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Episode 48, The Atomic Number of cadmium 48 is the total number of minutes in a full NBA game, true story I tried out for the football team at UCLA and the notes came back small but slow.


Let's make this podcast huge, but quick. Go, go, go.


Welcome to the fortieth episode of the Prop Jesus show and today's episode, we speak with Jennifer Alker, the general Atlantic professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and Naomi Back Donis, a lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and an executive coach. They are the co-authors of Humor. Seriously, Why Humor is a Secret Weapon in Business and Life. We discuss their research from their book, The Ford Humor Styles They've Identified and tips. You can try tips you can try to be funny at work and so fucking land mine anyways.


OK, what's happening? The new circling Apple and its search for a manufacturing partner to create the Apple car has me thinking the dog is walking into a room and wondering why he is in that room and cocking his head and wondering, OK, when is dinner? But more than that.


More than that, why are they moving end to mobility specifically with autonomous vehicles? OK, so according to the reporting, Apple was in talks with Hyundai and its affiliate Kim Motors to manufacture the self-driving electric apple car project Titan. However, Hyundai and Kidd denied the partnership, causing KIYA stock to decline nearly 15 percent. That's when someone accuses you of dating the hottest guy or gal or whatever.


Just just go with it. Just go with it. Clearing five point four billion off its market value, according to CNN, and Hyundai stock fell six percent. Apple has declined to comment about the matter. But what we do know is that Apple's move into mobility has been a project in the making, at least since 2014. But supposedly it was shelved. So what is going on here and what is the bigger learning behind the Apple car?


So first off, I do think that they decided to go into or we're thinking about a car mostly as a vanity project, I would imagine, of Jony Ive anyone who's into design, especially to get a bunch of dudes together. And let's be honest, most senior managers do. And I think we could do a car. And to be clear, to be clear, Apple's brand is so strong that they would make immediate inroads in the automobile sector.


Pretty much they come out with a refrigerator, they come out with a toaster, they come out with a car. And I am first in line, first in line vaccines and an Apple car or any sort of Apple appliance. I am first in line. But what's going on here? How do we value this?


Why did they decide to reignite this process? I think it's a couple of things. One 850. Fifty billion specifically. That is Tesla's market capitalization. And I think Apple looks at that and says, OK, if they can get eight hundred and fifty billion dollar market capitalization, they used to look at cars and think, wait, it's a shitty business. Total market capitalization of about one hundred billion across all the biggest automobile manufacturers. And then Tesla comes along, excites the world and says to the world, OK, automobiles aren't thirty five hundred pound amalgams of steel, plastic and glass that require supply chain complexity and manufacturing.


That's a low margin, shitty business, only worth one hundred billion dollars globally. No, no, it's a software business, right. It's less about brakes and transmission and it's more about getting an update wirelessly that can make your car more efficient or the operating system in the car. And I was even thinking about I own a Tesla and I like to tell people that because it says, hey, I'm groovy and I'm successful. But what is it, Tesla, when you're in the car?


I actually don't think the design is that beautiful. And the Tesla I don't think the touch points are that great. But the operating system and the underlying technology, it's just a better product. There is it is a technology product.


And and Tesla is now being valued as a technology company or a software company or a sales company or something just makes absolutely no fucking sense.


But anyways, anyway, what's going on here?


Simply put, I think Apple, iOS and Android is sort of the battle of the century, and that is it's a battle for the attention graph of the world's GDP. What do I mean by that? Take the seven and a half billion people on this planet times it by their income. Right. So the reality is getting the attention or getting time in the attention graph of somebody who spends one hundred thousand dollars a year is ten times more valuable than getting the attention graph of somebody or getting a piece of the attention graph of someone who makes ten thousand dollars a year.


So we add all this up. We take the population times their spending, and then we divide it by their attention graph. And that's the value of an incremental minute on that attention graph. So iOS has the attention or is the operating system for the one billion wealthiest consumers on the planet? And what Apple now is in the business of is saying, OK, how do I grab more minutes in the day and then monetize it with apps or different services?


That if I can get more people staring at IOC more often, I will figure out a way to monetize it, even if it's getting them to download the Netflix app, which I take a 30 percent toll on on first year commissions, even if it's going after Mark Zuckerberg for the ad model such that we move more to a subscription model across more of the ecosystem which Apple benefits from because they take a toll on almost every app, about 80 percent or 80, about 80.


It's on the dollar of the app economy goes to iOS and the toll keeps her there and that is Apple. But again, back to the attention graph. I think Apple may be Google, but I think Apple is going to acquire Peloton Y so they can get another 30 to 40 minutes, three to four times a week of the wealthiest attention graph in the world. Everyone from Joe Biden to Oprah Winfrey is on a peloton now. Now, think about what has happened in streaming video.


Think about what has happened in the attention graph. And that is Americans spend on average five hours a day watching TV, another talk show, another talk show. I think spectator sports and watching television is a new cancer. You should not spend any more time watching other people sweat than sweating yourself. TV should be by appointment only in my view. In my view, anyway, anyway. But five hours, right?


So you take the wealthiest people, you take the wealthiest nation in the world and they're spending five hours or approximately one in three waking hours in front of a device that commands a ton of opportunity and revenue in the attention graph. So what's happened? Big tech. Recognize that attention graph or the TV part of our attention graph was undervalued and came in with investments in original scripted TV that are equivalent to the defense budget of some G7 countries. And you've seen 20, 30, 40 billion dollars in incremental investment going into TV every year for the last 10 years.


So they are bringing up the value or that, if you will, piece of our attention graph is finally garnering the money and the attention it deserves. So what is what does Apple want to do? It wants to get into fitness another 30 or 40 minutes a day. And and it wants to get onto the attention graph part of our commute. And that is if you're in the car and it's an Apple car, they might get another 30, 60 hundred and twenty minutes a day of your attention graph or on your attention graph each day for Io's, it's a good move.


