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Sixteen:Nine
Saurabh Gupta, Ultraleap

Sixteen:Nine

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 24, 2021 37:13


If you have been in the industry for a while, you'll maybe remember all the excitement around using gesture technology to control screens. That was followed by the letdown of how crappy and feeble these gesture-driven touchless working examples turned out to be. Like just about everything, the technology and the ideas have got a lot better, and there is a lot of renewed discussion about how camera sensors, AI and related technologies can change up how consumers both interact ... and transact. Ultraleap is steadily developing a product that lets consumers interact with and experience digital displays using sensors and, when it makes sense, haptic feedback. The company was formed in 2019 when Ultrahaptics acquired Leap Motion, and the blended entity now operates out of both Silicon Valley and Bristol, England. Leap Motion was known for a little USB device and a lot of code that could interpret hand gestures in front of a screen as commands, while Ultrahaptics used ultrasound to project tactile sensations directly onto a user's hands, so you could feel a response and control that isn't really there. Or something like that. It's complicated stuff. I had an interesting chat with Saurabh Gupta, who is charged with developing and driving a product aimed at the digital OOH ad market, one of many Ultraleap is chasing. We got into a bunch of things - from how the tech works, to why brands and venues would opt for touchless, when touchscreens are so commonplace, as is hand sanitizer. TRANSCRIPT Hey, Saurabh, thank you for joining me. Let's get this out of the way. What is an Ultraleap and how did it come about?  Saurabh Gupta: Hey, Dave, nice to be here. Thank you for having me. Ultraleap is a technology company and our mission is to deliver solutions that remove the boundaries between physical and digital worlds. We have two main technologies. We have a computer vision-based hand tracking and gesture recognition technology that we acquired and on the other side of the equation, we have made a haptic technology using ultrasound. The whole premise of how we came about was we started out as a haptics company and that's what our founder and CEO, Tom Carter, built when he was in college, and it was a breakthrough idea for us to be able to deliver the sense of touch in mid air using ultrasound was how we started, and to be able to project haptic sensations in mid-air, one of the key components of that was, you need to understand where the hands are in space and for that we were using computer vision technology by Leap Motion to track and locate user's hands in space, and we had an opportunity to make an acquisition, and some of your listeners may already know about Leap Motion. Leap Motion has been a pioneer in gesture based hand tracking technology since 2010. They've got 10 plus years of pedigree in really refining gesture based hand tracking models. So we had an opportunity to purchase them and make an acquisition in 2019, we completed the acquisition and rebranded ourselves to Ultraleap. So that's how we started. As stated in our mission, it's all about focusing on user experience for the use cases of how users are interacting with their environment, and that environment could be a sort of a 2D screen in certain applications, the application that we'll probably talk about today, but also other aspects of augmented reality and virtual reality, which are on the horizon and our emerging technologies that are gaining more ground. So that's the central approach. How can we enhance the interactivity that users have with a physical environment, through an input and an output technology offerings with gesture as input and haptics being the output?  The whole gesture thing through the years has been kind of an interesting journey, so to speak. I can remember some of the early iterations of Microsoft Kinect gesture, sensors, and display companies and solutions providers doing demos showing, you can control a screen by waving your hand, lifting it up and down and this and that, and I thought this is not going to go anywhere. It's just too complicated. There's too much of a learning curve and everything else.  Now, the idea as it's evolved and like all technology got a lot better is, it's more intuitive, but it's still something of a challenge, right? There's still a bit of a curve because we're now conditioned to touching screens. Saurabh Gupta: Yeah, you're right. One of the key aspects here is that gesture has been around. There's been research that goes back to the early 90s, if not in the 80s, but computer vision technology in general has come a long way. The deep learning models that are powering our hand tracking technology today are a lot more sophisticated. They are more robust, they are more adaptable and they are able to train based on a lot of real world inputs. So what that really means is that since the computing power and the technology behind recognizing gestures has improved, a lot of that has manifested itself in a more approachable user experience, and I completely accept the fact that there is a gap and we've got 10 plus years of learned behavior of using a touchscreen. We use a touchscreen everyday, carry it in our pockets, but you also have to understand that when touch screens became prevelant, there was the type keyboard before that.  So the point that I'm making here with this is that we are pushing the envelope on new technologies and a new paradigm of interactivity. Yes, there is a learning curve, but those are the things that we are actually actively solving for: The gesture tracking technology should be so refined that it is inclusive and is able to perform in any environment, and I think we've made some really good steps towards that. You may have heard of our recent announcement of our latest hand tracking offering called Gemini. The fundamental thing with Gemini is that it's based on years and years of research and analysis on making the computer vision, deep learning models, that power that platform to be as robust, to be low latency, high yield in terms of productivity and really high initialization, which means as part of the user experience, when you walk up to an interface, you expect to use it right away. We know we can do that with touch screens, but if you put this technology complementary to an interface, what we are solving for at Ultraleap is: when somebody walks up to a screen and they put up their hand to start to interact, the computer vision technologies should instantly recognize that there's a person who is looking to interact. That's number one, and I think with Gemini, with the deep model work that we've done, we've made some good progress there. Number two, which is once the technology recognizes that a person wants to interact, now can we make it more intuitive for the person to be as or more productive than she would be with a touchscreen interface? And that's where I think we've made more progress. I will say that we need to make more progress there, but some of the things that we've done, Dave. We have a distance call to interact, which is a video tutorial attraction loop that serves as an education piece. And I'll give you a stat. We ran a really large public pilot in the Pacific Northwest at an airport, and the use case there was immigration check-in, so people coming off the plane, before they go talk to a border security agent, some people to fill out their information on a kiosk. So we outfitted some kiosks with our gesture based technology and the rest were the controls, which were all touchscreen based and over multiple weeks we ran this study with active consumers who actually had very little to no prior experience using gestures and we did this AB test where we measured the gesture adoption rate on the kiosks without a call interact, before a call to interact and after a call to interact, and it increased the gesture adoption rate by 30%, which means that it certainly is helping people to understand how to use the interface. The second stat that came from it, that at the end of the pilot, we were almost at 65% gesture adoption rate, which means almost more than 6 out of 10 people who use that interface used gesture as the dominant interface for input control, and the third piece of this was how long did it take for them to finish their session? We measured that using the gesture based interaction, the time was slightly higher than for the control group that was using a touchscreen, but it wasn't much, it was only 10% higher. Now one can look at that stat and say in a transactional setting where you know, it's going to take you 30 seconds to order a burger, adding an extra second can be a problem, but at the same time, those stats are encouraging for us to think about when we look at that as the baseline to improve from.  So if I'm listening to this and I'm trying to wrap my head around what's going on here, this is not a gesture where you're standing 3 feet away from a screen and doing the Tom cruise Minority Report thing, where you're waving your arm and doing this and that is, can you describe it? Because you're basically doing touch-like interactions and the ultrasonic jets or blasts of air or whatever are giving you the feedback to guide you, right?  Saurabh Gupta: So we've got two avenues that we have going at this from. One is for the self service type offering, so you think of check-in kiosks or ordering kiosks at restaurants or even digital wayfinding, digital directories. We are solving for those primarily led at least in the first phase led by our gesture tracking technology. So gesture being the input modality, complimentary to touch. So, what we do is we build a touch-free application, which is a ready to use application that is available today on Windows based media players or systems to convert existing touch screen-based user interfaces to gesture, but what we've done is we've made the transition a lot more intuitive and easier because what we've done is we've replicated and done a lot of research on this and replicated interaction methods or gestures you would call it. I hate to use gestures as a word, because it gets tagged with weird hand poses and things like that, people pinching and all of that. For us, it's all about how we can replicate the same usage that a typical average consumer will have when she interacts with a touch screen based interface. So we came up with this an interaction method that we call Airpush which is basically, to explain it to your listeners, it's all about using your finger and moving towards an interactive element on screen. But what happens is the button gets pressed even before you approach them based on your forward motion or interaction. Now, the smart math behind all of this is that not only do we track motion, but we also track velocity, which means that for people who are aggressive in terms of their button pressing, which means they do short jabs, we can cater for those or people who are more careful in their approach as they move towards the screen, the system is adaptable to cater to all types of interaction types, and we track all the fingers so you can use multiple fingers too or different fingers as well. So these are some of the things that we've included in our application. So that's one side. The second side is all about interactive advertising, immersion and that's where I think we use our haptic technology more, to engage and involve the user in the interactive experience that they're going to. So for self service and more transactional type use cases, we're using primarily our hand gesture technology. And for immersive experiential marketing, or even the digital out-of-home advertising type of use cases, we are leading without haptic based technology.   And you're involved on the digita, out-of-home side, right? That's part of your charge?  Saurabh Gupta: That's correct. So I lead Ultraleap's out-of-home business. So in the out-of-home business, we have both self service retail, and digital out-of-home advertising businesses that we focus on. David:. So how would that manifest itself in terms of, I am at a train station or I'm out somewhere and there's a digital out-of-home display and I go up and interact with it and you're saying it's a more robust and rich experience than just boinking away at a touchscreen. What's going on? What would be a good example of that? Saurabh Gupta: So a good example of digital out of home activations is that we've partnered with CEN (Cinema Entertainment Network) where we've augmented some of their interactive in cinema displays that are being sold from a programmatic perspective. Now the interactive piece is still being worked into the programmatic side of things, but that's one example of an interactive experience in a place based setting. The other example is experiential marketing activations that we've done with Skoda in retail malls and also an activation that we did with Lego for Westfield. So these are some of the experiences that we've launched and released with our haptics technology and on the self service side we've been working with a lot of providers in the space you may have heard of.  Our recent pilot concluded with PepsiCo where we are bringing in or trialing gestures for their ordering kiosks for their food and beverage partners. So these are some of the things that are going on on both sides in the business. David:. So for the Lego one or the Scoda one, what would a consumer experience?  Saurabh Gupta: So these are all interactive experiences. So for Lego, it was about building a Lego together. So basically using our haptic technology which obviously contains gestures as the input, moving Lego blocks and making an object that was being displayed on a really large LED screen at one of the retail outlets and in London, so a user would walk up, they would use their hands in front of our haptic device to control the pieces on the screen and then join them together and make a Lego out of it and while they're doing that, they're getting the sensation of the tactile sensation of joining the pieces and that all adds up to a really immersive, engaging experience within a digital out of home setting.  So you get the sensation that you're snapping Lego pieces together?  Saurabh Gupta: Yeah, snapping pieces together, controlling so you get the agency of control, and it's one of those sensations that gives you a very high memorability factor. I don't know whether you track the news. This was in 2019. We did actually a really extensive activation with Warner Brothers in LA, and what we did was at one of the cinemas down there for Warner Brothers' three upcoming movies, Shazam, The Curse of La Llorona, and Detective Pikachu, we added interactive movie posters using haptics in the cinema lobby, and this would complement the digital poster network that was already existing at that location, and over the course of the activation, which was around six weeks long, we had almost 150,000 people that went through the cinema and we actually did in partnership with QBD, we did a lot of analytics around what the. performance was of an interactive movie poster experience within a digital out-of-home setting and got some really great stats.  We measured a conversion rate between an interactive experience versus a static digital signage experience. The conversion rate was almost 2x, 33% increase in dwell time, like people were spending more time in front of an interactive sign versus a static sign. Attention span was significantly higher at 75%, 42% lift in brand favorability. So these are really interesting stats that gave us the confidence that haptic technology combined with gesture based interface has a lot of value in providing and delivering memorable experiences that people remember. And that's the whole point with advertising, right? That's the whole point. You want to present experiences that provide a positive association of your branded message with your target consumer, and we feel that our technology allows that connection to be made  One of the assumptions/expectations that happened when the pandemic broke out was that this was the end of touchscreens, nobody's ever going to want to touch the screen again, the interactivity was dead and I made a lot of those assumptions myself and turns out the opposite has happened. The touch screen manufacturers have had a couple of pretty good years and the idea is that with a touchscreen, you can wipe it down and clean your hands and do all that stuff. But you're at a far greater risk standing four feet away from somebody across a counter, ordering a burger or a ticket or whatever it may be.  So when you're speaking with solutions providers, end user customers and so on are you getting the question of, “Why do I need to be touchless?” Saurabh Gupta: Yeah, it's a fair point, Dave, and let me clarify that. Look, from our perspective, we are focusing on building the right technology and building the right solutions that elevate the user experience. Hygiene surely is part of that equation, but I accept your points that there are far greater risks for germ transmission than shared surfaces, I totally accept that, and yes, there is a TCO argument, the total cost of ownership argument that has to be made here also.  The point that I will make here is that we fundamentally believe and being a scale-up organization that is focusing on new technology, we have to believe that we are pushing the technology envelope where what we are focusing on is elevating the user experience from what the current model provides. So yes, there will be some use cases where we are not a good fit, but contactless as a category or touchless as a category, maybe the pandemic catalyzed it, maybe it expedited things, but that category in itself is growing significantly.  A couple of stats here, right? The contactless payment as a category itself, 88% of all retail transactions in 2020 were contactless, that's a pretty big number And assuming that retail is a $25 trillion dollar market. That's a huge chunk.  But that's about speed and convenience though, right? Saurabh Gupta: Totally. But all I'm saying is contactless as a category is preferable from a user perspective. Now, gesture based interactivity as a part of that user flow, we fundamentally believe that gesture based interactivity plays a part in the overall user journey. So let me give you an example.  Some of the retailers that we are talking to are thinking about new and interesting ways to remove levels of friction from a user's in-store experience. So there are multiple technologies that are being trialed at the moment. You may have heard of Amazon's just walk out stores as an example. You don't even have to take out your wallet and that is completely based on computer vision, as an example, but there are other retailers who are looking to use technology to better recognize who their loyal customers are. So think of how we used to all have loyalty cards for Costco or any other retailer.  They're removing that friction to say, when you walk through the door, you've done your shopping and you're at the payment powder, we can recognize who you are. And if we recognize who you are, we can give you an offer at the last mile, and in that scenario, they are integrating gestures as part of the completely contactless flow. This is where I think we are gaining some traction. There is a product that we are a part of that hasn't been announced yet. I can't go into details specifically on who it is and when it's going to be released. But we are part of a computer vision based fully automated checkout system that uses gesture as the last mile for confirmation and things of that nature. That's where we are gaining traction. Overall point here is that we are focusing on really showcasing and delivering value on how you can do certain things in a more natural and intuitive way. So think of digital wayfinding at malls, right? You have these giant screens that are traditionally touchscreens, right? When you think of that experience, it has a lot of friction in it, because first of all, you can't use touch as effectively on a large screen because you can't swipe from left to right to turn a map as an example. We fundamentally believe that the product could be better with gesture. You can gesture to zoom in, zoom out, rotate a map, and find your direction to a store. Those kinds of things can be augmented. That experience can be augmented with adding just a capability as opposed to using a touchscreen based interface. So those are the high value use cases that we are focusing on.  So it's not really a case where you're saying, you don't need to touch screen overlay anymore for whatever you're doing, Mr. Client, you just use this instead. It's tuned to a particular use case and an application scenario, as opposed to this is better than a touch overlay? Saurabh Gupta: I think that is a mission that we are driving towards, which is, we know that there is potentially a usability gap between gesture in terms of its evolution than touchscreen. We are looking to bridge that gap and get to a point where we can show more productivity using gesture.  And the point is that with our technology, and this is something that you referenced a second ago, you can turn any screen into a touchscreen. So you don't necessarily need a touchscreen and then you can convert it to gesture. You can convert any LCD screen to an interactive screen. So there is some deep argument there as well. What's the kit, like what are you adding? Saurabh Gupta: Just a camera and a USB cable, and some software. And if you're using haptics feedback, how does that work? Saurabh Gupta: So haptics is a commercially off the shelf product. So it's another accessory that gets added to the screen. However, that contains the camera in it so you don't need an additional camera. That also connects to external power and a USB back to the media player.  So as long as you've got a USB on the media player, you're good, and right now your platform is Windows based. Do you have Android or Linux?  Saurabh Gupta: Good question, Dave. So right now we are Windows based, but we know it's of strategic importance for us to enable support on additional platforms. So we are starting to do some work on that front. You'll hear some updates from us early next year on at least the hand tracking side of things being available on more platforms than just Windows.  How does economics work? I suspect you get this question around, “All right. If I added a touch overlay to a display, it's going to cost me X. If I use this instead, it's going to cost me Y.  Is it at that kind of parity or is one a lot more than the other?  Saurabh Gupta: It depends on screen size, Dave, to be honest. So the higher in screen size you go, the wider the gap is. I would say that for a 21 or 23 inch screen and up, the economics are in our favor for a comparable system. And are you constrained by size? I think of all the LED video walls that are now going into retail and public spaces and so on, and those aren't touch enabled. You really wouldn't want to do that, and in the great majority of cases with this, in theory, you could turn a potentially fragile, please don't touch surface like that into an interactive surface, but are you constrained to only doing things like a 55 inch canvas or something? Saurabh Gupta: This will require a little bit of technical explanation. The Lego example that I talked about was targeted on, I would say a large outdoor LED screen. So the concept here is that if you want one-to-one interactivity.  So what do I mean by one-to-one interactivity? One-to-one interactivity is that basically when in our interface, when the user approaches the screen, there is an onscreen cursor that shows up, and that on screen cursor is what is the control point for the user. Now one-to-one interactivity for us to achieve that where the cursor is at the same height or there's no parallax between where the finger is and where the cursor is, for that you have to be connected to or at the screen, and when you are connected to the screen, based on our current camera technology, we can control up to a 42 inch screen for one-to-one interactivity, but we've also been doing exams showing examples where if you connect the sensor to slightly in front of the display, then you can cover a wider area and we've been able to showcase examples of our technology being used on up to a 75 inch LCD screen in portrait mode.  So then any larger than that, the scale gets a little wonky, right? Cause you've got a person standing in front of a very large display and it just starts to get a little weird. Saurabh Gupta: Yeah. It's like putting a large TV in a small living room. So you need to be slightly further away because then it gets too overwhelming, and for that, we have worked with certain partners and they've done some really interesting work like this company called IDUM, they built a pedestal and so that pedestal encloses our tracking device, and that can be placed several feet from a large immersive canvas, like a LED wall, as an example, in a museum type activation, and people can walk by and then they can control the whole screen with that pedestal slightly further away from the screen. So it's like a Crestron controller or something except for a big LED display!  Saurabh Gupta: Exactly. It's like a trackpad in front of the screen, but slightly further away.  Gotcha. All right. Time flew by, man. We're already deep into this. You were telling me before we hit record that your company will be at NRF and you may also have people wandering around IEC but if people want to know more about your company, they go to ultraleap.com?  Saurabh Gupta: That's correct. Ultraleap.com, we have all the information there and David, it was great to talk to you and thank you for the opportunity.   

3BC (Three Black Chicks) powered by KUDZUKIAN
Dating Me Is Like______???

3BC (Three Black Chicks) powered by KUDZUKIAN

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 23, 2021 26:09


Ooh wee that's a head tilt right there. Full disclosure, this is also an Insecure inspired conversation. When Molly had to fill out that questionnaire on the dating app, the flashback was all too real. What do you think? What would your exes say? Have you ever tried to answer this question? It's a helluva trip. Joy, KC and Clo gave it a shot. Listen up to hear what they came up with. 

The Uncurated Life Podcast
137 | What's My Enneagram?

The Uncurated Life Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 22, 2021 20:13


In part 2 of my Personality Test Adventures I'm heading down the path of the Enneagram, the darling of Christian Instagram. DISCLAIMER Colorful words may be used. don't be alarmed. NEWSLETTER https://view.flodesk.com/pages/61525a85337f1c2aacf52f6d Etsy Shop is open! https://www.etsy.com/shop/CGBPrints FIND ME ON ALL THE THINGS Patreon - https://www.patreon.com/cindyguentertbaldo YouTube - https://youtube.com/c/CindyGuentertBaldo Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/llamaletters/ Discord - https://discord.gg/Rwpp7Ww Pinterest - https://www.pinterest.com/llamaletters/ Website - www.cindyguentertbaldo.com STUFF I MENTIONED DISC Episode - https://uncuratedlife.libsyn.com/133-my-first-personality-test-disc About the enneagram - https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/how-the-enneagram-system-works Test - https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/rheti Inquiries - cindy@cindyguentertbaldo.com   TRANSCRIPTION Well, hi there friends. Welcome back to the uncurated life podcast, where I take personality tests and tell you all about them for your amusement. That's not the only thing we do here, but that is a series that I started relatively recently. So this is the second episode. The first episode was the D I S C assessment.   And I will link that in the show notes, if you would like to check it out and you haven't already, that was episode 1 33, but today we are going to be taking a look at the Darlene of Christian Instagram, the Enneagram test. Now here's the thing with personality tests. I'm generally skeptical about them, but enough people asked me to take them.   That I decided to just do this for the amusement of the internet. So I promise I go into these tests with an open mind and I am not being snarky when I answered the questions and actually take the test. Even if I'm snarky. When I talk about the test, when I take it, I'm taking it seriously. You may not believe me, but I swear I am now before we get into the actual test, give me a moment to mention that my latest series series two of my fuckery flowers, which are my flagship art print.   They're a beautiful flowers in botanicals. Mixed media paintings that I create prints out of, and they're realistic, but hidden within them as a naughty word. Fucking love them. I have a new series of 12 launching this coming Thursday, the 25th, the link is in the show notes and the shop is only going to be open until December 10th and then I'm going to shut it down for the holidays.   So. Shipping does not bite us in the ass. So just be sure to check it out when you're able, there will be some bundles that will be limited edition showing up just for black Friday weekend, blah, blah, blah. Check it out. Let's get to the test. So what is the Enneagram? So from the website, Truity they say.   The Enneagram is a system of personality typing that describes patterns in how people interpret the world and manage their emotions. The Enneagram describes nine personality types and maps. Each of these out on a nine pointed diagram, which helps to illustrate how. Relate to one another. The Enneagram is mostly used for personal self knowledge and personality development, offering a powerful tool for better understanding your core motivations and applying that knowledge to all areas of your life, including conflict resolution, team dynamics, leadership, and emotional intelligence, because it identifies opportunities for development for each individual type.   It has become widely used in. Such as counseling psychotherapy, business development, parenting, and education and quote. So like the quote said there are nine types and I pulled these from the Enneagram institute.com note that they're highlights. They're not the full spectrum of each type. Just to give you an idea of each type.   So type one is. A is principled purposeful, self controlled and a perfectionist type two is generous. Demonstrative people-pleasing and possessive type three is adaptable, excelling, driven, an image conscious type fours, expressive, dramatic self-absorbed and temperamental type five is perceptive innovative, secretive, and isolated.   Type six is engaging responsible, anxious, and suspicious type seven is spontaneous, versatile acquisitive and scattered type eight is self-confident decisive, willful and confrontational type nine is receptive, reassuring, complacent, and resigned. So it's nine types. It's a whole bunch of information. If you want to read more, like I said, links will all be in the show notes.   Now I said at the beginning, the Darlene of Christian Instagram now, well, the Enneagram is not rooted in Christianity in recent years. It has really taken root in a lot of the communities. The first time I attempted to take this test a couple of years ago, the free test I found was explicitly Christian.   And I note right the fuck out of there because I'm not Christian. And. A ton of the books I've found on different Enneagram types are written from a Christian perspective, like devotionals for type threes or how to be a type three. And then they don't say that they're Christian, but then you look at them and they're pretty fucking Christian.   It's not my jam dude. And so I'm not like in. The test I did find is science-based allegedly, what does it say? Science-based or scientifically validated force choice, personality test. Uh, it didn't seem to be Christian. When I looked at it, it costs $12. And according to the website takes about 40 minutes to complete.   Now there are plenty of free tests out there. You just need to be careful if you're not somebody who wants to take one from a Christian perspective to just keep an eye out for that. And on top of that, a lot of them will give you information, but you gotta like give them your email to get the rest of it and blah, blah, blah.   So just that, that's the point. The one I am taking is the. Test the Riso Hudson Enneagram type indicator routine version 2.5. And that is linked in the description. So. It says here that it has been independently scientifically validated rather than just indicating your basic type. It produces a full personality profile across all nine types, providing you a unique portrait relative indicating your relative strengths and weaknesses of the nine types within your overall personnel.   All right. So that's the one I'm taking. I will pause you here and go take it. If you want to take one of the tests and do it with me, then post, we can post about it on Instagram stories, blah, blah, blah. But I'll be back. I'll be back. All right. So I am done with the test. It went pretty quickly for me. I wound up doing it about 20, 25 minutes, but I tend to read really quickly and I didn't hesitate.   There were a couple where I think I read the question wrong. So I went back and was right about that and then answered it. So according to my results, my highest Enneagram type is two with seven being very close second. And then my lowest was type eight. So. I looked at this and two is the helper.   Generally twos are caring, empathetic, warm, thoughtful, appreciative, generous, other oriented, tactile affectionate, well, intention and demonstrative. They get into conflict by being people pleasing, flattering, ingratiating, clingy, worried, possessive insincere, seductive self-important, and self deceptive. And at their best twos are encouraging, loving self nurturing.   Constant joyous, humble, forgiving, gracious, and compassionate. So I see aspects of myself in this one, but I think that the second one, which is very close to the first. Is a little bit more me because I, one of the things I read about the Enneagram is that your original personality type is the way you like.   It's something that's constant throughout your life. And I feel like a lot of the aspects of the two are things that I have developed through like working on myself, but seven, the enthusiastic, I read that one and I was like, Hmm. So sevens are excitable spontaneous, curious, optimistic, eager, outgoing, future oriented, adventurous variety, seeking quick and talkative.   They get into conflicts by being scattered, distracted, restless, impatient thrill-seeking escapist, overextended, irresponsible, demanding, and excessive. And at their best, they are appreciative bountiful, thoughtful, accomplished, versatile, receptive, grateful content, quiet and passionate. Type seven exemplifies the desire for freedom and variety and for exploring the many rich experiences that life offers they're spontaneous and upbeat.   They find life exhilarating that the kind of people who and see like this also in some ways like there's aspects of this that are very much me, but there are aspects that I'm not adventurous. And I don't feel my social calendar like.   So there is that. Now one of the things I wanted to look at to see if maybe I could figure out which one of these I was, and I could see the, now I'm going to the third one, which was five, generally fives are focused, observant, curious, insightful expert studious. Complex perceptive, whimsical, profound unsentimental ex no, this isn't me as much either.   I don't know you guys. I need to sit down and talk to Jesse about this and be like, which one it ma, but I feel like, Ooh, sorry about the odd by goodness, but I feel like seven. So I'm going to go to the personality dynamics and variations to see if I can kind of. Kinda hammer this out under stress. Seven goes to average one sevens value their spontaneity and tend to follow their impulses for better or for worse.   As a result, they can become scattered in their attention and energy leaping from one idea to the next, from one activity to another. While this can be exciting. It often leaves seven's frustrated with themselves because they feel like they are not accomplishing as much as they would like to. At such times they begin to behave like average ones pulling in the reins on themselves and trying to get more organized and self controlled.   But because they are trying to impose order and control on themselves, they begin to feel trapped and restricted. This just makes them more frustrated, impatient, and irritable. They may, for instance, become critical of their own creativity. Creative. Before they have had a chance to develop them. Similarly, they cannot avoid feeling disappointment with people and aspects of their environment.   Nothing meets their expectations and they can become harsh and perfectionistic be critical with themselves. And with others, see that that is fucking like razor sharp. Security seven goes to an average five sevens often feel it is their duty to entertain others and keep their environment positive and exciting over time.   This can be exhausting even for sevens, when they are tired of being on for everyone, they may choose to withdraw even from their intimates and seek seclusion. And noninterference, this can come as a shock to others. You've been out having fun with everyone else. Why are you so quiet and unavailable? They no longer want to put out energy for anyone else and can become almost obsessively focused and preoccupied.   They can also be surprisingly withdrawn and isolated, like fives, their body language and aloof responses. Let others know they want space and privacy. They make no effort to entertain or energize others like fives. They retreat from contact and attempt to restore their energy. Again. This is very much me, the only real exception being this, being a shock to others.   But I think it's because my family and my friends know me well enough to know that there are times where I am just like fucking no. Integration seven goes to healthy five, a sevens learned to relax and tolerate their uncomfortable feelings. More completely. They stop using their restless minds to distract themselves.   Their minds become quiet, clear, and focused, allowing sevens to tap more deeply into their reserves of creativity and insight. They're able to prioritize not by imposing some arbitrary order on themselves, but by following their true interests and staying with them, thus, they become far more productive, satisfied.   Satisfying as companions, their capacity to find connections and to synthesize information is not drawn off into tangents. They produce results and this gives them grounds for real confidence in themselves and in life. As they experienced the world more deeply, they find each moment fascinating, profound and regulatory.   The idea of boredom becomes absurd as they savor the incredible mysteries of existence. See like, This I can totally get. And I, this is making me think I'm the seven, cause I'm going to look at the same things for two and I'm not going to read them completely   like the resentment for two under stress. They, um, can't maintain their loving attitude and. They turn into like an egocentric controlling. I can be egocentric and dominating, but I don't turn into like an egocentric Dick. When I feel like my shit has been rejected. I tend to withdraw when my shit has been rejected.   So I, this is I'm the opposite of this. I tend, I don't, they, what they're saying is that under stress twos tend to outburst aggressive, blah, blah, blah. And I tend to pull into myself with the security one. It says they may risk expressing their neediness and darker impulses. Again, that's not really me and the integration.   Yeah. See, I think just looking at all of these things about the two, it also says. It's very possessive and like people pleasing. And that's not me. I'm not really sure how I got to that. But with seven, the relationship issues. So some relationship problems can include these becoming so involved with expressing their thoughts and ideas that they do not really listen to others.   That would be me becoming impatient or critical of other slower pace. Just ask Jesse getting flighty or to seeking distractions. When important relationship challenges arise, fearing that others will not support them. If they're down or depressed, expecting the partner to provide gratification, entertainment, or support immediately on demand and being unwilling or very slow to make commitments.   A lot of this very much resonates with me. And one of the things I will say that with some of those things, they have been problems for me in the past and having a really healthy relationship has helped mitigate some of those things. So I actually think that the seven might be the closest one to me, although the biggest part of seven, that is not me as I am not adventurous, like at all.   So the other thing that usually happens with an Enneagram test is you might be able to know what your wing is. So it's the number that is the closest to your number on either side that you score the highest in. And for me, it would be six according to this. So let's take a look at that. Generally sixes are reliable, hardworking, organizing vigilant, dutiful, evaluating, persevering, cautious, anxious, believing, and doubting, conservative, and liberal six is get into conflicts by being pessimistic, defensive, evasive, negative worrying, doubtful negativistic, reactive, suspicious, and blaming, and at their best they're courageous cooperative disciplined, grounded, secure, faithful.   Self-expressive funny and affectionate. And the relationship issues for a six are getting testing the other person to see if he or she is going to stay getting over committed, causing sixes, to feel pressured and taking advantage of clamming up and not expressing their feelings or venting. The stream of anxiety is alternating between feeling dependent and needy and feeling divided to find a rebellious like rain, hot or cold becoming suspicious.   Doubting the Goodwill of others towards them and blaming people for their own anxieties. And there's a lot here. I can resonate as well. Although not as much as with a seven. Um, the other thing that I can see here is that here, for example, security, when six is feel secure, they begin to deal with stress by simply shutting down and becoming indifferent to their surroundings.   So like there are aspects of this. So if I was going to take a, like, read this and interpret it, I would say that I'm a seven wings, six. So an enthusiast wing loyalist, um, I would imagine that it's a six for my wing, not an eight, because eight was the lowest on my score. What do I think about this? I mean, honestly, most of what I'm looking at here is stuff that, like I already knew about myself and the suggestions for like levels of development and everything like healthy levels.   So like where is it at number seven? One of the things they say is at a healthy place at your best, I would assimilate experiences in depth, making them grateful and appreciative for what they have becoming odd by the simple wonders of life, joyful and ecstatic. Intimidations of spiritual reality of the boundless goodness of life.   I don't think I'm there. I think actually level three. So the lowest healthy level before you hit. Um, average levels is become accomplished. Achievers, generalists who do many things well, practical, productive, usually prolific cross fertilizing areas of interests. I think that that's kind of where I'm at with this, but I'm not sure, you know, and I mean, this, I don't know how much this is all a thing, but I appreciate the look of this.   It, the only thing in here that feels slightly. Christian. Like it doesn't feel Christian at all, except there is Nope. That's about it. I was going to say that like, one of their things is like, they talk about like, your passion is gluttony or plat. Passion is avarice, but they're not all the seven deadly sins, so, okay.   They're just using that verbiage, but yeah. Um, so I'm going to come out of this St. I'm a seven wing six and Ooh. They also have examples of who, who are sevens and who are whatever. If I'm looking at who sevens are some sevens pulling out of here, we got Joe Biden, but we also got Sarah Pailin. We got Katy Perry and Brittany Spears and Goldie Hawn and cameras.   There's a lot of actors on here. There's a lot of actors on here. Elton John is on here. Leonard Bernstein is on here. Who else? JFK is on your Mozart. Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin. I mean, he had gout to I Kandinsky and artist. I really admire is on here. Jim Carey, David do Cavani. There's a bunch of actors and so on.   And so this makes sense, like a lot of like people in like the arts seem to be on here. So that's, that's cool. Anyway, I don't know you guys, I don't know if this is garbage or if this is realistic, but I will say that it's an interesting way of looking at things, looking at things like how you resolve conflict and how you go about your life in that way.   So I do appreciate that. And I wonder if once I'm done with all of these personality tests, if I set them next to each other and see, do they kind of inter in line with each other or was I just in different moods those days? Cause sometimes I wonder when I'm taking these tests, um, is it just based on my mood that day?   Like today, am I seven and tomorrow mine eight, like who fucking knows. Right. Anyway, if you take the Enneagram, let me know, let me know what you are. Tag me on Instagram at Lama letters. And don't forget to check out my shop. All the information is in the show notes, as well as links to all of this shit.   The fuckery flowers are releasing later this week. I am so grateful that you're here and I am so grateful to my patrons. They are the sponsors of every episode of the podcast. And if you are interested in becoming a patron and getting early access to these episodes, then you can check it out. There is links in the show notes.   There's all sorts of shit in the show notes. So it's even a transcription of this. But if you're listening to this, you may not want the trans I don't fucking know. Anyway, thank you so much. I'll see you next week. And until next time friends, peace out.  

The Marketing Secrets Show
The MOST Important Part of the Funnel (I Guarantee it's NOT What You Think!)

The Marketing Secrets Show

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 22, 2021 31:22


What is the future of funnels...? With meta-verse coming, what should we be focused on now!? Hit me up on IG! @russellbrunson Text Me! 208-231-3797 Join my newsletter at marketingsecrets.com ClubHouseWithRussell.com ---Transcript--- Russell Brunson: What's up everybody? This is Russell Brunson. I'm back with my co-host Josh Forti. How you doing, man? Josh Forti: I'm doing awesome, man. How are you? Russell: Doing so good. We just recorded a new episode for you guys. This one's all about funnels and I think it went in a different direction you thought it was going to go, didn't it? Josh: Yeah, it did, a little bit. It was super good. Russell: …because the question was like, "What is the next funnel? What's the thing?" And it wasn't a funnel thing, it was something different. So, I think this is an episode you guys can enjoy. Josh: It's tough. Russell: It's been so exciting for me, I literally woke up at 5:00 AM every morning this week because I'm geeking out on the thing that you're going to learn about. And hopefully, it'll help you guys with all your funnels, no matter if you're running a webinar funnel, or a book funnel, or a challenge funnel, or whatever, doesn't really matter. This principle, you can overlay on top of all of them and it'll make them all better. So, that said, should we queue up the theme song? Josh: Let's do it. Russell: Let's go. Josh: Now we got to move into.. I want to move into funnels, dude. This is a topic that continued to come up. So kind of a back story. When we're preparing for this episode, guys like, Russell hit me up and was like, "Do you want to do a podcast together?" And I was like, "Yeah, what do you want to do it on?" He's like, "I don't know, find something." And I'm like, "oh, all right." And so- Russell: "You tell me." Josh: I do what I all always do and I go to the community and I'm like, if the community tells me... I loved Poland's presentation at Funnel Hacking Live it's like, "Ask, go ask your community. What did they tell you?" And so, that's what we did. I went to my Facebook group and I went on my Instagram and luckily, I have a pretty engaged following that will give us lots of feedback back. And this theme that kept coming up was funnels. And obviously, this is your world. But it was interesting because I've been talking with several different higher level people that are like, "How are all the funnels, they made tens of millions of dollars or whatever?" And it's like, "This funnel's not really working anymore. This funnel's kind of working here. This type of funnel is working." And so there's like, I feel like we're in this phase of funnels are almost evolving, where it used to be that you could run an ad to a webinar and sell a 9.97 product, and make a million bucks, and high profit margins, and you can make it work. But I was talking to Dan Henry the other day and he's like, "Dude, I can't even make that work anymore." And he's like, "And I'm brilliant at ads." And like Sam Ovens, I was talking to him the other day- Russell: Dan Henry, "I know everything." I love Dan. Josh: And Sam Ovens was like, "Man, we're probably going to shut down our front-end $2,000 program and we're going to transition up and evolve the way we do funnels." And so, funnels are the thing, obviously. They're going to be around forever, they've been around forever, you popularized them. But I want to go and take this into two parts and see where this goes. But number one, what is the foundation of funnels? What are the things that like... it doesn't matter how it's executed, the funnel itself, this is the thing that works. Because I think a lot of people get confused that... Whenever I talk to a lot of my students that are building funnels, they're like, "Should I do this type or this?" And I'm like, "The core essence of funnels doesn't change," so what are the core essence of funnels? And then two, what is the future of what that looks like rolled out with technology? Because I mean, I know it's not here yet and one of the things we'll talk about, but- Russell: Metaverse. Josh: We got Metaverse. And my wife was like, "Oh my gosh, ask Russell. If I want to be able to walk into Metaverse and Russell's going to be right there being like, "'Hey, do you want to buy my funnel cake,' click this button and you go into a portal. Instead of another page, you enter a new world that is Russell's world, that'd be so cool." But let's start with the foundation of funnels. When someone is building a funnel, when they're looking at it, what are the core pieces that they're actually looking at? Take us back to the foundation of that because I think a lot of people miss that or forget. Russell: Yeah. So, I'll take you back in history back in time so back to my beginning. Think what example I have sitting here on my desk that I can show you. So, the core, the thing you have to understand why funnels are essential, and why they'll always be here, comes back to my favorite Dan Kennedy quote of all time which is, "Whoever can spend the most money to acquire customer wins." This is the foundation but... Everything else you have understand- Josh: Like 7,000 speakers at Funnel Hacking Live all said that. Russell: Yeah, because it's the thing. In fact, you'll see, if you look at the... And maybe we'll get into this. My next move, what's happening next year for me? I'm looking at this, all ties into that as well. Why did I buy Dan Kennedy's company? Why am I doing these things? And I'll show you it's literally to solve that exact same question. So, when I got started 20 years ago, people didn't have offers yet they just had a product. So, you would be... Just say a book, like, "Okay, here's my book," and I would just sell a product, and that was what I was selling. And it worked for a long time and then guess what? Everyone else is like, "Oh, dude's making money with this product, I can make a product," they make the same product. Now you got 10 people selling a product that's similar. And so, then it's harder to compete because now you're no longer a unique thing, you are a commodity. And anytime you're a commodity, the person with the lowest price always wins. So, as soon as everyone's doing it, you got to drop at the bottom and then you lose your margin and then life sucks because if you don't profit what's the point of what we're doing? So, there's the first phase. So, then the next phase is like, "Okay, well I got a product, everyone's got the same product but how do I turn this from a product into an offer?" That was the first evolution. It's like, "Hey, when you buy my book, you also get my book, but you're also going to get my video course, my audio course, and then my checklist and my..." And all of a sudden you make something truly unique again where it's like, not just a product, but this is my offer that's specific, unique to me, that nobody else has. So that was the next evolution. And we got really good then in making offers that were sexy. It's like, "Oh yeah, everyone's selling this, but mine, if you get mine, you also da da, da, da, these other things." Right? And that's where this whole offer development started happening. In my mind, probably 15 years ago is when this became the thing that we all focused on. And whoever had the best offer was going to win because ads didn't ship that much. It was just like you're competing so now you're competing with six different people or 10 different people. So because that, Google ads AdWords cost went up, because there's 20 people bidding on the same keyword versus just you, initially. Now you're coming in, you make a better offer. Then you get the lion share people buy from you because your offer is the best. That was kind the next phase. And then of course the market evolves. Everyone gets smart. Everyone starts making good offers. Now it's like, maybe they're unique offers, but they're all good offers. Now it's like the market's getting fragmented up again. And so this is where the evolution now of funnels started happening where... And it was before. We didn't have one click up-sales back in the day. But the first thing was like: you buy my potato gun DVD, fill in your credit card, you buy it. The next page, you're like, "Do you want the potato gun kit? Cool. Get your credit card back out and fill it out again." And they'd fill out all the credit card again. Josh: Dang. Russell: But even with that, there's no one-click up-sales, man, like 15, 20, 30% people would buy the second thing. And all of a sudden, I'm selling a potato gun DVD, but I'm making 200 bucks on the back of the kit and nobody else selling potato gun DVDs was doing. I could outspend them all. So even though costs me more per click, I was able to get all the clicks because I made way more money than anybody else. So I was able to dominate the market. And that was kind of the next phase. And what's interesting is that depending on the market you're in, depends on where this is. For example, I'm in a fun phase where I wanted some side projects. So I'm launching a couple supplement companies. The first supplement company launched is called Zooma Juice. It's a green drink company. And some of you guys know, I actually worked with Drew Canole and his team back in the day on Organifi, and helped them launch that when it first came out seven years ago, and helped him build an actual funnel. And what's interesting is because of that... The green drink market is sophisticated. I went and funnel hacked, probably, 30 green drink offers before we built Zooma Juice. And all of them have pretty advanced funnels. Everyone's doing the best practices pretty well. Second company that we are starting, I acquired a bone broth company. And so I took... Got bone broth company and went funnel hacked every bone broth offer. And that market's new. Nobody had a funnel, not one. They have an offer, they have a product, that's it. And I'm like, "I'm walking into virgin funnel territory." We'll be the biggest bone broth company on the planet in like 30 days? Because there's nobody who understands any of what we're talking about. We'll outspend everybody 10 to 1 because we understand the funnel structure. So depending on what market you're in, some markets haven't even evolved to the funnels yet. Some have, that's exciting. If they have, it's like, "Cool. We got... We can funnel hack. We get good ideas of what's working." If it hasn't like, "Man, you can bring all the stuff we know into these markets and just dominate and destroy them all." It was funny, as we were buying, I was funnel hacking the bone broth offers, I was like, "There's literally not single upsell, order form bump, email sequence. Like nothing." I was just like, "This is like, oh, embarrassing. Almost too easy." That was next phase though. And then to your point, initially it was like... In fact, I remember 10 pre-click funnels. Almost every funnel was the same. It was a video sales letter order button order form upsell one, upsell two, down-sell, down-sell. Thank you, basically. That was what a funnel was. In fact, if you look at, before we launched ClickFunnels, the first T and C event, Ryan Dice and Perry, and they had this whole team event talk about, "Here's the funnel." And they had a funnel and there's only one. And it was just like, "This is the five steps of every funnel." And it fits. It was like trip wire. They had these five steps like trip wire, profit maximizer, and they five or six... They had a name for each page. And it was like, "This is the funnel." And in reality, that was the funnel. There weren't funnels. It was like, "This is a funnel. This is kind of the one." And at the time when I was writing The Dot Com Seekers book and we had been playing with different ones, but there wasn't a lot of this thing out there. Was just kind of like, for the most part, there was a funnel. After ClickFunnels came out and it gave people the ability to create things fast and start innovating, creating ideas, that. And then I was like writing all my ideas in the book and people are doing stuff. It started evolving quickly. Last seven years have evolved where now there's been like a million different funnel things come out, from webinar funnels, auto webinar funnels, high funnels, low ticket funnels, trip wires, SLOs VSLs, challenges, paid challenges, free challenges, challenges to a webinar challenges to high tickets, a webinar to high ticket. There's a billion variations that come from that which probably gets people overwhelming. And so this os what I want to tell them because, this kind of comes back to your first questions, what is it? The reality is, it's going to be shocking for most of you guys, what funnel type you use doesn't really matter. They all work. The thing that matters is the offer. You still have to make the sexiest offer. That's still the most important. We acquired Dan Kennedy's company and we're doing this merger. And like I've spent I podcast episode this morning driving to the office. I've been up every single morning at 5:00 AM because I'm so excited. Because we have a fun, we picked a funnel on structure, we have all of products. I spend a week every morning at 5:00 AM, from 5:00 till like 7:30, when my kids are getting up, in there writing the page for the copy and the offer, and then tweaking and tweaking. That's the thing. The sexiness of the offer that gets people in is the key. So I can get them in, I can use this to get them in a webinar, in a challenge, in a free plus shipping. It doesn't matter. It's like the offer is the thing that puts people in a momentum. And the thing that I'm selling, I could sell it in the webinar. I could sell it in the challenge. I like there's I could sell in all the different funnels. It would fit in all of them. I'm picking the one that I'm using because I think it's going to go... For like the launch campaign, it the one that'll probably get sells the fastest, but it'll work in all of them. And So it's understanding that, it's still coming to the core fundamentals. The funnel structure is the sales process. All of them will work. You just got to figure out better way to sell. Like that's the harder thing that people are missing. Josh: All right. So let's talk... I want to dive into that offer. When you say specifically here... Because I think, and this is just from coaching with a lot of people, the questions that I get asked when I talk about this type of stuff. You talk about the offers, the sexy thing, but how does the offer affect getting somebody to opt in? How does the offer affect my ad? How does the offer affect the training? I don't show my offer until the end after the whole thing. So how does that affect every other step of the funnel? Russell: Okay, great question. So if I can see one here. Right, sorry. I had all the examples here a second ago. Oh, well. I'll just tell you the story. So when Dan Kennedy started his newsletter, in the Dan Kennedy company, the newsletter's the foundation of everything. And we could do a whole podcast episode just on psychology of the original GKIC, when Bill Glazer was running it with Dan. But the newsletter- Josh: Sounds like a sexy topic. Russell: Yeah. It'd be really fun, actually. I love... In fact, it's funny because I spent so much time with Bill Glazer geeking out about. I knew their business really well. And when that they sold it the very first time people bought it and didn't understand the business. And I saw within weeks of them destroying the foundation, I was like, "You guys literally don't know what you bought. You should have asked some questions before you wrote a check that big anyway." But the core is the newsletter. And so I had a chance to go back in the archives. I literally... they gave me, "Here's Google drive. Everything's ever been created." So I'm like, "This is... It's insane." for nerdy Russell, everything Dan's ever said is in this drive. And most of it, no one's ever seen before, so I'm freaking out. But the newsletter started back in like 1995 ish. I was like 15 years old when it started and it was just a newsletter. That's all it was right. It's like a product. That's how they sold it. And from '95 till I think I was probably 23, 24. So, 2004, 2005 ish was when Bill Glazer bought out the company from Dan and kind of ran it, and then they launched it. Instead of a newsletter, they launched it as an offer. And the offer at the time... I still remember the day it happened because I got like 400 emails from my Yanik Silver and all the different gurus at the time. They all started emailing about this Dan Kennedy offer. And it was called the most incredible free gift ever. And in fact, internally in the company called the MIFGE offer, M-I-F-G-E, the most incredible free gift ever. And what it was, it was like, "Hey, when you sign up for magnetic marketing net letter, what you're going to get is you're going to get..." I think it's like, "$639.93 for the money making material from Dan Kennedy himself." So it was like, "We'll give you all this cool stuff when you sign up for the newsletter." And it was the bribe. It's kind of like, if you guys remember back in the day, sports illustrator. It's really hard to sell sports illustrated issues. So what they would do is they would have TV commercials were like, "Here's sports illustrator, 12 issues year about the best sports. When you sign up today, we're going to give you..." And then they had their version of the most incredible free gift offer. It was this huge football clock and the sports illustrator swimsuit issue. That was the MIFGE offer for sports illustrator. And so Dan had their... They had their MIFGE offer, and they went from having five or 600 subscribers at that time to... Bill built it up to over, I don't know, 10, 15, 20. I don't know how big it got it as peak, but 10,000 plus members. And it was because they took a newsletter and they made it an offer. And that's how they launched initially. And so the MIFGE is how they did it. Now, fast forward to Russell gets access to all this stuff. I'm like, "This is amazing." So I'm trying to sit... I sat down Monday morning. No, sorry. It was last Saturday. Saturday. I wanted to write... I didn't want to do all the pages in the offer. So I have some of my team do the upsells and down-sells. I was like, "The landing page, this is mine." I want to write because I want to make sure I get the offer right and everything. Because this is... everything hinges on this. The landing page is broken, nothing works. And so I went and I funnel hacked. I every newsletter, sales letter, I could find throughout time. I just went deep in my archives, way back machine. People I knew who publishing newsletters, looked at every variation of theirs for the last 10 years. I totally geeked out like Russell does. Funnel hacking. I want to understand how people are structuring their newsletter offers. Gore's got a ton of them. So I'm looking at tons of them and everyone I looked at, I come back to like the Dan Kennedy one I'm like this offers just not sexy. More like $630 of money making information sounded cool in 2003. But today, it's like every opt-in, people are giving a thousand dollars worth of free crap. It wasn't that sexy- Josh: Right. Inflation, baby. Oh my word. Russell: Yeah. And then I'm like, "Now my funnel nerds are going to go and they're going to sign for this newsletter, and they're going to get this newsletter from Dan. He's talking about direct mail and faxing. And they're going to be confused and they're going to cancel." I have this weird opportunity. I was like, "This is just not the right thing." And I was like, "How do I make this sexy excited? How do I get myself excited to email about it?" And then Dan's email. I got to get affiliates on board and other people. How do I make this sexy so that I can create the noise? So that when there's an ad, there's a good enough hook in the ad that people are going to click? Because if the ads like, "Old marketing, grumpy marketing genius is going to give you 300 or $639 money making material for free when you join this newsletter," no one's going to click on that. The hook sucks now. It was good in 2003, horrible in 2021. And so I'm like sitting there and I spent three hours just going to yourself. And I was like, no matter how I tried, the offer just didn't feel right. And I explain to other knight, I was like, "I know I wouldn't click and I know I wouldn't buy it. And I don't want to even email my list tell them about it because it's not that exciting. How do I structure this in a way that's going to be really exciting?" And so that the problem. This is where I got stuck at. Right. And then, after about three hours of it is when I had the light bulb, I was like, "Oh my gosh." So all of the current Dan Kennedy customers, they love Dan. They're obsessed with them. And actually, this is a fascinating step. You'll appreciate this. Have you read a thousand true fans? Josh: Yeah. I love that book. Russell: It was crazy. So Dan's company was sold initially like 10 years ago, from Bill Glazer sold it. In the last 10 years, they haven't bought a single ad. So that's the attrition of the company, that's been happening. And I'm acquiring it like, "Oh, let's buy some ads." But what's crazy is 10 years since they bought the last ad, there are almost, to a T, it's like 990 something active paid subscribers still on a newsletter a decade later, without any ads at all. A thousand true fans. Is that crazy? Josh: That's insane. Russell: Really? Josh: And you're one of those true fans because you bought the whole company. Russell: Yeah. I thought that was a fascinating side note. So anyway, that's crazy. Like Dan's people love Dan. They love him talking. If they want Dan, but they need funnels. And I'm like, I don't want to come and be the guy who acquires the company and just starts emailing his own offer. I need them to.. I need to indoctrinate them to want it. So it's like, they're going to read Dan's newsletter and how do I bridge that to ClickFunnels? And I'm like, my funnel nerds are going to read his newsletter and be like, "I don't understand. This isn't..." They need it. They don't know they want it yet. If I can indoctrinate them for a while, they'll be like, "Oh my gosh, I get this," but it's going to take a while for them to really respect it enough that they'll get it. I was the same way. First time I heard Kennedy, I was like, "This guy's old, boring, and doesn't relate to what I'm talking about." And after I went deep in, I was like, "Oh my gosh, everything he says is literal. He's handing gold nuggets out." And I was just like, I didn't notice them. Now I'm like, "Oh my gosh." And so I was like, "I need this bridge." And some people know, when I first joined the Kennedy world, we actually launched my first print newsletter right afterwards. It was called The Dot Com Seekers Journal. It morphed from The Dot Com Seekers Journal to eventually call it, The Dot Com Seekers Labs. And then it became a Funnel Report and then it became Funnel University. So I actually ran a print newsletter for 14 years. We shut it down two years ago, but 14 years I ran a print newsletter. Josh: Yeah. I remember when you shut it down actually. Russell: Yeah. And I loved it, but I just, anyway... There's reasons like the person who was publishing it, she had a baby and she retired and all these things. I was just like, "Ah. I'm, I'm focusing ClickFunnels. Don't even worry about this right now." So we shut it down. But I loved that part of it. And I was like, what if I create an offer where the concept, the story, the hook of this whole entire thing is like, "Russell bought Dan company and they're coming together to give you two things like the best foundational direct response in the world. Plus the best in the marketing, the cutting edge, the new things are happening. So you can have both sides. So you understand the foundation you need to be able to survive Facebook slapping you and all these things happening and media shifting and changing. But you also have like what's working today so you can capitalize on things in real time." What if we took those two worlds together? The baby. And so instead of just being like, "You're signing for the new, from the Dan Kennedy newsletter," what if it was like, "Dan Kennedy, Russell Brunson?" Two different newsletters. You get two newsletters for the price of one. I was like, "That's the offer. That's the hook. That's what gets affiliates excited, to get ads excited, everything gets excited around this offer." And then, every mornings at 5:00 in this morning, or 5:00 AM every morning this week, I woke up and I'm writing copy for this page of like, "Okay, here's the hook. They're coming in. And there's Dan and there's Russell." How these things are coming together. And the story behind that, how it worked and then the offer instead of just like, "Here's $697 worth of free stuff," it's like, "you get two newsletters. You get the best direct response, best of Russell, every two weeks." So you get one in the mail and then 14 days later, you get the next one. And you're getting both of these. You get the old and the new but you only pay one price. You get both for the price of one. And then you get all Dan's bonus, all Russell's bonuses. Now becomes this like insane offer where, now, it's like, "I'm excited to mail my list." We bought Dan's company, you get all my best stuff in this to get, and it's this combination. And then affiliates will be excited. It just... And maybe the hook bombs, I don't know. But it gave me the energy, just like, "Okay, now, this is exciting and sexy." And so I can turn that into webinar where it's just like, "Dan Kennedy and Russell Brunson coming together to literally blah, blah, blah, blah, whatever." Like, "Opt in here to find our webinar," and people would opt in because the story, the hook is exciting or I can do a challenge like, "The seven day challenge. Me and Dan are going to go through how to destroy your business and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah." And in the end, I'm selling a newsletter or it could be a VSL telling the story with a newsletter or could be... all of them work. The book is the secrets of story. Josh: Well, what it sounds like... Correct me if I'm wrong here, but it sounds like you just created this story about the offer. And now that you know what the offer is, and there's a reason that that came together and like, "That's what it is," now, you understand the story behind that. I'm trying to think of it like an analogy. For example, Disney world. That offer is so good. You're literally going into a different world that pretty much sells itself once you put it out there. And so once you have the story, once you have that idea around what the offer does and how it's unique and how it's it's own unique thing, then you can just take that and then it fills the rest of the funnel. Because everybody wants that thing because now the offer itself is so good. And I think one of the problems that I had, man, for so long is, I was trying to convince people that they wanted my thing be... Or convince people that they had this problem, and then that they wanted this thing, and then I would make them an offer on it. And they wouldn't get to... they wouldn't even know about the offer, or what the offer did, or like anything about it, until like forced or like right before the offer. And they'd be like, "And then I've got this offer? Boo." And because of that, there was no story around it. There's no congruency with it. And so then it was like, "Oh, I didn't even know. That's what I was here for." And then I would like try to sell them something and it wouldn't sell. And I feel like that's the problem that got solved right there, is like first you created the offer and the story around the offer and you made it sexy. And then that made everything else on the funnel super, super easy, because you were just pointing them back to that. Russell: Everything, the funnel plus all the ads. Because now the ads are fun. "Why Dan Kennedy came out of retirement? Dan Kennedy almost died. What's he doing today?" All a sudden, all these hooks that tie into that. "Why did Dan Kennedy partner with the owner ClickFunnels? Why did... Is it true that ClickFunnels was built off the back of all Dan Kennedy principles?" There's so many stories I can tell now that are hooks. That'll grab his people in or my people in or... And then the landing page. And then... It creates everything. And the people that the best in the world of this, and they also make the most money, is Agora. The good Gora publishing. They're selling newsletters. That's all they sell. Right. But every single time they have these insane stories like Porter Stan's got... I think maybe not still, but for like a decade and a half, the highest of all the Agora divisions. I think he'll do like 1.5 or 2 billion dollars a year. Like these are big divisions. Porter's letter one. And, the story was like, "The railroad across America." And it was talking about like, "The original railroad, how it happened and all the people made money along the way. And this is the next railroad that's being built. It's the digital highway and all this stuff." And that offer was selling a newsletter. But it's the story behind it that became this thing that built a billion dollar company. And they're good. They're so good at figuring out the story, those kind of things. And I think sometimes we're like, "Hey, I've created a course in the passed. You should create a course too. I made money. It's going to be awesome." And then like, "You should buy my course creating software or whatever." Like, "That's not the thing." We're so bad at telling stories. We brag about our result. We tell them making the same result and that's it. It's like, no, that's not the key. It's the story. It's the entry. It's the... We want to be entertained. We want to be courted. We want to be... that's the game we're playing in marketing. And so when you figure that out... The offer is actually sexy. And then why is that sexy? The sexiness is not just, "You get a bunch of crap." The sexiness is the story about like how this was created. Josh: Literally what it does that. Russell: That's the fascinating part. Josh: Yeah. Yeah. Catherine Jones. One of her favorite things is, "When your stories become their stories, then your solutions become their solutions." and that's literally what this is. If you can tell them a story where they like it and they're like, "Oh my gosh, this is amazing," then, go and do it. So for example, Harry Potter world. The story, it... My wife freaking loves Harry Potter world. I mean, that was her thing. When we went down to Funnel Hacking Live, it was like, we were going to take a half a day just to go to Harry Potter world. So we showed up and then it was like, "Hey." Miles is like, "Dude, the buss is leaving for Harry Potter world." There wasn't much convincing that has to be done. The story is, "Oh my gosh, Harry Potter world's amazing. It's Harry Potter. I want it" She wanted that thing because of the story that was leading up to it. There was no, "What's Harry Potter world? Is it any good? What's this?" It's like, "No, it's Harry Potter world." And you're like, "Oh, okay. Yeah, I want it." That's like the story with that. So that's super, super interesting. So where do you see the future of funnels going? Because obviously there's a lot of changes coming with ClickFunnels and ClickFunnels 2.0, which, oh my gosh, I'm so excited. Gusting. Gusting hits me up. Probably... Dude, he probably hits me up once a week and is like, "Hey, guess what? ClickFunnel 2.0 is awesome. And you don't have it." And I'm like, "I heard you. Stop." Russell: He actually built out the magnetic marketing funnel hub right now for me, which is cool. Josh: So, yeah. So anyway, but what's the next evolution? And we don't have really have too much to talk about metaverse and where that goes. But we're entering this new world. I mean, the world is changing very, very, very rapidly. COVID is one of those things that we thought the internet was a big deal, and internet marketing was a big deal, pre-COVID, and then we watch zoom blow up by like 3000% or something like that. And they ruin zoom for us. But anyway, so where are things going that people should be paying attention to and going actually studying and understanding about the future of funnels? Because one of the things that I've been really, really focused on and we're kind of getting dialed in, is community funnels, Specifically, I think for me, one of the things that I've noticed is that it's very, very... It's getting increasingly harder to sell things unless you have a community that's tied with it. And so like for me, one of the things we're focusing on is how do we build funnels inside of our community where our community actually becomes part of the funnel? Which is kind of a cool concept. What do you see as those future things of where funnels are headed, where the big opportunities are going to be? What's the next add to webinar to a 9 97 course? You know what I'm saying? What's the future? Where we're heading? Russell: I hate to make it sound simple, but if I come back to the fundamentals we talked about the beginning of this call. Like Dan Kennedy, whoever can spend the most money to acquire customer wins. So you look at it through that lens. Went from a product, to an offer, to a funnel. And now with the funnel, I have more ways to make money. And then, from there, the next evolution was like from funnel to value ladder. Right now, it's like, I have a break even funnel and move people up a value ladder and that's how I may lose money or break even on my book funnel, but then my webinar funnel's going to make money or vice versa. Right? Josh: Right. Russell: That was the next phase. And I think, for me, where I'm playing because I'm trying to play for the next 10 years. How do I win this game? We're doing well. I want to.. How do I get a point where, Shopify, or Salesforce is like, "I want to write you a check for 20 billion because you're such annoyance." The way I'm going to do that, for me, is... and it comes back to why did I acquire Magnet Marketing? Why did I buy Brad Callin's company? Why am I doing this? Because I'm not looking at breakeven funnels anymore. Breakeven funnels, awesome. I'm going one chair back or I'm building breakeven businesses. So magnetic marketing, the only gold magnetic is to break even. The entire company, the value ladder, the coaching, the everything. So every penny made side of magnetic marketing be dumped back into ads, want 100% of the profits dump back into ads. So this company's blowing up. And I get now all these things dumped into my value ladder for ClickFunnels. Like that's it. Voomly doing 40 million a year? Why do we acquire that company? Tons of lead flow. Now, right now there's... it was 10 million dollars a year net profit. All that money now is being dumped directly into lead flow as a breakeven business, to acquire customers for ClickFunnel. So I think it's going deeper. It's looking past... from product to offer, to funnel, to value ladder, to how do I buy or acquire or create something where the only goal of this entire business is just get customers for free that can put into here. And I thing, for me, that's the next level is just like that thought. Josh: You just blew my mind, dude. Holy cow. You're creating an ecosystem, but in a very specific way. It's interesting, as you just told that out, just, "First, it was this. Then, it was this." The thing before it didn't change. That's still part of it. Russell: It's both the same. Yeah. Josh: Right. But it's kind of that next evolution, that next piece of where that comes out. That's fascinating. I think a lot of people need to just really rewind that, go listen to that clip again and let your brain sit on that. Russell: That's how I'm playing the game. Yes. Hopefully I'm four step ahead everyone else, but I'm all for showing that with you guys. And so I just... Again, for everyone to start thinking that, because it's going to get harder. It's going to get more expensive. It's going to get more... We've seen that this year. Ad costs have gone up. It's not going to get cheap. It's not going to bounce back down and be cheaper. It's going to keep doing that. The people who only had a product back in the day are out of business. People only had an offer back in day, they're out of business. People don't have a funnel are out of a business. People don't have a value ladder out of a business. So it's just thinking ahead of that. Metaverse or whatever next step is, doesn't really matter. It's the principle still is the same for me. For 20 years, whoever can spend the most money to acquire customer wins. Josh: Wins. Russell: How do I do that in a way that serves the customers, brings them in and then... I'll end on this, because it back to what you said. And I did a podcast on this. It's in the facts I got from Dan Kennedy. After the company sold last time, he was super mad at the company that had jacked up his brand and his legacy and stuff. And so like he sent this 25 page facts, like all the things to do to fix it. And there's one paragraph where he said, "There's difference between why customers come in and why they stay." He said, "People think they're the same things." He's like, "No, no, they're different." Why they come in is because they see the hook of like, "Ooh, the scene." They come in from that. They stay for something different. And you have to understand that. So like I had my inner circle meeting, right. Everyone paid 50 grand to be in the room. We had a hundred entrepreneurs in the room and I told them. I said like, "Well, you guys all because you want to learn funnels from Russell." But I'm like, "The reason why you came is not why you were going to stay here. The reason I get sick year, after year, after year is because of the community." That's it. That's why I sat in Dan Kennedy rooms for six years of my life is because the community built and I wanted to be around these people. I came for Dan stuck for the community. And I think that you start understanding that, that's how you get these people to come in on a front end, but they stay and they buy over and over and they stay on continuity. They stick because it's like.. They come in from a hook, but they stay for the something different. And so really understanding that and then weaving everything you're doing like you're doing now with the community funnels, which is perfect. Josh: That's amazing. That's amazing. All right. Well I think that's a good ending point for that topic. Russell: There's episode number two of our hangout today, which was amazing.

The OOH Insider Show
Episode 085 - Programmatic 101 w/ Adam Malone of Screenverse (Part 2!)

The OOH Insider Show

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 18, 2021 39:27


On this episode of OOH Insider, Adam Malone, Co-Founder & President of Screenverse, shares his knowledge of programmatic digital out-of-home.Screenverse is a specialized provider of ad management and monetization for digital screen owners. They maximize revenue through direct, programmatic, and systematic direct sales channels.TakeawaysMedia owners should utilize direct sales through the existing channels and programmatic tools to sell their inventory.Make your inventory available during the open exchange and then read the data to see who is putting a bid. Use programmatic tactics to communicate and strategize with companies while they are still at the top of the funnel.OOH impressions can be difficult to calculate because there is no set way to measure them. The industry needs to work on pinpointing data for targeting, addressability, and contextual relevancy.In order to grow as an industry, we need to be more honest and establish goodwill with advertisers, especially during the current buying climate.LinksLinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/adammalone/Company: https://www.screenversemedia.comSpecial thanks to OneScreen.so for making this show possible. Check out OneScreen.ai and learn How to Beat Facebook with Billboards at www.onescreen.aiPowered by OneScreen.ai OneScreen.ai is the first free, public-access directory for all things Out of Home. Support the show (http://oohswag.com)

Minivan Mamas
5 Ways to *Spice It Up* in the Bedroom

Minivan Mamas

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 16, 2021 43:49


Headphones in, mamas! Today's episode is a fun one! With the busy holiday season and all the hustle and bustle that goes with it, we're sharing 5 ways to spice things up in the bedroom. Ooh la la! What you'll hear on today's episode: *Cherish is back from Hawaii! *Lex is now the big 3-0 *Merch launch this week! *How we spice things up in our marriage *A reminder to "fill the canteen" *And the perfect Christmas gift for your spouse! Follow us on instagram for MERCH LAUNCH on 11.19 https://www.instagram.com/minivanmamas/ Episode sponsored by: MarriageSupply.com - MarriageSupply is the best place on the internet to find quality adult toys at great prices. Also unlike other sites, MarriageSupply.com has no nudity or pornography on the site so you can shop safely and comfortably. 10% OFF everything in the store with promo code MINIVAN

No Sharding - The Solana Podcast
Alexis Ohanian - Founder, Seven Seven Six Ep #52

No Sharding - The Solana Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 16, 2021 29:56


Raj (00:10):(silence). Ooh, beautiful.Alexis (00:11):This is fun. Hey everybody.Raj (00:13):It's electric.Alexis (00:13):All right. All right. Nice to see you all too. Oh, there we go. Okay. This is big. This is just the building of a new internet. Probably nothing.Raj (00:26):Probably nothing. It's such an honor, Alexis, really, to be on stage with you. It's like a dream. I've been a power user of Reddit, and I saw the way that you created that and the intention that you brought into it, and the intention you've brought into how we build technology that connects people together, and the conviction you have about how you want it to connect them for good. Not pull them apart but pull them together. Three things that connect them, their interests, their common grounds, and give them the tools to do that.Alexis (00:59):Thank you, man.Raj (00:59):Yeah, it's been really awesome.Alexis (01:00):I feel grateful. I was a dumb college kid in 2005, starting Reddit. The inspiration were like message boards. And I ran a PHPBB forum. Shout out PHPBB. I think those bulletin boards are still cranking somewhere in parts of the internet, but it was a hope for a more connected internet. But I really had no idea what would come from it. I'm obviously grateful. Hopefully a few of you all are Redditors. Any? Couple, one or two? Thank you. Thank you for all of your upvotes and thank you for also admitting you're the least productive people here. So thank you for your candor. I got so excited as crypto started taking off because Reddit is where I dove in. R/Bitcoin is the community that inspired me to first invest in Coinbase back in 2012. R/Ethereum was the community that got me really excited about what could actually be done with programmable money and this concept of building an internet that was decentralized and truly in the hands of all the people creating content. And now what I am seeing here, especially within the Solana community, is nothing short of awesome.And we can just cut to chase and one of the reasons why I'm here is to announce a collaboration that we're doing. I have a venture fund called Seven Seven Six. We're earmarking with the Solana Foundation $50 million to invest in the next wave of social built on Solana. Because I think this new world... We were debating whether to do the announcement at the start or at the end, I'm happy we did at the start. It's good vibes. But my job these days is with our team to look for the next big thing, put our money into it, give our support, our advice, our feedback, and help build businesses that'll be even bigger than any of the ones I've created. And it's exciting because this actually fulfills ambitions that I remember having 16 years ago but that we just couldn't execute on because the technology did not exist. And so I'm going to take you down memory lane a little bit. We'll fire up some slides.This is actually the very first version of Reddit that went live in 2005. I was not a great web designer. I was not. I'm really proud of Snoo, our mascot. I created that while I was bored in marketing class. But this was the first version, and a couple of things to notice, karma score, absolutely stole that from Slashdot. But I realized, okay, if we can get people to be incentivized to post good stuff, we can get more people to post more good stuff. And we'll just use internet points. It'll just be made up. And so if you got an upvote, you would gain a karma point. If obviously you were downvoted, you'd lose one. As you can see here, I posted the first link to Reddit, the Downing Street memo, and I was promptly downvoted because my co-founder is a dick. I knew exactly who it was, because it was just the two of us in an apartment. I knew who did that, and I have -1 karma. But internet points were the way we got people to come together and produce high-quality content.If you could believe me, in 2005, no one believed me when I said that people would spend all this time on the internet creating content, sharing content, commenting on content, but clearly it worked. And as we saw more and more progress, I obsessed over even designing the up and down arrows. I probably did like 10 iterations. I'm embarrassed by how many different versions of up and down arrows I designed. But this was all with the idea that we could reward people and get them feeling like their contributions mattered and encourage the best behavior. You'll notice the leaderboard there, the stats. That little janky link was one of the most important part to the website back in 2005 because the top submitters cared so much where they were on the leaderboard that when the stats thing went down, we would get a flurry of emails from people saying, something's wrong. Fix the stats leaderboard. I grew up playing video games, probably like a lot of you, and this seemed like a pretty obvious mechanism to just motivate people to keep posting content.But again, we're talking about internet points that outside of the community don't really amount to much, even awards. So once karma points exceeded their value, because once people got far enough along on Reddit, a new user would come on and feel demoralized because the idea of one day getting a million karma points seemed impossible. So I had to create new games. These awards, I was inspired by GoldenEye on the N64 because the end of Deathmatch, even my friends who were terrible at the game and never won would still get a little fun award at the end, like most cowardly. And we would ridicule them for that. It turned out that's like you spend the least amount of time on the screen of other players during the match. And it was these novel awards that inspired the Reddit awards today. I literally have people who introduce themselves, not by their government name, not by their username, but by the fact that they are a 12-year Redditor or a 14-year Redditor.These badges, these awards that were just a game mechanic that I created 16 years ago without much thought have become a sense of pride. But I look at all these things and I think, damn, if only there was value beyond this world of this ecosystem, because there's clearly value there. And everything I've seen in the last few years, the reason I'm so excited about Web 3.0 is this is all the same mechanisms, except with real ownership. With real value gained by the people who did all the amazing work to make these platforms function. And then I can't not talk about swag. This was Reddit's original business model, and it was actually the first fight we had. So the first two months of Reddit, we got into a big fight because I really wanted sell merch. I knew that even though we had this burgeoning user base, that random strangers on the internet would want to buy t-shirts with our logo on it as a way to show solidarity with our tribe. It was a huge fight, finally won it, and I built a store. And this was before Shopify, before Stripe. This was like a janky PayPal. It was really hard to take money from strangers on the internet back in 2005, okay? But I get this janky storefront up. I filled the bedroom with probably like 300, 400 t-shirts and put it online, and within 24 hours, sold out. And then I spent the next day stuffing envelopes and taking garbage bags full of these t-shirts to the post office. And with every one of them I sent out, I felt a little bit validated because random people on the internet wanted to show their pride by making their torso into a billboard for us, and give us money for that privilege. Today, just seeing someone change their profile pic is an even bigger statement of that tribal solidarity. And again, maybe if you have one of these original 400 Reddit shirts, you could probably fence it on eBay for a few bucks, but you didn't actually capture the real value. There was tremendous value in being one of those early adopters and signing up to say, yes, I am a part of this. I want you to believe.And everything I see play out, even the most basic profile pic project, is a reminder that this is like the core atomic unit of building community online. And I just can't help but get even more excited because the rate at which this will grow is... it is hard to overstate. And even just thinking about where you all were, we were reminiscing backstage a year ago or two years ago with how far the Solana ecosystem has gone, I'm just very excited. So I'm thrilled to be announcing this fund with you. I hope we can do some amazing stuff together and fund the next generation of the social web.Raj (09:45):I think we totally will. It's totally going to happen.Alexis (09:47):Are you going to do that? Are you down with that?Raj (09:53):It's going to be incredible. I don't know if anyone was paying attention yesterday. Something interesting happens, right before Alexis and I went onto a... I think it was Fortune interview to talk about this... or Forbes, one or the other, to talk about this fund, I had gone on Twitter... GM everyone, by the way. GM.Alexis (10:20):Yes. Good morning.Raj (10:22):So someone who happens to be a good friend of mine, Sam Lessin, he used to run product at Facebook. I've known him for 10 years. He's the first person I've seen negatively respond to the idea of us all saying GM in crypto. And we all love GM. It's just good vibes, right? And so I went on Twitter and I said, "I'll kill you." But this wasn't me threatening Sam. I've known him for 10 years. We trust each other. Sam talks a lot about how... he was in the room when Venmo made the trust feature. I should be able to trust Alexis to be able to take as much money from me as he wants. We have a relationship. We should be able to flag that, right?All these little features, the nuances of how we connect with one another and how we trust each other and how we have relationships should be reflected in social. But right now there's only little pieces and it's the pieces that happened because one platform that becomes monolithic decides which features it's going to differentiate on. And so, yeah, I guess I should have expected this, and my comms people tell me that I should have expected it, but I got suspended on the first day of Breakpoint. And it was actually amazing because I'm super addicted to Twitter. This is the first time I've spent 24 hours not on Twitter in probably years.Alexis (11:44):Jack just wanted you to have a respite from [crosstalk 00:11:47].Raj (11:46):Jack's a meditator. He wanted me to just meditate on my feelings and beliefs and my actions, and I did. Just another point on this, it was a joke. It was a reference to this Costco founder who, when the CEO talked about increasing the cost of hot dogs, he said, "I will kill you." So this was sort of two ideas to get other in one tweet. There's a lot of nuance, like I said, in social. Sam and I know each other, so of course I would never kill him. And also if you know this joke, it's the idea that there are some things that are sacred, that are positive, that are inherently good. Like a chief hot dog for everyone that comes into Costco is like part of their belief system. GM is like part of our belief system. We should wake up every morning and talk to each other with good intentions. And if you're going to threaten that, I will kill you, right? And that joke...Alexis (12:47):Like a Costco hot dog.Raj (12:49):Like a Costco hot dog. And that joke, Twitter doesn't get it. The rules don't get it. It's going to be hard to regulate these things and moderate these things. But when all of it comes from one place, we just see that nobody's happy. Jack's not happy with the rules that he's been forced to put in place, which is why he's deciding to turn Twitter into a decentralized protocol. I think my fear, and I don't know if you agree, but Facebook's going to do the same thing. And Reddit's going to do the same thing. Everyone's going to do the same thing, but these things happen pretty slow, and there's opportunity to build from all directions. It doesn't have to be the old social platforms converting. We can build new ones and it doesn't have to be competition and it doesn't have to be winner take all.There will be hundreds of successful social media companies that are protocols and clients to those protocols, and choices will be made in programmable, modular ways between communities, just like Subreddits do that in certain ways. But it'll be much more fluid and we'll be able to govern these rules. I kind of see this pretty clearly, but I only see like maybe five or 10 companies trying it and building it. There should be 100. There should be 100 like tomorrow. So as we were talking with this reporter yesterday, it was a flurry of thesis. And even backstage, we just couldn't stop talking about all the ways that this future is going to happen. And I think it's going to happen quickly. And I realized $50 million is not that much for the number of teams and stabs at this problem that I think can happen in the next 12 months. So we're going to increase it to a $100 million.Alexis (14:31):That's right. See that, we lured you in with the 50. Surprised you with the hundo. And look, this is real. Normally, incumbents have had, and Zack has taken full advantage of this, incumbents have had a huge unfair advantage with the distribution. As social evolved, Facebook can gobble up, Instagram can gobble up, WhatsApp can get the economies to scale that distribution. But I would argue in Web 3.0 it's actually a liability because the intention with which you're building these new protocols and these new communities starts from the very beginning. It seeds the foundation of how people think about the platform. And the baggage of Web 2.0 infrastructure and the Web 2.0 precedent is that you're ultimately just harvested for an advertiser. And that factors into product decisions. That factors into design decisions.And what's really exciting is that there's a whole new slew of founders who have a chance to jump into a very energized community and actually start building something with a very different business model in mind and very different product instincts and very different design focus, and that's compelling. And I think we could see new platforms emerge very fast. We talked about Discord backstage and how... 2015, I think, I first started noticing them on the sidebars of gaming communities on Reddit and I thought, damn, they're onto something here. And as someone who's suffered through TeamSpeak, it was like, okay, clearly there's got to be a better way. But that was five years now, six years now Discord is the dominant platform for all the real-time conversation around NFTs and a lot of things in crypto. But that window for a new platform to emerge keeps getting smaller and smaller. It keeps moving faster and faster, and we haven't even seen what happens when people build this way first.Raj (16:33):Totally. Yeah, the cycles are getting faster. And we don't have to wait. And I think even just the rise of Solana and the cycles in the blockchain industry have been getting faster. And a lot of folks are surprised by how much and how fast so Solana has grown. I think this next wave of companies are going to get to a billion... we set it at the top of this whole conference, a billion users. And we didn't set a timeline. We set as fast as possible. I think it could happen in 12 months, 18 months. It's very feasible if we build that future. And I think it'll happen in waves. Applications protocols will be quickly saturating to a billion, 4 billion users in rapid succession because it doesn't have to be a competition of a monolith against another. It's just ideas and changes and protocol shifts and forks that can propagate very quickly.So I think this future's going to be happen very quickly and it's all connected. This is why we wanted to have Solana be one giant global state machine. A lot of people call it monolithic. Yeah, it's monolithic. That's the point. It's all one computer that we can build all of this together on because if you saw... I realized a lot of people miss some of the best talks here, but Jules Urbach from Render is making a photorealistic metaverse. We will be able to connect these social protocols to that rendering engine and we will be living in the metaverse faster than anyone thinks. It's going to happen.Alexis (18:04):And when that user experience hits, it will hit. In 16 years of designing product, of investing in product, I keep coming back to great user experiences, almost always end up winning. And that's broadly defined. That's the literal user experience as well as the figurative. How does it make customers or users feel? And what's exciting is we can do things on Solana that... and I'm not a maximalist in any regard. You'll see me, I'm very pragmatic on this stuff, but we can do things on Solana that just make so much more sense to create that amazing user experience that people have come to expect. And that's it at the end of the day. That's what wins. And you tie that in to being able to actually own the content you create and actually get rewarded for things like community building. It's going to be exhilarating.The second wave, Web 2.0, whatever we're calling it, I really believe it's going to look like this transition period, almost a bleep in the internet where we first got online, everyone's on the World Wide Web and we were making our geo cities' websites and just trying to build for what was largely a pretty read-only internet. And it's so obvious to me, even in these last few years now coming out of the crypto winter, that this era we're in now is going to define, really define the internet as we know it. And when I'm explaining to my daughter about these phases of the internet, she's going to look at me and be like, "Wow, dad. You played all those video games without being rewarded for any of your time or effort." And she'll be shocked. She'll be shocked that I bought things on the internet that I didn't really own. She'll be shocked that so many of the things that are really some of the most valuable work online, whether it's content creation or curation or community building weren't rewarded in any way, shape, or form.Alexis (20:07):It will seem like this weird, dismal, brief period of the internet. And I think we'll all be better off for it, ultimately, but I'm just excited to see what people build because we're all still in the very early days where we're actually just trying to take better versions of what we've known for Web 2.0, and I think things level up once we get out of that mindset and then eventually start building the things with a first principled look at what Web 3.0 really can unlock. But I'm already excited for this stuff that's coming, which is why we're going to put $100 million towards funding it.Raj (20:43):You know what else we should do is make sure the app stores allow NFTs and tokens. Are we really going to hold this back at the...Alexis (20:54):The good news is, look, Epic on the one hand has been fighting the good fight and on the other, not so much, but momentum here is on our side in a world where I know most of you all are probably default skeptical of regulators, which is a fine thing to be. I really do think though that the principles of what is getting built now are so aligned with the average person, with the consumer. And I still do believe that those people are represented by people in government who are at the end of the day beholden to the voters.I do think the more that we can tie the relevance and the value of crypto to the average American, especially beyond our initial early adopter community, the more we can make crypto a big part of people's lives, the better, because that ultimately is going to put leverage on the couple of monopolist or duopolist with their app stores. And I think it's still one of the strongest leverage points we have, which is it's just not good for consumers to have one of two app stores to choose from, and both that are pretty egregious in what they charge and the control they have.Raj (22:05):It's clear that social media affects government. It affects political movements. It's just very clear all of us. And I think one of the things that I always have tried to do, building products where people are taking on social behaviors, connecting is replicate what they're already doing, but do it in a positive way. I think you did that really well with Reddit. Focusing on upvotes, focusing on content creation and elevating each other and our creations and our content. And I'm curious, do you have any ideas about how the types of forces that have coalesced political movements in social media might be reflected in this next Web 3.0 Version of social media?Alexis (22:48):I really do think we're seeing some really interesting types of governance emerge. Look, for those of us, whether we're in European democracies, American democracies, these are global democracies, we ostensibly like these ideas of everyone gets a vote. And what's interesting now is you're even seeing what some of the recent ENS stuff and some of this... Just even the concept of vote delegation, being something that is getting more normalized. What I love about Web 3.0 broadly is we get a chance to think about, from first principles, how we can architect better and more representative systems. And so on the one hand I'm like, would I ever delegate my vote for a president of the United States? Would I ever delegate my vote for some company I'm a shareholder of? Maybe not, probably not, definitely not. There's a spectrum of answers to that. But what we get to build is whatever we think is the best tool for the job and then the broad market basically decides, okay, this is what wins.And this kind of experimentation, I think, tends to be among the most, or will ultimately reward the most egalitarian way possible because it's not controlled as basically every institution has been from the top down for so long. So I do think there is this pretty strong streak throughout the crypto community that almost by definition is built in opposition to institutions that have had top-down authority and plenty of times abused it. So I think when you combine community and capital, which we're seeing play out right now, really surreal things happen. And WallStreetBets is probably the most visceral example that I get asked about all the time back in the states. But that's one example of many where you are seeing a power shift from the traditional top-down structures to the bottom-up, where it's people who are connected online able to communicate in real time, at scale, for free, essentially, and now able to also move dollars. And even though those dollars individually may not be that much, in aggregate, especially when coordinated, can move markets, can shift all kinds of things. This is the experimental phase of it so I'm excited to see what's to come.Raj (25:16):The word delegation, I think, that I heard there is so important because delegation is happening, like you said, every day in crypto. We delegate to validators. In Solana there are stake pools and there's nested delegation that can happen. And our representative democracy is a delegation of responsibility and decision-making authority. But there are really only a few ways that you can do it and a few bodies that you delegate to and a few people. And then you mentioned this idea of would I delegate my presidential vote? Maybe not that one, but there's probably 100 offices that we're voting for. Right now we just go one side of the ticket. That's a pretty dumb way to do it. Not everyone's doing their research.Alexis (25:59):This is the opening of a lot of doors for a lot of people because with all the progress that we have made so far, we are still a pretty insular community. We are all still early. Just being here means you are in a very, very select group. Congratulations, you're going to make it. You're among the earliest adopters. Yes. It's true. And so you're among the earliest adopters of something that I... I've been on record. I was on Rogan CNBC 2014 saying that I was cautiously optimistic about crypto because it just felt like, no, this is too good to be true. Somehow it's going to get screwed up, someone's going to mess it up. But I've gone from that to pretty irrationally exuberant now in the last year. It now feels inevitable. And so everyone who is here, you are among the earliest adopters for this. You all have a mindset shaped by being immersed in this space for a little while now.There is a whole world, the vast majority of people still have not even started to think about the world the way that we do now by default. And that is going to unlock even more creativity and even more motivation and even more energy. And I'm excited to see that. And I encourage you, please, go out of your way to find people in your immediate community. Your friend group's an easy place to start. Don't be that person who just at every dinner just keeps talking about crypto, but please create this to be as welcoming and open as possible, because that is actually the long-term greedy move to make, because the faster that this adoption spreads beyond the early adopters in tech, especially the dudes who tend to look like me, the faster that this actually comes to fruition, and the more powerful it actually is.Alexis (27:54):And I'm excited because we get to rethink so many systems. And because finance is tied intrinsically into this, it means rewarding people for work, for effort, for creativity that historically have not been. And I get excited about that because selfishly, I just want better stuff. And so whether it is better democracy, whether it is better art, whether it's better social networking, we will get to see a flourishing, a literal Renaissance happening because of what is getting built here. And that is an amazing thing to be a part of because there will not be another time like this.Raj (28:31):There won't be. That's awesome, man. This is so cool. Look, I just want to close on one note. The one thing that came out of yesterday was this idea of #freeraj, which I love, but I'm back now. And so I don't need to be freed, but I do need to be freed from centralized social media. I want to get off Twitter. I want to get off. Help me do that. Build the next Twitter, build the next Facebook, build the next Instagram. I'm going to have a special prize for whoever helps me get off and delete my accounts from those centralized services.Alexis (29:16):Oh, the bounty is out there. I love it. Right on.Raj (29:20):You can come hang out with me and Alexis. Dude, thank you so much for coming, Alexis. This has been phenomenal.Alexis (29:25):Thank you.Raj (29:25):And I think we have many more great conversations to come and so many teams are going to form. It's going to be truly wonderful. I can't wait to do this with you. And thank you for committing capital and your time to these builders. It just means the world. Thank you.Alexis (29:37):I'm excited. Very grateful. Very grateful you all.

