Women in Data

AI in the Music Industry with Kate Bradley Chernis, Hosted By Sadie St. Lawrence of Databytes Podcast - Featuring the Lately CEO

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Transcript

Speaker 1: (00:01)

Welcome to the data vis podcast by women in data, where we give you your weekly bite size dose of career development, advice, industry, case studies, and career stories to help you Excel in your data career

Speaker 2: (00:14)

Today, I'm chatting with Kate Bradley. Churnis the founder and CEO of lately lately uses AI to learn which words will get you the most engagement and turns those videos, audio and texts into dozens of social posts. Containing those words. Kate has had an exciting career as a former rock and roll DJ to music director, to on-air host at Sirius XM to owning her own marketing agency and to now being the founder and CEO of lately. In this episode, Kate shares the inner workings of how music and neuroscience inspired the design of Lately's AI model and the highs and lows of the entrepreneurship journey and how authenticity is the only way to lead. Enjoy Kate. Thanks so much for joining us on the data bites podcast. I've been looking forward to this conversation for quite some time now.

Speaker 3: (01:06)

Hey, there Sadie me too. Hello everyone from, um, the Catskills of New York, not the big, bad city, just the, the boring country.

Speaker 2: (01:16)

I don't know. The country seems to be the place to be now with the pandemic and everything. I mean, the fact that we're connecting I'm on one coast and you're on the other coasts we can connect with anywhere across the world. It's I don't know. I feel like the country now combines the best of both worlds now that we live in this digital age.

Speaker 3: (01:36)

Yeah. I mean, I I'm a Vermont girl originally, so like, I totally prefer this and you're right. Like our population increased 30% in the last few years, which is insane. And so of course, like my whole family's like, you should sell your house and I'm like, but where would we move? I mean, yeah. People are moving here for a reason. It's we, we really like it.

Speaker 2: (01:57)

Um,

Speaker 3: (01:58)

Yes, but it's, it's, uh, it's wild. Like, have you been traveling at all? Like since sort of the freedom to travel

Speaker 2: (02:08)

Just recently, just starting the summer. Um, I've found that conferences seem to be coming back with a fury and I've realized I'm very much outta shape for conferences. I was like,

Speaker 3: (02:20)

Me too.

Speaker 2: (02:20)

I haven't used

Speaker 3: (02:23)

So

Speaker 2: (02:24)

Funny.

Speaker 3: (02:25)

Yeah.

Speaker 2: (02:26)

Like I think y'all became introverts in the pandemic

Speaker 3: (02:29)

We did. And what's weird say to is like, so this is your job. And this is my job too is right. Talking online virtually to the world all the time. And so I feel like I'm really great at making friends like this, but for some reason in person like the small talk or whatever, doesn't come as easy anymore.

Speaker 2: (02:49)

No, it doesn't. And it's funny because I know there are a lot of people who struggled making friends in a digital world. And I was like, no, this is my jam. Like I can do this. Like just start podcasting. You'll meet so many cool people. It'll be great. And then I realize now I'm that person who like, I don't know how to make friends in a real world. So anybody with some tips out there send them over our way, cuz we need some help. So you just have business ideas. I feel like flowing from you because you've had such an interesting life and career from a rock and roll DJ to music director, to on air host of Sirius XM, then owning a marketing agency and now being a founder and CEO of lately. Uh, I'm just so curious, like what inspires you to like keep trying new things and learning new things and then creating new things. Cause you have had a fantastic career that I'm sure has endless stories.

Speaker 3: (03:53)

You're so funny. Like, you know how, when you look back on your, at your, at your life yourself, like, it doesn't seem that amazing to me. Um, but of course it is. And that's not because I'm being, you know, coy, but you know, I think it's because when you look at something that you've done and then you have to like take a moment and give yourself credit and be like, oh my God. I like actually I did that. That was hard, you know, cuz you're just in the moment you're just doing it. You're just surviving. And you don't even know a lot of times I feel like I don't even know to question some of those things or, or to even know that maybe it was challenging or that there was another way to do it. Right. That's that's, what's kind of crazy. You're just kind of eyes forward.

Speaker 3: (04:40)

And a lot of times too, I mean, luck is part of it, right? Sadie. I mean, thank God. You know, it's not only the luck, but then it's the wherewithal to know to, to go with the luck, to go through that door or um, maybe not the wherewithal, but it could also be the insanity you might say, you know? Um, but I think, you know, for me, what I think about a lot is how do I, you know, it's lately ended today, what do I stand on? Right? Why did I do this? Why, why was it worth it? And the, the biggest reason is you talking to women, like you talking to women who may be, might be listening today or in the future, you know what we do as, as underdogs, we are underdogs often is sometimes multifold what others have to do. Right.

