Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Falon Fatemi is a Fortune 40 Under 40 winner and has been described in the media as the epitome of Silicon Valley’s talent. She was the youngest employee ever at Google and is now the founder and CEO of the new interactive entertainment platform Fireside, which she created with her co-founder Mark Cuban.
One of the most prominent creators on Fireside is Deepak Chopra. He is the founder of the Chopra Foundation and Chopra Global. Chopra is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine, personal transformation and continues to be at the forefront of the meditation revolution.
I recently spoke with them both to discuss how Fireside as a storytelling medium is helping spark conversation and a deeper level of understanding and engagement not typically seen in entertainment.
The vision for Fireside, Fatemi shared, was born during the darkest days of the pandemic in spring 2020.
“Peak of a pandemic, we’re all at home, really just seeing how the power of a narrative can be used in this case, to spark fear. I was looking at social platforms that were meant to bring us together and seeing how much they were — and still are — dividing us. So I did a personal experiment. I shut off all social media. I stopped reading, listening and watching the news,” she says. “I just got my information through documentaries, podcasts and books and I found how every piece of well-thought-out content really just made me think a little bit differently about the world. And I found myself wanting to engage in a two-way dialogue.”
Since this ah-ha moment, Fatemi has built Fireside to be “a megaphone” for the best storytellers, domain experts and leaders. She says the platform “offers a forum for not just great entertainment to happen, but also for real dialogue to also take place that’s not divisive, that doesn’t devolve, that can actually have an opportunity to enable a shared understanding of reality going forward.”
The ethos beyond Fireside was particularly compelling to Chopra. In Chopra’s words, emergence is the idea of creating “maximum diversity of not only gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, but also maximum diversity of people who are humanitarians, artists, educators, poets, songwriters, scientists, technologists.”
“If you have maximum diversity, you have shared vision and you complement each other’s strengths, you can hopefully create a critical mass for social change. And I think that’s desperately needed because humanity is on a ventilator,” he says.
To achieve this goal, Chopra believes that forums like Fireside will be critical in educating and informing people in a way that is not polarizing. Amid the emergence of the so-called “creator economy” and web3, the potential of Fireside to spark greater awareness and compassion while arming creators with the tools needed to build their own media empires is also intriguing.
Creators can use Fireside’s end-to-end production tools to create live shows, interact with audiences in real-time and stream their shows across platforms including YouTube, Facebook and Twitch. Fireside also allows creators to monetize their shows in multiple ways including selling tickets and will soon launch an NFT offering.
A prolific author of more than 90 books, Chopra has also witnessed a transformation in how his audience connects with his message as he’s expanded to numerous mediums including podcasts, videos and more.
“I’m writing a book right now that is inspired by a lyric from Bob Marley that says, ‘Some people are so poor all they have is money,’” Chopra says. “Success to me is the ability to have love and compassion in your life, it’s also the ability to get in touch with your creative center. To me, joy is the only measure of success. If you don’t have joy, who cares how much money you have?”
Fatemi added to the conversation, saying, “How we feel influences what we create. As technology entrepreneurs, we have a responsibility to really think about what the impact of the technology we are creating will have at mass scale. It comes down to leveraging incredible technologies to drive more connectivity in a way that also leads to joy, that leads to wellness. I’m so excited about the possibilities.”