Inbound Success Podcast
Ep. 221: Using OOH advertising to supercharge inbound results ft. Sam Mallikarjunan

Inbound Success Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 15, 2021 47:56


What do billboards, car wraps, and TVs in bars have to do with inbound marketing? They're all part of the category of “out-of-home” - or OOH - marketing, and an incredibly powerful tool for inbound marketers to use in generating brand awareness and driving inbound interest. On this week's Inbound Success Podcast, Onescreen.ai CEO Sam Mallikarjunan pulls back the curtain on OOH and shares examples of where it fits within the marketing funnel, and how marketers can use it to disrupt their industry.

Words That Move Me with Dana Wilson
Ep. #98 Broadway is Back and Better Than Ever with Tilly Evans-Krueger

Words That Move Me with Dana Wilson

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 10, 2021 60:02


Oh my friend, you are in for a sweet treat today!!! In this Episode, Alexis “Tilly” Evans-Krueger brings us backstage at Moulin Rouge on Broadway for a little pre-show dressing room chit chat… but only no, this isn't a chit chat… it is a deep dive on several big and important topics. Tilly talks about creating the feeling of freedom daily and her experience with college for dance. Her journey from small town school to Company work to landing her first Broadway contract right before the 18 month lockdown is fascinating every step of the way. Oh, and I think you'll love hearing what she has to say about the *NEW* Broadway. Transcript: Intro: This is words that move me, the podcast where movers and shakers, like you get the information and inspiration. You need to navigate your creative career with clarity and confidence. I am your host master mover, Dana Wilson. And if you’re someone that loves to learn, laugh and is looking to rewrite the starving artist story, then sit tight. But don’t stop moving because you’re in the right place. Dana: Hello, hello, my friend. How are you feeling today? Feeling good, feeling funky. I hope. I am feeling slightly more colorful than the last time I had jumped into the booth. Last week’s episode was all about feeling blue. Um, the sads are real y’all and I am not rushing them away. Um, I’m honoring them. There are occasional blues in my world still, but today I am inviting in the bright side of the emotional spectrum with today’s guest Tilly Evans, Krueger, holy cow, what a Sunbeam Moonbeam? Ray Sunray? Ray of sunshine, Moonbeam, all things celestial and of the sky. She is so bright. She is so free and I’m so stoked to share this conversation with you. But first we celebrate wins. Big, big, huge, yet soggy win this week is that the seaweed sisters have shot a new one. On Thursday of this week. Um, and wow, it came together so fast, so furious and oh, so fortuitous, which is my new favorite word. Um, really cannot wait to share that with you. Be sure that you’re following the seaweed sisters on Instagram, by the way. Um, that is probably a good place to be kept in the loop on all things seaweedy. Um, Ooh, which reminds me on the gram front words that move me podcast on Instha on Insthagram. (Instagram) is creeping up on 3000 followers, woot woot. It’s weird. Usually I write woot woot, rarely say it doesn’t really feel that great to say. Uh, anyways, once we reach 3003 followers, which is a subtle shout out to the area code of Denver, where I’m from. Sup three oh three, um, once we reach 3003 followers, by the way, that also just kind of it real cause you know, the plus or minus game, um, I’m going to be giving away a bunch of words that move me podcast merch to random followers. I’m going to find a random follower generator and just be gifting some stuff out. So be on the lookout for that. Tell your friends if you’re not already following the pod, tell your friends if you’re not already following the seaweed sisters. And by the way, I don’t mean to make it out, to be all about the following, but that’s where the conversation landed the conversation with myself. Um, so that is where we are. All right, winning. That’s my win this week, new seaweed work coming soon. Holy smokes. I’m so excited about it. Um, now you go, what is going well in your world? Are you celebrating any new work? Are you celebrating relaxation? What is going well, tell me about it. It pains me that I can not actually hear you. Tell me what you’re celebrating. You know what we should do? You know what, that’s it starting now at words that move me podcast, leave me a little voice note. Send m

SuperFeast Podcast
#141 Herbalism; The Peoples Medicine with Erin Lovell Verinder

SuperFeast Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 9, 2021 63:55


Today on the podcast, we are graced with the highly cultivated holistic healer; Erin Lovell Verinder for an intimate discussion around her devotion to the plant path, the world of herbalism, and why we are witnessing a timely resurgence of this revered profession of healing. A Herbalist, nutritionist, energetic healer, mentor, and author of two incredible bodies of work, Erin's the kind of woman that leaves you wondering; How does she do it all? Birthed consecutively amidst a pandemic, Erin's books, Plants For The People (Thames & Hudson 2020) and The Plant Clinic (Thames & Hudson 2021), are modern classic guides to the world of plant medicine and herbalism, endowed with elegant visual codes of your favourite coffee table book. This is the second time we've had Erin on the podcast, and we're so thrilled to have her back. Both versed in the love language of plant medicine, this conversation between Tahnee and Erin is a celebration of herbalism, filled with nuance and some progressive insights on not gendering herbs through their application. Erin discusses what she calls her pillars to thrive, supporting the immune system during the pandemic, and the profound effect of having a gentle approach to healing and detoxing. A remembering, a becoming, and unfolding of the world of holistic herbal healing; This episode is one for everyone. Tune in.      "You have to be a savvy business owner as well. I've had different iterations of having a healing space, my own multi-modality wellness space, which sold and successfully ran for many years. Then being a head-practitioner at a busy, busy clinic in Sydney, and then being digital and writing books. I've had all these different iterations, and it's given me a lot of perspectives. But there's a lot of things I wished that I knew when I came out, and if I can help people in that way, I'm really excited to do that because it's a big job".     - Erin Lovell Verinder      Tahnee and Erin discuss: Immunity protocols. Drop dosing for kids. Herbal remedies for kids. The gendering of herbs. Detox and cleansing culture. Viewing fear as a mental virus. Herbs as the people's medicine. The matriarchal lineage of herbalism. The process of healing and becoming. Knowing yours, and your child's constitution type. Healing the gut; An energetic core of our constitution.     Who is Erin Lovell Verinder? Erin is a fully qualified Herbalist, Nutritionist, and Energetic Healer who has worked in the healing realms for twenty-one years. Erin holds a Bachelor of Western Herbal Medicine, an Advanced Diploma of Nutritional Medicine, and a Diploma of Energetic Healing and is a member of the (ATMS) Australian Traditional Medicine Society. Walking the plant path, Erin is a woman in tune with the natural world. On a full-hearted mission to educate, assist, and up-level how we can all heal with the rhythms of nature. Marrying the wisdom and philosophy of naturopathic medicine as the golden compass to treat the whole- not just the symptom is the pure guiding force in Erin's practice. Getting to the roots of ill health is the solid intention and directive of her work. Through her practice, Erin addresses the drivers and encourages the body to gently return to balance, using food as medicine, medicinal plants, lifestyle changes, functional testing, and energetic healing; Delivering a wholesome, high vibrational experience. Erin has written two phenomenal books: Plants For The People (Thames & Hudson 2020. The Plant Clinic (Thames & Hudson 2021).   CLICK HERE TO LISTEN ON APPLE PODCAST    Resources: Erin's Instagram  erinlovellverinder.com The Plant Clinic Book Plants For The People Book Plants For The People SuperFeast podcast   Q: How Can I Support The SuperFeast Podcast? A: Tell all your friends and family and share online! We'd also love it if you could subscribe and review this podcast on iTunes. Or  check us out on Stitcher, CastBox, iHeart RADIO:)! Plus  we're on Spotify!   Check Out The Transcript Here:   Tahnee: (00:00) Hi, everyone. Welcome back to the SuperFeast podcast. We have one of my favourite guests. You're Mr. Guest of the show now, Erin. Erin Lovell Verinder, who is a beautiful Herbalist, she's also an author, and we're here really today to talk about her new book, The Plant Clinic, which has already gotten pre-discussed in my house. It's, again, a stunning book, but also a really practical manual. Even for someone who's like trained in herbalism, I'm using it all the time because it captures all these protocols and concepts and ideas in this really beautiful and succinct way. I want to congratulate you on your new baby. Well done.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (00:39) Thank you so much. That's so sweet.   Tahnee: (00:42) Yeah, and welcome back to the show. It's great to have you.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (00:44) Thank you for having me.   Tahnee: (00:45) Yeah, I'm so happy to have you here. Your first podcast was one of the most popular, so it's really great to have you.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (00:51) Oh, that's so sweet.   Tahnee: (00:52) Yeah, I know. We're like aww. I think people just love... and that's something we've always been really passionate about is like, yeah, it's great to buy products and we love that you can buy SuperFeast from the shelf or whatever. But when you start to make your own herbal medicines, I think there's something, I don't know, that connects you to herbalism in a different way and connects you to the energy of the plants in a different way. I use pre-made stuff and I make my own stuff. I think it just depends on where I'm at in my life. But, yeah, I think having books like yours, especially, modernising herbalism because a lot of the old books can... like they're awesome, but they can be a bit retro [crosstalk 00:01:28]. How's it been going since publication? Have you been getting any positive feedback or?   Erin Lovell Verinder: (01:37) Yeah, it's been lovely. I've done two books now in the pandemic which has been like fairly wild and interesting. That they're being birthed at this time when actually I feel like they've been really needed and the spirit of plant medicine is like singing, I think, at this time within the pandemic and everything that we are moving through as a collective. Yeah, so Plants for the People came out in my March 2020 when the pandemic hit, and then The Plant Clinic just came out August 31st in Australia when we were all basically in lockdown. We were in the eye of it, so there were no stores open. Which was strange and I had to add a real block around that initially like, "Oh, I can't do in-person and people can't go see it at the stores."   Erin Lovell Verinder: (02:22) But I moved through that and it's actually, of course, it's been really well received and people are finding it and ordering it, and yeah, giving me such beautiful feedback. There's nothing more rewarding than that. Honestly, I get so much from those messages and emails about how the book has impacted their life or their little ones life or how they're working with their family in health and herbs and how they learn how to do this from the book, or I came at the right time. Like a lot of people say that I picked the book up and it's just at the most perfect time and that really thrills me. Yeah, it's been beautiful, it's been a beautiful exchange of putting the book out and what's coming back to me, which is beautiful.   Tahnee: (03:02) Yeah, it must be really rewarding, and how much work goes into these things. Yeah, incredible to see it in the flesh.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (03:13) So much work.   Tahnee: (03:13) Yes, so much work.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (03:13) Sorry, I was going to say this book really held us captive for over a year, and Noah, my husband, designed it so it was this real family effort and creation from our little family to you all. It was a major, so much work. So I'm so proud of it to see we did it, we did it, we made it.   Tahnee: (03:33) Yeah, well it's quite encyclopaedic in a way of like it really... I think Plants for the People was this amazing introduction to the world of plants. But then this is almost like working with a herbalist. It's got almost protocols and what a day would look like if you're working on a specific issue? And there's pillars of health that you might get introduced to working with a clinicians, so for me it felt a bit more actually going and seeing a practitioner. Like this book's almost like one in your house.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (04:05) Yes. No, really, that was truly my intention of writing it, for sure, was taking all of my years of clinical practise and knowledge, and as best as I could, distilling it down onto the paper to support and guide people with these daily protocols and how to work with plants as if you were working with the herbalist. Because the truth is like not everybody can access that one on one care and afford to weave that into their support team and whatnot, or access it. I just wanted to create a body of work that was super accessible and had all of those. Oh, so much in there, there's just so much in that book, for sure.   Tahnee: (04:44) Yeah, well, I think and I really appreciated like you have got a lot there for children and around dosing. I think that's stuff we get asked about a lot at SuperFeast. There's a lot of fear around working with herbs and children, and at different stages of pregnancy and postpartum and things. It's quite confusing on the internet. Like I saw you made a note in there around like you're going to read different things and they're going to conflict sometimes. Like I wonder do you have any overarching philosophies around working with kids and how do you approach that? You've got some dosing guidelines in here, but I'm just interested to flick that out a little bit.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (05:22) Yeah, for sure. I wanted to shed light on that because, yeah, you're right, I get asked all the time as well. When I started my practise as a herbalist, I was really specialising in paediatrics. And for years I really worked very closely with kids and their parents because you're always working with parents when you work with kids too. Which sometimes is the harder piece, to be honest. But so dosing was important and shedding light on working with children was important to me. I'd say that one of the biggest pieces around dosing with kids is that often less is more. So really even looking at drop dosing and working with more this energetic concept of dosing herbs, then these big wacky, not wacky, but big therapeutic dosing.   Tahnee: (06:10) Mamado herbs.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (06:10) Yeah, I had a whole section on drop dosing in the book, which I feel like can be really helpful. That more ease, using your intuition to start it just like these small little drops. You might start with five drops in a little bit of water for your little one, or instead of doing like a big meal dropper, it might just be like a few drops and see how your little one responds in that way. Drop dosing's a really good one to consider with kids because I feel like kids are so responsive often to herbs, to the plant world. Yeah, so I always start more with a drop dose approach, but there's a bunch of different rules in herbal medicine that you can calculate doses based on...   Erin Lovell Verinder: (06:52) So there's Clark's rule, but there's also Young's, and excuse me, so I would look at those and I've actually highlighted Clark's in the book because I feel like that's you're looking at... There's ones that look at age and weight and there's all these different methods that you can use. But I feel like Clark's is just really easy.   Tahnee: (07:12) Really simple.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (07:13) Yeah.   Tahnee: (07:14) Yeah, I've noticed that in my treating my daughter, because we've not really had much more than colds and she had a sore ear last night actually at 3:00 in the morning and gave her some immune herbs and put some Colloidal Silver in her ear and gave her a little limp massage and she woke up like, "Oh my ear's fine now, mommy." I'm like it's amazing to me how fast they heal, and I'm like, "If that was me, I'd probably still be in bed going ugh."   Erin Lovell Verinder: (07:42) Totally [crosstalk 00:07:43].   Tahnee: (07:42) She's like, "I'm good, I'm good. I'm ready to go to school and I love just..." Yeah, I hardly gave her, I probably gave her eight drops of this little immune tincture that we have. Which it's a bit stronger than the mushrooms like to give her sometimes things that pack a bit more of a punch if she's properly unwell. But, yeah, I really noticed that you just don't need much and homeopathics are so effective for them and those kinds of things.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (08:05) Yes, absolutely. Responsive, so responsive, and they shift really quickly, really quickly. Like a stupid charged shift with kids. I would say like really go low dose and just read a bit more about it. Like in the section of The Plant Clinic, get familiar with that, and then you do have to use your intuition a little bit knowing your little one like what's their constitution like? What do they respond from? Are they really... I've outlined the constitution piece in the book and there's only a little section on it.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (08:39) But I feel like it's so helpful to think about whether someone has a more robust constitution or a more sensitive constitution. Because it really changes how you approach dosing with plant medicine based on that. I would even implement that ethos into looking at your little one, are they quite robust? Are they sensitive and how would you dose them as well around that?   Tahnee: (09:00) I think that for adults too, it's something we speak about a lot when people come to us with dosing issues. Like they might take a quarter teaspoon and be like, "Are you sure these aren't psychedelic?" I'm like, "No, they're not. But you're obviously very sensitive, so for you, you're not going to need a very large dose at all. You can get away with like probably an eighth of a tea spoon or a pinch or something." That's great, good value, off you go. Then you're going to deal with people that are stronger, more robust, less sensitive to their energy body and they're going to be able to take much higher doses and not be affected by it. Yeah, I find that a lot that people miss that bio individuality piece of like you are going to behave and perform differently to everybody else.   Tahnee: (09:43) It's tricky like we were chatting before we came on with the compliance and regulations that we have to meet as herbalists. When working with a product like ours where we're selling it directly to the public, we have to state dosage and this isn't always aligned to what I believe to be true. I would actually prefer it to be a lot more nuanced, I suppose. But, yeah, just the way it is. Energy's kind of that was your first domain, I suppose, like working in that more subtle realm. How has that come into... has that been coming into clinic more for you lately with all this stuff going on? I imagine you probably need some protection yourself.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (10:29) I [inaudible 00:10:30]. Yeah, that's so interesting. On lots of levels, it's been coming in strongly. For my own practice because what has been presenting... so clients, what people are moving through and what we're moving through collectively, I really do believe it's a whole new paradigm and people are operating on a really different level than they were operating on pre-pandemic. As a practitioner, definitely it has impacted how I show up and what is needed? What's the demand on me to hold that space, and it's like I have to cast a bigger circle to hold it. That's been interesting in my own process and witnessing what that's bringing out in me and how I can show up. Yeah, for sure, that's been a whole thing.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (11:25) But in terms of what people are moving through and whether or not I have to call on those energetic parts, for sure. I'm always, in everything that I do as a practitioner, I'm always doing my best to honour the unseen forces and the subtle anatomy of it all. That means even if I'm working with somebody on their gut, I'm also honouring the emotions of the gut and the energy systems of the gut. I'm not just looking at it in a very black and white physiological anatomy and physiology, or like even the action of the herb or the action of the nutrient of food that we're working with, I'm more thinking about to the energy of it and the energy of what that person's moving through.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (12:13) Yeah, it's always a consideration and it's for sure a big consideration right now. Because what people are moving through is far... Like obviously people present with physical symptoms or imbalances that need support. But I really do believe that things are driven by our emotional bodies and spiritual bodies and our mental bodies too. I do believe that there's always involvement, right? I do believe that those aspects aren't... it's a lot going on right now. There's a lot of deep emotion that's tied into the physical right now. Yeah, I'm for sure working on those realms and levels always.   Tahnee: (12:51) I know you're seeing that in presentation more around adrenal type stuff or is it like... Personally, in myself, I can feel like a tendency to withdraw a lot more in a lot more sensitive just in general to people and energy. I'm also pregnant, so it's hard to know how much of that's pregnancy and how much of that's COVID. But, yeah, I've really noticed that in myself, like I just have a much smaller buffer between myself and the world and I'm having to be quite protective of that. Which was unusual for me because normally I'm quite comfortable with big groups and people, and now I'm like, "Oh, no, there's like 10 people [inaudible 00:13:33]." It's that stuff. I don't even know what you call that, like sensitivity and maybe anxiety and a bit of that.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (13:44) Yeah, I would say that there's... Like really what's coming forward, it's got a lot to do with the nervous system, and for sure, I would say that there's a lot more anxiety and a lot more deep fatigue. But like sensitivity, a lot of sensitivity, sensitivity to stimulation, depression, or low mood, low vitality. And just a lot of fear, there's a lot of fear that's going around, and I think fear can be a bit of a collective thought virus as well? There's like people are dealing with the fear and how that's cycling in their body, and fear of being unwell. There's just a lot of fear. I think that that's what I started talking about and referring to that new paradigm. Like everyone's just operating on a very different level right now.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (14:43) As a clinician, having been in practise now solid for like over 10 years, of course, I've never seen anything like it where everyone's experiencing the same thing in some way, in such a way. Obviously, we're experiencing similar things by being alive on the planet at the same time, but not like this.   Tahnee: (15:01) Acutely.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (15:03) Acutely, so people present with being maybe they want to talk about what they can do to support their immune systems, or their concerns about the vaccination, or which is very hard to navigate as a practitioner, for sure. Because actually this is a space that we are legally meant to step back from. There's just a lot of like what people are curious about and what they're worrying about. But the anxiety and the depression and the adrenal stuff, it's all like nervous system adrenal system, fight or flight survival mode stuff big time.   Tahnee: (15:48) Yeah, we're activating the sympathetic nervous system.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (15:50) Absolutely.   Tahnee: (15:51) Yeah, I can see that like we've got a team of about 30, so I can see different waves of things move through, and yeah, I've noticed those kinds of things in our team. I think I really... like that's one of the things I love about this book and would really recommend to people if you are thinking about immune protocols, you're thinking about anxiety and managing that with herbs. Like you've got calls for those listed out in here like whole chapters devoted to them. I think just having, I know for me, having things that I can lean on that support me, it's like a bomb.   Tahnee: (16:26) It's like you might be aware of that feeling and that sensitivity, but you don't have to lean into it too far because you've got these things to prop you up. It's where I think herbs can really store on all these beautiful, calming, gorgeous herbs that we have of access to reishi. I'm loving all these [inaudible 00:16:44] lately. I can just feel this real need to nourish that inner aspect.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (16:50) Absolutely. Yeah, and personally, it's funny, even oat staw are like I've got a little milky oats tincture on my table here, on my desk. Yep, and I've also been taking reishi myself as well. The two that you mentioned are very much like present in my field, in my body. Because I think the biggest thing is how can people shift from that sympathetic nervous system state to that parasympathetic rest and digest state? And how can I support them to do that? That's a lot of the work I'm doing right now, for sure. A lot of it is about our herbal helpers and how our plant medicines that calm the nervous system, and even can gently sedate the nervous system when you're in a really acute state of anxiety or panic or fear.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (17:42) It's I just feel for everyone. I feel for everyone so much right now. There's just so much of that going around, so that's why I actually... Obviously, I didn't... Well, I was writing, so I was writing the book in the depth of the pandemic. But, yeah, that was a part of why I wrote the emotions, mind spirit section, in The Plant Clinic. Because, as a clinician, even pre-pandemic, I was always treating lots of anxiety and working with people with anxiety, panic, depression. Just that low vitality as well, and all stemming from more of a mental, emotional place. Yeah, so I'm really proud of that section because I just really feel like it's rare to come across a body of work in herbalism that addresses that directly. I feel like often we're not talking so much about the spirit in, at all. Sometimes-   Tahnee: (18:39) I completely agree. It's all physical and often very... Like it's something I really love about your work is obviously you have the background of the energy medicine and then you've also got the more chemical constituents like biomedical background.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (18:54) Yeah, herbals and nutritional medicine.   Tahnee: (18:55) Yeah, and like this nice intersection of... which I think is where medicine really needs to go is like, and what has drawn me to Chinese medicine and Ayurveda and these things in my life is like we need to acknowledge that subtle realm and their unseen forces, as you call them. That's a really potent part of healing and a potent part of why we often have anxiety and things like that. We disconnect from what we really need or what we're really calling for in our deepest selves. Yeah, I think herbs really help with that, and I think even the action of preparing your own medicine and preparing your own tonics and things like there's something very nourishing and soothing in that.   Tahnee: (19:40) I don't know, just like it's a small, simple process that moved you toward maybe where you want to be. I think that was something I really noticed and loved about the book was it was that section, and you should be proud of yourself. It's important and I know it's hard to speak to those things as a practitioner sometimes because people can sound woo woo. It's something we struggle with a lot. Like we want to be woo woo.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (20:06) Totally. Yeah, girl, I'm just so at a point where I'm like, "This is what it is, guys. I'm not even worried if I sound woo woo."   Tahnee: (20:14) Totally.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (20:14) I'm just like, "This is my message. This is what's coming out. Receive it or don't."   Tahnee: (20:19) Well, I love it. You're a little bit more evolved than me. I'm still [crosstalk 00:20:24]-   Erin Lovell Verinder: (20:24) No, no, no.   Tahnee: (20:26) Bit, no. I think it takes some confidence though, and some like, probably, like you've had these 10 years in clinic. You're like it's this little experience of this is what I see and it's proven to me over and over again and I can't avoid it.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (20:40) Well, it's just that thing of like you can't compartmentalise health. It's like we're whole beings. If you're going to, like I said, just example of the gut that I'm circling back to that, if you're going to work on the gut, of course, you have to work on it from a very physical level. What's going on in the gut and how can we heal the gut? What are we eating? What are we feeding? But what are we thinking? What are we, actually, what are we absorbing from self-talk? What's our environment like that impacts our digestive systems? What are the roots of the gut dysbiosis? Is there trauma there? I think working on the gut, it's like the deepest seed of like our actual beginning of our root system. The beginning of us-   Tahnee: (21:23) Yeah, like our, what's the word, evolution in the womb as well-   Erin Lovell Verinder: (21:27) Absolutely, it's the beginning.   Tahnee: (21:28) ... with primal layers.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (21:30) Yeah, and it's like so I often feel like when people are working deeply on healing their guts, and I do a lot of digestive healing with clients, we're going back to the roots and it's so powerful. There's people always go through really big, almost like deep initiation and rebirth canals when they're working on the gut in a way. And I'm like, "Well, it would be like I'm going to get half of the results if I don't honour those other parts of what someone's going through and support them through that too." I know this from doing it for so many years, so yeah, I'm like I'm all in, I'm all in.   Tahnee: (22:04) Well, that's enough.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (22:06) I'm all in.   Tahnee: (22:06) Here I am and I noted that page in your book where you talk about on unfolding and healing isn't pretty, and I think that's something I often try and emphasise for people. It's like it's not just these detox reactions or herb reactions and things that we get. But it's like if you are... I know this personally, like my work around my gut was deeply connected to a lot of stuff from my childhood and it was not fun. It was not fun at all to start actually acknowledging the pain and the stuff that was brought forward from remembering and acknowledging those things. But the outcome being have a great digestive system in these days and it's like, yeah, it's worth it but it's not always nice.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (22:54) Absolutely. Yeah, that's really important in my process working with people, and I think my ethos is healing is not always pretty, it's not always straightforward. It takes time, you're unfolding and allowing that to be a process. It's the process of becoming. I think becoming is a real theme in my work, and when I mentor people too who want to walk the plant path it's like we're a little bit I'm geared towards like this a little, a lot. Geared towards instant culture, like this instant culture, instant gratification culture, and we just want to do the thing and then that's that. That's what we are, and I'm like, "Ah, there's a whole process."   Erin Lovell Verinder: (23:42) For me to show up who I am, I've walked these 20 something years now to get to this place where I can confidently say to you all, "Hey, take it or leave it. Like this is who I am and this is what I've got to say." I'm not saying I'm... I've got work to do still, I'm just saying this is who I am at this point. But-   Tahnee: (24:03) It's still unfolding.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (24:04) It's still unfolding. Like I've become to this point and healing is like that. It's a becoming and it's just an unfolding and it's gentle and it can be gentle, sometimes it's not. But you have to be gentle with yourself in that process.   Tahnee: (24:18) I was going to say, and I noticed a tendency toward gentleness in your work, which I like. There's not these extreme, like your detox protocols and things, they're not these extreme crazy things that we've all... Maybe not everyone's tried, but I've definitely tried some of it [inaudible 00:24:33]. Look, there's space for them in the world and I'm not trying to say they're wrong, but I think, especially in times like this, where people are so sensitive and there's so much collective for like angst and fear and stress. Like gentleness is probably the best medicine we could give ourselves at this point. I hope I'm not speaking for you, but that's-   Erin Lovell Verinder: (24:54) No, I totally agree. Yeah, for sure. Gentle is definitely my approach, and in writing a book that I know that is going to be accessed by all these different people and they're not going to be guided by me personally. As in they can just call me up and ask a question. I really wanted to write a book that I knew would be gentle for people and they could have a really soft pace with it, but also get results. I think that kind of concept, detoxification as well, because, yeah, there's a whole detoxification section in the book. I wanted to dispel a bit of myths around like this whole cleansing culture and detox culture.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (25:38) Yeah, the whole section explains it well around like your body's naturally detoxifying all the time, so how can we just, every minute, so how can we support those systems to just give them a little extra lift? But in a way that just actually flows with what they're already doing. So you might find that, "Oh, my liver is stagnated." Well, your liver is still doing its thing, it just needs a little bit of help. Yeah, that was my approach of like, "We're not going to do anything drastic. We're just going to be really gentle." But it can often be so profound when you are gentle in your approach.   Tahnee: (26:15) Yeah, I definitely like preconception with Ayo was pretty hectic, and this baby, I made a real effort to not be like that and I focused a lot more. I still did a bit of preparatory work that was very gentle, and then I focused a lot more on building and nourishing myself. Which I think I neglected that part a little bit with Ayo was a bit more like gung-ho with the cleansing. Like I didn't get any morning sickness at all this time. I did get a lot of rage, so maybe I did quite of both.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (26:50) [crosstalk 00:26:50] rage.   Tahnee: (26:53) But it was interesting having like just that really different first trimester experience of like with Ayo was like if it wasn't salty and crunchy, it wasn't going in my mouth. Whereas with this baby I was like, "I can eat pretty much everything." Yeah, it was a lot more gentle to navigate that first trimester, and yeah, except if you were Mason Taylor because you were not having a gentle time, but [inaudible 00:27:18] high oestrogen perhaps. Yeah, really I thought that was really interesting just personal anecdote. Yeah, and again, like you speak to hormones a lot in your book and it is a gentle approach.   Tahnee: (27:35) I think especially with women, we are cyclical beings and we are very sensitive and I think a lot of... and I've read a lot of books by male herbalists and that can be very gung-ho. It can come in hard and it can come in a little bit aggressive, and I think it's nice to bring some of that gentleness into that space as well.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (27:58) Yeah, I think, yeah, fully, and I think herbalism has been... I think there's a heavy matriarchal lineage running through herbalism. The OG lineage perhaps.   Tahnee: (28:10) Yeah.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (28:10) The OG lineage, exactly. So I think there's also a really different lens of perspective when you've been trained in that lineage as well. That's definitely been my lineage, and all my teachers were women, which women identified which felt correct learning with this softer... I mean not all soft but-   Tahnee: (28:35) Yes, I've had Susan Weed on the [inaudible 00:28:37]-   Erin Lovell Verinder: (28:37) Not soft, Susan, not all soft. But, yeah, the teachers I really resonated with were just very, very soft. So that really also expanded my path around how important that felt for me to have that gentleness as a teacher and a writer and a clinician as well. I just I really want people to feel held in whatever I do, and there's a softness to that, whatever that is. That matriarchal maternal instinct to want to be soft and to want to hold that space.   Tahnee: (29:16) Yeah, and I think that's really aligned to... One thing I think we both have like as a theme in our belief systems is this idea of herbs is people's medicine. If you think about like traditionally women are going to hold the kitchen, they're going to hold the garden, and they're going to be holding the medicine in a way. I think there's this real sense of something I've always said to Mason, like I want to be 60 and I want to be old and I want people to come and be like, "I've got this," and I always give them something. It's like a potion. I think there's this real beautiful ancestral line of women healers that I think we're seeing this resurgence in like...   Tahnee: (29:57) I just had Asia Suler on the podcast, and she's very feminine in how she works. Yeah, I can feel this, I don't know, this softening in the herbal world. When I started with Mase, it was guys doing tablespoons of mushrooms and it's bio hacky. It was really hectic, and I was like, "Whoa." I wasn't drawn into that, like I was drawn into working with the herbs and the mushrooms, for sure, but not in that way. Yeah, it's been interesting to watch that space change as well. It's a lot more feminine now and a lot more soft.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (30:29) Yeah, for sure. Then on the flip side of that too, I feel like what's fascinating is as we let go of these concepts of gender, and gender is a construct as well, how people, non-binary people, might be practising herbalism. And bringing it into this space that, they're definitely practising herbalism, but bringing it into this space that is like neither that nor that. As we upgrade our language and the love language of herbalism just keeps expanding from different voices who have different perspectives. I think that's also really interesting. And just also thinking about plants, not in their male or female plants. I think that's really limiting in terms of my idea of how I think about plants, and that's changing and growing, and as I grow. But, yeah, I've really been feeling more into that.   Tahnee: (31:36) I'm interested in this, because we come from a modulus tradition where there is a lot of genderizing of everything. I definitely had that bias, and I would obviously love to... I've done some workshops, actually, I did a really amazing workshop with a non-binary teacher in Oregon and she was like... Well, she wasn't a she, but she looked feminine to me, but I think she was a they, and they were speaking a lot about female bodied people and herbal abortions and working in that space around trauma to do with birth and miscarriage. Look, it was one of the best workshops and trainings I've ever done, and they spoke a little bit about the non-...   Tahnee: (32:26) Like this person's clinic really served that community, so they spoke a bit about issues in that community. But I don't see a lot of representation of that in the herbal world, maybe you do more because you might be a bit more exposed to it. But, yeah, I'd be interested in your experience. Like how are you now relating to plants through that energetic realm if you are not choosing binary terms?   Erin Lovell Verinder: (32:50) Yeah, look, it's really interesting because I think that, first of all, I think herbal culture in Australia is really... and we've talked about it. We went into this in the last podcast, which I really loved because I thought it was just a really interesting perspective for you and I to talk about that. Because we both have a lot of experience with American herbalism and that spirit of herbalism in the States. Having you train there and me spending so much time there, and because my husband's American and having such a kinship with America. But Australian herbalism is just so, so different because we have to study in these private colleges or university settings, and essentially, it's a health science degree, or whether you do a health science naturopathy degree or whatnot. And you're learning herbs or you become a herbalist at Western Herbal Medicine.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (33:39) So that in itself already puts herbalism in a really inaccesible place for a lot of people here in Australia. Because unless you've got... My debt from school is from training is insane, let alone what they're paying now and that mine was so long ago. I'm just saying that because it like casts an awareness on not all types of people would have access to doing this kind of training here in Australia. Obviously, you can learn herbs in different ways, but if you were to go out and practise and learn in a structured setting. Whereas in America, and this is what we went into on the last podcast, it's like it's the people's medicine. It's like essential to have that medicine in the system where there is no universal healthcare.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (34:28) Therefore, I think herbalism reaches a lot of different types of people, and not just privileged people. Not just people of privileged who can go and do those kind of degrees. There's a different spirit to it. I think that there's a lot of exciting things happening in the States with non-binary people who identify non-binary, but are herbalist and they're practising in ways that are undoing some of those structures, which I think is really fascinating. I'm still listening. I'll continue to listen and learn, and yeah, I'm curious. But the way that, for me, how it's impacted, I think I just always felt like those systems didn't feel super true and resonate with me.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (35:15) Some of the systems of like these are women's herbs and these are the men's herbs. I know these are ancient traditions, so I'm not saying that they don't have a place and there's not a lot of gold in all of that, of how we can treat female body people or male body people, or let's use those terms just to streamline this conversation. But I do feel that I didn't deeply resonate with that. So there's a section in The Plant Clinic that's Mums & Bubs, and there's a section that's hormone health. I was like, "How do I be more inclusive in those spaces?" But I'm trying to convey what I'm trying to convey. I had to use certain terminology like Mums & Bubs, or like this is first-   Tahnee: (36:01) [crosstalk 00:36:01] people and-   Erin Lovell Verinder: (36:01) ... Birthing people and mensturating people. Yeah, so that was a little tricky, but I wrote a little note in the book on gender terminology and I was like, "Oh, this is going to really shake it up, isn't it?" Maybe this is going to shake it a little bit up, but hey, I think that's what we're all here for as well to open conversations and to get people thinking about a different layer, a different perspective. And how boring if we all just felt like we all knew it all and it was the exact same way forever. The times are changing, and that means herbalism is changing too. I've witnessed it changed dramatically from when I started studying to now. There was really like it was so wacky, if you're a herbalist. It was like, "Oh, good luck. Like get onto the world, let's see what happens?"   Tahnee: (36:55) All in three months.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (36:58) Totally. Yeah, exactly. You might not have a job real soon or your clinic probably will fail because there's not that many people into this. It felt like that when I got out and now it's like it's in a totally different place where I feel like it's having this epic renaissance.   Tahnee: (37:15) I agree, yeah.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (37:16) Yeah, and it's just so rich. But so rich in action, in movement, in growth. I just feel like... Oh, so back to your question about how I'm practising it, it's more about the energy. It's just, honestly, it comes down to the energy and the presentation of what someone's going through and how I would meet them with herbs. It's like a herb like Shatavari, which is a very beautiful I think central herb that is very much linked in with a woman's herb. Because it has such an effect on the menstrual cycle, and it is a beautiful herb for women. But it's a beautiful herb for everyone in many different ways. Even like those really we think of them as really Yang ginseng like Panax ginseng or Korean ginseng.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (38:12) We think more to apply those to men. But, absolutely, I just do not think that is true in terms of how we can apply it to all people just in... If it suits, if the presentation's correct, if the energy's correct, if the dose is correct, it's just about listening. I think it's just about listening. Like I might think, yeah, a herb like Rose is just really feminine. We use that like soft, feminine, the unfolding, the petals of Rose. But I know a lot of people who could do with Rose, and it's just heart medicine. I just challenge that a little bit in The Plant Clinic, but it's just it's my own perspective.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (39:04) But it doesn't mean it has to be true for you, and I do think that aeons of information around herbs that would be supportive for our menstrual cycle, and say, supportive for sperm motility. Of course, I understand that they're applied to like this male identified person or this woman identified person. But, at the same time, I'm just challenging that idea of that actually isn't everybody as well. There's just this nuances, so we just need to open up space for nuance.   Tahnee: (39:36) Yeah, and I think it comes down to the intention of the person ingesting the herbs as to what kind of energy shifts they want to experience in their body? I can imagine if you're a male body person who identifies as female, you might not care about your sperm motility so much. So you might not be interested in working with those herbs. But then, again, I'm very clunky in this space, so anyone listening please feel free to write me an email about it. But I definitely have had like a personal experience of the universe having a binary, like two binary forces that are constantly in motion. It's hard to explain in words, but it's more of a visual or a felt sense that I have.   Tahnee: (40:26) I can understand that there's a spectrum between an extreme of each, whether you want to call it yin and yang or gender and male-Feminine, whatever, the Shiva-Shakti from the yoga traditions. Like I can feel this real truth in that sense of the binary is always in motion between one another, and that creates this experience that we live in. We're going very deep right now.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (40:51) Yes.   Tahnee: (40:53) But for me that-   Erin Lovell Verinder: (40:54) Unexpectedly deep into this area.   Tahnee: (40:57) [crosstalk 00:40:57] on the radar today. We haven't had enough sleep for this conversation, but yeah.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (41:01) Totally, forgive us if we're stumbling through this. But I think it's important to talk about it. It's important.   Tahnee: (41:09) It is, yeah. This has formed my, like cosmology, has formed my worldview. This sense of this dance between these two poles creating this manifest reality. That's literally how I've ended up explaining to myself how all this is here. I can understand that those like masculine and feminine terms aren't necessarily useful, but I think what you're pointing to, and I've had this experience in myself. Like postpartum, Deer Antler is not a herb I relate to normally. Postpartum, I'm like, "Give me that stuff." It's like I can see that I've gone through this big depletion of my yang of given birth. It's like a huge journey, and it's like to pull some of that masculine or yang energy or whatever you want to call it into my being is a really powerful medicine for me at that point.   Tahnee: (42:02) I don't keep doing it for long, it just it's a period of time and then I'm done with that again. I think I can relate to what you're saying there. It's also I think I often, for me, I've really related to ratio's a very feminine energy, but I would always expect men to take it because I think it can connect them to that softer part of themselves, like what you're saying with Rose. Yeah, and I remember you... I might not remember it word for word, but you said something to the effect of this book is for older people. There are some sections that are working toward women's reproductive stuff, and yes, they might not be useful for everybody. But, in general, herbalism is for everybody, like just about tuning into what's right for you in the moment.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (42:51) That's it, that's ultimately what it is. I think I'm just curious as well about out doing, undoing old paradigms. I think there must be something with that [crosstalk 00:43:08]. What's that?   Tahnee: (43:11) Just in like paradigm breaking mode right now.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (43:13) Yeah, make it all [inaudible 00:43:14]. No, I know, I'm just curious about these things that sometimes I think... Look, I know that that's even in writing these books, I felt like that was actually breaking down a bit of a paradigm in herbalism. Because, personally, my experience of, and I think most people would agree with this if you've got a big herb collection of books, you would know that most of your books are written by older people. There's a real sense of like, which is beautiful, of course, the elders in the community and these people that have lived all these years and all this experience to put it down in a book, what a gift. But being a younger person, and I'm nearly 40, I'm not super, super young, but being a younger person, writing a book about herbal... It was like breaking the boundary there a little, and I think I just maybe like doing that. I don't know.   Tahnee: (44:10) I think that's a theme in your work, and I think I also see a lot of courage in that. Like that you were able to so young guide yourself. If you haven't listened to our first podcast, Erin did a lot of really early training in energy work and things before training to be a herbalist. For a young person to have the courage to fuller those paths, I think that takes a lot of, I don't know, self belief or faith or whatever you want to call it. Is that something, you know, did you bump up against that in putting these books together? Was it like there's a self-worth thing here or like an imposter syndrome thing or were like, "No, I'm feeling strong and solid in there."   Erin Lovell Verinder: (44:52) I was really supported, so I think that feeling really cheered and supported was a huge piece of feeling like I've got this as well. Well, I just felt like someone had to do it. I felt a bit like, "Well, someone's got to do this, someone's got to do this."   Tahnee: (45:12) You're an Aries, aren't you?   Erin Lovell Verinder: (45:15) Yeah, [crosstalk 00:45:16].   Tahnee: (45:15) That's why.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (45:18) Yeah, I don't know.   Tahnee: (45:19) Aries runs a lot, "Yeah, of course, I can do it."   Erin Lovell Verinder: (45:21) Yeah, totally.   Tahnee: (45:22) Everybody else is like, Oh my God, it's so scary."   Erin Lovell Verinder: (45:25) Well, and like it's so classic me as well to just like... even when I enrolled in herbal medicine and nutritional medicine, which was like a double degree vibe is what I was doing at the same time. I didn't even read the syllabus, I was just like, "Yeah, I'm going to do this. I've got this." It was like, "I really want to be this. I wonder what's going to happen?" Then I got it and I was like, "This is a science degree."   Tahnee: (45:45) What am I doing?   Erin Lovell Verinder: (45:46) Yeah. What is this biochemistry and pharmacology? I really didn't know. I think, in a way, probably anyone doing their first book feels that way too. Like you're so excited about it, you sign up, you do it, and then you're like, "Oh my goodness, this is so much work. This is so demanding and hard." I think I did that with the first book, I just dove in and was really excited and eager. I was like, "Yeah, someone's going to do this. It's going to be great. I'm just going to tell the stories of the plants again and just introduce people back to that remembering." Then I got there and was like, "Oh, this is just this is hard." But I felt confident, and I was like... I sound like such an Aries right now.   Tahnee: (46:31) [crosstalk 00:46:31] a lot of it.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (46:35) I felt confident that I could pull it off, even though it also brought out other parts of myself. I'm a Liberian rising, and I think that I'm so such an aesthetic person and I really love things to look beautiful and be visually like visual eye candy and pull you in. That was actually really fun for me because both books, I got to strengthen that muscle in me of making things beautiful. I think too that has been missing in the modern herbalism space of bringing books to life that people want to put on their tables and the coffee tables and having the kitchen because it's beautiful.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (47:16) I think that there's just no denying that we're all very aesthetic creatures these days, and particularly, with Instagram and the social media channels where we're all pulled in from the visual of everything. Yeah, I just think it was timely to just bring a book to life that both books that are just visually pretty. But, yeah, for sure, that's definitely my nature just to be very much like just jump in.   Tahnee: (47:44) Yeah, I love it there. I think like you have brought it up, more than brought it up, and it's you're completely right in the visual. I think I've got your books at home, but I think we've also got both of them in the office and people just go straight to them. We have like, I don't know, I want to say thousands of books on herbalism and-   Erin Lovell Verinder: (48:04) You have lots of books [crosstalk 00:48:06]-   Tahnee: (48:08) I've got more even at our house, and people would just go straight for them and it's, to me, I'm like, "Oh, that's like the plants are being sung into people's hearts through the visual storytelling as well as your words." I think that's really powerful because images they connect us in a different way. Just I was looking into the moustache and picture in here and I'm like just that joy and that bright laugh that these sessions bring to a space. I think there's something really magical about that. I think what I really also liked about this one, I'm trying to remember your first book which I haven't read in a little while. But you talk about the pillars to thrive in this and I'm not sure that was in the first one. I don't think it was.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (48:55) No, it wasn't at all.   Tahnee: (48:55) Yeah, could you talk a little bit about that? Obviously, get the book for the in-depth look at it. But I'm just interested in right now we've talked a lot about where everyone's at, sensitivity, we're feeling a bit un-hinged [inaudible 00:49:10]. We've gone deep into the cosmos. We've tried to navigate gender issues in terms of some really practical stuff. Like not that none of that is practical, but-   Erin Lovell Verinder: (49:21) Not really.   Tahnee: (49:23) ... like how would you say to people like, "Yes, we've got herbs," but what are those lifestyle pieces that are non-negotiables for you that need to be honoured to be well in this time?   Erin Lovell Verinder: (49:34) Yeah, I think I feel like that's such a foundation of the book are those pillars. I wrote the book really with all of those elements in mind in every single daily planner.   Tahnee: (49:47) [crosstalk 00:49:47].   Erin Lovell Verinder: (49:47) Yeah, I wrote it around them and that's it. In my clinical practise, I've learnt that, like we talked about before, you can't compartmentalise a person's healing process and you can't pull them apart and say, "Just do this and you'll be great." What I've learned is that we've taken the herbs to really allow them to sink into a deeper state of received healing in the body. We need to do other elements and to take care of the body. We need to make sure that we are hydrated, we're eating good nourishing food that's healing for us, we're resting, we're connecting to nature. We're really mindful of what we're saying to ourselves. So our self-talk and we're moving our bodies. The pillars are just those elements, and the rest, the good food, moving your body, connected to nature, self-talk, body movement. No, I missed one.   Tahnee: (50:41) Yeah, I think you got them all.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (50:41) Drinking water.   Tahnee: (50:41) Diabetic.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (50:41) Diabetic.   Tahnee: (50:41) Connected with nature.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (50:48) Yeah, those pillars are super important. It's very naturopathic thinking about what are the elements that the body needs to, the body being, needs to be supported with to heal. You'll see in every protocol. Like let's say there's a protocol for an acute cold, it will say practise the pillars, and then it says which pillars to practise. You might want to do, obviously, like to do them all, but you really focus on rest and really focusing on hydration and eating good food. Then I suggest some foods that could be really helpful too. The book was really written around those because I really believe that to work with plant medicines, you need to also work with those elements. I felt like it was seriously negligible of me to write a book about healing with plant medicine without mentioning all those elements of how we can heal holistically and truly.   Tahnee: (51:36) It's something that comes up so much for us where someone will call and be like, "Oh, I run 50 kilometres a day and I work 80 hours away. Can I do this essentially at work? Can you give me for my adrenals?" I'm like, "Hmm." I just would like to say that I'm happy to help you and support you, but really that's not a sustainable way to live forever. These hormonal issues you're experiencing in this insomnia and all of these things that are coming up for you like we can't avoid looking at our lifestyles. I think, again, this gentleness, that was something that I've certainly learned and I felt in your... You're not preaching anything, you're not trying to say like there's a right way or a wrong way.   Tahnee: (52:21) It's just like, look, these are pretty basic foundations that we all need to acknowledge are essential to living. And you have to sleep at some point and you have to drink water. Yes, I think they just become... and it's nice to have them laid out in such a simple way, I think. I think it was really I liked that you had like say with the code immunity one, like rest is a priority now instead of maybe moving your body. I think it's important for people to remember that it's okay to not do your physical practise some days if your body needs to rest more than anything else.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (52:54) Absolutely. Yeah, they're just so fundamental to really working with healing your body and your being. It's just the simple reminders to return back to those practises and a gentle guide. That's really what it is, like those pillars to thrive when you read them and get to know them. But I can't tell you how many times in clinic I returned to those, and then constantly I'm just repeating myself around, "Let's drink more water, let's rest more, let's move the body more, let's eat these foods." It's amazing how simple it is, but we need to be reminded. I know, personally, I've got my big water bottle here and I fill it up and I'm going to really work to hit three of those a day and drink three of those a day.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (53:43) If I don't have my water bottle there, I forget. I'm just not an amazing natural water drinker. That really helps for me, and so I have to put my intention and energy towards weaving that in. Because I feel way better when I'm hydrated. It's just, yeah, it's always those elements, those little things in that book where it says, "There's a little tip on how to drink more water." I hope that really helps.   Tahnee: (54:07) That's what we get in clinic. Again, I remember being... I know we've both had adrenal crash in our lives and mine came I must've been about 23 or '4. I was pretty young. And I remember going to see this naturopath and she was like, "Okay, babe, you're going to put a bottle of water on the front seat of your car. You're going to put a bottle of water in your hand like this." Then she's like, "If you're stuck in traffic, you drink a sip of..." I had to be coached through, God it's embarrassing now, but like having enough water. Then she's like, "I know you're going to eat three meals a day and you're going to have some protein in everything."   Tahnee: (54:45) It was just this stuff that now obviously has become integrated and is stuff I'm trying to teach my kid, and constantly stay on top of it. But, yeah, I'm the same, I'm not someone that would go and reach for a glass of water unless I'm dehydrated, basically.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (55:01) Yes, to the point of dehydration.   Tahnee: (55:04) It's like, yeah, it's good. I'm like just have a jar, always there, refill it regularly. I've even had to have apps at points in my life, but it's just like that's how you get through it. Same with [inaudible 00:55:16], I was talking, a lot of moms can probably relate, you get to like 9:00 and your kid's asleep and you're like your house is clean and then you're like, "Ooh, me time." It's like-   Erin Lovell Verinder: (55:26) Yeah, and then you sit up and watch three hours of shows.   Tahnee: (55:29) [crosstalk 00:55:29] I've had to just be really tough and no fucking computers in the bedroom. Like, no, we don't have a TV, so it's like I have to be tight with that stuff or else one slip and I'm doomed. I appreciated having that, it was a good reminder even after all those years and all this money spent.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (55:55) That's the thing, these pillars really they're free. Obviously, we pay for our food, but a lot of them are super accessible and pretty much free. It's like that concept too that "wellness" is this big thing and it has to be expensive, and it's like that's actual bull. It's about coming back to these really foundational, fundamental practises that make our bodies and being seen and thrive and they are so simple. That's really what the pillars to thrive are, and yeah, you very much heavily referred to throughout the whole book to bring you back and keep reminding you how to practise them.   Tahnee: (56:41) Again, like you would have with Erin in face to face [crosstalk 00:56:44]-   Erin Lovell Verinder: (56:44) Exactly. Can you imagine me being like, "You can do it. Drink your water."   Tahnee: (56:49) Take care of yourself.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (56:50) What are you saying to yourself?   Tahnee: (56:53) You could record me a go to bed Tommy lullaby, that'd be good.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (56:59) I like that you like a-   Tahnee: (56:59) Got to sleep.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (57:01) ... little note, like a little alarm that just says, "Honey, switch off."   Tahnee: (57:05) Yeah. I've been good with pregnancy. I'm trying to really honour that I need about two more hours than I used to need at night. But, yeah, I know definitely it's an easy thing. Literally, every week at daycare pick up I chat with some mom and she's like, "Oh my God, I just started watching something I'm sure and I shouldn't have and now I had everybody..." I'm like, "I know, I've been there." I really like you're not taking clients at the moment, and you're in this liminal space. Obviously, you've had birth to book, it's not a minor thing, but I know you're still very busy with your clinic. But, obviously, don't have space for new clients. But you mentioned, is it okay if we talk about the mentoring things that are going to come? Yeah, could we talk through that one?   Erin Lovell Verinder: (57:50) Yeah, so I've got a wait list for clients, just for new clients. At this point, it's closed so we'll see when it will open up again. But, yeah, for the mentoring. So I've been doing mentoring one to one for, gosh, years and years and years, and I've loved it and I've learnt so much mentoring so many people. I really wanted to do that before writing a programme to just get this deep sense of what people are seeking, and they absolutely are themes that have come through to what I share and what people are going through. I'm in the midst of writing the mentoring programmes now in the hopes they'll be released. These things sometimes take time, but early 2022.   Tahnee: (58:36) Okay.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (58:37) Yeah, there'll be two different strains of mentoring and how you can mentor with me. It's really exciting because it's the first programmes I'll have done. Though I've taught many groups over the years, this is my first group digital offering and I think it's going to be really exciting and new ways for me to work with people and reach more people and be able to support more people and spread myself into those different spaces. It's exciting, yes.   Tahnee: (59:05) Yeah. Well, as a clinician, I could see a limited as to how many people you can see. But if you're teaching teachers and people that are working with people, then yeah, you're able to make a bigger impact.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (59:20) Sure, I mean... Oh, go ahead. Sorry.   Tahnee: (59:20) Well, I was just going to say that what are the qualifications? Is it for people who are trying to settle or studying or that what's your-   Erin Lovell Verinder: (59:23) There'll be two different streams, so one is more for people who are studying or graduated, and the other one is more people who are curious to step onto the plant path. Because they have two very different ways to teach and audiences to speak to. I'm really, really passionate about doing my very best as well to shape, or whatever I could do to help support and shape someone into feeling like a really capable and strong presence as a practitioner because it's a big job. I think that we come out of our studies, particularly here in Australia, and it's... I don't know. I was flabbergasted at how I didn't learn so much at school and I felt really unprepared. Then it's like, "Oh my God, I'm working with people. Is this right? How do I do this? And how do I set up these basics elements of my business?"   Erin Lovell Verinder: (01:00:22) You really have to be like a savvy business owner as well. I've had different iterations of having a big healing space like my own multi-modality wellness space for many years and selling that successfully and running it. Then being a head practitioner at a busy, busy clinic in Sydney, and then being digital and writing books. I've had all these different iterations and it's given me a lot of perspective. But there's a lot of things I wished that I knew when I came out, and if I can help people in that way, I'm really excited to do that because it's a big job.   Tahnee: (01:00:56) I guess like that, is that business aspect part of one of the streams? Like your-   Erin Lovell Verinder: (01:01:05) Yeah, we're definitely weaving that in and I'm so lucky to have my husband who's like-   Tahnee: (01:01:12) Mr. Noah.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (01:01:13) Mr. Noah, he's a virgo who is so amazing at... He really can show up with a skill set that I do not have and I am totally okay about not having that skillset. He's amazing at that. I sounded like I was talking myself out before, but I really I'm lacking much of that [crosstalk 01:01:31]. But, yeah, and he has a marketing background, so that's been really helpful to have his input into the course as well and how to run a business and the marketing aspect. It's huge, right? It is a huge element.   Tahnee: (01:01:48) Yeah, I only know it from yoga, but like similarly you do a teacher training and they're like, "Okay, you're a teacher now." And you like, "well, and like how do I go to class? What do I..." That worked for a studio, so I had a silver platter, like I was very fortunate. But a lot of my friends never ended up teaching because that jump from education to actual practise was really difficult.   Erin Lovell Verinder: (01:02:11) Really difficult and overwhelming.   Tahnee: (01:02:15) Yeah, and I was lucky to have worked and then managed other businesses so I had a bit of a business brain. Like I often think, God, if I didn't h

Inside Outside
Ep. 272 - Dave Parker, Author of Trajectory: Startup on Ideation to Product Market Fit

