Success Story Podcast

The Future of Content Marketing With AI, with Scott D Clary of Success Story Podcast - Featuring Lately CEO Kate Bradley Chernis

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Speaker 1: (00:00)

Good. Yeah, we're good. Okay, let's do it again. Rock and roll. DJ

Speaker 2: (00:04)

. So I used to be a rock and roll DJ Scott. My last gig was broadcasting to 20 million listeners a day for XM Satellite Radio . My, um, my radio voice is, you know, it's a little bit warmer than my normal voice . And my husband's always like, Why don't I get the nice voice? Um, and what I what I learned about the neuroscience of music listening through radio actually, uh, turns out to be one of the largest informers of how lately's AI works, which, um, I can tell you about later. So don't forget to ask me about that cuz it's kind of cool. Uh, but I also, in between radio and a few other things. Before lately I had a marketing agency and my first client was a little old company called Walmart, and I got them. That's not a bad girl. Yeah, not bad .

Speaker 2: (01:02)

So I ended up getting Walmart 130% ROI year over year for three years with this, um, exhaustive spreadsheet system that I created. You know, spreadsheets kill me now. But the idea was to look at consistency. So for the marketing nerds in the room, Ra raise your hands. Um, it was, I'll just give you some details. So it was Walmart and all their franchises, Bank of America and all of theirs, at and t and all of theirs. The irs, the National Disability Institute, and then also United Way Worldwide. So it was for profit, non-profit and government, small, medium, large. There were 20,000 marketers that we were actually wrangling together. It was, um, it was a project designed to help lift the poor out of poverty through income tax credits and financial empowerment. So everybody wanted to be a part of this like, good thing, right? And when I came in, I came in from radio.

Speaker 2: (01:56)

So cowgirl, you know, , I don't really know a lot about corporate rules and I don't really follow a lot of rules. I was a line cook before all this. So, you know, I'm, I'm into the lawlessness of things and I was like, you guys are crazy. Well, this is a giant mess, you know, with, I didn't have my edit button on either. And I went home and built a spreadsheet system, which first just organized everything. Like, okay, so if there's 40 people placing ads and newspapers across the country, what are the zip codes and what is the content that they're using? Or if there's a hundred people writing a press release, well, like, let's get it all the same message. Like this idea of consistency. And, and then I thought a lot about repurposing because I was like, it seems like everybody's remaking the wheel cons constantly here, every single day.

Speaker 2: (02:45)

There's gotta be a better way. How can we unify our resources? But at the same time, and this is so important, is to customize each message on the local side. Because you know, this Scott, and now I'm zigzagging all over the place, but humans are multifaceted. And so while consistency is important, you, you can no longer get the people with one message, right? That's actually outdated. It's, it's dying. And the, the big dinosaurs aren't catching on really quite yet. Having a coke, have a coke and a smile, right? That was great for a long time, but now it's gotta be, you know, there's gotta be some little tweak in there. Um, and so we figured that out. And when I built lately I used these two ideas like, how can I repurpose content? Um, so with Walmart, I had written a blog and I thought, well, the title of this blog, which they're promoting, you know, Walmart helps lift the poor out of poverty.

Speaker 2: (03:40)

Nobody cares about, honestly, let's be honest. But each of the sentences inside were interesting cuz I wrote it and they were like, kind of teaser if they stood alone with a link back to the full length. So if I broke up all the sentences and turned them into social posts, I got 40 social posts and an hour, and I can disseminate these to everybody in the network and show them how to customize them. And now what if I did that with every piece of long form content. We had video, audio, news, newsletters, white papers, right? It's all there in front of us. So those two eye ideas kind of got us here. Um, that's part one of the story. Do you wanna hear part two?

Speaker 1: (04:20)

I do wanna hear No. So I was just, you don't have to gimme a second to let

Speaker 2: (04:24)

Me breathe. For me to breathe.

Speaker 1: (04:24)

I forgot. I, I forgot to, when we were, when we were prepping for this, I forgot to say, don't feel the need to punt it back over to me, , because then I'm gonna talk too much. So it's all about, it's all about you. But no, this is, this is a great story and I just, first of all, congratulations on the, um, the success with Walmart because that's incredible. And sometimes I just wanted to point out that something's very interesting about when you moved into this marketing, um, you moved into marketing from not marketing. Sometimes it's the people that don't know the rules that do the best when they move into something, when they can really disrupt the way things have been done. So that's something that's interesting. So not only did you do that in your, in your actual job, in your role and in what you were delivering from Walmart, but this is something that I'm, I think that what has probably allowed you to create lately, which is looking at marketing a different way.

Speaker 1: (05:16)

So how do we, and this is something that I now I see actually spoken about quite often. Like how, how you have this content strategy that takes one piece and then starts to break it up and disseminate it and repurpose it with even repurposing it with the caveat that you still have to localize it, regionalize it, and make it a little bit contextual to the audience that's gonna see it, but still, like, it's like you don't have to do the heavy lifting every single time. So just, it's very, it's just a smart way to, and you were like way ahead of your time.

Speaker 2: (05:41)

Now. Thank you. This is how I was, this is

Speaker 1: (05:43)

How, like, this is how I, I think now, but you were doing it like before. There was tools and tech and, and people like, we'll talk about Gary Vanderchuck too, that always speak about this is the strategy that you have to have to be a marketer that can keep up with social and, and the, and the constant need for information and, and new content. Like, it's difficult. So anyways, that's my 2 cents. So back to you

Speaker 2: (06:04)

the story. It is, yeah. And I mean, one of the phrases that I say to my team and and to myself all the time is it's always right in front of you, meaning like, at this point in my life, and then this is the confidence in the work you've done where wherever it is, is that I've probably already got pieces of this thing that I need to do right here somewhere. You know, whether it's, if I'm gonna write a blog on consistency or marketing, I'm sure I've written 50 emails about that somewhere. Let me just go find them and pull 'em together. You know, I don't really have to start from scratch, right? That's kind of one idea. And then also touching on what you were saying, I love metaphorically stealing good ideas that seem to have nothing to do with what you are interested in.

Speaker 2: (06:44)

And then twisting them and reapplying them. Uh, that comes back to music. Like, so I'm a sucker for covers Scott . And there's some standards though, like a cover can't just be the straight ahead song. Why do it again if it's already great, Right? You need to turn it inside out. So make it minor key instead of major. Slow it down instead of speed it up, right? All those things. That's when you go, Wow, you know, I can't believe I just did that. Right? And I think, What's that? What's that? Um, what is that phrase? Like great

Speaker 1: (07:20)

Artist, like marketers stealing?

