Episode 346

Online Course Teaches How to Make Money from HNT Cryptocurrency on the Helium Blockchain via Hotspots with Nik & Lee

Learn how this online course teaches how to make money from HNT cryptocurrency on the Helium Blockchain via hotspots with Nik & Lee in this episode of the LMScast podcast hosted by Chris Badgett from LifterLMS. Nik Hawks and Lee Selman are from Gristle King, which is a place where you can learn about a blockchain technology cryptocurrency called Helium.

Helium is an idea that’s one of the first and the largest projects that tokenizes something in the real world. Up until pretty recently, blockchain projects were all in the digital world. It was Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other digital currencies. There wasn’t really a crossover into “the real world.” And Helium is one of the first projects that has done that. You can earn Helium coin by putting a radio on your roof and that radio provides coverage on a very specific frequency or protocol called LORA for LOng RAnge. LORA coverage typically services what’s called IoT or the internet of things.

The radios on your roof provide coverage for sensors that might be transmitting information about temperature, humidity, they might be tracking vehicles or packages or pallets or planes, they might be pet trackers tracking animals. There’s lots of different things that the IoT (Internet of Things) can do. In return for providing that coverage, you’re paid in a cryptocurrency called the HNT or Helium Network Token. And that’s the very big picture about it, is that it’s this interaction between physical and the digital.

Online course teaches how to make money from HNT cryptocurrency on the Helium Blockchain via hotspots with Nik & Lee

Nik and Lee built the course because it is a big and complex environment and ecosystem, and as you get into Helium and you start to deploy hotspots, you’ve got to figure out where do you buy them, what do you do with them, how do you set them up, how do you know that you’re in the right location, how does the whole thing work, what’s good what’s bad, when they go down, how do you troubleshoot them, what’s next on the horizon. There are so many things going on, and Helium itself is a really dynamic company. So they started with LORA and now they’re pushing into 5G, which is a totally different spectrum of the radio or set of frequencies on the radio, and so there’s a whole new set of rules around that. That’s what Nik and Lee cover in their paid online course and coaching programs to students who are interested in being involved with the network.

Be sure to head to GristleKing.com, check it out, look around, and see what you think. You can always look at Explorer.Helium.com to look at the map and see what hotspots are out there. If you decide you want to get deeper, Nik and Lee have built the entire website for you, so check it out at GristleKing.com.

And at LifterLMS.com you can learn more about new developments and how you can use LifterLMS to build online courses and membership sites. Subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. If you like this episode of LMScast, you can browse more episodes here. Thank you for joining us!

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Chris Badgett:

You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking to create, launch, and scale a high value online training program. I’m your guide, Chris Badgett. I’m the co-founder of LifterLMS, the most powerful learning management system for WordPress. Stay till the end, I’ve got something special for you. Enjoy the show.

Hello, and welcome back to another episode of LMScast. I’m joined by two special guests, Nik and Lee Hawks from Gristle King, which is a place where you can learn about a blockchain technology cryptocurrency called Helium. I’m really excited to get into it. Welcome to the show, you folks.

Lee Selman:

Thanks.

Nik Hawks:

Thanks. Psyched to be here, psyched to just share the knowledge and share our experience with LifterLMS. It’s been pretty cool so far, lots of learning.

Chris Badgett:

Awesome. Well, I’m super passionate into crypto and technology. And really how technology can make the world a better place is something I really believe in. For people who don’t know, where does Helium sit in the ecosystem? I know that’s a big question, but how do you tell somebody who’s never heard of it before, even if they’re not familiar with blockchain or crypto, what is it?

Nik Hawks:

Sure. So Helium is this idea, it’s really one of the first and the largest projects that tokenizes something in the real world. So up until pretty recently, blockchain projects were all in the digital world. It was Bitcoin, Ethereum, whatever it was, it was a digital currency. And there wasn’t really a crossover into “the real world.” And Helium is one of the first projects that has done that. What it is, you put a radio basically on your roof and that radio provides coverage on a very specific frequency or protocol called LORA, L-O-R-A, for long range. And LORA coverage typically services what’s called IoT or the internet of things. I know there’s a lot of stuff coming at you, but it’s a pretty big space and there’s a lot of information.

Nik Hawks:

So the very short version is you put one of these radios on your roof, it provides coverage for sensors that might be transmitting stuff, information about temperature, humidity, they might be tracking vehicles or packages or pallets or planes, they might be tracking animals.

Lee Selman:

Pet trackers.

Nik Hawks:

Pet trackers. There’s lots of different things that the IoT, the internet of things can do. And in return for providing that coverage, you’re paid in a cryptocurrency called the HNT or Helium network token. And that’s the very big picture about it, is that it’s this interaction between physical and the digital.

Chris Badgett:

So why the course?

Nik Hawks:

So we built the course because it is a big and complex environment, it’s a big and complex ecosystem. And the three minute information or introduction I just gave is not even the surface of it. As you get into Helium and you start to deploy these hotspots, you’ve got to figure out where do you buy them, what do you do with them, how do you set them up, how do you know that you’re in the right location, how does the whole thing work, what what’s good what’s bad, when they go down, how do you troubleshoot them, what’s next on the horizon. There’s so many things going on and Helium itself is a really dynamic company. So they started with LORA and now they’re pushing into 5G, which is a totally different spectrum of the radio or set of frequencies on the radio, and so there’s a whole new set of rules around that.

Nik Hawks:

And because it’s such a complex system, and especially because right now it’s probably, as of even early 2022, where we are right now, January, it’s still one of the most profitable things you can mine in all of cryptocurrency. That was far more true in 2021, when a great miner cost about 500 bucks. And in a good location, it would be making something like $15,000 to $20,000 a month. So the demand for it was incredible, but the difference between a good and a bad location could be significant. You could be making 100 or 200 bucks a month. So there’s this really big demand for information. So for a long time I gave it away for free and then found out about you guys and we decided to say, okay, let’s build a course that is reasonably approachable for people and lay out the whole thing in about an hour so that then you can go and do a really good job of mining and contributing to the ecosystem.

