Derek Sivers

Interviews → MentorCoach

conversation with Ben Dean, just telling my story

Download: audio (mp3)

Link: http://mentorcoach.com/sivers/


Ben:

Was there anything in your childhood or when you were growing up that suggested that you might be a great entrepreneur?

Derek:

Of course not. I get really into one thing at a time: I have a long attention span, and I really like to focus on things. I think it would be the opposite of ADD.

When I was a little kid, I had a cat, and I got really into cats. And soon I was making all of my art projects at school were cats, and every time we would write a short story, I would write it about cats. I’m talking age 7, 8, 9. Apparently it was so bad that my teacher actually called my parents and said, “I think little Derek might have a problem here: he’s completely obsessed with cats.” And my parents said, “Oh, that’s just the way he is.”

So that lasted a few years and then I got completely obsessed with computers for a couple years, then I got completely obsessed with music and that one lasted 15 years. And then when I started CD Baby, it was just because I had been doing nothing but music for 15 years and all of a sudden I had to make a website and I just dove in and got fascinated again.

So, I guess I still find the trait in myself that I tend to dive in deeply to things.

Ben:

Is your dad an entrepreneur as well?

Derek:

No, actually he is a particle physicist.

Ben:

Is he connected with the university?

Derek:

Now, he’s in Portland, Oregon, not affiliated with any university. I was born while he was at Berkeley, California, and then we went out to Argonne National Labs in Chicago, and he was doing particle physics for 20 years actually until my grandfather died, and he had to take over the family business. So, he and I got into the business side of things about the same time. I didn’t come from a business-minded family. I came from a family that gave me lots of room to dive into whatever interested me.

Ben:

And what is your family business?

Derek:

Now, it’s real estate. My website is sivers.org, but if you go to sivers.com, you’ll see my dad’s family’s website: I made the website for Industrial real estate up in Portland, Oregon.

Ben:

Great. I was struck by how you talk some of the time in interviews as if you never really had a goal with where CD Baby particularly wanted to go: everything just kind of unfolded. It did sound like when you were 14 and afterwards, you had a real goal or a vision of being a great singer and a musician that kind of drove you. Was that accurate?

Derek:

Yea, absolutely. In fact I think that, probably what got me onto my very, kind-of workaholic path, was that thing at 14, 15, when I decided, I want to be a musician.” And it wasn’t just that I wanted to be a rock star: I wanted to be a professional musician, whatever that took, whether that meant I was going to be a music teacher, or a record producer, or something: I knew that I wanted to make my living doing music. And I knew that if I worked really, really, really hard, I could do it, but it wasn’t anything to do with luck. And so I think I just got into that achievement mindset, where every day I would bounce out of bed ready to work as hard as I could to make my dreams come true. If you get into that mode starting at 14, 15, 16 or so, then you can apply that approach to other things. So, at the age of 29, 30, when I changed my approach from my music to helping other people with their music, it didn’t feel like that much of a change. I was taking the same approach, it was just working on slightly different things.

Ben:

And I heard you say some place that when you hit about the age of 28 or 29, you really found your voice, and you really liked the way you sounded as a soloist. Someone commented that some people either have that or they don’t have that. And on the other side of the argument is the Ten Thousand Hour Rule that Malcom Gladwell has talked about. What do you think of that Ten Thousand Hour Rule and how it has applied to you?

Derek:

I hope you don’t mind me quickly re-telling the story: what Ben’s talking about, is that, at that same age, at about 14, 15, I decided I wanted to be a singer. And people often think of singing as just something that you either have it or you don’t. And I didn’t at the time, but I was convinced that I could if I kept practicing. So for hours a day, for every day, for years on end, for about 15 years, I would practice singing, I would do gigs, I would say yes to everybody who had any kind of singing opportunity, and after about 15 years of doing that, I got pretty good at singing. Of course it’s funny, when you read something like Outliers, and they say, it takes about 10 years, and I guess any of us can look back at anything that we’ve done for 10 years and nod and say, “Yea, I guess it did take about that long.”

But what hit me stronger, though, was Carol Dweck’s about that Fixed versus Growth mindset, because singing especially is something that seems like such a clear example: that even if somebody feels that yes, with hard work, I can become a better dentist, they think, well, singing, c’mon that’s just.. you either have it or you don’t. It’s like, you’re either tall or you’re short. But singing was an interesting one to challenge that on, that really, if you just keep practicing, you can get really, really good. And maybe because I just coincidentally tackled that one from an early age, it got me into a really good mindset you know what, anything you want to do in life, it’s just a matter of practice: there’s no such thing as , oh well, I’m just not good at that.

Ben:

Tell people real briefly: why did you decide to get through college so fast, and how in the world did you get through a school like Berklee in under 4 years: what happened with that?

Derek:

I met a teacher just 6 months before I went off to school. I had been accepted to Berklee School of Music, but it was a few months before I was setting off to go. I met a music teacher in Chicago named Kimo Williams that used to teach there, and when so he heard I was going there, he gave me this knowing look, and said, “I have a theory: I think with the right training, I can help you graduate in 2 years.” He said, “Come by my music studio tomorrow morning.” And I came by his studio and he just sat me down for this really intense music theory lesson: it reminded me, years later, if you’ve seen that movie The Matrix, where they’re training Neo and all of a sudden they pluck something into the back of his head, and he goes, “Woa, I know kung fu.”

Kimo sat me down, and he said, “OK, pay attention: I’m going to teach you everything about music theory right now. OK: this is the major scale, this is the first note of the scale, what is the E, what is that in a C scale?” “The third note of the scale.” “OK great. If you build a triad, what’s a triad, if you build a triad off a C, what is that? What kind of chord does that get you?” “A minor chord.” “That’s right. So a three chord is a minor chord. Why? Because it’s built on the third note of the scale.” So at that kind of intensity, for 2 hours, he basically taught me an entire semester of music theory at Berklee School of Music. And then we did that over the course of about only 9 lessons that summer.

I went to my first day of Berklee School of Music, and they had the entrance exams, and that’s when I found out that what he had taught me in those 9 lessons was something like 8 semesters of music theory, arranging harmony: he had taught it to me just with this intensity. His theory was that classrooms are always kept at the speed of the slowest student, because they need everybody to keep up. And he said but if you’re bright and if you’re focused and you’re wanting to learn, you can learn 10 times faster than that, if you’ve got a 1-on-1 situation.

