The Customer Experience Podcast
The Customer Experience Podcast

Episode 115 · 1 year ago

115. (Re)Humanizing Your Events, Content, and Community w/ Bo Brustkern


Every business is a relationship business. It's really important to humanize a brand, especially when the brand is financial because finance can be very complex and impersonal.

When it comes to recasting a large-scale event into a webinar, it turns out that video networking is really effective.

In this episode, I interview Bo Brustkern who is the co-founder and CEO at LendIt Fintech, about his love for and strategic use of video.

Bo talked with me about:

- Why entrepreneurs should feel optimistic about FinTech in 2021

- The strategy for transforming in-person events into personal virtual events

- The life-and-death pivot his company made in the last 12 months

- Why he always uses video to share bad news

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Every business is a relationship business. It's really important to humanize a brand when the brand is financial, because finance can be very complex. The single most important thing you can do today is to create and deliver a better experience for your customers. Learn how sales, marketing and customer success experts create internal alignment, achieved desired outcomes and exceed customer expectations in a personal and human way. This is the customer experience podcast. Here's your host, Ethan Butte, the careful calculus involved in moving from live to virtual events while keeping it human. That's what today's guest to spent much of two thousand and twenty focused on. For years he's worked to bring together businesses, entrepreneurs and investors to build the world's strongest network of Financial Service innovators. He's cofounder and CEO of lend it Fintech, the largest media and events company dedicated to transformation in lending and digital banking. He's also right up the road for me and Denver Colorado Bo Brust Kern. Welcome to the customer experience podcast. Thanks, Ethan. Is a tremendous pleasure to be here. Yeah, I'm really excited to have the conversation. Will probably talk a little bit of video to I love to talk video when I can and I'm always curious to know how other people are using it. But we'll start here, Bou, where I always start, which is customer experience. When I say that, what does it mean to you? What thoughts does it conjure? A customer experience to me is the comprehensive feel that a company has as it interacts with its primary commercial relationship and expanding them that a little bit. For us, we are we're digital media companies. So the customer experience for us is a consumer of our content. As a consumer of our content, how does the customer interact with us, feel about us as they're in acting with us, engage with us, respond to us and then move on in a in a better way, using the value that we've provided? That entire relationship, to me, is the customer experience. I like it very much. You said the word feel twice and ended there with relationship. I think that is really the heart of it as well. You know, I've had that question answered a variety of different ways, but there are a lot of themes that are consistent and that feeling that we leave people with as they interact, as they engage, as they respond. Really is the thing. I mean that that feeling is what begets the conscious thoughts, which then begets the behaviors, whether it's writing positive online reviews or making a referral or something not as attractive. So for so, for folks who aren't familiar, tell us about lend it fintach like, who's your ideal customer? What do you solve for them? And perhaps you have more than one customer. We do. In this sense, there we're be to be company and again a media company. So what we provide is news and Information and analysis, commentary, and we don't provide that all ourselves. We're not necessarily just journalists by any stretch, and we're not necessarily cheerleaders for this world of financial service innovation. And I'll just take a step back and say Fintech is an important concept. It's it's financial technology. Fintech is where you imagined your bank, which used to be a place where you'd go into the branch and conduct business, is now very much in your pocket, and there are certain things that enable that to happen. Then that's all technology. So fintech is the part of banking that leads us into the future and a you know, let's take a step further and say it is also the thing that rescues a great deal of people that are right now suffering. So the one measure of financial services efficiency is the financial capabilities of the poorest among us. And there's a lot of poor around the world who can be lifted by better financial technology. So isn't this is not just a first world problem we're dealing with. This is a global phenomenon. Okay, so that's all preamble for a while.

