On a global mission “connecting the doers of today to create a better world for tomorrow,” PLUG LLC is paving the way for Indianapolis creatives. Landon Price and Cesar Paz, founder, and co-founder, are building a social networking platform that is changing the way the world connects. Get to know the minds behind the movement below!
Isabella Daugherty: Tell me about your own personal backgrounds and then into the background of the company.
Cesar Paz: I am originally from Venezuela. My family and I settled in Westfield, I grew up here and never went back. I grew up in a business marketing family so I have always had a thing for events. I’ve always had a thing for people and bringing people together so when I met Landon almost three years ago through Instagram, we clicked when we shared each other’s vision. What he was building was what I wanted to do within the community. So that’s how our first connection started.
Landon Price: I grew up in a small town, Jonesboro. Moved down here and got into food manufacturing and engineering, was going to school, then got into photography. I worked with a lot of people in the city. I saw the spike in social media and I saw that something was here and something was coming. Businesses could utilize these tools, so we are pioneering a creative marketing agency. I always had this idea that we should build an application that enables people to meet others around them within the vicinity and be able to exchange their social and business contact information. Through that, we brought people together through premier experiences and events. We are bringing tech and events together. Ultimately the goal is to get people in the community to know who lives around them and what they do.
How did you network and find collaborations?
CP: When opportunities showed up, I went. The first event that opened up many doors for me was Midwest Fashion Week. I had no idea what it was, but I met a lot of people and got my name out there. I put myself out there and allowed people to connect with me. Get your name out there and give value. Be memorable. How do you make yourself stand out? It’s finding ways that you can differentiate yourself from people.
LP: I took my camera everywhere even to events that I wasn’t the photographer. For me, it’s hard to have a random conversation so my camera is my digital business card. That’s how we grew the Join PLUG page, we went to events and took photos of everyone. We built the page up with those images and converted it to the Join PLUG page. Our mission is to connect the doers of today to create a better world for tomorrow. That mission stems from those events and the people we met.
CP: I would attribute Landon’s success in networking to being the physical form of the “plug”. He would meet a lot of people, have their contact information, and then be able to refer people. People would come to Landon and ask for connections. Landon is the guy that can connect you to anybody.
LP: During the time we were engineering the app, I was researching how to get to know as many people as possible, build an app, then send it to them all which ultimately would replace myself, “the plug”. That’s how the name originated.
What are the benefits of connecting with other creators and doers especially in Indianapolis?
CP: Before you can build a community you have to connect the community. It’s not that there’s a lack of talent, it is just nobody knows who to connect with and where you can go collaborate. Different markets like LA and New York, bigger markets and cities, there are places where people go and gather and they can do just that. Here everyone’s scattered and it’s difficult for those collaborations to blossom because nobody knows who everyone is. Everyone’s doing it by themselves. There is little collaboration, yet everybody has a genuine desire to go out and meet people. I think if more people knew who each other were, they would definitely be benefiting. It’s just finding opportunities and gigs. Models need photos, photographers need models. That’s one of the simplest ways of how people connect just from that genre and niche. The benefits are you’re meeting people, you’re discovering people in your own community and you’re potentially creating new collaborations.
If you could give advice to other creators or aspiring doers at the beginning of their journeys, what kind of advice would you give them?
LP: If you have the vision for something that you’re trying to do, it’s either go show as many people what you’re trying to get done and then just don’t stop until you get it done. We built the prototype and we showed thousands of people around the world. Then the last three years we’ve been privately working on this.
CP: Not a lot of people have had the opportunity to do some of the things that we’ve done. But whether you are a creative or entrepreneur, it’s just being tenacious and being consistent. Fulfill the vision that you’re doing because if you don’t believe in your vision, then how can other people believe in it? How can you talk about a product that you don’t even believe is going to work?
Give us a rundown of the app!
CP: There’s a feed that picks up people from a five to fifty-mile radius here in Indianapolis. You can customize your profile from a business standpoint with your contact information, email, hashtags, and social channel. When you customize your profile, you can toggle on and off what you wish people to see. Let’s say you walk into a business seminar and you don’t want people to see your social status. You can turn off your social status and now only people will see your business card. You’re able to actually see people right around you that are actually in your own backyard. The feed always changes based on what you’re at and the cool thing is you can discover so many people and what they do.
LP: We’re really honing in on the creators and the gig economy like photographers and videographers. We want to be eco-friendly so you don’t have to hand out a business card. Everything is very new. It has all been created from napkins to pieces of paper to what you are seeing now.
CP: We are seeing a lot of people collaborating. Our tagline is making it easier for people to connect, contact, and collaborate. Make a connection beyond a follow. I could follow someone on Instagram and have no idea who you are, it is just a new metric. We want to make the connection seamless, fast, and encourage people to connect. It is remarkable the impact on the community. The bottom line is that we want to make it easier for people to connect, contact and collaborate.
What challenges have you faced crafting a business in Indianapolis as well as during COVID-19? How did that shape your business?
CP: COVID-19 did impact a lot of people and businesses. Obviously, people can’t gather as much anymore as they used to, but I think it mostly impacted the psychology of the community because even though things are opening up a little bit I think people have conformed. Conformed to staying home, watching Netflix, or scrolling mindlessly on social media. So we position ourselves as innovative, disruptive and push boundaries for the people. At the end of the day, businesses are suffering, people are suffering through anxiety, depression, loneliness. There’s not a group in the city that is really doing social events, but not just social events, social events for the right reasons where we’re connecting communities. We want to showcase people through technology, but then also through unique experiences.
LP: It was a blessing and a curse. We weren’t able to move as fast as we wanted to right out of the flood gates, but it was one of the best things that could have happened. It made our team stronger and more creative so when the pandemic hit, we jumped to the forefront of getting involved with distributing food out to people that were in need. This year our biggest focus was creating the Indy Coat Thrive Drive. We’re basically getting people pumped up and excited to distribute coats in different various areas of Indianapolis. Ultimately we utilize the word of influencers, the community doers.
Do you have any goals to expand or do you just want to primarily stay in Indiana in the Midwest or would you like to expand your platform globally?
CP: Oh absolutely. Facebook didn’t stay in Harvard and there are a billion people now on it. So the beautiful thing about Indianapolis is that it is an open playing field for trial and error. If you go to different markets, like Silicon Valley and different areas that are known around the world, it’s very competitive. Everybody has an app idea and so getting yourself out there can be limited. Here we’re pioneering something new. We can test it and we can see our community. It’s a big, small city where we can trial and get better at it. But we are already planning for a global expansion nationwide and then soon to be global. The tool is “PLUG”, but the mission is to pioneer multiple things so we’re not just staying in the networking aspect. We want to connect people worldwide and then internationally.
What can we look forward to in the future with PLUG LLC?
CP: We want to expand our mission. We’re still continuing to do events, events that create the most amazing experiences for the city of Indianapolis. We would love to be able to create a music festival. As well as not just connecting people, but brands.
LP: I think what we’re going to see is a trend forming where we’re going to see people that live in the community, hanging out with people that they normally wouldn’t have and opportunities and referrals that would have never have taken place if it wasn’t for the application. We are going to see a switch of following people from high school to meeting different people. So we are changing what community is.