Happpppy New Year PartnerUp!
I'm back (and solo for the first time ever!) recording this on Sunday night because I couldn't sleep before dropping my 7 partner predictions for 2022...
They're urgently important before we hit SKO season and are just as controversial as I hope they are inspirational.
Inflation, Offers, Influence, oh my!
After tuning in, what do you think of my 7 predictions? Share one on LinkedIn, tag me in the comments, and let me know your thoughts!
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Jared Fuller 00:00
What is up, partner up? Welcome to 2022 And tonight, I'm actually solo because I realized I should have done this. I have to do a 2022 predictions in partner ecosystems and maybe some pleads some pleading. With those of you out there in partner orgs thinking about interacting with partner orgs this is gonna be a fun one. Michelle and I are spinning things back up next week. So you can like back to the regular scheduled program but I wanted to drop something a little bit unique so I got seven partner ecosystem predictions for 2022 Just coming at you solo wrapped up very interesting holiday season. Oh my gosh, who was sick multiple times. We got our butts handed to us by tested negative for COVID like six seven times what swear it's it can't find a PCR test anywhere but such as the world. recording this on Sunday, January 9, it'll be dropping Monday morning on the 10th. But man, it kicked our butts bad, whatever it was twice. And then earlier this week, man, I went for a run in my heart rate was shooting up to 190 beats per minute, I had to stop like 10 times. The only reason I stopped 10 times I went out about a mile and normally I'm doing a 5k 10k run. Had to turn all the way back around. So I hope everyone's feeling a little bit more healthy. We're gonna get through this back half of the pandemic knock on wood. And we can have some fun in 2022 but I think some stuff is gonna get real weird. I think the roaring 20s are definitely gonna be the weird 20s And I've been thinking a lot about this. So I got my seven partner predictions here. Like I said, just a solo episode today. First one actually, I think I've ever done solo. But the reason why it's nine o'clock at night, I just had some thoughts I put down got the glass of wine here so salute and put up put up all the Christmas decorations today, you know, cleaned up the house and help some folks got some good stuff for the holidays. Christmas. I got a I got a sauna. Yeah, that was that was quite needed during the sick times. And then I also got a plunge pool. So shout out to Wim Hof The Iceman for convincing me to take the plunge almost quite literally and get a basically, it's an ice bath. So I've been doing that back and forth. But anyways, enough of me, rambling let's, let's get into some predictions on 2022. I'm excited about this. I have some more news coming to for those of you who didn't catch the episode, no longer adrift. And I have though I do have a startup that I've helped co found ish. More details soon. And we did close a seed round in December. So news is forthcoming news is forthcoming, and it's maybe tangentially related to partner ecosystem. So I'm excited to tell everyone about that whenever the timing is right. Also, I do, because no sponsors on the show, I get to kind of, you know, bring it to you straight. I do want anyone out there to know, any Rockstar heads of marketing, I'm actually hiring one for this startup. So shoot me a DM on LinkedIn. If you've seen this story before, no one's seen this story before maybe a Director of Marketing head of marketing, that, you know, you saw your colleagues make a bunch of money and you're looking for your shot. To get that good chunk of equity. I can give you that navall Raava Khan quote, you know, the only good things in life come from compound interest. So equity is certainly that. And yeah, so quick little plug there, because I'm hiring a head of marketing. So if you know someone, shoot in my way, or shoot me a note on LinkedIn, if that's yourself, so we're only four minutes with some Jared solo rant here. But let's let's dive in. So seven partner predictions for 2022. First one, how could I not start this given what the Fed has done with inflation? And I think they finally united the left and the right a little bit on this issue in saying that they responded a little bit late. Yeah, I'd say so. After seeing true inflation, there's a couple ways to calculate it. IMO, we're seeing north of 10% right now at the end of December. into January. It's not transitory, it ain't going away. I mean, just look at lumber up 60% year over year, and that's even after things were crazy with COVID But what does that mean? Well, I think that costs are going to be reevaluated across SAS businesses. I'm already hearing rumblings of it already here in the new year. And I think many companies are going to wrongfully cut into the partner org. And that's, that's a scary thought you think, Well, hey, you know, part of work has far less CAC, if you're able to generate opportunities and generate leads, then you don't necessarily have that marketing CAC there. But I think the reality is, is that's just, it's just a it's not true. You might go what? That's not true. Yeah, I mean, it's not true, just because the a partner sourcing leads, that's something a little bit of the past. They're much more influential across the entire cycle, right. I mean, that's