And then he just gave me some real mottos in life: like, never accept the speed limit. The standard pace is for chumps, is what he would say. Don‘t accept their speed limit; they say it takes 4 years to graduate college, just take that as a challenge. It kind of got me into that mindset for everything else in life.

Ben:

So that 2 ½ years, was that going year-round, summers also?

Derek:

Yea. So he was actually slightly disappointed: it means that I essentially graduated in 3 years, if you count my 2 summer semesters. Well, actually, no: I only did 1 summer semester. It’s funny, other people were congratulating me, and he said, “Oh well, we’ll try harder with my next student.”

Ben:

Well, I think it was pretty amazing, having taken 5 years for me to go through undergraduate school, so I think that was cool. And 1 more question before I get to CD Baby, which would be: what was your dream, if you had one, of what you wanted to be as a musician, and how close did you get to it. Like, did you have a dream of being on the Johnny Carson show, or headlining for somebody, or having a really large following: I know you had a lot of college gigs. What was your dream that you were chasing?

Derek:

Yea: absolutely as you describe, I was chasing the big, giant rock star cover of Rolling Stone kind of dream. I got just far enough, that, I learned a lot, and I was happy with what I had done: In some ways, I was living at least 1 version of the dream, it’s a little bit of that what do they say, shoot for the moon, reach the stars kind of thing, where I was making my full-time living just doing music.

The last time I had a job, a boss, was 1992. I quit my job and was just making a living in NYC, as a full-time musician, touring, producing people’s records, and playing on people’s records. And I even bought a house in Woodstock, NY, just with the money I made from touring. So I was really proud of myself, I was really happy, satisfied, but I still wanted more: I wanted to be a giant rock star.

But then, honestly, when CD Baby just kind of happened, and it’s funny because metaphorically, it’s a little bit like having a baby, where some of us have a kid that wasn’t planned, and you go, “Oops, oh, ok. This is my new reality.” So I kind of accidentally birthed CD Baby and I was really glad that it took me off that track, because I used to work at Warner Brothers Records in NYC, and I met a lot of miserable rock stars. And I think a lot of them set out with those kind of teenage dreams of rebellion, thinking that to be a rock star was the coolest job in the world, but once they got into it, they found that it could be a really bad job, b/c you think as a teenager, when you think of the life of a rock star, you don’t think that you’ll have a boss, but once you get into it, you sign a record deal with BMI or Sony or Warner Brothers, you do have a boss, and it’s some guy at the record label telling you what you can and can’t do with your music. There’d be rock stars that would come into the office, and I ran the tape room so my room was the place that they could go to get away for a second if they had some high-powered meeting with one of the executives, and I was the tape room guy, so sometimes they’d escape into my room and we’d get to talk candidly, and a lot of them expressed that it was really sad or annoying the fact that they made an album of 13 songs that they loved that felt was their artistic creation, and they wanted to put it out into the world, and the record label said, no, we don’t hear a hit, keep writing, we’re not letting you put that out, because we own you: we gave you that advance, and that’s why all of your rights belong to us, and we choose what to put out in your name.

All of a sudden, during my 20’s, during pursuing this dream along the way, I realized that wasn’t what I really wanted: I liked freedom better. When CD Baby happened, it seemed to bring me towards a much happier plan that what I originally set out with.

Ben:

One of your presets that spoke to me, and you can say it better than I can, but it was something about, don’t kill yourself chasing something when people aren’t responding. Can you express how you put that?

Derek:

I’ve gotten a few emails concerning the book, so I’m going to make a distinction now, here in this conversation, that the book doesn’t make.

2 different things in the book:

1, there’s a thing we already talked about, taking 15 years to get better at singing, and I never stopped, even though everybody told me I should quit, but I don’t care, I’m going to keep doing this thing, and after 15 years, I proved everybody wrong and I made myself a success.

But then there’s the other side, where somebody is pursuing a business, and the difference is, whether you’re doing this thing you’re pursuing, just for yourself, and screw everyone else, or is it something that you’re really doing for others?

When you’re doing a business, let’s admit it: it has to be for others to be self-sustaining in some way. So if you’re doing something for others, and they’re not responding with enthusiasm, like if you keep doing this business and you’re just getting a few customers and people are shrugging over it and you’re not getting a lot of attention, then my idea is, don’t keep persisting as is. A lot of us learned the wrong lesson about persistence: I used to think that persistence was about just continuing to push.

But then I learned the hard way, that persistence is about persistently innovating and persistently inventing and persistently finding new ways to get to the goal that you want, not persistently pushing what’s not working. So I think if you’re setting out to do a business idea, and the world is not responding with enthusiasm, then that’s feedback that what you’re doing is not working, and you need to do something else, until you get do get that big, enthusiastic response.

Ben:

Right. I know I had my own experience when I got into training people to be coaches, I did a particular workshop, and I got the most explosive, exciting reaction I’ve ever gotten, and I just followed it, as opposed to chasing something that may or may not ever respond. Now, just to set the stage for everyone, you started CD Baby just for yourself, and you loved programming, it got you back into it, you had to set up a shopping cart and everything, and friends asked to join. I assume at the beginning, you had virtually very few customers. What did it grow to: when you were leaving, how many musicians did you have selling records/music with you, and how many customers were you handling at a given time?

Derek:

By the time I left CD Baby, 10 years after starting it, there were 250,000 musicians and about 2.5 million cd-buying customers. Then I had 85 employees, and 4 warehouses: it was a big, giant operation, and it was honestly much bigger than I wanted it to be. I wanted it to be smaller.

You’re right, the way that it started, was with almost no one. And I think this is really important: I meet a lot of entrepreneurs now that email me with questions and asking for my feedback, which I’m happy to help with, but I noticed a trend that a lot of them want to get huge right away. They say, “Hey, I’ve got this little idea, here’s my little idea: how do you think I can reach millions of people with this idea?”

And I would say wait, wait, wait, back up: first, just reach 1 person. If your idea has merit, it will make 1 person happy. I’ve never met a crowd: I don’t know if there’s such a thing. It’s just individuals. So, please somebody, and once you’ve made 1 person happy with what you’re doing, then focus on the 2nd person, and make the 2nd person happy, and then meet a third.

