Side Hustle City

From Athlete to Entrepreneur: Khalil El-Amin's Journey from Side Hustler to AI Tech Startup Cofounder with Nichefire

August 14, 2023 Adam Koehler & Khalil El-Amin Season 4 Episode 38
Side Hustle City
From Athlete to Entrepreneur: Khalil El-Amin's Journey from Side Hustler to AI Tech Startup Cofounder with Nichefire
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Who said 'Once an athlete, always an entrepreneur'? No one? Well, that’s about to change with our podcast guest today! We sat down with Khalil El-Amin, former University of Cincinnati football player, who as a senior played in the Orange Bowl. He is now the marketing genius behind Nichefire, a tech start-up that’s disrupting the data game.

With his keen eye for detail and a relentless entrepreneurial spirit, Khalil shared some insightful tips on how to turn a side hustle into a full-blown profitable business. From bootstrapping with partners who have coding skills to hustling in the gig economy, Khalil has navigated the choppy waters of entrepreneurship with grit and persistence.

Let's jog down memory lane as we relive the formidable years of Khalil's life on the UC football field. Sharing some cherished moments from his junior year, Khalil sheds light on the undeniable bond between the city and its undying love for Bearcats football. We also delved into the stories of UC alumni like Jason Kelce, celebrating their success and the indomitable UC spirit.

But it wasn't all gridiron glory. Khalil opened up about his journey , the challenges he faced growing up, and how being amidst a group of friends, all with the same goal to win, propelled him to scale new heights. His message is clear: surround yourself with success, and it will rub off on you. From building a successful tech team to developing a winning strategy, Khalil shares insider tips on what it takes to make it in the tech world. So, tune in, sit back and get ready for a conversation that blends sports, success, and start-ups like never before.

About Nichefire
Nichefire is an AI-powered marketing analytics company. We believe that better consumer and competitive insights mean better decisions. Nichefire’s Artificial Intelligence collects millions of data-points on brands’ digital marketing strategies, categorizes it, and delivers action plans and recommendations to help optimize your marketing strategies.

What Now?
As you're inspired to embark on your own side hustle journey after listening to this episode, you might wonder where to start or how to make your vision a reality. That's where our trusted partner, Reversed Out Creative comes in.

Specializing in strategic branding and digital marketing, Reversed Out Creative is an advertising agency dedicated to helping you turn your side hustle into your main hustle. With a team of experienced professionals and a track record of helping clients achieve their dreams, they are ready to assist you in reaching your goals.

To find out more about how they can elevate your side hustle, visit www.reversedout.com today and start your journey towards success. Our blog is also full of great information that we work

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Speaker 2:

Welcome to Side Hustle City and thanks for joining us. Our goal is to help you connect to real people who found success turning their side hustle into a main hustle, and we hope you can too. I'm Adam Kaler. I'm joined by Kyle Stevie, my co-host. Let's get started, all right? Welcome back, everybody to the Side Hustle City podcast Today's special guest, khalil Alameen. How are you doing, sir? What's going on, man? It's going so. Former UC player turned tech bro, or whatever you want to say. So Khalil was in our space here for a while with his co-founders and doing a company called Nitchfire which analyzes social chatter, I guess for brands.

Speaker 1:

High level. Yeah, high level, yeah, at a high level. What we do is we enable businesses to conduct social intelligence with the use of AI, so we're helping businesses understand the insights behind the data online, and it's not just social media, it's news and media blogs, any type of conversation happening online. We can pretty much capture it, run through our models and give you insights behind what's happening. Yeah, our biggest thing right now is our trendfire platform is identifying trends and predicting them six to 12 months into the future.

Speaker 2:

Well, that's wild too, with all the factors that go on with the economy and with all this stuff that's happening. You guys can still kind of take a look at that. I see that I feel like that would have way more than just significance for a brand. That seems like something that the government would want to use like a forecasting system as part of all this other stuff that they do.

Speaker 1:

Foresight is like a huge buzzword right now across bitcodes. Everyone wants to understand what the impact of decisions are before they make them. When it comes to trends, average person probably think about hey, it's a trend on TikTok. Or hey, this color is a trend or this certain type of for our 80s baby like a Tamagotchi right.

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah, trendy.

Speaker 1:

But what we're actually looking at are cultural trends or those behaviors that make up a community online, so essentially allowing businesses to be a fly on the room in these rooms that they're not in. So how do you better connect or show up where your customers want to be at and position your brand in that way? It's aiding storytelling, it's aiding communications, it's aiding sales strategy. So it can get pretty interesting what you can do with the data from it. But you're 100% right, like I mean something that everyone is super into because of the foresight behind it. Oh yeah, fortuneteller.

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah, that's what everybody wants to be. They want to be ahead of their competitors somehow and figure out and you guys do a lot of stuff with finance too. Do you have a lot of finance clients?

Speaker 1:

it sounds like Our first client was US Bank. We've been working with them for the past like five years, a couple other smaller banks and investment banks and things like that, and then we also work with Walmart.

Speaker 2:

Oh, wow. Well, that's a big one. Yeah, I think if you ever look at a map of the United States and who the biggest employer is in the States like 30 states the number one employer is Walmart.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's wild. No, it's huge. It's been a great experience working with Walmart. We learned a lot. Especially when you're small like us, I mean you can get into these big organizations and as long as you do good work and good business acumen, you can learn a lot.

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah, well, we don't have enough startup people, and it's crazy because I come from the startup world and it's like you'd think I'd have more startup people on the show. But it's always like real estate investors and just random stuff, like I like to mix it up a little bit. But it's good to have another startup person on the show to talk about the difficulties, because people think they see these success stories, they see these companies that are selling for a billion dollars or raising $200 million in their A round and everybody's like, wow, that's amazing, oh, this person's killing it. But you just don't hear a lot about how hard it is to get to that point and the struggle that you have for years to even get any traction with a company like a US bank or a Walmart. That's some work just to get to that point.

Speaker 1:

It's. You know, I equated to really just what I say you burn your ships or whatever. It was that type of mentality, man, I feel like I jumped in very later in life. In my previous life, obviously you was talking about it I was a football player, tried to live that dream for as long as I can. I played up until I was about 26 years old. So, jumping into business, I mean I was in my 30s when I jumped into business with Michael and Steve and my co-founders.

Speaker 1:

People look at you like you're crazy, like dude, what are you doing? Like how you pay yourself, how you do this, how you do that, and it was, you know, it was one of those things where you had to fall in love with the dream and believe in it more than anyone, because nobody's going to believe in it that's right Except you. So shout out to my co-founders man, I love those guys. We've been sticking together. We've been through our ups and downs. It's tough. We bootstrapped up until this year. Really, we took in some friends and family money early, but it's been bootstrapping, so the hustle was real.

