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Oct. 7, 2020

Episode 049 - Uber Art with Jonathan Gudai (Adomni) and Rob Anders (Niio Art)

Episode 049 - Uber Art with Jonathan Gudai (Adomni) and Rob Anders (Niio Art)

Have you seen the exciting news from Uber?

Art on top of rideshare cars on digital screens!

Wait, what?

Yeah, seriously...it's pretty cool and you should check it out.

In fact, here's a link to do just that (this is the one we shared during the episode)...

Pretty neat, right? I have to be honest, I love this partnership between Niio/Adomni/Uber because it really is nice to look at and in a world where we are bombarded by advertising, everywhere, a cleansing of the palate seems only fitting.

You should definitely go ahead and connect with Adomni at...

And Niio Art at...

To connect with today's guests, Jonathan Gudai, CEO of Adomni...

And with Mr. Rob Anders, CEO of Niio Art at...

As always, a huge shoutout to my amazing sponsor -

LED Truck Media 

Check them out at: ledtruckmedia.com

And to grab your very own I ❤️  OOH swag, head over to...

Don't forget to use promo code INSIDER for 10% off your first order.

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Welcome to out-of-home. Insider today's episode is brought to you by led truck media led truck media specializes in hyper-local street-level campaigns that get your message in front of the right people. Whether your campaign is one day or one month with nationwide coverage, your campaign can be live in any major market within 24 hours.

If you want to reach your perfect audience in a truly engaging way, visit led truck media dot. Led truck media out of home advertising 2.0, thanks again for making today's show possible. All right, gentlemen, let's do this folks with me today are Jonathan Gudai, who, you know, from being here on the show, he's the CEO of a dominate and a new face.

Rob Anders. Rob is the CEO of Neo art and together with Uber, they're doing some pretty cool stuff that we're going to talk about here today, gentlemen. Thanks for being here. Absolutely. So Jonathan, why don't you introduce Rob to the audience and, uh, and talk to us a little bit about what's going on with, uh, with you guys.

Absolutely happy to. Um, so, uh, Domini, Neo and Uber came together a few months ago with an idea of bringing digital artwork to the tops of this new ad network that Uber is about to roll out next month. Um, and really the, the idea was we want to capture attention. And so that's always what marketers are after putting ads in front of people and having as much of those eyeballs focused on the screens.

But there was also this, this idea of can we do so where it's not purely about ads and can we provide, you know, a, another dimension to the value of these screens, bring to the local communities. Um, and so I had actually met Rob through some partners that we have that have utilized their screens at other locations that are not out of home.

And so, um, really the conversation kind of started there of like maybe bringing Rob's amazing platform and artists community to the, to the tops of, of Uber's. And then really thinking about not just Uber's, but just the out-of-home world in general. H how we can deliver a really amazing consumer experience.

That's not purely about ads now. It's pretty cool. And it's beautiful stuff. Rob, tell us a little bit about Neo art and what it is that your community does. Okay. So I think probably the, the, the best way to explain it for a broad audience is that if you think the last 10 or 15 years for seen every major content sector go digital, you know, books, TV, film, music, and it's led to these previously unknown platforms.

Becoming these billion dollar unicorns that are Spotify and Netflix and Kindle. Um, and pretty much the same thing is happening to art. You know, artists will always tell a story of the world we live in. They'll always use whatever tools they have to create and tell their story. And for that reason, there's more accessibility than ever before to creating digital format, work photography, moving image, video AR VR, um, and.

With that said what there was lacking was this unified platform, which essentially enables this content on the. To kind of support and empower the community. Currently we're at about six and a half thousand artists and galleries from 60 countries and provide a very robust platform which delivers that content to then be displayed on any screen.

So I can, I guess you could say that on the one side, there are similarities from a technical standpoint to, you know, to the whole signage world, but at the same time, look at this as becoming the Spotify of art and enabling according to different business models, whether it's a business customer and business.

Or consumer or home, the ability to turn screens into. I guess meaningful canvases of inspiration, whether they remain only for the purpose of art or as in this case, you know, integrated in a very smart way, alongside promotional information or advertising so that you actually break up the, the, the noise.

So to speak with something a bit more meaningful. And Rob, you're kind of the perfect guy to do it, right? Because your background, you come from a digital signage background. So I came from a display technology background. I was running one of the, one of the leading display technology companies in Europe.