Speaker 2: (07:21)

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. What is it? ?

Speaker 1: (07:24)

I'm gonna look it up. I can't remember.

Speaker 2: (07:26)

Like ring artists steel or something. I don't know.

Speaker 1: (07:29)

Um, Or artists. Yeah, yeah, artists steal. Yeah. Um, always.

Speaker 2: (07:32)

Anyways, I believe I'm pro stealing. Okay,

Speaker 1: (07:36)

So it was, it was Pablo Picasso. He said, uh, good artist borrow great artist steel. Thank you. I don't know, it's disputed as to whether or not he said it, but this is a great quote applies.

Speaker 2: (07:44)

We should give it to Pablo. He deserves it. . Yeah. So, you know, and, and then even if you don't, I mean, I was also by the way, like, so this didn't just like happen at an over, I was a fiction writing major. So rule break is something that I learned in a lyrical sense, right? Again, back to the music and all, and the sounds like that's somewhere where my, my heart lives. And in fiction writing, you break rules as a, as a matter of course, right? That's part of it. Um, certainly in poetry for example. And then we touched on the kitchen as well. I mean, everything that Tony Bourdain ever wrote is a hundred percent effing true. You know, I loved that and I loved it. Um, and what, what I loved was the chaos and like the serenity and the beauty that comes out of that chaos. Getting everything up pot at once. You know, like being on the air. I was on the air alive for most of my career, which nobody has anymore, um, in radio anyways. But , like, that's stressful, man. Like, I,

Speaker 1: (08:47)

I, I'm sure it's very stress. You were talking about, you were on Sirius xm, 20 million people. Like, that's like a, a 10 x multiplier on the amount of people that's gonna gonna listen to this. So

Speaker 2: (08:55)

I would never do that again, by the way. Like that I, someone points that out to me regularly, and they're like, How can you be scared you did this thing? And I was like, I don't know what I was thinking. .

Speaker 1: (09:05)

I think you just probably don't even understand like the magnitude, like the, the scope of people that you're, that you're actually, I, I've spoken to people on radio before and like, they'll, they'll be like fresh out of college and they'll be speaking to like hundreds of, well, not maybe hundreds of millions, but like millions of people. And like, that's a lot of people. And I don't think you realize it when you're sitting there just talking. No. Like, you really don't get the magnitude of like, what you say carries. So

Speaker 2: (09:29)

It's true. Scary. Teach you, like I had a good mentor actually who taught me to always, I used to draw a picture, talk to one person, imagine who the person is, and like, that's who you're talking to. And I mean, this is important to what we're, we're gonna be continuing to talk about here, but like the, the, the theater of the mind is so powerful because you have to, you have to allow for that unknown character to fill the blanks, right? Mm-hmm. , this works in radio and it works in our podcast and it works in, uh, writing too, an author, right? So let me jump back to what I had said before, and then I gotta tell you part two. Um, so when you listen to a new song, Scott, the your brain must instantly access every other song you've ever heard in that moment. And it's looking for familiar touchpoint. So it knows where to index the new song in the library of the memory of your brain. Now your voice has, uh, a musical note to it. It's has a frequency, like a song. And when you write text and I read the text that you write, I hear your voice in my head. So it's your job as the author to give me the reader familiar touchpoints and trigger nostalgia, memory, emotion. These are all the base liars for trust, right? Mm-hmm. and trust is why we buy.

Speaker 1: (10:53)

So knowing that, cause I, I, I don't think many people have very cognizant of that when they create content. Mm-hmm. ,

Speaker 2: (10:59)

I don't think they are either. So Anne Hanley is, do you know her? She's amazing.

Speaker 1: (11:04)

She's I do. Yeah, I do. I didn't know. I'm sure, like, if, I'm sure like the people that are like at that level probably are very like another one who I, I felt like Seth Gordons. Yeah. Like whenever he writes, I'm sure like he, he knows his style and, and, and you get that feeling too when you read his content. Um, so I guess I want to hear part is that we're still going into part, we

Speaker 2: (11:24)

Still to go to

Speaker 1: (11:24)

Part two coming outta this that point. So we can, we can index these questions for later. It doesn't matter to me. Yeah. But I think the, the first question would be, um, how do you, how do you do that? Well, because that's a great tool for a marketed half. Um, or how do you do that at all? And secondly, how does AI capture that? Because if you're gonna use a tool like lately for content marketing, ultimately at some point it has to be as, as impactful as if a human was creating it,

Speaker 2: (11:51)

Right? So, so many good ideas there. So the first part is how do you do it as how do humans do it? Um, so there's an easy trick. Uh, you just read out loud what you write, . I'll give you an example. Um, this is, um, a letter that I got in the mail. So I'm holding a piece of paper and it's from West Elm where I shop. This certificate is issued for reward purposes and is a duplicate of the certificate you received by email. You guys hear that? So hear me trip over that this certificate is issued for reward purposes, duplicate of the certificate, , you can hear me say all the things very hard to say. What they're trying to tell me is, Hey, ding Don, we emailed you a copy of this coupon. You can't use both. That's what they're saying. So when you write copy and read it out loud, if you trip over it, you know you gotta redo it. It's not authentic. You're communicating poorly. Because if you're tripping, I'm tripping. Right?

Speaker 1: (12:52)

Interesting. And, and even if I'm not reading it out loud, say I get that in my hand and I'm reading it and it feels awkward, you're saying that, um, even if I'm just reading it on paper, there's a good chance that if I can't read it out loud as the author, then the, the person, the recipient, when they read that on paper, it's gonna feel awkward, It's gonna feel clunky in their head even though they don't know why.

Speaker 2: (13:11)

That's right. And when it feels awkward, the first thing you don't do is trust somebody. And like I said, trust is the main thing, right? And so then you get that spam feeling or, um, you know, there's a, there's a pact that we make as sales people and marketing people. And there's no shame in this. We're all selling something, right? We are, we all, everybody wants someone to do something. I want my husband to take out the trash. You know, you want your children to do their homework on time. You want the person in line in front of you to hurry the f up and pay with a credit card instead of writing a check. Are you kidding me? Let's move it. Right? . So, so all these things. And so I'm thinking about, okay, well if I want you to do X, what is the x I want you to do?

