Launch with DJ Chuang and Kenny Jahng | Episode 001
Welcome to the first episode of Future.Bible!
Listen as your hosts, Kenny Jahng and DJ Chuang explain how the podcast started and what you can expect from the future episodes. They also discuss what Future.Bible is all about and the main objective of the podcast.
Are you ready to know the future of the Bible?
Watch below now!
Kenny: Hey friends. Welcome to the inaugural episode of Future.BIBLE. My name is Kenny Jahng, and with me is my co-host, the one and only, DJ Chuang.
DJ: Hello Kenny. So good to be here on Future.BIBLE.
Kenny: Yes, we’re finally here. It’s almost like we’re living in the future. So DJ, I thought it would be great for us to get together and really like record inaugural episode without any other interviewees and just chit-chat around the round table between you and I, explaining to our audience or our would-be audience a little bit about this project and some background about where it all came from, kind of like a once upon a time.
DJ: Well, I was thinking more of that Ted Talk guy that’s become really popular and he likes to say “Start with the WHY”.
Kenny: Yes. Not a bad idea
DJ: Why are we doing this?
Kenny: Yeah. So that takes me back to the project that we are both working on is for American Bible Society. A Legends in the space where we are working specifically on a program called the .BIBLE Initiative. DJ, I want you to share a little bit about what .BIBLE is all about and we can talk about how American Bible Society is involved in all of it.
DJ: Yeah, well, it depends on how far do you want to go back because American Bible Society has over 200 years of history and I don’t know how long people stick with us on this podcast, but let me just start where I started, which was five years ago. I joined this project of the Top Bible, Top Level Domain, and it’s also known as the .BIBLE Registry, which is the organization part of running the top level domains. So that’s the technical part, top level domain, meaning there’s new extensions on the Internet that end in things that are not-coms and not-orgs, but words, meaningful words like .church, .network, .golfball and .BIBLE. And what that means in the 21st century is you can have meaningful, memorable and short domain names that can instantly associate with the project, the initiative, the campaign, the brand that you have. And so, for instant association with the .BIBLE, .BIBLE domains or the perfect solution, since we’re talking about history, it was a long process over two and a half years just to get the application into the Internet corporation, sign names and numbers.
Kenny: Isn’t it ironic, DJ, we’re living in an age where technology is trying to help us get things done instantaneously. But yet the infrastructure takes years to actually accomplish it.
DJ: Yes, yes. The infrastructure has a lot of redundancy, a lot of backup, a lot of resilience and security. So that’s why it takes a long, long, long time. So if you think about the internet, it was invented in the 60’s, so it didn’t become a mainstream available to the public until the 90’s. So it took 30 years for that. These new top level domains are rolling out in a matter of about five to 10 years. And so we’re still on the brink of creating that future and thus the name for this podcast, Future.BIBLE. What else should I mention? So, after that application process of over 450 pages of forms and paper work, we were awarded to run the top level domain so that we can make it possible for people and organizations to register and use domains that end in .BIBLE. And it is our hope that this will help spread the word of God and help people in the current and the future generation to engage with the Bible in a relevant and current way because everybody has a device now, at least in the first world and ongoing into the third world. But not everybody has access to print. So we want to be there to serve people.
Kenny: Yeah. This whole big push of the Internet, I guess can be encapsulated what you started with is, Hey, that real estate in your URL after the dot (.), now can be dedicated to associating the WHY with your actual namesake and address, right?
Kenny: Much more strategic way to actually build addresses across the Internet information highway. And so, that’s great. So, we are part of this project. I think this is one of the things that we are continuing to figure out, hey, what are the actual trajectories of the project that we should take it in order to meet the innovators, in order to meet the leading edge ministry and individuals and other nonprofits that are going to take advantage of this new .BIBLE real estate available to them now across the board. I guess we just came to the conclusion that one way to do that is to go beyond just websites and start to connect with other entrepreneurs, other mission-minded folks out there using technology with the Bible. And that’s the Genesis of this podcast. A podcast is a very efficient way of meeting people and human connection. As you and I both, many people might know, we’re ideators and connectors. We love meeting new people and exploring what they’re doing, but it’s also an efficient way to share that conversation, connection with other people at the same time. And so almost like in the spirit of open source, I guess my hope and desire is that we’re able to share those connections and given exposure and make more connection happen as we ourselves make the connections between us and them for, you know, this journey of featured .BIBLE .
