How To Use AI To Scale Your Social Media Engagement with Kate Bradley Chernis, with Gavin Hammar of Unscalable The Podcast - Featuring the Lately CEO

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Speaker 1: (00:02)

1, 2, 3, 4.

Speaker 2: (00:11)

So today I'm super excited to have Kate Bradley churn us on the show. Kate is the founder and CEO of Lately, which uses AI to generate high engaging content in your unique brand voice that is customized to target any audience. As a former rock and roll dj Kate Serve 20 million listeners as music director and on-air host at Sirius xm. Hey Kate, thanks so much for joining us on the show.

Speaker 3: (00:34)

Hey, Gavin, how are you?

Speaker 2: (00:36)

Yeah, good. It, it's great to finally connect after all these years. I've obviously followed you on LinkedIn and Twitter. Excellent. And yeah, I'm a huge fan of what you're doing at Lately. Uh, and just I would love to hear your backstory, like how did you come up with the idea and what led you to finding the company originally?

Speaker 3: (00:52)

Thanks. This is the most fun part of the story. You know, there's, there's all the ups and downs Gavin, as you know. Well, so, um, this is before I, before I knew how much glass I was gonna be eating on this journey. I used to be a rock and roll dj. I don't know if you knew that about me, but my last gig was broadcasting to 20 million listeners a day for XM Satellite Radio.

Speaker 2: (01:15)

Oh, wow. Amazing .

Speaker 3: (01:17)

Yeah. Uh, it was, and oh, by the way, real quick, I'm sorry to interrupt, but like, my sound, my wave file isn't showing at all,

Speaker 2: (01:25)

So, uh, I can see it's working fine for me. Yeah. Recording. Yeah,

Speaker 3: (01:28)

It's hard to interrupt you. Um, anyways, so, um, the journey from radio to, and, and this, I'm keenly aware of these things. I'm looking at the sound files, obviously. Um, the journey from radio to startup land kind of is the similar in some ways because what's exciting about radio is that you're building the plane often as you're trying to fly it. Like same idea. And there's a huge amount of lawlessness and, and no, no rules. And the radio I was in, right, this is back when radio was a real thing, um, where you programmed the music and there was an interaction between listeners and fans and, and, and how you wielded that, that audience, same way that when before we hit record today, you were talking about your brand and how important it's to carry your brand and to build that brand. And so my uber power became that actually, like, how do you turn listeners into fans very specifically?

Speaker 3: (02:25)

And it's something that I carried into. I I had a marketing agency in between lately and, and radio, and my first client was Walmart, yay. And the Walmart project. I, I had a, I had this idea, okay, well how do I, how do I take what I'm doing in radio and translate it into words? And I was a fiction writing major, lucky me, and also had written thousands of commercials for radio. So I knew the art of quite well, , and with Walmart, I just had different eyes on because it, it, it seemed to me it was Walmart at Make of America and at and t United Way worldwide and the i r s. So all these big giant entities coming from different point of views for-profit, nonprofit, government. There were about 20,000 marketers altogether. And the first thing I did was audit everybody. I, I, I came up with a quick, really a two minute way to audit any anybody's marketing, um, prowess on social media specifically. And I could see that they were all having the same problems. It didn't matter if it was a library down the street or the world's largest retailer. And the biggest problem was what do I write and how do I know if it's working?

Speaker 2: (03:39)

Mm-hmm. ,

Speaker 3: (03:40)

You know, , it's like this universal kind of thing. And, and sorry for the long story, but because I had the experience of writing, I thought a lot about the theater of the mind, which radio and re writing have in common, which, which video does not, right? So videos gives you the whole thing, whereas in, if you're just listening or if you're just reading, there's this element that you, the human have to play a role for the story to jump mm-hmm. . But the secret Gavin is that you, the author or the man or woman behind the mic must allow for this third character to be involved in the story. So you have to allow for it, and then you have to guide it. When you're able to do that, then the, the, the one-way street becomes two-way street. This is how you turn listeners in defense. Okay. So that's what we, we use that idea at lately as well. And I'll just, before we get into any more questions, I'll just drop some quick proof in the pudding. So if people can lean forward and go, holy, which is this, at lately we have a 98% sales conversion, 98% sales conversion. We don't do anything except for dog food, our own products. That's how we do it.

Speaker 2: (05:04)

So this idea, I was keen to ask you about that actually. Yeah. , that's amazing.

Speaker 3: (05:09)

I'll breathe for a second.

Speaker 2: (05:10)

. Um, okay, so you mentioned that, yeah, I guess there's an AI component, uh, lately ai, um, obviously using, using your, your experience in, in radio. Um, I mean, you, I personally heard about lately from a Sendable customer, um, I think it was about two or three years ago when she was saying that she could take her blog and literally automate the production of social media content. So if you could just share like, how does that actually work? Like how do, how would it, how would the average user kind of come onto lately and use that to generate social media content in a way that kind of gets eyeballs, gets attention, takes your radio knowledge, your radio experience, and really helps those, those that kind of, that, that audience converts into customers?

