This week on the Legally Speaking Podcast, our host Robert Hanna speaks to Siavash Khazamipour.
Siavash is a personal injury lawyer at McComb Witten Personal Injury Lawyers and is based in Vancouver, Canada. He’s worked at the firm for six years, navigating a variety of cases in the unique legal jurisdiction of British Columbia.
At the University of Toronto, he was the youngest ever Chair of the Canadian Lawyers for International Human Rights society, representing refugees on a pro bono basis. This is a cause close to his heart due to his own refugee background (his parents settled in Canada after facing political persecution in Iran). Siavash himself was brought up in a relatively low income migrant community in downtown Toronto, giving him first-hand experience and understanding of the challenges faced by underprivileged migrant communities.
Away from work, Siavash is a keen proponent of BitClout, a new online platform combing cryptocurrency and decentralised social media (effectively turning social media stars into tradable assets, via the medium of ‘Creator Coins’).
Topics discussed include:
- His family’s refugee background, and the unique nature of Canada’s legal pathway
- How he got his current role and what the job entails on a daily basis
- The importance of having a purpose in one’s legal career journey
- His involvement in BitClout, a new decentralised platform that combines social media and cryptocurrency
- Why he goes by the nickname of ‘Memes’ and what advice he’d give to his younger self
Rob Hanna (00:00):
Welcome to the Legally Speaking Podcast. I’m your host Rob Hanna this week. I’m delighted to be joined by Siavash Khazamipour. Siavash is a lawyer, a McComb Witten personal injury lawyer based in Vancouver, Canada, and a creator of memes and best known by the name ‘Memes’. So, a very, very warm welcome, Memes!
Siavash Khazamipour (00:21):
Thank you so much for having me, Robert!
Rob Hanna (00:24):
It’s an absolute pleasure to have you on the show! Before we dive into all your amazing achievements within the law and outside, we do have a customary icebreaker question here on the Legally Speaking Podcast, which is on the scale of one to 10, 10 being very real, what would you rate the hit series ‘Suits’ in terms of its reality?
Siavash Khazamipour (00:45):
Okay. So, um, as a preface, I’ve only seen one episode, the very first episode where I think the main character kind of had to do some crazy hi-jinks to either be qualified as a lawyer or even just work at a law firm. And because of that, I would say it’s a 10 because my own subjective experience of law is exactly the same. I had to do some crazy stuff to get here. And guys like me, don’t usually enter the, uh, the hallowed halls of justice and the, the rooms of, of law firms and the boardrooms where the big deals happen. Guys like me usually don’t, uh, don’t get there. And I know this because of my experience. So I’d say it’s a 10 because I totally had to heist my way in.
Rob Hanna (01:26):
I love that. Yes. I like the fact we got a practicing lawyer giving a high figure. So yeah, great stuff Memes. Okay, so let’s, let’s start at the beginning though. Tell us a bit about your family background and upbringing.
Siavash Khazamipour (01:38):
All right. So I’m, I’m 31 years old. Uh, I work in Vancouver, British Columbia. I was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Canada though. And I was born in 1989. My parents had arrived in Toronto one year prior in 1988. They were refugees from Iran, very political people in a very troubled nation. And they had a revolution in 1979 that led to major political crackdowns and both of my parents separately were quite politically active. So the government and its crackdowns forced that mass Exodus, especially of intellectuals and other politically involved individuals. So they, um, they fled Iran separately. They hadn’t met yet. They met, uh, overseas and then were placed, um, in Canada as refugees. And they were placed in Toronto. So they arrived in Toronto. And one year later I was born, uh, as an only child. They never procreated again. And that’s, that was the, uh, the beginning. And from there, um, I was raised in the downtown core of Toronto, did some crazy stuff, learned some crazy things, eventually went to the University of Toronto and started the, uh, the path towards a lawyer.
Rob Hanna (02:50):
Great Stuff! Yeah, and I’m sure we’ll, we’ll dive into a bit more of those crazy things a little bit later on, but in terms of the, uh, Canadian Qualifying Legal System, we’re aware very different that that over here in the UK. So can you just talk us through that, that process and what it involves?