DJ: Very good. So you’ve been on the project much shorter than I have. So what have you discovered as you joined on? And we’ve been working hard to operationalizing, smoothing the process, but we’ve invited you and because we wanted your energy and your creativity and your help with reaching the right people that can use these estimates.
Kenny: Yeah. Well, so what I love about being invited into the project is I think it is leaning on my entrepreneurial DNA, being involved in the startup world, literally in a document accelerator in the past, working with other nonprofits and startups, trying to get them up and going, getting them traction and a lot of the work that my team works with our projects that are bringing something, some campaign, some entity, something to fruition and really helping to get those systems in place so that there’s more exposure. We want to target people, attract and engage the right audience for every single group that we’re trying to help with. And so, this lines up with all the stars as we get deeper, deeper into .BIBLE, one of the things though I will say is it’s interesting, and this is part of the journey that we’re all going to be sharing here on the podcast, is that it’s incremental learning project from the point of view of the team here that we’re trying to figure out what are the best use cases. One of the biggest, this is a breakthrough product, right? These not .coms are something that is not fully established yet. So the category itself needs education, category needs awareness to begin with. And then you need to find what are the early adopters. We’re not here to mandate how it’s going to be used just like this and that. We want to see what the community itself is going to, how it’s going to embrace .BIBLE websites and how it’s going to use them. And so, having that fluidity and agility while trying to make headway in terms of being out there and connecting with those leaders I think is exciting to me. And that’s what fuels me every day when we get together and work on this project.
DJ: Yes. And let’s circle around and look at it from another angle. So, we’ve mentioned the word innovation and we’re trying to keep things open handed and agile and American Bible Society actually has a good position on that because historically it has been an innovator throughout history. And, I think you say something like the Gutenberg and Google, whatever that means. Describe that one and I’ll mention a couple of highlights and American Bible Study.
Kenny: Yeah, we are in a big transformational shift because of how information is access, distributed and consumed. And I would say we’ve gone from a Gutenberg culture to a Google culture. We’ve gone from pages to pixels, words to images, and if you look at the Google of the Gutenberg press, that was a piece of technology and it really revolutionized the world, revolutionize the world of faith specifically by giving access to the printed Bible. That was a huge milestone in the history of the church itself. And as we see that American Bible Society has always been involved with access, translation and engagements, scripture engagement. And so this is going into the digital world is I think, a no-brainer in my side. When I look at it through my lens, I see, wow, this makes complete sense. In fact, I’m really encouraged that an organization as old as American Bible Society is not just stuck in the mud and just letting things go by, but they are actually proactively jumping on this new technology offering, being able to craft our way forward with these not.coms and being part of the first chapter in that thing. Right? So, DJ, you have more stats than me of how many not.coms are actually being released or how many are out there in the wild at this point, but being part of that first group in general I think is pretty innovative for American Bible Society.
DJ: Yeah. Somewhere in the 23 to 25 million of these new top level domains have been registered as domain and there’s over a thousand of them and so it is really significant that the word of God, the Bible with the sacred text of Judaism and Christianity has a space for the Word of God to shine in this digital world and American Bible Society indeed has been forward looking for third century of its existence and a quick couple of highlights from the past. So 200 years ago, the printed book and the printed Bible is not readily available to the average person, and so American Bible Society started with distributing and printing cost effective bibles for people of different ages and ages and stages. And military has always been a big part of American Bible Society’s history. Fast forward to the 60’s, American Bible Society was one of the first, if not the first to sponsor a paraphrased modern English Bible, Good News for modern man, and that opened up all these other new English translations that are serving different purposes, different approaches to translation, dynamic and paraphrase and whatever. And actually now it’s becoming more video and audio as well as digital. So American Bible Society has been a part of facilitating that. And if you think about it, the web address is becoming more and more the call to action and the destination in the first point of user experience. And so if people can’t get to youth to interact with you to that, I mean you’ve lost them right off the bat. So those long URLs, people usually don’t look at a print piece or a sign and type in the URL right there. So having memorability and for people to take that with them, pretty big deal. And we hope the word of God will be those planted seeds like Jesus talks about in his parable. And then it can blossom. And bear fruit in due time.
