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I have certain times in my life and career where I just feel old. I used to be like this young guy making the moves up and coming and now people like the woman you’re about to meet Maggie Thurman. They make me feel old because I guess I am old. I am almost 40 now. And young Maggie here is the daughter of Dan Thurman. Who’s been a longtime friend and acquaintance. We had him on the podcast a while back. But Maggie is 18 years old and she has been on Tik TOK for about a year. And within one year she has managed to accumulate not one, not two but 3 million followers in a year. And it’s dramatically changed her life. She’s had over a hundred million likes on her videos and her and her dad do some fun things together on Tik TOK.
But it’s really been her personal account, which is just named it’s at Maggie Thurman that has really just blown up. And so I figured we got to bring in, you know, we bring in a lot of the old timers to learn from, and it’s like, we got to bring in the young movers and shakers. So Maggie, thanks for making some time for us. Thank you for having me. This is awesome. Yeah. I mean, it’s, it’s, I’m so proud of you. Like I know it’s weird. Like we’ve never met before, but it’s just really, it’s really cool. So can you just like, just tell us the story, like, how did you get started? Why did you get on there? Was it a joke? What have you, did you start with like, I’m going to become an online influencer or what happened?
Yeah, absolutely. I downloaded the app beginning of my senior year, which was fall of 2019. And I originally just got it because I kind of had no idea what it was. The app had previously been musically, which I had been on for a brief time and then deleted it. And then once it became tictok, I kind of wanted to see what everyone was talking about. And my first post actually was essentially saying that I was going to make one tiktok for every week of my senior year. So at the end of my senior year, I could look back at my Tik TOK page and it would be somewhat of a scrapbook like a really cool online scrapbook that the whole world could see if they wanted to cool
One a week. That was the original, like one a week,
Once a week. Yeah. and that post got maybe 80,000 likes and that was insane to me. I thought I had peaked. I thought that was the highest I could go. Okay.
I definitely would have thought I would have peaked. I, if I got 80,000 views on one of my videos, I’d be calling everybody. I know being like I am a baller. Yeah.
Really funny. I actually, I walked into school the next day sat down in my first period anatomy class and people were telling me that they saw me on there for you page last night. I was like, I know isn’t that crazy. And so from there I got a little bit of a following. I think I got about 15,000 followers of people who just, they didn’t know me at all, but they were interested in seeing my senior year. And a few weeks later I kept doing the one a day tech talk. I did a Tik TOK dance with my dad too, for delicious. And that tic talk blew up. I think it has 3.5 million likes at this point. A few maybe like 20 million views or something, not sure. But it was all over tech talk. I saw it on Twitter. I saw it on Instagram and that is what really kind of gave my page a lot of traction.
And from that I got a few hundred thousand followers. I think I was at 400,000 or something. And then I just kept going about doing tech talks every week. For my senior year, my dad was in a lot of them just because we genuinely had so much fun doing this. My dad travels a lot or he did before COVID for his job. He was a motivational speaker. And so even when he would fly home really late at night and only have a day here, he would make time to learn a dance and we’d go do a dance. And it was just this really cool thing that the two of us had. And then I’d say we’re really changed, was quarantine.
So hold on a second. So pause right there. When was the, so you originally were going to do one a week, but then you started doing one a day.
I I’d say the one a day kind of started in quarantine, but from the one a week, it kind of got to the point where if we could do more than one within our busy schedules, we’d shoot for two, but it was still a lot of work trying to get the two of us to learn a dance or do whatever we wanted to do and get it to a point where we wanted to publish it. But one a week was the original plan and it slowly built up to the goal of one a day.
Okay. And so then, and then have you been doing one a day, like consistently
Ben trying to, it’s a little, little different with college now I will say. Especially when I’m at school for the semester, I’m on break right now. But especially when I’m at school, I’ll try and get a few done on the weekend so I can post one a day, but it doesn’t always quite equal out.
