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New Company Creates Social Connection Through Food
Episode 817th November 2021 • Powerful Personal Brand Podcast with Claire Bahn • Claire Bahn
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This week's episode features Crave-It Founder Bomani Mintz, a former LinkedIn employee, foodie, and professional athlete-turned-entrepreneur. Bomani created his unique business by combining his favorite elements: excellent food and genuine connection with others.

Bomani and I discuss the importance of Networking, relationship-building, and authentic values to break through the noise and make a difference with your brand. We touch on why work-life balance is subjective, the relief of performing an Instagram "cleanse", and how food feeds us in more ways than one. You can connect with Bomani and follow his journey on LinkedIn and Instagram:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bomanimintz/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BomaniMintz

About Bomani Mintz:

Bomani previously worked at LinkedIn, where he sourced $3.5m+ in revenue and scaled resources that helped thousands of LinkedIn’s global customers be successful. Building Crave It is Bomani’s dream come true –– blending his experience in the food space for over 10 years, plus his experience in the tech industry. Bomani is also a retired athlete, previously a competitive swimmer, but now translates that passion for fitness by working out over 300 times a year in order to eat great food. Here's where to learn more and download the Craveit App: www.craveit.co.

For more personal branding tips and strategies, follow along with Claire:

Transcripts

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Hello, and welcome to the powerful, personal brand podcast where we

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help you hack your personal brand for visibility and authority.

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I am your host Claire Bahn.

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And on today's episode, I am so excited to be joined by Bomani Mintz.

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Bomani previously worked at LinkedIn where he sourced $3.5 million in

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revenue and scaled resources that helped

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thousands of LinkedIn global customers be successful.

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Building "Crave It" is Bomani's dream come true, blending his experience in

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the food space for over 10 years, plus his experience in the tech industry.

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Bomani is also a retired athlete previously, a competitive swimmer.

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I did not know that, but now he translates that into a passion for

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fitness by working out over 300 times a year in order to eat great food.

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That's crazy, Bomani, welcome!

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Thank you so much for having me, Claire, I'm super pumped to be here with you

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today and thank you for the opprotunity I

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am so excited.

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So to give the listeners just a little bit of a backstory, so Bomani

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and I met you, it was, I Founder university event with Jason Calacanis.

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And it was in September, 2019 in San Francisco.

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And I remember that.

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Behind me in line for like food or something.

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Food.

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It's always something we talked about.

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And I was just nervous.

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Hadn't really met a lot of people and I was just like, I turned around

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on I'm like, Introduce myself.

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And that is how we met.

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And we've been, we've stayed connected ever since.

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And I went to your launch beta launch in June here in LA.

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So anyway, I've just, I'm so happy that we've stayed connected this

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whole time and I'm so excited.

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I know it's so exciting.

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I know about your business, but no one else know, knowing that the

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listeners may not know about it.

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So tell me, I want to know tell me a little bit about the business

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and then how you came up with it.

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Why you decided to do it.

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Yeah.

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My passion is really for.

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Two things, food, and as well as connecting people.

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And I thought there was a huge opportunity to do both in the same platform.

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So crave it as a social app for food levers, we are making it easy for

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people to figure out what and where to eat without having to use instant.

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Uber eats Yelp and also to have a place where they know what their

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friends love to eat and what they want to try, whether it's recipes

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or restaurant recommendations.

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This has definitely been like a long journey for me to go full

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time to really embrace this.

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And it started years ago, just simply using Instagram as a platform to help

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restaurants advertise their dishes.

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Because we eat and see with our eyes for what we want to eat.

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Started in and I was pushing towards that.

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I go just for the fun of it.

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Yeah.

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I know that you've recently changed.

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I feel like when we went back in 2019, that was a little

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different than it is now.

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Yeah.

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Strategy, like initially what our go to market strategy was like, let's get

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a ton of restaurants on the platform and then let's get a ton of dishes

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and then let's go after people that love food to be a part of the platform

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and finds some of the best dishes in their area, in their city easily.

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What we discovered through 2020 is that yes, we could do that, but a lot of.

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Restaurants really needed support in a community-based understanding

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like what their food is, how to connect with individuals.

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And right now with all of the delivery services and pick up platforms,

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very transactional and food, quite friendly, isn't supposed to be trend

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it's community driven, it's social it's things people love to talk about.

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So we decided to really focus on the social, allowing our

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community to publish content.