Speaker 3: (05:41)

And it can be any underdog. And the respect that I've gained for women, I have to say is I used to, I used to like, not, not get that. I was embarrassed to be given the, the pink version of the pink t-shirt, you know, or that whole thing. Mm-hmm and I didn't wanna be a part of women's clubs or anything like that because frankly, the guys look like they were having more fun, to be honest with you. Right. and it's because I didn't know how hard it was and it wasn't until this doing startup land that I, I, it started to happen to me running into that wall and I wasn't willing to even admit that was the case. I had to have other women around me, tell me, this is, this is what's going on here. You know, mm-hmm and because it seems like a crutch, right?

Speaker 3: (06:32)

And that people will be like, oh, well you're just tossing it. Aside is like, you know, a way to not take, um, ownership of whatever is happening. And that's not the case. And anyways, I've, I've really gained so much respect for the other women. I know. And for myself, the respect that I've gained for myself and the things that I've done, you know what I was a line cook all through high school and college. And I did that to feed myself. I didn't have money for two meals a day and they were free if you worked in the kitchen. Now, if you guys have read Anthony de Bourdain's book, everything about that is true. So it's a total boys' club. Right. And it's sexist and all the things and you're you just have to ride the ride. Right. I mean, if you're choosing to be a part of it, you're choosing to be a part of it.

Speaker 3: (07:15)

And amazingly Sadie radio was really similar. It was like super pirate, cow, cowgirl, lawless. I mean, this is why it was fun. Right. But it was also why it was like completely, um, I mean again, sexist city, right? And amazingly startup life is the, is the same kind of jam it's like lawless you're up against the world. It feels like you're the worst part though, is you're up against yourself? I mean, I don't know about you, but it sounds like from the few minutes we've gotten to know each other today that you hold yourself to a very high standard, right. Like many of the women I know, and I think we hold ourselves to sometimes just unreachable standards, you know, mm-hmm um, and it's a tough challenge because to be human is to aspire to be better. Right. Mm-hmm that's it makes us who we are.

Speaker 3: (08:14)

So I truly believe in that, but I, as I get, you know, so I'm 48. Don't tell anybody. Um, and as I get older, things are changing and I'm, I'm even feeling my body, not able to, to keep up with the energy, the time the to-do list we were talking about before we hit record today. Right. Um, and so sometimes I think, what the hell, what are you doing? This is insane. right. What are you doing? And then other times I think to myself, I mean, I have a sticky note. We were talking about sticky notes right here that says positive. And it says that because my gift is negative. All I do is see what needs to be fixed. Right. Mm-hmm now my husband wouldn't say that's a gift but my investors would because that's what being a good leader is all about, is looking for the problems and, and, and constantly fixing them, you know, mm-hmm um, but it also makes for, can I swear in your show if I can it's okay.

Speaker 3: (09:23)

Yeah. Um, but it makes for just a miserable mindset, because I'm always, um, I'm always down, you know, I'm always scrutinizing my, myself and, and everyone around me, but myself is the biggest one. I have the harshest words for myself. I'm not, I'm not good enough. I haven't made it yet. I didn't get, I didn't get there yet. So when you're talking about me, I am, it's not, it's not imposter syndrome, but I am just thinking who the hell is that woman that she's talking about her. Yeah. Yeah. You would like to meet her. Right. Isn't it so funny how you feel that way. And, and anyways, I, I, I told someone this story recently, and I'm sorry for zigzagging a little bit. It's my nature. But, um, I was, I was going to JP Morgan chase had a, had a panel on entrepreneurship and I had been asked to present and I, I walked and there's me and like four or five other people.

Speaker 3: (10:22)

And I walked into the flagship building in New York city. And it was like eight in the morning. And I had spent the night in New York. So I only had the clothes with me that I had with me, you know? And I walk in and I'm in jeans and cowboy boots and, um, a t-shirt like what I standard wear. And everyone else is in suits. full suits, makeup, lipstick, high heels, everything, you know. Wow. And boy, Sadie, did I blush purple? Cuz I thought, I've made a very serious, poor judgment call on today. And um, the crazy thing is, and, and so I, so I was on stage and I mean, you can already tell, I, I don't present polished. It's not my nature. Right. Mm-hmm and it was the same way in that room. And so people are asking me questions, I'm gonna give them like the straight answer.

