E-commerce is alive and growing. So are the tools that support it.

I don’t think we’re in a place where we can say, “Here’s the way to build a successful company in the new economy today.” We just don’t know what the new economy is. But I’m looking to find the spots of hope that give us an idea of what’s possible.

Today’s guest is an example of that. Jesse Lakes is the founder of Geniuslink which makes localizing, tracking, and managing smart links simple. I want to find out how he’s doing better this year than last year.

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Jesse Lakes

Jesse Lakes

Geniuslink

Jesse Lakes is the founder of Geniuslink which makes localizing, tracking, and managing smart links simple.

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Full Interview Transcript

Andrew Warner 0:04
Hey there freedom fighters. I’m so excited to do this interview. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of mixergy, where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses, and I’m looking for little spots of hope. I don’t think we’re in a place where we can say, here’s the way to build a successful company in the new economy today, we don’t know we don’t even know what the new economy is, what I’m looking at instead is in a world where we’re just drowning in negative information to to find the spots of hope that give us an idea of what’s possible that maybe even remind us yeah, things really are still possible. And I have been interviewing entrepreneurs who’ve done this I’ve also respected a lot the entrepreneurs who’ve said, I’m not yet ready even though we’re doing well now better even now than we were before the economy took a hit, not yet ready to talk about it. And I get it. And once they say I’m not yet ready, I don’t let them change their mind because I don’t want to ever feel like something I said convinced them to do an interview. But today’s guest said yes, before I had a chance to tell them, you can back out of it. I’m so glad. One of my little passions is when I’m done with the day. before going to sleep, I will watch a video about someone who’s doing something interesting with cameras. Especially got I got started with action cameras, like the DJI action. So you guys have heard me talk about this. And the interesting thing is, once you get interested in you want to see what’s the camera that they they shot their video in with the equipment that they shot their stuff on, how can I do it, even if I’m going to sleep imagining that I could do it? What is it and they often will have these links in the bio of their or in the description of their videos. And it’s usually something like if you want to buy it, here it is Us link and then there’s an Amazon shortened link, and then international link. And it’s like some kind of genius link. And I never understood why. But I noticed that the top creators who are creating things with either about gadgets, or creating things using cameras. Use this frickin genius link. And as I tweeted out, hey, is anyone doing well, better maybe even now than they were last year and willing to talk about it. This guy Jesse lakes said, I am I said, Would you be willing to come on? She said, Sure. And then I saw, he runs the company that makes all those links. And now I get to understand how that works, how he built it up and got all these creators and also since we’re staying on topic here, why he’s thinks he’s doing better now than last year what’s going on that’s allowing him to grow so that we can have some hope, right, this interview where I be apt too much, where we talk to Jessie lakes, the founder of genius link is sponsored by two phenomenal sponsors. The first if you’re building anything, and you need the developer, go check out Toptal.com slash mixergy. And the second if you’re building the website, you got to go to hostgator.com slash mixergy. But now, Jesse, thanks for being here.

Jesse Lakes 2:56
It’s absolutely My pleasure. Thanks for having me.

Andrew Warner 3:00
You know, the thing that I always wondered is, why do they have two links? What you do I imagine is if there’s an international link that links to a genius link, you figure out where in the world they are, and why why do they even using you in the first place? And then why aren’t they using you internationally?

Jesse Lakes 3:15
Yeah, so the first reason they use us as, as you described, these creators are recommending your product to their audience and their audience is most cases, International. YouTube makes it really easy to watch videos anywhere in the world. And there’s a amazing audience, you know, in every corner of the world watching the exact same videos, and part of kind of that revenue model that the creators follow is really around to the affiliate model as well. So when a creator recommends a product, being able to have a link for that product, and having that worldwide audience, click on that link to be able to buy it is important to them. Unfortunately, Amazon’s ecosystem Amazon is obviously a global name, but they have a very fragmented ecosystem. There’s very there’s a lot of different Amazon stores all around the world. Each of those store has its own affiliate program responsible for helping you earn Commission’s when you make your recommendation into that store. So once again you have this, this awesome creator that’s putting together this awesome video about you know an awesome camera they want to make sure that that that person in Japan that’s watching the video is able to buy that same camera in an Amazon store that’s built specifically for them. So is selling to them and yen is describing the product in in Japanese is going to have short and efficient shipping times etc. So our job is to make sure that that recommendation very quickly and efficiently goes to being to a place with that interesting consumer can purchase they can actually buy. So yeah, that’s the longer answer on one why people using genius link is really to kind of what makes sense.

Andrew Warner 4:44
You can tell where they are and then read what you can tell with the consumers and then redirect them to the right version of Amazon. And I’ve been using Amazon as an example because it’s the place that I happen to see most often. You weren’t with other platforms including.

Jesse Lakes 4:56
Yeah, so we really kind of start off with iTunes when it was iTunes have seats, Apple Music and other various media types. That was really kind of where we learned about problem in COVID. In Amazon, obviously being the everything store was was kind of next. We built out some cool stuff for Microsoft and more recently, we started working with a handful of other additional retailers on your back the camera analogy, b&h photo video is one of the retailers are doing some pretty cool stuff. We’ve got some really cool stuff up our sleeve, hopefully in the next few weeks that will will help our client base and help consumers around the world

Unknown Speaker 5:31
take a little bit more

Andrew Warner 5:33
advantage of the changing situation. Why do you think you’re doing better this year than last year and having a better March than you expected considering what’s going on in the world economy.

Jesse Lakes 5:46
For better or worse, we got dealt a really interesting hand and then the other side of it is that we’ve been busting our butts the last couple years to kind of get to this point. You know from from what we’ve the impact we’ve had, you know that the team has done an amazing job we’ve been doing tons of different experiments with pricing and finally kind of found a sweet spot. So it’s been two years of adjusting our price every six months and changed in from February to March and March is clearly on an uptick. There’s something you’re analyzing the market. And before we got started, you told me what you’re seeing is changing in the world. What are you seeing that’s, that’s leading to this? Yeah, yeah. It seems that more more people are working from home and when they’re working from home and they’re kind of looking at this this greater world at the moment there There seems to be a greater uptake of people working on a side hustle. Maybe it’s you know, creators creating videos or sharing products they love or curating products that are going to help other people out at for certain situations. So it seems that more and more people are interested in affiliate marketing at the moment and again, Amazon being this great ecosystem, easy to use affiliate program, but very fragmented, seems to be leading directly on the flip side of that too, is that e commerce seems to also be having its darling moment as well. We’re more and more people are shopping from the couch because they they want to Play it safe, follow all the guidelines that the various health organizations are helping out. So e commerce in particular seems to be more and more people clicking on affiliate links for recommendations to get to the store to buy it, etc, which just kind of creates this amazing feedback loop for our clients.