It also it also speaks to what is their core advantage? I think it's software and user interface. A lot of people say it's hardware, but I think they're smart to partner with a car company. They have a brand that is unparalleled. They will have other people. They will have other people finances. I will spend a thousand bucks to be on that waiting list. Only Apple could get Airmen's to partner with them on a watch columns and see if they want to do a partnership with your brand and see what happens.


Strongest brand in the world. They have the capital. They won't need the capital to get it financed. They'll get a great deal with someone else who will manufacture it. They will come up with a ton of innovation and user interface and. And why are they all of a sudden in it? Because they see an eight hundred and fifty billion dollar player. And I believe that Apple looks at Tesla and whether this happens or not, we'll see. But says, you know what, we're going to take a quarter of a trillion dollars out of that market that Tesla has forged.


Tesla has convinced investors that the automobile market isn't worth one hundred billion, it's worth over a trillion. And we're going to go in and we're going to get ours with a even better brand than Tesla. It's all about the attention graph times, the spend of individuals. It's about getting more time on IPOs in that attention graph. Look for peloton to be acquired. Look for Apple to launch a car, look for the dog to be first in line.


It's all about the graph that is your attention. Stay with us. We'll be right back. Our conversation with Jennifer Alker and Naomi Bogdanos. Twenty twenty one is looking up, new beginnings mean new opportunities to grow your business. If part of your strategy is adding new members to your team, LinkedIn Jobs finds the right person quickly to make things better. Your first job postings free. LinkedIn is an active community of professionals with more than seven hundred and twenty two million members worldwide.


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Welcome back. Here's our conversation with Jennifer Alker and Naomi Bogdanos, the co-authors of Humor. Seriously, Why Humor is a Secret Weapon in Business and Life.


OK, so Prof's, what tell us about this book. Why did you write this book? Well, we came to it from very different angles, the two of us. For me, I grew up a total class clown. I joined a large consulting firm and then I was called a sad cat lady who never laughs by a client and had a crisis moment where I realized I was leading this double life. I was having a lot of fun outside of work.


I was doing improv comedy. I had a ton of humor in my life and it was giving me a lot of fulfillment. And then inside work, I was doing really well at my job and basically never laughing and only having joy on weekends. So it led for me to this research journey of, you know, I wanted to believe that I could do both, that we can be good at our jobs and we can also be joyful, that we can be joyful at work.


And through that, it led to three really important realizations. One, humor actually has a transformative impact on our psychology and our behavior. So on our mental health and our creativity, feelings of closeness with others, many, many things. Second, it's a totally under leveraged asset at work. So I am not the only one who's totally leaving my sense of humor at home. And third is that it's a learnable skill and that these minor shifts in behavior and mindset can reap very real benefits.


Now, that was my journey. Jennifer came to it from a very different angle. Yeah.


I mean, it came from a very personal place for me. Scott, you know, Mom, you know, was a volunteer or is a volunteer for hospice for the last 40 years. So, you know, I grew up with my two sisters, Jan and Joe, and, you know, dad having conversations around the dinner table about, you know, people dying and what they wish for and their last days of life because, you know, we're a fun family and that's what fun families do.


That sounds like fun. Yeah. Yeah.


And so one of the things that was most surprising about this is, you know, one thing people mentioned is that they wish they had laughed more and didn't take themselves so seriously. So I could see in this very personal way how having more joy contributes to having a more meaningful life.


And so, OK, so I want to posit something so some things come up immediately.


The first is I don't buy that. Everyone can be funny. I think some people are just terminally unfunny the rest of their lives and shouldn't even try your turn.


OK, so we know that you believe this. In fact, we interviewed you three years ago. You did for the book and for the class because you you you wield humor so strategic.


I wield so much dangerous that I'm the wielder. I'm fucking Game of Thrones wielding anyways.


Go ahead. Go ahead.


I mean, you dive into it. You said like where you funny. You were funny with vodka and in small cocktail parties with rules. You're funny for you. That was like anger, insecurity. You know, how does your funny show up? Was it provocative or profane or, you know, plan versus real time? And yeah, you argue that people have to find their own path around this stuff, and that's true. But we can learn a lot from people who harness that well or just having a good sense of humor.


Right. My mom, like you're talking about your mom, Jennifer, my mom was not funny, but she had a great sense of humor, and that is she appreciated levity.


And I find that the other side of this and of course, as I always do, I'm hijacking your book.


But I find it just as important to an environment of humor and productive levity is people who have a great sense of humor and laugh a lot that enjoy other people's humor.


Yeah, absolutely.


And that's that's totally one of the things that's backwards is you think, OK, well, I have to be funny. And there's two really important things that are wrong about that. First is exactly what you're saying. It's the assumption that you have to be funny to cultivate more joy and humor in your life. And actually it's just about creating these environments where joy comes more easily. So if I walk into a room and I know that something lighthearted I say is going to be met with generous laughter, that I'm more likely to to be lighthearted myself and it's more likely to create an environment where it comes more easily.


And then the second thing is the belief that a sense of humor is something that you either have or you don't. And this is where you may disagree here. But it's this belief that we have is a sense of humor is part of how you perceive the world. And it's also like a muscle. So if you flex it more, it's going to come more naturally to see humor in your life. And of course, in the book, we go into all these techniques from comedians that sort of demystify what are some of the things that are that are pretty easy to apply that comedians are doing really naturally.


And what are some of those things? One would be the idea that humor springs from truth and misdirection. And so often it's really easy to say, oh, my gosh, I have to be funny in this talk. What's the perfect one liner, I should say? But actually, it's more about simply noticing what's true in your life. So one. Thing to do is at the end of every day, jot down five observations from that day, and they can be really simple things like, you know, I walk around the block every day in the afternoon just to break up the day, or my dog is super excited every time I feed him, even though it's the same food every time.


