- Humanity is at a crossroads and it is forcing usto think collectively on human flourishing
- The Vatican is the largest NGO and impact initiative in the world
- Theme for 2020 Humanity 2.0: Emerging Tech to Advance Human Flourishing
INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTS: Matthew Sanders, CEO of Humanity 2.0 with Matt Bird
Matt Bird – Show Host, Traders Network Show: 00:00
Welcome back to the Traders Network Show as we conclude our coverage for Humanity 2.0. I’m Matt Bird broadcasting worldwide from Rome, Italy, from the Pontifical Oriental Institute. And my next and last guest is a man who’s responsible for the last two days of festivities. Matthew Harvey Sanders. Matthew, welcome to the show. So Matt, you’re the co-founder of Humanity 2.0 and co-creator, you are also the founder of Long Beard. And they actually go hand in hand because Long Beard and what you do for impact, both for the Vatican and the peripheral, you know, nonprofit organizations kind of puts you in a position where you have to build a launching pad like Humanity 2.0.
Matthew Sanders – CEO/Co-Founder, Humanity 2.0: 00:49
Yeah. I mean, I’m very much, I think it was a privilege to be able to come to Rome and to work with the Catholic church in the Vatican. That kind of exposed me to a lot of problems I hadn’t thought about before. Like getting people from different sectors like the public and the private. And even the face sectors, which just, you know, I found, I realized now has been, um, very much ignored when it comes to it to impact and in many ways getting them all together and to realize the possibilities, um, uh, for advancing human progress. It could be found by, by facilitating more collaboration between those parties.
Matt Bird – Show Host, Traders Network Show: 01:44
So, you know, we’ve, we had a chance to interview a lot of people. You did a bunch of interviews, we’ve been hearing for the last nonstop last two days, got coverage from every, every angle from amazing individuals from Dell to Oxford to MIT to Inc. and to Forbes and Google. the list goes on and on and on and on. How did you pull all together? I mean, this was an undertaking and it’s not, it’s not like it was, you know, you’re doing a rock concert. This is a high impact audience, a curated specifically for this event. And a, you got some amazing people who show up. Um, you, you just, everything was top notch.
Matthew Sanders – CEO/Co-Founder, Humanity 2.0: 02:02
Well, thanks Matt. I mean, I appreciate you saying that. I mean, as to why people came. I mean, we were even surprised. We sent out around 400 invitations and we were told to expect about 5% of people would confirm and, it was 40%. So that’s one of the reasons why our event was over capacity, which is a high class problem. But I think it speaks that people right now are starting to realize that humanities kind of at a crossroads, we’re another one of those points where we can kind of go right or left. And you know, I think the say the environmental crisis is one such example of that where it’s, it’s kind of forcing humanity to think collectively and to think as a tribe, one tribe, which is the human tribe because the challenges is that big. And the only way to tackle it overcome is if human beings come together. And so I think because we’re faced with this enormous challenge that we’re all very open to new ideas and new methods of collaboration. I think that’s one of the reasons why these diverse actors came together is to explore if Humanity 2.0 could be one of those events.
Matt Bird – Show Host, Traders Network Show: 03:15
You know, in my experience, I’ve done a lot of work with the UN, EU Parliament, trade department and stuff over the years. One of the things I think you did exceptionally well was the collaboration of the Vatican made this an experiential advocacy event, if you will. And it separates it from all the other stuff out there that is on their own or isolated because the power that’s behind all this, it was like gravity. It was pretty amazing. And the environment that you put it together and the experience that you, that you, that you formed for everybody I think is something that not a single person will ever forget. I mean, I can tell you certainly for me it was a special thing and I’m looking forward to the next one. But, I think you did, you put together a right mix of experiential content and influencers and everybody’s going home thinking about what the things that they can do to, to help. And you did a great job, really great job. I have to give you, give you credit for it.