Inside Outside

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 9, 2021 36:41


On this week's episode of Inside Outside Innovation, we sit down with Dave Parker, five-time founder, and author of the new book Trajectory: Startup. Dave and I talk about a range of topics for helping founders go from ideation to product market fit. And this conversation was part of our IO Live Series recorded during Startup Week Lincoln. Let's get started. Inside Outside Innovation is the podcast to help new innovators navigate what's next. I'm your host, Brian Ardinger, Founder of InsideOutside.io. Each week, we'll give you a front row seat to what it takes to learn, grow, and thrive in today's world of accelerating change and uncertainty. Join us as we explore, engage and experiment with the best and the brightest innovators, entrepreneurs, and pioneering businesses. It's time to get started. Interview Transcript with Dave Parker, Five-time founder and Author of Trajectory StartupBrian Ardinger: I wanted to thank our sponsors for this event. We are part of the Techstars Startup Week here in Lincoln. So, we wanted to give a shout out to them and Startup LNK for making this all possible.Also Inside Outside is sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. As many of you may know about the Kauffman Foundation, they run 1 Million Cups and a variety of other things, but they're a private, non-partisan foundation based in Kansas City. They seek to build inclusive prosperity through entrepreneurship- led economic development. So, we're super excited to have them as partners with us here. And you can find out more about them at kaufman.org or follow them on Twitter at Kaufman FDN on Facebook or Twitter. So, thank you again to the sponsors. Thank you, Dave, for coming on, we had set this up when your book was coming out and I said Hey, I've got the perfect time to do this during startup week. When we might have some startup founders who may be having some questions. You and I met eight or nine years ago through Up Global. We were with Startup America. And you were based in Seattle. You also helped found Code Fellows and you're a five-time founder, so you've got a lot of experience in this particular space. Eight years ago, the startup ecosystem, and what it was like was a little bit different than is today. So, what has been the biggest trends or things that you've seen that it's changed over the course of the few years that we've known each other? Dave Parker: Well, let me go a little further back. I started my first company in 98 in Seattle. And believe it or not bill gates and Jeff Bezos weren't really giving back to the startup community at that time. Oh, wait, they haven't yet. I mean, Bill gives back to like global change the world stuff. Right. But the idea there was, wow there's a bunch of us doing this startup thing, but there's not really anybody to give much advice. So, we did a peer cohort. Which was my first thing. And after a while I was like, wow, we need to level up our city. All of us tend to think of the next city bigger than us as like, oh, we want to be more like, Seattle doesn't want to be like Vancouver, Canada. We want to be like San Francisco. Where Portland's like, well, we want to be more like Seattle.Because I grew up in Portland and then moved here to go to college and never went back. First startup in 1988. Built a software distribution company called license online. The company went from zero to 32 million in sales in 4 years. Which was ridiculously fast. And we went from 3 employees to 150 and in four years. And then we sold the company in 2002.So then in 98 to 2002, if you remember back there, there was a tech bubble in there and there was 9/ 11 in there. So, it was an interesting time. Wasn't a great time to sell a company now, too. But got it sold anyway. And that was my first startup. First of five. Three of them sold. Two of them failed. One in a rather epic crater fashion. Which is funny. Because it was after the first one, that actually worked. So, you know, people were like, I wouldn't do this again. And they're like working on the next one? I'm like obviously got a serial glutton for punishment. So, 16 exits total. So as a founder board member advisor. So, my day job is helping companies and founders sell their companies. Which allows me to my 20% time to work on community building and giving back.Which kind of got me to Startup Weekend and Up Global. Up Global was the merger of Startup America and Startup Weekend. And we did about 1,265 events worldwide, my last full year there, before we sold to Techstars. Including launching Startup Week globally. And we launched it in 26 cities globally, the second year. I ran it in Seattle.Andrew Hyde started it in Boulder. And we ran it in six cities, the first year. And 26 cities the second year. So, startup communities stuff is awesome. And I love it. It's, as you know, though, it doesn't pay, so you have to have a day job. You have to have a side hustle, so you can keep your community building job, right. Or vice versa.Brian Ardinger: Exactly. Yeah. I think we're nine years here at the Startup Week in Lincoln. We got grandfathered in when Techstars made it a global deal. But we found it very helpful to have these conversations, even if it's just once a year to get people connected and reengaged with why it's important to have a startup and why a startup ecosystem is so important in your own backyard.So, you've got a great book out called Trajectory Startup. I would encourage you to take a look at this. There's a lot of books about startups out there. What made you say, I want to take a different take in this and give back to the community by writing a book about startups Dave Parker: Two big things about the book gap that I saw in the marketplace is one, I mean, you, you know, Brian, you've been around Startup Weekend. I'd see people coming out of Startup Weekend and they're like, woo. I met my co-founder, Charles. We're going to leave at eight and then go start our start up. And I'm like, yikes. Like, there are some things you can know before you leave your day job and your benefits and all those things, which allow you to really look at what do I want to know so I can de-risk this as the first semester, right. So, I got to do the market research and competitive analysis and look how big the market is and like, and how do I do that? The book's really focused on, the original title was Six Month Startup. And then I started delivering it in different formats and I'm like that doesn't work for the brand. So, it became Trajectory Series. But the program now is focused on a five-month program that takes you from ideation to revenue. And the idea there is, if you can't get to revenue in six months, it's probably not a great idea. There are exceptions to that rule. Like if you're a B2B or B2B enterprise and you need to build a really robust product, like that's an exception. Or biotech. Or you're doing B to C and you're competing with clubhouse and you're really about growth of users, right? You won't get to revenue in six months. But in general, you should be able to validate or invalidate your idea in six months was the goal. The second thing that came out of it, I kind of backed into was somebody came to me during my time at Startup Weekend. And they're like, hey, can I have your financial model?I'm like, well, yes, you can have it. But yours is a business consumer marketplace and mine's a business- to- business subscription. And those are fundamentally different. I mean, we use the same lingo. And as you know, in startup land, we have our own language, which is knowing how to work the system for sure.But the key there was how many templates would there be. So, I reached out to Crunchbase at the time and the CEO of Crunchbase and said, hey, can you give me a list of every seed funded company in the last 18 months globally. Ends up being twenty-six hundred and fifty-four companies. So hired a team. My son who was in college at the time was my project manager.And we basically looked at all twenty-six hundred and fifty-four websites and where they didn't have a pricing model or a revenue model, that was obvious, I reached out to them and said, Hey CEO, I'm doing this research project on revenue models. How do you monetize? So, we ended up breaking down 2,600 companies into the logical revenue models and there were 14. And that was it.So, I would say the most unique part of the content of the book is really the breakdown of the 14 revenue models that are successful in tech. And how you monetize them. So, the basic unit economics of what are the key metrics and KPIs of each of the 14 revenue models. Consequently, I became super geeky about pricing and revenue.When somebody now gets to give a pitch and they're like, hey, we're doing a blah, blah, blah. I'm like, oh, you're a marketplace that monetizes this way. And people are like, how did you know that? And I'm like, it's actually not a secret. There's 14 just like pick from the list. Right. So, I think for first time founders, the question then becomes what you're building I hope is unique, but how you monetize it is almost never unique. The Ewing Marion Kauffman FoundationSponsor Voice: The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation based in Kansas City, Missouri, that seeks to build inclusive prosperity through a prepared workforce and entrepreneur-focused economic development. The Foundation uses its $3 billion in assets to change conditions, address root causes, and break down systemic barriers so that all people – regardless of race, gender, or geography – have the opportunity to achieve economic stability, mobility, and prosperity. For more  information, visit www.kauffman.org and connect with us at www.twitter.com/kauffmanfdn and www.facebook.com/kauffmanfdn. Brian Ardinger: That's an important point, because I think a lot of times we think about the features or the problem we're solving, but we don't necessarily think about the business model itself and you don't have a business without a business model. So, that's so critical to think even at the earliest stages. It may pivot. It may change based on what you find in the marketplace, but at least going in with here's our initial assumption of how we might make money. And the model that we need to... Dave Parker: And that, let me break down the business model in three parts for you, because I think one of the things that all of us look at and we're like, oh, it's in our business model. Kind of like this. It's a black box and it's a secret thing. And one of the things I discovered in the process was here are the components of the business model. So, think about it as a Venn diagram. The top circle is really creating value and how you create value is your product, your service, and your team. And those are the costs associated with creating a product or a service.So, if you're in a service business, if you and I were lawyers, God forbid. We would bill out on an hourly basis. We'd have a pay rate and a bill rate, and that differential would create gross margins. It's a service business. In a product business it's a little harder to predict because we build the software once and we have thousands of users. So, it's not like, oh, every time we build it, we have to create a new and separate version, right. But the cost of building that product, whether it's the six engineers in six months or three years, depending on what it is, is a cost associated with creating value. The value created is the product or the service. There's a cost associated with creating a value. Circle Number Two is the cost of delivering value. And that is your pricing. Because that's a variable, right. That I can adjust. It's my revenue model. How I monetize. It's my marketing and my sales. I fixed the cost to build. I have now fixed the cost to sell. And there's lots of variables in there. There's lots of marketing things you can test. There are a few sales models, not a lot. Marketing is the most creative, and obviously it can be the most expensive in some ways too. And then what you have leftovers, the third bubble which is your top line revenue and your gross margin and hopefully net profit. Those are outcomes. You don't get to control those. You get to control your cost to build it, and you get to control your cost to sell it and the price. But when you think about it, that way, you're like, oh, there's only so many variables I get to be in control of. And since those are the ones that you control of, then I'm a strong advocate of like, know what the levers are you can pull. I talk to a lot of founders and some of the research was interesting. It basically showed that most founding teams don't change their price at all in the first three years. Which is when you think about it kind of crazy. But us as founders, were like, oh, I know all the product detriments and you know, it was kind of like, I would liken it to, if you said, hey, show me a picture of your son, Brandon, I'd be like, oh, I can show you a three-year-old picture of Brandon.He's a super cute kid. He's 28 today. Plays lead guitar in a metal band. Tatted up and you know, with sleeves and gages in his ears. It would be true, but I just want it to be accurate. Right. And I think that as founders, one of the challenges we have is how do I continue to reprice my product as a product feature set goes.So, one of the things I always recommend to founders is having a pricing council, you do once a quarter. Not that you're going to change price every quarter, but you are, you should really think about it. Brian Ardinger: Well, and you can also do tests around it as well. I remember a story, Eric Ries was talking about. He was working in a corporate environment, but they were saying like, this is the price. And he said, well, have you ever tested it? Do you know if you can go higher? And they said, no, no, because you know we know our customers and blah, blah. And he said, well, why don't we just run a test? And let's, you know, throw out a different price and see what happens. So, they ran the test. And it worked. And they said, well, why don't we do it again? Let's bump up the price again. And they ran a test and it worked again. And they realized like all these years they were leaving all this money on the table, so to speak. Because they had never even tested it. They never test to see if they could extract more value out. Dave Parker: There was a company in Seattle and I'm blanking on the name, that I was trying to see if they pull up real quick. So, they were doing a competitor for PowerPoint. It would look at contextually what the content was, and it would make the image suggestions for you. When they launched the product, the product is all the same price, and they came back at one point, and they just doubled it. And they had zero churn. Right. Which makes you think like, oh my God, how long ago could we have done that? Like nobody left. Everybody's like, yeah, makes sense. Like it would have paid more for it all along.Brian Ardinger: So, what are the most common questions that you get from founders at the earliest stages? What are most founders struggling with when they come to you? Dave Parker: When we think about the go to market strategy is definitely a question. So, I'm a product person or I'm an engineer and I'm new to like go to market. There's still a little bit of that theory of like, well, if I get on Tech Crunch, I'll just go viral. And the answer is, no, it doesn't work that way. Right. I mean, it would be awesome if it did. And we see some examples of companies going viral and there's a misattribution Brian of like, well, I'm going to go to market like Clubhouse.I'm like you're B2B and only B to C companies get a chance to go viral. Like B2B companies get good word of mouth maybe but going viral is math. Right. There's probably three big things in startups that are mysteries, but when you peel them back, they're actually not a mystery. It's just math. Going viral means it's called a K factor.So, if you have a K Factor of greater than two, I'll give you this base formula. Every customer I buy, I generate two additional paid customers. So, if you think about WhatsApp right or clubhouse, the answer is I'm in a business model there that actually doesn't require a business model. So, I call it new media.And what you're trying to do is grow your customer base so fast that at some point you'll monetize it through advertising. Not a surprise. Facebook, WhatsApp, et cetera. At some point you'll monetize it through advertising. So Clubhouse, you're starting to see some of those things, Tik TOK with pre roll. And people apply that revenue model or lack of revenue model to like a B2B business and B2B companies don't go viral.There's been two examples of things that went close, right? So Slack super close to viral. Interestingly enough, Slack before their pivot was a gaming platform. The game sucked but the communication platform was great. So that's one example of a B2B company kind of going viral, but it's really just group invitations.And the second one was LinkedIn for a very short period of time, about nine months, early, early on. And they built a tool that allows you to upload your entire contact database. And for that nine-month window, they went viral for every paid customer, they got more than two. So that's what viral means. The second one is traction or product market fit.And one of the things you'll hear from investors all the time. And I work as a venture capitalist now for a fund out of Atlanta. People are like, well, when you get traction, come see us again. Which is really the VC patting you on the head and saying, you're really cute. Like, let me know how it goes. And most first-time founders are walk away from those and go like, oh, that was an awesome meeting.And I'm like, actually, no, it wasn't, you're going to get ghosted. This is just like, they just swipe left or right. Or I don't know, I don't use dating apps. So whichever way they swipe, they swipe. Wrong way. Traction and product market fit is just math as well. Right. So, when people are like, oh, it's a mystery. Like we'll know it when we see it. I'm like a VC saying it's like porn, like that's crazy. Right. But product market fit is really not a mystery, it's math. So, when I think about the method Product Market Fit, there are early indicators of Product Market fit and there's trailing indicators. And the trailing indicators are easy. Churn. Surveys of, hey, if you didn't get use our product, what would it be like and how much disappointed would you be? And lack of customer retention through either contracts going down in value versus contracts going up in value. Those are lagging indicators. The early indicators are really things around like, is the traffic at the top of your site going up, right? Are the number of people downloading your app? Is that going up? Is the time to close going down? Is the conversion from demo to customer going up? And is my average contract value going up? When I put those five factors together. Right? So, closing ratios are improving. Traffic is improving. Demos are improving. Time to close is going down. And average contract value is going up.It's like the miracle of compound interest. If you don't have any of those indicators moving the right way, maybe you have product market fit, but it's too early to tell. If you do have those indicators coming together, then the answer is right, good on you, man. This is, this is exciting. And as an investor, that's where I get excited about writing the check. Because I'm like... Brian Ardinger: Because you know your money is going towards the fueling of that growth versus building something or guessing. Dave Parker: It's the early shift between risk capital and growth capital. And typically, what I see in the early stages are people like, well, we're not spending any money, we're just doing organic growth. And that's okay. But the big question is, okay, how do you scale it with paid growth so that organic growth can go fast. Oh, I'm just doing it through my network today. So I think about it as 10, 100, 1000 customer rule, right?The first 10 customers as the founder, you're going to go hand-to-hand combat. Go get them yourself. The first hundred, you probably can't do that. You're going to need to hire a salesperson or two. And you need to get good at making them, your value proposition clear. You need to get good at getting your pricing, right.But that's when you start to scale and as the first investor for you as the founder, that's good news, right? Because it's starting to scale past what I would call the Binary Risk Stage. Right? It's a zero or one it's going to succeed. Right. And angels will invest in you because we like you, right? I'm like, oh, writes you a check for $10,000 and you know, maybe be a board advisor, right, as an angel. When I'm ready to check for the fund, our average check is $650,000. I'm looking for like numbers and math. Right. And I can help the founders see it. But typically, what happens in venture is if a VC sees the math before you do, they're going to get a really good deal because they're going to put a check in and go like, Ooh, we saw the math before the founder did. And I'm not good at that. So, when I talk with founders, I'm like, here's the math you should be looking for. And one of the funds I used to work for, it was like, why are you telling them that? And I'm like, because I think better trained founders is always a good thing. So, if you're geeky about math and numbers and unit economics, you'll love the book.If you're new to that. And don't know, you're like Dave, you're speaking a foreign language and I recognize it is English. You'll learn the lingo with the book as well. Brian Ardinger: Well, I do think that's vitally important. Especially as you go out and want to go that more venture capital type of route, because these are the things you have to be able to talk to and understand and know, like you said, the levers and that, that you have to pull to make that work. The other question I want to talk about is early-stage solo founders. One of the biggest things they've got to figure out is how to build that team and the culture and things along those lines. What kind of advice or insights have you seen at the early stage of how do I build that team create it.Dave Parker: I'm going to give you a little contrarian advice. It frustrates me at times when people pontificate around stuff that they don't actually know. So you'll hear VCs often say culture matters is the most important thing. What they mean by that is personality. When you have a two-person founding team or a three person founding team, you don't actually have culture.Like there are few repeat entrepreneurs or people come from organizational development, or maybe you're in the services business. And you're like, we're going to build our company on a services culture, and that we really understand. If you're building a product, your first milestone is product market fit. Because if you get the culture wrong, you can fix it. But if you don't get product market fit, your culture doesn't matter. You don't have a company. Right? Right. So, the first milestone is product market fit. So, in VC you say, oh, culture really matters. What they're really talking about in a three-person startup is do they like you from a personality standpoint or are you an ass?Right? So, cause if the answer is, I don't think you'll listen to feedback, I'm probably not going to write a check. If I'm like the average investment for me as an angel is probably eight years to exit. So, if I don't like you, I'm probably not going to write a check. Right. So, there's, the things I'm looking for there from a personality profile type tends to be, then there's totally from views, right?There's the Introvert view, right? Bill gates did okay. Jeff Bezos, I don't think it was really an extrovert. But people will over-index on charisma or salesmanship when the answer is maybe, right. So ultimately, I kind of look at it first and say, is this the right founder? Is it Founder Market Fit? Are they the right people to solve this problem or not?So, I remember with Mitsui when I was there at one point. I was with a big fund out of Silicon Valley for three years. We got invited to invest in this deal, that was like spin the bottle where 70% of the attendees were girls and 30% were boys. And it was like late teenagers, early twenties. I'm like, we can't invest in this. This is just creepy. We're a bunch of old guys by comparison. It's just weird. Like, wait, this is the wrong investor fit for us. So, I'm looking at the founders and going, are they the right founders for this market and for this product first off. Brian Ardinger: And I think that's an important point for the founders to understand is like not every angel or not every fund is the right fit for you. And it's not necessarily, they don't like you or don't think it's great or whatever, sometimes it's an industry that they don't invest it. Dave Parker: For sure, like the fund that I'm supporting out of Atlanta, is called the Fearless Fund. So Fearless Fund is two African American women were the founders of the fund. They launched the fund with a $5 million exploratory fund. For all the wrong reasons. It blew up, right George Floyd, et cetera. And they're going to close on $30 million. We invest exclusively in black and brown women. And when they recruited me on it, I was like, oh, hell yeah, this is like, so on-mission right. Because 3.1% of all venture capital over the last 20 years is went to white dudes named Dave. Now I just want to pinpoint Jims are worse than the Daves. They got 3.4%. 2.8% went to all women. 0.8% went to people of color. Like if I could spend the next chapter of my life helping to level that playing field, I'm in. Like, it's kind of a no brainer. But if you came to us and said, hey, I'm a black and brown woman, but I'm based in London.We would be like, sorry, I can't do it. It doesn't matter how good your ideas because we have what's called an LP Agreement. An LPA. The LPA says we invest in these things, US-based companies, black and brown women founders. And if you're not in that mix, it doesn't matter how good your idea is. And people tend to take it personally. They're like, I can't believe you told me. No, my idea is brilliant. And I'm like, you're not in our thesis. Right. And if you're not in our thesis, we can't invest in it. So, know that that's pretty common for a lot of venture capital funds. Some VCs are opportunistic by definition and the answer is they can invest in a very broad category and angels can invest in the stuff that they love. Right. I like you as a founder. And I think it's a cool idea. I give it a shot. Brian Ardinger: Yeah. At Nelnet where I do some investing, obviously on our venture capital side, we are a lot more opportunistic or we'll take different bets based on community or other things, rather than things that are always in our sweet spots, so to speak. So corporate venture is a lot different as well. So, it pays to understand who has the money. Why do they want to invest for sure? What are they looking for? Dave Parker: One of the chapters, I break down what the investor profiles are and why they invest. So, if you think about this as an enterprise sales process, if you, as a founder are out raising money, the question is, is like what stage appropriate capital. Right? So as a corporate VC, you're probably not investing in early risk stage capital. But you're investing in markets you want to keep an eye on usually. Because you're like, oh, that's a super interesting development. Let's put some money over there and see how that works and we'll follow on with it. Brian Ardinger: So, Andrew has a question in the chat. He says, I work with very early-stage VC funding, pre prototype presales. I've noticed this new trend where companies are being trained in their pitch to propose who they might be acquired by in the coming years. Do you feel this as a legitimate trend and if not, how we advise founders to prepare for acquisition? Dave Parker: So, I've done 16 exits. So, I definitely have an opinion on this one. I would say the first thing you need to focus on is like focus on building a great product and a great company. Right? And then your acquisition thing becomes a lot easier to discuss. Like I will say my general default is I like products and companies that have logical upmarket buyers.Right. So there's like, oh, it makes sense that they've and people like, oh, Google's going to buy me. I'm like, actually you can, there's a Wikipedia page. Every acquisition that Google has ever made. And in most cases I will tell you, they're not going to buy you. Now, I know aspirational, you want them to buy you and that's super cool. But there's a big difference between oh, Microsoft will buy us or it's like, actually, no. Right. So, we're selling a company right now. They're doing about $10 million runway and run rate and revenue. And at one point I was talking with the CEO and he's like, Salesforce will buy us. I'm like, no Salesforce, isn't going to buy you. You have to be way over 10 million in revenue to have Salesforce actually be interested.So, they bought Slack for, you know, something incredible in the billions of dollars. But they have to do an acquisition that moves the needle in the billions, not in the oh, it's 10 or 20 million. Right. It doesn't mean you're a bad company, it just means you have limited buyer set. So, from a founder perspective, I think if they're asking you the question there may or may not be the right investor because we don't typically look to flip deals.I know I'm going to be in the deal 7 to 10 years. But I do like where there's a logical upmarket buyer who has a track record of doing acquisitions. So, I would say it's a bit of a Catch 22. By contrast, I will tell you I've been on the board of the company for 17 almost 18 years. That we're the largest player in our space. Which means the company today is a great, you know, kicks off great dividends. We do really well with it, but there's no easy exit for it because we're the biggest player in that kind of niche market. Which gets you back to the market sizing and why you want to go after a market, that's a much bigger market than a niche market for sure. Brian Ardinger: Andrew says. Thanks. Great insight. Thank you for that. Question around what are some of the trends that you're seeing and what are you excited about when it comes to startups?Dave Parker: I think one of the ones that I'm aspirationally looking for, and I can't get myself to get off the bench and go do myself, is I think there's going to be a shift in the social platforms, not just solely based on the fact that watching Facebook stab themselves has been awkward. But the idea of platforms that empower the creatives and creators is super interesting to me.Like when I look at Sub Stack and things like that, it's like the revenue models are still flipped. Where it's too much of the money, goes to the platform and not enough money goes to the creator. So, I think there's probably a really interesting opportunity that says, hey, how do you flip that model, where the creators make most of the money and the platforms making less.You know, obviously Facebook's the extreme version of that. But Tik TOK is a good example of, hey, somebody gets on to try to monetize something and finds that they made quite a bit. I think we'll see more platforms develop that empower the creatives. Creative class. I think that's super exciting. Brian Ardinger: That's interesting too. The whole no-code low-code movement has really changed over the last five years where again five or six years ago, you, at some point had to have a development team or a, or a developer on your team to start building product. And nowadays I tell most founders, there's probably enough out there with low-code no-code tools that you can at least get your MVP some early insight without having to have that developer co-founder on board. Dave Parker: Yeah, I think that's super exciting as well. It's one of the categories we're following. And I think low-code no-code is the equivalent of what AWS was to buying servers. So, I've raised $12 million and exited $85 million. In my first startup, we had to buy servers and racks and build them ourselves and put them in a, an Exodus Data Center.And people were like Exodus, what was that? It was one of the biggest epic fails of all time. And when AWS came along and they didn't have to, I could just turn up a virtual server. I didn't have to order something from Dell. It fundamentally changed the cost of doing a startup. Low-code no-code I think will be the same. And my cost of actually doing it.Now, I still have to learn how to do that. But from a founder perspective, I can learn how to do that in months and not years. And then not have to build the development team. So, using Bubble or Air Table, for sure. Monday, I would say is the expensive version of Bubble or Air Table by comparison, from a founder perspective.Brian Ardinger: What I like about it is it allows for greater customer discovery and experimentation around your product earlier to get that feedback, to see if you're on the right stage and figure out what features you do need to build or scale or optimize. Dave Parker: Yeah. Yeah, that one's great. I think in a revenue model side, one of the things we're seeing is in the marketplace components. As we're seeing marketplace shift from transaction fees only to subscription fees, plus transaction fees. I would tell you watching revenue models over the last seven years, ish, total, there's been a few changes in them. One, if you remember Groupon, there's thousands of competitors to it because at a fundamental level, I would say revenue models aren't, they're not defensive. Revenue models, so think of they're very public domain. So even Google and pay-per-click copied that model from Yahoo. Lost the lawsuit against them. Yahoo had bought a company from Idea Lab who'd had actually patented the pay-per-click model. Yahoo ended up being a great holding company for Alibaba and Google stock, right at the end of the day.Revenue models are defensible, but if you look at all the copycats of Groupon, you see, most of those went away. Groupon is still alive in a public company, but they traded 0.49 times trailing 12 revenue. So, if you take the market cap of the company divided by sales, I would say that it's 50 cents on the dollar. Right. So as far as what they trade at. Now, compare that to a subscription business. Well, maybe the next step up would be you and I do a consulting business for a million dollars. That company is worth roughly a million dollars. It's worth one times revenues. So, because if you remember Groupon booked the top line sales of what they sold you for that certificate, but they really only made the margin on the, you know, the 10 or 15% on the margin of it.So, if you and I had a consulting company for a million dollars, it'd be worth roughly a million dollars. If we did a million-dollar subscription company, it would be worth somewhere between 12 and $15 million. And one of the new models that really came out in the last five years was the idea of a metered service company.So Twilio is a great example, AWS, if it was pulled out of Amazon is a pay as you go model. It is predominantly is B2B, but those companies traded really 35 times, right? So, if you think about, okay, if I'm going to do a startup, which revenue model should I use, I would tell you to think about again, if you're going to go back to Andrew's question about the exit multiple, I would be interested in less than who's going to buy it. More interested in the revenue model and the multiple of sales. So, I'd be like go for a metered service company for sure, or subscription at very least. Brian Ardinger: I wanted to ask around the topic of founders. It's obviously a very lonely, difficult journey at the very early stage. Do you have any advice for early-stage founders to how to get better connected and deal with the mental challenges of building a company?Dave Parker: Yeah. Great question. It was probably my most read blog post ever is I wrote about my personal battle with depression. And then I hit publish and I thought, what the hell? What did I do? What was I thinking? And I got more positive comments on it than I could have imagined. Brad Feld, who used to be on my board, as you know. Brad sent me a note with one word, and it just said brave. I think that the challenge there from a founder perspective is, you know, you're always trying to be positive. You're trying to, I was trying to be upbeat. If it's motivate the team or motivate investors. And so consequently leads to a lot of isolation.And I think that's one of the things that, like, one of the things we're doing here in Seattle is we run a cohort program for founders. We don't take any equity. There's no cash. They don't pay for it. And it's really about us up leveling the community of founders 25 to 30 founders twice a year, which is our math.And we're really helping them navigate the ecosystem, here in Seattle in six months instead of 18 months, which improve their odds of success. But also connecting them with other founders. Because other people are asking the same questions you're asking. They're not competitive. They're going through the same challenges.And by putting them in community, it serves one of those two purposes. One is we want to help them navigate the ecosystem, but we also want to help them connect with other founders like them at the same stage, which we think has two benefits. One is personal connection and not being in isolation for sure.And second is really helping them think about reinvesting in the community over time. So, if you think about classically, it was the PayPal mafia and then reinvested in each other. So, Reed Hoffman and Elon Musk and Peter Thiel, et cetera. And then it's now become the Uber mafia, right? All the people that were at Uber that are now launching other companies that are reinvesting in each other. We've never had that in Seattle. And most cities don't. It's one of the biggest gaps. So that's our secondary benefit is we think if we have them in community and at five years, but when we launched this as a program, which through the Washington Technology Industry Association. And I went back to the CEO. I'm like, this is a ten-year plan. Right. I'm like you can't judge it at three years or four years. And we're coming into our fourth year right now. And I'd say it's worked out better than we thought. But as I told him, I'm like, you don't get actually judge on it for 10 years. We've had some exits; we've had a bunch of fundraising. Our teams do it a lot faster than other teams. So, it's become a program. People are like, I want to get in. So, we just actually, Brian took it and put it into an document for a national scale-up grant for the Department of Commerce, with the State of Washington. So, we actually have those documents set up now. If somebody wanted to take it to Nebraska and say, Hey, we want to replicate all of this programming.We've opened source all the programming, we've open sourced, the narrative doc and the fundraising docs. So, somebody could turn around and say like, okay, we're going to go launch this program here as a, as a copycat with, with pride. Like we want you to knock it off. Brian Ardinger: Well, that's interesting. That may be an interesting model to explore now with COVID and the whole virtual remote angle of it. Or even in communities like Lincoln, where again, just by the pure numbers, we're not going to have thousands of founders. So how do you scale that? Dave Parker: For sure. And we're basically taking a program we were running in Seattle now and run it in Kent, Washington and Yakima. And Vancouver, Washington, and Tacoma. And we're trying to provide it from an access perspective. Like we want to make sure that we provide people with access that didn't have access to that before.But also, with a path to funding, because if you give people access to programming, but no, they can't ship an MVP at the end because they don't have any money. That's still a problem. So, we're trying to address that problem next. But the grant was a $750,000 grant over three years. Which means we'll kind of be able to take the show on the road and obviously virtual too. I think the nice thing about if there's a positive outcome of the whole COVID thing is place matters a lot less than it used to.Like the good news is I don't have to get on a plane to come be on stage with you. I'd like to be. That'd be kind of fun, because we could go have a beer afterwards and have dinner. But that that'll happen too. But I think from an efficiency standpoint, I've been doing programs for the Middle East, like six or seven cities in the middle east over the last two years. And I fly out Thursday night to Abu Dhabi for four days. And I'm like, it's kind of a fast turn for Abu Dhabi. Could do it just virtually. And be fine. More InformationBrian Ardinger: I wanted to thank you again for coming on. Here's Dave's book Trajectory Startup. Pick it up at any place you buy books. I'm going to put it in a call to action. He also is giving away some free stuff on his website. So let me share that right now. You can download his free resource guide on 14 successful Tech Revenue Models to check that. And then I also, again, I want to thank all our sponsors for bringing this today. And I encourage folks to also sign up for Inside Outside.io. Our newsletter and our podcast, where we bring these types of things whenever we can. So that's the link to that. Thanks for coming out. Thanks for all the audience for being here. Thanks for the great questions and looking forward to doing this again, at some point. And maybe having you come and see us in real life. So, I appreciate your time. And thank you again, Dave. If people want to find out more about yourself or your book, what's the best way to do that?Dave Parker: Yeah, they can find all the information is on my blog, DKparker.com. If you don't want to buy the book, you just have to figure out how to navigate all the blog posts in order. But that should be, you know, there's only 180 blog posts there. So DKparker.com, you can find the book and more information. The 14 revenue models.You can also find me on social media. I'm at Dave Parker CA for Seattle, when you find, you know, LinkedIn, Twitter. I'm not on Facebook anymore. I just finally had to just say, no. I'm still on Instagram because I want to see what my kids are doing. But Daisy, my dog has more followers on Instagram than I do at this point. But so yeah, you can find me on social media, and you can find me on DK parker.com. Brian Ardinger: Excellent. Well, thank you again, Dave. We're looking forward to having future conversations. And go out and have fun everyone at Startup Week Lincoln, and we'll see you around the neighborhood. Thanks very much for coming out.That's it for another episode of Inside Outside Innovation. If you want to learn more about our team, our content, our services, check out InsideOutside.io or follow us on Twitter @theIOpodcast or @Ardinger. Until next time, go out and innovate.FREE INNOVATION NEWSLETTER & TOOLSGet the latest episodes of the Inside Outside Innovation podcast, in addition to thought leadership in the form of blogs, innovation resources, videos, and invitations to exclusive events. SUBSCRIBE HEREYou can also search every Inside Outside Innovation Podcast by Topic and Company.  For more innovations resources, check out IO's Innovation Article Database, Innovation Tools Database, Innovation Book Database, and Innovation Video Database.  As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Big Kid Problems
95. Get in Touch with Your Sensual Self! Getting out of your Head and Reconnecting with your Body with Sexuality Doula Ev'Yan Whitney

Big Kid Problems

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 9, 2021 47:19


Let's get SENSUAL! Want the key to great sex? It starts with YOU. Sexuality Doula, Sex Educator and Author of the brand new book “Sensual Self” Ev'Yan Whitney is on the podcast today to teach us how to get in touch with our sensual selves. So many of us get disconnected from ourselves and we don't even know it. When we tap into your sensual self,  we can enjoy little things and big things a whole lot more, it helps us also reconnect with our partners and yes... even have better sex. Who doesn't want that?  Want more from our guests? Ev'Yan Whitney Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/evyan.whitney/ (@evyan.whitney) Find her book https://www.evyanwhitney.com/sensualself (HERE) For more, visit https://www.evyanwhitney.com/ Ooh, Stay in touch with Sarah too! Follow along on https://www.instagram.com/Bigkidproblems/?hl=en (@bigkidproblems)! Personal Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sarahmerrill_hall/ (@SarahMerrill_Hall) Find more at www.BigKidProblems.com  Big thank you to our episode sponsors! http://www.dipseastories.com/bigkid (Dispsea) - Short sexy audio stories to help you connect to your sexual self. Get 30 days of full access for free when you go to Dipseastories.com/bigkid http://www.bridebrite.co/ (Bride Brite) - Get a brighter, whiter smile today! Use code “BIGKID” for free shipping and 40% off  at www.bridebrite.co http://www.headspace.com/BIGKID (Headspace )- Your daily dose of guided meditations in an easy-to-use app. Get a free one month trial at headspace.com/BIGKID Big Kid Problems is a production of http://crate.media (Crate Media)

The Bike Shed
315: Emotions Are A Pendulum

The Bike Shed

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 9, 2021 41:23


Steph talks about starting a new project and identifying "focused" tests while Chris shares his latest strategy for managing flaky tests. They also ponder the squishy "it depends" side of software and respond to a listener question about testing all commits in a pull request. This episode is brought to you by ScoutAPM (https://scoutapm.com/bikeshed). Give Scout a try for free today and Scout will donate $5 to the open source project of your choice when you deploy. rspec-retry (https://github.com/NoRedInk/rspec-retry) Cassidy Williams - It Depends - GitHub Universe 2021 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMWh2uLO9OM) Say No To More Process (https://thoughtbot.com/blog/say-no-to-more-process-say-yes-to-trust) StandardRB (https://github.com/testdouble/standard) Become a Sponsor (https://thoughtbot.com/sponsorship) of The Bike Shed! Transcript: CHRIS: My new computer is due on the fourth. I'm so close. STEPH: On the fourth? CHRIS: On the fourth. STEPH: That's so exciting. CHRIS: And I'm very excited. But no, I don't want to upgrade any software on this computer anymore. Never again shall I update a piece of software on this computer. STEPH: [laughs] CHRIS: This is its final state. And then I will take its soul and move it into the new computer, and we'll go from there. [chuckles] STEPH: Take its soul. [laughs] CHRIS: Hello and welcome to another episode of The Bike Shed, a weekly podcast from your friends at thoughtbot about developing great software. I'm Chris Toomey. STEPH: And I'm Steph Viccari. CHRIS: And together, we're here to share a bit of what we learn along the way. So, Steph, what's new in your world? STEPH: Hey, Chris. Let's see. It's been kind of a busy week. It's been a busy family week. Utah, my dog, hasn't been feeling well as you know because you and I have chatted off-mic about that a bit. So he is still recovering from something, I don't know what. He's still on most days his normal captain chaos self, but then other days, he's not feeling well. So I'm just keeping a close eye on him. And then I also got some other family illnesses going on. So it has been a busy family week for sure. On the more technical project side, I am wrapping up my current project. So I have one more week, and then I will shift into a new project, which I'm very excited about. And you and I have chatted about this several times. So there's always just that interesting phase where you're trying to wrap up and hand things off and then accomplish last-minute wishlist items for a project before then you start with a new one. So I am currently in that phase. CHRIS: How long were you on this project for? STEPH: It'll be a total of I think eight months. CHRIS: Eight months, that's healthy. That's a bunch. It's always interesting to be on a project for that long but then not longer. There were plenty of three and four-month projects that I did. And you can definitely get a large body of work done. You can look back at it and proudly stare at the code that you have written. But that length of time is always interesting to me because you end up really...for me, when I've had projects that went that long but then not longer, I always found that to be an interesting breaking point. How are you feeling moving on from it? Are you ready for something new? Are you sad to be moving on? Do you feel attached to things? STEPH: It's always a mix. I'm definitely attached to the team, and then there are always lots of things that I'd still love to work on with that team. But then, I am also excited to start something new. That's why I love this role of consulting because then I get to hop around and see new projects and challenges and work with new people. I'm thinking seven to eight months might be a sweet spot for me in terms of the length of a project. Because I find that first month with a project, I'm really still ramping up, I'm getting comfortable, I'm getting in the groove, and I'm contributing within a short amount of time. But I still feel like that first month; I'm getting really comfortable with this new environment that I'm in. And so then I have that first month. And then, at six months, I have more of heads-down time. And I get to really focus and work with a team. And then there's that transition period, and it's nice to know when that's coming up for several weeks, so then I have a couple of weeks to then start working on that transition phase. So eight months might be perfect because then it's like a month for onboarding, ramping up, getting comfortable. And then six months of focus, and then another month of just focusing on what needs to be transitioned so then I can transition off the team. CHRIS: All right. Well, now we've defined it - eight months is the perfect length of a project. STEPH: That's one of the things I like about the Boost team is because we typically have longer engagements. So that was one of the reasons when we were splitting up the teams in thoughtbot that I chose the Boost team because I was like, yeah, I like the six-month-plus project. Speaking of that wishlist, there are little things that I've wanted to make improvements on but haven't really had time to do. There's one that's currently on my mind that I figured I'd share with you in case you have thoughts on it. But I am a big proponent of using the RSpec focus filter for when running tests. So that way, I can just prefix a context it block or describe block with F, and then RSpec I can just run all the tests. But RSpec will only run the tests that I've prefixed with that F focus command., and I love it. But we are running into some challenges with it because right now, there's nothing that catches that in a pull request. So if you commit that focus filter on some of your tests, and then that gets pushed up, if someone doesn't notice it while reviewing your pull request, then that gets merged into main. And all of the tests are still green, but it's only a subset of the tests that are actually running. And so it's been on my mind that I'd love something that's going to notice that, that's going to catch it, something that is not just us humans doing our best but something that's automated that's going to notice it for us. And I have some thoughts. But I'm curious, have you run into something like this? Do you have a way that you avoid things like that from sneaking into the main branch? CHRIS: Interestingly, I have not run into this particular problem with RSpec, and that's because of the way that I run RSpec tests. I almost never use the focus functionality where you actually change the code file to say, instead of it, it is now fit to focus that it. I tend to lean into the functionality where RSpec you can pass it the line number just say, file: and then line number. And RSpec will automatically figure out which either spec or context block or entire file. And also, I have Vim stuff that allows me to do that very easily from the file. It's very rare that I would want to run more than one file. So basically, with that, I have all of the flexibility I need. And it doesn't require any changes to the file. So that's almost always how I'm working in that mode. I really love that. And it makes me so sad when I go to JavaScript test runners because they don't have that. That said, I've definitely felt a very similar thing with ESLint and ESLint yelling at me for having a console.log. And I'm like, ESLint, I'm working here. I got to debug some stuff, so if you could just calm down for a minute. And what I would like is a differentiation between these are checks that should only run in CI but definitely need to run in CI. And so I think an equivalent would be there's probably a RuboCop rule that says disallow fit or disallow any of the focus versions for RSpec. But I only want those to run in CI. And this has been a pain point that I felt a bunch of times. And it's never been painful enough that I put in the effort to fix it. But I really dislike particularly that version of I'm in my editor, and I almost always want there to be no warnings within the editor. I love that TypeScript or ESLint, or other things can run within the editor and tell me what's going on. But I want them to be contextually aware. And that's the dream I've yet to get there. STEPH: I like the idea of ESLint having a work mode where you're like, back off, I am in work mode right now. [chuckles] I understand that I won't commit this. CHRIS: I'm working here. [laughter] STEPH: And I like the idea of a RuboCop. So that's where my mind went initially is like, well, maybe there's a custom cop, or maybe there's an existing one, and I just haven't noticed it yet. But so I'm adding a rule that says, hey, if you do see an fcontext, fdescribe, ffit, something like that, please fail. Please let us know, so we don't merge this in. So that's on my wishlist, not my to-don't list. That one is on my to-do list. CHRIS: I'm also intrigued, though, because the particular failure mode that you're describing is you take what is an entire spec suite, and instead, you focus down to one context block within a given file. So previously, there were 700 specs that ran, and now there are 12. And that's actually something that I would love for Circle or whatever platform you're running your tests on to be like, hey, just as a note, you had been slowly creeping up and had hit a high watermark of roughly 700 specs. And then today, we're down to 12. So either you did some aggressive grooming, or something's wrong. But a heuristic analysis of like, I know sometimes people delete specs, and that's a thing that's okay but probably not this many. So maybe something went wrong there. STEPH: I feel like we're turning CI into this friend at the bar that's like, "Hey, you've had a couple of drinks. I just wanted to check in with you to make sure that you're good." [laughs] CHRIS: Yes. STEPH: "You've had 100 tests that were running and now only 50. Hey, friend, how are you? What's going on?" CHRIS: "This doesn't sound like you. You're normally a little more level-headed." [laughs] And that's the CI that is my friend that keeps me honest. It's like, "Wait, you promised never to overspend anymore, and yet you're overspending." I'm like, "Thank you, CI. You're right; I did say I want the test to pass." STEPH: [laughs] I love it. I'll keep you posted if I figure something out; if I either turn CI into that friend, that lets me know when my behavior has changed in a concerning way, and an intervention is needed. Or, more likely, I will see if there's a RuboCop or some other process that I can apply that will check for this, which I imagine will be fast. I mean, we're very mindful about ensuring our test suite doesn't slow down as we're running it. But I'm just thinking about this out loud. If we add that additional cop, I imagine that will be fast. So I don't think that's too much of an overhead to add to our CI process. CHRIS: If you've already got RuboCop in there, I'm guessing the incremental cost of one additional cop is very small. But yeah, it is interesting. That general thing of I want CI to go fast; I definitely feel that feel. And we're slowly creeping up on the project I'm working on. I think we're at about somewhere between five to six minutes, but we've gotten there pretty quickly where not that long ago; it was only three minutes. We're adding a lot of features specs, and so they are definitely accruing slowdowns in our CI. And they're worth it; I think, because they're so valuable. And they test the whole integration of everything, but it's a thing that I'm very closely watching. And I have a long list of things that I might pursue when I decide it's time for CI to get a haircut, as it were. STEPH: I have a very hot tip for a way to speed up your test, and that is to check if any of your tests have a very long sleep in them. That came up recently [chuckles] this week where someone was working in a test and found some relic that had been added a while back that then wasn't caught. And I think it was a sleep 30. And they were like, "Hey, I just sped up our test by 30 seconds." I was like, ooh, we should grep now to see if there's anything else like that. [laughs] CHRIS: Oh, I love the sentence we should grep now. [laughter] The correct response to this is to grep immediately. I thought you were going to go with the pro tip of you can just focus down to one context block. And then the specs will run so much faster because you're ignoring most of them, but we don't want to do that. The sleep, though, that's a pro tip. And that does feel like a thing that there could be a cop for, like, never sleep more than...frankly, let's try not to sleep at all but also, add a sleep in our specs. We can sleep in life; it's important, but anyway. [chuckles] STEPH: [laughs] That was the second hot tip, and you got it. CHRIS: Lots of hot tips. Well, I'm going to put this in the category of good idea, terrible idea. I won't call it a hot tip. It's a thing we're trying. So much as we have tried to build a spec suite that is consistent and deterministic and tells us only the truth, feature specs, even in our best efforts, still end up flaking from time to time. We'll have feature specs that fail, and then eventually, on a subsequent rerun, they will pass. And I am of the mindset that A, we should try and look into those and see if there is a real cause to it. But sometimes, just the machinery of feature specs, there's so much going on there. We've got the additional overhead of we're running it within a JavaScript context. There's just so much there that...let me say what I did, and then we can talk more about the context. So there's a gem called RSpec::Retry. It comes from the wonderful folks over at NoRedInk, a well-known Elm shop for anyone out there in the Elm world. But RSpec::Retry does basically what it says in the name. If the spec fails, you can annotate specs. In our case, we've only enabled this for the feature specs. And you can tell it to retry, and you can say, "Retry up to this many times," and et cetera, et cetera. So I have enabled this for our feature specs. And I've only enabled it on CI. That's an important distinction. This does not run locally. So if you run a feature spec and it fails locally, that's a good chance for us to intervene and look at whether or not there's some flakiness there. But on CI, I particularly don't want the case where we have a pull request, everything's great, and we merge that pull request, and then the subsequent rebuild, which again, as a note, I would rather that Circle not rebuild it because we've already built that one. But that is another topic that I have talked about in the past, and we'll probably talk about it again in the future. But setting that aside, Circle will rebuild on the main branch when we merge in, and sometimes we'll see failures there. And that's where it's most painful. Like, this is now the deploy queue. This is trying to get this out into whatever environment we're deploying to. And it is very sad when that fails. And I have to go in and manually say, hey, rebuild. I know that this works because it just worked in the pull request, and it's the same commit hash. So I know deterministically for reasons that this should work. And then it does work on a rebuild. So we introduced RSpec::Retry. We have wrapped it around our feature specs. And so now I believe we have three possible retries. So if it fails once, it'll try it again, and then it'll try it a third time. So far, we've seen each time that it has had to step in; it will pass on the subsequent run. But I don't know; there was some very gentle pushback or concerns; let's call them when I introduced this pull request from another developer on the team, saying, "I don't know, though, I feel like this is something that we should solve at the root layer. The failures are a symptom of flaky tests, or inconsistency or et cetera, and so I'd rather not do this." And I said, "Yeah, I know. But I'm going to merge it," and then I merged it. We had a better conversation about that. I didn't just broadly overrule. But I said, "I get it, but I don't see the obvious place to shore this up. I don't see where we're doing weird inconsistent things in our code. This is just, I think, inherent complexity of feature specs." So I did it, but yeah, good idea, terrible idea. What do you think, Steph? Maybe terrible is too strong of a word. Good idea, mediocre idea. STEPH: I like the original branding. I like the good idea, terrible idea. Although you're right, that terrible is a very strong branding. So I am biased right now, so I'm going to lead in answering your question by stating that because our current project has that problem as well where we have these flaky tests. And it's one of those that, yes, we need to look at them. And we have fixed a large number of them, but there are still more of them. And it becomes a question of are we actually doing something wrong here that then we need to fix? Or, like you said, is it just the nature of these features-specs? Some of them are going to occasionally fail. What reasonable improvements can we make to address this at the root cause? I'm interested enough that I haven't heard of RSpec::Retry that I want to check it out because when you add that, you annotate a test. When a test fails, does it run the entire build, or will it rerun just that test? Do you happen to know? CHRIS: Just the test. So it's configured as in a round block on the feature specs. And so you tell it like, for any feature spec, it's like config.include for feature specs RSpec::Retry or whatever. So it's just going to rerun the one feature spec that failed when and if that happens. So it's very, very precise as well in that sense where when we have a failure merging into the main branch, I have to rebuild the whole thing. So that's five or six minutes plus whatever latency for me to notice it, et cetera, whereas this is two more seconds in our CI runtime. So that's great. But again, the question is, am I hiding? Am I dealing with the symptoms and not the root cause, et cetera? STEPH: Is there a report that's provided at the end that does show these are the tests that failed and we had to rerun them? CHRIS: I believe no-ish. You can configure it to output, but it's just going to be outputting to standard out, I believe. So along with the sea of green dots, you'll see had to retry this one. So it is visible, but it's not aggregated. And the particular thing is there's the JUnit reporter that we're using. So the XML common format for this is how long our tests took to run, and these ones passed and failed. So Circle, as a particular example, has platform-level insights for that kind of stuff. And they can tell you these are your tests that fail most commonly. These are the tests that take the longest run, et cetera. I would love to get it integrated into that such that retried and then surface this to Circle. Circle could then surface it to us. But right now, I don't believe that's happening. So it is truly I will not see it unless I actively go search for it. To be truly honest, I'm probably not doing that. STEPH: Yeah, that's a good, fair, honest answer. You mentioned earlier that if you want a test to retry, you have to annotate the test. Does that mean that you get to highlight specific tests that you're marking those to say, "Hey, I know that these are flaky. I'm okay with that. Please retry them." Or does it apply to all of them? CHRIS: I think there are different ways that you can configure it. You could go the granular route of we know this is a flaky spec, so we're going to only put the retry logic around it. And that would be a normal RSpec annotation sort of tagging the spec, I think, is the terminology there. But we've configured it globally for all feature specs. So in a spec support file, we just say config.include Rspec::Retry where type is a feature. And so every feature spec now has the possibility to retry. If they pass on the first pass, which is the hope most of the time, then they will not be tried. But if they don't, if they fail, then they'll be retried up to three times or up to two additional times, I think is the total. STEPH: Okay, cool. That's helpful. So then I think I have my answer. I really think it's a good idea to automate retrying tests that we have identified that are flaky. We've tried to address the root, and our resolution was this is fine. This happens sometimes. We don't have a great way to improve this, and we want to keep the test. So we're going to highlight that this test we want to retry. And then I'm going to say it's not a great idea to turn it on for all of them just because then I have that same fear about you're now hiding any flaky tests that get introduced into the system. And nobody reasonably is going to go and read through to see which tests are going to get retried, so that part makes me nervous. CHRIS: I like it. I think it's a balanced and reasonable set of good and terrible idea. Ooh, it's perfect. I don't think we've had a balanced answer on that yet. STEPH: I don't think so. CHRIS: This is a new outcome for this segment. I agree. Ideally, in my mind, it would be getting into that XML format, the output from the tests, so that we now have this artifact, we can see which ones are flaky and eventually apply effort there. What you're saying feels totally right of we should be more particular and granular. But at the same time, the failure mode and the thing that I'm trying, I want to keep deploys going. And I only want to stop deploys if something's really broken. And if a spec retries, then I'm fine with it is where I've landed, particularly because we haven't had any real solutions where there was anything weird in our code. Like, there's just flakiness sometimes. As I say it, I feel like I'm just giving up. [laughs] And I can hear this tone of stuff's just hard sometimes, and so I've taken the easy way out. And I guess that's where I'm at right now. But I think what you're saying is a good, balanced answer here. I like it. I don't know if I'm going to do anything about it, but...[laughter] STEPH: Well, going back to when I was saying that I'm biased, our team is feeling this pain because we have flaky tests. And we're creating tickets, and we're trying to do all the right things. We create a ticket. We have that. So it's public. So people know it's been acknowledged. If someone's working on it, we let the team know; hey, I'm working on this. So we're not duplicating efforts. And so, we are trying to address all of them. But then some of them don't feel like a great investment of our time trying to improve. So that's what I really do like about the RSpec::Retry is then you can still have a resolution. Because it's either right now your resolution is to fix it or to change the code, so then maybe you can test it in a different way. There's not really a good medium step there. And so the retry feels like an additional good outcome to add to your tool bag to say, hey, I've triaged this, and this feels reasonable that we want to retry this. But then there's also that concern of we don't want to hide all of these flaky tests from ourselves in case we have done it and there is an opportunity for us to improve it. So I think that's what I do really like about it because right now, for us, when a test fails, we have to rerun the entire build, and that's painful. So if tests are taking about 20 minutes right now, then one spec fails, and then you have to wait another 20 minutes. CHRIS: I would have turned this on years ago with a 20-minute build time. [chuckles] STEPH: [laughs] Yeah, you're not wrong. But also, I didn't actually know about RSpec::Retry until today. So that may be something that we introduce into our application or something that I bring up to the team to see if it's something that we want to add. But it is interesting that initial sort of ooh kind of feeling that the team will give you introducing because it feels bad. It feels wrong to be like, hey, we're just going to let these flaky tests live on, and we're going to automate retrying them to at least speed us up. And it's just a very interesting conversation around where we want to invest our time and between the risk and pay off. And I had a similar experience this week where I had that conversation, but this one was more with myself where I was working through a particular issue where we have a state in the application where something weird was done in the past that led us to a weird state. And so someone raised a very good question where it's like, well, if what you're saying is technically an impossible state, we should make it impossible, like at the database layer. And I love that phrase. And yet, there was a part of me that was like, yes, but also doing that is not a trivial investment. And we're here because of a very weird thing that happened before. It felt one of those interesting, like, do we want to pursue the more aggressive, like, let's make this impossible for the future? Or do we want to address it for now and see if it comes back up, and then we can invest more time in it? And I had a hard time walking myself through that because my initial response was, well, yeah, totally, we should make it impossible. But then I walked through all the steps that it would take to make that happen, and it was not very trivial. And so it was one of those; it felt like the change that we ended up with was still an improvement. It was going to prevent users from seeing an error. It was still going to communicate that this state is an odd state for the application to be in. But it didn't go as far as to then add in all of the safety measures. And I felt good about it. But I had to convince myself to feel good about it. CHRIS: What you're describing there, the whole thought sequence, really feels like the encapsulation of it depends. And that being part of the journey of learning how to do software development and what it means. And you actually shared a wonderful video with me yesterday, and it was Cassidy Williams at GitHub Universe. And it was her talking to her younger self, and just it depends, and it was so true. So we will include a link to that in the show note because that was a wonderful thing for you to share. And it really does encapsulate this thing. And from the outside, before I started doing software development, I'm like, it's cool. I'm going to learn how to sling code and fix the stuff and hack, and it'll be great, and obvious, and correct, and knowable. And now I'm like, oh man, squishy nonsense. That's all it is. STEPH: [laughs] CHRIS: Fun squishy, and I like it. It's so good. But it depends. Exactly that one where you're like, I know that there's a way to get to correctness here but is it worth the effort? And looping back to...I'm surprised at the stance that I've taken where I'm just like, yeah, I'm putting in RSpec::Retry. This feels like the right thing. I feel good about this decision. And so I've tried to poke at it a tiny bit. And I think what matters to me deeply in a list of priorities is number one correctness. I care deeply that our system behaves correctly as intended and that we are able to verify that. I want to know if the system is not behaving correctly. And that's what we've talked about, like, if the test suite is green, I want to be able to deploy. I want to feel confident in that. Flaky specs exist in this interesting space where if there is a real underlying issue, if we've architected our system in a way that causes this flakiness and that a user may ever experience that, then that is a broken system. That is an incorrect system, and I want to resolve that. But that's not the case with what we're experiencing. We're happy with the architecture of our system. And when we're resolving it, we're not even really resolving them. We're just rerunning manually at this point. We're just like, oh, that spec flaked. And there's nothing to do here because sometimes that just happens. So we're re-running manually. And so my belief is if I see all green, if the specs all pass, I know that I can deploy to production. And so if occasionally a spec is going to flake and retrying it will make it pass (and I know that pass doesn't mean oh, this time it happened to pass; it's that is the correct outcome) and we have a false negative before, then I'm happy to instrument the system in a way that hides that from me because, at this point, it does feel like noise. I'm not doing anything else with the failures when we were looking at them more pointedly. I'm not resolving those flaky specs. There are no changes that we've made to the underlying system. And they don't represent a failure mode or an incorrectness that an end-user might see. So I honestly want to paper over and hide it from myself. And that's why I've chosen this. But you can see I need to defend my actions here because I feel weird. I feel a little off about this. But as I talk through it, that is the hierarchy. I care about correctness. And then, the next thing I care about is maintaining the deployment pipeline. I want that to be as quick and as efficient as possible. And I've talked a bunch about explorations into the world of observability and trying to figure out how to do continuous deployment because I think that really encourages overall better engineering outcomes. And so first is correctness. Second is velocity. And flaky specs impact velocity heavily, but they don't actually impact correctness in the particular mode that we're experiencing them here. They definitely can. But in this case, as I look at the code, I'm like, nah, that was just noise in the system. That was just too much complexity stacked up in trying to run a feature spec that simulates a browser and a user clicking in JavaScript and all this stuff and the things. But again, [laughs] here I am. I am very defensive about this apparently. STEPH: Well, I can certainly relate because I was defending my answer to myself earlier. And it is really interesting what you're pointing out. I like how you appreciate correctness and then velocity, that those are the two things that you're going after. And flaky tests often don't highlight an incorrect system. It is highlighting that maybe our code or our tests are not as performant as we would like them to be, but the behavior is correct. So I think that's a really important thing to recognize. The part where I get squishy is where we have encountered on this project some flaky tests that did highlight that we had incorrect behavior, and there's only been maybe one or two. It was rare that it happened, but it at least has happened once or twice where it highlighted something to us that when tests were run...I think there's a whole lot of context. I won't get into it. But essentially, when tests were being run in a particular way that made them look like a flaky test, it was actually telling us something truthful about the system, that something was behaving in a way that we didn't want it to behave. So that's why I still like that triage that you have to go through. But I also agree that if you're trying to get out at a deploy, you don't want to have to deal with flaky tests. There's a time to eat your vegetables, and I don't know if it's when you've got a deploy that needs to go out. That might not be the right time to be like, oh, we've got a flaky test. We should really address this. It's like, yes; you should note to yourself, hey, have a couple of vegetables tomorrow, make a ticket, and address that flaky test but not right now. That's not the time. So I think you've struck a good balance. But I also do like the idea of annotating specific tests instead of just retrying all of them, so you don't hide anything from yourself. CHRIS: Yeah. And now that I'm saying it and now that I'm circling back around, what I'm saying is true of everything we've done so far. But it is possible that now this new mode that the system behaves in where it will essentially hide flaky specs on CI means that any new flaky regressions, as it were, will be hidden from us. And thus far, almost all or I think all of the flakiness that we've seen has basically been related to timeouts. So a different way to solve this would potentially be to up the Capybara wait time. So there are occasionally times where the system's churning through, and the various layers of the feature specs just take a little bit longer. And so they miss...I forget what it is, but it's like two seconds right now or something like that. And I can just bump that up and say it's 10 seconds. And that's a mode that if eventually, the system ends in the state that we want, I'm happy to wait a little longer to see that, and that's fine. But there are...to name some of the ways that flaky tests can actually highlight truly incorrect things; race conditions are a pretty common one where this behaves fine most of the time. But if the background job happens to succeed before the subsequent request happens, then you'll go to the page. That's a thing that a real user may experience, and in fact, it might even be more likely in production because production has differential performance characteristics on your background jobs versus your actual application. And so that's the sort of thing that would definitely be worth keeping in mind. Additionally, if there are order issues within your spec suite if the randomize...I think actually RSpec::Retry wouldn't fix this, though, because it's going to retry within the same order. So that's a case that I think would be still highlighted. It would fail three times and then move on. But those we should definitely deal with. That's a test-related thing. But the first one, race conditions, that's totally a thing. They come up all the time. And I think I've potentially hidden that from myself now. And so, I might need to lock back what I said earlier because I feel like it's been true thus far that that has not been the failure mode, but it could be moving forward. And so I really want to find out if we got flaky specs. I don't know; I feel like I've said enough about this. So I'm going to stop saying anything new. [laughs] Do you have any other thoughts on this topic? STEPH: Our emotions are a pendulum. We swing hard one way, and then we have to wait till we come back and settle in the middle. But there's that initial passion play where you're really frustrated by something, and then you swing, and you settle back towards something that's a little more neutral. CHRIS: I don't trust anyone who pretends like their opinions never change. It doesn't feel like a good way to be. STEPH: Oh, I hope that...Do people say that? I hope that's not true. I hope we are all changing our opinions as we get more information. CHRIS: Me too. Mid-roll Ad And now a quick break to hear from today's sponsor, Scout APM. Scout APM is leading-edge application performance monitoring that's designed to help Rails developers quickly find and fix performance issues without having to deal with the headache or overhead of enterprise platform feature bloat. With a developer-centric UI and tracing logic that ties bottlenecks to source code, you can quickly pinpoint and resolve those performance abnormalities like N+1 queries, slow database queries, memory bloat, and much more. Scout's real-time alerting and weekly digest emails let you rest easy knowing Scout's on watch and resolving performance issues before your customers ever see them. Scout has also launched its new error monitoring feature add-on for Python applications. Now you can connect your error reporting and application monitoring data on one platform. See for yourself why developers call Scout their best friend and try our error monitoring and APM free for 14 days; no credit card needed. And as an added-on bonus for Bike Shed listeners, Scout will donate $5 to the open-source project of your choice when you deploy. Learn more at scoutapm.com/bikeshed. That's scoutapm.com/bikeshed. CHRIS: Well, shifting only ever so slightly because it turns out it's a very related question, but we have a listener question. As always, thank you so much to everyone who sends in listener questions. We really appreciate them. And today's question comes from Mikhail, and he writes in, "Regarding the discussion in Episode 311 on requiring commits merged to be tested, I have a question on how you view multi commit PRs. Do you think all the commits in a PR should be tested or only the last one? If you test all commits in a PR, do you have any good tips on setups for that? Would you want all commits to pass all tests? For one, it helps a lot when using Git bisect. It is also a question of keeping the history clean and understandable. As a background on the project I currently work on, we have the opinion that all commits should be tested and working. We have now decided on single commit PRs only since this is the only way that we can currently get the setup reasonably on our CI. I would like to sometimes make PRs with more than one commit since I want to make commits as small as possible. In order to do that, we would have to find a way to make sure all commits in the PR are tested. There seems to be some hacky ways to accomplish this, but there is not much talk about it. Also, we are strict in requiring a linear history in all our projects. Kind regards, Mikhail." So, Steph, what do you think? STEPH: I remember reading this question when it came in. And I have an experience this week that is relevant to this mainly because I had seen this question, and I was thinking about it. And off the cuff, I haven't really thought about this. I haven't been very concerned about ensuring every single commit passes because I want to ensure that, ultimately, the final commit that I have is going in. But I also rarely have more than one commit in a PR. So that's often my default mode. There are a couple of times that I'll have two, maybe three commits, but I think that's pretty rare for me. I'll typically have just one commit. So I haven't thought about this heavily. And it's not something that frankly I've been concerned about or that I've run into issues with. From their perspective about using Git bisect, I could see how that could be troublesome, like if you're looking at a commit and you realize there's a particular commit that's already merged and that fails. The other area that I could think of where this could be problematic is if you're trying to roll back to a specific commit. And if you accidentally roll back to a commit that is technically broken, but you didn't know that because it was not the final commit as was getting tested on CI, that could happen. I haven't seen that happen. I haven't experienced it. So while that does seem like a legitimate concern, it's also one that I frankly just haven't had. But because I read this question from this person earlier this week, I actually thought about it when I was crafting a PR that had several commits in it, which is kind of unusual for me since I'm usually one or two commits in a PR. But for this one, I had several because we use standard RB in our project to handle all the formatting. And right now, we have one of those standard to-do files because we added it to the project. But there are still a number of manual fixes that need to be applied. So we just have this list of files that still need to be formatted. And as someone touches that file, we will format it, and then we'll take it out of that to-do list. So then standard RB will include it as it's linting all of our files. And I decided to do that for all of our spec files. Because I was like, well, this was the safest chunk of files to format that will require the least amount of review from folks. So I just want to address all of them in one go. But I separated the more interesting changes into different commits just to make others aware of, like, hey, this is something standard RB wants. And it was interesting enough that I thought I would point it out. So my first commit removed all the files from that to-do list, but then my other commits are the ones that made actual changes to some of those files that needed to be corrected. So technically, one or two of my middle commits didn't pass the standard RB linting. But because CI was only running that final commit, it didn't notice that. And I thought about this question, and so I intentionally went back and made sure each of those commits were correct at that point in time. And I feel good about that. But I still don't feel the need to add more process around ensuring each commit is going to be green. I think I would lean more in favor of let's keep our PR small to one or two commits. But I don't know; it's something I haven't really run into. It's an interesting question. How about you? What are your experiences, or what are your thoughts on this, Chris? CHRIS: When this question came through, I thought it was such an interesting example of considering the cost of process changes. And to once again reference one of our favorite blog posts by German Velasco, the Say No to More Process post, which we will, of course, link in the show notes. This is such a great example of there was likely a small amount of pain that was felt at one point where someone tried to run git bisect. They ran into a troublesome commit, and they were like, oh no, this happened. We need to add processes, add automation, add control to make sure this never happens again. Personally, I run git bisect very rarely. When I do, it's always a heroic moment just to get it started and to even know which is the good and which is the bad. It's always a thing anyway. So it would be sad if I ran into one of these commits. But I think this is a pretty rare outcome. I think in the particular case that you're talking about, there's probably a way to actually tease that apart. I think it sounds like you fixed those commits knowing this, maybe because you just put it in your head. But the idea that the process that this team is working on has been changed such that they only now allow single commit PRs feels like too much process in my mind. I think I'm probably 80%, maybe 90% of the time; it's only a single commit in a PR for me. But occasionally, I really value having the ability to break it out into discrete steps, like these are all logically grouped in one changeset that I want to send through. But they're discrete steps that I want to break apart so that the team can more easily review it so that we have granular separation, and I can highlight this as a reference. That's often something that I'll do is I want this commit to standalone because I want it to be referenced later on. I don't want to just fold it into the broader context in which it happened, but it's pretty rare. And so to say that we can't do that feels like we're adding process where it may not be worth it, where the cost of that process change is too high relative to the value that we're getting, which is speculatively being able to run git bisect and not hit something problematic in the future. There's also the more purist, dogmatic view of well, all commits should be passing, of course. Yeah, I totally agree with that. But what's it worth to you? How much are you willing to spend to achieve that goal? I care deeply about the correctness of my system but only the current correctness. I don't care about historical correctness as much, some. I think I'm diminishing this more than I mean to. But really back to that core question of yes, this thing has value, but is it worth the cost that we have to pay in terms of process, in terms of automation and maintenance of that automation over time, et cetera or whatever the outcome is? Is it worth that cost? And in this case, for me, this would not be worth the cost. And I would not want to adopt a workflow that says we can only ever have single commit PRs, or all commits must be run on CI or any of those variants. STEPH: This is an interesting situation where I very much agree with everything you're saying. But I actually feel like what Mikhail wants in this world; I want it too. I think it's correct in the way that I do want all the commits to pass, and I do want to know that. And I think since I do fall into the default, like you mentioned, 80%, 90% of my PRs are one commit. I just already have that. And the fact that they're enforcing that with their team is interesting. And I'm trying to think through why that feels cumbersome to enforce that. And I'm with you where I'll maybe have a refactor commit or something that goes before. And it's like, well, what's wrong with splitting that out into a separate PR? What's the pain point of that? And I think the pain point is the fact that one, you have two PRs that are stacked on each other. So you have the first one that you need to get reviewed, and then the second one; there's that bit of having to hop between the two if there's some shared context that someone can't just easily review in one pull request. But then there's also, as we just mentioned, there's CI that has to run. And so now it's running on both of them, even though maybe that's a good thing because it's running on both commits. I like the idea that every commit is tested, and every commit is green. But I actually feel like it's some of our other processes that make it cumbersome and hard to get there. And if CI did run on every commit, I think it would be ideal, but then we are increasing our CI time by running it on every commit. And then it comes down to essentially what you said, what's the risk? So if we do merge in a commit that doesn't work or has something that's failing about it but then the next commit after that fixes it, what's the risk that we're going to roll back to that one specific commit that was broken? If that's a high risk for you and your team, then adding this process is probably the really wise thing to do because you want to make sure the app doesn't go down for users. That's incredibly important. If that's not a high risk for your team, then I wouldn't add the process. CHRIS: Yeah, I totally agree. And to clarify my stances, for me, this change, this process change would not be worth the trade-off. I love the idea. I love the goal of it. But it is not worth the process change, and that's partly because I haven't particularly felt the pain. CI is not an inexhaustible resource I have learned. I'm actually somewhat proud our very small team that is working on the project that we're working on; we just recently ran out of our CI budget, and Circle was like, "Hey, we got to charge you more." And I was like, "Cool, do that." But it was like, there is cost both in terms of the time, clock time, and each PR running and all of those. We have to consider all of these different things. And hopefully, we did a useful job of framing the conversation, because as always, it depends, but it depends on what. And in this case, there's a good outcome that we want to get to, but there's an associated cost. And for any individual team, how you weigh the positive of the outcome versus how you weigh the cost will alter the decision that you make. But that's I think, critically, the thing that we have to consider. I've also noticed I've seen this conversation play out within teams where one individual may acutely feel the pain, and therefore they're anchored in that side. And the cost is irrelevant to them because they're like, I feel this pain so acutely, but other people on the team aren't working in that part of the codebase or aren't dealing with bug triage in the same way that that other developer is. And so, even within a team, there may be different levels of how you measure that. And being able to have meaningful conversations around that and productively come to a group decision and own that and move forward with that is the hard work but the important work that we have to do. STEPH: Yeah. I think that's a great summary; it depends. On that note, shall we wrap up? CHRIS: Let's wrap up. The show notes for this episode can be found at bikeshed.fm. STEPH: This show is produced and edited by Mandy Moore. CHRIS: If you enjoyed listening, one really easy way to support the show is to leave us a quick rating or even a review in iTunes, as it really helps other folks find the show. STEPH: If you have any feedback for this or any of our other episodes, you can reach us at @_bikeshed or reach me on Twitter @SViccari. CHRIS: And I'm @christoomey STEPH: Or you can reach us at hosts@bikeshed.fm via email. CHRIS: Thanks so much for listening to The Bike Shed, and we'll see you next week. All: Byeeeeeeeeee! Announcer: This podcast was brought to you by thoughtbot. thoughtbot is your expert design and development partner. Let's make your product and team a success.