And you'd think that he'd get sick of it. Or, you know, I took a work call in my underwear. Right. Like any sort of observation about your day, then what you do is apply these simple techniques like contrast exaggeration or one of the most accessible is called the rule of three. So in the rule of three, all you do is create a simple list where the last item is a little bit unexpected. So from that list, from those observations I made earlier, I might say I really wish that we were all doing this podcast in person.


You know, in general, I really miss a lot of things about office life. I miss going for spontaneous coffee chats. I miss leaving notes on co-workers desks. I miss wearing pants. So you just have one, too. And then the third one is a little bit is a little bit flipped.


Mm hmm. And Jennifer, have you done any actual research? Is there a correlation between having a good sense of humor and professional success?


Yeah, I mean, there is there is work by Brad Bertalan, his colleagues at Wharton and Harvard, that show that when people use humor at work and it doesn't even have to be good humor, it just has to be not inappropriate humor, which we can talk about with you later on to the bar is so low, though, they are 37 percent more respected and they're also seen as more competent and confident and employees who rate their bonds with having a sense and intelligent.


Yes, exactly. There's strong correlations with intelligence employees who rate their bosses as having a sense of humor. Again, any sense of humor report to be 15 percent more satisfied and engaged in their jobs, and they read their bosses as 27 percent more motivating and admired. And then what's also interesting, because if you don't want to be motivating or admired or have engaged employees, there is still a role of humor in your cold, cold heart, and that is with negotiation.


Studies have shown that adding a simple, mildly funny line to the end of a sales pitch like my final offer is X and I'll throw in my pet frog that increases customers willingness to pay by 18 percent. It's not even funny, it's just lighthearted.


Yeah. So another question I have for you. I have found that the humor killer at work is this out of control, a sense of weakness or what I think is out of control?


And maybe it's because my humor is mostly inappropriate, but I find that people are so sensitive, so ready to be triggered.


Good vertue points from being offended. There's this very dangerous, I find gestalt among younger people that if they're offended, it means are right.


And I buy into this notion that you're supposed to you should at least initially receive any gesture or comment with the intention it was given. And I find that there's an entire generation of young professionals trying to be guardians of gotcha and humor is dangerous. And that if you ever I'll just give an example. I think we're a visual species and objectifying women is wrong in the workplace. It's they've had they've been subject to it to too much. It diminishes their professional standing.


It's wrong. I find when you objectify men, people find it funny and you can do it. So whenever I talk about whenever I'm outrageous, one of my videos, I talk about how hot Jack Dorsey is. I would never reference Sheryl Sandberg's physical attributes.


And then I start thinking, well, maybe, maybe at the end of the day, I just couldn't do any of it because all I'm doing is creating is segregating one's sex from the other for reasons. And I go down this this rabbit hole. But haven't we sort of in some haven't people on the far left just become, what's the term, fucking humorless?


And there's there's so much there to unpack.


I mean, one thing that I want to look at there is humor is so innately human and also innately complex that there are all these these tangential associations that we make about what you believe based on what you make jokes about and baked into humor. Are these really important risks to become more aware of? And once you know, those risks can navigate them more effectively? So we talk about two kinds of risks that are important, especially in the story that you gave.


One is risks by rank and the other is risks by style. So when we talk about rank, we talk about your status either in an organization or your, you know, the status that we attribute to you or your group in a society based on beliefs that we've held for hundreds or thousands of years. And we know that there's this phrase in comedy, never punch down, which means you never want to make fun of someone great.


Make them out. Yeah, right.


And so because of. That and because of these deeply ingrained structures of status that we have around gender, around race, around different groups in society, all of that is interwoven into humor. So I'll give you an example that's tangential to yours, which is that Dick Costolo, the former CEO of Twitter, he used to have April Underwood come on stage with him at all hands meetings. And April was a really senior in product and Twitter, but she would get up there and she would just take care dick down.


I mean, she would make fun of him relentlessly on it, which is totally fine.


It was punching up and it was great, too, because it also shows you can take a joke iPod.


But as long as you're punching a rich white guy who's heterosexual, that's that's kind of open. Exactly. And so great. So that was beautiful. So April goes and becomes head of product Aslak Slack. And she you know, she's now the most senior person in most rooms she's in. And she says to her people who are blower, hey, I want you guys to feel totally comfortable just ripping me down, you know, just make fun of me, tear me down.


And people on her team, the guys on her team were like, absolutely no way. I am not getting up there and making fun of you. And it illuminates this deeply ingrained hierarchy that we have and humor illuminates that in a way that we can't ignore what we're living in a sensitive time at work and as a function of what I would call mostly good things and mostly good awareness.


The issue is on a risk adjusted basis other than dad jokes and being self-deprecating, probably everything else on a risk adjusted basis. Humor isn't worth it.


So it's you know, I find that you're playing with humor. You're playing with fire.


I just can't I don't know, just there's very, very tripwires everywhere. And you don't want people to feel diminished. But at the same time, I think this is a difficult one, guys, because it feels like once you really go through on a risk adjusted basis, don't punch down, don't ever bring up anything around.


Looks, gender, sexual orientation, the way someone dresses, their choice of style, the media they aspire to or consume their national heritage, anything, anything. Even if it's good spirited and you're close friends outside of work, you're pretty much limited to kind of knock knock jokes. Is that in my overstating it?


I think well, a couple of things. One, yes, you're overstating it. No, I mean, I've. I known to do that.


All right. So a couple of things. One one thing that you do really well, Scott, is that you just put it out there like I'm going to say inappropriate things, you know, all of that pretty much all of the time.