Siavash Khazamipour (03:05):
Yeah, so, um, uh, my understanding is in other jurisdictions, you from straight out of high school, based on, um, you know, qualifying exams or grades, you enter the legal stream, whereas in Canada, there’s the undergraduate degree that kind of serves as the gatekeeper, uh, before you enter law school. So in my case, I went from high school to the University of Toronto, where I did an undergraduate degree in English Literature with minors in Sociology and Semiotics – Semiotics, basically being the study of memes. So, uh, I know Hannah had mentioned that, so we are compatriots in the academic study of Memology. Um, so yeah, after the, uh, the undergraduate degree, I wrote the LSAT, um, in the summer after my third year of undergrad, um, did well, use the LSAT grades to apply to law school. I was accepted into the University of British Columbia as Faculty of Law, um, and started studying in 2012 at UBC. So the way it works is, um, high school, undergrad, LSAT, law school – in law school, you eventually figure out the things you’re interested in and you start, you know, opening your eyes to the different lines of practice that you can enter in. I figured out that litigation was for me to be qualified as a lawyer in Canada. You not only need to finish law school, but you also need to, uh, article for a year. And articling is a process whereby you work at a law firm for a year as an apprentice essentially. And usually paid, that apprenticeship year is mandatory to be qualified as a lawyer. There are some projects in Ontario now where there’s kind of, uh, I would say kind of like an in-class articling process. I’m not very familiar with it, but the norm and the historical norm in Canada is there’s an articling year on top of law school. So law school is three years. You get an articling position, ideally, while you’re still in law school, you then go straight into the articling position after law school. You complete that. And sometime during that articling year, you write the Bar Exam. The way it works in British Columbia is that the Bar Exam is adjoined to a course where they teach you the fundamentals of the Bar Exam and how to do well on it, along with kind of bringing, um, potentially narrow scoped students or articling students into the broader practice of law by exposing us to things that we don’t do normally in our, in our articling careers, which are usually quite specialized. So after the PLTC course, and the Bar Exam are written and passed, and your articling year is completed as well, and everyone signs the requisite documents, you are qualified to be a lawyer.
Rob Hanna (05:53):
There you go. Thanks for sharing that Memes. So you at the start sort of hustle to getting the, uh, the first legal job or getting into legal industry, talk us through that. So how did you secure your first legal role following the education system?
Siavash Khazamipour (06:08):
So, um, how did, I mean, really, you got to trace it all the way back because the, the spirit that guides, I think many lawyers, is developed far before they enter law school. And, um, just the, the situation in Toronto and downtown Toronto can be, um, very multifaceted in the sense that my upbringing had the nerdiest geekiest aspects to it. And also I’m proud to say that I, I, I did, I did, um, some crazy sh *tand I’m not sure – are we, are we cursing out here? What’s the, uh…
Rob Hanna (06:46):
Memes… Go for it!
Siavash Khazamipour (06:49):
Crazy stuff. I’ll try to be as polite as possible. So, and the crazy stuff was more with kids that maybe didn’t have as much in life that came from lower socioeconomic backgrounds that, um, were either wild because of mental health issues or wild because of just inherent personalities. And while the young men tend to do wild things, and I had, um, an attraction to that and an interest in that, and that led me to developing characteristics that were kind of very, very interestingly harmonized with my nerdy, your side, which was into the books and into intellectualism and, and philosophy and the things that would eventually underpin my curiosity and the higher concepts in law merged with kind of a street, a street sense that allowed me to marry that in litigation with the ground emotional intelligence, you need to deal with clients. But anyways, those characteristics that got built up in my childhood led me to be attracted to litigation. And in law school, um, I immediately was attracted to any type of litigation work. I can get my hands on. My first legal gig officially would have been one month into law school. I started working for the, um, the schools refugee and immigration clinic, where we would take authentic, um, immigration cases or refugee cases, and actually give legal advice and help with the, with the guise of a, a supervising lawyer who would kind of go over the advice we were giving clients, go over our legal work and then make sure we weren’t guiding people astray. And I kind of poured my whole whole life into that. I wasn’t really that dedicated into contract law or property law or other kind of courses. In first year law. I kind of directed all of my efforts towards the real litigation work that I was allowed to do. And I became the head of that clinic within like three months. And I was the first, I think first year clinic head, um, they had had in that program. And I was eventually like given a few accolades and it, it really boosted my self esteem to pursue litigation and do what I always wanted to do, which was be an advocate in a structured setting whereby I can use pros and ideas and logic to advance the wellbeing of another human, which was always the main attraction for me. So that was the first legal gig. I kind of, I did that for a couple of years and then eventually started doing real articling interviews and eventually got my articling position and what the firm I’m at now. So my daily life today is, is exactly what was, um, I shouldn’t say exactly, but it’s at the exact same firm that I started articling with. So I’m six years in with the exact firm that I came out of law school with. And I’m happy to say that I’m proud to say that because a lot of, a lot of lawyers in BC and in Canada, they don’t, they don’t get to say that they, they have articling, um, experiences that they feel a bit tossed around. They feel a bit neglected. They aren’t