How long does it, can you, so like how much can we, do you mind sharing your process a little bit? Like what happens? I mean, so I know most of yours have been like dances and stuff, which are really fun and entertaining, which lends itself well to, to the platform. And even though most of our audience is probably not going to make dances. What, what I’m, I’m trying to understand is just your creative process. And then also like how much time it takes, but so do you just, do you just hear a song and then you’re like, Oh, I should do a dance to that. Or do you come up with some other idea or like, how do you come up with the idea? What do you do to like develop it before you turn on the camera? How many times do you turn on the camera and then how do you edit it? And then is there anything you do to promote it other than when you don’t have to answer all those in one breath, but that’s like what, what, I’m what I’m interested in hearing. Yeah.
Yeah, for sure. I think a lot of tic talkers have a different process. I don’t, I mean, I know that from talking to my friends, but for my dad and I, in particular and for me in particular, in the beginning, it was strictly, we’d see other people do a dance and we’d learn their dance and the learning process, he’s gotten a lot better. He’s gotten a lot better at learning them quicker, but sometimes we would learn for two hours and then go shoot a tech talk. And we’re both not perfectionist, but very, we want our product to be as good as it can be. And so we’ve had times where we’ve been feeling
And you were a cheerleader, right? Like when you were in high school, so you and, and yeah, for those of you that don’t know her dad, Dan Thurman, I mean, he’s Acrobat and top of being insightful and inspiring and amazing. He’s also an incredible acrobatic performer and juggler and physical specimen of man. Did you dance it around and stuff? So you guys have a little bit of athletic talent, so you’re putting that to work, but you’re saying you would prepare, you like spend two hours maybe learning the dance and then you record, how many takes are you recording?
Say our longest sometimes a few times, maybe two times we’ve gotten it within one take. But there’s definitely been times where we’ve done over a hundred takes trying to get something perfect.
Yeah. Wow. A hundred takes now. It’s only like 60 seconds, right? Yeah. The top
Is 60 seconds. Usually the dances are closer to 1520, which is helpful. But especially when it’s two people, one of us can feel like we completely killed it and the other one got off a little, so we’ll have to redo it. And then there’s the process of once you’ve done all the takes, watching all of them to decide which one you both agree on is the best.
Oh my gosh. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, how long does that take?
That can usually, I’d say about 30 minutes. Just to kind of watch them. Sometimes we just watch one, we both agree on it and we say, okay, we’re not going to watch anymore. We’re just going to go with this one. But that’s more in specific talking about dances because a few months ago, well maybe more than a few months ago, we kind of started to do more comedy. And sometimes the comedy videos we’ll talk about days in advance and then plan them out. And then sometimes we’ll have spur of the moment things where I’ll just say, I have something I want to tell you, can I turn on a camera while I tell you and we just get your genuine reaction. And we found that people really like to see that because it’s kind of a more authentic view of our relationship, which I think is one of the reasons why a lot of people follow us is just because of the connection we have with each other and the fun we have with each other. And so those are often a lot easier to make because there’s a lot less prep that goes into them.
And, and when you’re editing, what are you editing for? And, and are you taking, you know, like if you’re doing, let’s say a few dozen takes, are you taking clips from each different take to put it together or do you mostly just like, no, the reason you’re doing all those takes is for one and then like, what, what do you, what’s your, what’s your eye searching for,
For dances? It’s always a one-take we never edit those together. Which that’s one of the reasons why it takes so long because there’s no room for error in that
It doesn’t take you as much time to edit. So you’re doing it all in the shoots and it’s just like, once you nail it, 30 seconds, like, bam, we got it. Yeah. Okay.
But more comedy you’re talking videos, I’d say there’s a lot more room for editing editing, depending on the video, I’d say usually takes me around 30 minutes to an hour. Especially when you have to add close captions to videos, which we’ve really been trying to make that consistent, just so we’re more accessible to the deaf community, hard of hearing to add that onto our platforms, but that’ll, that’ll add on a good bit of time. So it really does stack up
Is, and, and, and are you so, so the non dance videos, like I know a lot of the videos you, you do with your dad, you do as a team, but you do a lot of them by yourself too. And, and here’s the other thing I was trying to figure out the music that you actually hear on Tik TOK. That’s not really the mute, like when you do the dance is that that music is playing. And is that what it’s recording? So that’s recording the actual music in the room. So you’re just like hitting rewind on the track.
It’s Hmm. I don’t know how to explain this. So the actual audio that plays through it, doesn’t pick up our audio when we do the dance. It just uses the audio that we’re hearing, but it doesn’t rerecord it with our room audio. It just takes the audio directly from talk.