Speaker 1:

Had to figure out how to feed, in my situation, a family. You know I had children, dreams, goals, aspirations. It's funny, I was just talking to my daughters on our way over to the pot, told her, you know, because we stopped and get coffee and we usually do this when she's with me in the summer We'll get coffee in the morning. Our mornings are different than most people's mornings, right, and she can compare and contrast to, because you know she spends mornings with her moms and then mornings with me and she's like well, it's super chill in the morning here.

Speaker 1:

Like you go get coffee, we chill out, we read, and then it's like, you know, around 10, 30, 11 o'clock. That's when you get busy. Like I want to do that when I grow up and I was like it took a long time for us to get here, like you got to sacrifice everything to get here. You sacrifice relationships, friendships, fun, finances. Yeah, you know, maybe I couldn't buy the shoes that I wanted or go on the vacation that I wanted because I was grinding and I had to figure out how to grind our way through it. So you're 100 percent right, like it takes a lot of oh just fortitude and grit.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and you got to want it Right, but I mean I think you're, I mean obviously, I mean you Played at one of the highest levels you could play at in football and for the university Cincinnati, and that was Big East, right when you were playing.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, we were we, we Two. What was he? Two, three time big East champions. When I was there, which is crazy.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, was that Tony Pike you were playing with too. Oh man, so was he on his way out.

Speaker 1:

No, no no, tony, me and Tony came in together. So Tony Gray shirted it, though, so he got an extra year of eligibility, but it was. It was like my. My junior year was been mocked. Yeah, that senior year it was. Grutsa Grutsa got hurt, yeah. Then it was Tony. Tony broke his arm, then it was Chas Anderson and Zach Coleris. We had like six quarters Coleris.

Speaker 2:

He's killing it still, and I swear like he's like winning championships and it's like people were like well, that's Canada. I'm like no, you know the dudes a gamer.

Speaker 1:

He's a baller, oh yeah. And then Tony Sokru back around, and then that next year that's when Tony had that crazy year like the Pitt game and you see, that was our first undefeated season.

Speaker 2:

Was that the Pittsburgh game? Yeah, when they played, that was all.

Speaker 1:

that was the greatest day I was gone by then, but like that year was like magical. I went down to the sugar bowl with those guys and so I was like that. I still felt like I was on the team that year, but my scenes, my season was the orange ball season. Yeah, so I mean I like to think that we kind of.

Speaker 2:

Was that the new one, that was the New Orleans one right. Was that New Orleans Orange?

Speaker 1:

New Orleans Orange Bowl was Miami Miami. And then the sugar bowl was New Orleans.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's the one. I think I wanted to was the sugar bowl. It's Florida, right. Yeah, was that the Florida one? Yeah, that was the Indian.

Speaker 1:

You ran to Tebow and that was that team was stacked. We had a what's the corner name? Joe Hayden, yep, tim Tebow, aaron Hernandez, carlos Dunn.

Speaker 2:

Oh, was Dunn lap on that team, oh wow.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, Pound T brothers. Oh, my goodness. I mean they had like 15, 18, all Americans. Yeah, All those guys went first round. I mean some of those are Pro Bowlers.

Speaker 2:

Pound T's a Pro Bowler right Pound T Pro Bowler. Dunn lap. Dunn lap, I don't know if Dunn lap was ever a Pro Bowler, but Hayden, I mean, look at his career, Hayden. Still. I don't know if he's still playing or not, Right? No, yeah, he might be a free agent this year.

Speaker 1:

He still can play. Yeah, that's the thing, and like we're all like the same age, you know like 36, late 30s, so you know he's keeping himself together. But yeah, I mean that team in Florida was stacked.

Speaker 2:

I know that we didn't have a chance, even though I went down or enacted like we did, I was running my mouth like we did, you know.

Speaker 1:

I think, I think, and it's sad that we got to go through that every so often with this, with the school.

Speaker 1:

Like you, said I think that's going to the Big 12 and keep that momentum going. You know new coaching staff and all that they got to get shot at, kind of getting that staple in there. But you can't deny. You see, when you go back, you know was that I don't know how many years ago when I played. Then you got guys coming through like sauce gardener where it's just like the best that you ever seen.

Speaker 2:

You got the best center in football right now. You got the best tight end in football and you got arguably the best corner in football. It's funny. I think you got the best center in football.

Speaker 1:

It's the same school. Jason didn't even play center. When I was there, he was our guard, which is wild. Yeah, it was like his first year starting and we had to get him fat and get him over it. There's like a linebacker. When he first came to walk on linebacker with this big thing wrapped around his head and like yeah, so yeah, all from the same school all from the same school and the crazy thing is is the coaches keep leaving and they just keep reloading. That's what I'm saying. You can't.

Speaker 1:

It's the program Undeniably Back to that mentality. You talked about grit and entrepreneurship and everything Like. That's the DNA of these UC guys. You're not gonna. It don't matter who comes and coach Like we'd love to have someone that stays for a million years like-.

Speaker 2:

Nick Saban or somebody. Yeah, We'd love that.

Speaker 1:

But if that doesn't happen, it don't matter, because dogs are gonna come out of this.

Speaker 2:

The city's gonna get behind it. The people here like we're in one of the best places in the country for ice cream football. I mean you could top five probably you know, and I mean even I remember when we were younger. I remember Kirk Herbshaw had that challenge and I think it was Colrain. Colrain played the Texas.

Speaker 1:

No, because the team had a TV show. Those guys had a TV show.

Speaker 2:

Oh, that's right, I remember that.

Speaker 1:

And they was at and the whole country was like oh, this team is da-da-da-da. And they came up here and got spanked that's right by the team from the TV show. Got spanked by either Molar or Colrain. I think it was Colrain.

Speaker 2:

One of those guys dumped them.

Speaker 1:

It was a year after Goody and them got to UC.

Speaker 2:

Oh so.

Speaker 1:

Coach Combs was still coaching there, but he spent a year there after Goody and them got here. Then Coach Combs came. It's good to have Coach Combs here in Cincinnati.

Speaker 2:

I love Coach Combs man. Yeah, it's good to have him here. He belongs here.

Speaker 1:

Man, his energy is just everything. It's crazy, just everything. But man, yeah, man, this is a special place for football and you know, I know we're supposed to be talking about business, but yeah, that does but it leads into it Because we're talking about a mentality.

Speaker 2:

We're talking about a college that can lose a coach and all these coaches going to become great. I mean it's Dantonio. Look at Dantonio. He did Michigan State. I mean, he did a great job in Michigan State. I mean Brian Kelly. I mean you go to Notre Dame and now you're at LSU. It's just like the list goes on. And I'm sure Fickle's going to be great at Wisconsin. It was just Tuberville. Years were tough. That was a weird error, but he's in Congress now.

Speaker 2:

He's doing his thing in Congress, whatever. But you have players that have become great. I mean you could probably say Zach Kolaris, but when he finishes his football career he's going to go down as one of the greatest CFL players Probably I mean in history probably. I mean he's bringing it and he's winning championships. He put the team on his back, like that video, and he put the team on his back, but he did. He's put his team on his back.