Speaker 3: (11:20)

you know, like I do not recommend entrepreneurship. Okay. That's world number one, run away now, you know? So anyways, after the, the panel was over, I was in the bathroom and three women on the way in and on the way out, stopped me and said these young ladies, um, I want to be you. That's what they said. Mm. And it, it freaked me out Sadie, because I thought, well, wow, that's just the most wonderful compliment a person could have. And then at the same time it was like, um, you have a responsibility, Kate mm-hmm now. And that's the thing that I carry every day.

Speaker 2: (12:10)

Yeah. That's a big responsibility to feel right. To when somebody wants to be you and you may internally be feeling completely different than what is portrayed on the outside too. Right. And you're like, is this so I, something I want other people to feel, cuz you know, I know the endless todo list. I mean, one of my gifts is a problem solver, but to solve problems, you have to identify problems, right. which can leave you in this negative mindset and this negative loop that never ends. And it's so like balancing that of like, how do I use my gift? But anything out of balance is not good. Right. So how do I use my gift in a really positive light? And then how do I use that gift to inspire others? And you're already doing it just by being you, right. People are attracted to that.

Speaker 2: (13:05)

But I'm really curious about this whole female founder's journey because somewhat it's when you were sharing this story, it somewhat sounded like you've heard these anecdotes that, Hey, it's not fair to women. It's gonna be harder to women. You've experienced it as a line cook in, in the media industry. Initially when you became a founder, did you internalize it and think that your business wasn't growing as much or mistakes that were made or because of you or did you quickly identify that as a female founder? No, it is harder for me than others. And so I need to go easy on myself. What was that like initial experience? Like

Speaker 3: (13:52)

That's a good question. I, it never occurs to me that it's something external. It's always me. That mean the buck always stops with me. So for example, a lot of my investors have emailed me or texted me in the last few weeks, especially saying, are you okay with all the changes in the market? Are you doing okay? And I was so surprised because I mean, I was like, what do you mean? It's hard. It's still hard. Everything is hard. Like, so it doesn't really matter to me what's happening externally. You know, when COVID happened, we didn't stop doing, we didn't do anything different when COVID happened. Literally nothing different. Mm-hmm like, we were like, well, this sucks, but it already sucks. Right. so let's just keep going. And, and it's that, I mean, it is that hard to it is that bad and I'm not over exaggerating this part.

Speaker 3: (14:50)

Um, I think like the things that I've seen with, with being a woman are not about sales. I haven't seen that. In fact, I believe it's easier to sell if you're a woman, cuz frankly men are dumb and gullible. And if you're not leveraging the things that, uh, highlight that, not all men come on, I'm not being mean, but then you're silly. You know, my dad, one of the best pieces of advice, advice my father ever gave me was wear a skirt when you go to the auto body shop or the auto shop. Right. And man, you get stuff for free and I'm not afraid of free. Right? So there's no sales. Like I feel like doesn't really kind of is not really the place where the impact is. Certainly fundraising is the goal posts often move for us. I was told once that, you know, men don't wanna say no to a pretty face and they always will take the meeting as, and waste your time as opposed to like, you know, just right up front, tell you no.

Speaker 3: (15:57)

And that is a hundred percent true. Like I didn't wanna believe that. And you just learn to kind of dig your best at the, at questions and qualifying questions before actually taking any kind of meeting, even, even sales actually. But if you learn how to do that and people will push you because you know, no being direct is hard and you can be offend offensive quickly. But I was just doing that this morning, you know? So someone will be like, yeah, let's get on the phone. And I wanna learn about lately, hang on a second. What check sizes do you write? You know, because if it's $10,000, I don't have time for you if it's a million dollars. I know that I, that's not the round I'm raising right now. So we, we don't need to talk. I don't need to make friends for later.

Speaker 3: (16:39)

Like, and that's what they wanna do. Well, like let's just set a relationship for later and I don't have time for that. Um, and you don't need to do that. I mean, people will, will kind of the one thing I've noticed is that people love, and this is with underdogs in general, not just women, but people love to give advice. So do I, of course, right. Advice is free for a reason. Hello. Mm-hmm um, people seem to give women or underdogs, unsolicited advice more often I've noticed. And I do find that mostly offensive now with my trusted people. No, obviously, I mean they know that that's why they're there in my life. Um, but it's, it's, it can be very patronizing, you know, Sadie and I've been in those situations a lot. And I, I don't a couple of times, a couple of times I've had the wherewithal to get out of them gracefully.