What are we doing? That's good, it's super interesting. It is it's a fascinating place to be and and so our customers are those people that are innovating in financial services. They could be the chief innovation officer at a large US based bank. They could be a entrepreneur who's starting a business to do better digital identity verification out of Tel Aviv are. They could be XYZ service provider out of out of another, let's say, venue or country. But the thing that's unifying them is this idea that we can improve our current engagement with financial services. Now that's our core customer. Who pays us are the companies that want to get in front of their buyers. Yeah, and that's the media business aspect of it then. Right. Yeah, how do you manage those two different types? I mean, obviously, essentially, I don't want to minimize it in any way, but you know, you're building audience and then, in order to build and serve and advance the mission, you know, of connecting people in order to enhance transformation, enhance innovation, etc. You then also have this customer that you used to monetize that audience and attention in order to support the mission. That basically fair. That is so fair, it is exactly right. So we think of ourselves as being a an important part of the community, and the community exists with or without out us. I mean to be perfectly fair, we are. But we're trying to do is be a point of like a nexus for the conversation to take place, and building the audience and nurturing the audience is a part of that. And now there are the variety of different ways you could do that. You could throw a party, right, that is one way to gather an audience. Another way is to challenge a way of thinking, and that's another way to gather an audience. WHO's listening to that challenging remark and who wants to hear the answer to it, right the defense of it. So we play in as many different ways as we can gather and energize an audience. We try to engage there and the analogy for the party is a conference, right, a large scale live event, which we used to do back when that was legal, but along comes covid and our business model had to change. So so that but that that's one of the ways in which media companies, even companies like the Wall Street Journal or Gartner or, you know Bloomberg, they all run events and events were big part of their business, and so that's that's sort of one of the ways that we try to engage the Guardian audience and then monetize it. So we'll get into that transformation that you have those forced upon you by the Pye, the pandemic, because you're holding huge events in the United States, in Europe, Latin America China every year. So we'll get to that in a minute, but I want to go back approximately eight years or so. You know, you cofounded lend it and I'm curious to know you know you said this community exists with us or without us, but there's obviously some kind of a hole there that you identified and look to fill. kind of what were your thoughts, your thoughts and your cofounders thoughts at the time, like what what was the need or the opportunity in that community that you step didn't fulfilled? It was really in need for information and analysis and relationship, and it turns out relationship turns is a huge part of that puzzle. But we were really just looking for information. We wanted to go to conference to learn more about the business we had gotten into. We were all entrepreneurs and we had started a Fintach, which is to say a company that was it was in the asset management space that was going to apply technology to the idea of wealth management and make it make it easier, sort of a wealth front for complex securities, and it was a really interesting idea and involved a lot of the players in the space that we're making a lot of well at we at the time we felt like it was a lot of noise and little did we know, we're the very early end of this whole phenomenon. But but there are companies like lending club and prosper...

...and so far, and funding circle and companies that that you may or may not have heard of, and we needed to gather them in one place that we could learn more about their business models and how we could interact with them. There was no conference that did that. So we decided, well, let's send out some invitations and get these people to come. How are they get why are they going to want to come? Well, we'll put them on stage. Well, who's going to watch him? I don't know. We'll market it, will send out an email, will find somebody who has a big email list, and that's that's literally that was how it germinated. Now, interestingly, about two weeks before our quote unquote, kickoff conference, we had maybe fifty registrations for this thing and we are like the this is going to be an embarrassment and if we can get if we can she us find a way to scrape together a hundred and fifty people. Well, by the time the conference world around, we had three hundred twenty five, another fifty standing outside the door. We're breaking fire code. It was a hot, sweaty mess in this in this tiny little room we had rented a midtown Manhattan, and it was awesome. The information flow was amazing relationships that meetings that we had first time, facetoface meetings among a lot of these people who came around this idea of we got to learn more about this new thing. If takes been around for decades, but it really it's moment is is still ahead of us, but it was, it was building back here in two thousand and thirteen or so. So so that's how it started. We're just we had an idea, we had it in need ourselves and then once we had successfully put on that show, we had everybody coming back to us saying, oh, would you please do that again, and Oh, by the way, I'd like to sponsor it. So we had a business. Yeah, fantastic. So let's go to the to the hard pivot. I've had a couple conversations with some folks. You've had to make a hard pivots, including Corey McCarthy, who works at a software company called socio. She's CMO and they produce events for organizations like yours and they provided tools and equipment for associations and membership groups generally to to do in person stuff. So you know, this isn't a completely new conversation on this show and certainly everyone's business has been affected or transformed in some way. But you know, let's go to because the relationships are a big deal. Tell me where to tell me where you diverge if you do relationships or a big deal. Their best built facetoface. There are so many unexpected, unknown positive benefits downstream. Like I just think about the years that you've been doing this from that initial fire code breaking experience and how much positive impact there's been that you probably are completely unaware of, you know, given all the positive stuff that you are aware of. So in any case, obviously in person is the thing, and so you got up to a point where you were doing multiple major conferences around the globe. Talk about the you know, talk about that first thirty, two, sixty days or so where you realized, okay, we're gonna have to pull up the stakes on the first one, because that's the nearest term scenario. Like what was that experience like and and what considerations did you have at the time? Obviously think first about your team members and the challenge that that puts on them. But you know, you obviously had some sponsors and that that relationship is obviously affected, and certainly the community itself is probably looking for how does this whole get filled or whatever, but like go back to the degree that you can and maybe share some of the things that went better than you expected or surprises along the way. One of the things that occurred to US early was that there were two things happening. One is we couldn't gather so our business model of selling tickets and sponsorships and exhibition space, where people put up physical booth to attract their customers and have this big conference expo type event, was just very boating. We could not do it. Okay, the second thing that was happening is our customers needed information fast. They couldn't wait...