That’s what I was trying to understand. So, so because you, you choose the song to play in the tick talk app to overlay with your dance, right? So, so when you record the dance, you’re playing the same song to dance to the music, shooting the video, but then it’s basically, you’re just stripping the like you’re, you’re effectively stripping the audio off of that when you upload the video.
So what you can do, and what we usually do is select the audio beforehand. So every time, once you select the audio and go to record inside the Tik TOK app, the audio will automatically play as you record and you can dance to it. And when you go to publish it or edit it or whatever, it uses the same audio that you were hearing during it, the one you previously selected, if that makes
Got it. So you’re actually dancing to the song that is playing out loud through the Tik tock. It’s not like you have some other speaker or something that you’re dancing to and then overlaying it. Okay. So and then you do this and I mean, there’s a lot of time going on here. I mean, this is like one, one 60 seconds. How long does it, I mean, all in for one 62nd video, how much editing time are you putting in?
I’d say 30, 45 minutes, maybe an hour with closed captions.
Okay. Now that’s just the editing, right. But the whole, like researching the dance, learning the dance shooting, the takes, then editing, you’re talking about three hours per, per one minute of video,
Depending on the style. Yeah. like I said, sometimes it’s very spur of the moment. Things are, sometimes we immediately get a dance if it’s easier and we can knock that out in 20 minutes, but there are certain times when we really want to shoot for a hard dance or go for a concept that requires a lot of editing and it just takes more time.
And are you kind of like, so you kind of built the platform on dance, but now you’ve mentioned like, you’re, you’re, you’ve gotten more into comedy. Has your audience like, have they received that pretty well? Not as well. Not at all more than dance. Cause that’s an, and, and, and are you, you know, like what’s the balance in terms of, you’re still doing dance videos, but now you’re, you’re doing these like sketch comedy kind of skits.
Yeah. I’d say they received it very well. It’s one of the same kind of, like I said, where it’s an even more genuine look at our relationship. Cause it’s us communicating with each other. It’s us joking with each other, which does play through in a lot of dances, but it’s kind of another aspect of that. Yeah. I think people really appreciate seeing another side of our relationship. And honestly, I think it has done better performance wise than a good bit of our dances. Which is interesting. Cause we used to be so specifically just dance take talks, but it’s really nice to be able to do both.
Yeah. And the way you described this, it’s basically like, you know, your, you and your dad is it’s the epicenter of this. It’s not an ancillary thing. It’s like, it’s the relationship between the two of you that kids and parents like whoever’s watching, they enjoy and it is endearing to see your relationship together. And you think that that’s part of the secret sauce?
Yeah, no for sure. I mean, what I’ve always kind of strived for with my tech talk is I want it to be genuinely me and a huge part of my life is my family. And so I think that plays through on my take talks because they mean so much to me. They are truly, I mean, my parents are some of my best friends and so it’s really easy for that to show through on my page. And I think people really appreciate that.
Yeah. Well, I mean, that’s awesome. The idea of a teenager being best friends with their parents is, I mean, that’s like AAJ my wife. So my wife is also my business partner and that’s like, her dream is just that our kids would grow up to like want to just be our friends. So I could see why a lot of people tune in to watching, watching that. Cause it’s kind of rare really. And you know, coming back to the videos, do you feel like you’re able to predict which ones will go viral? Is there, is there certain things that you see like, Oh, I know this one’s gonna go well because of this or not really. Is it a, is it a total like toss up every time?
There are a lot of the times it is a toss up, but there have been a few instances where all even I’ll even say to my friends or my family or something where I’m, I’m feeling this one, I think people are really gonna enjoy this one. There was one where my dad and I did this trend where we put my dad in heels. I was like, no way, is this not going to do well? He’s, he’s a 50 year old man and heels. It’s amazing. And sometimes, sometimes we just get feelings or a lot of the times it’s things we’re just really proud of that we put a lot of work into and that we think other people are going to enjoy as much as us. And usually I’d say that’s correct instinct.
