I had the pleasure of interviewing Adam Joseph and Michael Stern* of Get-Vape. Adam has 10 years of experience in digital marketing; most recently, he co-founded his digital marketing agency, ConvertiX. Michael’s background is in tech; he is the CEO of a global software company based in South Africa that specializes in document management and workflow solutions for companies. Based in Tel Aviv, Israel, Get-vape.com offers side-by-side comparisons between leading brand vaporizers, reviews and ratings made by real users around the world, and original content on their blog. Their aim is to help people around the world connect with the best vaporizers on the market.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
Michael: Adam and I have been friends for years now. He’s visited me in South Africa, I’ve visited him in Israel, etc. I introduced Adam to vaporizing last March because I was (and am still) an avid vaper. Adam was really sold on the concept and actually bought his own vaporizer and started to realize all of the health benefits. Adam has a background in marketing and SEO and did some research. He found that vaping was an undervalued keyword. He called me one day with the idea to start Get-Vape. I thought it was a fantastic idea and now here we are!
Adam: In addition to being connected to the product itself, for the last six years I have been involved in the digital marketing industry. I immediately saw potential in the market for this kind of technology, and I truly do believe in it.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?
Michael: To be honest, I think that the funniest story is the fact that we are actually in this business.
Adam: When I told my grandmother about Get-Vape, she hit me with a newspaper.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Michael: It’s not your usual vaporizer website where you just showcase products; we are actually educating the world about the health benefits of vaping. Showing products is one thing, but this focus on education is really what I believe makes us stand out the most. We want the world to know about cannabis and how it should be properly consumed.
Adam: It’s a real user review, not just one person reviewing products. You don’t always know an individual critic’s bias or incentive. We really try to present all of the relevant information for users in one place whether it is price, product description, YouTube Review, etc. Users don’t really have to go and do independent research because everything is already in one place. It’s easier for users to make decisions, it’s more objective, and we have a fantastic comparison toolthat nobody else on the market has.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Michael: I have a friend that lives in Cape Town that I consider a marketing guru. He gave me some fantastic ideas about what the website needs and he reinforced a lot of what Adam said about the importance of content. Content is everything; if it’s not up to date and original you won’t see any progress. He offered me insight about how to write product descriptions and the kinds of words to use.
Are you working on any exciting projects now?
Adam: Our website is actually still pretty young (6 months old), so for right now we’re just focusing on building and refining the site, adding more products, getting more products reviewed, etc. We have some pretty cool things planned, and are working on developing different categories, contests, and ranking systems to implement on the site. Recently we compiled a list of our top 10 best portable vaporizerson the market.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Adam: Yes. The more people that join our community, the more people are taking steps to improve their health. Using a vaporizer merely steams the cannabis, whereas lighting it creates harmful carcinogens. Vaping is so much healthier, and we are really focusing on getting that message across to as many people as possible and providing the information they need.
Do you have a favorite book that made a deep impact on your life? Can you share a story?
Michael: One of my favorites is Richard Branson’s autobiography. Throughout the whole book he is so determined. It is definitely very inspiring, you know, how he started Virgin and made it what it is today. When Adam came to me with the idea for Get-Vape, I thought about what a risk taker Richard Branson is, and I decided to dive into the unknown and the take the risk. No risk, no reward, right? At the end of the day time is money, you know.
You likely have heard of the famous cliche that in a gold rush the one selling the shovels makes much more than the one who finds gold. This is the modern day “green rush”. Can you recommend to our readers 5 technologies or services that can potentially be lucrative “shovels” for the cannabis industry? Can you give an example for each?
Michael: When you look at Colorado, you can read all kinds of reports and watch documentaries about how the economy there is just booming, because of all the industries that have been boosted by the cannabis industry. You need construction to build the warehouses to grow. You need the agriculture companies to supply the nutrients and fertilizer for the plants. From the growing facility to the dispensaries, to the vaporizing industry, there are many “shovels” that enable the cannabis industry to thrive. Without those, the cannabis wouldn’t get consumed.
Adam: I definitely think the medical industry will be impacted a lot. We’re going to start coming up with these medical devices that slowly release cannabis into cancer patients. Certain brands have actually created automated oil pens for medical use that use capsules with fine-tuned formulas that enable you to carefully control the effects of your THC and CBD for different situations.
What 3 things would you advise to someone who wanted to emulate your career? Can you share an example for each idea?
Michael: Pick the right team. Just make sure that every person fulfills his or her role and pulls their weight. If you want to take a business risk, you have to commit wholeheartedly. When we were first starting this site, there were many times that I had to sit on my laptop all weekend and write content, even though I could think of many things I would rather be doing. I sacrificed my time with my family for this project before I even knew if I would ever see a penny from it. If you believe in your vision, you can’t get sidetracked. Otherwise, you are never going to succeed. One of my favorite sayings is “a rolling stone gathers no moss”. The third thing is to be sure that you have a very good content writer if you want to launch a successful website. If you’re not putting out a lot of good, original content, you’re not going to get your site up there. To emulate what we are doing, you have to to find someone who writes amazing content and understands PR and SEO.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
Michael: In today’s world, employees are really after that instant gratification. If you just put them on a measly salary and expect them to remain loyal to you, you’ve got it all wrong. Offer them shared incentives. Employees come and go all the time. If you want to keep a good employee, offer him/her a piece of the pie.
Adam: Just make sure you keep some cannabis in the office, haha.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)
Michael*:Elon Musk. We’ve been talking a lot about risk in this interview, and he is the epitome of a risk taker. Meeting him and sharing some ideas with him would be super neat. When it comes to tech, I believe he is the tech pioneer of the century, you know, bringing rockets back from space and landing them face up.
- Note on remaining anonymous: I would love to have my name mentioned, because I am proud of my work. However, given where I am from, it is not worth potentially damaging some relationships because people just don’t understand cannabis properly. Many people have this idea of progress and acceptance in the states because of the recent moves toward legalization and decriminalization and what not. While general feelings toward cannabis are changing, people often forget that around the world, it is still heavily illegal, and people can face pretty heavy consequences. CannaTech is amazing, but unfortunately, it is still very stigmatized, so we are forced to remain pretty low-key. I have some close friends and family that I have not even told about this business.
Jilea Hemmings CEO & Co-Founder of Leaf Tyme. She is running a series on the leaders of the CannaTech industry.