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Running a successful Bitcoin business w/ Scott Sibley of SHAmory

Voltage Twitter Spaces

Thanks to Stakwork for helping transcribe our Twitter Spaces!

Voltage – 00:00:06:

All right, well, good deal. We’ll jump in. So Scott, thanks for joining us today, man. I wanted to run the space with you because we’ve been working through a BTCPay series, just gathering stories, and insights from people that have been taking bitcoin payments. And through that we have gotten connected. And I’ve seen you at some different conferences and stuff, and I know you’ve been putting a lot of effort and work in with your brand, so I thought it’d be cool for you to share your story and help others maybe understand what you’ve done to find success with your brand. So thanks for joining in with us today and expressing some of that.

Scott Sibley – 00:00:44:

No, I was happy to join in chat and thanks for supporting SHAmory and helping to spread the word and happy to share any insights that we’ve learned over the past, I guess a little over two years, building it out and everything that’s coming between.

Voltage – 00:00:58:

Yeah, absolutely. So maybe give everyone a little bit of a background of the brand and what you guys are doing and just how the last two years has been.

Scott Sibley – 00:01:07:

Yeah, of course. So, for those that know, SHAmory is a company that was started by my wife and I in April of 2020 is when we officially launched. And honestly, at the beginning it was really just meant to be a fun side project. Our first product was a bitcoin card game that we released, and a lot of that sent out of the fact that as we started diving down the bitcoin rabbit hole four or five years ago, we realized one day we’re going to want some way to be able to teach our future children about bitcoin in a fun, low stakes, easy to digest way. And at the time, going back 2017, 2018, there really wasn’t much out there. I think the bitcoin Rabbi Book was pretty much the only common thing that was out in the space. And so both of my wife and I have a background in education in various ways, so we kind of started thinking about different ideas and long story short, came up with the card game SHAmory, which teaches about bitcoin mining, but in a way that you don’t need to know anything about it going in. Great for kids, four and up. And like I said, it was meant to be kind of just a fun thing for us to do together and put out there. And once we put it into the market in April of 2020, it really kind of took off being able to meet people like Bobby and everything in between to help spread the word. And we realized that there’s a bunch of people out there that are looking for this sort of content, whether it’s for kids or just fun ways to interact with other adults. So we have our game in 2021. We released our first book. Good Night Bitcoin. We have a young daughter now, so now it’s even kind of full scope where we’re able to teach her about these things. She’s three. So our mission, SHAmory, is to continue to keep making fun, educational ways for people to learn about Bitcoin. And the other side thing is that all of our products, our book and our game are STEM authenticated. So for those in a traditional education setting, in a school or after school program or STEM center, both our game and our book have received STEM authentication to be able to kind of ease it into that sort of nature as well.

Voltage – 00:03:16:

Awesome. Well, nice. And with you and your wife, has this been more of like a side hustle thing? Like you just kind of do it for fun to give back to Bitcoin and you really want to kind of introduce the younger generation or what was the motivation just beyond you and your wife connecting? Maybe in like doing something for fun together?

Scott Sibley – 00:03:37:

Yeah, so at the beginning it definitely was just a side thing to be able to see what we could do together. But after kind of took off and we realized that this is really a passion of ours, as of January of this year, I left my full time job to be able to devote my attention on SHAmory full time. So, lucky enough, I’m able to have a supportive wife in that aspect where we’re able to make ends meet while we’re trying to build a small company from scratch with the help of everybody around the world. Really, over the past two years, two plus years, never spent a single dollar on paid marketing sending, I think it’s almost 4000 games and books around the world through the help of just people spreading the word, both individuals as well as Nessary Yusuf from Built with Bitcoins on here. He’s been an awesome partner spreading word in Africa and the other areas that they’re teaching. And just the Bitcoin community has been so supportive of everything we’ve done and we want to be able to keep that collaboration going. And it’s been a fun eight months or so, being able to focus on SHAmory full time for myself.

Voltage – 00:04:50:

That’s awesome. And I know you’ve used BTCPay for your brand. What type of impact has that made for you guys? What would you share with anyone who maybe does have a heart to start a Bitcoin business and add value? Like, not all of us are developers, but we want to bring value. But what is BTCPay done and how has it made an impact just on the business, maybe even beyond just giving you Bitcoin payments?