So that’s how CD Baby started: really it was me selling my CD, just for me, and then one of my musician friends in NYC said, hey man, do you think you could sell my CD through that thing? And I said, hey yea, I guess so, I hadn’t thought of it that way but sure, I’ll hook you up, just as a favor to a friend. But then a second friend said, hey, I saw you hooked up Dave, do you think you could do that for me too? I said, just for you, Rachel, no problem. It was just me and a few of my friends, and then it kept growing, and then it was friend-to-friend, so it was never meant to be something that pleased millions of people: it was just me helping out a few friends.

And it grows really slowly: another common trend I see with a lot of entrepreneurs is that, I get emails saying, “Hey, I launched my business a few months ago and it’s not huge yet. What am I doing wrong?” It’s like, c’mon: CD Baby didn’t get big until 4 years of 16-hour days of me doing this. Even after 1 full year, I was probably only earing $100 or $200 a week, just with the occasional order. So, it takes time to grow these things.

Ben:

Wow, even after a year, that’s all you were doing?

Derek:

Yup, I remember I started it the end of 1997, then in 1998, after about a full year, I remember I left for a whole week to visit my mom in Colorado for Thanksgiving, and I was a little worried, like, What if I get a lot of orders? So I asked a friend of mine: I gave him the key to my house and asked him to go log in and check for orders once a day. Came back after a week and nope, only 1 order had come in that whole week. So, that was almost a year after I started: it was still just earning, 100 or so a week. These things take time, but then it just snow balled and then it grew slowly and then, of course, 6 years into it, people say, “Wow, how’d you do that?”

Ben:

Right. You had some kind of a threshold, it seems like, at 4 years. Were you doing anything in the early years, like SEO and bring people to your website, as well as working on the website? Was that part of your work?

Derek:

Not at all. In fact, because I was living my dream as a musician, I honestly didn’t want the business to grow. It was one thing when my friend Dave said, “Can you hook me up?” and I said OK and hooked him up, and then another friend said, “Can you sell my CD, too?” and I said OK, and then it was 4 or 5 and then it was 10, but I actively didn’t want this to grow, I thought, “This is really taking a lot of time away from my music.” And I didn’t want it to grow. So, I never did any marketing, I never did any SEO or any of that: I wasn’t trying to bring people to my site. I was just trying to honor my favor, to my friends, and then to their friends.

Ben:

Why were you working 16-hour days?

Derek:

Part of it was fascination: I was just fascinated with building the website, I thought it was fun, learning php and html, and the craft, working into the night, just thought it was interesting. And then honestly, I was just trying to help my friends: I felt I had an obligation to the people that had come in already, to serve them right, and make the site do things that they needed it to do, like give them accounting records, and show them where their customers are, and fix the search engine, and things like that, so it was really just me responding to need from my existing clients. This is a really important point: that 16 hours a day was just spent pleasing my existing clients, with no effort spent on bringing in more clients, because it was 100% focused on just pleasing the people that were there already, and 1 thing your existing customers will never tell you to do is to ignore them and go get more customers instead. They just want you to keep your attention on them. So, I kept my full attention on my existing customers, but luckily, I did it so well that then they went and told everybody that CD Baby was the place to be.

Ben:

What was it that made the difference that you exploded in year 4?

Derek:

It was a little bit like that tipping point idea that Malcolm Gladwell writes about: after a certain point, once there are 2,000, then 4,000, then 5,000 musicians on the site, and then also, between 2000 and 2002, there was this explosion of this independent music movement, where people finally realized that they didn’t need a record deal to get their music out into the world, and it was more popularized by sites like mp3.com, which back in 1999, 2000, spent millions of dollars on advertising, venture capital, and made a big business all about spreading independent music. So CD Baby was taken along on that wave, revival and focus on independent music.

Ben:

I’m in your book, and I’m looking at page 3, where you have a series of points or quotes that are really cool, that seem like part of what you believe and part of what you’ve learned, and your goal with the book is to take 10 years of 16-hour days and experience and put it where people can pick up the best part of it in an hour. It’s a bargain! So, when I look at this, one of things that I’m struck by, is, I have a relative who has a very successful office supply business for the US government, and he was very obsessive about doing a business plan before he got started, and it really helped him a lot, he said. But your experience here is, “Your business plan is moot: you don’t know what people really want until you start doing it.” Can you say more about that?

Derek:

Sure. What that one means is, when most people think of a business plan, they think of the spreadsheets and the 5-year projections and by year 3, your projected annual income will be this, and to me, that’s just worth a rolling of the eyes, when somebody claims to know what will happen in the year 3 and year 5 and whatnot: I think if we were to call them business guesses, it would make a lot more sense: it would put it into the proper perspective, and say, “Well here’s a guess at what might happen.” If you call it a plan and think that you need to do this before you set out, I think holds back a lot of people from doing something that is worth doing. I think a lot of people have ideas that are very worth doing, but they think that they can’t start a business until they’ve done all these giant 5-year projections, and gotten an MBA, and consulted with everybody and whatnot. But on the other hand, to me, a business plan, is something that really shouldn’t take more than a minute or 2 to work out in your head. If you have a simple idea, and you think, here is a service or a product that I would like to offer, and then you just do some quick calculations: you think, OK, how much it cost for me to do that? OK, for me to do that for each person would cost about $65, then I’d better charge $100 for that, b/c I want to make some profits, but I might be forgetting some things, so let me charge $120, just in case I’m forgetting some things, and that will also leave me some room to give people some discounts. I can probably keep my costs low if I distribute the work force, and that is your business plan: you can just work it out in a couple minutes. It doesn’t need to be something you need to get an MBA to do.

Ben:

I know that a bunch of people listening to this recording are either consultants or becoming coaches. How important is it for someone doing that in terms of serving a niche, and if you were advising someone who told you, I’m not sure what niche would be best, and I’m not sure if they would pay, and so on, what advice would you give people for thinking through how to find a niche and how to explore it?

Derek:

Great question, I love that. The niche is so important: when I meet young entrepreneurs, for example, especially these days with the Social Network movie, so many people want to start some kind of social network website, or some mobile apps that connect you to your friends that tell you where your friends are and what they’re buying: there are so many people doing this kind of thing, that you just need an edge, you need a niche: you need some kind of angle to do something that nobody else is doing.

