Speaker 1: (00:02)
Artificial intelligence cannot exist or succeed without human collaboration because content has lost its meaning a bit the same way. Awesome has Oh yeah, right? , everything is content, I would say. So now I'm rude by nature . I'm not saying everyone needs to be that, but I think being unexpected cuts through the noise. And that's,
Speaker 2: (00:35)
Hey guys, uh, this is Haddi Sheik, uh, from Tech Revel. We are back with episode seven of Technology for Change, and I'm excited to have on board with us, Kate Bradley Churns, um, as our guest. She happens to be the founder and CEO of Lately, a platform that uses AI and creates content for marketers, artists, business owners, um, you name it. Uh, you know, this is something we tech enthusiasts have relentlessly been talking about regarding, you know, product development in digital media. And I could go on about how this is taken, uh, you know, Storm on. I will have her on the show and, uh, then be able to give her, uh, you know, intro. With all due respect.
Speaker 1: (01:31)
Speaker 2: (01:32)
Hey. Hi, Kate. Welcome. Hi, welcome to the show. How's everything going? How are you doing today?
Speaker 1: (01:37)
Thank you so much. Um, well, it's Monday morning. So far, so good. One, one meeting already down and I managed to get my exercise in. I'm always like trying to get that, get that first jolt of the day and, you know, get your butt out there. And it's so hard, hotty, like, uh, you know, just, just the, the mental wellbeing, right? It's, you gotta work it in.
Speaker 2: (01:58)
Oh, definitely. Our last, uh, episode of was, I mean, we were talking about mental health and we were talking about, you know, personal as well as professional development, uh, and things, you know, we have to go through as entrepreneurs, uh, day in, day out. Uh, um, so are you like 5:00 AM in the morning? Uh, that rigid or Yes. Or, ok.
Speaker 1: (02:25)
Sleep wins in my world, right? I mean, I remember like having a bit of a come to Jesus with myself around that a few years ago and, and I just decided to not turn on an alarm when possible. Okay. And just get as much sleep as, as I need, you know, Let let it be natural, because when, when that doesn't happen, I ruin everyone else's day, right? ?
Speaker 2: (02:50)
Speaker 1: (02:50)
Speaker 2: (02:52)
. Oh, yes. Um, definitely. Um, so guys, um, without further ado, um, she, uh, basically has a, or been a former rock and roll DJ , is that correct?
Speaker 1: (03:08)
It's true, yes. Yeah,
Speaker 2: (03:11)
She's served 20 million listeners as a music director and has been an on-air host at Sirius, uh, xm. Um, so she's also a winning award-winning radio producer, uh, an engineer and voice talent with 25 years of national broadcast communications. Kate, do you wanna continue any of that or,
Speaker 1: (03:34)
Sure. All the fun stuff, right? I mean, who would've funk that a career in radio would parlay into a career running an artificially intelligent SAS company and, and not me, right? In fact, it, it feels all accidental a little bit, but the non accident is the, the wisdom you have to know to start connecting the dots that you've laid down through your life, right? Had, um, that, that's a big part of it. But one of the interesting things around, and, and I'll just digress for a second cuz I think it, it's important, my uber power from radio is turning listeners into fans or customers into evangelists. Similar idea there, right? And what does that mean? I mean, there's, it's one thing to talk about how to do that on, on the microphone, but you can do it in a and you were saying that you were at a conference.
Speaker 1: (04:31)
So what, how do you do that in person at a conference? How do you do it through a zoom call? How do you do it through writing a text message or a social media message? And it turns out that many of the components are, are the same and can be translated, which is how lately started to grow, um, and really capitalize on this experience. And we can get into more detail about that. But I mean, that's, I think, the key for any entrepreneurs to think about, how can I metaphorically take the successes that are right in front of me already and, and use or twist or mold them to enhance this software thing I'm doing here? This crazy other thing. Right?
Speaker 2: (05:16)
I guess, uh, that's when you really, I mean, you've identified or you've gotten into the neuroscience of Right. Communications with, you know, the different functions that you've been involved in, which is currently, uh, fueling the ai lately's ai to be true.
Speaker 1: (05:36)
Yeah. And I'm not a neuroscientist by any means, but what I was interested in in radio was the how, the how of what I was doing. And it was, it was un I was having these unlikely successes for the format we were in and, and a number of other things. And one of the things I started thinking about was the theater of the mind. How deep. So, you know, it's not very present when we're doing video because video is a gi all the, the instructions are right out in front. You don't have to do a lot as a viewer to get it right. We're giving you everything. But if you are reading or if you're just listening, those two acts require you to participate, require the imagination to fill in the blanks, right? There's a beautiful thing there that is unexplainable to some degree. And as the host of a radio show or as an author, you, if you're good, you allow for that unexplainable thing or that third character you might say, to have a voice into the story.
Speaker 1: (06:45)
And you're good enough to guide them to get you, get you where you want to go, or along the storyline, but also enough to make them feel as though they have a voice. They're part of the conversation. That's the trick, right? Um, and when, that was the realization that I had from music into writing or radio into lately, cuz lately is about writing essentially, you know, And to put it, I'll try to, I know this is kind of vague a little bit, I'll try to put it into real life. So I think about like a metaphor. If you're at a conference or you're in a room and you're networking, you don't want to be the loudest voice in the room. You don't want to be the person putting on a show. You want to be the person that makes everyone else feel that they're the light in the room. When you're able to do that, you make the fans, they walk away remembering you and no one else because you, you're playing on the ego is what you've done, right?