the goal is to surround the accounts, especially in b2b. But the reality is, is that most of the time, you already have some of that marketing CAC in there. So I just don't think CFOs are going to buy that line, if they were buying it before, very few were. And I think, unfortunately, that we're going to see some cuts into partner orgs in companies that are doing it wrong. So I think the companies that don't deserve to have an ecosystem strategy, you know, what I think they're gonna pull back from it. I think others are going to embrace ecosystems, and really crush it, right? Be able to bring their costs and not have to spend so much on direct headcount from sales and marketing, and really lean into leveling up productivity per rep. on a, on an ecosystem basis, that's something that I was really proud of, as I was leaving drift, shout out yarby. And Michelle, they're just, you know, we had a joint Slack channel with six cents with hundreds, not exaggeration, over 200, joint sellers, where they're working together all the time, beginning of funnel, mid, and funnel. So I think the companies that don't deserve to have a partner ecosystem, they're going to pull back and I think there's going to be some cuts there. Which means for those of you hiring partner, folks out there be on the lookout, January, February, March, I think we'll see VCs put notes out there, you know, to their founders to be a little bit more cash cautious. And as a result, I think, again, the ones that don't know, well, there's going to be some awesome partner talent out there. If you're feeling that way, about your org, that, you know, a we know, partnerships make every department more effective. I think in my opinion, you can get a lot more leverage from that. If you're starting to feel that way. I'd say start looking because the hiring market is still super hot right now. So so don't despair. But if you feel like your organization's gonna start pulling back due to inflation, start reevaluating costs, I think you think you better start looking. And life's too short to work for a CEO that doesn't care about ecosystems and partnerships. Right. Alright. So that's Prediction number one, inflation is going to cause a lot of companies to become more cash cautious, and reevaluate. I think their partner works to their detriment, but there will be more that capitalized. And I think the ones that do will have a much better 2022, and then a gangbusters 23 partner ecosystem Prediction number two, I think the most innovative companies this year are going to rethink partner compensation. So this is kind of related to point number one, but I think it's different. Partner compensation has always been, I think, a b2b SaaS thought of from the perspective of some sort of, you know, revenue share. So that revenue share can come from, you know, a referral to some type of affiliate thing, it can come in terms of, you know, sourcing an opportunity, or just influencing an opportunity, some companies pay, you know, less for influence more for sourced, I did that adrift seemed like the right thing to do at the time. I think my thoughts on that are evolving. But hey, I mean, I'll pay more for a sourced opportunity, if I can prove it sourced, at the same time, I do want to compensate partners across the lifecycle. But what the heck do I mean partner? You know, the most innovative companies are going to rethink partner compensation this year. Well, what I mean by that, is, I think cash is going to become king again, your inflation, so like you're holding your dollars, you're trying to reinvest them as best you can. But is that what every company is going to do? Is every company going to go? Yeah, so we're really going to lean in, we're one of those companies that's going to lean into partner ecosystems, a little bit more than we had in the past. And we're gonna pay out more? I don't think so. I don't think so at all. So this is a bit of a hint towards something I'm working on. But I actually think that there's a big opportunity to do what some I've seen some companies do with like communities and founding members of those communities, is that I think that equity for the first time is going to find its way into ecosystem compensation this year. Wild and I have some thoughts on, I might do a deeper episode on this on how some of it may collide with web three a little bit. Now, don't be thinking I'm talking about some Ico and giving partners just tokens, quad tokens of some garbage, you know, coin. That's not really what I mean, I think there's a way to tie equity and tokens together through a stable method that really allows for partner and employee compensation. And I'm really excited about that Peekapoo is listening to this episode will be surprised I talked about this a little bit. But I think regardless, it's something that I'm going to do in my company this year. So I'm really excited about the people that are gonna have to rethink this. Now, not all partners are going to love this. But the reality is, is if you have a great business, if you're a part of a great business, again, going back to be hiring head of marketing, and quoting navall Raava Khan, compound interest is the thing that matters, linear, you know, percentage points, it doesn't matter if you have a great business. I know there's lots of partners that joined, you know, in the HubSpot ecosystem that have loved to have equity in many other great companies that have had