Speaker 3: (05:51)

Yeah. So I'll, I'll share several levels so the nerds in the room can, you know, know, get a thrill. So at first blush lately does two things. It first is able to learn any unique brand voice and then repurpose long form content into the brand voice, but also, um, learns what target audience you're trying to reach. And it repurposes with that in mind. So there's two sets of customization that happen there. And then that third thing in the middle, which is like the repurposing. So it's kind of complicated and we're the worst at explaining what we do. . Here's the, the nerdy version, . So when you create an account at Lately, we ask you to link us to your social channels, whatever you want, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and as many as you like. And we instantly study everything you've ever published for the last year.

Speaker 3: (06:43)

And what we're doing is we're analyzing what got you the highest engagement, and we're looking at that messaging specifically, and we break that messaging down by idea key phrases, words, even the sentence structure. And now I have a writing model that is unique to you with ideas and words I know are gonna work for your audience right now. This model will start to learn it own on its own, but then also the human humans, not bots, is required to help train the ai. And this what's is what our magic, um, that genoese quo of the theater of the mind. This is, this is our version of that, okay? Mm-hmm. . So now we have your writing model, and you can upload any kind of long form content text, like a blog or a u r URL of a website or, um, copy for a newsletter, chapters of a book, doesn't matter, any kind of audio.

Speaker 3: (07:33)

So this podcast, for example, any kind of video, so a webinar, an interview, something from a conference. And what lately does in all three cases is it instantly will either read the, the words from like a blog or it'll transcribe the audio in the video. So now it's down to words again, remember I was fixing writing made, so I'm into words, right? And it's reading that context with your model in mind, and it's clipping out what contains everything in the model and ranking them by how, how high it expects those particular ideas to perform. Now, in some cases, it'll also rewrite that text for you to include some of the things that it's learning and knowing that you're helping it to, to train and learn. So if you've got a video, you've got a social media post that has, um, a, a like a teaser to what's there in writing with a link back to the full version of the video. And a little tiny eight second meme of who said what, right? With an audio, uh, podcast. It's like an audiogram that goes with, and then with text, it's just the, the post, um, itself. So, and you'll get dozens, hundreds, or dozens. I mean, the idea is why waste any bit of gold

Speaker 2: (08:49)

. Yeah. Okay. So, so just in terms of the, the audio, which is pretty interesting. So it'll actually generate those, those audiograms for you, you're saying. So if you give it a clip That's right. It'll take this, the cuts that it thinks will be the best for your audience. Is that right? Yes.

Speaker 3: (09:04)


Speaker 2: (09:04)

. Correct. That's amazing.

Speaker 3: (09:05)

Yeah. Thank you so much.

Speaker 2: (09:07)

Yeah, . So, so you guys started building this like eight years ago, right? I mean, you've been around for eight years now.

Speaker 3: (09:12)

Yeah. We talked about the ups and downs, right?

Speaker 2: (09:15)

, this is open ai, like open AI has made it so much easier, right? At least AI copywriting tools. So you actually built that kind of thing way back then, right?

Speaker 3: (09:26)

Yeah. So what we did was, and this is so, you know, startup life. So what I had built for Walmart actually was an organizational system. And it was this massive spreadsheet with like 40 different tabs. And each tab had honestly 20,000 rows of, of information. Now, some of it was data. I was cultivating all the data from every, not only social, but every advertising aspect we were doing. And also pulling together that content. There were people doing radio spots there, people doing videos like, let's see what everybody's doing and figure out a way to repurpose it. Right? Um, so initially lately built a feature for each spreadsheet into this massive platform. And as we were, you know, working with customers, we could see their eyes glaze over , cuz this was like a hard thing, you know, to, to give to somebody. It was a lot to digest.

Speaker 3: (10:17)

And our initial aim was to give the average Joe or at Jane the ability to do what I did for Walmart for a, a handful of dollars, right? So what started happening though was this one feature people were conning onto, and it was this spreadsheet that I had where I was literally reading a blog, taking almost every sentence, pulling it into a social post as a quote, more or less with a link back to the full length thing. And we had done it automatically now, at the time it wasn't yet artificial intelligence, but we started learning that AI was, you know, coming into play and we're like, wait a second. Hmm, let's, let's fix this up a little more. And we got a free grant from Microsoft. So we were integrated with IBM m Watson back in the day. And then, um, we had an integration with Google Pegasus and meaning cloud, and we were in G P T three s closed beta before that got opened to the world.