given the mentorship or the support or compensation that’s commensurate with the potential they have as, as young lawyers. And I know this because I’ve seen it, I’ve seen it happen at other firms, and I’ve seen poor fits with our firm as well. And I’m just happy to say that straight out of law school, I got a gig that married to all of the things that I prioritize as a lawyer. And so the way it works in BC is usually in the summer after your first year or second year of law school, you are acquainted with other big, medium and small law firms in the province or around the country, to the extent that you wish you can reach out to them, interview with them, some in a structured setting, some unstructured, and you get to see you who you’re, uh, who you’re interested in and you get to see, you get to see who’s interested in you and coming out of my second year of law school, um, I found this firm listed on one of our job job boards. I was interested in personal injury because it’s very much litigation-heavy. I shot them, um, an email, a cover letter resume and all that stuff. And they, um, they emailed back saying, Hey, we’ve actually already kind of narrowed down our candidates to our last few people, but we may open up a second slot for an articling position if things are what they are with you. And, um, ’cause they were excited based on a few things that I’ve written. And um, so I did the interview from Toronto because I was there for the summer, flew back the next week for the in-person interview, got the position, this, and this was the summer before my third year. So in going into my third year, I knew where I was going to be articling. So I kind of tailored my studies more towards trial advocacy, personal injury and things like that. And eventually came out of law school may of 2015. It would have been pretty much exactly six years to the day. I think it was like May 15th. I think 2015. I started my articling position here in these exact office, not this exact room, but these offices. And, uh, from there it’s been a personal injury litigation. So I’m a civil litigator. What our firm does, we exclusively represent plaintiffs involved in motor vehicle accidents who have suffered injuries as a result and are seeking compensation for those injuries and losses. So we only represent people. We, um, solely litigate with personal injury actions and motor vehicle accidents. So we’re very much specialized and very much one-sided, which is plaintiff’s sided. The system in BC, when it comes to a motor vehicle insurance, it’s a bit unusual compared to other jurisdictions in the world. I find in that what we have is essentially a state monopoly. We have a crown corporation, which just means a company owned by the government, that is called the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia. And it’s the mandatory first layer of insurance coverage. All drivers must have to drive in this province. So it’s a monopoly whereby you have to purchase insurance coverage through them. And when you, when you purchase insurance coverage through, through them, that means if you do something wrong, they’re the people that are, that are going to have your bum to cover you if, if someone else sues you and what happens is this Memes guy comes around suing you because you did something dumb in a car. And, uh, you heard his client. What happens there is then you need to go to your insurance. And that insurance is almost inevitably going to be the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia. There are some exceptions when it comes to out-of-province insurers, people that are driving here from another jurisdiction, rental cars, uninsured people, excess insurance, there are some exceptions, but for the most part, I’m dealing with this crown corporation. So I’m kind of suing the Government’s biggest corporation every day. That’s my job. And what I’m suing for is a collection of different issues that my clients deal with, from the most significant brain and spinal injuries, um, paraplegic cases, cases that, you know, anyone would shutter just hearing the facts of all the way down to, you know, sore neck and sore back and everything in between. I’ve represented, um, chronic pain cases, fractures, complex fractures, every psychiatric diagnoses in the DSM-V you could think of, um, for their losses and people ask me, you know, why do people deserve money when, when injured? And it’s really just based on the losses that they’ve had and losses can be functional, what can they do with their body or their mind, vocational? What can someone earn in the open labor market now, post-accident, medical issues, social issues, psychological, emotional, familial, economic, all sorts of things, um, change – once your body or your mind have been harmed. And I represent for fair compensation for those things. My day-to-day now is pretty much revolving around the trial board. So as a litigator, in my opinion, you’re only as strong as your last trial and you’re only as strong as your trial skills. And the reason for that is the courtroom is the ultimate. It’s the ultimate equalizer to determine what someone truly deserves in the form of compensation, following any sort of wrongdoing. And it’s, it’s the best equalizer that we have. And because it’s an equalizer, insurance companies respect when plaintiff’s counsel can force them into that room of equalization. Let’s just say, and if you can’t, ultimately what happens is, insurance companies low ball, you and low ball your firm because they know that you don’t have the hammer to counteract the olive branch of negotiation. So my, my whole practice has revolved around my trial board. I have three or four different trials kind of booked every month. Some go to court, some don’t. And, um, from that everything else cascades down through my practice, the work I do on my files is structured around my trial board, the client communications communications with defense counsel, which are the other lawyers on these cases, communication with my team, I have about five or six assistants that I work with directly. And then all my other cases that aren’t in trial, they’re leading up to trial, kind of get structured around all that too. So my day to day is working on these cases, communicating with different humans, reading different documents and preparing for court hearings as well. Yeah.