fantastic outcomes. So I think this is the year where the most innovative companies rethink partner compensation and the equity starts to slip into that total partner compensation model. So excited about that one. That's going to be very interesting. So any crypto geeks out there, shoot me a note on LinkedIn. Shoot me a DM, I'd love to chat with you about that. Or come ping me in the cloud software Association, Slack channel. So there's my CSA, shout out boys, give them a shout out. So Cloud Software Association, 4000, partner members, so big fan of them, I'm in partnerships, leaders as well. So feel free to shoot me a note in in slack there if you're a crypto geek, and hey, what the heck is Jared talking about with equity, and that slipping into partner compensation this year? Alright, partner ecosystem prediction numero tres. I think I've talked about this a lot. In the 2021 state of marketing report done by Deloitte was a fantastic report. A lot of these reports, you know, state of this data that we know we're coming into 2022, this is last year's report, it still blows my mind. This one fact that the average American receives between 410,000 brands slash ad impressions every day. Let me say that, again, between 410,000 brand or ad impressions every single day. So what I'd seen as a trend is a b2b marketer, salesperson, you know, jack of all trades, master of none, if you will, is that CAC has continued to rise consistently, at the rate much higher than inflation, I'll put it that way. And conversion rates have continued to fall. So I think this year in 2022, we're gonna see that even explode. I mean, we see inflation happening, you know, kind of tying these points back together, it's going to get more and more expensive. And I think even faster this year than we thought last year to acquire customers, we're going to see an explosion of CAC, which is going to start to mess with every company's LTV CAC ratios, and then, again, LTV, CAC ratios go down, then all of a sudden, the unit economics of the business don't look as good and to investors, you know, there's a big cash pull back in yet at the same time, company's gonna pull back on CAC. And the problem is, well, guess what? That conversion rate, because you're not able to spend that money on maybe educating that customer, you know, partnering with that partner doing that thing, we're gonna start to see a little bit of I think that conversion rate start to really decline. I mean, I'm talking about this from a more traditional perspective, you know, of direct to, you know, kind of conversion rates if you're talking about ads or retargeting, or any campaigns. But I have a point that I think will help counter that this year. So that there's some of these are a little bit do me but I mean, hey, you got inflation that's sitting over true inflation over 10%. Let's get real folks. It's gonna be a little bit bumpy. But you know, the best companies are born during bumpy times. So that's a partner ecosystem Prediction number three cat continues to arrive, rise while conversion rates continue to fall. And I think we're gonna see an acceleration here. Partner Ico Prediction number four. I think something that's going to happen big this year, is the b2b marketplaces are going to boom. Now, you're like b2b marketplaces. Yeah, you know, I come from kinda like the more startup world, the hundreds of employees down to early stage. What I mean by that is, I think the old way of going to market with your ecosystem from a public facing standpoint, right? So you might do activities from a marketing perspective, that's campaign related on, hey, we launched this integration, or you might do some co sales with some partner either ISV channel alliances, what have you, I think something different is going to start to happen this year, as I've already started to see, it's been a very interesting trend the past couple months, is that instead of just having some sort of like, Oh, here's my integrations page, like, a, who cares? I mean, yeah, sure. You need it, it needs to be there. Like, here's my integration partners. Sure, because, hey, do you integrate with that thing. But I think the reality is that, if you have a really solid customer base, and I've seen the most innovative companies start to do this, they're going to start to bundle their best partners together and create offers. And then what you're going to see is you're going to see beyond just, you know, an integration and listing that's like, Hey, here's this company, we connect with X or Y, you're going to start to see offers, replace those tiles. So it used to be company would just advertise, they're starting to advertise lists in an integration marketplace, I think you're going to start to see companies start to actually put offers alongside that in bundle, and then have preferred to where marketplace in why is this? Well, a if you have this kind of macro environment and business, I mean, I'll I'll reference Shantanu, from Adobe, you know, he said, you know, retention is the new revenue last year at Summit, Adobe Summit, their annual conference, I think you're going to start to see those companies with great customer bases try to deliver more value because they can't just ship new products, and they're, they're going to start to say, hey, well, we can't acquire those companies, maybe we're not going to just try and ship as much new products. Because there's CAC associated with