Speaker 2:

But you've got a mentality there, and not just with UC. I mean you've got a mentality in at that level, the amount of work that you have to do. And people see these players and they're just looking at oh, I can do that. No, you can't. Like you can do that, like it's just it's not going to happen.

Speaker 2:

And it's not just the physicality of it, it's not just you know the being blessed by being a big guy like you. You said before this you were eight years old or whatever, playing with 12 year olds because they wouldn't let you play with the year. Well, that's a blessing, you know, in a way, but not everybody has that. But then on top of that, you have to have the mental fortitude, you have to have the work ethic, and sometimes that comes with playing the sport. Like, sometimes you learn that because some of these kids going in or they may not have the work ethic, but coach is going to make you get up early, run sprints, do this, do that. Make sure you're working out, make sure you're eating right. Yeah, things that you probably didn't grow up with. You know, and it's that it changes your mindset and then you could be successful to the things like a startup.

Speaker 1:

Mm. Hmm, it really transferred over for me when, when I got my first job outside of football and it was. It was interesting because, like all, the leadership would always use me as an example and to a certain extent I kind of got annoyed from it because it was always like, oh well, you play football, so you know how to do this, and I'm like what, what does that have to do with anything you're talking about? But what I come to find out is that a lot of people, when they were 18, didn't get forced to wake up at four am in the winter to go run in the snow with your teammates. A lot of people don't understand the dedication that you have to put towards something to be good at it, not alone Great, just to be good at something. So you know, and a lot of the roles that I started off in my professional career were sales roles. So the sales, sales managers, love athletes because sales is athletic, is the most athletic business function that you have, like that you can draw that line.

Speaker 1:

So the sales managers would always be like, khalil, this and I, you know. Starting off I'd be like, yeah, that's cool. But then I started like this is kind of corny man, like I don't even want to be that example, like why do everyone think? But it was like, oh well, you know how to wake up and make a. You know have your list ready to call out in the morning. You know how to do. These are things that you do automatically because you're used to being regimen. A lot of people don't go through that in college. Some people are just kind of getting through college or, you know, having other things that they want to do. So that constant striving towards something greater is, I think, the catalyst like that they were looking for. Like OK, well, we want to we want that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you want to bottle that up and show other people this is the way you hand to your business when you come in and really quick, like quickly identifying, like like off, and it's like a personal thing for me, like I could quickly identify, like when I was done playing ball, if I didn't like not having a routine around things. You just feel out of whack.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Like if you don't get up and do things the same way and you feel out of whack. So it was like those those are things that transfer, transfer over, that kind of helped me out. It's like knowing that that's what it was, not just like, hey, I want to talk to you about football all day, you know type of deal, but that grit, that understanding of striving for something greater. And then the other side of that too is knowing to keep going when things aren't turning out the way you want, but knowing that you're doing the right thing, because you got to think how many people get on the grind and then quit because they're not getting the results that they want right away and they gave up too early. And that happens a lot in business too, where you might have a great idea, a great product, a great service, and maybe you're rolling it out the wrong way or maybe you're not talking about it the right way. We had this problem.

Speaker 2:

Or you don't want to pivot. Like you refuse to pivot, you're like no, I'm right, the customer's not right, I'm right.

Speaker 1:

And then, before you know it, you burnt yourself out because you're not having any success and maybe it's not, it's not the idea, is the way you're doing it and you give up. But if you don't have that, knowing like hey, I'm about to come in here into this weight room and I'm my book. My goal is, before the end of this summer I want to be able to bench press 400 pounds three times, how do you get there? Well, you got to start putting 400 pounds on the bar and trying it and felling at it a bunch of times before you know. Now, obviously you don't want to go in there and just load up the back.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, exactly People out there.

Speaker 1:

Be safe in the weight room. 400 pounds, a lot of pounds, it's a lot, it's a lot. But you go in there and you pick up 300 pounds and you can do get the 300 pounds of 10 times and you get the confidence to say, like dang, I might be able to put 360 pounds on here and see how many times. You know, it's like one of those things. A muscle like you got to get that confidence and the understanding of like, hey, I got a greater goal and I might fail to get there and I might go. I might come in here for two weeks and not be able to move this bar at all. Yeah, but on that fourth week I come in, I might be able to move that bar an inch, and that's all you need to keep yourself going. And that's what business is, it's a good point Just a little bit of progress.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's right.

Speaker 1:

With NITS Fire. We struggle, we struggle, starting off seriously like we had this idea. The origin is me and Michael started a digital marketing company before we started the, the, the startup. So we had cash you know ways to make cash and and and that hustler mentality. You don't want to let that go because you're like all right, I can go grab a client to do a website, we can go do some social media.

Speaker 2:

And make a little $5,000 real quick. Do a couple of sites, we can get it.

Speaker 1:

Mike's like hey, I got this idea and I really will like for you to be a part of it, but this means that we can't do that anymore and you got to dedicate yourself. I'm like hey, man, the idea is big enough that I think I love to be a part of it, but let's, let's figure it out and from there it's just. You know, off to the races. And you know that one inch better was when we found out how to build our MVP and I had an opportunity to go out to Boston and I sold our first deal and it was only like $200, $300 a month deal. But that was that little inch that we needed to say hey guys, we can't quit.

Speaker 2:

We got to keep going.

Speaker 1:

And it was like, oh well, how can you get excited? And that's like family and people that are close to you, because people love you, Right, they don't want to see you crash and burn, right, and when they see you totin this line, they're going to probably say things to you that hurt you. But they're trying to help and their head they're trying to help. But people couldn't see that. Oh, dude you, just how much are you close to deal in Boston? I'm super excited about how much was the deal for it. I don't worry, it's not how much, it's like 300 bucks a month. Man, you better go find a real job. And it's like, hey, man, look, I'm going to keep doing this because the idea and is greater, and that's all we needed to kind of take it to the next level.

Speaker 1:

And it was just a series of those small wins over the last six, seven years. It's just like a little bit of wind keeps you going, a little bit keeps you going. And then it's like, hey, you look back and you're like, hey, we did all this and we ain't took in nobody else's money. We took in some friends and family money and we've been running this up ourselves. Yeah, so it's like you can't quit. Then, right, you're right. You know, when we landed at US Bank, we were like, hey, this is like third, fourth largest bank in the country. Let's just try to grow there. Right, and that's what we did. We just tried to develop other things inside departments and we lived off that for a little bit, right, well, and it's 10 times cheaper to deal with an already existing client.

Speaker 2:

Get more business from them, then go out and try to find another client.

Speaker 1:

Because a client you know you go after VCs they want to ask you how much you know, how much does it cost to get a new client Right?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, those things really matter. Cost acquisition Cost acquisition.