Kenny: Now, I’d love to know your thoughts on this, you know, in terms of the organizations that are adopting this, we’re looking at a couple of different segments of the market. What’s your view on that not.coms in general, you know, is it going to take the big corporate money in advertising to do that? Or is it the groundswell of the individuals that might come up and really start to embrace it and thrive? And because of that, the big corporate giants and marketing and advertising is going to take hold of that, you know, do you have any fortune telling, you know, predictions here?
DJ: We are the Future.BIBLE, and the Bible does have certain passages that are prophetic. What can I say? So, it is happening on both ends. So, I like the genius of both ends and what’s already happening is these new top level domains are being adopted in non US nations. So Europe is very friendly to it, parts of the South America. And actually the revolution is not just all these new extensions. It’s all these new languages, so China can have Chinese character domain names now, Arabic, Russian, Hebrew, Korean, Japanese, I don’t know all my languages, over 6,000 of them. Another thing we can talk about, but all these new languages that can bring the Internet to people where they’re at, they don’t have to learn English characters in English nomenclature. So, that’s actually the biggest revolution. And then the second part is these new extensions are meaningful as well as these new extensions that are associated with brands. So for the brands and the ones that have corporate dollars behind it for their marketing, it adds a layer of security as layer of authenticity because only .Google can register Google domain names. So there’s no more fishing and cyber faking whatever things. So, that’s a good thing because, we are in cyber warfare. So having that assurance is very valuable. The corporate world…
Kenny: Don’t you think it’s ironic, I think that’s something that’s an unintended consequence, but yet that’s going to accelerate because of the democratization of access to technology and the web. It’s going to increase the incidence of a potential for crime and identity theft and phishing, etc. Which is going to increase the need for companies and individuals and systems and cultures to figure out how to, you know, push back on that and have legitimate authority in terms of your identity on the internet for e-mail addresses, for locations, etc. especially where commerce is put into play and because of that, I actually think that you’re right, that brands are going to start to evolve where they’re going to take ownership of their own not.com extension and we’re just, you’re not going to need, to authenticate, because anyone that has a .Google email address is at google, right? Anyone who’s at .amazon, .ups, .americanheartassociation, etc. Those are the types of things where you’re going to have, again, I think it starts, everything’s going to start with the actual address and URL. Your identity is going to start there. Instead of being secondary, it’s going to be primary and solve a lot of problems at once.
DJ: Yes. And let me give you two specific examples that are happening right now. So in Europe and in Brazil, there are three multinational banks that have entirely switched over their operations into their own top level domain. So that’s .Barkley, .BNP Paribas, which is out of Paris. So I may not have the French pronunciation just right. And then Brazil has another one, Bancos or something like that. We can edit in the show notes. So three very significant, they’re managing a lot of wealth. These banks are switching to these new topple of domains to add that level of security, to add that level of authentication and to reassure their identity so that they can run campaigns and pages and events with a very succinct, a URL as a call to action. The second thing I wanted to mention was, it slipped my mind. So we’ll have to fix it in post. Well, when it comes back to me, we’ll add it here.
Kenny: Well DJ, we actually have a white paper, a PDF download case study report. Profiling how some of those banks and the other real life organizations are using top level domains to provide security and instant association with the brands. If everyone wants to go to get.bible/instance-report, you could download that PDF and see what’s actually happening in real time in today’s. This is again, this is not happening in the future. This is something that’s happened in real time with huge corporate, multinational corporations starting to establish this. And so this is something that I think people who are, want to know what’s happening on the forefront. We’ve got a case study report there that’s available to everybody and we’ll put that in the show notes as well.
DJ: So here’s the second thing that is happening right now as we speak, Google has changed their search engine results and their browser to indicate those websites that have an ssl certificate. So security is becoming more and more important and significant. And Google recognizes that to have that security adds value to the user experience and they want that front and center, so it’s showing up in the address bar now, and so it’s the logical progression. Google does have a registrar, so they’re registering a bunch of domain names themselves, they’re making it very easy to integrate into their Google sites and other popular website platforms. And so the next logical step is very likely the usage of all these new extensions and .Google is using it themselves with blog.google, registry.google and a number of other ones. So we are….