Speaker 2: (07:43)
That's what they remember, like how you made people feel. Mm-hmm. , it's not about, you know, what you do. It's not about, uh, you know, how much money you make at the end of the day, , Right? It's basically how you made them feel. I, wow. I mean, yeah. Yeah. I was gonna go get into networking because I mean, you've been, um, you know, um, a guest speaker on sales, marketing and entrepreneurial podcasts. You've led presentations for Walmart, Ericsson, sap, and I did want to tap into, you know, how you go about networking. So, I mean, you know, bringing that up is amazing. Uh, putting the light on the others.
Speaker 1: (08:26)
Yeah. That's the trick. Wonderful. And it's, um, it's not all gushy mushy, right? I mean, there's an end, like, I don't want, I don't, I don't want anyone to think that. I mean, everything I do is very calculated and I have a hard time not doing things for lately. Right? everything. I'm thinking about it. Even we were joking on LinkedIn the other day. I had mentioned that I've been married for 12 years now, but even our wedding, I figured out how to take as a marketing tax deduction and make it a marketing event because it was, I mean, I still use those pictures almost every day. Um, for, for something rather, you
Speaker 2: (09:03)
Tell your story. Is that part of your story?
Speaker 1: (09:05)
Yeah, it's part of the story, of course. And I mean, well, one of the things I realized was that everybody wants a headshot, of course. You know? And so of course I have the headshot of me looking a lot nicer than I do right now, and professional and wear jacket and all that. But wouldn't it be more fun if I sent them one of me jumping around playing a guitar, which I don't actually play, but it looks like I do. And that's the one that stands out and gets the attention. So, you know, we, we have a lot of those from our wedding, so I use them all the time. And, and it's fun because people smile, they laugh it, they wanna talk about it, you know, it's the, it's the easy way in When before we record today, I asked you some personal questions. Where are you in the world, ? What season is it? All those things that you were telling me, what, what have you been doing? And so I learned in a few minutes, just a little bit about you, right? And because this is gonna be better if I do. And you right now, we, we know each other.
Speaker 2: (10:08)
Speaker 1: (10:09)
Yeah. Like, we might, we might wanna have a meal together someday.
Speaker 2: (10:14)
For sure. Uh, I mean, you know, you, you are coming by Dubai. That's what I learned. I hope you take it.
Speaker 1: (10:21)
Yeah, yeah, me too. It'll be
Speaker 2: (10:24)
Looking forward to that.
Speaker 1: (10:26)
Thanks. But, so those, those little, little efforts of the, of feeling, let's break that down so people understand why it's so important. When you, and I'm gonna back up a little bit here. So here's the neuroscience of music listening. That is the meat of, of what has inspired me. When you listen to a new song, Haddi your brain must instantly access every other song you've ever heard in that moment, like lightning. And it's trying to find familiar touchpoint so it knows where to index that new song in the library of the memory of your brain. And so in order to do that, it's tapping into nostalgia, emotion, memory, These things all come as a package right now. Guess what? They're all ha they all have to be in place for trust to happen as well. And trust is why we buy.
Speaker 2: (11:25)
Speaker 1: (11:27)
Okay. So similarly, your voice has a frequency to it. Like a song, there's a musical note to your voice. Everyone's voice, okay? Mm-hmm. . Now, when you write me an email or a text or a slack message, I hear your voice in my head. There's your tone,
Speaker 2: (11:45)
There's your tone, there's your tone as well.
Speaker 1: (11:47)
There it is. Right? Right. And your job then is to make sure I feel the right thing. I'm not like, Oh, what a jerk. I'm like, Oh yeah, he's awesome. You know, you wanna communicate what you mean to communicate. And that's hard to do for many, many people. Even, even me. I mean, I like to joke to say that I have, um, resting face and writing
Speaker 2: (12:09)
Speaker 1: (12:10)
So a lot of smiley faces and emojis and, and you know, the place I don't do that is like with my husband or internally in Slack with my team, because those are the people I feel I can let my guard down and just kind of be myself. Cuz they won't,
Speaker 2: (12:25)
You've been interacting with them, you know, people around like your husband or colleagues, uh, Yeah, I mean, your team, they, they kind of know you're talk. I mean, they understand that. But that's, you're absolutely right. I mean, when you, uh, I mean, you have these, I mean, I'm sure you have telegram, group groups, WhatsApp groups, you know, you, you kind of have to just make sure that, I mean, I always go by, you know, uh, assume assuming positive intent, uh, right. Just to make sure that, okay, you know what, it's about work. Let's just help each other out with the job and make sure that, you know, oh, we are getting things done, being productive. But yeah. Okay. That's
Speaker 1: (13:04)
A good call.
Speaker 2: (13:04)
So, yeah, I try, I try, I mean, and getting it across the team to really helps a zoo, positive intent really works. So yeah. Tone, um, you were telling me about, um, how would that basically pick up now? And, and secondly, um, I was thinking all along, I mean, is it more like copy or content? Um, what do you think that difference is?
Speaker 1: (13:34)
Oh, that's a good, good question. You know, I mean, content, all content breaks down into copy, even video and audio because it can be transcribed into words. And the words are the building blocks of how we communicate in every language, right? Which is what lately focuses on very specifically which words and ideas. Even the sentence structures are getting the maximum engagement for you or getting the maximum emotion, which ones cause and trigger the most trust, right? This is exactly what we study. And so it's a cheap answer on my part. I'm sorry to say one is part of the other. Um, but I think it's okay to, to, I think it's important actually to break cop to, to go with copy because content has lost its meaning a bit the same way Awesome. Has Oh,
Speaker 2: (14:28)
Speaker 1: (14:29)
Right? , everything is content, I would say. So
Speaker 2: (14:32)
, everything is anything you put up there and yeah, I mean, there's, I mean, not to demotivate anyone, but I mean, you know, everyone's a content creator in 2022.
