Four Bad Eyes

Building A Blind Army: Lukas Simianer

Episode Summary

Anthony Ferraro, Dan Mancina & special guest Lukas Simianer kick off episode 22 of the Four Bad Eyes Podcast. Tune in to hear Dan, Anthony, and Lukas discuss so much! Special guest Lukas CEO cofounder of Clusiv, The first e-learning platform designed by and for the visually impaired shares his experience creating and launching Clusiv.

Episode Notes

Anthony Ferraro, Dan Mancina & special guest Lukas Simianer kick off episode 22 of the Four Bad Eyes Podcast. Tune in to hear Dan, Anthony, and Lukas discuss so much! Special guest Lukas CEO cofounder of Clusiv, The first e-learning platform designed by and for the visually impaired shares his experience creating and launching Clusiv.

More About Lukas Simianer CEO of Clusiv ►


More about Anthony Ferraro ►

More about Dan Mancina ►

More about Four Bad Eyes Podcast ►


Donate to Keep Pushing Adaptive Skatepark ►





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Keep Pushing Inc was founded by Dan Mancina, an accomplished skateboarder who happens to be blind. Dan also holds a Master's degree in Vision Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT), which helps to teach adaptive life skills to those dealing with vision loss. Keep Pushing is a non-profit that combines Dan's two passions by introducing the blind/visually impaired (VI) community to the inclusive culture of skateboarding. Through his own journey with vision loss, Dan has found the lack of accessibility in current skateparks.

The goal of his foundation is to build the first fully adaptive skatepark and to host skateboard workshops for the blind and VI using what he has learned on the skateboard and through his VRT training. Dan has teamed up with an experienced skatepark design company, New Line. Using New Line's design expertise and Dan's knowledge of adaptive skating to create the safest and most accessible skate park ever!

Using adaptive methods, such as increasing the size of obstacles, adding contrast to obstacles, tactile ground, auditory cues for echolocation, 3-D models, and a spacious layout. Once the facility is built Dan plans to host monthly skate workshops and skateboard lessons for local youth/adults who are blind and VI, annual adaptive contests to help push for skateboarding the Paralympics, as well as use park adaptations to influence future public skateparks. 

Donate to Keep Pushing Adaptive Skatepark ►

00:00 - intro

01:50 - Luke shares his experience as a child with a learning disability and why he wants to help change the world for the disabled.

07:30 - how Luke first raised money for Clusiv, and where the idea for the e-learning platform came from. Lukas gets into the nuts and bolts of how Clusiv works.

36:25 - how to become A part of Clusiv, both as a student or as a company.

42:40 - where Lukas gets his drive from.47 min 40 sec what the future holds for Zlusiv

53:00 - The power of giving opportunity to a person.


Podcast Intro & Outro done by Pete Gustin the Blind Surfer find out more at ►


Four Bad Eyes is a brand new venture between two extremely devoted and talented individuals. We are pumped to keep working hard to make this unfold and grow. Please be advised that we will be exploring a wide variety of topics (some adult-themed) and our younger viewers (and their parents) should be advised that some topics will be for mature audiences only.

Episode Transcription

Anthony Ferraro and Dan Mancina two blind guys collide to bring you four bad eyes podcast


Welcome back four bad eyes Dan Mancina,


Anthony Ferraro and Luke seminar


seminar we got a special guest today a two or four bad eyes two good eyes this episode. Look we met a couple years ago, over the just over social media talked a bunch. And then today is actually the first time that I've met you in person in the flesh. So Luke, give us a little introduction.


Yes, my name is Luke seminar. I am the CEO and co founder of cluesive, where the world's first elearning platform built for him by blind or visually impaired people and met Damn. Just thinking he was a badass in what he was doing and reached out. And Dan gave us a lot of good feedback and been friends ever since kind of just growing an idea into a real thing.


It's evolved quite a bit from the first idea to now. Now you're up and running, though. About to fully launch right?


Yes, yes, May. May. 2 2022. Is the big deal. The world's first gonna launch.


Yeah. So we, I guess we need a bit about your background, what


kind of brought you like leading up to cluesive. Like, I know, you're here now doing all this stuff with it. But like, give us what brought Luke there? Like, where did it start? How did you get here?


So it started. It started when I was a kid, really. So I was born like a single mom, abject poverty, like just not necessarily the fun stuff. Right. And I was diagnosed with dyslexia when I was seven, and they back then I'm 29 now so I was like, 97 they treated that like a form of mental retardation. So they threw me in a trailer back behind


the school didn't think because you couldn't read or something they thought you didn't


know I actually read above grade level is just like dyslexia like solving math differently, or even numbers. I was horrible with math. This is like closer to this calculus. They probably yes, diagnose me. Yeah, I didn't go back to the same guy, you know. And, and so they literally they had a trailer back behind the school and they said, Oh, you're dumb, like, you know. And that was like my K through 12 experience. And you fast forward, I joined the Army did a bunch of stuff got hurt in Afghanistan, and then somehow wound up in software engineering through a long journey. And the company I work for my very first software engineering job, they came under Title Three litigation for at non compliance, right. And so their, their insurance rating app wasn't accessible. And they were gonna pay this consulting firm, like half a million dollars, it's going to take three months to cure and they would have had to like settle a lawsuit, it was gonna be like a mess. And I said, they suggested to the CTO, then I said, you know, what if we 1099 My stepdad who happens to be blind, and you know, sitting next to me, where he finds a break in the Apple just implement a fix in the code, and they gave me the shot. So that we did that. And in seven working days, we mitigated this lawsuit, right? So I get like a raise a promotion, I'm on cloud nine, I'm stoked. And I turned to my stepdad, my mom married him when I was like, 26 I was 27 at this point, so I'm like, barely really, you know, and he's just super downtrodden. And the like, you know, what's what's up man? Why are you why are you upset? Like we just did a great thing and he tells me he says, Luke for the first time in my life, I feel intellectually valued, it sucks because it's never gonna happen again. And that is when it like hit me like, Man, I already fought for this country once and like now there's I come to learn there's a population or a country that's just like, you know, relegated to menial labor for menial wages. How do I fix and that's what started the journey, man.