And you're you're not you don't say inappropriate things with just one group or one, you know, person. So you're like Dimmock, you know, you democratize inappropriateness. So I think that that actually serves you well because it it offsets risk. People know Scott being Scott, that kind of thing. The the second and maybe more important thing with with you is there's these different people oftentimes think that humor is is one thing, it's the same thing as being funny, but it used to disabuse yourself of that idea that using humor is the same thing as being funny.


So one of the things that we do in our class on day one is we have the students basically get to know their humor style. And you find out that it's not about being funny. It's about, you know, how does your humor show up? So, for example, in the last five years, we've done countless studies that show people tend to Valente's for broad humor styles. The first is the standup. And these are bold, natural entertainers who aren't afraid to cross the line and ruffle a few feathers to get a good laugh.


Love a stage like like performing, right? Yes, that's right. And you do that with vodka, but, you know, maybe not otherwise. So they build intimacy through teasing and you'll often hear stand up, say, if I'm making fun of you, it's fine. I like you. Then there's this sweetheart. They're more subtle and affiliative. And so they use humor to uplift others rather than teasing or poking fun. So they tend to be earnest and honest and understated.


Give me an example that give me an example of the Swedan humor.


OK, hold on one second, let me give you the other two and then we'll come back to examples. All right. So the other one is sniper, that snipers interrupt people. They are edgy, they're sarcastic, they're nuance. They pick their moments carefully and joke more often to make a point than to necessarily lift others up or tear them down. And they don't necessarily see the spotlight, but they, you know, also won't hesitate to cross the line for life.


They're cut out. Yeah. Yes, they're cutting. See, the irony and things and their humor is insightful. So you score very high on sniper and then there's magnet's and they're affiliative and expressive, that big personality who gets everyone laughing and is very generous with their laughter and demonstrates joy. So this might be like your mom. Mm hmm. And so the thing that's interesting about this is that each of these styles have these own risks. So, for example, to stand up in the sniper, they're very likely to potentially offend or alienate.


So I think what your experience in the classroom is also, you know, this idea that you're using sniper humor a fair amount of time and there is a greater risk of offending or alienating and sweethearts and sweet, sweet hearts and magnets, they are at the greatest risk of taking away their own power through self deprecation. And so if you look at the gender differences through this lens of humor, male and female leaders typically self categorize as stand ups or snipers at work.


Female leaders typically self categorize as sweethearts and magnets. And so that means in general, all men are often more at the risk for offending, whereas women are at a higher risk for oversell, self-deprecating and undermining our own power.


So the idea of just, you know, kind of that day, one of class getting the students to understand their own humor styles and then getting them to categorize their own, you know, teammates and and even the me and I, that goes far to be able to, like, illuminate the risk and the benefits.


I love that. And and just pause there. I would I would argue on a risk adjusted basis, said the school, you want to try and develop. That's easiest to develop the least offensive and has kind of the greatest upside is the magnet. And that is and it goes back to just having a great sense of humor when anyone attempts humor. And one of my companies I laugh at, I mean, because I want them to feel I want them to feel secure and appreciated.


And that humor is welcome here. And regardless of how corny or bad or the joke is, I I purposely want to be it to me. You add joy, like you said, in positivity by by being it feels to me the safest upside is to train yourself to be a better, better magnet. That's. So in general, yes, and I would say it depends on the context, so I'll give you an example where a sniper or stand up might be more powerful.


So I earlier in my career, I was designing and facilitating these workshops for executives, and I was in my late 20s and most of the people in the room were in their 40s and 50s, sort of looking at me saying, OK, why is this young woman standing in the front of the room leading us through this session? In that context, I found sniper and stand up humor to be my most powerful, my most powerful weapon for humor.


If I lean too much into a magnet, if I was to reinforce a gender stereotype in some ways, yes.


But it comes back to that status point where if you are. I could punch up right everywhere I was punching was up and so sniper humor and stand up humor, which are more likely to tease, they're more likely to ruffle feathers, actually gained more power in that context. He showed confidence. It showed boldness. Yeah, I agree with you, and quite frankly, I think it plays to. I mean, it plays to I think that your situation as a as a young, talented, impressive woman, I think there's a lower risk of that than if there was a younger, talented man punching up two female executives.


What do you think? I agree with that.


And again, it comes down to where mixing different forms of status. And of course, when I say status, I mean not just explicit, but also these deeply ingrained social beliefs that we have. So, yeah, I think that I think that is true. And you asked earlier, by the way, what's an example of a sweetheart? So this would be like a Tegana Taro, a bow. And Yang, who's on SNL now magnet's you could think of.


I mean, those are pretty easy to think of, right? Jimmy Fallon, Kate McKinnon, more expressive, effusive standups would be someone like Ilana Glazer, Eddie Murphy. I mean, again, you sort of know what a stand up is when we described it. And then snipers, great snipers are to watch or Michelle Wolf. Oh, my gosh.


My favorite. Literally my hero. Literally my hero. I love her. She's so eager. She's so fearless. I think she's amazing. I think she's just incredible. I'm sorry. Anyways, I totally I totally interrupted. Go ahead.


Well, one thing that I think is important, too, is you start to think about because you were going down the path of like gender and status. I mean, I think that there's other ways to also think about the power of self deprecation as as a more versatile tool than you think, especially right now, because the reality is that the more technology mediated our communication becomes, the harder it is to bring our own humanity and sense of humor to work.


So we subconsciously adapt to this medium and we're constantly communicating through technology. So it's really easy to sound like a robot, but we're seeing many creative ways that leaders are weaving humor into this bizarre news. The Real World. One of them is a CEO named Connor Demon Yamen, who's a cosi of Merit America. And his first all hands Zoome call with his organization was a few months ago during a really challenging time for the world and a particularly divisive time in the US.


