Building Revenue and Resilience as an Event Producer
On this episode we chat with the Dynamic Duo, Jamie Lakin, with O2 Events, and Mike Baugh, with Pink Monkey Studio. Jamie and Mike provide their perspective of being an event producer during this time.
The reality of going from a jam packed schedule to nothing, hit hard. Yet during this time, Jamie provides her top tips to building revenue in today's market. Hear how Jamie found inspiration to take leaps toward reinventing processes and leveraging the hybrid and virtual experience.
Embracing what you can control is one of many tips Mike provides to show how you can build resilience. Quick answers or solutions aren't the answer right now. Rather we need to seek out quality questions and work on improving processes. Mike challenges all event producers to change the thinking from "what can I make with my hands?", to "what can I make with my mind?"
- Jamie Lakin, O2 Events
- Mike Baugh, Pink Monkey Studio
- Brooke Gracey, Senior Manager, Demand Generation, Cvent
- Cody Liskn, Team Lead, Event Quarterback Team, Cvent
Brooke Gracey: Jamie and Mike. We are so excited to have you on the show today and just let's get a little bit of background about oh two events. Can you just tell our audience a little bit about what you guys do.
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Jamie L: Sure, happy to. So we are a small company I would save but a mighty company out of originally out of Denver just made a recent move to to bend oregon just because we needed a little bit of water in our life.
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Jamie L: And our typical client with two events is, I would say nothing. Typical we spend about 90% of our time working with clients that are remote and that are not in the same town or city as us, and we
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Jamie L: Are clients kind of know your personality type, we're as, as you can probably already tell. We're kind of a spasm and we really just try to have fun and not take life too seriously.
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Jamie L: I think we have two main groups of clients. Those are the the outdoor clients that are looking for either this crazy back country experience. They just want to go, you know, hardcore. And then there's that other group that they just want
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Jamie L: Just some standard outdoor experiences. And then there's the, the other group that we spend, I would say, primarily most of our time. That's production we were working with larger brand agencies producing they're leading a program and we're producing a
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Jamie L: Component of it. So we're like a piece of their puzzle, whether it's keynote. It's Expo, it's the final night the breakout tracks and in between all the chaos and madness of that we are will sprinkle in a few weddings for our so or for our referral glands.
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Brooke Gracey: I just had like a moment. You said Bend, Oregon, and I was like Cody your
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Cody Liskh: I know I know my eyes lit up a little bit like I love that. And I love that you guys are, you know,
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Cody Liskh: Involved with the outdoors there because if for our listeners who don't know Bend, Oregon is the outdoor capital of the entire country. Anything you want outside so
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Jamie L: It's pretty sweet.
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Cody Liskh: Jamie. So thank you for letting us know a little bit about oh two events. I love asking, though. Like, how did you end up oh two events like can you give us some background about, you know, your journey and how you finally got there.
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Jamie L: Yeah, it was a long journey. I would say I spent 20 years in the events industry. I started on the f&b side and which I loved. And then I moved over to the corporate side for a long time and
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Jamie L: I've really had this deep passion, which we all do for events and I, but I wanted to work on a variety of events. And so in 2016 I just
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Jamie L: grew a set and took off from there and I launched and again it was scary as hell, just to kind of put it all on the line and put my big girl panties on
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Jamie L: But I kept telling myself the whole time. There's no room for failure. You know, you can do this. You've got to do this so
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Jamie L: Over the last, I would say three to four years we've we've spent most of the time.
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Jamie L: I guess for me, it's really hard to kind of narrow down my favorite events I crave the outdoors and my mother in law always says that I'm you know she always calls me and says, Are you taking a bath and nature today.
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Jamie L: So any chance I get I want to pass along that love and that passion for the outdoors to
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Jamie L: Any of the people that we've partnered with so it's golf events trail rides back country ski experiences and, you know, in between my my nature bathing.
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Jamie L: We're like I said deep into producing some of these shows with various agencies and I
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Jamie L: Love it, because I get to work with these badass humans. These stage managers from Broadway and these lighting and audio guys from
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Jamie L: The coolest music tours and like sometimes I have to pinch myself because I'm like, How am I in the presence of these really freaking cool people.
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Jamie L: You know you work like a dog for months on these shows, and you have all these cruises in place and then you go live. And there's no better rush than that feeling that
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Jamie L: Everybody, everybody on headset is ready to do this kick ass job for the for the for their clients. And it's like, Don't screw it up.
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Jamie L: And it's just it's a thrill. So for me, that's, that's where I find those two things between the outdoors and production, I find the most passion.
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Brooke Gracey: I love that I'm, you know, Cody and I are in Oregon. So we also love the outdoors. I also have mad respect for event producers, what you guys do is
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Brooke Gracey: just blows my mind and I have to imagine that the day to day looks a little bit different these days after you know taking care of yourself and your families.