Speaker 3: (17:39)

One time I had the wherewithal to literally say, go yourself. which felt great. um, because you can't always do that, you know? Um, and I think the other place I notice it is with, um, you know, how do I say it? It's like people can per can assume they'll assume that I don't know something when I know when I either know it or I know, I don't know it. Right. Mm-hmm and I've seen situations where with, with a man, for example, like I have almost a million dollars in recurring annual revenue and I have almost 500 customers. Now I can think of countless guys that I know that have no customers and no revenue. And they're first round they're raising 10 or 15 million mm-hmm I've only raised 3.5 million to date. That's pretty amazing. It is mm-hmm it's 98% harder for, for women to raise money than men, 98%. That's a huge, huge sta. Yeah. Yeah. Um, but anyways, like to your point, I guess it's not you I'm playing this game. This is the game I'm choosing to play. So I can't really complain about how hard it is. Right. All I can do is hope that I make it slightly less harder for the next underdog that comes behind me. Mm-hmm

Speaker 2: (19:26)

And I think that is really truly the goal, right? Especially any woman like leading the way is that, Hey, I'm breaking these barriers, right? You're one more person that people are encountering with of what it's like to work with a female founder to see that success, right. That will hopefully break some of these norms of making it 98% times harder for women to raise these funds. Because someone had this experience of like, Nope, I funded Kate and I funded lately. And she was a badass founder and a badass leader and took this company to new Heights that who knows what that, per that perspective and that experience is gonna do for that person. So now the next female founder, they meet, they may not have those same kind of biases going into this experience. So I think it's amazing what you're doing. And it, a lot of times we don't get to see those end results right. Of the effects that we are having on people just by showing up every day and being ourselves and living out the mission for what we want to do, even though it is hard. Right. But as you said, you chose this and you're down to do it and you're sticking to it through COVID through economic downturns. You're still showing up you're here and you're making it happen. So keep on doing it.

Speaker 3: (20:49)

Thank you. And the, the being yourself part, it, I want people not to underestimate this because it does, it can sound like a cliche, of course. And you think, of course I'm myself, but for me, Sadie, you know, I was not myself in the beginning and, and sometimes I fall into it still. So when, when I first started startup life, I thought that I had to put on a suit to, I did think I had to put on a suit to go to meetings and I had a little leather, um, bag and matching notebook and you know, all these things and, oh, I was so uncomfortable that I couldn't be confident because I wasn't confident in what I was wearing. It didn't match and confidence in the, in the fundraising game is everything right. And one of my advisors had kept saying to me, just be yourself, be yourself.

Speaker 3: (21:39)

And I was like, duh, like you're annoying me. And then when I really got it was, was when I started just wearing my jeans and my cowboy boots and being wearing my rock and roll gear, like the gear that I do thrive in and swearing, I swear like a sailor. I have a disgusting foul mouth I just do. Right. And I've had there's men who I like my advisors and investors who I like that have recommended. I don't swear in front of venture capitalists. And, and I've tried both ways, same results. one, one of them I feel better. So I'm gonna go with that one, you know? Um, and sometimes I still do this, like, you know, I'm on camera a lot. So I, I, I know you guys maybe can't see me, but I put on some makeup today and I did put on some earrings and I, I was wearing a workout tank top.

Speaker 3: (22:33)

Now I'm just wearing a regular one. It's not much, these little kinds of things. So I want to make sure that you Sadie think that I'm an authority and not a complete crack pot, you know? Um, but then, you know, I find myself, I was thinking about this yesterday, you know, you're so set on solving the problem, like you said, right? Like, just get over the finish line, whatever it is that it, you, you can be, you can be blinded to the, the real answer. Okay. And that happens all the time. Right. You're just so focused. And you know, you don't see it until you back out and you have that perspective. And that's why you need a good team around you. People who think differently than you, who are, who are willing to say to you, uh, hello, maybe you're not doing this.

Speaker 3: (23:26)

Right. And that, that blinders though, like I find that when I'm not being my true self, that's what that's, when they're on. Do you know what I mean? And it happens. It'll be, it'll happen in conversations. So, um, I'll, I, I do this, I, I put my, I'll put myself in a conversation in the position of being the student. This is what I do. This is why I'm in therapy. Okay. so, and I can hear myself doing it and I can feel the power shift change, where I just lose. I've lost the power of the conversation, and now I'm not gonna make the sale, or I'm not gonna get the investment and I can see it happening. And it doesn't matter if you try to correct it, it's already happened, you know, in that moment. And of course, this is one of those times when I'm the hardest on myself, because I'm just like, why did I just do that?