Matthew Sanders – CEO/Co-Founder, Humanity 2.0: 04:22
Well, thanks Matt. I mean, I think one of the reasons why we wanted to convene here at the Vatican is, I think that we are faced with enormous challenges, but humanity has faced enormous challenges before. And we’re still here. We’ve managed to overcome, and the Catholic church is unlike any other institution. I mean it’s the largest tangible network on the planet. You know, and most people don’t know that it manages 26% of healthcare facilities globally. Or most people don’t know that it supports over 140,000 schools now. And people forget it’s the largest NGO in the planet. And that was actually something that shocked me as well when I realized, so we forget that we think of this institution as just a religion. Um, but in fact it’s, it’s the largest impact organization in human history.
Matthew Sanders – CEO/Co-Founder, Humanity 2.0: 05:09
So I think when you start looking at it like that, you start looking at it let’s say as a religion, not to diminish that then important part, but as a platform and so I think that the church right now is starting to become more and more aware of these, these problems. And, and they recognize they have to do something about it and they’re recognizing that they do have a platform at humanity’s disposal. What they need is ideas, but how to leverage it properly to serve a human interests. And that’s one of the reasons why we convened here. You can meet people from emerging tech, from high level academia is to kind of explore how we can work together to propose new models for the church to leverage its platform to accelerate human progress.
Matt Bird – Show Host, Traders Network Show: 05:49
Yeah. I mean, it’s a true public private partnership forum format. I mean, it’s terrific. And, and I, I give you, give you, give you credit for that. Again, I mean just, it’s substantial. So the events over looking back, um, what were some of your favorite outtakes from yesterday?
Matthew Sanders – CEO/Co-Founder, Humanity 2.0: 06:05
Well, I mean, there was one panel of the business leaders’ panel in particular that I remembered, um, mainly because it was quite feisty. I mean that they were, they were going back and forth. Um, there was this ideas of w, you know, one of the gentlemen on the panel was saying that we know we need to have, uh, uh, ethical standards, common ethical standards, and they need another representative of the company saying, no, it’s not, that’s not really, uh, not really possible. Um, and, and so I think that, I think, listen, I, we weren’t expecting there to be any resolutions, obviously on this issues, but I think that the conversation is very important and I don’t think a lot of the companies get many opportunities to discuss things like ethical frameworks. Um, very often. And I think that there was a great eagerness to continue that conversation. And unfortunately, when you’re out on a form, you have to end the conversation. But the idea was to kind of start a conversation that could carry on into the breaks and hopefully it will travel back to their companies.
Matt Bird – Show Host, Traders Network Show: 06:53
You know, my takeaway was, if you have to look at it from a binary standpoint, my takeaway was I think business ethics means different things to different companies and based on what they need. You know, um, some of the climate control stabilization, we sure we all need climate controls deleted, don’t get me wrong, but when they look at what, what’s preeminent for them, they have to look at as a core. When you look at as a corporation, they’re going to speak from a corporation standpoint, what’s most important to them. You know, some could be corporate social responsibility, some can be private control, others could be sustainability, right? And then, you know, one company could be in the, you know, the bottle making businesses. Standability is recycling the other is in the apparel business, climate controls important to them. Right. You know, um, the other could be a, an online marketplace and corporate social responsibility is most important to them. And what consumer advocacy.
Matthew Sanders – CEO/Co-Founder, Humanity 2.0: 07:48
And I, I think, listen, I mean, I, I feel my feelings, every company is CR is creating initially with a mission, you know, a way of adding value to, to civilization. And, and I think, you know, part of it, the conversation that was really inspiring to me is going back to that and recognizing that your company, whether you like it or not, as having impact now, whether that impact is positive or negative is, is up to you. And, and I think a, you know, for a long time there’s been this narrative of, well, you know, uh, we’re, we’re really focused on, on making profit. That’s, that’s what kind of drives our company. And the mission thing is nice, but in the end of the day, we’re really accountable to our shareholders. And what’s important to them is maximizing profit. And that’s, and that’s, and that’s the best way to run a business. And I think have companies like Patagonia, they made a very important point is if you put your employees and your customers first and their happiness and their wellbeing, that in the end that actually doesn’t distract or diminish your profitability. In fact, it enhances it. And I think, there’s a mythology that by focusing on advancing you know, human beings interested, that somehow we’ll come, we’ll compete with for profit and a, I think that’s an illusion and it’s starting to actually start a fall away.