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Brooke Gracey: You may find yourself with a little bit of free time. I don't want to, you know, say that sensitively but I mean is that what's happening and what are you recommending that you would use that time for
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Jamie L: It's there's definitely free time, I will. It's there. It's. There's a lot of free time. And for me it was taking a lot of ample processing time so I have like these stages that I have gone through
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Jamie L: And Stage one for me was this total shock back in February. I hear. I was about to board this flight for San Francisco and launch of Big Show with, you know, a few thousand people and
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Jamie L: There was this call from the board that night and said, hey, we have to cancel the show. And here we have trucks on the way they're ready to load in. And that was that. That was when I learned at the first cancellation and then
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Jamie L: Of course it ultimately led to eight more, you know, after that, within the next week. And so we went from
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Jamie L: This jam packed schedule to wow, there's nothing on the radar and it's this constant stage of this reality check of how the hell am I going to pay my bills and how are we going to continue to
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Jamie L: To build revenue in today's market and then it went to stage two. For me, I've built this into stages. Because for me, I, I went into shock and it was like every from that shock. It went to anger, and it was this
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Jamie L: This, which of course still pops in my brain. Every, every so often for, for me, it was, you know, waking up to my NPR updates and really feeling frustrated about
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Jamie L: You know where government and funding and all of those things were what was happening there with how banks were processing all these loans and how this was all supposed to play out and
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Jamie L: Then it went to this really, really hilarious stage of Damn, I just finished Netflix, like most people, and I went from baking everything, even though I suck at baking.
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Jamie L: I was playing Nintendo Switch with my kid and you know I was doing Tick tock dances with the other with the other girl and
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Jamie L: And sometimes here I was, you know, just having Margarita during the day, which of course in moderation.
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Jamie L: It was just kind of a, let me process this, it was just no doing nothing. And now I'm in the stage of, okay, I have no control of what's happening right now.
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Jamie L: Except for the fact of except for how I'm going to react to the situation and for me it's it's a it's a complete gift.
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Jamie L: It's really hard to see that. But it's a gift to have time with my family that I would never have you know this much time. It's time to reinvent ourselves in our businesses and to kind of reevaluate why we're here on the on this earth.
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Jamie L: You know we we bust our butts every day of our lives. And then one day we die. So for me it's become
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Jamie L: I guess a set of, I guess, a sense of awakening and however silly. It may sound it's it's like this time for me to reset and rebalance and figure out what other passions sign. They have and
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Jamie L: All long it's been really uncomfortable throughout every single one of these stages for myself and I'm sure everyone out there. And I think the stages will continue to repeat
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Jamie L: Over the next six to nine months or really until we, you know, find a find a vaccine for what's happening right now. But we've all i guess the good thing here is that we have each of us have this new task of like how are we going to
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Jamie L: You know how this new way of thinking, how are we are okay. What next, and are we going to band together and figure this out. You know, we're
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Jamie L: Seeing now these people that I never would have imagined becoming tech savvy, my, my own father, for instance, is constantly on zoom parties and zoom Hangouts, which is
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Jamie L: hilarious because he was one of those guys that had the the 15 pound phone in the 80s, which he barely knew how to turn on and with our larger Tech Shows we're seeing
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Jamie L: You know this. We've always been leveraging this, I should say, over the last two to three years we've leveraged this
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Jamie L: In person versus digital experience, but there's not this models really beginning to shift or evolved into this really cool hybrid experience as we're we're hearing now these live events are never going away.
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Jamie L: It's kind of that that rush that we all thrive on that, that in person community.
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Jamie L: But network. We're really kind of reviewing every component of the event. So we're focusing on instead of just content, we're looking at reduce redesigning the sets.
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Jamie L: You know, how are we networking during meals and happy hours to really kind of include people remote
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Jamie L: How are we bringing to life the expo floor and what kind of activations are we, do we have in place for those who are joining remote so so pre show and for, I would say, for those that are not already doing.
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Jamie L: The, the any sort of digital or very little digital at this point. That's where I see a lot of room for growth and creativity and I would push back to those people and say,
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Jamie L: Think outside the box because this is going to get bigger and wilder than I ever thought possible. We were really taking these baby steps before to push companies in that direction of these hybrid models and now we're seeing companies take massive leaps.
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Brooke Gracey: Yeah, okay. So you hit home pretty hard with your stages of grief because I think I went through all the same things. I have also finished Netflix. I'm like, on the list. Now, right, the stuff I never thought I would watch, um, you know, like
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Cody Liskh: You're also like playing like Nintendo Switch all the time to right
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Cody Liskh: Yeah, yeah. Cody.
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Jamie L: Cody and I'm adding it
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Brooke Gracey: All day long. Yeah.