...for the pandemic to be over, for us to rent space, for us to put up boost, for us to put people on stage to talk about B which should we be doing right now? They need the conversations need to happen now and the relationships that matter to them still mattered, in fact mattered even more. What do we do in that context? We have to just completely throw out our old business model and say look, at least for now, physical is just not going to happen. And I'll tell you, there was a lot of denial and anger and all the emotions that go along with that, with that kind of a change for me as a leader, because two thousand and twenty was going to be our best year yet. We had everything dialed. We are going to crush our big conference in two thousand and twenty, sorry, in USA, in New York, which is our may conference. We had a hundred and seventy sponsors lined up, we had thousands of tickets and everything was moving along brilliantly and the team was just performed arm so well. So yeah, there was a lot. There was a lot of emotion going going through that, but luckily for me, I was able to to take my family and move up to the mountains and just and we hold up there and I brought my video equiped, my camera equipment and I had my desktop and I started recording videos that were going out to the community saying, Hey, you know, we're here for you, we are going to produce content and we're going to do it in timely fashion and we're going to figure out how to make it of viable, so it make it a make land at Fintech a viable solution for you to get the same information you needed, but not on an annual calendar. We're going to do this every day. From that decision came the realization that in two thousand and nineteen and eighteen before that and seventeen before that, if you look at our company from a from an accounting perspective, we are generating revenue six days a year. Three major events, typically two events to two days each. So it's a total of six days where we're actually performing and that's when an accountant gets to recognize revenue. We're generating cash throughout the year and we're, you know, doing all the things. But but that's a pretty fragile business model. It didn't have to take a pandemic to upset it. It could have been the queen of England passes away in our month and all England shuts down and we can't have our England are UK conference. It could be that Signo US relations get kind of muddled, we have to shut down our trying to conference, which did happen right. I mean like little things like that, not little, big global things like that. Could just absolutely she lack a huge, partial portion of our business. Well, this new sort of not we're not a seven news organization, but we are a much more regular provider of information and analysis and commentary to our clientele. It turns out that we're making revenue almost every day of the year now. So that's a huge benefit to us and something we wouldn't have been able to do without a pandemic. So we're very grateful for having gone been forced into that position, because now we have this fantastic business model that that just is, I would say, in a sense, anti fragile. Yeah, really good. I resilience was the word I was thinking of. You a more a more resilient model that can stand up to some of these regionalized things that would have disrupted you before. Have you? Have you folded in? So talk to me now about some of the main touch points. And then I'm by the way, you can't start talking about sending videos out, and you know I'm going to double back on that because I want to know why video. But but let's go to you know, the the way that the touch points that produced, the feelings, that touch points that generate some sense of relationship, how those change? I assume you're you've probably done some are quoting here, like virtual events. Sounds like you've increased the cadence of some of the activity or communication and you are already doing. What are the touch points look like now compared to, say,... know, twelve months ago? Well, I'll tell you. It's it's it's a hundred percent video. Now. We used to produce a podcast that was just an audio podcast. Well, now we recorded on video and we post it in a variety of places so that people can engage in the video. We then will take video snippets that and post on Linkedin and we'll take the little nuggets and we'll say, okay, this was super interesting. If you only have fifteen seconds to pay attention to fintech today, this is it. In two thousand and nineteen, we may have produced five or six webinars. We've already produced sixty, I think this year. We have a newly launched digital channel called lend it, Fintech digital that essentially takes the breaking news of this week and turns it into a video discussion next week. So like in this moment, this is what day is it today? It's the ninth of November. Time is flying right by, it's almost Christmas. So and financial pulled its Ipoh that's super interesting. One of the clients and a longtime supporters in our space is as filed and Ipoh. That's interesting. They've done it kind of quietly. So next week we hope to have experts on lend it, Fintech, digital who can really break those issues down and say, okay, what really went on with an financial you know, did Jack My really get dressed down by the central banks, and presumably that the president? She I think so right, but we're going to find out next week. So that kind of stuff is is just so different from what we did last year. So last year cadence, you know, like I said, six days of actual activity with involving maybe six hundred speakers and hundreds of thousands of square footage. And and now we're doing flip it on its head and say, okay, a Webinar, a panel, a podcast, a this that, and they're all video and they're all trying to be as relevant and timely as possible. It's completely different model. Yeah, so this obviously was not plan B. It wasn't sitting on the shelf right to be pulled off in the case of something like this. Right. So, so I assume you know, you're and your team got together, you're trying to figure it out. You came up with some some immediate, you know, solutions, are alternatives. What kind of feedback were you getting from the community? What were some of the positive signs that that had? You say, okay, this is good, okay, video is the thing. Okay, people do like this analysis, like just talk about that. You know, the feedback from the customer in the community. That let you know that you were on the right track. Well, one thing is we went out to our customers, the businesses that used to sponsor us for the big shows, and we would say, look, we understand, you still have a problem, you still need to generate clients. You need those clients now, not in six or twelve or eighteen months. So we have these various different products that we've created. Would you be in student sponsoring one of these? And let's say it's a Webinar, a sponsored Webinar. Now, I know everyone has zoom fatigue, but if we produce great content, it doesn't matter if it's sponsored, it doesn't matter if it's at an awkward time of day. What matters is we put on great content and people learn from it and there's the interaction. When we do that, we can repeat that. So one of the clear indications that we were doing well. We're number one. Are Clients were willing to pay for those and pay handsomely and number to the audience. Numbers were solid and stayed solid. So we have hundreds of people coming to these webinars couple times a week. That's valuable for us and that's valuable for our clients and that's valuable for that for those that continue to choose to attend those. So really the commercial response was the only one that mattered, because it was life and death. Right, we're getting the PPP loan, we're cutting staff or cutting salaries, like you know, we haven't mentioned all the hardship that go that went along with this. I mean I mentioned some angst in some emotional stuff, but ego aside, it was brutal and and so the commercial reality of yeah, we're right, the customers do care about this stuff, they do need this stuff and they're paying for it. That was really...