Speaker 1:

That's real. So, you know, we got in there and started just really figuring out how we can grow and provide more value versus getting money. We wanted to say we want to make sure that this is valuable, especially when you're selling technology. It's like, hey, how is my technology helping you get some type of output that you want? Like, how is this valuable to you as an individual? And we had to talk on a you know, belly to belly individual basis while we were a startup working in this big company, until someone got comfortable enough and said, hey, let's talk to the market research department. Once we did that, then it was like there's no way I'm stopped doing this Because the market research department of the fifth, fourth, whatever largest bank in the country wants to talk to me about our company. There's something there, something a lot bigger there.

Speaker 1:

So hey, hold on keep going Now, mind you, we still was bootstrapping, so ain't no money coming in really. You know, we paying our people, we paying our employees. But you see, the opportunity getting bigger. Opportunity just keeps getting bigger, but we still ain't paying ourselves. We did that for like two and a half three years, not paying ourselves. Oh, that's what you did that. So it's like you know how do you?

Speaker 1:

we've talked about earlier how do you make money when you're not paying yourselves? You do whatever you can right Michael by trade, like great web developer doing that. He built websites on the side doing this thing. On that I did sales and marketing. I'd grab a couple clients. I had a landscaping company I was working with for a little bit.

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah, that's a good side hustle.

Speaker 1:

Doing that, like helping that company out, so you had to figure out ways. Another thing too like the people sleep on, it was like the gig economy Deliver groceries, deliver Amazon, deliver Uber, uber Eats, turo, turo. Yeah, you have all these opportunities out here as an entrepreneur that you have time to go do right. If you say, all right, I need to do a side hustle or how to do it, all right, you got however many hours a week that you can physically work every week without crashing and burning. You can't say it's 80. Cause that's not realistic. You can't do that for a long time. You can do it, but not for a long time. But 55, 60 ish hours, I think would be like.

Speaker 2:

When the less sleep you end up getting to, the less effective you are, the next day Exactly.

Speaker 1:

So you know however many hours a week you can work. Then you need to say, okay, within this time period, how much do I need to dedicate to my tasks for my businesses? So my business still does what it needs to do, and how much do I need to dedicate to living Like, how much do I need to make so I can pay rent? How much do I need to buy groceries, daughter, all that stuff? So you know what you're working for. You can't just be blind out here just trying to do something. You got to have a goal, that's right.

Speaker 1:

So that's what I did for a while too is like Uber, instacart. I was one of the first people around doing Instacart. I had like three.

Speaker 2:

Instacart profiles. What kind of money can you make doing just gig economy stuff, you think? I mean it sounds like you tried a lot of them. So what do you think you can do?

Speaker 1:

So I was one of the ones that like jumped on one and then like, when it was hot, I would do it until it got over saturated and I'd do another one. So, like I started off with Instacart because I was like new and it was hot and I was familiar go to the grocery store all the time. It's easy, I'll go pick up your groceries, drop them off for you. I was doing anywhere between 500 to 800 bucks weekly. I did it one day through Sunday, oh yeah, so I would try to make you know, 100, 150 bucks a day. Then they started letting people give tips and then the amount I started making was more from Instacart. And I did that for a while and telling everyone about it and I feel like I told too many people.

Speaker 1:

Too many people, that's right yeah, because the price that I was trying to help people out too.

Speaker 2:

Exactly, yeah.

Speaker 1:

But people were. You know, like I said, you tell people enough about what you're doing. People love you and they want to know more. So they're like well, if you're not paying yourself, how do you pay your bills? And it's like well, I don't have a rich uncle or no one paying bills for me. You know, I'm hustling. So I was trying to do like $700 a week, $600 a week. That way I knew I could take care of bills, have a couple of hundred dollars left over for whatever I needed to do and I can keep going with my business.

Speaker 1:

I did that up until it got over saturated with the Instacart, where I was doing way more deliveries than I feel like I was getting paid for, and I was like well, I want to change it up. And that's when I started doing the Uber. And Uber was great because one I just did the 275 loop. I would drive to the airport, pick someone up, take them to PNG, wherever they were going, ask them what they was doing here, had that conversation, pass my card out, networking with people. And I did that, you know, half the day. So I would Uber, like you know, from noon until four or five every day and I worked my business from the morning until like noon every day. I did that for like two years and then and that's crazy too- Like you think of the transition you had to make mentally.

Speaker 2:

You just went from hey, I'm working on stuff, I'm calling people, I'm doing, I'm coming up with marketing ideas, I'm doing all this cerebral stuff. Then you're just, you're driving a car, like now you got to focus on the road, now you got to focus on you know who, you, who am I going to pick up? And that's a. That's like most people just sit eight hours doing like one type of job all day.

Speaker 1:

It was kind of crazy. Like I loved Uber, I like driving and so Uber was great and I would. I would still recommend that to any startup founder people out there bootstrapping trying to find a way, get out there and gig. If it ain't Uber, if that's not your thing, it's funny. We're talking about now and we're talking about when I'm doing Uber. We're talking about pre COVID, right? So boom, now COVID hits and I'm a Uber driver and a startup founder with a, with a, with a new baby at the same time, with a new baby at home too.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I don't want to know people in my car. I remember I remember I was, like, you know, trying to psych myself out. One time I was like, all right, let me get out here and go get some rides and it's right. After the quarantine hit. Now Uber's still open. That's why I, that's why the gig economy is great, because when stuff like that happens, those things, those things didn't go away. They didn't say, hey, uber, that Uber didn't say, hey, you can't drive anymore. They say, hey, put a mask on, clean your car, clean your car, do these things. And that's what I did. So I was still trying to and I think it's just because, in nature. I'm just a serving person. Like I don't want to. I don't want you to be late for work because I'm scared to pick you up in my Uber. I've been doing this for the last year, like let's do it Right. I picked up a lady like the first day of quarantine and she get in the backseat, get the coffin.

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah, rolled out in windows. It's freezing outside.

Speaker 1:

I got the windows down and she don't speak English, she's a Hispanic, she's talking in Spanish and I'm like I'm sorry, roll the windows down, spray your lights. So I'm freaking out. But after after that, I felt I don't want to disrespect anyone or be insensitive to anyone in my car. What other ways can I still work with Uber? And that's when I'm like I'm going to just do Uber eats and it's the best decision I did, because during the pandemic, everybody was getting stimulus Check, spending all their money on Uber eats. Oh, stimulus checks went quick, bro.

Speaker 2:

I was getting a two to Turo was good too for stimulus because people are like well, that's a nice car I want to drive a nice car. I got this stimulus check they were just spending, dumb it was like, so I got the deliver in the food for a while.

Speaker 1:

And then I did that for another. I did Uber for like two years and then I started consulting with the landscaping company and I work with him for like two and a half years after that. So then it's been quite a while All over the place, yeah, man, wow, but the constant was niche fire. You know something that I wouldn't give up on? Well, that was a goal.