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Brooke Gracey: I'd be friends out and it was sort of this like
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Brooke Gracey: I was almost like, oh, this is kind of cool. I have some, like, time to get stuff done. And then it was like oh my gosh I'm bored that I'm kind of angry.
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Brooke Gracey: And now it's this like okay we got to figure out how to do a deal with us and make the most of it. And it sounds like you have this amazing outlook on that. But, like, how do you stay motivated
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Brooke Gracey: How are you staying engaged. How do you wake up every day and say, okay, you know, I'm going to make the most of this time.
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Jamie L: Oh girl, it is not easy. It can be really hard to find the creativity right now.
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Jamie L: And my strategic brain is always kind of working overtime, but my creative brain is is on that Netflix and Margarita hiatus, so
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Jamie L: For me, when it comes to the surface. I, I, when that creativity is is comes about. I have to take advantage of it right then and there. And so I try to get outside as often as possible.
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Jamie L: Even when it's terrible. You know, could be awful weather. I really just try to get outside when it's again, I can social distance
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Jamie L: And I can be responsible with, you know, kind of just staying in the lines here, but whether it's on my bike or on a long run. I also love to listen to podcasts and
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Jamie L: They. I mean, I personally feel they become super heavy lately. And that was the impetus for me kind of wanting to do this podcast with your team is really just to kind of keep it from getting heavy. And so I really try to surround myself with good energy kind of people
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Jamie L: People that are going to challenge me that are going to kind of lift me up.
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Jamie L: And what I'm seeing is just, there's a lot of humdrum, there's a lot of these heavy feelings out there, but I'm looking for those people in the market that are challenging the you know they're they're really kind of
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Jamie L: The I always looked at this, as you know, my kids, I'm always trying to redirect them, but we were looking at people like T three
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Jamie L: Who are kind of using their resources for these build out to these off site hospitals.
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Jamie L: Imprint group from Denver Chris Starkey, who had these he he did this viral dance with his daughters, and he took that huge viral sensation and turned it into this positive pat platform where he
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Jamie L: Is providing these iPads to those in ICU without devices and they're, you know, they're unable to talk to their family.
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Jamie L: And then I look at people like Shake Shack, who I mean super kudos for then you know kind of saying, okay, hey, we have other solutions. We're going to give back these loans to other small companies.
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Jamie L: And then I looked through the front liners. But I say, first and foremost, we're always looking at those people on the front line, they're busting their ass.
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Jamie L: Trying to keep us safe. They're trying to keep us ahead and active and healthy and overall I would say, I'm just looking for a sense of community. So people that are
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Jamie L: Going to keep me lifted and even the most introverted of my friends and colleagues right now are looking for that. So I would say it's really, really easy to just watch another season of The Office or binge on the tiger key, but
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Jamie L: There's a time to kind of walk away and kind of start doing it for me, the biggest hurdle. It's like a workout. It's, it's the biggest hurdle is just to start and it sucks to start
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Jamie L: And but once you do, damn it. It feels good. And so even if it's just one thing per day that I get done, which sounds like a very different life than I had, you know, two months ago. It doesn't have to be this monumental achievement. It just needs to be one step a day.
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Brooke Gracey: Today, that is doing my laundry.
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Brooke Gracey: On my back.
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Cody Liskh: I love what you said about just like getting up and getting started, get going. Just like a workout. Everybody hates the beginning part of a workout. But once you actually start getting in the groove of things.
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Cody Liskh: It starts to let you start getting motivated. And that's really where you're coming from here and it's just very inspirational. I love what you said about Shake Shack to and just like the the front liners. But this is a, we need to stay positive. I think at this time.
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Jamie L: And it's hard to do, but it really is like
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Cody Liskh: Make sure to stay positive. It's going to affect everything else around you.
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Jamie L: Absolutely.
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Cody Liskh: I remember when I talked to you guys. Previously I talked to Mike on the phone about building resilience and I love that term building resilience. How can you use building resilience, you know, to move forward, Mike.
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Michael Baugh: Yeah, I mean, it's such a great question. And when we chatted before you know I realized that much like you guys have just
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Michael Baugh: Gone through you know I've shared the same stages the Netflix binges and the like the the WTF moments. And then I kind of took a moment and just took this for what it was, as an opportunity to kind of go inwards.
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Michael Baugh: There's so little that I can control, kind of like Jamie pointed out in my industry and in the world and the pandemic at large.
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Michael Baugh: But there's so much that I can control on the inside and and how I react to it as Jamie pointed out, so I've really taken this opportunity to just enjoy the time that we're having
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Michael Baugh: To take that inward journey because I really believe you know there's that old that old phrase right that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. So
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Michael Baugh: While I can only speak for myself and not prescribe what might work for someone else. If I believe that concept that the chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
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Michael Baugh: Then using this time to improve my own personal resilience means that the chain gets stronger so
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Michael Baugh: For me, you know when when Jamie and I first started talking about this, you know, I was weary of anybody that is that is offering quick answers and I challenged Jamie and myself really to say, you know,
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Michael Baugh: Let's not see quick answers, but like, let's let's sit in this for a little bit like this is something I hope that we don't experience very often but but it's it's a once in a lifetime opportunity to have the world and a lot of senses shut down.