Speaker 1: (14:44)
That's right. Right. And is the question is, is is yours or is it effective? That's what we're all trying to get our heads around. Um, and so our aim was to demystify this process by going to the, the very, very basics. Because, you know, here to four, where most marketing softwares flourish is in on the, either the management side, so organizing, scheduling, calendaring, all that, or on the analytics side, you know, but, and, and marketers love to get lost in all the jargon of analytics. The bummer is that nobody knows what they're talking about. Even they don't know what they're talking about. Usually it's just a bunch of bibl. Yet there's all these people that need to understand these analytics, right? Whether it's, you know, your boss or your sales team or anyone else, they have to be translated. So let's just cut through all that noise and, and go down to the basics, the, the word, the words, the string of words, and to talk about, you know, why this works versus this doesn't. So let me, let me, let me give you an example that would make it simple to understand. Okay. Um, so women, especially self included, we tend to undermine our own authority with lots of apologies and excuses. So we have, um, like a series of crutch words that we'd like to lean on and, and people in general do this, not only women, but, um, like think, oh, I think this versus I know this, or I just wanted to say hi versus hi , right? Or possibly probably all these
Speaker 2: (16:35)
Things, justification or, you know, there's some sort of justification there where
Speaker 1: (16:39)
That's right. So if you, if you write down what you wanna write down and you look for those kinds of weak words specifically, and edit them out, the, there's another residual benefit, which is usually by editing them out. The next word is a verb. The, and if you start a sentence with a verb, you have to change the verb. So it becomes act an active verb, probably. Um, and it becomes a statement, right? And a statement always gives you authority, number one, but also then it turns your sentence into a call to action, which also gives you authority and makes people do what you want them to do. So I was saying to you how everything I do has a purpose and all communication, all of it is about getting someone else to do what you want them to do. There's no shame in admitting this. So I'm backing into every word choice with this intent.
Speaker 2: (17:36)
I mean, I think that's the first sale the human makes, uh, when they're born. I mean, when they're crying , they're actually communicating, Hey, you know, I'm hungry here.
Speaker 1: (17:45)
That's the best thing. I'm totally stealing that. That's the best thing anyone has said to me, uh, in an interview. I'm, I'm gonna use that. It's great. So, so good. I love it.
Speaker 2: (17:56)
So how did you determine, like, you know, what was that point where you said where these words and copy, you know, marketing, there's a lot of, I mean, if you look at these bigger brands, they're not really selling the product. They're selling these emotions as to how you would feel while using, you know, um mm-hmm. . And that's what I often tell to, you know, the different founders that I come across, entrepreneurs are willing to do something. I'm like, Okay, so what emotions or, and celery jobs are basically attached to the problem that you're trying to solve, right? Yeah. And that is what, you know, they would resonate with. That's what would basically, you know, have them approach you or have them approach your product or service. Um, I mean, and you know, in a world where, you know, there's, I would say competition, I mean, it's very competitive. I know it's going collaborative, um, because of, you know, things like slack and, um, other aspects. I mean, yeah, that's the term these days, but, uh, I mean, it's still very competitive, right? So I think that's when copy, um, or content would basically stand out and yeah, kind of assure, uh, that, I mean, this is what you, or this is what we want you to do, click here,
Speaker 1: (19:17)
, click here. Right? Yeah. It's that simple. I mean, you know, it's so funny because this art is, is very difficult, even though it is so simple. And it can be part partly for the misunderstanding of the tone and the intent we talked about earlier. We've all received a slack message that that may maybe doesn't get the right, you know, thing across or a text message. Um, but then there's also the, the BS factor, which is, and those brands, you said, for example, who want us to feel whatever they want us to feel. I mean, we can smell it a mile away. They're not fooling anyone.
Speaker 2: (19:52)
Does, does lately cut that out?
Speaker 1: (19:54)
Uh, it does, it works hard to do that. Um, you know, it's
Speaker 2: (19:59)
Speaker 1: (19:59)
It's learning it, but it's, it's bsn. I mean, you can't, it's garbage in, garbage out if you, I magic has not been invented yet, haddi, Right? I mean,
Speaker 2: (20:11)
So yeah, back to the fact where, you know, it was obviously a lot of data to consume. And, um, what I would want you to define to the audience in, in your, um, understanding as to what is ai, what is artificial intelligence for you, and how did you, I mean, how would you define its association and corporation within this business?
Speaker 1: (20:36)
Um, well, that's a great question. So, so for, for us, for me specifically, artificial intelligence cannot exist or succeed without human collaboration, period,
Speaker 2: (20:51)
Speaker 1: (20:53)
So we don't separate them, right? There's no replacing a human where we are. And, and I feel like this is something we have a hard time communicating. So let me try. Um, AI on its own is very cold. It's a robot. And humans on their own can be very slow , and maybe not their, at their best, let's say, but together, and only together, as in our world, in, in, in content creation specifically, is when you see it really light up. So the AI at lately, for example, will already get you to third base already. We're gonna start you there, but all right, with the human involved, we'll get you not only the distance around the plate and to home, but you get a run also. So it is a one plus one equals 33,000. It's, it's so much bigger, right? A lot of that is because artificial intelligence is like a garden. You have to tend it, you have to keep it learning and, you know, guide it around. Um, and I think the other component as well is we're seeing our customers do dual learning. So they're, they're teaching the ai, but they're also learning from it at the same time.