Matt Bird – Show Host, Traders Network Show: 09:00
Yeah. And you know, I think it’s basically a thing that kind of rings is, is that maybe not one, one vertical or one of these buckets is, is the end all be all? Maybe it is, it is all of them together that form business ethics. You know, I think businesses are at different stages at different times. You know, when you’re, when you’re fortunate enough to be highly lucrative or highly profitable, you can then focus in on customer first. And a lot of times and, or if you’re very efficient and in other areas and they’re not first, it has to do with recycling and so, so forth. But maybe it’s all right. You know, it’s not, it’s not maybe not one thing.
Matthew Sanders – CEO/Co-Founder, Humanity 2.0: 09:36
Yeah. You know, I think it is, it is easier for a company that’s that successful to, to, you know, allocate a hundred million dollars to advancing some, some, some for impact. At the same time, I think every company can say, is the product that I’m developing actually in the interest of the human family, am I actually helping humanity moving it forward in some way? Am I actually getting a true human need? And, and I think that’s an important process to go through. And I don’t think that’s so to say ask me in an ethical process. I think that that’s, that’s really a business viability process as well. Right. As, you know, I may be able to convince or hoodwink people into putting a product to market that they think they will need, but in the end, they’re going to find that they don’t. And the business will fail. And so I think even from the investor perspective, I think these conversations about what do people really want and developing products that meet those needs is actually became more and more valuable.
Matt Bird – Show Host, Traders Network Show: 10:23
What’s one of your favorites? I, by the way, that’s a, as far as contact. I, I actually loved that panel and I think it was, it was terrific. Tell me about the innovation panel. It was one of the, one of the things that you set up towards the end. You had two heavyweights on that panel. I mean, it was a U S thinkers, like how did it go?
Matthew Sanders – CEO/Co-Founder, Humanity 2.0: 10:43
I mean, I think it went well. I mean really we’re, we’re trying to do there is say that yes, the, the, the challenges that we’re, the humanities facing are enormous. We have a lot of companies and products and solutions which are, are up to the challenge. And one of the things that roles I think the Vatican can kind of play is to continue around problems that, but then to lift up solutions, um, that can meet those, meet those challenges. And that’s what really kind of excited me about emerging tech panels. I thought it was overall very helpful. I think overall one of the insights was that emerging technology can be used for good or for bad. It’s just really deliberately a company deciding whether it wants to, to use that, um, technology to help humanity or Harmon and I mean obviously the companies that we convened and had made a conscious effort to, to advance the condition in some way.
Matthew Sanders – CEO/Co-Founder, Humanity 2.0: 11:33
And people like, uh, you know, uh, Frank from for BurstIQ what they want to do digital meth around medical records is, is revolutionary and very much needed. And, and I, and I think people are becoming more and more open, the idea of companies providing services like that, recognizing that governments have a lot of challenges that they’re facing and they’re feeling overburdened. And so I think it’s, there’s an open invitation for business to step up and to provide some of those social surfaces and help. And I think that’s, that’s a, that’s an evolutionary kind of process that I think has been a long time coming.
Matt Bird – Show Host, Traders Network Show: 12:03
Interesting. How important, transitioning out. And I agree with that, uh, assault. Absolutely. Uh, how, how important was it for the president of Malta to show up? Cause I think it was a big moment. She captured everybody’s attention. How important was it for you?
Matthew Sanders – CEO/Co-Founder, Humanity 2.0: 12:21
She’s been one of our biggest supporters and she’s, you know, in addition to be the president of Malta. She’s just a remarkable woman. And you said, yeah, yesterday at the forum, she considers us as all of our global citizen. This is one of the reasons why we deeply identify with her. Um, I think the idea of identifying ourselves as this is how we kind of defined the difference between Humanity 1.0 and 2.0. Humanity 1.0 being, we’re all individual tribes competing for scarce resources, this inherent adversarial relationship. And I think given that the global context and the challenges that we’re facing, we can all or think like that. And the president saying that she’s a global citizen is I think a, a foreshadowing of working at it needs to go. And, and so her being there was really significant because I think she, it’s a new generation of all politician, um, one that very much understands what’s needed and is willing to step up, um, and to make a contribution. That’s what her foundation, which is now committed to, is trying to do.