Rob Hanna (15:51):
Thanks for giving such a broad overview of that, bring us up to speed. Super interesting! So I want to talk about adjustments because obviously we’ve been going through, you know, the legal industry has had to adapt significantly as a result of the pandemic. Um, you know, which, you know, has probably forced the legal industry to get up to speed with certain things. What are some of the adjustments you’ve had to make to your practice as a result of the pandemic? And what do you think is going to stay post-pandemic, if anything, from what you’ve had to adjust?
Siavash Khazamipour (16:20):
Yeah, it’s interesting. There’s the, there’s the, you know, more procedural changes that are important, for instance, you know, the, the way you communicate with clients just isn’t the same. Now it’s almost all zoom or telephone. Whereas beforehand, I really put a premium on the in-person. In fact, that would, my team knew when I’m, when I said, Hey, I want to see Ms. Johnson in person. They knew what that meant. And they knew the kind of the gravity of a meeting versus a phone call. And the in-person meeting was a tool in the toolkit to build trust, to build bonds and relationships that form the bedrock of any good lawyer client relationship. So the in-person meeting where you can shake someone’s hand, look into their eyes and express concern, and express, understanding, and empathy, and also, um, fill the room with the gravity of a proper advocate, I think those things have changed where you have to find new tools to establish those things. And inevitably there are shortfalls with the electronic medium. So there are procedural things like that, and everyone can imagine more things are electronic as opposed to in-person. In court there are some changes as well. The trial I just ran, uh, last month, for instance, we have to sanitize their hands before passing up exhibits. Um, there were plastic shields in front of us. As we spoke, we all wore masks for the entirety of the trial. There was a limited gallery, meaning the crowd was very limited who could attend. And, um, even one of the, one of the lawyers on the other side, the morning of one of our child days said, Hey guys, I’m feeling really ill. So we stood the trial down so we could go get tested. And then that day there was no court. So in court things have changed, in the office things have changed, of course, and I think everyone can, can empathize there. But I would say, you know, for me, the biggest change has been personal in my relationship with the work where if you subtract the human element out and the in-person element out, how do you cope with that if you’re kind of enjoyment of the work was really based in that? Because for me, there’s no replacement for the core in-person court hearing and there’s no replacement for the, in-person a handshake eye contact in client meetings. So for me, the biggest change has been trying to derive enjoyment from a practice in way of life that I love deeply before the pandemic. And it’s just been a challenge to kind of find the moments that still make me smile and like lift me up.
Rob Hanna (18:50):
No, thanks for sharing that. And I’m giving some sort of authentic response around it. Cause I think the pandemic has affected a lot of people and a lot of different professions in different ways. So I guess that leads quite nicely to my, to my next question. Um, you know, I know you’re big in philosophy and you know, I guess what’s asked how can lawyers ensure that they have a purposeful career?