Andrew Warner 7:15
So it you’re actually putting together a lot of what I’ve been learning in the interviews that I’ve done recently. One is e commerce in general is doing well. And I’ve seen that across the board with people who I’ve interviewed in e commerce. The second thing is any tool for side hustle for people who are building on online some kind of business. I didn’t realize people were doing this yet I didn’t realize that they were mentally healthy enough to start thinking about their future. But even if it’s not everybody, there’s a small pocket of people who are saying, I get it, it’s depressing. I’m going to go to work and find something new or build on my side hustle. And then for consumers. The fact that they are home and that they’re online a lot is then leading them to it seems to click on more of those genius links that you have throughout. You told me before we got stuck Did that sorry and just for the record is nodding people were watching we’re doing this on video zoom Are you living on zoom right now?

Jesse Lakes 8:07
We use a lot of slack and then Uber conference so though yeah a lot of video a ton of video but um zoom is not my go to platform it’s a great platform Don’t get me wrong but a Uberconference and slightly prefer Uberconference we started using a handful years ago and just haven’t had a good reason to move away from it seems seems fairly straightforward Yeah, there’s

Andrew Warner 8:29
it’s really good for phones It feels like it prioritizes phones right you could give me a phone number if you and I were going to get on a call and I wouldn’t have to dial in access numbers and all that but it doesn’t prioritize like video from what I see and it doesn’t prioritize recording video my right and your uses.

Jesse Lakes 8:47
Yeah, yeah, they did a kind of a re jigger of it three or four months ago, and I like it less after they did that but the video is now kind of more in your face, but yeah, you Right, the video was not as as readily and as prevalent as, as Yeah. So it’s your words, it can be the go to feature.

Andrew Warner 9:08
The part that I that I’ve noticed it when people give me when I when people use it with me as a clear phone number, I can just put it in my phone book almost because they seem to use it all the time consistently. And then it could auto record so they can go back and get a transcript and see what I’ve talked to them about and work with them. Alright, I get it. You tell me before we get started, you had a collection of sites at one point that led you to start genius link. What was the collection?

Jesse Lakes 9:31
Yeah, so

2006 2007 ish, Renaissance series of different websites that would take soundtracks from extreme sports films and list them out with the different songs with links to iTunes and Amazon. So the example is Warren Miller puts out a video every year there’s usually about 50 different songs there. And you can usually associate some awesome moments, some great footage, some good feeling from those those skiing or snowboarding and resonate back to new music. So there’s really kind of capitalizing on that. iTunes and Amazon’s affiliate program.

Andrew Warner 10:04
And so I do this a lot with movies. My wife always wants to know why she can’t find great music anymore. And I always do. And it’s the most random thing. I’ll see a movie. They’ll have some interesting playlist. I’ll go listen to it. And suddenly, I’m addicted to Persian dance music, which literally is now because of a movie. So you’re one of the people who helped get people like me hooked on music. Would you create a different website for for like, I’m looking at Warren Miller now on Wikipedia, he’s an American ski and snowboarding filmmaker, would you create a whole website just for him or for all skiing, snowboarding?

Jesse Lakes 10:37
So all ski had one side all snowboarding at one side and then spun up surfing as well and that had its own site. So unfortunately, the sites are no longer up. It used to be ski moving music.com and surfer tunes calm, etc. And it was all SEO search engine optimization.

Unknown Speaker 10:52
Yeah, it was.

Jesse Lakes 10:54
It was the only solution in kind of Yeah, there was a lot of organic Seo definitely helped because you would list out new keywords that was, you know, a very concise landing page with the description, etc. But for the most part, there was no other way for snowboarders and skiers to kind of feed that habit of finding new music and really kind of getting getting the Snoke before the snow really fell and stuck.

Andrew Warner 11:17
You know, I was gonna ask you what problem you came across the legend of genius links, even though it’s, it seems obvious, it’s okay. It’s worth getting on the record. But I would even take a step back and say, How did he even know to get into affiliate revenue from music links on a website? And my guess is it’s that you worked at Apple for what? Three years? Two years?

Jesse Lakes 11:39
Yeah, so actually, Apple was kind of a little bit further down the path when I was in college started this site called nifty tricks and nifty trick was supposed to be the Complete Guide to every every trick in the book for extreme sports and I was right during the.com crash. So when I first started out, I was looking at the cpms of 70 $80 for advice and thinking that the whole would just be based off of, you know, banner ads and then everything fell apart and the the cpms went to nothing and me being some random college kid The only advertising I could find was was affiliate program so I started off actually hating affiliate marketing. But it was the only thing I tried to monetize this idea and that really kind of evolved over over the years did a did a blog about digital music, which got me introduced the iTunes affiliate program, then Randy’s soundtrack websites, soundtrack websites kind of introduced the concept of this trio fragmentation but during that time period, I was actually a bit of a Endless Summer search or I would go to Costa Rica during the winters and would be in Colorado and summers is a whitewater rafting guide. But one year I met a girl in Colorado and didn’t didn’t leave to Costa Rica that year and instead snowboard a ton and wrote a book about iTunes affiliate program and that book actually, is what got me the job at iTunes. Um, after they threatened to sue me Of course, they actually read the book and offered me a job

Andrew Warner 12:59
and to see what Why?

Jesse Lakes 13:01
Yeah, it was a, you know, I’d put blood sweat and tears into writing this book.

It was kind of this complete brain dump on the iTunes affiliate program. iTunes has had this amazing affiliate program with zero documentation. So it really took a lot of poking and prodding to figure out how it worked and how to kind of optimize it for those those soundtrack sites. So took all those notes wrote a book about it just about ready to publish it found some people on LinkedIn, sent them a copy got an email back saying you know, essentially a cease and desist and that we should hop on the phone so hopped on the phone with this this woman in the first 30 seconds we’re very civil and polite in the next 45 minutes just kind of screen to me Who Who the f are you? You these are all lies. How could you possibly know more about the affiliate program than us? Now you can’t publish this you’re going to make my life miserable. so forth. Turns out this one is actually amazing. She became my boss shortly afterwards. I love working with them. But the gist was that Yeah, I was I was complete nobody that had deep toe on this this topic. And become a subject matter expert, just kind of experimentation poking and prodding.

Andrew Warner 14:05
But long story short, what were you able to do that wasn’t clearly obvious about linking to iTunes music?