Dang, Dude, that was your stepdad. Yeah,


yeah. How did how did your mom and your stepdad meet? See why when they when they met


he was he so he was like a mechanic when he was younger working on like, cool, classic cars born type two diabetes when he was like 627. And so he went from working on like, classic badass cars like old challengers. Plymouth Road Runners, like super cool stuff to being stuck packing toilet paper for like less than minimum wage. Yeah. And yeah, so he lost his vision when he was 27. And he, at this point was like, 55. And he'd been packing toilet paper for the same job for the same money in the same place the whole time. And I was like, Dude, no, like,


did your mom have to work? Yes. support as well. Yeah. And so it was


obviously like less than optimal, right? And just learning about that. as it started me understanding like the statistics of the problem, right, like where where does the problem go? And I don't want to get into the the pitch Enos of the business side of things, but yeah, that's, you know, that's what started.


Well, I mean, wait, so he was how old when he started losing say 2726 Okay, so he was blind read that your mom already? Yeah, yeah,


they met on like plenty of fish or some shit like that gotcha.


I was just wondering, Oh, I wonder how they connected one of his friends were


how long was he in your life for? Like how early on


so he wasn't really in my life for all that long and unfortunately like my, my family we've had some some family, they got divorced, and we had some familial stuff after the fact. So we're like, not all that close anymore. But he was in my life like two years. And so good dude, like, no bad boy.


2729 Pretty much yeah. He came in your life for the reason he was supposed to be there. Yeah. And then he moved down.


Yeah, inspired, inspired the fight.


So when he like said that to you, like, you know, finally have value and it's never gonna be like this again, like, how did that make you feel?


And it hit me so hard, because like being told I was stupid. In school. All I ever wanted was to be intellectually valued, too. It was like a trigger, almost hardcore, hardcore trigger. Okay. And like, I knew that was my next fight like, you know, the whole veterans suicide epidemic. I lost a lot of friends to that. And so like, that's why I always kept moving like, every summer I


moved, I lost a lot of friends suicide.


Yeah. It's, it's brutal. And, again, there's nothing you can you feel like it's all your fault. And there's nothing you could really do. And you have to like, move past it. It makes


the whole world around you dark, like it really does. It puts a like, a damp vibe on everything.


For me, I felt like I was next. You know,


and it's very, a very normal thought. And,


to me, like the the big piece of that was, you know, this is my next mission. That was a blessing. It was a blessing that this was my next fight. I had something that was worth


doing. It gave you that purpose, like that drive, like, I have something to work towards, like, I'm gonna make a change. Oh, yeah. And


if that changed, like, for perspective, man, like I, you know, I can't measure what other startup founders go through and stuff. But like, for me, I pitched 185 venture capitalists, venture capital firms, this idea, and 185 of them told me as an idiot,


just like back in school, yeah,


they're like, You're stupid. This will never work. You want to sell to the government, you want to help blind people who cares? Like blah, blah, blah, there's no


money in it. The government's got that covered like,


yeah, and but you know, what, like, 186, man 186. So you want we got our first check.


Obviously, this about just explain 186 real camera.


So 186 186 investor, was our first investment inclusive as 100k Check. And so it took me like, for perspective on timeline, it took me like, a year and a half to get to number 186, essentially, person that I'd pitched. And then we got into like, the one of the top accelerators TechStars for the business. And within two months, we'd raised $860,000. Just after getting to that one. Yes.


Yep. It's all about that first one.


How did that? What number were you like? And be real? Was there a number in there where you were like, I don't know if we're gonna get there now. Like, 85 Were you like, I don't know. This just isn't looking good.


Man, I had a spiritual experience genuinely, like I don't know if it's like this for everybody starting a business or how it was for you guys even starting this podcast and growing it and like, but for me, it was truly spiritual. Like I journaled the saying, and it's faith so strong, it's merely fact. And, like, I didn't give a damn if it took me 30 years, like this mission fucking matters, excuse my French. Like that. That that was the ultimate thing is like when I when I committed myself and realized I would die doing this because I thought it mattered enough. People started to see it, you know? Yeah, like, you talk to them. And they're like, damn, I don't know if I think this kid's idea is like, good business. But like, he's gonna do something, hey, he


has like your, he wants this. Like, it's not just someone pitching an idea for money. Like you have purpose behind this, you it means something to you. And that's where the strongest businesses survive. Because when you're starting a business, it's it gets demoralizing, especially a startup like it's like, there's so many pitches so many you have to talk so many investors, there's so many things you have to just to create the business like to make it an actual business. There's so many steps and when people see them out in front of them, you know, They get through step like five or seven, and then they're discouraged and skip it up.


Yeah, I genuinely don't know how people start businesses just for money. I mean, like, I have nothing against those folks whatsoever. I appreciate and I admire it, but like, man, you get hit in the face so many times. Like, if I didn't realize that what I was doing was so much bigger than just Luke. It wouldn't. You know, I don't know, I probably wouldn't went back to just like being a software engineer. Yeah. It's


intense. It was gonna say it. No, no. Yeah, I guess I kind of want to get a little bit more into exactly what cluesive does, I guess we can kind of, yeah, I peel back a couple of layers. So we you pair up, I guess is the main objective is to pair up visually impaired people with jobs that are worth having.


Kind of like so you know, the first thing I ran about, won't say the company name because we shut it down. But the first thing I like started up and ran with was, you know, making ecommerce accessible and trying to like help the internet in general become more accessible, and people are like, I don't care. Right. And whatever. You know, that sounds expensive.


tell you right now, it's so frustrating. When ecommerce isn't accessible.


Oh, and it's, it's ridiculous. That's


when I was on board. I was like, Yeah, I'm a believer in this. I have, you know, experienced this every day, pretty much


when Dan talks about it on the podcast, like how frustrating those little things can be.