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That they're eating, whether it's homemade recipes or dishes from restaurants to

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give people a place to get inspired around what and where to eat and to

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be able to connect over the food in regards to how did that food tastes

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who can you tag in this dish that also might be interested in the food as well?

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So recommendations for food, always carry more.

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Yeah.

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Three to five stars on Yelp, which is arbitrary.

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Is that meaning it's good for parking?

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Do they have valet?

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Is the staff good?

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Is the food, like what goes into that number?

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No one can really talk about, so that's one of the things we really leaned in.

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That's awesome.

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Cause I could definitely, I know I don't know if you remember, but I

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have a gluten allergy and so sometimes it's really hard to figure out like

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who around me can deliver food.

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That ha that is gluten-free and tastes good.

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Especially if you're looking for certain types of food I love Thai, I love Chinese,

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but sometimes those can be a little tricky with gluten-free so you, but you, so you

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want to know, you're not just picking some random place is it really good?

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Who else has been there?

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And so that's really awesome cause yeah, you don't always know if you

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don't have that recommendation.

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And I think, yeah, we were definitely in that position in 2020, so that is a

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really good I think a really good pivot.

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Amazing.

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Yeah, we're still going to bring it back, like the discover

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by dish and taste profile.

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But for right now, this is a great platform for you to be able to

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document your food journey and connect with other food levers.

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So more more things to come for product features and updates and in 2022.

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Awesome.

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So what I mean.

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W did you always have a dream of being an entrepreneur and starting

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your own business or did this kind of just, you felt that there was a need

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and you're like, I'm going to do it?

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Like what, how,

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yeah.

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That's I wouldn't say I always, I think it was like in the back of my mind,

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like I think like growing up, I wanted to be like, Top dog in the corporate

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ladder and like a major company.

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But I also, like in the back of my mind had what if I had my own

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company, the founder and CEO of that.

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And I think like throughout like my adolescents interest in

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There's no sort of continued to play on both sides of that fence.

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And as I started diving deeper in my professional career,

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I was like, you know what?

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I wanna I want to do my own thing.

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I want to own my own company.

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I want to make my own impact.

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But I need to be able to work through some of the corporate world

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in order to get to that point.

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Yeah.

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So I wanna, so this is the personal brand powerful person podcast.

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So we, I would definitely love to hear about being a founder.

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I hear this a lot.

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We work with a lot of angel investors and VC and private equity firms.

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We hear a lot that the, they fund the founder and I've heard that a

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lot and obviously your personal.

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Is that right?

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How would you, have you consciously constructed your personal brand

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knowing that, or was it more organic?

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It was definitely more organic.

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I would say that it's shifted to being like very thoughtful.

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I think it has a lot to do with what do I want to accomplish

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as an individual in my life?

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Yes.

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I want to change the world through food, but in that process, I

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also want to uplift people.

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I advice feedback that has nothing to necessarily do with my company, but those

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are core values and I want to make sure that I'm doing podcasts as I'm doing.

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As I'm doing statuses on LinkedIn and Twitter, that's conveyed.

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Cause that's something near and dear to my heart.

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So yeah, I think it's very much more intentional on like how I'm thinking about

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doing it, but I've always been that way, but now it's like a lot more regimented

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and then like my director of marketing is just amazing document the journey.

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That's something I'm always like working on because founder

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you're so focused on the future.

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Like you really look.

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And I'm just fortunate to have someone on our marketing team to be like,

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Hey, here's what we've accomplished.

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Let's highlight this.

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Let's put this in a blog post.

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Let's talk to people and people really enjoy that.

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Cause we see oftentimes results like funding raised or this company

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went public or X number of users happened during that process.

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People want to hear the journey is to get to Z without going through ABC.

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So we're really trying to highlight that more the journey.

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And then I also want to inspire people.

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So again, like it's a combination of like intentional and just

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like organic at the same time.

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Have you found that's helped you get funding of people heard about you

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through your personal brand and they came to you and said, Hey, I want to

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talk to you about this funding round or.

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Part which is positive.

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Yeah, I think just leaning more into it.

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I've I think is helpful.

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Cause I think the reality of the world that we're in right with, the internet is

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it's that stamp of approval verification.

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Okay.

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If somebody reaches out to me cold.

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Yeah.

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The social proof it's like, how many followers do they have?

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Do I, does anyone know them that I.