Scott Sibley – 00:05:19:

No. Full disclosure, I’m not a developer myself, but have been able to just really go back to kind of building the website. So our website runs on WordPress and WooCommerce, which is nice because there’s a fairly easy plugin that you’re able to get in there to be able to accept bitcoin payments through BTCPay. It can feel intimidating at the beginning, especially if you’ve never built a website before, like I hadn’t, but was able to just kind of go down the rabbit hole, learn, find videos and documents around building the website and then connecting the server. The nice thing about it at the time was, I think the only problem that I had during the setup was connecting my expo and being able to get the settings so that when the payments were coming in, the funds were being properly transferred to cold storage. And even with that, BTCPay made it easy to have, at least at the time, I’m sure that’s still up there. I’ve had to use it for a while, but a nice community where you could go have a chat, features to be able to submit a ticket. Got a response to my memory within a few hours, I think, to be able to figure out the troubleshooting issue. Got it fixed within probably a day and up and running. So it’s been smooth ever since. Literally, I’ve not had a single issue accepting payments. And it’s meant, like you said, being able to accept orders and being able to ship these products around the world, which really is the biggest impact, whether it’s in Africa, in India or the UK or Australia, people from around the world can easily come and submit their payment and get their stuff shipped off to them in a seamless way. Really, the biggest friction is the shipping, just the cost of it, which hopefully one day we’ll turn around, but the payment side makes it really easy.

Voltage – 00:07:18:

Great. Now, one thing you mentioned is not having to use a marketing budget. And that’s one thing I feel like when it comes to the Bitcoin community, or just like the Bitcoin ethos, if you will, there’s a lot of passionate people. What has it been like starting something from scratch? And maybe tell us about some of the initial challenges and then we can unpack some of the good things that you learned after those challenges.

Scott Sibley – 00:07:43:

Yeah, for sure. Definitely. It’s a challenge to do it without a budget, but it also makes it more satisfying to know that all the eyeballs that are bringing brought in are organic and unique. And they’re coming because they want to be there for one reason or another, which helps build the community around whatever it is you’re building, whether it’s a book or game or anything else that anybody’s listing has an idea in the back of their head. So the first thing I would said is don’t let not having a marketing budget scare you because the Bitcoin community is there to help and help spread the word. And so that’s first off. And secondarily, just kind of use Twitter to your advantage, whether it’s simply tweeting about it or one of the things that I did, just kind of sitting on the couch at night when your daughter is asleep and maybe just watching a mindless TV show or something. Just find some people who are in the Twitter community, reach out to them. Whether they are podcasters or just bitcoin people that you can find on Twitter, shoot them in DM. Most people, 95% of the time you probably won’t hear something back. But for the other 5% that get back to you, they’ll take the time to take a look and maybe share it with another person who’s going to take a look. And so don’t be scared to just cold call, reach out and connect with people and that’s really what helps drive it.

Voltage – 00:09:09:

Awesome. And then now that you’re two years in, what has been the most surprising thing that just maybe you were not expecting when it came to starting a bitcoin business that you’ve seen along the way?

Scott Sibley – 00:09:22:

Probably just picking back on my last answer. It’s just the supportive nature of the community. I think we probably hear it all the time by outsiders looking in people at least scared of bitcoin, bitcoin community or find it harsh or whatnot. And the opposite could not be more true. Everybody has been open and collaborative, especially being able the past two years to be in Miami at the bitcoin conference and being able to interact with whether it’s people we’ve met on Twitter like ourselves, or just new people coming by our booth, learning about what we’re doing. And it’s the type of energy in those settings that really can’t be described. Especially, I would say that the interest in things around bitcoin education, especially bitcoin education for kids between Miami in 2021 versus this past year in 2022 was 10, 20 fold. And just having people aware of this is a need that’s out there for people to learn about bitcoin and financial education and awareness in general. And then not only ourselves, but everybody else doing important work around it and collaborating. One of the nights in Miami, there is a bitcoin educator meet up and I think there’s probably 50 or so people at it. Just organic. Again, organic. There wasn’t really a mass blast or anything, just kind of people knowing people and telling others. So that’s probably the number one thing to see, the growth of that community and the collaboration that everybody’s on the same team.