Speaker 2: (13:54)

So let's talk about social media for example. Like in social copy, there's only two outcomes. Click or share. That's it. Mm-hmm. right now, clicks for smaller companies or for people who don't have a lot of trust, right? We don't have a lot of name recognition. Clicks are hard. There's one exception, which is when you create how to content, it's a lot easier to get people to click cuz they're curious. It's already built in. Oh, how to, how do I do that thing? You know? But the share is, is actually easy. And this is built on, we were talking about that third person in the room. So sharing is all about your ego, , and me making you look good. Me the author, making you look good by sharing my content. When you share my content, you get credit for it. Like an album in college, you know, somebody gave it to you, this new record, Oh my god, now

Speaker 1: (14:45)

You seem like you're with it. You seem like you're in the know. You seem like you have all the cool, you have act to the cool stuff. Or you know, like you're, you're, you're the person that you know knows what's what's good and what's coming up. So that's why the content has to be educational, entertaining. Like something that makes you look good as as the sharer.

Speaker 2: (14:59)

There you go. Right? So if you know that those are your only two objectives, just keep it real small, then you back into it. So if I'm writing co copy, I go for the share. Cuz I I can do that. Well, you know, I can make people laugh. Um, I wrote something recently that said like, is your LinkedIn page m a turd? , ? Cause mine is, mine is . Yeah. You know, and I did it because I want you to react, right? So reacting is the first step into having a conversation and then making them do the thing. Click share whatever it is. You got to, you gotta make people lean forward. And then to tie into your second question was like, well how do you do this with ai? Like, and I'll, I'll spell it out technically for everybody if you like, but the first thing to say is we don't separate humans from robots at lately, we know that the human is an essential component, component of marketing and sales.

Speaker 2: (15:58)

Um, so marketing and sales has been, you know, social selling is not new. , when the first person had the wheel that that was a social sale he made back in the day, it was a man, I'd have to say, but, right? Um, so nothing is different. It's just all the tools we use. Um, did I lose my own train of thought? No, I didn't. Okay. So with, with , with, uh, with marketing and sales, the human has that gen say quo. Again, this is that third piece in the room we're talking about, right? You can't put a finger on it, but you have to allow this space there. And you, you can't always describe it. It's the thing you and I just met today. We already discovered that we could talk for hours and I totally wanna have a beer with you or a non-alcoholic beer or whatever we're doing. It doesn't really matter, you

Speaker 1: (16:42)

Know, I can do either one. , I'd rather have a coffee than a non-a than a non-alcoholic. I don't love taste.

Speaker 2: (16:48)

There's not that good, but they are getting better. I've been trying, trying some

Speaker 1: (16:51)

really. I haven't done, I haven't done a non-alcoholic beer in a while. Actually. Actually, to be honest, I haven't done a beer in a while. I usually just go to like a, I I've done too many white claws. Like, it's like I'm too basic . Cause I don't like hangover. So like, now I'm getting old. So like, if I do like anything like, like actual liquor, like if I do like a scotch or a whiskey, it's like I'm done the next day. So it's like Aquila or like White Claw, like beer is like, I'm all bloated. Like it's not . Like growing ups not fun.

Speaker 2: (17:16)

, we have the same problems. Um, shout out to Lauren on the White Claw. She's my head of everything. , the claws, the law, right? . Yeah. It's good. Anyway, but yeah. And only you and I were able to do that. This is what I'm saying. Like you, I feel like we've already reached through this screen. We've, we've hugged, we've high fived like all those things, right? And so you can't remove this element and you don't, you don't want to, right? This is why AI will never replace marketers altogether, in my opinion. Um, so what we we do is lately's robots job is to get you three quarters of the way there so that the human has the space to fill in that, that quarter percent. Now the difference isn't one plus one equals two, it's one plus one equals three. And that's even more the the reason you do it. So, um, to back up and give people the commercial briefly, but lately AI learns your brand voice. It'll learn any brand voice and then it'll atomize any long form content into dozens of, um, previews or or movie trailers. In the case of video

Speaker 1: (18:23)

Clips, little little clips of that, of if, if it's a video or just like short little text

Speaker 2: (18:28)

That's right. And the clips. Yeah. So the magical part is the AI knows which which clips to, to learn, um, or to, to use, to cut up and, and to present to you in a social post. And it's doing that because it's actually studying your analytics from your social channels that it can see what words and phrases and sentence structures get you the highest engagement. And then it starts to look for that same content in whatever you feed it, right? So the human part though, has to curate it. It's only a robot. It's a little dumb and it doesn't even know you yet. It has to get to know you. So the more time you nudge it, the more you, the more time you spend telling it this way, this way, it'll, it'll get smarter and smarter. Um, which is, you know, great. And the job is to as all robots, right?

Speaker 2: (19:13)

Robots are cold, humans are warm, robots are fast, humans are slow. But together, this is that, this is that magical thing you get. Um, so, you know, the, the story I guess like that I wanted to touch on because, you know, we're talking about a lot of new ideas here. We're talking about, as you pointed out, like looking at things differently. Um, so I wanna, I wanna zag back for one sec. When I was at xm, I had, um, I had really bad tendonitis and epicondylitis Scott, throughout both arms and hands. I couldn't, I couldn't type anymore. And it was scary. This is 2006,

Speaker 1: (19:54)

You had tennis elbow

Speaker 2: (19:56)

Worse. That's right.

Speaker 1: (19:57)

Worse than tennis elbow. Yeah,

Speaker 2: (19:58)

Yeah, yeah. And there wasn't, like you said before, this is like a long time ago, there was, we b I had a flip phone, , you know, and Dragon naturally speaking had been invented. That's the, the voice activated software that powers Siri. And, but not a lot of people knew about it. And it was very clunky and hard to use. So I, I learned about it. I found there were four coaches in the whole country. One was in DC I had no money. I was in radio. I ate ramen, you know, and other people's, I had Charles Shaw $3, three buck check, right? . And um, I found this woman who was a fan of my channel and I paid her in CDs cuz I had hundreds of them. So I was really lucky. And then I took the software to xm. They wouldn't put it in the system, you know, cuz of it and whatever.