Speaker 3: (24:21)

I just tossed it. And it's it's because there's two things happening. One is I lose my confidence. So something prevents me from being my true self, but at the same time, like I'm also human and I make mistakes. So I am being my true self in that moment. And I, when I get angry, Sadie is because this person isn't willing to accept both sides of me, but the people I love and respect, and my favorite investors and advisors, they do accept. They celebrate and accept both sides. Right? Mm-hmm . And, um, I wish that upon everyone, I wish that you have a team of people who I have said terrible things to my team. I've been a bad leader. I have up royally. And for some reason they are still here. I am surprised daily.

Speaker 2: (25:18)

And I think you make a great point though, on being your true self, you may have that rejection, but that leads you to find the people who are gonna be your supporters no matter what. And I think a lot of times we wait for somebody to accept us, and then we're gonna be our true self, but it never can work that way. Right. Because if they accept us first and we're not being our true selves, there's no way they can accept us for being our true selves. So to get to that point where we have that unconditional acceptance, we have to first put it out there, as you said, right? You've had experiences where you put it out there and tried to be one way or another, and you got the same results. So might as well do the one that in the end, you're gonna feel better about yourself being able to sleep at night, knowing, Hey, I put it all on the table and I'm gonna attract the right people who follow this, my frequency, right. And wanna be a part of it. And it's gonna put off the ones who never were meant to be there in the first place. So I think that is a great takeaway for people and just a good reminder that, Hey, we're all gonna face rejection, but that shouldn't stop us from tapping into who we really are and leaving and out there for the world.

Speaker 3: (26:33)

Yeah. So

Speaker 2: (26:34)

I do wanna shift gears just a little bit, because one of the things that I think is amazing about lately is the AI engine that you built. So, I mean, you're not only a female founder, but really a tech founder and work in the AI space. And most people may look at your background and go from music and marketing to now leading the tech company. Like one, how do you make that transition? But more importantly, like what was that journey like to building an AI model, which is really the backbone of what lately does.

Speaker 3: (27:14)

Yeah. I mean, well, we didn't know that's what we were building is the, is the short answer and the part B is go where the fish are jumping. Right. So I'll try to wrap that up into , um, answers, better answers to your question. So when we, so I was a marketing agency owner, as you, as you touched on, and I built a spreadsheet system for a Walmart project where there were 20,000 marketers across small, medium and enterprise and for profit, nonprofit, and government, some of the largest companies in the world, and some of the smallest companies in the world, all, all working together. And my spreadsheet system got the project 130% ROI year over year for three years. So the idea behind lately was how do we make that into software cuz who doesn't want that kind of result. Right. And what I had done, I didn't, I didn't know this at the time.

Speaker 3: (28:09)

Um, uh, a co-founder Steve, actually, who's not a co-founder anymore, but, um, he, at the time was a friend and had, had perceived what I was doing and, you know, suggested we could turn it into software, but I wasn't from this world. So I had never even thought of that. And he kept kind of pushing me, you know, and took a year or so. And he ended up taking money out of his own pocket and bringing in a designer to build wire frames for me to show me what it would look like. And to, to kind of put the idea in my mind. And I'd already been on my own as an entrepreneur at that point. And I knew there was no going back. So I was like, yeah, this sounds like a fun ride. Let's let's do it. You know, I had no idea Sadie, what, what this was about.

Speaker 3: (28:57)

And in fact, I remember saying to Steve, like, okay, there's only one condition, which is I have to be the boss and he laughed. And he was like, yeah, no problem. Cuz he knew, he knew what was in store for me. And um, so off we went, we raised a bunch of money and, and again, this was all it, this was all flying by the seat of my pants. Like I didn't know what I didn't know. Right. And we were, we, we should have died a million deaths at lately. Like I can't tell you how many times we've almost missed payroll or the company should have collapsed. I mean, my, my co-founder Brian actually reminds me regularly. He's like, you're in like the 0.01%. Right? So like just, you need to relish that we've done this and I don't cuz I'm too negative. But um, so with lately it took us a while to, to build a product cuz it, it was sort of unclear like how do you take spreadsheets and turn them into software?