Speaker 3: (11:14)

And we also did a project with Anheuser-Busch in Bev, um, where they paid us like $40,000 to, to actually build what GT three does now, um, like six, five years. Years, five or six years ago. So what we were interested in though was, you know, this idea of not just automating a process sca, but, but doing it in a way that was so customizable that this, that no one feels as though it's ai, right? And that there's this partnership and what we learned in our endeavor to do that was the difference was huge. So AI alone gets great results, but AI with the training of the human, this is how we got Gary Vaynerchuk, a 12000% increased engagement. Okay, that's a big number. , right? Yeah. Um, yeah. So, but what's, what's interesting, and I don't know if you've seen this as well, but people still want magic. Like I'm always selling against magic, against magic. Like they wanna just push a button and walk away mm-hmm. . And I'm like, you do have to do some work. You have to train the ai. It's just a dumb, you know, Yeah. Piece of metal . Yeah.

Speaker 2: (12:32)

I guess, I guess from my background, yeah, I've been in the space for like 12 years in social media and I guess I think back in the beginning it was basically just a matter of sending out a link. Like broadcasting your content out. Yeah. Just like, um, posting of content, automating that. So I've seen like over the years how we've had to teach our customers Mm. To become storytellers. Almost like the importance of crafting a very compelling social media post, how to create really good video content, audio content, that kind of thing. So I guess pairing the human element with the AI is so powerful cause you have that, that support from the AI coming to you that understands your audience and be able, that's to tailor that in the right way for what will help create a better story. Um, so I can see that being so powerful. So I'm keen to understand now obviously the whole thing with Gary v this whole thousand percent increased engagement. Can you explain like how you actually did that? How did you go about like, approaching that?

Speaker 3: (13:22)

Yeah. Well, um, how did I approach it? Is, is funny. So, and I can't tell you all of it cuz some of it, um, I'll have to tell you off mic, but I'll, I'll start. So, so we obviously we know who Gary V is. I met him at South by Southwest years ago, um, like the second year Twitter was alive. And he remembered that, which is, which was really great. So we had seen him post something about repurposing content, you know, his whole pillar thing on LinkedIn. And my social media girl grabbed it and she popped it in our, we have a sharing his caring channel where, um, we actually boost all of our own content. My entire team has to like, comment and share anything we put in there. And it's designed for lead gen. So customers were going after customers we already, um, get, and then we also bump all of our own social that way.

Speaker 3: (14:07)

So big secret to you all and we should do this. So anyway, she popped this, this, this link to a LinkedIn post from Gary and we hopped on it and then we had every person we knew in the world hop on it as well because we're like, man, we do this what you're dreaming of. Like, it was like if only there was an AI platform that automatically turned, you know, my blog in a 40 social post and we're like, hello. Um, and so like, I think we had like every customer, every friend we've ever met, like just liking and commenting on this. So they, they noticed us and we, I believe got a DM somehow and we were working with Jim Thompson who was, um, like the head of content at, um, team Gary V. And so Jim got us in with a pilot.

Speaker 3: (14:51)

Now to be clear, Gary doesn't need, lately he has an army, right? Mm-hmm. , yeah. So it was always weird because I was like, this is, I don't want him to be my customer and it's not gonna be a good fit, obviously. Um, so I wasn't sure what my angle was, but we did a test where Gary launched an entire Twitter channel. It's called at Gary Vtv. And it was fueled only by lately and nothing else. And this was the experiment. Let's see what, um, what the AI pulls versus what the humans pull. So there was an 80% correlation there, and this is in, I think it was 2020 or 2019. So this is, that's quite recent. Yeah. We've gotten, yeah. And we've gotten smarter in the last three years for sure. I mean the AI has, um, and there was an 84% increase in clicks because the AI really is looking for, it's looking for teaser, it's looking for sentences pulled out of context that still have just enough context that makes you wanna click the link to find out more. Um, and, and so that's why we got those increasing clicks. And then Gary was using it as a farm to basically see what, what did well there and then take that content and repurpose it like on Instagram or another channel. So it was a great experiment. Mm.

Speaker 2: (16:10)

So you mentioned like having teases almost like using teaser content with a link. Yeah. Obviously with the trends we've seen recently in social media, like links are kind of deprioritized by the algorithms. Uh, what do you recommend now? Like if people like, like do you still, do you still think people should post links? Does your platform still promote that kind of thing? Or are you moving away to more, like more of a visual, um, highly engaging kind of approach? Yeah,

Speaker 3: (16:32)

I mean it depends on where you are. Like so what, there's only two objectives in social, as you all know, link or share mm-hmm. . And so that's Lately's other secret weapon is it knows about the share. So sharing is all about ego. It's the easiest one to go for. Uh, clicking a link is hard because people don't trust you unless you're a bigger brand, generally speaking. So lately first defaults to that, it's looking for the most shareable one-liners it can find from you. Um, so for example, I got Gary Vanek a 98 or a 12000% increase, right? This is something it will, it would grab out of that out of our conversation. Um, and it's trying to understand. So let me give you another example. One of the things it learned was hashtags traditionally used as indexing tags, um, will sync your algorithm, but when you use them instead in line mean inside the messaging as opposed to at the end and also not always, but just generally speaking. Um, but then more importantly, um, as conversation enhancers or or messaging optimizers. So one or two words smushed together with the hashtag that characterizes what's just been said in a way that kind of blows it up. Mm-hmm. , right Now, the reason the internet likes that is because it's very human. So for example, my personal highest performing hashtag is hashtag peeing my pants cuz that's what I said when Gary Vanerchuck tweeted about us. Okay. .