Chris Badgett:

Wow, that’s awesome. What makes a good location?

Nik Hawks:

Sure. Good location, it’s a combination of things. So it is, I call this WUPU, so it’s W-U-P-U and that’s it provides this coverage that’s wide, unique, provable, and useful. So it’s wide coverage, your radio really your antenna can receive information from a lot of different places, it’s not boxed up. It’s unique coverage, so it’s not you putting two miners in your house and providing the same coverage twice. It’s provable coverage in that when your miner sends out a signal or transmits what’s called a beacon, another miner can receive that. And in Helium world, we call that witnessing that. And because this proof piece is so much of the earnings, this proof of coverage cycle is so much of the earnings, it’s really important to be in the right place where your miner can actually prove its location.

Nik Hawks:

And then the last thing is that it’s useful or usable. And that’s it’s processing sensor data, it’s actually doing something useful for the network. And that’s probably the most exciting thing in the long term about all of Helium, is that it’s an actually useful network. You’re not just trading stuff on the market, which, hey, that’s fun can make a lot of money doing that. And if you like making money, then crypto’s a good space to be for that. But if we’re looking for long term plays, it’s really about how do you have a useful application to the world we currently exist in.

Chris Badgett:

That is awesome. Is it biased towards being in a very populated area or can a rural area meet those criteria as well?

Nik Hawks:

It’s tough for a rural area to do it if you’re what’s called a lone Wolf. So if you’re the only miner around and you can’t provide that provable coverage, the P in WUPU, it’s really difficult if not impossible to earn any significant amount. So there’s a sweet spot, and this is one of the complexities that the course goes through, about how many miners you want around you and what the let’s say the quality of those miners looks like.

Chris Badgett:

That’s awesome. I did some research and I was looking at the map of the miners in my area, I’m still getting familiar with it. But I can see how the appeal and how interesting it is and really empowering that. How is it different from the current way? What makes it decentralized or more for the people or more democratized?

Nik Hawks:

Sure. So it’s decentralized in the sense that it’s replacing the current wireless system. So right up until Helium came along, the only way to get signal out there was to be a giant company, a Verizon, a T-Mobile, a Sprint and say, we’re going to put up our own towers and we’re going to provide radios and antennas on those towers, we’re going to spend a ton of money, millions of dollars, to put up one tower. And we’re going to provide coverage for people and those people will never be able to earn off of the coverage that we provide. In fact, they’re they’re going to spend to use that coverage. And there’s no chance for a small operator to come in at anything less than a few million and provide useful coverage.

Nik Hawks:

So what Helium did was make it so that any of us can put a pretty small radio on top of our house and provide coverage and get paid for that. So that’s the decentralizing part, it’s decentralizing this wireless buildup. And if we think of this in terms of what does this look like compared to another business or another wireless rollout, this is the fastest wireless roll out that has ever been seen in the world. And just over a year, Helium managed to incentivize the roll out of over 400,000 different radio stations. So it’s a demonstration of what can happen when you align the incentives and you combine the physical and the digital and make sure everybody who participates wins and see just how big and fast and amazing a thing can grow.

Chris Badgett:

That’s awesome. Well, let’s talk about the education piece. Cryptocurrency, blockchain technology, decentralization, the tokenization of everything is moving really fast. So education definitely plays a part. How did the need to educate come in and what are some challenges you wished to solve by creating a course?

Nik Hawks:

I’m going to put that over to Lee. She started to run… I just said, “Hey…” Lee’s my wife and I said, “Look, I’ve got so much going on I can’t handle this. Can you help me build this course?” I’ll let her talk about what we think we’re going to do with the course and where it’s going.

Lee Selman:

So Nik’s got on this road, I don’t know, probably, which is a really cool story, I don’t know, about a year and a half ago. And really became the expert in this technology and just started doing a lot of consulting for people who wanted to do large employment deployments or even it was actually people all over the world. And Nik started doing because of the demand, people wanted to know this new language. And most people really don’t have or didn’t have the bandwidth to piece this all together and learn all the language. Everybody had this thing in their head that they needed to use the technology of, oh a higher tower will give me better coverage. So it was really a lot of educating people on it’s very heavy in education. So that’s when we thought, well, if we could make it so that it was available to more people in a course format. So that’s when we found you guys. So we’re putting it into a basic beginner’s course that can walk everybody through really anything they want to know to get started.

Chris Badgett:

What’s-

Lee Selman:

And it’s been amazing. I’ve gone through all your videos, I’ve listened to all the the house cleaner lady one.

Chris Badgett:

Oh, yeah.

Lee Selman:

Which is amazing. Yeah, there’s so much. And it’s the same with you, it’s all new. You have to break all this stuff down to teach people. And I think you made it really easy for us to do that.

Chris Badgett:

Well, I appreciate that. You’re education entrepreneurs, they go together. And you mentioned Angela Brown, who’s a house cleaner, who’s teaching and helping others in that niche of house cleaning entrepreneurship. What’s the history like? I’m trying to get the timeline of how old is Helium, when did you start consulting, and how far back is your WordPress experience? Those are just some key data points there.

Nik Hawks:

So WordPress, I’ve been doing since geez, probably 2004.

Chris Badgett:

For what? That’s pretty old.

