36: How did Mark Stouse grow his startup from $0 to $2 million in revenue in 18 months?

Mark Stouse grew his startup, ProofAnalytics.ai, from $0 to $2 million in revenue in 18 months. Now they’re one of the 100 partners for Salesforce and they’re still growing. Their client roster includes mega brands like Bayer, Samsung, Johnson Controls, Oracle, and others.

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Show Transcript

Paris Vega (00:00.746)
Welcome to the First Customers podcast. I’m your host, Parice Vega. Today we have Mark Stoos with us. He’s a former corporate CMO turned software CEO. His startup went from zero to $2 million in revenue in only 18 months. Now they’re one of the 100 top partners for Salesforce and they’re still growing. Their client roster includes mega brands like Bayer, Samsung, Johnson Controls, Oracle and others. Mark, welcome to the show.

Mark Stouse (00:30.266)
Hey, thank you so much for having me.

Paris Vega (00:32.93)
Let’s get right to it. How’d you get your very first customers?

Mark Stouse (00:38.181)
You know, I think, you know, the way I saw it at the time and the way that I see it today, you know, with the benefit of lots of hindsight and lots of learning is somewhat different, right? I think that the biggest challenge that startups have is that they are startups. You know, they, the marketplace.

Mark Stouse (01:07.301)
doesn’t know much about them. They don’t really have any sense of confidence, the confidence level that they should have or not have. They don’t know whether they’re good people or not. So the trust scores are kind of like up in the air, right? And these are all things, these three psychographics around awareness, confidence, and trust are key to the way that people make buy decisions, particularly when there’s a lot on the line.

Mark Stouse (01:36.793)
And so a startup that doesn’t have a lot of brand reputation, because that’s really what those three things amount to in the end, right? Needs to be able to pull brand reputation from something else or someone else. That’s where my personal experience looking back on it is that in the beginning, the…

Mark Stouse (02:05.501)
the importance of founders having strong personal brands in the area that their company is seeking to operate in is key. I mean, it is absolutely key. If you, if no one knows your company and no one knows you either, right? Your success likelihood is very low single digits, right?

Mark Stouse (02:35.857)
particularly if you are proposing to solve a really big problem, a big hairy problem, they’re going to say, well, how do I know I can trust you? How do I know I can have confidence that you know what you’re talking about and that your solution does what it says it can do? And so immediately, just right out of the gate, right, you have all kinds of reasons going through their mind.

Mark Stouse (03:04.869)
why they won’t do business with you. Because you gotta really understand that particularly in B2B, there’s no one more risk averse than a reasonably senior leader who’s being asked to make a buy decision. Because if they do it wrong, it can really hurt them. And so, they’re gonna, it’s one of the reasons why you see.

Mark Stouse (03:32.541)
deal velocity, right, particularly in the last year or so, really lengthening out, is that people not only are under financial pressure, but they’re extremely pressurized around opportunity costs. And opportunity costs is the whole idea that if you spent the money wrong, then not only did you lose that money that you invested, but you also lost what you could have invested in it. So you’re kind of a two-time loser.

Mark Stouse (04:02.777)
minimum and that is that people would rather just die almost than have that happen right now because people’s jobs they’re more vulnerable right now than they’ve been in quite a while things like that. So this is the big deal right when it comes to that you know kind of cold start that you know going from zero to one right uh is

Paris Vega (04:17.122)
Right.

Mark Stouse (04:33.133)
That’s the hardest part of all, right? Um, sometimes people can kind of sandbag this a little bit by getting some early paying customers, almost like that they announce with, right? They announced the formation of their company and we already have these five customers. But if you’ll notice most of the time, no revenue numbers are attached.

Paris Vega (04:52.192)
Right.

Mark Stouse (05:03.369)
to those five customers. And that’s because the amount of money that’s being paid is so trivial that it’s just not even worth talking about. Five grand, 10 grand, something like that. And so it’s just not even worth talking about. And so it’s a little bit of a ruse and I don’t think that it necessarily really helps because I think everybody…

Paris Vega (05:17.162)
or maybe even a free trial.

Mark Stouse (05:32.285)
today sees through it. But I think, you know, in my particular case and my co-founder’s case.

Mark Stouse (05:41.501)
Kyle and I had a long established, well-known track record as marketing leaders who had successfully, based on the testimony of the CEOs we were working for, we had solved this problem. And very few other people could make that claim. And we got a lot of press around it over a number of years. Actually the whole reason why I got it.

Mark Stouse (06:11.653)
recruited to Honeywell to be the CMO of Honeywell Aerospace was the press that I got, right? Around the job that I had right before that. And the CEO, the then CEO of Honeywell basically said, hey, you know what? I want to talk to this guy. So it’s the same deal. Whether you’re going for a job or whether you’re trying to sell a product in, right? At the end of the day…

Mark Stouse (06:40.177)
People want to know, can, are, are a lot of people aware of you, right? Because that kind of carries some weight all by itself. Um, do I have confidence in what you’re saying to me? And do I think you’re a good person that’s going to do right by me, the company, you know, whatever, right? So the trust piece is sort of the ethical piece and the, and the, uh, the confidence piece is essentially a reflection on can you deliver what you say you can deliver?

Paris Vega (07:11.83)
So you’re saying that the founder’s personal brand is critical to getting those first legitimate customers, or at least it was a big part of how you got your customers and moved up to your career. So, you know, most people probably aren’t in the news very often. You know, that seems like a rare thing. Is there anything you can maybe give some advice or speak to how a founder can build their personal brand, since you’re saying that’s like a critical part of getting those first customers?

Mark Stouse (07:19.805)
Yeah.

Mark Stouse (07:23.789)
Yeah. And then, and then.

Mark Stouse (07:40.445)
Well, you have to start long before you actually need it. Right? So it’s like planting a forest, you know, in order to chop it all down for wood later. You know, you’re going to probably have to plan it, start planning that one 20 years before you need the lumber. Right? So in my particular case, right, I mean, a lot of the brand building that happened, when it was happening,

Paris Vega (07:49.836)
Yeah.

Paris Vega (07:56.448)
Yeah.

Mark Stouse (08:10.553)
If I had any intent around it at all, it was more around, hey, enjoy the notoriety, right? I wouldn’t necessarily call it fame, but certainly the notoriety. And it’s gonna help me get my next job, my next gig, right? Because it wasn’t until pretty late in the game in some ways that we decided to…

Mark Stouse (08:40.337)
do this, meaning the startup, right? So, we’re also very different as a startup. I mean, most of the people that are in Proof today are certainly older than 45. Some of them are older than 55. And I think that it gives us a lot of stability and strength and when we show up in meetings,

Mark Stouse (09:09.233)
You know, people go, Oh, okay. These are not people that, that haven’t been around the block very much that may not, may not know really what’s really going on, you know? Um, so I mean, there’s just a, you know, I think that the most important thing I can really say about this is that what, you know, instead of talking about it as some sort of brand, which most people kind of mostly associate with awareness.