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Okay.

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No.

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Ah I don't know if this is the person for me or if that validation is

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there, it's oh, like now this first legit it's take it more seriously.

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Like I can die as a person that stuff's available.

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It's out there.

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It's both.

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Versus just having, a blank slate.

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So I definitely think it's 100%.

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So you definitely with crave it, you've been doing this for a while.

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How many years?

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So I went full time in 2019.

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Okay.

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Yeah.

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So right after, when you quit your full-time job.

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Yeah.

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Super early.

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Yeah.

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Yeah, it's been like two and a half or so.

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Obviously elevated the product and raise some capital and yeah.

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Things that things have definitely changed in the last two years.

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I'm down in LA now, too, with you.

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I know it well.

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So I want to know like, how have things changed as far as

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raising funds, because I've seen.

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As far as your go to market strategy, that there's so many things that are

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different and it's ever evolving.

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20 years you could actually get funded off a napkin.

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We joke about that, right?

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Your idea you didn't have, and now they're, they want to know, they

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want to know all of these things.

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And how has it changed from when you started in 2019 to now?

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What advice would you give somebody that, that is, wants

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to fi found their own company?

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What advice would you give them when you're going for a raise now versus

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when you were, starting in 2019?

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So I think one of the things that isn't really.

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That should be talked about a lot more.

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Is that the reality of raising venture capital or capital today

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is it's very network driven.

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So like before you even go out and raise capital, ideally you want to

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build those relationships, whether it's like, Hey, I have an idea.

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What do you think?

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Or this is like a high-level overview, rough draft of a deck.

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Can you poke holes in it?

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Can I pitch you my idea and why you wouldn't invest or like why you wouldn't.

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That ammunition before you go out and build a product

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before you quicker and faster.

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And then you also have those relationships because it is a relationship business.

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So you have to think it does take some time and it's very

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seldom, like it's dating.

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It's very seldom.

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You have the first day and you're like, this is the one like, okay, we're ready.

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You know that repetition.

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So that would be like some of the advice that I would give to anyone that's

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looking to build a company or to read.

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I liked that because I never really thought about because I've heard it,

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that the whole, the, informational interview, if you want to like, get

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into a certain field, that's always was something that I was told to do and

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never thought of doing that with an angel investor, just saying, Hey, no strings.

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Just, can you poke holes in it?

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Like you said, that's amazing.

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Great feedback.

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Yeah.

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It's something that I think.

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The very important, even like now I still do that.

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I'm always trying to perfect my pitch.

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Get it better, get it tighter, get new feedback.

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It's like being a founder.

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I say this like often it's like in school semester and you're

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presenting your final project.

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But you're presenting that over and over again.

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And every time you're doing it, there's a little like hole or a little tweak.

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And it's like suddenly evolving, tweaking, but you're getting better and better.

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And you're learning so much along the way.

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Sometimes I know for me sometimes when you hear the feedback, sometimes

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the lessons were a little like, Ooh, cause it is personal, super

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personal.

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Yeah.

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Yeah.

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It's a much different pitching a product or service from a company

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that's not yours versus you.

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Cause you're in it.

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And the day to day you created it, you have the team as much as

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it, you want to keep it business.

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So think about it personally, too.

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Yeah.

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I like that.

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That's really great.

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That's great.

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Advice for somebody.

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So how do you think the world has changed from 2019 to now, as far as go going

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for a raise, do you think it's changed?

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I think it's changed quite a bit in the sense of.

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The way in which you can raise capital.

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Beforehand, primarily like you would ideally want to have in-person

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meetings, you would, go to the funds.

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You would have lunch or coffee face to face.

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Which often takes time, right?

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To have a coffee or a face-to-face meeting.

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It's at least not right.

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Especially if something's going well, it could turn into.

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Our conversation which is great.

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Cause you, at that point, you really and the idea, and you can

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see it through it's changed now.

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30, 20 minute meetings, which ultimately in some senses more effective, but

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also it's very much more transactional.

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And if you have a 30 minute meeting that whoever you're connecting with,

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at minute 25, so becomes a lot more transactional to build a personal

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relationship off that meeting.

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And it's very hard to like really dive in that amount of time,

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especially cause it's very, very quick and you might not be your best.

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Right away.

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So there's those factors, which ultimately has made it easier

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to get in front of people.

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But I think the quality of the relationship at times has decreased,

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unless there's continuous follow-up meetings, then you build that.