Siavash Khazamipour (19:11):
Well, I think the answer is laid in, in your question and you’re a step ahead of many people, which that’s what lawyers are contrary to popular belief. We are humans and lawyers are just humans and all humans need to first ask themselves what is a purpose and why is it important? And then they can go to the next step, which is what is my purpose, right? And you’re already a step ahead because you’ve already identified that there is such thing as a purpose, you’ve wrapped your head around why it’s important clearly. And you’re now asking, you know, how can they advance a purposeful practice? Whereas I find, and this might sound a bit cynical, but I think it’s just factual that most humans aren’t having grasped the idea of a purpose to the point that it’s really internalized. I think purpose can, can have some superficial connotations, but the internal depth that a purpose can take hold within a person. I think once someone has appreciated that and learn to love that and have married themselves to that idea, then they can say, okay, so then what is the purpose? And, a purpose that is fixed and unchanging? I don’t think it’s, it’s truly organic. I think everyone’s, so-called purpose is dynamic and shifting and amorphous because we are dynamic, shifting and amorphous as humans. So the first step to answer your question would be, Hey, teach people that purpose is important, teach people how purpose can be imbued in our day-to-day behaviors. And then it’s really, it’s just a custom bespoke solution, which is what are your priorities? What are your values? Who do you want to be remembered as? What relationships and interactions in society mean most to you? What, what causes lift up your soul and, and advance your greatest personality traits, all these things. Once you’ve done a deep character analysis will then dictate the efficacy of one’s approach to purpose. And it’s never going to be perfect because we are always shifting, but I think that’s a decent start to the conversation.
Rob Hanna (21:19):
Yeah, thanks so much for showing that, Memes. So I think that’s a really well thought out response and I can totally relate to it. I do want to talk about mental health and wellbeing in particular, you know, the pandemic has affected a lot of people’s mental health there’s headlines coming out now of the number of people that are so unhappy in their jobs and, you know, jobs, uh, you know, putting a lot of stress on people. So what can you do to look after your mental health and wellbeing, particularly as a busy practicing lawyer? What, what do you do?
Siavash Khazamipour (21:47):
It’s, it’s such a, it’s such a broad question, right? But I’ll speak to a few things that I think kind of burn my ears when I hear people, um, express dissatisfaction about what they do for a living. And it’s it’s, I think it boils down to first of all, what are the root causes of the unhappiness? Just like any medical diagnosis and many medical treatment, we must always look at the root or else it’s going to be a vicious cycle of band-aids, symptomology, band-aids, symptomology, and the root causes of people’s dissatisfaction can be what they do for a living, but might not be. And you need to really look at the human and what is causing the dissatisfaction. One sure-fire way. I find to, um, first figure out what’s happening almost to take inventory. Psychological inventory, spiritual inventory is to simplify things first and strip away the distractions strip away the bells and whistles that often persuade us that things are fine, right? So your best friends and family members and their smiles and their embraces, you strip those away or limit them. It’s going to shine a deeper light on you and your individual way of life. You strip away sports, you strip away clubs and bars and patios for awhile. Again, that’s simplification process is going to shine a light on your way of life. And I think then this circles back to the pandemic when the pandemic has brought these changes socially and has forced us to now take inventory of our own lives in a way that’s much more simplified and stripped down. Now you have reporting of unhappiness. But in my view, the real change has been the perspective shift as opposed to the real lifestyle shift. And the perspective shift now is more internal, which is great, but it’s going to increase the reporting of unhappiness because once you take that spiritual, social and individual inventory, you’re going to see that, okay – maybe things aren’t the way I wanted them to be. Maybe things turned out in a way that don’t speak to something that makes my heart and my soul rise as a person. And that I think is what we’re seeing. I have a lot of friends in law that are miserable and want to get out, and I would tell them they were miserable and they wanted to get out beforehand. They might just not have known it. So we can, we can talk for an hour about how to then kind of address the problem once it’s been diagnosed. But I think the first issue is first figuring out what’s what’s up. And what are you unhappy with? I did want to come on here and give a bit of a PSA public service announcement to my colleagues in the legal profession. Um, I work with far too many stress out lawyers. I work with far too many overly anxious lawyers. I work with far too many lawyers who furrow their brow and walk through life like it’s a big jail sentence, and no offense, but I don’t think that’s the way to live. And I think life is far too short to live with a furrowed brow and a hunched shoulder. And if I could give a word of advice it’s to lighten up and smile and laugh a little more, and you do that by accepting love in your life, more freely and willingly and giving love to others more freely and willingly and love, not in the, uh, you know, woohoo sense, but for instance, creative expression, I don’t know, maybe a meme or two, if you can add that to your life. And it’s kind of why I did adding some absurdity, creativity, looseness to my day to day. If you guys can do that more, I’d really appreciate it as your colleague, because it’s going to make it easy to deal with you. People are gonna like you more and you’re going to get more fulfillment out of this very short life. So please for me and all of your clients chill out a bit. Thanks!