Paris Vega (09:19.403)
Right.

Paris Vega (09:35.623)
Mm-hmm.

Mark Stouse (09:36.261)
What you’re really building over time, and it is very much something that builds over time, is people’s confidence and trust in you, and what you’ve done and what you say. And if you, like, you know, there were people that I talked to about proof in the early days that said, man, you know what? I don’t know anything about what you’re saying.

Mark Stouse (10:05.041)
But the fact that you’re saying it, I have loads of belief in that. And so I will either, you know, buy your product and you tell me what I need to do to implement it and all that kind of stuff, or I will in some cases invest in, in your company, um, you know, and you don’t really like, I didn’t like, I’d never liked the idea that people were. Investing.

Mark Stouse (10:34.897)
because of me.

Mark Stouse (10:37.725)
Cause I’m just a human being like everybody else. Right. Um, so I would always really, you know, reinforce the opportunity and our, our investment decks or for that matter, our sales decks were always first class. Right. And, and I really wanted them, but, but it’s unavoidable, right? They’re going to look at me and Kyle and, and other people in proof and they’re going to go, okay.

Paris Vega (10:41.815)
Right.

Mark Stouse (11:06.361)
I hear everything, I see everything. What do I feel in my heart about these guys? And that’s ultimately going to drive their decision.

Paris Vega (11:20.302)
Interesting. OK, so it sounds like since you mentioned the founder brand being such a big part of your success, when you decided to finally start a startup. So that implies that networking like referrals and that kind of relationship. Side of marketing that’s based on trust and everything would be a big part of it. Can you speak to any other?

Mark Stouse (11:39.558)
Mm-hmm.

Paris Vega (11:48.106)
like tactics or strategies or things that you guys did to actually execute starting the company. How did you reach out? How did you get the message out?

Mark Stouse (11:55.557)
Yeah, sure. Yeah. No, I mean, so, you know, there’s several observations I would make, even though, you know, money’s always tight in the startup and you, you know, you want to kind of your, your natural impulse as a founder is to spend it on the stuff that’s highly visible to the marketplace. Uh, and I totally get that. Um, there are certain things that really will save your ass. Right.

Paris Vega (12:01.803)
Mm-hmm.

Mark Stouse (12:25.833)
when you need it to and kind of like brand personal or corporate brand. You have to start that process early and maintain it before it can really be a value to you. One of those is legal. So you want to get a great lawyer or law firm on your side. You want the best contracts.

Mark Stouse (12:54.097)
that you can possibly do, right? Whether they’re your commercial contracts or shareholder agreements or whatever. I mean, you want them, you want the people signing them, you want the procurement teams to go, wow, I just want you to know that’s a really great contract. It didn’t have a lot of extra bullshit in it, right? It was…

Mark Stouse (13:22.897)
very clear, you know, it was, uh, and, and everybody knows exactly what the rules of this game are. There’s no obfuscation, there’s no hidden outs, there’s no weirdness, right? You don’t want any of that. And, but when you, when you, all of a sudden you are faced with a situation that none of us want to be faced with, but if you’re in business long enough, it will absolutely happen to you. Right.

Mark Stouse (13:52.501)
Um, you’re going to be so thankful. You pull out, I mean, you pull out that agreement, you know, from DocuSign or whatever, and you’re, you’re reading it, having just received some sort of, you know, email or whatever. And, uh, and you’re, you read it through again, re familiar, re familiarize yourself with the agreement and you just relax, you just feel all the kind of your blood pressure and everything else just starts to fall, right? Because you realize you don’t have a problem.

Paris Vega (14:22.614)
Right.

Mark Stouse (14:22.857)
know, and so it is, uh, that’s just a great thing. Um, that’s what, you know, so I would, I would also just say that. You’re you need to spend your money.

Mark Stouse (14:38.001)
with the understanding on anything, with the understanding that it’s, whatever you think the payback period is on that money, where you’re gonna see value from it, it’s gonna be longer than that. Oftentimes considerably longer. And you just gotta be prepared for that, right? I mean, one of the, the number one reason why startups fail, right, is that they run out of money.

Paris Vega (14:53.046)
Yeah.

Paris Vega (15:05.93)
Yeah. Did you personally reach out to your network when you were launching proof analytics or did you guys rely on advertising or marketing or

Mark Stouse (15:15.089)
No, we actually, so we do advertise today, but we started out totally organic. So LinkedIn has always been super strong for us as a channel. I’m very active myself there. And so we kicked it off on LinkedIn, you know, and then we did some press, some industry trade press and things like that, you know, did some, you know, did some press releases and.

Paris Vega (15:17.89)
Okay.

Paris Vega (15:41.588)
Okay.

Mark Stouse (15:45.741)
Um, one of our board members do somebody, you know, at NASDAQ. And even though we weren’t at NASDAQ, you know, they have that, that big billboard, uh, they’re on Times Square, big vertical billboard. Um, and, uh, and they, you know, for the princely sum of a hundred bucks, right. Uh, we, we got our announcement up there on the big board, right. That was, that was very cool. Right. And

Paris Vega (15:58.228)
Okay.

Paris Vega (16:12.943)
That’s crazy.

Mark Stouse (16:14.305)
And it, and it made, you know, it doesn’t really mean a whole lot, to be perfectly honest with you. What does mean more, not a whole lot more, but what does mean more is the photograph of you on the, on the big board, um, that then you can send out to your shareholders and all this kind of stuff. And it’s just, it’s kind of a feel good, right? Um, so, but it doesn’t, it, it doesn’t make shareholders feel good.

Paris Vega (16:29.296)
Right.

Mark Stouse (16:43.049)
or anyone else feel good in the same way that ramping sales makes everybody feel good. And so, you know, that’s the, that’s the whole goal. And the, the other part that’s so key here, uh, cause again, we’re back to awareness, confidence, and trust is that whoever your first customers are.

Mark Stouse (17:09.098)
their success with your product or with your service.

Mark Stouse (17:18.678)
is impossible to exaggerate how important that is.