Speaker 3: (18:12)

But you can see why like stuff like Day Maker or um, you know, I don't know, um, Jason Bateman crush, I don't know, stuff like that. Um, I'm sure there's more, I'm not thinking of any good like business ones right now, but we're seeing that all the time. So, so in fact, I'm just doing a, an AI training with a team at, um, signify, which is the former formerly, um, um, Phillips Electric. And we're talking about this exact thing, like how can a brand that traditionally has more of, um, a calm, um, restrained voice use hashtags in a way that is evocative, right? That's the point. Evocative. Um, and we've come up with quite a few clever ways actually. It is possible. So

Speaker 2: (19:04)

That's very interesting. So you're saying you should use personality in the hashtag almost mm-hmm. , I not worry about the index ability of the hashtag neurology, easier to convey a feeling or emotion or something human, right?

Speaker 3: (19:15)

Yeah. That's, that gets you the share. That gets you the share. Yeah.

Speaker 2: (19:18)

And, and is that mainly Twitter or is that like any, any platform that you're seeing there?

Speaker 3: (19:22)

Yeah, definitely LinkedIn, um, which is where I play, that's my, my favorite sandbox. Um, but definitely Twitter, you know, Instagram is its own beast cuz Instagram still does thrive on that string of hashtags at the bottom, you know? Yeah. Um, but we've seen lately customers take the video clips and repurpose them, um, as reels and use those one liners in the, um, in the image itself. Yeah. And you know, like Citi over there, so

Speaker 2: (19:50)

Yeah. Um, yeah, so I was told that you don't do cold calls or cold emails or ads, but as you mentioned earlier, you were able to get 98% sales conversion. I think that's still, you said even today you're getting that. Uh, so we have a lot of founders whose ears probably would've just perked up, uh, when you mentioned that stat. So how the heck do you get 98%, uh, sales conversions?

Speaker 3: (20:10)

Yeah, so in, in one caveat, we just started experimenting with ads on LinkedIn, but we, what we are doing is we're taking what's working for our organic from, from lately and repurposing it. And it's interesting. Um, so yeah, first of all, our rule is due unto others. I mean, we don't respond to cold emails or cold calls and we, we feel like it's just, you know, just, it feels and we don't wanna make our customers feel that way. So that was our first kind of mo there. And because social is our business, it's a lot easier for us to build networks and fans. And, um, so let's just double down to where we're, you know, where we already sing. Um, with, so here's how it works. Not only we do, we dog food our own product, we double dog food, it , and then we, we game the system a few ways.

Speaker 3: (21:00)

So here's, here's the deal. I couldn't create, we all know that content is king or queen or whatever you wanna say. Um, but I didn't have time to do what you're doing. I didn't have time to host a podcast. I didn't have time to write a blog. Even though I'm great at doing both of those things. But I do have time to be a guest. I don't have to think about this. I don't have to prep for it, just vomits out my mouth, you know? And I can do this all day long. I'm a woman radio ai, everybody wants to talk to me. Hooray, you know, and, and I'm a good guest. I, you know, I draw in listeners so it's a win for you. And then I ask you for the file and I run it through my own ai and we're gonna take 40, 50 social posts that you, that we get from this conversation, drive everyone of those links back to you.

Speaker 3: (21:43)

So it's a huge win for you. Now, I don't care, Gavin, if you have two listeners or 20 million listeners, cause for me it's all content that the AI is gonna splice up into lead gen for me mm-hmm. Into little con converting magical nuggets, right? Um, so that's trick number one. And I do this with, um, I'm, I guess blog occasionally. And I do a lot of workshops as well on, on writing. And again, all that is the content that, that fuels our ai. Now, once it clips it up, I have Alex, my wonderful intern who has a guideline, my personal key messaging of how to train the ai, right? What she can do to enhance what it's learning so we can get better and better. And she'll do that. And then we publish it both on all of our brand channels. So late lease Twitter lately, LinkedIn, et cetera.