Here’s my favorite example: Nyquil. Nyquil is my favorite example of this, and this was written about in a book called Positioning by Ries and Trout. Brilliant book, it’s 20 or 30 years old now, but still worth reading. They used this example of Nyquil that before Nyquil came along, you could look at a shelf full of cold medicine, and see 30 different cold medicines on the shelf, and not know which one to go with. But then Nyquil so brilliantly looked at this and they said, “OK, all that other stuff, that’s for the daytime. Now we are the nighttime medicine.” And just in that one position, they carved out, in my mind, half of the pie. If you think of a typical pie chart, if you think of a circle, before Nyquil, it was split into 30 little slices, across the whole pie. But as soon as Nyquil comes along and says, “All those other guys are for the daytime, we’re for the night.” If you take that whole sliced-up pie, and you move it over to one-half, and now those 30 other medicines get to share ½ of the pie, called the daytime medicines, then Nyquil owns the nighttime medicine category.

So for musicians, my advice was, if you want to start a recording studio in NYC, there’s already a hundred recording studios in NYC: don’t just make another one. If you really want to run a recording studio in NYC, pick one thing, say, “Our recording studio is called “Drums for You,” and all we do is drums. You can go to all those other guys if you want to record anything else, but when it comes to drums, come to us, because we are the specialists: we know drums like nobody else. And there, now you’ve carved out your niche. I think a lot of entrepreneurs are scared to do that, b/c it eliminates 90% of their potential customers. Eliminating 90% of your potential customers, you so strongly attract yourself to that 10%. And honestly, if any of us were to have 1% of the market, we’d be doing really well. So, aiming for a niche is so much of a better strategy than trying to please everybody.

Now, the next thing you asked was about how to reach them, or how to communicate with them. I just get very literal and blunt.

Ben:

Or even how to evaluate them, b/c there are niches where people are ultimately, not going to buy it: it’s not going to work. So, part of it is researching that.

Derek:

Exactly. It sounds simplistic, but I think that the forgotten simple idea, there are so many people trying to figure out in advance, “Will people like my idea?” that they go asking others, or they go asking me b/c I wrote a book, and honestly, my answer is always the same, “Ask them.” If somebody were to ask me, “What do you think of my idea for a mobile photo-sharing app to connect you with your friends?” “Well, I don't know, I’ve never used something like that, and I don’t want to: I don’t like to share photos with my friends. So, I have no idea. But I’m sure there are people out there that do, so you need to ask them, not me.”

All I can really speak about is my own personal experience: when I built CD Baby, I was just trying to help my musician friends, that’s it, and then, as they brought in more friends, I was just trying to help them, and as they brought in their fans, who were buying CDS, and telling me things like, “Hey, I’m in Denmark, and I’d appreciate it if you’d ship the CDs without the plastic boxes,” and I thought, “Oh, interesting, I’d never thought about that.” Usually, your real customers will tell you what they really want, much better than a mentor or guru or advisor can: you just need to ask the real people that will actually be using your potential service or product. Just ask them: their opinion is the only one that really matters.

Ben:

Great. Here’s a question from Dennis Daly: Derek, what are your thoughts on balancing the need to be creative with work, (in products such as music CDs,) and focus on the need to generate business to get your work out into the world?

Derek:

Balancing business and creativity: I think, to me, some of the most effective forms of creativity are the ones that are just solving a problem. So to me, work and creativity are quite intertwined. I think, unfortunately, sometimes we think of them as such different things, like, one part of work is me just slogging through these forms, and then creativity, is Picasso: how can I balance my life to get some Picasso time and some time slogging through these forms? I think if you really intertwine the two, and as you’re slogging through the forms, you’re thinking, “How could I find a way to make this easier? How could I either eliminate these forms or find a way so I don’t have to slog through them?” To me, it’s so many things that later get called creativity are actually just problem-solving from somebody doing the actual work. The second question was about getting your work out to the world.

Ben:

It seems almost like about being creative with work versus marketing.

Derek:

Even that, honestly, I think getting your work out into the world, I think: leave your creative hat on. Using the music example, a lot of musicians I Knew, (I got to observe a lot of music careers for 10 years, ) and a lot of brilliant musicians would be full of creativity at the moment, they’d write the song, at the moment, they’d record the song, they’d perform the song, they’re full of creativity in those moments, even how they choose to record it, say with a certain amount of distortion or effects or instrumentation, and even in the design of the album, the album art, the title, all of that is so creative, and as soon as it’s done, it’s like they stiffen up, and they say, “Oh, I need to market this and promote this now. What’s the proper way to market and promote it?” And I’m thinking, “Proper way? C’mon, listen to yourself. Think of all that creativity that you used so far: continue in that approach. I think that your marketing should be as creative as the music.

Here’s one tiny, little example that people like: there was a band called “Captain T” that came to me, event-related, and asked me to produce their record. So I produced the album for Captain T, and the album was hilarious: it was during the time when the X-Files was on the air, and they were tapping into this whole Roswell, New Mexico, Area 51, CIA government cover-up kind of mindset, and they made the whole album about this: it was very tongue-and-cheek. And the band leader called himself Captain T, and it was his stage name and he was pretending to be fighting for the rights of the aliens to free them from Roswell. So it was this very humorous, tongue-and-cheek album, but it was a blast to make, and we were laughing all the way through, and even the album cover was a picture of an alien crucified with a dollar sign with a shadow: it was all very silly and fun. So when it came time to promote it, at first we found ourselves accidentally in that stiff mindset, like, “OK, well, that’s the creativity part, now we need to market this.” But that only lasted about a day until I realized, “Hold on: this was a blast to make, let’s keep that same spirit when promoting it.” So here’s what we did: we got a database of every college radio station in the US: I think it was 500 college radio stations. We got it into a database and did a mail-merge, so that each one had a personalized paper letter: back in those days, where it was all physical CDs. So we printed out 500 paper letters, with the person’s contact info in the top left, and the letter went like this: it said, “Dear Mark, (or whoever the person’s name was,) You don’t know me, but I live in the bushes behind your radio station. I’ve been here for 15 years, and your station has saved my life many times over. But now a man named Captain T found me the other day in the gutter, and he lifted me up by my shoes and held me above his head and told me about the cover-ups going on in Area 51, about the aliens, and we need to fight for the freedom of life, for all forms of life, and you need to spread this message through your station, WKRT, so please, spread the message!” And, signed with an illegible scribble. And then, I’m not kidding, we took each one of these 500 pages out into the garden, and we rubbed them in the dirt, crumpled them into a little ball, and then un-crumpled them a bit, stuck the CD in the middle, with a Captain T sticker in it, and then, he found these black mailing envelopes, so stuck into a black envelope, and then the final touch, is just the day before we were set to send these out to 500 radio stations, he found, at a stationary store, a red and white warning sticker, that said, “Warning! Confidential: do not open for any reason.” And we sealed every package with that sticker. So now, imagine, that you are the guy working at the radio station, and every week you get a hundred manila envelopes with packages of CDs, all the same, and then you get this one that’s in a black envelope that says, “Warning! Do not open for any reason.” And then you open it, and it’s this dirty letter, crumpled up in dirt, saying, “You don’t know me, but I live in the bushes behind your station.”