...the one very loud signal that we got. Good. Now let's talk a little bit about video. So said video several times now. I've also, you know, I do, even when you're not, you know, on the other end of crown here. Well, of course, Urse as are as. Is Not everyone. I think just a lot of people are still slow to the party video and a variety of channels. But you know, you've obviously mentioned a relationship a lot. You've talked about humanizing some of these touch points and in even humanizing the brand, which is something that we have talked about in a variety of different ways here. For you, was video just the default straight away, or was any conscious thought about it or you know, you know what roll does the does video communication play for you? For example, and I guess you can start here, you said as soon as this happened, I was fortunate enough to take my family up into the mountains, but I took my gear with me and I started communicating with video. Like, why video in that moment? was that just instinct, and how does that play into the way you think about Your Business? It may be instinctive now, but or it may be a kneejerk reaction now, because I'm a huge believer in video, and I'm not just saying that because you're listening. I am and have been, especially for complex topics, complex businesses, and we could apply to a lot of other things, relationship businesses, on and on and on, but every every business is a relationship business. It's really important to humanize a brand when the brand is financial, because finance can be very complex. And this is something I learned when we were building that Fintech that I mentioned earlier, where we would take these really complex ideas, which is investing in long term alternative assets, using a robot on lending club to improve your returns and compound interest and on and on and and we put a person up there like me or one of my colleagues and we just explain it as simply as we could and just be like, look, this is what we're going to try to do for you. And we were registered investment advisor. So there's real rules around this, what you can say, which promise, which you can't promise, all that stuff. So we just follow those rules and we get on camera and and people responded to that. So when anything important ever has to happen, if I'm fundraising, if I'm you know, if I have bad news to deliver my investors, you better believe I'm doing it on video. So yes, in the spring of two thousand, if I'm grabbing one piece of equipment staying with me of the mountains, it's it's not my snow shoes, it's my camera right, and my mic and whatever, you know, whatever else. So so yeah, that that is crystal clear to me and I'm glad the world is climbed on board. You know, I could I could say I wish I had preserved some sort of competitive advantage when, you know, being the only whatever person on video, but that's silly. We are all humanized. Do you remember, back in the early part of this there were so many people who you'd go in a zoom call with and, knowing shared their camera right, the weird and so is all audio, and so I'd be that one guy down in the bottom corner who's like, you know, has his kids walking in and in like there's there's books and there's three laundrying whatever. But that was that's just that. That was important to me to portray who I was in the full sense of it, it feels like. And in some communities when we go on zoom, everybody's on video and we get to see a little bit more about them and it humanizes them. It makes me want to do business with them more than if they're just a just a voice on the other end of the line. Yeah, we're a plane flat email signature. You offered a couple good use cases there for video messages that that I've experienced myself and that a lot of people benefit from, which is one breaking down the complex and explaining things in lay person's terms in a way that the information is going to be so much you're going to explain it so much better by speaking it, so I'm going to understand it so much better because you spoke it. And the other one I really like you mentioned as bad news. I think...