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Michael Baugh: And and having the chance to just be in this moment of discomfort and silence and and and seeking out quality questions as opposed to quick answers.
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Michael Baugh: There's another old saying that I heard once in the in the personal growth world that if you want to improve the quality of your life, then improve the quality of your questions.
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Michael Baugh: So like I said, I'm really trying to not be afraid to just sit in this and and admit to myself that I don't have a quick answer. But that if I if I if I search for better questions that one will come
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Michael Baugh: I, I go back to some of the basics. I breathed I experienced this for what it is. I asked myself what am I, what am I truly lost. Did I need that in the first place.
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Michael Baugh: And if I did, what can I do today to get it back. And this includes creating something entirely different that meets the same needs. You know, so
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Michael Baugh: I can't necessarily go book another live event. I mean, we were in the business of bringing large groups of people together.
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Michael Baugh: For the purpose of human connection, so I can't do that today. But there's gotta be a way that I can still foster human connection.
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Michael Baugh: I'm trusting that when the right questions get asked, and the right answers will be found.
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Michael Baugh: Like Jamie I'm connecting with other people who I know to be solution oriented and engaging and thoughtful conversations like this one.
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Michael Baugh: I i can't i can't go out and undo what's happened and I can't make the industry, come back to life quicker than it's ready to but but i can i can sharpen my mind in the in the process.
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Michael Baugh: So I'm examining not just my professional life but but my personal life because I truly believe if I grow as a human. Then, then that's making me more resilient in all aspects of my life.
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Michael Baugh: I was reminded of a guy I met many, many years ago, we had a great name called Sam the belt.
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Michael Baugh: And I met him in a another challenging point in my life, and I, I just felt stagnant and I'm sure a lot of people right now have that feeling like we're just sitting around doing nothing.
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Michael Baugh: But I was challenged by Sam the belt that I was still growing. And I didn't know what he meant. He took me out to a tree. And he pointed at this little tree. And he says,
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Michael Baugh: Is that tree growing by the virtue that it's alive. Can you say that it's growing. I went, yeah. Yeah, it's growing say and where you go with this.
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Michael Baugh: Is like, but can you see it growing. Can you touch it and feel it growing. I said, no, I can't do any of that. So it's but you admitted by the fact that it's alive, it's growing. Yeah, yeah.
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Michael Baugh: This will show Are You and and it took me a little while to figure out where he was going with that but but that's the kind of thing that I am taking comfort in right now is that
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Michael Baugh: Even if it feels like we are stuck in the mud or speaking in the first person. I'm stuck in the mud. I am growing right now.
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Michael Baugh: I believe that if I'm part of a conversation that's thoughtful. Then I'm going to be part of the solution that's at the other end of that.
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Michael Baugh: I'm recognizing the needs that when my my my wants are taken away from me, the things that I thought I needed but but if they were taken away from me and I'm still here, then it was just the one
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Michael Baugh: And it leaves me with clarity of what my needs are, which then allows me to focus on tactics to go back and regain my once which, which to me are just goals so
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Michael Baugh: It sounds all a lot of whoo, whoo, and rewind 60 days ago when when it was just like, what's the next job. And what's on the punch list and other clients satisfied and and we executed the mission properly.
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Michael Baugh: To be given this time just to be with myself. It's, I can't see it as anything other than a gift. Now, and and I'm trying to make the most of it.
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Brooke Gracey: My gosh, Mike, something you said really hit me. You said that you are
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Brooke Gracey: examining what it is that you've actually lost. And if you've even needed that. To begin with, and it's kind of like all about perspective, right.
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Brooke Gracey: Just getting that perspective of really what's going on right now and finding peace with that and it reminded me Jamie of when we were talking earlier because you did something pretty, I would say drastic to gain some perspective. Can you tell us a little bit more about that.
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Jamie L: We last May, after. Gosh, I think we talked about it forever. We donated or sold most of everything we owned and we bought a tiny RV and
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Jamie L: In for me for us. We wanted to really kind of spend one year on the road we set out to sense to do one year. And that's what we we set out for
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Jamie L: With our little family and we plan to kind of travel. The western US and all through Canada chasing the mountain bike seasons and fishing and my goal ultimately was family time and just to maintain this work life balance.
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Jamie L: And since we both operated our own small businesses and the kids were young and didn't hate us yet, you know, there was no better time and so you plan to homeschool and do as much exploring as possible. But what really happened is this wild ass ride.
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Jamie L: For us, it was a clinical depression with one of our family members is homeschool days that were terrible and lasted forever.