To me, it’s this whole idea of, don’t separate creativity and business: the world appreciates so much when you keep business and creativity completely intertwined, and be weird, and be different, and the world needs that and appreciates it, and honestly, I think the world rewards that with business. There are so many quirky things about CD Baby that were the reason that people loved us over places like Amazon or the 20 other competitors that were direct imitators of CD Baby, just didn’t have our quirk and humor and charm, and so many times, that’s what people loved.

Ben:

How did that campaign work?

Derek:

The end of the story: it was a huge success! His CD got played on 350 of those 500 stations, enough that he actually made the Top 100 chart of the TMJ magazine, something that people usually only get if they spend $100,000 on promotions: we got it just from that one, single mailing. And, years later, say 5 years later, he told me that he was in NYC, he was in this club Heeby Jeeby on Broadway, and somebody came up to him and said, “Are you Captain T?” And he said, “I am.” And he said, “Oh my God! I used to work at this radio station at the college: I remember that day that we got your package: dude, that was amazing!” And he actually remembered the whole package and the dirty letter and all of that: I was like, when did that happen? Sometimes, even on an interview like this, I remind myself of the importance of completely intertwining your creativity and business.

Ben:

That was brilliant. Now, here’s a question from Leead: it’s kind of general. “Derek, if I could ask, what do you think got CD Baby to the point where you could actually get investors to buy the business?” Now, I would think cash flow would be the big answer there.

Derek:

It was cash flow, and also, we definitely dominated the market. So when I started it at the end of 1997, there was nobody doing anything like it: that’s why I started it. But by 1999, especially 2000, 2001, there were so many companies doing the exact same thing, they basically looked at CD Baby and said, “We can do that, and we can do a better design than he does.” And they imitated it exactly. In fact, including 1 of them, during the dot com boom, got a $25 million investment from AOL, not a bio, but just an investment from AOL, invested $25 million in them, but by 2002, with the dot com crash, they were all gone. And even my little competitors were gone by 2003. So, by 2004, we were the only ones left: there was just no way to compete, b/c we had such a head start, it would just be kind-of impossible for someone to come in and try to start yet another independent CD store for musicians.

Ben:

What could they offer a musician that would make them choose them over you? I understand that the musicians loved you.

Derek:

There was one that came along saying, “We keep 0% of your sales. If your music sells for $15.32, then you get $15.32 for that sale. We keep no percentage of the sale, but you do have to pay an up-front fee to be a part of this program. It tapped into the psyche of musicians who always feel that they’re going to sell 100 times more than they do, so that was one of the only businesses that came along and competed well against CD Baby, but even that was digital-only, that wasn’t the whole physical CD-warehouse thing. I think the physical CD-warehouse thing was just impossible to compete for anybody shortest of let’s say, Amazon. So, the direct answer to the question was really, honestly if you are carrying on with your business, and especially if it’s cash-flow positive, it’s profitable, and if you’re well-known in your field, you’re known as the #1 or 2 or even 3, in your field, you will get calls from investors or competitors. The one thing, whoever’s asking this, it sounds like they’ve got this on their mind: my one bit of advice though, is, when I decided to sell, I had a few offers out there, I took 1 of the offers, but then I also contacted Amazon, who I always thought would be the ultimate choice to buy CD Baby, and I contacted them saying, “Hey, I’m about to sell my company here, I’m getting kind-of close, I’ve got some offers, and I’ve almost accepted. But it wouldn’t be fair for me to not give you guys a shot. So all of a sudden Amazon instantly was in the game of making offers. So I think it really helps, if you get any offer from somebody that wants to buy your company, make sure you take that offer and bring it around to your other competitors, to let them know, especially if you get more than 1 offer, then you can really get a better deal.

Ben:

Why did you not go with Amazon?

Derek:

In the end, Amazon was willing to offer more money than the other company, but as it got closer, I just realized that my legacy, whatever you want to call it, mattered to me: that I wanted to make sure that my customers were in really good hands. And I realized, Amazon doesn’t have experience in dealing with musicians and the fragile egos and all that, whereas the company Disc Makers, that I had been working with for years, they had been dealing with my exact same clients for many years, and had a lot of experience doing so. In the end, I felt my clients would be in better hands with Disc Makers. Still a huge Amazon fan, in fact they are the publisher of my new book, but I just felt that Disc Makers knew my clientele better.

Ben:

And, is CD Baby alive and well? Doing OK?

Derek:

Yeah, from what I hear. I really had to emotionally disconnect from it, the way any of you have been through a divorce or even moved out of a house, it’s tough, you think of it as your house, and then the day that you move out, it’s not your house any more, somebody else has moved in and they paint it whatever color they want and they knock down walls and you just have to emotionally disconnect so honestly I haven’t even spoken to anybody from CD Baby in 3 years now.

Ben:

OK, here’s a quick question: I was talking to a colleague today who wanted me to ask you a question. And basically, he runs a small training organization where they provide courses that are delivered virtually. And he’s not at all happy with his website and he’s not happy with where they show up on Google and so on and needs to re-do it. And he said, when you look at MuckWork’s, it’s not an elaborate website at all, it’s very simple and straight-forward: that’s not what my competitors’ websites are like. If Derek were advising somebody like me on how to really get an effective website, what are the steps he might tell me to go through?

Derek:

The biggest one is AB Testing. I’m such a huge fan of this, because, first, it fully embraces the philosophy of just saying, “I don’t know. I don’t know what my customers will like.” So for every change you make in design or price or whatever, there are so many different options out there, including Google has one built in, where you can put up 2 different designs, and every time a visitor comes to your site, they are sent through either the A design or the B design, and when I say design I mean it can be different price offerings and wording or everything, and then you can measure the results, on how many sign-ups did we get this week through the A design versus the B design, and if the B design got a lot more sign-ups, then that becomes the new design. And then you make that the new norm, and then you start testing from there. I’m such a huge fan of this, and there are so many great books about this, if you go out there and just start to look for the subject AB testing, that’s really all I can recommend, because it just lets your target audience decide, with proof, which design is more effective for them. Granted, it takes a certain quantity to make that happen: if you’re only getting 4, 5 visitors a day, it would be hard to measure: maybe you’d have to let each test run for a month or something to see some real results. But once you’ve got any kind of quantity, I’m just such a huge fan of AB Testing.