Mark Stouse (17:23.861)
Customer success is always important. It’s important today, right? No matter where you are in your growth cycle, it’s gonna be important. But in that early days, those early days, it’s crucial, right, because what’s gonna happen is that you’re going to, in some way, shape, or form, you’re going to announce the existence of these customers. Could just be their logos are on your website. It could be…

Mark Stouse (17:51.057)
something more interesting than that on LinkedIn or whatever, okay, but you’re gonna want to announce them because that’s momentum.

Mark Stouse (18:01.521)
So then you have a stake in the ground with everybody else that you talk to, and they’re going to say, so how’s it going with so-and-so? Right. Or, you know, tell me a story of how Johnson controls got value from this or, you know, whatever. Right. And if you can’t do that and, you know, kind of like under pressure, so to speak, actually get your customer to tell them. Then.

Mark Stouse (18:30.365)
That’s not a good thing.

Paris Vega (18:33.707)
Right.

Mark Stouse (18:34.405)
You know, and you’re going to have a problem maintaining your momentum. Cause everyone’s going to kind of go, Ooh, silence is not golden on this deal. Right. If customer X was really deriving tons of benefit.

Paris Vega (18:44.322)
for sure.

Paris Vega (18:49.248)
Right.

Mark Stouse (19:00.573)
they would say something, right? It may not be detailed. They may look at all the details as being, you know, competitive advantage and all that kind of stuff. And everyone gets that. But if they’re not on the record somewhere publicly as saying, you know, this company is just awesome. You ought to really look, talk to them. It’s, you know, made a big difference for us.

Mark Stouse (19:27.665)
That’s a very generic set of three sentences, and yet, you know, it’s really important.

Paris Vega (19:35.778)
Do you have a process for collecting or incentivizing that kind of feedback so that you can use it publicly or in case studies?

Mark Stouse (19:45.157)
Yeah, I mean, basically the way that I learned to do this and it still works really well, but I learned it in big software companies is that you present the, the contract, the term sheet. Right. And you say, here’s your price. This assumes, uh, that you will allow us to publicly, you know,

Mark Stouse (20:11.973)
share the fact that you’re a customer and your success and all that kind of stuff. And obviously we have to get approvals from you. You know, you’re going to say whatever you want to say and all that kind of stuff. But, and, and if you don’t want to do that, if your legal team or your procurement team, you know, says, Oh, no, we don’t do that, you know, then your price is 10% more.

Paris Vega (20:34.094)
Hmm.

Mark Stouse (20:35.621)
And nobody wants to check that box, excepting 10% more.

Paris Vega (20:42.722)
Wow, do you ever see that being a deal breaker for potential clients?

Mark Stouse (20:45.285)
Yeah, sometimes, but, but not, not permanently, right. Because it’s, uh, they’re weighing, they, somebody ultimately says, this is stupid. Right. They want something. They want a concession from us. That’s non-financial to us. And by denying it, we’re, we’re going to have to pay them 10% more. Right. This is just dumb.

Paris Vega (20:50.08)
Okay.

Mark Stouse (21:13.637)
Right? We had already made the decision that they were the best, that we should buy them and not the next guy. Right? So this is just dumb. And so, I mean, I’ve seen very few deals. I mean, they might get delayed while there’s an internal argument between procurement and the internal customer or something like that, but procurement is not going to win that deal. They’re just not. I’ve never seen them actually win it.

Mark Stouse (21:42.221)
Sometimes if legal picks up the cudgel, right, they can make it stick.

Mark Stouse (21:50.557)
but the bat, the cudgel, the club, right? Right? If they do that, then they can, they have a way of making it stick. Okay. And then as the vendor, you have to decide, do I want to lose all that revenue or not? And you know, all this kind of stuff. Knowing also, the other thing is, you know, that’s, that, you know, if it goes really, really well, that somebody on the client side is going to…

Paris Vega (21:50.562)
Picks up the what? What was that word? Oh, okay.

Mark Stouse (22:20.389)
Say something anyway.

Paris Vega (22:23.042)
Okay.

Mark Stouse (22:23.589)
Right? So, I mean, it’s, it’s kind of like, you know, um, I don’t think, I think that you can encourage people in a variety of ways. The most effective way that I’ve seen outside of the contract provision is just appealing to people’s ego, right? Where you’re just not, you’re not making it about them talking about how great you are, you’re

Mark Stouse (22:50.237)
met your, whatever they say, they’re talking about their own success. So they, they kind of like the best that I’ve ever seen like this were, it’s where like a CMO or a CRO or somebody like that will say, wow, you know, we were able, and we is sort of code for me. Right. That’s sort of the way that everyone understands what’s really being said. We were able to accomplish all these things, you know, and they tell this big success story.

Paris Vega (22:56.418)
Gotcha.

Mark Stouse (23:19.629)
And, oh, by the way, the, you know, the tool we used was proof or whatever. Right. And, and, you know, and so that’s all that’s necessary, right. Is tying you explicitly to all of this value that was delivered, that they realized that’s the, that’s the winner, man, right there.

Paris Vega (23:25.794)
Gotcha.

Paris Vega (23:34.51)
to their win, yeah.

Paris Vega (23:39.863)
Okay.

Mark Stouse (23:40.429)
And people, that’s part of them building their brand. Right? So it’s in their own interests to do it. And most of the time, procurement, legal, they’re not looking at the news or whatever, particularly in areas that maybe don’t relate to their company. That’s not happening, right? So it just, it tends to…

Paris Vega (23:44.525)
Right.

Mark Stouse (24:09.661)
just happened and it’s all good. No one gets in trouble and it’s all good.

Paris Vega (24:15.542)
So when you guys first announced proof analytics on LinkedIn, like you probably did a personal post, just an organic post. And then is that where your first leads?

Mark Stouse (24:22.001)
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Which actually, so this is actually really important, I had adopted LinkedIn as a discipline, like six years before that, where I would literally post something every morning.

Paris Vega (24:42.516)
Okay.

Mark Stouse (24:43.161)
Right. And so I had.

Paris Vega (24:45.598)
Were you strategic in that or is it just, you have to have visibility, so you’re posting anything or what did you have kind of a niche?

Mark Stouse (24:50.085)
Yeah. Anything. I mean, my whole goal is I want to be helpful and relevant. Right. And so, you know, within kind of the marketing sales, go to market space, maybe a few other areas like leadership and things like that sustainability. I, you know, I tend to post and, and I, I think I, my content is usually pretty good and so I built up a following on LinkedIn that then

Mark Stouse (25:17.805)
When I really needed that following, when I needed that relatively large group of people to see our announcement, they were there.