And he wanted to acknowledge the hardship of the moment while signaling care and reassurance. And so to acknowledge this truth, you know, you pretended to leave his green on and like while his employees were watching them holding their breath, he actively Googled and it was accidentally, you know, he pretended to turn it off, but he accidentally left it on. He Googled things, inspirational CEOs say in hard times. All right. And everyone lost it. So it was this beautiful moment of levity and signaling vulnerability in a completely unexpected way.


And, you know, you see what he did there, right? It's like these the, you know, the basics of comedy, truth and misdirection. And so and it was intentional and it was free and it served him very well. You know, it was an incredibly thoughtful, you know, timed, thoughtfully timed pressure release and his playful invitation that others could let their guard down. But, you know, if you go back to the bottom line of humor, you know, we're living that time right now, which is, you know, where mental well-being has been on the decline in a very significant way.


People are socially isolated. We're all feeling lonely. And these rates of depression are unparalleled especially.


And these moments talk about the important role that humor plays in a functional family. Yeah, a couple of things. One, I think that there is nothing, maybe potentially nothing more important than maybe making your kid feel like they have a good sense of humor, that they can make others laugh. So being generous with your laughter as a parent is an incredibly powerful tool. But the second thing that I think is interesting about the family dynamic is Naomi has been voted class clown.


I never prioritized humor. I thought humor was inefficient, ineffective and totally useless. And that changed about five or six years ago because I was teaching and Taslim in my daughter's class the second grade at the time. And I asked all of the, you know, 30 kids. I asked, like, who was the funniest person, you know? Twenty nine out of the thirty kids all said their dad. Or rather, it was horrifying. So I went back indignant and we had a family dinner that night and I said, can you believe that?


You know, nearly 100 percent of kids think that their dad is the funniest or the brother and crickets, everyone like that. And then Taya said, yeah, you're the least funny person in our family. And then so then I decided to write a book with the army and like, show them, you know, that I was going to improve my humor hierarchy.


But the point here I'm trying to make is that I think bombs often get a, you know, kind of that suboptimal positioning in the family and the dads get to be the funny person. What do you think?


Well, my experience is that mom and again, we regress to gender stereotypes when mom is the one that is more present in the child's life and so isn't as novel and isn't likely to be seen as fun or silly and so doesn't get the same audience or the same the same opportunity. I've also found that humor. I think about humor a lot. And I've also found and something I've tried to embrace as I've gotten older is the role that humor plays in maintaining a healthy relationship with my spouse.


And I purposefully, purposefully deploy humor when I feel arguments and conflict escalating to a point where they might leave scar scar tissue. And that is I'm funny, my wife thinks I'm funny and when it really gets hot, I move to humor to try and de-escalate. And and I didn't do that in my first marriage, you know, see above first marriage. So it's I find it's an incredibly powerful it's something I've I want to take a pause on that that you said that I think is really powerful and that is laughing your kids jokes and giving.


I think that's a fantastic source of confidence building to to in a very organic, you know, primal way, demonstrate to them that they're they're funny and that their humor has value. I think that's a fantastic way to give confidence.


Any other kind of last thoughts on give us one or two exercises if you think I still am, sort of and you guys probably broke it down in the book better, I still think on a risk adjusted basis you have to be very careful with humor at work and especially young men. I just think it's I think it's fraught with risk, which is too bad. And I, I engage I have a certain liquidity of humor. I sometimes wonder that young men model me and I'm I don't model me.


I'm financially secure. I can afford to get fired. You can't.


And so you have to be you have to be careful, but also the liquidity of being offensive. And that is I'm offensive so much that people come to expect it and they prepare for it. Whereas I think if you're offensive on a regular basis, you're actually more prone to risk that people find it. They're shocked by it. They're shocked by the outlier effect in addition to actually what you said. So laughing I love that. Laughing I love these hacks really overtly trying to give your kids confidence.


Laughing What are what other exercises would you give to us as we get older and we we sense ourselves losing that sense of joy, any hacks or any personal exercises that the two of you do to try and incorporate just and generally more joy into your life. Yeah, I'll start with the first one that relates to what you were saying, Scott, about when something is going really bad, you try and make a joke, right? If if a conversation is getting really argumentative in our class, we tell our students to look for ways to create levity.


REFRAMES So how do you reframe either a story that you tell about yourself or about your life with levity or something that's coming up? Is there a way to infuse relentlessly infused humor into something that is going to be dark?


So quick example here from my childhood. We're talking about, you know, raising kids. One year when I was growing up, my dad was really sick, you know, in in bed, not able to get out of bed, had an IV pole. And so we weren't going to have a Christmas tree that year because we always had the Christmas tree downstairs. We were all fine with that. We had bigger fish to fry. Right. So my sister and I was seven.


She was nine. We walk out on Christmas morning and to find that my parents have decorated my dad's IV pole as a Christmas tree, that there's like lights all over.


There's tinsel, he's wearing the tree skirt.


And we're just we all just are crying, laughing.


And so one is our lives are only our remembered stories. So what stories are we about to create in our lives that are going to be really heavy? And is there a way that we can relentlessly infuse levity into those stories? Jennifer, I'll pass to you for next tip. Yeah, I think that's the other one is something as simple as, again, knowing your humor style and knowing humor style of others around you, when you you know that, you know, someone else might be a sniper or a standup where teasing is, in fact a sign of intimacy.


I like you. Then you can take, you know, different types of risk. But when you're teaching a classroom of two hundred and eighty people, understanding that there is a wide variety of humor styles and then, you know, kind of just actually putting a set of norms on the table. On the first day, for example, I used humor. I use it, you know, strategically, thoughtfully. If I ever offend, I want you to come talk to me.