...a lot of people overlook it. You know, there's just so much and I guess I would extend that to say emotional charge. Any tend that there is a positive or negative emotional charge. Apology I would lump in with bad news as well. It just doesn't come through when you type it out and send it, and so this ability to kind of like be yourself, as long as you're sincere, by the way. If you're not sincere about if you don't actually meet, it becauses. Yeah, we've seen that press conference and it's not it's just becomes an immediate joke and twitter has a field day with it. That that a not apology. Apology from a celebrity or something. So really, really good use cases there and and I really it's interesting to me. Obviously you're deep, deep in Fintech and both the fin side of it and the tech side of it. I can see how that at times perhaps minimize the human to degree we're communicating about it and representing it. I can understand how was of immediate benefit to you. The other thing I would add is that we're able to bridge the gap with relationships better than we thought. And I know many of our clients when we presented them with an opportunity to have to join us for one of our virtual events, a large scale event, not the not the Webinars, but we did replicate the large scale events. I shouldn't say that they were not replicated. We made an effort to put great content on stage and let people network. Well, it turns out video networking is really effective. We chose our event platform based on networking as opposed to content delivery, and it's interesting. We've had, I think it's nineteen events since two thousand and thirteen, so large scale events where there's at least a thousand people, and you know, it's pretty pre sizeable things and we've measured MPs since two thousand and sixteen net promoter score and we had our third largest net promoter score ever for our virtual event which we hosted in September, and a lot of that was based on the video networking that we provided and people felt like it was. People were approachable, people were ready to do business, people were open. That was all communicated without a handshake, in a twodimensional surface, and so it is amazing what we can do on video. And we don't need three D we don't need holograms. Yes, somebody will get their fine, we don't need that right. What we need is a is a visual representation. Tod is just fine of the counterpart we have and we can, we can convey a lot through that, and so that's that, I think, is one of those things that we've now discovered as a society, at least I hope we have. Yeah, really good. It reminds me of a conversation I had on this podcast with Dan Hill, who's a PhD with I think seven US patents in the analysis of facial coding data and sort of like eight books on related topics, and he calls that the twenty five square inches that include our eyes, nose and mouth as the richest visual territory on the planet. So to the point of, you know, it's cool if we do all this other stuff, but really I just need to see your eyes and your nose in your mouth. I can see your hands or your upper body even better, but there's just so much rich communication there. So that's great. I'm glad that you got that positive feedback on that event as well and I appreciate your qualification to on replicating it. But no, we didn't replicate it. Are you did the next best available thing. Yeah, the the networking scenarios where you can. Was it one of those that where your kind of randomly paired up with someone else who raised their hand to be network? We did do that as well, and that we call networking roulette, and that was quite that was really successful as well. In fact, for our USA conference we had it was lit. It was at the tail end of the conference and it was sponsored by the Department for International Trade of the UK and we'd like thirty five fintech entrepreneurs from the UK generally, but let's call it London, who are up at midnight participating in networking roulette. It was it was a phenomenal success. The cornerstone of our networking was was more of a aipowered matchmaking where's like,...