Mark Stouse (25:30.205)
But if you’ve got 228 followers on LinkedIn and you try and start a, you know, announce a startup, you’re just, that’s not gonna get you much.

Paris Vega (25:31.126)
six year investment.

Paris Vega (25:39.986)
Right. And so is that where your first leads came from? Like your personal post?

Mark Stouse (25:47.633)
Um, I think that, I think there was maybe one actually that happened that way. Um, most of them were, were not marketing driven leads. They were me reaching out to people I knew say, Hey, let’s, let me tell you what’s going on, let me tell you what, what we’ve built and what we’ve got. And then doing a series of demos and all that kind of stuff. Um,

Paris Vega (25:52.014)
Okay.

Mark Stouse (26:13.733)
And also, I mean, we were, I mean, we were never willing to, you know, kind of like do a cheap deal, but we also didn’t hose them down either because what we really wanted more than anything in the early stage, other than customer validation was customer input. We wanted customer feedback. We wanted customers and, and actually the, the

Mark Stouse (26:42.289)
the super valuable customer feedback is always negative.

Mark Stouse (26:49.261)
It’s always when the customer says, man, you know what? I see what you’re trying to do there in that product, but that’s not really working for us and we have this, you know, we’ve written up like a couple pages, a couple of slides detailing the problem and you know, all this kind of that’s solid gold, solid gold, right. Worth so much more than the revenue. Right. I mean, it’s just impossible to place a value on that.

Mark Stouse (27:18.969)
So, you know, it’s kind of like, it took me a while actually, unfortunately, to get this, the right attitude about my own individual 360 degree performance reviews, you know, in large corporations, because my old goal was to be the best, right? And so if anyone says that I could improve in some area, right, that was maybe not what I wanted to hear.

Mark Stouse (27:47.593)
And then I kind of wrapped my head around it correctly. Right. Um, and said, wow, thanks so much, you know, because guess what? Most of the time you’re completely unaware, completely unaware of the fact that you’re screwing up in some area. Right. Cause you just have a blind spot. And so the people that reveal those blind spots, whether it’s to you personally, or about your product or whatever. Right.

Mark Stouse (28:16.661)
And they’re, you know, it may not be fun. It’s never fun to get that kind of information, but man, I’m so grateful to them.

Paris Vega (28:16.866)
Right.

Paris Vega (28:25.534)
Yeah, because it’s probably a lot cheaper than doing like formal user testing and observation and all that, especially with a software product. If you can get some free customer feedback from somebody who tried your service.

Mark Stouse (28:36.601)
Yeah. And I would never call it free because I mean, again, it is, it’s pretty brutal. Right. And, and, and it’s also in fairness, it is brutal to them. Right. Because they’re investing a lot of time and effort to get value out of this tool as well. You cannot, you cannot act like that’s not true. It is extremely true. Um, and so there is a certain.

Paris Vega (28:42.464)
Yeah.

Mark Stouse (29:07.457)
altruism and there in a company’s willingness, a team’s willingness to do this for you. That is truly remarkable. Right. Because you could totally given everything on their plate and all that kind of stuff, you would totally understand if they just kicked your ass out the door and said, come back, you know, in several years when you’ve actually figured it out. Right. I mean, you could totally get that. I mean, that’s a, that’s a not an unreasonable.

Paris Vega (29:31.617)
Yeah.

Mark Stouse (29:36.902)
response.

Paris Vega (29:38.69)
Could you take us through the first few months of that launch and how the way you targeted customers changed? Um, cause you went from zero to 2 million in 18 months. And so was it like, what was that kind of pace of getting new customers on-boarding new customers? Was it a lot all at once or was it gradual and then spike? Can you speak to that some

Mark Stouse (29:50.557)
Mm-hmm.

Mark Stouse (30:01.265)
Yeah, no, I mean, so that’s a great question because I’ll tell you this, it never happens gradually. Right. Um, and the analytics actually bear this out as well. The, the non-linearity. So life in general, business in general is very non-linear. We prefer to try and think of it as being linear because it’s easier for us to think about, but it’s actually not even remotely linear. And so.

Paris Vega (30:10.2)
Really?

Paris Vega (30:28.072)
interesting.

Mark Stouse (30:28.893)
What happens is you get a lot of this and then this and then this and then this. And, you know, and so, I mean, there’s some, there’s some really strong kind of like whipsaw effects. Um, you know, you can feel like everybody in the world wants to talk to you. And then all of a sudden, no one wants to talk to you. And what I learned.

Mark Stouse (30:56.529)
The way that I learned to think about this is that when I started to, when I thought about that either way, good or bad, right? I was making it about me or about proof. Like somehow.

Mark Stouse (31:14.285)
The definition of our success was that every person that we cared about out there in the marketplace would suddenly turn around and wanna talk to us and never do anything else but talk to us, right? And when you put it that way, it sounds so ridiculous that you go, well, of course that’s not true, right? But when you’re sitting there and there was kind of the way I would put it is in that first…

Mark Stouse (31:43.737)
year. There were loads.

Mark Stouse (31:48.697)
And you’re kind of like, hey, we can’t have any lulls, you know, chop, chop. Right. And, uh, and the marketplace doesn’t care how you feel about it. In fact, they’re not even thinking about how you think about it. And they’re not intentionally giving you the brush off. They just got other stuff going on. So, you know, it’s, it’s.

Paris Vega (31:55.324)
Yeah.

Mark Stouse (32:15.336)
I’ll give you a similar example real fast, going back to brand.

Mark Stouse (32:22.05)
where brand is like the grease on the gears of business.

Mark Stouse (32:28.389)
And it takes a while for that to actually, for you to get the engine completely lubed and going the way it should be. And for everyone else out there to feel that way, because it’s actually not the, the definition of brand is not what you think of your brand is what everybody else thinks of you, right? What they’re saying about you. Do they think about you more now than they used to? Whatever. Right.

Mark Stouse (32:58.297)
So you’re kind of sitting there going, man, no one, I mean, phone’s not ringing, right? So you do more outbound and some of that is successful. And, you know, but, but you know, you’re at some level, you’re always aware that a sign.

Mark Stouse (33:18.341)
of momentum is how many inbounds, unsolicited inbounds you’re getting, right? And so you’re kind of going, crap, you know, I didn’t get any calls today. And it’s a real testimony to how

Paris Vega (33:24.141)
Right.

Mark Stouse (33:37.729)
insecure it is to be in that place as an entrepreneur because you really are looking at it exactly that way. I mean, day by day, right? You’re not even looking at it in weak blocks, right? You know? So, I mean, it’s just a… I would say that all of a sudden, uh, brand…

Paris Vega (33:54.315)
Yeah.