I want to hear why. That's right. And so just putting norms in place so that you can use humor as you know, as a tool, the way actually I started working with Neomi as she gets lectured in my power of story class. And she was teaching a lot about neurochemistry as well as eigenvalue analysis to illuminate the power of how data and story come together. And the students were almost on the ground laughing for an hour and a half.


It was bizarre. Later, 10 weeks later, I. I asked not only which gas did they, you know, did they like do they felt feel as impactful, but where did they remember the material, the quantitative material, and they only scored at the highest. The reality is, is that when you use humor, people better encode the information that you're in taking. And we see this in late night a lot. You know, people aren't able to absorb what's going on around us with some humor, a little bit more.


But it's it's not a tool that you want to, you know, give up. So when I guess one tip, I would say, besides really understanding your own humor style and potentially others and setting norms in in, you know, the classroom, I think it's also just this idea that if you're trying to accomplish something important in concrete, don't write it off. Instead, just ask yourself, how do you use humor to better accomplish your goals?


So remember the pet frog study? That's 18 percent increase price point. I mean, that's a joke. It's not a good joke, but maybe, you know, maybe we got to go back to, like, really appreciating some dad jokes.


Yeah. And I've always tried. I love that that I think that's a great lesson. That professional when I used to write these really long research reports, I would always incorporate humor because I thought it it creates a level of resonance that they're just more likely to remember what they read before and after that. It just it helps content permeate boundaries. Anyways, Jennifer Crocker and Naomi Bogdanos teach humor serious business at Stanford's Graduate School of Business, and they are the co-authors of Humor.


Seriously, Why Humor is a Secret Weapon in Business and Life. They joined us from California. So, Jennifer and Naomi, thanks for your good work and stay safe. Thanks. Thanks, Scott. We'll be right back. OK, so every morning after I workout, which is in every morning, admittedly, it's maybe four days a week, OK, two days, three days anyway, who's counting?


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Welcome back. It's time for office hours, the part of the show where we answer your questions about the business world, big tech, higher education and whatever else is on your mind, what's on your mind.


If you'd like to submit a question, please email a voice.


According to office hours at Section four, dotcom question number one.


Hi, Scott Gene from New York City. Here I work at the intersection of venture capital and real estate. And as I've discussed many times, I agree there's no doubt that the pandemic has accelerated trends around how and where we work and live. Even though dual income households have been pretty commonplace for decades, covid has reminded us that child care and household responsibilities still really do disproportionately fall on the shoulders of women as seen in the rate we have been leaving the workforce.


It seems like some of the big themes we expect to play out in the 2020 is like the rise of telemedicine. EdTech and the shift from commercial to residential real estate will all have massive implications for the American family unit. My question to you is, where do you see the biggest opportunities for big tech new startups and real estate owners and operators to play a role in the post covid family?


Why is no one talking about this gene from New York City?


That's a really thoughtful question. I've been thinking about this a lot and covid-19, unfortunately, if you think about it as an accelerant, this is one area where it's not accelerating trends, it's reversing good trends in a very bad way. And that is we have literally lost I mean, think about this. The women's labor force participation rate is the lowest it's been since nineteen eighty eight. We've lost thirty two years of progress. And if Phyllis Schlafly or whatever her name was, was here, she would say, oh no, we're going back to the 50s.


Isn't a great it's not there's been a dispersion of headquarters and the results of that is that people now have the flexibility, families have the flexibility to move further out of town, maybe whether it's where it's less expensive. But the problem is when they decide, OK, one person is is not going to work, it's almost always the woman who they decide should not maintain her career. And by the way, one of the one of the things I always found strange, I've always said part of being a man and part of masculinity is taking economic responsibility for your household.


And immediately people get their antennae come up justifiably and say, well, that's somewhat sexist. Women make money, too. I agree.


I think it's a good place to start for everyone to take economic responsibility for the House. And sometimes being a man and taking economic responsibility for your household is recognizing that your partner is just better at this whole money thing, is just better at her profession than you are, and that you need to step up and be more responsible and more supportive of her career.


That's part of what it means to be a man and be economically responsible for your family. Unfortunately, unfortunately, and I don't know if it's genetic, I don't know if it's societal. It's probably both when we disperse schooling to the household because a lot of schools are closed, some for legitimate reasons, some not. What does that mean? It means we've dispersed teaching to moms. And let's be honest, it's the mom. Yeah, there'll be some over publicized stories of the single dad sitting down next to his eight year old and doing math on their iPad.


But generally speaking, I would say 90 plus percent of the time it's the mom who has to sit next to the seven year old and get their little boy or a little girl through science and Spanish and math on their iPad.


It is just ridiculous to think that kids can do this on their own.


So there's been enormous strain on moms. I'm a big fan of this thing called Marshall Plan for Moms. I don't understand why we transfer a trillion dollars from young people to the wealthiest cohort in America in history. Well, there's gold in history. Basically seniors in America, Social Security took senior poverty from thirty eight percent to 11 percent. Great. Give money to those 11 percent. And then let's have Social Security for the people who are the most have the most impact on the future of our society, specifically, specifically moms who for whatever reason, usually end up carrying the bag around, raising the next generation.


And there's some really fucking frightening statistics out there. Lower income kids, because of remote learning, are falling well behind on math and stem, which means we're going to lose a generation of civic leaders or generation of scientists coming up with vaccinations, a generation of military leaders. We're losing an entire generation. I think that is one of the biggest kind of unfolding disasters here. I think we need a Marshall Plan for mothers. I think the dispersion of headquarters has unintended consequences of setting women back.


Thirty two years. If you are young, you want to get to headquarters. As much as there's a temptation to work remotely, if your job can be moved to Denver, it can be moved to Delhi. If you already are killing it and you want to live in Boulder, fine. But if you're young and you need to get to the point where you're. Telling it then get into headquarters, why, why? Because relationships matter, and if there's three people who are qualified to get the promotion of VP, the SVP making that decision will always go with the person they have a relationship with.