Oh, you have these interests and you're offering these things, usually with this person, and then the outreach ensues and we had just a huge success with that. Nice. I love it and it's obviously just such a natural extension of what brought you to create and sustain lend it Fintech over the years. Okay, every single person listening and you did a great job off the top offering like like drawing this picture out big but obviously every single person listening is affected by Fintech. So for kind of like a mainstream type of audience, what are a couple things that that you're seeing and hearing that maybe haven't broken through yet that are going to be a real net positive for someone listening? So I mean, I think so. When I look at Fintach and to look at the the things that I think I'm most excited about hitting our economy are, they're a couple major themes. It's transparency and it's friction, and so increased transparency for the financial system to understand what's happening, it's really happening with the private enterprise. Consider a small business, a barbershop, a flower shop, a mechanic shop or an online company that's selling on you know that it has mainly digital goods. For that company to be started and then financed and then refinanced and then grown. There's this really difficult opacity between what the Entreprenur knows and what the investor knows, and the high the harder it is for the investor to understand what's really going on in that business, the higher the cost of capital. That's why all these businesses are started on credit cards. No one believes the entrepreneur is going to be successful. No banks are willing to take a risk. Banks are actually not in the risk capital business, and even venture capitalists, and I used to be a vc out in Silicon Valley for a number of years, where we were very risk averse. Right, and that's the extreme of the capital providers. All the entrepreneurs in America and all over the world are betting on themselves and Fintech can make it. This is there's a big claim here and to hold on your seats. Findeck can make it so that it's more transparent all the way through the through the capital chains so that the capital providers can understand the business is better faster and then provide capital on a cheaper basis to entrepreneurs who deserve cheaper capital for those that don't, for those at aren't getting traction. Yet it's off. Maybe your idea didn't take off me. You do have to make more bets on yourself. But as we can improve that transparency and efficiency of capital flow, the cost of starting a business goes down and all of a sudden we'll see an absolute revival of main street. And no better time than now because we've we're going to have a desperate need from main street to be reinvented. Now. This vision I have of perfect transparency and and low cost of capital is not coming in time for the postcovid reality. It's a long time away. We're talking many, many years, but we're on the path. It is extremely complex and it goes well beyond just number crunching in into a lot of other things. Like you said, the twenty five square inches of the face are are going to play a role as well. So that is something that I would just sort of put in a nutshell, is saying like, if there's one positive impact I'm looking forward to it is that entrepreneurs can have an easier path to cheaper capital faster. I love it. It's so encouraging. I had not given any of that any thought. It is consistent with other trends towards transparency throughout chains of relationships and activities, which obviously increases trust, which accelerates everything. So it makes sense that you're seeing it from your seat as well. It's awesome. It reminds me of another conversation I had here. I think we called it the end to end transparency trend, which rhymes, and so it's delightful. You know, if you're listening to a bow and I right now, you obviously enjoyed the topic. I've got a couple more that I know you'll enjoy. The first one is episode eighty five with Corey McCarthy, who I mentioned before. She's Cmo at socio events,...