Speaker 3: (22:29)

But then we publish it on all of our employee channels. I built that feature into the platform. I built an employee advocacy feature because it's what I had done for Walmart. And so now I've got a team of, uh, you know, an army actually broadcasting my message. Now, I also only hire social media beasts because it's their instinct to be out there sharing and caring and they just do it on their own, right? Mm-hmm. , and we have that sharing and caring channel I mentioned. So anything, I, I personally only write organic content cuz lately is learning from me first, right? Well you first, but then me as a default. And so, um, anything that I write gets dropped into sharing and caring and gets an extra boost from the team so that it'll help the AI learn faster there. Um, let me think. Is there anything else to the process?

Speaker 3: (23:19)

I think that's pretty much it. Like the 98% sales conversion is on our enterprise side. So Katie, Jordan, my social media superstar, she's actually watching to see who likes and comments and shares our content. She's great at starting conversation. She's very bubbly. She's the voice of the channel. She'll engage you and she can quickly do that audit that I had done for Walmart and tell what kind of customer you, you are for us qualified, not qualified. She'll tag up one of my sales team people if you're qualified, and then they can get into a DM with you and, and you know, have a blast. What we've learned is that the no cell cell works really well for us. People eventually Google or or research who we are. Mm-hmm. . We've also learned that the product does sell itself. I mean, we've up the demo 60,000 ways sideways and people still go, holy, you know, so that's good. Um, and then we did launch self-service. Um, here's a secret everybody we launch, we launched Self-Serviced in February, so 10 months ago. And our experiment was can we do what every investor has told us we couldn't do for years? Which is market to SMBs and enterprise the same way? The answer is yes. And I have a 49% sales conversion on my self-service side.

Speaker 2: (24:39)

That's really good. . Thanks. So that's a lot of information you just shared, so I have to dig up the deep now. Sorry, . No, it's good. Um, okay, so you mentioned, so just back to what you said now, um, so investors said that you wouldn't be able to go direct to SMBs for a self-serve model. What's the reason? Is it because you have to build the model for each customer or

Speaker 3: (24:59)

It was the, the criticism was you can't market to an SMB customer and an enterprise customer the same way, right? Yeah. Because traditionally enterprise requires all kinds of white papers and, um, you know, a a lot longer buildup, et cetera, et cetera. But we, what we found early on, and this is one of our many, um, you know, dark blurry times, um, was that our enterprise customers were passing us around like we were Zoom, okay? Mm-hmm. . And they wanted to use lately, individually for themselves as we were demoing up the ladder to, to get the big deal. And they were frustrated because it was like 300 bucks a month. They couldn't afford it. They couldn't get a check for, from, from accounting. It was taking like a year. And then they couldn't really use it without hanging out with one of my humans and doing like hours of onboarding.

Speaker 3: (25:51)

Okay. Cuz this is what it was, it wasn't built for that mm-hmm. . Um, and so we put a lot of wrong customers into a big huge product because that's kind of what we had the resources to do. And then, um, a con beautiful confluence of events happened both bad and good where we suddenly, it was like the sky opened up and we're like, oh my God, we now have the ability to automate this product, strip it down, create a self-service version of it, and use the self version version to scale to enterprise. Hmm. Right. And at the same time, one of the great lessons I learned from Isaac Oats who owns Justworks, is one of my investors, he always said, you don't, you just have to give them a path. You don't have to alienate a certain, a certain group of users, just give them a path.

Speaker 3: (26:42)

And we had this demand for this kind of user, the, the entrepreneur, the solopreneur for forever. We were turning 70% of our, that lead, those leads were coming, we were turning them away for a long time cuz they couldn't fit in the enterprise product or we would kind of shoehorn some of them in there anyways, you know, and retention obviously wasn't great in those cases. Yeah. Um, but when we figured out how to do that, we could use them as a mouthpiece as like the, um, the loss leader, you know, like how CDs used to be to get you into Target. And then, um, let, let them, let, let the qualified people like do what they wanted to do anyways, which is pass us around and, um, make, we're, we're, we're letting them, we're making them into defense. Mm-hmm. . So we are, we are creating internal champions, um, in a way that is, it's working, right? Like, I mean, yeah. You know, so it's amazing to see this coming together. My my challenge Gavin is, um, waiting, waiting it out and being like, my mantra right now is like the, the patient bird gets the worm, right?

Speaker 2: (27:56)

Meaning mean waiting for them to convert or waiting for them to adopt the product.