And it's well, and that's the thing is like your average, average, like user experience designer doesn't even consider, you know, doesn't consider accessibility. It's not just accessibility is usability, right? Like, you can meet all the standards in the world and say, Oh, we're WCAG we're 501 like, whatever. That doesn't matter if you're if your shits not usable, like is it a delightful user experience for someone rolling through with a screen reader? And or is there a constant distraction between every item? And like, how are you? In E commerce, my biggest thing was like, I'd look on, like these big company websites, and I don't want to get sued. So I won't say their names, but like big, big merchandise companies, right, like ones that we all have stuff from. And they're like describing a sweater. And they're like, it's a green sweater. But no, the shirt has like tiger stripes, and it's bluer and it's green. And


yeah, there's no way to know really what you're getting until you actually get the item. And most


Well, yeah, it doesn't enable people to have their agency and like,


and she doesn't enable people to be independent, and to have the equal experience shopping online as the average person. So


I think we have Kelly wants to say Sony real quick,


just want to say from building software perspectives, and that's what I do. It's also just not even thought about in the budget, too. So the poor UI UX designers, they don't even like they no one from the higher ups are pushing for it when they're so tight on other areas. So it's like anyone's hearing this. Add it to your budgets.


Oh, and you're gonna love you gotta love when we dig in further exclusive thing, Kelly. Appreciate all this special guests.


Kelly Ferrara. Anthony's


never seen her before your budget. So I pushed forward to


so that's, that's when I first met you. That was the original idea that we're digging into.


I realized that just didn't it didn't solve the problem, right? Like the


the E commerce it's, it's just a small piece.


It's a piece of the pie. But like, I look at it right? And how, how systemically do you affect true change, not like the political shit where you're like, I want to do this like now, like truly affect things that will have an impact long after World dead. And the way you do that is by having the people from that demographic get into consistent leadership positions. And I'm not talking like President or, or even government I'm saying like they're running companies or their leaders within companies. It's like, okay, well, how do we get blind, the blind visually impaired population to be leaders within Salesforce, then Oracle within Google within, you know, you name it, and


have one of them being a project manager or


Yeah, running Customer Success running customer support, you know, any and all of these things, you know, when someone when a blind person is running product at a big web company, like, like big commerce, or WordPress or something like that, that's when shit changes. And it's like, how does how do we start the path to get there might be after I'm dead, that that occurs, perhaps it's us or whatever, but, you know, like, the how do you start that?


How do you start the conversation with everyone


and it's the skills it's the training. I can't control what the internet does right now, but I can control the quality of training available to the blind. visually impaired population, because I can make it with badass blind people like that made


by the blind for the blind. Yeah,


yeah. And so once what you know, you give it five years, right? And someone who graduates from cluesive is going to be working at one of these companies, and they get promoted. And then they get promoted again. And now they're a leader talking about a conference. And I dare someone to say accessibility doesn't matter that that's, to me, that's my strategy.


How did you? How'd you get all these blind people? Like, how did you develop your team,


man, so like, and this is like a life hack for anybody that owns a company out there wants to test product out there. If you go to any state vocational rehab agency, and you say, hey, I want some work experience, folks. They will, they will literally ask the people that are in vocational rehab right now, which is where if you, if you lose your vision, or you've already lost your vision, or you're trying to get into a new job? That's where you go to get trained up.


Right, Dan? Does that?


Yeah, it's part of that's part of the vision rehabilitation system. Literally. Dan's been itching to get these kids high school kids and adults back into the workforce. Yeah. All from Social Security. All this stuff. That's really sad is the number one goal is to get somebody a job. Yeah.


And so if your experience, so were you giving these people jobs from the vocational school centers,


no, not immediately. So yeah, the what I was saying is like, it's truly a hack. This is a hack for all business owners out there, you go to your local vocational rehab agency, a division of Blind Services, whatever it may be. And you say, hey, I want some work experience, folks. And what that means is that the last some people say that, you know, you tell them how many oil three people, five people, whatever, one person doesn't matter, they find that person who kind of fits qualifications or has the ambition or interest in what you're doing are offering right, the state will pay them and they're not paying them a lot. It's like wage, but no less, the state pays them to essentially be your intern for almost an unlimited amount of time, like you get two to three months. And it's like, that's what happened is the people that loved working at cluesive, and like, could really adapt to the startup environment where like, you know, shits flying 70 different directions a day. Dan's been on those calls. It's pretty wild. And we hired him, you know? And I said, okay, cool. You get it. You want to do this, boom, let's go. And all of a sudden, like, one of them was the 17 year old kid named Levi. He was like, the school wasn't providing him any accessible curriculum or anything like that. But he was so smart. This kid had Logic Pro on his computer, the sound editing thing, and he made a sonic logo for cluesive. Wow. And so now our app when you log in, we have a sonic logo that identifies us,


like an audio sound. Yeah, yeah.


When you turn on your Playstation or anything like that, yeah, like you. I never knew


that. Oh, like, yeah, like Sega used to have.


Boom. Yeah, exactly. We've got a I didn't bring my machine but the demo?


Can you just imitate it? Come on.


No, so I can't even imitate it. I'll send it to you guys. But no, like, so I'm talking to the 17 year old kid. He's like, Oh, by the way, I got on Logic Pro media. This badass thing. Oh, yeah. By the way, my mom has to Braille my homework for me. So I'm going to be a little late today. Yeah, and I'm like, What the fuck? And? And then he's like, Yeah, you know, so the base of it's chaos theory. But then there's like a little bit of, you know, like, he's referencing these things. And he's like, like, there's like some Fibonacci patterns in the sand. And I'm like, bro, this kid is so smart. And the high school systems like I, you know, whatever. And


when I need to talk to him and his parents, and that this really brings


up for me when I was in high school. By the time I was like, a junior senior, like freshman, sophomore year, got by no problem with math and everything really smart, like did everything in my head using braille or Yeah, so I use Braille mostly. And then once Braille got too technical, and no one was around to like Teach me the more technical stuff it because I was in Science High School. It was almost like I got I was had tiny bit of vision at the time, and they had me drawing was like a marker on a piece of paper to try and see out the equations. And then it got to the point where they weren't even like paying attention to me anymore. So it was like, let's get by in class it was so so like, doing you a disservice service grade school, but that, you know, that wasn't even the school's fault. It's it's the way like you're saying how the whole system is developed?