Speaker 2: (22:15)
Speaker 1: (22:16)
Right? Um, and that's, excuse me for interrupting you. The, the, I'm sorry that ties back into that. Remember that qua, the, the imagination, the fill in the blank, that third character, that's what it is at lately as well. So that, that's why the human can't be defined and bottled and boxed so many people in, in sas, especially investors I'm talking to, you want to do this to us, Okay? Right? They wanna just check all the boxes, but you miss the unicorns, you miss the deca corns when you're doing that. Stop it,
Speaker 2: (22:54)
. That's great advice. That's great ways we're gonna, uh, take a short out of this and put it up for sure. Right? I mean, I'm sure at an earlier stage, I mean, you may have, um, you know, had some challenges in, in, in creating that synergy that you're just talking about, the one plus one. Um, what difference did you come up with initially with, you know, when you were comparing content that was generated by humans versus ai
Speaker 1: (23:26)
Speaker 2: (23:26)
Before you were fused together, I guess
Speaker 1: (23:29)
Their timeline. Yeah, that's the good question. I, the thing we saw early on was that, and we still, we still see this now, is there's, um, sorry, everyone, but there's the laziness inherent to humans that we've been astonished by, and marketing in particular, the top marketers in the world who we've worked with still ask questions like, um, well, why would I wanna, why would I wanna market this thing more than once? And you're like, Oh my God, are you kidding me? or ? But I don't wanna take the time to, to, to write it. Um, you know, I wanna be doing other things. And it's just sort of like this, the hard way is the way Haddi, I mean, right, As entrepreneurs especially, you can't take the shortcuts until you've done it yourself. You can't do paid ads until you've done organic. It's pointless.
Speaker 1: (24:32)
You need all the testing and the words and the learnings, so you can translate that and then obviously scale it. Um, so that has per perplexed us consistently. It's like, I'm giving you this gift of getting you to third base, and you're, it's still not enough. Now we've learned to iterate, and I actually can get you, um, about 10 feet from home plate now. already, but still even that, like, you know, 1% more is just so hard for people. And the, but the reward is, and let me put some numbers on this for people. So, so with Gary Vaynerchuck, for example, of Vayner Media, we did an experiment with him. He fueled an entire Twitter channel. He created a new Twitter channel that was fueled by lately and nothing else. It got him a 12000% increased engagement. Okay. And there was an 80% correlation between what his humans picked and what my robot picked.
Speaker 1: (25:34)
So there was a lot that we saw that the AI was doing kind of well there, you know, it would miss on nuances because even, it's funny, I just hired somebody who's working in the UK who speaks English. She speaks the queen's English. And so she's asking me different things. Like, I had said, You're gonna have, I said to her, We'll, we'll, water hose, you, you're gonna have to cry, uncle. And she was like, What? I don't know what you just said. And I was like, I just mixed a bunch of metaphors. , waterboard, fire hose cry, uncle, you know? Right. All these things, these are human nuances that, um, don't, they can't translate because there's no repetition that an algorithm can find. It's not like, you know, when you're on your phone now and I'm typing to something like I miss, and then it says you, it's because that's a cliche.
Speaker 1: (26:26)
It's heard over and over and over and over and over again, Right? But the, the nuances that, that we would say it, it won't, it won't get that because they're rarities right now. Those, those rarities, by the way, and I'll give some more examples, are the things that, that change the channel. So for example, we discovered that hashtags used traditionally haddi, um, as basically a string of index kind of light bulbs or, or wannabes, let's say call 'em index wannabes at the end of a social post, um, are totally antiquated and in fact will sync your algorithm. But instead, if you use in hashtags as a, a one or two word combined optimizer of whatever the message is, you start to see much radically higher engagement. So my highest engaging, um, hashtag was hashtag peeing my pants . Cause that's what I said when Gary Wier Chuck tweeted about us, Right?
Speaker 1: (27:34)
And because the AI picked up that there's a human, um, element here. It's, it's the nuance and it gets the re-shares. Cuz this is all about that emotion. You know, I wanna give, before we jump forward, I wanna give folks just one more number so that they can sure. Not think what we're talking about as complete bs um, . So at lately, we only use lately and nothing else to do all of our marketing and lead gen. We don't do cold calls or cold emails, um, or, or any paid ads. And we have a 98% sales conversion, 98%. And that's because the AI is so good at literally identifying those words and keywords and phrases that will get us the highest engagement, get us the most emotion.
Speaker 2: (28:27)
I mean, that number just stu me over there, which I want to get deeper into lately in terms of, you know, so you, you, you just mentioned the experiment with Gary and I mean, uh, how does an individual, uh, or a business basically approach you and what can they expect out of lately, essentially? Is it, uh, gonna be an, I mean, an audit on their website? Is it their ad copies as far as, you know, integrations are concerned? Uh, how far does this go?
Speaker 1: (29:03)
Yes. Um, well thanks for asking. So, so on the, the layperson's level, when you connect your social channels too lately, we instantly study everything you've published for the last year. Sometimes we can go back farther, It depends on the person and the channel. And we're looking at what messaging got you the highest engagement. And we're breaking that down into the words, the ideas, the phrases, the sentence structures. So now we have a very unique custom writing model that belongs to you and your voice and no one else, right? It's all about you. When you then feed lately long form content, it be text form, like a blog or a web article or chapters of a book or any word document. It could be audio. So any podcast, and it could be any video. So interviewing the CEO or a webinar, uh, really anything, um, lately will take that model.