Jesse Lakes 14:12
It was Yeah, that’s, that’s, you know, the point that the URLs were pretty odd and broken apart. There’s these multiple affiliate programs it kind of went back to your fragmentation issue there the tools you really kind of had to dig around and kind of stumble upon the tools and once you got to the tool it was they were pretty hard to use. There’s no real programmatic way to use the tools to fix anyway. So again, with with the soundtrack websites, we had the hundreds of videos and with you know, 10s of songs per video, so we had lots and lots of links that need to be created. And doing that manually just was not feasible. So we were building a tool that would help us take you know, whatever song whatever artists off of whatever album, find the iTunes link, turn into an affiliate link, and then you’ll be able to put that aside Okay, basic things you With sinkhole toe to work with my co founder now, on that project problem of that project, it wasn’t a hard one. But it was something that saved me. A lot of time was necessary to figure out

Andrew Warner 15:12
Hey, look, I know that you’ve said on your LinkedIn profile these sites are down a particular walk down memory lane. Look at that. Basic

Jesse Lakes 15:20
school you right, that’s Yeah, that’s exactly. That’s the limit. That’s the extent of my

Andrew Warner 15:26
graphic design skills. Does that bring it back to you remember those days or nights that you’d sit and do it? You do?

Jesse Lakes 15:31
Oh, yeah. I was. It was also i was i was living the dream. Again. Yeah. bouncing around in the summer snowboarding here. And there. It was. Yeah, my 20s were pretty amazing. Well, you always entrepreneurial fairly. My mom was entrepreneurial. I think that kind of rubbed off on me. So kind of the first web venture I took my some of my money from my high school graduation and bought a domain name and then some hosting space and started do web design. And that kind of led to the nifty tricks thing which really didn’t quite pan out but taught me a ton about affiliate marketing and just content sites. It’s just, it’s evolved piece by piece. Genius link is definitely by far the furthest I’ve gone. But there’s probably been 10 different blogs or sites I’ve tried to monetize. And they’ve kind of really helped build momentum between there and here.

Andrew Warner 16:15
What is the earliest ones that made you feel almost like Alex P. Keaton from the older Family Ties TV show?

Jesse Lakes 16:22
Yeah, the earliest one was on cyber fixation calm, which

Andrew Warner 16:25
was always websites.

Jesse Lakes 16:27
Yeah. Um, yeah, um, websites a while sometimes tied into stuff kind of dabbled in real estate a little bit with some friends. So tried to recreate various aspects of the MLS, which was a massive waste of time. People have tried it

Andrew Warner 16:43
looks exactly no sense. Okay, so you’re starting to give me a little bit of cyber fixation calm. What What year was this?

Jesse Lakes 16:50
Oh, I got that domain in 99. And there was maybe a site setting on it from 2002 to 2008 ish. I’m assuming it’s dead. Again. I think all the domains are just According to the whatever host I’m using these days

Andrew Warner 17:05
try local specialize in high end Oh, got it that that was your hosting company. Yeah, I like to walk down memory lane with my guests Say something. This is what makes me if I’m in a conversation with someone, I have to put my phone away because whatever they say I have to go and research either for fact checking which I do all the time with guests or banks, or Yeah, earlier today I was interviewing somebody who had an e commerce plugin in India. I told you and I said, I don’t know him. I don’t know anyone like him. I know who at painter. He is the WooCommerce creator. Yes, he’s in South Africa. He and his family at like, what 10 o’clock at night. They don’t need me texting them. I texted him. He was totally generous and talked a little bit, talked about our family and our kids. And then I said I gotta run. So I do it as much as possible. And still it plagues me. I still worry so much. Will somebody be getting away with something that they like? Are they going to use me to do something bad anyway, look Why? down memory lane.

Jesse Lakes 18:00
Yeah, I love archive.org Yeah, I use that a ton. Yeah, yeah, that’s one of

Andrew Warner 18:06
the best resources that we have on the internet today. I will even say that they have made a bunch of books somehow for free for kids duration of school being closed. My kids have been talking too much about this. They love mo Williams, the author, I can’t get I can’t get the book. Mm hmm. They have it available on their platform. A lot of his books I don’t know how anyway so you were saying that you were what was cyber fixation calm. This was one of your earlier projects.

Jesse Lakes 18:31
This was kind of the first you know parent company of my web design and yeah, this is your right out of at the end of high school right and right into college thinking you know that I’m so smart because I can build web pages you know, this is what geo cities was still was still around those those web pages were even uglier than

Andrew Warner 18:50
that how much how much money did you have when you graduated college?

Jesse Lakes 18:54
Why graduated college?

handful shares a stock of apple and maybe maybe 1000 bucks in my bank account why that’s a lot

Andrew Warner 19:02
you know what I saved up to I remember at the end of high school $17,000 I think by the end of college actually I should say zero because I had all the I kept some a few thousand dollars but because of all the debt and I had to pay for school myself meet well my parents but towards the end it became me even though they started out saying we don’t need any we don’t need any financial aid. Wow, we can’t even handle that and then it was me and it was my credit cards. So But until then, I had a lot what was it? Why Why didn’t you have all that money that you earned as you were building these businesses?

Jesse Lakes 19:36
I like to play more than I like to work or did for a while so I’d make some money and then go and have an adventure. You go have an adventure. Yeah, I I lived below the poverty line until I got my job at Apple. And I was happy as a clam and that was just seasonal work as a whitewater raft guy. That’s just what you did you work, you know, 567 days a week for a handful of months. You You Make sure there’s a smile on your face and make sure that your, your your rafting customers have a good time. But at the end of it, you take that money and you go travel or you make it stretch as far as you can. So it’s a very, you know, boom and bust cyclical period, it was not about creating long term wealth.

Unknown Speaker 20:14
I can’t remember.

Andrew Warner 20:16
I don’t want to come back and ask you about Apple, and what it was like to work there, and then the creation of genius link. But first, my first sponsor is a company called hostgator. Let me ask you this as someone who’s prolific who’s created companies, you know, your customers are all people who are creating content and creating companies. Do you have an idea for what if somebody is now in this economy saying I’m going to use Hostgator create a website launch a business, you have an idea for what they could do? Or how they could think about coming up with a project to launch?

Jesse Lakes 20:45
Yeah, so of course, yeah, you see everything through a lens but we see this great opportunity for finding some specific niche that interest you and creating review sites niche authority site. So yeah, that’s that’s a cool water bottle. You just had a moment ago right? Oh yeah makes that water bottle better than these other ones yeah tell me in 300 words a couple images and a few links and then repeat that process a handful of times get that onto a WordPress based theme or WordPress web WordPress based site with easy to use theme WooCommerce is another great theme for exactly that. And you’re you’re very quickly have have the foundation of an affiliate business and then it’s obviously some SEO work etc to optimize it but it’s not hard to get started with with a site and via good hosting company can take a lot of that pain

Andrew Warner 21:35
away when you want those niche obsessions. You’re absolutely right. My friend chase Reeves created a niche upset Do you know him?