Speaker 2: (20:47)

So I I, I got a credit card, I bought a laptop, which I couldn't afford so I could at least bring it to work. And then now I'm a real pain in the because I need a private room cuz I have a microphone and the microphone, here's everything. So now I, I want special treatment, right? I'm not, I'm actually a person with a partial disability, but I want special treatment. And so, and it was sexually harassment, like galore, like all these things were happening and hostile work environment. And I didn't, this was not a good spot. It was, it was show. But we didn't have the language I'm using to describe to you. And it was, to me, it was just frustrating. I was like, wait a second, I kind of kick here. Like, my channel is like number 21 out of 300, you know, I'm doing a great job.

Speaker 2: (21:27)

Why am I not getting reward for this? And why is it so hard? And my, I was crying a lot and smoking a lot. I'm, I was very good at smoking. I missed smoking . And my, my dad kind of had it with me and he loving very lovingly shook me by the shoulders one day and said, You can't work for other people. And there's no shame in that . Mm-hmm. things. Good advice. Yeah. Very good advice. Light bulb, right? Yeah. And so that's when I, um, and I'll, this is, I I just wanna share this other part because for those of you who are, you know, maybe inspired but haven't yet made the leap or, you know, when there's lots of hurdles in your way, like the universe is trying to tell you dude, , you know, move. You have to make the leap here.

Speaker 2: (22:17)

You have to move it. So in that moment, all in the same week, um, my husband heard, he was my boyfriend, then he heard my dad and his great kindness and wisdom went right out to the bookstore and got me, um, gei Kawasaki's Art of the Start, um, seminal startup book. Right? And so I started to read that and I got into maybe chapter two where it guy says, Don't make a plan, just get started, right? Meaning like, don't waste time thinking about all the things you had to do. Just, you just gonna roll with it. And I thought, okay, well I don't need this book anymore. And I literally toss it aside, , I tried to go back to it, but I never really did because that, those books are not a map. There is no map for what you're doing. There's only inspiration.

Speaker 2: (23:01)

You know, And that's what it's designed to be. And then the other thing that happened, two other things. This is all one week I was reading a self-help book. Scott and I, I don't like self-help books. I, I don't, I find them just, ugh, kill me now. But I was trying everything I could in my power cause I was unhappy and I knew I had to do something and change the channel. So I read The Secret, which is a total barf of a book. And the secret by the way, is not a secret at all. It's a mindset. That's what it is. Mm-hmm. . And I could see that my mindset sucked. I smoked. So I'm like totally wishing death on myself. Literally by the moment I'm, all I'm talking about is how much pain I'm in and how much I hate my job.

Speaker 2: (23:42)

And I thought, okay, well I'm just not gonna do that stuff anymore. I'm not gonna talk about, I'm not gonna have negative stuff come out. I'm gonna stop smoking. I'm gonna stop just being like this mess. And then I met, I went to lunch with some customers who were big fans of mine from, from xm. And they wanted to hand deliver a product cause they wanted to meet me, which was very unusual. Usually just put it in the mail. And we went to lunch and it turns out they were angel investors and they gave me $50,000 to start my first company.

Speaker 1: (24:13)

And, and this all happened in one week. And, and this was not so this was not expected at all. This was this, this lunch is, and did like, it was in that lunch that they were like, you want to start something, you have an idea will help you out.

Speaker 2: (24:26)

Yeah. I was actually, I was, that's, remember I told you I don't have an edit button. And um, I was talking about, there's this guy, Bob, Bob Leitz, who was a big deal in the music industry back in the day. He had a newsletter, which, you know, guys, MySpace was just coming around, right? So, yeah. Um, and he would, he had, he had authority because he had that voice. And Bob was always, um, talking about my show at xm, but not giving me credit for it. And he told my boss specifically that she couldn't possibly be making those song choices because she's too young and, you know, couldn't have that wherewithal. And that really me off. And so I was complaining about him and they knew who he was and that's when they were just like, Here, here, you're awesome. , you're crazy. Let's take on Bob left. It's in the world. Sure, why not? You know? Cause I didn't, I didn't have any, What could I lose? You know? I was already incapacitating.

Speaker 1: (25:18)

I mean, like, it, you Yeah. You weren't in a good spot. I, you couldn't really lose anything. If any, if anything, you know, it's, you just end up leaving a toxic work environment and it forces you to find something else that's hopefully a little less. That's the worst that can happen if, if the entrepreneur stuff doesn't work out.

Speaker 2: (25:33)

Yeah, exactly. And like, I was so, I was lucky. Luck always has a role. I totally believe that. It's, you have to have both. You have to know to, the door has to open, you have to know to go through. So it's both mm-hmm. . But like, I was able to then, and I, I had help, I had Catalyst to help me do this, to start pulling on my, my my out my tool drawer of things. You know, a fiction writing line, cook radio. Okay. So I have these skills. Somebody actually, this is a great skill for all you guys listening. Someone asked me to run through my contacts and try to group them, um, in an, in, in think of them in, in unusual ways. Cuz I was raising money eventually. Right. I started lately. So I, like, I had to do, we all get to that story too.

Speaker 2: (26:14)

Um, but I was trying to think of who they were. So my first, uh, idea was, well, they're all music people. There's the artists and there's the record industry people, right? And then I started, and there's family, friends, whatever. Then I started looking at like, differently, trying to cut the cut, cut across these groups in different ways. And so I had people I could see were entrepreneurs. I had people who I could tell were risk takers. Like I made these categories. Um, it turns out I did have people who were, had a lot of money in my life, but I, I didn't really know that about them. But, but I had, I had called them risk takers. And those are the people I went to first to bet on me . And I raised, um, on nothing, on an idea, on an idea that I, I it was so poor back then, to be honest. It wasn't this at all. Um, we raised $250,000 in a, in a few months. Um, not mostly from friends and family. Actually mostly from strangers. Um, one of them actually was, was it, Go ahead. Sorry. I was gonna say one of them. Bob Mcauslan was one of my biggest fans at xm and he's my largest investor. So like radio, who knew radio would pay off that ridiculous career I had, you know,

Speaker 1: (27:22)

Well, that's a whole other conversation about if you have a reach in an audience, you can do quite a bit with it, which you can. That's, that's a lesson in and of itself. But, okay, So you raised, you raised 50 K, then you raised up to 250 k still on an idea. There's obviously pre-revenue. So , how, how did you start, how did you, you know, your, now the, the current iteration of lately is ai. You're not developing this yourself. You're not an engineer. So what did you do? What did you do with that money?