Kenny: It makes sense for the end user, right? So if it makes sense for the end user, we’re going to go in that direction industry wide. That’s just at the end of the day, we know that if it’s user centric, it’s going to go that way, no matter marketers want always things to go the other direction and they’ll throw money against it. But the internet is the internet and at the end of the day what gets rewarded is these things that actually are used as structured and utilize to be user centric. So Future.BIBLE, so we’re going to talk about internet. We’re going to talk about domain names and our journey as we evolve this project, which I think is a really an interesting case study for a lot of people to see what we’re doing, how we’re going to get traction for this project and all the other partnerships along the way. But in addition, I think you and I are interested, see what’s happening out there. Again, applying technology to the bible, so new, innovative, fresh cutting edge technology to the orthodox, unchanging, the rock, the word, the scripture that we all know as the bible and combining those two and what I guess what we did in our research is trying to find some other resources out there. And to my surprise, either they’re hiding or don’t have great marketing, but we haven’t been able to find that many dynamic resources out there that are cataloging and introducing and exploring the intersection of the bible and technology itself. And so I’m excited DJ on that front.
DJ: Yeah, it’s been surprising as much as computers and technology and internet and social media has become a part of every day lifestyle. I mean, who would have thought that you would have a cell phone parking lot. Who would have thought that Uber would give you convenient rides from point A to point B without having to tip and all you need is a cell phone and you don’t have get delayed for the receipt and pulling a credit card and all that jazz and that’s just to mention a few. And yet it has been very challenging for publishers to just create a publication like Christian computing. It’s been elusive to have an event where people can gather on an annual basis to have those face to face conversations about, hey, what’s happening with church and Christians and technology and bible and how can we learn from each other and push it forward? So those two things are just absent for whatever reason. There are some that happened once in a blue moon. I’ve been part of this space, if you want to call it since the early nineties. So how many years is that? Twenty eight years, I’m pretty old.
Kenny: And there’s been a couple of hackathons, there’s a couple of events, etc. But nothing that’s been consistent and that everybody knows that’s established. And so I think that’s what hopefully we are, now that is in contrast with the data points that you and I are seeing on an individual basis. There are pioneers, there are innovators, there are entrepreneurs out there using technology with the bible to help increase engagement, to help increase churches and pastors with their jobs and ministry and discipleship and exposure beyond just, and we’re talking beyond just taking the bible and putting it into an electronic Kindle form or You Version app, etc, right?
DJ: Exactly. And so we want to create that space where ideas can come together and create new things. There’s a Ted speaker that talks about ideas having sex and then these new things can emerge and multiply and reproduce. And so we want to create a show showcase, we want to create a platform, we’ll create a conversation. And this is a great platform to do that. We’re not just talking about domain names, we’re talking about new ways of helping our current and future generation engaged the bible, and there’s several that are on our wish list. I don’t think we’re ready to reveal that. We might reveal that in some of our correspondence over the coming weeks, but we’re building that list. If you have a suggestion of someone that’s doing something unique with the bible and technology, drop us a note at Future.BIBLE. We’d love to hear what else is going on because neither Kenny and I are omniscient so we can’t see everything. So let us know, we’d love to hear about it and have a conversation around what’s going on.
Kenny: Definitely, what we want to do is we want to be a Seth Godin says we want to be the idea of virus also, right? So we want to be a place, a space of a convenient conversation, collaboration, but also beyond that and let’s talk about just our home base as we start to close out this episode, we are actually practicing what we’re preaching, and our webs are, so our title of our podcast is Future.BIBLE, we’re using the .BIBLE extension itself. And that means that’s also a website address, right DJ? It’s www.Future.BIBLE. One of the things that we want everyone to do is hop on over there. We’ll have a contact form, we’ll have some resources, we’ll have show notes there. We’ll have ways for you to download and subscribe to the podcast across all of the major networks. You’re going to be able to get this on iTunes and Google Play and Stitcher Radio and Spotify, and even on your Alexa devices you’re gonna prompt this podcast to play the latest episode. On voice devices and so that’s the place we want everyone to refer people. So it’s www.Future.BIBLE. DJ, as we close out the show, what other parting, you know, ideas that can you see into people’s ideas that we’re going to be covering on this podcast. Are there any categories of companies on your wish list? I know we both challenged ourselves to come up with a couple dozen names that we’d love to reach out and meet and see how they’re doing and what they’re doing and the why behind their projects. Can you reveal any categories of innovators and innovation projects that you would love to connect with?