Matt Bird – Show Host, Traders Network Show: 13:15
Hmm. What are some of the biggest takeaways from the event that you’re walking away with in hindsight, maybe that you not necessarily intended as an outcome, but you look back and go, wow, that is pretty, it’s a pretty big outcome.
Matthew Sanders – CEO/Co-Founder, Humanity 2.0: 13:29
I think more anything else, was the positive feedback from the actual event itself. I mean, I know a lot of these people go to a really world-class, competing is like the World Economic Forum and such. And so in many ways I wondered, you know, how would our vent measure up? Uh, very humble, uh, kind of gathering in many ways. Um, but one thing I did realize is that people are really interested in talking about humanity and humanity’s future and, uh, and, and exploring how the public, the private and the faith sector can actually work in tandem. Um, that’s a conversation I think that they’re very open to and that they want see more of. And, um, and I think we need more forms to do it.
Matt Bird – Show Host, Traders Network Show: 14:13
What is the next one? When’s the next reboot?
Matthew Sanders – CEO/Co-Founder, Humanity 2.0: 14:17
May 8th, 2020. And the theme of the next year’s forum is how do we apply emerging technologies to tackle impediments to human flourishing is we call more or human challenges to get them. One of the things that we’re kind of toying with right now is how could we go about putting together a technology stack? So, technologies which represent different industries, which would cover off some, some basic, services that every human person would need. And one of the reasons why we think this is important is because there are still countries that are facing enormous difficulties and they’re unfortunate. There is still a conflict and in those times of conflict, basic social services can start to lack. And so is there a way that we could, um, have a number of different companies in different areas come in and, and cover off those, uh, those basic social services in those, in those times, but also thinking about a time when humanity is more of one tribe and we’re able to kind of travel more freely and a world without borders and an insane said world. We’re going to need to think about ways of storing digital, like, you know, IDs and, and, and traveling with our medical records and safely and securely. And which is why we’re going to need new technologies.
Matt Bird – Show Host, Traders Network Show: 15:32
You and I had a chance to chat a little bit earlier today and we’ve had a few chats, but, um, you were mentioning some things about what’s, what’s, what’s next, what’s coming up next as far as um, your development cycles. And stuff. Do you want to talk a little bit about some of the initiatives you’ve got going on right now?
Matthew Sanders – CEO/Co-Founder, Humanity 2.0: 15:46
Sure. So one I’m really excited about as the Humanity 2.0 lab and that lab his focus is looking at the key developmental periods in human life and finding ways to optimize them to ensure human flourishing. The lab right now is focusing on the global maternal health crisis. Because it’s the most important developmental period and right now, we have a crisis and if we’re really serious about investing and ensuring the next generation flourishes and we have to make sure we get this period right. I know the project we’re working on is really to business ethics is trying to form an institution which has kind of two functions. One is focused around education around ethics, but really, we’re talking about here is just thinking better, right?
Matthew Sanders – CEO/Co-Founder, Humanity 2.0: 16:33
Reasoning better. How do we apply, how do we build on, you know, the last 2,500 years of thinking and development in philosophical reasoning? How do we take all that learning and apply it to two executives and help to help them think better and prevent things like the Volkswagen crisis from happening, right. And ethical breach, which Detroit a very important company which had a global impact. Um, and one of the other projects we’re working on, which is our primary research project called project vision, is really focused around zeroing humanity again on what are the most important problems we should be working on. One of the things I say a lot is I think humanity gets distracted by a lot of symptoms of larger disease. And I think what’s needed right now is we need to kind of be able to sort the symptoms from the disease if we’re going to be serious about ensuring the next generation flourishes.