Ben:

And on MuckWork, for example, if you could tell the listeners what your new business is, and then I had a question to ask you about the website, but could you tell them why you got into that and what it is?

Derek:

Sure, for 10 years of working with musicians, selling their music, and focused only on that, the most common thing I would hear people say when I would talk to them about what they need help with, is that they would often say that they needed someone to help them, “I need a manager, I need a booking agent.” And those were the 2 most common ones: “I need a manager, I need a booking agent, or I need a publicist/promoter.” But every time, I would ask them, “OK, what would a manager do for you?” And they’d say, “Oh, you know, things like, book us hotel rooms when we’re on tour, and take care of this and verify our gigs and copyright our songs and trademark the band name and update the Myspace page.” And they would tell me all these things and I would say, “That sounds more like an assistant than a manager: a manager is somebody that you give them 50% of all your income, because they’re supposed to be such a brilliant strategist. All the things you just named, you need an assistant for that.” And they’d say, “Oh, but I don’t want to manage somebody, I don’t know where to find an assistant, and I don’t like to take care of that.” So, MuckWork is really my answer to that. That’s where the name comes from: “MuckWork: we do your dirty work.” It’s this idea that, if I have a network of assistants, that are trained to do all those things that musicians need help with in advance, then all a musician needs to come in and do, they don’t need to manage or even delegate very well, all they need to do is, at that moment they’re feeling overwhelmed, they can just come in to MuckWork and say, “Yo, please take care of this for me. Here’s my list of my upcoming 20 tour dates. Please verify the venues and make sure I have a hotel at each. Go.” And that’s all they need to do and we’ll just take care of everything. So that’s the core idea of MuckWork.

The business isn’t launched yet, so the day after I sold CD Baby, I got a good night’s sleep that night, and then I’m so ambitious that the next morning I woke up and I started MuckWork. And I spent hours that day coding and I spent the next few months working on it and started doing the programming and I even hired somebody I thought would be a good first manager for it. And a few months into it, I realized that I was going to burn out hard if I didn’t take a break in between the selling of CD Baby and the starting of my next company, b/c I honestly had not taken any vacation time, and I worked 7 days a week, 16 hours a day for 10 years, and I was really just continuing on that trajectory. And I had to force myself to stop: I realized, “OK, hold on: if I don’t stop now, before starting MuckWork, then I’m going to be trapped, and I’m going to get caught up in the obligation of running MuckWork and I’ll still never have any break. So honestly, that’s what the last 2 or 3 years of my life have been: I stopped. I dissolved the corporation. I put the website on hold basically, like a coming-soon, or here’s the idea, sign up if you’re interested, and I’ll let you know when it’s ready, kind of page. And I spent the last 2 years very deliberately changing my trajectory, or as I like to call it, I wanted to replace the operating system in my head. So that’s when, in the last few years, that’s when I read about 80 books, about psychology and business and philosophy, and I traveled, I learned to scuba dive in an artic, like Iceland, I moved to NYC and met this great woman and we got married and we traveled the world looking for a new country to call home and that’s why we chose Singapore.

Ben:

Is Singapore going to be your permanent home, do you think?

Derek:

Yes, a few weeks ago, I got permanent resident status here, which is kind-of the equivalent of the US green card. So yea, I’m a permanent resident of Singapore now: it’s home. I love it.

Ben:

What do you love about it?

Derek:

As we’re speaking, by the way, I have an apartment on the 51st floor of a 52-story building, and I’m looking out at the gorgeous skyline of the city over the bay with the little boats in the water. The quality of life here is great, but more importantly, it’s halfway in between India and China. It’s right next to Indonesia, right next to places like Thailand and Cambodia and Vietnam. To me, it’s just such a fascinating part of the world to be in the middle of. The way that I grew up in Chicago then moved to NY and then Portland, OR: when I lived in Chicago if I’d get on a place for 2 hours, I’m in Tennessee. But being in Singapore, if I get on a plane for 2 hours, I’m either in Thailand or Indonesia or Malaysia or Cambodia or Hong Kong or even 3 hours, and I’m in India or china, in 4 hours I’m in Japan. It’s just such an amazing place to call home base for the next decade or 2. I just really love getting to know this part of the world. I think it’s very healthy for your brain also, to not just get stuck in a rut in 1 way of doing things, and living here in Asia makes you challenge your assumptions on an almost-daily.

Ben:

Right, and you’re even able to open a book that’s very high on the Amazon best-seller list, without doing a physical book tour, and doing it all from Singapore.

Derek:

Yes, that was a nice challenge. Or even honestly, talking with you right now, this is amazing that we’re having this crystal-clear conversation with me being on the other side of the world: I love this.

Ben:

And you’re doing this on Skype, is that right?

Derek:

Yes!

Ben:

OK, it is a great connection. OK, I’ve got so many questions here, about your book, which I really liked. My feeling is, for the price of this book, if you gave me 1 idea, it’s worth it, and it’s got so many more ideas than that. But parts of it upset me a little bit, or pissed me off a tad, and 1 of them was the Steve Jobs story, and how he just really seemed to have ripped you 1 way and then the other, and then tossed you a bone at the end. And it would be great if you heard something from him when he reads the book, or got some of reaction at all.

Derek:

I doubt it, but you know what, honestly, the reason I was so excited about our conversation today, and I love your field, I love the field of positive psychology, and I love what you’re doing, but, maybe it’s because this is kind of my natural disposition anyway, but I think a lot of it is also is, when I was 19, somebody made me read Tony Robbins book Awaken the Giant Within, and there’s this great question that he asked in there, or rather, asked the reader to ask yourself often, and that’s this question that is, “What’s great about this?”

Honestly, it’s been my experience with Steve Jobs, and I won’t retell the whole story, but it made me realize, never again to promise things that were out of my control: that sometimes, any of us, we set up some kind of business or service that is actually completely dependent on another service. People who are doing Facebook games, for example. What if, all of a sudden, one day, Facebook says, “No more games”? And suddenly, the whole business is destroyed. So, luckily, my business was not destroyed when Steve Jobs tossed me around his whims, but it was a great wake-up call, that I need to make sure that my future business was not too dependent on anyone, and that I wasn’t promising anything that was out of my control. In the end, I didn’t mind, and it made for a fun cocktail party story, and now it’s told in a book: so there!