Voltage – 00:11:00:

Awesome. And now that you are going full time by the love and grace of your wife, it sounds like that’s awesome. She’s so supportive. But what’s next for you guys? What are you doing now that you have the time? Freedom to really pour into the company.

Scott Sibley – 00:11:17:

Yeah, so a few things. So one, obviously we have our book in our game that’s out there. We also have some magnets and we resell a product called Sats Ledger. So those are all currently available. We actually just like two days ago received a shipment of our next product. This one’s more of a fun project, more than educational that we haven’t released yet, but keep our eyes out. That will be coming soon. And then we also have our second book that will be released probably sometime in the fall. So it’s complete, it’s currently at the printer. It should be done printing sometime this week, probably about 30 to 60 days turnaround before we get in our hands. So sometime in maybe September, October, being able to put that book out there. So there’s a few new products that will be out in time for the fall and holiday season. But we also are focused on continuing to build our just kind of education in general. A month or so ago, we launched a fundraiser through Tallycoin to be able to create a combination of things. One is five animated educational videos that go hand in hand with the game. They take some of the bitcoin mining concepts that are learned through the game and bring them to an educational video in animated format using our bitcoin monsters. So those who aren’t familiar, everything we create, there’s about 16 monster characters that we’ve created that kids, especially and adults, love. So there’ll be videos that will kind of teach about what is bitcoin, what is bitcoin mining, what’s an attack, what’s the difficulty adjustment? So that’s half of our fundraiser and the other half is building out a specific area on our website that would have additional curriculum that people could access. Both the video and the curriculum is meant to be free for people to utilize in any form that they want. So we have that fundraiser out there, whether it’s individuals looking to contribute or if you’re a company in the space and you want to co sponsor, we’re happy to discuss that as well.

Voltage – 00:13:25:

Awesome. And then I have a curiosity question, people who are just risk takers entrepreneurs, they often have a ton of ideas, but you really have to just dial in and focus on one or just not be spread too thin. What areas do you think maybe beyond what you guys are doing that isn’t directly relative to how you’re approaching like bitcoin education and building products around it? What would you tell someone who maybe has the money or has the energy to put a foot forward but they just don’t know what to do? What would you tell them based on maybe your just dynamic brain and all the ideas you have?

Scott Sibley – 00:14:08:

I’d say first off, if you can try to find something that’s going to fit your passion and then secondarily, be able to kind of keep that focus whatever you choose. So being able to really stay streamlined has been something that’s been beneficial to us. I know for example, going back to the game, our products are all physical, the book in the game, but in particular the game. People many times have asked, can you make an app version of the game? And yes, we can, and maybe one day, who knows? But if at the beginning we had gotten distracted by the fact that people are asking for an app version, we might not have been able to take everything else as far as where we could today for various reasons. So I’d say one is kind of find whatever niche and passion you have and try to think and see where there might be a need that’s out there. So like we did, we saw there wasn’t much out there for education for kids and wanted to be able to dive down that for us. And then once you find it, don’t get distracted by everything that can happen around it or by people coming in and giving you great ideas. Those can be great ideas and jot them down and remember them for the future. But go with your gut and stay focused and don’t be scared to work with others through those different partnerships because there’s plenty of people out there that have helped us along the way.

Voltage – 00:15:35:

Great. And as far as the response from kids, you’re building this product for kids, parents are obviously buying it. But have you gotten any feedback from children directly just to hear what they think that’s like thoughts that are not inhibited or driven from the parents? What are the kids saying about all of these things that you guys are building with the feedback?

Scott Sibley – 00:15:56:

The number one thing is always about the bitcoin character monsters. So that’s the one thing that they always love, which personally I think is probably potentially the biggest compliment because they’re recognizing each of the characters has the bitcoin logo or simple on it in some way. So we do here often actually just heard it over the weekend from somebody where their child is now recognizing the bitcoin logo outside of the book or the game or whatever it is they’re doing with him or her, but in whatever area that they’re looking. So to us, going back to why we started this, part of that first step is just the recognition and comfort of what bitcoin is. So to be able to know that kids through these fun little characters are starting to have comfort around something like bitcoin, really, it sounds simple, but in our minds is a huge step. And then secondarily things around the game, one of the biggest compliments that we’ve always gotten is how the game is competitive. We’re all competing to get the most bitcoin rewards at the end of the day, but it’s also collaborative in the sense that kids are sitting down or kids and adults are sitting down. We’re all working to protect the same chain. And if your blockchain gets attacked, the game is over for everybody. So it doesn’t matter if you had mine three bitcoin and your sister had mine two before that, everybody’s done. And so once the kids learn that it’s that collaborative nature that’s beyond bitcoin, that’s just learning how we can be competitive and collaborative at the same time and work together. That’s something else that we hear over and over again from parents, in particular from the game.