...and that one was called how to pivot successfully to a virtual event. She had a very unique situation where not only did they have to pivot a lot of the activity they were doing as a marketing organization, they also need to help their customers do the same. So that's really a good one. Too, and if you're interested in the community aspect of what we talked about today, bringing people together, oftentimes including competitors or what might seem on paper like strange bedfellows, episode eighty four with sang gramvage, a Co founder and chief of angelistic terminus in the founder of a couple communities. That's episode eighty four. We called that ten rules for building a category and a community both. This has been really interesting and I love that hopeful note that you left us with there, with that last response is better than I could have asked for. But before I let you go, I'm going to have you think or mention someone who's had a positive impact on your life, for your career and and then maybe give a shout out or a mention to a brand or a company you appreciate for the experience that they deliver for you as a customer. All Colorado People here Ethan. First, I think my family. They have stood by me through thick and thin, and it is been a pleasure to serve them and to learn from them, as they provide me all the lessons I need to become successful. I often say like look, I'm a better entrepreneur because I've learned how to manage my family a little bit better, and by manager I don't mean like getting them to take out the trash, I just mean like understand that this is a complex relationship and I need to develop it and and show up as my best self to get them to be there their best selves. So that's slam dunk family, my wife Amy and my five kids. Company that's also a Colorado one. That is super inspiring. And this is a company had a boulder called hop tea. Have you come across hop tea? I know hop tea very well. My longtime friend and CMO AND CO author of Rehumanize Your Business, Steve, passed. Ellie turn me on to hop tea. They do awesome work and the subscription around it, the limited releases, tell me, tell me your experience with them. Dean ever heart is a is a dear friend of mine and one of the CO founders of hop tea. I was in a room with him several years ago when he was struggling with this idea of like he had all these little pockets of inspiration where he's like I could do this and I could do that, and in one of these pockets of inspiration was this hop tea that he had created and we all thought was pretty dog on good, because he'd bring us like a forget if it was in a bottle or a can or whatever, but he had this little lab in his garage where he would brew this stuff. He made the decision to go all in and from that moment everything became clear and, as you've been watching, I'm sure, the innovation and the genius that goes on inside those four walls, with the what twenty or so people that they have, is impacting thousands of people and it's, yes, just a beverage, but it is incredible and it's life changing and I especially love this one story that Dean told where he got an email from a I think it was an email from a consumer who was an alcoholic and really missed the taste of beer and she was in whole foods and looking at this endcapper hop tea was being marketed and her boyfriend was like to give it a shot. How bad can it be? Like it says, it tastes like a beer, non alcohol, no calories. That like it's completely sin free. Give it a shot. She bought it and she drank it and she started crying. And I'm like, Dean, you have moved mountains. So I want to give Dean shout out and just say that is as brilliant work. Yeah, it's awesome. We're we are beer nerds and you know, obvious the thing that just turned me on completely to beer years ago was a single hop flight. And so it's just this movement from you know, Pine and Resin on one end to the bright floral on the other end, just like this little journey of you know, Short Pores, and so you know,...

...what we're talking about here is like a carbonated beverage, but it's brewed with some of the most flavorful and interesting hops available, completely not alcoholic, for a variety of benefits. Of course, the not alcoholic move from it's gotten really good in general, and certainly hot tea is one of the more interesting I don't know if we call them pioneers or not, but certainly one of the more interesting products and companies in the space. In the subscription model and again the limited releases, it's like it's got all the appeal of this kind of like you know that the even the most hardcore craft beer nerd can be turned on by the dynamics that they've created an addition to the product that they've created. It's I love that you went there. It's really good. Yeah, truly, it's in back to the back to why they inspire. I mean it is that moment of going all in. It's an important moment, but not saying okay, this is the one product, but then pouring all your energy into that vision of we are creating a category, like you mentioned before, and now we're going to create our community around it. So boy, that just ties it all together, does yeah, it really does. So well done. This has been an absolute pleasure. Bow and obviously, if someone's listening now, they felt the same way. So how can someone connect with you or with lend it Fintech, or where? Would you send someone to follow up on this conversation? Sure, I'm easy to find if you know how to spell my last name. I'm one of a few breast currents in America. The others are related to me in some way. They're very closely or distantly. We're all cousins. So my email address boat landacom. Feel free to reach out to me. Happy to help, especially if you're in the Colorado area. But you know what, there's not a lot of boundaries anywhere. So we'll jump on a video and we'll have we'll have a chat and lend. It is just at Landacom, alien dicom. Awesome innovation eating in transforming the lending space in all of its forms. Really Great Conversation with you. Enjoyed it very much. For folks who want to see some video clips from this, they want to a link to hop tea, in case you can't remember it, remember bombombcom slash podcast. We link up a variety of things that we mentioned in the conversation, as well as dropping some video clips. In short write up and of course, all the embedded audio as well. Both thank you so much and thank you to you for listening to this episode of the customer experience podcast. Thanks you, then. Clear Communication, human connection, higher conversion. These are just some of the benefits of adding video to the messages you're sending every day. It's easy to do with just a little guidance, so pick up the official book. Rehumanize Your Business. How personal videos accelerate sales and improve customer experience. Learn more in order today at Bombombcom Book. That's bomb bombcom book. Thanks for listening to the customer experience podcast. Remember the single most important thing you can do today is to create and deliver a better experience for your customers. Continue Learning the latest strategies and tactics by subscribing right now in your favorite podcast player, or visit Bombombcom podcast.

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