And relationships are a function of proximity. So while before you have dogs, before you have kids get into HQ, the dispersion of school, the dispersion of work is taking a huge toll on moms. We need a Marshall Plan to take lower and middle income moms and just quite frankly, give them money. And you know what's wonderful about giving lower and middle income mothers money?


They spend it. Not really your question.


What is the real estate or what is the opportunity in real estate? Simply put, I think there is going to be a reallocation of 20 to 30 percent of the capital in commercial real estate, a 12 trillion dollar asset class. And I think it's going to be reallocated to the home. Again, it goes back to the attention graph. If you're spending, it's not going to be either or. Everyone's saying, are we going to work remotely or go back into the office?


It's going to be both. But people are going to spend substantially less time in HQ because their colleagues and their superiors are comfortable with them working at home on Thursday and Friday. So if there's a net distraction of 20 to 30 percent of the time you spend. In an office in commercial real estate, and that is transferred to residential real estate, then you're going to see 20 to 30 percent of that 12 trillion dollar asset class transfer from commercial real estate.


Three to four trillion dollars is going to be transferred to residential. So how do you kill it in real estate? You get into a home. I don't care if it's Sonus. I don't care if it's Restoration Hardware. I don't care if it's cold storage. So you can have more of your shit left for you, for groceries, whatever it is, whatever it is, ring anything in the home.


And by the way, there just aren't that many great brands in the home. Think about it. Think about it. A three million dollar home they put in the tear sheet. It has a Sub-Zero. That's the best we can do.


A three thousand dollar refrigerator is a point of differentiation now because there's so few great brands and some and some whether it's lumber prices, whether it's housing, whether it's the infrastructure, the ecosystem that serves residential, you are going to see a boom, a boom in the technologies and the supplies and the labor force around residential. Thanks for the question, Jane. Next question.


Hey, Scott, this is Evan from Long Island. I'm a 22 year old college graduate who recently started a career in Big Four Consulting. In my years at college, these firms are thought of as innovators. They hired young professionals from top tier universities to collaborate and leverage years of experience to deliver valuable insights to their clients. After some time, I've learned that this is not the case, with firms still using extremely outdated engagement based economics, investing little money into in-house differentiating technologies and relying on low cost college grad labor.


I see a massive risk in the big boys complacency to adopt digitalization and automation. I would love to hear your thoughts on how these firms can pivot their service offerings towards your famed Rundell business model.


Thanks EV, and you should be in voiceovers. You have a fantastic voice and as you get older your voice will get even deeper and people like Oh my gosh, he's so dreamy.


He's so what's his name. What's his name. Coleson. Andre. Evan Anyway's Evan.


OK, so got to be honest, I hear in your voice a little bit of what most 22 year olds go through and that is it sucks to work and network sucks and that we come out of college with this image of what the corporate world is going to be like. And then we find out that it mostly sucks everywhere. Those first jobs out of college, the secret sauce of corporate America. One of them is that a really talented twenty two year old.


You pay them 60, 80, 100 grand, whatever it is, they work their ass off and they're 80 percent as talented as that VP or paying three hundred grand at thirty five or 40. So your ability to attract the best and brightest is really the key. And Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple have kind of a lock on that, as does McKinsey. I don't know if you for Deloitte, however. However, I would argue that these firms aren't going to be disrupted that quickly because most capital or disruption is a function they want to scale with zeros and ones.


They want to scale with software. And there's still a lot of organic intelligence required around consulting. You need the nuance and the understanding of the industry. It's a relationship driven business. There's a lot of interaction going into a meeting with a group of people and saying, all right, this is our data, these are our findings, our intelligence. We layer on top of the data and then having a back and forth. Everyone says, well, the world's moving to data.


Data is the new oil. OK, maybe, but we're knee deep in data or knee deep in oil. The key is petroleum and that is refining data into insights. I know a decent amount about this.


My first term profit brand strategy was a brand strategy firm. My last firm, L2, was essentially a strategy firm with a service model. Now, now let's talk about the pivot, the pivot and how these firms double or triple their stakeholder value. They need to move to a recurring revenue model, and that is they need to be more data driven, constantly collecting data around the key metrics, whether it's the number of people that get in the funnel and come out the funnel and the engagement on your Instagram page, how many people abandon a card on your mobile device, whatever it might be, or your brand affinity, your apps, but tracking data across the sector and every player in the sector and then sitting down with the individuals on a regular basis and providing a layer of insight that reflects the nuance and domain expertise of that specific industry.


They will move, I think, or the opportunity is to move to a recurring revenue relationship, because typically what happens in consulting is I get paid a half a million dollars to do Williams-Sonoma as Internet strategy or Outis or Levi Strauss and Co., which were all engagements I sold in my thirties when I of Shaved Head and a good wrap and people said, OK, have that young, strange, angry bald man figure out our Internet strategy. And I charge him a half a million bucks.


And then about ten weeks into a twelve week engagement, I'd have to invent new problems that only me and my colleagues were uniquely suited to solve.


So we were spending thirty or forty percent of our calories on selling and reselling and upselling, as opposed to focusing on the data and the product and the insights and the delta. We went to a recurring revenue relationship. We said, OK, you're a small company, you're David Yurman or your Rolex. We're going to charge you a hundred grand a year. We're going to collect our data on a regular basis. We're going to. You with you and give you our insights and our viewpoint, and if you're Nike and you're doing 20 billion a year, we're going to charge you a million dollars a year.