Speaker 3: (30:04)

And what we thought that I had built for Walmart was an organizational system that gave visibility. Right? That's what we, it was what I built actually, um, with a bunch of other components. And so we built a feature for each component and we saw the customers really like a certain one and it was the one that turned into the AI. Um, so as we watched that, we learned to reposition how we pitched the product, how we did the demo. We were still an organizational tool, but we did this part first. Right. So we were leading with this and again, it took a long time to really let go of all the other components and just focus on the AI. And it was because AI started becoming a thing and we were like, wait a second. I think that's what we're doing. we actually didn't even realize it.

Speaker 3: (30:57)

Um, and so we weren't giving ourselves credit for the complicated engine that we build. And, and honestly that has taken me a long time to do. I mean, what Brian and my AI team have built is really incredible. And Jason, um, my other co-founders and I didn't even understand it until I, I had, one of them recently was building me like a competitive matrix. And I obviously I know a lot about what we do, but then I was like, wait a second. Oh my God, you guys did this, this and this. Oh my God. We're so not communicating the power of, of what we've made. Right. This is my, my Achilles here, heel Sadie. Like I, I don't see the gold that's that, that I've created or I've been a part of creating mm-hmm . Um, and so it was our wherewithal, the wherewithal. We had to listen to our customers and to watch them, right.

Speaker 3: (31:53)

Number one, we had the nimbleness to be able to move on a dime and reflect what it was they wanted. Right. We've we've this is, I'm so proud of my team. And we're very good at listening, looking for those problems and solving those problems very quickly. Right. And with the music part, what I learned was here, I was bury the lead. This is my another Achilles hill. Right. Cuz I'm a wordsmith. And so I'm always setting up the story cuz that's what we were taught to do in college and in, in high school, right. When, when you're writing an essay, if you're long introductory paragraph, that's my nature, you know? And I have to work very hard to get to the point. So as you can tell now, so with lately we really, it it's so hard. Like, so with, with, with the music stuff, I was trying to not divide my radio career and my startup career, but I didn't see how they connected, but it's not.

Speaker 3: (32:57)

I knew that they did. I already knew that in my mind. And I thought it was obvious, like, like a duh, why do I have to take the time to explain this to you? You idiots, why aren't you reading my mind right world. And um, my friend, Mary Shay actually is the one who flagged this one day. She used to be, she's now the CIO of outreach. And she used to be, uh, a senior analyst at Forrester and she had the patience, by the way, I up my first pitch with her. She had the patience to, to call me back, let me do it again. And then help me route the pitch and make it what it is today. And she was like, wait a second. You were what's this music part. And I started talking about, I'll tell you quickly if you like, but um, and it's not gonna be quick when your brain listens to a new song, Sadie, it must instantly access every other song you've ever heard in that moment.

Speaker 3: (33:49)

And what your brain is doing is it's trying to index the new song in the library of the memory of your brain. It's looking for a spot for it, right? Where does it fit in here? Now in that moment, as it's trying to do this, of course, nostalgia, memory emotion, all of these things are happening automatically. And that's why music is so powerful right now. What's interesting is that your voice Sadie has a frequency. There's a song or a note to the sound of any sound, but your voice also. And so if you write me a text message or a social media message or an email, I'm gonna read that and I'm gonna hear your voice in my head, whatever voice you're projecting. I will hear it in my head. Okay. This is why it's so easy to sound like a in email. This is why I have to smiley face my off.

Speaker 3: (34:34)

Right? Okay. now as an author of said, text, your job is to, if you want people to engage and feel emotion and memory and trust, you have to give me those familiar touchpoints, right? So there's a parallel here. Now the, the other component that sort of the third piece of this is theater of the mind theater of the mind in radio and audio listening is incredibly powerful, right? And the same when you read with, with video, it's not, it's not a with video, it's a gimme everything you can is giving to you. You don't have to think about a thing. The story's right in front of you, but with listening and reading, you do now the trick is this, the person who holds the microphone or the person who holds the pen, if they're good at what they do, they know this and they leave room for your imagination to fill in not just the blanks, but to guide the blanks in a way that pushes the story forward.

Speaker 3: (35:28)

Okay. Mm-hmm now this is the high level of what we've done at lately because we're in, in the business of identifying the words that will have the most meaning to your customers and generate for you. The most leads to the tune of 98% sales conversion, by the way. Okay. So it's not just so you guys know. Okay. And it's based on this idea, like how do we, how do we make meaning in words, what are the words that matter? And what are the words that will cause that engagement and cue nostalgia, memory, emotion, and trust and make people buy. Right.