Voltage – 00:17:33:

Nice. Well, one question I have. Beyond where everything is now, what do you see being the biggest challenge for the youngest generation understanding Bitcoin in the future? And maybe not people in the age of 16, 1824 plus, who are on the verge of either opening a bank account. They’re on the Internet, they’re connected with this. What’s the biggest thing that needs to be understood, maybe for just the kids that are just a bit younger that you really think needs to be solved? Where if we collectively can make an effort, where you need the most support, like on your mission and from other Bitcoiners helping you guys, I guess, with the younger demographic.

Scott Sibley – 00:18:17:

Yeah, I guess to me, the biggest thing would probably be hoping that the parents or influencers, whether it’s parents, uncles, aunts, whoever that are surrounding those kids, don’t get in the way of the children learning about the sort of technology and financial education. So I think part of the harder thing is for the adults to have to unlearn everything, whereas for the kids, they’re like Sponges. They’re learning every day and they’re not burdened with everything that even myself in my 30s have had to unlearn from the past 30 plus years. So that’s probably the biggest thing that we would hope. And then secondarily, just from a SHAmory side, if you find what we’re doing interesting, feel free to spread the word. If you know somebody who’s interested in connecting, I’m always happy to chat and learn about what they’re doing. And also, if you’re a company out there that wants to collaborate in some way, being able to have those conversations, something we’re open to. So it’s just being able to kind of get as many eyeballs as possible as we continue to grow together.

Voltage – 00:19:28:

Sweet. And what would you say over the next year? Where are some of the places? Do you have anything scheduled where if people wanted to meet you in person, see the product? I know Bitcoin is like, we have all these events going on. It’s almost hard to keep up with. Is there anything on your schedule over the next year that you’d want to share with folks and just let them.

Scott Sibley – 00:19:48:

Know where you’ll be? Yeah, so a combination of things. So if anybody’s going to be at Block Boom this week, I won’t physically be there. But Gary does have some chamber products that will be being sold there, so feel free to swing by his merch store there’s. Also through the Arizona Bitcoin Buick group, they’re running a street fair either in September or October. The date is still being finalized and they’ll be selling our products there. The Pacific Bitcoin Conference in La in November. We’re hopefully planning on being at so both Mallory and I should physically be there. Knock on wood. So that will be in November in LA. And then going into 2022. We plan on being in Miami again, obviously to be able to see that. There’s also a conference in Germany coming up in September that our products will be at. So for anybody internationally looking at being over there, but the Satoshi store will be selling our games and books.

Voltage – 00:20:51:

All right, beautiful. I know Nate and I, we both have children. I don’t know if anyone else has children here, but feel free. Anyone that wants to raise your hand, come up. We can do a series of questions. But Nate, before I just keep diving in, is there anything that was maybe on your mind that you wanted to ask or maybe share how your bitcoin journey with your daughter is going? If you’re just kind of like.

Nate – 00:21:18:

No, she’s a toddler. Still not quite there yet. But I do have a copy of the game. I think I got a BitBlockBoom! a couple of years ago.

Scott Sibley – 00:21:27:

Nice.

Nate – 00:21:28:

And it’s awesome. And I think that this is a niche in bitcoin that is really underutilized right now. So personally, I think you’re in a great spot and there’s so many different ideas you could tackle from. And I liked how you were saying you got to stay focused, even though there’s so many good ideas. But kids, especially, like you said, they’re going to pick up this stuff a lot faster than millennials, really, and older. It’s just going to be like kids in the parents freaking out over Nintendo 64 sort of thing. I don’t really have too much to say or ask on that. I want to know, is there anything coming out? What’s next? I know that you said there’s a lot of ideas, but what are we focusing on now? Because the sole space of gaming in an educational way, I think is really underutilized in the bitcoin space right now. So I’m curious where the focus is right now and where we’re going to be in a couple of years, hopefully.