Speaker 1: (29:59)
And it's reading, it's transcribing the audio and video first of all. And it's reading the text and it's trying to clip up what it sees, contain what's in the model. So it's, it's got this, it knows already what's gonna get you the highest engagement once it clips it up. If you have, um, video, it'll actually clip up your video into miniature memes for you as well. Or, or, or gifs gifts, What is it? Sorry, one of those guys never, I never know which it is. Giffy, jiffy. Um, and then with the audio, it'll be an audiogram. So those will be in the social post. And then in some cases it'll actually also rewrite what it clips up in the efforts of, of, um, optimizing for you. Now also, while it's doing all that, it'll give you multiple chances to teach it. So every edit you make, every one you publish, every one you trash, it's learning what you like, what you don't like, what works and what doesn't.
Speaker 1: (30:55)
It's learning still from your analytics, always ongoing. And then it actually is also accessing a number of other databases. So my best practices first cuz who doesn't want a 98% sales conversion? So it's looking at my best practices, it's looking at the best practices of, um, all of our customers as well. And then we integrate with some of the top, uh, AI platforms in the world, all the, all the top ones in the world as well to help fill in just a couple of extra, extra blanks for you there. So there's a lot that goes into it. The most important thing though is that what lately is recommending to you is not a blanket best practice. It's very specific to your voice and what will work with your audience.
Speaker 2: (31:45)
Is there a certain input that, you know, the business would put in as in, you know, what their goals are? What are they looking to achieve? I mean, or, or does it basically study the product? Uh, like a product brief, a product description or something?
Speaker 1: (32:00)
Speaker 2: (32:01)
How do they evaluate that?
Speaker 1: (32:03)
It's so, such
Speaker 2: (32:04)
Good or I mean, you could tell me if it's a trade secret, I'll
Speaker 1: (32:07)
No, no, I'll move to . Um, well in addition to your analytics from the social channels, cuz there's, you know, clear one one to one evidence of what works and what doesn't in our enterprise package, you can upload a series of key messaging to help sort of jumpstart the AI brain and give it added guidance of, you know, where your brand voice is and what works for your brand. On the, um, self-service side, the small business side, which we just released six months ago, we're now, I'm so glad you asked this. We're we're just starting to toy with, um, we, we found that cadence is, is the biggest question we always get. How much we want, how much and why. So we're asking you what your goal is around cadence, and then we're showing you how lately can save you time. It's usually 12. So the average person takes 12 minutes to write a social post by hand. Lately does, it will give you, let's say 24 in about 1.8 seconds. Wow. Which is pretty fast. Yeah.
Speaker 2: (33:18)
Almost like 84% of the time that's going into writing would just go down
Speaker 1: (33:25)
Ex I mean. Exactly. Exactly. It's huge. And that's just the, now it is a jumping off point. Oftentimes 20% of them are ready to go and you don't really have to tinker with them much. But then there's about 40% that are, there's something so meaty in there and this is where the human needs to intervene, you know? Um, it's so interesting haddi because we do get this question a lot of like, well why would I wanna publish something? Why would I want to advertise this more than once? Right. Or promote this more than once. And I always tell them about radio, right? We've had this experience, I mean, where,
Speaker 2: (34:03)
Speaker 1: (34:04)
Speaker 2: (34:05)
I mean that's, that's what leads to brand recognition. I believe it's the persistency of that brand believing in something. I believe that's why we have campaigns that go on for, you know, at least uh, a quarter, right? That's right. To be able to eventually reach out to almost everyone in that demographic per se, unless, you know, it's a failure where that's when they could do the experimentation and hey, you know what, no, we shouldn't have said that. That wasn't a good statement. We, we could probably change. And I, I, I now see we, I mean before going live on the radio, on on tv, um, what difference that can actually make, uh, when understanding, uh, what would work and what wouldn't. Um, that's amazing. I mean, you know, people still kind of have their reservations on AI and how specifically, you know, ads have been following me. Uh, I mean that is retargeting and remarketing. That's so annoying. And people are, I mean, do you believe that someone's actually listening? I mean, I wanted to I don't think so. It's how it works, right? I mean,
Speaker 1: (35:20)
That part is weird.
Speaker 2: (35:22)
Speaker 1: (35:24)
. I'm with you.
Speaker 2: (35:25)
Yeah. Must be a myth, uh, on social listening that you've dealt with. Or any myth that's the most common about ai,
Speaker 1: (35:34)
You know, with that, by the way, that's the laziness factor. Cuz we get, we do get asked that. And it's so funny how people are so averse. I'm like, you, you, you have to go to Twitter and open the app yourself and read what people are saying yourself. Like this is one of those cases where even Twitter and LinkedIn and Facebook and everybody, they, they want you to go there yourself and not always use a third party. Here's your opportunity if you're not actually involved. It's kind of like, I'm always amazed when, um, everyone in the company doesn't receive the company newsletter, right? Cause like how can you possibly know what's going on if you're not putting yourselves in the shoes of the customer?
Speaker 2: (36:14)
Speaker 1: (36:16)
It's just insane . But people that's, that, that's that lazy factor, right? Because it take, it does take work. This is human required. Um, there's no getting around it, you know, that's just the part of it. But I always say to them, Well, I mean, if you already have a 98% sales conversion, then by all means do it your way, . But if you don't, you could try this. Right .