Nik Hawks:

Yeah. But more on a personal blog level. So for a long time, I’ve just enjoyed writing stuff. So I’d write travel blogs or what I was doing, and I was doing a bunch to different stuff. And it was always a way to make it so that family and friends could see what I was doing. So the WordPress stuff, at least at a surface level and just publishing blog posts and doing that thing, I’d had a long time or a lot of experience with. Helium technically started much longer ago than the current incarnation is. So let’s say 2019 is probably when Helium really started banging in its current form. I found it in August of 2020, so middle, beginning of the pandemic. I’m a paraglider and August of 2020, a fairly famous paraglider went missing over the Nevada Desert. So he was trying to set a personal record, he was flying with a bunch of other people. We all carry GPSs, we all carry cell phones when we’re flying out in the back country. And his last GPS ping was at something like 17,000 feet or 14,000 feet and disappeared.

Nik Hawks:

So he was really well known in funnily enough, both the paragliding and the psychedelic community. And through both of those communities, he had all of these wild connections. So he knew ambassadors, he knew owners of big companies, he knew the little people, the big people and everyone in between, and was really well liked. And so this giant search and rescue effort was stood up to find this guy. We had everybody from government satellites going over because he knew some folks in the intelligence community and saying, “Okay, can we use some of this older data?” All the way down to hunters, hikers, bikers, ATVs, private planes. I flew up there with a buddy in his private plane. We had helicopters there, we had drones all scouring this giant area to find this guy because the GPS and the cell phone hadn’t worked.

Lee Selman:

I think it was the summer too, which was you’ve got the clocks ticking on what if he was alive.

Nik Hawks:

So the short and tragic part is he was dead when he hit the ground, it took us 30 days to find him. And we just ended up finding him through getting lucky. So on the plane ride for me up there in this little small plane with my buddy, we went up and searched for a couple of days, I think three days of searching the air, all we were talking about was how do we make sure doesn’t happen to us. If we’re flying in the back country, we thought that GPS and cell phone was the gold standard and you couldn’t not be found, turns out that’s not true. What’s our third option? What’s our, to make fancy words, tertiary geolocation option, our third way to be found? And that’s when I found LORA. So I find LORA probably eight to 12 months into Helium’s real existence and probably like 10 months or eight months into it really starting to take off. Still considered super early in that space.

Nik Hawks:

And at that time, serendipitously, Helium had opened up this program for what are called DIY or do it yourself miners. They since closed that program because it ended up opening a bunch of loop holes for gamers and cheaters. But in the short time that it was open, I ended up building a couple of different Helium miners and learning a lot more than probably your typical person does just from having to build it from scratch myself and seeing how the system works. So now we circle back to the WordPress experience. I wrote my first blog about Helium on my personal blog just because friends and family were asking, what are you doing 25 hours a day? I was out in the mountains all the time, I was in the garage, I was building stuff, putting things up on the roof, I was doing these crazy hikes to put these radio, we call them towers, but sometimes they’re just a four foot station in all of these-

Lee Selman:

Mad scientists.

Nik Hawks:

Remote places. And the blog post got picked up because it was just me explaining what the system was and how it worked and how to optimize a hotspot and how to make that $15,000, $20,000 a month. And obviously that information is pretty in enticing and valuable to people. And more or less by accident, the blog post got picked up in the Reddit world and the Helium community took it and ran with it. Then I started getting phone calls and the most memorable one was a 9 o’clock on a Thursday night, this Ukrainian dude out of Buffalo, New York called. I picked up the phone and it’s like the classic movie line, “Hello. I have a bunch of miner. I have some questions for you.” So we had this really fun long term conversation.

Nik Hawks:

But at that point, I started to realize, okay, I can’t do what I’ve been doing, I can’t give away all this information for free, and I really can’t give all this time away without trying to figure out a business around it. So I began a charge for consulting, the consulting business took off, we did really well with that. Then we saw, okay, that’s not going to be enough either, we’ve got to build a course. And that’s really when Lee came in and said, “Okay, let’s systematize this a little bit and make it so that you can either do a one-on-one consult, which can be really valuable if you have a larger group or you got really specific questions.” Or you can take a course because a course solves 100% of 70% of the people’s problems or 80% of the people’s problems.

Chris Badgett:

Wow, that’s awesome. So what was the timeline from the idea, okay, I think we should turn this into a course to getting your first one up?

Nik Hawks:

That was super short. I think I found LifterLMS, I looked at it. I think within two or three days, I just bought whatever the ultimate mega package was. I was like, “I just want to buy this buy once cry once.” And what I did was I took the consulting session, it’s between 60 and 90 minutes, it’s right around an hour most of the time. And I just sat down, looked at the camera just like I’m doing now, and recorded a flat session with no customization. So here’s what I go through, I talk about strategy, tactics, tools, 60 minutes of just talking about Helium. I put that up as the course and I think it had paid everything off in a week. Selling the course paid off all the LifterLMS expenses in the first seven days. It might have been eight days. But it’s like, okay, well this is probably a good idea, let’s keep going with it.

Lee Selman:

And I think there’s also other things you can always add to what you’re giving because things change. And you think of, oh, we could add this. So we’re in the phase right now where we’re just making it better looking with all the offerings. And the ultimate is we just want to help people. We want to help people do this and help people understand it and expand people’s knowledge of Helium, that’s the goal.

Chris Badgett:

Let’s talk about-

Lee Selman:

Create a membership. We’re going to do a membership thing where Nik can do a Q&A and we can bring experts in and then…

Chris Badgett:

Is it that an upsell or just something you’re going to add on top or how are you thinking about that?

Lee Selman:

We haven’t really decided yet.