Well, they they take it for granted and like tell me if you guys agree this a good research poll right here. I have I've noticed like there is no middle ground. It is either people are mainstreamed like you Anthony, where you're like, hey, thrown into the school, and they're like, hey, figure it out. You know, I don't care what happens figure it out. Or they're done like kind of what was done with me. They throw you in a trailer back behind and they surround you six adults. do everything for you. And it's like I, you know, it seems like there's no middle ground of really success. Yeah, I think in the school system from


Yeah, I think that's more of a economic thing to how much you know, where are you raised how much money is in that school system,


I was really fortunate to go to like a school for the blind in my early years. So they gave me the tools I needed to be proficient in the sighted world. But


that comes down to I think the parent, their child to the right, school district resources, having, you know, having to move


Dan and I were fortunate to have parents that were like that our moms are both serious fighters for like, the right. Accommodations and stuff. Yeah. No, no, I mean, because these these, there's a lot of things put in place there. But a lot of them aren't even like made aware to people.


But you're right, because there are, you know, probably millions, right? Yeah, millions of kids who are just put in the back trailer man, or just pushed through and wandering to parts of the country, parts of the world, we're not even given a cane. Yeah, and that's like that.


And I just learned how expensive some of that stuff is like in the, in the process of building this company. And like meeting other like, people are trying to innovate in the assistive tech space, like, man, all this technology that makes a big difference to the quality of life, how expensive like $600 for a cane that falls apart and just vibrates all the time, but it's supposed to tell you where shit is. And it's like,


Braille notes. $6,000 a Braille note to be able to take notes in school. That's not a huge, so first of all, huge, clunky Braille writer, right? Yeah, Perkins Braille Writer is the only kind. It's like six to $800


they have a patent that or some shit, or like, why is there no,


I don't get it. There's other ones that aren't as good. Let's make one. But no, the Braille is like a computer, a Braille computer, essentially, that refreshable refreshable, brochettes,


I've seen $6,000 I needed that in school, I had to get it and I had to get it on my own, like, Thank God, my parents helped, but like, some people are not fortunate enough to get those, you know, and that really, it's, it's really sad. Yeah, the


price of that stuff, because they're there, you know, the way our system is set up, if less, there's, you know, 10s of millions of people buying something, it's gonna be expensive. 1000s people buying it.


Talk to me more about the job though aspect of it, because there's so many blind people that leave school and then just don't get jobs. And I'm really interested about or get paid nothing. And I'm really interested about what cluesive is doing. Like your process.


Yeah, so So as of now in the future, we like seek to open it up wider and wider and wider. But as of now you have to be enrolled in vocational rehab, or some other contract of trainer essentially, that can build a state to get cluesive. But once you get closer, once you get enrolled, the first course there's two types of courses, there's the professional skills course, which is like the de facto first thing. And then the second course is vocational specific and like, so like break it down really, really quick, the professional skills course, we start out with both the email platforms, Gmail, and Outlook, the biggest things that are used in almost every company, right? So not just like how you use those platforms, but how you combine them into one inbox on your machine so that you have an easier time doing it easy workflow. But then also like setting your signature. So you look professionally, right? Like how you navigate that inbox, create folders, like stay organized, the tips and tricks and the things that like sighted people take for granted. And they don't realize that there's 17 17,000 Fucking barriers. To do that with the screen


reader. It's so true. My wife helped me so much. Yeah,


that's why I think it's important to again, reiterate that it's, you know, designed and worked on by blind people. Yeah, for blind people. And that's where this is like, that's where that comes in. So crucial and like, developing, you know, the actual training for those things, specifically for the visually impaired and blind.


Yeah, it'd be impossible without it like our company. Oh, and the proud flex point, damn proud flex, we should all choose to this one, at least mentally because there's podcast equipment here. We felt here it fell to your left Anthony. But the no cluesive is now 70%. Blind visually impaired employees, the team, the company, the whole company, that's




Like super proud of that, and that number is only gonna go up because like we found that like the creating of our content, the creating of a processes, like has to be that way. But all that being said, so we do the email platforms. And then we go into the digital meeting platforms, right? Zoom teams, Google meets, how do you use the law? How do you integrate an external microphone so you also sound fresh? How do you set your camera up and blur your background? Because you know, it especially in an interview process, even if you are blind or visually impaired, the expert Hey, should I have your camera on? Like still very high? Absolutely. Like how do you get into competitive integrated employment by being? And that's like a government term. But how do you got to be competitive and so blurry? How do you blur your background, how you set your camera up all the intricacies? And then we also go into like the etiquette, right? Because one thing like, at our company, when we hire someone new, we bring someone into cluesive. Especially like, if they're sighted, for example, and find a way of stand up and 70% of our employees are blind or visually impaired. You know, and they just start talking without saying who they are. No one knows whose voice that is, and says like, hey, no, no, no, you got to stop and say, hey, you know, this is this is Luke speaking. You know, I'm Team engineer, blah, blah, blah, and you introduce yourself. And then like, for the first few times, or until someone tells you that they've learned your voice, like you say, Yes, social skills, social etiquette. And in the course, we teach the blind client, the blind student of cluesive. How to say that professional like, Hey, man, you know, in a way that's not abrasive or makes people feel any sort of different way. You're just like, hey, man, do you mind saying your name first few times you talk so I can learn your voice. And like that easy. You're now a competitive like part of the team. And there's, there's nothing different about it. And so we go through the etiquette, too. And then we go into Cloud Storage, Google Drive, Dropbox box,


is there someone doing one on one sessions? Is that how it works?


No. So we build this content, kind of like Mapquest. So you can you read it asynchronously, or remotely at your own pace, so you can be at home logged into cluesive Excuse me, that modelo got mad. Some amount of culture. You know, you can take this at your own pace, and essentially will link so if it's like, you know, learning zoom, there'll be a zoom link at the bottom of join a demo meeting that set up and you can like test what you're learning right on the spot. But we give you the job steps and we also kind of like crawl, walk run the jaws training ventually we'll have it to other screeners. But for now, it's all jaws. But essentially, like, you know, we start with like, maybe the slowest, but simplest way to get to something you're tabbing through. And then the next the next iteration of that, like, Hey, man, here's a links list, hop down to here, boom, those nine steps are now two steps, you know, and then like, oh, I use the header key, boom, now I'm right in the headers, and like, I'm going exactly where I want to go.