Mark Stouse (34:04.253)
So brand is actually one of the most time-lagged investments that you can make in your business, but it’s crucial. But the main reason why most business leaders don’t like to spend money on brand, right, is that they can’t ever tell when it’s paying off because it’s so time-lagged.

Paris Vega (34:18.898)
Yeah, probably won’t be in the quarterly report.

Mark Stouse (34:23.001)
Yeah, it won’t be in a lot of B2B. The impacts of brand are like anywhere from four to six quarters later. Right. So it’s one of those things that if you’re not using a, uh, analytics tool, like proof, you’ll never find it. You’ll never understand it. Right. And so it just will look like wasted money, stupid money. Right. Why do we spend that money?

Paris Vega (34:24.855)
Yeah.

Paris Vega (34:32.693)
Mm.

Mark Stouse (34:49.805)
Um, and then when it does start to have a positive effect, you will think it’s something else that delivered that positive effect, not your brand investment a year earlier, right? So it’s, uh, it’s kind of one of those things, right? Where you, I think one of the hardest things, um, and the best analogy that I’ve ever heard in terms of talking about this.

Paris Vega (35:01.612)
Yeah.

Mark Stouse (35:16.202)
One of the hardest things is to navigate your way forward as an entrepreneur.

Mark Stouse (35:25.125)
because the compass will always show you true north, but it doesn’t tell you anything about all the obstacles and everything that you’re gonna have to get around and cross and all this kind of stuff, right? And so what you really need is a GPS, right? You need the map function of the GPS, but you more importantly in some respects,

Mark Stouse (35:53.605)
you need the GPS that’s going to say, hey, the route you’re on was a really good route, that route to value, it was moving along really well, but now the marketplace has changed, the macroeconomic picture has changed, lots of other things have changed, whatever, right? And this is no longer the best route for you to get to your goal, right? And so, and you can see this between the forecast in a tool like Proof.

Mark Stouse (36:22.073)
And the actuals, you can see the Delta opening up and you can see what’s causing the Delta and so you can war game the response you can just like in your GPS on your phone, right? The phone’s going to say, Hey man, you need to reroute.

Paris Vega (36:38.478)
Mm. Yeah.

Mark Stouse (36:39.729)
Right. And the, it’s actually not just an analogy. It’s literally the truth. It’s a true comparison because when, when you’re using your GPS and you say, okay, I’m here or it knows where you are. Right. And you say, I want to go to this restaurant and it gives you the proverbial three routes, you know, the choice of three routes. Those are forecasts. Literally. Those are forecasts.

Mark Stouse (37:08.613)
So, and then when you pick one, right, it’s tracking you, it’s tracking all these things that are either gonna speed you up or slow you down, and then it’s gonna make a call whether or not you need to change course or not. That’s exactly what business leaders need, because if they try to do it without that kind of perspective, it’s just too frickin’ hard. Like you go back to the…

Mark Stouse (37:35.697)
that I’ve talked to some older entrepreneurs in tech, you know, that, that did a tech startup software startup 25, 30 years ago. Right. I mean, it’s really clear they succeeded based upon the fact that they had a great product and it happened to be in demand. That problem was so hairy that when they launched that product, everybody wanted it.

Mark Stouse (38:04.101)
Right. And it was also a smaller industry and, you know, it was all this kind of stuff. Right. So it was, um, you know, that’s the way it went down today. You know, that wouldn’t work. I mean, and a lot, and they’ll be the first one to tell you that a lot of those startups, you know, failed disproportionately, right. For that reason.

Paris Vega (38:07.704)
Right.

Paris Vega (38:28.502)
What would you say the biggest challenge was during that year and a half, 18 month period, as you were getting those customers and ramping up to 2 million, what was the hardest part of customer acquisition during that, that time?

Mark Stouse (38:49.765)
I would say that the, the actually the really the hardest one, the hardest part, right, was even people that I knew, even people that knew Kyle or other people on the team and who had, you know, kind of like unquestioned regard for what we had accomplished.

Mark Stouse (39:09.809)
Their gut reaction is always to shave their risk. And the easiest way to shave their risk is to ask for discounts that no established company would ever accept.

Mark Stouse (39:26.585)
And so you’re kind of, you’re on the horns of this dilemma as the, as the entrepreneur, right? Because you really need the revenue, right? Uh, you need the revenue, you need the validation, you need the momentum, all that stuff, right? And are you willing, what are you willing to pay for that? Is really the question. And sometimes.

Paris Vega (39:36.609)
Right.

Mark Stouse (39:56.601)
Sometimes that can really be really hard.

Mark Stouse (40:02.137)
Um, what I have learned, I guess, over time is that the one factor that cannot be at all entertained in that decision process by me or, or the people on the team is ego as soon as you say, screw you, you know, our product is awesome. You know, we’re not selling it for that. You know, blah, blah. Okay. That is a.

Mark Stouse (40:30.609)
You’ve just gone down the wrong road. Right. It may be a really the best decision might indeed be to turn it down, but not for that reason.

Mark Stouse (40:42.777)
And so, you know, when you feel and you can, you, most of us can’t really control that too much, so you will feel it rise up inside you, that kind of indignation, that kind of like how dare you ask for that, you know, dah, and as soon as you. Feel that you need to really stop and kind of get rid of that or in sometimes I would just.

Paris Vega (40:56.856)
Yeah.

Mark Stouse (41:11.109)
You know, cause as a founder in particular, you have a lot of psychic energy bound up in the company. So you are particularly vulnerable to that kind of thing. Uh, particularly if you were also a type a, you know, one of the reasons why you might have done this in the first place was just to demonstrate just how smart you really are to people, which honestly, I can tell you people don’t care. Right.

Paris Vega (41:33.343)
Right.

Paris Vega (41:38.009)
Yep.

Mark Stouse (41:38.917)
So I would just say, you know, a lot of times I would just turn it over to somebody else on the team and say, you make the call. I, I am, I am not able and I’m sorry that I’m not able to, I know it’s bad. I’m going to work on this. Right. But I’m not able to make a objective decision right now because everything in me is telling me to go, you know, shoot them, you know, flip them off. Right. And, and that’s not.

Mark Stouse (42:06.461)
that’s on a basis of good business decision.

Paris Vega (42:09.75)
sure. This has been really interesting, focusing on the importance of the founders personal brand, awareness, confidence and trust. Are there any books you’d recommend entrepreneurs starting out? Maybe they’re they don’t have a 20 year history yet. But they’ve decided to take that leap anyway and try to start something on their own. Or maybe there’s some experienced kind of veteran

Paris Vega (42:38.166)
corporate exec folks who are thinking about starting out and getting into the entrepreneur space.