Speaker 2: (36:42)
Absolutely. All right. And, um, I mean, you must have come across like something what you've built. I mean, definitely. What was that, what that biggest challenge that you actually had to overcome? Or, I mean, how did you tackle it?
Speaker 1: (37:00)
It so many, I mean, it's endless, right? This is the, this is the startup life. It's just constant. Um, as far as the product goes, we, we were focused on enterprise sales initially. We were focused on small business seven years ago. That's where we started. And we produced this product that we, we suffered from product bloat and we feature blo and we built sort of too much. We're trying to build what I used to own a marketing agency. So you're, you know, from this hu right? , you've been here,
Speaker 2: (37:32)
The audience, you what's
Speaker 1: (37:36)
Speaker 2: (37:37)
Blo, I love to tell people what product blows
Speaker 1: (37:43)
You all, we all suffer from it. You can't help it. But that's when you, you over build your product, you build too many features because, and, and it's not, sometimes it's just because you're, you're, you know, you're like, Oh, well this would be great to have. We need this, we need this. And maybe customers are telling you, a lot of the times people are demanding it and you just wanna make them, you just wanna please them in the beginning, right? Um, and you're bright eyed and bushy tailed and, and you realize, first of all, the more you have, the more you have to keep track of and the more problems there are and then they're hard to solve. And then you can't figure out where the problems are because there's so many things changing at once. It's a whole crazy beast, right?
Speaker 2: (38:21)
Yeah. Then, you know, they don't know what, what it is that you're doing. I mean, do you, do you sell sneakers or do you make those
Speaker 1: (38:30)
Yeah, it's, we, you know, we, our initial idea was, so I owned a marketing agency and I, I did the, I did the basics of what lately has become by hand for Walmart. And I got them 130% ROI year over year for three years. So the plan was automate that. Okay. And so we took apart this spreadsheet, this behemoth spreadsheet I had built for Wal Walmart with like 20,000 rows, I'm not kidding, at least 40 tabs. And we made each one a feature. Okay? So boom, we're already starting at Bloat City . And we saw though that the one feature that would read a blog and then clip it up into social posts, people like that a lot, you know, they liked a couple of other features as well. And so we started to talk about the product differently. We didn't know it was AI still and just do our demos different and we could see cottoning on more and more and more and more.
Speaker 1: (39:29)
All these other features were just getting ignored. Right? And now they're totally ignored. But we're, we've got so much tech debt and other things, we don't have time to clean up the product and even take them out even though they're just like lying dormant. So what happened was we, we ended up growing the product 240% in 2020 monthly re recurring revenue. Yeah. Yes. Part of that was, um, we built the video clipping feature. So video was having quite a moment on Zoom in, in 2020, as you know, and Gary Vaynerchuck came into my life and all these good things ha were happening. Then I got into 2021 and the s hit the fan and I realized that I was putting everybody into an enterprise product, small, medium, and large business. Now we realize it really was an enterprise product. How could they possibly train with my, my one human resource?
Speaker 1: (40:24)
Like, it's impossible. They can't afford 300 bucks a month. If I charge them 20 bucks a month, they don't use it and it's not worth my time. So it, you know, nightmare. So we having not raised money for two years also, um, and eating glass for months and months and months upon months, it's delicious. By the way, we released our self-service product because it was a, what we could do with the resources we had, and we could see that in order to like very much like Zoom in order to get, in order to close enterprise deals, employees were already passing us around and hitting a wall. So let's make it so they can pass us around and close the deals and oh my God, at the same time, if we do this, the 70% of very small businesses we've been turning away for years should also be able to buy the product and then we can hit the long tail.
Speaker 1: (41:21)
You know, So this is, this is the hardest thing I've ever had to do Haddi. Cuz I had to not only eat glass but eat crow, a lot of it, you know, and we're just starting to turn the corner. So I'm in this place where I've got a new product that's killing it. I've built, I've got a hockey stick and I can put a dollar in and get a dollar 50 out, but my old product is stagnant cuz I haven't been able to put, I had to choose where to put my resources. Now technically I flatlined the company. I flatlined the monthly recurring revenue. In fact, I lost a bunch of it. Okay. So hard to raise money on that cuz investors are on the binary scale and they see zero in one and I'm still not at one, you know? And, um, the hard thing is keeping at it and being patient and it's not hard to believe. We all believe, we all are very clear on what we're doing and that it will work. But waiting out the, that's hard.
Speaker 2: (42:30)
That's definitely hard. I mean, uh, do you think that maybe it was, uh, you know, not really identifying or how would you have identified, uh, your ideal customer profile? Like, you know, how would you have done that if you know you had magic is invented and you'd be able to go back in time, What would you do to have identified that? Something that, you know, uh, a lot of, uh, you know, our clients, a lot of, uh, people that we are consulting, softwares, building their softwares, we really kind ask them this question. So what would you suggest in order to be able to approach that faster? I mean, you've had tons of glass , but how do we save that for the others?
Speaker 1: (43:20)
It's so hard. It's still, we don't have one still, and it's because everyone is our customer. Nobody wants to hear that. Guess what? I can market to the small business in the enterprise companies the same way. And I have a 49% conversion on self-service product. So like, that works. Excuse my French. Right? And it's, it's the thing, it's so annoying because we look, we look at pain point, what's the pain point and the need of the customer. They are the same. They are the same. The communication of that pain point is what's different. Right.
Speaker 2: (43:57)
Interesting perspective on that.