Ben:

And, just out of curiosity, you refunded the $200,000, but did you ever get it back, when you went ahead and went with it? My understanding was they paid you $40 a record, and that you refunded all that?

Derek:

Yes, so I refunded all of it, and then it was the best $200,000 I ever spent, because the goodwill that I got from that, by telling 40,000 people that I’m refunding their money in full, because I couldn’t achieve my promise, and then I went and achieved my promise to them anyway, right afterwards, but for free now: that got such amazing word of mouth. IDK if you’ve heard those stories about Nordstrom’s department store, but there are these legendary stories of Nordstrom’s return policy, and there’s one in particular that they’ve said: some guy bought a shirt at Sears, wore it for a few years, and then went to Nordstrom’s to return it, and they gave him his money back. So, that story, whether it’s true or not, spread so well, that one story can tell more about the character of a company than all kinds of meaningless adjectives, “Quality, Service, and Dependability.” So, me refunding everybody’s $40, made this kind-of everlasting, legendary story that all of those musicians told their friends, and they said “You’ve got to go with this company CD Baby, you know why? They refunded my $40 because he couldn’t hold the promise, and then a week later, he did it anyway?” It just made this amazing story; in fact, I think the business doubled in size in those few years right after that, so it was well worth it.

Ben:

That makes a lot of sense to me. If I had been in your shoes, I would have asked them for the $40 back the next week, and what you did was much smarter than that. I once had a workshop in Houston canceled, a lot of it because of a tornado or a hurricane or something, and I refunded everybody’s money, and they loved it. So, let’s see, many people on our list, virtually everybody, writes for the web, writes for newsletters, writes for blogs, and has websites. And you have had, as I understand it, this unusual experience, of not just writing for the web, but writing for 50,000 or 100,000 customers, so that, if you made even the slightest mistake, you paid a major price, and you learned a lesson from that. Can you tell us about that?

Derek:

Yes, well, that was boot camp. They say that whenever the stakes are very high, you learn very well. I’ll just tell the story: because my mailing list, CD Baby, was 250,000 musicians, and 2.5 million customers, whenever I would send something out to them, if there was s ingle sentence that was unclear, I’d get 50,000 replies, and so I’d have to reply to those 50,000 people individually now, with the answer to the question that 50,000 people are asking. Or, if I wrote the email and it was too long, say, I didn’t mention something important until the sixth sentence, or worst case scenario, if it was 10 sentences down, then people would reply back. I’d say something like, “And to get your free thing, just click this link/.” But if that was 7 sentences down, I would get thousands of people replying back saying, “Great! How do I do it?” And I’d have to reply back to a couple thousand people, saying, “Please look at the original email: the link is right there.” Or, I’d have to reply back saying, “Thanks for your email! Here is that link that you need!” So, what an awesome way, if you talk about hard lessons learned: it was so painful if I was at all unclear. So I had to be absolutely clear and succinct, and learn that I had to keep my emails down to basically 5 or 6 sentences, for them to be really comprehended in full. And it was such great training. And the reason I mention this in the book is that, most people don’t have mailing lists of a million people that teach them this the hard way: they have websites. And I feel bad sometimes, when somebody says, “Hey Derek, can you check out my business and let me know what you think?” And I look at their website, and it’s full of this, “Blah blah, blahblahblah, we believe in quality and service and dependability and we were founded in 1983 and we’ve been around for this and we give you this service…” And I think, “Oh God, they haven’t felt that pain, b/c when you have a website, you don’t have 1000 people saying, “I don’t understand,” the way that you get from an email list as I described: you just get apathy. So people have these long, wordy websites, and then they say, “Hey, why aren’t I getting a lot of traffic?” Unfortunately, on the web, people don’t reply back and complain they just leave. SO, I highly recommend people use their email list, even more often than they’re comfortable with, and hone that, and try to get your message as ridiculously succinct as possible: I never could have predicted in advance that the ultimate length for an email to be comprehend was 6 sentences. But, through trial and error, I found out that anything beyond 6 or 7 sentences, they weren’t really going to comprehend what you wrote: they were going to see the first few sentences and respond to that. So, I think it might be the same with websites, that people read a lot less than we’d ever expect, and our websites need to just have a few sentences of necessary text, until somebody goes to that final step and says, “Yes, I really want to read completely about this, please give me lots of information now.”

Ben:

OK now, something related that I think you’ve had a lot of experiences with, I think many people on the call are involved, or provide services to other people, they basically are the service. And it strikes me that, your videos are a wonderful way for people who have never met you in person to get a feel for what you’re like, both responding to an interview or giving a talk or talking directly, and I suppose you could get more information on a video than you could on a 6-line email. But how impactful have you found a video to be, and for those of us on the call who have never done one, any tips on how to get started, and how to do your first one, and what a good guide would be?

Derek:

Well, I don’t feel like an expert in that yet. I barely just got started doing some videos. With this book, I know there are some people that are just more visual than reading: they prefer to watch a video or even listen to a podcast than to sit and read something. So, I wanted to make animations for some of my essays from the book. So, here’s my concrete advice: I went to eLance.com and odesk.com, 2 websites that are good for groups of freelancers, and I put up a project, just saying I’m looking for an animator. And you just let them bid on your project: you don’t have to say how much, you just give a price range, say you can pay something between $500 or $2000, and let the animators bid. So I got a lot of bids. The funny thing is, I got some, saying we are based in NYC, and we can do this for $10,000, and they would send me their videos, their example reels, and it was terrible stuff. And then I got an email from a guy in the Philippines, who said, “I will do that for you for $400, and here is a sample of my work.” And his work was beautiful! And then I tested him out for just hiring him to do just one; and it was amazing, it was even better than his sample work. He ended up doing all 7 for me; in fact, I just posted my 7th and final one last night. I asked him if he’d be willing to do a lot more of these for me, and he said, “You know, $400, it may not sound like a lot to you, but here in the Philippines, $400 is more than any of my friends make in a month. The fact that I’m able to make $400 just doing 1 video for you that takes me about 10 days, I’m rich: this is amazing. If you have 10 more videos for me, I can quit my job, and do this full-time.” And I said, “Well, I’ve got lots more for you. So yes, let’s do it.” Yes, he’s amazing. At the end of all of my videos, you’ll see a little credit, he’s got a website that is Plainlysimplestudios.com. And his name is Marvin, and he is just awesome. And not only that, but he knows some other brilliant animators, and I asked him, “What happens if you get a lot, a lot of work out of this?” And he said, “I’ve got so many of my friends who are also great animators, and they’d love to work together with me so we can make a whole team of great animators here.” It’s just really heart-warming to me: it’s one thing to meet yet another client of a NYC firm charging $10,000, but to know that, to make an animation for something you’re doing, would not only make your product or service that much cooler or more enticing, but also make somebody’s day or life? I love it.