Speaker 2: (27:54)

Yeah, so, so the first money, the first 50 K we actually built, not lately at all. We built, um, miniature radio. It was two songs a day and old song, and a new song that chemically had to work together sonically and chemically. And it was free, it was like a widget. And as I was, but it, it tabs on to the ideas that we're having here. Familiar, new, familiar touchpoints, right? Mm-hmm. , it's all there. And that's when somebody came to me and said, Hey, you're really good at marketing. Let's put you on the Walmart account. And I was like, Great, goodbye radio. I'm done with you for life. Like, you know, finally . Um, but then as that was happening and I was making all these spreadsheets, these, my spreadsheet system, my friend Steve, who was in this world, he was a former cto, he'd had a successful exit.

Speaker 2: (28:39)

He knew all these words that I didn't know. And he said to me, kept saying to me, Let's automate your spreadsheets. We just need $25,000 to build wire frames, You know? And I'm like, okay, first of all, don't touch my spreadsheets, , second of all, $25,000. Like, have you met me? Like I, I'm, I was four about to be 40 at the time, and I was buying my first house and we've saved, scraped and saved to do this. You know? And then I didn't know what a wire frame was, of course. Um, and so Steve ended up pulling the money out of his own pocket, bringing in my, one of my co-founders. So, so Steve was the glue, he was the person that had the tech background. Um, and you know, the first go through Scott, so me and, and Jason, the, the first co-founder that came in, Jason Singlehandedly built, um, small business products for both Target and, and, um, Bank of America.

Speaker 2: (29:34)

Mm-hmm. . Um, so he ha you know, had that obviously cache. And then, um, our first CTO that we brought in, so Jason is, is my chief product designer. Um, my first cto we lost to alcoholic depression. The second one we lost to suicidal depression, Nobody died. I'm just saying they, they were evaporating from my life. So yeah, the funds we raised were evaporating as well. And it was hard, you know. Um, and it took a, this was like a two or three years at this point, at this point of being into it with nothing to show. And still this cockamamie idea about spreadsheets and organization and not AI at all. And finally we raised some money and had got a good c cto, Brian, who's my CTO now. It was amazing. And we watched our customers and what they did, and the thing that we thought was valuable, wasn't really valuable to them at all.

Speaker 2: (30:25)

. What they liked was this crazy idea I had, which was, let's just take a blog, push a button and turn it into 50 social posts. That was a, so we built the spreadsheet had worksheets and each worksheet was a feature of lately, right? The platform had all these features. That was my process. Um, and so our original idea was that my process could be replicated. Turns out that's not true. , my process is too complicated. to replicate. It's too hard to understand cuz I'm crazy and I don't, you can already tell I don't think linearly, I don't talk linearly. I'm all over the place. Right.

Speaker 1: (31:04)

I, I know, but it's, it's good. I can see, I can see the So , so I can see, well I can see, you know, just when you're first speaking about, I can see why this would be a successful, a successful pro process for marketing. But you're right. Like if you're gonna try and turn this into like a a any sort of product or software product or SaaS product, it seems like there's a lot of points where it can break.

Speaker 2: (31:25)

Yeah, you're right. And you know, we're, cuz I, um, as Joanne Wilson, my favorite investor says to me, I can walk through walls. I mean, I have no, just hit me over the head a few more times. Like, yes, please gimme another mm-hmm , right? So we kept, we kept piling on because we knew we had something, there was, there was something there. And we are nimble enough to fo keep refocusing on the thing that was surfacing and double down on it and triple down on it. And so that's where, what we've been doing, um, or, and there's, there's so many highs and lows. I mean, I, I like getting punched in the face and obviously I love it, right? And

Speaker 1: (32:02)

But how do your investors like it ? How do you invest

Speaker 2: (32:05)

That? Uh, that's one of my FiNet qualities. They were, I mean, right? I mean there's a lot of things that I suck at, but like, I'm competitive and they know that I'm not gonna quit. And this, this game is, especially if you're a woman, Scott, right? So, so, and or underdogs in general. But in my world, female entrepreneurs only get 2% of all the venture funding. 2%, 2%. Now I've raised 3.4 million all from Angels not ventures. I've had a couple of, I've had one term sheet in my hand. Um, I've failed to raise a price round twice. It feels like a huge shortcoming on my part. Why can't I achieve this one hurdle? And the answer is, is because it's working hard and they, they raise the goal post on you all the time, you know? Um, and I'm constantly looking for other kinds of validation and checking myself like, am I crazy? Why am I still doing this? You know? But I've got 348 customers that, you know, wouldn't let me pry lately from their cold dead hands. So it's like constantly thinking to yourself, am I stubborn or am I just driven and wondering? Cuz it's line.

Speaker 1: (33:12)

But you still see progress. You still see, even if it's incremental, like the small, you're still moving in the right direction. Always. Even even though,

Speaker 2: (33:19)


Speaker 1: (33:20)

Things aren't always

Speaker 2: (33:21)

Working. And right now I think that's the most important, speaking of the right direction. So, so the right direction, uh, traditionally for all startups is monthly recurring revenue. That's the direction that mm-hmm , that's the oter for all the things. And we were going, we took us a long time, we flatline for a while and we dropped and whatever, and then we were flying super high and then something broke and I cried a lot and a lot of stuff actually broke all at once. And that was really difficult, . Cause you know, we can take a lot of punches as myself and my team. I have a very high tolerance for pain and stress. But this was all the stuff at once and we had to just pick up our heads and, and we are, we are doing something crazy, which is, we're saying now that Mr is not our true north. No, this is crazy, right? I'm gonna say, I'm gonna say making money is not what I care about right now. What I care about right now is what, what is it, what is the one single thing that makes customers not churn? What is that thing? What do they have to do in my product to get enough aha whatever to, to love me till the day they die? You know? I know what it is.

Speaker 1: (34:31)

You, and, and your goal right now is to, is to figure that out or you have figured that

Speaker 2: (34:35)

Out. I know what it is. Yeah. I, I already knew before, but I, what I didn't know this, lots of things this year helped me understand what exactly what you said is, um, can you make it a straight line? I figured out how to do that. Um, but it means becoming what we are and stop trying to be the things we're not. And that's a big, uh, I'm being a little bit crypted cuz it's too long and boring to tell everybody, but

Speaker 1: (35:03)

A little slightly cryptic. I'm like wondering like how deep I wanna like press on this. Like figure out what the hell you're doing right now.