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Jamie L: Wi Fi connections that I would be in the middle of a call with with many, many people and they would drop
00:21:33.150 --> 00:21:45.270
Jamie L: My mother was diagnosed with stage four cancer which she's doing really well. And these work projects that were really intense. So we had a crazy year but and it was a complete shit show
00:21:46.080 --> 00:21:52.500
Jamie L: But I wouldn't trade it for anything. I would say if any anyone's even considering it. I would say do it because
00:21:53.340 --> 00:22:04.080
Jamie L: Ultimately what all of this RV life has taught us over the past year is that getting really, really uncomfortable led to this unexpected growth.
00:22:04.410 --> 00:22:14.550
Jamie L: And you, you can't just run away from each other where when you're in a tiny RV. You can't take a drive. You can't, you're, you're in this this small space you're, you have to process.
00:22:15.030 --> 00:22:23.940
Jamie L: Every single emotion that's that's going through each one of your brains and you have to hit everything head on. And I think that's where all of us are now is this
00:22:24.540 --> 00:22:32.760
Jamie L: We're really freaking uncomfortable and we're trying to figure this out. And we're questioning every single thing we do, which can look
00:22:33.210 --> 00:22:45.360
Jamie L: At we can we can look at this as a negative, but we also can take this as a learning as Mike mentioned, you know, with the with the uncomfortable changes that are happening everywhere around us, not just in our own homes.
00:22:46.170 --> 00:23:00.870
Jamie L: Which really can be can feel awful. We are still growing like Mike said with the tree we we just sometimes we just make a right now. We just may not realize or want to see that we're growing, but in fact it is absolutely happening right now.
00:23:02.490 --> 00:23:04.680
Cody Liskh: Wow. I mean, I agree with you. I feel like
00:23:05.340 --> 00:23:16.620
Cody Liskh: When you make yourself uncomfortable. It forces yourself to grow, you have no choice but to grow and it probably has surprised you a lot to you. I'm sure there's certain things that you have not even expected to happen.
00:23:17.130 --> 00:23:21.630
Cody Liskh: And I also want to say, My thoughts are with your mother too. I'm glad she's doing well, that's great.
00:23:22.470 --> 00:23:23.040
Jamie L: Thank you.
00:23:23.250 --> 00:23:31.710
Cody Liskh: Yeah I did want to shift a little bit and talk about, you know, the communication that you've seen with event producers have you noticed it's changed in recent weeks.
00:23:32.280 --> 00:23:39.900
Jamie L: Oh, absolutely. So, you know, whether you're whatever stage you're in and whether you're feeling lost or and and
00:23:40.380 --> 00:23:49.290
Jamie L: You, you have to remember that you can't beat yourself up we I try so hard every day, just this is not, this is not permanent. This is only temporary.
00:23:50.040 --> 00:24:01.890
Jamie L: You know whether you know you're feeling lost or you're, you know, the on the other side of this, you're maybe that person that's has been working harder than you ever thought possible because you have this team that is expecting you to
00:24:02.400 --> 00:24:13.530
Jamie L: To deliver and manage and and figure out revenue streams and and you know you're trying to find a way to to operate this this new business altogether so calls are starting much different.
00:24:13.950 --> 00:24:22.380
Jamie L: Instead of, hey, let's get down to business. We have this this heavy agenda. It's really kind of talking through how each of you are spending your morning
00:24:23.070 --> 00:24:39.630
Jamie L: You know, did you finish line of tiger Kane, it's it's it's no judgment open conversations of, you know, how are you managing stress, anxiety, isolation, and do you have the resources, both professionally and personally
00:24:40.980 --> 00:24:49.440
Jamie L: To kind of navigate where we are in this market and, you know, once you kind of get through those and sometimes you don't get through in time, but
00:24:49.830 --> 00:24:57.900
Jamie L: I would say, taking care of each other. First, before you take care of business is what what we're seeing more so, or more of right now.
00:24:58.500 --> 00:25:08.700
Jamie L: You know, these group, a lot of our agencies that we're partnering with their hosting happy hours, not just with their internal core team, but they're hosting it to her allowing contractors and
00:25:08.940 --> 00:25:18.030
Jamie L: All these people to come in and participate with them because it's part of their family and they're they're allowing this opportunity to kind of check in, take polls and
00:25:18.720 --> 00:25:27.870
Jamie L: It says a lot for me about their character and that's who I want on my side. And that's who I want to kind of partner with so for me as a small business and a contractor.