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I think it's a lot harder to build relationships in 30 minutes or less.

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If that's the focus, if that's not the focus, then sure.

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Keep it transactional.

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It's more effective.

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You can have eight to 10 meetings back to back.

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So it, it all depends, but I definitely think that personal relationship is, has

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been lacking for people that don't have those in the space to, to build those.

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You

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can.

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Build like a personal relationship, like social media, or do you,

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when would you advise that?

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Would we, I guess the question is does social media help with funding,

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especially now that everything's virtual?

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Do you think it does?

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Yeah, it definitely does.

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It definitely does.

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If you know how to use it in that way.

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So like the social media brands is like the validation to

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drive interest and engagement.

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The posts that you create, the tweets or whatever is to keep that engagement.

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And then the DM it to like filter one-to-one.

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Or that purpose is let's jump on a call and let's get to know

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each other more or let's meet.

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I just had three meetings yesterday with people that I had met via the

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Twitter community and they're in LA and I'm like, let's meet in person.

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Like we've had some sort of dialogue online.

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Let's get off line and meet in person.

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To the world of a difference that makes, so like my focus now is like

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building online relationships to take them offline in person, whether it's

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founder of VC and angel at Leila.

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It's a whole different relationship being in person face

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to face the walls, broken down.

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We don't have this screen we don't have to easily just leave after 15, 20 minutes.

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You're sitting down with somebody it's can kind kinda lower the level of the wall.

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So yeah, I definitely think it's helped.

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I definitely think it's helped.

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W what is interesting to hear you say about networking, being so important

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is that is actually one of the, an angel investor that we work with.

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That is one of his biggest pieces of feedback that he gives founders

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is how important networking is.

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That's actually one of his kind of pillars on his blog is how important.

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And that is one of the things that we always talk about with him.

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So great to hear that you see the value in that, too.

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It is amazing your networking.

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Really anything, whether you want to get a job, find out about even getting an

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apartment or a house, if your network knows and say, Hey, I heard of something

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and yeah, it's even getting a date

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extremely.

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Yeah.

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The network is extremely well.

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That's another reason why I loved working at LinkedIn and wanted to work at LinkedIn

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because I understood that at an early age in college, but my professional

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portfolio of experience with people.

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Closed mouths don't get fed.

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If you don't tell people what you need or what you're interested

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in what you're passionate about or what you need help with.

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No one knows because they're not in your head.

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All right.

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So there is a question that I've been wanting to ask you for a long time.

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So after we met, I remember because we've been connected for a while

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and I saw like you did a pot, you were on a podcast and I watched it.

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And you said something that kind of bothered me at the time.

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And I want to get your feedback now, because I know that

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your life is very different.

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And I remember that you or someone was talking about work-life balance and

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you were just saying basically it's when you're a founder, it's just work.

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There is no social life.

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And I was like, no, you've got it wrong.

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And that was so I want to know.

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And I think I do know the answer to this, but how have you, has

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your idea about work-life balance?

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Has it changed?

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Do you think it's all just work all the day, every day, or do you make

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sure that you have time for yourself and other things that you want.

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I'm glad you brought that up.

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I don't remember exactly what I said, but I do know.

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I mentioned something about the sacrifice of like birthdays,

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like holiday, around that.

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And weddings.

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So I actually don't believe in a work-life balance.

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I believe in Ballads.

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So like work is like one component of like your life, right?

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It's like like a sliver of the pie, how much percentage of your life is work?

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And then the other things I think like I've, I'm very structured.

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So I've built in that what you would call like work-life balance.

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Like every morning I.

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'cause like the 300, like you mentioned the beginning, like every morning I

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have, I make sure I work out and I meditate and have a cup of coffee.

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And I go on a short walk with my fiance and our dog, like when starts.

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At the end, the even before the like Workday starts to I now have a

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journal, like I write two or three things I'm thankful for in the morning.

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And then at the end of the day, I'll sign off all right.

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Two or three things that I'm thankful for as well.

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So I think like my life balance is part of it, but definitely I

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think you have to carve out things.

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I do still believe, like there's different points, like except everything

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like for, Reasons or like you're fundraising that you can't go to this

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party or you can't go to this wedding.

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I still definitely believe in that, but I also believe like even now

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more so with like how 2020 was like the ability to disconnect, literally

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from the screen, like to go on a walk, go on a hike clear your mind.