Unknown Speaker 21:41
No, no violent. The

Andrew Warner 21:42
stories are so freakin funny. He cracked sussie can crack you up just talking about the weather. But he’s obsessed with backpacks, and I had no idea that people cared as much about backpacks. He will do videos that lasts an hour on just reviewing five, maybe seven backpacks. And it’s compelling because He cares about the details of the zipper. He cares about what you put in which section and and there’s a huge audience for it. There’s a big following, right, this water bottle it’s funny that you mentioned it, you’re the first person to ever recognize this water bottle is it’s a hot tea bottle, which is what I drink all day tea and coffee. I had to stop a guy on the train because I immediately knew this is the one for me after searching for months, the other ones that I had would leak This one has this lock over here you still can’t even when you unlock it, you can’t drink unless you press the button and the cat anyway. So you’re saying this type of obsession. They’re maniacs like me who need that kind of research, exactly will read endlessly even after we buy our water bottle about other water bottles dreaming about the time we buy the next water bottle, and all of that feeds into an affiliate potential revenue and that’s what you’re suggesting. Whatever your obsession is. Take it What are you drinking? What What

Jesse Lakes 22:52
is it my Nalgene bottle from a decade ago exactly I need to I need to level up so it’s not just the people that are super obsessed, but There’s a wider a wider range, of course, you know, what is it the concentric circles, right? You focus on that main target that beachhead and build the content for them. But you’ll find one and beyond and beyond exactly

Andrew Warner 23:10
exact sense. I you know what, when I see people with that water bottle that you have, I just want to say Don’t you know, there’s so much better out there. Whatever your obsession is, thank you. That was such a great response to my question. Whatever your obsession is bring it to Hostgator right now, and if you use my link, you’re going to get the lowest price they have available. They give you a list of things like unlimited email addresses, unmetered, this unmetered that they give you a bunch of ad credits. I’m not going through the list of features. I just want you to know. If you go create there, you’ll get dependable service, all the features you need to get you started at a price that’s incredibly reasonable hostgator.com slash mixer B that URL is what gets you all those extra perks in a lower price. hostgator.com slash mixergy. So what was it like to work at Apple? This is like a dream job for someone who’s addicted to their products like I

Jesse Lakes 23:54
Exactly. I drink the apple Kool Aid at a very early age. It was amazing. It was a dream come true. It was a was what got me out of again kind of having this amazing you know, although always broke lifestyle and it was really fun to kind of ditch the the reverse for for cubicle commute and living Cupertino. But it was the people at Apple. Well, I guess there’s two different sides to it right my, my girlfriend at the time, followed me out there we were, we were living in Colorado, she she came out there. And she got a job at Apple as well. She’s an engineer, she worked on price and availability. It had kind of the exact opposite experience of mine. My experience, you know, again, this this woman, Yvonne, you know, we started off a little rough, but from there on it was just a great relationship we really worked very well together.

Andrew Warner 24:42
was amazing. Do you have an example like I remember I just talked to my friend Noah Kagan. I asked him what was it like to work for Facebook? He said, they were all about being smart about everything. And he’d say, How about if we do this? And no one’s going to know the difference and they said no, you have to sweat and think about it like a genius at every level. And it made him think about the details of everything. Do you have an example of what it was like for you?

Jesse Lakes 25:05
Yeah, so I’m the I worked on the affiliate program obviously. And the affiliate program is a marketing program I was under the iTunes or ad Q’s or Mark comm is the greater marketing communications entity that oversees Apple’s visual image and it was going over to their office and kind of seen that aspect was was really interesting, but one of the first things you go through the door and it’s kind of a nondescript building or whatever. And it was like simple simple simple and the first few symbols are crossed out and just that the basic idea of that simplicity right it apples, you know, famously literally had that

Andrew Warner 25:43
on on the wall, big, simple cross out the first two symbols and now we’ve got the essence of what we’re going for what exactly

Jesse Lakes 25:51
and I thought that was just really kind of hit the nail on the head. It makes sense. So I’m some may call me a snob, but I I now can you know look at things and it probably is not a great skill but you know this this doesn’t work or this works I like it or don’t like it and you know because we work with a good designer it makes it a lot easier for me but I’ve I’ve definitely I can’t design better myself but I appreciate things that look good that

Andrew Warner 26:16
cetera Jesse you own kit.com which I hope we’ll have time to talk about here and if not, I’d love for you to be a guest again on the site. Isn’t this too simple? What’s going on on kit? Calm? Oh, you just get a sigh What happened?

Jesse Lakes 26:28
Yeah, um, when we there’s a small hole that’s

Andrew Warner 26:31
on here is just a box with a barcode and a K logo on it.

Jesse Lakes 26:37
And I’ll tell you a sad story. So kit calm was created by this woman that I worked with my first Apple co we had kids calm. Well, they had kids calm, okay. When they started it, they they got a series of investors, the lead investor bought the domain and the agreement was that, you know, after another round, they the domain would go with them. They got the first round, they couldn’t get the second round. Things didn’t quite work out to the original team. They built it, obviously a great site and a great community. But at the end of it, it just happened. So they got Apple hired by Patreon, and patreon was looking to do some merge, Patreon acquire the assets that they had that did not include the domain. So Patreon was gonna implement kit into the greater scheme of things. Unfortunately, that didn’t quite work out. So at the end of it, the kik community was essentially mothballed. And we saw that it was one of our clients obviously, I knew Camille quite well. And we thought this was too great of an opportunity to to let go. So we jumped in, stretched ourselves incredibly thin did to make it happen. But at the end of the day, we were able to acquire the assets from from Patreon. Unfortunately, though, that domain was not so in conversations with the With the VC to get the domain, we were thought we were in a good place. Turns out that VC when the LPS happens to be the gentleman that was a co founder of Uber, I was about the time that Uber IPO became quite quite challenging to kind of continue that conversation and then mid November we thought we were kind of in the right place to slowly move that forward. We got a note from the general counsel from from the PC saying, you know what, we actually want that domain for one of our other one of our other companies. Can you guys move off of that so in Wow, starting on Thanksgiving week, we started a massive migration to move from kit comm to kit co so for something like over 900,000 backlinks to kit calm and about 10 to kit CO and

Andrew Warner 28:44
that’s a high end for something like this. The backlinks are important what kit CO is for people who don’t know it’s it’s a place for creators to put all of their equipment their kit in one place. And I think if I’m coming from wrong, they can even create more kits, right? So it could be, here’s my apple desktop kit, here’s my on the go for traveling kit of my computer equipment and here’s my photography kit and they link to all of them. And then there’s affiliate relationships with all those and I think the creators get the revenue from that.

Jesse Lakes 29:15
Exactly. Nailed it. And then we like to say, of course, you know, for runners out there running, get in forge your tea drinkers and have their their teacher can guide

Andrew Warner 29:23
cyclists to use it to it. That’s a big thing. I’m into cycling videos too sometimes.

Jesse Lakes 29:28
Anytime you see.

x bar is the BBC. Okay. All right. Oh, yes.