00:25:28.290 --> 00:25:38.400
Jamie L: I am scheduling ridiculous amounts of face times and house parties and zooms and I do virtual wine tastings with my girlfriends and
00:25:39.330 --> 00:25:48.600
Jamie L: What a couple of us will do peloton will go on the peloton app. I don't have a peloton bike, you don't need a peloton bike, but you can get on their app and
00:25:49.440 --> 00:25:59.160
Jamie L: And work out and do these great you can burn some great calories. So it's burning off that bad energy and kind of just resetting and restarting the day
00:25:59.940 --> 00:26:10.350
Jamie L: But our conversations now are are absolutely a little bit more heavy there, you know, after we talked about what shows we just watched or, you know, what level, we just gotten to
00:26:11.040 --> 00:26:21.330
Jamie L: On Nintendo and, you know, we'll talk about how we're completing SBA loans will talk about how if they file for unemployment and if they've been accepted.
00:26:22.110 --> 00:26:29.340
Jamie L: Will will complain, you know, because it's healthy. It's okay to complain here and there. It's just not wallowing in that for too long.
00:26:30.030 --> 00:26:42.930
Jamie L: You know, one of my dear friends taught me this ridiculously awesome saying she said that you know on site at some of our bigger shows we know that our clients are going to surprise us and ask us to build this pirate ship.
00:26:43.380 --> 00:26:54.390
Jamie L: And the this this problem that we couldn't have planned for during any contingency meetings and we are tasked with a solution. And I think this is that moment coven
00:26:54.960 --> 00:27:03.870
Jamie L: Is is kind of our partner are pirate ship as and as I would say, as some of the brightest event professionals out there.
00:27:04.710 --> 00:27:10.740
Jamie L: You know that might be listening we we we know we're natural problem solvers. That's our that's our jam, but
00:27:11.520 --> 00:27:23.010
Jamie L: We need to take the time to process and really kind of once we process and we work through that it's then time to kind of build this this just really badass pirate ship. So that's where I see this, this really going
00:27:24.120 --> 00:27:25.170
Brooke Gracey: Love the pirate ship.
00:27:26.790 --> 00:27:29.100
Cody Liskh: I love the fire truck analogy. That is so awesome.
00:27:30.180 --> 00:27:44.190
Cody Liskh: I did want to ask, you know, there's so many changes that we've had to do in recent weeks and I heard Mike that you're wanting to go through a major change with your own company. Can you tell us a little bit about how you're taking advantage of this unique time with your change.
00:27:44.370 --> 00:27:45.810
Brooke Gracey: Mike, are you building a pirate ship.
00:27:46.500 --> 00:27:48.660
Michael Baugh: You know, I wasn't ready to tell
00:27:48.660 --> 00:27:53.520
Michael Baugh: You about the pirates. Perfect opportunity. It's got cannons and applying. It's amazing.
00:27:55.200 --> 00:28:04.080
Michael Baugh: So yeah I I actually met Jamie out in Colorado, and that's where I own my own special event design and fabrication company called Pink monkey solutions and
00:28:04.440 --> 00:28:13.590
Michael Baugh: My partner and I both entered that from the the acting world we were we're actors in New York City and learned that it's not just a cliche to be a starving artists.
00:28:14.160 --> 00:28:20.310
Michael Baugh: Long story short, but we ended up out in Vail, Colorado, and we got into the special event production world out there.
00:28:20.640 --> 00:28:30.540
Michael Baugh: Building, you know, high end events for high end clients out there because of the similarities between producing a social event and producing a you know a theatrical show
00:28:31.230 --> 00:28:39.090
Michael Baugh: And so we sort of backed into becoming these, like, sort of, you know, at least locally very well known luxury wedding designers, which if you knew me
00:28:39.600 --> 00:28:44.100
Michael Baugh: You know, the irony of I got eloped everyone in our company for years and eloped
00:28:44.700 --> 00:28:55.560
Michael Baugh: So we enjoyed the challenge and the becoming storytellers in a medium that we never thought we dabble in but but over the years we kind of found ourselves more and more
00:28:55.800 --> 00:29:03.630
Michael Baugh: In what we felt was the special event interior design world and we were proud of the work we were doing, but it wasn't really answering that why question anymore.
00:29:03.900 --> 00:29:10.620
Michael Baugh: But, you know, you have this beast, and it's moving along, and it's making money, and you've got employees and you've got bills so
00:29:10.860 --> 00:29:15.540
Michael Baugh: We always had this analogy of, like, we knew we'd like to change the tires on this thing.
00:29:15.750 --> 00:29:25.950
Michael Baugh: But when can you ever pull over to actually do that. And so if you can't pull over, like how do you change tires on a moving vehicle which I googled and there's some very interesting YouTube videos of people can do it.
00:29:26.220 --> 00:29:39.420
Michael Baugh: But I am not one of those people. And even if you could fathom pulling over there was always this like fo mo of like, well, if we stop like the whole world is going to run past us and like, would we ever get started again, would anybody care again.
00:29:39.870 --> 00:29:50.940
Michael Baugh: And so this opportunity has kind of forced that like, hey, we, you know, even, even if even if we didn't want to stop. We can't physically produce a live event right now.