that, let's start to drive more value to our customer base using our partners. And in the beginning of this prediction, I mentioned something important, the public facing components. A lot of what happens with partner is like you and the partner trying to go towards a customer. But where's the discovery component? Well, the discovery component happens in a marketplace, right? A marketplace is the front end to your ecosystem. And I think you're gonna see a lot of that this year where the best in class companies really double down on marketplaces to drive value for their customers, so their customers can discover more value from their ecosystem using a marketplace. You know, a great example of that, in the past year or so, is the snowflake data marketplace. I mean, it's just fantastic concept, executed very well, that's going to continue to grow, they're going to double down on companies like snowflake would be wise to double down on marketplaces this year. I mean, think about the other earlier points to CAC LTV, again, this is going to be the big year for marketplaces, big boom for partner marketplaces in 2022. Alright, what's your number five? Number five, he'll a little bit back to my earlier point Head of Marketing again, know someone ping me. DMS are open. I think this year though, not necessarily really. It's a head of marketing. I think this year in partner marketing, maybe this one's more of a plead. Partner marketing, I think is about to experience a big shake up. And I think especially co marketing. It's about to get a big reality check. And this is harking back to I've been spending a lot of time with the old G's of marketing. The people were you know, that's just true all the time. Like child Dini, a little bit of Ogilvy. And then of course, you know, crossing the chasm. As I get back into building brand and doing some of that stuff myself cutting my entrepreneurial teeth, you got to go back to the the Oh, geez of marketing. And then as I've been doing that, as I've been spending more time, consciously with Chow Dini and listening and following people that just are really experts at executing you know, the, the principles of influence. I've realized, wow, part of marketing is frickin broken. CO marketing. Why? Well, a look at how many partner Mark it's like, even the good companies I know, that are really good at marketing that, you know, they know how to use social proof. They know how to create scarcity. They know how to, like execute on all of these things. But they're still not doing that with their partners. So what's this prediction partner marketing his experiences shakeup? Here's what I think. I think that this year, you're going to see that at least the smart ones will think it might be more of a pleat is the you're gonna see offers start to enter the partner marketing kind of matrix. And what do I mean by that? I don't mean just like token offers, like, you know, hey, you attended this, you know, joint webinar and you can get a free demo. Like no one buys that crap anymore a free demo. Anyone out there that thinks that like, Oh, they're pulling some child Dini stuff with a free demo? Let's get frickin real. Not true. We all see past that any buyers like a free demo? No, I spent, you just gave me a thought leadership piece. And now you're offering a free demo, I mean, or an e book or people have to start getting real with offers. And I think the best partner marketers, there's a couple that I've talked to are starting to think that way, right? So what they're going to be doing is they're going to be seeding their events with offers, and they're going to be ending with offers. So what I mean by that, you register for the joint webinar, and then their partners counterpart, right, so the customer of their partner, they're going to be offering things like I don't know, let's say you have an annual conference or something like that. We're excited to be coming back in the spring or the fall or whatever. Normally, our tickets are $500. If you register for this webinar, we're going to give you a free ticket, or we're going to give you 50% off, all you have to do is register for the webinar, and you're going to get this thing. That's a pretty easy ask, right? Swag. So we used to just send out swag. I mean, I think a lot of b2b marketers did shout out Braden young Sindo. So which I think actually, that's the number one episode of 2021 was actually why this co founder changed his title to Chief partnerships officer, so shout out bright and young of Sentosa chief partnerships officer over there. Number one episode this year, by the way, you're going to start to see, you know, hailing back to San Dosso, less and less, I think Swag, swag, right as part of like this mix that is like hey, outbound or like, nurture, I think we'll see swag, enter things like partner marketing. So again, seating an event or some sort of partner marketing event, with swag, fantastic idea, hey, sign up for the webinar, we'll send you the hat was any the jacket, we'll send you the gloves, we'll send you the logos, like, do that. It's easy when that I think at the end of these partner marketing events, you're going to start to see something else. Pretty interesting as well, which are going to be much more, I wouldn't say bottom of funnel offers, but maybe a little bit more real. So let's say free seats, maybe discounts. And if you're, if you're transactional, not a bad idea, limited time offers. And