Matt Bird – Show Host, Traders Network Show: 17:24
That’s interesting. That’s interesting. We’ve got just a few more minutes before we need to, we should probably shut down for the day. What kind of messages you want to get out? I mean you’re becoming a pretty prolific guy and you’re doing your part, but you know, you’ve got an algorithm and you do it in your work. You see your work probably, you see how passionate you are about everything. What’s some key messages that you, that you feel is important to get out? And it could be anything from how to conduct business that they may be something that as in if you’re an entrepreneur, to just take a second to think about something or as an individual. I mean, we were syndicated on a number of different networks and people of all shapes, sizes, creed, color, influence, private public will stumble across this interview and this will be moralized for a period of time. But what would you like to, what would you like to get out?
Matthew Sanders – CEO/Co-Founder, Humanity 2.0: 18:24
Well, let me share a NAGP piece of wisdom that’s been very influential to me. It’s a quote, “If you know where you’re going, you’ll more likely to get there.” And I think a humanity and I think did you kind of dial it down? I think our economies right now, I don’t think we have a clear sense of what we’re trying to collect to the build and achieve. And I think if we did have a clear sense of that and we can work backwards and prioritize what are the, you know, one of the things that are important when things are not what are symptoms and what is the actual disease. So my message would be to think more long term and to have you know, the freedom and the courage to think big. I’m a bit of a sci-fi geek.
Matthew Sanders – CEO/Co-Founder, Humanity 2.0: 19:09
I use this example, a lot of Star Trek: The Next Generation. You know, but that show was hugely influential. And one thing that I’d like to share is why, or like the question I suppose is why. And I think part of it is it showed a vision of humanity that made it, we’d evolve past racism. We evolved past greed. Nobody would, nobody was wanting for basic necessities of life. And I think we need that. We need to know the humanity can make it, we need to know what kind of civilization that we want to achieve.
Matt Bird – Show Host, Traders Network Show: 19:40
I too am a bit of a sci-fi geek and you know, looking at that as an analogy is a really good one. But I think what really pulls together that gene Roddenberry environment is that everybody at that point is, if you look at the Vatican, it’s very much like what you see here at the Vatican. Everyone’s working towards a higher cause safety protection, you know, stability. Working as a unit to erect like what you see here, these monuments and creating a stable environment to, you know, project peace and solidarity and all the things that they come with that. When you look at Star Trek: The Next Generation, this is the direction I think we’re going to go with this. There is that unity because there’s other worlds out there that everybody had to come together to figure out how to create stability. Unity and all those certain things. It took aliens from other planets to realize that we need to be one planet, not individual States. And individual countries. And I’m smiling because I’ve thought about this and hopefully it doesn’t take a, you know, a landing of a spaceship to bring people together.
Matthew Sanders – CEO/Co-Founder, Humanity 2.0: 20:53
Well you could say, I mean I think what is kind of one of those kind of like existential like in moments where you have to kind of, you know, think about your place in the universe as the fact that our planet in many ways is dying. Right? And so, I think we are in a moment where we are at a crossroads, we can come together, and we can meet this challenge head on and we can overcome it or we cannot. And just accept the fact that we’re just not going to be around you know, in a hundred years.
Matt Bird – Show Host, Traders Network Show: 21:19
You know, you said something a minute ago, which is about, you know, the takeaway and if you know, what we should do, which is thinking long-term and message and things, you know, it’s such a difficult thing to get everybody on the same page. Especially when you’ve got inequality and income and all these different things that are going on. And so this kind of comes back around to like Humanity 2.0, which is what we can do is communicate through networks. Right? And I think what you’ve built is the beginning of a platform which is connecting organizations, which those organizations have a network of their own right. And then that message is proliferating through and hopefully some mechanisms and put in place to be, start thinking long-term through those organizations.
Matthew Sanders – CEO/Co-Founder, Humanity 2.0: 22:07
Sure. I mean, listen, before I went to the World Economic Forum in 2018 and really Humanity 2.0, was kind of birthed there. I was given a piece of advice by the Vatican, “Focus on what we can do together, not what we can’t.” And that was really the message that I hope was clear at the forum and I hope it’s one that they take back. I understand why institutions like the Vatican are perceived to be highly controversial. But listen, you can’t dispute that, that, that they too many people are an incredibly important organization that have enormous impact. Working with them doesn’t require you to accept everything that they believe. It requires you to be open to appreciate that you share common problems and now there’s a resolution to do something about them.