Speaker 3: (28:01)

It's, I'm waiting for so much, like, I haven't raised in a few years except for a trickle of angel money. I've never done a, uh, so I've done 3.7 million to date. It's all, all angels and, um, a couple of amazing, more than a couple, like a bunch of accelerators, um, money, some priced rounds in there as well. But we've basically been living on, on fumes for three years. You know, there was, I had, didn't pay my staff for like 90% of my staff for like two years to be honest with you. And, um, the waiting game is because here we are with limited resources, just eating glass left and right, you know, and we have all this social proof, whether it's customers, whether it's, um, you know, with this amazing partnership with Hootsuite underway, like, uh, I've got half a dozen enterprise pilots underway, uh, integrations, you know, yada yada. So it's all happening and, and I can see all the puzzle pieces like moving together like this. But, you know, I still, I think my, I can't tell you how short my run runway is, but it's short

Speaker 2: (29:09)

. It's scary ,

Speaker 3: (29:14)

You know? So, and it's not that short because I mean, I have plans B, C, and D in E together, so yeah, it's actually probably 18 months. Um, but you know what

Speaker 2: (29:24)

I mean, like, I was gonna ask you, what's keeping up at night right now? So would you say it's the runway or is there something else that's keeping you up at night?

Speaker 3: (29:31)

You know, it was the runway for a long time, but then, um, I sort of forgot how valuable my co-founders were and I started to put more of the weight on their shoulders and they gladly accepted it. And the distribution of that stress has really relieved me of a bunch, to be honest with you. Um, maybe it's because, you know, misery loves company . Like if we're, if we're crazy together, then there's something validating for me about that. But, um, but that's not it at all because they're actually both very calm and and sane. They're the opposite of me. Um, I think the, the thing that keeps me up at night right now is, um, I'm actually pretty happy at the moment. I can't believe that's true. But, um, I, I think, you know, there's some stuff I've been working on for two or three years and I can see some of it is, is going to come true and some of it isn't.

Speaker 3: (30:34)

If the stuff that's not gonna work out really me off because it has nothing to do with me, it's other people not doing what they're, say they said they were gonna do. That makes me crazy, you know? Mm-hmm. , I think raising is always crazy. Um, as, as a female founder, I mean, I get punched in the face every day, right? Yeah. Right in the face, bloody nose, couple of black eyes, and I still get up. And that is hard. And it's really hard not to take it personally after a while. Mm-hmm. , I mean, I can't, how many frogs have I kissed? Jesus Christ. We're like French kissing at this point, you know, but I'm, I'm due , my lottery is up here, you know? Yeah. Yeah. Um,

Speaker 3: (31:19)

I think that's the the biggest thing and, and you know, there's always a gut check. I'm sure you've done this as well. Like, are we crazy? Let's, we, we do this, you know, every day just to make sure how, is there enough social proof or validation to make sure that we know this is the path to, to go down. Yeah. And we're still saying it. I mean, that's the weird question because we've drank so much Kool-Aid. Of course. You know, um, the answer is still yes. And I think that's, that's the thing I have to think about is like, I just wanna win so bad. I mean, normally I would say to you, I wanna rub it in. That's my normal mo, right? I've got a, I mean, I don't have a chip on my shoulder. I've got a couple of mountains on my shoulder, shoulders here. But, um, a friend asked me too, only vocalize more positive things as an experiment and to wake up every day with the vision and go to bed with the vision. And the vision is, you know, me sitting on top of tens of billions of dollars and swimming in it, basically .

Speaker 2: (32:29)

Okay. So if, uh, Tweed, you mentioned earlier, if they came to you with an offer to acquire lately, would you be interested at this stage? Or do you still have a bigger, a bigger vision that you wanna kind of try build towards?

Speaker 3: (32:41)

I mean, the road answer is, of course I would take the offer to my board and we would have a long chat, right? That's the answer. Yeah. That's the, that's the public answer. Um, the human answer is of, you know, it'd be very hard to say no.

Speaker 2: (32:55)

Hmm. Okay. Yeah. I mean, for me, I had no, no board. It was just me. Right. It's a hundred percent over. So it's interesting to hear from other founders like what that feels like, especially being female, I guess, as you mentioned. Um, like do you feel that you treat it differently? Like you were saying that it's difficult being a female ceo, it around, like is it around investors around the board or leadership? Like what's, what's the impact on you as a Yeah,

Speaker 3: (33:19)

It's so around investors for the most part, um, yeah, not my, my board is amazing. I mean, you know, they're, they've been great, but investors often, um, I mean you guys have all seen this stuff. I mean, there's that TED talk where, um, it talks about like the scientific proof around how both female and male venture capitalists will ask women negative questions and men positive questions. So for example, they would ask me, how are you going to prevent churn? And they would ask you, how are you gonna grow the company? Okay. And, and that's infuriating, right? Because it's like starting with the no, you know, putting you in the toilet already. You have to climb out. And I see that all the time. What, what that Ted talk, I forget what it's called, recommended, was that you answer the question with the positive thing anyways, right?

Speaker 3: (34:11)

Which I've learned how to do that, you know, and no one can teach you this. You just, you just pick it up, right? Yeah. Um, I've been in a meeting where this is a fun one. So here I'm in with an investor who I can't get a, get a beat on him. I've asked before the call, the questions I know to ask what size checks do you write? Because that lets me know what kind of round I'm pitching him, how serious he is, how much time is he gonna waste of mine or not, you know, um, what kind of minimum I'm gonna tell him I'm actually ha you know, willing to take at this point depending on who it is. Um, and I can't get any of that out of him, but he came from a warm intro, so I'm gonna give him my time because of this reason.