Spiritual Dope
Kerri Hummingbird shares her shamanic wisdom to help you heal

Spiritual Dope

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 7, 2021 52:46


Kerri Hummingbird, Soul Guide and host of Soul Nectar Show, is the #1 international best-selling author of "The Second Wave: Transcending the Human Drama" and the award-winning best-selling book "Awakening To Me: One Woman's Journey To Self Love" which describes the early years of her spiritual awakening. Ms. Hummingbird inspires people to lead their lives wide awake with an authenticity, passion and purpose that positively impacts others. She catalyzes mind-shifts that transform life challenges into gifts of wisdom. Her newest book, already a #1 int'l bestseller, is called "Love Is Fierce: Healing the Mother Wound" and describes the most direct path to spiritual enlightenment. Connect with Kerri at: https://kerrihummingbird.com/ Unknown Speaker 0:00 Your journey has been an interesting one up to hear you've questioned so much more than those around you. You've even questioned yourself as to how you could have grown into these thoughts. Am I crazy? When did I begin to think differently? Why do people in general appear so limited in this process? Rest assured, you are not alone. The world is slowly waking up to what you already know inside yet can't quite verbalize. Welcome to the spiritual dough podcast, the show that answers the questions you never even knew to ask, but knew the answers to questions about you this world the people in it? And most importantly, how do I proceed? Now moving forward? We don't have all the answers but we sure do love living in the question. Time for another head of spiritual dub with your host Brandon Handley. Let's get right into today's episode. Brandon Handley 0:41 Hey there spiritual dope. We are on here today with Carrie hummingbird, Soul guide and host of soul nectar show she's number one International Best Selling Author of the second wave transcending the human drama and the award winning best selling book, awakening to me one woman's journey to self love, which describes the early years her her spiritual awakening, Miss hummingbird inspires people to lead their lives wide awake with an authentic, passionate purpose that positively impacts others, she catalyzes miles just to transform life challenges into gifts of wisdom. Her newest book already number one international bestsellers called Love is fierce healing the mother wound and describes the most direct path to spiritual enlightenment. I think everybody wants that right? Like, do not pass go, just you know straight to the end. Guys pretty funny, you said you know, you're gonna you're gonna let intuition guide. And that's really how we kind of start this whole thing off every time here. And the idea is, you know, somebody out there tune in today is tune in to hear what source is sending through you, since we're, you know, vehicles of Source Energy, right? What what is what's coming through you today that that listener needs to hear Kerri Hummingbird 2:02 what's coming through loud and clear is slow down, really slow down, slow down, restrain, get still get in nature, put your feet on the earth, put your hand over your heart, the other hand over your belly, and just really be present with this vehicle that we most of us ride. Like it's just a bucking bronco. And we just need to actually be gentle with this, this animals as being that we are in the integration of our spirit with this, this animal, basically, you know, it's an animal. And a lot of times, we're kind of mean to our animals, you know, we don't necessarily feed it that well or take good care of it, we kind of expected to work 12 hour days, and then just be perky at night to have fun. Oh, so we slow down, the things are so hectic. And you know, COVID couldn't even slow us down. It's kind of amazing how even COVID didn't slow us down because we're right back at it, you know, and we need to really heat that heat that message because really what happens is like we get into connection with some deeper vibratory patterns on the planet, when we slow down, we get connected with the heartbeat of this mother that we all share this Mother Earth. And when we get connected with that heartbeat, and that rhythm of the Earth, actually, things are way less struggle. It's way less effort connected from that heartbeat space, that rhythm of the earth. Things can get easier. Life gets easier. Brandon Handley 3:40 Right? I love the idea of kind of for you sounds like there's almost two heartbeat synchronizations right, first of all, kind of get get in sync with your own heart. What is it a HeartMath Institute, which I think has some really great work done with it. And then identifying Earth as though it were a living being as well. And then kind of getting your rhythm in sync with that. Is that kind of which is that kind of what you're saying? Kerri Hummingbird 4:15 Yeah, absolutely is set really as if it it is a living being you know, I think most people think the Earth is a floor and they walk around on it. But the Earth is a living breathing being and trees are living breathing beings and plants and animals and and including us. And we have this we have these beautiful technologies, right like we're we're on technology right now. It lets us have a conversation from wherever you are to wherever I am, could be anywhere around the entire world, people could be listening. That is so amazing as such a great product of the mind. And we're listening from a body from a body that has a heartbeat that has lungs that has muscle souls that has senses, you know, awarenesses when we allow ourselves to get out of our minds and into the body, that's actually where the real game is, you know, a lot of people, including my son, you know, both of my sons, especially my younger son, they love the computer games, like, just let me play computer games all day long, I'm happy, they'll just stay in my room and play computer games. And I keep trying to tell them, you know, that's really interesting in your mind, but there's actually like, some really trippy stuff that happens when you get off the computer and get in deeply into your human experience. And into the earth experience. There's some super mystical, amazing stuff that happens in that process that really blows it out of the water in terms of what's more amazing. Brandon Handley 5:53 What's an example that you'd like to use for them? Kerri Hummingbird 5:57 Oh, yeah, I love this one that I'm thinking about this time that I was in training with the power path School of shamanism. And I was on a retreat, three days in the woods, you know, no, no food, no brain oriented things by myself with a 10 and some water. And I got bored after the first day, you know, the end of the first day, and I'm like, Okay, what am I going to do now? There's no books to read. There's no, there's nothing brain oriented. I'd already done all the things I set up the campsite, I made my medicine wheel. I mean, I did everything. So now what I did just be so I went and stood up on this rock, I found this rock. And it was like a stage because it was really big. I went up and sat stood up on the stage. And I started practicing Healing Songs. Because in this program, we learned how to sing Healing Songs, like from the jungle and Icaros they call them. So I'm up on there singing the Icaros. And in this acre, I was calling in support like, you know, Bear COME TO ME NOW and Firefly coming to, you know, whatever, I could think of singing a song. And at the end of several verses, I got this little giggle and I thought, you know, I'm gonna innovate hummingbird. And is the moment I started singing in Hummingbird, an actual hummingbird flew through the forest, and hovered right in front of my third eye, about 12 inches away from my third eye. And it stayed there. As my eyes got huge, Brandon Handley 7:36 some real snow. Like, way, like Alright, what else? Can we you know, did you What else did you call in? Kerri Hummingbird 7:43 conjuring up? So, I mean, I basically was like, so in other words, you come when I call and it nodded. And then it flew away. Awesome. Brandon Handley 7:53 That's pretty intense, for sure. Um, it's a hard sell on a couple of boys in the video games, right? What is my guess? Well, again, I think that that's super impactful. They're just not there yet. Right. And I think that that's part of the challenge is, you know, that growth into recognizing just how powerful an experience like that can be. When you're in tune sounds like when you're in tune with the way you were, in that moment, kind of with your heart and the Earth's vibration as well. Kerri Hummingbird 8:29 Yeah, it's it's a, it's a slowing down. Now. I don't, I don't judge my kids. I mean, they're young, right. And I gotta tell you, my mind was filled up when I was their age. I, I'm not sure there was any space, there was a rock concert going on inside my head. You know, like, all the time. It was so busy and so loud. And I remember I used to have to sit at stoplights. And just to deal with the fact that there was a stoplight. I had to count, like to start counting 1002 1003 1004 Just to get through the fact that I had to wait at the stoplight. That's how impatient I was. Brandon Handley 9:08 I get it, right. I know that. Geez. I used to drive so fast and reckless. Right? Like I just kind of go anywhere I could as fast as I could traffic, weaving in and out doing whatever. Somebody's slowing down and be like, ah, freaking out. Right? Why is this? And now just like whatever man, you know? Yeah, sure. You know, it's it's, it's, we're slowing down. And that's just that's just what we're doing here right now. Being okay with it. But I totally I totally get it. So let's let's walk through right like kind of how you even found yourself in this space, because I'm sure that you weren't always calling hummingbirds to your to your third eye. All right. So let's let's get to it. Let's let's start off kind of a little bit in the beginning. You know, you're you're deep into spirituality space right now. You're doing Sam Stick you're doing. I'd last time you and I had a quick conversation. You're doing plant medicine, you've got a lot going on, who, you know, who were you before? How did you fall into spirituality? Because that's usually my experience is like most people just kind of like, oh, there it is. Right? And then, you know, kind of rolling into the next piece. And then you know, what's happening now? What's happening now? Kerri Hummingbird 10:24 Yeah, so Well, I, I was always spending time I was 15, a teenager, I was in psychotherapy, because I was, you know, my parents were very concerned that I was going to have mental challenges because I didn't really rocky early beginning, in my life, the first five years of my life were a little traumatic, between my natural father and my mother's first choice of father who was a violent drunk. And, you know, so the trauma of that experience, and anybody who's listening who's had a similar experience, my heart just goes out to you, because I know how long it's taken me to get safe in my body from that experience, but I was doing psychotherapy to kind of, you know, work on fixing me because I had big emotional swings. And, you know, I kind of prone to some wild behavior, which were all signs of that early trauma, you know, from psycho therapies point of view. So I was trying to do it that way from the mind. And it was okay. I mean, I got some coping skills. But when I became a mother at 30, everything just flew out the window, you know, I was immersed in a darkness that I can't even explain, but it was profound, you know, and struggling to be happy, I wanted to be happy I wanted a child, that was completely my choice, I wanted to have a baby. And I was, I was actually really upset that I was so upset, you know, because I really wanted to have this experience. And when it didn't work out that way, I was in deeper psychotherapy. And then they put me on some pills, because, you know, that's sort of the Western medical solution as well just stop feeling that so here's some pills and make that go away. So I did that, you know, I kind of coped that way for a while. But what I finally realized was that there was a lot of limitation in the dynamic between me and my spouse, because we were playing very traditional roles. And that wasn't working out for me, you know, when I became a mother, those traditional roles, like, they didn't work anymore. When I'm saying that, I mean, like, you know, the whole knight in shining armor thing, you know, I really liked that I liked having that knight in shining armor, and I liked sort of being the Maiden in distress. But when you're the mother, that doesn't fly very well, you know, because somebody has got to take care of the baby. And that was me, you know, that was my job. I mean, I was the one with the breast milk. So you know, it's kind of my job, you know, to take care of this baby. And I couldn't just fall apart, you know, the way I had previously in my life, or run away or get away from it somehow. So that was the beginning of learning how to stay in the conversation and learning how to deepen within myself. And at that moment, what I actually needed was spirituality, I deeply, deeply, deeply needed spiritual connection, I needed to understand that it was okay to open to some bigger support, you know, it was okay to open myself and I and I was subconsciously doing that because I was an artist. So it was always outside painting. So in some way, some part of me knew you need to be outside, you need to be in nature. And I spent hours out there painting, because I just needed to get out and get connected. I didn't even understand what I was doing. I just was kind of doing it. But I remember I used to walk the baby, I take these long walks, because he was so colicky our first child who took the brunt of our synthesis of polarity for a child took the brunt of all that. And I remember walking him, you know, on around the neighborhood. And I would always walk by this center for spiritual enlightenment. And my body would come to a halt. And my head would turn was look at I would feel a little yearning, like, I think I need to go in there. And then I would have a million reasons why I shouldn't namely, because my partner didn't believe in all that. And if I spent money on that, it'd be an argument is what I would turn away from it and keep walking. Right? So that was also just a big part of my journey. So those motherhood really called me up, you know, it called me up to make a stand. And it took me a while to make it. It didn't actually make that stand until I was my oldest child was going into middle school. And I finally things got bad enough meaning that I was I was really self abusing by holding myself back from my power and my Wisdom in my knowing and trying to fit into that tiny little box that society had made for me of the maiden. And it wasn't working. So I ended up leaving him and heading out on my own and opening to the great mystery. And pretty soon found a teacher that helped me to start to own my feminine and own the fact that whoa, I'm not small and skinny. I'm like, big and expansive. I have this thing called intuition. That's telling me things that he's not getting. I am emotional, because I'm designed that way. And feeling those emotions is actually what gives me the knowledge, the wisdom I need inside to cope with situations. So there is just all this unfolding that happened over the last decade, that has been amazing and tremendous, and has guided me to heal any places where I was holding blame for him, because it wasn't his fault that I was having an awakening. Brandon Handley 16:04 Yeah, a lot to unpack there. But I mean, you know, a big part of it, right is when the depression state right, or like we getting the medicated thing, when they've seen Western medicine, like you're saying, it's just like, to give you this thing to help you get rid of it as really, you're just cutting off a piece of your own internal guidance, right. And again, that's just my perception was that the way that you were feeling like when you when you kind of got that medication there was like, it's isolation of feelings, or almost like a, like a soft knocking at the door that you just couldn't answer. Kerri Hummingbird 16:48 You know, for me, I was with the birth of my child, I was drowning in my emotions, and my depression, I was seeing visions of big holes in the floor, like I saw this vision in the shower of a big dark hole opening up in the middle of the floor, like going somewhere in other regions, right. So I was having wild impulses. So for me, it was actually helpful at first to take the edge off that extreme experience. So that I could provide for my child because I needed to be present, right, I needed to be able to be a safe place for this baby. So I had to be on that, I think at first, only because I did not have the training before my motherhood and how to handle my emotions. Now had I been trained earlier, and how to channel my emotional experience, and how to move through waves of emotion while staying grounded and present. And being a safe place. For others. Even though I'm experiencing my emotions, that would have been a completely different experience. And I probably wouldn't have broken down the way I did. Okay, real quick. And if I'd done some healing to Brandon Handley 17:56 you real quickly, before we move on from that, right? What are some of those tools that if you had had prior to or some of that knowledge, if you're able to share it? That would have been beneficial? Right, that, you know, looking back said, hey, you know, just would have would have been nicer, no sooner? Kerri Hummingbird 18:15 Yeah, like. I really think that being aware that emotions are a sign that something's out of balance, instead of a sign that you're crazy or broken. Number one, that would have been really great to know that. And because I didn't know that I of course, wanted to suppress my emotions, because I didn't want to be crazy and broken. So I think that's a judgment that collectively as a society, we could start unwinding and untangling that to make emotions normal. And to help each other to feel them. So that's on a bigger level, but at the at the individual level. You know, just listen to my words and hear me when I say you're not broken and crazy, if you have emotions, you're human. And whenever I'm having them now, a lot of times what I'll do is hold myself, so put my hand over my heart, a hand over my belly. If I'm feeling grief, I'll let myself cry. And, and just until it passes, and even if I'm in a like situation where you're not supposed to cry. Like yesterday, I was at brunch with my mom and some big emotion came up because I was reading to her from her her profile, her jinkies profile, and I was having this huge realization about what a blessing she was for me in my life because she was this essence this energy that I needed. And I was reading to her and I was I looked at her and I said, Mom, I just I resented you so much for being exactly this, but this is your design and I just burst into tears. And that's okay with me. I think don't care anymore. If people see me crying, I don't, that is so genuine to cry with that realization and to share that moment with my mom, even though we're out in public at a restaurant. It's just, it's just so beautiful. And I don't judge it anymore. So I think like, feel your feelings. And if other people are uncomfortable with that, well, that's their job, that's their work to do is to get more comfortable with you expressing your feelings. And, you know, if you feel angry, that's one that I tried to, you know, to process without directing it at someone I really, I that's the only caveat I would have is express the emotion and just do your best not to express it at someone, you know, like, like, own that emotion is completely yours. Do your processing with it. For me with anger, I like to you know, I like to go ride off on some country road and just like roar, like a lion, you know, just like, get somewhere and just roar like I'm in the jungle because it's just energy. It's just like fire energy from the will center usually. And so you just need to kind of roar that crap out just like yeah, just like, Release the Kraken? Brandon Handley 21:10 No, that's a great one, right? I mean, it's just, it's just this kind of pent up energy that's gotten you feeling like one sort of way. And there's a way to release it. And I like what you're saying there not to release it at somebody, but to release it just in general. Kerri Hummingbird 21:25 Right? Yeah. And it's really hard for men to release anger. I had this client once, who was, um, he was probably like, six foot three, six foot four, big guy, but big teddy bear guy. But you know, he had anger. But he had repressed it all because he wasn't allowed to express his anger in front of his father, right, his father kind of had his thumb on him. And he also wasn't definitely not supposed to express anger at or in front of women. You know, that was just not cool. So when I was coaching him, I had to, I was like, well, you're gonna have to release that anger. So let's try the roar. You know, and he's wearing my house, you know, so he's, he's like, I can't even he couldn't even open his throat to do it. He, like literally couldn't do it. And so I did it for him. I said, I did it first. I was like, Okay, I'm going to do it. So you know, it's okay. And when he felt my grounded power with my own anger, that made it safe, actually, for him to feel his anger, because he knew I could handle it. And I think this is a big message for women. You know, if you want your guys to express their anger in a safe way, then you have to feel your anger and, and really own your anger. And let yourself express that so that you can become a safe place for anger to be communicated. You know, but if you're if you don't own your own anger, and you play that victim role on the triangle, you know, then then there's just no place for authenticity to happen in the relationship. Brandon Handley 22:55 Like it's a triangle, you're talking like the Drama Triangle, the Drama Triangle. Kerri Hummingbird 22:59 Oh, yeah, triangle disempowerment triangle. Brandon Handley 23:02 Got it. Very cool. It's funny. You're bringing up the anger bit, right? I'm going through this book right now. Bringing your shadow out of the dark, right. And I think I just got done doing anger, that the deal is we we all think it's like the bad thing. But again, to your point, if you go back to when you're talking about emotions, they're just showing you something about what you're what's happening. And I think even stronger cases is that we're generally not taught and it sounds like you know, you weren't taught to pay attention to your motion is easy, like, I'm not supposed to have this emotion. Case in point is like, you know, you're you've got your, your firstborn. You want to be happy. You can't figure out how to get happy then there's like this vicious like, kind of cycle of wire and I something's wrong with me, because I'm not happy in this situation. What's wrong with me? What's wrong with me? Right? And that's not it, right? Like, you're just feeling a certain way. And like you said, you're human. And as humans, we, one of the side effects or benefits, however, you want to take a look at it, we feel. And I think one of the worst worst things is we're not taught how to cope with them, like you were saying. And I think you know, getting getting getting that kind of lesson sooner rather than later is very important. Kerri Hummingbird 24:25 Yeah, and there's a lot of there's a lot of expectation that women place on themselves when they become mothers, like, huge expectations about being perfect and being loving all the time. And always being giving and always being nurturing and always, always, always, and that is an impossible standard to me, because you're a human being. And especially if you don't take care of yourself. I've seen so many women that they just sublimate themselves to the family. Then they bend over backwards doing things everything for everybody. And they get celebrated when they do that, by the way, too. So it reinforces the role of like surrendering yourself or everybody else in the family about yourself. And that actually sets a really bad role model. Because now you're saying to everybody, you know, just surrender yourself completely to everybody else. And don't, don't worry about what's good for you, or to even take care of your own body. And, you know, even get the exercise you need, or even like, either right meals that you need, or get the emotional support that you need, like, completely, leave yourself behind and throw yourself under the bus to be like this corporate employee and go out there and do right You because You love your replicate the model. So I think it's better and it's brave and courageous. And you definitely can take a lot of flack for it. But for those moms who feel courageous, is to start stepping out of those expectations, like, actually get clear, what is a good example? Like, what would be a healthy way for me to live? And then what do I want to teach my kids? Like? How do I want to model healthy behavior, and self care for my kids, and not just what to say it, and then do something else, but actually stick by it, which means you have to have boundaries, and then that teach healthy boundaries to the kids to by your example. And it's when we won't do those things out of fear of not belonging, or being rejected or being criticized? Those are the things that hold us back is that fear? So I think, you know, one of the major realizations I've had about this whole paradigm is how it's a system. So our family systems are based on these expectations of each other, like the knight in shining armor, and I'm going to be the damsel in distress, and you're just going to rescue me, however, then I become a mother. And that just throws the whole thing out the wash, you know, it's like, well, that doesn't work anymore. And now there's this question of, well, how am I getting nourished? Right? And I've seen women all over the map with how they handle that disparity between being a maid and where everything was being rescued for you, and being a mother where you have to do everything. It's like, how do you navigate that? And then what is, you know, what's the masculine in the picture doing? You know? Because, like, how do you react to that? So there's, there's just so much just so juicy in that conversation of that, like, how we each choose to show up and be full humans, in the family, I think is like the answer from our hearts, you know, taking a spiritual journey, looking at our own shadows, as you were talking about owning those shadows, not stepping over anything. If anger comes up, anger is there. If resentment comes up resentments, they're seeing what that has to share with you. You know, for me, whenever resentment came up, it was telling me, Carrie, you're not taking care of yourself. You're not resourced. You needed to slow down and be resourceful. Brandon Handley 27:58 That makes sense, right? Because you're probably seeing everybody else's fully being taken care of, and getting everything that they need. And you're like, What the hell, right? And he starts to resent all that. That's simply because you're, you've given everything to everybody else, but you haven't given anything to yourself. In a scenario like that. D, you know, so the Thanks for Thanks for you know, talking, I guess about a couple of tools to write about things that you could use right? Before? Before before. Before time's right. And then, you know, so you're walking, you're doing your walks, and you're going past the US on past, like, your spirituality place. Did you ever step into that spirituality? Place? Or is Kerri Hummingbird 28:43 it never, I never went in. And I just, I must have stopped there, like, I know, 2030 times. And I was standing freeze and just look at it, even though it was getting more and more desperate, I would just look at you know, and I wouldn't go in, it was crazy that I wouldn't go in there. Brandon Handley 29:01 And you're talking about, you know, kind of this the stand that you took at a certain point. And you also talk about like all these other fears and stigmas about like the society, how they're going to look at you for whatever it is you do. I imagine there was a bit of that as you went through the divorce process. I don't know if that's anything you feel like sharing as part of this process that you went through? Kerri Hummingbird 29:23 Yeah, absolutely. Of course, everybody in my, in my connection, thought it was insane for leaving my husband because on the outside, it looked awesome. You know, I mean, it looked like I was getting everything I wanted, right? I had somebody that liked to party and have fun and go on vacations and we had a nice house and spent money but we even built me a studio. So you know, like an art studio so I could do my art. Like, I looked like I was just getting it all you know, and then nobody can understand. They're like, why are you leaving this guy? And it was because I I was just in my cage. Like there was this cage for me an elephant dictation in our relationship. And I was also up against my own edges. And I didn't have the tools to process that. With psychotherapy, I was still going to psychotherapy, but it was not, it wasn't hitting the mark, like, there's a depth to spirituality that I found is able to really heal, things that are operating that are totally influencing your decisions in your perceptions, but you don't even know it until you get deep enough. And the mind is not deep enough. So trying to solve it by talking about it isn't really deep enough to go. So a lot of the ways that I was looking at him, a lot of the dynamics that were playing out, were part of my soul's curriculum, it was calling me up to speak my truth. It was calling me up to honor myself, it was calling me up to trust my intuition. And, you know, an almost all the arguments we had were all about those things, you know, it'd be him challenging my intuition, it'd be him challenging my honor to be him challenging, you know, he would just poke poke, poke, poke poke at me, and, and it wasn't able to stand my ground, you know, and I was being called up to stand my ground. So if we look at the bigger picture of the evolution of humanity, we can see that the last, you know, several 1000 years has been mostly guided by the masculine energy, and some would say the imbalance, masculine energy, that patriarchal energy, which is sort of suppressing women's intuition and suppressing the feminine and all of us, really, you know, because that feminine and masculine, they live in all of us, no matter what body we have. So now is the time where we're waking that wild, feminine back up, and this is men, women, whatever gender you are, that feminine, that wild, feminine is being woken back up, and for anybody who's like delivered a baby, Ben, a mother in that capacity, it's really wild, the way it wakes up. It's like, it's like, you know, fierce Mama Bear waking up. And that energy had to come through me. But I was always conflict avoidance. So I wanted to be a pleaser, I liked being the golden daughter, I liked being daddy's girl. And here, I was being called up by the shadows to say, you're not daddy's girl, you're a grown ass woman, you're a mom, you need to stand in your power you need if you don't agree, you need to say you don't agree. If you know, there's another way, you need to say, you know, there's no another way. And you need to hold that even if there's no evidence to support you, you know, from the mind. So that's what I the initiation I was being called toward. And I was too chicken, you know, to do it at the time in that relationship, or just didn't have the tools really, to make that leap? Brandon Handley 32:49 It makes sense, right? I mean, you've got a lot of these these other spaces in places that were taught, right, and you're trying to think you have these discussions from the mind, and you're getting them from the heart and the gut. Versus and there's really, you know, it's hard to substantiate that. Right. And, and here, he is challenging all that and a loving relationship. We're just kind of supposed to trust each other out. Right. And that can be challenged, too. So you're, you're you're stuck in your cage, like you said, and then you know, you just decided to stand in your power and make the break. Right. I mean, that was more for the benefit of all parties involved, right? As far as I can tell. And it was time for you to just kind of break free of that paradigm. Kerri Hummingbird 33:38 Yeah, because it wasn't, it wasn't loosening up, you know, it was like getting more and more intense to the place where I was having. I mean, I'd always had a history of having some suicidal ideations, but those got very strong during that period, I had tons of self loathing, I was having nightmares, that would wake me up in the middle of the night with sweats, I was crying all the time, I'd like lock myself in my office, because I worked at home and I would just cry in there. So I knew like this is not whatever this is, is not working. And it's not good for any of us. And admittedly, during that time, for the last two years of our relationship, my self loathing got to the place where I started seeking validation outside of our marriage. So I started having affairs, and you know, short live, like one night or whatever, but it was like that need for some acceptance from some somebody who liked me just the way I was, instead of wanting me to be totally different. So that was, yeah, I was like, I can't go on like that, because that's not at the core of me that wasn't resonating with my integrity, and the person I am inside. So I could see the only reason I was doing that behavior was because of deep deep pain. And if that couldn't be healed through all the work that I've done for 20 years in psychotherapy, and some of the work we've done for a few years in couples therapy Then I had to move on. I mean, there just was I had to make a decision for the benefit of my kids and myself. Brandon Handley 35:07 And look, it makes sense. Right? You were you were? I think you'd set it up, you know, earlier up against it. All right, I would guess the edges. And you weren't seeing any way out. Right. And I think you would have been operating from a severe place of, you know, like claustrophobic, right? Just kind of lashing out just like just anything else. And you had to get out and do what was right for everybody. And it sounds like, it sounds like you did, right. So I mean, you make the break. And now Now though, like, I mean, look, you're, you're in this space, you've got your courses and books. He's got some seminars, you've got a thing coming up at the end of October, we were talking about the beginning here, which will pass by the time this gets released. But I mean, let's talk about, you know, kind of this journey, how it's led you into this spirituality where you said, you know, there's more depth in here than just from the mind, just pray in the spiritual space, love to hear, you know, a little bit more about that, and, and how you're leading from a spiritual place, spiritual place. Kerri Hummingbird 36:15 Yeah, so I think that the biggest decision, the biggest thing that's helped my personal growth in a spiritual path has been my heart stop, like when I had that realization that I don't ever want to be here anymore. And I've got these kids, and I've got to stay for them. That was my heart stop. So it was like, alright, that I have to change whatever it is that needs changing, that's up to me, I've got to take responsibility for that. So I can stay on the planet. So a lot of people don't necessarily have that heart of a stop. But I, it was pretty intense. So I knew that I had to do something. So that level of commitment was there. And that whenever anybody has that level of commitment, then the spiritual growth can be tremendous. Like, it's amazing how much can happen in a short period of time. So my journey started 10 years ago, and this part of my journey started 10 years ago, with my decision to leave and my decision to trust this spirit sign that I got that showed me that was the end of the rope. That's it. I followed that I had no idea was afraid, of course, you know, how am I going to support myself? I haven't really worked full time for a long time. I'm a mom, how are we going to work this out? And I just had to take the journey, you know, and I haven't done it perfectly. You know, I've made a lot of mistakes. I've especially when I started messengering. And I started writing my books, I was pretty much called right away to start writing my book that that awakening to me book was started, like within six months of my divorce, actually, like before the divorce was final it started. So that was immediate, like the messenger part of me woke up right after I left. So and then the spiritual aspect just like took off. I mean, I've had mentors that say, my early mentors, they were like, we don't even know who you are anymore. Like you just went like this. You just wow. Like, Pam, you know. And it's that I think it's that passion, that realization of the buck stops with me. Like, no one can save me, but me. So if I want to be here for my kids, I have got to make the choice to heal, and do it now. And that means I've got to humble myself. I've got to ask for help. I got to realize there's a thing or two I don't know, even though I've been a psychotherapy for 20 years, I mean, geez, I don't know something like something should work by now. But, but the thing is, it wasn't a waste. You know, all that time I spent navigating my thought tunnels is like it started clicking when I started combining it with the spirituality when I started combining it with energy healing and ancestral healing and early childhood healing and re parenting myself and all these modalities I've been practicing and learning for the last 10 years. It all clicked, it was like not time wasted. It was just time buffered, it was just buffered wisdom until I was ready to claim it. Right, like Brandon Handley 39:01 when you're watching a video and it's just like all waiting. And it's like spinning and spinning and spinning. And then it finally just plays and since it's like the show you've been waiting for. And I love the idea of it all just finally clicking right when that spirituality piece kind of drops in. I don't know how to. I don't know how to describe it. It's almost like you know, like watching a water wheel right and unless there's unless the water comes in like that wheels not moving right and then you know, spirituality there it is, right? It's just like starts moving and sets everything else into motion. You're like, holy shit. I guess there's something to this and it's, it's pretty intense. And that's what it sounds like, you know, sounds like sounds like that's what it's been like for you the growth and just kind of the idea of, you know, opening yourself up to it so that it just opens up to you type of thing. What um, you know, so I know that you'd mentioned on your When we're putting this stuff together, you know, what would you describe as the most direct path to spiritual enlightenment? Because I'm curious because you wrote it down? Kerri Hummingbird 40:11 Yeah. Well, that's why I say it's healing the mother wound. So we all have a mother wounds, because we're all born of a mother. And we're all on earth at this time on the planet. So unless you're just like born in a very unusual circumstance, you're experiencing some aspect of the mother wound. And at the very least, it's disconnection from the planet. It's a feeling of being separate alone. And you know, unguided, right? Like, like, somehow God's way out there somewhere. And maybe there is one or maybe there isn't. And you're here alone, just having to, like, survive, you know, so there's that, I have to do it myself. And all of that is all part of the mother wounds, and, and any ways that any kind of aspect of the feminine gifts that are that have been disempowered, all of those are the mother wounds. So if your intuition is not online, yet, if you're, you know, emotions, if you're not comfortable with your emotions, if, if you have a hard time slowing down and creating stillness and space, all of those are divine feminine gifts. And so it any one of that is also wounding and, and then there's ancestral patterns. So in a mother's body is her consciousness, right? It's her consciousness is happening inside her body. So when a baby starts to grow inside that consciousness, the baby is growing inside the mother's current state of consciousness, which means the baby is learning right away by this osmosis method, about life from the mother's reality. So therefore, if the mother's reality includes feeling disempowered, or not important, or not worthy, or not heard at all, how to speak up, I don't stand in my power, whatever version of that is happening inside that woman, the child is picking all of that up and inheriting that as his or her starting point in reality. So mothers often feel when I when they hear that, that's a deep truth that we all know. And that can provoke a feeling of guilt or shame about however, the conditions were that you were in when you had pregnant the first time, or a second time or third time, however many. And what I want to say to that is, you can let that go because you know, our children chose to come in incarnate through our vessels, at the exact moment that we were going through whatever it was, we were going through, to start them on their journey of discovery. So that they would have all that raw material to work with for their souls curriculum, so there isn't anything out of line. And with more consciousness, we can choose more consciously. And so there's always that beautiful gift of, if you haven't birthed yet, you can, you know, clear some of the ancestral patterns, you know, do some inner work, do some, some reconciliation within yourself in your ancestry to clean up some of that stuff that you don't want your kids to inherit, maybe there's some addiction patterns, or maybe there's some, you know, some conflict between the mothers or the daughters or the sons or whatever it is a father. So you can clear up that by doing your inner work, so that you're not passing that on as a starting point. So there's this invitation. And if your children are already fully grown, and having kids of their own, you can still do your work because as a mother, I know I remember moments of touching my belly when my baby was inside. And because I remember those moments, I can place myself there in the now and I can bring healing from my current awareness to my baby now. Even though it might have been 21 years ago, that he was in there, I can place that love inside me now. And trust that it's gonna find its way through his evolution to help him where he is now. And as I practice that, I've noticed him blossom. So my oldest son, I've noticed, you know, both of my sons, I do this, I put myself back in moments where I remember being with them in my body. And sometimes it's looking at a photograph. Sometimes it's just an embodied memory. And I send love and comfort back to that baby from my current awareness. We can all practice this. This is what the shamans have known for a long time we can be conscious and we can bring healing to seven generations back and seven forward using this method of, you know, fifth dimensional healing work on our children. Mothers are in a great spot to do that because we can remember when they were in inside of us, we can remember holding them. So we have this, this capacity, this direct and body connection with our babies so we can learn a good spot for do family healing work. Brandon Handley 45:12 That's very cool sounds. I think I remember hearing Gregg Braden, talk a little bit about a similar scenario, right? I mean, energy doesn't really know, time. Right? And energy is kind of at our discretion to direct you know, this, as we talked about before being vessels of creative energy as it flows through us. We can choose anger, we can choose something else, and we can choose like, which direction to send that and same thing with love and healing that you're talking about. So I think that that's, that's a great share, for sure. For sure. Well, is what I like to kind of hop on to right here is the whole idea that this is, look, when people tune in these podcasts, they tune your podcasts in the mind. It's kind of like spiritual speed dating, right? Like, you know, you know, I'm running through like, I'm just curious about like, who am I gonna hang out for a while, because I don't know about you. Like, I can listen to somebody like I'm a big like neville goddard fan or somebody. I've been listening to Swami svare pray Nanda for the past like year, but like, I'm ready for the next guy, right? I'm ready for the next gal guy, whatever. So spiritual speed dating. Let's ask a quick question or two, shall we? Um, to to do dear Bachelorette number one? Who is an artist, right? What is the line between art and not art? Kerri Hummingbird 46:37 What is the line between art of all I'm going to share this with you? With that I got from Don Miguel done. Jose Ruiz actually, I had this interview with him. And he said, you know, the Toltecs believe that, that your whole life is a piece of art. And I as an artist, I loved that. So I was a two dimensional Canvas artist, I painted acrylics and things like that. I loved creating art. And, and then I became a wordsmith artist, you know, I created books, I channeled texts. And, and it was like, when I ran across this Toltec teaching, I was like, my whole life is art. I like that my whole life is art. So Don Jose said in an interview, he said, you know, how do we not judge each other? He said, Well imagine that you're going into a gallery. And you walk up to this painting, and you bring your paint brushes, and your your paints, and you start painting and correcting someone's painting. You wouldn't do that. You wouldn't sit there with your paid supplies and go into a gallery and start painting over someone's painting. So don't do it to somebody else's life. That's like, you know, so I think that it's that creative expression. You know, true art is however we express ourselves, however, we, we want to express the essence of ourselves, or our passion, or joy or feelings, or whatever's going on inside of us that we want to share with others, that that can express in so many ways, including our just our life, you know, our very being can be a piece of art. Brandon Handley 48:06 I got it. So you know, self expression would be art. Right? Is that what you're saying? Yeah, yeah, pretty much I like it. Let's get one more in, shall we? Hmm. Haven't gone through this list of questions before. Ooh, what lifeless lesson did you learn the hard way? Kerri Hummingbird 48:31 Pretty much all almost every single lesson. You know, I, I used to beat myself up for making so many mistakes. Because I have I actually I have a sincere desire for perfection. It's in my jinkies chart, I have this fear of, you know, perfection in my city frequency of my purpose. So of course, I seek perfection. And, you know, I used to clamp myself down, you know, trying to not make mistakes, because I didn't ever want to make mistakes because I've got this fear of perfection, you know, the fear of making mistakes. And I started getting really mediocre when I was doing that. You know, my life was super mediocre. And I would say that is learning the hard way. You know, when you start clamping down your life force to not make mistakes. Eventually you're going to make really big mistakes which is clamping down your life or to not make mistakes. Now look, I Brandon Handley 49:30 get Kerri Hummingbird 49:31 that falls apart. Anyway, Brandon Handley 49:33 I get it. It makes sense. I mean, especially as we make these tremendous efforts to not make these mistakes is bound to just kind of ooze out on the side somewhere, but they got he missed. He missed the spots that that makes sense. What um, you know, who would you say with the work that you're doing? Who would you say is your ideal client? Kerri Hummingbird 49:57 My ideal client is someone who really is Ready to go into their shadows and take a look and see what's in there. And and really like bring the flashlight and learn how to do it with compassion and love and forgiveness and and really wants to melt you know is ready to be more gentle loving and kind with themselves with their spouse with their families ready to heal. And you know, I don't I have this whole thing I'm calling Earth mamas. I invite Earth mamas to come and work with me. And because I'm saying Earth mama, some people make the assumption that that means that I don't work with men or that I don't work with people who don't have children. And that's not the case. When I'm saying that I'm saying because we are on mama Earth, you know, we're on Mother Earth. And if you feel it in your heart, like I love this planet, I want to be a difference. I love my family. I want my future generations to be able to have like ripe juicy peaches and I want them to to be able to see dolphins you know, in in the waves and though and the oceans be clear, if that matters to you, then you're an earth mama and my book you know so I really people that care, you know people that care about this planet and people that want to make a difference and are ready to face their shadows. Brandon Handley 51:12 Look, I like dolphins and fruit so I feel like I'm gonna so no, that's That's great. You know, and I think that it's super clear when you're ready to start doing the work you'll you'll know when you're there. Sounds like there's the people that you're calling out to where can they come and find more Carrie hummingbird. Kerri Hummingbird 51:31 My website is Carrie hummingbird.com ke R ri hummingbird calm and you can find my books up there my events and workshops, retreats, all the good stuff, my soul nectar show which you're gonna come on beyond so that's awesome. can listen to Brandon over on Soul nectar show. And yeah, that you can also book appointments, I do healing sessions, I do individual healing sessions. And mostly I do group programs. I really love group programs. They're just so enlightening. When we all teach each other. It's amazing what we can learn. Brandon Handley 52:02 For sure, for sure we're you know, the human condition is that we're meant to share, right, we're meant to work together. Okay, thank you so much for being on today. Really appreciate you taking the time. Enjoy yourself. Kerri Hummingbird 52:14 Thank you. I Unknown Speaker 52:15 really hope you enjoyed this episode of the spiritual dove podcast. Stay connected with us directly through spiritual co you can also join the discussion on Facebook, spiritual and Instagram at spiritual underscore Joe. If you would like to speak with us, send us an email through Brandon at spiritual Co Co. And as always, thank you for cultivating your mindset and creating a better reality. This includes the most thought provoking part of your day. Don't forget to like and subscribe to stay fully up to date. Until next time, be kind to yourself and trust your intuition.

Smart Agency Masterclass with Jason Swenk: Podcast for Digital Marketing Agencies
Which Levers Do You Need to Pull to Scale Your Agency Faster?

Smart Agency Masterclass with Jason Swenk: Podcast for Digital Marketing Agencies

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 7, 2021 14:11


Do you know which levers you can pull in order to scale your agency faster? Greg Bond believes his purpose in life is to add value to other people's lives. He is the head of revenue at SharpSpring, a company that aims to help businesses better understand their customers so they can maximize their value proposition. Greg oversees the sales function and works really close with the marketing team. He understands what it is agencies, and end-users, are really trying to do with that platform. Greg discussed the levers agencies need to pull to scale faster, some of the challenges agencies face, and what works for showing ROI and continuing to grow. 3 Golden Nuggets Levers you can pull to scale faster. One of the biggest challenges for agency owners is when they need to hire new employees and must raise their prices to be able to afford that. Will their clients pay that? Well, that depends. Do they know how much value they are delivering to their clients? Sharpspring focuses on ROI and being able to report specifically on this piece of revenue. With the consolidation of tools and bringing data into one place, you'll have a centralized data repository that drives your automation engine and behavioral tracking, making your message more relevant. This is what gets you extra conversion rates and will help you grow your revenue. Why are agencies bad at their own marketing? You probably recognize this. The cobbler's shoes. Agencies spend a lot of time and effort working with their customers and they don't do a great job of marketing for themselves. Agencies spend all their time trying to blow their clients away to get more clients through word of mouth. That's great, of course. It's the first requisite to start scaling. However, you can't raise your prices when you're built on referrals. About this, Jason asks, what if you hire a hunter? That way, con can stop self-sabotaging, you'll continue to scale, and you can finally raise your prices. What works for showing ROI. For Greg, it's all about showing value at the end of the funnel. Agencies bought into the lead marketing approach, he says. But with new customers these days there are multiple interactions before they actually make a purchasing decision. So the idea is being able to track all the different interactions across the entire funnel. Having all that data in one place and being able to map it to a singular campaign and then show when this deal actually does close enables agencies to tell what contributed to a sale and report on it in a way with confidence. YOUTUBE AUDIO LINK Levers You Can Pull To Scale Your Agency Faster and Why Agencies Are Bad at Their Own Marketing Jason: [00:00:00] What's up, agency owners? Jason Swenk and I have another amazing episode with my friends at SharpSpring. We're going to talk about what are the levers you need to pull in order to give your clients better results to scale your agency even faster. We all want to know this, so let's go ahead and get into the episode. Hey, Greg. Welcome to the show. Greg: [00:00:25] Hey! Thanks, Jason. Happy to be here, man. Jason: [00:00:28] Yeah. Excited to have you on. So tell us who you are and what do you do? Greg: [00:00:32] Yeah, so my name is Greg Bond and I'm the head of revenue over at SharpSpring, which very recently we were acquired by Constant Contact. So, um, a lot of really cool integration stuff going on there between those two companies. And yeah, I just kind of oversee our entire kind of sales function and work really close with our marketing team. I actually, I've been with the company a while and I came from VP of customer success. So very close to our customer base and really understanding what it is that our agencies and even our end users are really trying to do at the platform and kind of what their pain points are and what they're struggling with. And I've been able to bring a lot of that into the revenue focus of the company. So… Jason: [00:01:13] Awesome. Let's get into it. Let's talk about some of the levers that agencies can pull in order to kind of scale their agency faster and get better results for their clients. Greg: [00:01:25] Yeah. And I, I think, you know, when we talk about this, especially in the context of SharpSpring, I think what a lot of it focuses in on for us is tool consolidation. I think is one of the main things. Over the years, the technology revolution of the past 10 years, you know, the past decade. Um, has brought a lot of different point solutions to market that are fantastic tools. But the problem with them is that you end up with siloed databases and all this information that, that sits in each individual tool. And you almost have to have a whole team of operational wizards to connect these things and pull all that data together. You've got all this different reporting that's ended up end up in silos. And you can't really work to unify that customer experience and report on where exactly what attribution is the attribution that you should be pointing towards for your clients that you're working with to say, hey, this is where that sale came from. And at Sharpspring what we really focus our customers in on is ROI and being able to report specifically on this piece of revenue, where did it come from? We talk a lot about being a full-funnel marketer, and I think that's really the space where we want to play and where we think agencies can leverage to improve their own results. Jason: [00:02:45] So ROI has always been very important. And I think a lot of… You know, when I talk to agencies, one of their biggest challenges that they have is well, I can't afford to hire someone right now. I'm like, well, why don't you charge more? They're like, well, I don't know if they'd pay that. Um, and then my next question to them is, well, how much value do you deliver your clients? And a lot of them go, I don't know. And which is really freaking scary. So depending on your industry, sometimes it's hard to show an ROI. How have you found... Or what are some of the things that have worked for agencies for showing ROI in order for them to, you know, have the client stay with them longer, as well as to charge more? Greg: [00:03:29] It really is about showing that value at the bottom of the funnel. I think agencies in the past and marketers, just digital marketers period, they… They bought into this inbound marketing approach where you have the lead magnet. Somebody fills out a form and that form gives you somebody's email address in a really nice tidy bow of, hey, this is where this person came from. But the new customers, these days, there's multiple interactions before they actually make a purchasing decision. And so you have all of this noise in the system. So being able to track all the different interactions across the entire funnel, sometimes people move into the middle of the funnel and then back up to the top and then back down. And, you know, they may not necessarily be ready yet when they talk to your sales team. And to be able to kind of… Keep all of that data in one place and be able to map it to a singular campaign and then show when this deal actually does close. That's the place where I can now track all of those interactions back and say, whether I want to look at first touch or last touch or any different number of touches and attribution. I can tell you what contributed to that, that sale and be able to report on it in a way with confidence, right? Like being able to go to your client with confidence and say I am 100% sure that our marketing efforts drove this sale. As well as your sales team, right? Like, I don't want to take the sales team out of it. The sales team has a role to play as well. But marketing runs alongside the sales team and helps enable them to be able to close those deals. And you need a singular system that can track all of those interactions without some sort of XL ninjitsu happening there in the middle of it. Yeah. Jason: [00:05:14] You know, Dean Jackson always talks about out of a hundred percent of the pie. Like he always draws like this square and then he basically draws a line down the square and says 50% will never buy from you. And that out of the other 50%, they'll eventually buy from you, but maybe like 10% are ready to buy now. Then the other 40% is over time, right? And so it's really important to really kind of think about it in that way, because a lot of people just go after the 10% and they forget about the 40%. Like, when I look at our data and the different things… There's a lot of times people don't engage with us or, well, jump into the mastermind or buy a, our framework for like two or three years. Which I'm like, that's awesome. Like we held their attention that long, but you know, some people. Yeah. Greg: [00:06:07] And I talk a lot about it with our teams. I talk a lot about the buyer's journey. And there are plenty of people who fall into the bottom of your funnel, who are ready to buy right now. It's the first time you ever talked to them, right? But that's where they are in their buyer's journey. And they just happened to find you at that time. I think so many people look for that, you know, zero moment of truth, that, that place where, you know, that's all marketing is like targeting that person. But there are so many other people, like you said, there's a, the vast majority of the people who will buy from you in the future are not at that point yet. And how do you nurture them to get there? And how do you drop them in at the top of your funnel? Where at the top of your funnel, it's damn near impossible to keep them accurately it attributed to the right campaign over a long period of time. But you still have to fill that top of the funnel and help nurture them down. But with a unified database and behavioral tracking and a tool like SharpSpring, you now have that ability to get all those different touch points in and have them all in the system so that when two years from now three years from now, they actually do convert into a sale, you know exactly how to attribute that marketing spend. Jason: [00:07:19] You've been working with agencies for a long time. Why are agencies so bad at their own marketing? Greg: [00:07:25] That's a great question. I mean, I think one of it is, it's, you know, the cobbler shoes. They've spent a lot more time and effort working with their customers and in collaboration with their, their clients. So they don't do a great job of marketing for themselves. And I, and I think the other one is the number one way that agencies get businesses through word of mouth. Word of mouth is about delivering results, right? If you deliver results above and beyond the expectations of your clients, that's where you get that word of mouth from. And so they spend all their time and I believe rightly so, they should spend all their time trying to blow their clients away and just deliver those results. Again, being able to point back to the ROI and say, hey, this marketing spend this effort that we drove, drove these results. And if you do that over and over again, you'll get word of mouth. And so it'd be great if you could also fill the top of your funnel with a bunch more content, but if it comes at, at the risk of losing the results for your clients, then I don't think it's worth either. Jason: [00:08:28] Yeah, I see that, you know, I, I just had, um, as we're recording this. A week ago, we had 28 of the best agencies over at the house for a three-day experience. And we all talked about like, where were the biggest challenges? Some of them were, you know, we're not doing our own marketing. And they thought, well, in order to scale my agency, the lever I need to pull is the sales. And I need to find a hunter. I, I started asking more questions as well, why? I was like, well, what about the business coming to you? And they said exactly what you're saying, most of their businesses generated by word of mouth. I said, well, congratulations, you're doing a great job. That's prerequisite one for scaling an agency. Right? Like, because there's a lot of people that take a stupid Facebook course and go, I'm a Facebook ads agency. They can't deliver shit. And then it screws it up for all the legit people out there. But what I told them, I said, what if you actually hired a hunter in order to scale? They're like, what about the leads? I'm like, well, that's the other thing, you pull the marketing lever, you can start generating and building your pipeline. Because what I found was there's a lot of owners that the better they do in marketing, the more meetings they have. Soon they get overwhelmed and then they start self-sabotaging themselves. And a lot of you listening right now, you're doing this shit right now. I can promise you. You're self-sabotaging yourself, but if you hired a hunter, then they can start closing that business. They're not going to sabotage you. They want to do well. And then you can scale. Then you can raise your damn prices because when you're built on referrals, you can't raise your prices because they're like, oh, I paid 10,000 a month. You can't charge a hundred thousand to a guy that just referred you 10,000. It's just a different playing field. Greg: [00:10:16] And I think agencies, it's such a unique business because it is a professional service. And, in professional services businesses, it's the expertise that people are buying, right? And the agency owner and the principal is that main source of vision and creativity. So you have to have them involved in the sale. And you also want them involved in every client engagement. That's what the clients purchased, right? So it becomes a scalability issue for your agency, right? Like there's only a certain amount that you can scale yourself. And so you have to hire people who have that ability to cast a vision and be that sort of thought leader as well alongside of you. And you need to be able to share the spotlight a little bit with them. Or at least have, like you said, that hunter that goes out and brings people in front of you and does it in a way that doesn't require a ton of your time so that you can spend the time delighting your customers with incredible results. Jason: [00:11:09] Yeah, exactly. And, and I look at it to have going, you know, as your business scales and you scale the agency, you better damn well start putting the people in place for this, right? Like you should have someone like the director of happiness, making sure you're delivering the results, right? That's what we have. So I don't have to. Like, my attention to detail is probably like everybody else's, that's why I was telling you, like our shows use like 10 to 15 minutes. Like we're all like attention to detail, like bird, where's the bird? So… Well, this has all been amazing, Greg. Is there anything I didn't ask you that you think our audience needs to know about? Greg: [00:11:47] I don't think so. I mean, I think we kinda covered all the, all the main topics that I think are worth really focusing on. But I think one thing that I want to make sure is clear here is when we talk about tool consolidation… And I think everyone hears cost savings, right? They hear that, oh, I can make my life a little simpler, have fewer log-ins and things like that. And that's not really what we're saying. What we're saying is the consolidation of tools and bringing all that data into one place and being able… For that CRM, that centralized data repository to be the thing that drives your automation engine and all that behavioral tracking, being able to make your message more relevant. The right person, the right message. The right person, the right time. That is what gets you those extra conversion rates. That is what helps you grow your revenue. And it's not just, oh, you get to save some money. Yeah. Okay. That's cool. Yeah. That's another benefit. But the real benefit here is... It's actually the right way to build a customer experience that people will go nuts for. Jason: [00:12:52] Awesome. I love it. Now, Greg, you guys have a special offer for our audience for a short time. So tell us about. Greg: [00:12:59] We do. We want to offer anyone that that's a listener of your podcast series a half off their onboarding and their first month free. So big offer here for, for you guys, um, especially for, for this podcast and your audience, Jason. Jason: [00:13:13] Sweet. Thank you very much. Where can they get this? Cause now they're, you know, if you want to get… right? Like, we need to tell them. So where's the call to action, so you can give me attribution for it? Greg: [00:13:24] So head over to sharpspring.com/smartagency, and you can schedule a demo right there and that will help us secure that offer for you. Jason: [00:13:35] Awesome. And you'll be able to schedule with one of their cool strategists that can walk you through everything and set you up. So I highly recommend SharpSpring, go check it out and get your half month or the full month and a half off the onboarding. That's a tongue twister. Greg: [00:13:52] It is a tongue twister. You know, it's about a $1,600 value right there. Jason: [00:13:55] Ooh, go get it, guys. Go get it while it's hot. But, uh, thanks so much for coming on the show and uh, until next time have a Swenk day.

Napalm Nanny and The Shack
Napalm and Friends: Jorge and The Hideaway

Napalm Nanny and The Shack

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 3, 2021 59:24


Heavily inspired by surf, garage, and blues, the up and coming band located in sin city is going to rope you in with their stage presence while they pepper you with their original and unforgettable music, The Hideaway  I am incredibly fortunate that Jorge, guitarist and vocalist, sat down with The Shack and shares a little insight on the bands origins, spooning a boombox, and community. Tune in for all that and more (heavy emphasis on more) while you listen to the playlist curated by, as always, the guest. Find The Hideaway on Instagram under: Thehideawaylv Find Jorge on Instagram under: Hiphipjorge82 *EXCLUSIVE THE HIDEAWAY SONG IN PLAYLIST* -Hi-Strung Ramblers. All That I Need -Ritchie Valens. Ooh, My Head -Johnny Burnette. Rockabilly Boogie -The Bellfuries. Bad Seed Sown -Flat Duo Jets. Frog Went a Courtin' -The Hideaway. Because -Shannon and The Clams. If You Could Know -Social Distortion. I Was Wrong -Red Hot Chili Peppers. Search and Destroy Background: String Kings. The Bash 

The /r/Anime Podcast
Fall 2021 First Impressions - The /r/Anime Podcast

The /r/Anime Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 31, 2021 163:33


Ooh, 2sp00ky. It's the Halloween special... which just means we review a bunch of first episodes again. But the anime this season are--gasp!--pretty good, so why stress and scare yourself this holiday when you can have a bunch of sweets instead. Unless one of them is Mushoku Tensei or "the kid from 86" flavored or something. That would suck.➤ Link to the Discord server - https://discord.gg/vrzhhjA➤ Follow us on twitter! - https://twitter.com/tokyopodfathers➤ Past Episode Mp3s - https://tokyopodfathers.simplecast.fm/Hosts: Mozilla Fennekin - https://twitter.com/MozillaFennekin / https://myanimelist.net/profile/MozillaFennekinShaKing807 - https://twitter.com/ShaKing807 / https://myanimelist.net/profile/ShaKing807Sinrus - https://myanimelist.net/profile/MetalRainWolf - https://old.reddit.com/user/unprecedentedwolf / https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9Ix0yiwc49L04sJha0FTgg Timestamps:0:00 - Introductions4:41 - Blue Period19:34 - Takt Op. Destiny34:34 - Platinum End46:24 - Tsuki to Laika to Nosferatu (Irina the Vampire Cosmonaut)53:49 - Saihate no Paladin (Paladin of the End)58:25 - Mieruko-chan1:04:54 - Senpai ga Uzai Kouhai no Hanashi (My Senpai is Annoying)1:12:28 - Taishou Otome Otogibanashi (Taisho Otome Fairy Tale)1:22:08 - Ousama Ranking (Ranking of Kings)1:36:32 - Heike Monogatari (The Heike Story)1:45:59 - Ganbare Douki-chan1:47:58 - 180 Byou de Kimi no Mimi no Shiawase ni Dekiru ka?1:51:10 - Pokemon Evolutions1:54:30 - Deji Meets Girl1:56:03 - Lupin III: Part 62:03:49 - Mushoku Tensei: Isekai Ittara Honki Dasu (Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation)2:11:16 - 86 [Eighty Six]2:18:18 - Sakugan2:28:00 - Komi-san wa, Comyushou desu. (Komi Can't Communicate)2:39:05 - End of Show / Best of ListsShow notes:37:00 - Hiroya Oku (Inuyashiki) not liking One Piecehttps://twitter.com/hiroya_oku/status/12315852221409361931:55:39 - James Turner arthttps://twitter.com/JamesTurner_42/status/14482133028369326092:04:08 - Moz "reviewing" "Mushoku Tensei"https://i.imgur.com/jpDwVsV.pngEdited by Mozilla Fennekinhttps://www.youtube.com/c/MozillaFennekin

Low Tox Life
259. Dr Shamini Jain on disease healing and prevention through the neuroscience lens.

Low Tox Life

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 31, 2021 72:53


“I've had the experience of diving deep into the science and practice of healing, so I'm really jazzed to share that, but sometimes our own experiences are just as important to keep in that conversation”. Ooh this is a juicy interview indeed and Shamini is an excellent human I'm so happy to introduce to you - if you've been interested in neuroscience, and what things such as creativity, meditation, energetic healing, and the biofield have to do with preventing, treating and healing disease as well as enhancing our general sense of contentment and wellbeing, then this week is the show for you. Dr Shamini Jain is a psychologist, scientist, and social entrepreneur. She is the founder and CEO of the Consciousness and Healing Initiative (CHI), a collaborative accelerator that connects scientists, health practitioners, educators, and artists to help lead humanity to heal ourselves. Her pioneering research in meditation, biofield healing and psychoneuroimmunology has been featured in TIME, U.S. News and World Report and CNN. Enjoy the show and head to the show notes for more details over at lowtoxlife.com/podcast See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

The OOH Insider Show
Episode 82 - Interview w/ "The Billboard Boys" Producer Frank Petka

The OOH Insider Show

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 28, 2021 43:27


During the 1980s recession, unemployment and mortgage rates were at a high. Billboard Boys, directed by Pat Taggart, is a documentary based on the radio contest turned international phenomenon in Allentown, PA. Three men were selected to live and outlast each other on a billboard in the hopes of winning a mobile home.On this episode of OOH Insider, Frank Petka, Producer of Billboard Boys, shares the story of three men's determination to earn a home by living on a billboard.Takeaways The creativity of the billboard these men stayed on promoted the radio station's switch from country to big band music. Unfortunately, the creative and target audience did not bode well.This story went viral before viral was a thing. It began as a regional contest and quickly gained national, and even international, traction. For four months straight the media covered this story on every major tv station, radio station, and newspaper.If you have “lightning in a bottle” put a cap on it. The contest gained national media attention every day. This was a huge opportunity for brands to advertise in OOH, but no one could fast enough.“Billboards are timeless; the ultimate medium.” ~Frank PetkaLinksLinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/frank-j-petka-mba-73b756147/Film: https://billboardboys.comSpecial thanks to OneScreen.so for making this show possible. Check out OneScreen.ai and learn How to Beat Facebook with Billboards at www.onescreen.aiSupport the show (http://oohswag.com)

The Marketing Agency Leadership Podcast
Utility, Meaningfulness, and Relevancy . . . Aha!

The Marketing Agency Leadership Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 28, 2021 33:13


Leeann Leahy is CEO at VIA, a full-service advertising agency/communications company and winner of AdAge's 2019 Small Agency of the year. Via‘s 100 or so employees work their creative magic to unleash growth for such name brands as Arm & Hammer, Unilever (ice cream novelties Klondike, Good Humor, Popsicle), Perdue Chicken, and CarGurus. The agency has a few clients in Maine . . . a lot more nationally . . . and even some that are global.  Leeann says the agency makes small budgets work “much bigger and harder than they should” and runs on a critical balance of head and heart. In this interview, Leeann outlines the agency's 5 responsive principles: “be curious,” “think like the audience,” “be on time,” “be on budget,” and “create respect,” and 5 artistic principles: “figure it out,” “find the magic,” “believe,” “do work that makes you proud,” and “honor the process.” It's a formula that succeeds . . . as evidenced by the agency's 28 years in the business.  In this interview, Leeann talks about VIA's strategy for building two-way brand/consumer conversations and the magic of the “Aha! Moment,” when the mind jumps from “facts” to understanding. The process? Dig deep with clients to get beyond the facts and gain meaningful insights;  Understand who a brand's customers are, their experience with the brand, and their “journey  Analyze insights to reveal and unlock a pathway to connect consumers with the brand Bring real emotion to the table  Present the brand in a way that's useful, practical, and meaningful at a personal level . . . and not just talking at the customer. Leeann says, “It's not just selling attributes, but selling utility and meaningfulness and relevancy.” Six years ago, in order to streamline operations, the agency eliminated departmental siloes and set up interdisciplinary pods which are led by four equal partners:  A client strategy lead (who elicits from the client what is to be done and why),  A planning lead (who aligns work with client needs, market trends/ opportunities, and strategies),  A creative lead (who invents new products, generates advertising promotion, or “produces the show”), and  A project management lead (who oversees resourcing, time management, budgets, and scopes – how the work is done and when).  Then, three years ago, the agency established VIAlocity, a remote pool of diverse (culturally, ethnically, life-stage-wise, and ability-wise) freelance consultants (who may or may not be in advertising). These journalists, painters, photographers, or stay-at-home moms, who are kept on retainer, can be tapped for projects for an additional fee to collaborate on VIA's offerings. The program recently expanded to include some full-time remote workers. Leeann can be found on her agency's website at: https://theviaagency.com/. Transcript Follows: ROB: Welcome to the Marketing Agency Leadership Podcast. I'm your host, Rob Kischuk, and I'm joined today by Leeann Leahy, CEO at VIA based in Portland, Maine. Welcome to the podcast, Leeann. LEEANN: Hi. Thank you for having me. ROB: Excellent to have you here. Why don't you kick us off by telling us about VIA and what the agency's superpowers are? LEEANN: VIA is a magical place that operates out of Portland, Maine. We are a full-service advertising agency, although advertising is a narrow term. We're really a communications company that helps unleash the growth potential of our clients' brands. We're about 100 people. I say we operate from Portland, Maine because that's where we're headquartered, but our clients actually are all over the country and indeed the globe. I used to say we don't have any clients in Maine, but we do work with a couple now. We're on a quest to bring the fun back into our industry. I think our superpower is that we believe in magic. We believe in the power of magic. We have 10 principles, and they range from “be curious,” “think like the audience,” “be on time,” “be on budget,” and “create respect,” which are the responsive ones, to “figure it out,” “find the magic,” “believe,” “do work that makes you proud,” which are the artistic ones. There's a really great balance between the head and the heart in those principles. The heart side of it I think is our superpower because we do believe in magic. We believe that it can be found if you have a smart enough strategy, or indeed, the strategy itself could be magic if you can dig deep enough and find some insights that are revealing and unlocking a pathway to connect a consumer and a brand. We believe that creatively, the choices you make and the craft you construct and the way you engage consumers – there's a lot of magic in that. And we believe all of this works to grow brands. We've seen it over and over again. I guess the last thing I would say is in our own culture, we believe that joy and happiness and fearlessness lead to better creative work. That's not just in the creative department; that's across the whole agency. So we find the magic and we believe it's possible. That's our superpower. I think it sets us apart from other agencies, because as I said, we're having fun where very few are. ROB: Right, a little bit of magic, a little bit of joy, and just this pervasive sense of optimism over pure execution. The head and the heart, as you said. Pull us a little deeper and give us a picture. A typical client is not in Maine, apparently, for the most part, but what does a common client look like for you all? What size, what stage, what type of brand? LEEANN: It really ranges. We've worked with Perdue Farms chicken for the last 10 years, and we're their agency of record and the lead of their integrated agency team. We set all the strategy for them. We help them understand their brand portfolio, architecture. We dig deep on consumer insights. We help them manage their branded versus private label conundrum that they're in in the marketplace. We create all the communications, whether it's broadcast-based or digital. We generate lots of social assets. And then we work with all of their other agencies – shopper, marketing, promotional, etc. – to make sure everyone's operating off the same strategy. That's one kind of relationship. Another one is we work with the ice cream novelties portfolio of North America for Unilever, so Klondike, Good Humor, Popsicle. In that instance, we're really unleashing a lot of work the client has done strategically and we're setting it free creatively. We come back with creative solutions that take what are sometimes considered small budgets competitively, and we make them work much bigger and harder than they should. They punch above their weight. We work with Church & Dwight. Arm & Hammer is one of our clients. They exist, believe it or not, in about 17 categories in the grocery store. You think of it as baking soda, but actually it's everything from baking soda to laundry detergent to kitty litter to toothpaste to deodorant to licensing agreements with Hefty and other garbage bags and things like that. It is a really wide range. For them, again, we're thinking through everything, from the customer experience on those brands and where we can hit touchpoints to creating the advertising itself to putting it in the market to doing the analytics. So we really have varied relationships with our different clients, and that's what I think keeps it fun for us. I've always loved being in advertising and on the agency side because we go deep, deep, deep on very different categories. I can be talking about baking soda for hours one day, and the next day I'm talking about people buying cars online with CarGurus, or I'm talking about modern commerce with another client, or I'm talking about financial services. We really run the gamut. Check into financial services. You can't get bored. ROB: You're talking about digging into that customer experience, and it seems like that's where some of the magic can come from. When you're talking about novelty ice cream, you're not selling features. For a lot of people, you are thinking through to an experience, an emotional attachment, a different season in their life, even, perhaps. You just can't get there if you're sitting up in an ivory tower, thinking creatively by yourself. LEEANN: Absolutely. We do a lot of deep digging and consumer research and ethnographies and anthropological digging into our consumers and our prospects, and we try to talk about them as if they're family members or friends. We don't describe targets as 18- to 24-year-old white men who play these following sports and believe these five things. That's not going to help us. We really need to think of them as maybe people who seriously don't take life that seriously. That would be a way you want to talk about the target. We try to get to the mindset, because that's where the magic happens. It's not that there's not a lot of rigor to get to that mindset; there is. But there's a difference between a fact and an insight, and too often, I think people confuse them, or companies confuse them. They do the research, they get the answers, they have a bunch of facts, and then they say, “This is what we need to talk to.” Facts are important, but they are really just stimulus from which you can find and articulate the insight, because the insight has to be much deeper and more meaningful. The way I like to think about it, you know you have an insight when somebody says it when you're describing a consumer or their mindset or their need state or something, and you go, “Oh my God, that is so smart and also so completely obvious.” It's like, “Why didn't I see that before?” That to me is an insight. I think we spend a lot of time differentiating between facts and insights, and that helps us to get to a richer understanding of who we're talking to. Once you have that richer understanding, you can create work that really hits that nerve dead-on. And when it hits that nerve, it becomes an engaging two-way conversation because now you've filled into my life as a brand in a way that's useful, practical, and meaningful to me, not just talking at me. ROB: That's really grounded, really human. Leeann, if we rewind a little bit, talk about the origin story of VIA. How did the agency come to be in the first place? LEEANN: The agency was founded 28 years ago by John Coleman and a couple of other founders and partners. Specifically, John Coleman and Rich Rico were working at a big software company together. Rich was in charge of the design of marketing materials and John was a salesman. As any good salesman does in an internal marketing organization, they call up and complain about the materials they're given and have rich conversations about how they can be better, which I'm sure came very, very happily across the phone lines. [laughs] But the two struck up a relationship where they really could trust each other and rely on each other and understand how they could make materials even to sell these multimillion dollar programs in a more meaningful way. It was, again, by digging into those insights and being different strategically and not just selling attributes, but selling utility and meaningfulness and relevancy. The two of them spun out and started with one division of that company, which was called ABB. By the end of that year, they had 12 divisions of ABB as clients. So the agency was born doing B2B work to support sales teams. Over the years, it evolved many, many times. We have a saying at VIA: Born in 1993, reborn every year since. Because John was an engineer by education, they were very at the forefront of the digital era and did a lot of big technology website strategy as the internet emerged in the late '90s, early 2000s. Then pivoted again after the dot-com bust of the early 2000s. Pivoted again to do a lot of design and corporate work, really built on the strategic consultancy background they had. They were doing really deep strategic projects for clients, and then also design components and nomenclature and visual vocabularies for clients. All sorts of things. Then evolved again to be more focused on some B2C, direct-to-consumer work, but on a more regional basis, and then evolved again to be nationally recognized, national brands targeting primarily towards consumers. Now, I would say we're the best of all of those bits because we understand the digital landscape in a way that many don't, which is why we work with Chick-fil-A as their social and digital AOR. We understand big business and complications, which is why we work with some B2B clients and we take very, very complicated stories and make them very simple and digestible and important, and why we have these very, very powerful consumer brands like a Perdue or a Popsicle or Golden Corral. These are clients that have real meaning and bring real emotion to the table with consumers. We get to do all of those things every day, and that's, as I say, the best bits of all parts of our history. ROB: It's quite a path to navigate, too, because a lot of people crashed on the rocks. They got fat and happy from the late '90s, the era of the million-dollar website. I'm sure some things were almost like shooting fish in a barrel for people who were digitally savvy. We kind of went through that again with social for a season, where people were splashing similar budgets. But it's kind of matured in. It doesn't feel like there's as much of that splash, and now it has to be substance. Go ahead, it sounds like you've got something to drop in. LEEANN: I agree with you. I think what people were doing was saying, “Ooh, I have to be on social because that's where my consumer is” – again, a fact but not necessarily an insight. Just because they're there, doesn't mean you have to be there. They would just create content and, as we say, “spray and pray.” Just throw it out on the social channels and figure, “Oh, that's good. People will want to engage with me.” And that busted. I think what we're seeing is now the brands that are most successful in the social sphere are the ones who are understanding their place in the conversation and maintaining that place in the consumer's heart and mind and being respectful of the conversation they're entering, but also offering and being additive to it. Maybe it's utilitarian. Maybe it's something that is a little bit of shared brand custody, as we call it, when you want the consumer to take ownership of some of the brand elements. I think it requires deep strategy and a lot of thoughtfulness. It's not just, “I had a television ad and I made a shorter version of it and threw it all over Facebook and Instagram,” because that's not how those platforms work. ROB: Let's look at the intersection of VIA and its origin story with you. How did you come into the business and then end up in such a position of ultimate trust? What did that journey look like? LEEANN: I started in the business as a planner, at the time called an account planner. In my days as a planner, I was an account planner, a brand planner, a strategic planner. I wore every single version of that title. But I grew up in this world of consumer insights and understanding that the agency role could be to be the conscience or the therapist, really, between the consumer and the brand – connecting and listening to both and connecting the dots: being the conscience of the brand so they didn't overstep, and being the conscience of the consumer so they didn't turn away or block out the brand. So I grew up in planning. I was Chief Strategy Officer on a global level at an agency, and then at a more local level at an agency, I worked on blue chip brands like JPMorgan Chase, the NFL, AT&T, and Johnson & Johnson, all those good things. Then I transitioned in about 2012 to general agency management. That was because I had a relationship with someone who ran an agency called Translation in New York, and he was looking to make it go from just a project-based consultancy to a full-service agency. He and I had a friendship and relationship and really respected one another's intellects and points of view on how to turn brands on. So I joined him and I was there for a couple of years. The agency was exploding. We were doing great things. But in that time, I actually met John Coleman, our founder, and we had a lunch that struck me because we shared a lot of the same values. We talked a lot about what the business could be and what we wanted it to be and the kind of work we wanted to do. Honestly, again, it goes back to we find magic and we believe, and that's that optimism. We felt like we could do work that would not only move people, but maybe even leave the world a better place. We had a great talk, a couple hours, and we walked away friends. It occurred to me after that conversation that I was laughing a lot, and I realized – thanks to my husband actually pointing it out – that in my role as president of that other agency, I was having a lot of success, but I wasn't really having any fun. I went into this business because I thought it would be fun and magical and creative, and that was the part that was being stifled. Over the course of like six months, John and I became friends; he offered me the opportunity to come up to Maine. I was like, “I can't believe we're moving from New York.” I was born and raised in the New York area. But we moved ourselves to Maine, and I have not looked back once. I absolutely love it, and we do feel like we tend to put people before profits. We tend to have a lot of fun. We enjoy each other. John has since stepped out of the day-to-day of the business, but the management team and the associates – everybody here, really – we strive to create an environment where people enjoy each other because it creates a baseline of collaboration and inspiration that leads us to better work. Kind of a roundabout answer to your question, but I started out on the insight side. I've always really been invested in the creative aspect of what we do. I think the culture in which we do that really feeds the creative, so VIA gives an opportunity to do all of those things: really, really smart strategic consultancy background, really important focus on culture, and now we've also brought in a Chief Creative Officer who has fabulous expertise in crafting. His name's Bobby Hershfield, and he's amazing at crafting ideas so that the way they're presented and put out into the world really engages the consumer in a very intimate way. ROB: What a journey. You've mentioned a couple of times this AOR, agency of record designation. You've probably seen that phrase change meaning a few times. What does it mean now versus what it used to mean, and how should ambitious agencies that are chasing that designation think about it? LEEANN: There was a time when all we wanted was to be AOR. We couldn't be bothered with projects. Not VIA “we”; I mean “we,” the industry. We kind of shunned the idea that we could pop in and be experts on a project, or consultants. I think that's not true anymore. There are lots of amazing, interesting projects out there that you can work with really interesting partner agencies on, and partner clients. We do a combination of AOR and project work. But I think when you are AOR, it is a lot more than just “we set the campaign and everybody else executes it.” That is not what it is at all. I think it really is about understanding deeply the business that the client has, how it sits within the competitive marketplace, what their operational realities are, what the political realities are, how that business can grow, identifying that growth opportunity, and then unleashing creative to optimize it and to really go out and get that growth. That means thinking through everything, understanding the consumer experience and the customer journey and where the brand can plug into it and where it shouldn't, and then concepting ideas that go through that journey with the customer. That means way more than “I'm making an advertising campaign around a single idea and then everyone's executing it.” Now it's “I'm understanding the business. I'm understanding the consumer. I'm bringing those two together in a thoughtful way, and I'm going to create an idea that hits at different points in different ways so that the effect is not redundant, but it is in fact cumulative. ROB: That would seem probably more channel-specific, which is why some of the AOR designations have gone more channel, do you think? LEEANN: Yeah, possibly. But I think it's also because we're in a business now where we're competing not just with other people who do the same thing we're doing, but we're competing with agencies that do different things than we do. You might have a client who goes, “I have a traditional agency of record and then I have a digital agency of record.” But in fact, that's just false silos. If you have somebody who truly understands your business, they're thinking of it as how the consumer is experiencing this, not just what channel it's going to be on. The channels are very secondary to the story you're trying to tell and how you want the consumer to experience that story. ROB: Right. The brand still has to live somewhere. You can't just have a bunch of fractured brands. LEEANN: Yeah, exactly. ROB: Leeann, as you reflect on your time in leading VIA, and even before that maybe, in the industry, what are some things you've learned along the way that you might do a little bit differently if you were going back and giving yourself some advice? LEEANN: I kind of had a feeling a long time ago, well before I was even in a managerial role in an agency at large – I was in a managerial role in my discipline of planning, but not at the agency at large, and as a planner, I didn't have to know the business of our business. That's one piece of advice. I don't care what level you are or what discipline you are; you should understand how this industry makes money. I got away with living in la-la land as a planner for a good portion of my career, not really ever even understanding how we billed clients. You can get bogged down by it, but I think it's also important to understand. There's a balance. But I had this intuitive sense that there was a lot of waste in agencies. A lot of wasted hours, a lot of wasted discussion, a lot of wasted time, and we weren't getting to the meat. We were passing a baton around the agency in the hopes that somebody would stop and hold the baton and be like, “Okay, now I'm going to work on this.” I refer to it as the “See below” email. You may have gotten one of these from someone once upon a time. I consider these evil. Someone gets an email from someone else requesting something, and they just pass it along to someone who works with them and say, “See below” – which they might as well have said, “I didn't bother to read this. I'm making it your problem.” The person under them very often sends it to a person under them, and it just continues from there. That's what I mean by passing the baton and not really stopping and thinking. About six years ago at VIA, we got rid of all of the department silos within the agency and got rid of the gatekeeper mentality that perpetuated that baton passing. We rebuilt the agency from the bottom up to be much more agile, to be much more collaborative, and to have much more fun together. We created these interdisciplinary pods that work around clients, and each pod is led by four equal partners and leaders. There's a client strategy lead who's responsible for understanding what's being asked of us and, more importantly, why. There's a planning lead who helps us to honor insights and market trends and opportunities to have a strategic pathway. So they're responsible for the way. We have a creative lead who's responsible for the “wow,” whatever that means, whether it's inventing a new product or doing an advertisement or producing a show. It's all under the “wow.” Then we have the project management lead, who's responsible for the how and the when, which is really about resourcing, time management, budgets, scopes, all of that. When we put them all on equal footing, something really wonderful happened. They started acting like real partners. They started understanding that they were mutually accountable for this client's growth and that they were all part of the same sentence. Longer than a sentence; it would be a run-on. But you get what I'm saying. [laughs] You couldn't just have a client call one of them and ask a question and necessarily get the “Yes, you can have that Tuesday at 3:00,” because they're not responsible for that. They have to go, “Wait, are you asking the right question? Why are you asking that? Let's think about that strategically. Let's see if there's a different creative response. And oh, by the way, I have to go check with somebody else to see how our resources go.” It became honestly faster, which is sort of counterintuitive, but it's faster to get things done. It's inherently more collaborative. And as a result of it being more collaborative, everybody feels included and they can see their fingerprints on the work, and that makes it more fun. I would've done that a lot sooner. I kind of had that specced out in my brain I want to say almost 20 years ago, and we wrote it up and then I didn't do anything with it. It took a long time, but six years ago we did it, and it has helped shape our agency. It's helped get to better work. It gets to better insights. We have deeper client relationships. As I said, we have a happier populace all around because everyone feels included. And frankly, as everyone else is complaining that procurement is out there squeezing the profitability out of agencies, I feel like we regained our ability to be profitable because we eliminated the fat. So I would've done that sooner. ROB: Certainly less layers. Some of that seems to also come along with the evolution of communication channels that are available. Maybe this is more relevant to – it sounds like your org is largely in Portland, even if your clients are elsewhere. But even on distributed teams, you almost get stuck in the “See below” thing; when your choices are “Am I going to call someone, am I going to text them, or am I going to email them?”, you fall into email. But now we have some tighter lines on messaging. People will hop in a quick chat now, even online, even on a Zoom or a Slack group chat. LEEANN: Absolutely. Listen, dispersed teams are the reality of the future. We at VIA do believe that we are better when we are together in person as much as possible, so we really do try to do that, and we're being very thoughtful about how to do that safely. We did go back to the office in July. But we also really appreciate that some people have certain tasks or certain roles that are just more productive when they're working as individuals and remotely. So we have a hybrid model, and it really boils down to what task you have and what role you're playing on a given day. But you're right. We've retrained everyone, because now I know I have to consider others as thoughts pop into my head. I can't just sit there and do my own work. Even if I am remote, I've got to reach out to my partners. So I'm going to jump on Slack, I'm going to jump on Zoom, I'm going to pick up the phone, I'm going to even shoot them a text. But the conversation is much more free-flowing, and I think it gets to better solutions. Then to your other point, the channels that are available to us are changing so much. We took that model that we used at the top of every piece of business and we then applied it in the creative department. Like, why do we always just have our directors and copywriters concepting? That doesn't make sense. Maybe there's a product design person or maybe a technologist or a promotional person who should be in those concepting phases. So we actually work in creative roundtables where it's not just a two-person team; we assemble the right team for each assignment and we draw from all different areas of expertise, and it's the same kind of collaboration. You're all mutually responsible for the concept, so whatever concept we have is born able to fit all those different places. ROB: There's a lot to pull on there as well, but I want to be mindful of our time here. What is coming up, Leeann? What's coming up for VIA and the industry as a whole that you're excited about? LEEANN: I think it's a great time to be in advertising, honestly. I'm excited that our competitive set changes every day. I'm excited that sometimes we're competing with media companies and other times with creative boutiques and other times with consultants. I think that's really interesting. I'm excited that the smartest and best agencies can get deeper in with the C-suite and not just the marketing department or the CMO. I'm excited for how we utilize remote workforces and invite more diverse populations into our agencies and into our industry as a result of that opportunity, because we can reach further afield. I think that fundamentally changes the experiences and thoughts that come to the table. Of course, if you want to really have a great brainstorm and great creative, bring together two completely disparate things and throw them into a room and see what explodes out of it. People who are together, people who are dispersed, people of different backgrounds, people at different life stages – it's all an opportunity for us to think more broadly. And because clients are starting to see that they need more partners in helping them think – even in-house agencies. I don't see that as a threat. I see that as an opportunity, because we can get in there and help them think through things strategically and stop them from navel-gazing, but also leverage them for their expertise that we don't have from being in the four walls. So I think the most exciting thing is how our competitive sets are changing and how that opens up creative opportunities for us. And in order to get there, I think we need to – well, I know, and we all know, but we're actively working to diversify our workforce so we can come to the table with different ideas that catapult businesses forward. ROB: That's a whole other area where distributed helps tremendously. LEEANN: It definitely does. ROB: Different circumstances, different places. You can tap a lot broader pool of people to come together. LEEANN: Yeah, we have a program called VIAlocity that we started three years ago, before COVID, if there was a before COVID. [laughs] We hired talent from all over the world who were different from us, whether they were different culturally, ethnically, life stage-wise, ability-wise. We hired them into this collective and put them on a retainer. They were mostly freelancers who worked in different fields all around, or people who weren't traditionally in advertising. They were journalists or painters or photographers or stay-at-home moms. We put them in this collective so that we could tap into them. The retainer bought us the right to have them engaged in our email system and assigned to a pod so they knew what was going on, and then when we activate them on a project, we pay them a project fee on top of that. They're able to work for other people as well, but it gave us access to a much bigger pool. And that was fully remote, with the idea that we asked VIAlocity participants to be in Maine five days out of each quarter. They didn't have to be five consecutive days, but five days, just so that we could get that chemistry and get to know each other. Now, post-COVID, we've actually expanded VIAlocity to not just be our fractional workers who are on retainer and get project fees, but we have a couple of full-time remote workers who are part of VIAlocity also. If you're full-time remote, you have to be at the headquarters for 10 days out of each quarter. Obviously, the health situation, dependent on that. But so far, so good. ROB: Assuming they can get back into their home country. We have a guy who's out of country and he hasn't been able to come see us because he's not sure he can get back in. He's a U.S. citizen living elsewhere. It makes it interesting. But I think we're getting closer, is what I can say. LEEANN: I think so. We're getting better at working together in different ways, and that's great. I still think there's nothing like a good old-fashioned collaboration when you're in person because you just can't interrupt each other or build on each other's ideas on Zoom the way you can naturally in a room. The energy's just not there the way it is physically. But if you can combine the best of the physical togetherness with the best of the remote work and what it gives you, then there's magic to be found. ROB: Magic. Right back where we started with the magic. Magic here at VIA. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast, Leeann. LEEANN: My pleasure. Thank you for having me. ROB: And for sharing your experience, your wisdom. You've got it very well-formed and very well-communicated. Glad to have you. LEEANN: Thank you. Sometimes I just nerd out on it, though, so that's a little weird too. [laughs] ROB: [laughs] All good. Wonderful, Leeann. Be well. Bye. LEEANN: Great. Thank you, Rob. ROB: Thank you for listening. The Marketing Agency Leadership Podcast is presented by Converge. Converge helps digital marketing agencies and brands automate their reporting so they can be more profitable, accurate, and responsive. To learn more about how Converge can automate your marketing reporting, email info@convergehq.com, or visit us on the web at convergehq.com.