DJ: Awesome. Certainly I’m eager to get in touch with the ones I believe are innovating. There’s still a tendency for sincere bible believing Christians to recreate another way to present the printed bible. And that’s okay, it’s part of their learning, but it is a much more interesting and exciting for people like you and me when people are trying new things and taking a bigger leap forward that no one else is doing. And there’s good response. So there’s a couple of bible initiatives on Kickstarter that have gotten tremendous response. We’d like to talk with people like that because the response is a good indicator of, okay, this is resonating with people, it has potential to really help people engage bible. So that’s happening in the audio world, that’s happening in the app world. There’s a couple that are doing creative things in the YouTube Space. I’m pretty sure there’s creative things happening in Facebook, virtual reality, augmented reality are also leading edge kind of things. We, well, if you do some Google search and dig around, you might find them, but I think they’re still kind of hard to find and we want to make them easier to find and also have conversation with them, and who knows what technology moves so fast, what you can see at the store today at best buy or the phone store, what’s there today will not be there in two years. And so we try to do long term planning. We have no idea what technology’s going to look like in five years. So Future.BIBLE wants to keep our eyes open and tell you what’s going on so that you don’t get left behind.
Kenny: I love that, and just, my two categories right now is VR. I got my oculus go headset, you might see me on Facebook with it and playing around and asking people to join in. If you have an oculus go, you got to reach out to me so we can connect in virtual reality. And I think there’s so much potential in that space. The other one is AI, we’ve got a couple of ideas out there and there’s one venture I heard of recently that’s trying to use AI to actually ask questions and then radically presents and teach you in a different way. Guiding you through the bible, and so I think that those are the types of things that are interesting to me that, you know, we never had that chance to engage with the bible in that way before, just five years ago, 10 years ago, etc. And so absolutely those are the things that we hope….
DJ: I got a question for you, Kenny.
Kenny: Oh, sure
DJ: I’ll let you watch the MTV awards, but I did see the highlights of this actor named Chris Pratt that gave 9 Rules For Life, and I wanted to hear what you thought of it and then I’ll share with you what I thought.
Kenny: Oh, I love Chris Pratt. In fact that we’d love to get Chris Pratt on this podcast. Yeah, I think he did something that I think the church needs to think about. Pastors need to look at what he did on MTV, that he took that form factor, that medium, that channel, that environment, that community, that culture and using the culture that he was in was able to then present and actually explicitly referenced God and Jesus and faith, in a way that was winsome and in a way that people were actually cheering him on during his speech, which is actually if you ask anyone to give you examples in any other forum of how and when that happens in today’s culture, a post christian culture in Hollywood, which is many people say the bible has long left Hollywood, and yet he was sitting there on stage as an award winner and he was the ultimate good guy being cheered on talking about his God and, and the offer for that God to be the God for everybody else. Quite amazing, I thought.
DJ: Yeah, I’m with you on a lot of those points I was thinking just how well he contextualized and used macular and understandable images and ideas that people could understand that there’s something more to who they are, that people have a human soul then, that there is a God who loves them. And there is something about people that you’re more than that, you can live a better life and then at the end he describes how someone gave their life for you, don’t waste your life. And then he used his own rule, he actually followed his own rule about the, put your drugs inside of a hamburger, and so between the rules he had some goofy poop jokes and stuff. It was…
Kenny: I love it. Rule number one giving a dog a medicine, put the medicine in a little piece of hamburger and they won’t even know they’re eating medicine. And that actually should be the title of his book or his talk because that’s literally what he did with the gospel message there, right? That’s as to what he did.
DJ: Yeah, so I see the bible for the 21st century is not just reproducing the text itself, it is communicating it in a way beyond the paraphrase, but more towards an engaging experience with the word of God that points people to Him.
Kenny: Yes, I think we’re going to hear that word a lot DJ. Experience, because it is not just about engagement, It’s going to be the context of experience that this generation and beyond is craving and needing something I’m looking forward to as we meet our future guests on the show. Okay, and DJ as we finish out the show, why don’t we share our digits? What’s the best way for people to get in touch with us? To share some suggestions for guests for the show to give us feedback, give us inspiration, how, what’s the best way for people to do that?
DJ: Well, something I’ve learned from you Kenny is give them one call to action and so go to Future.BIBLE and all the buttons will be there for you to contact us, for you to connect with us on Twitter, on Facebook, on iTunes, and wherever you live, you can connect with us and we would love to start this conversation so that we are in this together and creating the future.
Kenny: That’s right, www.Future.BIBLE.