Speaker 2: (35:09)

. Well, I mean I figured out that you

Speaker 1: (35:11)

Can, but I know

Speaker 2: (35:11)

It's like, yeah you can sequence, you can sequence lately the ai, you can't sequence marketing. Marketing. Everybody comes at it from different ways and that's what we've been trying to do. This is why Well no, we weren't trying to do it. We, we knew that and we, so we didn't automate a million things and we really relied on customer interaction demos and like, and enterprise mindset. And we knew all the reasons to not do that or to do that for the moment. But uh, we had enough validation happening around, you know, what, where my gift, my uber power is, um, making listeners and defense or customers into evangelists. That's what I do. And how can I take that and using product led growth scale that right? Because what I do now, we don't do and lean forward everybody. So we don't do any paid ads and no cold calls and no cold emails at lately we only use our own organic AI for all lead generation and we have a 98% sales conversion.

Speaker 1: (36:20)

Okay. Incredible. Yeah, that is incredible.

Speaker 2: (36:23)

That's incredible. So how do we

Speaker 1: (36:25)

Scale that now? Are you right? But the question is, so my, yeah, so I was gonna ask how do you scale that but also is that just because you wanted to figure out those key carrots you have to dangle in front of customers to actually, you know, those things that you have to have the customer do before you reduce return to whatever, 0% or whatever your metric you're trying to achieve. Do you want to figure that out first before you ramp up the more traditional air quotes type of marketing? Or is that just not what you want to do as a company? You're happy with the 98% conversion rate with no aspect

Speaker 2: (36:57)

? Well, I mean I up a million other things. Like that's the one shining good thing, you know? But um

Speaker 1: (37:02)

No, no, I know. I'm just, I'm just wondering where you're gonna, what you're gonna with the company in the future. When you figure those things out, those levers out.

Speaker 2: (37:08)

We have figured them out already. Cuz remember when I was saying it's always right in front of you and it was right in front of us and we knew it before. We have amassed a lot of data. Id got some great advice from an entrepreneur several years ago, which was to always look for the patterns, right? Because you're either gonna double down in the patterns or like the patterns are gonna show you what's wrong. Um, and so I knew that and I had collected all this data and I could tell that I just wasn't looking at it right? But I didn't have the wisdom or the perspective I needed. I needed someone else to come in and with their eyeballs or, or light something up. And so I spent time with Mark Robert this summer Mark, um, amazing is, yeah, Mark is the former CRO that took HubSpot to I p O for those mm-hmm listening

Speaker 1: (37:52)

And from like, he was like employee number, like whatever, it's six seven in a garage to Yeah. And he was like the, the man Jen, he's like the person like I like to follow and subscribe to for content marketing strategy. Cuz he's all about inbound. Yeah. All about inbound. Yeah.

Speaker 2: (38:05)

He lives and breathe it and he's so nice. And it was an a a, you know, he, he emailed me. He's also do we have time for a quick story? Um, he's also a professor at Harvard Business School and um, Harvard Business School alumni Angels of New York actually led my first round. So I like, I didn't go to Harvard but like I got Harvard in my life, right? And he cold emailed me and said, Hey, um, we'll lately be a part of this thing for my, my class and I get these kinds of things all the time and I have to really be judicious about where we spend that time or not because it's not often worth it. And I was like, sounds like waste of time, . Now I wasn't paying attention Scott cause I'm busy and I often, I often gloss over things, you know I do cuz like there's so much coming at you. Right? And this person was very per, per persistent. And he was like, Let's get on the phone. And I was like, Oh, okay. We got on the phone, we

Speaker 1: (38:57)

Had Mark Bears hitting you up again and again and again. .

Speaker 2: (39:00)

Yeah. And I don't know who it is. I'm not paying attention. I know who he is, but I'm not connecting the dots, right? Yeah. So we're on a call just like this on a Zoom call and he's talking and I just keep thinking, this guy really took some time to know about me. He's cool, he's smart, he's got good insights cuz most people don't, they're just shining me or whatever advice is free, right? And I'm googling him and I'm like, Oh my God, it's Mark .

Speaker 1: (39:24)

That's funny.

Speaker 2: (39:26)

So we did the project, it was actually a waste of time, but what wasn't a waste of time was that later that summer, uh, stage two capital did their first, which is Mark's, um, venture arm did their first ever accelerator. And they reached out and asked lately to participate. And I was like, Oh, I'm gonna spend 10 weeks being coached personally by Mark Bears. Yes, I'm doing this. You know, that's

Speaker 1: (39:46)

Not a waste of time. That is not always the

Speaker 2: (39:48)

Time . And he was the, so he was part in part the catalyst, like the, he equipped us with people to come in and look at my numbers and help me sift through them in new ways. But also I wanted validation, Scott, because you know, am am I crazy right? Here we are like, oh my God, everything is up, upside down again. And um, I got it, I got it in, in so many ways that, like I've done a lot of accelerators as well and I've worked with a lot of people, but I'd never had so many people from his cherry pick, from his team who, who actually actually helped me. They didn't just gimme some advice that I could maybe execute on or noodle on or whatever. And in my world that's so valuable because I'm only one human and there's never enough people to do it, actually physically do all the things. So anytime I can get somebody in, you know, to do it, I don't need it. I don't need advice, I've got advice coming out of my, you know, I need executors, right? Um, and you know, now it's time to take what I learned and put it to the test and hey, see, you know, as always, like will it stick to the wall? ? We'll find out. Stay tuned. I

Speaker 1: (40:57)

See. So, okay, so then we have to do, we'll have to do a follow up when, cause I really want to know what, what you're changing. I like, you know, even before we jumped in this call, like you said, like you're gonna shake things up, you're gonna, you know, rip stuff out. And then so obviously you're like in a, in a high transition period right now. Like, cause I'm, I'm curious what, I'm curious what it's gonna look like. So anyway, you have, you have some great advice coming in from some great people obviously. So I think it's gonna be a net positive. I can't imagine it going the wrong way. Thanks Marco. Bears is just really impressive. So like if, if he's the one who helped be the catalyst for all this, I think it's probably gonna end up working out quite well.

Speaker 2: (41:34)

I hope so. Yeah.

Speaker 1: (41:35)

I'm curious.

Speaker 2: (41:36)

Me too.