So, you know, I saw the evolution of the signage market, um, um, and it was very involved in, in bringing these large form factor screens into public areas. For me, personally, as someone that's been building high-tech companies for many years, um, I had an issue with the. Um, you know, we were putting screens everywhere.

You know, it used to be, you could close your computer or your phone and you're in the real world and now you close it and you're, and you're being bombarded with information with advertising, which is important. Cause you know, I'm a realist and this information, but, but I think that the, the content really is king.

And therefore we thought that we could bring all of this together and enables those, some of those screens to not always. Demonstrating or showcasing your information, but also an experience which is more meaningful. And especially now, you know, anyway, we were thinking this at a time when the net was going to bring us all together and often has alienated people.

We don't know what's real and what's not kids are walking around with know screens in front of their face, but now even more so during COVID, there's this kind of responsibility from entrepreneurs, I think to bring people a meaningful moment just to stop, you know, Reflect, and then your mind is open and fresh for the next thing you're going to say.

So, um, yeah, I understand the industry and kind of sidestepped and it's good to be working with people like Jonathan and others, because we do speak the same language and, uh, and that's, what's going to enable this whole thing to take off and ultimately good business and billions of people to be inspired around.

Absolutely. And it is inspiring and it's beautiful. And we're gonna, we're gonna share a clip here in just a second. So everybody, uh, on the YouTube side, you're gonna be able to see it. If you're listening, make sure to go back and check out the YouTube side and we'll, we'll link out to it in the, in the show notes below for your convenience.

Uh, but six and a half thousand artists around the world. How do you go about deciding on what content goes on, which screens in which networks, what what's that process? So I think the first thing is until now we've been very limited in which artists we allow into the platform. We really started high end with the most reputable artists in the world.

But in a few months time, we will be opening up and on the back end of Neo is actually a very, very comprehensive management and publishing platform, which enables those artists. Upload and manage their, their files in the master files, uncompressed, huge terabytes of files. And then all the rendering is done on our platform.

And at the same time, the issuing all the rights. So this is what gives us access to the content, which can, according to the rules and approvals of the artists be shown in a regular 16 by nine format. Rear-ended with their approval, such as on the unique form factor would be on top of the Uber cause, or, you know, we speak with the domineer about other large screen signage out of home near the large LEDs, which also use, you know, unusual, uh, aspect ratios.

So, so that's one side, technically an artist, obviously when we are, when the artists are publishing the work, um, we're also, um, aggregating huge amounts of curatorial and metadata. So we know everything about these works  categories, themes, and we also use AI at the core of our platform to learn the trends between.

How, what type of artworks are consumed in what type of location? So, you know, we know that in Hong Kong, the type of work that people want to see is very different to what you were seeing in New York. So for that reason, the selection process is a combination of both, you know, machine learned. Um, But at the same time, you know, a curatorial aspects where we bringing in and we have around 60 curators that work on the platform to actually select for the particular program and for the particular audience, you know, with Uber, we're talking about inspiring people in this.

And you have to be very, very thoughtful of how do you create a context which respects the art and respects the artists. But at the same time can provide an experience in a short period of time, which will actually resonate with a very broad audience, not just a sophisticated art collector. Who's walking into a museum.

So, so it, it really sounds like you're becoming part of the, the natural culture landscape of the cities and markets that you're in. Would that be a fair summation? I think. The art world is often in the world of culture, which is very scary for some people, even though it's become cliche art for the masses.

Um, I think that the ground was shaking under their feet anyway. And with COVID, you've seen this massive immediate instant digital transformation as you're seeing in other industries. Um, and at the same time, there was also a trend already from art going out of the galleries of museums, into public spaces, lobbies of buildings, corporate locations.

So it's all been changing. Um, And, and, and, and I think from our perspective, the need and desire to reach the broadest audiences is actually a contribution to the whole future of how arts and culture is going to be experienced in the future. And public art is always been critical. A lot of cities around the world, both in America and Europe are now mandating that on digital billboards.

A percentage of the time it has to be used for digital art. If you build a new building, 3% has to be focused or not. So there is a driver. Um, and what we're doing is that platform, which is unifying the community on the content side, the tech to deliver and distribute it, and then the different business models to make it a financial solution, which works for everyone.