Speaker 2:

That was like the future that's. That's like, look, I don't want to have to just do this for the rest of my life. I got to, I got to figure something else out. I need a big win, and actually that was a book I was thinking about writing as one big win. Talk about how, like, if you can just get a big win somehow not the lottery or something that's probably going to happen, but some of you have control of, some of you have in your control you can get that one big win. That'll lead you into a lot of other things. My daddy, my daddy, you just said I just need one lick. Yep, that's it.

Speaker 1:

One, give me one. He's old street guy, turn entrepreneur and grew his landscaping company, so multimillion dollar company. So he he understood that side of it. Especially in contracting you need just one big, big project.

Speaker 2:

And that's my dad, yeah. He's contractor to he's just one of them, travels around the country, just does whatever he can do to make money. You know that.

Speaker 1:

I mean the contractor. Money is great though, because I mean you can go in and $200,000 building, I mean some talking landscape especially now hydro seeding, yeah, like there's just so many ways. That's the thing about, I think, just being an entrepreneur that you have to grow. You have to understand, like, how to look at all businesses, to get inspired, like nobody good businesses and bad business Nobody business should be looked at in comparison to yours. You should be looking for inspiration because somebody doing something different that you ain't never thought of.

Speaker 1:

that could probably help you and your business. So you can't look up or down on no one's business, and that's like a mentality I always had, as well as like just always trying to be an entrepreneur.

Speaker 2:

Well, in the shiny object syndrome too, I mean, you know you have to stay focused on what you're doing. You can't just bounce from one thing to the other thing and be all over the place. You got to stay focused on things, which is another reason I'm like athletes. I mean you're, you got schoolwork, tests, all that stuff, and I dealt with that too.

Speaker 2:

I went to school for the creative and form an art. So we I double major. I was doing drama and then art. So I had art projects I had to sit down and just do like you couldn't, I mean your marker renderings and things like that, like you had to actually sit during school time and do those projects. Then, on top of that, you're in the fifth, sixth grade doing 10 minute Shakespeare monologues in old English, and I'm surprised I could barely speak English right. So I'm like here we go, like you know, you got that. Then you got all your academic classes on top of that. I was like going to college and you're in the fifth, sixth grade, so I can think of that. But then I'm like man, if you're a college and you're performing at this high level, the expectations are just it's crazy. I mean, you're filling a roster spot, possibly a scholarship spot. You got to perform and you got your, your classes, to worry about. That's a lot of pressure to be under.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it really starts. Um, they do it at the university, Cincinnati. Um, and shout out to everyone that's still there from when I was there, because there was a lot of people on the academic and sports like support those sports teams and it really happens their first year. Right, If you come in and you want to party and you want to let loose, which a lot of 17, 18 year olds- do right.

Speaker 1:

You can quickly fall off of a regiment. That can help you in long run. And it's easier when you first start to get on the program, with the program then trying to do it your third year there and, to be honest, if you're still struggling with the balancing of your study tables and all that stuff by your third year in, you're just going to be. You probably are academic and eligible that whole time.

Speaker 1:

Oh my God, you see what I'm saying so it really starts when you like a freshman and you know the study tables and all those things. And then for me, I started off in a major that a lot of my teammates weren't. It was only like three of us and I was trying to be a civil engineer at first, so it was only like so many other guys that were doing that. I think it might have been two or three others that were doing silver engineering or any type of engineering, and that was tough.

Speaker 2:

Because you don't have a circle of people that are like everybody goes into criminal justice, right, right, my, my, I, somebody I was dating back in the day she was getting her PhD at UC for criminal justice and everybody was in she taught you know she, because you're doing your PhD, you have to teach.

Speaker 1:

Her entire class was football basketball football, basketball, yep, and, and that's great Like and one of the best schools in the country for for that right now. But I didn't. I didn't want to do criminal justice Like I didn't. I didn't want to. I wanted to be a architect, landscape architect or a civil engineer, build bridges and stuff like that. So I had to figure out that freshman year outside of okay, the study tables, all that. If you wanted a tutor, they had CJ criminal justice tutors, abundant of them there but who can help me with stats? Who can help me with Calc three? Who can help me with all these engineering things? So I had to actually go to the engineering college to get tutors and stuff like that. But thank God for the athletic program there where they helped bridge that gap for me. So they're like hey, listen, he needs help with this, this and that. And I had a tutor my freshman year and a couple of classes that taught me how to study, taught me how to read, cause you read differently when you're consuming large amounts of books.

Speaker 2:

Oh, I have probably staying focused when I'm reading.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, she had to teach me how to study, teach me how to read, you know. Teach me how to work so I could be efficient, because you know it's just like going to the gym what the school stuff is like. You got to work that muscle, understand how to do it, so you don't spend three, four hours doing it, you want to just spend enough time so you can get back to whatever you need to do. So I mean you had to learn that stuff. There's people that just know how to study.

Speaker 2:

It's crazy, and I think they learn it in their schools. I've been out since I public. So, I would have been completely unprepared. I thought I knew how, but no, yeah not. These people were real good at I had a couple of friends. My wife's great at it.

Speaker 1:

I had a couple of friends that were pre-med and law and it was just like, well, like what, I'm about to go do my homework, where you guys got to go read and I got a lecture. I got to read. Like how much you got to read. I got to finish this book. Like the whole book is like yeah, how long is going to take you to finish that book? A couple hours, how? How do you read? How do you read that? So I mean, I took and I always been that type of dude I took and took a speed reading. Try to learn how to. Like I said, just the way I'm about to be, you can't never look past what someone else is doing because you might find some inspiration, that's right. So somebody tell me they read a book in a couple hours and it takes me a couple months to finish a book. How? It's like oh, speed reading, what's that? That's a real thing. I thought people were just doing like this. No, they're actually.

Speaker 2:

They're absorbing information faster than my wife does that speed reading stuff. It's crazy, it's nuts.

Speaker 1:

And then it's like oh well, you can gain inspiration from others, and I think that is another thing, just being curious and understanding that you not, you can't have no ego in this. You got to be. Yeah, I get the greatest at everything. Yeah, you got to. Yeah, I feel the work, I'm the work, I'm the opposite. I feel like I'm the worst at everything and I want to learn from the people that do it better. That's why I hit you up. Yeah, man, what's up? Man, we need to get together because I know you do great things and last time we talked, you were talking. I think you were running for city council.

Speaker 2:

State rep State rep Yep.

Speaker 1:

Excuse me.

Speaker 2:

Essentially state rep, Essentially just to make this dude spend money that I was running against because he was going to win. But you know, I'm like you get somebody's got standing his way, Somebody's got to oppose him, making making prove that he should be in the spot.

Speaker 1:

But in my opinion, like, if you wanted that, you get it, because I've seen the work you were putting in here and it wasn't just like you say it like that on here and it sounds like it was just, ah, just doing that. Dude, you had it together Like you had a real campaign going. You had people coming over here all the time. I've seen the motion. Yeah, like oh, I don't know what he's doing.