Nik Hawks:

Chris, we’re not sure. I think this is one of those things where it’s interesting because you’ve got domain expertise in one area. In the world of Helium, I totally know what I’m talking about, in the world of learning and teaching stuff I’m pretty good. I’ve had a bunch of experience in another curve life. But in the world of applied entrepreneur educator, educator entrepreneur that you talk about, we really don’t know what to do, we’re still newbies in that. So the LifterLMS course has been super helpful to think about that and frame that. And we’ve had people reach out to help us. But we’re still figuring out, what does it look like to be a member? What does it look like to take a course? What does it look like to take a couple of courses? What does it look like to have access to the blog? And how do we put all of that stuff together? And we’re still in the learning phase before we really the pilot stuff.

Lee Selman:

We’re probably structuring it to where the course is just the basics, it’s the foundation, it’s all the language that you need to know. Then the membership is going to be this ongoing thing where if things change, if you have questions, troubleshooting and that’s a real time where Nik can talk to people once a week and then we can bring an expert in once a week and perks and all that stuff. So we’re just basically going through all that right now and getting into the badges and all the options.

Chris Badgett:

That’s awesome. Well, just to throw some ideas your way, I think of a course as a fundamental building block. But then when you get into memberships, you put your target customer in the center and they need help, and then you surround them with whatever they need. They may need courses, they may need office hours, they may need templates or schematics, even potentially some physical items that come in the mail, access to experts, potentially office hours, like a time box amount of time that they can come to and ask anything. There’s group coaching, there’s private coaching. There’s so many different things that you can just surround them with help. And basically once you have that, like how you started your company, when people keep coming at you with the same problems over and over again, oh, there might be a course that can answer that, there might be a template PDF thing that could answer that. Could be connecting them to each other through community, which I know that’s big in crypto. So there’s lots of options there.

Lee Selman:

I have a question for you. I’m part of your Facebook group and I asked about memberships and you sent me, I think to Melissa, I forget.

Chris Badgett:

Melissa Love?

Lee Selman:

Yeah, Melissa Love and her membership. And so I joined her membership.

Chris Badgett:

Oh, you did cool. Yeah, she does a good job.

Lee Selman:

She’s over in the UK. so I’m learning a lot from what is been doing. One of the things that she does is she starts a Facebook community. Have you had anybody do like instead of doing the Facebook community to do the Discord, you send people to the community on Discord?

Chris Badgett:

We see people use all kinds of different things. There’s Discord, there’s Slack, there’s these different forum softwares. You can even host it on your website, Lifter has a tool for that. There’s something called Buddy Boss. But-

Lee Selman:

Because I know that’s how she reaches out, that’s how she reaches out to her community.

Chris Badgett:

It’s a popular debate in the sense that yes, you can create it on your own website, but if people are already… I know crypto people, I’m in a lot of Discord groups. So when in my Discord, I’m in that head space. So that might make sense for Helium. I’m in some more technical website WordPressy groups that are really Slack heavy. I’m in other things like more general entrepreneurship where I’m in Facebook groups. So I think it’s not a one size fits all, it’s what are your people… By getting in the flow where they already are, if they’re already spending a lot of time on Discord, I would definitely consider doing a private Discord. Actually I have seen some people, if you know what the Rally token is.

Nik Hawks:

Mm-mm (negative), no.

Chris Badgett:

It’s a social token for basically certain thought leaders. They get a coin, but on the rally platform, which makes it easy for them. And then you buy tokens and then you get access to private Discords or certain member perks and stuff like that. It’s fairly newish, but I’ve seen some people automating certain things where they have these bots in Discord that can tell that you have this much of this social token and it gets… There’s some interesting stuff going on there.

Nik Hawks:

It’s fascinating. I think the combination of Discord and NFTs and access and sorting things out and really automating it like a system of joining a group, that stuff is really interesting to me.

Chris Badgett:

Social learning or social communities, it’s a big part of it. Everybody starts with the content and I’m like, I’m productizing my knowledge. And then they realize, especially in a tight niche where everybody has shared problems or similar styles or ways of seeing the world, this community thing really takes on a life of its own. Sometimes it becomes the main event.

Lee Selman:

It’s pretty cool.

Chris Badgett:

All these wild Helium people that are doing what they’re doing and they like hanging out with each other I bet.

Lee Selman:

Yeah, it’s cool.

Chris Badgett:

I’ve I have a question for you folks. One of the trends we’ve noticed is that the companies make technology are never the ones that make the best training about it. With crypto, it’s a little different because it’s somewhat decentralized. So I’m just trying to get a sense, how big is the Helium niche or the Helium community? Or how many developers are there that actively work on the protocol or on the blockchain technology or whatever? how big is this niche?

Nik Hawks:

Sure. So we start with Helium, Helium’s got, I want to say 30 to 40 employees. So it’s still a pretty small company. The language that they’re using, URL Lang, is known by almost no one. So they’ve got a really small pool to draw from, but it does apparently things that you can’t do it other languages. So there’s that side of it. The economic side of it, I don’t pay as much attention to. I can tell you I think we just went over 500,000 miners on the network.

Chris Badgett:

Wow. Which means 500,000 devices.

Nik Hawks:

Yeah, half a million radio, expected to be three and a half million by the end of the year deployed all over the world. So when we think about how much HNT is going out, it’s 2.5 million HNT tokens are going out a month. And about a third of that, actually two thirds of that goes to the people who are actually doing the thing, whether they’re deploying miners or they’re processing data. So two third times 2.5 million is what is that? 800,000 HNT and HNT is 30 bucks right now. So there’s a lot of money in the space.

Chris Badgett:

And would you agree that the Helium company didn’t really have adequate training materials, that’s why people we’re calling you?

Nik Hawks:

Yeah.