Awesome. Well, let's take a look at it. I'm gonna bring the clip up now again, if you're on YouTube, definitely want to see this. If you're listening, you've got a, you've got some cool jams for the next few seconds here. I will cue this.

very cool stuff. So Atlanta, Dallas and Phoenix are the first two are the first to roll out. Jonathan talked to me about what the rollout is going to look like. Where can people expect to see it in the cities and times? Sure. Sure. Sure. So, um, October 1st is sort of our grand launch of Uber, Uber, um, and there there's a thousand total vehicles, uh, with these double-sided, you know, 40 inch wide, uh, screens in Atlanta, Dallas and Phoenix.

Um, and we actually did already launched the, uh, the Neo artwork just recently on those screens. So even today, before kind of pre-launch saw. Um, that's out there. We we're expanding, we'll be announcing the official next cities very soon. Um, but you can expect from this particular list, um, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, San Francisco, and there's about a dozen others, um, in the U S and what's really interesting about Uber and with Neo is that it's a global marketplace.

Um, Uber's in literally 10,000 cities. So, um, you know, our, our hopes are to not just kind of be able to touch the lives of these, these people in these three cities, but really make it a global thing. Um, and, and going back to what Rob was saying about. The impact of this and the importance of this. I mean, certainly COVID is got people in a different kind of mental space than the normal.

Um, and in some ways we're craving just positive, inspirational things to offset, but the not, you know, the negative things that are going on on the other side. Um, and so for us, just the ability to. Um, deliver that right where this particular partnership is so beautiful because it, it benefits, you know, the communities that are seeing these vehicles driving around, it benefits the artists who all of a sudden have this massive canvas, you know, that, that reaches millions and millions of people.

Um, and then ultimately advertisers, right? Where. W yeah. What we were talking about before, but it's all about attention, right? Attention is what drives results and how it fits in harder than ever, especially now with all the fragmentation of where we give our attention, um, that, that the, the, this enables that ad recall.

Um, and, uh, and ultimately someone seeing, you know, a beautiful piece of art and then an ad. Uh, you know, we'll, we'll drive that kind of, that message through to, to, to actually have someone take, take action on it. Um, so yeah, so, so from that perspective, it's just really exciting to see kind of how this can, can grow and prosper.

And, and even though a Dominee, you know, we've got over 200,000 screens and a thousand of those are, are on Uber. This application can really apply for the whole world of, out of home. Um, and we've seen this Tim, like in the past where billboard companies will say, okay, I'm going to put up some weather or I'm gonna put some sports scores.

It's not going to be just add, add, add, add, you know, we, we wanna, we wanna get people, um, to not have that kind of banner blindness effect, right. That happens. Um, and so ultimately, you know, we we'd like to bring this concept to the billboard companies, to other place-based networks who have the same kind of mission, you know, it's, there is some unsold space let's, let's, let's utilize that in a really positive way.

And it's also, you know, benefit our advertisers. There were more sticky kind of eye candy experience. Yeah. And I think Rob used a great analogy a as we were queuing up for the show here that it's really like a clearing of the cash it's cleansing of the palate, because what is the value of tension of an audience if they're not really paying attention?

Um, and you, you shared an interesting slide, Jonathan. I want to bring up here. So that we can all look at together because it really lends itself to that. Talk to us about what this, what this slide is and why it ultimately matters to advertisers. So the DP AA, um, put out a media planner survey where they asked buyers and planners of advertising, um, a series of questions, and one of them was would, would you prefer and network that had a combination of ads?

I am content, whether it's sports news, weather, entertainment, um, slot, we can now add arts to that slash slash slash. Um, or would you rather just stick with just kind of a pure play ad only networks? And interestingly, four times people said, I would want to have a combination of ads and meaningful contents, then just purely ads alone.

Um, and so, so the buyers are saying they want this. We, we, it's kind of been shown that that ad recall goes up so that the consumers want this. And it's really just a matter of like how, what has been stopping something like this from happening. Sure. And I think programmatic technology where, where we have the ability to drop in different artworks into feeds that are going on to screens is one pretty powerful force.

Um, media owners just saying this is a priority for us. You know, we, we, we. Take some combination of, of, um, of ads and content, and then companies like Rob, right? Who were, who have the content saying, let's find ways to make this connectable to your world. Um, and all three of those things are, are definitely, you know, bubbling up right now.