Andrew Warner 29:36
Okay. I didn’t realize that. Okay, so that’s why that site is so simple. It’s not that you’ve oversimplified it to the point where I can’t understand what it is. It’s just that it’s not ours. And it’s nobody’s right now. Yeah. Okay, so then where did the idea for genius link come from? How did it originate?

Jesse Lakes 29:54
Sure, sort of taking rewind a bit. Yeah, we had these these soundtrack websites and the soundtrack websites were Awesome, a ton of fun. It was great to watch videos. And you know, this was kind of early days this exam, had this nice hockey stick growth and traffic over over a few years people really appreciated having the soundtracks. But unfortunately, my revenue was growing really slowly was very, very linear. And kind of the aha moment came when I realized that by sidetrack, you’d really evolved. And it was a lot of it was out International. So after the aha moment was the oh no moment when I realized all that international traffic was essentially sending to a broken link, iTunes, Amazon, etc. with digital products, there’s digital rights licensing, and iTunes only had permission to sell to people in the US from iTunes, US store amazon.com only had the permission to sell us. So if someone’s coming from Germany, they couldn’t buy from that link that I provided them. So the thought was okay, well, I need to solve this, I need to make sure that that German skier or snowboarder can buy the song that they’re excited to buy. And that kind of led to the whole basic development was originally called geo riot. The idea that a single link could work across multiple storefronts. across multiple affiliate programs that really just helped solve that last mile problem of recommendations. Not yet

started a 10 year journey change your name. What you like to write more than ingeniously?

Andrew Warner 31:12
Truthfully It doesn’t matter. They’re both good gra kind of makes sense. Genius link makes sense.

Jesse Lakes 31:17
You’re right, we were super focused on the iTunes ecosystem, iTunes and App Store ecosystem. And that worked really well. But we want to expand your Amazon obviously has a massive product catalog, it is kind of the de facto e commerce player, at least here in the US, etc. So we had this opportunity to buy the G ni.us. domain. So we went with one of our largest competitors that time was a company called Smart URL. The thought was, well what smarter than smart geniuses. So we grab that debate. it you know, we call it intelligent links versus, you know, kind of a static link, which is what Bitly would be considered. But the dynamic link, the intelligently and engineers just seem to resonate that more wasn’t so geopolitical confrontational as a name even though I love the name gr right?

Andrew Warner 32:05
I wonder why why Bitly never did this I kind of assumed that they eventually would get into the space Why do you think

Unknown Speaker 32:13
that’s a great question um

Jesse Lakes 32:15
there’s there’s kind of two sides the two short linking right Bitly was was first mover Yeah, they get Yeah. Huge, huge respect for doing Mark justice and their currency you know is an incredibly smart person is doing really good things with the company. But Bitly hit something pretty solid early on. And they don’t they don’t need to right now I think is why they haven’t done it yet. That being said it’s bits and pieces of what we do are not hard. there’s a there’s a ton of different intelligence tools out there not many of them will do the the smarts to kind of translate the Amazon links. That’s kind of our special sauce. But Bitly seems to be doing incredibly well taking large brands charging them a very high price to create a short link and that’s good for them.

Andrew Warner 33:00
Never Amazon to write

Jesse Lakes 33:02
AMC and to short URL is run and managed by Bitly.

Andrew Warner 33:06
Yeah, you’re saying so it’s basically not their model. And it’s not as easy as it seems to, to parse the data and send people over to the right store. That’s

Jesse Lakes 33:16
who we are. We have two sites on our site, we have the intelligent management side, which is really our push to be a better Bitly, but more focused on e commerce. And then we have the link translation, the product matching piece, which is really kind of, we’ve got a couple patents here. This is really kind of the problem I really enjoy is just you give me one link that has unique identifier, we take that unique identifier, I figure out what that product is. That product is defined by its attributes, the metadata that describes it using that metadata then we can go and find the same product in a foreign storefront of the same brand or even a different storefront. So you can you know, if you have a link from Germany, we want to send to Amazon dot d. We can do that. Or amazon.com product link and b&h sells the same thing. We can try Transition to them as well install it there so that I love that problem. That problem gets me really excited. It’s a fun one to solve it at scale.

Andrew Warner 34:08
I’m gonna come back and ask you what the first version looked like and how you got your early customers. Oh, I love that

Unknown Speaker 34:14
responded up.

Andrew Warner 34:16
I should say that my interview is also sponsored by top towel, listen to how Jesse’s talking about that’s a fun problem to solve. That’s the thing that you go to top towel for engineers who love to solve problems. If you’re looking for somebody who’s going to take your direction, go do exactly what you’re saying. There are other places to go. If you’re looking for someone who will take your problem and say, I can’t stop thinking about I need to solve it. That’s the place to go. I talked to Noah Kagan, as I mentioned earlier, he’s the founder of several companies, including Sumo and I asked him, Why are you using top towel? You’re pretty cheap. And he said, first of all, not cheap. It’s frugal. It’s easy to use a bunch of different synonyms but I get it. He’s saying he wants to think intelligently about his spending, which is why he doesn’t spend too much. I said okay, top towel. I’ve heard people say it too. more expensive than other freelancing sites. He says, Now they get really top developers. And he said, it’s like Amazon Web Services for developers, you need some you go spin them up, and you get the best of the best developers who jump in, and they actually can pick things up fast. But then once the project is over, you need to ramp it down. because things are a little bit shaky. You just go back and you say, Sorry, topped out, we can’t work with these developers. We’re gonna scale back. And it’s up and down as you need them without committing, he said to long term relationship, like the Jesse’s nodding throughout all this, this tells me I’m on the right track with this. And the other thing he says is, look at what when I hire developers look at all the things I have to pay. And he gave a list of things like unemployment insurance, and all those things that are great for the people who work with him full time, but it’s really hard when you want what he wants, which is a developer who’s going to work at night when he’s here in the US during the day. Someone at a different time zone who’s going to continue to work and is not an American citizen who does not need all that just to work a few hours a day on on Nokia forgot his name for a second. I know Kagan’s problems I was gonna call him Jesse. I’m gonna call everyone Jesse lakes now, problems do that always need help? Yeah, good, then here’s what you do, don’t just go to top towel, go to this special URL where they’re going to give you 80 hours of developer credit when you pay for your first 80 hours. In addition to a no risk trial period, it’s top towel.com slash mixergy. Top is on top of your head talent and talent to ptl comm slash Mr. ZRGY Top towel calm slash mixergy. You know what I noticed? I never looked at my stats, I had to look at my stats for something. And Apple now tells you when people drop off and you know where when they fast forward through stuff and obviously people fast forward to my my ads don’t get nearly the fast forward of my friends ads and I asked people why what do you think it is? And they said, You’re asking the guest to basically talk about what they would do with this thing. And occasionally you’re on a roll and sometimes it kind of sucks and people should fast forward. But uh,

Jesse Lakes 36:56
I’m glad I’m glad to hear support the podcasting industry. It’s awesome. To see Yeah, people not fast forward to actually working with those advertisers, the sponsors to move the industry

Andrew Warner 37:06
forward and remembering to use the URL at the end because at least the nice thing about a YouTube video you just click the link you don’t have to remember this that that that slash right. It’s wonderful that podcast listeners are willing to say not just Hostgator but hostgator.com slash mixer de topsail.com slash meats. You know, I, what is the first version look like?