Mark Stouse (42:42.245)
Yeah, there’s a book, and I know the title. I’m so sorry. I don’t know the, uh, the author off the top of my head. Um, but, but I’ll send it, I’ll send it to you afterwards and, and you can, you know, publish it with the, you know, when you publish the podcast, but it is, um,

Paris Vega (42:50.562)
That’s okay. I’ll add it to the show notes.

Paris Vega (42:56.792)
Yeah.

Mark Stouse (43:02.205)
pretty sure is how things actually get done.

Paris Vega (43:07.445)
Mm.

Mark Stouse (43:08.709)
Right. And it’s a

Mark Stouse (43:12.441)
It’s a brilliant book about how organizations.

Mark Stouse (43:21.197)
Either functionally or dysfunctionally get things done. And I found it to be a remarkable decoder ring. You know, even as somebody who had spent a lot of time inside of organizations like that.

Mark Stouse (43:38.917)
and felt like, honestly, that I had a pretty good grasp of how things really got done. I learned a lot from that book.

Paris Vega (43:46.611)
Okay.

Mark Stouse (43:47.869)
Cause the most important thing, the most important thing, okay, is you’ve got to really understand your customer’s problems, how they have to operate, how they define success and failure. You got to really, that’s going to be really, really key, right? It that’s far more important in some respects. I mean, this is not meant to be an either or thing, right? But it’s far more important.

Mark Stouse (44:16.689)
than being an expert on your product.

Paris Vega (44:20.558)
That’s good. Um, let’s close out with you speaking directly to that. Let’s say we got a thousand of your target ideal customers listening. What’s that kind of summary of what proof analytics can do to help entrepreneurs or CEOs or the CMOs maybe at a company.

Mark Stouse (44:38.953)
Sure. I mean, so we are proof is a business GPS. We are a go-to-market GPS if you want to think of it in a particular use case, right? So what we did was we took classic, totally proven, totally transparent, no black box math around multivariable regression. And

Paris Vega (44:52.386)
Mm-hmm.

Mark Stouse (45:06.397)
which is pretty much the foundation of all science. And we, and it’s been around, you know, forever, right? I mean, like literally a very long time. So the problem in business is not the math or even the data, although both are important, right? It’s what business leaders struggle with when it comes to data scientists is, and analytics in general, is…

Mark Stouse (45:37.489)
They really don’t speak the same language. More to the point, they don’t have the same priorities.

Mark Stouse (45:44.745)
So data science is all about, I want the most accurate result, the most accurate answer. And they’ve established 95% confidence score as kind of like a minimum, right? The problem is it’s totally unrealistic because as soon as you talk about a lot of human behavior data, which is pretty much all business, that’s what business is, right?

Mark Stouse (46:12.165)
Um, the maximum is usually in the fifties if you’re lucky. Right. And so data science tends to exclude that. The real thing that the business wants is they don’t want, they don’t see the world deterministically, meaning they’re not looking for an absolute. Answer. Right. What they want is I want to just be able to make a better decision tomorrow than I made today.

Paris Vega (46:16.918)
Wow.

Mark Stouse (46:41.125)
Right? Because if I’m, if let’s say it’s a decision that somebody has to make every day, 365 days a year, and if they can make it half a point better every day, which is not a lot, right? It, the, you look at that through the window of compounding, compounded effect, right? Annualized that’s really close to 2000% improvement year on year.

Mark Stouse (47:10.609)
That’s huge. That’s monstrous. Right. And, uh, and that’s the way a business leader thinks about this. Right. And they also know that when they make a business decision, that if it were to be modeled by a bunch of data scientists, it would be the confidence score would be excruciatingly low, probably in the twenties, right? So if you can get them from 20 to 30, or even 40, you’re a hero.

Mark Stouse (47:40.285)
particularly if you were doing it where the model is recalculating constantly at the speed of the business. So the risk that, that is normally there with, you know, you, you compute the model and you wait six months and you recompute the model again. And so you’re kind of like, you know, the blind man for six months, that’s not there anymore. And so what we did was

Paris Vega (48:03.244)
Right.

Mark Stouse (48:07.561)
taking the GPS as a metaphor, but also as a real life example of what we do, we automated it all, or most of it, where it is a business GPS. You can ask it a question and create a model and attach all the data that you need to feed that model. And it will just keep on recomputing it.

Mark Stouse (48:37.265)
is brought into the model. There’s usually a cadence at which businesses measure something, right? That’s related largely to their operational cadence. And so it’s by definition updated in real time for them, or relevant time for them.

Paris Vega (48:45.44)
Mm-hmm.

Paris Vega (48:57.246)
What kind of data might a business input into proof analytics?

Mark Stouse (48:59.889)
It really totally depends on what the question is, right? So like if you’re saying, you know, a classic question for a lot of our customers is, Hey, you know, all these things that we’re spending money on in marketing, what’s the real impact of all that stuff on sales productivity? So this would be kind of like, how many more deals are we getting because marketing is involved? How many. How many more.

Mark Stouse (49:29.789)
Big deals, are we getting, what’s the accelerating function of marketing on deal velocity, right? Because more deals, bigger deals, faster deals, there’s a one-to-one relationship between those three things and revenue, margin, and cash flow.

Mark Stouse (49:50.801)
Right? So if you can say, okay, you know, our goals are more, or more and better revenue margin and cashflow. And we understand that more deals, bigger deals, faster deals is inextricably. You know, bound up with, with that outcome. Then how is marketing helping to improve sales productivity in these areas? So like if marketing totally didn’t exist.

Mark Stouse (50:19.793)
And the whole burden was being carried by sales. Would they be able to close the same number of deals, same size deals as fast as we’re currently experiencing? And if we spent more money on marketing, is that going to help accelerate deal velocity or, you know, help get more, more enlarged deals, more deal expansion?

Mark Stouse (50:49.389)
And how long is it going to take for that marketing investment to have that kind of impact? Right? So it’s kind of like value, time to value on a calculated forecasted basis, which the forecasted piece is the whole ball of wax from a credibility standpoint, right? Because if you call the ball and then it happens the way you called it.

Paris Vega (50:57.047)
Hmm.

Paris Vega (51:19.458)
Right.