Let me come in there as well. You know, one of the things, one of the things that is interesting is that. It's like the whole Henry Ford, if you said what'd, you want, people would say faster horse people only know what they know. Right. So when they talk about that mixture of content, the natural place people go to is information rather than advertising.

Okay. And I would argue, and I think you will do, we'll do some tests. That thing, how many locations you walk into and you still see Bloomberg or something on the screen. And that itself, in my mind, equally equates to banner blindness. Sometimes we're just, it's more information, which is kind of like just putting us.

And I think the Mo that what's going to be interesting to test. If the nature of the content is more meditative reflectful thinking, and it does have the impact of cleaning the cash because I wouldn't, I wouldn't necessarily suggest that the way they were, everything else cleans your cash. It's just giving you more information.

It's interesting to test. If I do actually find that I'm psychologically calmer after watching a few seconds of this, does it then open my mind and prepare me, make me more susceptible to be able to watch the, the, the, uh, the advertising that's coming. And I think the other thing, therefore, is that, which is interesting, which was discussing with Jonathan.

You know, the world of luxury is often associated itself with art for many years. Um, I think that there's a number of brands, including brands that look out of home as a, as a, as a medium, that. Sometimes just by sponsoring or being associated. So moving away from a traditional ad, but we did, for example, in Hong Kong, on out of home on a huge outdoor LEDs.

So you've got the adverts and the McDonald's and all the sudden the other. And then we had to think, how do we change the context so that this becomes an art moment. And so it was the same time every day for an hour, for five minutes and the screen would go black. And then it would say art moment brought to you by.

And this case, the, the company that was sponsoring maybe led truck or what are the other guys. Okay. And then, and then you would go and have five minutes of off. So you've got your business model from sponsoring. It's a different type of business model. And because it's defined as, as a program at a certain time, you actually then start getting people will come at that particular time kind of, because they know the art show or in a shopping mall, know, let's meet at the cafe at 12 o'clock because we can watch the arts and then we can, and then we can go to.

Um, I don't think these are, these are the, some of the things where especially cause a Dominic is so data-driven in terms of the way that they, they evaluate their different programs. Why think that this is a good match here. It's format it's context, it's business model, um, and educating that this isn't just.

Another chapter of concept, but it's, in some ways a standalone category that perhaps will have an interesting impact on the right. I'm sure that the social sharing component just have that just being art. We see, uh, the, the, the big angel wings, right in Nashville, people stand in front of it and they take a picture.

Uh, I I'm sure that there's a, uh, an enormous social component to putting art in front of people. Have you seen any of that feedback? Yeah, absolutely. And in fact, you know, we always knew that for us, our vision was to reach people everywhere. And therefore for us, I want to read the screen, the world of black screens.

You know, you think how many people have a large flat screen, you know, in there in that living room at home and you'd sign on when you're watching something on Netflix or whatever, or that goes off and people kind of forget the fact they get used to this big black hole on their wall. And so we want you to use your TV it's either okay.

Or itself, or it's. And, and that means reaching the consumers. And we were planning on entering the consumer market at the end of next year. But again, because of COVID the true Spotify of art, which will enable you with a social layer to share artwork. So you go around to your friend's house, you can take out your mobile and airplane and artwork on the screen in the same way as the people connect their speaker to the music is a big part of this whole experience.

And, you know, it's holistic, you've got music. All of a sudden, now the screen becomes a canvas and what's very interesting for us again, with, with Uber is, is using the, using the two as a bridge. So when we start rolling this out, you know, you like this experience, you can now take it home with you. Um, you know, a nine in itself can provide business models.

You know, the ad guys could be behind that and they get a kickback. So, so the ability to have a platform which addresses the out of home or the business community, but can then be taken away. With you either, because it's a conversion or it's courteous of this brand, you know, this is being sponsored this month by Gucci.

You take it home for one month, Curtis the bus, and then you have all the stats. How many people engaged, took it home. And then all of a sudden you're in people's real estates in their house with the brands, you know, and that's where this stuff goes. It was really, really powerful. Two big things there that I wanted to touch upon because, um, I think personally they're really powerful.