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I think that's important.

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Like almost like now more, more than ever.

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Yeah.

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I definitely think there's like balances to your overall life.

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However you want to put that pie up.

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Yeah.

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Yeah.

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I think what people struggle with the work life balance is the fact that.

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Work doesn't ever seem to end.

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So you're always things are popping up.

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Th the team will text me early in the morning, leaving

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whatever kind of they're online.

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So I get that.

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But at the same, I feel for, for us our day ends, probably, between five

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and six, when we go on a dog walk, cause you come back and Going to

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go back to work, but I still work.

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But I'm not in front of my computer, like physically working.

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And I think for me, the 20, 20 highlighted the need for making

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sure that you made connections with.

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'cause I feel like that, cause you couldn't go and see people.

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So you're like, I'm going to schedule a zoom and I can't tell you how many

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families zooms we did and things like that, where we'd never done it before.

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And we literally lost my father-in-law last year and we ha we were all like,

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thank God we did so many zooms with.

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Yeah.

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Yeah.

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And I think for me that was like, that's one of the things it's no, you know what,

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why wait, relationships are so key.

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So

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he, cause that isn't working to your family.

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They do.

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Yeah.

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Awesome.

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So I'm glad to hear that you're Chinese a little more balanced.

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Yeah,

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I think that's definitely a key.

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Yeah.

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Yeah.

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Definitely like with my interpersonal relationships and just like family

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continuing to like slice that pie up.

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Yeah.

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Super important to have the balance of everything.

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If your family is in DC.

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And in DC.

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Yeah.

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So I'm like the only person out where.

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And I've been out west for almost like 10.

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I haven't lived on the east coast almost 10 years now.

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Yeah.

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You have to

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carve that time.

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Totally.

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Yeah.

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Sundays are usually like a family call time to on top of doing work,

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but it's more of self-reflection getting ready for what's working.

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Where do we need to improve?

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Got to connect with some friends, got to connect with some family,

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got to meal prep You got a stretch?

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Oh yeah, for sure.

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Yeah.

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Wow.

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You are very regimented.

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I'm sometimes like I'm super impressed.

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Cause I'm sometimes like, damn it.

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I'm hungry.

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I have nothing to eat and I know that you should never be in that position.

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It happens to me sometimes too.

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I didn't meal prep this Sunday.

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I had to do it Monday.

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So I wasn't that situation.

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Yeah.

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Yeah.

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I see.

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Yeah.

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We ha you, you work from home, right?

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Yeah.

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So you can be like, I don't know for me, when I think of meal prep, I think of

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making like a big meal that I can split.

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Not necessarily like cooking chicken, cooking rice and putting it in a bowl.

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Like I make tortilla soup and we made, so we boil the chicken major chia

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soup with the stock and then made chicken enchiladas, the one chicken.

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So that's how I meal prep.

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Not necessarily like super, super healthy because there's cheese

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and stuff, that's how I know

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that sounds delicious.

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Yeah.

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So I should probably get on crave it and start taking more

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though, taking some photos,

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your homemade meals, they sound delicious already.

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I'm sure other people would resonate with that as well.

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I don't know if the recipe links.

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Actually I have a blog where I have all those I used to have if you go

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back on my YouTube channel, you could see all my videos that I created.

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So I have my video.

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I have I was doing food blog.

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We've got to get on there ASAP, expand your brand, reach your purse.

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Yeah.

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So are there any are there any founders or people that maybe they're

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the way they, you saw them or maybe they're personal friends of yours?

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Are there people that you like.

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Admire, whether it's their personal brand or their work-life balance or

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how they network is there something, is there someone you admire and why?

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Yeah, I would say there's a couple of people that I admire.

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I think first and foremost, like one of the people I admire the most is like my

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director of marketing ish produce guy.

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He's just an incredible marketer.

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Wow.

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He's self-published author.

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He connects with the community.

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He's very plugged into futuristic things like NFT is right.

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He can really tell a story but he can also market it to the right

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people and get them to respond, build conversations, build community.

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So that's and I'm just blessed that as a part of my team here at crave, it.

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Is also really awesome of a career karma Harris, just like great

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brands always publishing content, motivational pieces just documenting

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the journey of being a founder.

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I also love And this is, this might be a little controversial depending upon who,

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if people like this person, but I love how Elon Musk is just kind of attitude.