Speaker 2: (36:11)

You're speaking my language here because, um, so I studied piano performance and then I studied neuroscience. And so one the things I know what you're talking about very well, but for some listeners who may not be as versed in these two subjects, there's a really fantastic book out there called sweet anticipation that talks about this concept in music and then explains the whole neuroscience behind it. So for those listeners who wanna dive into the subject a little bit more, um, but it's really beautiful. And as you mentioned, you know, great artists or authors or whoever they can play with your anticipation, right? So they may know what that next note you're anticipating and change it. And they change it just enough that it's surprising to you and interesting that makes you want more, but they don't change it too frequently where it's like, oh, this isn't familiar and I can't relate to it any.

Speaker 2: (37:05)

And so that to me is what being a great artist is, is about taking, playing with people's anticipations just as you have said, right, is like our brain is filling up these models of trying to put it all together faster than we can even conceptualize and anticipating what that next step. And the artist is the one who is that conductor, who's playing with it in surprising ways, but giving us what we want when we feel like we're on the edge, it can't take anymore. And that's what leads it to such a great experience. And I love the fact that you have taken this model, which is from two subjects that do not, you know, on paper, relate to AI. And I've pulled that in to build a really amazing AI engine because it's anticipating how people think and what they want and pulling in all of your experiences from music and from your understanding of marketing with people to really create an incredible product. I mean, would you say 98%, um, higher conversion. That's incredible. Yeah. I mean, you really can't get any better than that really , you know, .

Speaker 3: (38:13)

Yeah. And it's because, so thank you so much and you are cool by the way. So we should talk piano because I was trained for classical piano and played for 20 years and it's kind of gone for my memory now more or less, but I ache for that. I, I miss, I miss it. Um, and the piano is the best instrument by the way, because you can see all the notes I think I

Speaker 2: (38:36)

Agree.

Speaker 3: (38:38)

So, so that's so fascinating. So, um, yeah, I mean, we only use lately to market lately because first of all, I know the power of the long tail, right? Sadie. I mean, I was in radio for a long time, but I was in AAA radio, which is called adult album alternative. It's a format like rock it's a format or, or, um, country. And it's a format that not a lot of people know, I think like out, out west in San Francisco, it was KFO back in the day. K C R w. Um, and then on the east coast, like w F U V or, or, um, the river in Boston, there's, there's not a lot of the states. There's about a hundred of 'em now, but it's essentially album rock. So it's not just the single and it spans multiple genres from blues to rock to folk and reggae and beyond, and then also multiple decades.

Speaker 3: (39:28)

So basically mixing in your entire album collection into, you know, radio where a jock, we call them programmers. But the rest of the world calls them. Jocks actually takes the time to, to string together a set of music as a dialogue with the listener. Right. So it's, I don't even know if that kind of radio happens anymore, cuz I, I feel like it's mostly dead, but that's what it used to be. And the idea of having, you know, that relationship with your audience is obviously what I'm good at. And so we learned to leverage that as part of our business, right? So this is an easy lesson for everybody. Like do what you do, what your strengths are. Right? So, so because I don't have a lot of time or, or resources to put into traditional or OB more obvious marketing entities. What I do is this, I do interviews with you and anyone else may basically through two or three times a week, it doesn't matter to me if somebody has an audience of 20 or 20,000, cuz I'm gonna ask you for the file.

Speaker 3: (40:35)

I'm gonna take the file and run it through lately. Lately's AI is gonna clip up all the soundbites that contain the words that it knows will get me the most leads that either you or I say it doesn't matter. It'll if you gave me video, it would attach the video clips of a saying those things. And then we broadcast that not only on our social media channels for the brand, but on our employee channels as well, because together we're stronger, right? We know this, you gotta be the biggest megaphone you can possibly be. So the reason we have that high sales conversion is because the AI learns the words that will get the most clicks comments and shares. And by the time we meet you, it's, you're warm, right? You're not cold anymore. You're warm. And that's the, that's the key thing that's that trust we talked about, right? Mm-hmm

Speaker 2: (41:25)

, you're building the anticipation for people already, right? by setting. Yeah. By providing all these warm leads in a way, based on the words that you're leading them, that's right. To want to

Speaker 3: (41:37)

Convey. And it's hard. It takes a long time. Like the long tail is what that format was about. And you know, if you guys haven't read the book called the long tail, but it's the idea of that the trickle out over time ends up being exponentially more valuable than that, than that instant, uh, either group of sales or, or any, any sort of like instantaneous kind of effect. And so that's what I bet on because I know it works. I mean, I've seen it. It's a hard, it's a hard bet to make actually. I mean, it's a risky bet if you don't know, cuz everybody wants immediate satisfaction, but marketing works best when you can create fans and that's my gift. And so that's what we set out to do.