So it’s just, it’s not really a formula as much as it’s like an intuition. Yeah, I’d say so. Okay. And, and are you at this point, it seems like the way that you described this, it’s, it’s a lot of entertainment, you know, it’s basically, you’ve got dance and now you’ve got some comedy and it’s, you know, a little bit of this kind of like showing your relationship with your dad. Do you, do you kind of plan on using it or do you, do you intentionally, like, are you deliberate about kind of saying, yeah, this is, you know, we’re putting out content that is really for entertainment, not so much for like education or encouragement or, you know, some other type of content, but you know, that’s, is that how you see yourself as basically like an entertainer or how do you, how do you see yourself in your product, as you say, like your content,
I’d say as much as, as much as it is entertainment, it is also become somewhat of a business. For me in particular over the past, I’d say about six months, I signed with some management and we’ve been working together where it really has become a business. I make my living off of it. Which was really cool. But I’d say overall, what I’ve come to know about the tick talk app is it can be very full of negativity. I’ve seen a lot of my friends struggle with that. I’ve struggled with that. And with the platform I’ve been given, like I said, I didn’t really start out on Tik, talk with the intention to become an influencer. I wanted to have fun. And over the time kind of realize what I’ve been given and with the negativity on Tik TOK, my goal has been to just make something that’s going to make someone smile. If there’s something negative on their page and they can scroll. And it’s one of my videos. I want it to have a positive impact. And so entertainment. Yes. Joy. Yes. That’s all stuff that I aim to accomplish with this, but it is also at the end of the day, a bit of a business.
Yeah. So can you tell me about the business part of it? Like when did that w at what, how many, like followers did you have before you started monetizing and then how are you monetizing? Like what actually what’s the vehicle that money actually shows up? Cause this is like, like you’re saying here, it’s like three hours of time for a one-minute video. It’s not like you’re just slapping together or something and throwing it up there and it’s going viral. Like this is a job.
Yeah, no, absolutely. It was, I, I had just hit a million followers. I’m pretty sure. Or I might’ve, I think it was a few days right before I hit a million followers. I had previously worked with Hollister as part of their high school media team. And I had some connections there that translated to United talent agency and they reached out, we had a meeting with them and we started working with them. And I’d say that was the game changer in this shifting from something fun. I do to a business, to my source of income, to, it was one of those things where I’d been putting in the hours beforehand. And this was kind of the turning point where I began making money off of it. And with that essentially, I’d say the main source of income is collaborations with brands, which my team will bring to me, we’ll discuss it. We’ll either take it or leave it. And then from there, we’ll go off working with the brand to create a monetized product.
And, and so what does that mean exactly? Is this like, does that mean we’re going to do a product placement in a video somewhere and you guys are going to dance while that people are seeing that product, or is it more involved in
The, I’d say it ranges for sure. Depending on what the brand wants. A lot of the times I just, I just did a deal with Amazon where I had a call with Amazon discussing what they wanted to promote being their Amazon prime students. Since I am a college student who that’s eligible to and we discuss how that would fit in authentically with my brand and in a way that it will be well received by my followers. And that’s a huge part of being successful when working with brands is it can’t seem too forced or like a blatant ad. And from there, we came upon a conclusion where I was going to order some things as a prime student, create little presence for some of my friends who were going through finals and give them to them. And through the video that ended up being the ad, it was following me, ordering them through Amazon prime, me, building them and me giving them. So while it was an ad, there was still a little bit of a storyline and something positive that came out of it. And we decided that that would resonate well for my audience. So it’s what we went forward with.
And did it, did the video perform well relative to other videos?
It did. Yeah. that one actually did pretty well. I think it has 130,000 likes which I consider good for an ad. But it was very it fit in very well with my brands and with my content. And I think that’s one of the reasons why it said well. Yeah.
Yeah. And I guess when you, when you’re making that decision to going, okay, what, how do I make this fit with my audience? Is that, is that a gut instinct or, or is there something specific like, like when you say fit in with my brand, what do you think of as your brand? Like, so, so when these other companies are bringing opportunities to you, what, what do you think of as your brand when you’re trying to like assimilate the two together?