One is that the element of discovery. You know, so in the advertising world, a big part out of home's value proposition is that you enable consumers to discover things through these ads, right? Like you're sitting at a stoplight, there's a large format, roadside billboard, or is Uber next to you? And there's a new TV show that just launched, or there's a new menu item at a, at your local fast food.

Um, you didn't know about that and you have the ability to kind of discover those things and then that's what drives the behavior. Um, and really out of home is kind of lived in this kind of, you've got your digital and online, you've got your television and then, you know, you got, and then you got out of home or what we're trying to do with a Dominic, just in general.

I think as an industry is really do that bridge. Where they saw the ad on that digital billboard or Uber topper, then they went home and on their mobile phone or on their laptop, they went and bought it. You know, if it's an online product or they went to the store and did. But the same sort of thing also applies to discovery of art, you know, and, and when Rob's platform is ready for that B2C Mo moment with some of the stuff that they've been doing with Samsung and some really cool stuff, you can see this art that's, that's kind of playing on the tops of the Uber and say, I love that.

I want that. I'm happy to see this every, you know, every day as I'm driving around my city, but I, but I want, I want that instead of the blacks. And so that, that discovery I think is, is really powerful. And then the ability to kind of bring it into the home where it's not, you know, it's not just about what you see on the outside world.

But, you know, connecting to what you're doing when you are home. Um, I think those are two very, very powerful with the, also with the social element, like the virality comes from your Jonathan can take it home, but he can also by WhatsApp, send it to you and then, and then it's, and then you, and then a minute later, it's on your screen at home and, you know, and you can start seeing, and as Jonathan said, we have references to Samsung and inside and outside, what we've done is taken an ecosystem and infrastructure approach whereby we don't get involved with the creation of the.

But we built in place a platform of technology and business models and smart contracts and commerce and engine to enable this to essentially reach any screen in the world with layers of social, with laser community relays of irrelative with business models. And this is why it's it's, it's a. A medium of culture, which has the ability to truly enrich the lives of everyone.

Um, and what I like also about Uber, by the way, one other thing, sorry, is John mentioned the Uber in 10,000 cities. One of the things we love is in a world where the internet was meant to bring us together. And there's so much diversity, the idea that localized, we can have art from the local areas shown on those local cause, but we can then switch it over.

So we can today, we're going to be featuring from Uber's from, from Paris in America. And you're basically plugging people into this network or this movement, or this framework of inspiration. And you can play around with it at the click of a button, you know, and that's when this thing kind of alongside all of our qualms and challenges of politics and global, this, that, and the other, like we've got our own thing going on over here and it's suddenly a bit more.

No. That's very cool. So I'm sold because the first time I saw the video that the immediate thought I had was, wow, that's a beautiful piece of UFC art and it didn't register. Wait, that's the UFC ad. It made everything else on the display. Just look a little bit more beautiful. Uh, so I'm, so the data obviously backs it up.

Talk to me about the economics. Uh, all these things cost money and people have to get paid. How, who is it? The media. Owner that signs up with this program. How does it, how does it all work? So, Joel, did you want to say. Yeah. Okay. So in general, the, the people who are, um, putting the, the ads onto the, uh, sorry, it can work differently.

You always have people who are managing the network to understand that by investing, not just in hardware, but investing in some of this content uplifts and differentiates their network makes you more prestigious. You know, again, if I go back to Asia's, some of the large buildings have these. Um, immersive experiences at different times in the day.

And then, you know, before and afterwards it's really prime, prime real estate. So sometimes it can be the media guys who own the network. In other cases, it's the brands themselves that are saying, okay, should my advert be a regular eight seconds? You know, commercial of some type, shape or form, and, you know, you know, better than I do the conversations over the last 10 years over the best, most impactful digital signage content type of thing, and some of those companies now.

So they're the ones saying, you know, I actually want to be the sponsor and therefore their ad time will actually be. Them paying for, for, for the arts, um, because they want to associate it directly with their brand. So there's some flexibility there. Um, I think the final thing I would say is for us empowering artists and showcasing them to the world is, is, is a very big part of our mission.

So obviously there's a line share of the, of the, of the revenue generated that goes back to the, uh, to the artists and where that becomes very important, whether it's the likes of the operators, whether it's Uber or others, You know, we live in a world today where impact and brand positioning and credibility you are, your contribution to society is, is questioned.