Speaker 3: (34:45)

I get on the call, he starts to talk about, so I'm like, Hey, so what are you up to these days? You know, like, I can't, you know, like gimme some information. And he's like, oh, well I've just started this company where we're productizing these really cool little things that you put in your beer and you shove a lime in and it squeezes the lime juice and it goes right down to the beer and they're like little shark heads or something like that. And I'm like, oh, great. It looks totally dumb to me, . And he is like, oh yeah, by the way, women are like some of our best customers. And I was like, really? Why? And he is like, oh, because we have this other product and he shares his screen and it's all these cartoon penises drinking the lime juice and the lime juices, their going into the beer bottles. Can you believe this? My god, that's ridiculous. Oh my god. , I mean, for real . And like then, then he mansplained me for a half an hour and gave me all this advice that he wanted to give me about my company in which he knew nothing about. And I took it, I stood there and I couldn't get off the call. I was just stunned.

Speaker 2: (35:42)


Speaker 3: (35:44)


Speaker 2: (35:49)


Speaker 3: (35:49)

That guy is gonna get a chapter in the, in the book someday, you know?

Speaker 2: (35:54)


Speaker 3: (35:56)

Um, but the worst though is the time wasting, right? Like, I don't, I don't care about people saying, no, you can say no to me all day long, but like, have four meetings with me and go into deep diligence with me and then say no, and, and do it for a reason. Like, oh, well your m r R isn't, uh, high enough. And I'm like, but you knew that the first conversation we talked about that, like that was three months ago. bag. You know, like, that me

Speaker 2: (36:20)

Off. Yeah. Yeah. That's, uh, I mean, I mean, for me, I, I, I only ever pitched one VC back in the early days of Sandoval back in 2009, 2010, and they said, no, we'll ever pay for social media tools. This is, this is before actually was even around. And so I, I guess like you had a chip in my shoulder, I wanted to prove them that I could turn this idea into a business. So I guess if you just take all that kind of feedback or all that negativity and turn it into a positive somehow to push you forward, um, I think that, that, that's what I would try to do. Just, just turn it around, as you said, find the positive. Um,

Speaker 3: (36:55)

Yeah, exactly. I mean that, that, that fuel, and I'm sorry to interrupt you, but like that is my, that is definitely a huge amount of my fuel, like the rub. That's why I wanna rub it in. I mean, yeah. You know, like I've got so many people to say,

Speaker 2: (37:08)


Speaker 3: (37:09)

Oh my God, look at me . You know, , I just put my middle fingers up people, , you can't see that. Um, sorry Gavin, I just gave you the full me today. Are you okay with that

Speaker 2: (37:21)

? That's fine. That's good. It, this is like real and authentic. It's brilliant . Um, are you willing to share like any, any other challenging periods that you've faced at lately and kind of maybe some, some ways you overcame them that you could share with other founders? Just a couple of

Speaker 3: (37:34)

Topics. Um, yeah, sure. I mean, crying helps people. I mean, I, you know, you get, you just get limit it. But I have definitely buried my head in the sand and cried before and, and um, you know, I, I broke up with one of my co-founders last year. It was incredibly painful and it had been coming for a long, long time. Um, this person who I really think of as my friend, like this is really hurtful to me. Like, but was just, had been gaslighting me for years and didn't realize it. And, um, it just came to a head and, and um, you know, the best part was when you realize you don't need that person, you know, so I'm a Capricorn and I don't like change, but when I have change it's always like this big giant light right into the room that goes into all the dark dusty places and like, shows you all the cob buds when you're like, oh my God, I had no idea I need dust there, right?

Speaker 3: (38:33)

Yeah. And so that's what happened is like I, I was able to, um, so I, I'm a person with a partial permanent disability. I don't, um, I'm not able to type or touch my phone without a huge amount of pain. So I used voice activated software, dragon naturally speaking for paraplegics that was around long before Siri was around. And I have to assign other people to use software for me cuz I can't physically cannot use it, right? Mm-hmm. . So I had this person doing a lot of legal stuff like investment, like cap tables and, and our books. Like there was just, you know, QuickBooks stuff that I couldn't do. And when we parted ways, this is where I found all kinds of mistakes, you know, and not all of them were, were his fault, but there was a lot there that we've been digging out of over the last two years.