Speaker 1: (43:59)
Yeah, it really is interesting and no investor likes to hear this and, and it's very hard for me to hire a salesperson and explain to this as well, right? But then here's what saved me was, and my, my advice to anyone is to just keep making the effort to find the people that believe in you and will support you. And Mark Roberts, who is one of the world's most famous CROs, he took HubSpot to ipo, um, and now runs stage two capital and is a professor at Harvard Business School. He coached me for eight weeks last summer or 10 weeks. And he's the one that said they don't believe you because they've never seen it before. But, but you're right. And that validation Haddi has, that's the fuel that I've been living on for a year and a half, have to tell you.
Speaker 2: (44:51)
Amazing. Sometimes that's all it takes.
Speaker 1: (44:56)
Speaker 2: (44:57)
We make it work. Making it
Speaker 1: (45:00)
Work, making it work. We, we started on the mental aspect, right? And there, there it is. That's because when you have nothing else, when you have only glass , this, you can only survive if, if you can believe.
Speaker 2: (45:18)
So would you say that was, uh, or that, I mean, was your most important mentor, um, throughout the way, or who would Yeah, we all need one. I mean, they say, Hey, you didn't have one, did you?
Speaker 1: (45:38)
It's har it's funny. I would say on a product side, uh, well, I would say generally yes. However, the reason I'm hedging is because my co-founders, Brian and Jason are my favorite mentors. And I can exist without them. And from advice to problem solving to sense of humor, like I, I only survive because of these two humans and my husband. But really there's no, you know, I, I'm very grateful because,
Speaker 2: (46:13)
Uh, we'd be sure to basically include them as well. Go ahead, tag them so that, you know, our audience can kind of follow them, be able to see and understand what it is that, you know, you've founded them on. Either, you know, product, site, tech site, emotional, mental support, whatever it is, definitely be able to go ahead and highlight them. Would want to know what it is. And, you know, you've been answering so many questions that I've actually had this has been an amazing, an amazing conversation where, I mean, I'm liking it because I'm not really asking you what, who I, but it, it's just, you know, going there. I think that's what, uh, lately has basically done for you. You see the conversations in very, um, I would say you've been learning from the AI too, I believe.
Speaker 1: (47:04)
For sure. I, yeah, I know. I mean, I was thinking about teaching this course actually. You, you learn to know what to say to get the AI to focus on it, right? I know how to write the perfect blog for my product. I know how to give the perfect interview for my product, and I'm gonna ask you for the file. I, I'm mention that I'm gonna ask you for the file, run it through lately, clip it all up, use it as lead gen for me, but drive all the traffic back to you. So I don't care if we have two listeners or 20 million listeners, it doesn't matter because it's, it's content.
Speaker 2: (47:41)
Let's do this. I mean, let's do this, like, let's call it a social experiment, . We are gonna run this podcast guys through Lately's ai and we are gonna try to see and understand what it is and how is it actually driving that traffic. Uh, because we were just talking about how it works and it's amazing. Uh, people who think that, you know, the myth regarding social, uh, listening has been busted. I always prefer to be targeted as an audience. I want a discount to a staycation. I want a discount for, you know, the next Yeezys that come up and a lot of other things that's happening. So yeah, I definitely think that, I mean, I see that positively. Um, and I guess you are using AI to that advantage, basically helping people not only save time, but also understand their customers better. And isn't that what people want? They want to be heard.
Speaker 1: (48:43)
Speaker 2: (48:44)
Exactly. They want to be heard. And that's what's happening. That's what lately is doing. Amazing. Is there anything, uh, that you would want to change about the industry, about, you know, within ai?
Speaker 1: (48:57)
Um, it's funny. No, I don't. I I think, I mean, not about ai, certainly about how female founders,
Speaker 2: (49:09)
Speaker 1: (49:12)
That, you know, it's a, it's just, that's what I'll do next. What I'll do next is, is I hope that what I do next is to work an ex at an accelerator and help bolster the egos of female founders and underdogs in general, right? Um, there's so many people that say they're helping and they're not, they're not putting their, their money behind their words. And I wanna rub it in so hard. Haddi,
Speaker 2: (49:44)
You could do that. I mean, I will definitely take a note of that. I know a few accelerators over here in Dubai UAE that are focusing on that. Yeah. Um, and I mean, I, I think, you know, if not back home globally, you know, that would contribute in some way or the other. Uh, that's amazing. I mean, as an entrepreneur, it's not just about, you know, being able to raise, you know, 2 million to 10 million or whatever. It's also being able to create an impact because that's where the passion is coming in from. You know, Gary, you mentioned Gary, even he says, you know, if you're just doing it for the money, then the money will come and go. But there's no way
Speaker 1: (50:35)
Speaker 2: (50:35)
Eventually. Yeah, I mean, so work on the product, stay persistent, believe in the product, and make sure that we are solving a pain point for the customer. And, you know, eventually you will be rewarded. I wouldn't say that the money will be coming, but
Speaker 1: (50:53)
Speaker 2: (50:53)
There's a different reward Yeah. Altogether in that. Um, but then again, you know, when we combine that with your marketing experience with product strategies, learning from previous mistakes, I mean, how many times did you have to, basically, did you, you know, you mentioned a soft launch and how many times did you launch?
Speaker 1: (51:15)
Oh God. Every day. I feel like we, I mean, you know, like, we, we literally iterate every day. Um,
Speaker 2: (51:21)
Speaker 1: (51:22)
Constant, constant, constant, constant. And I'm, I'm lucky cuz my co-founders can, can do that, right? They're, they have that nimble ability and they, they see the value in it. Obviously. That's a big thing. We, we learn, we learn fast and we're, we're willing to learn until we nail it. That's, that's the patient, right? Like how, like either we give up or we keep learning until we, until you get there, whatever the there is. Um, or you, you know, some finally you admit you're outta your mind . Um, yeah, it's a, this is a wild guy. I wouldn't recommend anybody do this, by the way. Yeah.