00:29:51.180 --> 00:30:01.800
Michael Baugh: So this has allowed my partner and I to really look at this and say, well, you know, where, where can we re engage in this world. If we knew that sort of the way that we were telling stories in the past.
00:30:02.040 --> 00:30:12.300
Michael Baugh: Really wasn't answering the why questions. What can we do now and it's just fortunate that one of the constraints is we can't necessarily get large groups of people in the same room.
00:30:12.630 --> 00:30:23.490
Michael Baugh: So we're now digging back into becoming more of the producer side and building a show and, you know, technology has come along so far since since we started you know 13 years ago.
00:30:23.790 --> 00:30:34.110
Michael Baugh: That can we using this mixed media hybrid, little bit of live you know shot TV studio stuff produced stuff we still can custom fabricate the sets.
00:30:34.440 --> 00:30:42.360
Michael Baugh: But can we get back to our theatrical roots and and and help people to tell their stories and meet their audiences in the new normal.
00:30:42.930 --> 00:30:48.390
Michael Baugh: So we've actually come up with an acronym, because that's all we do over at my company has come up with acronyms. So we're calling it a leap.
00:30:48.720 --> 00:30:56.190
Michael Baugh: Which is a live event adaptation plan and and that's what we're trying to do now is, is meet with our current clients and new clients and say, Listen.
00:30:56.520 --> 00:31:11.040
Michael Baugh: You know, we all have to figure out how to continue to tell stories be them internal sales stories external sales stories social stories and and now we have to figure out a new way to tell them, so that's that's kind of what we're working on. And it's it's really quite exciting.
00:31:11.670 --> 00:31:22.410
Brooke Gracey: That sounds awesome. You know, Cody and I are huge fans of live events, both in our I would say professional and personal lives, we are well known for throwing some of the best parties in Portland, I would
00:31:22.410 --> 00:31:22.740
00:31:24.570 --> 00:31:34.200
Brooke Gracey: We love a good theme. But life is kind of out of the picture right now. Right. So how, what is your strategy for meeting the needs for live events when you can't do it live.
00:31:34.560 --> 00:31:42.960
Michael Baugh: I had one of the most exciting meetings. I've had in a while with a company that specializes in ar VR and and and I'll be fully transparent that prior to this.
00:31:43.200 --> 00:31:51.900
Michael Baugh: I knew it existed. I kind of had a rough idea of what it was doing but I never invested much time into it because I didn't need to. You know, I had the live tool at my disposal.
00:31:52.170 --> 00:32:03.810
Michael Baugh: But I met with these gentlemen that are on the cutting edge of this technology and what they're capable of doing right now it's it's absolutely mind boggling. It's, it's full on Star Trek, Star Wars. It is the future.
00:32:04.200 --> 00:32:11.820
Michael Baugh: And so like halfway through the meeting. I remember asking them, I said this all sounds too good to be true, why hasn't anybody done this yet.
00:32:12.150 --> 00:32:22.620
Michael Baugh: And his response was very simply that we've never had to, you know, that the exactly my own reason that because you always had the live event tool. And he was very humble saying listen
00:32:22.890 --> 00:32:29.850
Michael Baugh: I'm not here to tell you that AR and VR will replace a live event or ever be as good as a live event. I think we can all
00:32:30.240 --> 00:32:37.710
Michael Baugh: attest to that, that there's nothing like the human connection and being in the room and he said the thing that makes this you know
00:32:38.040 --> 00:32:46.830
Michael Baugh: So exciting is if you ask yourself, not how do I replicate or recreate what was supposed to be a live event through AR
00:32:47.100 --> 00:32:55.020
Michael Baugh: But how do I produce an event that can only exist because of the technology available to us and AR and VR.
00:32:55.320 --> 00:33:07.170
Michael Baugh: And like my mind was blown. I was like, from from a creative standpoint, you know, I'm, I'm an old theater guy like we build sets, you know, so it's all what can I make with my hands, but this world is what can I make with my mind.
00:33:07.680 --> 00:33:12.330
Michael Baugh: He told me about this event. We do a lot of vineyard events and wine tasting events.
00:33:12.690 --> 00:33:26.430
Michael Baugh: And and he started describing, like, Well, what if we you know we got some footage of the vineyard. And we literally flew people like Superman style across the vineyards and landed you at a tasting table in the middle of the venue.