Jesse Lakes 37:24
For certain was ugly? I believe it was a brown or brown or white? Maybe it was orange or white? It had a was it like, this is probably the white power fist or the Black Panther fist or something? I think you had

Andrew Warner 37:37
that for a bit, didn’t you?

Unknown Speaker 37:39
What was that? I

Andrew Warner 37:41
don’t know how I saw it. But I’ve seen it several times. What What could it do when it was called geo right? What was

Jesse Lakes 37:48
your I was really focused on iTunes ecosystem. So music and apps. This is again, we first started solving this problem in 2008 2009. It was really kind of the explosion of the App Store. A lot of people put out two versions of their app, the freemium version and the paid version, they would use a affiliate link to go from the free to the paid. So we worked with a ton of different app developers, mobile ad networks

Andrew Warner 38:09
all within the app itself.

Unknown Speaker 38:10
Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

Jesse Lakes 38:13
We saw a ton of that we also worked with a number of record labels, etc. So it’s really, iTunes was kind of the de facto music, buying experience. For quite some time. You know, Spotify is not incredibly good job and create some competition there. But yeah, we we were fortunate enough to be you know, one of the very few solutions for for music for books for apps. You had a worldwide audience,

Andrew Warner 38:37
you are looking at their IP address of the user. And then based on that saying, here’s the store they need to go to that means that the the Creator, the affiliate, had to have an affiliate account on all those different platforms, right, and you would link them out so they could do that. And then in the parsing, you already wrote the book on this and you worked at Apple at the time, so you had an understanding of how to parse this was fairly simple. straightforward. Am I right? Or am I over? Am I I don’t want to minimize it. Yes, how you win, tell me what’s behind wins.

Jesse Lakes 39:04
So there’s geo target, there’s translating, there’s encode are kind of three stops, right? So geo targeting is basically it’s you take the IP, resolve it against a database that tells you what country you’re on, everyone can and should do that. The second part of that translate is really again, where the secret sauce is. So taking, taking that unique identifier, other link that part’s easy. Taking that unique identifier, game, the metadata that part’s not too hard, but then taking that metadata and finding the same product in that foreign storefront. That’s, that’s where there’s some work and we have kind of this five step process and I’ve refined that in different media types have slightly different configurations, notice, etc. But you know, when when D when is it important that Deluxe in the name sticks or when is it not important or when the ID changes? How do you how do you manage that when you go to search, when do you not go to search. There’s a lot of little nuances in that that have really been tested and optimized to make sure it works as well as possible but once you kind of get even the first version, you had all that The basic framework it’s evolved a fair amount over over the years we are constantly kind of tweaking and configuring, we have bundles that become a big thing, right? So you may have a link for a camera. And we may find that that camera is available just the camera or also as a camera with lens and, and memory card, etc, we want to try to send you to the camera, you know, we want to the parody right between camera camera, or the bundle actually may be cheaper, or maybe the first thing pulls up. So just kind of having some logic around that to make sure that user experiences as clean as possible. But also that we’re making the right choice for the consumer in the long run.

Andrew Warner 40:41
You launched 2009 Am I right about that?

Jesse Lakes 40:44
Yeah, exactly. Um, we threw out a free product 2009 and then I stepped away from it. We went to Apple and my co founder and the other Jesse pushed ahead. Yeah, he was an engineer at Microsoft. And yeah, stayed in touch. Yeah, I would kind of Yeah help with an ethical realm of course it yeah work at Apple understanding the program he was kind of solving the problem but yeah 2009 is when the problem we first kind of worked on it I started Apple late 2009 stepped away and then came back 2012 full on

Andrew Warner 41:16
what led you to come back full? Well, first of all, who’s in the Jesse?

Jesse Lakes 41:20
So Jesse passionate Jesse Patrick was my best friend growing up my roommate in college. He’s He’s the real brains the operation I have the ideas and he makes them reality. So yeah, he’s got the he puts things together I i scheme on stuff and convince him try as hard as I can to convince him That’s a good idea.

Andrew Warner 41:37
Okay, so he kept working on it. There wasn’t much revenue in it, it seems like and then at some point, things turn What led you to finally leave your job and go do this.

Jesse Lakes 41:48
So Apple again, was an amazing experience. Were some awesome people. I was really enjoying it. I was getting fat lazy. It was corporate life was was good. But It wasn’t for me. I’m I think I’m really, as cliche as it sounds an entrepreneur at heart.

That hustle means a lot to me.

It was awesome getting Apple rfqs and getting, you know, a solid paycheck. But at the end of the day, I saw that Apple, I was getting paid very well to make this problem that I started solving. Worse, we doubled the size, the affiliate program was there at the same time. Amazon was significally increasing their global footprint as well. So just comparing the two What’s it? What made it worse? How did you make it worse? We rolled up more affiliate programs for more iTunes stores. So when I first started that was 19 storefronts and 17 affiliate programs god I love Yeah, so we rolled out stores I play programs through through Latin America, more countries in Europe, etc. And it just yeah, it was more fragmented. It needed a cleaner solution. And that was that sounded way more interesting to me. Why not? Then

Andrew Warner 42:54
why why didn’t Apple do this for themselves, single URL, go deal with it.

Jesse Lakes 43:00
You, why didn’t Amazon do this himself? I’ve asked him specifically multiple times. And typically the answer I get for companies that large, if they’re not solving a billion dollar problem, it’s not worth putting their engineers on it. And that’s kind of the traditional response. At the end of the day, us having a nimble team could move much quicker and solve a much more complex problem that’s gonna help net them. X amount more revenue, whatever that number may be, but they want their engineers working on the next apps or the next Apple to

Andrew Warner 43:30
lose money by solving this anyway, because anyone who’s not using a customized link it well Now they’re also sending customers to the wrong store. So they’re losing sales because of this too. Got it. Okay, so you launched it, how did you get users What did you guys do? creators?