Chris Badgett:

It’s a common trend, I see. It’s not a…

Nik Hawks:

No, I think the way I look at it is Helium doesn’t care if you understand it or not, they care if it works. And they’ve been pretty clear about that. They’ve said, “Look, we want to not purposefully leave a ton of money on the table or a ton of opportunity on the table, but we purposely want to build a community. And so we are going to focus on the core of making sure this thing works and everybody else can make sure that they figure out how to support that or how to grow an ecosystem around that.” So Helium talks a lot about, “Hey, we’re flying a plane with everyone on it and we’re fixing plane as we’re flying it. If you want to offer room service in the plane or you want to offer wine or champagne or whatever, you want to be like an extra fixer, you want to be a navigator, fine. All those positions are open, we’re just keeping the thing in the air.”

Chris Badgett:

That’s cool. So in this model, I think a lot of people are just trying to wrap their heads around blockchain and web three and all this stuff. What are we disrupting here? How is this better and more empowering to the people? I know you’ve touched on it a little bit, but what innovation or creativity or acceleration does this really unlock? What’s the game changing nature of this?

Nik Hawks:

We got two big things to think about there. One of them is just allowing people to earn off of providing coverage, like wireless coverage-

Chris Badgett:

Instead of just big companies doing that.

Nik Hawks:

Instead of just big companies.

Chris Badgett:

Monopolies.

Nik Hawks:

Yep. I don’t know if they’re totally monopolies because we got Verizon, we got AT&T, we got T-Mobile, we got Sprint, there’s a couple in there.

Chris Badgett:

Will this replace the cellular network one day?

Nik Hawks:

I don’t know about replace it, I think it’ll augment it. So we think of the cost to a Verizon or a T-Mobile or a Sprint of putting up a tower is a couple of million dollars. The cost to a normal person of putting up something that can provide local coverage or even hyper local coverage is more like, I don’t know, 5,000 bucks at the top end, if we’re talking about 5% and probably $1,000 if we’re talking about LORA. So on the side of how is it disrupting an industry, it’s disrupting the telco industry because it’s replacing in some parts the big towers, but it’s also just making it easier for all of those companies to provide coverage. Because what Helium is doing, their playbook that they’re just going to execute over and over again is to go into a wireless area and say, how do we build out something that supports better coverage? And then how do we sell that coverage to the T-Mobiles to the Verizons, to the Sprints?

Nik Hawks:

So let’s say on this block there’s not great cell phone coverage, where we live or near my building, whatever it is. We could put up a Helium hotspot, and I’m being a little bit loose with different frequencies here, but we could put up a Helium hotspot that a telco would never consider putting up because it’s just not worth their time. But for us, it might make enough to pay half the mortgage or pay a bunch of the bills or pay the whole mortgage depending on how good it is. So it’s not going to be a total disruption as much as it is an augmentation and also a distribution of funds. So instead of the big companies getting all the money, now that gets split up to smaller people, the smaller entities. So that’s the first side, is the wireless side.

Nik Hawks:

The second way that this is disrupting basically the world is it’s exposing people to the idea of IoT. And IoT is a giant space. If we think about IoT in very general terms in how we understand it as humans, we start with going back 10,000, 20,000 years. And we go back to a human who was living 10,000 years ago, 20,000 years ago, that person knew everything about their local environment. They knew where the deer was, they knew where the rabbit slept, they knew where the Fox was, they knew where good water was, they knew where bad water was, the dry air, they knew all of that stuff. But that information couldn’t be transmitted or distributed at any scale. It went to their tribe of 20 or 30 or 50 people and that’s where it stopped.

Nik Hawks:

What the IoT is allowing us to do is to be begin to distribute that information at scale. So you have not just one sensor, not 100, not 1,000, but millions of sensors all around the world, all collecting different data. And that data is now with Helium able to be tokenized and then sold. So whether you’re a college with a weather engineering program or weather degree program and you want to look at it ton more data than you used to be able to have just on professional weather stations. So now you’re looking at these extra pieces of data coming in from all the IoT sensors that are being deployed or you want to track pallets, planes, and packages, if you’re FedEx or DHL.

Lee Selman:

Farmers want to track moisture in the soil.

Nik Hawks:

So this whole idea-

Lee Selman:

Rather than just wasting water, you can actually measure to see if you actually need water.

Chris Badgett:

Sensors.

Nik Hawks:

Yep. So this whole IoT sensor thing is, I liken it to it’s as if we had an earthquake in the middle of the Pacific and there’s a tsunami coming to hit the Western Seaboard and it’s moving 600 miles an hour. Right now, it’s only a foot high. So people look at it, they’re like, “That’s not big.” But when it hits that Western Seaboard, it will be unlike anything we’ve ever seen before as far as understanding our world and the distributed amount of information that is going to be available to people at reasonable prices due to Helium. And that’s the giant thing backing all of this play. Is that sure, you’re making money off of this proof of coverage stuff right now, you’re making money by having your radio up. But in the long term, what we’re participating in is this decentralization and distribution of information at a scale that no one’s seen before.

Lee Selman:

Build in a network.

Chris Badgett:

Wow, this is really cool. Could you provide an example maybe of how this will collide with autonomous driving or the future of vehicles? Does it mess with that at all, GPS or traffic data or something?

Nik Hawks:

We’re seeing a ton of different projects, Helium’s not the only thing. So Helium is more of a wireless project. But there are other projects, Demo or Map Metrics or Hive Mapper or lots of these other things that are saying, look, we are all generating data as we move around. And we can begin to tokenize that data in very different ways. So for a project like Hive Mapper, you put a dash cam on your car. That dash cam feeds the images that as you drive around you collect. And now instead of Google having their own car and having proprietary access to their mapping information, you can start providing coverage to that map and you can get paid for the tiles, the small areas of the map that you actually map. And that information is way fresher, way more accurate, way more detailed than a Google vehicle driving around. So that’s just one example.