Living Well with Multiple Sclerosis
Let's Talk About Sex (and MS) | S3E43

Living Well with Multiple Sclerosis

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 27, 2021 51:42


Living Well with MS is proud to welcome back Dr. Aaron Boster, an Ohio-based neurologist specializing in MS, who has featured on episodes that tackled exploring how to make the right medication choices and the impacts of lifestyle choices on MS. Now we tap his expertise to help us grapple with an important topic that isn't discussed as often as it should be – sex. Sex and sexuality are vital dimensions of a healthy life, but how are they impacted by MS? Our discussion with Dr. Boster digs into the science and practical implications behind this topic, so let's talk about sex and MS!   Dr. Aaron Boster's Bio:   Dr. Aaron Boster is an award-winning, widely published, and board-certified neurologist specializing in multiple sclerosis and related CNS inflammatory disorders. He currently serves as the Director of the Neuroscience Infusion Center at OhioHealth. Witnessing his uncle's diagnosis with MS when he was 12, he and his family came to see a lack of coherence in the way MS was treated at the time. That experienced informed Dr. Boster's drive to do things differently. At OhioHealth, he spearheads a revolutionary model in MS treatment and patient care drawing on interdisciplinary resources and putting patients and families first. Dr. Boster is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Neurology at Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, and a former Assistant Professor of Neurology at The Ohio State University, where he also formerly headed the Neuroimmunology division. OMS has recently been pleased to welcome Dr. Boster as one of the newest additions to its Board of Trustees.   Dr Boster has been intimately involved in the care of people impacted by multiple sclerosis; he has been a principal investigator in numerous clinical trials, trained multiple MS doctors and nurse practitioners, and been published extensively in medical journals. He lectures to both patients and providers worldwide with a mission to educate, energize and empower people impacted by MS.    Dr Boster grew up in Columbus, Ohio and attended undergraduate at Oberlin College. He earned his MD at the University of Cincinnati College of medicine and completed an internship in Internal Medicine and Residency in Neurology at the University of Michigan, followed by a two-year fellowship in Clinical Neuroimmunology at Wayne State University.    He lives in Columbus, Ohio with his wife, Krissy, son Maxwell, and daughter Betty Mae.   Questions:   Aaron Boster, welcome back to Living Well with MS, and thanks for joining us again. Before we dig into this episode's main topic – sex and MS – there's a recent bit of news to mention. You've joined the Overcoming MS board of trustees. There is no doubt OMS is happy to have someone of your medical and clinical expertise on its board. How has the experience been so far and what compelled you to join in this capacity? Let's shift gear into our main topic – sex and MS. This is quite important and perhaps not discussed as often as it should be. First off, how would you define sexuality in the context of MS? Is it common for people with MS to experience sexual dysfunction or other challenges with having a normal sexual life? Do the types of sexual dysfunction differ depending on the types of MS you have? If a man is experiencing sexual dysfunction connected to his MS, what are his options for overcoming or managing it? What if you're a woman experiencing sexual dysfunction connected to your MS. What are your options for managing it? Some people with MS encounter some sort of physical impediments or disabilities. How might that affect your sexual life and what can you do about it? Is there any specific research currently going on that studies MS and its influence on a person's healthy sexual life? If there was one critical takeaway you could share with anyone in our audience experiencing sexual issues related to their MS, what would it be? Before we wrap up, and on a totally different note, I couldn't let someone of your expertise leave the guest chair without asking you a question of personal interest to me as well as many other members of our community – about supplements. There are many out there to choose from, from Co-enzyme Q10 and probiotics to things like Ginkgo Biloba, Echinacea, St. John's Wort, Valerian, Ginseng, and many more. Is there a general framework for deciding whether to try a supplement and are there any whose positive effects are supported by an evidence base?   Links:   Check out Dr. Boster's popular YouTube channel covering all aspects of MS. Boster is now a trustee of Overcoming MS.   Coming up on our next episode:   In just a few days, you can get another dose of our podcast with the premiere of the 24th installment of our Coffee Break series, as we travel (in the eco-friendly virtual sense) to Christchurch, New Zealand to meet another fascinating member of the OMS community, Lieza Vanden Broeke. Lieza has a remarkable personal backstory, and her experience with MS will provide insights and inspiration to our global community. Plus, she's also the ambassador of the OMS Circle in Christchurch. Thanks to Lieza for her candid interview, and to our listeners for being part of the OMS podcast family!   Don't miss out:   Subscribe to this podcast and never miss an episode. You can catch any episode of Living Well with MS here or on your favorite podcast listening app. Don't be shy – if you like the program, leave a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you tune into the show.   S3E43 Transcript Let's Talk About Sex (and MS)   Geoff Allix (Intro) (2s): Welcome to Living Well with MS, the podcast for Overcoming MS for people with multiple sclerosis interested in making healthy lifestyle choices. I'm your host Geoff Allix. Thank you for joining us for this new episode. I hope it makes you feel more informed and inspired about living a full life with MS. Don't forget to check out our show notes for more information and useful links. You can find these on our website at www.overcomingms.org/podcast. If you enjoy the show, please spread the word about us on your social media channels. That's the kind of viral effect we can all smile about. Finally, don't forget to subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast platform so you never miss an episode.   Geoff Allix (Intro) (44s): Now without further ado, on with the show.   Geoff Allix (48s): Living Well with MS is proud to welcome back Dr. Aaron Boster, an Ohio-based award-winning, widely published, and board-certified neurologist, and the founder of the Boster Center for Multiple Sclerosis, who was featured on past episodes that tackled exploring how to make the right medication choices and the impacts of lifestyle choices on MS. Now we tap his expertise to help us grapple with an important topic that isn't discussed as often as it should be – sex. Sex and sexuality are vital dimensions of a healthy life, but how are they impacted by MS? Our discussion with Dr. Boster digs into the science and practical implications behind this topic. So, Dr. Aaron Boster, welcome back to Living Well with MS.   Geoff Allix (1m 28s): And let's talk about sex and MS.   Dr. Aaron Boster (1m 30s): Thank you so much for having me. I'm delighted to be back. And you're right, this is an underappreciated topic which needs to be discussed much more frequently. So, I'm glad that we're doing this today.   Geoff Allix (1m 41s): Before we dig into the main topic of sex and MS, there's two things I'd like to mention. Firstly, I just want to call out that your YouTube channel, which is very easy to find, if you just search for Aaron Boster on YouTube, you'll find it. In fact, if you search for MS on YouTube, I think it would come pretty high. It is personally, I think the single best resource for a person with MS.   Dr. Aaron Boster (2m 7s): Wow.   Geoff Allix (2m 8s): Hugely it is... I don't know how many videos you probably are much more aware than me, but I'd say hundreds. There are huge numbers.   Dr. Aaron Boster (2m 15s): Yes, 450 some.   Geoff Allix (2m 18s): Right. So, whatever topic there is an episode there, and I've found it incredibly useful, incredibly informative. So, I would –   Dr. Aaron Boster (2m 25s): So, nice of you to say thank you.   Geoff Allix (2m 27s): Well, yeah, I mean, I just think it's, I encourage everyone just going to have a look. It's just, you don't have to look at every topic. Recently, there's one on cannabis and MS. At which in the UK, the police would have different opinions. So, bits aren't going to be, you know, I mean appropriate for everyone. But yeah, there's such a wealth of resources there. So, the second thing, you've joined the Overcoming MS Board of Trustees.   Dr. Aaron Boster (2m 56s): Yes.   Geoff Allix (2m 56s): Yeah, I think everyone at OMS is happy to have you on board, and your medical and clinical expertise. So, what compelled you to join? And how has it been so far?   Dr. Aaron Boster (3m 9s): Thank you. Let me answer those in reverse order. Today, it's been awesome. There's a significant onboarding process, and I've had a great time meeting the other Board of Trustees members, getting to know the Chair, the CEO, and really starting to get to understand the organization. So far, I've participated in one formal board meeting. It's been pretty great so far. I am really excited for what's coming with Overcoming MS over the next couple years. So, the fact that I get to participate is really, really special to me. Now, what compelled me to do it? Really two things if I may. The first thing is, if you look at my style of MS, my brand of delivering MS care, and the tenets that I have developed and talk about and teach.   Dr. Aaron Boster (3m 58s): And you look at the tenets of Overcoming MS, they are remarkably convergent, like remarkably so. When I list out being five for five, when I talk about the importance of family, I mean, we just listed six of the seven. I mean, we're very, very converged. That was one thing that as I started to learn more about Overcoming MS, I said, “Wow, these folks are really thinking along the same lines as me.” The second thing is, getting an MS diagnosis is scary. And it's a moment in time when people aren't sure what to do. And in certain locations there's awesome resources to shepherd someone through an early diagnosis.   Dr. Aaron Boster (4m 41s): But in many locations, that's probably lacking, and access is a major issue. And so, if you're in a spot where you're recently diagnosed or you don't know what to do, reaching for something that is ready made and awesome is a beautiful thing. And I'll be transparent. In my religion, there are a set criteria of things that you're supposed to do when someone dies. Okay. So, if you don't know what to do when you're grieving the loss of a loved one, there's some set things you're supposed to do: You're supposed to grieve for a certain amount of time. The community helps you in a certain fashion. And really, in the absence of knowing how to cope in grief with a loss, that is an awesome structure to have.   Dr. Aaron Boster (5m 24s): And in many ways, I think for someone newly diagnosed with MS, this is a beautiful thing to say, “Sure do this.” So, for both of those reasons, I'm really, really excited to participate. It's been a great experience so far. So more to come.   Geoff Allix (5m 39s): And one thing I would say that you have that Overcoming MS doesn't, but should do, I think as an extra pillar would be drink more water. And that's not an Overcoming MS thing. So, we're on a podcast. You can't see me. I'm just picking up my glass this very moment.   Dr. Aaron Boster (5m 56s): Sure. And I've got water in my mug, yeah, yeah. So, I'm   Geoff Allix (5m 59s): And I think that's, I know we're going off-topic here, but I think that it should be. It's such a simple thing. And because a lot of us have bladder issues and things, and then you sort of say, “Okay, maybe drink less because that's a bladder buster.” I even know it. I know, if I didn't drink enough, then I feel worse. It's one of those instant things. So, some of the things with MS, slow burn as a summary instant. Stress is instant, dehydration is instant.   Dr. Aaron Boster (6m 27s): Absolutely spot on. And, you know, I like to challenge people sometimes because I'll say, you know, drink more water, and they'll say something to the effect of, "You sound like my mom." You know, or like, that's silly advice. I'll say, “Okay, but try it.”   Geoff Allix (6m 39s): Yeah.   Dr. Aaron Boster (6m 39s): Try drinking an adequate amount of water for like three days and see what happens. You know because people are shocked. They're like, “Oh, my gosh, I really do feel better.”   Geoff Allix (6m 45s): Yeah. And you've made it really simple as well. So, I just drink a pint or half liter with each meal, and then drink a pint or half liter between each meal.   Dr. Aaron Boster (6m 56s): Yeah, then you're done. You just did.   Geoff Allix (6m 59s): Yeah.   Dr. Aaron Boster (6m 59s): Spot on. Yeah. Then you're good for the day. And unfortunately, so many people, and you give a great example as to why they may shy away from water intake, and inadvertently make their situation so much worse.   Geoff Allix (7m 10s): Yeah, so I'd like to. Yeah, so on your next board meeting. So, can we add an extra? Drink more water.   Dr. Aaron Boster (7m 19s): Okay. I'll bring it up. As we talk about sex, this, we will come back to this whole bladder thing. It is very, very related.   Geoff Allix (7m 27s): I was going to think, yeah. I was thinking you can't say, drink water during sex, that wouldn't work. But anyway. So, let's get on to our main topic, sex and MS. So, it's a very important one. I mean, it's obviously very important for the survival of the species as much as anything, but it's an important topic. And probably not discussed often enough, often embarrassing. So, how would you define sexuality in the context of MS?   Dr. Aaron Boster (8m 2s): So, you know, sexuality arguably would be defined as humans' ability to experience sexual feelings. It's a really broad blanket term for a lot of things related to sex. So, my first comment is I don't think of sexuality in someone impacted by MS any different than I do in any other human. And I think that's actually a very, very important distinction because there's nothing unique about the sexuality of human being if they happen to have a chronic illness or not. Now, playing out sexual behaviors, intimacy, all these wonderful things, MS can risk interfering.   Dr. Aaron Boster (8m 46s): And that's where we get into a really important discussion. And that's where sometimes we really need to try to help educate and intervene.   Geoff Allix (9m 1s): So, is sexual dysfunction more common for people with MS? Does it increase the chances?   Dr. Aaron Boster (9m 7s): It certainly is. Now, you know, MS is a situation where the immune system can affect any part of the supercomputer that runs your body - the brain, and the superhighway - the spinal cord. And unfortunately, there's plenty of specific areas in the brain and spinal cord where if there's damage, it could interfere with sexual functioning. And so, the spinal cord is a really good example. Very commonly, when someone has a transverse myelitis, inflammation in their spinal cord, then they may find that their limbs are numb or kind of weak. But they also will very likely notice problems with the down theres – bowel, bladder, and sexual function. And this is, unfortunately, all too common in the setting of MS.   Dr. Aaron Boster (9m 48s): I would also say that it's oftentimes overlooked by the MS clinic, something that's kind of glossed over and not discussed. And given that it's somewhat of a taboo topic in casual conversation, I think patients are sometimes a little bit nervous to bring it up.   Geoff Allix (10m 8s): And does the type of MS you have whether it's relapsing or progressive, does that affect the types of sexual dysfunction you might have?   Dr. Aaron Boster (10m 16s): I would say no. I would rather think about the kinds of sexual dysfunction a little bit differently. Not so much related to the phenotype of MS. So, someone with relapsing MS, or Primary Progressive MS, Secondary Progressive MS, what have you, I don't see different kinds of sexual problems. I would run about it as follows: primary sexual dysfunction, secondary sexual dysfunction, and tertiary sexual dysfunction. So, just to share a couple quick definitions that helped me when I'm thinking about this. Primary sexual dysfunction is a problem with the circuitry and hormones of sex. So, when the down theres are stimulated, there's a lot of circuitry that goes on to assist in intercourse.   Dr. Aaron Boster (10m 58s): That message in the down there has to go all the way up to the brain, through the spinal cord, where the brain interprets the activities and says, “Ah, okay.” And then it sends messages from the brain back down to the down theres to do certain things. We're talking about arousal, orgasm… excuse me, arousal, either erection or lubrication depending on the gender, and then eventually orgasm. And so primary sexual dysfunction can result from MS damage in the brain and spinal cord. And what can happen is you can end up with problems in the circuitry. And so, you can have difficulties with any of those things - arousal, erection, maintaining an erection, ejaculating or arousal, lubrication orgasm.   Dr. Aaron Boster (11m 43s): The other piece to this when I think about primary sexual dysfunction is imbalances in hormones. And I have, for several years now started to routinely screen gentlemen, for example, looking at testosterone levels. Not just to help with sexual function, but there's also ramifications through other aspects of MS, believe it or not. So that's kind of primary sexual dysfunction. And we'll talk maybe a little bit later about how we overcome those things. Secondary sexual dysfunction is important and very often overlooked. And it's a situation where there's problems with sex, not because of the circuitry of sex, not because of hormones, but because of MS symptoms that make things not sexy.   Dr. Aaron Boster (12m 24s): For example, if you're having intercourse, and you lose your bladder, it may stop the activity. I mean, you know, that's like scary to a lot of people. They would think, “Oh my goodness, gracious.” And if you're having intercourse and your leg goes into an extensor spasm, it's extremely painful, you're not having sex anymore. Yet even things like motor fatigue can make it so that, you know the activity of intercourse can become challenging, and these are all secondary sexual dysfunction issues. This is where, to be honest, we can really gain a lot of ground. Now, tertiary sexual dysfunction, I would define as not so much the circuitry of sex or symptoms that interfere with sex, but it's more of a psychological phenomenon where the human being doesn't feel sexual.   Dr. Aaron Boster (13m 11s): They don't feel like a sexual being. They feel maybe like an they feel ill. They don't feel that they can be sexy. And so, when I think about sexual dysfunction, I find it most helpful to kind of try to bucket things into those categories. And oftentimes, we're dealing with all three.   Geoff Allix (13m 35s): And so, if we break it down into men and women, what options would a man have if he's experiencing sexual dysfunction connected with MS? Or how could that be managed or helped?   Dr. Aaron Boster (13m 50s): Absolutely. And so, if we first think about arousal, and this is actually true for both men and women. I'll make sure to give distinctions. When we think about arousal, the first thing I want to do is I want to look at their medicines. And I want to look and see if I have them on medicines that can impair arousal. And you'd be shocked at how many can. So, unfortunately, many of the SSRI and SNRI antidepressants, which are used very commonly in humans can impair libido. And so, you may have significant sexual dysfunction because of a high dose of Zoloft, for example. And so, we need to look at that. And there's a host of other medicines that could interfere with arousal.   Dr. Aaron Boster (14m 31s): Also in the setting of arousal, for gentlemen, we'll look at testosterone levels, and look and see if his testosterone, which I would like to be above 400 is down like in the 100s. And maybe that's a component as to why that's a problem. Another very, very, very common because of loss of arousal or interest in both men and women is depression. Now depression is twice as likely to be experienced by a person impacted by MS compared to the general population. And one of the hallmarks of depression is something called anhedonia. Where just stuff that you enjoy just isn't really that much fun anymore. Like if you do really like book club or watching TV, doesn't do it for you.   Dr. Aaron Boster (15m 10s): And so that can happen with sex, which is a major thing. And because depression is so common in MS, we would be foolish not to screen for that, or ask the question, could that be related to arousal? And so other things that we think about in both men and women, recent psychosocial stressors. You'll hear about a guy lose his job, and then he's not interested in intercourse, because he's really dealing with, he's kind of stressed out. So, I really require not just some laboratories, but also a careful history and some open honest communication when dealing with the gentleman's issues as it relates to arousal.   Dr. Aaron Boster (15m 56s): The women, I guess, if it's okay with you, let me answer the same question for women just really quick.   Geoff Allix (16m 2s): Yeah, it's okay.   Dr. Aaron Boster (16m 3s): So, with women, we will look at all the same things I just said. Right? Hormone levels included. And then in depression included in the like. With women, there's actually interestingly two FDA approved therapies to help women with low libido, which is really cool. And interestingly, not known by many, many people. So, there's a medicine which is approved in the United States of the trade name Addyi, A-D-D-Y-I. And I'm spelling it for you because I'm blanking as I talk to you about the generic name. So, I'm sorry. And that is a pill taken once a day, which in about half of our patients results in improving female libido quite substantially.   Dr. Aaron Boster (16m 46s): There's also an injection that's administered by urologist. And I don't, I've never prescribed it. It's called PT141. And this is also a therapy that can be very, very helpful in helping with female libido. So, there's actually more options to help with female libido than male. And so that's the first area. And I want to stress that you can't really skip over it. It is so terribly important. When we then talk about the second phase of things that would be erection for gentlemen. I like to divide my thoughts about erections into half. There is obtaining an erection and then maintaining an erection adequate for a penetration of vagina, anus, mouth, whatever it is that you're trying to accomplish that evening or day.   Dr. Aaron Boster (17m 28s): And so, with erections, we want to find out, are you able to -- do you have erections when you wake up ever? Like it is the physiology, the circuitry of erections, is that intact? Are you able to maintain an erection on your own, like through masturbation, for example? And during intercourse, what's going on? And this conversation is important because, again, we have to think about primary, secondary, tertiary options. Primary sexual dysfunction, most commonly occurs because of spinal cord involvement in MS. And what essentially happens is the down there are stimulated and as the message is going up the spinal cord it dies.   Dr. Aaron Boster (18m 9s): So, the message is never delivered to the brain. So, the brain is not informed of the dealio. So, in this situation, something that can be extremely helpful is a plug in the wall vibrator, right? So, I sometimes on podcasts and whatnot have talked about the vibrator trick, which I'll share now. In the vibrator trick is where you spend 60 bucks American and you purchase a plug in the wall vibrator. And my favorite brand is Hitachi Magic Wand. I don't have a contract. Though I would do a branding deal with them in a heartbeat until –   Geoff Allix (18m 43s): I believe, they're mentioned on the Sex in the City way back.   Dr. Aaron Boster (18m 47s): Yeah, certainly. Certainly. So, this is marketed as a back massager. And it's a plug in vibrator. And the reason it's so important is we need kind of like overdrive stimulation, right? A double D battery vibrator is not going to cut it for this purpose. And then what you do is you apply a water-based lubricant to the genitalia because that increases skin sensitivity. And then you apply the plug in the wall vibrator, you know, the hardcore power from the wall, and you apply it on the glands, penis, you apply to the head of the penis, you applied it under the testicles, you apply it somewhere where it feels good. And this is providing overdraft stimulation. Just to make the point clear, I'll use an example of us talking right now.   Dr. Aaron Boster (19m 29s): So, I'm talking using my indoor voice because there's no interference between essentially my mouth and your ear, even though we're across the continent, and there's microphones, and speakers and stuff involved. Now, let's say that we were having this exact same conversation during business hours. I'm in my lobby of my office. Today is Sunday. But if this was a busy business day, it would be super loud in here. And you wouldn't be able to hear me when I used my indoor voice. So, I would have to use overdrive stimulation. I would have to scream, and really project really loudly so that you could hear me. And that's what we're doing with a plug in the wall vibrator as it relates to intercourse. We're providing overdrive stimulation so down there can get the message to the brain and let the brain know what's up.   Dr. Aaron Boster (20m 13s): Now the advantage of a plug in the vibrator is there's no side effects. It's relatively inexpensive. And you can do it by yourself during masturbation. You can do it before intercourse as a form of foreplay. You can literally hold the device between you and your partner with continuous stimulation during intercourse. And it works well for both men and women. So, everything that I just said with regards to obtaining erection can be applied to maintaining an erection by using the vibrator. And we have taught some gentlemen, if they have difficulties they'll withdraw, and then they can apply the vibrator to the shaft of the penis, it will become adequately erect again, and they can continue having fun.   Dr. Aaron Boster (20m 55s): And so, this is a very helpful tool. Now, probably the most widely utilized tool is a little blue pill, right? So, Viagra, Cialis, and the like are very, very helpful medicines, in helping gentlemen obtain and maintain erection, pharmacologically, they're superb. And so, if there isn't a cardiovascular risk, why you can't handle the Viagra or Cialis, what have you, that's a very useful tool. Taken about an hour before intercourse works best on an empty stomach. You do have to worry about light-headedness, and there's some blood pressure concerns. And that can make a really big difference in a guy's life. You know, it's of note that if you want to make an adult miserable, mess up their ability to eat good food or have sex, and then we'll be miserable.   Dr. Aaron Boster (21m 41s): And MS risks interfering with sex for sure. And so, a little blue after dinner mint can really change a guy's outlook on life. Now, again, on the topic of obtaining and maintaining erection, testosterone level is very, very relevant. Now, there's a bunch of other things you can do. For example, intracavernous penile injections. So, before the era of pills, we had the shots on the side of the penis, and everyone listened going, “Ooh!” But in exchange for that route of administration, you have a fantastic erection. And sometimes when pills don't work, we still go back to those tried-and-true methods.   Dr. Aaron Boster (22m 24s): Other things that you can do if you're a gentleman, using a device, you can trap the erection. So, you can use a vacuum device, which can be very, very effective. And if you're really serious about an erection, and those things aren't working, urologists can actually do penile implants. I have some patients who have been very, very happy with penile implants because nothing else was really working for them. So, you know, you might say, how dedicated are you to your erection? Because if you're dedicated enough, we can guarantee that you'll be able to be erect.   Dr. Aaron Boster (23m 6s): Getting into the same questions with women, we're really dealing with lubrication, alright? And engagement of the tissue to allow adequate arousal. And so, that's kind of the equivalent for women as erections are to men. And there's several ways of addressing difficulties that a woman may have with lubrication. So, one thing you can do is apply a water-based lubricant. Very straightforward, very, very effective. Another option is to apply an estrogen cream to the vulva. If you're not taking systemic hormones, and there are reasons why some women may not be appropriate for taking systemic hormones, because of cancer risks. Applying a hormone cream topically is really great because it's just absorbed locally.   Dr. Aaron Boster (23m 51s): So, there's no systemic risks. But applying an estrogen cream can really help with engagement and with lubrication. We very commonly prescribe a compounded cream which is called scream cream. And it is what it sounds like. It's a compounded mix, which includes Viagra and theophylline and several other agents which help in increase blood flow and encouragement and help with lubrication. And so, someone may have a can of scream cream that they use in preparation for intercourse. And so those things can be very, very helpful. Obviously, adequate clitoral stimulation, or vaginal stimulation through the same plug in the wall vibrator is a really smart tool.   Dr. Aaron Boster (24m 32s): And that can help with lubrication. Now, the tips for orgasm, for achieving orgasm are all along the same lines. Really we have to bring, for both men and women - primary, secondary, and tertiary measures to the table to achieve orgasm. And sometimes we have to take extra measures depending on the specifics of the individual. But the point that I hope I'm conveying is, is that: number one, there are a lot of options to make this better if you're a boy or girl. And number two, it's worth it. Right? It's worth it to have an excellent sexual experience. Sorry, that was a little bit of a long-winded answer.   Dr. Aaron Boster (25m 14s): I got a little carried away there but talk about that.   Geoff Allix (25m 15s): No, no its good. And so, what you've talked to us about was very medical. But you mentioned especially the tertiary side of it.   Dr. Aaron Boster (25m 25s): Yes.   Geoff Allix (25m 25s): I love the thinking as well.   Dr. Aaron Boster (25m 26s): Yes.   Geoff Allix (25m 26s): So, is it worth getting counseling, maybe couples counseling? Because still, it's difficult to -- and this happens, whether you have MS or not. It's to convince the other person it's useful.   Dr. Aaron Boster (25m 34s): Super, super important. In fact, if you said, “Aaron, what's the number one tip?” The number one tip is none of the stuff I just mentioned. The number one tip is talking to your partner. So, let's discuss that. Very commonly, independent from having a chronic condition like MS. Very commonly, we have hang-ups about sex, and we have areas of concern or embarrassment, or topics that we're shy about. For example, many people are reluctant to flatulate in front of their spouse. Right? So, that's the thing. Like, you know, we don't want to do that. And so, talking about sex is not something that most of us are just completely at ease doing.   Dr. Aaron Boster (26m 20s): Even with our spouse, even with a monogamous partner of 30 years. And when you have a chronic condition, like multiple sclerosis, which can, as we've talked about interfere with the circuitry and the success of intercourse, it adds complexity. It doesn't make it easier, it makes it harder. What I have found in talking to families for over a decade and a half now. And I'm very, very open about this topic in that oftentimes, the two members of the couple would love to talk to the other person. They are dying to talk the other person about this, and they are nervous.   Dr. Aaron Boster (27m 4s): And when they broach a conversation, it's almost cathartic because together, they can game out an earth shattering, toe-curling, blood-curdling orgasm that would set land speed records and make the neighbors call to make sure everyone's still safe. And it's accomplished because of communication with the partner. Say, and let me be a little bit granular. One partner may really enjoy a particular position in sex because it's really fun for them, which might cause the other partner with MS to go into spasms. Or it may make the other partner develop truncal ataxia, or maybe it overheats that partner. And the person with MS might not be sharing that.   Dr. Aaron Boster (27m 46s): They may not be telling the spouse or the partner, “Hey, listen, when you lay on top of me like that, you're a heavy dude, my body gets heated up and I can't feel anything. Get off me!” You know, simply talking about changing something as simple as a sexual position might be the answer to really meaningful intercourse. So, you are very spot on in bringing this up. And if you are uncomfortable talking about the topic, let's game out several things that you can do to broach the situation. Okay. So you could, for example, do couples counseling. Couples counselors are very wonderful because they can help be sounding boards.   Dr. Aaron Boster (28m 27s): “Did you hear what he just said? Let me repeat it for you.” I mean, you know, they're fantastic kind of notes. I really like couples counseling myself. There are sex counsellors, alright? I mean, maybe another thing to do is just to have the person listen to our podcast that we're doing right now and say, “Hey, the little balding, hyper neurologist in Columbus, Ohio was saying we should talk about sex. I mean, what do you think?” And maybe that broaches a conversation. But if you can sit down and talk about sex, and really what I would want you to bring to the table is the following: What are your goals? Seriously. Is your goal to help your partner achieve orgasm? If that's a goal, state it. State that's a goal.   Dr. Aaron Boster (29m 6s): Is your goal to simply be intimate and touch one another? I mean, these are things that you should talk about. Are you going to orgasm? State the goals. If there are certain things that you really like, and really don't like sexually, particularly the don't like part. “You know, I know that you're really like doing blankety blank to me, and that's very sweet. Except I can't feel it. I can't feel it.” So, you doing that is awesome. I just want to let you know that like I don't even notice that you're doing. So, FYI. I mean that kind of communication is really valuable. Because then the partner will say “Well, geez, Louise, let me not do that. Let me do something different.” And I think what you'd find is if you have this conversation, it will improve your sex life.   Dr. Aaron Boster (29m 55s): The conversation will lead to a better experience. It really will.   Geoff Allix (30m 1s): And so, we've talked a lot about that there could be nerve damage between brain and sexual organs and that's affecting your ability to have an erection, lubrication, orgasms. But what if a person with MS has physical impediments or a disability? You know, apart from their sexual organs don't work properly.   Dr. Aaron Boster (30m 22s): Yes.   Geoff Allix (30m 22s): How could that affect their sexual life? What could they do about that side of things?   Dr. Aaron Boster (30m 30s): So that involves playing smarter, not harder. Let me give you an example. If we think about a traditional Western missionary position of sex, the guy on top in this like, misogynist example, I apologize. It's kind of doing push-ups, right? Which is a tremendous amount of physical activity, keeping the core body strong and the arms, it's a lot. So that might not be feasible for someone. Right? Now, instead, install in your bedroom an eye hook in the ceiling beam, and install a sex sling. The whole world changes now. You place a partner on a sex sling, you can move them around, spin them, pivot them, push them, thrust, move, up, down, left, right, and it takes almost no effort, right.   Dr. Aaron Boster (31m 20s): And so, by changing from good old-fashioned force of will to using something like leveraging a sex sling, or using a wedge, they make these awesome wedges, which is kind of like bringing a gymnastics room into your bedroom. Where you can position a partner on a wedge. If you have problems in certain positions, again, this goes back to the talking about planning, don't do those things. And if other positions are more successful, do those things. Let's use another example of bowel and bladder issues. Very common. Someone has such fear of incontinence of urine or stool, they will not have sex, which is a travesty.   Dr. Aaron Boster (32m 3s): So, what can you do instead? You can, if necessary, do an inner in self cath, and empty your bladder completely, 100% guaranteed prior to intercourse. If you are prone to urinary tract infections, have your neurologist give you antibiotics that you take before or after sex, alright? If you are having trouble with constipation, you can spend a day or two pre-sex emptying out and getting completely evacuated. Even if that involves an or you know, digital rectal stimuli, or whatever is necessary, you can prepare for that. Do you see what I mean? There's a bunch of things that we can do. You have dyspareunia, which is a terrible word.   Dr. Aaron Boster (32m 47s): It means pain with sexual sensation. So, the act of sex hurts. We have to look into, why you have dyspareunia? If it's because of spasms of the vaginal canal, we might use a rectal suppository of valium before intercourse. If it's because of neuropathic pain and burning sensation, we might use a numbing cream. Right? My point here, is if we can identify -- because in my mind what you're saying those are all secondary sexual dysfunctions. If we identify what the problem is, we can game out how to make it better. Then if you remember nothing from my answer, I simply want you to remember sex swing.   Dr. Aaron Boster (33m 28s): Sex swing. Okay.   Geoff Allix (33m 29s): And in the last few years, the amount of research in MS medication has just leapt forward. I mean, it's gone from -- so my father had MS. There are no real treatments. When I first was diagnosed. Not really, like what? Five years ago? There were treatments then but there must be 4, 5, 6, 10 times that many now. That seems to be it's really escalating. So, are there any treatments going on or studies going on for people with MS, and their ability to have a healthy sexual life?   Dr. Aaron Boster (34m 5s): So, in preparation for our discussion, I actually looked this up because I wanted to be able to answer this question if asked. So, yay. And I went, the way I look up information like that is at the clinicaltrials.gov, which is a site for any clinical trial that's registered by the United States government. And there were 125 hits for when I searched for multiple sclerosis sexuality. And I looked through the first 10 or 20. All over the world, France, Turkey, Louisiana, Cleveland. So, there were trials throughout. Now, almost all of these are investigator-initiated trials. You know, so a clinic running a small study.   Dr. Aaron Boster (34m 46s): But my point here is yes, there's a lot going on. Looking at testosterone levels, looking at various pharmacotherapies, looking at behavioral therapies, a lot of stuff. And so, I hope if you're listening to this, it's reassuring to know that clinic doctors and researchers alike recognize this is such a critically important aspect to life that we're investing resources to try to help you make it better.   Geoff Allix (35m 9s): And you mentioned about testosterone. So, getting testosterone checked is that part of blood test?   Dr. Aaron Boster (35m 13s): Yes. So, the way that I do it in clinic is I draw a morning level of testosterone. And the reason it needs to be morning, a gentleman's testosterone is highest in the morning, and it goes down throughout the day. So, if you tested in the evening and have a low value, you don't really know if it's just because of the diurnal, you know, the fact that it drops down. So, you want to get the best most accurate reading. You do that in the morning. You know testosterone level in the morning. I get it on two separate occasions. And if it's low, the total testosterone is low, that's a blood test, then that opens up the opportunity to treat with testosterone. Which in MS helps gentlemen not just with intercourse, not just with erectile function and ejaculation in the bedroom, but it also helps improve cognition, and slow disability progression, and improve fatigue with gentlemen with MS.   Geoff Allix (36m 9s): And is there an equivalent for women with estrogen?   Dr. Aaron Boster (36m 12s): It's not the same rules, interestingly. It's not the same set of variables. And now looking at hormone levels in women is important. And particularly surrounding times of menopause, when we can see an uptick of MS symptoms, and specifically related to intercourse, as I was mentioning with lubrication. So that is relevant, but for a different set of reasons.   Geoff Allix (36m 38s): So, men definitely worth getting checked out on testosterone, but women…?   Dr. Aaron Boster (36m 43s): Not as much. No, I don't routinely check women's testosterone levels in my clinic.   Geoff Allix (36m 49s): Okay, and if, so, if there's one takeaway you could share with the audience, if people are having sexual issues related to MS, what would that be?   Dr. Aaron Boster (36m 57s): That the one takeaway would be to have open communication with your partners and with your clinicians, because there are ways to make it better. We don't have to just accept this is now the new state of affairs. On the contrary, there are plenty of things that we can do. And you're worth it. It's worth exploring and improving because it is such an important aspect of life, that it's not okay, you just to say, "Well, too bad."   Geoff Allix (37m 27s): And there's no reason, I mean, the two of us, I think, are probably beyond wanting to have more children at our age.   Dr. Aaron Boster (37m 35s): Correct.   Geoff Allix (37m 36s): There's no reason that a person can't be fertile as well as…   Dr. Aaron Boster (37m 43s): Oh, absolutely. So, there's a whole separate conversation. But I actually love to come back and talk to you about this. But there's a whole separate conversation about fertility, and pregnancy, and gestation and delivery related to MS. The quick skinny is MS has no bearing on fertility whatsoever. None. And as it relates to our conversation, if you're having intercourse, we need to be thinking about the appropriate use of contraception to avoid unplanned events such as unplanned pregnancies and things like that.   Geoff Allix (38m 17s): And before we wrap up, there's something I wanted to ask you on a completely different tack.   Dr. Aaron Boster (38m 26s): Absolutely.   Geoff Allix (38m 27s): So, just as someone who's got a lot of expertise in this area, and something that is of personal interest. Because of the podcast, I get asked lots about different supplements. So, people say, “Have you tried Coenzyme Q10? Have you tried lion's mane mushroom, St. John's Wort, ginseng, ginkgo biloba?” There's countless things. And some of them, I'm fairly sure, yeah, if your magnesium is low that's, you know, if anything's not off the normal levels, then yeah, absolutely.   Geoff Allix (39m 7s): But there's always someone championing a supplement or other. So firstly, is there a framework that you would use to decide whether to try a supplement?   Dr. Aaron Boster (39m 18s): That's an awesome question. Thank you for asking me that question. And it's a multi layered answer. So, I have two criteria, if you will. So, the first criteria, there are three things that must be met, if I'm going to greenlight a supplement. The first one is it can't be too expensive. So, each individual family has to decide if the cost of something is too expensive or not for them. And I bring that up because sometimes you may find supplements where it's actually a big chunk of their weekly check, and that's not okay with me. Particularly, if I don't have hardcore science suggesting that I can guarantee it works. So, it can't be too expensive. The second thing is it can't be dangerous.   Dr. Aaron Boster (39m 59s): And sometimes supplements are dangerous. Now, oftentimes, they're not. But let me give you an example. If an immune booster actually boosted your immune system, it would be dangerous to take when you have MS. And, you know, just because it's natural doesn't mean it's safe. I mean, cyanide is natural. So, the second criterion is it can't be dangerous. And sometimes I have to do some investigations, digging through various ingredients to try to answer that question. The third is that it can't be instead of something I know works. So, if you tell me that you want to take CoQ10. CoQ10 is not dangerous. CoQ10 is not generally expensive.   Dr. Aaron Boster (40m 41s): And if you're going to take CoQ10, along with your disease modifying therapy, I have no issues with that. But if you have to take your CoQ10 instead of your disease modifying therapy, where I have good solid scientific evidence that it helps you, now I have an issue. So that's my first criterion. The second criterion is more rigorous in that scientific evidence, you know, properly studied science to prove or disprove that something's helpful. And that second one, you know, we don't have a lot of info. There is some info for some supplements, and I'm going to go over a couple with you right now. But that would be the second one. And you know, it's worthwhile sharing, at least here in United States where I practice.   Dr. Aaron Boster (41m 24s): The supplements and vitamins are not monitored by the American FDA. So, if there's a bottle of a prescription medicine, and it says it does something, they can prove that. It's been proven, it does something or they can't say it. You know, if there's a side effect on the bottle, or a dosage on the bottle, it has to be proven. Like that's not a suggestion, it's a proof. If you bottle a supplement that you get at a health food store, let's say. What they say on it isn't proven. It doesn't have to be proven. So, they could say, for example, it will make you grow 10 feet tall. And they're allowed to say that even if it's not true.   Dr. Aaron Boster (42m 6s): And as a result, it calls into question, and it creates challenges and knowing whether something's okay, but which is kind of I think your point. So, when you look at the evidence, to me, this is a conversation about nutrition, right? And I start with, as we talked about, maybe a little bit earlier, I start with increasing water intake, believe it or not. I think if you're going to change one thing, increasing water is actually more relevant than any other vitamin or mineral or something that we're going to talk about. But that's my first one, honestly. After that, I really would rather spend time talking about healthy eating than I would about supplements. And I would like to engage in a conversation about eating real food, whole food, and avoiding heavy processed foods and the like.   Dr. Aaron Boster (42m 54s): But let's move into some recommendations about vitamins. The first vitamin that I think is actually the most studied with the most evidence for benefit of MS is vitamin D3. And so low levels of vitamin D correlate with increased risk of developing MS. And if you have MS, low levels of vitamin D are correlated with worse outcomes. And so, I routinely check a blood level for vitamin D, and if it's below 50, I supplement. And I use D3, because I feel like it's better absorbed in the human body. And I want to push that level above 40 below 100, or excuse me, above 50 and below 100.   Geoff Allix (43m 32s): So, can I just interject that. Because we measured it in a different way in the UK, and I think Europe. So, it's actually four times the number you're talking about. So, when you say 50, we say 200.   Dr. Aaron Boster (43m 40s): Oh, okay.   Geoff Allix (43m 40s): I don't know why that is just, it's not even an imperial metric thing. It's just because it is exactly –   Dr. Aaron Boster (43m 46s): Thank you for bringing that up. That's a really, really important point. And you know, another important point is you and I, even though we don't live in the same continent, both live in areas where there's not a lot of sun for a good portion of the year. And so, taking a vitamin D supplement is important because we can't get it, you know, the good old-fashioned way. Now, I have through my involvement with Overcoming MS become turned on to the idea that it doesn't take a lot of sun to soak up vitamin D. So, if you go out and let's say shirtless, or, you know, wearing a halter top, or what have you with some exposed skin, for 15 minutes, you'll absorb 5,000 international units of D3.   Dr. Aaron Boster (44m 30s): And now in the winter, Ohio with a foot of snow on the ground very few Ohioans are going to do that. But it is good to know that. Yeah. You know, and during the summer months you certainly do consider that. So, vitamin D3, I think, is very relevant. Past vitamin D3, my next recommendation. And I have to tell you, it's becoming increasingly something that I recommend. I'm on the cusp of recommending it for all people with MS. That's probiotics. So, taking a probiotic is really interesting. And there's an entire fascinating discussion surrounding dysbiosis and the impact of abnormal gut bacteria on the immune system.   Dr. Aaron Boster (45m 16s): Although that's not why I'm recommending it. That's a discussion which is ongoing and still a work in progress. But the reason I'm recommending it is for gut health. People impacted by MS very commonly have significant constipation. And sometimes people with MS have significant diarrhea or incontinence. And so, probiotics pull someone who has constipation more towards the center. And probiotics pull similar diarrhea more towards the center. And so, I really think probiotics are a very, very helpful tool. The next supplement that I would recommend beyond that is added fiber. Because particularly where I practice in the United States, the very low fiber diets, which is a major problem for multiple things, and actually has an impact on MS, in my opinion. And so supplementing fiber, I think is important.   Dr. Aaron Boster (45m 57s): Now, I would like you to do that with pears, plums, apples, and green vegetables but if you can't or aren't able, or don't want to do it that way, you can purchase a supplement like a FiberCon or Metamucil, or what have you, and then you can do it that way. Now, after that, it really depends on the situation. I think it's very reasonable for humans to take a multivitamin because, you know, we're not eating enough salads and vegetables with different colors. But the American diet is normally not devoid of things. It's not typically a problem with excess.   Dr. Aaron Boster (46m 39s): And so, if you just add a multivitamin that kind of covers your bases. Now, I don't recommend mega doses of say, vitamin B12 routinely, or vitamin C routinely, unless there's deficiencies that I'm discovering. So, I'm not a physician that recommends as a priority that you take a B12 complex. Many people do, because it helps with energy in some cases. But I really find that if I'm not, if I can get you to eat a healthy diet, I'm going to take care of that through eggs and other things. Now, there's specifics that are recurrent low dose naltrexone.   Dr. Aaron Boster (47m 21s): You mentioned L-carnitine, things like that. And there's varying levels of evidence for them. Some of maybe the best evidence would be some of, I think L-carnitine has some good evidence for energy. I believe that. I think that helps a lot. I think that's one that I look at. Then when you get into some of the other things, you can find small trials. Turmeric, for example. Low dose naltrexone, for example. And really, I deal those in a one-off fashion where someone's coming to me saying, “Aaron, what about this?” And then together, we kind of look through it. We look at the data if it's in existence, or if it's not, we discuss that. We go through my three criteria and then someone may try it. And here's the important part. If they try it, I want them to tell me what they found.   Dr. Aaron Boster (48m 7s): You know, did it seem to help? Do they notice a difference? When they stopped it, did it get changed in any fashion? And that's anecdotally one of the ways that we have to kind of assess things.   Geoff Allix (48m 20s): Because on the turmeric there are basically no risks, cost is very low, and there's anecdotal evidence, because it's been taken --   Dr. Aaron Boster (48m 36s): Yeah.   Geoff Allix (48m 36s): And it's been used on the Indian subcontinent for centuries or millennia.   Dr. Aaron Boster (48m 39s): And it's delicious.   Geoff Allix (48m 43s): Yeah, that's right.   Dr. Aaron Boster (48m 43s): You know, if someone wants to take turmeric, how about it? That doesn't violate any of the discussions we've had, and it may help.   Geoff Allix (48m 56s): Yeah. And if it doesn't help, you still like the food and carry on.   Dr. Aaron Boster (49m 4s): You know, its still and its still delicious.   Geoff Allix (49m 4s): Yeah. I'll just add, just on a personal level. Because I'm fairly similar to what you're saying. So, I take vitamin D3 every day. I take a probiotic every day. And the other thing I take is - so probiotic gut health. But also, to reduce UTI, so there's something I came across that in Germany, they're routinely prescribed called D-mannose?   Dr. Aaron Boster (49m 25s): Yes.   Geoff Allix (49m 26s): And I found that I, and this may be -- because I think some of these things work in some people and some don't. And it's not expensive. It doesn't have a lot of risks. And so, I thought I'll give it a try. And literally within a week, I didn't have a UTI problem at all. Literally, I don't have UTI problems at all from having D-mannose.   Dr. Aaron Boster (49m 50s): That's fantastic. I think that's a really, really great tip to share with people. And it's what I'm going to think about when I start my clinic tomorrow - about whether or not I'm not recommending D-mannose enough to folks with recurrent urinary tract infections. That's a pro tip. Thank you for sharing that one today.   Geoff Allix (50m 12s): Well, yeah, I mean, but it may just be that worked for me. So, yeah. But then that's the same.   Dr. Aaron Boster (50m 16s): Well, again, it's nice to have a toolbox where we can consider different things. And that's a very good supplement to keep in mind.   Geoff Allix (50m 30s): So, with that, I'd like to thank you very, very much for joining us, and welcome you to the Overcoming MS Board and it's fantastic news. Giving some of your expertise towards the head of the organization. And I thank you for joining us, Aaron Boster.   Dr. Aaron Boster (50m 48s): It's my absolute pleasure. Again, I love talking with you. And I hope that we get to do it again soon.   Geoff Allix (50m 35s): Thank you.   Geoff Allix (Outro) (50m 36s): Thank you for listening to this episode of Living Well with MS. Please check out this episode's show notes at www.overcomingms.org/podcast. You'll find all sorts of useful links and bonus information there. Do you have questions about this episode or ideas about future ones? Email us at podcast@overcomingms.org. We'd love to hear from you. You can also subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast platform, so you never miss an episode. Living Well with MS is kindly supported by a grant from the Happy Charitable Trust. If you'd like to support the Overcoming MS Charity and help to keep our podcast advertising free, you can donate online at www.overcomingms.org/donate.   Geoff Allix (Outro) (51m 22s): Thank you for your support. Living Well with MS is produced by Overcoming MS, the world's leading multiple sclerosis healthy lifestyle charity. We are here to help inform, support, and empower everyone affected by MS. To find out more and subscribe to our e-newsletter, please visit our website at www.overcomingms.org. Thanks again for tuning in, and see you next time.    

Skip the Queue
How to write a website brief that agencies will thank you for, with Sophie Ballinger

Skip the Queue

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 27, 2021 59:57


Skip the Queue is brought to you by Rubber Cheese, a digital agency that builds remarkable systems and websites for attractions that helps them increase their visitor numbers. Your host is  Kelly Molson, MD of Rubber Cheese.Download our free ebook The Ultimate Guide to Doubling Your Visitor NumbersIf you like what you hear, you can subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, and all the usual channels by searching Skip the Queue or visit our website rubbercheese.com/podcastIf you've enjoyed this podcast, please leave us a five star review, it really helps others find us. And remember to follow us on Twitter for your chance to win the books that have been mentioned in this episode.Competition ends April 29th 2022. The winner will be contacted via Twitter. Show references:www.linkedin.com/in/sospothttps://twitter.com/sospotwww.eureka.org.ukwww.eurekadiscovery.org.uk Alex Holliman's - Choosing An Agency Podcastwww.alexholliman.com/podcastswww.rubbercheese.com/insights/how-to-write-a-website-brief-that-agencies-will-thank-you-for Sophie Ballinger is a Communications Specialist with a background of 10 years working in the NHS and universities, before hopping across to the charity sector in 2008. She's a skilled communicator with a playful, creative outlook (on both life and work).She joined Eureka! The National Children's Museum in September 2011 to develop their digital communications and press, having previously been Communications Development Officer at CDX (a national community development charity) and Communications & Social Media Officer at NAVCA (a national umbrella organisation for the third sector).In 2014 she was one of two people that set up #MuseumHour - a weekly Twitter discussion (which she co-ran for two years) and regularly volunteer to help groups and organisations develop their communications. Transcription:Kelly Molson: Welcome to Skip the Queue, a podcast for people working in or working with visitor attractions. I'm your host, Kelly Molson. Each episode I speak with industry experts from the attractions world. In today's episode I speak with Sophie Ballinger, Communication and Digital Content Manager at Eureka! The National Children's Museum. We'll be discussing the website tendering process and all the things you need to include to make a perfect website brief. If you like what you hear, subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, and all the user channels by searching Skip the Queue.Kelly Molson: Aye up, duck.Sophie Ballinger: Aye up, duck.Kelly Molson: Oh, I'm so excited. I've got the lovely Sophie Ballinger in here today from Eureka! Museum.Sophie Ballinger: My official title-Kelly Molson: Yes. Eureka! The National Children's Museum. We are going to talk all things how to write a website brief that agencies will thank you for. But first, it's the icebreaker questions time. All right. Weirdest thing you've ever won a prize for?Sophie Ballinger: Oh. I got given a tiny, little trophy for the best social media response, and it was a visitor to Eureka! one very busy February half term who compared it to the fall of Saigon in '76. I just replied, "You weren't there, man." That was quite weird, I think.Kelly Molson: That is excellent. I have to say, your social media feed is excellent.Sophie Ballinger: Well, thank you.Kelly Molson: You have a good Twitter chat, which I like. What is your favourite smell and why?Sophie Ballinger: I could be really corny and say my daughter's head. I love the smell of creosote.Kelly Molson: What?Sophie Ballinger: I love the smell of creosote. I think it's an association with my nan, who I loved to bits. Absolutely adored my nan. In order to go into her house, you had to go past a fence, which she creosoted religiously every couple years. I think that's the association, but I don't know. I love the smell of creosote.Kelly Molson: Wow. Nanas and creosote, it's quite an unusual combo, right? I thought you were going to say Werther's Originals from my nana. Nope, creosote. To be fair, tarmac is the same for me because my dad was a tarmacker years ago. He used to tarmac kids' playgrounds. So every time I smell the tarmac, it always reminds me of my dad because he used to come home stinking of it. Okay. What's your unpopular opinion?Sophie Ballinger: See, I've really struggled with this. This is a relatively recent one that's just doing my head in, and it's why and how are Coldplay still a thing?Kelly Molson: Oh, I've got someone that would 100% agree with you on this.Sophie Ballinger: It's just doing my head in. I didn't even realise they were still a thing until relatively recently. I've got an eight-year-old daughter who has discovered Radio 1, and I haven't really listened to Radio 1 for years. I remember seeing Coldplay playing Glastonbury on the tele. I wasn't there. We're probably talking late '90s, I guess '99, around then, I think, "You know, maybe they've got something interesting." Then I got really bored of them really quickly, and I wasn't aware that they were still a thing all this time.Sophie Ballinger: Then suddenly, every time I look at the BBC website, the other day there was a story about them going on tour. They're doing an eco-friendly world tour where people dancing on the floor charges. Now they've done a single with BTS.Kelly Molson: I know. They're current now. That's why they've done it, right?Sophie Ballinger: I know, but why? They've got teenage children. Their kids must be mortified. They're the same age as me. It's like me doing a collaboration with Doja Cat or something.Kelly Molson: This is my favourite unpopular opinion ever.Sophie Ballinger: Yeah. Why? How?Kelly Molson: Why is Coldplay a thing?Sophie Ballinger: Explain it to me.Kelly Molson: Also, Chris Martin does dance like a nana as well if you ever watch.Sophie Ballinger: Yes.Kelly Molson: Excellent. All right, well. I mean, I look forward to the tweets about this. Tell me what you think.Sophie Ballinger: If someone can explain it and if someone can tell me who it is that's buying their records, put them down.Kelly Molson: The wrath of Sophie. All right, great. Thank you for sharing that.Sophie Ballinger: I feel lighter for it.Kelly Molson: Right. So a few months ago I was on a mutual friend's podcast. I was on Alex Holliman's podcast, the Choosing an Agency podcast. He asked me, "What is the best brief that you've ever received," like website brief. I said, "It was the brief that we got from Eureka! The National Children's Museum, because it was excellent." And I went into great detail as to why. I thought it would be really interesting to have a chat with you about that tender process that you went through and why I think that your brief is excellent or was excellent.Kelly Molson: We actually wrote a blog, which is up on our website. It's called How to write a website brief that agencies will thank you for, which is the same title as this podcast. We detail in it all of the things that we would love to see as an agency from a brief, and it's things like really understanding your company profile, your project goals and objectives, target audience, what's up with the current website, really what you want from your new website, competitors, schedule, budget, what that selection process and the feedback is going to look like.Kelly Molson: There's quite a lot to it. Probably some more things that we could add to that now. But I thought, "Yeah, let's have a chat about the tender process to start with," and then we can go through in detail why I feel like your brief is superb. That sound good?Sophie Ballinger: Yep.Kelly Molson: The way that we got involved in the Eureka! brief, it wasn't direct. It was a bit of a weird one. I think it was back in March 2016, you'd actually put out an invitation to tender for the new Eureka! website. It was an open tender, wasn't it? It went out.Sophie Ballinger: Yeah. We did an expression of interest. We didn't put it on any kind of special tendering sites. We just put an expression of interest out on all of our social media channel, anyone that wants to get the tender once it was ready. We got, it was I think 100 or 101 expressions of interest. Rubber Cheese wasn't one of those agencies.Kelly Molson: No. We were the 102nd one. We were 102 then.Sophie Ballinger: Yeah.Kelly Molson: Okay. We found out about it through another agency. A really good friend of mine, Eddie, he was at Hat Trick Media at the time. He'd done a photoshoot with you years before.Sophie Ballinger: Yeah. His partner and children were... Oh no, and him. I've got pictures of him with a laundry basket under him.Kelly Molson: Yeah.Sophie Ballinger: Yeah. They were the start of our Play 20 campaign and website randomly.Kelly Molson: Random. I think he got the tender or he'd seen it somehow. Then it wasn't for him, and he called us and was like, "Guys, this is a tender for you. I'm going to introduce you to Sophie. I really feel like you should go for this." We saw it and went, "Uh, yeah. Defo." That was how we got involved. So yes, we were like the 102nd person or agency that got in touch. Wow. How do you even manage that? At that point, were you thinking, "Maybe an open invitation was not the best of ideas"?Sophie Ballinger: Well, we had done just open tenders before. I think from the previous one we had really, really good response to, but we hadn't been anywhere near as open with that. I mean that was the bit of learning that I took from doing the open tender previously was that actually there were lots of people that just weren't able to do it.Sophie Ballinger: The reason Eddie couldn't go for it was because one of the things I did specify in it was that I wanted the CMS, content management system, to be open source. And the CMS that they work with wasn't, but they said, "Look, we can't go for this, but we know someone who'd be brill for it." That was when they put it through to you. But again, had we not specified that in the brief, they would've wasted their time doing a submission for it, and they would never have got the gig, basically. That was actually one of those things, it was a learning curve from the previous time we'd done it.Kelly Molson: Yeah. So 102 submissions of interest. What did that look like? Because I know what we went through, so we got in touch with you. We got the brief late, so there was timeframes in it that you wanted a response for. We got this a lot later than everyone else. You very kindly actually gave us an extension so that we could come up and visit you, really get a good feel for Eureka. Actually, you gifted us some time to talk to you as well.Kelly Molson: But what I really liked about the brief, and this is one of the things that I think is key about a brief, is you said, "I'm happy to answer questions. I'm happy to schedule time to speak to people." That is quite a rare thing sometimes with a brief is that, especially with very formal ones that go out on the formal tender platforms that I can rant about all day long, you don't often get the opportunity to actually meet somebody in person or even grab a phone call to talk through the project and talk through the brief. But if you had 102 interests, how many people did you meet and speak to?Sophie Ballinger: Well, the actual submissions, I think we got, oh gosh, 38. I did meet a lot of them, not all of them. But for me, first of all, when I've gone through tender processes previously I've often had my eyes pretty tied on them anyway. So I might be working public sector or other institutions where you are told what you can and can't say, and they're really strict on it. I've brought that approach across to Eureka!, and my Director at the time, that was how he viewed it. Whereas this time around, I just said, "But why?"Sophie Ballinger: For me, the relationship and my ability to get on with the people I'm going to be working with and vice-versa, they might spend some time with me and never want to see me ever again, but that is a key part of an effective working relationship with an agency. So I did say, in fact, my boss then, who's my boss now, Michelle, was on here before, wasn't she?Kelly Molson: Yes.Sophie Ballinger: She was just, "Go for it." I said, "It will take a lot of time and I probably will have to spend a lot of time going and meeting people, explaining the museum. But I really want them to understand us." I want them to understand me. I want to see if we get on. I want to get some kind of feel for whether I think they get us, and a big part of that actually which you and Paul were brilliant at is I want to see if they're going to come into the museum and interact with stuff and have a go and throw themselves into it.Sophie Ballinger: I can't remember how many people I met with. I basically say, "If you want to come, I'll give you some tickets and I'll give you some time." Everyone that took us up on that, I blocked out an hour to spend with them. It did take up a hell of a lot of time, a hell of a lot of time, but for me it was absolutely invaluable, absolutely invaluable. You just get a sense about people's creativity, just whether they get us or not.Kelly Molson: Yeah. I love that. Actually, I would say from our perspective as an agency, it's a really generous thing to do. Because we want to see how the relationship is as well from our side, but also, there's something really important about visiting the place that you're pitching to do work for. I think that's a necessity. Yeah, having the generosity to give agencies that time is really, really important. You're asking them to commit an awful lot of time in putting a proposal together.Kelly Molson: I mean when we pulled this proposal together, it was not a, "Oh, we'll just knock something out in a day and it'll be done." There was a lot of time and effort that goes into it, so I think it's really respectful to give the agency that initial time to ask those questions.Sophie Ballinger: I was going to say, it's the least we can do. Yeah. We're expecting agencies to do or we're hoping they're going to put a decent amount of time in and thought. Yeah, as you say, it's respectful. It's good manners.Kelly Molson: Fast forward to the chosen agency, which was us. Thank you very much. We obviously enjoyed your company and didn't want to sack you off as a client, which is good. Another thing that was really good about the process is you communicated really clearly. Well, you communicated really clearly upfront what was going to happen, what the evaluation process was going to look like, how long it was going to take, how many agencies you were going to shortlist to, and then actually what you were going to ask of them over the next stage as well. Because sometimes that's a bit loose, we're not sure.Kelly Molson: I'll be honest, you did ask for creative for the next stage. So you shortlisted down and the next stage was meeting the agency with the team that were going to be making those decisions. This is always a really controversial thing in a brief is to ask for creative, but you did it in a way that, again, I think was really respectful of the agency and their time, is that you actually offered to pay for the creative. That for us, we very rarely do creatives as part of a tender process because I think that if you haven't had that chance to speak to the client and that team...Kelly Molson: You know our process. You know it's really collaborative. We're going to ask a lot of questions. There's a lot of research and stuff that goes into that before you come up with the creatives for it. It's very hard to pitch something that you're never going to like what we pitch. It's going to be impossible. It'd be like one in a million if we pitched something in this process that you went, "Oh, yeah. That's it. We'll have that one." The fact that you offered to pay for the time for people to do that, again, brilliant. That was a massive tick for us.Sophie Ballinger: I'll be really honest about that. Again, the previous brief that we'd done, which was I guess four or five years before, we asked for creative and we didn't pay for it. We had a similar level of interest and we got one agency that contacted us and said, "Nah, we don't do creative." That was it. This time around, actually initially we asked for creative and we weren't giving a payment. We got within hours people saying to us, "We're not so sure about that. We're not very happy with that."Sophie Ballinger: Of course, there were agencies that were fine and probably would've gone ahead with it, but for me, I guess partly because my background, I went to art school and did all that stuff. And it's like, actually, I know how much goes into the creative process and it just absolutely resonated with me straightaway. It was really interesting the huge sea change in the space of a few years from people just sucking it up and doing it to actually raising concerns.Sophie Ballinger: I think it was literally within about 24 hours of us sending that information out, we'd backtracked on it and we re-enhanced the budget. Actually, we knew as well that that budget wasn't enough realistically to cover the time that an agency would want to put into that creative work. It was all that we could afford. But apart from anything else, as you said, it just felt respectful. I have been involved in tender processes before at other places, I'll say very clearly, where there hasn't been a respectful attitude to that work as far as even with just the intellectual property of it. It's like, "Ooh, we like that idea, and can we squeeze that into there?" It's never sat right with me.Sophie Ballinger: I've also been involved in tender processes where I'm aware that agencies are being seen and they're not going to get the gig, again, for whatever reason. I mean we'll come onto budget. I've been involved in ones where the budget that an agency's quoted is far beyond the budget that we had available, so they were never going to get it but bosses at the time were kind of curious to see what more they'd get for the money. I'm sitting there looking at how much work they've done, and it just feels wrong.Sophie Ballinger: Yeah. Again, I'll be really honest. It came back in a huge wave of people just going, "I really want to go for this brief, but I'm not comfortable with that element of it." So we changed it and I was relieved and actually really, it made me even more enthusiastic for the project that we were doing. I liked the fact that straightaway the people that we were working with weren't afraid to voice a potentially unpopular opinion.Sophie Ballinger: Yeah, it was fundamental for me. I'm really glad it happened and I'm really glad to say that it's something that Eureka!, we have adopted subsequently for any tender that we do that has a creative element. We did one recently for a digital marketing agency based in Liverpool where we're putting a second site next year. We asked for creative for that and we made that payment as part of that as well.Kelly Molson: Oh, that's excellent.Sophie Ballinger: Yeah. We have adopted that for policy now. I don't see it very often. I do see it every now and then. Would love to see it more.Kelly Molson: I would love to see it more. But I just think, yeah, like you say, it's that level of... It's respecting the time that goes into it. I think that was really a bit of a game changer for us. Okay, let's talk about the brief. Let's talk about why it was so good. The first thing, we've talked about this, is that you let people talk to you. That was the best thing about this. You let people talk to you. You let people come to visit, and you met with them. Massively time consuming on your part, but awesome for everybody involved and really important from your perspective in terms of how that relationship's going to be, what those people are like.Kelly Molson: It's really interesting that you said about interacting with the venue as well. I hadn't thought about that. That just was an actual thing that we did because it's awesome, but yeah, I hadn't thought about that you'd be looking for that, necessarily.Sophie Ballinger: Yeah. I love taking people on tours of the place. I get quite a good read on them just from that. Yeah, it's interesting.Kelly Molson: Okay. The second thing that really stood out for us about the brief was the tone of voice, the way that it was written. Let's face it, web briefs can be a little bit dry. You're talking about content management systems. You're talking about functionality and things it needs and payment processing and all that kind of stuff. However, you made this brief really fun. You wrote it in Eureka's tone of voice, and it was excellent.Kelly Molson: I'm going to read out a bit here. I'll probably read it wrong, but in an ideal world, we'd love families to look at our website, let out an audible, "Wow!" And then think, "I've got to go there." And potential funders to gasp but be inspired to support our work, "There must be a way." For our part, we're absolutely, positively, definitely, completely unwavering in our determination to be a little less loquacious. I don't even know if I pronounced that right.Sophie Ballinger: Loquacious.Kelly Molson: Loquacious, sorry. I did not pronounce it right. Loquacious. We mean we won't be so wordy, promise. Just even that, I mean apart from the fact that I can't read properly, I mean that sums up the tone of the brief, right? It was just lovely to read. Yeah, we really got a feel for what it would potentially be like working with you and with your organisation just from the tone of voice of that. Did you get any help with this? I think you did, didn't you? Was there a workshop that you went on?Sophie Ballinger: Not with the tone of voice element of it, although I felt really inspired by it. I went to Aalia Walker, who at the time, she was with the SMACK agency. She's with Milk & More now, I think. She had done a workshop at a Kids in Museums event that I went to, and it was about the briefing process, what the perfect brief would be. It fired me up. The timing was perfect because it was just before I started working on this brief.Sophie Ballinger: She was just talking about why can't you tell us what the budget is? Why can't you be open about this? Why can't you just tell us what the challenges are? Tell us some things you don't know and the things that you don't know that you don't know. It's just, be really open and A, you're more likely to find an agency that's on your wavelength. And that inspired me to... I'd done quite a lot of work at Eureka! generally since I joined it, and I've been there 10 years last month.Kelly Molson: Wowsers.Sophie Ballinger: My Eureka! birthday. I mean, I'd been there a few years at that point and they hadn't had a digital person. They hadn't really got a tone of voice for their external communications. They very much did in the museum, very much did in the museum. You talked to the staff, they are chatty and confident and friendly and funny and human. And they'll admit if they don't know something, and then they'll go and find out for you. They're really a bit geeky about little... They have little snippets of information, and everyone has their own talents. We absolutely try and encourage those because it's what makes a visit to Eureka! memorable for me.Sophie Ballinger: I couldn't quite understand why you get into it and it's very human and conversational as soon as you walk through the doors, but externally, it wasn't particularly human and it wasn't particularly conversational. Obviously, initially with social media channels, that made absolute sense. But that started to filter through to the other content and the other copy.Sophie Ballinger: Actually, one of the big things that we knew about the website is we tied ourselves in knots trying to explain what a children's museum is. We're not a science and discovery center. We're not a museum where everything's in cabinets or there's a historical collection or a collection of some nature. We're not a collections-based museum. It's an interactive space designed with kids, for kids. On previous websites, we again were tying ourselves in knots trying to explain that and it's like, "Well, let's just show them."Sophie Ballinger: I mean, that was one of the challenges that went into the brief was how can we show this, but a key part of that as well is that tone of voice filtering through. Again, it was a conscious decision to do it in that way because for me, if you don't get it, you don't respond to that tone of voice, we don't particularly want to work with you anyway. We know that people will have looked at that brief, cringed and never wanted to go back to it ever again. I mean, I can't think who and obviously they're philistines. But yeah, it was an important bit for us.Sophie Ballinger: Again, I will say, because I sat down with it and I just started writing the brief I'd always wanted to write and expected it to go up to my director and them to go, "What?" But they loved it and encouraged it. Yeah, it was absolutely inspired, a fire was lit under me by Aalia. I did run it past her as well before we sent it out. I just said, "Look, you've inspired me to do this. Can you have a look at this and tell me what you think?" She had a look at it and was just...Kelly Molson: Excellent.Sophie Ballinger: Yeah.Kelly Molson: A big shout out to Aalia, and Lubna from SMACK agency. I know that agency very well and they are superb. Okay, next thing. You defined the feeling of the brand really, really well. The tone of voice, that set our tone of voice because we knew how we'd have to communicate with you. I can remember writing our brief. You know us, we're quite chill. We're quite laid-back about... Just the way that we speak is quite friendly and it allowed us to be a bit friendlier in our response. Do you know-Sophie Ballinger: Yeah.Kelly Molson: So you get us as well. That was really great, but I think that the way that you defined the feeling of the brand was really incredible. So we could really understand what it was all about without necessarily... Sometimes it's difficult to describe what Eureka! is, but describing that feeling of it, that really gave us a sense of, "Oh yeah, we really want to work with this organisation. This is for us."Kelly Molson: The other thing was that there was a challenge in this brief. The website brief was the website that needed redesigning. It wasn't performing particularly well. There were some things that were challenging. There were things that people were potentially not understanding about the museum. But you also had this kind of challenge that, actually, it wasn't necessarily a digital challenge. It was a, look, we've got this issue with people having to queue, and if they want their annual pass, they're going to have to queue again when they get here. So then they've got this double queuing situation. They're just basically just getting really pissed off and what can we do about it?Kelly Molson: That was great. To have an open ended, "Well, here's the brief for the thing that we really need, but actually, we've got this problem as well. What do you think you can do?" We were like, "Ooh. Well, this is good, isn't it?" It was really open like, "What do you think that we could do about this?" This was like, oh, great. This is a real challenge for us to think about. That was awesome.Sophie Ballinger: Yeah. I was just trying to find a way to write, help!Kelly Molson: Help, but constructively. Help me. Then you actually carried out some internal testing as well, which was really useful.Sophie Ballinger: Yeah. And fascinating. I wish I had time to do it constantly. Yeah. Obviously, I dived face first into Google Analytics and had a look at where the traffic was and actually where we wanted it to be, so there's that element of it. But we also did some really intensive qualitative stuff with some user testing, and it was stuff I've done previously in the university sector. Tends to be on a much bigger scale, but with this, we spent a day.Sophie Ballinger: We had six people who were our audience, including... we found some teachers. We tried to identify people, all but one of them, who weren't aware of Eureka!, hadn't visited us. Then we had someone that knew us really intimately as well. That sounds a bit rude. And spent a day. So we gave them a number of tests. I sat with them. I was just mostly observing. The agency we were working with at the time, Reading Room, they run the actual process for us. We just gave them a number of tasks and asked people to vocalise what they were doing and where are you looking for, what search terms are you using.Sophie Ballinger: This is a website you want to find out about this and watch people trying to do it. Within I think the first two people, there were some huge things. We had, for example, really a low conversion rate on the book tickets page. I forget what the conversion rate was, but we knew it was low and we thought it was really weird. Really quickly, it's because that was the quickest way for people to find out how much it costs. So they're not actually necessarily going to go and book that way, but they're struggling to find prices elsewhere. That's what the vast majority of people wanted to know. It was how much, where are you, are you open now, when are you open? That was the bulk of it.Sophie Ballinger: We also knew we had a lot of other audiences. One of the other ones that we did, I sat with a teacher and went through. The way we had the school information, there wasn't enough information for her. She needed really quiet details. She needed downloadable things that she could print off for her class. She needed lengthy information about what the curriculum links were. She's one of the rare web visitors who wants lots and lots and lots of information, lots of wordy information. Whereas, of course, the vast majority of people, how much, are you open?Sophie Ballinger: It was really, really, really useful. Again, it was time consuming because we were coming up with, planning what the scripts were and what we wanted to do before, but absolutely worth it, invaluable, invaluable insights that we got from people.Kelly Molson: Yeah. And really helpful for us as well. Because we do our own testing, but yeah, having that outside of you is always better than just our own internal kind of opinions about something. Going back to what you said at the beginning around Eddie and not being able to take the project on because he didn't work with an open-source CMS, that was really important as well, the fact that you defined what...Kelly Molson: You didn't define the platform. I know you were familiar with WordPress, so there was maybe a bias toward it, but you just defined what you needed from the CMS. That was really great for us as well because we could understand if we worked in a platform that was actually going to fit what you needed. That was quite great, so there was a lot of specification around the things that you really needed to have as well.Kelly Molson: You defined what you needed for the project and we'll talk about budget in a bit. But you defined exactly what you really needed and then some things that you might like to have, but you were realistic that some of those things that you might like to have might be outside of that budget as well, which was really good. There was a must have and then a like to have. Sometimes you don't get that. Sometimes in a brief you get, this is everything that we want and this is the budget for it. And you have to go, "Whoa, okay. Well, look, we might need to strip some of these things out and think about them as a phase two."Kelly Molson: That's another thing as well is that when we talked to you, it was really clear that you could take a phased approach as well. I think that comes out of being able to speak to somebody about what's the real need here, what's the necessity. What do we need to launch with, and then what are things that maybe potentially come later and how does that affect what you're doing?Sophie Ballinger: Yeah. I'm always really aware of fake deadlines. We pluck a date out of thin air and we're going to work towards that. With a project as big as this with so many different elements, I knew, I mean we were coming up to our 25th birthday, so we couldn't move that. There were elements of it that had to be ready for that and then others that actually it's not the end of the world if we don't. If we can deliver more for then, great.Sophie Ballinger: But yeah, it's something about being really clear because if people don't know the fixed parameters that you've got, then they're going to rule themselves out the minute they've done a submission for it. It's not fair asking someone to do all that work if they can't... It's like writing a good job description. You put the things in there that you absolutely need and the things that are absolutely necessary. Being vague just to see what's out there doesn't really benefit anyone. It was really important for me, so we knew there were some things here that are deal breakers. So let's be really upfront about that.Sophie Ballinger: Then there are some other things that, like the example you gave with some of the features, we didn't know how much they cost. We thought we'd quite like that, but can you do that within the brief? Actually, we're not going to discount you if you say, "Well, that's not something that you could afford within that brief, but for the sake of a bit more money... " We were just really open about that and receptive to the answers that we got, which were pretty consistent on that particular element, to be honest.Sophie Ballinger: Yeah. I've seen a few briefs recently where it's really vague. To me, that's just a waste of everyone's time. Because the submissions that you read, again, I'll go back to the previous tender process and I don't know how long I spent reading responses. You read them through and like, "This is really good." And then you get to an element and it's like, "Ugh. Well, they can't do it." Actually, it's wasted their time and it's wasted mine, not anywhere near as much as mine potentially. Yeah, it's the more open you can be, the more efficient you can be for everyone's sake.Kelly Molson: Absolutely. Let's talk about timeframes and budget. Because again, with this brief it was a really realistic timeframe, and I think that's important. We see a lot of briefs that come in and you'll look at the timeframe and then you'll think, "Okay. Well, by the time we've submitted and they've reviewed and they've chosen, actually that leaves about eight weeks for this project. And that's nowhere near enough." Then when you push back, they're like, "No, no, no. That's the deadline. That's it. It's not moving."Kelly Molson: I check sometimes. I have a tendency to keep either briefs that we haven't won or briefs that we've decided, for whatever reason, we're not a good fit for. We can't achieve that deadline. We've had the discussion and they're like, "No, it's not going to move." Then I check. I set a little diary reminder to go, "I'm going to go and check to see if that website went live then." And they never do. They never do.Sophie Ballinger: They never do.Kelly Molson: I always think, "Well, look. Yeah, be realistic about it." If most agencies are coming back to you going, "This isn't achievable. This is maybe achievable. Is there any wiggle room on this deadline?" It's not an achievable timeframe, so definitely have a little word with yourself about that.Kelly Molson: But also, budget. There was a budget indicated in this brief. I cannot express how important it is to have a budget, and I think there's still that perception that it's because agencies are going to go to the top of it. It's not about that. Genuinely, really is not about that. It is about what can we deliver for you that is going to work for your budget and for your timeframe and all of the things that you need. It will have an effect on the CMS, for example, that we use, or it might have an effect on what level of testing we can do or how much time we can spend on wireframes or how many meetings we have. It has an effect on every single part of that project.Kelly Molson: We might have just the most incredible idea and we can pitch it to you, but then we've got to work out how we make that idea happen with the budget that you've got. If we know upfront, we can do all that before we speak to you rather than actually going, "Oh my God, you could have this amazing thing," and then finding out that your budget is 5K and then we're going, "Oh, you can't have that now. There's no way we could do that for you now." It's so vital for us, but I want to stress how much it isn't about us going, "We're going to go to the top end of that."Sophie Ballinger: Which I do get and I hear that a lot, the fear that if we say, "We've got 15 grand," then everyone's going to say, "Well, we can do this for 15 grand," whether it's going to cost them two or 30. Again, going back to a previous tender process I was involved in that didn't have a budget on it, obviously, everyone received the exact same brief and I think on this particular instance we got about 14 or 15 responses to it.Sophie Ballinger: Hand on heart, the bottom one was 4K and the top one, I'm sure it went up to 160 or 180 responding to the same brief. So of course, they were just straight out because we have nowhere near that much money. That was one of the processes where they interviewed someone that had quoted for higher than the budget that we had just to see what the difference was, which just felt really unfair to me. There's something fundamentally wrong with that brief if you've got such a difference in it, but that's always really stayed with me. Because I do remember getting this eight-page 4K submission versus this, I think it was, 160, 180. Again, it just felt unfair and like a waste of their time.Kelly Molson: That's crazy. Totally going to put my prices up now.Sophie Ballinger: I did say, "What kind of website are we getting?"Kelly Molson: Gold plated.Sophie Ballinger: Gold plated, or we figured maybe there was some kind of reenactment that went to people's houses and started reading content for them. Yeah, it was nuts.Kelly Molson: Yeah. But then that just shows you why it's really important to put something in there. And don't get me wrong, we will always push back. If we don't feel the budget is enough, we definitely push back. But we've also been like, "Yeah, this is a great budget. We could do everything that you need with this and probably have some left over as well." Okay, clear feedback.Kelly Molson: Oh, this is another thing that happens loads and I don't know how to solve it. Whenever we get a brief and it isn't as perfect as this one, there's always loads of questions that we ask regardless of what brief comes over. And one of the questions is, if we don't win this, can we get feedback? Actually, if we do win, can we have feedback as well? Because even if you win it, there might still be stuff that you've not done as brilliantly as someone else that's proposed. It's just on the day you swung it or whatever, something made you win it. You got on well with that person, I don't know.Kelly Molson: Either way, you really, really need feedback and partly because there's so much time that goes into putting a tender submission together, it would be really great to get some feedback. Because if that's all we're going to get, at least we can then... There's something constructive that's come out of it. We can improve for the next one. We can understand why we didn't win it or what we could've done to win it, what we could've done better. Even when I ask, I would say 60% of the time, maybe 70% of the time we don't get feedback.Sophie Ballinger: That often?Kelly Molson: Yeah.Sophie Ballinger: That really surprises me.Kelly Molson: It's really frustrating and I really push as well. I don't let it go. I will send multiple emails. If there's a phone number, I will be ringing you. There is a few things. I think it is quite hard to give constructive feedback. And if you're not very good at it, you shy away from it. I think that people are uncomfortable about delivering bad news a lot of the time, but we're really thick skinned and we really need it. We really need to understand what we did wrong. Maybe it wasn't anything wrong. Maybe it was just someone just absolutely nailed it. And yeah, if in another circumstance, we would've won it with what we delivered, but actually these guys blew it out of the water.Kelly Molson: But if we don't know, you just have this feeling of, "Oh, I just feel really sad." I'm kind of used to it now and I am really thick skinned, but it's a bit demoralising to the team. They need to know why we didn't win that. Because we're all excited about it, the whole team is invested in a brief when it comes in. And we're all invested in really wanting to work with that company or we wouldn't put the effort in to put in that tender submission together. It has sometimes a quite negative effect on the agency when they don't get the feedback. Not that they don't win. We all know we can't win everything, but it's about not understanding what is really hard.Sophie Ballinger: I guess as well and for people that don't work in agencies and don't go through that process, it's trying to explain to them that you go for a job interview. You get called back for a second interview and you do a task as part of that. You work on a big presentation. Then you don't get the job and you never hear anything from them ever again. Yeah, of course, yeah get invested in it. If that keeps happening to you over and over again, of course, it's going to start to knock your confidence or start to, as you say, it can be really quite disheartening.Sophie Ballinger: Again, I'm a big gobsmacked by it because it's something that we, and it's not just me, I'm not going to say I'm an angel on it, but the ethos at work and the people that I work with at Eureka!, it's really important to us. For example, with the tender process you were involved in, we did feedback. For all the people that were shortlisted, we do feedback in a spreadsheet on every single one so that we could offer feedback. Realistically, we couldn't necessarily have a conversation with everyone that had submitted, but what we did say is, "We will give you written feedback if you want it." Sometimes they don't. And for anyone that came to the actual doing creative stage, we would have a conversation with them.Sophie Ballinger: I had a phone conversation, I think, with everyone that pitched. I should say sometimes it's not necessarily going to be that constructive. In fact, to me, I'd say it was a closer thing, but this was one of those, not to blow smoke up your behind, but this is one of those where we just said, "Actually, this agency just blew everyone out of the water." It was quite difficult because one of the agencies that had pitched for it was an agency that we'd been working with, so it wasn't an easy conversation. But I respect it enough to try and be honest about what was going on. It's fair. As I say, I know that that's just not me. I think I've been influenced by the people I work with and probably vice-versa, but we know how important it is.Kelly Molson: Yeah. Very important and really appreciated from our perspective as well.Sophie Ballinger: Yeah. It can be really painful.Kelly Molson: Actually, one of the questions that we often ask, I don't always want to know and I didn't in this circumstance, but sometimes it's nice to know what agencies we're up against. With this process, it's slightly different because I think we knew it was an open tender. I mean, we had no idea that you were going to get up to 40 submissions. That was mad. But when you get shortlisted to go through to the next stage, it's often quite nice to know who you're up against. You were open to telling us, but I actually said I didn't want to know for this one.Sophie Ballinger: Yeah. We asked all the agencies because I think one or two of them had asked. We asked the agencies if they were happy for other people to know they were involved if they wanted to know. I think, did you say you were happy for other people to know but you didn't want to? I can't remember now.Kelly Molson: Yeah. I didn't want the pressure. I think we really wanted to win it so much that I didn't want the pressure of looking at who we were up against and going, "Oh, they're much bigger than us," or they've got much more experience in that sector, or this, that and that. Their work's awesome. I just thought, "Don't know. Just be yourself, go in and do your thing. Don't know about all those things."Sophie Ballinger: Yeah. And have a look afterwards.Kelly Molson: Oh, I did. Yeah. Yeah, I definitely did afterwards. But what I would say, what's happened, so recently a few briefs have been sent to us and it's lovely. What's really nice is that we're chosen for people to send a brief to. More and more so we'll receive a brief and they'll say, "Look, we've chosen four agencies that we've sent this out to."Kelly Molson: Some will say, "We've sent this out to 10 agencies," and I think that's too many, personally. But it's nice that you've been chosen as one of those four agencies, and in those circumstances, I do always ask who the other agencies are. I don't always get told, but I do always ask because I think for us, it's a way of gaging, do we think that we're actually in with a chance of winning this?Kelly Molson: I think that's a really honest thing to say is that we will not go for every brief that lands on our desk because, honestly, some of them we just don't think that we're going to win. It might be because there's an existing relationship with an agency that's on that list that it's gone out to and we don't understand why you would want to change from that. There might be potentially some research that's been carried about by an agency and the research has been included in that brief. And you're like, "Why would you get them to do the research? You must have a good relationship with them to do that. If you're not going to give them this, why don't you just go to them like, is everyone just wasting their time?" Do you know what I mean?Sophie Ballinger: Yeah, yeah.Kelly Molson: It's really honest, but sometimes that happens. I think sometimes we go, "Okay. Well, what work have we got scheduled in?" And we have to be really realistic and say, "We are really busy right now. What time can we dedicate to this pitch? What time can we dedicate to putting this tender document together?" If we don't think that we've got enough time to do it justice, we'll also say, "We don't think that the timing's right for us to be able to do this." I think sometimes knowing who you're up against is important. In this circumstance, I felt it was going to be a distraction rather than something useful.Sophie Ballinger: Yeah, yeah.Kelly Molson: Okay. Your brief essentially covered all of the points that we go through with what is a great brief. I've talked about this at the start and I will link to our blog post in the show notes for this episode, but essentially, we're looking for a really detailed company profile and doing that in a way that it really showcases what it's going to be like to work for that brand. So that tone of voice is so hugely important in that essence.Kelly Molson: We need to know what the project goals and objectives are, and we really need to be able to ask you questions about that as well. If you're putting a brief together, think about how much time you've got to dedicate to this process because being able to speak to the person that's wrote this brief and ask them questions for an agency is absolutely vital. You are going to get a much better response if you allow that to happen.Kelly Molson: We need to know about your audience. If there's been any persona work done, that's always helpful. Where the current website has failings that we can't see that we don't know about. What the new website needs to deliver and really be specific about if there's a content management system that you are totally wedded to, we need to know about that upfront because it might not be one that we use.Kelly Molson: I put competitors on this list, but I think from an attractions perspective, I mean obviously you've got competitors, but it's more about what space do you sit in and what are you and where do you sit into that kind of ecosystem. A schedule of timelines and that's not just for the project, that's for the process of potentially winning this project might look like. Budget, big thumbs up for putting a budget in there.Kelly Molson: Then actually, the feedback and selection process. I think some of the best briefs we've ever had, it's specified what that's going to look like as well and so we know if there's going to be an expectation of creative. And we're going to bring you and say, "Hey, we don't do that," or, "Do you really need to see a creative at this point? Because I don't think it's going to work, and maybe we should look at stuff that we've done previously. Will that work?"Sophie Ballinger: Can I make a quick point about creative, actually?Kelly Molson: Yeah.Sophie Ballinger: I was thinking about this because different people respond to creative in different ways. Something that I thought was really interesting in this process, because I absolutely take the point in the process as well where it's like, well, you can not get a job because you've done something in green and they didn't like green. It's like, "I could've made it blue or purple or whatever," and you can lose it. There are people who could take creative too literally. I think that's a real issue and that's why I can see why people don't like creative, the amount of work that goes into it aside.Sophie Ballinger: If you were doing the process from my side of it as the client, it's understanding that creative is changeable. Yeah, as you say, it's not going to be the final thing. But also, because what I would say with the creative is that when Rubber Cheese presented, actually the end website is very different, very different from the creative that was in the pitch. That didn't matter. The thing that particularly me and Michelle Emerson, my director, look out for is the process that took you there, the walk that you went on to get there and how you respond to us pointing out elements that wouldn't work for our brand.Sophie Ballinger: It'd be wonderful if you came in and at your first attempt it was absolutely nailed it, but we also understand that it's an iterative process. Anyway. I think that is really important if you are asking for creative, it's understanding that you've given someone one bash at your brief. I have worked with people who take that creative very literally and don't understand that it's just an example. For me, it's really useful to see someone's design ethic, their approach to it, the creative process, the feedback process, how open they are to it.Sophie Ballinger: The pitch that I was involved with yourself, I think it was the longest one that we had and there was a really long discussion between everyone that was involved in that pitch that was prompted by the creative. That's really telling for me.Kelly Molson: Yeah. I can remember it felt quite brutal. I'm not going to lie.Sophie Ballinger: Yeah.Kelly Molson: I mean, I like pitching and it was great. I felt like it went well, but we left going, "I don't know if they actually liked what we delivered because they really went in on us on it." There was a lot of picking it apart, and I was thinking, "Well, this was just supposed to be a creative. It was never going to be the final ka-bang." Yeah, it was interesting to see the discussions that it sparked, and I guess that's part of the process as well, isn't it?Sophie Ballinger: Yeah. But don't ditch something because you didn't like green.Kelly Molson: I mean, that's a life lesson there, isn't it?Sophie Ballinger: I like green very much.Kelly Molson: Same. Can I ask, and it might be that this is just the way the organisation does things, but would you do it again in the same way? Would you have an open tender? Because I guess you then had to spend time reading 38 submissions. That's a hell of a lot of time to then get them down to five, so the timeframes would've been... Because if it's an open tender, you never know how many you're going to get, right? So you might have got five, but actually, you got nearly 40 and you've got to distil that down.Sophie Ballinger: Yeah. Could've had 102.Kelly Molson: Wow.Sophie Ballinger: Short answer, no. Again, it's interesting. Because that process went so well, we adopted the same for a number of other briefs. We did a number of open tenders on, the next example that my team was directly involved was a PR agency brief. We would not do that again. That sounded really negative. It was still a really good experience, but it was too much, I think.Kelly Molson: What would you do?Sophie Ballinger: I think obviously I haven't done another web tender since then because we still have a relationship with Rubber Cheese and we're very happy where we are.Kelly Molson: Why would you need to? Oh, the horror.Sophie Ballinger: Why would we ever need to? It's really interesting. When we have done briefs for other stuff, so creative design agencies for, obviously, we're opening our second site, a science and discovery centre. We've been going through the process quite a lot there, and we have identified agencies and we've done quite a lot of our homework. We've gone out to a number of them to invite them to pitch for it or tender for it initially.Sophie Ballinger: It's really weird because, of course, then you end up everyone knows each other. So with Mersey we aren't based in Liverpool so we don't know a lot of agencies there. So we went to partners that we're working with on that development and asked them who they'd work with, who they'd recommend. On the one hand, you lose the wildcard element of it, but then, on the other hand, it can be faster, a hell of a lot faster and a lot less time consuming. It's really weird because I'm also aware of the fact that had we not done an open tender, then we wouldn't be working with Rubber Cheese now.Kelly Molson: I know. It's a really tricky one, isn't it?Sophie Ballinger: Yeah. But it hasn't worked for us. I mean, it may be one of those that case by case. There might be other briefs that come up and actually, we know that we should just go for it. We did do an open one. We worked with Playmaker Studios, who basically are over in Liverpool, to develop our brand for Eureka Science and Discovery. Was that an open one? Yeah, we did an open one for that. We promoted it on social, but we did also send it to people.Kelly Molson: Oh, okay. So you did a bit of both.Sophie Ballinger: Bit of both. Again, that worked out really well for us and who knows whether we would've ended up working with them if we did it differently. But yeah, it's a funny one. I really don't know. What's your take on it from the agency perspective?Kelly Molson: It's really difficult. Actually, in the podcast I mentioned at the beginning of the interview, the Alex Holliman Choosing an Agency podcast, I did state in that podcast that I like it when the organisation has done their own homework and they ask you, so they know who that tender's going out to. Because honestly, I just think it saves a lot of time for everyone. I just can't imagine how long it would've taken to read through 38 submissions.Sophie Ballinger: A long time.Kelly Molson: So long, because I remember how long our submission was as well. From a time perspective, and I think fewer agencies, the better. Again, it's from a selfish perspective. When you're one of 10 agencies that it's gone out to, does it really need to go to 10? Do you really need 10 submissions? I think four, five max is about right. But then on the other hand, like you say, in this circumstance if Eddie hadn't sent this brief to us, we would never have been working with you. So there is something to be said for having it a little bit open. I like that mixed approach that you took. I still think I'd sway towards doing the research and sending it to a handful.Sophie Ballinger: Yeah. I think generally, that's what we do for the most part now, but I wouldn't be closed to the idea depending on the brief and depending on the project as well. I mean in all honesty with the PR one, I mean we benefited greatly. You can imagine PR and reputation management agencies, we got so many things sent to us. Every day we were walking into the office and there was a new kind of mystery box with a crown in or one that had a knitted beard in it. I mean, it was just really random stuff. It was kind of fun, but it was so much time and so much effort that was being put into it and money.Sophie Ballinger: When we've been looking beyond that, we haven't repeated that because, again, it didn't feel fair and it took a hell of a lot of time. Actually, out of web agencies that wanted it, I met with a lot of them. PR agencies, just so many of them wanted to come. It wasn't me that had to spend time with them. It was my colleague, Ruth Saxton. But it was so time consuming for her. It was insane. So many things around that. Yeah, I don't know.Sophie Ballinger: There probably are briefs that I would say, go for it. And if you don't know really what you want, it's that being honest. If you're very specific about where you want to be with it and you have a vision in your head and you want it to be very comparable to this competitor or that competitor, but maybe you do try and look for source agencies or find examples that do that for you.Sophie Ballinger: But actually, when it's a brief of that nature, when it's like, "Look, these are the problems we've got. We don't really know what we want. Otherwise, we could just go find someone and get them to do it for us. We want creativity. We want innovation. We want help, support. We want a relationship. We want this." We didn't know where to turn for it, so I think it was right for that one.Kelly Molson: Thank you. I really appreciate you talking through this with us today. Two last questions for you. Actually, three questions. What happened to the fake knitted beard? I hope that you kept it. Second question-Sophie Ballinger: It could-Kelly Molson: Second question on that, is that better than the fake fringe that I once sent you? I think not.Sophie Ballinger: No.Kelly Molson: I think not.Sophie Ballinger: Nothing. Do you know that I'm in the process of moving and that fringe has appeared again recently? But even better than that, I think my mum was babysitting and she found it and was just...Kelly Molson: What is this? A fake fringe, everyone needs one.Sophie Ballinger: Obviously.Kelly Molson: To explain, listeners, I wasn't sure whether to have a fringe cut at what point, so I bought a fake fringe that I could wear to see... I didn't wear it out. I just wore it around the office to see if I looked okay with a fringe. There's nothing weird about that at all.Sophie Ballinger: It doesn't look like a merkin at all to the untrained eye.Kelly Molson: I'm so glad that you said that and not me. Okay. Final question.Sophie Ballinger: You horrified my mother.Kelly Molson: Wow. On that note, final-Sophie Ballinger: What was the question?Kelly Molson: Final question for you. No, final question, a book that you would like to recommend to us?Sophie Ballinger: A book? Oh, The Beard, circling back, came home with me and I may or may not have put it on my baby daughter several times and taken a photograph. Book, I'm even prepared for this. I've got, look. I've got it here.Kelly Molson: Ah, ooh.Sophie Ballinger: I was going to be really geeky and do a workbook that's really good for people that work in content, and I decided not to do that. I love books, but I'll be really honest. Particularly since I've had a child, I've struggled. If you go downstairs, I've got a bit of a show-offy book collection. There's lots of Russian literature and when I had a brain that could process all this stuff. I can't do it anymore. Anyway, this guy is a chap called Craig Clevenger, and this is his first novel, The Contortionist's Handbook.Kelly Molson: Oh.Sophie Ballinger: The reason I've done this one is I reread it a couple of times. I don't tend to reread books very often. I love them, but I very rarely reread them. This one I inhaled. It's about a chap who fakes his own identity and goes in cycles, and he rebuilds his identity each time. It's him trying to get out of a very difficult situation, so it's kind of a thriller.Sophie Ballinger: I just loved it and I love the fact it felt like, you know when you discover a new author? It was recommended to me by a member of staff in, I think it was, Waterstones in Derby. I just bought it on the off chance, and it's a debut novel. He's written a couple of others since. He works in a library in Texas. I might've spoken to him, and he might've sent me a copy of his second book. Yeah, so I wanted a bit of a pay it forward as well. I've also got, this is the paperback copy that I bought at the time. So if anyone wants it, if they tweet me, the first person to tweet me, I'll post a copy of it out to them.Kelly Molson: Oh. Well, I was going to give it away as a prize. Totally ruined my prize giving, but whatever.Sophie Ballinger: Oh, sorry. But this is the copy that I got given in Waterstones in Derby. Oh, I've obviously lent it to someone else as well because I've got a little, it says, "Enjoy." Enjoy, S.Kelly Molson: Oh. Well, leave that in there. Okay. I'll tell you what, let's do it properly. If you want to win Sophie's book, head over to our Twitter account and you retweet this episode announcement with the comment, "I want Sophie's book", you can win it. I will make sure that she sends it out to you.Sophie Ballinger: I will do, with the, "Enjoy."Kelly Molson: Thank you for coming on. It's been a delight to chat with you. I am going to see if I can get the word loquacious into a conversation today. Hey, I said it right. Woo-hoo! Yeah, thank you for coming on and sharing with us, Sophie.Sophie Ballinger: Pleasure.Kelly Molson: Thanks for listening to Skip the Queue. If you've enjoyed this podcast, please leave us a five-star review. It really helps others find us. Remember to follow us on Twitter for your chance to win the books that have been mentioned. Skip the Queue is brought to you by Rubber Cheese, a digital agency that builds remarkable systems and websites for attractions that helps them increase their visitor numbers. You can find show notes and transcriptions from this episode and more over on our website, rubbercheese.com/podcast.