Rob Hanna (25:41):
Well-said Memes, pretty well. So couldn’t agree more. Now we have to talk about some of the other fun stuff. And so we connected on my, one of my new favorite apps Clubhouse, a platform that I know I’m trying to encourage lots of lawyers to use for social networking perspective and also just personal development opportunities. So firstly, how are you finding the app?
Siavash Khazamipour (26:03):
Clubhouse is a very interesting place because it lends everyone a voice literally. It’s an app whereby you can enter a room, you can speak to others directly through your voice with no typing, no kind of bias of, uh, or, uh, uh, kind of a filter of a language or a script, it’s just directly voice to ear communication with your face, kind of there in the room as well. And I think the voice is, is such an interesting medium of communication when juxtaposed with text and the, what I’ve seen on Clubhouse as a is people get to the real much faster people communicate far more efficiently, and there’s so much more, um, cohesion and good-spirited kind of discourse in comparison to other social media platforms. So on Clubhouse, my experience has been overwhelmingly positive. That being said, I’ve, I’ve heard all sorts of horror stories about more insane Clubhouse experiences or inflammatory experiences or, or disrespectful experiences. And that hasn’t been mine I think, because of the reason I’m using Clubhouse, which is centered around a particular project called BitClout. And the reason the rooms may be so positive is because perhaps the project itself is very positive. So that’s potentially an echo chamber for, for my experience within Clubhouse, but it’s, it’s been fantastic, so much love on there. I get to kind of flex different parts of my brain that I wouldn’t otherwise. And for some reason, people have given me quite a nice reception to the stuff I’ve tried to accomplish on Clubhouse and BitClout and kind of the, um, the space in between.
Rob Hanna (27:48):
And I, I personally think he brings so much value and I love being in all of your rooms on Clubhouse. And you mentioned the BitClout. So for those that don’t know, I want to ask two parts to a question. So what are your thoughts on the whole concept of decentralized social media and what is BitClout for those that may not know about it?
Siavash Khazamipour (28:06):
So I’ll start with the, what is BitClout and then I’ll kind of speak to the implications of what decentralization can be and what it is as of today. Actually, I’m not sure if you heard Robert, but..
Rob Hanna (28:19):
Yeah, yeah saw it today. But you, you, you make the announcement!
Siavash Khazamipour (28:23):
Yeah. Yeah. So, um, so BitClout – BitClout is a project that was launched on March 12th of this year, but a couple of months ago. And it’s a, it’s a social media project, um, where it’s a social media website called bitclout.com where you can go on there, create an account and communicate to others like any other social media interface. So if I had to kind of compare it to something, it’d be kind of like Twitter, where you can create a profile, you can make posts through text, you can put links on your, on your posts or let’s call them tweets. You know, as the direct comparison, you can tweet out phrases, you tweet out links, you can tweet out photos and you can also tweet out videos that play embedded. And while you have this profile and you can post things, there’s also an onboard currency for the project as well. So imagine there was something called Twitter dollars where not only was their Twitter and your Twitter profile, but there was this on-board currency that can be used to interact with others and or different mechanisms on the platform. And on BitClout, the currency is called BitClout. Okay. So BitClout has BitClout as its currency. And that currency is purchased with Bitcoin at present. And Bitcoin is uploaded onto a wallet on the website, kind of like loading up an account on other video game or a casino or something. You’re loading up real money through Bitcoin onto the social media site. You then convert that, um, that money in BitClout, which is the onboard currency. Now you’re off to the races and you could do things with that BitClout currency. The most important thing you could do with BitClout currency is buy Creator Coins, and you can also sell Creator Coins once you have them. Now what are Creator Coins? Imagine with your Twitter profile, it came with a customized coin that could be bought or sold. So my profile on BitClout is ‘Memes’. Memes, there’s Memescoin as well. Memes is Creator Coin, and people can buy pieces of Memes Creator Coin, but they could sell Memes Creator Coin once they’ve purchased it, they can also transfer Memes Creator Coin to other users because it has a value. Now, what is that value? The value is measured in BitClout, the onboard currency. And that value is dictated by something called a bonding curve, which is a mathematical formula that determines the price of the Creator Coin. And everyone has a Creator Coin. So whoever’s listening to this. You can go on BitClout and make a profile and you can launch a Creator Coin automatically by making a profile and people can buy and sell you. The bonding curve works very simply. The more people buy your coin, what they’re really doing is they’re minting or creating your Creator Coin. The more Creator Coins are created in circulation or minted, the higher the price goes. When someone sells your Creator Coin, what they’re really doing is kind of destroying it and reducing the amount of coins in circulation when coins are reduced in circulation, the price goes down. So in a typical stock market, there’s a buy and sell function where, you know, there needs to be a buyer and seller. That’s not really how this works because it works on the blockchain, which is kind of the underpinning of cryptocurrency projects. So because it works on a blockchain, they’ve built in code, a protocol to determine value of, of the Creator Coin that isn’t based on kind of like traditional market mechanisms. So you have this Creator Coin, you have