But really diving into those nine steps makes you able to make that map in your head to know, okay, this is where I'm jumping to. And it's really important


to understand the better the full layout of the actual page.


And we have, we have essentially a battle map of every application that you're learning. So that in your head, you can say, okay, you know, I know that logout buttons in the, in the, in the top right, I know that this, you know, knowing the geography, if you will, of certain features, we found is like a great way to increase the retention of like, how to use a certain app. But after after all the cloud storage the next thing and final things we do, you know, as a recon guy in the army, so I created a tactical battle map of your disclosures and your accommodations. And so we had the University of Texas law school help us out with the the accommodation and disclosure laws. But it's a truly attachable battle map of like, hey, you know, I'm in the interview process. When do I disclose and when is it most advantageous to me so I don't subject myself to undue biases.


What was her name? Who helped them? That was it? The lady that I met?


No, that was was that she was amazing. That was I don't remember now. Oh,


she was amazing. She was on a call and she was just like the most badass like advocacy.


Oh, man. Yeah,


woman I've ever heard speak Yeah, I got it. I gotta figure I thought that was that was tied in with that with them firm but no,


no, no, it wasn't a firm is the University of Texas law school. We got into like an accelerator with them, like a business program. And they gave me a bunch of law students to do stuff and I was like, Well, I'm not getting sued for anything so


and then how do we keep it


and then we did accommodations which is like you know, it's crazy I won't name names but we we've talked to some of the biggest companies in this nation people that you would think are the tip of the spear if you will of like inclusive hiring and they don't like this they hire a blind person right? That person doesn't show up there knowing who to talk to about getting jobs on their work machine. And it's like, bro, you're the leader. They want


to go out and right now freaking open to chase business account. Oh, yeah. wouldn't put Braille on my cards. What no Braille on my cards Chase No. Braille chose Fargo to the forum offered you a piece


of paper.


They offered me a piece of paper


with Braille on it.


Oh my god, JPMorgan Chase cluesive banks do you please fix


Yes. Thanks to you. I think about a credit card. Yeah, no, I'm talking about credit card and ATM card you found


somebody who does a credit card with brown Wells Fargo.


Wells Fargo they print the Braille on the card. It's very good. Oh, I didn't know they that Chase. They offered me a piece is a paper to put over the card? Yeah, that can easily like,


it was just so on practice. So the same goes into audit gets worn down.


It's unbelievable. It's like,


but like, to your point, Luke, yeah, every time I talk to somebody about any kind of accessibility, no matter how small or how big the company is, you're always have to go through like, X amount of people before you even get to anybody who has any idea of, of how things should be handled or talked about with, with accessibility and stuff like that.


Yeah, it's, it's a, you know, and it's a, it's this thing where like, you can't fault them for their ignorance, because part of the societal problem, right, like what we're all talking about, and for the rest of the world, people listening this podcast right now. But for the rest of the world, you know, a lot of the blind, visually impaired population is relegated to working in a warehouse for less than minimum wage. And that's why you don't see them. That's why you don't know them. That's why they're not your neighbors, because they have to plan where they live based off of a handicap bus route, which each city has like one crate, and it's like, it's like, Yo, that, that's why you don't get it. It's like, I don't fault you. But like, here's the here's the deal. Oh, it is ignorance that Dan and Anthony and me are here to tell you the whole last truth. Fix it, fix it from here on out, you know,


I'm the only blind guy in my neighborhood. I know that.


Oh, man, it's probably in


my well, I shouldn't say the only person walking around my neighborhood at least


gonna say Jumping into Michigan. Now. That's a big one.


I was gonna say, Mike, there's definitely some older generation that are


the No, that's, that's the big thing. So the second course and this is where Kelly, you'll love it. And this is where cluesive starts to shine. So as I was pitching a big company that a fortune 500 company about hiring inclusive graduates, right? And I was like, man, if y'all just give me like job qualifications, right? What software you're gonna use? How's it gonna work, you know, all train them, and they can directly come to you. And you can, essentially, they're good to go, right? And you're gonna have the most loyal employees and like, if they're gonna work on job or something like that, yeah, they're gonna work on job, if they're going to be customer success, what's the CRM, you use? Bla, bla, bla. And they're like, well, we kind of keep that, you know, close to the hip. And we don't really want to share that. But how did you build this? And I said, Well, I hired a bunch of blind people from the School for the Blind. And I taught them how to be QA engineers. And they're like, oh, shit, can I get some of them? And I said, Well, you can't have mine. But I can definitely make more. And they said, My blind guy


knows the whoring blind people over here,


I'm trying, why do you think I brought the you hold this podcast? Take over. And so what I what I did is I, I pitched that to like five other big companies. And they were like, Yeah, you're telling me we could have accessibility like QA as a part of the product lifecycle? And I'm like, yeah, and they're like, Oh, my God, I'm like, y'all really didn't think about this, your billions of dollars. And this is this is groundbreaking. And they're like, well, we didn't know blind people could use computers.


And they don't add it to the budget, though. We didn't know blind people could use computers.


To give it to you for free. Yeah, I've had so many companies come to me now. And actually, a couple of them were very, very big companies. And as you meet to help them with making their, you know, product or application more accessible, and ask them about a budget. Sorry, we have no budget for this. We just thought you might want to help. Oh my


god. Yeah, y'all can come to cluesive io Use Discount Code? Anthony? Anthony 10. Right. And I think it's 15%.


It's like, they tried, like, just rob like it's, oh, see?