Speaker 2: (42:26)

Well, I think you're doing an amazing job and I'm telling you this again at the gate, cuz I know you don't tell it yourself and I'm same way but, and I also just wanna recap a little bit of your story here for the listeners too, because I know we have a lot of people in the audience who are transitioning from a career that may feel like it's separate from a data career, right? So they may be coming from marketing or coming from a finance major or coming from a media major. And you, I love to just remind people that take all of that with you. Like don't throw those experiences out the window because your story just is a beautiful description of how you can take whatever experiences you had and apply it in a new way or provide you a superpower by looking at a problem in a way that nobody else has looked at and your proof that it's working, I mean 98% increase in conversions and just building a whole company from it that you didn't even think was possible.

Speaker 2: (43:31)

It started with the spreadsheet. I mean, there's so many incredible takeaways for audience here. It just, in terms of like, you wanna build an AI company, start with the spreadsheet, who would a guest, right. But cause we can't get away from Excel and it's all possible. So thank you for showing up and being yourself and not giving into what other people may have wanted you to be and continuing to fight and to lead the way cuz we need more female founders. Um, and especially founders in AI who are looking at these problems differently. So thank you for, for being you and showing up and sharing your story with us.

Speaker 3: (44:10)

Thank you for lifting me up Sadie.

Speaker 2: (44:13)

Well, I'd like to lift you up a little bit more cuz um, one of my favorite parts of our episode is some rapid fire questions and I have a question about songs and music and happiness and I'm like, okay, I really need Kate's answers on this. So if you're down for it, we can transition into the rapid fire questions.

Speaker 3: (44:32)

Sounds great. Go for it.

Speaker 2: (44:34)

All right. What song do you currently have on repeat?

Speaker 3: (44:39)

Uh, none. really I like stop listening to music basically after I got out of radio, I I'm allergic to it. I, I, uh, I know that sounds terrible. Um, well, uh, but I'll tell you what, the last song that I pulled up on on my phone was um, electric avenue, Eddie grant.

Speaker 2: (45:02)

Nice favorite place. You've traveled

Speaker 3: (45:07)

My backyard.

Speaker 2: (45:10)

Happiness.

Speaker 3: (45:11)

It's pretty awesome. uh, happiness is David, my husband David

Speaker 2: (45:20)

In the next five years. I hope to

Speaker 3: (45:24)

Be rolling in a mountain of money

Speaker 2: (45:27)

and the last, but not to me, curiosity is

Speaker 3: (45:36)

Life, right? It's the engine that moves you to get up every day. What's gonna happen next. Right? That's the story. That's that's why we're writing the book and I mean, is she gonna do it? Is she not gonna do it? We all wanna know.

Speaker 2: (45:55)

We do well, thank you so much for taking the time and I'm sure more people are going to want to follow along in your journey and your story and check out lately. I know we have a bunch of different channels that they can connect with you on and we'll leave those in the show notes, but personally what's the best way you like to connect with people. Um, and how can they find out more?

Speaker 3: (46:16)

Well, I'd love to, um, have people tell me they heard me with you Sadie. So I'm lately AI, Kai at Twitter. You can see me in all the places, Instagram, LinkedIn, yada yada, we are dub dub.lately.ai. And uh, we are very friendly people. So if you're averse to talking to humans, as seems to be a lot of people are these days, then don't call me.

Speaker 2: (46:42)

. I love it. Well, thank you again for coming on the show. I'm so excited to have met you and to learn a little bit more about your story and most importantly learn from you and find out there's other music, neuroscience, crazy female founders out there in the world, and we're all not as alone as we think we may be. So thank you.

Speaker 3: (47:06)

You're amazing. Thank you so much, Sadie.

Speaker 2: (47:09)

Thanks again, everyone for tuning in. Remember to stay curious and keep learning and we will chat with you next time. Have a great day. Everybody.

Speaker 1: (47:17)

If you're looking for more resources to further your data career or find your tribe, we encourage you to become a member@womenindata.org. See, on the other side.

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