Speaker 3: (39:28)

And we have, um, Lauren, who, who's an amazing employee of mine, who recently actually went on to a, a stable job that pays her much better, good for her. She took over the books, we learned this stuff together, we got mentors to go through the business summaries with us and help us understand what these numbers were, where they came from, why they mattered even, you know, and, and that sounds stupid, but there's so many numbers that people ask you for. And so of course they matter, but also sometimes they don't for a long time in your company and it's just an investor asking a stupid question because he usually thinks it, it needs to be asked so he looks smart, right? Yeah, sorry. That's that's true. And so it was incredibly liberating, like being able to inform ourselves and use that knowledge and um, I mean, it sounds kind of dumb, but you can't do everything yourself.

Speaker 3: (40:23)

It's impossible. You have to assign people work. I mean you have to. And um, it gave me the opportunity to learn to do these things myself and then be able to reassign them in a way, um, that was just so much better for the company. Yeah. You know, but it was hard. I mean, and this is unresolved, you know, it's not like, it's not like I was like, okay, bye so and so have a nice life. Like it was just, I never responded to an email because it was so mean and I couldn't digest it, you know?

Speaker 2: (40:57)


Speaker 3: (40:59)


Speaker 2: (40:59)

Wow. . Yeah. looking, looking forward if you're looking forward now. So as you know, AI is a hot space. Um, you know, AI is really hot. Uh, and I haven't seen many other social media tools offering sort of AI solutions like, like lately does. Um, so, and I'm sure with open AI and all those other tools and I link Dell and all that stuff, I think we'll see the space, uh, hotting up. What are you guys doing to stay ahead of the competition, you know, in the AI space and in social media right now?

Speaker 3: (41:31)

Yeah, that's a great question. So there are a lot of what we call G P T three copycats that have like l landed in the world and they're taking G P T three and putting a wrapper around it. Jasper is, is that company actually. Yeah. Right. And, and um, that there's like, there's a dozen, dozens and dozens of Jasper's. Good one. Um, it was so interesting. We were just on a call with, with them and uh, , they were like asking us about defensible moat and I wanted to be like, well what's your defensible moat? I mean, tell me please cuz I'm dying to know anyways. Um, but that's the, that's the key thing, right? Is we have multiple defensible moats. Number one is lately is the only one that actually will customize what comes out for your particular voice and customize it to your particular audience.

Speaker 3: (42:16)

So it's huge, right? Whereas the G PT wrapper is just gonna produce content with general best practices. That's all it can do, you know, and those companies can't evolve their own AI because it's not their own ai. They have to rely on G P T three to be evolving. Mm-hmm. . So ours is our own. Um, with us we found that, um, the staying in our own lane is pretty good for us as well. Like let's just be the best at organic social media and not try to do all the writing all the time. Um, we do have a lot of, lot of people who wanna use this for paid , which is an interesting experience, but for me, I think that getting to that voice is the most fun thing. So my AI team right now is, is using me as the Guinea pig to reproduce, um, hashtags like hashtag peeing my pants for my voice, you know, . And I've seen it do it. It's really quite entertaining and funny . Um, um, but I think the other thing too is to, you know, not get ahead of ourselves, that other component we, we stand behind is the humans and the AI must work together. Yeah. I think that's a huge one as well. I think what it does Gavin, is it makes it not scary. Mm-hmm. , we're not inter we are not interested in replacing you or anybody else.

Speaker 2: (43:33)


Speaker 3: (43:33)

You know, because we believe it would be a poor marketing decision. Mm-hmm. , there is a black box mystery around marketing and there always will be. And it, you you, you can't science everything to death. Everybody wants to, yeah.

Speaker 2: (43:50)


Speaker 3: (43:50)

But there, there is just some [inaudible] in the world, right? So let's just, yeah. Let it be, make, make the, as we talked about in the beginning, leave the space for it to exist.

Speaker 2: (44:03)

Mm. I think it's a good way to position yourselves, just kind of allow humans to interact with the AI to work together in a way that makes the content better. Whereas as you said, all the other tools are just purely focused on the AI piece. And I think, I think having the ability to like kind of get your audience data makes it so much more accurate. You would think. Cuz you're kind of writing for that particular voice and for the audience, you know?

Speaker 3: (44:26)


Speaker 2: (44:29)

Um, yeah. So before we go, uh, where can our listeners find you online and what percentage of your content is written is written by you yourself and what is AI generated? ,

Speaker 3: (44:38)

, all of the content on my personal social accounts is written by me, myself, myself, . Okay. Just so you know. Yeah. I don't even let, I let Katie sometimes schedule stuff on Twitter, but it's stuff I already wrote. Um, but, but I actually even do it by hand every day. Isn't that terrible? ? Um, but it's because I'm testing, that's the other thing is, you know, by, by the way, the mention of God on LinkedIn does really well, fyi. Who knew? Um, so I'd love for you to reach out to me and say hi. Let me know you heard me with Gavin. I'm, um, lately AI Kate on Twitter, and uh, if you can't find me anywhere else, good luck .

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