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Like he is who he is, but

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yeah.

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So he, yeah, he's definitely someone.

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And then just like the way Tesla markets, their product is just

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it's just It's just beautiful.

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They don't sell you on it.

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It's I want this, but I didn't even know I wanted this.

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And wow, like now there, the list goes on.

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There's a couple of people have that I'm forgetting, but

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there's definitely other people.

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Even in the founder ecosystem, as far as like startups, like I follow

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a lot of motivational poetry and speeches, and I like repost those.

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Cause I think they're so relevant.

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Not only just for like founders, but for like people in general, as far as like

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self-loving reflection not being too hard on yourself continuing to keep going and,

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personally so yeah, and then like how I built this, I know that's not like a

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person, so to speak guy, rock that stuff.

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As far as like people that I follow and loves to see the

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journey that our founders is.

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I think that's one of the things that a lot of people you've touched

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upon this about w how the, with the people that you like and what they do

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with their online presence and their personal brand and what you like to do.

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I think a lot of people don't think about telling their story and

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storytelling is so important to getting con to connecting with people and.

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And it's not always easy being a founder and starting our

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business and that kind of thing.

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And I think sometimes just pulling that curtain back and saying, Hey, yeah,

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this is what was hard because then when everyone else deals with their issues,

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they're like, wow, I'm not alone.

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And I think that's one of the, one of the beauties.

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I think that a lot of, I personally.

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Been seeing this trend probably started in 2019, definitely in

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2020, where people have pulled back the curtain a lot more and they've

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shown their, their difficulties.

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And I think that is so much easier to connect with than perfection.

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Yeah.

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Yeah.

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I would definitely agree.

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I think it's starting to change, which is positive, right?

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Cause the sort of the way.

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Started, it was like, let's just show everything positive in your life.

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And if you don't it's not meant for that.

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From a post standpoint, I have seen I think the one thing that stories did

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from a Snapchat perspective and just like Instagram, is that people are

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documenting their pieces day by day.

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And that's slowly coming into like story form.

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Whereas like Twitter is a little bit different, right?

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If you do a tweet, like it's a thread of I have a status.

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Like I'm not, I'm feeling low today.

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What are things that you need to, what helps you get

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energized and people comment.

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So I think that mask, like you said is coming off as everyone

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doesn't have a great days.

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And it's also important to like truly have a community and have support

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Cause it, it kinda comes full circle.

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You can help someone else out as well.

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Oh, awesome.

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I it's interesting.

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Cause I feel like the conversations that we had, cause we haven't talked

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that much in between the 2019 and now really I feel like you have.

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Evolved so much and become much more grounded.

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That's awesome.

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Yeah, I really do.

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I feel like when I first met you we were all struggling, right?

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It's nervous.

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We're ha we're gonna have to pitch our businesses.

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It's like you have all these things going through your head, so you have

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that kind of layered on, but at the same time, I feel like once you it's

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trial by fire, like all this stuff.

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And you're just like, if I just let all of this affect me, Without centering

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myself without finding inspiration and things, without finding people

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that kind of inspire me to keep going to get through the tough days.

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I agree.

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That is what I did in 2020.

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I always said it was like, I'm done with all these perfect people.

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And I went to people that were like, I did, I literally

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had a cleanse from Instagram.

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I couldn't deal with Instagram.

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I went more towards LinkedIn where you were dealing with people.

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Dealing with their business stuff.

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And we're a little bit more real, there is still a little bit of perfection

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going on, but so I, so where if someone wants to find more about you Bomani,

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where can someone find out about you?

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Yeah.

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All the socials I'm on LinkedIn, but monuments I'm on

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Twitter, Bhavani mints AKA Mr.

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Future food I'm on Instagram.

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My Instagram is Really funny because it's, I don't post that often, but I

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posts I do is it's Bo underscore life 90 and find me on crave it at Bomani

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and you can get crazier than me, the app store and Google play store as well.

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Awesome.

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Thank you so much for being here.

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I'm so excited and I'm very excited to, yeah.

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I'm excited to.

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Typically, learn more about all this stuff that you have going on,

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and we definitely need to connect in person because we have not done

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that since you've been in LA course.

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Yes.

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Yes.

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Thank you so much for listening to the powerful, personal brand podcast.

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I hope that you got a lot of great personal branding

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information and information.

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If you are also a founder from Bomani from this conversation, and