Speaker 2:

Like, if you wanted, to, and that was my first time ever running for anything. So it was just, you know, one of the things, and it's like this is my, this is my neighborhood, like, if you want to come in here, you're not just going to walk into this seat and nobody else was going to stand up and do anything, you know, and it was just like I guess that's me.

Speaker 1:

Well, I mean, I think, I think it goes it circles all the way back around just to be in where you from, like you growing up in the Price Hill. You know, you know just as well as me Like it ain't easy to be where you are right now growing up over there.

Speaker 2:

Oh, it's tough. You look back on some of the stuff, the situations I could have been in the situation I wasn't, the bad decisions you can make. You know I always tell people to. If I go talk to the kids at the schools and stuff. It's like, look, don't get anybody pregnant when you're like 12 or 14.

Speaker 2:

Don't get a felony when you're you know there's so many things like just graduate high school, just get out of high school, like they don't understand, like how much of a motivation boost that is for a lot of kids. They don't get it, like that's a. That's a big challenge for some people when you don't have a support system. I mean we live in a little one bedroom with four people and in order for me to study, I would go in a closet, put a pillow over my ears so I could focus on what I was trying to read, just to get my studying done, because you couldn't go outside. I mean it was a yeah, what are you going to do when price is outside?

Speaker 1:

I mean you're yeah exactly.

Speaker 2:

Or, yeah, I mean the library is only open so late, so you can't really go study anywhere else. My school's closed down, because I went to school and over to run, so it's like you couldn't. You couldn't go downtown, and it was just it was. It was hard, and when you don't have the proper environment, I think, for learning, it makes it really, really tough. And I think there's a lot of people out there, I mean especially a lot of people you probably played ball with. They came from those kinds of situations and you have to learn so many things that you didn't know. But now you've got a support system, like you said. Now you've got a tutor, now you've got somebody teaching you how to eat correctly, because I mean that could be a problem too for people.

Speaker 1:

I think the other side of that to do item is the people that was around. Right Like you can easily, especially like while I'm in business now like I could still hang out with a bunch of people that aren't in business, but it's hard because we don't eat the same way. Right Like, we do different. We do things differently. So there's always intellectual differences that happen, like where someone thinks a certain way, are they going to do something a certain way, and you're like why are you doing it? Like that.

Speaker 1:

It's like, oh well, you're trained to kind of get up, that's right. Yeah, work this day. I've been trained to not do that for so long, so it's like we're not going to see eye to eye. So keeping the same people, type people around you is like the most, like invaluable. Oh, it's crazy Thing you could do, because if everyone in that all 105 of us that you see, not only was everyone like kind of cut from the same quote everyone wanted to win, everyone wanted to win.

Speaker 2:

Three stars into NFL all pros, I mean it does and the way you can bring in people that might have felt slighted by a bigger school. Your high level three star guy maybe you're 88, 89 Travis was a quarterback like a two, three star quarterback out of Cleveland which is crazy.

Speaker 1:

Come in and for this kid to even come to UC as a quarterback my you, tony Pike, dustin Gruta, chas Anderson, klares then Mark, those are our quarterbacks. You're going to say, I'm going to come there and play quarterback. And you got guys like Chas Anderson and Klares that both started year before. You wouldn't see the field until forever. That's right. And then the quarterback for him to come in and you know he had his ups and downs, which actually I feel like helped him out and helped him evolve as an athlete. But you got guys coming like that and he was playing basketball.

Speaker 1:

Dude, he's a freak. That's the thing about Travis A lot of people don't know he's just a gamer Like he's a freak athlete, he's a baller, same with Jason, just freak athletes like great athletes, great ball players, but just tough like nobody. Nobody was expecting him to be who they are today. And that's the thing, man, like when you have a group of people that are all like that, that's what happens. And the cream going rise to the top every time.

Speaker 1:

And you got to think to the guys that push that envelope, the guys that you know everyone is the richer halls. Right, let's go back to Antoine Peaks. Oh, yes, those guys coming back and you're like, oh, especially being a guy from here, seeing a guy like rich hall, my freshman year, telling me as a, as a veteran transfer from Ohio State, running back, coming here to tell me offense alignment, big fella, move the guy this way because I can do this. Like dude, all the confidence in the world now, like he just told me that, like, oh my God. And then you got guys like that come in after him butler Benton, bradley Glathar, your guy from from.

Speaker 1:

I say a P right, these guys that just have this freakish amount of talent. You want to be like them too. So if they out, when in every race you're going to try to race them, I'm out doing sprints around yourself with. I'm racing running backs in my sprint. I'm not going to win ever. It might have been a couple of walk on running backs that I might have walked down, tell people.

Speaker 2:

tell people how big you were then.

Speaker 1:

So I was about 300. 20 pounds I'm a little bit more than that.

Speaker 2:

Now I need to lose some weight, but I was about three 15, three 20, six, five and a half and you're running against a six foot five, 10, six foot 200 pounder.

Speaker 1:

So to fly and like 191.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

I had a five flat 40. So I was pretty quick. Wow From my size, wow, yeah.

Speaker 2:

But you got long stride yeah.

Speaker 1:

I could run and jump real high and stuff like that. But I would, I would. I would say I don't want to run against the linemen. It was first like, let me, let me raise some of these D, d tackles, d hands, yeah. And then it's like, all right, we're going to raise some linebackers. Then the running backs out there and the wide receivers like let's race them too. Then you know you're not going to win. But it's the competition. It's like you know, iron, sharp iron, that's right. And it's the same in business. If you surround yourself around people that are doing better than you, you can always do better, because you're going to learn.

Speaker 2:

sometimes, in order to change yourself, you got to change your environment 100% all.

Speaker 1:

Like that's like the biggest invite, like that's the biggest advice I give anyone trying to go into business and really trying to figure out, like, who they should be around the most, because, like, like I say, your family loves you, they don't want you to do this crazy stuff. Like the way starting a business is literally insane. Like just way more easier ways to make money.

Speaker 2:

That's yeah, way more easier. It's the card Uber. Just go Uber every day, so much.

Speaker 1:

It's a better way.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

So your family isn't necessarily going to be the right people to kind of lean in and lean on, unless you come from a family of entrepreneurs. Right Friends usually aren't going to be on that same page with you because, again, there's easier ways to do it. So you got to, you got to become a part of those groups, you got to go to the startup, whatever small business, whatever chamber commerce, whatever. You got to just do that over and over and over again and you'll start finding like, oh well, this person is good at this, this person is good at that, let's get coffee, let's talk, let's learn.