these profiles and now you have this kind of incentive to buy and sell other people’s Creator Coins. Why? Because what if that person’s value goes up? What if I buy my best friend’s Creator Coin because I know he’s a super talented musician and although he only has a thousand followers, now he may have a million followers in a few years. When I buy as Creator Coin, I have a stake in him and have a stake in his progress. And I’m incentivized to support him because as he gets bigger and as more people support him by buying his coin, my stake in him increases in value because if I bought his coin, when it was worth $1, and then it’s worth a thousand, I made a thousand times return on it. So we have these, this marriage of financial and emotional and social incentives together through this mechanism of social media plus, um, cryptocurrency. And that’s kind of it. Now, you, you you’ve used the word decentralization. The blockchain allows for others to write directly onto the blockchain, write code essentially, in a way that other traditional mediums can’t because they’re centralized. For instance, Facebook’s servers, Facebook’s code Facebook’s intellectual property is hotly guarded and very jealously guarded. Because if that was to be released, everyone could build on top of Facebook and fork Facebook in their own, in their own devices and their own ways and kind of change Facebook as we know it. And that’s kind of every corporate run social media platform. With the blockchain, other people, other than the people that founded BitClout itself, can create what’s called a node, which is kind of like a mirror form of the entire blockchain that exists for everyone else. And then right on top of it, create code on top of it, create their own platforms, their own ideas of what social media should be through sites, through apps, into other things that humans can interface with in a way that isn’t controlled by the founders. And today was a really important day for that because we had the final piece of the source code released to the public. So now it is a hundred percent open-source as of today. And the success or failure of this project is still in the air for many, many different variables that we could talk about for hours. But ultimately this is kind of the value, value proposition of the entire project that of I’ve tried to summarize for you.
Rob Hanna (34:37):
Yeah. And you did a fantastic job of summarizing it. And I must say, I enjoy following your account on that Memes, so for those, you probably don’t know about some of your, your, your memes work. Tell us about some of the things that you create, and you touched on a bit earlier in the podcast, but why memes? We, what did, how did it all come about?
Siavash Khazamipour (34:55):
So, um, what is a meme? So a meme is just a snapshot of humor and human thought in, encased in a presentation method that is intelligible to others. That’s really all it is. So memes have existed forever because whenever you’re trying to communicate a thought or something funny to someone else and you package it, you’re just shooting a meme over. So if I say something funny to you, I’ve shot a meme to you. It’s just variable. And we’ve, we’ve now looked at kind of pictures that are structured a certain way and have a certain tone to them as memes, but I’ve always loved memes. You’ve always loved memes. We all, all love memes because they’re just little encased sockets of humor and love because the giving of it is very love-oriented. You know, I’ve, I’ve chosen to give you this humor. I’ve transferred this love, this humor to you is pleasantness to you for your enjoyment. There’s a very much love-thrust behind it. So I’ve been doing that forever. You’ve been doing it forever. And, um, it’s evolved into what we know as kind of internet meme culture, and um, specifically that stuff I’ve been obnoxiously harassing my group chats with for several years, all my group chats, all my best friends know I am a, I’m a merciless memer where I don’t care how many times I’ve posted in the group chat that day. You’re going to get another meme. It’s a good as good. It doesn’t matter. I’m not, there’s no volume control. There’s no, uh, politeness in terms of the quantity of it. It’s just getting posted. Um, and I know I’m obnoxious in that way, but I just really need these people to see these memes because they’re really good. So I’ve been doing that for, for several years. And, um, one of my best friends, he’s the guy that actually got me onto BitClout. He always said to me, listen, you’re in the wrong career. You need to be doing like internet comedy or internet memes, because these are amazing. And because most of my stuff was sent from other accounts, but I did some of my own memes as well, just for fun to make it more custom. And then BitClout comes out my same friend. He told me, Hey, listen, there’s this, this BitClout project you should jump on. I can get you in kind of early. And the night before I, uh, it was going to go live live. So this would have been March 11th. I told them, Hey, I think I want to do a memes account. I think I want to actually make an account that posts memes. And he was just immediately like, holy sh*t, it’s happening. This is exactly what you should do. This is an amazing opportunity to at least have fun, but I think you’ll explode. And, um, long story short, the project went live. I started posting some memes from this account and went, you know, it, some people kind of liked the memes, you know, and, uh, kinda got off the ground and it’s been doing okay. People seem to enjoy it. And that’s kind of where it’s gone from here. And I’ve because of that, I went on Clubhouse and started, um, you know, interacting with other accounts on there and trying to be a bit of a voice of reason to a few different things that were happening on the platform and trying to guide others in an ethical, in a good way. And I think that’s also increased some of my interactions on the platform with the memes account. So all these things have come together to kind of add something really cool for me on, on BitClout. Yeah.