Oh, it is and it's like it. I don't understand the gap on that one. But that being said, the first vocational rehab or vocational focus course that we're launching is that of an accessibility engineers and engineering tests focused on accessibility. And so we're hopefully in mass going to be producing blind visually impaired people that are trained to be QA for accessibility and deploying them into these companies so that accessibility is part of the product lifecycle. And I think that's step one of the big strategy, right? How do


we hold these companies up to the standard of hiring these blind individuals? Like how do we make them put their money where their mouth is? Because like you said, there's these big companies, some of the biggest in the nation with the accessibility hirings. And you'd be amazed at how they are. Yeah, there's so what what can we do to raise awareness and like, really, you know, push that like,


yeah, and this this isn't a pump cluesive But for all the for all the blind, visually impaired people out there, go to your state agency request us inclusive. Because when we have supply of trained people when we have a supply of true Ain't people that is when we can push even harder. And that's I mean, honestly, what my job is now is to grow inclusive. But it's also like fighting for this because I'm with you, Dan and Anthony, like the, the


collecting arm, the blind, the whole the DNI,


the DNI statements, right? Every company is like, you know, here's this big DNI thing, here's this, here's this, here's that. But they forget the eye. Like, there isn't inclusion, not including people that are differently abled, you know, and you're, they, they just make these big, bold statements. And so I think one of the first things we can do is show the value and show the supply opportunity, right? Like, there's a labor shortage right now, but we have 7.6 million blind visually impaired Americans with an unemployment rate of 76%.


How many of them are massage therapists?


Why people? We're not going to offer that training, Anthony. I don't want to I just


wanted to make sure that I just there that's like the misconception is if you're blind, you think, Oh, I'm just gonna do massage. I had it when I did it. Yeah, it's it's really a thing.


That's the thing. Dan told me it was becoming a stripper, but


there's a small niche market.


There's a tick tock fetish for that. Oh, no. Oh, I wanted to aware though any blind or visually impaired people that are listening, because Luke's Tony go to your agency as straight as for about cluesive Every one who's blind or visually impaired, every state has an agency and everyone is is able to use those resources VRTX over here, and if you go to excepto nm, but I do owe them to backslash student or if you go to just and like at the very top the third thing you'll come to using a screen reader is students right click that you can select whether you have a counselor or not If you do, but your info in their info and will email you and your counselor at the same time saying hey, hold them liable. Joe wants cluesive if your name's Joe out there I'm specifically talking to


Joe Yeah, log on your computer right five of my cousin's jokes now. Forget about Vinny.


Hashtag Free Joe. Oh man, speaking of any random sidebar here, I drove by a restaurant earlier day, it said Don Vito is Italian over here and in Daytona. Margera No, it's my uncle.


Uncle. They ship the water down here to make pizza with the New York water or Don Vito is like the classic Was it his uncle or something? That was like 100 shots.


He got kicked out of a strip club in Colorado or something like that. That was the last I heard of it. And then yeah, I don't think it's him. I don't think it was out of business. So don't give me the guy who had a quote medical Dan was sounded like The Godfather. It was pretty good. Yeah.


Yeah, sure. Brian people


pitching me on blind SpaceX. Elon, please hit me up. Man. We will. We will. We will all be in your spaceship. The Falcon six. Falcon. The Falcon. Falcon. brailler. We will call it the Louis rocket. Louie Perkins 12.


Falcon number sign. Dot 1.1 to 12. Got it. There we go.


I hope you want to get a hold of this one.


Man, hope you're you got to be a believer now. And you're here.


What are the next steps are cluesive? So way after 186 after number 186. You got your first investor, right? Yep. 186 was our first investor. So like she is probably psyched, right? You're like, can't believe this? I tell you like so you're probably like, 186. You know, we did this like it's happening. It's the start the first so what were those feet? I need to know what those feelings were like, like 185 down and then.


Oh, it was wildly like celebratory, right. But I was like, at that point. It's not that you believe it's too good to be true. But you're just like, I'm never going to feel full again. I'm going to be so damn hungry. So I didn't really celebrate all that hard. But what I did find was that like the pressure transition, right, it went from like, oh, man, I gotta get this funding so I can build this thing so I can't do it all myself. To you know, two months later, three months later, we had oversubscribed which we like overfilled our fundraising Yeah, we were targeting 500k. And we ended up raising 864,000. But then at that point, it went from the pressure. Yeah, it's a big fucking problem. And, you know, the pressure went from, oh, I gotta get this money to, oh, wow, I have one opportunity to properly deploy this capital, build my dream and change the lives of millions of people. And that was the heaviest moment of my adult fucking life so far and


take the money and run. But


oh, yeah, Venezuela, here we come.


He said he loves Mexico.


I had to ask Tom. I was like, bro, do you think they'd get mad if like we, you know, bought a Rolex? Yeah, bro, you cannot do that yet. Like, okay, fine. And so, you know, but that moment of pressure kind of quickly faded, because we had a moment with Levi where he was just like, you know, at that point, he was no longer being paid by the state. I was paying him myself because I was like, You're not gonna keep making minimum wage, we're gonna pay you good money. But I can't like promise you part time employment yet you're, you know, you're a contractor. So I made him a contract. And, you know, I talked to him, and he just had produced some great work for us. He and I had spent like, five hours queueing a site together. And he's like, Yeah, man. Like, my mom's really stressed about like, you know, Breitling, my homework. Like, like, This really sucks. And like, he wasn't complaining to complain, but he was just like, kind of asking for professional guidance, you know, like, How To what do I do? And I was like, Man, I would never tell you to drop out of school because like, that's not the option. I don't think but I don't really know. But I'm here for you. And it was after that, that I realized that, like, any pressure I felt was just stupid. I was like, Dude, are you kidding me? Like, yeah, yeah, you have a big challenge, or you have a business kid.


There's a young kid, yeah, at the beginning of his life, trying to make these decisions that you know, are going to change the entire path of his life, entire course, in a, in a way that can in some ways not be reversible.


And they've just hit me that like, that's happening all over this country and other countries. And it's on me, obviously, other countries. And ever since then, man, like it went from pressure to being blessed with opportunity. like, Yo, I get to build a shit every day. My life is so good. No matter how hard it is 20 hour day, it's, you know,


where does that drive come from? Does it come from the army? Does it come before that? Like, where does that


come from getting stuff in the trailer band?