Speaker 2:

They said to you, with a combination of the top five people in your network, like the top five people you hang out with the most, that's that's where you end up being. So look at the people around you. Like what are they doing? You know, are they? Do you have people that reach out to you and say, hey, let's grab a coffee, let's do this? Are those professional people, you know? Are those the type of people you want to be like and do stuff with? And you know, just as somebody who you know was part of a team that started a company, you could see like the ups and downs, like you're going to deal with those things and do you have the mental fortitude and the support system behind you to be able to get through that and be able to work through that and say, you know, oh bro, how much are you making off this, off this deal? Only $300 a month. And be able to brush that off Like, hey, that's cool, whatever.

Speaker 2:

Like yeah you know, especially if it's somebody who you look up to right uncle, somebody like that, who's out here doing this thing and he's making good money.

Speaker 1:

Those people's words can really crush you, like they could really hurt you and people you respect. And it's like, well, if you have that community around you like, hey, listen, and then I mean especially for us, like I had so many people like that. And then you know, once you start branching out and having those conversations, once you have some success, then you just meet better and smarter people and then it's just like, hey, just, you know, hang on. Like we've been in the middle of closing out a seed round and it gets shaky Right. You're waiting for investor cash to come in and you know trickling in on your customer, you know your revenue coming in, so you're just running off fumes. And you got to have somebody there to say, hey, just hold on.

Speaker 2:

Like you're blessed to man because you got developers that are part of the team, and I think one of the reasons we were successful is is we had somebody who was willing to work for equity and knew what he was doing and was willing to put in those like I'm up till two or three o'clock in the morning and just grinding code and stuff. Like you have to have one of the. If you're a technology star, if you got a SaaS business, you have to have one of those people on your, because spending money on that is crazy, yeah, especially if you don't know what you're doing. You got to pivot all the time and then, going back to a development team, be like, oh, here, I need to pivot.

Speaker 1:

That's why I was so like that's what I'm saying Like half of it is luck. You know, in a way, too Like we got lucky, like Michael skill set was so great where he's not a full stack developer but he knew enough to get us where we needed to go and we knew who we needed. So we added, like you said, someone on the team gave them equity that could help out. So, since we started our business, our IP, our you know data scientists and data engineers all in house right, we outsource what we need and we have partners and strategic partners in that regard, but we had those data sciences with us every day. So, and what that does for me, someone that does sales and marketing, I learn. So it's like, ok, paul, why is what you're doing better than what's out there? And he can take these huge ideals of data science and machine learning and break them down to a way where a football player can understand them and say, oh well, when I talk to customers, this is the value.

Speaker 2:

You're trying to distill it from what he's talking about, because he may not be the best person to deliver that message to the customer. Right, he can deliver it to you. You can take it to still it down into what you know the customer is going to want to hear and then deliver it to them. Right, and that's a skill that most people don't have.

Speaker 1:

Well, and it's. It's also finding out how you fit in right Just because you're not. You don't have to be a developer. You don't have to be a data scientist to get into tech. You just have to know what you're good at and how that can apply to a business that is, you know, a technology business. And that's what I did. I didn't, never once, and that's why our team has been able to stay together for the last seven, eight years is because everyone respects what the other founder brings to the table. There's never a time where Michael's like hey, I think I want you to come over here and run these Python scripts. We would not have a business if we were doing stuff like that, right.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 1:

Cleal, I need you to go to this event. Hey, let's send you to Chicago for this. Hey, can you go talk to this person for this? You got the chops. We want you out there. We want you talking to these people. That's your value for this company. That's what you do. That's the best salespeople are tall people, man.

Speaker 2:

So I mean because you're physically like, people see you, they notice you and they want to talk to you and you probably have people come up to you like you play football. Yeah, every time.

Speaker 1:

Every time you play football, if we're if we're doing an event locally, it's like the best, especially when we were having some offensive line problem. The Bengals need you, so the Bengals do not want me out. They're not in shape. I will be tired after the first three snaps, Like let the I don't know, man, the way some of them get run over.

Speaker 2:

I don't know man, right tackle they throw water. We have some problems they get together man, I like, I like.

Speaker 1:

No, they are.

Speaker 2:

They're offensive line right now is the best it's been in a year, man.

Speaker 1:

Listen, I really like that. Jackson got out there being a local guy. I don't know him personally, I watched him play in high school and he just rough around a rat, but that nastiness that he bring that. He got in in the Super Bowl or one of the one of the players and he drove, block a guy out of bounds and flexed on him out and I was like that's what that line needs.

Speaker 2:

We've been. He came in denigy, like in the Buffalo game. He held it down.

Speaker 1:

That's what I'm saying. He's a good player.

Speaker 2:

It takes two, three years for an offensive line.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it takes a long time to get used to. You got to gel.

Speaker 2:

Not the individual, not just the individual player. But then you got and I don't know what the hell I'm talking about, I'm playing football, but from what I understand is is you've got not only does the player take two, three years to really understand the NFL.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, the unit has to move together because you got certain techniques of you know, back double teams and back steps and zone steps and moving together where you can see that they got the foundation there. But people, like I said, people will see me out and be like you need to play for the bangles and I'm like dude, they ain't better. Don't put Joe Burrow behind me right now because I'm telling you I got two good snaps and then I want some to eat and I'm in some Gatorade. I'm not a football player.

Speaker 2:

You should call me on the sideline for me, right.

Speaker 1:

I'm not a ball player, no more. Like I don't have that, no more. But you're right, and I'm in some ice做 publi個毒 we. We're good at that as founders. Like Michael's, a great visionary, understands the artificial intelligence and what he's trying to pull out of his brain as far as an analyst and turn into software. Stevens a whiz when it comes to the spreadsheets and operations, and that's something you need for sure, everyone has their place, but but think about the way he approaches it.

Speaker 2:

Michael's going to approach the product and the customer. Michael's saying here's the product, here's how I think the customer is going to use it. You're looking at it from a different perspective. You're probably saying the customer has this problem.

Speaker 1:

Here's how we need to adapt our stuff to fit what they have a problem with and it's like OK, a lot of the times Michael can, Michael can be from that product side and the individual that's going to use it. But how does that matter to the business? Yes, so helping that person out. What is the value of it to the business? And you and I both know if the business can't produce an ROI off of it, you don't have a business.

Speaker 2:

You don't have a business.

Speaker 1:

So getting into those meetings with that user or that person that Michael can really jail with quickly and they say, oh, this is brilliant, I've been looking for this. That's nice, Mr Customer, who has to be here to make these decisions on this? Because a lot of the times that person can't make that decision. So you can get that person happy or excited, but it's like how do you sell it to the business? How do you make make sure that is the business? So if I can go talk to your boss and show them that this is actually going to generate $25 million in the next quarter from these insights or hey, you got a business question that I know. If you answer it, you guys can gain $100 million in the next two quarters.

Speaker 2:

That's right For this product.

Speaker 1:

Why wouldn't you spend $100,000? You would.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, do whatever you got to do. I mean that's yeah, you know, you've got that sitting out there and you got that positive, the potential.