Scott Sibley – 00:22:39:

Yeah, our focus definitely is continuing to build up the physical products. But on the combination, we definitely see gaming as a whole continuing to grow. So whether it’s companies like Zebedee or THNDR Games or whoever else might come out, ideally we know these guys fairly well. Being able to work collaboratively so that we can build out both the physical and the digital versions of bitcoin games and being able to go out of that direction is something we’re definitely excited for, and things will happen.

Voltage – 00:23:21:

Right on. Well, Scott, is there anything we have not maybe asked you that you would like to share? I know you did share. You made a voltage coupon code that you are going to run. Definitely just moving forward for folks. Did you want to share that?

Scott Sibley – 00:23:37:

Exactly. So anybody who’s welcome to use promo code voltage dropping in at checkout, that will get you 15% off, and it will keep the no time expiration. So feel free to use that whenever you’d like to come on and visit the link and take advantage of that code. You know what?

Nate – 00:23:57:

I do actually have a question.

Scott Sibley – 00:23:59:

Go for now.

Nate – 00:23:59:

I’m thinking about it. A few years ago, I learned how to install BTCPay server. I had a WooCommerce shop just like you. We sold my wife made crochet Christmas ornaments. So I tried to, just as an educational thing, sell some stuff for bitcoin, and it was great. But the hardest part for me was figuring out how to install BTCPay server and get that all configured and stuff. Did you have to go through that process too, or are you using sort of an install, I don’t know, script or something?

Scott Sibley – 00:24:36:

So there’s a plug in, and then I utilize BTCPay Jungle to keep it simple. So kind of going back earlier. Talking about kind of the focus side of things. Sure. I could manage channels and do all that fun stuff. But that’s not my expertise. And I’d rather rely on the products that are out there. Like a voltage to be able to make things more simple during the setup and making sure it runs smoothly while we can focus on creating and getting the word out.

Nate – 00:25:08:

Got you. I was just wondering if we could bond over the headache that you pay from scratch, but I guess not.

Scott Sibley – 00:25:16:

Luckily not. But I feel sorry for you.

Nate – 00:25:25:

Anything else, Bobby? I don’t know, man.

Voltage – 00:25:28:

No. Yeah, I don’t have too many other questions. I’m really excited to see just the education for kids and the younger generation to take off. That’s something I’m really excited about, just the awareness being made. So I think what you’re doing, Scott, is incredible. And it’s definitely appreciated, I think, by people, whether or not they say it, because that’s what we’re here to do, is orange pill people and help them learn about bitcoin. So keep doing what you’re doing and would love to hear an update. We’ll have to do this again in the future to make sure we can do everything we can to support you guys.

Scott Sibley – 00:26:03:

Happy to connect whenever, whether it’s with you guys or anybody who’s listening, and look forward to continuing to grow together. We’re all on the same team, and whether it’s virtually or in person, I hope to see everybody in various spots.

Voltage – 00:26:18:

All right, that sounds great, man. Well, it sounds like we’ll see you in Austin here in just a couple of days. I look forward to shaking your hand.

Scott Sibley – 00:26:25:

I won’t be there, unfortunately. Just the product.

Voltage – 00:26:29:

Oh, yeah. I’ll say Gary’s head.

Scott Sibley – 00:26:31:

No, Gary, thank you.

Voltage – 00:26:33:

We’ll see you in Miami.

Scott Sibley – 00:26:35:

Yes. Leave him empty handed so he doesn’t have to send anything back to me.

Voltage – 00:26:40:

Deal. All right.

Nate – 00:26:42:

Consider coming out to Atlanta in October. The Atlanta Bitcoin Conference. It was amazing last year.

Scott Sibley – 00:26:48:

Yeah, we’re actually there last year inside the ebony room, which was great. We won’t be able to make it this year, unfortunately. But I’m working with the team to be able to have stuff there as well. So that hasn’t been finalized. But no, that was a great time last year.

Nate – 00:27:02:

Sounds good.

Scott Sibley – 00:27:03:

Awesome. Talk to everybody later.

Voltage – 00:27:05:

Alright, guys, thank you.

Scott Sibley – 00:27:06:

Bye.

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