Nik Hawks:

Now, will Helium directly interact with that? It may, it may not, it depends on the sensors that are out there. It may make it so that it’s easier for vehicles to communicate over the IoT with where they’ve been or what they’re doing or the temperature or the humidity or how many are parked in a lot. A lot of those kinds of things on the sensor side, Helium will contribute to. But I really think of Helium more as an enabling technology and not really an application technology. I may be wrong in that and I’m so sure some engineer will go like, “You don’t know what you’re talking about.” But that’s how I think of it, is it allows people to do things and now it’s up to the rest of us to build the things will do that stuff.

Chris Badgett:

That’s awesome. Going back to being an education entrepreneur, how do you think about your customer avatar or your ideal learner, who are these people?

Nik Hawks:

Lee’s been thinking about how we do this.

Lee Selman:

I think there’s so much new language with it. Even the word IoT, internet of things, and there’s so many acronyms. I think a lot of the people on this end are super smart. And I don’t want to say having to dumb things down, but really you have to start there.

Chris Badgett:

Make it accessible.

Lee Selman:

Yeah. And you have to bring people up through kindergarten through elementary through middle school because you want them to be successful and you want this thing to work. So I think that’s how we just start with the basics. I always wanted to do a YouTube interview and have me ask Nik questions because I’m pretty the normal user. It’s probably the same with you and your wife and how something works or your girlfriend asking you questions. But that’s probably the avatar that we’re building out.

Chris Badgett:

Are they mostly coming at first after they hear about the mining and the HNT like income opportunity? Is that the doorway, gateway into the world?

Lee Selman:

Yeah, pretty much. It’s very curious people. I think that’s curious people and they just don’t know the language behind it and just the mechanics behind it. They just want to be spoonfed. I’m the same way. You don’t want to piece all this together, you want to go to somebody who’s the expert in it and learn from them. And time is everything, right? So if you’re going to spend an hour or two learning something, and I…

Chris Badgett:

One of the things that people, I heard somebody say this, I think his name is Deb Basu, the things that people buy in courses is speed, certainty, and insight. So if you can help him save time, make sure they don’t make a bunch of mistakes, and learn along the way, that’s what people are actually buying, the speed and whatnot.

Lee Selman:

Yeah, exactly. It’s just cool.

Chris Badgett:

What are your plans for the future in terms of growth, getting people in there? I think one way ask that is actually, a lot of people struggle with getting students or clients or customers. It sounds like you already had this pipeline of people coming for consulting. But what are your thoughts on just growing? Or how do you think about marketing or getting new learners in the platform? Are you just trying keep up with the demand that just comes naturally?

Nik Hawks:

I’m trying to keep up with a demand that comes naturally. If we look at the site right now, it gets, I don’t know, 70,000 sessions, that’s a WordPress step per month, which is a lot of people. It’s probably-

Chris Badgett:

That is a lot.

Nik Hawks:

… 40,000, 50,000 people visiting the site a month, something like that. I think Google stats are the people. So right now we’re just trying to keep up with that demand and figure out how do we…

Lee Selman:

Help more people with it.

Nik Hawks:

How do we help those people who are coming to the site. Because we think of it in two ways, you can go to the site and you can get all of this information for free. But it’ll take you hours of going around to read every single blog post I’ve written and understand all of it and have it explained to you. So how do we have an offering for everybody? So one of the things is making sure we monetize all those offerings so that it’s fair for both sides.

Nik Hawks:

It’s fair for me to sit down and take away time from my former life, where Lee and I run a cookie company that sells desserts online, and it’s fair for me to say, “Okay, I’m not going to do that, I’m going to do this.” And we’re going to get paid for that. And it’s all so fair for the person coming in and says, “You don’t need to spend 500 bucks an hour on a consult session with me, you can spend 10 bucks a month and read the blog. Or you can spend whatever it’s going to be for the membership and have weekly or biweekly or whatever it is access. So we wanted to make it so that there was entry points for everyone and everyone could participate at any reasonable level.

Chris Badgett:

Well, congratulations on 70,000 people coming to check out your stuff, that’s awesome. It really blows my mind how just scaled out this new technology era is and just the demand for information and understanding. Just watching things like institutional adoption of various cryptocurrencies and just seeing this whole thing go mainstream is fascinating. It’s just moving so fast.

Nik Hawks:

No, it’s bananas and it’s going to move faster. And there’s so many cool projects coming out, some of which we’re doing and some of which are just unknown to us. But I think 2022 is going to be the fastest year that anyone has ever seen as far as change.

Chris Badgett:

That’s awesome. I’m looking forward to it. If somebody were to take your course, at least in today’s dollars, what’s the timeline and cost for them to get Helium? Did you call it a mine or a connector? What is it called

Nik Hawks:

Miner or a hotspot. Those are…

Chris Badgett:

A hotspot. If we get into your course, how much money and how much time till we could get one up at our house.

Nik Hawks:

Sure. I think the first thing to do before you do the course is just look at the map and see what is going on around you. If you’re in a rural area and there’s no hotspots around you, think of it this way, as you’ll probably earn the average of your closest 10 hotspots. Now, that’s a very rough number, and that can be be wildly wrong, but it’s usually pretty close.

Chris Badgett:

Is all that data open, you can see whatever hotspots?

Nik Hawks:

All that stuff is free. That’s all on explorer.helium.com. So you could start there and say, is it worth it for me to get in there? If you’re in downtown New York City or downtown San Francisco or downtown Boston, no, it’s not. Those are too overcrowded. And the way Helium works with overcrowding is the more overcrowded it is, the less you earn. But if you’re in that sweet spot, if you’re out on the edge of a city, you’re in the suburbs, and there’s not a lot of hotspots around you and you say, okay, I think this is worth it, the course is a 100 bucks and takes an hour. So if you’re cool with that, that’s the starting thing.