Speaker 2: (52:09)
Speaker 1: (52:10)
Speaker 2: (52:13)
Cut that off. We do, I mean, I happen to motivate, uh, based on facts, based on, you know, uh, strategic sometimes, you know, we're just trying to make sure that, I mean, asking these questions that actually say, or make them think, Hey, you know what, maybe you're right. This isn't such a good idea. Uh, so I mean, you know, it's, I, we feel like it's our job to make sure that we are able to kind of, um, shake a little bit of, you know, reality into, uh, a lot of people that come up to us saying, Hey, we want to be able to build X, Y, Z, uh, but hey, are you willing to give in that time?
Speaker 1: (52:54)
Speaker 2: (52:54)
Willing to, Are you willing to wait till you're 40 till you make nce?
Speaker 1: (52:59)
That's a sign of a CEO, by the way, is to know when to fold them
Speaker 2: (53:04)
. Right? You know, you started off, uh, you know, with, you know, us entering into a networking event. Um, what methods are you, are you still focusing on? Um, do you just walk into a room or, you know, what is it that,
Speaker 1: (53:23)
As far as the events
Speaker 2: (53:24)
Go, whats are you Yeah,
Speaker 1: (53:26)
Um, I I an event is only valuable for me if I'm on stage. It's not valuable otherwise. That sounds a little selfish, but it's the honest truth. Um, because the cost of the has to travel. Yeah. It's just too much, you know, and
Speaker 2: (53:41)
Yeah, but I mean, if you were to basically like, you know, uh, someone's starting out within the city, I mean, there's a lot happening.
Speaker 1: (53:48)
Speaker 2: (53:50)
What do you think those methods still work? Or, you know, is it better to just basically drop in a message, say, Hey, I'd like to have 15 minutes of your time, I resume, where's meeting over?
Speaker 1: (54:03)
So I'll tell, I'll tell a story and then I gotta, I gotta split after this story. But, um, so my first accelerator that I was in era entrepreneurs round to build accelerator in New York. Um, we had applied, but I, I've learned this lesson and I've used it in everything, which is going through the regular paths are for not the winners, let me just say you always have to have, or I'm always looking not for the shortcut, but for like the, the leg up. And so they had a cocktail party and I was told to go and ask to find Marat. Okay. And I don't, didn't really know who that was. He's some, some someone who was leading the accelerator. So we show up at this huge club in New York City. It's like the kind, there's three stories. And I did one, first thing I did was I wore, I have a, I have a coat, it's all gold.
Speaker 1: (54:59)
I wore my gold coat and I did that because I'm in New York and then everyone's in black, right? So I knew I would stand out and here we are, and I we're in the bar and I see there's this line, 50 people deep. And Marat is in a corner that's Marat waiting each, each entrepreneur is waiting to talk to him. And I'm thinking, I'm not waiting in this line. So I just walk up to him and I said, Hey Marat, Brian said I should come and say hi to you. I'm Kaitlyn from lately. And he stopped what he was doing and he is like, Can you wait right here? I'm gonna come and find you in 10 minutes. And I said, Sure. So I waited for 10 minutes and he came and found me and I gave him my, my pitch. And uh, we got in to the accelerator, by the way.
Speaker 2: (55:45)
Speaker 1: (55:47)
Speaker 2: (55:48)
Wow. I mean, so yeah. I'm sorry, I didn't
Speaker 1: (55:50)
Mean to cut you off. No, no, but I mean, so, so there you go. Like the, now I'm rude by nature . I'm not saying everyone needs to be that, but I think being unexpected cuts through the noise and that's
Speaker 2: (56:08)
Okay. And of course, you know, there's a lot of noise, there's a lot happening. There's, I mean, you could have spent the next three hours just trying to get to know people, right? But you had an objective, right? I think knowing your objective is very clear.
Speaker 1: (56:24)
It is. And also that room was full of people. I didn't want to know it was full of entrepreneurs, Right. I wanted to know the guide, the top of the accelerator. And that's, I mean, that's the thing about conferences that are super annoying. We're all there to make a sale. . Like, it's fine to talk about, talk to the other people in your booths or whatever, but like, that's why I think they can be a waste of time. Know sometimes, or conferences do a good job of badging where like your badge will say, I'm a company, I'm an entrepreneur, I'm in sales, I'm in marketing. They have these little flags that they put on, or investors, which I think is brilliant because that cuts, cuts through all this. I don't have to, I don't have time to shake everybody's hand. I mean, I know that sounds terrible, but like, I just don't, I gotta make the most of the time. And I would do the same thing at Saster if someone is speaking and I want them to invest in me. I'm the first person Interesting. When they get off state that's there, you know, push your way up.
Speaker 2: (57:19)
That's great advice. . It's definitely a lot, a lot that, you know, we have gone over and this has been very exciting. This has been, um, I mean we will definitely be doing a summary of everything that we've spoken about. Uh, Kate really appreciate your time and after, you know, knowing what you just told me, I'm glad that you were willing to talk to us . Thank you. And, uh, you know, be on our podcast. Uh, I'm definitely sure that, you know, this has been helpful for a lot of people. Um, we'll put up the, you know, main points that we went over, um, and we'll catch you later. Once again guys, thank you for watching.