Yeah, for sure. I think it directly goes back to who I am and kind of, I mean, when I think about my profile, my brand, I don’t cuss on the internet. I don’t do any very sexual things. I try and keep it very wholesome and family content. As well as with my personal things, like who I am as a person, I had a butcher shop, reach out to me for an ad. I’m a vegetarian didn’t quite make sense. And so it’s just things like that, where if I were to promote a butcher shop, my followers would be a little confused and it would look very much like I was just doing it for a check, but when you can do it for things that actually fit with who you are as an individual, if it comes off as a lot more organic, like I use Amazon prime, it worked out
Right. And then do you, when you have this is so interesting to me, I just think this is so cool. I mean, and you know, we have we have at least a handful of our clients who make real substantial income from Facebook watch. And I mean, just for you listening, you know, this can be tens of thousands of dollars a month in income that people are making. I mean, it can be Randy, I was, I mean, what, what are, what are some of the numbers don’t, you don’t have to share your numbers, but just like, since you’re in the community, like if somebody is listening, going, gosh, like maybe I should spend more time putting into editing my videos. Like realistically, what are some of the numbers that you hear from like other influencers and different brand deals that somebody could realistically expect after, you know, if they are able to build their profile over time? Like, what are these arrangements look like?
Yeah. I’d say they definitely vary a good bit because there’s certain partnerships, collaborations that are one video and done. And then there’s other that have posting commitments consistently throughout a six month contract, a year long contract. One in particular I can think of. I have a friend who does a deal with bang energy drinks. I’m not exactly sure what his deal looks like. I think it’s one a week. I’m not entirely sure, but I know he’s estimated to make six figures within a year, which is crazy as an 18, 19 year old. Absolutely crazy from one sponsorship from individuals I’ve heard of people making between two to, I think this was a much bigger influencer than myself, but somebody made like $80,000 off of one video. Absolutely. Mind blowing.
Yeah. It’s, it’s, it’s pretty wild. I mean like on YouTube. So for those of you that are members, right? So we teach in phase three in lesson one, we are events called high traffic strategies. And we talk about paid traffic and YouTube specifically, you know, there, which as I understand is also how Facebook watch works is they’re paying you for the length of time that people are watching, but also who they are, who is watching matters a great deal, because you’re getting paid per based on the performance of the video. And so you know, like statistically, the English speaking audience is going to pay the content creator much higher than a non-English speaking audience. And then it’s like, you know, there’s certain demographics like women, as an example, if you have women viewers, typically those pay higher than male audiences cause they’re buyers, but that is very different than what you’re describing, which is you’re not getting paid based on the performance of the video.
You’re getting paid a flat fee, regardless of how well the video performs by a specific brand for a specific project. Which I guess is for everybody, that’s the, I guess the difference between a brand deal, which is what you’re talking about. Somebody saying, I will pay you a flat fee to make this video and post it versus getting paid based on the performance of your videos from the platform itself like Facebook or YouTube or in this case, Tik TOK. So are you monetizing your channel as well from Tik TOK? Like, are you also receiving like, is that that’s a, that’s the other stream of income here, right?
Yeah. So that’s actually fairly new. I’d say maybe it was may when creator fund became a thing, because before, if you were a creator on Tik talk, you made no money just based off of your channel and its performance. Your only source of income was work with outside brands. And that could be a performance-based income based on certain videos or a flat fee. But none of it was coming from Tech-Talk like YouTube monetization. It was completely different, but a little while ago, the Tik TOK creator fund was announced. And that is essentially a payment each day. You can take it out after 30 days after the end of a month, you can receive your earnings from that month. And it’s a payment based on views. So that was a fairly, fairly new change to Tech-Talk where now it can be monetized that way. And I think the only qualifications you need is 10,000 followers. And roughly, I think it was 50,000 views within the past year or something that may be completely wrong, but you, you can find it on the internet, but it’s not. That sounds about right.
Cause I think that’s what you’d like. Although actually, no, I think with YouTube, I think you need, maybe it is 10,000. I think it’s a hundred thousand. I think you need a hundred thousand subscribers before you can monetize from YouTube on YouTube, but these brand deals like you can get, you don’t have to have any there’s no, there’s, you just have to prove to a brand that you can reach their audience and that, you know, you’ll, you’ll help create positive brand awareness. Now you said you so immediately you hired an agency. Like you engage with an agency as soon as this started happening to help negotiate all this. So you don’t really deal with all that stuff directly. Right now.