Mark Stouse (51:19.933)
Or you can show, hey, things started to change, and so I had to change with it, right? And so we’re still gonna get there, but we’re gonna get there a month later than we thought, right, and here’s why, and it’s an explainable, logical, mathematically proven out argument, and everyone’s gonna go, totally cool, totally get it, right?

Paris Vega (51:46.102)
So is this, or maybe you can compare it to like typical marketing tracking and analytics that you get from any platform you might run ads on, you know, you’ll get whatever number of conversions and then it might project if you X, you know, increase your budget by X, you’ll get X more conversions. It’ll give you a little bit of forecasting and all the different platforms.

Mark Stouse (52:05.917)
So actually, that’s not a forecast, even though most people will say, well, it is kind of a forecast. Well, it’s actually not. It’s an extrapolation. And an extrapolation basically says, the premise of an extrapolation is that past is always prologue, meaning whatever is going on is going to continue to go on just the way it’s always gone on.

Paris Vega (52:16.148)
Okay.

Mark Stouse (52:35.577)
I mean, does anybody who’s lived through the last three or four years believe that anymore? You know, I mean, I just think it’s.

Paris Vega (52:44.15)
doesn’t account for Black Swan events or hard-willed things.

Mark Stouse (52:46.481)
Yeah, or seasonality or anything, right? It doesn’t, it, you know, if all of a sudden the, the macroeconomics change or you have some sort of reputational problem in the marketplace or your competitors do something that’s, you know, that impacts you, right? The extrapolation is totally blind to all those factors, all those externalities. Right. It’s like saying.

Mark Stouse (53:17.413)
if you’re a surfer, okay? So the stuff you don’t control is the wave. And you’re never gonna control the wave.

Mark Stouse (53:27.761)
So what do you control? Well, you control your response to the wave.

Mark Stouse (53:34.641)
Right? And so you build in little feedback loops that try and help you stay upright as opposed to wiping out. Right? Then let’s just say that you have, you’ve ridden five waves today and you haven’t wiped out once. The extrapolation would be that you could probably go another one or two, right, and have the same experience.

Mark Stouse (54:00.489)
But does anybody really believe that?

Mark Stouse (54:05.477)
Right? I mean, that, that’s not the way it works. Right? The ocean has a mind of its own. Right. It can, you know, I mean, I almost died in the sailing accident when I was 18. So in the middle of a storm in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, I totally get this personally. Right. So I, uh, I will just tell you that extrapolation is bullshit. Right. And, and if you’re sales leader or your marketing leader or any tool,

Paris Vega (54:16.718)
Hmm.

Paris Vega (54:23.954)
Mm.

Mark Stouse (54:35.473)
is giving you an extrapolation, it’s lying to you. It’s, it’s, it’s under, it’s, again, we were talking about linearity and non-linearity and how most people love linearity because it’s easier to grasp and understand, right? That’s what extrapolation is. Extrapolation is linearity. And, but it’s not true, right? And so we can give you, our software can give you an actual real deal, multi-variable forecast.

Paris Vega (54:49.154)
Mm-hmm.

Mark Stouse (55:05.009)
Right? That takes into account nonlinearity, which is, nonlinearity is like, the easy way of talking about nonlinearity is that it is.

Mark Stouse (55:18.869)
somewhat unpredictable. It’s not a straight line. It’s this, right? It’s all this kind of stuff. It’s also where leverage comes from. Right? So whenever, whether you’re talking about engineering or whether you’re talking about finances or whatever, right? When you’re talking about leverage, you’re talking about non-linearity. Because linearity gives you no leverage.

Paris Vega (55:27.754)
Right.

Mark Stouse (55:46.301)
So like a great example of this in go to market would be sales function is linear. So let’s say that the CRO gets a new revenue goal. The first thing that he or she is going to do is figure out what does that mean in terms of the pro rata quota for all of my sales guys.

Mark Stouse (56:11.757)
And usually they’re going to conclude that they don’t have enough sales guys. So now they have to go hire a bunch of sales guys rapidly to then try and meet their quota, knowing that some of them were going to suck and not perform at all. Right. And, and it’s, you know, it’s, it’s kind of this, it’s a very linear function. Marketing actually was created 120 years ago from the get-go.

Mark Stouse (56:41.941)
as to create non-linear leverage on sales. It was a way where you didn’t necessarily have to spend more money in order to reach more people.

Mark Stouse (56:57.989)
I mean, that’s not a perfect statement. I mean, there is some relationship between what you spend and what you get, but I mean, it’s, you’re not doing, you’re not, you’re not the sales guy in the street going door to door to door, spending eight or 10 hours a day talking to people and being successful with some, right? That’s necessary. But what you really want is you want the leverage from marketing that is going to help you get more.

Paris Vega (57:03.234)
Sure.

Paris Vega (57:24.555)
Right.

Mark Stouse (57:27.049)
good stuff out of your sales force. So that’s the difference, right?

Paris Vega (57:29.837)
Right.

Paris Vega (57:34.58)
So, okay, I understand that part, linear versus nonlinear, but how does proof analytics achieve that? Like how do you make your tool aware of all the kind of environmental factors?

Mark Stouse (57:45.789)
So what happens is that, is that the customer says, okay, here’s, here are the questions I have. These, this is what I want to know. These are the decisions I have to make that I want to make better. And. Mod, you know, creating the model for those is, is reasonably straightforward. Um, the key thing, uh, less than a day in, in proof. No, I mean, normally under.

Paris Vega (58:07.106)
How long does that take to create a model?

Paris Vega (58:12.788)
Okay.

Mark Stouse (58:15.113)
normal data science kinds of manual model creation, it would take days.

Paris Vega (58:21.45)
And does the data have to already be like all the inputs have to already be connected for the system to

Mark Stouse (58:26.097)
So one of the things that people really love about proof on that score is that, uh, we have two different kinds of ways to introduce data into a model. Um, you can do what’s called a flat file upload, which is essentially uploading an Excel file, right into the tool. Um, and there’s a time and a place to do that, right? Particularly when you are kind of testing out the model before you put it into production.

Mark Stouse (58:53.317)
Right. That’s, this is a really good way to do that. Um, kind of keep it real lean and non-complicated. Um, but I mean, the, the real virtue where proof really sings, right. Is when you finally say, okay, this is the model. These are the data sets. We have all the data sets and we can API those. We can connect them automatically into proof and feed the model and get automatic.

Mark Stouse (59:22.105)
recalculation of that model at whatever cadence we need, right? That’s the value. That’s where you really, you know, come, it comes into play. And so, and if you don’t know anything about regression in a nutshell, regression takes data from the past and data is always about the past. It’s only about the past. And so data by itself is really valuable, but it cannot forecast. This is why extrapolations.