then perhaps that more exclusive type of, you know, swag, so to speak, or sweepstakes, right? Like, hey, we're going to pick, you know, five audience members from this, you know, at random, and we're gonna give them some sort of amazing experience, right? So expect partner marketing to get a shake up this year, maybe more of a reality check that this old way of partner marketing where it's like, hey, we integrate together. So let's talk about sales enablement. Now, you know, like the 50 other people, you're gonna have to start seeding offers partner markers gonna start doing it and you have to start ending with offers. So that's numeral number five. It's getting late here. And this is the first time I've recorded like 930, but I'm enjoying a nice glass of wine. Groth actually, so just poured my first one. All right. Number six, this one is going to make some people upset. But hear me out. I think you know, kind of related to the previous five, you know, especially the inflation and the CAC thing that I think influence is going to come under more fire than ever, in a lot of organizations. Now, I think influences pretty much everything I was talking to one of my newer colleagues the other day and I was saying hey, to me, I think the thing that's most important is not the debate between partner source and partner influence I actually think it's more about you know, partner velocity rate and partner attach rate. Right, so are you bringing more partners? Are you surrounding your deals with more partners over time? I mean, if you already Microsoft or whatever PVR part of velocity rate doesn't matter. But I think for we're talking you know, venture backed hyper growth startups or even let's say new you actually think about this for new products new ventures too. So yeah, I mean, you can you get a partner velocity rate could play an important part of your go to market no matter what the stages but I digress. Is that I think partner velocity rate and partner attach rate are more important than the debate between partner source and partner influence. I think a lot of organizations due to those, you know, cash constraints, etc. They're going to be looking at influence, especially the finance side. So maybe quick tip, quick tip. It's January. You should start thinking about some gift ology coming Back to not swag. It's a great book. Gift ology is about one of Chaldeans principles of reciprocity, right? So you give them that makes the person feel like you need to get back. So great little read is quick tip, January, this is the month to perhaps get your VP of Finance Director of Finance CFO, a nice, happy New Year gift. Because all of a sudden, I have to say all of a sudden, I think you're gonna start to see, you know, end of q1, a lot of scrutiny come around those partner payouts on influence. Okay, how did that partner really you know what was going on there, you're gonna see a lot of inspection into that. I anticipate a lot of inspection and to that, I think influence is going to come under more fire than ever. I think that's a good thing. Wait, what? Now you've heard me talk about influence, I think influence is the new thing in general, right? Like influence? What does it mean? You can check out the episode with Alan Adler, good friend of mine, who I was fortunate to meet up with in San Francisco, actually, we should have recorded an episode live there. The stuff we had on the whiteboard was amazing and more to come on that. But, you know, Alan talks about influences, you know, the new currency in a lot of ways I think Alan's really right. But I think it's gonna get worse before it gets better. But why don't think that's a good thing is that because of shows like this, like partner up, there's more podcasts coming out. And there's more community. So partnerships, leaders, cloud software Association, y'all are getting more educated. And I think for there to be a renaissance around what it means to surround your customer with your ecosystem, that there's going to have to be a debate, there's going to have to be a forcing function. And I think we were a lot less equipped to have that debate with our finance counterparts. You know, even a year ago, a couple years ago, now it's like, look, it's pretty easy to have that conversation. Hey, our conversion rates if they've been going up or down, they've been going down, hey, customer acquisition cost that's been going what? Up? So there's an inverse correlation there? Correct. Okay, so we're going to be able to spend less money on acquiring customers, because it's getting more expensive to acquire every customer. So how are we going to combat that? Well, the way you're going to combat that is by making your funnel more effective. How do you make your funnel more effective, effective, you surround the customers you want with the people they trust? Not with people in your company, they don't trust anyone at the company, they're not your customer yet. So what's going to happen? I think there's a lot of us there and be able to have that conversation and hold our ground and say, no. That's not the way it's gonna work. If, if you want to die on that hill, well, then I think I'm climbing the wrong Hill. So I think influence is gonna come under more fire than ever. I think the companies that operate that way, they're going to lose their best partner leaders. And I think whenever they go to replace them, guess what, they're gonna have a hard