I, I used to a little bit, I was kind of terrible at it though. People would reach out to me and say, you know, can you use my song in a video? How much will you charge? And I was like, it’s 20 bucks too much. Like I really didn’t understand the market at all. So I’m so thankful for my team. They’re absolutely amazing. But yeah, I don’t handle any of the negotiations now.
Huh. So, so cool. So interesting. Just two, two last little, two last little questions here. Maggie, this has been so, so informative and I think just helping people understand, you know, just the dynamics of how this platform works, what’s going on. It’s obviously a big mover in the, in the market. Do you, are you repurposing your content in other locations and how has that performed or not performed?
I personally try and keep it a little bit different on each platform. So I’m on Tech-Talk Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube. I don’t really repurpose content. I’d say I know a lot of people, a lot of tech talkers in particular, Instagram has a new feature called reels where a lot of people post their tech talks for me. I just never really got into that. I guess I, I just use each platform differently. So it doesn’t always make sense for my content to transfer, but again, I strive for my brand to be consistent on each platform. So I don’t really repurpose, but I’ve seen a lot of creative friends be successful in that.
Yeah. Okay. Yeah. That’s interesting to hear different different philosophies there. And then here’s my last little question for you is certainly you’re dealing with your volume. You’re dealing with some number of haters and trolls and the negative comments. And we, we know that no matter what type of content you’re putting out there, that’s going to show up and I have to think even though your videos are awesome and hilarious and entertaining, I have to think that you’re getting, you know, some number of hateful comments. So how do you handle those? And, and what’s like, what’s been your, what’s been your outlook on dealing with those?
Absolutely. I think there was definitely a learning curve to it. I think I used to think, take things a lot more personally than I do now, because honestly though, at the beginning I didn’t receive hate for a good long time. My dad and I used to joke that our pages were just an enigma because people weren’t mean to us for a long, long time. But as we both got bigger on the app, we did receive more negative comments. And honestly, I kind of, every time I received that, I really sounds so like textbook, but I kind of have to ask myself a few questions when receiving the negativity. I have to think in my mind, did I do something wrong? Is there a reason I’m getting negativity? Do I need to change something? Or is, are these people just not my demographic? Are we not people who would get along in real life or are we just different?
You know what I mean? Like you’re not going to get along with everyone you meet and you meet a lot more people on tech talk than you do in everyday life. It’s okay. Not for everyone. It’s okay for everyone not to like you. And also just realizing that people are hurting everywhere. And it’s so easy to take that out on someone who you don’t really even understand. I think a big problem and why there’s so much hate on social media is that people don’t necessarily think of influencers as real people. To an extent there, someone they see on their screen. That’s why when I meet people, a lot of the times they’ll say things like, Oh, you’re so much, you’re so much different when I’m really kind of exactly the same. It’s just me in person. Like I’m a real person. People always think I’m taller than I am.
That’s kind of off topic, but it’s just like something where people don’t know you entirely. And so when you’re less of an actual person to them, it’s a lot easier for them to be mean to you. And honestly, at the end of the day, my rule that I’ve kind of told my family is at the end of the day, if I’m proud of the content, then I’m going to post it. I’m going to leave it up. If it doesn’t perform well, but I’m proud of it. I’m going to leave it up. And if people don’t like it, but I’m proud of it. And I think it’s a reflection of who I am and I’m going to leave it up. And I think that’s just something I’ve had to learn by is you can’t judge things based off of numbers because the algorithm is always going to change certain people aren’t going to like it. And you really have to kind of be your own moral compass on things.
I love it. Maggie Thurman is who you’re listening to. Maggie. Where should people go? I mean, obviously Maggie Thurman on Tik TOK is a one place they can find you. Is there anywhere else that you would direct people if they want to connect with you? Maggie
Thurman on Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube.
Nice. Well, thank you so much for this Maggie. Thanks for just, you know, your transparency here and sharing what this, how this, how all stuff works and for your encouragement and your entertainment and making the world a happier, more joyful place. Especially in a a year that’s been pretty dark for a lot of people. It’s great to know that there’s positive content out there that is spreading and that
It’s given you resources to, to make a bigger impact in the world. So we wish you the very best my friend. Thank you so much. [inaudible].