I think like, honestly, I think it comes from the inner rebel. You know, for a long time I attributed the entrepreneurship bug to growing up in poverty and not having much and wanting great grand things, right. But that's kind of easy to satiate. You don't have to make that much money to get yourself a decent house, maybe a nice car, and go on nice dates, right? Like that's kind of easy to like, fill yourself up on. It's also doesn't fill you. Exactly, exactly. And what I came to is that it's not growing up in poverty that made me a badass, like business leader entrepreneurs, that I like to say, Fuck you. If something is wrong. I like to fight, but only only for the oppressed. You know, like, yeah, like, I want to be I don't want to be the underdog. But like, Make me the underdog. get me fired up right now. Yeah. And it's like, like, Yo, you're telling you tell me you don't care about this problem. Cool. I by myself, I'm gonna go change it and I'm gonna build an army behind me. And now like, like, you know, you look at YouTube, you look at your followers. You look at like, Dan, you've seen the growth. Man, you've you've been a part of this since like, day five. It's like, we do have an army. And it's just starting, you know, we're just now publicly talking about it coming for you. They'll all be ours. shipped this long video.


Now I'm doing that's amazing. Yeah. That just I love that sentiment and where that comes from? Because I definitely feel that way. Especially like, Yeah, you see someone who's down you want to fight for him and gets me fired up in the whole telling somebody who, like you said, getting in front of these large companies and then just seeing the lack of, of knowledge for the blind community and the lack of even care to do anything about it, which when they have a lot of power to actually make a difference. And then it's like, dude, what, what are you guys doing now? So we're that


question next step, when you're like, because you have to pitch to a lot of big investors and things like that. It's a lot of you're rubbing elbows with people who have a lot of money, people, there's people that are very elite. Not to get like kind of swayed sometimes, but like that world, it's like you're seeing all the stuff and you know, some of it looks great. It you're influenced by all the people you're around, but how do you stay true to yourself and true to your vision, like true that path of cluesive? And not getting jaded or swayed by any of that stuff?


I think because I enjoy it. Right. Like, I think it's easy to influence someone who's not happy. You know, I mean, and like, just this isn't maybe an abstract example. Right. But if like, if you read like CIA doctrine, right, when they tried to turn someone against the country against whoever they're working for, they find the person that's under immense pressure, they're going through a divorce, they hate their boss, they, you know, someone did them wrong, and they have a reason to turn and it's like, you know, in in this what I'm doing, like I was telling Dan before we hopped on like an Idaho today, right? We just opened up two job opportunities, a college for accessibility testers, those are gonna pay like 60 cage. I don't even know the blind people that are gonna go into those jobs. And bro, I could shoot a purple Twinkie. I'm, like, stoked on cloud nine. I'm like you know,


that's a technical term right? Matter of fact, I


have never know if I should have purple Twinkie. Oh, you don't text? Oh, I wish I could I know you don't get Did you ever see my after the surgery that weird thing? Oh, I pooped out a long string of toilet paper after I'm gone. God Yeah, the guy was like sometimes I forget to tell people it's up there and they call me


God did she pull it out like one of those


not pull it out. If not, you have to naturally pass it ideally all these like a try like an electrolyte drink that was supposed to help with so I forget. It was Oh man. I was pleading I was literally making deals with God on the


devil, team team butthole issues.


So excited like and chips, man ship purple calls.


For the next episode of three badass holes.


I got a few more than for


sponsored by Taco Bell.


What's next? What's next for Luke? What's next for Luke?


Man, I want to take this to the next level. Like we're, you know, we're in a startup phase. And it's building this to growth, to where it can really make the impact that it needs to make. And that's, you know, and then expanding it into deafness and neuro divergence and like, you know, really just building the inclusive solution. Because if there's one thing I love, it's like, oh my God, you're telling me that I can get paid to innovate for people that are oppressed? Holy shit. You know, where was that job description in high school?


Like, here I am row, that's where you have to create them.


Exactly. You do. And, you know, it's, it's, that's also a big part of cluesive is it's not just training. It's not just like, hey, you know, you happen to be blind. And this is how you zoom in the things you need, enter the amount of workforce, it's fuck that ceiling, fuck the ceiling that people put on top you and said, You can't escape this. Fuck the fact that people think you need to go work in a warehouse, like, you're gonna go. And you're gonna do whatever the hell you set your mind to. And like, we want to enable that. That's cluesive Like heart and soul.


Right? It's not just getting jobs, but jobs that can support.


It's building a family. How did we say in the original video, it's a jobs that can support the making the American Dream accessible,


you know, to be able to have a family have a kid,


that was some of my biggest because I grew up, like, I grew up with my blindness, like since I was born. So the whole time, you know, I was so worried about like, how am I going to support a family one day? How am I going to do this, like serious fears at like, at 1314 years old? Like terrified, because I knew it was just like that?


Yeah. Yeah, I know, that feeling of being on social security. And getting these checks and be like, this isn't enough to this is enough to survive. This is not enough to live


also just that feeling of just getting a check every month. Yeah, yeah. Was when you feel like you're capable of so much more. Yeah. Like, some people need that because they're able to actually were trapped. We can work. So well, how can people support cluesive right now what's what's the best way for next steps? Like how can people listening, get involved and support cluesive From that, like, if they're not blind or visually impaired? How can they support and if they're blind, how can they get involved?


So if you're, if you're not blind, visually impaired, the best thing that you can do is you can go to your state agency, state Division of Blind Services workforce commission however they call it and you can say, hey, you know, have you heard about cluesive? Any pressure, send them an email, send them an inquiry, right? So inclusive and email will tell you who to email back. Any, any which way we


will make the starting the conversation about inclusive


and that your employer if you work at a big tech company or any company, say, Hey, do we have a job that a blind person can do? And, you know, maybe don't even ask that because they're not gonna know, they're not gonna know, it say, Hey, why aren't we hiring, you know, inclusive talent, because I know a place where we can, right there, boom, you just helped us create opportunity on both sides by doing two simple things. One question, one email, you've just helped change the life for who knows how many people. Now if you are blind, visually impaired, you go to There's an option very at the very top of the nav menu that says, hey, students, it says students on it. And if you click that, you can say I have a counselor, I don't. So if you're not currently enrolled in vocational rehab or with an agency, you put your contact information in. And we'll reach out to you and tell you how to get involved and get cluesive train. Is there an age requirement? No, no, it works for the pre ATS as the state calls them. So the pre employment transition services of the teenagers, it's really ideal for getting people that are ready to go to college. And they're like, Man, I have to navigate like Blackboard or Canvas. Now, by the way, Blackboard Canvas won't talk to you. Right.


