Social media meets social voting with the Cast app! By turning bystanders into active participants in every conversation, Cast is a way for you to get an instant snapshot of what people really think.
For people who don’t know, who are you?
We, Dave Banwat, George Boutsalis and Ricky Liorti, are the Co-founders of Cast. Three best friends who have been inseparable for the better part of the last decade. We spent our 20s travelling the world, experiencing sporting and music events and debating every possible topic. Now, we’re on a mission to fix social media.
Tell us what you do (share your respective roles)
As the Chief Information Officer, Dave is responsible for technology and data analysis. George is the Chief Executive Officer responsible for leading the executive team, company operations and recruitment. Ricky is the Chief Marketing Officer responsible for brand development and growth.
What made you want to do what you do? What problem were you solving, and what gap in the industry did you identify as one you needed to solve?
We got tired of the current social media landscape. It too often feels we’re only served one-sided “trending topics”. If you have a consenting opinion, you’ll be downvoted immediately and people won’t see your comments. This is resulting in less people sharing their opinions online, which means we’re not getting diversity in the discourse. Social media feels like an echo-chamber, for lack of a better term. This is a major problem because it leads to a misrepresentation of public opinion. If you’re only seeing views and opinions from a small group of people who shout the loudest, are you really seeing an objective view of public opinion?
What is your mission in your career, especially with Cast?
As people, we want to leave the world in a better place than when we found it. As founders, we’re on a mission to get more people sharing their honest opinions online. We’re turning bystanders into active participants in every conversation. Ultimately we’re striving to be an objective source of public opinion.
Why this format? Did you explore other ways to reach people (i.e., a different type of app)
We knew that we had to make it effortless for people to share their opinion. Both in functionality and theory. How do we remove all barriers to people sharing their opinions? The first step is to make it effortless to participate in the conversation. Voting achieves this. Not everyone is comfortable creating content so how do we empower the bystanders to become active participants? You make sharing your opinion as easy as clicking a button. Step two is breaking down all psychological barriers that prevent people from sharing their opinions. Social pressures, fear of judgement, groupthink and cancel culture, have all become pervasive issues on social media. Allowing users to vote anonymously 100 per cent of the time removes any sort of fears or barriers that prevent them from participating.
Once we came to these conclusions we tested for any oversights or edge cases and quickly determined this would be an effective way to achieve our mission, so we got to work!
How are you keeping motivated during Covid?
On a personal level, the fact that we are all fortunate enough to see our families and work with each other has been a huge help. To be honest, we see each other more now than we did prior to the pandemic and somehow we still aren’t sick of each other. On a professional level, we are all motivated to bring objective truth and transparency to social media. This has been long overdue and it’s time for a shake up on social media. We have a North Star that keeps our team focused and firing on all cylinders on a daily basis. We’ve never been more motivated and driven to achieve our goal.
What would you tell your teenage self, if you were to meet them today?
Dave: ALWAYS be yourself, don’t change to try to appease others… and buy as many Bitcoins as you can.
George: Put one foot in front of the other and start moving forward. Have a North Star but be flexible because life throws curveballs at you all the time. If you’re waiting to perfect your plan or find the right time to start, you’ll never start. Just shut up and get moving.
Ricky: Trust your gut and always take those risks. No one has ever gotten somewhere new by doing something old.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received? What advice do you give to your “mentees”?
Dave: I guess it goes back to the previous answer: be yourself. This has helped me significantly in staying true to myself, not letting others opinions affect me and just loving and believing in myself. As for advice I’d give to mentees, it really all depends on the situation and what I’m trying to help them achieve or overcome.
George: I’ve gotten a lot of great advice from my father and my brother. They’ve both had massive impacts on my life both personally and professionally. The one piece of advice that has really resonated with me and I share it with everyone came from my former boxing coaches Virgil Barrow and Jenn Huggins; “Don’t talk about it, be about it.” People love to tell you who they are and what they do, myself included. This really opened my eyes and made me realize that you are not what you say, you are what you do. So just shut up and get moving.
Ricky: Always get back up! No matter what life throws at you, keep going and never give up. Sometimes you might feel that the world is against you and everything is getting in your way, but stay consistent in what you want and keep persevering.
What, if any adversities did you have to conquer, and what do you attribute your success to?
Dave: Although I’ve lived a fairly blessed life, I have experienced my fair share of adversity. I’m sure if you spoke to any of my elementary/high school teachers, they would likely be surprised to learn where I’ve gone with my career. I’ve made plenty of mistakes and unfortunately been dealt some pretty unlucky hands in certain situations. However, every challenge I’ve experienced, I’ve come out stronger due to my willingness to learn and evolve. There’s no way I would be where I am today without experiencing those losses and learning from them.
George: While I can’t pinpoint any specific adversities that I’ve had to overcome that left a lasting impact on me, I can safely say that I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for my incredible family. My parents have supported me in everything I have wanted to do in life, even when it seemed irrational or crazy. My sister is one of my toughest critics and always pushes me to be a better person. And my brother is one of the brightest and strongest people I have ever known and will always be there to give me advice, even when I don’t want it.
RIcky: People face adversities in different shapes and forms, even if they don’t realize it until they’ve overcome it. The key to conquering any struggles you may have is to know what you’re working towards and work hard. It also helps having a strong team around you, so surround yourself with good people who appreciate you and what you bring to the table.
Tell us a secret about your job?
The three of us came from corporate backgrounds and jumped into the startup world headfirst without much knowledge. It was terrifying while we tried to figure things out. We’ve made some mistakes along the way but the one thing we did right was surround ourselves with some incredible people. A secret to a successful CEO is that they quickly realize they are the least important person in the company and to build a team of smart, talented people who help continue to make them feel like the dumbest person in the room.
How can we find you?
Dave: @dbfromcast on Instagram
George: @boutsalis on Instagram/ @castcofounder on TikTok
Ricky: @yourpalrick on Instagram and TikTok