Speaker 1: (41:37)

Cause I've also even like when we first, before we actually started talking, um, I was trying to figure out like, this seems like such a great product for like, like a consumer, like, you know, for a smaller content creator. And I'm like, well this is priced outta my range at, at the beginning when I first started looking into it. So I'm like, how do we, how do we , you know, how how can I use something like this? Because I'm not Gary Vanderchuck and I don't have a, you know, a huge marketing budget, but this is like, AI is like the dream for a smaller content creator because that's, again, you you just mentioned how every time you can bring somebody in to help you, like that's well in my, in my, in my world like tools and tech and AI is what allows me to replicate myself without hiring somebody full time. So how do I figure out how to get this into my world? And maybe that's, I hope hopefully you're going down that road in the future.

Speaker 2: (42:27)

Yeah. I feel like I'm democratizing my own company. Like, you know, it's sort of,

Speaker 1: (42:32)

But that's not a bad thing though. No,

Speaker 2: (42:34)

That's really a bad thing. It's the thing we were built, we were built to do. Like this is the, the best part and we should wrap it up by know and I'm being so cryptic and it's mean of me. So yes, please have me back. No, I just,

Speaker 1: (42:43)

It's, it's, it's, it's, well, it just means you're, you're planting seeds for, for something and like,

Speaker 2: (42:48)

Okay, the best part is I'm happy. You know, somebody said to me in and listeners like, this is so important and it sounds so fluffy and and cliche, but one of my investors and friends Peter said, Are you happy? And the answer was no. And I don't operate in a world that I'm not happy cuz you know, I've, I've learned the hard way that it manifests physically for me and incapacitates me. And I was like, Oh my God. And he asked, what, what, what makes you happy with work? You know? And I told him the, the things that I'm best at doing, I wasn't actually doing anymore or at all. And so we restructured even internally the company who got paid, who was gonna work here anymore, you know? Mm-hmm. sales versus engineering was the decision we made. We made, we made it engineering, we made a product. The product needs to shine the product is everything, you know.

Speaker 1: (43:39)

Do you wanna talk about, I need to talk about Gary Vanner Trump. Oh sure. I just need to talk about Gary Van. Yeah. Talk about Gary because I know we have to talk. Okay. So first, okay, so let's, let's sort of like segue into this. So, okay, the goal of the goal in my mind of, of lately is to, is to help anybody turn themselves into a media company. Anybody have a, a replica, a replicable, scalable content strategy at, at its core. That's what, that's what I think it's most useful utility is. And then of course it's, you know, you said like it takes you three quarters of the way and then of course if you, if you're a marketer, you can finesse it and you can massage it and then you can tailor it to the audience. So that, that's the goal, right? Like you have this one piece of content that you can turn into a whole bunch of clips and then it does it smartly and intelligently and it, and with your brand in mind and then you can disseminate it to any social platform, whatever.

Speaker 1: (44:32)

Um, so this is obviously something that I, I learned this strategy before I knew about the tool from Gary Vanerchuk. This is how I grew my show, my podcast through this strategy, right? Right. Like you record the long form and you break it up into clips and you break it up into a blog and you, and you know, you have like the five minute clip for Facebook and you have the two minute clip for Instagram and you have like a 32nd clip for reels or TikTok or YouTube shorts or Snapchat spotlight. So you have all these different clips and they go anywhere. So anyways, this is what I learned from Gary Van Tech, but then I realized he was actually using your tool. So was he, So walk me through that. Was he already, he was already part of the content game for a long time and I'm sure that he was trying to create content at scale. I don't think there was a tool he was using, maybe it was just a team of marketers, but then I know that he actually uses lately now. So I'm assuming that obviously was like a holy grail for him and, and how he markets, right? Well I know a little story so I'm just

Speaker 2: (45:22)

Yeah. Making dots. We did a test with them because, so, so you know, lately isn't really made for Gary cuz Gary doesn't need me. He's got an army, right? Mm. And he's not my ideal customer. Amazingly enough. He's my ideal poster boy. Um, and like the goal wasn't ever to make him a customer cuz we just knew like, it, it's hard to replace mindset, you know, uh, we found this when we talked to enterprise customers especially, or like large agencies, is they get really nervous cuz they're like, well, we're already doing this by hand. And you're like, Yeah, but we could save you time. And, and anyway, so it was, it was interesting learning from Gary's team, you know, around that. But to your point, you know, we asked Gary to talk about us on social twice, LinkedIn and Twitter, and we got a ton of inbound and each time we weren't able to convert the inbound, uh, at a large scale.

Speaker 2: (46:17)

And like we're like, we knew, we didn't know why, but we're starting to figure it out on top of all the other things we were learning, right? So like the new product that we are releasing is actually designed for you and everybody else who wants to do exactly what you're saying. And so that the AI will get them 90% of the way there instead of only three quarters of the way. And to be at that, you know, consumer kind of kind of price range and all the things with, with Gary, what, what happened was, um, okay, so I'll tell this last story and then I gotta go. Um, cuz I'm having so much fun with you and I'm realizing I have a thing shortly.

Speaker 1: (46:53)

I, well I'm just trying to let you, so I know the book that we've, we were supposed to be done. Like, and I was like, whatever. Like, these are great stories and we'll wrap so quick. Like, I don't, I didn't wanna I didn't wanna drag it out too long, but No, you're great. It's all really good stuff. It's all really good stuff and, and I appreciate that. Like, you just, you're very, um, self-aware entrepreneur, um, and I think that like your, your story is, uh, is is inspirational to say the least. And I just appreciate like how real you are with how you've done things and how you're building things and it's just, it's it's nice. It's a nice story. So

Speaker 2: (47:23)

Thanks. Well,

Speaker 1: (47:24)

I don't wanna cut it short.

Speaker 2: (47:25)

No, no. I mean, uh, to be really clear, I can't do this by myself. I rely on you, I rely on my customers, right? And like, you know, what's life after lately? ? I don't know. But like, as much as I know that part of my journey is to like, try to help other people along the way, right? And so by sharing the stories, that's the way I can do it with the time I have, right? I can't give people personal consultations or advice or marketing, whatever, but I can, I can share these stories. So with Gary, like again, we talked about opening the door and then having also the where, where wherewithal to go through. Um, he does four Ds, right? That, that that course he does, where you can go with like seven or 10 other people, you hang out at Vader Media all day.