Jesse Lakes 43:51
So at that time period, it was really early days. It was a lot of your app developers and, and musicians and it was really just a lot of hustle reaching out to people explaining showing that the problem exists and that they weren’t monetizing it. Once you understand there’s a problem it was, it was a really easy sale. So much of it was education or hey, yeah, this is a iTunes Us link, look, you can see us in the URL, you’re using the affiliate program from link share, go look, it has a US flag next to it, you realize that you know, based off of your Twitter stats, or your website stats, you’re getting 20% of your traffic from the UK. That doesn’t work, you know, try try swapping out us for UK or gv. And people would see that error message and they would just click and then it was it was a pretty easy sell from them. So really just getting someone to pay attention about what that bigger picture was making sure that they were not only monetizing that international audience but also finding a good user experience for that international audience. But it wasn’t

Andrew Warner 44:46
one off emails. Did you have your your your system oriented person you must have created some way to message multiple people at once, right.

Jesse Lakes 44:56
We found that the custom one off emails Yeah, there was you would have You’d have a signature that would include the bulk of the email, but you would go through and customize it, we actually found our best conversions where we actually filmed a video where we would go and click on someone’s link from an international proxy show that it aired out or sure that wouldn’t resolve and then move it forward and say, yeah, here, let me show you how that would work. The genius link, build it on the video. There’s like two or three minute videos that were worn off with email those It was a series of three or four email drip. That was somewhat programmatic, but

Andrew Warner 45:26
some people Oh, that was partially programmatic. How many people did you have? That was they were doing that?

Jesse Lakes 45:31
Just a couple. It myself and then Scott Taylor helped me out with a lot of that for a long time. But yeah, it’s been we would grab an intern here there and kind of give them this this media thing, but um, for the most part, I’ve sent a lot of emails.

And that’s, that’s okay. It works. Doesn’t work as

at scale, but that’s I think the conversion rates are higher because it’s not at scale.

Andrew Warner 45:56
I feel like and tell me if I’m wrong in this that way. When I see that Lou from Unbox Therapy has very little in his look at the smile on your face. He’s great, right? Like for you guys. He’s a big brand. Is he still a customer of yours? I believe so. Yeah,

Jesse Lakes 46:09
we I see clients these days, I don’t pay attention as much as I should.

Andrew Warner 46:14
And sometimes the creator’s change things up I noticed. And as somebody who notices, I could see that he has two different links, I could see that one of them is a genius link and I might if I was a creator in that world, I might go and see who genius link is. Ah, that’s why lose using them lose using them. Great. I think I’m gonna use it. It feels like there’s virality in it because people need to share that link at least on YouTube and other platforms. You can hide it as a blogger for example. Right?

Jesse Lakes 46:40
Exactly. That’s, that is our biggest marketing push right now. And it’s just having a good domain influencers, do influencers the other critters Exactly. That’s the

Andrew Warner 46:49
one that you’re especially proud of that you’re like a fan of and suddenly they’re using you.

Jesse Lakes 46:56
It’s when I stumble across links in the wild like this. It’s it’s pretty amazing. I get pretty excited. Very psyched. Yeah. Some of the latest snowboard films that were released using our links. Yeah, that just kind of really brought it back full circle.

Andrew Warner 47:11
I heard you recently learned was it here 2019 you called yourself a raft guide bomb, you still consider yourself this?

Jesse Lakes 47:17
I think I’m less of a bum. I haven’t been on a raft in a bit. But um, I think at heart, I’m still a dirtbag and still still an adrenaline junkie.

Andrew Warner 47:30
So then, what did what did you do? What was the next platform? I’m imagining it was Amazon, right? Mm hmm. And then why is Microsoft touted so much? What is Microsoft? what’s

Jesse Lakes 47:41
convenient? Yeah, we’re based in Seattle, by my co founder, Jesse is from Microsoft. They were selling music as well. So it was just it was it was a matter of convenience. Unfortunately, their affiliate program was kind of going through some transitions there. We we spent a bunch of time building out this link translation piece, but it definitely did not grow the same level that iTunes or Amazon And it’s, it’s there. We have some some pretty cool users using it. But it definitely did not hit scale. And it definitely does not get the same attention that we’ve given some of these other larger ecosystems.

Andrew Warner 48:12
So what’s the next thing he was trying to tell me? Before we got started, big things are happening. I thought you weren’t gonna tell me on camera here. And he said, All right. I’m willing to talk about what’s coming up. What is it?

Jesse Lakes 48:20
Yeah, so we’re finding, traditionally, we’ve been kind of one link that works get you as quickly as possible to be able to buy and we’re finding that that’s not always the best choice. You as the creator don’t know what the consumer wants. Taking a look back. Amazon is what 38% 39% US market share. And that’s, that’s huge. Yeah, Walmart is I think 5% from that same marketers survey. But that also means that approximately three out of five clicks are not going to Amazon three out of five sales dollars online are not going to Amazon. So Amazon’s huge, but it’s not everything. So what we’re finding is that this whole concept of choice, giving consumers multiple buy options for that same product actually is leading to higher conversion rates. It’s the real money.

Andrew Warner 49:09
Yeah. So I think I saw this, I don’t remember where. But in my research review, I saw a book. And underneath the book cover with three different buttons, I noticed Amazon, I noticed the Barnes and Noble, I missed the other one. And I thought it was going to Barnes and Noble anymore, and why don’t you just take me to Amazon? Aren’t you losing people when you give them another option?

Jesse Lakes 49:28
So no, all music marketing these days is kind of following that same piece, right, where it’s song or album art, and then you have multiple buy buttons or paths to consume. We noticed that books were also following this path as well. Again, Amazon is kind of a dominant force for selling books in the US, hopefully, Apple.

Unknown Speaker 49:47
Yeah. And what else is going on out there?

Jesse Lakes 49:49
So now, books is Yeah, Amazon’s got that one pre wrapped up. But we noticed that doing that same thing for products is also working out incredibly well and we find that it’s Especially for camera gear again, if you’re going to drop 1000 bucks for a tripod, you’re not going to blindly buy it on Amazon you’ll probably spend some time you can go into b&h photo video or maybe Best Buy or Adderall or one of the other you know, specialty retail stores and maybe even some price comparison etc. So, as a consumer as a creator if I can give you each of those different options to help you do your due diligence, your price comparison essentially on the fly not only am I helping you speed up that buying process I’m also allowing you to set an affiliate cookie for each of these other retailers so that if you do decide to ultimately go to b&h later or you know someone else then they that creative will still get credit for it so consumer and making sure that the the Creator is opening those those affiliate links and channels by encouraging you as a consumer to hide in your due diligence your price shopping.

Andrew Warner 50:49
And then there’s also retargeting involved How does that work?