And we know some of the big brands out there. They have reputations, which sometimes they are, they need to do some work on. And I think it's generally understood. And we see this with real estate developers who are putting signage in their buildings, that the moment that they're supporting these types of programs, They are making a communication that we are supporting communicate.

We're supporting inspiration, we're supporting creativity, we're supporting the arts to enrich and inspire audiences in public spaces. And so, you know, everyone can benefit. Um, and, and that's, what's important. The money goes through to the. No, I think that that's, it's great. It's really a positive sum game for everyone.

If I'm a brand and I want to pick specific types of art to feature in and around my actual advertising, do I have that autonomy? Yeah. I mean, what you usually find is that when. Let's say some of our customers like Virgin or, or Hilton's, or the merits, you know, when you're working on deals where there's going to be very broad exposure, know hundreds of hotels and so forth, usually they, the brand wants to control the decision and they don't really want to go through 13,000 artworks.

Um, what they usually will prefer is some type of curatorial assistance where we will listen and learn from them. And then we will propose collections of art and they will choose. And that's usually been the most successful approach with that said, when you start moving to a. You know, consumer type of self-service offering, then the expectation for people is that, Hey, I can go into a home page in the discovery area by genres, by categories, or it will choose things for me, based on my personalization of my, my own tastes that, that the system has learned.

So we've both, we can pretty much work on both ways. Um, but we've experienced the whilst people like. Just generally as humans, it's like, I want to make sure I've got choice. And once you tell them they say, right, do you, what should I put on the screen? Uh, so, um, you know, I think that having the balance of both is going to be important for, uh, for this to take off.

And then for our particular use case with Uber, um, you know, Rob mentioned, we've got tens of thousands of, of our word pieces. So it will be consistently, you know, uh, you know, being referred. Um, and ultimately that, you know, on a week by week basis, you're constantly exposed to different, uh, our, our, our artists and also the artworks.

Um, and that library that the Neo has curated. I mean, it's, it's growing like crazy. Um, but it's also really deep, you know, so some brands, my favorite. You know, or unicorn walking past the TSA check-in gate, which is one of my favorites. It's just so captivating and others might be more of like what's on the back of Rob's right.

Wall, right there of it's more of that abstract kind of kind of paintbrush kind of thing. Um, so, so that, that gamut is, is really wide and the actual quantity of, of art is very. Um, which is a big part of why we chose Neo is, you know, we know that they've got everything. The first of all, it brought the Unical back view.

I know you all, you have associates through the apple store. I think what Jonathan says is right, you know, for us, when we try to be a bridge between the traditional art world and reach the broadest audience, that curatorial strategy is very important because. You know, there is so much difference between a sophisticated art collector who is looking for a pretty edgy piece of a very abstract or conceptual art, as opposed to something which is going to attract people in a, in an environment where you have very short periods of.

Yeah, the aesthetic approach, the aesthetic side of it needs to be, um, uh, considered, you know, art when it comes to, you know, content that can offend people. Obviously it's very difficult with art because whether it's politics, whether it's sexual related stuff, you know, you go into a museum and you see everything.

If you're going out onto the streets, you're all of these different things need to be, need to be, you know, well, well considered. Um, and then you need to make sure you have artworks. So the artist. Um, we'll approve for the work. So they'd be rear-ended because you can imagine the, uh, the, the, the resolutions in the aspect ratio of that Uber screens, or a lot of the other screens are, are usually unique.

So there's a lot of work that needs to go into it, but ultimately, um, I think that we've done a good job to start, and, you know, all of this is going to be refining. Absolutely. I'm already looking forward to the follow-up episode a year from now, when we see all of this in 10,000 cities around the world and, and really bringing people together.

So this has been awesome, Rob, Jonathan, thank you. Thank you. Absolutely. Rob, where can people go to find out more about Neo and everything? So you guys can all go out to www Neo N I o.com. And, uh, as we said, we'll be, we'll be launching for homes, um, at the end of next month. And so, uh, as I say, watch this space and, uh, no doubt people will be hearing from us real soon.

Absolutely. And Jonathan, if they want to check out the project with Uber, what's the best place to learn more about that. Uber. Dot com slash easy enough. We'll make sure to link to both of those things, uh, in the, in the show notes and the comments description below. If you found this to be helpful, interesting, engaging, please share it with somebody else that you think could benefit.