But, Katherine, we're using all those and yeah, how can you get


involved inclusive if you're not a student or trying to be in the workforce, but I want to learn these skills better? And I'm blind.


You can. I mean, some states have social rehab is what they call it, right? Where you're like, perhaps it's a grandma that's lost her vision, but she wants her grandkids to be able to see her on Zoom. Right. Some states of social rehab will help with that.


And that is you have oh, sorry.


No, I was gonna say right now that is the population that's being swept under the rug, as far as the heavy push towards vocational but yeah, that's


was it say, is there a plan for KUSA in the future, like, I know, everything takes a while, but to kind of include that whole group,


the entire plan. So right now, the selling to the state governments is funding the growth of collusive, right, we're going to become a profitable, profitable company, grow, expand, and so forth. The long term goal is to create the Khan Academy for the blind, visually impaired, we want an open source, easy, free access way where anybody can go online and upskill. And learn the skills that they need at any age, right? If you're seven years old, you should be able to learn how to use Zoom, right? Because I mean, remote classes these days are a thing.


And then we'll own all of them because it's just gonna say we're gonna have our Falcon dots number sign 1245


We have Dan backslash Gollum over here doing art and doing our social media.


On all the persons who are blind, they have the


recruiter who gets in trouble for


that. I'll take the blame on Oh, man.


No, it's amazing. That's, that's the biggest thing is just


Yeah. Ask your local vote.


Help us fight. Email us via email, founders. If you don't know what to do, and the directions are unclear, and something's cotton ceiling fan, and if you


own a business, reach out, to get somebody in a capable person.


Yes, yeah. And if you have a higher up place in a business, and you have power to, you know, kind of help this move forward and get more inclusivity in your


work, even if it's hiring one person,


it changes lives,


really does those who want to work, you know what I mean, and are willing and are grateful to have a job, man,


I think that that's an interesting perspective most people don't understand is that there's a population like these people, most people do not know what it's like to be unable to work. Like a not because they don't want to, but because no one will give them the shot. Or because they're missing some key piece of training that everybody else takes for granted.


And when you give somebody that is the most powerful thing that's ever happened to me, is someone actually giving me an opportunity and believing in me. Changes for skateboarding, that was huge, like getting reached out to and getting those first flow boxes and stuff like that was like having some believe in you is the most powerful thing that I can you can really, it really


is. That's I think that's why with everything I do, too, like if there's someone that kind of takes me under their wing or shows any interest, I will put everything into it. Yeah, for that person to like, just give me a chance. It was to prove myself


my my first software engineering job where I discovered this whole thing. So I was like fresh out of this like coding camp thing and like, those don't really prepare you to be an engineer they say to do but they don't. And this guy, the CTO took a shot on me a big shot and like I'll be honest, he might have missed like, I wasn't that good of an engineer. Like I was still


still shitting purple Twinkies.


They weren't even purple at that point. Use of that term they just they just be only


be beeping baseballs.


Beeping baseball. Yeah, no. So like, one day he comes in, comes in, and I'm mopping the kitchen. And he's like, What the hell are you doing? You're an engineer. And I was like, bro, you pay me 60k Like, I don't know if you know this. I got shot up for like 27k. Like, like, like, I'm mopping the day. And I didn't even say that. I said, Oh, do you want me to do this? Like vertical instead of horizontal? Up the hall? And like, I thought he was saying I was stupid, isn't it? I was mopping wrong. And he's like, No, dude. Like, we have people for that. I'm like, No, but I spelled some shit. He's like, Oh, we we have people for that you're an engineer, go like, get to work, do your job. And I was like, but that's the thing is when you hire someone that hasn't had a real good opportunity in their life prior, you're unlocking a level of loyalty and retention and growth? Motivation. That has never been never been seen an access before. Right? So outside of hiring like veterans, how do you how do you access that at scale? Welcome to people that have been trapped in vocational rehab for 10 years. You know?


Oh, love it. Amazing. Is there a What's the number 186? Is there a radio number for the the military? Like 186 Like a cop? Isn't 187 murder winning six.


I think you've been listening to Bone Thugs and harmony. No, that's that's a lot of people said. Well, that's one that's wondering.


You were just singing Dr. Green that wants to totally be real.


That was his cadence. Shooting purple shirt.


Oh, man. I got cool code for 186 beard cotton headed ninny. muggins I went for it. That's offensive. Anthony. We went thank you so much for for coming on. I really appreciate him making the trip. He came all the way to Florida.


Yeah. Say Joe from Miami yesterday. Well, the rugged rugged Yeah. You helped Levi. Yeah, we're guided


Yeah, Levi the blind and yeah, they're talking about he ran the rugged maniac he did most of the obstacles by himself.


It's insane. Obstacle Course. So do I want to do next year


looks next year? Let's do it.


I'm down. No, he


did all the stuff. Except for like the firepits was like these like firelogs to jump over. And he's like, I don't want to do it. I was like, dude, I'll just throw you on my back and we'll do it and he's like, and he said this is what Levi's is when he says you know if you drop me I can't work right? Yeah, bro. Like we're good.


Fun. Sweet. Oh, man. Hi. Well, this has been an amazing episode of for bad eyes very inclusive. very inclusive episode.


Yes. Like unlike unsubscribe leave bad comments


please leave bad comments about about me.


Or bad eyes across the board fo you are you can email me dan at for bad for bad my personal account is Danthemancina across the board.


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Keep pushing in. From Four Bad eyes.