Jesse Lakes 50:53
Yeah, so we retargeting it can be, can be brilliant when done correctly and not creepy. So we allow our links to include a retargeting pixel. Traditionally retargeting is limit to where you can input your JavaScript and where you can add your JavaScript is typically only your webpage. But with a with our links we allow you put the JavaScript into into the link, we actually pause the link for a fraction of a second to fire the JavaScript and doing better redirect to send you on. So as a consumer, it seems like you’re still getting from A to B as seamless as possible. It’s actually kind of stutter step. So we can we can put that JavaScript in there. That means that things like ccpa and GDPR are making it slightly less effective across the board. But it’s also I strongly believe in the online privacy stuff and I’m a fan of what they’re doing. It’s just not as seamless of a piece that was before but the choice pages absolutely can can do the the retargeting pixels as well.

Andrew Warner 51:45
All right, what do you what do you think you can do if there’s a recession? How are you going to? How is genius link going to grow or survive in a recession?

Jesse Lakes 51:56
Great question. I think we just get back to stick to our roots, helping Helping people make more money seems to be a recipe for being able to follow along if your clients your users are successful then in theory, some portion of that value that you add you’ll be able to see as well. So again, kind of these these choice pages and allowing consumers to be able to kind of price track across the board seems to be really catching on and of course it was on it’s not always the lowest price. And just

Andrew Warner 52:25
I noticed wire and wire cutter. I just assumed wire cutters should just send everyone to Amazon unless they get a better cut somewhere else and then fine maybe, but they do show prices from like Best Buy versus Amazon Walmart versus Amazon and it’s kind of surprising that sometimes they’re not the other weird thing though Jesse for me is I still pick Amazon anyway because for a few bucks I might rather have the system I’m familiar with the one where who knows what Customer service is like. But God I can’t wait for Shopify to unify somehow the Shopify online buying experiences beautiful keeps getting so good. Why To leave the pixel world to the atom world though they still struggle. And I love the United Front somehow you know one store that gives me a little shop at one at one place. I know they tried it with an app with an iPad app for a while there. I don’t know where that went but it didn’t take off. But the idea that now all the Shopify stores with other little mom and pop aesthetics and experiences could unite and then I have one customer service or tracking link, just that’s a dream.

Jesse Lakes 53:28
That is people you have a preference you have a strong preference towards towards Amazon we buy a lot on Amazon but we have a target that is half a mile away and it’s way easy to buy on target, drive for two minutes. Parking the parking lot hit the button on the app they come deliver to you and have amazon prime you have same day delivery is great but if you really need something right then and there that target experiences is even faster. So we probably buy half our stuff on target these days.

Andrew Warner 53:54
You know what the the Coronavirus issues have have gotten me to start to look at other options that I never would have considered, or that I considered and then for some reason just forgot about like rainbow grocery. It is a fantastic grocery store here in San Francisco. It’s all vegetarian, which our family’s vegetarian. It has incredible food. It’s a co ops it has like this nice Co Op II vibe. It’s phenomenal. I pass it on my bike ride home, I never think to go inside it. Now. We can’t get from Whole Foods through Amazon ordering from them. And why do we not do this before the food is phenomenal? I couldn’t find paper towels at Amazon. I forgot to buy it before this happened. Why am I not considering these other places? You’re right target is really improved itself. They will even tell you what’s available to your local store for their anyway might as well plus an activity for the kids. All right.

Jesse Lakes 54:45
Yeah, Amazon does a lot of things right. But I don’t think Amazon has fully ate everyone’s lunch yet. I think there’s a good fighting chance for for the rest of the e commerce world.

Andrew Warner 54:54
I think now we’re starting to look at least we as a family are starting to look a little bit beyond and see what else is out. out there and recognize there’s some things that we hadn’t considered. You know the other thing that we haven’t considered every time we take a drive as a family I will stop by for coffee which slows everything down. And then Gordon pick food up which also slows everything. I told you that I got this passion for these for these bottles that keep drinks hot. When I ran my marathon in Antarctica one of the little gifts that the company that kept me safe on Antarctica gave me was a water bottle is almost as good as this but boy it will keep hot water coffee so warm for so long. Then now before a trip, I can’t just walk into a coffee shop and take on my rubber gloves and go through the whole issue. Great. I got an extra coffee the way that I like it. I put it in the thermos who needs to stop for stupid coffee. I’m not gonna stop for stupid coffee. But I will pay extra if there’s a service that helps me monetize my links better and that’s what genius link does. Congratulations. I have been just I’ve known you as a software company. I’ve seen you embedded in my life for some reason. reason I just never thought that there was a person behind the company that I could get to know. I’m so glad that this helped. That is me saying I’d like to talk to companies who are doing well right now. Help me connect with you. Thanks so much for doing this interview.

Jesse Lakes 56:11
It’s absolutely My pleasure. Thank you for taking taking the time to chat.

Andrew Warner 56:14
And anyone out there who is running a company now that’s doing a little bit better, has contact with someone who’s doing a little bit better if you’re ready now to do an interview, please introduce yourself to me I’m Andrew at mixergy comm when you’re ready, I will do it. I’m not looking to push anyone to do interviews. God knows we overbooked the interview day, I had to take my shirt off and amounted just like the plain white t shirt because I’m so hot from recording. But I will stay here till midnight and beyond and continue just to bring these stories that look at how electrified I am from your story. Jesse. We need this as entrepreneurs it’s a lot of it is can we continue and still believe in ourselves in the face of lots of evidence that we should not believe in ourselves and if we do believe in it, if we do continue, we find opportunities We wouldn’t have existed, if not for our ability to go look and find them.

Jesse Lakes 57:06
So if I can add one thing to that, and I think he’s, this resonates with you as well, he’s a marathon runner, it’s just, it’s one step in front of other things, things can suck, your legs feel like lead, you know, it hurts, but you just put one foot in from the other, just keep moving. And that’s when things suck just one foot in for the other baby steps, right, keep, keep going. And you’ll cross that finish line. But

Andrew Warner 57:26
Sorry, no runner, because I’ve got my DJI camera with me and a GoPro. Last year when I was in South Africa, I picked the wrong spot to go run, there was no shade, it was super hot, and there was nothing to look at. And I have video of myself just to keep myself busy talking to the camera. And in one moment I said to the camera. I can’t do this anymore, but I’m not going to try to finish this 26.2 miles, I’m just going to try to get to that hill over there and I pointed the camera at the hill and of course the GoPro can’t like show the magnitude of the hill very well. But I in my mind, I remember and I remember just just gonna get to that hill and then from that element to get to the next one and you You’re absolutely right. We’re now at a point where we’re just one hill at a time here. All right. Thanks, Jesse. And I didn’t even get to ask you about running but I hope you’ll be back on its link. It’s genius link excuse me, genius. link.com It’s also kick co for the collection of tools, including people like Mark has Brownlee has got his stuff on there. And Peter McKinnon and so many others who I follow are on there. And I think the two sponsors seriously two sponsors made this interview happen thank you so much for sponsoring it’s Hostgator comm slash mixergy and top towel comm slash mixergy. Bye, everyone.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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