the imagination if you’re running a workshop. Right. Some of the, some of the environmental stuff’s really cool too. Yeah. So what’s our question.

Mickey Cloud (36:17):

Hmm. Maybe, uh, what’s what’s uh, one piece of good news that, that has lifted you up recently.

Katie Hankinson (36:24):

Love that we need more. Yes. Thanks for joining us for building while flying today. I hope you learned as much as we did. We’ll meet you right back here next time for another flight.

Mickey Cloud (36:39):

If you’d like to hear more about how business owners and brands are navigating these times, tune in to the next episode. And if you’re so kind, please rate and review us, plus we’d love feedback. So let us know what you think, what you’d like us to dig into next on building while flying across brands, businesses, marketing, and more

Katie Hankinson (36:54):

Original music by Folson street music group.

Welcome to Building While Flying!

This weekly podcast is brought to you by Sasha Group. We’re the consultancy meets agency arm of the VaynerX family of companies. We help ambitious companies build strong brands that flex with the times through strategy, branding media and marketing.

In ever-changing times, businesses and brands have to shift and adapt. And across all sectors, there is an air of experimentation. Business owners are trying new things out in the wild;  building the plane while flying.

Our pilots, Katie Hankinson and Mickey Cloud, will be talking to a diverse range of business leaders and founders. They’ll explore how these guests tackle various challenges while staying resilient and committed to growth. Through these real-life examples of strategies put into practice, we hope to inspire you to experiment and develop your own strategies as we all navigate these uncertain times together.

Good Currency can help others experience the impacts of good news in whole new ways.”

Tony Samadani is the Co-Owner and Head of Strategic Partnerships at The Good News Network, a platform founded in 1997 as an antidote to the barrage of negativity experienced in the mainstream media. Tony joined the team in 2016 after a Google search for good news amidst a tumultuous, stressful time led him to the Good News Network website. The “plethora” of good news stories hooked him almost immediately. 

Tony’s conversation with Mickey touches on more than just the benefits of consuming good news. In this episode of Building While Flying, Tony dives deep into how passions, purpose, and time are all related: if something fits within one of your three passion categories, then it’s worth your time. He shares how purpose and passion can guide your life decisions, and discusses why time is the most important currency. 

There’s a lot coming down the Good News Network pipeline, too! Tony talks about Good Currency, a brand they’re launching soon to “gamify good” and help others experience the impacts of good news in whole new ways.

Other in-flight topics:

  • History of The Good News Network (0:48 – 3:55)
  • What does “Social Good Entrepreneurship” mean? (4:15 – 6:15)
  • Time as currency (6:40 – 10:45)
  • Launch of the Good Currency brand (12:20 – 17:00)
  • Tony’s in-flight checklist (22:20 – 24:50)
  • …and more!

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