00:33:27.210 --> 00:33:33.660
Michael Baugh: Yeah, yeah. I want to do that. But you couldn't do that even in the live event world with the biggest budget imaginable. So
00:33:33.900 --> 00:33:42.960
Michael Baugh: Those kind of things to me, are, are you know what I'm waking up excited about things that I I never even dreamed possible and never needed to dream possible
00:33:43.200 --> 00:33:56.940
Michael Baugh: They're out there and and and I have no doubt that the people of the live events world who are just solution. People who held the Pirate Ship building people of the world. Like there's going to be an awesome pirate ship at the end of this
00:33:57.360 --> 00:34:02.250
Brooke Gracey: Oh my gosh, I will Cody knows I'm obsessed with AR and VR. I've worked on a couple of projects with cvent
00:34:02.460 --> 00:34:14.730
Brooke Gracey: And I've always had this dream of having an event underwater. You know, like maybe sharks, giving the keynote or something you know something new and different. We haven't done before, maybe we start on the pirate ship. And we jump overboard and I were at the event.
00:34:15.000 --> 00:34:17.070
Brooke Gracey: Just 91 for free. Yeah.
00:34:18.660 --> 00:34:23.430
Cody Liskh: I love what you said, What can I make with my mind, instead of my hands like this is where we're at. Nowadays,
00:34:23.640 --> 00:34:25.710
Cody Liskh: And I love the point you drove home that
00:34:25.980 --> 00:34:35.370
Cody Liskh: You know, we want to find something that's going to be a complimentary experience. You can't fly over a vineyard. When the live event like you cannot do that physically so
00:34:35.520 --> 00:34:42.660
Cody Liskh: What kind of elements are we going to take, they're going to marry with a with a live event when this all comes back to normal things. I love that so much.
00:34:42.930 --> 00:34:51.180
Cody Liskh: You guys have been so awesome to have on the podcast I got to ask my favorite question. If you had to leave one takeaway for event producers, what would that be
00:34:53.910 --> 00:34:55.410
Jamie L: Ooh, do me to go first.
00:34:55.890 --> 00:34:57.750
Cody Liskh: I'll start with Jamie Yeah, what's our Jamie
00:34:58.980 --> 00:35:22.170
Jamie L: Okay, so for me I have I liken all of this to my workouts, or to a marathon and this may be an ultra at this point I am I am definitely not a long distance runner and I've realized that I have to pace myself every single day. Again, I'm surrounding myself with with his strong tribe.
00:35:23.190 --> 00:35:28.950
Jamie L: Even though sometimes we'll have a good day. Good day and bad day. But surround yourself with those good people.
00:35:29.550 --> 00:35:37.260
Jamie L: Those good people that are going to challenge you that are also going to give you a slap in the face when you need a reality check. During that race or during this race and
00:35:38.070 --> 00:35:47.610
Jamie L: And and know that there's people beside you, that are running along some, some may be jogging others might be walking but little by little, we're going to get to the finish line.
00:35:50.190 --> 00:35:50.760
Brooke Gracey: Yes.
00:35:50.850 --> 00:35:51.660
Cody Liskh: I love that.
00:35:51.750 --> 00:35:52.860
Cody Liskh: Like what, what do you think
00:35:53.250 --> 00:36:00.150
Michael Baugh: For me, I've, I've come to have a very simple belief in life that all will be okay and all is okay.
00:36:00.540 --> 00:36:10.590
Michael Baugh: And and that's not the same as saying that that we're not or some of us are all of us are not going to face real pain stress, aka economic hardships fear, etc. But
00:36:11.130 --> 00:36:24.390
Michael Baugh: That that that simply the fact that we are still here to me means that there's there's a greater purpose and my role is to understand the purpose. It's to accept that it's there. And by virtue of that we're going to be okay.
00:36:25.620 --> 00:36:31.950
Brooke Gracey: Yes, everything's gonna be okay. It's gonna take a while. It's a marathon, not a sprint. It's all just pre
00:36:32.250 --> 00:36:32.790
Jamie L: Yes.
00:36:33.570 --> 00:36:42.900
Brooke Gracey: Take it, take it one step at a time. It has been such a pleasure talking to you. This has been the most inspiring and I've laughed so many times throughout this conversation, which is great.
00:36:43.170 --> 00:36:50.310
Brooke Gracey: And we all need a good laugh too. So where can I find you guys what any other kind of resources, you want to promote or share with our listeners.
00:36:50.880 --> 00:36:59.370
Jamie L: Sure, I met. Um, oh two dot events and I'm also on the graham at must be willing, if you'd like to follow our RV adventure.
00:37:00.090 --> 00:37:00.810
Brooke Gracey: Yes.
00:37:01.410 --> 00:37:14.850
Michael Baugh: And you can find my company pink monkey studio.com and it's the event production one and I'm taking this opportunity to launch little side [email protected] a dash TV com site to be coming soon.
00:37:15.540 --> 00:37:16.560
Brooke Gracey: Like yeah
00:37:16.650 --> 00:37:20.640
Brooke Gracey: The big reveal. I love it. Thank you, Mike, so much for joining us.
00:37:21.000 --> 00:37:26.250
Brooke Gracey: And for our listeners, we will put those resources up on cvent.com/podcast
00:37:27.090 --> 00:37:28.290
Thank you guys.