Nik Hawks:

And then from there you decide whether or not you’re going to buy a hotspot on eBay and get it basically right away. That will run you in today’s prices somewhere between $800 and $1,200. Or you say I’m going to wait for a hotspot to be delivered, and manufacture lead times right now are between, I don’t know, 18 and 24 weeks. So that’s really what the course helps you decide. Is you say, okay, I’ll put a 100 bucks into this and figure it out. By the end of that course, then you know where to look, what to look for, and how to much more accurately assess your location and make that decision, do I spend the $1200 or do I spend for a manufacturer provided hotspot, they’re $600 to $800 new out of the package new in the box. So that’s the progression and flow.

Chris Badgett:

And once you get the hotspot, how long does it take to actually get it online and get everything connected?

Nik Hawks:

To connect it, it takes, I don’t know, five minute. For it to be up and running and earning is anywhere from two hours to 96 hours, depending on the manufacturer. So right now, and this will change in three months, so by the end of Q1 2022 this will change, but right now every miner carries a large portion of the blockchain on itself. So it has to deal with a giant amount of data. And depending on when your hotspot comes online and what, this is getting super technical super fast but I’ll try and keep it easy, is every Helium will release a snapshot of the blockchain which says, hey, this is not everything that’s on there it’s just it gets you up to the present. If you put your miner online right after they’ve released a new snapshot, you’ll be up and running because you have this copy that is easily digestible by your miner.

Nik Hawks:

If you put your miner online a week or two weeks after the latest snapshot, it’s going to take it a couple of extra days for it to get all of the updated information on the blockchain onto it. So two hours to 96 hours is probably as long as it takes before you’re up and running. And then average earnings right now are 0.14 HNT a day, it might be 0.12 HNT per day, that’s global average. So it’s really dependent. The high earners are earning just over one HNT a day and the low earners are earning nothing because it’s not plugged in or they’re just in a basement and they don’t understand the system.

Chris Badgett:

Cool. One of the things, this is a little more technical for the folks out there that may not be familiar with blockchain and crypto, but in terms of coverage, if you think of something like Bitcoin and okay, we’re going to use the sun to mine Bitcoin. And all of a sudden the entire world is covered in solar panels, how do the tokenomics work in terms of a saturation point? Will it always be accessible to the little… For Helium, will the little person, the individual always be able to participate or is it just changing so fast we have an opportunity right now, let’s jump on it but eventually we won’t and it’ll be hard for individuals to contribute?

Nik Hawks:

I think it’s a little bit of both. It’s just like any business, is that early on there’s giant opportunities for a small amount of people. As the groups of people get larger and larger, the pie is the same size and we split smaller and smaller slices. At some point you decide whether you want to do it or not and whether it works for you in your location. One of the cool things about Helium is that it’s about the same amount of energy to run a light bulb as it is a Helium hotspot. So very different than what’s called proof of work mining, which is what Bitcoin has been. So on an environmental energy demand side, super, super low. So that’s how to think about that.

Chris Badgett:

That’s awesome. Do you have some of the people that have been through your course, what results have they had or how has it impacted their lives? What have you seen happen to people that have been touched by your program?

Nik Hawks:

Sure. A lot of the feedback I get because I ask for testimonials at the end of every consult is, “Hey, this really helped me understand the system.” And in some cases for some people, depending on where they are, they say, “Thank you for doing this. The 500 bucks I spent on the consult was awesome because I know that I don’t need to spend any more money on Helium because it’s not going to work for me.” And other people are like, “Hey, the $500 is just the beginning. We want to hire you to come out and we’re going to pay your day rate, we’re going to fly you out to XYZ site, and you’re going to help us deploy 30,000 of these things globally.” So the span of participation and the span of the level of participation is super wide right now. But some people are seeing…

Nik Hawks:

I just yesterday talked to, I don’t know if you can say this term anymore, a bar maid in Brighton. So it’s a lady who works at a bar in Brighton, England, which is down on the South Coast. She had bought a couple miners with her boyfriend and they split up. He was just like, “Hey, you figure this out, I’m out of here.” So she had to figure out what she does with the six Helium hotspots she has. That’s a really interesting thing for her. She was, I don’t want to give away too much personal information, but she has the opportunity to change her life and not wait tables, not wait at the bar if she doesn’t want to with Helium miners.

Nik Hawks:

It can not only replace her income, but substantially improve it. So that’s some of the cooler stuff I see, is that you take a risk, you get curious about an environment, you make sure that the risk is reasonable, and then you can see, especially in this crypto and web free land, an unreasonable payout. And that’s the thing that a lot of us are chasing, is saying, where is it an asymmetric risk reward ratio and how do you find that? And that’s one of the things that I really like helping people do.

Chris Badgett:

Any other thoughts around just education and web three, what the world needs to do to help with the transition. If 2022 is going to be the biggest most wild year we’ve seen, what can education do to help?

Nik Hawks:

It’s a great question. So there’s two sides of it, what can we do as educators and what can we do as people who want to be educated. As educators, we just have to get better at doing the thing we’re doing. Just like Lee and I are doing right now, we have to learn how to build an education system, we have to figure out how to systematize the whole thing.

Lee Selman:

How to communicate.

Nik Hawks:

How to communicate, how to run…

Lee Selman:

… to everybody.

Nik Hawks:

How to run it at scale, how to make a program out of it so that it’s not restricted, there’s not a bottleneck of just us. So on the educator side, I think we just have to learn about really the business of educating and how does that work. Just like Lee and I have learned about the businesses of cookies, of notaries, of welding, of any one of a number of things where the different businesses we’ve run or ATMs, you got to learn about the business, you have to educate yourself. On the other side, on the side of how do we educate ourselves? I think 2022 is going to be not only the fastest year we’ve ever seen as far as just how fast it goes by, because there’s so many changes. It will also be absolutely the most rewarding year for anyone who is curious and willing to do the work, far away. Because we are entering into this web three arena and this is early adoption days for everything out there.