Speaker 1:

And that's why me and Michael work well together in meetings, because I know that he's coming from the product perspective and he knows that I'm always thinking of all right, how to make the business buy it from us, because I'm like, okay, so I'm always, and it's like you got to be a good listener, you got to listen and understand, like what's important and then understand the right questions to ask. But we all have our thing that we're good at, but you gel together and that's I think that's how we did too.

Speaker 2:

It was like you had the right team and there's ways to put together a team now that I mean you can look at personality types, you can look at just psychological.

Speaker 1:

We did one of those tests. It was, I forget, one of the VCs. How to do one of those? Was it like an?

Speaker 2:

Enneagram, or oh was it. Was it the guys down here? I think so In.

Speaker 1:

Covington. Yeah, it was called Wendell.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, they were on the show.

Speaker 1:

So we did that test and the I forget who came back was like hey, we looked at your results from this and this is the perfect mixture. Yes, because you have. You know, you guys. You guys both are like me and Michael are both like, super optimistic, want to do this type of guys. And then Steven, steven, more realists. I'll call him pessimistic sometimes, but he's more real yeah but you gotta have that guy to balance those out.

Speaker 1:

And then, like all the other pieces of it, it was like oh so, where this guy isn't good, this guy's good, this guy's good. And it's just like when you work with people for more than five years, you know I think we're going on eight years now working together Wow, you become family in a way. That's right and you know it's. It's like the perfect storm. You know, like if someone asks us how we got to where we are now, first thing we, you know most likely we'll say is like hey, well, we still ain't where we want to be first of all. So don't like, don't look up to us in that regard, because we're just super humble, like there's a lot of things that we want to be better at.

Speaker 1:

So but I think the number one thing for us is just sticking together and not giving up too early and then knowing when to pivot, because we had a huge pivot. We had a pivot about a year and a half ago where we switched from selling our legacy platform, which was this competitive intelligence tool can kind of pair you up, benchmark you against your competitors. Great product, still very useful, but kind of late to the party. It was a, it was a nice to have. We switched from that to building out this trend fire platform, which we understood was a blind spot, and most organizations across the country when it comes to you know, trendspotting and forecasting and fortune telling, all that stuff.

Speaker 1:

That was real scary because it was like all right, we're going to pivot, we're going to do it. And for us to get through that it took everyone to just be good at what they were good at. And for me, I knew where I was bad at and I was like all right, I'm about to learn everything I possibly can about machine learning at a high level so that I can explain it, because usually the person that's buying is like me where they're not an expert at it, they don't really need to know all the idiosyncrasies of it, right, because that stuff is super complex. Oh yeah, really cool stuff. And I mean, I mean you could. You could literally spend a year trying to learn about it and still have.

Speaker 2:

But the people buying from you, they know. They know what they don't have and what they need to have and what's going to give them that edge in the industry. I mean forecasting and and I mean there's. There's so many different ways you could do it, so many ways you could do it wrong, or just, you know, take a shot in the dark kind of thing. Is what really what people do now? Right, there's no real solution really, until you guys came out that can say, look, we could tell here's where we're getting this information from, here's how we're putting this together. It's, it's, it's. You have more confidence.

Speaker 1:

It's funny we went to. Did you go? To signal the PNG event that they just had recently?

Speaker 2:

I didn't. Yeah, I was too busy.

Speaker 1:

They had the CMO of McDonald's there.

Speaker 1:

Oh she said something really interesting that really stood out about how they're asking. Like you know, mcdonald's is historically always in marketing crushing it right. Good commercials, oh yeah, good messaging they do a really good job, but it was like a lot more success recently and then like the grimace shake and all that stuff. So it was like perfect time for her to talk about some of those things. But one of the things that she said that stood out to me was given letting our people to have that creative confidence. And how do you have that creative confidence behind your idea or whatever? You need data, you need you need to understand that your decision isn't just some wild idea that might work yeah.

Speaker 1:

Some mad scientist and it don't work like that anymore. Out here there's so much data, there's so much, there's so many data points that these businesses have that they can make decisions off of. But sometimes there's blind spots and we figured out like, hey, we can provide this blind spot when it comes to trans spotting or understanding that cultural, you know, societal, economic behavior behind these trends online. That's that sweet spot that I was talking about.

Speaker 2:

Well, when you get in a room in your brain storm with a bunch of the creatives I mean I've been in plenty of those meetings you know there can be room split right, like you got guys like oh, I think this. The lady that's like Yo, I think this. And how do you? How do you solve those debates? How do you come to a conclusion and come up with something that's going to work Right? It's just days of hey. I got this, I got that, just data.

Speaker 1:

And it usually bought, like those conversations you saw right. Then it's two things that you do now. Now we're going to AB test it and it's like, hey, we're not trying to change anything about that, Because I think that that way of doing things when especially come to marketing still a great way of doing it. We just want to make that smarter. Let's make your AB test a little bit smarter. Let's take it another level and say, hey, you're elevating these ideas.

Speaker 2:

Like it's not just hey, I've got this idea, I think it's ready to go, I think this is great, Sounds good. Wait a minute, you can take that to the next level, yeah. Or use it early in the process to help develop the ideas. And because I mean you'll get sparks of information. You'll get sparks of ideas from just looking at that information it gives you. It's almost like if you're a painter sitting there looking at a blank canvas versus maybe there's a sketch outline on there already for you, you know and then just being able to go over top of that. That's kind of what it is in a way. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and the difference is some places have better painters than others. Some painters have different styles. It's really up to that person making the decision how good or great or bad it could be based off of their skill level. So that's super interesting, though, and I think the main thing, it's a fun category to be in.

Speaker 2:

It really is. Yeah, you're dealing with people that are coming up with ideas and trying to make their companies better and make things better for the consumer at the end of the day, and it's a cool thing to be in. And I mean, you guys are out here, you're raising around right now. You know, if somebody's out here listening to the podcast and they want to learn more about what you guys are doing, give them the URL, the website they can go to.

Speaker 1:

You can check our website out. It's wwwnitchfirecom. That's N-I-C-H-E-F-I-R-E, All one word firecom. You can reach out to me directly, Khalil E. I'm pretty sure you'll put my information on the pot so people can find me on social media LinkedIn, Instagram threads. Follow me on threads, Khalil E513 on threads. I'm always on there, but reach out to us, man, we love to talk to you. If it's just to just ask about machine learning and AI, just reach out to us.

Speaker 2:

Things are constantly changing and people are super interested in that technology. So, yeah, guys, so check him out. And Khalil, thanks a lot for being on the show. Appreciate you. Adam, all right, thanks for joining us on this week's episode of Side Hustle City. Well, you've heard from our guests. Now let's hear from you. Join our community on Facebook, side Hustle City. It's a group where people share ideas, share their inspirational stories and motivate each other to be successful and turn their side hustle into their main hustle. We'll see you there and we'll see you next week on the show, thank you.

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