Space: What The F**k, Dude?!
Halloween in Hollywood with Tom McCaffrey

Space: What The F**k, Dude?!

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 27, 2021 57:24


Ooh boy.  Scary movies are scary but Tom McCaffrey isn't afraid of them.  He spits mad Hollywood knowledge on this ep of the ole pod john.  Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/thedannypalmershow)

Big Kid Problems
93. Spilling the Tea on Reality TV, Finding Love and Starting Over with Hannah Berner

Big Kid Problems

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 26, 2021 76:07


You may love her, you may love to hate her, but Hannah Berner (Bravo TV's Summer House, The Hit Podcasts' “Berning In Hell” and “Giggly Squad”)  is back on the show this week and spilling some PIPING HOT TEA. We talk about her departure from Bravo TV and the shitstorm that followed, insecurities, Instagram, ego, life lessons, party friends, wedding planning, and SO MUCH MORE!  Want more from our guests? Hannah Berner  Instagram https://www.instagram.com/beingbernz/?hl=en (@beingbernz ) Check out her Podcast's https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/berning-in-hell/id1442257788 (Berning in Hell) and https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/giggly-squad/id1536352412 (Giggly Squad)! GO SEE HER ON TOUR!! https://www.hannahberner.com/ Ooh, Stay in touch with me too! Follow along on https://www.instagram.com/Bigkidproblems/?hl=en (@bigkidproblems)! Personal Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sarahmerrill_hall/ (@SarahMerrill_Hall) Find more at www.BigKidProblems.com    Big thank you to our episode sponsors! http://www.bridebrite.co/ (Bride Brite) - Get a brighter, whiter smile today! Use code “BIGKID” for free shipping and 40% off  at www.bridebrite.co http://www.dipseastories.com/bigkid (Dispsea) - Short sexy audio stories to help you connect to your sexual self. Get 30 days of full access for free when you go to Dipseastories.com/bigkid Big Kid Problems is a production of http://crate.media (Crate Media)

SuperFeast Podcast
#139 How To Become Flexible with Benny Fergusson

SuperFeast Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 26, 2021 67:01


Benny Fergusson, aka The Movement Monk, joins Mason on the podcast for an insightful discussion around how we can be more adaptive in our physical practices, embody flexibility with integrity, and bring a broader range of diversity into the way we approach movement. Bringing 20 years of experience and wisdom to the table, Benny comes versed in many forms of physical practice; Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Shaolin Kung Fu, Martial Arts, Yoga, Bodyweight training, to name a few. But what really lights him up and continues to evolve his work is providing people with unhomogenised frameworks of physical movement; Connecting them back to their unique bodies, their nature, and supporting them to thrive and achieve what they never knew was possible. Through his business (The Movement Monk), Benny and his team offer personal support, coaching, and an epic range of transformational online courses that hone in on movement exploration, better physical performance, and personal growth. In this episode, Benny explores many notions of movement and flexibility. He encourages the listener to look beyond mainstream prescribed ideas of physical workouts towards a limitless realm of movement exploration; One that isn't bound by body image, a singular goal, or a season. Mason and Benny also move around the concept of approaching both life and physical practice with more flexibility and connection to the body/self; With less dogma and more diversity, allowing us to change and adapt with ease as we go through the different seasons of life. Benny is a pioneer revolutionising the way we approach movement. Tune in now.     "With regards to movement, the body is always changing. My body now, in my thirties, is different from what it was in my twenties. There's a different context, and it's going to continue to change and evolve. And because of this, I need greater diversity to choose from. So I can adapt to an ever-changing environment, to the different seasons and how I'm feeling. In times where I'm feeling more lethargic. How do I work with that? There might be times when I'm feeling less grounded; How do I work with these things? There might be times when I'm feeling tired or when I'm feeling looser. To be able to continue to look at things and then go, oh, okay, cool. I have a series of choices that I know that I can make continually to keep the process of life going".    - Benny Fergusson   Mason and Benny discuss: Hypermobility. Hypomobility. Embodied flexibility. The quality of flexibility. Flexibility, stability and injury. Benny's process of movement. The explorative mobility method. Sustainability in physical practice. Chronic tension and pain in the body. Not letting our bodies do not define us.    Who is Benny Fergusson? After living with chronic scoliosis & pain for years, getting no lasting relief from mainstream fitness and therapies.. Benny embarked on a journey to heal his body and get to know himself better. Through years of research and the practice of movement & meditation arts, Benny found a way to restore his physical freedom, leading to profound personal growth. Benny now shares his findings with his students at MovementMonk.xyz   CLICK HERE TO LISTEN ON APPLE PODCAST    Resources: The Freedom Academy Embodied Flexibility Course The Movement Monk Website The Movement Monk YouTubeThe Movement Monk Facebook The Movement Monk Instagram Use The Code MASON10 For 10% Off     Q: How Can I Support The SuperFeast Podcast?   A: Tell all your friends and family and share online! We'd also love it if you could subscribe and review this podcast on iTunes. Or  check us out on Stitcher :)! Plus  we're on Spotify!   Check Out The Transcript Here:   Mason: (00:00) Hey, Benny. Welcome back.   Benny Fergusson: (00:01) Thanks for having me again, Mase. It's good to be back   Mason: (00:03) [crosstalk 00:00:03] Yeah. You've been on long enough. I think you'd say friend of the podcast. Regular.   Benny Fergusson: (00:10) Friend of the podcast.   Mason: (00:11) Yeah. You're a regular. I think it's been a decent amount of time since we've been chatting on here.   Benny Fergusson: (00:19) Yeah.   Mason: (00:19) Even as much for the people that haven't met you before, but for those who haven't heard you for a year and a half or two years since you've been on. Do you just want to give them a little bit of an intro to what you do? But for you, where you're at with your movement practise that could just help frame out what you're doing in the world a little bit?   Benny Fergusson: (00:44) Yeah, well, a little bit like you, a lot can happen... I'm always evolving. I'm always growing. I'm someone that I never rest on my laurels. I love this work. I love the process of having a body and exploring it and how that then intersects with who we are as people and what life is and what it can be. So, I'm always growing. Flexibility practise is something that just continues to be a cornerstone of my life. I think because my body is always reflecting back to me. Flexibility is very symbolic of how I meet my edges in life, how I adapt and stay supple. I continue to run a business, Movement Monk, and we provide online education and I'm always looking at how can we serve our members better?   Benny Fergusson: (01:50) How can we get the message out? There's just so much homogenised physical exercise out there that doesn't open up people to themselves. So, I'm always pushing my edge within myself to see how I can educate better and also see what I'm made of. So, I've been continuing to grow in my personal practise. One thing that has continued to evolve is looking at the same situation, say like a stretch. What are the multiple ways that we can look at that so that we can be adaptive? Like when we're talking about embodied flexibility and that whole notion of what it means to embody something. In this case, the quality of flexibility. It's something that is not just... you're not a one trick pony.   Benny Fergusson: (02:52) It's not just like I stretch in this way and then that just works infinitely. I've tried that and it doesn't actually work like that. You start to stagnate. We see this in so many different schools of thought, Philosophy, movements where you become a product of your own dogma, and then you're no longer living. You're just a series of regurgitated thoughts and actions repeated and nature doesn't work in that way. It's always adapting. It's going through so many different cycles. Having gone through this, maybe the hard way, I don't know, doing it for 20 years, you start to come to these realisations and realise that you need greater biodiversity in the way that you approach things. I'm really interested in that from a physical practise perspective.   Benny Fergusson: (03:53) With regards to movement, the body's always changing. My body now, in my thirties, is different to what it was in my twenties. There's different context and it's going to continue to change and evolve, and I need a greater diversity to be able to choose from, to adapt to an ever changing environment, to the different seasons and how I'm feeling, whether there might be times where I'm feeling more lethargic. How do I work with that? There might be times when I'm feeling less grounded, how do I work with these things? There might be times when I'm feeling tired or when I'm feeling looser. To be able to continue to look at things and then go, oh, okay, cool. Maybe not have all of the right answers, but I have a series of choices that I know that I can make continually to keep the process of life going.   Benny Fergusson: (04:51) So, these are the things that have been evolving. Like when I started this process with Movement Monk, and even this course in body flexibility, it happened around the same time, about nine years ago, in the online space. I was inspired by Shaolin practises, particularly Shaolin Qi Gong and stretching practises and that came through a lot in that process. That's where it was a lot about not just stretching for an end result, but also who you become in that process. Then, you put it out in the world. I was stoked about sharing that and I'm like, "oh, I've got to get this out to people, It's really helped me". Then, you get almost 3000 people come through and you get all this feedback, and it's just wonderful and it's humbling and you get all these different perspectives and then you come back and [inaudible 00:05:50] and you saw it and you go "okay, what can I do with this feedback?"   Benny Fergusson: (05:53) How can I continue to grow and be better and provide something that is able to go to that next level, rather than be overly prescriptive of "do this, do that, do what I do and get what I got". It's now more about, these experiences have helped me, but use this process as a way to get to know yourself, and at the end of that, then you've got these tools to start to go "okay, how would I like to apply it? I can actually keep using these skills for a long time."   Benny Fergusson: (06:27) The idea is that you could use these principles and practises for the next 10, 15, 20 years. A lot of the time we don't think about that in this transformational world of befores and afters in the realm of movement and fitness. I went from this amount of flexibility to that amount of flexibility.   Benny Fergusson: (06:50) And that's cool. I think that's useful. It's an important part of the process, but then where do you go from there? Where do you go to keep your heart alive in your practise? Rather than just "Yeah, I've got the splits now what ?", "has that changed me?" "Does that touch the very fibre of who I am?"   Benny Fergusson: (07:08) Is that just something that gave me some social currency and validation amongst my peers to go "whoa, you're really cool because you can do this thing", but I think this starts to then go deeper and go "okay, cool, Our bodies do not define us".   Benny Fergusson: (07:28) We enter this bit of a paradox, yet here we are in this physical existence, living in this proverbial meat sack. It gives us a wonderful learning opportunity and it grounds us and thrusts us into these kinds of challenges and opportunities for growth, and brings us back to deeper questions about perhaps there's more to me than just my body. So, to come to that point through a physical practise is something that, to me, after 20 years of being interested in this, or more, 20 years of structured cultivation and exploration, it still keeps me yearning. There's a thirst to continue, to learn and grow, and also through that process to realise what I've accumulated and to be inspired to unlearn as well and come back to our essential nature, whatever that is for whoever we are.   Mason: (08:37) Yeah. Uniquely. [crosstalk 00:08:42]I'm looking forward to checking out the new, improved, current reflection of everybody's flexibility, really reflecting on where it's all at and what's developed. What I like about the idea of embodied flexibility, it's an initiation process. Some people might come with the intention solely around what you're talking about. It might not be flexibility in particular that they have any specific goals revolving around, but they might feel the more metaphysical or emotional like, "Hey, if I bring this flexibility to my body, I'm going to be able to use that to bring adaptability and flexibility to the way that I think", or "I'm with my kids or when I'm in my job or running my business" or whatever it is. Likewise, I think if I went in there, I'd probably, at this point in my life, I'd probably be like "You know, I'd have a few mobility goals that I'd really be"...   Mason: (09:45) I think the reason I got pleasantly surprised going through it probably eight years ago that I had those mobility intentions around maybe getting my forehead closer towards my shin, moving closer towards the wide split. I won't even talk about the front split yet. That's... maybe I can bet. That's a horrendous stretching for me. I love it, but you go in and you move towards those goals, but then you also get that pleasant surprise of, hang on... I said it in the live we did earlier, you make yourself and the system just that little bit too slippery that you can't just hook into an ideological outcome or an ideal outcome of what you're going for or attach what you want to you or any of the other instructors.   Mason: (10:38) It just keeps on falling back into the self. And if you keep on going with the practise, so I'm [inaudible 00:10:43] understanding this. I imagine the new courses, especially particularly designed to just show up and keep on having faith in this process and keep on showing up in your practise in the way that we've loosely built it. You can still explore for yourself and through the other side; one, you probably do have some serious improvement in your mobility than when you're in your actual flexibility, but then there's that pleasant happy accident for many people that "wow" and all those things you're talking about, I'm feeling way more adaptive in my everyday life because I've altered the way that I relate with being uncomfortable, seeing that there's ways that I can explore being uncomfortable, move beyond that and see that things do move, even though it was very hard when I first arrived there. Does that sum it up a little bit ?   Benny Fergusson: (11:33) Yeah, totally. It's an ongoing... To put this in an online course format that's digestible... It's a process of art and to give what our intention has been and is with this is to provide structures and frameworks and clarity that then open up someone to exploration. So, first and foremost, we put the focus on really two key things, the methodology rather than it. So, for example, to highlight an evolution, we started off with a simple process of in the first version of embodied flexibility, it was a series of dynamic stretching movements. So, you'd move in and out of the range to acclimatise with what you're doing, and then you'd focus on generating good quality contraction in your end range to stabilise and give your nervous system an opportunity to go "Okay, I'm safe here."   Benny Fergusson: (12:37) And then a natural result is your body is more confident and able to move into deeper ranges. Which was good, really useful. That, at the time of my research was a very widely applicable process. It had to evolve, then, to different questions of "okay, well, what if I have a natural propensity toward hyper mobility?" So my joints are a little bit more lax and they can hyper extend and all that sort of stuff. What do I do? I've done a lot of strength training and my body is hyper mobile. My muscles can contract well, but they have trouble letting go. I've got a lot of armour, so to speak, real stoic warrior vibe, but how do I learn to put down my shield and surrender into deeper layers of the body.   Benny Fergusson: (13:33) So, you can't do that with just one type of stretching, and you see what happens then in my observations and experiences in lots of different realms of movement is... you see... and none of this is a negative on any of them, but you see the necessity of how they've popped up, for example, Yin Yoga is a lot about surrendering into deeper postures and it's a psychological, physiological unravelling process through surrendering to what is. It's kind of a meditative process and unfurling, which is wonderful. Yet, what often happens is people who have that natural propensity toward that quality gravitate toward it. So they just get more of what they're already good at and then other people, it can be really beneficial, but then it can reach a point of your physiology needs more diversity.   Benny Fergusson: (14:30) So, this is where one of my intents is to provide options so we can see the benefits of all of these different approaches, but then we can change and adapt. For example, my body started off and I was into strength training. I was into strong man. I was into CrossFit-like activities before CrossFit existed. So, that came naturally to me and I could put on muscle and all that stuff. But, when it came to flexibility, that was not a natural realm for me. So, I need to find ways to work with my body, but then there's the other side of the coin as well. People who maybe are a little bit lighter in their frame, that their joints don't have as much structural and integrity and all that sort of stuff.   Benny Fergusson: (15:24) So, with all these questions and as working with thousands of people now, over the years, you start to get a greater diversity of the different types of bodies, and that brings up the question, how do we make a method that is adaptive to the individual?   Benny Fergusson: (15:40) So, this is where the method turned from a rhythmic strength stretching as we started, to now the explorative mobility method, which is what it sounds like. We combined four different types of stretching as options. So, you can go into the same stretch, but then realise, "Oh my God, I've got four key different ways which each have different physiological impacts and also different mental approaches to elicit an effect in the same stretch", which is really, really cool. So, it means that in a practise you can either, let's say you like that variability, that's a part of your constitution.   Benny Fergusson: (16:24) I don't want to just be locked in a box with one thing, and that's a part of the individual's makeup that is not just physiological. Then you give that space for that part of the beam to flourish, and then there might be another type of beam that's, "No, I want to focus on one clear thing to get this outcome". We can do that, too. And then once we satisfy these parts of the beam, then it's like, "okay, cool, what else is there? How can I start to actually grow into new space, that is beyond what my natural inclination is?"   Benny Fergusson: (17:03) So, that's a big part that I was actually surprised that it came out. I started coming back and taking all this feedback and then looking at what do we need to do to do better.   Benny Fergusson: (17:18) Then this came along the way and I was actually also really surprised. I continued to bring it into my practise and then just seeing how it gives structure, but then also gives someone a sense of personal agency that they have choice of that overwhelm in a flexibility practise.   Benny Fergusson: (17:35) So, that's one of the cornerstones that's in this new process and it's something that if I had have seen it around in the world, I wouldn't have had to do it. So, this is a driving force of going, "Okay, we deserve more options when we're working with our body. We deserve more ability to personalise and find something that not only suits us where we're at now, but gives us space to grow." So, these sorts of things that are exciting me at the moment.   Mason: (18:13) I had a really new, sapling thought when you were talking about the bulking muscle men and women. Again, don't have this to take anywhere. I just wanted to share it with you quickly. Especially in relation to when I was in the live, I was talking about the spleen. For most people with deficient muscle, you're going to see deficient capacity to create strong bonds and have strong boundaries within your relationships and with yourself, because that's the virtuous nature of the spleen. I was just thinking about that, that being jacked up and high, having that hypermobility, you can see that it's a hyper bond. It's like "bro! You're my bro!"... Same with the women. You just see that the bonds between them is so intense and the boundaries between their tribe and other tribes seem really intense and really defined as well.   Mason: (19:11) You know what, I can really just see those bonds and boundaries becoming excessive. Maybe using a little bit of that medicine of... I guess a little bit of flexibility could be coming in, especially from the liver, for those of you that have the Taoist incline to help bring some balance into that. Especially, some balance to the frustration and anger that can come up in that from that world, which the liver has to deal with. I just wanted to talk about quality of flexibility when we talk about stretching, quality of stretching, quality of flexibility, because I know my colonised mind, my reductionist mind still hears you go "you know, flexibility" and I'm like, "oh yeah, yeah, cool. Yeah. I need more flexibility and doing some stretching in your practise."   Mason: (19:59) Yeah, yeah. I got it. I should stretch and it's all the courses and I read every... Anyone who's focused on doing... It was an athlete and now I got in. Then, of course, I stretch. I stretch at the end of the day. And I'm like, "what do you mean, You know?" I know you've just said that you've got four different types. So, it's not just one myopic concept. I remember you've talked a lot in the past about someone who... and you brought up hyper mobility and how some people might think, "Oh, that person's going to breeze through embodied flexibility."   Mason: (20:37) But, can you talk to a little bit about what that process would be like for someone with hypermobility? And then I'm sure that can take us into whether we're hypo or hyper...   Benny Fergusson: (20:47) Yeah.   Mason: (20:47) What's that quality of flexibility that you're looking for? And does it necessarily just mean going to your furthest range that you have right now?   Benny Fergusson: (20:57) Yeah, yeah. Well, qualities... Probably one of the... So, I don't like to be too hierarchal in the way that I think, but if I have a look at my evolution as I've journeyed into the body further, I started off with techniques, which is what a lot of people do. It's like I do a stretch. Now, what I realised with a technique is you bring yourself to that technique under the illusion that you think that that technique is going to somehow magically change your wiring. So, what often happens is that we then highlight... The practise reflects back to us, ourselves, like a classic case is... like the technique of stretching is just so open and ambiguous. It's like going to what someone has described as a stretch. What does that mean? It's going to mean 10 different things to 10 different people.   Benny Fergusson: (22:08) So, it's not enough for you to then have some sort of personal agency in the experience. So, then you go a little bit deeper into principles. So, what are the things underneath, the cogs that turn to make that technique work? Why that technique came about? So, principles are really useful because that then starts to take a little bit deeper into the conversation you start to look at. Ah, okay. Rather than just doing, focusing on the tip of the iceberg, I then start to look at all of the supporting structures that allow it to float, because it's such an illusion. This tip is everything that you need to create that reality. It doesn't work like that. We need foundations and those foundations are principles which I'll go into some of the ones that I find really useful, in a moment.   Benny Fergusson: (23:10) Then you go a little bit further and you start to talk about qualities. Like when we start to look into different qualities of being, qualities of mind. So, if I go into something and my intention is very strong, very attachment based, very future focused, then that quality will be reflected through the activity that I do. In this case, a stretch. An example... I'll give more examples in terms of how we apply this to someone who's hyper mobile. For me, at the start of my journey, I wanted to get flexible. We're talking about, I wanted the splits, I wanted the backbend. To be honest, I'm still interested in those things as much as I was when I started.   Benny Fergusson: (23:58) However, the level of attachment has significantly loosened off. It's something that is less future-based and now more I'm appreciating where I'm at in the process of where I'm going. So, the quality of patience has emerged. The quality of, for want of a better term, flexibility, to be able to adapt with what is, because I'll wake up and some days I might be tighter, and if I push my body on that day, my body's going to give me some sort of feedback to say whether that's okay, whether that's not okay.   Benny Fergusson: (24:38) It's like anything in nature, you just can't force it to grow. It grows through a product of being supported to grow. So, rather than trying to force... and you can see these other types of qualities, if this is underlying factor driving the being, so that quality of pushing, of striving, of achieving, then you will get a result, but it will reach a ceiling pretty quick, because it's out of the accordance of natural law which has cycles and interrelationships and all of that sort of stuff.   Benny Fergusson: (25:15) So, when you look into qualities, that's when things start to get rich into How does our level of being influence what we do and then interrelate to what we have. It's that very classic notion of be, do, have.   Benny Fergusson: (25:30) So, who I am will then inform what I have, what I experience. So, if we track it back and look at someone who's hyper mobile, someone who has maybe less joint integrity, less structural integrity, more gravitation toward flexibility. This is what a lot of people... you see it in the yoga world... a lot of women demonstrate wonderful flexibility and you get the guys going, "I could never do that", or some women who don't have that quality naturally going "Oh, well, yoga is not for me because I can't do those [inaudible 00:26:11], those postures from day dot". Maybe that person who's demonstrating it has cultivated it over years.   Benny Fergusson: (26:20) Maybe, also, they've just always been that way. So, either way we need to find ways for... because there's also people who are hyper mobile, who don't feel stable, who get injured easily, who are also not very flexible. So, there's all of these wonderful, different variants in someone's body.   Mason: (26:43) Yeah. There was that woman, I don't know her name, not that I want to share it, but I remember Tahnee, Tahnee keeps me up to date with all the scandals in the yoga world.   Benny Fergusson: (26:52) Yeah   Mason: (26:52) She was a pretty famous Ashtanga teacher ? [crosstalk 00:26:56]   Benny Fergusson: (26:56) Yes, yes, yes.   Mason: (26:57) The classic lunge. The really sexy knee over the ankle, one calf right up on the thigh and her back acetabulum popped out ?   Benny Fergusson: (27:08) Yes. [inaudible 00:27:10]   Mason: (27:09) Just popped out. Hip just popped out. Popped right out of the hip, I should say. And I think that's a perfect example that what you're talking about.   Benny Fergusson: (27:20) Yeah.   Mason: (27:20) Right.   Benny Fergusson: (27:21) Totally, totally. So, here we are with unique circumstances of the body. If we focus on an external posture being the primary goal, we push outside of what our internal needs are. So, if we go back to that layer of principles and we just start first, this is a really useful place of starting at something easy.   Benny Fergusson: (27:50) I think a lot of the time we, in my experiences, focus on flexibility and that end goal is really clear. I know where I want to get to. So. you put yourself in a stretch that maybe you've seen on YouTube or someone's shown you, or you learn in high school or something like that. Then you go directly at that path, but it doesn't tend to work like that if you don't yet have the underlying foundations to support that.   Benny Fergusson: (28:21) So, if someone is hyper mobile or even hypo mobile, this will work for both sides of the coin, which is great, you find a space that is reflective of where you'd like to go, but it's easy, and what starts to happen in the mind is you go, "oh, okay, cool, I can do this". What also can happen in the mind is, "is this enough for me to improve?", and that's another little hook that can come up. "Do I need to push myself harder in order to get the gains?" This is where you see it can challenge people's ongoing sustainability in their practise.   Benny Fergusson: (29:04) So, first I feel when we're coming to the conversation of flexibility, we need to understand those two spaces, the space of ease. So, "What can I already do?", "What is the ease or quality that I already possess that's already there?"   Benny Fergusson: (29:22) Then, that space of challenge. "What do I do when I get to that space?", "Is that a positive incentivizing experience for me to go harder?", because it's the whole, no pain, no gain adage, or "Is that something that I've become hypersensitive to, and I tense up in the experience of, and go into fight or flight?", and then I don't give my body an opportunity to open up into its innate potential because we are actually all naturally flexible, and that's the thing, it's an innate state, we've just lost touch with it.   Benny Fergusson: (30:05) So, starting with that space of ease, whatever you need to do, maybe you take that... I remember we were talking about the pancake and that being a more challenging position for you. We let go of the attachment of what it needs to look like and we find that basic pattern and then we go, "Okay, what's my space of ease within that basic shape?"   Benny Fergusson: (30:27) Then we get accustomed with that first. Then the hyper mobile, or even hypo mobile, you'll notice that a lot of these things, what it does is it brings together to then just focus on our experience as we're going into spaces of ease and spaces of challenge. So, then everyone will have different noticing. As that hyper mobile person goes into it, they might notice, "Ah, as I go and I bend forward, my knees start to hyper extend, or my hips start to push into the socket and that sort of thing. So, you can feel when it starts to come on and then adapt and go, "Okay, that doesn't happen when I'm in this space of ease."   Benny Fergusson: (31:20) Then, as I go into that challenge, it starts to come on. So, rather than just put yourself into it, system's all kind of hyper stimulated, and then it's just too much sensory information to be able to make a clear decision. That's a really, really useful principle, so basic, but how many people apply it and value it as a thing? So, that's one thing that I want to bring out is sometimes it's the obvious things, but to really let people know from someone who has not just done this with themself for 20 years, but observed thousands of different bodies and different people for probably the last 15 years of working with people one-to-one and 10 years of doing it in an online space to realise, keep going with this, it's worthwhile. Pull that thread.   Mason: (32:21) I just wanted to speak to you a little bit to your process. You mentioned about some people just want to go real hard and they would just want to give it their all. It's almost like you've got that dominating kind of approach to your practise in life. I think that's a great quality you brought up that you're still just as interested in those and getting into those extreme poses, say, but there's just other elements there. I think I'll just reiterate for everyone, you can still go hard. This is a challenging approach where you can go hard, but there's just other qualities there like that back off patients breathe, explore. It does enable you to go way further and way deeper into this. So, you don't have to relinquish that part of you that's, "Oh, I like to just get after it."   Mason: (33:10) You will be able to get after it in here, [crosstalk 00:33:13] and one of those areas I just wanted to reiterate you've gone into that big view of around, especially like if you're hyper mobile, what happens, but can you just talk a little bit as you go down the road a little bit, that relationship between just having extreme flexibility where there's a floppiness versus where that intersection of strength, flexibility, having stability comes into effect, and how does that... just tack onto the back of that... I think about this often in terms of injury. I think about football players and athletes getting knees and hip injuries constantly and crutch injuries constantly that are debilitating and I often think about your work. Could you just give us a little insight there and to how that all works?   Benny Fergusson: (34:11) Yeah. The way I look at it is I love woodworking, so I relate to it with the quality of wood. So, if you have a certain quality, so let's say strength, you focus on that. If you look at a lot of athletes, they strengthen themselves, or they do specific movements to improve that thing that they're doing. That's one thing that athletes can benefit from to reduce their rates of industry injury, massively, which is actually more diversity in movement, and you've seen it in MMA fighters, like Conor McGregor is a great example of this, how he's challenged the typical ways of MMA people training. He has brought in a broader approach of movements and you can see that in his fighting style.   Benny Fergusson: (35:09) Also, it reflects on him as well as a person and his general outlook. Of course, I don't know him, but I can just observe, but we've got one quality, like strength. That's like a groove. The more you do it, the deeper that groove gets in the wood. Eventually you can dig yourself a trench. The same as flexibility. If you continue to focus on the end posture, you dig yourself a trench into that posture.   Benny Fergusson: (35:40) We often don't have a spectrum between those two qualities. We want to equally focus on both. Not separately, but at the same time. So, then we're starting to get a wider spectrum. If you had the choice... You got a highway and you wanted to spread the load across multiple lanes, that road is going to get worn out a lot less quickly than if you just had one or two lanes where all the traffic goes down.   Benny Fergusson: (36:15) These things are the breeding ground for injury. So, when it comes to bringing that into the context of training flexibility, we need to start to not just look at the end space we get into, but bringing... What's the thing that merges it all ? Movement. Can I move in and out of these postures ?   Benny Fergusson: (36:37) So, then you realise that flexibility's not a static thing. It's not an end goal. It's a continuum of me being where I am and being able to move in and out of where I'd like to go with the quality of ease. So, the end goal I find... It's like a car... if you're always redlining the car, you're always pushing it to its maximum capacity. Shit gets worn out faster.   Benny Fergusson: (37:05) It's like that with injury. If you're a sportsperson, you're always doing that turn or doing that adjustment to the edge of your current ability. Then the circumstances that breed injury are going to be higher. You see it in... If you watch enough 100m races, the tear in the hamstring doesn't just happen gradually. It's a buildup, and then, boom! It's done. It's a lot of pressure built up in the system over time to one glorious culminating moment and, boom, you're injured.   Benny Fergusson: (37:41) So, if you create, this is the beautiful thing of creating more than what you need. This is a very abundant mindset. This is the thing that keeps me struggling. Yeah, it's cool to get these outcomes and it looks cool and people will celebrate it, but for me, I look at... I just started Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu again. So, if I go into that class, I know my ability and I know where I can go more and I can play in my 80-90 percent zone.   Benny Fergusson: (38:16) If I want to really dial it up; if I get into a challenging situation, I can, but it doesn't have to be a constant where I'm always struggling, I'm always redlining and then I'm setting myself up for the injury.   Benny Fergusson: (38:31) When I work with another person, I can start to feel "Okay, where am I at in my spectrum ? Can I play?" and then also bring context with going "Okay, I'm challenging this situation. This is where I need to focus to give myself a bit more space."   Benny Fergusson: (38:48) Then, I'm not always pushing, pushing, pushing right on that edge and setting myself up for potential injury. Sometimes things happen. I don't actually believe you see a lot. We talk about bulletproofing the body. It's bullshit, to be honest, because shit happens.   Benny Fergusson: (39:08) Through the process of training flexibility, I've torn my adductor twice. I've torn my hamstring twice. It's been big setbacks. They were big ego moments of where my mind, my sense of striving, achievement was pushing further than what my body was ready for. I wasn't listening to the subtle signals.   Benny Fergusson: (39:28) So, my body had to go "Hey, dude, I'm going to give you a really clear message that you can hear, that's going to reflect back to you your way of living, and this is not sustainable. So, get your shit sorted and come back to the foundations, so we can be more robust."   Benny Fergusson: (39:46) In short, look at the picture of movement, how it interrelates rather than just these fixed states and linear ideas of what flexibility is. Strength, flexibility and them merging together into one as you practise is really, really useful, and highly applicable. We do become more resistant to injury. Will it completely stop injury ? Well, that's a personal choice.   Mason: (40:20) This might be a bit of a weird question. You've got quite a large community now and the community is growing. We know, not for everyone and not in definitely every movement, so [inaudible 00:40:38]. Largely, when we begin to talk about movement, the people who are motivating us, or we're learning from, have a real high aspiration for a shiny thing. They may say it's not about achieving this thing, but yet their life revolves around, quite often, achieving a big thing.   Mason: (41:03) Do you find a lot of people... Again, not a bad thing... I've got large goals that I'm uniquely going for as well. I'm also someone who can get quite quickly... If I fall into step with someone motivational, I can quite quickly, maybe in the past, get hijacked and think I've got to go and achieve something amazing, physically, through running or something like that. All of a sudden, it's marathons and ultras are on the mind.   Mason: (41:34) Do you find a lot of people gravitate towards your community with those... Maybe they're athletes and maybe they're really focused, maybe not on the process of being an athlete, but on that shiny thing. Do you find when they come into your community... Do you help them ? I know you don't have an agenda, there... Do they continue to be obsessed with the shiny thing ? Do they stop looking for it, sometimes ? Do they continue to go for it, yet find substance in the middle ?   Mason: (42:07) Or, do you find the people that come to you are those who are no longer thinking that that's the pinnacle, to find the shiny thing and they say they wanting something else ? I'm curious about that world.   Benny Fergusson: (42:24) What comes to mind... What I will say first is that people that tend to come into our space, they've done and tried a lot of things. That might be, "I've done this type of yoga", "I've done this", "I've done Crossfit", "I've done these different modalities and I've seen benefits in them. I'm interested. I feel there's something more. I don't know what it is, but I feel like there's more potential within me to explore. Just putting that label on it, I now know there's a limitation."   Benny Fergusson: (43:07) So, that's one type of person. That can also go on the other side where "I've had pain, discomfort. All that... I've done the Chiro, I've done the Physio, I've done the Osteo, and all of these are beautiful. I've done the Chinese Medicine or like you were talking about, the colonialized versions of it. I've done all these things, but I need to come back to a place of taking personal responsibility, rather than building reliance on any one person or one thing."   Benny Fergusson: (43:41) We do have people who have those goals. We have Martial Artists. We have rock climbers. We have adventurers. People who would like to experience more out of their body. A great example that comes up is one of our senior teachers, Marcus, based in Austria. When we started, he had been a personal trainer for a long time. He didn't come in green. He came in with a good level of physical ability and strong level of aspirations. He wanted to do the splits. He wanted to handstand. He wanted to do all these sorts of things.   Benny Fergusson: (44:20) So, the wonderful thing is, because I've been walking this path for a long time, I can empathise with that because that was me at a certain point, too. I used to, and we've talked about on the podcast, run a facility in Melbourne called Cohesion. We had classes just on handstands. How to get the handstand. Is that sustainable? That's questionable, because a lot of people come into it and they go, "ah, my wrists are hurting" and all that sort of stuff.   Benny Fergusson: (44:49) So, it highlights when we overly focus on one thing and then neglect the foundations that support that thing where it naturally happens. Wonderful thing that I've noticed. I used to train handstands daily for, sometimes, an hour plus, which is not actually extreme compared to the handstand world. You've got people, by their choice, and I'm not taking away from that choice, but they might be spending one, two, three plus hours a day focused on that specific skill. Now, I look at that, and I'm like "Oh God, I may be able to make the time, but why would I choose that particular thing just to get a handstand, if I'm not working for Cirque du Soleil ?"   Benny Fergusson: (45:33) I have a friend who performs in Cirque du Soleil and the training he goes through for that is immense, but it's contextual to his life. That's the one thing that tends to happen in our community. Rather than make something a negative, like "Ah, cool, just because you want to do a handstand or do the splits, you're less of a person". I celebrate that and those goals and those achievements. What tends to happen is the self reflective nature of[inaudible 00:46:09] movement practises that we share, get you to question your deeper "why". "Why would I put in this amount of effort for that outcome?" "Does that really align with me?"   Benny Fergusson: (46:21) What tends to naturally happen is people start where they start, wherever that is. Then, they get reflected back their deeper drive. Then they make choices. So, Marcus started off and when we were working together seven years ago, might be a bit more, I nurtured that. I was like "Cool, you want to do a handstand ? Let's do a handstand. Let's do that. Let's do the things you want to do and we'll do some other things that maybe you haven't considered, that are nurturing for not just your muscles, but also your organs and your general quality of how you experience your body. We'll start to do some reflective practises where you get to know the nature of your mind and listen to the way you're breathing affects your physiology, and all that sort of stuff".   Benny Fergusson: (47:11) So, through that process, you start to ask bigger questions. You start to go, "Ah, okay, I'd like to still do this, but there's something bigger that's calling me."   Benny Fergusson: (47:23) So, if I then fast forward into what that has looked like for Marcus, myself, in this example, we still like to do a handstand and still can do a handstand. Maybe not quite as well as when we were practising x amount of hours a day, but I remember there was a little kid who was like "Can you do a handstand?". I was like "I can't remember, it's been a little while", and up into the handstand and all that body memory was there. Plus all of this deep awareness through the whole system rather than just this specific skill.   Benny Fergusson: (47:56) There I am in a handstand, surprised, going "Oh, this is the easiest handstand I've ever done and I haven't systematically practised it for many years." So, I look at that and the freedom that comes with. It's just incredible to know that I can honestly say I've enjoyed the process, the challenges along the way so much more because it's provided so much more diversity than just at the end. Pouring my heart and soul into one thing and just having a handstand that doesn't really enrich my life at a deeper level. That's one of my observations. I don't always know how our community is going to adapt because I'm always on the edge of my game as well.   Mason: (48:44) Yeah   Benny Fergusson: (48:45) It's a common thing where I do my best to not control, but to give people an opportunity to reflect and make choices. That's a consistent thing that I notice is they do tend to look a little deeper into their underlying intention for why they are practising .   Mason: (49:05) Yeah. It was a very broad question. What just came up at the end there when we were talking about the handstand. If we're not objective, if we don't have an objective, focused, outlook, or community. But, more of a community, a process that focuses on creating possibilities, or potential. Creating that ecosystem. It makes me think of... You heard of [Rostiano's 00:49:34] Tonic herbs ? Like Ashwagandha. One of the ways they describe what they can do is create an environment where you have a great capacity to have spontaneous joy. "So, we're not focusing on a shiny thing, being joy. I'm not doing this so I can have joy all the time. There's just the potential for joy to emerge".   Mason: (49:55) And if there's an ecosystem, an environment created, where "Ah, there's joy", and "Ah, actually I'm feeling patient", "Ah, I can actually climb under a fence, pretty easily", "Ah, I can get up that tree pretty easy", "Ah, I'm [inaudible 00:50:08] and I've got mobility", "You can't just push me over, and I don't have to worry as much about breaking my hip by falling over, because I know I have stability". These things just emerge. Versus, "Hey, here's this course to create stability for seven year olds", and that might be really good as a starting point. Like in here. It's a structured entry point. Like the Embodied Flexibility course and the challenge you've got going on. Like, "Hey, let's get flexible", "Hey, let's get stable and let's do that" and then "Oh, my gosh, look what's on the other side of this".   Mason: (50:45) These secret treasures hidden within that makes it... It's not just about stability. It's not just about flexibility. And that flexibility or stability, let's just pretend there is a geriatrics course that you have, so elders don't fear falling over and breaking their hips. On the other side, there's all these other diverse outcomes that are applied to everyday life, rather than just sticking straightly [inaudible 00:51:11].   Mason: (51:11) I think it's good, man. I think you've created something special, as always, because as you said, you're always on the edge of your own creativity and your own process, yet in this trail, this business you've created, this organisational structure that you've got behind you, are these places where people can safely go in and it's super clear and obvious what they need to do to start stepping into that place where they do have greater mobility and they can adventure around their body and their practise and their physical practise however they want. That's the fun thing.   Mason: (51:53) You go in and you go "Benny's doing it his way" and, again, it's hard to attach. That's the way. It's just not there. The same with Marcus. It's not what's generated. You can't just go "Ah, I have to be like them and aspire to them". It's just within your own practise.   Mason: (52:13) A practise that has integrity will take you and connect you to your own nature and the qualities within yourself. That self informs your path, through your practise, which I think is really cool how you've... It's one thing to talk about it right now. It's a hell of a thing to create a landscape of community and courses and also the academy, I love. It helps breed it.   Benny Fergusson: (52:38) Totally. Yeah. I think that's one of the things that I'm really inspired by is how do we continue to integrate the notion of human design, technology and community, altogether with physical practise, or [inaudible 00:53:03] and physical practises. That's where we're going. To continue to push the boundaries of what can we do with technology, how can we utilise that as a tool to not separate people, but bring them together, open up conversation. For us to just discover what the heck lights us up. At the end, take that last breath and go "Ah, you know what, that was a wonderful story. That was a wonderful movie that I participated in. I'm at peace."   Benny Fergusson: (53:43) It's wonderful. I look at... continually, just asking the question, "What can I do to contribute ?", "How can I share my experiences ?", "How can I create space for someone to make it their own, rather than just to always be held under me ?"   Mason: (54:09) Putting it that way, the glass ceiling being "held under" either an ancient particular philosophy or movement patterns or teacher ?   Benny Fergusson: (54:24) Totally   Mason: (54:25) That's an interesting skill. That's something I know we've talked about the nature of developing that skill to teach and be a leader without actually placing yourself up there, which is a natural... Naturally, you gravitate there, or people try and put you there. All of the time, be the source of my inspiration and where I need to go next. To do that a little bit, infusing what you're talking about as well.   Benny Fergusson: (54:54) Yeah.   Mason: (54:55) That's a skill you learn in your practise, right ?   Benny Fergusson: (54:57) Yeah, I think the thing that I've continued to learn through... Physical practise is something that I talk about. It helps me so much. It's a part of the relationship that I've established with myself. Getting to know myself and being okay with who I am and being okay that that's... I'm still discovering who that is, even though this is part of me that just knows. Moving beyond my conditioned self. What I get to is, "Okay, the best that I can be, the best leader I can be, is being me."   Benny Fergusson: (55:43) If I can then support other people, give space for them to just be themselves, what ends up happening is whatever level of achievement someone gets to, someone might be more flexible or stronger or have different mental capacities or different energetic qualities in another person. It might appear on the outside, "Ah, that person's achieved more than what the other person...", but if we then start to meet in a space of, "You're you, I'm me, here we are having an experience of life". Living to the highest level that we can, then we don't meet in a space of competition. We meet in a space of collaboration.   Benny Fergusson: (56:32) That's the thing that's helped at least myself as I'm a sharer of information, an educator, as my intention. It's taken out the "me holding back" out of fear that someone will take all of my knowledge and be better than me and then, I'll be irrelevant.   Benny Fergusson: (56:54) I know that no one will ever be me. I know that I will never be anyone else. I've tried and it just doesn't work. There's something in me that's like, "This is not you, this is not your nature". Let other people be themselves. That's what inspires me to educate. That's what inspires me around community where we all do come to a point of self agency and we exercise. Some people are more inherent in leadership. That is a quality that I notice that I have that's just a part of me. It's partly cultivated, partly just innate, in me. I've been averse to that for a long time of being "The Guy" who has all the answers, and "Come this way. Off we go. Do what I do. Say what I say. It's the way of virtue".   Benny Fergusson: (57:50) To a point now, where I go, "Okay, I can lead people and inspire them to maybe something greater than what they thought they could get to within their own belief structure, within their own environment". I can inject that new vibrancy into their physical goals, into these sorts of things. I also love to just, once they're running, step away and see what they make, and we meet at this space. That's what I notice is happening and, God, I don't know how it's happened, because I couldn't have done it with just a product of strategy and all of that sort of stuff. These things light me up at the moment.   Mason: (58:35) I can tell. I love it, man. I just encourage everyone to... If you're new to the community, Benny is... been a part of the Super Beast family for a long time. He's come out back in the day, when I used to run retreats, fasting retreats. Just basic lifestyle upgrade retreats. I think you came out to every single one of those and held a workshop. We're going to get you in doing more workshops with the Super Beasts as well when we can. I think we've been friends for, it must be coming up, nearly 10 years.   Benny Fergusson: (59:19) Yeah. [crosstalk 00:59:20] Close to that   Mason: (59:22) About that point, and I couldn't recommend the offerings through movement month, enough. We'll pop links down in the Bio for you to go and find the Embodied Flexibility Course. The website. The Freedom Academy. The Freedom Academy is where you can move around and have endless access to all these various movement patterns and styles of cultivating flexibility and strength and peace within. It's really wonderful. You can also use the code MASON10 through the website movementmonk.xyz   Mason: (01:00:06) Cool, man, thanks so much for coming on.   Benny Fergusson: (01:00:08) Thanks for having me, Mase. It's wonderful to keep the conversation going. I think one last little thing I'd just love to share is off the back of the new course. We're bringing out teacher training soon. Any people in your community. Yoga teachers, personal trainers, movement coaches, and all that sort of stuff, I'm looking forward to sharing the conversation with them and providing ways on which we can facilitate journeys for people to transform. Not just in the short term, but in the longer term in their physical practise. With their flexibility.   Mason: (01:00:46) So, that module of teacher training is revolving around the Embodied Flexibility [crosstalk 01:00:52] ?   Benny Fergusson: (01:00:52) Yeah, we've built it around all the frameworks and with that, we basically have more personal support. It's a 12 week journey and, at the end, basically what happens is someone produces case studies on how they've applied [inaudible 01:01:08] We take them through everything from what happens in situations if someone's results stagnate or if they are hyper immobile, or hypo immobile. How do we adapt these things ? One of my thing is I love to get into any situation, working with different types of people that I've never worked with before. Different challenges. There's some confidence that's being built within me of like, "Okay, cool, I do have value here, and that's something that I'd like to impart"   Benny Fergusson: (01:01:39) It's a really wonderful thing. Just when you're confident working with people, in the realm of flexibility. It's just like, "Okay, cool, I don't have to have all the answers, but I've got some really good frameworks to then support this person to thrive", rather than, "Ooh, God, what am I going to do in this session", scrounging around, reading books, and then you piece it together and underneath the surface, you're like a duck paddling on water and at the end of it, I just would like to support people to just be relaxed and confident in what they're sharing. We're doing that in the realm of flexibility.   Mason: (01:02:13) Magical!   Benny Fergusson: (01:02:14) Yeah!   Mason: (01:02:16) movementmonk.xyz again. For people to get details for that.   Benny Fergusson: (01:02:21) Yeah. We'll be talking more about how we... I think one thing I'd like to continue to focus on is how we bring herbalism and all of that sort of stuff. The physical practise. The things of what we do is the part of it. What's the engine underneath in our physiology that's supporting the robustness of the physical regeneration? That's why I just love what you guys are doing.   Mason: (01:02:51) When you go into the core... Let's go to the core of the foundation. When the Taoists have... They've gotten to that point. They've dedicated to their practise and they're disciplined. Not just the Taoists. Those who are... They've gone next level and they're cultivating something special. It's herbalism and physical practise. [inaudible 01:03:14]become the foundations of what's going to then lead to that greater capacity to have potential. As we said before, not looking for a shiny thing. Just creating this landscape within us, where the potential and the possibilities can blossom.   Mason: (01:03:30) So, as you said, the physical regeneration, bringing physical herbs in there to do that regenerative work and then getting to that point where... when you're self sustainable and you're flowing and you just looking to bring this opening up through your fascial system, through your capacity to stand erect and strong, become flexible.   Mason: (01:03:51) We start looking at mushrooms coming in and the Chi herbs nourishing the fascial system. The Yin liver herbs. The ones in beauty blend. Goji. Schizandra. Bringing that capacity to yield and become flexible. Those Yang liver herbs, like Eucommia Bark bringing that upright bamboo erectness. They fall all into the same tribe. Once you've got lifestyle dialled, then your potentiation, when you're going towards potentiation, that practise, that physical practise breath, movement meditation and herbal practise, they come in and they just light it up. I'm with you, man. I'm glad that we hopefully dial in and work together more and more in that space, and I think a lot of people have already got it in this community.   Mason: (01:04:40) I'd love to see them dip into the movement, Monk World, and take it to another level. Especially because a lot of people are like, "Should I do QiGong or Tai Chi, or Kung Fu ?" or these kinds of things.   Mason: (01:04:52) Yeah, you can, and they're amazing. What's at the heart of them ? You should go and explore those worlds, but when you go into Movement Monk World, Benny's been through lots of Tai Chi, and Qi Gong, Shaolin practise, Kung Fu practise, lots of Martial Arts, both the Yin and Yang nature.   Mason: (01:05:15) A lot of those principles that are there and those attentions you will find there, as long as you can stay consistent, as long as you can show up to your practise. I'll put it out there. Even though this is a place, you can see Benny's a very gentle, grounded, person. Once you get in there, you can get gritty with yourself. In terms of, "Come on, I know you don't feel like it. Show up. Show up".   Mason: (01:05:44) There will be a reflection practise and I think you'll be generally gentle and soft, "Okay, let's approach why that is." But, at the same time, I'll come in and, because this is generally what I need... Come on, I can't find anything super legitimate right now around why you don't want to get in there and have a sustainable, exploratory, stretch.   Mason: (01:06:04) I think you're just avoiding what is going to become opened up and therefore the potential and the peace that you're going to be able to find in yourself, because you're going to have to dredge through a little bit of shit. Then you forget, "I can go slow and I can go sustainable and gentle", but nonetheless, that shit's going to get dragged up and I am going to find out that I can really start accessing some beautiful things within my body. Openness, flexibility, adaptability.   Mason: (01:06:33) You don't get that reward without the discipline. Through that structure. It's something I'm feeling more than ever. I'm feeling it in the business, and I know a lot of you love structure and you go, "Yeah, whatever Mase". That's fine. Then I challenge you to go into the Magic and exploring the vision of what's possible to keep on going into the nether lands of your body.   Mason: (01:06:55) Once you start opening that up. But, a lot of you are such free flowing. You're already Peter Pans and Wendys. Never wanting to grow up. Flying off in Neverland. Grow up for a little bit. Come and get structured. Allow that structure and discipline into your life. Allow those qualities to be cultivated and the freedom and the capacity to dream and step back into the Magic.   Mason: (01:07:23) When you've created that next platform, it's beautiful and it's your life, breathing through different processes. You're coming in. Maybe you need that structure right now. Don't fight it, because if you're fighting it, it will always come again, but you can miss that opportunity of your life for a little bit. That stage of your life.   Mason: (01:07:45) Don't fight it. Grit your teeth. Get in there. Then release the tension from your jaw, because you're doing Benny's work. [inaudible 01:07:54] Grit your teeth and get in there and accept that things are evolving and changing and trust that process. That's one thing I've really experienced in your work. I just wanted to share. I think a lot of people listening to this would need to hear that. Create a new relationship with that showing up and experience the freedom that's going to come from that discipline. For others, experience the Magic. The further discipline that will come for you and the further structure that will come for you. If you step into exploring the unknown.   Benny Fergusson: (01:08:31) Hmm, powerful, man.   Mason: (01:08:34) Yeah   Benny Fergusson: (01:08:34) Yeah, truth.   Mason: (01:08:37) As a friend, more than anything, but as a teacher, you've helped me get to that place a lot. So, I just wanted to make sure that that was sharing my little piece and testimonial on the backend here and as I said, everyone, I really encourage you to either do The Embodied Flexibility Course. Maybe you've got a shitload of tension in your body and you start there with the tension release. Is that right ?   Benny Fergusson: (01:09:02) Yeah, literally.   Mason: (01:09:02) Maybe some people are here with chronic pain ? Do you want to just quickly share that with the entry point for people with chronic pain ?   Benny Fergusson: (01:09:08) Yeah. The best way is in the physical freedom academy. At the moment. Inside that, we've got all sorts of different processes. We run a call every week for people with chronic tension and pain. First, just know, from someone who has been through chronic pain. You're okay. It's okay. You're not broken. And there are other ways that we can move forward. It doesn't have to be something that just lives at a dull level in the background. That's where me sharing this process called Break Through Your Pain is based around key questions we can ask ourselves to then start to really have moments of truth and go, "Oh, okay, I see that I have power in this. I see that I'm not a victim to my circumstances. I can stand up and go, you know what, yeah I'm in pain and I can work with it, rather than through it. To just be something that I manage and wrap myself in cotton wool and then just become limited in what I feel like I can do in my life."   Benny Fergusson: (01:10:17) I know how that feels. I've been there and it's time to stand up to it. You can, irrespective of what you're told. That's one of the reasons why I think I love working with all different types of people in different situations is to realise that there is a space where we can connect that is maybe a different conversation than what's in your family or your friendship circle. That's why we exist. To create high level conversations to start to really call people to truth. We do it through physical practice.   Mason: (01:10:59) That's powerful, man! Alright, thank you so much. Big love to you. Hope I can see you soon. All the way up there in Queensland.   Benny Fergusson: (01:11:08) Yeah, we're so close, but yet so far, at the moment.   Mason: (01:11:10) Forbidden Land.   Benny Fergusson: (01:11:12) Yeah.   Mason: (01:11:14) Alright, man. Have a great weekend. Thanks for coming on.   Benny Fergusson: (01:11:17) Thanks Mase. Thanks for having me.   Dive deep into the mystical realms of Tonic Herbalism in the SuperFeast Podcast!

Business Lunch
The Future of Marketing with Ryan Deiss, Ralph Burns, and Kasim Aslam of Perpetual Traffic

Business Lunch

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 25, 2021 42:11


Ryan Deiss was recently featured on the Perpetual Traffic Podcast to talk about the future of marketing and conversion.   Marketing, at the end of the day, is the crafting and amplification of a message—and the crafting piece is more important today than it's ever been.   We've been receiving so much positive feedback about adding Ryan as a co-host on Business Lunch. We recently featured Ryan on another one of our podcasts, Perpetual Traffic, about the future of marketing and some cool things happening at Scalable. (One of those cool things is Scalable Impact LIVE. Get your ticket HERE.) It's a great episode to listen to as a leader and entrepreneur—and to have your marketing team listen to as well.    No one knows marketing like Ryan Deiss. Listen in as he chats with Perpetual Traffic hosts, Ralph Burns and Kasim Aslam, about what we can expect in the world of marketing in the weeks and months to come.   How Digital Marketing Has Changed in the Past Two Decades Ryan has been in the digital marketing game since he was 19, and he's almost 41. If you do the math, he's been at it longer than he hasn't. And he's seen a lot of changes. When he first started, obviously there was no Google or Facebook or YouTube or TikTok. Over the first decade of his career, he watched it move toward marketers' ability to target. There was this push when it was all about “right person, right time” (and the right message wasn't as important).   In the past few years, we've seen a shift away from that. Things got harder, more expensive. It's been fun with Facebook ads from 2007 to 2017. There was a new social channel coming out every other month. You could get in early, build your following. We watched influencers become celebrities.    But paid ads have straight up doubled in the past year. The average marketer has to spend more, and it's only going to get harder. We peaked, we crested, and now we're seeing a shift back toward digital marketer looking like mass media marketing. Our ability to get our message in front of the right person at the right time is slowly getting taken away from us—through competition, algorithmic shift, and being priced out.   With all this mass media, the message matters more now. It's the message that reigns. There's always going to be an edge if you're really a student of this stuff. It's really important as marketers that we own our message and become good copywriters again. Bad copy used to work if your timing was perfect. The message could be “want this thing?” People would be like, “I do!” And it was as easy as that.    Now? The sky isn't falling exactly, but you have to realize that the 2015 playbook isn't going to work in 2022. You have to build your own community, your own media brand. You need an email list, a podcast, a community of people invested in you and what you do.   The Best Message Wins Roy Williams, one of Ryan's mentors, is the author of The Wizard of Ads trilogy, which “everybody should read,” Ryan says. One of the fundamental themes is that the best message wins. Roy knows this because he's done primarily mass media marketing, and there's only so much targeting you can do through radio/TV. Roy always says, “The most valuable target is the untargeted target that you target through messaging.”   Why is this true? Because, the more targeting you bring into play, the higher the cost. The holy grail of marketing and advertising is the ability to craft a message, yell it out to the masses, and have people who didn't even know they were in the market have their ears perk up. That is the greatest skill that has ever existed and will always work in marketing.    Ryan says there's going to be an absolute bloodbath in the digital marketing space. You had so many agencies and consultants who had their trick. Ooh, I can juggle. In a world where everyone wants juggling, that's great. But now it's like juggling sucks. Nobody wants juggling. You're out of business. Because they weren't actually marketers. They weren't even really craftspeople or artists. They knew how to do one thing.    Marketing is all about crafting and amplifying a message. In recent years, all of the emphasis has been around amplification, traffic. Now it's going to be all about messaging. The folks who win will be those who see themselves as messengers and communicators first. Where the edge will be moving forward is on the messaging side. Most of these marketers have never learned how to craft a message. They've never learned how to dig in and figure out “what does this person really want?”   The Concentric Circles of Marketing It's easy to market to someone who already knows, likes, and trusts you and desperately wants what you have. Just show up. Then you go out to that next ring—people who are solution-aware and in the market and actively looking. But the biggest gains will come from the problem-aware market and the unaware market. That's where you've got to learn to speak to people about their unspoken need/desire—things they aren't even talking about.   Roy Williams once wrote a Rolex ad for Justice Jewelers, a regional jewelry company in the Midwest. When Sir Edmund Hillary conquered Everest, he got a Rolex. The whole point of the ad is that you, too, deserve a Rolex when you conquer your own Everest. This ad is for people who might never have even thought about wanting a Rolex. This is for someone who has conquered a mountain and they're looking for a way to celebrate. You're selling them identity reinforcement. That's what great marketers understand.    The New Marketing Playbook for CEOs A lot of CEOs are struggling with this new world—going from being their own CMO to having others do it for them. Ryan says the days of running the company and doing all the marketing are over. And he says this as the CEO of a company called DigitalMarketer. He doesn't market anymore. He's not even in the marketing meetings. His primary job is communicator-in-chief. He's good at messaging, and that's where he'll keep his focus.   Internally, they focus on messaging, and for all the mechanics of a given channel (Google, Facebook, YouTube), they work with external agencies and consultants. Everything has gotten so specialized. Let other people handle it.    Back in 2016, DigitalMarketer set a vision and mission for the next 5 years. They wanted to be all about doubling the size of 10k businesses. It was a cool mission, but they had no way to track it. This year they reset their mission. They're going to be all about serving and enabling marketers. They're going to simplify and systemize marketing so marketers can freaking win and do their best work.    See You at Scalable Impact LIVE That shift meant they were no longer speaking to the small business owner and entrepreneur. So they started another company for that at Scalable.Co. Ryan tells founders to get out of the dang marketing meetings. As the leader, you're not the person coming up with all the plans. You're communicator-in-chief and questioner-in-chief. He knows it's a hard one to hand off, but you've got to do it if you want to scale.    They didn't just launch a new company; they launched a new event. Scalable Impact Live is an annual event for the CEO and entrepreneur. It's not T&C; there's literally not a single marketing session. It's all about asking: what does it look like to scale your business to the next level? Growth is not enough.    It's single track, old-school, highly interactive, with just 500-600 people. Ryan and his business partners, Roland Frasier and Richard Lindner, will be teaching and walking through different workshops with special guests Marcus Lemonis from The Profit; the NFL's Emmitt Smith; and brilliant businesswoman, Kendra Scott.    Come confused and frustrated; leave with a scalable impact plan.    RESOURCES:   Scalable Impact Live (November 2-3, 2021) Wizard of Ads (trilogy by Roy Williams)   Justice Jewelers Rolex ad OUR PARTNERS: Scalable Impact Live (November 2-3, 2021) Get a free proposal from Conversion Fanatics Get 3% cash back on your ad spend with AdCard PodBean, your all-in-one podcasting solution

Bitch Slap  ...The Accelerated Path to Peace!
Interview #42 Meg Gibbs "Makes Magic Happen"

Bitch Slap ...The Accelerated Path to Peace!