Speaker 2: (48:08)

Um, we, we lived underneath Vayner and in a accelerator for a year. So I knew where, you know, I know the building really well. And, um, anyways, I got an, I got an invite, um, to 40. So I was like, great, uh, I will do this. I don't really care about having marketing advice from Gary or anybody else all day, I just wanna close this sale. You know, I knew that I needed to get the sale to get noticed by Gary and he doesn't know who we are. And um, so I, we, we'd closed a, a trial with Jim Thompson who was running team Gary v Marketing. And it happened to be that Jim was on vacation this week when I, when forties was happening, which is a bummer, but I figured, Oh, right, I'll meet everybody else. So I went around like, so I was like constantly leaving the room.

Speaker 2: (48:51)

, I didn't give a , like, you know, they're giving me advice on Facebook and Gary only comes in for one hour. His whole staff is in for the day giving you great advice. But like, I didn't, I don't need that advice, you know, I'm not like the best things since Slice bread, but 98% sales conversion, I'm pretty good. So, um, at some point Gary does come in and he is so awesome. He treats every single person like a superstar and he talks you individually and he focuses on you. Even though there was a room full of people, which is an incredible thing for, for anyone to do, you know, I would be impatient personally. I'd be like, Oh my God, why you're asking me this ridiculous stuff? But he doesn't, he's like, you know, a hundred percent. And he gets to me and I tell him what I do.

Speaker 2: (49:28)

I've actually met him before, but he did remember when I pointed out, which is funny. But anyways, so, um, he was like, Wow, marketing automation, we would never use that. Here, I'll get back to you. He's kind of short with me. And I was like, okay. And so then he comes around the room and we're supposed to have all these questions for him, and I don't have any questions. I'm scrambling to come up some questions, my little notebook, I'm like, Oh. And uh, so he gets back to me and he's like, Wait a second, are we, uh, he said, he said, Yeah, something again about not using ai. And I said, Well actually you guys are using lately right now. And he was like, What? .

Speaker 2: (50:06)

And to his great credit, he, he said to the cameraman, or Nick or whoever it was, he's like, Who, who's using lately? Get them in here. And so he brings in ragan who's like, Are you using lately? Yeah. We love it. Like here's what it does. You know, And it was this great moment where, and, and they videotape this whole thing and they put it out as content, Right. Cuz that's what Gary's about. And so there's an hour long show, He spends 18 minutes with me, which is a long time. And then he chooses to put this out like, so, you know, he kind of was caught by surprise, which I think is, you know, that's, that's integrity coming out your eyeballs, right? So awesome and nice. That

Speaker 1: (50:43)

Is, yeah. That's, you're not gonna get a much better recommendation than yet for somebody who's Yeah. That's, that's

Speaker 2: (50:48)

In Yeah. And then like, you know, they, they were, we thought they were about to churn and then we released the video clipping feature and we saved the sale for a couple years. And then actually they recently churned, which is no surprise, we knew it. I mean, like, they're not using it. Right. And my relationship with Gary isn't for him to become a customer. It's for, for him to help me market it to all of his followers. Yeah. Um, and he's the best around

Speaker 1: (51:10)

That. And who are the actual ideal customer profiles? Yeah. Like the people that don't have a team of a hundred marketers, that's that's who you, who want to use it or who you need to use it. Yeah. Who needs to use it rather.

Speaker 2: (51:20)

Yeah. And he's just the, he's just the nicest human. Like he always, like, I try not to bother him very often, but like I do have his phone number and I do once in a while text him and he always responds and nice. Yeah. I mean, I feel like, you know what I hate, I hate always asking and I wanna give and I don't know what to give him because he doesn't need anything from me. Do you know what I mean? So listeners, if you have any ideas, let me know. It's, it's so much better to come bearing a gift and then to always ask later, right? So I hate feeling the needy team is needy. I don't wanna be the needy team.

Speaker 1: (51:52)

Um, okay, let's, uh, let's wrap this up. Not because I wanna wrap it up, but because have to wrap it. We have to

Speaker 2: (51:57)

Have life, gift of life.

Speaker 1: (51:59)

Um, okay. So, uh, I needed to do a quick, a couple quick rapid fire, but you can go really, really quick. I just need them for the end of the show. But before I, I pivot into these, uh, where can people reach out to you, find you, where do you want communicate social media, uh, website, all that stuff.

Speaker 2: (52:14)

I'm friendly. You can get me on Twitter at uh, lately. Ai caley. So Caley, my team calls me ca from lately, um, lately is dub dub do And um, tell me where you are and how the weather is cuz those are the great questions that everybody can relate to.

Speaker 1: (52:31)

. Good. Very good. All right. Quick, rapid fire. Uh, biggest challenge you've had in your personal life. Uh, what was it? Had you overcome it? Personal or professional? Excuse me.

Speaker 2: (52:40)

Uh, my hands not being able to use my hands to type. It's terrifying and scary and I use voice activated software every day. Like this is why, the reason I have this headset is cuz I talk all day long. Right. So like, I cheat, I can hear myself. I have resting face in writing. I do like, I can hear it . So like when I was talking about reading it out loud, it's cuz I live that, you know? I know, I know. I gotta put a lot of smiley faces in there.

Speaker 1: (53:06)

Amazing. If you had to choose one person, there's obviously been many who have been, uh, incredibly impactful in your life, who was it and how did they help you? What did they teach you?

Speaker 2: (53:15)

Uh, my husband David teaches me all the time that, uh, I'm worth putting up with cause I'm not very bad. I mean, you know.

Speaker 1: (53:31)

Um, Alright. Your favorite source to learn or grow Book, podcast. Audible. Anything you'd recommend people go check out?

Speaker 2: (53:36)

Um, I reread the Harry Potter series every year. Um, it's my go to because I know how the story ends and I like an underdog win and I believe in magic.

Speaker 1: (53:46)

Amazing. If you could tell your 20 year old self one thing, what would it be?

Speaker 2: (53:53)

Spend money on eye cream sooner.

Speaker 1: (53:57)

. That's a good one. . And then last question, what does success mean to you?

Speaker 2: (54:03)

Oh God. And honestly it does mean money and I'm not ashamed to say that. Yeah. And the glow of it. I wanna roll in that stuff, man.

Speaker 1: (54:12)

I love it. . Okay. Perfect. That's all I got. That's it, right?

Speaker 2: (54:17)

I love you. Um,

Speaker 1: (54:19)

All thank you. Thank you. Thank you. That was awesome. I I know we went.

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