Matt Bird – Show Host, Traders Network Show: 23:00
I look at this, it’s interesting because I see a lot of similarities. You look at the Vatican and its history and its checkered of adopting things and just like any megalithic company, this is the, from my point of view, it takes time to validate whether there’s a real market there or not. And you’re seeing real market change. I mean we saw this like with, I’m going to give it an example that everybody could probably relate with a the tablet industry. You know there was time when Apple launched the iPad, which I have an iPad and the Mac and I thought, and I love Apple products, but there was a time that they were saying this is going to be the end Microsoft and it was just impossible. It’s impossible. They own 95% of the market. What they were for is for the market. to mature before they rolled out something and they rolled it out and then there’s now market wide adoption of it and they were able to do, they need to do to make sure that, there was an efficient use of time, energy and resources.
Matt Bird – Show Host, Traders Network Show: 23:46
I think the Vatican, this is like, like one of those industrial revolution points where we have got humanity like as a whole at a crossroads and the Vatican is looking, going, maybe the market’s maturing for us to get evolved on technology and a few other things that we’ve set back because it’s been changing so fast. How when you know, put you put a steak in there and I think you provided you’ve provided a good dial up opportunity for not just the businesses, but for the Vatican and the facilitate those conversations.
Matthew Sanders – CEO/Co-Founder, Humanity 2.0: 24:36
Yeah, I think there’s, listen, it’s important to acknowledge that the Vatican, the Catholic church it’s area specialty is focus is on theology and philosophy. That’s what it’s really exceptional and not to say that the church hasn’t contributed a lot of other things in the realm of technology in the past, but today what we’re really looking to from before them, the church is philosophical and ethical and moral leadership. But the business community has a lot. It can now offer it to the church. The technical emerging technologies are what are shaping the future right now. And I think what people are afraid of is that these technologies are kind of a runaway train and we’re not really sure where they’re leading us and, and we’re not really sure how to have a conversation about that. And I think the, the Catholic church can do because he’s been doing it for so long, is to provide opportunities to have that conversation and to draw from, you know, it’s 2000 history, the philosophical and ethical insights has been developing over that course of time to help facilitate a conversation and want to help is to make clear where we’re at. These technologies should be taking us.
Matt Bird – Show Host, Traders Network Show: 25:48
Well, you know what, I love that, and I want to end on that note if that’s okay. And I’d like to tell you, I like to do a special shout out to Sheridan. She was incredible. I don’t think we could have done any of the stuff that we did today without her and yesterday. You guys were great at supporting us in making sure that we had everything we needed. And we’re looking forward to helping some of the things that you have coming up in the next like, you know, in the short term and long-term. Is there anything you want to talk about before we wrap up for the day?
Matthew Sanders – CEO/Co-Founder, Humanity 2.0: 26:18
Thank you very much for what do you guys have done in coming here. I know, not to mention the jet lag, but, I think you guys took a leap of faith to come here and to work with us. I really appreciate it and I really look forward to working with you in the future.
Matt Bird – Show Host, Traders Network Show: 26:33
Me too. Me too. So that being said, this is going to conclude our coverage of the 2019 Humanity 2.0. I’m Matt bird here with Matthew Sanders as we wind down for the day and hopefully we’re going to go grab a steak after this. Is that right?
Matthew Sanders – CEO/Co-Founder, Humanity 2.0: 26:54
Let’s do it. I’m dying for a steak.
Matt Bird – Show Host, Traders Network Show: 26:58
And let’s put a special thanks out to my crew, Celine and Nicole. They have been behind the camera and behind the scenes the entire time and been struggling in mostly through the long grueling days. Especially. Shout out to our team in New York, in LA and in Florida. We’re coming back with a lot of good content and a good messaging. So to that end, goodnight. And we’ll talk to you next time.