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 22, 2021 36:28


Pulled from the Tools For A Good Life Summit interviews.  Meg Gibbs guides us through a heavy time.  Meg pulls strategies from Shamanism, ceremony, and sacred ceremony to give us her answers.  1) stop doing and slow down.   2) gratefully put your feet on the earth.  3) Ask for help.  And trust yourself.  Write down 20 things that you know.  End the day with gratitude.  And then there's nature :).Administrative: (See episode transcript below)Check out the Tools For A Good Life Summit here: Virtually and FOR FREE https://bit.ly/ToolsForAGoodLifeSummitStart podcasting!  These are the best mobile mic's for IOS and Android phones.  You can literally take them anywhere on the fly.Get the Shure MV88 mobile mic for IOS,  https://amzn.to/3z2NrIJGet the Shure MV88+ for  mobile mic for Android  https://amzn.to/3ly8SNjGet A Course In Miracles Here! https://amzn.to/3hoE7sAAccess my “Insiders Guide to Finding Peace” here: https://belove.media/peaceSee more resources at https://belove.media/resourcesEmail me: contact@belove.mediaFor social Media:      https://www.instagram.com/mrmischaz/https://www.facebook.com/MischaZvegintzovSubscribe and share to help spread the love for a better world!As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.Transcript: 0:00:00.1 Speaker 1: Welcome back, everybody, to the Tools For a Good Life Summit. And right now, I would like to introduce to you, Meg Gibbs. Welcome, Meg. Before I read your official bio, I just want to say that... You know what, I'm gonna start with your official bio and then I'm gonna shower platitudes on you. How about we do that?0:00:25.2 Meg Gibbs: Great, I love it. A compliment at the end, sounds good.0:00:28.8 Speaker 1: Okay, good, good, good, good. So Meg Gibbs is a shamanic spiritual guide and somatic coach who helps people heal their relationship with their body and spirit. She has over 20 years of experience, studying with indigenous teachers from the US and South America, specifically working with the Lakota medicine wheel, which I freaking love, and the Q'ero. Am I saying that right? Q'ero.0:00:58.6 Meg Gibbs: Q'ero.0:01:00.9 Mischa Z: Q'ero. And the Q'ero lineage from the Andes of Peru. Her work weaves together ancient wisdom, experiential coaching and leadership techniques, and is grounded in embodied practice... And is grounded in embodied practice and intuition. She holds space for her clients to uncover the truth of who they are and how they want to share that with the world. She offers sessions remotely, for scientific fingerprint analysis, customized coaching, sacred ceremony and soul-aligned branding, to meet her clients where they are, on their personal or entrepreneurial journey?0:01:39.7 Meg Gibbs: Absolutely.0:01:41.5 Mischa Z: Absolutely. Welcome, meg. So, serendipitously, I think our relationship speaks to a willingness to have an open mind and willingness to perhaps embrace and work with somebody that you might not normally go to. Yeah?0:02:01.8 Meg Gibbs: Yeah, absolutely, for sure.0:02:03.7 Mischa Z: Yeah, yeah. So we met through serendipitous events, perhaps five, six... Four, five, six years ago, somewhere in there, and sort of forced cohabitation almost, for a weekend. Yes. And then normally, I think, in the outside world or however you wanna say that, we wouldn't have had an opportunity to work together. But we did, and you have been such a massive, massive part of my personal journey and my transformation. And I just was writing down some of the amazing things that we did together, that you brought me on the journey of. You're like, "Hey, Misha, here's... Let's do this, let's do this." And so, I... Movement exercises, writing exercises, meditation exercises, these ridiculous visualization exercises. And when I say ridiculous, just like ridiculous in a magical way.0:03:06.3 Meg Gibbs: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.0:03:09.7 Mischa Z: And then we did some really cool group stuff via Zoom, which I was pleasantly surprised with, where you had put together some... Almost an online class structure, and people from Canada jumped in, I was in there, we just did all this cool stuff and you've... Again, you bring the magic. Simple as that.0:03:35.9 Meg Gibbs: Thank you. Yeah, it's so fun to be able to support people in that way. And it's funny, because you can read my whole bio and we can talk about what I do, and here's the bullet points, but the truth is, if someone was like, 'Meg, what do you do?" and I was like, "Oh, I make magic happen." And I can't really say that when I shake somebody's hand, but I know that that's part of my truth and part of my gift, is to show up and hold space for magic to happen, for other people. That's the fun part for me. For sure.0:04:05.1 Mischa Z: Yeah, and as I was going down that list, I was literally getting chills, and my hair was standing up even more than... So powerful, so powerful. And again, it just speaks... I don't mean audience, thank you for indulging us, but to have that open mind and to try... If an opportunity falls in front of you like this now, take advantage because it can be transformational, and I think one of the great things you said about me, Meg, not to make this about me, I apologize. But I'm a gamer and willing to jump in the fray and try different things. So I would encourage anybody watching and listening, jump in the fray, take a risk, if somebody on this summit resonates with you, but they're outside of who you might normally think is in your wheelhouse, just go for it.0:05:02.7 Meg Gibbs: Yeah, absolutely. And I think that speaks to something that we'll talk about, which is for me, the connection to the body and really listening intuitively for what comes up for you. And so, when I think of when we met and how we've worked together, there's a sense of trust or expansion or listening, and that's the piece that when I tell people, "Oh, you're looking for a coach or a healer or whatever, a mechanic," it doesn't really matter. But if you can tune in and listen, "Oh, does that person feel good to me?" and it might not even, like you said, logically makes sense of like, "Oh, they're a different gender, or they have this woo specialty that I am not so sure about or whatever," but if it feels like, "Ooh, there's a little something there to play with," that's the piece that I encourage people to follow.0:05:50.6 Mischa Z: Yeah, yeah, I love that. Thank you. So, quickly, somatic. What's somatic coach? When you say it... When that's...0:06:02.8 Meg Gibbs: Yeah. Real simple. Somatic is just meaning, being in your body. So what I do is, I coach people around being in their body, and for me, being in your body is a sacred practice. So it's like building a muscle. We talk a lot about going to the gym and building physical muscle. And so, when you haven't had practice to be in your body, because our society doesn't teach that, you're not asked on a daily basis, "Mischa, how is your heart feeling in your body right now? What does it feel like?" You even named the goose bumps, noticing your physical sensation, noticing when emotions come up, because there's so much wisdom there, and 90% of our world is run from here up. That's it. So imagine, you have access to all of this other information and transformation, and that's what I feel like the body provides. So somatic coaching or somatic wisdom is just being in your body, checking in with your body, learning from your body, all of that is in there. So it's just a fancy word for it. But, yeah.0:07:08.0 Mischa Z: Okay. I love that. Thank you for that. That's a beautiful explanation. And as you were talking about it, literally, I was sensationally in the body, like...0:07:19.0 Meg Gibbs: Right. I could see it in your eyes too. [chuckle]0:07:22.0 Mischa Z: So I wanna talk to... Just quickly too, and maybe three-minute version, but this... You... And I love this about you. It's one of my favorite things about you, is just the fact that you didn't five years ago, decide, "I'm gonna go explore shamanic ideas or this or that," and then bring that to the world. You grew up in it, due to the nature of your family. So when you say 20 years, that means... Yeah, when you were a teen, when you were young, you were... Due to the nature of growing up within it, you're doing this practice. Yeah?0:07:58.2 Meg Gibbs: Yeah, absolutely, yeah. I'll give you the short version. So my mom started working with a Lakota teacher when I was young, and I started working with that teacher when I was 11. So I've been studying shamanic wisdom and lineages for over 20 years, since I was a kid, and I am a white woman, and I like to say that because it's important to know that this is a spiritual lineage for me, it's not a genetic lineage. And honoring that and honoring my teachers, and part of what I believe in, is giving money back to the people who created the space for me to do the work that I do. And with that, what happens for me is this balance of holding what is true, even if it doesn't match up with the outside. And what I mean by that is like, "Yes, I'm a young white person, and I also have this really deep soulful appreciation and carrying of this work inside of myself," and it's integrated into how I see the world and how I relate to people, the work that I do, how I show up, even when I go to the grocery store.0:09:11.1 Meg Gibbs: It's in me, in a way that is not just, "Oh, I took a workshop and now I'm a shaman." And we talked about this, but I don't actually call myself a shaman. Some other people call me that, but I say I'm a shamanic practitioner, and that I do energetic and emotional healing and support with people. But holding the two lineages that I hold spiritually, are the Lakota and then this Andean tradition from the mountains of Peru, and my teacher is Don Mariano. So I've been initiated into these teachings, and it's an extremely... Or it has been, in the past, an extremely private world. And so, growing up with this really disciplined spiritual approach made me, obviously, pretty different from the other kids in middle school, who were talking about sports, and I'm talking about talking to trees on the weekends.[laughter]0:10:06.2 Meg Gibbs: The short version is just that this is very much a part of who I am and how I show up, and it's important to me, that people are honoring the root of where this comes from as well.0:10:20.6 Mischa Z: Perfect, thank you. Beautiful. Well done, in three minutes too, the three-minute version.0:10:25.0 Meg Gibbs: Perfect.0:10:26.9 Mischa Z: And you were saying studying and I'm gonna add to that, implementing. So studying and implementing. So, beautiful. I think we get to it. I say we get to the question. What do you think?0:10:37.7 Meg Gibbs: Yeah, take me. Let's go.0:10:38.9 Meg Gibbs: Alright, fantastic. So I'm gonna lay out a scenario, and then I'm gonna askyou a question, and... If we think of life as that three-legged stool, relationships, finance, health, it's when two of those legs go out, that it really can get... Life can get lifey, if you want to say. And so, for me, my parents passed away in rapid succession, divorce, further failed relationships. Physically, I was fine. I would tell you that. I looked physically fit. I had no stressors going on, physically, but that... For other people, that might...0:11:31.5 Mischa Z: Anyway, you get what I'm saying. But the fact of the matter was, things got so heavy that my normal tools for working through emotional upheaval or through stressful times weren't enough, so I couldn't success my way through it, or work at it, work harder, fix it. So that being the case, and... Oh, here, I'm gonna get back to script. That helps me. I'm gonna get back on script. So to top it off, the pull yourself up from your bootstraps, fix it and push your way through it methods that served me so well, were no longer working. I needed new tools.0:12:15.8 Mischa Z: By the grace of God, I had an open mind for new tools. Hence, Meg dropped into my life. This is my question to you. Thinking of shamanism, ceremony, sacred ceremony, what are the exact next steps you would offer this person, so they know they are headed in the new right direction, that they will have positive momentum towards getting their life back on track?0:12:43.1 Meg Gibbs: Yeah. So the first thing honestly, is take a breath, [chuckle] acknowledging where you are, checking in, noticing what it's like to be you in this moment, is a really powerful tool, and almost zooming out and looking at yourself with love. So I say that because so often, when we're in that space of life crumbling or struggling or whatever, especially if you're holding on from the inside, like if you are someone who is still high achieving and making money and doing the thing, so people don't think there's anything wrong, you're holding a lot, there's a lot of that hamster wheel going on. And so, that breath and that acknowledgement to even just go, "I'm having a hard time right now. Wow. What is it like to meet myself with some compassion?"0:13:42.9 Meg Gibbs: So I think, so often, we launch into action and action steps, and, "How do I do x, y, z?" And here's the thing, you can read books, you can listen to podcasts, you can go to therapy, there's like... Here's 29 things you can do it. But the other side of it is, how you be, how you be in yourself, how you be in the world, how you show up for people, how you need people to show up for you.0:14:11.1 Meg Gibbs: So this is just general sort of life advice, container energy stuff. So to answer your question more specifically around the shamanic piece or around ritual, I like to really use small intuitive rituals. And what I mean by that is, I'm gonna show you. So I brought some tea to our call, I don't know if you can read this.0:14:34.4 Mischa Z: Yeah. Sending you a socially distanced hug in a mug. Nice.0:14:38.5 Meg Gibbs: I love this. It's a happy mug. And so, what I really like to do that's simple is, in the morning or when you have your tea or your coffee or whatever, and you can do this with me if you have some water with you, whatever you're drinking, and so you're just gonna place your hand over it, and we're gonna check in and just for a moment, you can close your eyes, and put your intention from your heart, imagine it reaching out and meeting that cup and that heart space moving through your hand, down into the substance, down into the water, the tea, the coffee, whatever, and placing an intention in there for yourself. "I wanna be kinder to myself today. I wanna give myself space to breathe. I really need some support from the Earth. I wanna be more grounded. I tap into my strength," whatever that is for you. And then when you're ready, you open your eyes and you simply drink it in.0:15:44.8 Meg Gibbs: Small small things.0:15:46.9 Mischa Z: Small, small things. So juicy. That was good.0:15:52.6 Meg Gibbs: Yeah. And there's one that... I don't know about you, I kinda listen to things and then adapt them. And so, I heard years ago, Oprah said something about, "Before your feet hit the floor in the morning, say thank you." And she said, "Say thank you three or four times." And I remember being like, "Oh, I like that. That's catchy. Let me think about it." And so, as a self-identified not-morning person, when things are kind of blowing up in your life, when there's a lot going on, I think one of the most powerful things to do, is to put your feet on the Earth, literally. And if you can, go out your door in the morning, before you talk to anybody... This is like, yes, if you have kids or a spouse or somebody who is with you or your dog or whatever it is, sometimes we talk to people first, which is understandable, but when I can, I will intentionally take myself outside, take my shoes off and put them on the Earth, so that there is an ignited connection. So these small moments, that's what I wanna focus on today, is how you can breathe into the support within and around you. I just felt myself, show up, here we are.0:17:16.7 Mischa Z: Yeah, me too. Yeah, that's good. I love it. Continue.0:17:23.8 Meg Gibbs: Yeah. And so, with that gratitude... So when I say prayers, not everyone says prayers, and whatever you refer to, if you believe in a higher power or something bigger than us, that's how I like to talk about it, something bigger than you. And some of my friends believe that something bigger is our community, it doesn't have to be God or the universe or whatever. So I, because of my spiritual lineage, use the words great spirit, when I'm praying to something bigger than me. So when I'm out there and I put my hands and my feet on the Earth, part of what I'm doing is, I'm giving my energy down into the earth before I take. Because so much of what we do, when we're struggle bussing, is like, "I need support, I need help, I need," whatever, whether that's internal or you're voicing that externally. And so, being able to put your hands or your feet on the Earth for literally three seconds and just say, "I'm so grateful to be here today." And giving that energy down to the thing that gives us life. So, yeah.0:18:35.0 Mischa Z: Meg, that was beautiful.0:18:37.3 Meg Gibbs: Yeah. I've been thinking about it in the shower, what to say.[laughter]0:18:47.5 Mischa Z: So, when you... I love the gratitude, the give to the Earth before we take, or it gives back. Do you do the thank you, thank you, thank you, or that as well, sort of that... You were talking about the little Oprah trick or...0:19:03.4 Meg Gibbs: Yeah, so it sort of depends. This is part of my personal philosophy, is around designing things intuitively, that work for you, because I think some people really need specific practice, and I'm happy to say, "Do this thing, do that thing," but the truth is that, we can then get hung up on the indoctrination of how to do the right thing, instead of trusting yourself. And my goal in life is to help people trust themselves more, 'cause when you trust yourself, that's when you're able to make those split-second decisions, you grow a career you love, you relate to people differently, you connect with things in your world that feel like aligned and exciting.0:19:42.8 Meg Gibbs: So yes, you can get up and say thank you four times, if that's what feels good to you. But for me, for instance, when I pray and I say... The beginning of my prayers are always, "Aho, great spirit, I am grateful for my life and for this day," and that's how I start my prayers 'cause that's what was taught to me. But there are times where I can come in and just kind of feel into my body and feel into myself and say, "Great Spirit, I'm showing up the best I can today." We have to just listen to what's true.0:20:24.1 Mischa Z: You know what I love about just what you were saying too is... I like this, it's like... For me, I had this incredible confidence and was moving through the arc of life so powerfully, and then when the wheels came off, that confidence was shattered. So, to re... I like how you're talking about... It's like you use that as a tool to slowly start rebuilding some confidence. Yeah?0:20:56.0 Meg Gibbs: Yeah. Well, and I would say also, that true alignment of self, where we meet ourselves where we are, and that sounds like a little bit big, so let me see if I can put it a different way. Just to acknowledge what's happening, to be honest about what's happening, because when you say the wheels are coming off, we can intellectually understand that, but when it's like, "I'm having trouble eating because my appetite is gone because I'm so stressed. My relationships are falling apart because I feel lonely, and I'm not sure how to share that with someone. I am worried about interviewing for a new job, because now I feel like crap because this and this and this happened."0:21:41.6 Meg Gibbs: So it's like when you get into the truth of what's happening and honor that you continue to show up, that you're here, you're here at the summit, because you want to experience a new way to face these issues or solve things, and then understanding where you are right now. That's... For me, that's the path forward, 'cause if not, then you're going, "Oh, well, I should feel fine because I have money, and I have this, and I have this, and I have my health and I'm okay," instead of going, "Oh my God, my world. What am I doing?" 'Cause the moment you allow yourself to go, "Hey, I'm feeling lost and alone right now," and somebody else goes, "Oh my God, me too." That's that togetherness.0:22:28.0 Mischa Z: Yeah, yeah. Very cool. What other sort of tips and tricks and tools were you... So I love it. So we had... Step one was sort of acknowledge or however you said that, and then we had a next thing is like, go out, connect to the earth. I love that. Find that moment if you can, when appropriate. Preferably sooner, the better. And take your shoes off, connect to the ground, feet, hands, whatever, that little gratitude exercise and such, was what was next on your...0:23:13.2 Meg Gibbs: On my list. Yeah, so I also... I think, with intuition specifically, which is a big part of my work is helping people tap into what they know to be true, because often, when we go to someone, when we're asking advice or we hire a helping professional, I believe we actually do know the answer. It's in there and instead of piling on lots of people's information, being able to check in and see what is true for me in this moment, and what do I actually know. So one tool that I use when somebody is kind of confused or trying to understand a situation is, instead of saying, "Well, I'm facing this huge unknown and I'm really scared and I don't know where to go next," we tap into what do you know. In what do you know, you even feel that energy shift of, "Okay, I'm gonna name some things that I know out loud," which is hard for people, and you can do this writing, this is a great exercise writing, is to write down 20 things that you know.0:24:18.7 Meg Gibbs: And here's the thing, the reason that it's 20 is 'cause you'll get three to five that are pretty easy, where you're like, "I know I'm safe, I know I'm okay, I know I like sandwiches," whatever it is. But there's something that changes, when you get beyond your comfort zone of, "Oh, here's the initial thoughts," and then you start to go deeper. So this is like a self-coaching tool, where you can really listen, to see, "Oh my gosh, I know... Let me think of something in this moment. I know I do better when I connect with nature. And so, if that's one of my things and that's say, number 17 on the list, I might go, "Oh, after I finish this list, I'm gonna go outside." And the reason I keep bringing up nature, I should say, is because in the Native American spiritual practice and in the Peruvian practice, all of this is connected to earth, earth is mother, Mother Earth, it's called Pachamama is another word for it. And so, when I connect to the great mother, the sacred one who created us all, however you believe that, is that then I'm connecting to my essence self, I'm giving that space of my truth in relationship, in right relationship with where we came from. Does that make sense?0:25:43.9 Mischa Z: It does. Yeah. It does. Any way you would reframe that, just in case? I was viscerally internalizing that. So I... It was going in... That's why I say that. So I'm like, "Yeah, I get it," 'cause I viscerally felt it.0:26:09.6 Meg Gibbs: Yeah, yeah. So that question of, "Where do you feel most connected?" It might not be nature, it might be on the dance floor, it might be taking a walk, it might be staring deeply into somebody's eyes, there's all these different... Taking a bath, I love taking a bath, it's like a sacred ritual. And so, lighting candles, maybe putting something in the water, that feels good to me, and it's like we can do it with so many different things. Sensation is really helpful for being present. So smells, touch, taste, sound, any of that, to really get into the moment.0:26:46.2 Meg Gibbs: So when you're feeling anxious or you have this experience of, "Oh my God, my life is falling apart. What do I do?" If you can take that initial beat to connect to something, it helps you feel connected. And I know that sounds like, "Oh no, no... What does she mean?" But you feel it, you know when you feel connected. And I recorded a really short video that was seven seconds, the other day, that I put on Instagram, and I said... I was talking about connecting with the trees and nature, and I said in there, "If you don't have time or you don't have access to connect with the trees, watch my hand connect to the tree in the video, and tap into the energy that you feel, that's connecting between our human self and I would say our divine self." So I'm getting very "woo". Are you still with me?0:27:41.7 Mischa Z: I'm still with you. Thank you. Hang in there, everybody. Hang in there. No, I think it's an opportunity for us, to explore the "woo". Let's be real, sometimes a little "woo" in our lives can be good. For me, I think... I can get very contempt, prior to investigation, if you wanna say those types of terms, or very myopic in my... I'll speak for me. I'm sure everybody else watching, is always open-minded and...0:28:20.7 Meg Gibbs: Oh yeah, yeah, none of us... We don't have any hang-ups over here, clearly.0:28:23.6 Mischa Z: Yes. But it's alright. A little "woo" is good. Don't worry. There's plenty of non "woo" on this summit too. So we're bringing the balance right now.0:28:33.3 Meg Gibbs: Well, it's... For me at least, part of what I pride myself on is having grounded "woo", that's... Practical, grounded, engaged, spiritual spirituality. That's the part for me. And you know this about me, I'm not... No shade to anybody else, but I am not a crystal worshipping, connect with... That's not my vibe. I really do want people to be grounded in themselves, in their body, because that's the difference. When you meet people who are just in like, "I made a crystal grid so I could manifest millions of dollars." Great, sure. That might work. But the truth is that we have to meet both, our divine self and our human self.0:29:15.7 Meg Gibbs: And so, in here, for me, that's where the magic happens. That's like... When I say, when I work with people, "It's you, me and spirit. It's the three of us, connecting and co-creating." So I'm not here to have all the answers, and the truth is, I think the answers are within you from a divine perspective, that we can pull out that spark. So, that's the point that... If people tune out because they're not interested in this language, what I love is that every single teacher speaks to certain audiences and certain people, because there's a resonance. So, just notice if this resonates or not. It's not personal.0:30:00.1 Mischa Z: Yes, yes. Beautiful. Yeah, that's well said. Is there further? Did you have further... I wanna make sure we keep... Or...0:30:09.5 Meg Gibbs: Well, so your question around the, "Do I say Thank you four times." The one thing that I do that I enjoy, so I live by myself with my dog, currently. I have done this with partners in the past or with friends, is before bed, I do like to say three things that I'm grateful for, out loud, and I used to write them down, and I think writing is a beautiful way to express and hold that energy. But there's also something also delightful and silly to me, about telling my dog what I'm grateful for, from the day, and often, I say, "And I'm grateful for her health and her well-being." And so there's that sense of even if it's not another person, even if you're completely on your own, that you can witness yourself doing that, just by doing it out loud and honoring, "Here's three things I'm grateful for, before I rest tonight." So I like that, as a closing practice. So I've given you some beginning, end of the day and some stuff to do in the middle.0:31:07.8 Mischa Z: Yes, so good, I love it. I think that's a beautiful place to end this session. So, everybody, if this interview with Meg was fantastic, and you want to get even more content from Meg, upgrade to the all-access pass, because Meg and I are gonna be doing round two here, which is going to be fantastic. I can't wait to see what comes up. So yeah, be sure to upgrade to the all access pass for the bonus interview. There should be a button here somewhere, not sure where it is yet. Any final thoughts to share, that we did not get a chance to cover, Meg? .0:31:51.4 Meg Gibbs: Just the power of... What do I wanna say? That there's... For me... This is a little bit of an advanced concept I'm throwing in at the end, but I think it's important, is, for me, there are three layers of connection. There's the connection to our selves, the connection to others, the circle around us, the collective, and then the connection to what's bigger than us, the earth, spirit, etcetera.0:32:17.3 Meg Gibbs: So if you're here in the summit, I imagine that you're on a path, and that you're on a path seeking relationship and healing with yourself, with the people around you and/or with spirit. So that's my invitation, is just to start to notice and track what resonates with you, to find what expands and what contracts that connection. So what feels good, and just to notice, again, how it feels in your body. So that's my... Rooting for people. Yes. Yeah.0:32:47.8 Mischa Z: That was amazing. Everybody can find Meg, at www.Megibbs.com. Imgonna spell it too, just to make sure there's no confusion, M-E-G G-I-B-B-S dot com. So Megibbs.com. Click the button on the all access pass, to get unlimited access to all the interviews, to get access to Meg and I's round two, which is coming up, and then also, Meg so graciously, is going to be offering up, as a bonus for everybody who upgrades a session, that there'll be a link, so you can go deep with Meg, if you want to, for free. Meg, yeah. Thank you so much, Meg. We'll end there. Yeah?0:33:38.6 Meg Gibbs: Yeah, that sounds good. Thank you. Nice to meet you.

The Limitless Mother Podcast
EP 203: "What if my kids become entitled/spoilt a**holes?"

The Limitless Mother Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 19, 2021 45:39


What if you start making more money… start making more money with ease… and then your kids become entitled or spoilt a**holes as a result?  What if they turn into brats?  What if they become lazy and unwilling to earn their own money? Ooh. Yes, I'm going there today. I get asked about this ALL THE TIME.  And it can feel like a super genuine concern as a parent, right? On today's show, we're breaking this one down.  Where does this worry really come from (possibly not where you think!), is it a valid concern? And what is the truthful answer?  We're talking about it all in this episode! If you're a mother and a business owner, you're not going to want to miss this one :) Catch the show notes here: https://corijavid.com/podcast/spoilt If you're ready to create financial freedom for yourself and your family, then you need my money mindset course: Limitless Money (corijavid.com/limitless)

GROW Podcast
Somebody told Me to Deliver this Message

GROW Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 19, 2021 18:59


GROW. Greatness Reached over Oppression through Wisdom The Message is of Love from God above.  Sow Love, here we Stand, GROWing!Testimony time!I've Loved coffee  since a child when I had to hold Momma's cup. There were no cup holders in cars then and she didn't want to use the little plastic window one.  I was the Coffee cup holder.  I sat in the Front always and My Brothers  in the Back! I used to sneak Sips of hers.I'm tired of it now and sip more out of habit.Mind over matter and Bladder; So Love, I think I Better Let it GROW; It Looks like Another Love TKO

©hat
Miami University Copyright Conference Episode

©hat

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 18, 2021


You are tuned in to Copyright Chat. Copyright Chat is a podcast dedicated to discussing important copyright matters. Host Sara Benson, the copyright librarian from the University of Illinois, converses with experts from across the globe to engage the public with rights issues relevant to their daily lives. Sara: Welcome to a fun and exciting and unique episode of Copyright Chat. Today, I am here at the Copyright Conference at Miami University, live, creating an episode of Copyright Chat along with Will Cross. We've been talking about the Scholarly Communication Notebook and my podcast's involvement in it, in teaching and learning. And our audience has live, live polled, decided that what we're going to talk about today is potential liability under the CASE Act and sovereign immunity, which is a very timely topic. So I'm very excited to talk about this. There's a lot going on at the Copyright Office with the CASE Act and their proposed rules. So I would love to see if a member of our audience has a question they'd like to start us off with, about either sovereign immunity or the CASE Act. Yeah, someone just posted that the October 4th deadline is weighing heavily on them. It's September 29th and we have until October 4th to respond to the call for comment. Will, have you made any comment to the Copyright Office in response to that call? Will: That's a great question, Sara, and I wonder if it would be useful to give a very quick, like 30-second overview of the topic just so people know what they're thinking about. I see several hands raised as well. So I'll, I'll say that, that very quickly, yes, I've been involved with several, several groups including the EUIPO that I know you are part of as well, and Sara, you released a really nice ALA-sponsored resource in this area. So yeah, we've been thinking about this issue a lot. We did a webinar last week talking to a bunch of different librarians as well. So I see several hands raised. Sara: Yeah, I think Alvin, would you like to ask a question? Alvin: I work at a land-grant, and we should, should, enjoy sovereign immunity. Does that immunity extend to librarians and the scope of their job? Sara: That's a really good question. And, so, sovereign immunity generally would protect individuals who work there in the scope of their employment, at least protecting them from large damages. So I'll use an example. I think most of us on this call are aware of the Georgia State University case, right, where Georgia State was sued for their E-reserves policy, where they said that a flat percentage could be copied from a textbook for E-reserves use. And of course, we know that there's no flat percentage that equals a fair use. And the court actually said that at one point in the case, which was helpful to us copyright librarians. So, that doesn't mean that they're immune from suit. It does mean that they would be immune from the large damages, because that's what sovereign immunity protects, right, from copyright damages. So what they could obtain, in that instance, is an injunction, telling folks to stop doing whatever they're doing that is potentially violating the law. And that's what the plaintiffs, Oxford University Press was one of them in that case, sought. The word of caution about that case is, it lasted a really long time. So even though in the end there were no damages at stake, the case kind of went on and on, and of course, during that time, you incur attorney's fees and other things. So, and I would add as an aside, and someone posted in the chat also, under the CASE Act, state and federal governments are also immune from liability under the CASE Act, presumably following sovereign immunity. However, and one of the things that is a little unclear is, does that extend to employees? And it really should. But if you read the last US Copyright Office proposed rule, they made some really weird claims about agency law, which seemed to make a distinction and say, well, they didn't say employees when they talked about opting out, so maybe they aren't talking about employees when they're talking about state and federal governments? I don't know. I personally think that probably employees shouldn't be held liable under CASE Act either under principles of sovereign immunity, but as we all know, it doesn't prevent you, even in federal court from being sued. It prevents you from incurring damages. It would then say, okay, well, they have less incentive to sue you because they're not going to get those big statutory damages, but they could still sue you and go for an injunction. Will, that was a long answer. I'm going to let you clarify or add your two cents or correct me if I said anything wrong, cause Lord knows I do sometimes. Will: Well, there's two of us, so hopefully between the two of us we'll be okay. No, I think you said it really well. It's important at the outset to say that these are two, sort of parallel aspects of the law, that sovereign immunity specifically says if you are a public institution, a state institution, those damages are not available. But exactly as you say in Georgia State, the, the plaintiffs were not really interested in damages. They were interested in coercing people into accepting a blanket license, right? That was the endgame for them. So that's the first piece. The CASE Act is specifically the Small Claims Tribunal that you described, that is there, in theory because copyright lawsuits are so expensive and complicated, right? The number that's being thrown around a lot, is what, $276,000 or so, is what it costs to, just to basically begin a suit in federal court. So, so, that speaks to the, both the cost of suing somebody and potentially the cost of being sued, even if there are no damages, as those attorney's fees can certainly add up from there. The question then about whether individuals can either opt out or just say, “I'm an employee acting within the scope of my duty, I shouldn't even need to opt out. I'm, I am covered in this case under basic, sort of fundamental principles of agency law.” That, I think, is the heart of this, this comment that's coming up due October 4th, is how we think about library employees in that space. And I, and I think several people have said this and it's absolutely right. Libraries can't do anything without librarians, right? The, the building doesn't get up and walk around and scan books or whatever, right? It's the people doing the work. So, any sort of opt out or exception that said, “The library is immune from suit, but all the individual people can be sued.” is sort of illusory. It doesn't do anything useful, right? So, from my perspective, it's hard to make a good faith argument that librarians shouldn't be considered, sort of, protected by both sovereign immunity and the broad sort of limitations that the CASE Act provides as well, when they're acting within the scope of their employment. And we can have conversations about scope, scope of employment, and that sort of thing as well. But, but to me, that's the, that's the baseline piece of it. The other thing I wanted to say at this stage is it's important, I think, to articulate the sort of privileged nature of libraries and librarianship generally, that this is a core principle in copyright law, that what libraries do is society serving. It meets the mission of the progress clause. So, libraries have this whole, you know, set of copyright exceptions in Section 108. If you've ever put that weird notice on your photocopiers or scanners, that's what you were doing in that context. So, so not only is it a weird reading of agency law to say, “We want to protect the institution, but not any of the people doing the institution's work.” It also sort of flies in the face of the core policy judgment that Congress and the courts have made in terms of saying, “Libraries are really important. The work they do promotes the progress of science and the useful arts. We need to make sure they have the space to do that good work.” So that's, that's my soapbox that I was on for a long time. Sara: I get that. I think, whenever you engage in advocacy with a public body, right, you're not usually, your name is attached to it. And if you're stating what you do for a living and you know, you're, you're potentially letting them know what you do and why you do it. At my library, and this may not be true of others, my name is already out there and what I do is already out there, right? I'm listed very publicly. My resources, my library guides have my name on them, right? So, to me, it didn't raise any specter of liability that I wasn't already kind of dealing with. I think the title copyright librarian kind of indicates, oh yeah, I do have to make fair use assessments and people do come to me and ask questions about copyright information. Of course, I don't make other people's fair use assessments, but I guide them and empower them into making their own. I would say the person who posted here said that they are engaged in interlibrary loan. Again, I, I know what interlibrary loan is, right? That means that you are scanning copyright protected works. That's the nature of the job. And I think most people know that as well. And so to me, hopefully that doesn't really raise any additional liability on your part when you submit something. But of course, I can't promise that there aren't copyright trolls out there, right? Unfortunately, they already exist. I think the benefit in us submitting these comments is that we're trying to let the Copyright Office know that this will impact our daily work. And the goal here, at least for me, in calling for large collective action, is that I want the Copyright Office to understand the impact, that this proposed ruling would have, right? The proposed rule that they put forth about the opt-out provisions said, you know, yes, a library or an archive can opt out, one time, of the CASE Act or Small Claims Act proceedings, and then they never have to worry about it again, right? If someone tries to sue them, they, they opt out automatically. And the benefit of that is that if you forget to opt out, you can get a default judgment against you, right? And then all of a sudden you have damages. And so that's why that was, as Will said, libraries are protected and archives are protected if they do this one time, right? Because our society and our Congress understands that what we do is important. That what we do shouldn't be interrupted constantly by little lawsuits, right? That the library can't function in that way. But what they don't understand, what the Copyright Office doesn't understand, I think, and what Will said quite brilliantly, right, was the library isn't making the scanning. The library, you know, the library is just a building. It doesn't do anything. The library only does things through its employees, and if the employees are constantly being sued, guess what, the library might as well shut down. And so, if Congress really wants to protect libraries from being sued constantly and having to remember to opt out constantly, they should also protect employees from the same. And so, this is what, um, this is why I encourage advocacy. And my real sincere hope is that we will move the needle on this. This was a proposed rule by the Copyright Office. It's not final. And I'm really hopeful that through collective action we're able to convince the Copyright Office that they got it wrong. And if we do that, then our goal has been met, right? Having your name on that document is not going to subject you to any potential liability because you, when your library opts out, it will also cover you. And that's the goal. Can I promised that goal will be met? No. Unfortunately, advocacy is always like that, right? You, you do your best and you hope that it makes that impact. But I do think it's worth doing. I think advocacy is worth doing, even if it does mean that we have to put our name on a public document. Will: Totally agree. And I see we've got an anonymous question I want to address in just a second, but before that, I just want to jump on what you're saying and plus one it as well. There are a surprising number of cases where some larger sort of legal policy fight is happening and librarians can sort of get swept up in it in different ways. I think about the Kirtsaeng case a few years back, where there was this large and sort of technical conversation, about, you know, whether works were lawfully made under this title and what that meant geographically. I don't think most people were thinking about libraries when that litigation was happening. But several library organizations wrote amicus briefs to the Supreme Court and said, “Don't forget about us while you're weighing all these other policy questions, please don't let us get sort of squished underfoot for these big other conversations.” And not only did we get the outcome we wanted, we got some language in the opinion that basically said that “The work of libraries is important, a different ruling in this case would have an adverse effect on libraries and librarianship.” So that was part of our calculus. I think we have some nice case studies where we said, properly, “You might not be thinking about us, but please do in this moment to make a decision that recognizes that.” Sara: Great, I do see that question about whether you can make an anonymous comment. Do we know the answer to that, Will? Will: I think it was answered in the chat, which is that you can, but it's still recorded in certain ways. There was also a person wrote in and asked to, to ask a question here anonymously. So if it's okay, I'll read that one out. And then I see Jonah has his hand up as well. So the question is sort of a strategic one and it asks, is there a risk in, risk involved in stressing how much effect this might have on our daily operations, when we know that some folks in the Copyright Office seem to already think libraries are sketchy, and library users especially, are sort of sketchy edge users, like it does in a sense that confirm the, I think, wildly inaccurate, but existing bias, that like where “We were already sort of looking at you with side-eye and now you're coming back and asking for more protection. What's up with that?” And I think there's something to say around sovereign immunity with that. But Sara, I'm interested how you would respond to that question. Sara: So I think what you're saying is when you write this letter saying how it might impact your daily work, are you going to get kind of a, more scrutiny, I guess, into what you're doing. My answer would be no, but I also didn't, when I wrote in, I didn't write every single thing that I do on a daily basis, in very great detail, right? Because I first of all, like I just, I need to protect patron privacy. So like, that is foremost right? In everything we do, we all know this, right? So I would never say I scanned this thing for this patron or you know, a specific thing. But what I did say is that I routinely make fair use determinations for my own teaching and for my own library guides and my own educational outreach that I do on campus. And it would be hindered if I would have to respond to these lawsuits for everything that I did, right? It would just it, and it might also put me in a position where the risk gets higher and higher, right? I mean, fair use is a risk assessment every time. And so I don't think anyone would look askew at that, only because what I say that I'm doing is really typical. I mean, I'm not I'm not doing anything atypical. And I don't know what you could say that they would feel like is pushing it too far. I mean, I see, I see your point. Maybe if you get into, we're doing controlled digital lending and here's how many books we're scanning and all this, right? Maybe they would think that was pushing it far, but I even think there, many libraries are publicly stating that they're doing controlled digital lending. So that's not even anything super controversial. So I guess, I, I don't think so, but I wonder what you think, Will. Will: Yes, I mean, I think that's right, and along with what you said about fair use being a risk assessment, fair use is a muscle as well, right? And so I think, I personally think there's real value in getting on the record some of these concerns even if we don't win the day. So that as the conversations about the constitutionality of this stuff and other things are there, that that's out there. The piece that I do understand is that they're historically, the Copyright Office has not always been a library-first policy body, right, for better or for worse. So I, I, I could imagine somebody saying if I was talking to a judge or a legislature, they often love libraries, but this particular context feels different. The other piece I wanted to bring in is, we included sovereign immunity in this conversation because that's been kind of a third rail in this space and it's not the same thing, but I think in terms of the way policy folks are thinking about it, it overlaps. So just to quickly share that context, my state, North Carolina, relied on sovereign immunity for some pretty aggressive use of photographs of Blackbeard's ship, without, sort of going through the steps that they maybe should have done. That's for a court, and not for me, to decide. And last term, the Supreme Court upheld sovereign immunity. They said that sovereign immunity should exist. Even in this context where this doesn't seem like the best case study. Like, if I wanted to defend sovereign immunity, those set of behaviors or not, the model set of behaviors I would have brought forward. Sara: And just sovereign immunity means that a state or federal government cannot be sued in copyright for damages, for money. Not that they can't be sued, right? Because we all know that they could for Georgia State purposes, right, for maybe an injunction or, injunction means stop doing that, right? Whatever you're doing, stop it. But that they can't get those statutory damages. Sorry. I'm just interrupting you, go on. Will: No. Thank you. Sara: I like and I also love the fact that it was a pirate case. Will: Yes. Sara: Yeah, there's nothing better than a case about copyright that involves a pirate, just saying. Will: At last we find when piracy is the right statement, finally, when using the term so much. Anyway, one of the results of that is the court's opinion basically said, “Under current law, sovereign immunity stands. But if you have concerns, the legislature can do something about it.” So this large study was launched to try and determine whether or not we should revisit sovereign immunity. It, we could spend some time talking about that report. I think it, it, the people watching it came in with a set of expectations that weren't necessarily met by the data they found on the ground. But, at least to me, that creates a sense that people are sniffing around the broader concept of sovereign immunity and saying, “This, this blanket shield from liability makes me suspicious and skeptical.” And these larger questions about the policy values of that liability are being asked. I think there's a really overwhelmingly strong way to articulate why it's important to have that immunization and that protection both for sort of nerdy, you know, principles of federalism reasons, but also for actual on the ground work. But if there's already an environment where people are launching studies trying to undo or remove sovereign immunity, having the conversation about how librarians are treated under the CASE Act may touch that third rail in some places. So I, the thing that really resonated to me in that question was that, that sense of like, “These are stormy times, I'm going to be careful where I stick my umbrella.” Or something. Sara: Well definitely, and folks have been, folks being legislators, had been kind of attacking sovereign immunity. And the Copyright Office has done their own inquiry into it. And for now, at least, according to the Supreme Court and the Copyright Office, there is no viable evidence of you know, enough harm to individuals through sovereign immunity that we should breach sovereign immunity or get rid of it. However, yes, that's an ongoing thing and it kind of continues to poke, rear its head, right, because the Copyright Office will tell them, “Well, we don't have enough evidence right now, but come back to us in five years with another report,” right? I mean, that's kind of what happens. It's like “Gather some more evidence.” And they had a horror story, a parade of horribles of, you know, that poor individuals, and some of them I really did feel for, I have to tell you, I was there during the hearings and they were saying like, “The university stole this and made all this money. And then they told me to go away because the sovereign immunity,” and that does happen. I'm not going to lie it does, but I mean, that's not what, that's not typical. I mean, at my university, my general counsel joined me for the sovereign immunity hearings, and, you know, we consider ourselves good faith actors. Like, if we find out that a faculty member has done something illegal or copied something, put on their website, we immediately go take it down. We say, “Okay, we need to do something about this right away.” We don't just say “Too bad, we're not going to pay any damages,” right? So it's, it's just, it does happen. It's unfortunate. But I think that it's pretty rare. And I think that was what the Copyright Office concluded, that the evidence really just didn't show that it's widespread enough to create that kind of irreparable harm that we would need to pierce sovereign immunity. I see Jonah's had his hand up for a while, so Jonah - Jonah: So I've seen several commentators and Will just mentioned a moment ago that there was some question about the constitutionality of the CASE Act. I was wondering if both of you could expand a little bit about why people feel that the CASE Act might be unconstitutional. And also, I assume that unconstitutionality applies to the entire framework of the CASE Act and not just vis-à-vis, like library employees. Sara: That's right. And great question, and I'm not the most familiar with these arguments, so I'll let Will jump in, but my understanding is that it has to do with the tribunal, and that it's not an official court. And I think that's the concern, that you've got, not, not a real, it's not a real court, right? It's, it's appointed by, these are judges appointed by the Copyright Office to handle these claims. Over to Will. Will: That's exactly right. The Seventh Amendment talks about the right to trial by jury. And obviously you can opt out of your trial by jury in some cases. But the CASE Act, by creating this weird tribunal, that's not necessarily even in the article 3 constitutional space, that's where judges tend to live, generally, there's this question about whether people's rights are being impacted in some way. Because it's this sort of weird, made-up, quasi court where you don't have all of your rights and protections, but it does still seem to be bind right? You can't lose under a case tribunal and then just kick back to the federal court if you don't like the results. So are we locking people and especially through this, right, the, the, if you get an email or if you don't get an email because it went to your spam, telling you that you have been accused and you don't respond, you're stuck with whatever judgment they have. So if, you can, without getting any opportunity to trial by jury, or even in some cases, any opportunity to meaningfully understand that anything has been raised, and you're bound by that, there are, I think, serious constitutional problems there as well. People have also, I think, rightly asked some questions about whether this is described as a small claims process. Well, where I sit, $30,000 is not small claims, right? That's, that would be a real life-changer for me in some ways. So, from the perspective of a large international rights holder, $30,000 might be the thing you find in your couch cushion or whatever. But I think that the claim that “This is just for the little stuff, you know, up to $30,000,” feels a little maybe disingenuous or just out of tune with the way most people's lives and finances work. Sara: Right. And one thing that I struggle with is how this court would be compared with administrative judges, for instance. Because I think their argument on the other side would be like “This is just like an administrative court where we don't have all the same rules as, you know, regular court and you don't necessarily have a trial by jury, but we have delegated our rights to this administrative court judge.” You think that's going to fly here, Will? Will: I have stopped trying to predict the Supreme Court over the past year or two as it has continued to surprise me. If we could go this podcast without using the word Chevron at any point, that would make me super happy. I do not know, To me both the equities in the constitutional arguments seem pretty compelling in terms of questioning it, but it would, because that's where I sit and that's the world I live in and those are the issues I think about. So I, I would like to imagine that the Supreme Court would take a close look at this, but I would like to imagine a lot of things. Sara: Yeah. No, and I do think, that that's, I think that's going to be their response. And again, I don't, also don't know how that would turn out. I do also know, I think the Electronic Frontier Foundation is looking into this and very serious about suing, but they have to wait till they have a real case. So I think they have to wait until someone gets sued, and then they'll have standing to bring a lawsuit. Until then you don't have, so standing is, is one of the requirements we have to file a lawsuit. You can't say well, “Prospectively, I'm just mad about this.” You have to have some real damages happening to a real person, a real plaintiff. So I think that they're gathering up what they can in the meantime and all their arguments, and they're kind of waiting for the first plaintiff to come along who says, “Yeah, take my case and let's fight it constitutionally.” That's my understanding, and I'm, I'll definitely be on the sidelines cheering them on, or happy to help them if I can in any way. Will: Yeah, I feel the same way and I imagine there will be a certain amount of plaintiff shopping. Who is the most, you know, who, who is the best example of why this is problematic set of practices. Sara: Great point. Will: Something to watch. Sara: We have a question in the chat that other people are, are kind of saying “Me too!” So I'm going to read it out loud here. It says “I'm organizing an email to our library staff to alert them about the CASE Act so they can submit their own statements, and I'm pushing for an institutional statement. I'm wondering if I should reach out to faculty at my institution. Would this potentially affect faculty as well. Those working on OERs are using course reserves, for example. Or is this more librarian oriented?” So the opt out provision is for libraries and archives specifically. And so, generally, I would say, “Will the CASE Act impact faculty?” Probably so, right, and that also depends on whether you're a public institution or private institution because we again, don't know how the courts are going to look at sovereign immunity. And they've, they've allowed and said, state and federal governments can't be sued under the CASE Act, but we don't really know how that's going to play out in terms of individual employees. So there's that. But in terms of this opt out, if you're trying to have people respond about the opt out specifically, that is about library employees and archival employees. Will: Well said, I'll ask the follow-up question to you and if other folks want to jump in as well, what, if anything, are you going to do to prepare your non-library employees there? Are there a series of workshops coming out to say, “This is a wacky thing. It might never affect you, but if you're interested, here it comes.” Or how are we as a community thinking about educating beyond the libraries in this matter? Sara: That's a really good question. And, and for me, I feel like it's a little early, only because these proposed rules are still coming out. Like there's another proposed rule that came out just today. And I got it in my e-mail and said, “Okay, too long, didn't read yet, but will, right?” So I think it's such a moving target that I'm not prepared yet to reach out to faculty generally, but I do think it will be important once we kind of know where the playing field is and what's going on to have some, some strategic conversations. Like first, I'm going to have strategic conversations with library administration. Like, even if we are state and federal, a state or federal library, which we are at University of Illinois, if the opt-out provisions are extended to employees, I'm, I'm going to push that we just file the opt-out regardless, because it would cover our employees. That would be my ask to my administration, if we get what we're asking for in this push right now. Secondly, I would have to say, yeah, to faculty and say, “Let's have this conversation. What is this thing? What is this small claims court? What are the potential outcomes and how does this impact you?” And then again, big question mark, “We are at a state government institution, how does that impact employees?” And I would also really encourage them to understand that they can always opt out no matter what. So even if you can't opt out preemptively and do it once and it's going to apply to everything, which is, of course a good scenario, you can opt out for every single suit. And then that would say to the person, “Hey, sue me in federal court.” Now, we know how sovereign immunity works in federal court, right, at least currently. And so that would give us some measure of protection there if we're not sure about the CASE Act outcome. And so, you know, without giving legal advice, which I'm not allowed to do in my role as copyright librarian, I would try to let them know, like here are the options, right? The option is you go to this court and try to argue that because you're a state or federal employee, you know, they can't sue you, but, you know, I don't know how that's going to turn out. Or you can opt out and say, “Hey, you would have to come and sue me in federal court.” And we know that's pretty cost-prohibitive for them. And we also know that they can't get damages against you there. So I would let them know these are their options and of course, everyone has to make their own decision because I might have a faculty member who knows a lot about this and is like, “I'm really angry, really angry that they're suing me, they shouldn't be. So I'm going to fight this.” I mean, hey, more power to them, but like, I'm not going to tell them to do that necessarily. I'm going to give them options. Will: Thank you. Yeah, a couple of people, Molly Keener, and others have added in chat, and it sounds like they're doing basically the same thing. “We're keeping high level administration aware, we're talking to counsel's offices. But it's a little early.” I also wanted to, I think Nancy in the chat mentioned that if you're especially at a larger institution, the question I get sometimes is like “I work in the library, so I'm going to write on behalf of the library where, I work at NC State, so I'm going to write.” And at most institutions, especially as Nancy says, large institutions, there are pretty clear rules around who can and cannot speak and write on behalf of the institution. So if I submitted comments on behalf of NC State, our legislative advocacy people would murder me and you would never find my body, right? So, so be aware that there are a small set of people who can speak on behalf of the institution, and that there are probably people on your campus who have big feelings about who is doing that work. Sara: That's a really good point. And on the flip side of that, I've been really fortunate to work with those government outreach folks at Illinois to get their kind of permission, if you will, to speak on behalf of the library and the sovereign immunity instance, for instance. I'm, I coauthored a letter on behalf of our institution with our counsel's office. So if you go through the right channels, you can get those permissions, but you have to be aware that you need that. You can't just go ahead and do it. And also usually you need the Dean of the library to say it's okay, the counsel's office to say it's okay, the government relations folks to say it's okay, and just to go through a variety of, of processes. When things come up really quickly like this, this current call for responses, I just signed it on behalf of myself individually because I sometimes I don't have time to run through the chain of command, right? Like to know like, okay, I need to go to this person and this person then this. Like, just because you have permission to do it once doesn't mean it's kosher to do it again and again and again. So I had permission, like I said, on sovereign immunity to really speak up on behalf of the university. But I don't have that permission like as a blanket statement. It's a really good point. Any other questions? Take it away. Will: So Susan Kendall asks whether we can share some communication that you would have the library administration, that those of us who are not lawyers, can use with your administration. I don't have anything in my back pocket, but it seems like a great service. Some group, whether it's EUIPO or ALA, or whomever, could do is to say, “Here's some model language to let people know what's happening with CASE, here's some model language that's targeted towards faculty” and you know that there is a broad need for that. So that might be something that maybe somebody has already done. I'd love to learn about it. And if not, it would be great if somebody could do it. Sara: Will, I love that idea. And I think in terms of when we move forward, I think that we are, that would be a great service, right? To have some standard like “Here's language to communicate about CASE with your employees. Here's some if you're a public employee. Here's some if you're a private employee, here's some for libraries, here's…” something like that would be such a great thing. And I am a member of the ALA Policy Corps group and I think that would be an awesome project for us. And again, I would say it's a little early for that in terms of how we can, we can't predict the future about CASE. So we gotta wait a little bit and then I'm really, fingers crossed, that the lawsuit about constitutionality actually goes forward and we can get rid of all of these concerns, but it's just a moving target. And unfortunately, that's, that happens a lot with copyright, right? It's, it's, it's a moving target a lot of the time. So I do, I think we should have some sort of repository for that kind of information. And I, I, I think it's a great idea. There's a question, did the Library Copyright Institute create a sample of language that could be used? I don't think so, but I do know, you know, if you look at the comments that have been posted about the CASE Act, there's a lot of good information you can gather. It's all public. Will, do you know of anything that they created the Library Copyright Institute? Will: We did a webinar on this last week and we borrowed your language. We said “This is what ALA has provided. This is a nice way to, here's some specific verbiage you can borrow, but also here's a nice way to frame, sort of introduce the idea, provide your context, give specific examples.” So that's the thing that was circulating in those slides that should be available, the recording should be available at this point, but that's not LCI's credit, that's ALA's credit. We were just sharing their good work. Sara: You know, everyone has their own unique perspective and we all have different ways of looking at things, right? And so it's really good to get, just a variety of perspectives, about all the things that are happening in copyright world. Kenny is obviously a wonderful person to talk to always because he's just a really nice person. And I have a Copyright Chat episode talking with Kenny. So I recommend you listen to it if you're interested. He of course authored the famous Copyright Checklist, that most people use for fair use. I recommend it to folks all the time. And in our, in that particular episode, we were talking about the copyright guidelines in Circular 21 and how they're really outdated. Other questions? Audience Member: I do. So what is next? How should we proceed in the coming months, while we kind of wait to see what comes down? And once those things come down, the final rulemaking, what the court looks like, what are ways we can work together to move forward? Sara: That's a great question. I mean, I think one thing that I would recommend to everyone here, is to sign up for the US Copyright Office Notices. This is how I learn about what's going on with the CASE Act and the new rulings and things, right? Instead of hearing it from someone else, you can hear it directly from the Copyright Office. So I highly recommend that, and read, read the proposed rulings as they come out. And if you feel that there's something that you or your library could respond to, pass it up to your dean, pass it up to general counsel and keep them apprised of what's going on because things are definitely still moving along and not solidified yet. So keep on being engaged in that process because I think it's really important that we are aware of how it's, how it's moving. And then once, once we have some final idea of what's going on, hopefully the ALA Policy Corps or someone else can put out some really helpful, useful information. I'm thinking like the SPARC information that they have about the state by state laws on OER, right? They're just so good. I love their website and their tools. If we can come up with something like that, that's just really short, but really comprehensive, I think that we could be doing a really great service. So maybe come up with your own stuff and we can kind of put our heads together and come up with that documentation because I think we're going to need a lot of outreach to our faculty and to fellow librarians about how this might impact our work. Will: Yeah, that's, that's a great point. And the question that you mentioned a moment ago is, is if this constitutionally goes away next term, have we spent all this time getting people invested and raised all this awareness, and then suddenly it's like “What happened to that CASE thing you said was going to ruin the world?” “Well, it just went away.” So as, as we were talking about engagement with faculty, that's one of the issues that I'm really thinking about is, one, getting faculty to show up for a website on copyright Small Claims Tribunal can be challenging. So I'm, I'm wondering if other people are having that, like, is this something faculty and others aren't going to care about until they're being sued and it's too late. Like, is there a way to say “This might be nothing. It might be really important, but you need to know about it now. Because once you get a notification, it's probably too late for us to do anything about it.” Sara: Yeah, I mean, I don't think it's too late for us to do anything once they get a notification as long as they didn't sit on it. Because I, I just read, the one thing that I did read is that you have 60 days to respond to the notice under the proposed rules. Again, nothing final, which is quite a long time, if it got to the right place. Like Will was saying, if it got in your junk email or went to the wrong location, like that's just a problem. But if, if a faculty member does come to me and they have the notice in hand, I think that's a really good time to have that kind of “Here are your options” conversation, right? I mean, you could do nothing and then you could get a default judgement. That's not a good idea, right? Default judgment means “You didn't even bother to show up, pay these damages, because this is what we've decided.” So that's bad, and right, your options are, you know, opt out and decide to say, “Hey, you know, I'm not, I'm not engaging in this process. If you want to sue me, take me to federal court” or respond, right? And then you can respond with, “Hey, this was a fair use,” or “Hey, this is, I'm a government employee” or whatever your defense is, but of course you don't have any guarantees that how that's going to turn out because these are the judges, judges are not real, they're not federal judges, they're not necessarily trained. And even federal judges on copyright sometimes get pretty confused. They get a little turned around. So I've had experiences as a practicing lawyer that you wouldn't believe or I have a motion that I think is a slam dunk and I get denied. And then I have another motion that I think there's no way in heck, this is going to go through and the judge lets it through. So judges sometimes do wonky things. So it's important for people to know that too. Even if they're like, “I know I have a fair use. I know that this is permissible, that's so obvious.” That's why, yeah, judges sometimes make mistakes and I think these judges could too, right? Will: You would hope. And I'm sure the argument is, these judges are going to have that specialist training, so they'll be especially well-prepared. So then the question is, who's going to give them that training? Is CCC's version of a copyright webinar, is it ALA's, et cetera. So that specialization you're right, is a problem too. Sometimes comedic levels, at the federal level, whether the specialization that these judges have means they are more sophisticated or just more invested in one view of the doctrine is a different thing. Carla, please go ahead. I'm sorry. Carla: No, this conversation brings something to mind for me in that happened back when I was in college, which was during the time of Napster in the late 1990s. And I met one of my friends for lunch and he was looking very depressed. He had gotten notice from a music company and they said “We saw you've been sharing our music illegally online, that you can either pay $3,000” in the late 1990s to a college student, which was terrifying, “Or we will sue you.” And you know, something I was just thinking is, could we see with the CASE Act, copyright trolls saying, “Hey, we're going to see you in small claims court. But if you don't opt to do that, we're going to take you to federal court, or you can just make this all go away by paying us X amount of dollars and we'll leave you alone.” And the chilling effect that might have, do you think that's a possibility? Sara: I definitely think that's a possibility and I think that, that's part of the art, the goal of outreach, right? Is to educate people that they can opt out and that they don't have to pay that money, right? So yeah, it's, it's, it's definitely a possibility and, and if folks are just unaware of what this is, right, they think, “Oh, I'm going to go to court, I better pay this” and they don't even know. I know that the notice is supposed to tell you about the opt-out provision and all of those things. But, you know, some people just get really scared. You get a letter in the mail saying you have to pay this money. And you think, “Oh no, I have to do this,” right? You just want it to go away. And so I think that is a real possibility. Will: Yeah, I've, I've dropped the phrase, but somebody basically described the CASE act as a copyright troll factory. I think there's, there's something to that. Nancy, I saw your hand raised. If you'd like to ask a question or jump in, please do. Nancy: Yeah, I, I realized that what I was thinking about is, is rather tangential. But with respect to trolling, those of you who work in academic libraries may have seen some of this lately. I've seen an increase in people who put some kind of vaguely copyrightable measurement tool online. And then other people use it without permission, which is only questionably a copyright violation anyway, forms are not usually very copyrightable. But the people who made the form, some people really seem to have gone full trolling model on this. Their form is out there primarily to get people to use it. And then once people have used it, if they publish on the research they did with the tool, they are now threatening the authors with lawsuits. I don't know if they're getting payments, but they are getting retractions. Which is, I'm concerned about, just because that's not a correct legal response to this kind of, if it is a copyright violation, retractions are not the right answer. But, but I think that the over, as I said, this is tangential, that's why I put my hand down. But it is an illustration that the trolling model already exists, and has both some monetary drivers and some other weird drivers that I don't understand. Sara: Yes, it definitely does exist. And as Jonah was pointing out, there is someone who is licensing under Creative Commons and then using that to sue people, which is even worse in my opinion, it's like you're using Creative Commons to trap people into violating the whatever you put on there and then you're suing them. It's just mind-blowing. But yes, I think, I think unfortunately, some people are trying to trap people into using their thing and then suing them. But I would agree that a retraction is maybe not the way to go. And also someone, I wish someone, would just fight that, right? And get a court to say, “Hey, by the way, this isn't even copyrightable.” But the problem is, and we all know this, going to court is not free, right? You can't go, most people can't just go to court and say, “Okay, I'm going to be pro se.” You have the court filing fees, you have to show up and you have all these deadlines. It's a very complicated process, so it's not as easy as all that, although I wish someone would fund it, maybe EFF, and like, find out if there is someone they could defend and really push the issue. Because if this is happening again and again and again, it needs to be dealt with, in my opinion. Will: And good discussion in the chat on the, sort of the rise of copyleft trolls. There's an article in there documenting the practice, and then Creative Commons has been working recently on updating their license enforcement language to say, “It's your right, but what we hope the community will do is follow this set of practices.” Sara: Yeah, Nancy, Nancy is like “Exactly what academic author is going to say, “I'm going to defend this and see you in court, sue me” and then like get their own lawyer.” I mean, it's just so expensive, so we really would need an organization to take that on. Agreed. But it would be great. Other questions. This has been such a fun conversation. I just have to say this was a really fun thing to do. And I'm so happy that you all were so engaged. I just, the time has been flying by and I've been really enjoying it and it was fun for me to be on the other side, right? Not to be the one asking all the questions, but to get to answer some of them. So I really enjoyed engaging with you all. I hope this will inspire some of you to listen to other episodes of Copyright Chat and to give me your feedback about those and to get engaged with them. And maybe use the Scholarly Communication Network output that I come up with about teaching with Copyright Chat, or come up with your own ways to teach with Copyright Chat. I've actually used, that, that method with Gordon Spiegel before. And I did it live in a class. I played the episode and then I would stop it. And as I asked him a question, I would say to the class like, “What's your answer?” right? And have them kind of figure out if they knew the answer to a common copyright myth. And it was a really fun way of holding a live class. So you can even use the, the podcast live during class. There are just so many different ways to use it for teaching. So I really hope that some of you are inspired to do that. Will: Yeah, thank you for saying that. That brings us back to the sort of the SCN conversation at the top that this can be a “Your final assignment is create a podcast.” instead of writing a research paper that gets thrown away, it's there, or, “Take two podcasts and remix them in different ways.” All the pedagogical opportunities here, I think are really, really exciting and important. Sara: Or come up with a new module, right? “Find one of Sara's Copyright Chat podcasts that she didn't turn into a teaching module and come up with your own teaching module” and then add it in to the OER right there. Just so many, possibilities are endless, but I do love the idea of creating your own copyright podcast, which is kind of fun. Because I just think I've had assignments like that where I've gotten to create something myself and I always find them really, really engaging. And active learning is just, for me, a lot more rewarding. Any, any other final comments from the crowd or things you would love to hear a Copyright Chat podcast about? Because I'm always looking for ideas. If you have other topics that you just think, “Hey, you really should do a topic about this.” Oh, a music one, ooh, that's a really good idea. I should definitely do a music one. “Do you use videos from Copy Talk as part of educational material?” So I don't have videos on the Copyright Chat because it's a podcast, but I do have sometimes links to readings and sometimes links to other videos and things so, that I'll put with, so I always have a transcription of the podcast because obviously some folks can not engage with it, if they're hard, they have hearing struggles, so I always have a transcript available. And with the transcript is where I put additional materials. Will: I was just going to say, one of the things I really appreciated about this session is the way you've demystified the technical aspects. I think if you said to somebody out of the blue “Do you want to make a podcast?”, they'd go, “That sounds really complicated and difficult.” And I think this has been a nice demonstration that it's actually not as challenging and not as big of an ask as it could be. And obviously the opportunity to have some intro music from ccMixter, or right, you can sort of walk that copyright walk in terms of the way you build resources and, or rely on fair use to play a short clip from something. You could ask students to demonstrate their understanding of those concepts in the way they build the podcast. Carla: So, as we're nearing the end of the podcast, I just want to express my deepest thanks, first off to Will and Sara, for this wonderful and very informative discussion on the CASE Act. I know this has been in so many folks' minds and I am welcoming every learning opportunity I can get on this. And I think this has been an exceptional one. My deepest thanks also to our participants. It has really warmed my heart over the last few days to see how much you all are engaging with these presentations, the conversations going on in the chat. I just think this is so fantastic and the chat will be preserved. I know there's some questions about that, so you can download that, and I'm happy to pull links out of the chat, to put in a document that we can ask later. Before we close out, any final thoughts to share, Will and Sara? Sara: I would just say, I'm so happy to see so many people engaging with copyright here in this room today. And just keep on, keep on doing that, right? I mean, I'm always learning something new about copyright every day. And copyright is one of those fun things that changes a lot. Right, as someone was pointing out, “You should talk about music, cause there are a lot of new cases and it's changing a lot”, right? It is. And then the Music Modernization Act changed it even more, right? That's what makes it fun is that it's, it's a moving target, something that you can always learn something new about. I never claim to know everything about copyright because… Kenny Crews might know everything about copyright, but not me. But I always, I just have a passion for it. And I think that's what you need to have if you want to be a copyright librarian and if you're interested at all, reach out to me, we are a really great group of people. We are a really nice group of people and we help each other. It's been, it's been a fabulous career choice for me. I've really enjoyed working with everyone including Karla and Will, and Nancy on this call, and Emily. And I just really can't say enough about it as a career choice. So if you're thinking about it at all, feel free to reach out to me, and I'm happy, I'm always happy to chat with anybody, especially because I love Copyright Chat. Will: Yeah, I'll say the same thing, but not as well, as I've been doing for most of the session today. I, I, it's a really fun community to be part of, and I'm really excited about resources like Copyright Chat and the SCN, that sort of capture the community conversation. And it's not just like “This is the expert and we're going to shut up and listen to them.” It is, “Let's talk about this as a group and share different experiences.” I think we'll get a better and more robust and more invitational, and inclusive as well, understanding of what this body of practice is and can and should be. So I appreciate everybody adding your voice today and I'll second Sara, what she said, please reach out anytime. Questions like “I'm new to the field, and how do I deal with that?” or “What do you think about this?” We're all very happy to have those conversations. Sara: And shout out to Molly and Sandra. I mean, it's just a really fabulous group of people. I cannot say enough about my copyright colleagues. They are just wonderful people also. If you're at all intimidated and you say, “Ooh, it's law, I just don't want to get engaged,” like, talk to us, because really, really you can do it. And especially if you find it really interesting and fascinating and you know, you just really want to learn more. That to me is a sign that you're, you're interested, right? And so, even if you don't want to become a copyright librarian, if you're just like, “I'm going to be the go-to copyright person at my library.” Hey, everyone needs that. That's a certainty. So, and then, don't feel afraid to ask questions when you have them. Because again, I mean, we, we ask questions all the time, and no question is a bad question, and I'm always happy to engage with people, so please, please reach out, and thanks for joining us today. It was so much fun.

Bitch Slap  ...The Accelerated Path to Peace!
What is the day going to look like as a result of my fitful night's sleep? (Covert anger part 1)Covert Anger Part #1

Bitch Slap ...The Accelerated Path to Peace!

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 17, 2021 15:02


What is the day going to look like as a result of my fitful night's sleep?  Turns out I may have had some covert or subversive anger issues today.  But first how to do a 4 count meditation.  The power of the hemingwayapp.comAdministrative: (See episode transcript below)Check out the Tools For A Good Life Summit here: Virtually and FOR FREE https://bit.ly/ToolsForAGoodLifeSummitStart podcasting!  These are the best mobile mic's for IOS and Android phones.  You can literally take them anywhere on the fly.Get the Shure MV88 mobile mic for IOS,  https://amzn.to/3z2NrIJGet the Shure MV88+ for  mobile mic for Android  https://amzn.to/3ly8SNjGet A Course In Miracles Here! https://amzn.to/3hoE7sAAccess my “Insiders Guide to Finding Peace” here: https://belove.media/peaceSee more resources at https://belove.media/resourcesEmail me: contact@belove.mediaFor social Media:      https://www.instagram.com/mrmischaz/https://www.facebook.com/MischaZvegintzovSubscribe and share to help spread the love for a better world!As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.Transcript: Intro: 00:01 Imagine a conscious contact with God. So strong that no matter what you are doing or not doing that, no matter what your kids are up to or not up to, and that whether you've got the person of your dreams or they're just not cooperating, that you are happy content and at peace, a space where everyone else's thoughts, attitudes, and actions are beautiful and exactly as they are supposed to be. Well, this is the space where I like to play. My name is Misha Z, and this is today's. Slap. Join me as I shed light on the thoughts, actions, and attitudes that are causing you pain. And we train our minds to go to the capital S inner self, the joy that is waiting for us, the God with him.Mischa Z: 00:53 I am going to talk about covert anger today. Covert, anger, and how I needed to, uh, have, uh, have awareness that I did indeed have some, perhaps what we would call subversive or covert anger issues. That's what, that's what we're going to talk about today. Um, when I, uh, was, so this morning, I, you know, did my meditation. Man, I slept not so well last night, it was interesting. Um, very tossing and turny. Very, very, um, very inter intermittent. Ooh, I think I'm coming across someone. I know Tony. What's the apps, man. Good, good to see how fun is that? Just got to say hi to Tony. Where was I? Oh yeah, fitful night's sleep.Mischa Z: 02:10 And I think what's interesting about a fitful night's sleep is as I'm having fitful sleep in that moment, I can be very concerned about what is the day going to be looked, going to look like as a result of my fitful nights, sleep? You know what I mean? Does anybody else had that before? So you're in the midst of your fitful night's sleep and the mind starts projecting. Maybe we could call it, the ego starts projecting. Oh no, what's my day going to be like, I'm going to be tired. How am I going to show up for people? Um, am I going to be, am I going to be exhausted in all my activities?Mischa Z: 03:07 What else could we say? Um, you get what I'm talking about? It could be anything, or, gosh, am I going to be fitful all night? Am I ever going to fall asleep? And the mind just starts rolling. And I guess the point of this little diversion is that, you know, I had my fitful night's sleep. I woke up, I was actually felt more refreshed than I thought it was going to. So that was a surprise. So all that projecting about I'm going to be exhausted and not be able to get anything done or whatever worries were happening in the fitful moment.Mischa Z: 03:48 And I headed off to do my meditation, my hour meditation. I do my hour meditation and it's a fun one. Actually, it was pretty good. You know, it's focusing on what, you know, the thoughts would run and then come back to breath and I do a meditation on a four count, oftentimes. So that's what I was doing this morning. And when I see a four count, each out-breath is a countdown from four. I need to figure out a better way to say this, how that works. But so, you know, in breath through the nose; out breath through the nose. Mentally say Four. Next breath in out breath say three. Next breath in and out breath two. And you're saying this to yourself, obviously in your mind. In breath out breath, one. In breath, repeat from four on down. And whenever the, so what happens is you doing the four count? Inevitably the mind will start thinking about things.Mischa Z: 05:07 And the awareness that I'm thinking about other things becomes evident is that a double, a double positive, the awareness becomes evident. That is funny. Anyway, the awareness that I'm thinking about other things becomes evident. So you come back to the four count and it's a very smooth, aware process. Lots of fun insights are flying around back to the breath. It's funny too, in some of those moments, I can have fear like, oh no, if I go back to the breath, the insights will go away. So I was definitely playing with that thought. And um, so I come out of the meditation. So the meditation is great, good hour meditation. And after the meditation, I was, I would say, surprisingly vibrant and vital. Full of vitality. I dunno if that's the right word, but it was refreshed. Shall we say? Yeah, it was refreshed. That's a great way to say it. So all my worries of I'm going to be tired all day... That may still be yet to come by the way, I might need an app or a new meditation session to find that refreshed attitude.Mischa Z: 06:50 Um, and so I went into A Course In Miracles and, you know, I had a powerful couple of days. So A Course In Miracles, I'm reading, this is funny. I'm trying recording on a new platform and I lose track of, it's hard for me to find the time. So come out of the meditation, do my A Course In Miracles. And I'm just super, I was so calm and centered and connected. I think that that's a great word to say. I was connected. Like I have was just at peace in the moment, savoring my cup of coffee. Um, very, I hadn't perhaps I'd say spaced out is the right word. I would start my reading the A Course In Miracles. And then the next thing you know, it took me to some starts is what I'm trying to say until I was able to focus on it. The A Course In Miracles, section of a manual for teachers, uh, section three, I think it was, I can't remember what the name was, but again, I was not hard on myself for not focusing, right.Mischa Z: 08:31 It can be frustrated and I'm not focusing. I have to start again or read that paragraph for the sixth time or that sentence for the seventh time. And that was very much, it's all good. It's all good. I was not tripping at all and having awareness that I was not tripping. So that, that there was very much the feeling this morning in the meditation and coming out in the meditation of the gift of the aware, observing the observer. Is that a way to say it? Uh, um, yes. So my mind was drifting it's it's one of those days. Thanks for hanging in there. If you've made it this far, really the whole point of telling you all about the meditation and such was to say, one of the thoughts that popped up is I was reading A Course In Miracles and I jotted it down was covert anger. I was very memories of my covert anger, um, issues. Had calm, subversive as well. They were so subversive to me and that I was able to definitely justify them. And so my rationalization was subverting my relationship, my happy relationships, how's that? Oh my gosh, Russell Brunson. If you're listening to this, you will not be happy. I'm not using fifth grader, lower words.Mischa Z: 10:23 Oh my gosh. So many thoughts, streams piling through the brain. But so, uh, I'll, I'll close that loop, uh, Russell Brunson and many others, uh, you know, they say, Hey, when you're talking to the public, oftentimes a very effective way to get your point across is take, keep it simple. Like keep, you know, you don't need to use big words like that can actually distract from your message. And I think about that a lot. Cause I, I love big words. I love looking them up in the dictionary when I come across them. It's fun to, to sometimes, you know, look up words and then see them see that word materialize in your, or in my, um, conversations are writing at a later date. And as a matter of fact, to continue on that loop, um, there's a thing called Hemingway Hemingway app or hemingway.com, Hemingway editor or Hemingway app.Mischa Z: 11:35 I think it's Hemingway editor.com (it's actually hemingwayeditor.com). I'll put the link, check the link in the show notes. Um, and by the way, does anyone else do this? Does anyone else like throw in the big words, thinking that will make you more effective? I know I do. So if you do, Hey, welcome to the tape. So Hemingway editor, I think that's what it's called. Hemingway editor.com. You can again, check the show, the links in the show enough, you can, you can put in your sentence and it will tell you what grade level you're speaking at and are the sentences too complex are like run-ons or things like that. Or, um, you know, are you using it'll, it'll tell you words that are like, uh, I'm trying to think of the word. Um, well it'll give you recommendations for like past tense, present tense or things like that, or it'll say, Hey, you can actually just omit this word. Fricking love that I've gotten in the habit of going to Hemingway editor.com and, and putting in, uh, sentences things that I'm writing and really using it as a tool to, to be more concise in my thoughts, in my writing and, um, fix run-on sentences and all sorts of stuff.Mischa Z: 13:18 And it's really fun to use it and then send it out, send out whatever I'm sending out email or, or show notes or something like that. And then read it at a later date and be like, oh yeah, that is much easier to read than my normal writing. Anyhow, the meditation subversive, anger, covert, anger, and the issues that it caused me. And when I had awareness of it and the steps that I took to break free of it, that's what I was was, and am going to discuss. Let's do that for covert anger part two. Okay.Speaker 1: 14:07 Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for spending time with me today, as someone who is committed to growth and service to this world. I so appreciate your willingness to come with me, go within and serve our world through change. If you found value in this podcast and you know, someone who can use this message, share this episode with them, share it. So our mission can be achieved one episode at a time and of course, subscribe so you can hear more. And lastly, for more resources on what has helped me on my journey and can help you on yours, go to be love.media forward slash resources. That's B E L O V e.media forward slash resources. Thank you again for listening.