time replacing a very hard time replacing them. Because it's the most effective way to straighten out that funnel, right? Kind of wiping it out, by all means. I mean, gosh, win rates, not to drop any sensitive information. But I mean, we saw 3x The win rate, whatever, as a partner attached deal. 3x 300% more. Yeah, payout influence, no brainer, but that's gonna get worse before it gets better. So be prepared for those combos. You know, get that CFO the gift for in big educated, be ready for that conversation. In fact, maybe get get ahead of it. If you're seeing influence, start to really turn people's noses up and just start thinking about this in advance. So I think you're gonna prep for that conversation. A lot of us are all right, Lucky. Number seven, who this was gonna be fun. This is my favorite one, because I have been blown away, blown away by what I saw in the last month and a half, two months around ecosystem methodologies and movements. And what do I mean by that? What do I mean by that is? Well, if you would have told me this, even two years ago, I've been like, You're crazy. I saw the rise of I mean, a bunch of people started talking about on LinkedIn, doesn't mean it's real doesn't mean it's out there doesn't mean it's a thing yet, but I think this year might actually start to become a thing is partner branded GTM functions, where the partner is at the center. Let me tell you more partner led growth. Okay, we've heard of product led growth, what the heck is partner led growth? Well, people are starting to talk about it. And I think as a methodology as a way of going to market if you will. There's going to be a lot of thought leadership and development in honing of that muscle this year. Where partner let go rove might actually become a thing. I see it happening. The other thing is, you know, I think go to market is going to start to butt heads with something called go to ecosystem. So another quick call out to my buddy Alan Adler. Yeah, go to ecosystem? Well, I mean, that's pretty, you know, head to head with the go to market folks, I consider myself a go to market person, if you will. But I mean, I think Ellen's right to, and a lot of ways that I think, going from the market back in so like, I can't call it go to ecosystem, it's like ecosystem to me, you know, like, I want to go out to where the ecosystems are, in build that those notes of trust out there versus trying to go one to one to customers. But I think as a phrase partner led growth, it's going to take off this year, you're gonna see a lot of content about it, a lot of people gonna start becoming really good at it. And I think go to ecosystem is going to be something that people talk about two. So you're gonna see these permutations, if you will, of people that are making big bets on partner led growth on go to ecosystem, these phrases I hadn't heard three months ago. And I know this for a fact, because Alan came up with go to ecosystem over a Slack thread that, you know, I was on with him. So I know that wasn't there. But then I also believe partner LED grow some of these other phrases where ecosystem is at the center of the of the motion. It's going to be big year. So I think there's gonna be some challenges. But those of us that have been geeking out on ecosystem and partnerships, listen to podcasts like this. And I mean, I've been listening to because I talk to all the guests, I do it for a very selfish reason learning, right? There's not an easy way to learn this stuff, but I'm gonna keep bringing it bigger and better than ever. This is going to be a big year for partner up. There's, I've been hinting at some announcements towards some new projects on launching around that. So I'm excited to do so here in q1. And what else should I say other than Thank you? So if you Google partnerships, podcasts, like I mean, there's there's hundreds now Jay McBain published a blog post with like the top 100. Like, shoot, there's 100 partnerships podcast, what the heck, you Google partnerships podcast partner comes up first. I think we're ranked number one on Apple. I think it's really hard to say it's the number one partnerships podcast. But all I know is I'm floored by y'all. Thank you so much for tuning in. Over the past year, I've learned a ton 2020 two's good, I think be trying starting off with some COVID some inflation, I think businesses are going to overreact like they typically do to the Fed under-reacting. A little too late there on the inflation head side, but I think net net those of us that are committed to being curious learning machines that are doing this, not because it's just our job, but because we're educated on the benefits and the way that the world truly operates that these mutual relationships mutualism, ecology, stability of systems really rely on this, not just me and my one thing and I, they give me money, I give them software or whatever. No, it's bigger than that. It's ecologically stable systems is a more natural order of things. And you're, we're gonna see a lot more mutualism this year. And I think those of us that that are really dedicated to that craft, or curious learning machines, figure it the heck out I think we're gonna have a banner year and if you're not inside that company, get back out. That's my advice. So partner up. We will see you all next time we were back with guest just had to drop my seven predictions and pleads for 2022. So we will see you all next time. Peace.