Lee Selman:

What is web three?

Nik Hawks:

Web three is this idea that we start taking things on the blockchain and they start to become an interactive piece of our lives. It’s really the blending of physical and digital reality and using all of this new technology. So there’s many ways to describe it and probably a lot of better ways to describe it than that. But it’s this shift from one person having all the power to all of the people having a little bit of power and deciding where they’re going to apply that power. That’s probably the best overarching way to say it. Chris, is there anything to add to that, on the web three side?

Chris Badgett:

I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. I’ve heard it described as… When people ask me, I say web one is information, web two is social, and web three is the internet of value.

Nik Hawks:

That’s what I’d say.

Chris Badgett:

What that means, I think it’s a little easier to maybe see that with things like Bitcoin, digital gold versus physical gold. But even what you’re talking about with HNT participating in the IoT network and generating value from that, it makes sense to me as being a web three thing going on there.

Nik Hawks:

I don’t know if they’d consider or themselves web three or not, but I think the applications are going to be laid on top of it are clearly going to be web three stuff. As we start seeing people interact across really fluidly crossing physical and digital lines and using blockchain to track that and to decentralize how all that stuff gets rewarded, the tokenization of everything, that’s at the core of what’s happening right now.

Chris Badgett:

Part of the web three thing, going back to the conversation around community, is the digitization of community, some people call it cloud cities and things like this. Where let’s say the people who are really into Helium, there’s a whole community. You could have like pop conference somewhere, anywhere in the world, and bring Helium people together. That’s a very web three concept. And it’s happened online for a while, that cultures develop on the internet. But it’s now it’s…

Lee Selman:

Accelerated.

Chris Badgett:

Yeah, very much accelerated.

Lee Selman:

Yeah, it’s crazy. I think it’s cool. The people who are experts can now get their knowledge out and think how much that’s expanding people’s lives and people’s worlds and they can start businesses based on that knowledge. Like the lady who is the cleaner, is just a perfect example, it’s amazing. And she’s enabling other people to start a business and giving that information without them having to start from scratch.

Chris Badgett:

And I saw her go from zero to, I think last I checked, 200,000 YouTube subscribers.

Lee Selman:

Yeah, I saw that.

Chris Badgett:

It’s just amazing.

Lee Selman:

I just love what she’s doing.

Chris Badgett:

It’s empower empowering other people.

Lee Selman:

It’s empowering other people. And I think that’s what’s most important, is it’s incredible. I love it.

Chris Badgett:

Especially in technology, for me, software company, getting web developer talent, oftentimes they don’t come through the traditional education system. Because technology is changing so fast, traditional college or community college curriculum and stuff, it has a hard time keeping up. So these more agile, just in time learning entrepreneurs like yourselves are actually creating the best technology education of the future, which is… And you’re moving quick and you have a niche that’s… Helium mining, it’s specialized whereas university stuff tends to be more generalized. So it’s really cool to see you and folks like you just mastering these technology niches and just helping empower other people, it’s very cool.

Chris Badgett:

Awesome. Well, Nik and Lee, this has been a great conversation. I love getting into crypto and blockchain and learning about how it crosses into the physical world. Because a lot of people can’t see it. But when we start to think about, oh, internet of things, I can feel and touch those things, what’s happening in the background so these devices can talk to each other and communicate, it’s really amazing. Any final words for the people? Let’s say first about if somebody is thinking about creating a course and second about getting into Helium mining, if we’ve peaked somebody’s interest, what they should do.

Nik Hawks:

Sure. You want to take the course one?

Chris Badgett:

You guys pulled off a course quickly and what piece of advice do you have? Some people don’t launch or they get all wrapped up in these rabbit holes, but you made it happen. How’d that happen?

Lee Selman:

I think the biggest thing is just do it and don’t worry about being perfect and just do it and just start and put it out there. Because if you get into this perfectitis thing, you’re just never going to be able to put it out if you’re so worried about out how you look or how you sound. I think that’s the biggest stumbling block for people wanting to create something. Because somebody needs what you need to teach out there. And instead of thinking self-centered and just doing it for yourself or how I look, think about the other person and giving to the other person and creating expansion to the other person. So it’s all about the other person, is expanding their life and not self-centered, what I look like and all that.

Chris Badgett:

Love that, love that. Nik, if somebody has just now become insanely curious about Helium and HNT and creating a hotspot, what should they do?

Nik Hawks:

I would say go to gristleking.com, check it out, look around, see what you think. You can always look at explore.helium.com just to look at the map and see what hotspots are out there. And then if you decide you want to get deeper, we’ve built the entire website for you, so check it out.

Chris Badgett:

That’s awesome. So that’s gristleking.com. G-R-I-S-T-L-E K-I-N-G. Nik and Lee, thanks for coming on the show. Keep up the amazing work. We’ll have to do another one of these in a year or so and just see where you’re at and what you’re doing and how the world has changed in 2022. But thanks for being a shining example of education entrepreneurs who just get out there and just do it, make it happen, help people, and pursue their passion.

Lee Selman:

And thanks for doing what you do. I watch it every day, watch your videos. I watch one of your videos every day.

Chris Badgett:

Awesome.

Lee Selman:

You’re creating a lot of expansion also.

Chris Badgett:

Well, thank you. And that’s a wrap for this episode of LMScast. Did you enjoy that episode? Tell your friends, and be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the next episode. And I’ve got a gift for you over at lifterlms.com/gift. Go to lifterlms.com/gift. Keep learning, keep taking action, and I’ll see you in the next episode.

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