19 Nocturne Boulevard
19 Nocturne Boulevard - MURDER WARD - Reissue

19 Nocturne Boulevard

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 14, 2021 33:48


MURDER WARD "Not guilty by reason of insanity" sounds like an easy out to murderer Edmund - but when he checks into Dr. Larson's mental hospital, he gets much more than he bargained for. Cast List Edmund/Achilles - Kim Turner Preacher Ronald - Pat McNally Rose Connelly - Joy Jackson Hector - Cole Hornaday Dr. Larson - Marge Lutton Terrance - Greg Porter Lawyer - Sigmund Hoverson Ape man - Reynaud LeBoeuf District Attorney - Melinda Mains Also heard - Julie Hoverson Music:  Kevin MacLeod (Incompetech.com) Editing and Sound:   Julie Hoverson Sound effects found on Soundsnap.com Cover Photos:  Front - Witek Burkiewicz             (courtesy of Stock Xchange.com) Recorded with American Radio Theater "What kind of a place is it?  Why, it's an insane asylum - can't you tell?  Where else would you find... a murderer?"   ************************************************************ Murder Ward This was another episode I wrote specifically in an Old Time Radio format and put together with American Radio Theater, a group that recreates old time radio shows. Parts of this story were very loosely inspired by (of all things) The Seven Keys to Baldpate, a stage play by George M. Cohen (and a film inspired by it, "The House of Long Shadows"), as was at least one other episode of my show, though in a completely separate way.  Some stories just stick with me.... Or make me think of ways I could do it better.... A big part of this particular story comes from my love of old true crime and detective stories, and how often (in fiction at least) people claim to be temporarily insane in order to get an easier sentence. I don't want to say more about this story, just will leave it up to the listener. I want to talk about how I got into podcast audio dramas. I was doing OTR re-creations with ART when Reynaud Leboeuf (one of my most reliable stock actors in 19 Nocturne Boulevard) said he'd been cast in this podcast Lovecraftian comedy soap opera called The Unspeakable and the Inhuman (which was hilarious), and that they were still looking for a female lead, and would I like to audition? Well, of course I would! I was cast, and we recorded in early 2008 at Neohoodoo Studios (Ryan's basement), and during one of these recordings, one of the other actors commented that this was so fun, they should make more shows so that we could record more.... ...and I said I have some scripts!!!! Of course, I still had to learn how to mix, and all that sort of thing, but that's basically where it started.  For most of 2008, 19 Nocturne was recorded primarily at Neohoodoo, with the help and kind permission of Ryan - and that got me good sound to work with for my beginning efforts, which made a huge difference.  Joy from ART and Ryan both showed me a few things and gave me some tips on mixing. I have to admit to being a teensy bit smug when, after Unspeakable and Inhuman kind of fell apart, I ran into the main writer Derek at a convention a few years later, and he asked me "How did you make it to so many episodes, when we never got past 9?" and I replied "I'm not a committee." I do wish Unspeakable and Inhuman was still available somewhere, but I don't think it is.  Maybe I'll get in touch with Derek someday and get permission to post the episodes - for posterity. For the first year of 19 Nocturne, episodes came out in the U&I feed - after the first 8 came out at Brokensea - which further muddies the waters as to what the original order of episodes might have been.  It was late 2009 before I decided I was definitely going to keep making shows, and therefore it was worth getting my own page and RSS feed. ...Everything else, as they say, is history. ************************************************************ MURDER WARD Cast: OLIVIA, the host EDMUND Rafelsen (M/30s) - evil alter ego "Achilles" RUDY Horton, Esq. (M/50s) - Edmund's lawyer TERRANCE (M/20s) - the guard ROSE Connelly (F/20s) - paranoid, hears voices HECTOR Wilson (M/20s) - phobic, fears women RONALD Tomlinson (M/40s) - believes he's obeying god VINCENT (M/any) - frightening, violently crazy DOCTOR Sara LARSON (F/40s) - psychiatrist CROWD, GIRL, MOM, KID - any voices D-A. - District Attorney OLIVIA     Did you have any trouble finding it?  What do you mean, what kind of a place is it?  Why, it's an insane asylum, can't you tell?  Where else would you find ...a murderer?  MUSIC OLIVIA    [voice over]  "Not guilty by reason of insanity".  A legal defense, often misused to try and get a lighter sentence for a heinous crime.  And what does it really mean?  In a nutshell--   SCENE 1.  OFFICE RUDY    --it means at the time you did what you did, you didn't - couldn't - understand what you were doing was wrong.  It's a tough sell, Ed.  No matter what the movies make out, most juries just don't believe-- EDMUND    [cultured voice]  Mr. Horton, I would prefer that you address me directly when you speak to me. RUDY    Ed, this isn't funny. EDMUND    There is no "Ed" here.  Edmund, however, is sleeping.  Mr. Horton, if you cannot bring yourself to use my name, at least-- RUDY    OK, look-- SOUND    rustling paper RUDY    [disapproving]  --Achilles - I-- EDMUND    And I am not insane.  Nor is Edmund.  I knew perfectly well what I did was wrong.  All those pretty little women.  I was really doing them a favor.  The world is so harsh. RUDY    I--  Look, Achilles, let me talk to Ed for a while.  It's his name on the docket, after all. EDMUND    Very well.  I shall rouse him for you.  [voice changes to more lower class - after this, he speaks as Ed any time not otherwise noted]  Yeah?  What is it shyster?  Hey!  Why's my cigarette all burned down all of a sudden? MUSIC   SCENE 2.  COURTROOM CROWD    [MURMURS] SOUND    GAVEL DOCTOR LARSON    Ahem.  As I said, after a thorough examination, I have concluded that while Edmund is nominally the dominant persona, his alter ego Achilles was the one who actually committed... [fade out] MUSIC   SCENE 3.  ASYLUM HALLWAY SOUND     FOOTSTEPS ON TILE.  JINGLE OF KEYS TERRANCE    Guess you think you're lucky, eh? SOUND    DOOR UNLOCKS EDMUND    And why's that? SOUND    DOOR OPENS INMATES    [AD LIB, MURMURS "IN CHARACTER" see monologues at end] EDMUND    What the--? TERRANCE    Your new pals, bub.  As I was saying, I guess you THINK you're lucky, getting off without the death penalty and all.  Come on. SOUND    SLOW FOOTSTEPS EDMUND    Look mac, I thought I was gonna have a private room-- TERRANCE    These are the induction cells.  Once the Doc gets a handle on your syko-sees, she'll move you to someplace appropriate. EDMUND    She?  SOUND    FOOTSTEPS STOP TERRANCE    Sure.  You saw her at your trial - Doctor Larson.  She's got some big-brain new ideas about how ta deal with luniacks like yourself.  SOUND    KEYS JINGLE.  TERRANCE    Your room, misshur. SOUND    CELL UNLOCKS, DOOR OPENS. EDMUND    But, but there's a DAME in here.  Ain't we supposed to be-- TERRANCE    Funny thing about that.  Dames go off the pier too.  And we're overbooked in that department.  She probly won't be here long.  Besides, she's waaaay over there.  She can't hurt you. SOUND    FOOTSTEPS HECTOR    [fading in - urgent milktoast]  --he's right.  She shouldn't be in here.  You don't understand the damage they can do.  [fading] Women are-- RONALD    [fading in, hissing whispers]  ‑‑have new instructions.  It is time for you to let me go.  HE has declared it.  [fading]  My presence is required-- SOUND    FOOTSTEPS END, JINGLE OF KEYS ROSE    [fading in] --staring at me.  Are you sure they can't get out?  Please, would you check the locks again?  [fading]  I'm so afraid-- SOUND    DOOR OPENS AND SHUTS. INMATES    [MOMENT OF SILENCE] ROSE    [sigh] RONALD    [normal, husky voice]  Hey.  New guy.  Got any smokes? EDMUND    What? RONALD    Smokes.  EDMUND    Even if I did, they wouldn't let us have any matches, would they? ROSE    [hard dame]  Who are you kidding?  You can get pretty much anything in here, just as long as you know who to ask.  And HOW to ask it. EDMUND    Funny, you sounded crazy a minute ago. ROSE    [snort]  Yeah, well.  We all have our bad days...  [raising voice slightly]  And some never have good days, right Heck? HECTOR    Wicked Jezebel.  You shouldn't be here. ROSE    [to Edmund]  We're pretty sure that Hector there is the real McCoy.  RONALD    Now, now.  We're ALL nuts.  We must keep that in mind. ROSE    Yeah, but THAT guy - he just never lets up! EDMUND    But if you ain't crazy-- RONALD    [chuckles]  Court says we are.  Even with moments of lucidity, well--  What can they do? EDMUND    What if they're listening?  Recording, maybe? ROSE    I thought I was the one with the persecution complex. RONALD    I've been trying to catch them for over a month.  Nothing doing.  They're just not interested.  Besides, once the jury brings down the verdict, the court has to keep you locked you up until they cure you. ROSE    OR you give up and confess. RONALD    Oh, sure.  [sarcastic]  I'll just admit it was all phony, take my lumps and go to the Chair!  EDMUND    What if one of you decides to squeal? ROSE    [laughs]  Who'd take the word of a head case? HECTOR    If you try and spit your fiendish poison at me, fiend, I shall find a way to defend myself! ROSE     [disgusted sigh]  I am real sick of him.  RONALD    He probably had a bad mother. ROSE    Yeah?  Well who didn't? EDMUND    The guard said I'd only be in here for a little while-- RONALD    Yeah.  Us too.  I've now been here for two months, and Rose-- ROSE    Rose Connelly, p'raps you hearda me? EDMUND    YOU'RE Rose Connelly? ROSE     [pleased]  Yeah.  The one and only.  My sister's got a scrapbook of clippings for me.  She can't bring them, but she tells me all about them when she visits.  RONALD    Rose's been here about three weeks.  Since her sentencing. EDMUND    And Romeo over there? ROSE    Hah!  Cute.  Two incredibly long days.  EDMUND    And...this is it? RONALD    What? EDMUND    This is what we get?  I mean, in prison they at least get some kind of exercise and stuff.  Geneva convention, and all that.  ROSE    Ah, it's just temporary.  I guess the loony bins are all booked up right now.  [giggles]  Say, maybe there's a convention in town. RONALD    Don't worry.  We get to talk to the Doc each day, regular as clockwork.  She's a sweetheart, but I bet Hector isn't making any improvements. HECTOR    [matter of fact]  Doctor?  She's the devil!  I refuse to give her the satisfaction of a single word. ROSE    [derisive]  "Doctor," hah!  She's the one that let me get myself in here.  I thought it would be real tough to fool a head shrinker, but boy was she a pushover.  Always so sympathetic.  So understanding.  She don't deserve to be a nurse, let alone a doctor.  RONALD    Funny, she testified at my trial too.  Hmm.  Guess we both got lucky. EDMUND    [absently]  Yeah.  Lucky. MUSIC   SCENE 4.  DOCTOR'S OFFICE DOCTOR LARSON    Edmund, I can't help you if you refuse to cooperate.  EDMUND    [as Achilles]  I am trying my utmost, madam, but he simply refuses to converse with you. DOCTOR LARSON     [not batting an eye]  Then let's you and I talk, Achilles.  You claim that the killing was-- EDMUND    [as Achilles]  Killings.  Let us be precise.  Mercy killings, actually.  [fading]  I felt so kindly‑‑ MUSIC   SCENE 5.  CELL HALLWAY SOUND    SNORING FROM ALL INMATES SOUND    SCRITCHING, LIKE A MOUSE TRYING TO BORE THROUGH WOOD EDMUND    [snores, then wakes, frightened]  Ah! ah!  What? [NOTE    LOW VOICES] RONALD    Shh.  You'll wake the neighbors. EDMUND    What was that?  But that noise - it's-- RONALD    I know.  We call him Mortimer. EDMUND    This place has mice? RONALD    We haven't seen him, so we're not sure what particular type of rodentia he is, but we sure hear him.  Particularly when it's quiet.  EDMUND    But how can I get any sleep--? RONALD    You get used to it.  We all get used to lots of things. HECTOR    [coming awake with a scream]  Aaagh!  Off me, you fiend from hell!  No! No! [goes on incoherently] ROSE    [Wakes with a whimper] [NOTE    VOICES NORMAL] EDMUND    That'll take some getting used to. RONALD    Yeah. MUSIC   SCENE 6.  DOCTOR'S OFFICE DOCTOR LARSON    Edmund, why don't you tell me about your mother? EDMUND    [as Edmund]  My mother?  What - why?  My mother's fine.  She got nothing to do with this. DOCTOR LARSON     Do you love your mother? EDMUND    Well, o'course.  I mean, you gotta - it's just nature, ain't it?  [trailing off with] No matter... what... she does t'you. DOCTOR LARSON    What did your mother do, Edmund?  [beat]  Edmund? EDMUND    [as Achilles]  It's no use, doctor.  He has gone into retreat. MUSIC   SCENE 7.  CELL HALLWAY SOUND    CELL BLOCK DOOR OPENS INMATES     [begin their various muttering] TERRANCE    This way folks.  Step lively now. SOUND    CROWD MURMURS, LOTS OF SHUFFLING FOOTSTEPS HECTOR    What is this?  How dare you bring in more of THEM!  Mischief!  Mischief! ROSE    [aside, shocked, not pretending] What's a kid doing here? MOM    Tommy, now look at that - that's what crazy folks look like. KID    Gee. TERRANCE    [like a carnival barker] Not just any crazy folks, lady, these are all crazy murderers! CROWD    Ooh! TERRANCE    Each and every one of these... people... has committed the most heinous of crimes! GIRL    Wow, look at that one over there, he's kinda cute--! HECTOR    Harlot!  Harlot!  Do not approach, or I must smite thee down! GIRL    What's smite - is that bad? TERRANCE    Best to stay away from the bars.  Now, this here is Rose Connolly, known throughout the entire state-- ROSE    [seriously disturbed] Stop looking at me!  How can you--?  Get them outta here, wontcha?  TERRANCE    --For killing her husband while under the inexorable compulsion of a persecution complex. ROSE    This isn't right! GIRL    What's inexcorable - is that bad? MOM    Killing your man - now, that ain't right! RONALD    Come, come, now - leave her, she is unimportant, aha!  But I - I have a message to give unto you. MUSIC - TIME PASSES   SCENE 8.  CELL HALLWAY SOUND    CROWD WANDERS OUT, DOOR SHUTS ROSE    [Breaks down]  Oh! RONALD    How mortifying. ROSE    [sobbing]  Like animals in a zoo.  EDMUND     I'm surprised they didn't start throwing us peanuts. RONALD    I tried to get them away from you, Rose, I really did.  But big headlines trumps preaching, I guess. HECTOR    This should stand as a warning to you, woman!  You are never alone!  There is always a witness to the wicked things you do! ROSE    I have had just about enough out of you!  You-- noisy little weasel!  We girls, we're just folks just like everybody else - you have no right to-- RONALD    Rose, calm down.  Shh.  It's not going to help. EDMUND    Yeah.  For crying out loud, we've made it this far, how much worse can it get?  MUSIC   SCENE 9.  DOCTOR'S OFFICE EDMUND    [as Achilles]  It was mortifying for Edmund, Doctor.  I think he may have suffered a terrible setback. DOCTOR    Now, the tours are conducted for very good reasons. EDMUND    What, pray tell? DOCTOR    It's really not something we should be discussing, but - since you are so concerned - First, it is to show the public that this facility is on the up and up - you've certainly heard of the old fashioned "asylums" where inmates were neglected and beaten?  This way, nothing is hidden - so no abuses occur-- EDMUND    [almost breaking character]  No abuses? DOCTOR    Also, it helps to make insanity seem less frightening to the general public.  Most people have seen insanity only in movies - where it is so inevitably terribly destructive and dangerous.  This way, they see the human side of it. EDMUND    [as Achilles] I see that your intentions are admirable, but I can't help but think that a trip through the violent ward would merely reinforce the negative popular belief? DOCTOR    That's why the tour through the violent ward is only for serious students of psychology.  [fading]  You must have misunderstood. MUSIC   SCENE 10.  CELL HALLWAY SOUND    CELL BLOCK DOOR OPENS RONALD    And the lord said-- ROSE    Can't you make them stop staring? SOUND    FOOTSTEPS, DOOR CLOSES INMATES    [CONTINUE MURMURS] SOUND     CELL DOOR OPENS EDMUND    [Achilles]  Thank you, my good man. SOUND    CELL DOOR CLOSES, FOOTSTEPS.  THEN A SCUFFLE! HECTOR    [struggling]  Give it to me!  TERRANCE    [struggling]  Leave go, you ape! HECTOR    [struggling]  I have to-- oof! [air knocked out of him] SOUND    TWO FOOTSTEPS.  DUSTING OFF HANDS TERRANCE    That'll show you to tangle with me.  HECTOR    [weak]  Yes, but ... I have your gun. ROSE    [scream]  EDMUND    Stop him Ron - you're closest! SOUND    GUN SHOT TERRANCE    Aargh! ROSE    Oh no!  No! HECTOR    [calm and creepy] The next one is for you, Delilah!  Salome! ROSE    Me?  I didn't do anything-- [gasps] INMATES    [GASP] SOUND    CLICK RONALD    Who put out the lights? HECTOR    It was the monster - Lilith, devourer of infants!  SOUND    PSSST OF GAS EDMUND    Do you... hear... [getting sleepy] Some...thing...? MUSIC - TIME PASSES   SCENE 11.  CELL HALLWAY EDMUND    [waking up]  Hmm?  Wha--? RONALD    [groans] ROSE    [wakes with a startled gasp] EDMUND    What happened? RONALD    At least the lights are back on. ROSE    But I don't wanna open my eyes. EDMUND    Look! RONALD    Where?  [disgust]  Oh! ROSE    Just ... just tell me, I don't wanna-- EDMUND    Better you don't look, Rose.  [muttered]  That's a lot of blood. RONALD    [muttered back]  You don't lose that much and walk away.  Too bad.  Terry was a right guy. ROSE    Blood?  Oh, no!  Hector?  Where is he?  He's going to shoot me! RONALD    Calm down, Rose.  He's gone. EDMUND    So's the guard.  There's just the... blood. SOUND    CLICK - LOUDSPEAKER ON DOCTOR LARSON    [filter/loudspeaker]  We apologize for the inconvenience of using a psychotropic gas on you.  EDMUND    Gas? DOCTOR LARSON    [filter]  Rest assured there will be no long-term effects.  EDMUND    That was what I heard. DOCTOR LARSON    [filter]  If you are feeling groggy or your head aches, sit quietly, breath deeply, and it will pass. SOUND    CLICK - LOUDSPEAKER OFF ROSE    [breathing deeply but raggedly]  It wasn't our fault - they haveta know that!  EDMUND    It's not like we're a bunch of babes in the woods.  They may know what happened and just not care. ROSE    So just because I killed my husband, I;m gonna - I'm gonna hurt a random stranger?  That's silly. RONALD    [chuckles]  No.  Just insane, m'dear.  MUSIC   SCENE 12.  OFFICE RUDY    I don't see any way to-- EDMUND    What?  This is cruel and inhumane-- RUDY    You don't understand, Ed.  [dry]  It is Ed I'm talking to, isn't it? EDMUND    Yeah, yeah. RUDY    You are not a free citizen.  You've been consigned to Dr. Larson's care, and-- EDMUND    Now you don't understand, Horton.  A guard was killed last night, in our block-- RUDY    You didn't--? EDMUND    Nah, it was this loony who thinks women are all evil. RUDY    Which, of course, you don't--? EDMUND    This ain't the time for that, Rudy.  I'm talking about a murder. RUDY    There's no record of-- EDMUND    The corpse's name is Terry, Terrance, something like that.  He is - was - a guard here.  Come on, someone's gotta be doing something! RUDY    I haven't seen anything in the papers.  These state-run facilities, though-- sometimes they're like a world in themselves. EDMUND    Well get me another world. RUDY    [chuckles]  There's only ONE way to do that. EDMUND    Yes? RUDY    Admit that you're not insane... and go to the chair. MUSIC   SCENE 13.  CELL HALLWAY SOUND    CELL BLOCK DOOR OPENS, ROSE'S FOOTSTEPS AND A HEAVY SET OF MAN'S FOOTSTEPS, SLOW AND MEASURED. ROSE    Can't you please stop looking at me?  I know why - I know why you're staring!  You can read my mind! SOUND    KEYS JINGLE EDMUND    [Achilles]  You are such a lovely young lady.  And so frightened.  Come to me and I shall cure you of all your fear. SOUND    DOOR UNLOCKS, OPENS ROSE     Stop!  Don't say things like that.  He never takes his eyes off of me, you know.  RONALD    [quietly]  And he said unto me, for I am the way-- SOUND    ROSE'S QUICK FOOTSTEPS, DOOR SHUTS, LOCKS. EDMUND    Hey, buddy, don't you talk? SOUND    KEYS JINGLE.  HEAVY FOOTSTEPS LEAVE RONALD    Justice is ever mute. SOUND    DOOR OPENS, CLOSES INMATES    [quiet for a moment] EDMUND    What's with that guy? RONALD    I hate being ignored like that. ROSE    He didn't say anything in the halls - going to the doc's office OR coming back, either.  No matter what I did. EDMUND    Did the doc say anything about the dead guard? ROSE    Not a word, even though I asked.  She just ignored the question. RONALD    She didn't ignore you completely, though? ROSE    No... But she didn't say much.  Did she talk to you at all during your appointment? RONALD    I didn't have an appointment with her this morning. EDMUND    But you were gone-- RONALD    I wasn't going to say anything, but the guard just took me out and walked me around the halls for an hour.  MUSIC   SCENE 14.  OFFICE EDMUND    I got rights, Horton! RUDY    Well, technically, no.  Actually, I could do more for you if you WERE in prison.  Once you're committed to the doctor's care, you really can't complain.  Particularly since you don't have any proof for any of your allegations-- EDMUND    Allegations?  Proof?  How's this for proof - the others will back me up! RUDY    [condescending]  Two other certified inmates?  Oh, sure.  That'll stand up in court. MUSIC   SCENE 15. EDMUND    You guys ever wonder what they did with old Hector? RONALD    Solitary confinement, I guess.  Killing a guard's pretty serious. EDMUND    [sarcastic] Oh, yeah, unlike whatever it was we did to get here. ROSE    Hey, I draw the line at killing strangers.  EDMUND    Just your husband? ROSE    Looking back, I guess it wasn't such a great idea. RONALD    You guess?  Hah! You-- EDMUND    Why'd you do it, then?  Did he push you around or something? ROSE    [snorts] Nah.  If he'd'a beaten me, I woulda had a defense in court.  Nah, it was just little things.  Like the sounds he makes when he eats - ate - and the thing with his toenails.  Us women have to put up with this kind of thing all the time, but...  It just got to me. EDMUND    It just got to you?  ROSE    Well, yeah!  RONALD    There's a reason the marriage vows say until death do we part-- ROSE    AND I wasn't going to the chair for something like that, so I started pulling the "he was out to get me" hash on my lawyer, and it worked.  More or less.  Not like this joint is anything to write home about.  RONALD    It wasn't so bad up until that guy Hector showed up.  Since then... well. EDMUND    So who'd you kill? SOUND    TINNY CHAMBER MUSIC BEGINS TO PIPE IN, VERY QUIETLY. RONALD    I don't think so-- EDMUND    [pushing] Go on.  Who? ROSE    Oh, leave off.  Hey, that's kind of nice. RONALD    What?  ROSE    The music. RONALD    Hmm.  And if I prefer to maintain my right to avoid self-incrimination? EDMUND    Geez.  Don't take it that way, I was just curious.  [pause]  I killed four women. ROSE    Four?  Maybe I SHOULD be worried. SOUND    MUSIC STARTS TO VERY SLOWLY GET LOUDER EDMUND    Oh, I put on a song and dance for the cops about how they needed to be killed to save them and all.  Making up a Mr. Hyde personality to take all the blame.  [beat]  Three of em were mob snitches.  RONALD     So what, you're a hit man? EDMUND    I owed some money.  Shouldn't have got caught at all, seeing as how there was no connection between me and them, but the cops got something - fingerprints or something - and they tracked me down. ROSE    And ...the fourth? EDMUND    Huh?  [offhanded]  Oh, just some dame - I did her to throw off the connections and make myself look nuts.  I'd already figured on being caught - and better a whacko than a torpedo, ya know?  SOUND    MUSIC IS LOUD ENOUGH THAT THEY ARE RAISING THEIR VOICES OVER IT RONALD    You are some piece of work. EDMUND    Still casting stones, eh, preacher?  Why don't you explain how you got here--  What in the name of --- What IS that MUSIC? ROSE    It was ok... to start with... but, now--! SOUND     MUSIC REACHES A CRESCENDO, THEN CUTS OUT WITH MUSIC STING - TIME PASSES   SCENE 16.  CELL HALLWAY SOUND    DOOR LOCK UNLOCKS, DOOR OPENS. RONALD    --said the offender must be plucked out! SOUND    SLOW FOOTSTEPS - ORDERLY BRINGING IN NEW INMATE, VICTOR EDMUND    I am so sick of this guy. ROSE    Are you taking me away?  I know you've been watching me. SOUND    RATTLE OF LARGE CHAIN, STUMBLING FOOTSTEPS VICTOR    [growls and snaps]  SOUND     KEYS, CELL DOOR OPENS. ROSE    [whispered]  Ed?  Ed?  That guy - is he even human? EDMUND    [whispered]  Shh.  I dunno. ROSE    [whispered]  But he's so... so huge! SOUND    SHUFFLING FOOTSTEPS, CHAIN RATTLING. RONALD    The beast!  For I have seen-- VICTOR    [growl - lunge] SOUND    SCUFFLE OF FEET, CHAINS CLANG AGAINST BARS. RONALD    Aah!  SOUND    SCUFFLE AWAY. VICTOR    [snarling] SOUND    THUNK OF NIGHTSTICK ON FLESH, RATTLE OF CHAINS ROSE    He didn't-- it didn't even notice!  The guard hit it and hit it--  [screaming]  Get me out of here!  Please!  Please get me out of here!  sound    cell door closes, locks, rattle of chains against bars EDMUND    Shh.  He's not listening anyway. ROSE    Anything!  Whatever you want!  [collapsing into sobs]  I can't take any more! SOUND    GUARD'S FOOTSTEPS, KEYS, CELL BLOCK DOOR UNLOCKED ROSE    Please!  I'll admit everything!  Take me to the doctor - the lawyer - the JUDGE!  Anything! SOUND    [BEAT]  FOOTSTEPS RETURN, KEYS, CELL DOOR UNLOCKS. ROSE    [Breaking down] Oh... thank you.  Thank you...! MUSIC   SCENE 17.  OFFICE RUDY    --none of your business.  She's not my case.  Now, Ed, they can keep you locked up any way they want - with anyone they want - for as long as they want.  You're getting three squares a day, right? EDMUND    Usually.  Sometimes it comes pretty late, though.  And there's been a couple of times it's been too salty to eat. RUDY    So they have a crummy cook - place like this?  Go figure.  EDMUND    You gotta get me out of here, Rudy. RUDY    I've told you, there's no place else to put you. MUSIC   SCENE 18.  CELL HALLWAY RONALD    I think he's asleep. EDMUND    It.  Rose called it an it. RONALD    I asked the doctor about Rose.  The doc said a whole lot of nothing, but I get the impression she - Rose - has revealed all, as they say, and is heading for a short vacation in a nice clean death row cell. EDMUND    Not so bad for her.  Women get pardoned all the time, specially pretty ones.  RONALD    Yeah.  And you would know all about the pretty ones, eh? EDMUND    [remembering fondly]  They were all lookers, yeah.  RONALD    How can you sleep?  EDMUND    Don't get high and mighty moral on me, bud, you're in here too. RONALD    I was only--  It WAS a moral choice.  A decision that had to be made and no one was making it. EDMUND    Oh, so who'd you kill?  Cripples? RONALD    I ended the suffering of several decrepit-- VINCENT    [ROAR!] SOUND    CHAINS SMACK AGAINST CELL BARS RONALD    [half choking] Let go! EDMUND     Nobody's got arms that--! RONALD    [gasping]  Get someone!  You gotta-- [choking] EDMUND    Hey!  Hey! over here, ugly! SOUND    RATTLE OF CHAINS RONALD    [gasps for breath] SOUND    THUMPING FOOTSTEPS, RATTLE OF CHAINS EDMUND    Hah!  Gorilla!  Even you can't reach this far, eh?  SOUND    CELL DOOR BEING SHAKEN VICTOR    [growls] RONALD    [hoarse]  Thanks, pal. EDMUND    Don't thank me yet - I think those hinges are coming loose! SOUND    CELL DOOR BREAKS OPEN, RATTLE OF CHAINS RONALD    Oh, god!  No!  Release the gas!  Someone please release the gas!!!  [choking] VICTOR    [growls] SOUND    CHAINS RATTLING AGAINST BARS SOUND    TINNY CHAMBER MUSIC PLAYS OVER THE FIGHT NOISES EDMUND    Not the music!  The gas!  He's dying, for crying out loud!  RONALD    [expiring noise] SOUND    GAS MUSIC   SCENE 19.  OFFICE EDMUND    Horton, whatever I need to do, whatever I need to sign, just hand it over.  I ain't spending another night in this place. RUDY    You understand the consequences?  You won't have the slightest option of recanting again and going back to your original statement.  EDMUND    Yeah, yeah.  Anything - and I mean anything - is better than this freak show.  MUSIC   SCENE 20.  RECEPTION PARTY SOUND    GLASSES TINKLE, DRINKS BEING POURED DOCTOR LARSON    I'm so glad you find my program effective, Mr. District Attorney. D-A.    Well, I admit I had my doubts, when you first outlined it-- DOCTOR LARSON    You expressed concern about the danger of physical harm to the subject?  As you now see, there is never any direct physical contact.  Thus, there can be no allegations of physical harm or coersion. ROSE    He might have come close to dying with fright, though.  [teasing]  You were quite terrifying, darling. VICTOR    [growls jokingly, then fairly cultured voice]  After fifteen movies as monsters ROSE    And an apeman... VICTOR    [chuckles]  And one apemen, who wouldn't be? HECTOR    I'm rather glad I get to duck out early.  Murderers just [shudders] give me the creeps. TERRANCE    Hey, we're out of sham-pane.  Want me to go and get some more? HECTOR    Nah, I'll go.  Be right back!  D-A.     It seems like a lot of effort, though, for a single confession.  A lot of manpower.  [tip of the hat]  And woman power. DOCTOR LARSON    Ah, but it's valuable work on a number of levels.  We convince a murderer to confess, and we learn a great deal about the human psyche each time through the experiment. D-A.    Each time?  How many--? ROSE    Hmm...  [thinking]  I've had the screaming meemies four times-- RONALD    And I've nearly died... oh, three, I think. DOCTOR LARSON    Not all of them last as long as our good friend Edmund.  D-A.    I'll drink to that. MUSIC CLOSER OLIVIA    Now that you know how to find us, you'll have to come back.  Maybe next week?  Don't be a stranger - we have enough of those already...     INDIVIDUAL SPEECHES FOR THE "INMATES" FOR "ad lib" SECTIONS ROSE    I can feel them, all the time, watching everything I do - always making sure.  Always knowing.  I never get a moment alone, never a smidgen of privacy.  How can I live like this?  It's always the same - at first, they seem so nice, so different, then they turn on you, controlling you, having to know everything you do, and then they just don't let you do anything.  I couldn't even have a glass of water without getting permission. HECTOR    Sinner!  Be penitent and god may be merciful and end your despicable life - hah, raise your head in the presence of your condemnation, will you?  Created to sin, designed by Satan to tempt honest men from the path of righteousness.  Daughters of Eve, you share her taint!  You try and draw us into your web, to make us debase ourselves for your enjoyment!  Wickedness!  Temptress!  Succubus! RONALD    God moves in mysterious ways, for his decisions are inscrutable and his calling ineffable.  He has summoned me to his bidding, and I must obey.  There is no evil in ending the suffering of those that god would have called home to his presence.  He does not strike out in anger, but reaches forth to embrace his injured and damaged children, who need his solace.

Land.MBA Podcast
EP 53 Build Relationships to Sell more Land! Land.MBA Podcast

Land.MBA Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 14, 2021 41:50


Hi, my name is Howard. Will you marry me? What you mean you'd like to get to know me first? Well, if you think that's really important. Hey, guys, today on the Land of NBA podcast, David and I are going to go delve into the third of five critical skills that all land investors must master relationship building. You can't ask people to marry you on the first date, and land business relationships are built on the phone. Those who master building, trust and rapport over the phone will be able to go from a ho hum land investor to land closing machines.   Let's Connect  For coaching and courses go here - https://www.land.mba Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/land.mba/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/mylandmba   Excellent. Excellent. Dude, I got to tell you the other day I sold a property, but this guy, this customer was so combative when I got him on the phone, I didn't even know why he called me. He was really kind of irritating guy. But you know what? By the end of the call, bada boom, bada bing made the sale and awesome. Just just a matter of doing what God use and what God gave me two years in one mouth and just listened. Asked a few open-ended probing questions here and there and let him talk. And then, you know, after we built some rapport, he trusted me and it was like, Yeah, let's do the deal.   So sweet money in the bank.   Exactly. And that aligns with our topic today.   And what is that relationship building?   So we're talking about this is the second.   Wait a minute. Is this a dating podcast?   What do you have in mind, sweetheart?   Ain't going to happen, buddy. Let's set expectations early.   You broke my heart, Howie.   I'm sorry. We all have our likes and dislikes. I just don't do bald guys.   All right, well, there's there's plenty of women out there who do so, you know. All right. I digress. So we're building on the five bullet points of the the five skills that you need to pay the bills in this business. And the second one in our order is relationship or rapport building. And that is essentially the art of persuasion, its sales, whether you're talking to a seller or a buyer.   Absolutely. It's a really important topic and it's make or break in this business because someone's business is done on the phone with people that you never actually meet. So being able to build a strong rapport with people that you don't even meet face to face is a great great is a great, great skill set to have you got to have it, actually. But before we get too deep into it, I just want to say if you love the land business as much as we do and you want to continue to hear more of the deeper, unadulterated insights we strive to provide on this podcast, please subscribe rate and review on YouTube. Your favorite podcast app or wherever you're hearing is from. It really helps us to provide great content for free. And even if you don't love it, if you're just coming back every week, every week because you just got nothing better to do. My God rate review and subscribe. Leave a comment. Do something I can't tell you how much it means to us, and we are very committed to continue continuing this and providing not just surface level stuff, not just we don't want it. This is not about sales. This is about sharing knowledge. So please help us out. And we certainly are going to do our very best to help you out as well.   It's not about sales ploy. Oversold that one, I'm telling you.   Well, you know, if we provide something you want and you know you, you know, there's a good exchange of value. I'm not above that. But you know, first and foremost, we want to share a great valuable content.   Excellent. All right, Matt. So why is rapport or relationship building important?   Yeah, it's absolutely essential because there's two things that I think are absolutely critical before a sale is even possible. And that is one until somebody knows you and you're still you until you establish a little bit of rapport. There is a lack of trust, and no one is going to do a deal worth hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands of dollars with somebody where they have not established some level of trust. Now, with bigger businesses, it may it may take less because trust is built through the branding process. You know, they know the company, they know the brand, the brand is credible and that their people are going to do what they say they're going to do and that there are ways to deal with it if they don't. But when you're dealing with situations like this, people often worried about being scammed, that's always the big word that they're worried about. So you've got to build trust between yourself and them so that they will feel confident to do the deal with you. But trust isn't always enough. They also need to like you because there's this great saying that says all things being equal, people would rather do business with people they like and all things not being equal. People would rather do business with people they like like. So it's really important that they like you and trust you because now and all that's doing is creating an environment where a sale can happen. I mean, obviously, you still have to provide something they want at a price that they're willing to pay for it. But now you've at least set the stage where a sale can exist without relationship building. The stage is not set.   Yeah, exactly, I mean. And but just a side note, folks, we are intermixing the sales side and the buy side because it's the same thing you're you're persuading someone to sell to you and you have to so and your and your persuading somebody to buy from you. So it's the questions might be a little bit different, but it's the exact same process. So which we're going to get into a little more details. It's essentially a sales process. And so the key to these conversations is, you know, open asking open ended questions. So, Howard, good explanation of why it's important. I totally agree.   When is it important? I guess there's I never really like using superlatives in any conversation like never, always would ever. But this is a case where it actually makes sense. The answer is always. And it doesn't matter who you're working with. I mean, whether you're dealing with sellers, buyers, title companies, county people. At the end of the day, we're always having an engagement with somebody where, you know, we there's an exchange of value or we need something and it's their job to give it to us. But still, the the pace, the quality of of of those conversations is all based upon relationship. You know, they always say you can catch more bees with or more flies with honey bees with honey. I don't know. It's something like that. I feel like George W. Bush right now. It's like I'm screwing up my my clichés. But at any rate, it's true.   At least you don't say nuclear.   So at any rate? No, no. What did he say? He goes, You know, fool me once. Shame on me. Fool me twice. Shame on. Will you get the idea? It's almost actually. That was almost a Biden ism, the way he said.   Yeah. The thing, the thing. The thing. Let's not digress.   So, yes, the answer is always sellers.   Excuse me. All right. Yeah, exactly. So I think now. All right. So let's get into some of the, you know, the questions that we're going to ask. Let's let's let's talk about sellers first and then buyers. But what are some of the questions you might start with to build trust with a seller?   So I think the first thing is sometimes we just answer the phone, sometimes we let everything maybe go to voicemail or to an answering service, so by the time we call them, we're actually calling them, they're not calling us. So the first thing we have to do is we have to introduce ourselves. This is who I am. This is why I'm calling. Well, sometimes they're happy to hear from us, and sometimes they're not, but how we start the conversation kind of sets the tone for everything. So, you know, obviously we want to be positive. We want to be upbeat, but not over the top, because that may not sound sincere. And so I think a clear statement of who you are, why you're calling. But then what I think happens very quickly in these conversations, whether it's on the buy or sell side, is if the other side because you haven't built rapport yet, you haven't built trust yet. They jump right into the facts, you know? Tell me about the property. Tell me the speeds and the feeds in the acreage and you know, the zoning or the price.   We're focusing on sellers right now.   Yeah, yeah. So they're going to they're going to focus on the price that's usually going to be the big thing for them. Now the trick, I think for the way I try to do it is I don't let them control the conversation. I control the conversation, but not in a controlling way. I don't want them to feel like I'm controlling the conversation.   So let me just interject. That would be called leading. You're leading.   Leading. Exactly, yeah, leading leadership is a good thing. So, yeah, so I mean, I get in and I'm like, you know, hey, I definitely understand that price is going to be the big issue here and and we're absolutely going to get to that. But before we do, I just can I ask you a couple of questions and I say, can I ask a couple of questions? Because that gives them the feeling of control, even though I've taken them off their their game and switch the conversation in the direction I wanted it to go. Yeah. And and then and then I'm going to start asking questions what what we really need to do at this stage of the conversation. What we really need to accomplish is we need to not present ourselves as a business, but as a person. I mean, even in large corporations, people don't do business with corporations. They do business with people, right? You know, I bought it because my sales guy was fantastic and I trusted him and I know he was going to make happen on the other side, whatever I needed to do. People want to do business. People do business with people. And so how do we make ourselves more human? I mean, there's so many ways. One is we just ask some questions that really have nothing to do with the property and really just to do with getting to understand each other a little bit. And for me, what I'm really trying to do is as quickly as possible is I'm trying to find something that I can have in common with this person.   These are some crazy times in the real estate field. Demand is high. Inventory is low. If you're a realtor, a wholesaler or house flipper, you've probably noticed how hard it's become to find quality deals. This is why so many in our industry are looking at land as an outstanding way to add new revenue streams to their portfolio.   If you're listening to this podcast, you already know that land is a relatively unknown niche of the multibillion dollar real estate market with huge profit potential. Seriously, what other business delivers 200 300 a thousand percent return on investment deal after deal?   It seems hard to believe, but land really returns 100 to 300 percent commonly and sometimes over a thousand percent deal after deal and in the age of COVID. Demand for land has never been higher.   Many of our students have already created new revenue streams with land and added six figures to their incomes.   We've had clients who have achieved multiple six figures in their first year of business. Another pay for all his coaching and pocketed 15 grand on his first deal. Now, not everybody has these kinds of results, but they're certainly possible if you have the right instruction, the right support and highly experienced mentors.   You don't need another course that promises the moon and then delivers an elementary school education. You need a proven program suitable to your experience and ambition. You need a land MBA. The Land MBA is everything you need to blow it out in the land, business, courseware, mentorship, tools, community and even deal funding. Look, because you're here listening to me, you know that Dave and I don't hold anything back. That's a founding principle we've had from the beginning with the land MBA. You get everything we have to offer. There are no upsells, and now through popular demand, we have transformed our highly regarded one to one coaching program into a small group format at a fraction of the price. If you're ready to build a six figure income with the freedom of being your own boss, go right now to W W W Land MBA Fortune. That's W W W Land MBA Fortune. Let us help you create your next path to wealth. So I might just say, where are you calling from? Maybe it's a location based question or, you know, how's the weather out there? Or, Hey, you know, are you know, oh, you're from New York Giants fan or a Jets fan? Oh, you're you know, I'm just using some places near me. Oh, you're from New Haven Haven. Everything's about pizza. Are you a Pepys fan or a Sallies fan? You know, this is the big two big piece of places, but whatever it is, it doesn't matter. It's about saying something and getting them talking about us to kind of talk about something that they relate to or care about or have an interest in. It's got nothing to do with the land so that we can develop that personal relationship.   Absolutely. It's and and that conversation may lead down another road. It may be may lead to other talking about your family or your kids or your pet. Yeah, you're a dog, guy. I'm a cat guy, but I, you know, whatever. Stuff like that, and you start to build that report. And so it's very important, even though you know you should have a. If you're out and about and you're taking calls or returning calls, you should have your primary script available, you know, print it out if you're in the car. A lot I used to when I was doing this business part time and I was in sales. I would. I was in a car all the time, so I would, you know, I'd have it on my phone, but I always I'd always have printed sheets of my script, so it was ready. But you have to practice so that it becomes conversational. You don't want to sound scripted because then if the conversation goes off your script, you're screwed. It's like, you know, a president. We know when he goes off teleprompter and it can go really bad. But you know you want to you want to practice this, this art, this skill. But yeah, exactly right. Like, you know, where are you calling from a little bit about the weather and things like that start to build, build that trust? And then you can start to bring it into the the facts and the figures. When you're you get to the right part and you feel and it's very much a judgment call on, you know, on how deep you go with questions. But then you might ask them, you know, you might come in and ask them about, you know, what are your goals? What did you what what was the reason that I'm sure you've gotten, you know, have you gotten letters from other people? Why? Why did you call us   Before before we get quite into that part? Can we just explore this front end just a little bit more?   Ok?   There's a quote, and I think the quote belongs to Maya Angelou, the poet. And I'm just going to say it was her because that's how I remember it. And it was. It's something that I've always I heard it once and I've never forgotten it, and it's so important. It said in the end, nobody is going to remember what you said. And very few people will remember what you did, but everyone will remember how you made them feel. And that's really what we're trying to accomplish. So think in your in your own life where you've been in a situation where it's you, maybe you you were in the presence of somebody with a big title or the CEO of your company or whatever it was, and it felt a little bit intimidating. Maybe you felt a little bit nervous. You found just when you spoke that your voice ended up being a little bit higher, your heart was beating a little bit and then other people who just completely put you at ease and you're like, Gosh, I don't know what it is about this person, but I just like being with them, and I just feel like I can be myself. And when people are themselves, they let loose and they talk and they just relax and they say, what's really on their mind? They don't hold back, and that's really where we want to get them. We're trying to get people to relax and feel comfortable. And so the word I would use here is, you want to be accessible, you want to be a person that they can say, I like and trust you and I feel I feel like I can just be myself with you.   I've done this sometimes where like, I'll take a call, I'll be out in my yard and they'll start talking. I'm like, Can you? Can you hold on a second? Oh my God. A squirrel was just going across and my dog just went absolutely nuts like a bad Holly. And he just almost got it. I'll just say something stupid like that. But it it basically humanizes me and my experience into something that they can say, Oh, I can relate to that, you know, I got a dog or I've got squirrels or whatever it is. And all of a sudden now there's an accessibility, and you might ask how much is enough? How much of this little front end banter do you need to do? And I guess the answer is you'll know you'll just you'll just feel it. And then at some point, you know what your what would be really great to hear. On the other end of the phone is a chuckle or a laugh or something like that. And one of the ways that I. Think we can do this week in order to make them feel relaxed and and be willing to share when we get on the phone, we have to be relaxed and we've got to be willing to share. And at least at the beginning, a lot of times when, you know, for people who don't have the, you know, the great experience and just cold calling people, it can be a little bit intimidating.   And so one of the things that I know Dave and I have been really, really I think we've always done it, but we've been really, really trying to improve in this area is before we get on the phone, we just take a moment or two to just think about what our goal is on that phone and especially whether whether it's buying a property. You know, you might say, Gosh, I really want to buy that property or whether it's selling a property is like, Whoa, how much money am I going to make you? You're counting the dollar bills. Both of those are really bad ways, things to have in your mind when you get on a phone call. What what really works? I think for us and what what I think works for most people is to say, You know what, I really think I have something that can help this person, and I want to better understand where they are and what they're trying to accomplish. And I would really love to be able to walk out of this conversation and be able to offer them something of value. And if you put it all on the other person it takes and you really feel that in your heart, then they won't get this nonverbal. Cue that I think you have an ulterior motive. I think you're just trying to get something from me because you don't. You're really trying to help them in a way that's going to make sense for your business. So, yeah, start with that human touch.   Yeah. Sorry, I interrupted you. No, no, no. Yeah, human. I mean, it's such an important principle to think about, right? What's the outcome that I want to create? It's not making money. The goal is to provide, you know, how much value can I provide? And the more value that we can provide in life to the more people, the more money is going to be a byproduct. We're going to make money, the more value we can provide to the more people. So absolutely being human as is a really good way to put that. Talk about some more on that. Like. I mean, there's finding things in common, there's there's you mentioned something earlier about making a mistake. Can you elaborate on that?   Yeah, I funny this. This came up last night on the land speed smart bars. Somebody sent all their offers out and they they sent out arranged offer. So, you know, we typically pay between this price and this price for the property. But they didn't. They made a mistake in their letter. And so what it ended up saying is we typically send out this price per acre and this price per acre for your property. But the numbers reflected the full value not just on a per acre basis. So they were like astronomical offer prices in the phone's ringing off the hook.   And you know, that happened before. I've seen that mistake made   And I've made that mistake. You know, I think at some point, if you send out enough mail, everybody makes that mistake once in a while where their mailers, their pricing is just way too high. And it's a phenomenal opportunity because then you kind of come in and you say, you know, I appreciate the callback and I just want to be really transparent with you right from the beginning because, you know, we price a lot of of a lot of land and send out a lot of mail. You can imagine in order just to be able to buy a few. That makes sense. And well, gosh, sometimes we make a mistake. And unfortunately, on this mailer, we made a mistake and and those prices don't actually reflect the true value. And, you know, if. And I want to first off, just apologize to you for that. That was that's on me. But so the first thing I can say is I'm not going to be able to pay that price. But before we go any further, I guess the question I really want to ask you is, are you really interested in selling your property? Because if you are, I would love to continue to talk and see if we can't find a price that would make sense for both of us and. Yeah, go ahead, go ahead. No, no, no, go ahead. So not only does that set up, hopefully at this point, a quick negotiation because you haven't done the due diligence yet, you don't want to do a final negotiation. You just want to establish the expectation that that price ain't going to be it. But what it also does is say, look at I made a mistake. I own my mistake. I'm human because humans make mistakes. And now I'm not this big, scary company on the other side of the phone with a brand that they don't really know just doesn't know. It doesn't mean we're not a big, an established company. They don't know. So now I'm just a human being like them, and I'm fallible, and that makes me accessible.   Yes, exactly. I've had that same situation happen a couple of times where I was able to reel them in and get the deal. Yeah, that's a great point. It really shows your your human side and breaks down some barriers. And then we get into some open ended questions, you know, in addition, if you need them, I mean, we've already covered several, Oh, you know what? I just want to go back, though. You know, you talked about this is just a when you make that mistake and it's just a point you're building rapport, but you haven't been able to, you know, necessarily look at the property yet. But hopefully if it if it came in, this is slightly off subject. But I just want to drive this point home. Hopefully, it came in through your if it came in through your phone service or or email or whatnot. I mean, if you pick the phone up live, then you're you're just reacting life. But as I always try to say, never let the people off the phone without trying to get a deal, if you can, because people call its people are so busy today and they're getting hammered from so many different pieces of media to get their attention, you know, text messages, email everything.   So sometimes, even if they're really interested, it can take you a couple of weeks to get them back up back on the phone. So I implore anybody if you if, if, unless you're in the car or whatnot. But if you're in front of your computer and you've got them on the phone, maybe you picked up the phone. You'd be like, Hey, look, let me do you have five minutes left and I'll go on and look at some numbers and be able to make you an offer here and there that we can discuss because I always, you know, I don't like the thing. Well, well, send me another offer I I would prefer. I'm happy to send them an official, offer a new letter, but I want to get an agreement first before I waste my time or my staff's time, and even a lot of times what I will. And so, you know, if it's a life phone call, I try to keep them on the phone. You got a few more minutes if you know it came in through the other channels that I should have had an opportunity to look at it and say, Oh holy cow, and then be able to have a number in my mind when I call them up so we can negotiate that and then take it to another level, I'll say, you know, I'm happy to send you an official new fresh, clean offer if that makes you comfortable.   However, if you scratch out the offer in there and write it in and initiate and then sign the document, just take a picture of it. Text it to me. That's all I need to open up escrow and my the title company will clean up the the final contract. I like to have that, you know, that saves time. So if you would just send that to me and then if you want me to, I'll send you another contract. But I can use that that scribbled on piece to open escrow anyway. It's a sidetrack, but I think it's really important because this has happened in my business a lot and and I'm really trying to drive home with my acquisition person nowadays that, hey, you got them on the phone. Let's let's try to get something signed, even if you go into due diligence and realize, Ooh, we still need to offer less because you discovered something well, that would have happened anyway. Get it under contract. Yeah.   Good. Good. Good point. You talked earlier about open ended questions, and I think part of this is, you know, that we really want to get into in this podcast. It's not just the what and the why, but also the how. How do you actually do it? And you know, we've we've talked a little bit about it, but I think there's a little bit of a simple flow, a five step flow. And I would say, you know, don't be don't feel like you've got to go exactly like this in this order all the time, you know, very rigid. I mean, you've got to let conversations flow the way they're going to flow. But I think if you follow these five steps, you really will do a great job and building that rapport. And it's funny because whether it's sales or marketing or team building or, you know, I can think of all of the corporate off sites I've been to in my career. It always feels like group therapy, and I always kind of walk away from those things and I'm saying, Gosh, I could really apply this in my personal relationships to maybe improve my marriage or whatever, whatever it is.   And it's and it's true. I mean, I I think becoming a better communicator, having higher emotional IQ is some of the most valuable lessons we can learn, both in business and personally as well. And one of the things that I've learned, and it took me a long time to learn it. It's that it's really important to validate other people. You know, at the end of the day, what we all want is we all want to feel heard. We all want to feel that you hear me. You understand me. You know where I'm coming from. And at least if we have that, you know, then we can have the basis of a conversation. But if somebody says something and then you counter with what you want to say, but you haven't taken the time to validate them, then they don't feel like you've really heard them. And they're going to dig in their their heels and they're saying, I'm not going to stop until you understand where I'm coming from.   So that's just a really important point on that. Validate does not mean agree, right? You can strongly disagree with them and still validate their position, so they feel heard. And that's all most people want. They don't necessarily want to be agreed with, but yeah, they want to be validated. And I. It's something that as a as a husband and a parent ex-husband now. But you know, you learn, you learn about that stuff. So maybe I wouldn't be divorced if I learned about validation earlier in my relationships. Hey, folks, people often talk about automating and outsourcing your land flipping business. But what does that really mean? Generic solutions leave it to you to figure out how to set up and maintain the automations. I've been running my land business on land speed for over three years because it's a total solution and allows me to focus on being a great land investor. Land speed was built specifically for land investing by land investor and with many of the most successful people in the business using it for years. It's evolved into one of the most feature rich solutions on the market. Some of the key benefits I get are being able to create and manage mail campaigns and neighbor letters. I'm able to automate tasks amongst my team, create contracts and deeds and email text or mail them within a few clicks. I can automatically capture sales leads from any lead source, including Facebook Messenger. Then it automatically pushes those leads into my sales funnel so that I can manually follow up, but they also go into my automated drip campaign. And since Lance Speed's a total cloud based solution, I can run my business from anywhere in the world with a phone, laptop or tablet. So if you want to. Turn your hobby into a professional, scalable business, just go to land speed, techno forward slash Dave to receive one hundred and fifty dollars discount today.   Well, I was working with this guy once and he was gifted in this area and I would he would ask me a question. I'd start talking and he he would just listen, but you know, he'd listen. And he had a great sense of humor. So somehow, no matter what I said and I don't think of myself as a particularly funny guy, but it seemed like from his perspective, everything I said was funny. Mostly, I think he was laughing at me. And then he would say at the end when I finished, he would say, I totally get that. I totally understand where you're coming from, but hear me out. And that he would like present a slightly different view. And those words hear me out. We're basically saying, I validate what you're saying. But let me offer you a slightly different perspective on it than maybe you're coming from just for your consideration, not trying to force anything on you, but hear me out. How about this? And then it just made me listen, and all of a sudden, I, you know, it expanded my my view, and that's really what we're trying to do with people in these sales calls as well. So that model comes down to really five steps. So the first step is ask questions. Open ended questions are better than yes, no questions any day of the week. You'll learn a whole lot more.   And after you're ready until you're ready to close,   Until you're ready to close, we're just on rapport building right here. We're at the beginning of the conversation. So ask questions now where I think most people tend to fall off the bandwagon is in the second step. Listen to the answers   So far is what two ears? One mouth? Just remember that.   So it's not. It's not here. The answer it's listen, actively listen and try to understand. And it's it's so hard. I mean, we're as it's almost built into us, as human beings. As soon as we start hearing something, we start formulating our response. And you really got to try to turn that urge off. It's about let me just listen. And it's not just listening to the words. It's trying to understand what's behind the words. Because really, what we're trying to discern from people is what is their true motivation? Because that's what we need to tap into. So ask questions and then listen, listen really carefully. And then after you've listened. These next two steps can change the order. But maybe you ask that a follow on probing question, you know, take it down, go go deeper, try to understand a deeper understanding of what is their motivation. That's the goal here. Get the motivation. That's three. So ask listen probe. And then the fourth one is validate, which means, say, I hear what you're saying, I totally get what you're saying. And and then the fifth one is sort of taking that validation to a whole nother level. And that fifth is restate what they're telling you. But in your own words. And so   What? Let me let let let me make sure I understand, and I've got this right. And, you know, repeat it back to them.   And everybody knows that my all time favorite business book is never split the difference by Chris Voss, and he he goes into this in great detail. I forget the exact words he put for. I think he calls it tactical empathy. And so the way you want to start that sentence when you restate it in your own words is, well, it seems to me like what you're saying is blah blah blah blah, or I think what you're saying is blah blah blah or what I think I'm hearing is blah blah blah blah blah blah. So you're saying it in a way that that doesn't say, I get what you're saying. It says, I think I get what you're saying and then you feed it back to them, and that gives them an opportunity to say yes, no. Or, you know, let me correct you. And again, going back to that book, what he's what he wants to hear on the other end of that is not your right. Those are not success. That's not a successful conversation. What he wants, what you want to hear after you say, it seems to me blah blah blah blah blah, you want him to hear. That's right. That's right, is not a personal thing, it means that the concept that you've just stated is exactly what it is I'm trying to communicate to you. And when they say that's right, that means you have validated them and they feel validated. And at that point, they are open to whatever you have to say. But just like we many of us know from our personal relationships until they feel validated, it doesn't matter how right you are, doesn't matter how good what you're saying is, does no matter how good your offer is and how much value you're offering them. They can't hear you.   Exactly right, that that wall is up, you got to you got to break that wall down and, you know, sit back and think about the principles that we're talking about right now. It applies to every aspect of your life, your spouse or your significant other. A friend, your children, your parents, siblings, anybody a colleague it. It absolutely applies. And validation is so important because now see, people ultimately always make you make decisions to purchase or to sell on emotion. It's always an emotional decision. But then you back into it and you validate the decision based on facts, but you don't make the decision on the facts. You make it on emotion and then you validate it with the facts. You know, whether you've got to make yourself feel better or, you know, am I doing a good deal? Yeah, I guess it's got this, this and this now. You know, let me just talk about it from on the on the sales side perspective when we're talking to a buyer. You know, what are we doing with when in the marketing of our properties, we are selling the dream in our ad copy.   We're taught to build a dream and that's in our first few paragraphs. And then we start to talk about the facts and the figures, and we got a table below with, you know, acreage and road access and power and all the those specifics. So I have sold properties multiple times when I had a buyer on the phone that had all these specific requirements, you know, about access and power and sewer and water and all that stuff. But focusing on the dream, the emotional part and their goals, what do you want to do with the property? And so that can lead to a really nice conversation. I want Homestead. I want to hunt. I want to do this, this and that. And then that conversation might lead to the point where they realize they really start to fall in love with this property and realize, you know, that that fifth criteria that it doesn't have on my list that was really a nice to have. It wasn't a must, right? Yeah, this this thing checks enough for the boxes. Let's do   It. Yeah. And I want to do business with you because I trust you. And I like you.   Yeah, but you never got to those facts. Those facts and the figures, because they trusted you and they felt validated. They felt like you heard them. You connected on an emotional level. That's why now the X's and the O's, the data wasn't as important as they made it out to be.   Yeah, exactly right. All right. And I promise you, one hundred percent guaranteed. You follow these steps and you will have rapport and make sales. I'm Garrett. Well, I'm not Gary. David is guaranteeing that this will happen as   If an asshole like me can do it. Oh my god, isn't that the truth? All right, man. I think we bored this audience to death. Everybody, thank you for joining us today and without further ado, have an awesome day or week or wherever we catch you. Take care. Bye bye.   We hope you enjoyed this episode. Had a bit of fun and walked away with some actionable insights that you can apply to your business. Dave and I have got some great content in interviews plan, so don't forget to rate and review. And of course, subscribe to this podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts. If we mention any interesting links or tools, you'll find them in, the show notes. To learn more about land on MBA, visit our web site at Wait for it Land Dot MBA. See you next time on the Land MBA podcast.

StateImpact Oklahoma Report
Oklahoma School for the Deaf welcomes new, more inclusive Bison mascot

StateImpact Oklahoma Report

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 14, 2021 4:31


Host: Earlier this month Oklahoma School for the Deaf unveiled a fresh logo featuring their new Bison mascot. StateImpact's Robby Korth reports the Bison name flips a new page in the storied history of Oklahoma's school for deaf students. NEWSPAPER CLIPPING PAGE FLIP RK: John Reinenger is thumbing through a book of old newspaper clippings. The pages are from his days as a student at Oklahoma School for the Deaf here in Sulphur, a school that competed under the name Indians in his time. He's speaking here through an interpreter. REINENGER (through interpreter): It brings back a lot of memories. Definitely nostalgic. So yeah. I feel very, very closely connected to OSD. It's like my second home, really. (11) RK: The Midwest City man has a son here. His parents met here. He is a 2000 graduate. But there was one thing his mother Sylvia told him not to do at school. REINENGER: My mother told me never to dress like in costume as an Indian, like any kind of Indian costumes. (06) RK: John and his mother are both citizens of the Muscogee Nation. And people did dress up in costume regularly at football games and pep rallies.  REINENGER: I mean, I didn't honestly really think much about it. And then as life went on and I've gotten older, then I've looked at it and realized, Ooh. [air sucking grimace] Yikes. OK. (08) RK: There's been a community-wide realization here as well. The Indians mascot was officially retired this year and replaced with the Bison. Superintendent Chris Dvorak. DVORAK: It really kind of came to a head where there were some serious conversations within the administration that had links to alumni. And we just got the sense that the time is now, you know, we can we really need to have a serious conversation. The writing is on the wall. (18) RK: So he tasked OSD alum and director of student life Trudy Mitchell with creating a task force and leading the charge toward a new mascot. She spoke to StateImpact through an interpreter. MITCHELL: The change is needed. I'm excited that it's going to be something new, it's going to be a new vision for our school. (08) RK: Mitchell met and spoke with dozens of alumni about the potential for change. It wasn't well received at first, but she says, after several discussions many in the community have come around to the idea.  MITCHELL: Oh we had lots of options. We had painted horse, a T. Rex, a Tasmanian Devil. There was an eagle.  RK: But more than two-thirds ended up voting for Bison. Oklahoma School for the Deaf was hardly alone in its use of an Indigenous-themed mascot in Oklahoma. A StateImpact review of school nicknames found at least 75 public school districts - almost 15 percent - use Indigenous themed mascots. Corey Bunch, Education Services executive director for Cherokee Nation, says that can be hurtful. BUNCH: The chants from opposing teams and the slogans that kind of are associated with the mascots and the imagery they can quickly get carried away. And they just don't represent Native people.  (14) RK: The movement to change offensive names is gaining momentum in western states. Laws in Washington and Colorado passed this year are compelling schools to stop using Indigenous-themed mascots. Such a bill has not even been introduced in Oklahoma - the state with the highest proportion of Native Americans in the lower 48.  BUNCH: Certainly, Cherokee Nation nor other tribal nations are out twisting anybody's arm, telling them that they ought to change their mascots. But when we are asked we are certainly happy to participate. (13) RK: Individual districts are considering changes. Tulsa Union recently announced it would change its nickname. Tulsa Public Schools is looking at changing mascots at some sites as well. Bunch served as an advisory member for the review boards at both districts. And he says he always wants to advocate for Native students. BUNCH: We don't want them to be ashamed for any reason to just be the people that...

Ten Cent Takes
Issue 17: The Sandman Book Club (part 2)

Ten Cent Takes

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 14, 2021 68:04


It's time to return to The Dreaming! This week, we're discussing the third and fourth volumes of Neil Gaiman's celebrated series. Come for the one-off stories of Dream Country, and give the devil his due when we cheer Lucifer's epic trolling of Dream in Season of the Mists.  ----more---- Episode 17 Transcript Jessika: [00:00:00] I just, I like have had five sets of teeth in my life. They just keep growing bigger and bigger each set I got,   Hello, and welcome to Ten Cent Takes, the podcasts where we morph from delight to delirium one issue at a time. My name is Jessica Frazier and I'm joined by my cohost, the blasphemous baker, Mike Thompson.  Mike: I am full of carbs and caffeine. How are you doing? Jessika: Oh, I am somewhat of both as well. Could use a little more sleep, but I have a day off tomorrow, so I will be doing that,  Mike: I'm jealous.  Jessika: Dude. I work nine hours a day. Don't be too jealous. It's those nine hours that get me that day off.  Mike: Oh man. I've been pulling [00:01:00] like 10 to 12 hour days for a couple of months and I'm just,  Jessika: Oh shit. Nevermind. Goodness. Well, the purpose of this podcast is to study comic books in ways that are both fun and informative. We want to look at their coolest, weirdest and silliest moments, as well as examine how they're woven into the larger fabric of pop culture and history. If you'd like to support us, be sure to download rate and review on Apple podcasts or wherever you live.  Mike: Yeah, that really helps with discoverability. We know that we are not a large podcast, but the support that we've gotten from everybody has meant a lot to us. And we're hoping that we can continue to reach more people. If you like, what you're hearing, do us a favor and invite your friends to like our pages, every little bit helps.  Jessika: Yeah, well, today we're continuing on. with the second episode of our book. As we discuss volumes three and four of the Sandman series. But before we jump into [00:02:00] that, Mike, what is one cool thing that you've read or watched lately?  Mike: Something actually that you mentioned on the last book club episode that we did was that there is a Sandman Audible book right now. As much as I don't like giving Amazon my money, if I don't have to, I've had an Audible membership for like a decade. And that means I have access to their Audible originals, which is what this audio book is. And then one of my friends, hi, Darren, also recommended that I listen to the audio book after I told them that we were doing a Sandman book. So I finally downloaded the audio book and started listening while I walked the dogs. And it's legit incredible, like all-star cast. It feels like an audio play complete with like all these incredible production values. Neil Gaiman is serving as the narrator and then they have all of these incredible actors voicing characters and it actually, you know, Neil [00:03:00] Gaiman rewrote it. And so it feels like what he wanted the Sandman, the first volume Preludes and Nocturnes to be, with the hindsight of 30 plus years. Jessika: Nice.  Mike: Yeah, it's great.  Jessika: And he's such a good orator.  Mike: he is he's done a couple of his other audio books that I've listened to over the years. He did The Graveyard Book, which was The only way I can describe it as a Victorian Gothic version of the Jungle Book. And then he also did Coraline. I think he did Coraline. I'm pretty sure he did, but every time that I've listened to him, narrate stuff, it's always been just fantastic,  But, yeah. Jessika: Great.  Mike: How about you? Jessika: Well, I grabbed another $1 image teaser comic. , this time it was Kill or Be Killed by Ed Brubaker. Sean Phillips and Elizabeth Breittwiser. It was okay.  It didn't grow. It followed the first person account of how a man was driven to be an assassin. He basically attempted to die by suicide by jumping off a roof, ended up not dying, but [00:04:00] being visited by what appears to be a demon who tells him , that he now owes him for the life. He tried to waste or something, a life for a life, kind of a such and the rubric for killing being , someone basically like bad and it's not very well defined. So he goes from this guy who can't fathom killing someone to being ready to kill. So he doesn't die. The whole reason he wanted to die was over a woman that chose his roommate over him, by the way, like his best friend. And it was this whole pining love thing. It was just a little just had, really bad incel vibes. You know what I mean?  Mike: Yeah, Jessika: I don't know. It just felt very strange. Like his whole motive was very, contrived it felt,  Mike: Yeah. Brubaker does a lot of good stuff, but he writes a lot of, kind of the modern equivalent of pulp noire.  Jessika: Mm.  Mike: Everything that you've described sounds very much like a Brewbaker story. You got to find the right thing. He writes some really good stuff. Like he's the guy who actually created the winter soldier for the Captain America Comics. Jessika: [00:05:00] Okay.  Mike: Yeah. He did a couple of other kind of like noire-ish stories for image that they were hit or miss for me, but when he's good, he's really good. And then other times it's just, it's not my vibe. Jessika: Okay. That's fair.  Mike: Yeah. Jessika: So, honestly though, again, it was one of those $1 Image teaser situations.  Mike: I love how they do that.  Jessika: I didn't feel like I really lost anything.  Mike: No, I think that's a really great strategy of theirs where it's just kind of the entry-level pilot. Jessika: Yeah, well, let's mosey on to our main topic.  Mike: Yes. Jessika: So last episode, just to recap, we covered an overview of the history and places you can read, watch and listen to the Sandman series. And if you haven't already listened to episode 15, we highly recommend you check out that episode for that. And our discussion on the first two volumes of the Sandman series, because from here, we are going to be discussing [00:06:00] volumes three and four. I don't really have many tidbits per se for us this episode. Really? We're just going to look at the plot and then talk about what we thought.  Mike: I actually have a couple of tidbits. Believe it or not, not many, but a couple. Jessika: Mike has tidbits everyone. I love it. I didn't even know. Well, awesome.  Mike: All right. So should we kick things off?  Jessika: Let's do it. Volume three is titled Dream Country and it was published in 1990 and only included issues 17 through 20. And what made up a four-story anthology. It was, of course, written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Kelly Jones, Malcolm Jones III, Charles Vess, and Colleen Duran. We start with the story of Calliope, the youngest Greek muse, who has been imprisoned by Erasmus Fry to be his own personal muse. Super gross. [00:07:00] She'd been captive for closest 60 years. So Erasmus gives Calliope to Richard Maddick, who is a writer who has one successful novel but now has hit a patch of writer's block. And unfortunately for Calliope, he's a greedy motherfucker who only cares about his own success. So he takes Calliope who has been left without clothes in a room alone. And of course, immediately rapes her. This one was really hard for me. You can already tell, as I'm trying to get through this description.  Mike: Yeah, it's an uncomfortable issue to read now. Even now it's, mean, it was really uncomfortable when I first read it when I was, I don't know, 18 or so. And it's just gotten increasingly gross as time goes on, especially now, post me too in the entertainment industry. Jessika: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, definite correlations there.  Mike: Oh yeah. Oddly prescient. Jessika: Yes. So Richard of course gets gains from this whole [00:08:00] situation and enjoys a few years of very good success. He writes more hit novels, some award-winning poetry, and even gets into Hollywood with writing and directing. So here we are again with the correlation situation and of course winning awards in that area. And this is all happening while Morpheus is still in prison, by the way, until he isn't any longer. And one thing we need to know about Calliope is that she and Morpheus have history. In fact, they have a child together. So Calliope calls out to him in desperation. After being told by her visiting muse sisters, that they were unable to help her and help Morpheus did. The author wanted ideas, then he was inundated with them. So many that they were causing him to have an actual breakdown seemingly with psychological effects. In the end, Richard sends someone to release her where he only finds Erasmus Fry's book in the room where she should have been.  Mike: And doesn't it [00:09:00] originally start out with Morpheus trying to free Calliope, but Richard doesn't want to, because he needs the ideas she gives him when he rapes her? Jessika: Yeah Mike: Yeah. And that's when Morpheus sits there and basically punishes him with an overflowing chalice of ideas. Jessika: Yeah. It's, definitely a fitting punishment. In my opinion  Mike: Yeah.  Jessika: story, number two was super fun. I think you and I can probably agree. And this story was about a cat speaking to a crowd of cats in a graveyard. And this cat told the story of having kittens and having them taken away by the people that owned her. And of course, the guy was super level-headed about the whole thing and took the kittens to a shelter and they were adopted by loving families and, oh wait, never mind. He put them all in a bag, tied the bag to a large rock, and threw it in a body of water. I just can't with people. Like, honestly, I can't,  Mike: It's a safe assumption that people are going to be terrible throughout this series. Jessika: I mean, it's true, [00:10:00] but I would love to have them all adopted. So the cat naturally is super upset but also looking for some sort of vengeance or something. And that night she has a dream where she goes on a long and difficult dream quest to see what is ultimately Meowpheus the cat.  Mike: Meowpheus I like that.  Jessika: So basically a Meowpheus tells her that cats used to rule. They were larger and humans were basically the pets. Instead, cats choosing to hunt humans for food and sport and keeping them to feed and groom them. One day, humans banded together and with participation from only 1000 humans, they were able to dream the same dream together and basically manifest humans being the alpha in the world, instead of the cats. And this went back into time where the power of the collective dream actually rewrote history in favor of humans, making the cat subservient. Instead. [00:11:00] The cat in the graveyard was basically preaching a gospel, asking all the cats in the graveyard to dream the same dream. That she was trying to get 1000 cats to help her so that, they could all pull a Cher and turn back time to be in power once again. I enjoyed the partying quippy remark from one of the listener cats, which was effectively good luck getting multiple cats to do anything at the same time. Mike: Uh, yeah. Accurate. Jessika: And while it was really sad and cruel I like the idea that cats have an attitude for a reason.  Mike: Yeah, I thought it was cute. It was just, it was a very, I mean, we'll get into this later on, but it was, I thought it was very. Jessika: Yeah. The third step. Told us, the creation of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream wherein Morpheus has actually requisitioned the play in specific terms and asks Billy Shakes and his troop to perform in the middle of an empty field. Well, kind of. That field is not empty for a long as [00:12:00] Titania, Oberon, Puck, and all the other characters from the fairy realm have arrived through the portal, which Morpheus opens for them. It's mentioned during the dialogue between Titania and Morpheus, that this is probably the last time the mortal realm would allow them to enter, that they were feeling the hostility from Gaia upon their entry. During the play puck steps in for the actor playing himself and kills of course, and Titania is very strangely fascinated with Billy's 11 year old son Hamnett and is like trying to entice him. And then in the end, everybody, but Puck leaves the realm. And it's mentioned at the end of the issue that Hamnet died later that same year. So like, did Titania finally get Hamlet to go with her?  Mike: You know, it's left a little bit open, but it's playing into that whole idea of the changeling child and, you know, the mortals who go over into the very realm, as children, which I really liked that I thought it was a nice ending that was very bittersweet. Jessika: Yeah. I thought so too. And the fourth and final story [00:13:00] of this volume is called Facade and it is about a woman named Rainey who we learn has been given a gift by the sun, God Ra, which makes her a metamorph. Meaning that she can change her physical appearance, physically change faces, skin, everything. But this also means that she no longer has a normal human appearance. Her skin is scaly and multicolored. Her hair has turned of violent shade of green and her face is withered and her nose is almost completely gone. We find Rainie living a very solitary life, getting a monthly disability check and only interacting with the worker assigned to her, but disability case she's depressed and has suicidal ideations. Probably the scariest part of the story is when an old friend who works for the same company that Rainey was working for, when Ra messed her up, who invites her to lunch, Rainie sucks it up, puts on a face literally and meets [00:14:00] at the restaurant. Where her entire face falls off into a plate of spaghetti. I don't, I don't know about you like that. I thought it was super terrifying. Mike: Yeah. I mean, it goes back to that very human emotion of seeing someone that you haven't seen forever. And you're trying to do as much as you can to make sure that they don't see that you've changed too much.  Jessika: Yeah.  Mike: You and I are at that age now where it's like, people from high school want to get in touch and we're all older. You know, some of us are. And so you see these people and you still want to seem like the person that they knew, because you don't want to, you don't want them to comment on how you've changed. You don't want to acknowledge it. And I read it as she'd been working for like the CIA or an intelligence agency because they call it “The Company.” They don't ever refer to it as anything else. Jessika: I think it was something of that nature kind of checking out sites, et cetera.  Mike: Yeah.[00:15:00] But yeah, and then the whole thing is that because she can change her body into elements. She's, she's a sidekick from the old Moetamorpho series in the sixties. I didn't really know much about her, but I did a little digging cause I couldn't remember a lot. And so Metamorpho is a DC hero who is part of the justice league and his whole thing is that he can't. Basically change his body into any element that he wants. And so that was the whole thing where she's talking about, oh, like it's not hard for me to change the color of my hair. I I just turned it into copper and, and then she basically grows a kind of silica over her face, but she was saying that after roughly a day it gets stiff and, it falls off. And unfortunately, that's what happened with her, at her lunch with her friend. Jessika: Yeah. it was definitely a bummer. Mike: Yeah. Jessika: So of course, Rainey goes home crying where she has to break into her own house by melting the handle because she forgot her purse with her keys and breaks down crying. Death appears having been visiting one of Rainey's neighbors who fell off a stepladder and talks with Rainie, advising that she should [00:16:00] ask rah nicely to take away her gift, or at least giving us an option. She looks into the setting sun and becomes what I'm assuming is a pile of Ash. It looks like death didn't actually take her. So I'm not sure if Rainie is supposed to be just with the world. You know, just one with the world as it kind of seemed like she fear being  Mike: You know, I read it as like she was, she had her immortality taken away from her because she seemed so happy when she turned into, I don't know if it was ash or glass or something. It was kind of hard to tell what the art, and then it cracked and fell apart. And then Death answers the phone and says something along the lines of like, no, she, she can't come she's gone away or something to that effect. And, death isn't this cruel being or anything like that. I think death helped her move on. I'd like to think that she did. Jessika: Okay. Okay. Yeah. it was Fe usually. she like wanders away with the person [00:17:00] she's like low key reaping. Mike: Usually. Yeah. I don't know. I think maybe it was just a little bit, it, it was for the sake of narrative in this case,  Jessika: That's fair. That's fair.  Mike: But yeah. Urania was this, so her full name is Urania She was a side character for a few issues in Metamorpho's sixties series. And then she wound up basically giving herself the same powers that he had, and it was delivered via device called the Orb of RA. So it's really interesting because, Metamorpho is always a science character, because it's all about the elements of what he can turn himself into. But at the same time, there is in his background. is this like, you know, mystical quality to it. And so I liked that they kind of tapped into that mythology a little bit, and really they did a nice job with a character that I think most people had forgotten existed. Jessika: So, Mike, did You have a favorite [00:18:00] character part of the story? What did you dig from this?  Mike: This volume in particular, I really like, because it feels. Like a breather from the main narrative. And honestly, I think that's something that we needed because I mentioned last time, how I always am a little bit surprised at how dark the early stories are. They're very much horror stories with a little bit of fantasy kind of softening the blows a little bit, but there's a couple of moments in those first couple of volumes where I feel like I need to pack a flashlight. it's dark. but yeah, this collection is just, a much-needed change of pace just for a little bit. My least favorite story is the one with the cats. And it's not because I think it's bad. I just don't connect with it that much. Part of it is because we've got a rescue cat, we treat her better than the kids. Let's be honest. I can't fathom throwing kittens into a pond. It was just, it feels a little bit too mustache-twirly. You know, especially in this day and age where like, if people find out [00:19:00] about that you get tracked down on social media and just annihilate it. But it was cute. The whole bit where at the end, it's like, oh, it must be, it's dreaming, you know, it's chasing something and, you're like, oh, okay. Yeah. So it's, it's dreaming of hunting humans. Cool. Jessika: [laughs],  Mike: And it's funny, cause I was actually in a production of Midsummer Night's Dream when I first read this collection. So I loved everything about that specific issue. I loved how it tapped into fairy lore it showed this kind of weird, strange relationship with Titania and Oberon. And how absolutely sinister pock seemed not to mention how there's that dangling plot thread, where he basically gets loosed on earth afterwards  Jessika: mm.  Mike: I don't know. It's just, it's very different than any other portrayal I'd seen up until then. And, , it's interesting because they brought those characters specifically back in a number of different ways across the vertigo comics later on, like to Tanya actually had her origin explained in the Books of Faerie, which was in itself a series that [00:20:00] spun off of another comic that Neil Gaiman wrote called the Books of Magick, where eventually it's revealed that the main character from the Books of Magick, Tim Hunter, who was like the next great magician of the age, he's like our version of Merlin. It is very. They always leave it a little bit up in the air, but Titania''s his mother, because she was a human who was brought into the world of Fairie. And then eventually he got married to Oberon and then she had an affair with a human that was in service to Oberon.  Jessika: Okay.  Mike: She becomes a major part of the lore in her own right. Which I thought was really cool. And Puck shows up again later in the series. I, like I still squirm when I read that story of Calliope, especially where we are like sitting on the other side of me too, and the ongoing flood of stories about successful men in the arts, just being abusive, assholes to those who aren't as powerful as they are. Like when we're recording this, there's a whole flood of stories coming out of Activision [00:21:00] blizzard, if you're not in video games, they make Warcraft and a bunch of other stuff. it turns out that that was a really toxic place for women. And I spent almost a decade working in video games with various companies and yeah, it's not surprising, but it's just, these stories need to be told that at the same time, they're always super uncomfortable to read. Jessika: Yeah.  Mike: Um, yeah. And then, the facade story, I really liked, I really appreciate how gaming does this amazing job spinning out a story that's focused on loneliness and how harmful it is. and then I thought it was kind of neat that it arguably has a happy ending, though the main character dies. Jessika: Yeah. I can see that.  Mike: Same question back at you. What about you? Jessika: So, you know, I really enjoyed the cat story.  Mike: You don't say. Jessika: I did. I mean, I get it though. Like cats are, are super intense and honestly they make [00:22:00] me a little nervous. I heard some horror stories about cats, just going bananas on people and them just like getting super fucked up, like missing part of an ear and shit. Like I've heard some stories. That's just like a regular house cat. Oh, I don't think so  Mike: Well, and then you've met our cat. Jessika: Yeah. Well, yeah. You know that's but I don't, I didn't fear your cat right away. There are some cats I go into someone's house and I'm just like, oh, I got to watch my back.  Mike: We have a dog and a cat's body. Jessika: Yeah. Your cat's sweet.  Mike: No, she... she's fat and lazy and she knows who feeds her. So she's like, I'm good. I don't need to get out. I don't need to be now. Jessika: I'm strictly a dog household, so I just don't really truly get them to be honest with you. And I honestly, I'm kind of glad I have allergies as an excuse, not to have to get one. So did you have a favorite art moment in this volume? Like was there a panel or cover that really stood [00:23:00] out to you or hit you in some kinda way?  Mike: Yeah. That final sequence in the Midsummer issue, so that one was illustrated by Charles Vess and he's this really he's this artist that has this really beautiful illustration style that feels very old school storybook. Sarah loves this British artist named Arthur Rakim and Vess always kind of reminds me of his work, but the closing monologue by Puck is I gotta be at that closing monologue is kind of terrifying, especially with the way that it's illustrated. I also liked how this felt almost like, well, I mean, it was in certain ways, it was a sequel to men of good fortune, that issue that we talked about last time with Hob Gadling and the mortal that keeps on meeting up with Morpheus.  Jessika: Yeah.  Mike: Yeah, you remember during, the last book club episode, how I mentioned that Sandman won the World Fantasy Award. Yeah. So it was for this issue specifically, you know, and then they got all grumpy about it and they [00:24:00] changed it so that you could no longer win a world fantasy award with a comic book. So. The only comic book to ever win a world fantasy award, Jessika: extra salty,  Mike: extra salty. Jessika: Hate to see it.  Mike: what about you? Like, I'm actually curious. What did you think about Vess's illustration style? Because we haven't seen, I don't think we've really seen much of his artwork in the series up until now. Jessika: We haven't, and that's actually this, this was my favorite art volume as well, or art issue as well. I mean, it just, it was beautiful. It used color in a really interesting way that went from playful to dark and serious. I mean, it just with the same type of illustration and the color would just change the whole.  Mike: Yeah. Jessika: Which was super cool just by adding shadows, moving the colors. Plus you got to love a good donkey head and you know, okay. I was musing and you have to go with me on this journey. They had to have used a taxidermied donkey's head. Right.  Mike: [00:25:00] No, they, I  Jessika: Please. Come on, come on, go with me on this journey.  Mike: Ugh no. Hmm.  Jessika: Ah,  Mike: Like, like that's a whole element in that American Horror Story series, like where  they make a mandatory by putting a bull's head on a dude. Like, no, no, Jessika: I am going horror with this one. Mike: Well, have fun going down that road. I'm not there with you. Jessika: Okay. Well, that's good. I suppose we are on volume four  Mike: I suppose  Jessika: Volume Four!. Alright.  Mike: What accent is that? Jessika: I don't know, I do a lot, don't I? Mike: A little bit?  Jessika: I think it's my 1920s.  Mike: Okay.  Jessika: I don't know. It's like my newscaster, I used to have an old-timey newscaster kind of an accent that I did.  And I think I'm combining, I'm combining my Virginia [00:26:00] Montgomery Prescott, the third Esquire.  Mike: It's, that so proper American that it's almost English kinda like that very Northeastern accent.  Yeah.  Jessika: Yes. Yeah.  Mike: Yeah. All right.  Jessika: All right. Volume four is titled season of the mists and came out between 1990 and 1991 and included issues 21 through 28. Story as always was written by Neil Gaiman and illustration was done by Kelly Jones, Malcolm Jones, the third Mike Drigenberg, Matt Wagner, Dick Giordano, George Pratt, and P Craig Russell. Volume four begins with our introduction to destiny. Ooh. While wandering his realm is visited by the fates, the three sisters that we have seen previously, the sisters inform him that he needs to call a [00:27:00] reunion of all his siblings of the eternal realm. So off, he goes to the family gallery where he goes up to each portrait of his sibling and they appear out of the portrait. When summoned the siblings are a mix of characters we have seen. And one that is new to this issue. Death who is told to change her outfit, even though no one else was, I thought that was kind of rude.  Mike: Yeah, Destiny's a stickler for formality. Jessika: Yeah. Well, the other one's got to wear nimble to CWA. They got to wear whatever  Mike: Hmm. Jessika: I, whatever. I don't know. It makes me angry. So don't tell women they have to change. They are not a distraction. Death has followed by Dream and then the twins, Desire and Despair, and lastly Delirium who we come to find out, used to be Delight. So during their reunion, desire calls out Dream's treatment of lovers who have spurned [00:28:00] him, leading him to ask for validation of his actions from Death. And Death instead agrees with. Prompting dream to plan, to travel to hell in order to remove queen nada from her torturous captivity, who was, that was the subject of their whole conversation.  Mike: Yeah. And we actually saw that whole story in the previous volume to  Jessika: Yes,  Mike: saw what happened to. Jessika: exactly. so destiny closes out the reunion basically stating that the actions that needed to be put into motion had been accomplished by dream deciding to go back to. hell.  Mike: Yeah. Jessika: The next issue gives us a taste of what hell looks and feels like. So back in the dream realm, Dream is saying his goodbyes and makes a big announcement to those living in his realm. He tells them about Nada, how he had been unjust and how he had to rectify his actions and that he may not return as he is not on good terms with Lucifer. So [00:29:00] he sends Cain to Hell as a messenger to let loose for know that dream will be visiting whether he approves or not basically. So that was fun.  Mike: Well, he knows that he can't kill Cain because Cain is protected by the mark of Cain from, the Cain and Abel story. He knows about that.  Jessika: oh yeah. Yeah, for sure.  Mike: That's why dream sent Cain it's because he knows that Cain can't be killed. Jessika: Exactly. Exactly. Lucifer clearly is still really salty about being embarrassed. The last time dream was there and he makes an announcement to his, his demonic minions reminding them that he is the oldest and strongest bad-ass lets them know that dream will be returning and implies very strongly. That the day that Dream returns will be very memorable. Kane delivers the response to Dream. And on the last stop of his farewell tour, Dream als