Mark Stouse (59:52.301)
out off of datasets is a non-starter, right? So you’re gonna go, okay, I’m gonna take all this data and I’m gonna put it into this model and it’s gonna find the relationships, the cause and effect relationships that are the most important. And it’s going to say, okay, so the way you’re gonna get the readout, okay, so let’s cut to the chase on that, right? The readout is,

Mark Stouse (01:00:22.149)
Okay. Here are all the things that contributed to this outcome. Here’s the stack rank of how that operated. What was the most important, second most important, all this kind of stuff and what didn’t have any effect at all. And the stuff that you didn’t have any effect at all, but you’re spending a lot of money on, you need to take a really hard look at that. And maybe say, eh, let’s not spend any more money on that. And let’s put that money somewhere else. So this is a direct.

Mark Stouse (01:00:50.597)
reflection of opportunity cost helps people mitigate waste and remove that opportunity cost issue as much as possible. It will tell you the time lag so this is how long it’s going to take for this investment or any other investment to have the desired effect. Within I mean most of the time you don’t have a lot of control over that because the time lag

Mark Stouse (01:01:19.217)
is actually more about how the marketplace reacts and processes the things than anything that you can do about it. So in the end, this is really very, it’s in fact, it’s exactly like managing an investment portfolio. You know, if you have a 401k or something like that, your wealth manager is going to manage that stuff in the same way that, that go to market investments, marketing and sales investments and other kinds, right?

Paris Vega (01:01:40.427)
Right.

Mark Stouse (01:01:49.221)
should be managed.

Paris Vega (01:01:51.554)
Right. Because you’ve only got so much time, energy, cash to distribute. It’s just like asset management. Yeah.

Mark Stouse (01:01:54.981)
Yeah. And you also want to balance your risk, right? And it’s not just about, you know, investing in a number of things, right? So that you diffuse your risk in that dimension. You also want to have investments that pay off at different time horizons. Same deal, right?

Paris Vega (01:02:20.846)
And the website for Proof Analytics is it proofanalytics.ai? All right, website. OK, I was just going to share a screen here so everybody can get a little view of what we’re talking about here. But this has been really interesting.

Mark Stouse (01:02:24.838)
It is.

Mark Stouse (01:02:35.649)
And, you know, there’s always a lot of people, right, who always say, well, how do I know the math is good? Right. Well, the answer to that is that it’s not new math. The secret sauce of proof is not some sort of black box approach to math that, you know, where you’re saying, Hey, you know, we have this super

Mark Stouse (01:03:01.045)
super secret algorithm that’s going to tell you everything you always wanted about, right? That’s completely BS, right? And any, any vendor who takes that approach with you, okay, is, is I would really question that like big time. So, um, our secret sauce is in the way we automated it, the way that we make it accessible to people.

Mark Stouse (01:03:27.889)
the way we price it, the way, all that kind of stuff. You know, we are all about making this available. If you really want to use it, you can use it, right? You can afford to use it. You can be taught easily how to use it. You know, it’s, I mean, that’s the whole goal, right?

Mark Stouse (01:03:49.929)
Because everyone involved in proof, including especially me, right, made a lot of money that we would not have otherwise made in our careers because of analytics. Like I structured my entire comp package in my last two corporate jobs based on analytics like this, right?

Paris Vega (01:03:50.573)
Yeah.

Mark Stouse (01:04:13.141)
And it allowed me to personally capture a lot more comp than I would have ever gotten under a normal contract. Right. So I want that for everybody. I, you know, that’s, that’s a, that’s an incredible thing. Right. It’s, it’s value extraction, right? You’re, you’re creating a lot of value. Uh, you deserve to be paid for that value.

Paris Vega (01:04:35.906)
So who’s the target customer for you guys, that ideal role at a company or type of person who would use your service?

Mark Stouse (01:04:45.029)
Well, I mean, we, so we do a lot in go-to-market. So marketing and sales and things like that. Right. So, so we, I would say the CMO and CRO for sure. But we also, we, we take a lot of in-bounds today from finance. And it may, you know, it’s, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out why. Right. I mean, finance is trying to optimize big time so that waste is largely removed.

Paris Vega (01:04:49.954)
Okay.

Paris Vega (01:05:06.54)
Right.

Mark Stouse (01:05:14.057)
Cause money is tight, right? And so that’s, uh, that’s why that’s going on. And so it’s, uh, yeah, I mean, you know, I would say that, but I mean, it’s an agnostic platform. So what that means is that you can really use it to compute anything. Right. Uh, in fact, when we do big product updates, the really big ones, the way we test that everything.

Mark Stouse (01:05:41.369)
happened the way it was supposed to happen and all that kind of stuff was we run the healthcare data through it with a known outcome. You know, this is all, this is a scenario that obviously happened in the past, but it has full scale analytics and everyone knows what the, what the answer is. And so the goal is that, you know, you want to see your tool give the right answer. Right. Um, and if it doesn’t, then you’ve, you’ve got an issue somewhere.

Paris Vega (01:05:59.068)
Oh, okay.

Paris Vega (01:06:05.995)
Right.

Mark Stouse (01:06:08.877)
And so we, that’s how we do it. So you can run, you can use it on a business wide basis. You really can.

Paris Vega (01:06:17.398)
Really cool. Well, Mark, thank you so much for being here today. You provided a lot of value and gave, I think, a different perspective on getting first customers than really we’ve talked about before on past episodes. So that’s cool that it fills a gap, especially around that idea of the founder brand and focusing on that. I’ll include links to everything we’ve talked about in the show notes and…

Paris Vega (01:06:45.618)
Yeah, just want to say thanks for giving us time today.

Mark Stouse (01:06:48.857)
You bet. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. I hope it was helpful. If any of your listeners want to contact me, the best way to do it by far is a private message on LinkedIn. Um, I mean, if you want to do it publicly underneath one of my posts, that’s fine too, but you don’t have to, and, um, you know, email is typically not the best way to reach me. Um,

Paris Vega (01:07:02.881)
Okay.

Mark Stouse (01:07:16.157)
And, you know, I’m also on Twitter. The handle is at Mark Stoos. And so you can, you can also do it that way. But I’m very responsive. You know, I, I spent a lot of time on LinkedIn in particular. So the response time is probably measured in minutes.

Paris Vega (01:07:39.022)
Cool. All right, everybody, thanks for listening. Reach out to Mark if you’re in that target demo, and we’ll see you next episode.

Mark Stouse (01:07:46.653)
Thanks so much, man.


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