Rob Hanna (38:16):
And again, thank you so much for sort of articulating that and yeah, just letting us know a bit more insight into what the fun and human side of the, uh, the lawyer you as, as well. So, I mean, before we wrap up, you know, what advice would you give to your younger self? You mentioned you do lots of crazy things when you were younger. What’s that one piece of advice you would give to your younger self?
Siavash Khazamipour (38:37):
I would say tone down the risk-taking just a bit because I got lucky a lot, and you know, you can’t beat the odds every time. And if I probably live the same life again, based on all the variables at odds, worse things could happen. So I would say tone it down just a bit, not too much, but tone down the risk-taking just a bit. Um, and I would say, be confident in, uh, in your approach to life, be confident in the compassion you give to others. It’s going to work out, be confident in your purpose. It’s going to work out, stay light-hearted. You know, I would kind of give myself some, some encouragement to stay on the path because it’s so easy to get lost in self doubt and when mistakes happen, self-loathing, but if you have the voice of someone who’s been there before and walked your path, then it’s it’s so it’s so reassuring when they tell you, listen, it’s okay. It’s going to work out just to stay on, stay on the road, buddy. So that’s probably what I would’ve said to myself.
Rob Hanna (39:36):
Yeah. Yeah, no – great, great advice. And if people want to get in touch with you about anything they’ve heard today, or been inspired by what’s the best way for them to do that or platform for them to reach out to you?
Siavash Khazamipour (39:50):
Um, you know, in terms of, um, anything law-related, personal-related, you can find me on LinkedIn, if you just search ‘Siavash Khazamipour’ – S-I-A-V-A-S-H-(space)-K-H-A-Z-A-M-I-P-O-U-R – it’s the longest name in human history. So, my friends call me ‘Sia’ – shoot me a, maybe a DM on LinkedIn, add me say, Hey, you know, you heard me on the Legally Speaking Podcast. Um, if it’s something BitClout-related, not hard to find – you go on bitclout.com, you search for ‘Memes’, picture of a monkey, unmistakable large nose, pretty similar to me in real life. So check that out and that’s me. You can find me on there and message me there as well.
Rob Hanna (40:32):
Thanks a million Memes, it’s been an absolute pleasure having you on the show. Um, I’m wishing you tons of continued success in your legal career and with all of your memes and all the future pursuits that you you get up to, but from all of us on the Legally Speaking Podcast, over and out!
Siavash Khazamipour (40:50):
Much love Robert, Thanks for having me!
Rob Hanna (40:53):
This week’s review comes from H. Meg – “Great conversations, five stars! Rob is a fab host and has great questions and conversations with the Legally Speaking Podcast guests. Well done!” Thank you so, so much for all of your kind words from all of us on the Legally Speaking Podcast, we really, really appreciate it.
Rob Hanna (41:13):
Thank you for listening to this episode of the Legally Speaking Podcast. If you enjoyed the show and want to help support us, remember to leave us a rating and review on Apple iTunes. You can also support the show and gain exclusive benefits, bonus content, and much more by signing up to our Patreon page, which is www.patreon.com/legallyspeakingpodcast. Thanks for listening!