Ben:

They’re great. And for everybody listening, you can find them on Derek’s site: sivers.org. I’ve got a question here from Linda Rowley, which is kind-of specific, but: Derek, when building a website for an existing business, how important would it be to develop a unique logo to be inviting for potential visitors?

Derek:

I think a logo is quite important. I’m very much a minimalist: so at one point, in CD Baby’s history in 2007 when I re-wrote the software, I launched a very plain-text version of CD Baby that was just as plain as can be. And I loved it, because it was just lightning-fast and no graphics, but immediately, the user-feedback was terrible and people said, “I thought I had accidentally typed in the wrong term,” when you accidently go to the wrong page, and network solutions sends you to some generic spam-landing page where they try to get you to click on things. A lot of people said, “I thought I had landed on the wrong site, because there were no graphics or anything.” I think that it’s very important, more than you’d expect, to get a really good graphically-designed look and feel, including a logo that really looks like something, because it really signals to somebody that, “This is a real company. This isn’t just a WordPress template. This isn’t just somebody who is dabbling in something this week and will change their mind next week. This is a real company because they have a logo.” So yes, I think it’s very important and worth paying for. In fact, there’s a great company out there called 99Designs.com, that I just used recently, because I heard great things about them, and it’s wonderful, a bunch of freelance artists who are logo-designers, set up a profile 99Designs, and when you want to get a logo made, you just go to 99Designs.com and you just describe what you want. And then dozens of designers will pitch for the work, they’ll say, “Here’s my past work, here’s a rough draft of what I might suggest.” And you get to pick the rough draft that you like the best, and then work with that designer to make it just the way you want it, and then pay them when you’re done, and it’s a great service.

Ben:

OK, great idea. Quick question: you worked all these 16-hour days for 10 years, but you didn’t have a family back then. And you fell in love in New York, and now you’re living with your bride in Singapore: is she in your line of work at all? Does she do something different?

Derek:

Different, but related. She is an educational writer. So, part of the appeal, as soon as we met: I had already felt 1 foot out the door of the US - nothing against the US at all, I’m still very American, as you can tell. But I turned 40 years old, and I was kind of feeling adventurous. It’s a big world out there, and after I’ve been in the US for 40 years, I want to go live in the rest of the world for the rest of my life. And so I met this great girl and so we had this second date, and I was falling for her, but I didn’t want to waste her time if she was very bound to NY. So, on our second date, I said, “How would you feel about leaving the US and never coming back? I really want to live the rest of my life in the rest of the world.” And she thought about it very deeply for a minute, and she said, “Yeah, I could do that.” And so she’s an educational writer: she writes workbooks on school curriculums. And she can do that from anywhere. She was working at Kaplan, the test-prep company, when we met, and in fact, her whole division shut down just a few months before our wedding. So, it was perfect timing, that now we both just lived the laptop life, and we spent the past year, before we moved to Singapore, we were traveling the world, and we would work from Brazil for a month and work from Sweden for a month and work from England for a month, and so we were just testing out these countries to see which one we liked living in. It’s pretty amazing, to have that laptop life.

Ben:

It is. Final quick questions: one is, if people want to get in touch with you, what’s the best way for them to do it?

Derek:

Email me. Right on my sivers.org website, there’s a link, I think it says, “Contact me.” And honestly, some of the coolest people I’ve met over the past couple years are the people who contact me after an interview like this. Maybe it’s just the nature of things, where you’ve heard me blabbing for 90 minutes now, and it’s been a kind-of 1-sided conversation for 90 minutes and now there’s somebody on the other end who’s listened all this way, and I get the most wonderful emails from people, and I’m actually very wide-open to that, and the funny thing is, is that, people often start their emails by saying, “I know you’re incredibly busy, but…” And I say, “No, I’m not busy, I’m in control of my schedule, and I like leaving time for good conversations.” So anybody who would like to email me, feel free to drop me an email, just go to sivers.org, and my email address is right there.

Ben:

And last question, do you have any feel, over the next 5 years or the next 5 weeks or whatever, but what really are you excited about possibly doing or getting into? What’s going to be new for you>?

Derek:

Right now, I am loving learning Chinese. Singapore is an English-speaking country, so English is the first language, Chinese the second, and that’s part of why I chose it. I’ve been learning Chinese casually for the last couple years, and it’s fascinating. Talk about the things that you never could have predicted: when I was making a living as a musician, I never could have predicted that I would have gotten fascinated with back-end computer programming of websites: I thought that I was just 100% music. And 2 years ago, I couldn’t have predicted that I just love practicing my Chinese: with the writing and those characters and they have to go in a certain stroke order. I just get mesmerized, I just spend hours a day practicing and learning my Chinese. So that’s got my hobby attention now. And business-wise, I’m really pursuing a pretty ambitious goal of being a parallel entrepreneur: we hear about serial entrepreneurs, who do 1 business and then the next and then the next. My goal is to now set up a parallel entrepreneur structure, where I’m just the guy in the middle, kind of like the holding company, that will fund things and guide them and help design them and mentor them. There will be 6 or so businesses running at once: all 6 of them very individual, separate businesses, although all generally helping musicians in some way or another, but they will be 6 different businesses. I’ll be in the middle of all that, but they’ll really be run by other people.

Ben:

But you wouldn’t be putting in huge hours on any of them.

Derek:

Right, well I think by nature I’m just that 16-hours a day kind of guy because honestly I’ve found what I love and I love to do it as much as I can: it doesn’t feel like work, of course. The idea is, spending a few hours a week with each one of the businesses, so that I will be more of a mentor than manager. So, that’s my new goal: those are the 2 things that are fascinating me the most right now.

Ben:

Listen, I know it’s Friday morning where you are. Thank you so much for coming and spending this time with us, and have a wonderful day and a wonderful weekend, and I’ll be in touch soon.

Derek:

Thanks Ben, I really appreciate it. Thank you everyone!