And again, we're going to meet with you more often, meet with you across region, collect different data sets, provide more thoughtful engrain analysis, show up and talk about your mobile show up and talk about your digital marketing, your distribution supply chain. And they just loved it. And it was a fantastic business. And I sold that business for eight times revenue instead of eight to 15 times EBITA, which is where services firms trade right now. So whether you're an ad agency, whether you're a consulting firm, absolutely.


You want to be the guy or the gal in the room thinking about recurring revenue businesses. And by the way, they don't just need to flip on a switch as long as it's the fastest growing part of their business or that business is growing faster than the core business. Slowly but surely, Accenture's multiple will go up now. Now, back to you. You are probably going through the same realization a lot of people do at the age of twenty two, and that is work is hard and it's especially hard and especially sucks for people right out of college.


But I would argue it's a fantastic way to get some learning, a fantastic way to get some skills, a fantastic way to investigate other industries. And I'm actually more bullish than you are on those services firms. I think they're going to figure it out, but I think it's going to become more about constant data collection and recurring revenue. Multiple. Evan, hang in there, my brother. Hang in there. That's a question.


Hey, Scott. Matthew here reaching you from these friends. I'm a sophomore undergrad student, explained future professional opportunities. You don't want to get your thoughts on the meaning that one can find in their work. I think too often people seek wealth in making money as opposed to actually considering future careers. And I want to get your thoughts on what careers or roles do you think offer the most meaningful experiences? What can I engage myself in that will have the most positive effect on the most amount of people possible?


Is it reaching a high level of power in business? Is it working for nonprofit and international organizations government? Thanks for keeping us all up to date and entertained during this pandemic. Keep up the great work.


Matthew from New York, thanks for the kind words and thanks for the thoughtful questions. So these are deeply personal decisions. So Scott Harrison is just wired differently than me right out of college. And by the way, Scott Harrison is the founder of Charity Water, right out of college. He got a reward from New York nightlife and used his incredible interpersonal skills to basically sell tables and promote promote nightclubs and create a scene in an environment that people were willing to pay a lot of money for.


And they get in between that and take a small commission and then and then had an awakening and returned to his Christian roots and decided he wanted to help other people the rest of his life and to, if you will, nod to Jesus Christ when he said love the poor and now has brought safe drinking water to, I think, twenty or thirty million people in sub-Saharan Africa, neither of those is for me.


Neither of those is for me. I was always very focused on economic security. I grew up with no money at a very early age. I recognized that there was like this high blood pressure, high cholesterol, anxiety in my house was just always there waiting for an opportunistic infection. Whenever something hit the household, whether it was a big car breakdown, I remember my eye, my cat getting really sick. And it was in addition to the stress of our cat dying, we couldn't afford the fucking vet bills.


So there was this constant layer of stress.


And I decided at an early age and people don't like to speak this way, that money was important to me or financial security. The means are the road to financial security. If that's what you're pursuing, I don't think is about following your passion. I think it's about finding something you're good at and then investing the requisite perseverance, practice 10000 hours bullshit, breaking through hard things so you can become great at it and then being great at something I think is its own reward.


And you said the question, the question you asked, what can I engage myself in that will have the most positive effect on the most amount of people possible? I think it's finding something you're great at. If you're great at something, you're going to have a lot of impact. Now, you might be great and you might get enormous reward out of not pursuing what I'd call economic or just being kind of an economic animal. That's fine. In America, unfortunately, capitalism and money creates opportunities, the opportunity to say no to bullshit.


You don't want to do the opportunity to have better health care, unfortunately, have a broader selection set of mates, unfortunately, and having resources in a capitalist economy, there's just no getting around it. It's important. It's probably too important, long winded way of saying how do you have an impact? How do you have an impact?


First, you've got to say, you know, what do I want to do with my life? Am I focused on a capitalist route, which most people are? Where am I focus on more of a non-profit route or truly pursuing something that's that's that's more noble, whether it's being a high school math teacher, more power to you recognize you're going to have to adjust your lifestyle. There's a dignity in that. There's something wrong with that. The majority of.


People I hang out with want to go the capitalist route, and that is they want to have economic security for them and their families and ideally take some of that money and have an impact with that money, with that influence, with that excellence. So in some, I would say the key the key is finding something you're good at working your ass off, disavowing the notion that there's balance as a young man or women. I don't think there is.


If you really want to be great at something, I think you got to pretty much devote 20 years to being great at it, invest in relationships people want. There's this cartoon that really successful people are Monty Burns and are assholes. That's not my experience whatsoever. The most successful people I know emotionally, psychologically, economically are really good people. Because guess what?


People want good people to win, they want to do business with them, they want to strike better deals with them, they want them to win. So making small investments in relationships, helping other people out, when your buddy when somebody, you know, gets fired, that's when you step in and get generous people who are killing it don't need your friendship. They don't need your help anyway. Find something you're great at. And then finally, finally, every day, every day, be stoic, spend less than you make, put a little bit of money away every day, every day, put a little bit of money there or every week, and then also create a bank of relationships, a small gestures every day.


I've been thinking a lot about this GameStop dilemma.


And here's here's the good news. I know how you can get rich.


I guarantee I can get you rich. That's the good news, the bad news. How do you get rich? Slowly. It's about hard work. It's about discipline, both in terms of your job and also investing. Thanks for the question, Matthew. Best of luck to you.


Keep sending in your questions again. If you'd like to submit one, please email a voice recording to officers at Section four dot com. Jazeera of happiness. So Jennifer A. Professor A. Spok, I know Jennifer because her father was my brand strategy professor, my second year of business school, my second year of business school. I didn't know what I wanted to do. I just knew what I didn't want to do. I didn't want to go back into investment banking.


And I took this course brand strategy with Professor Rocker and he talked about the importance of yellow and these big excavators being left behind in Europe. And people began to associate Caterpillar and their yellow with construction or reconstruction and rebuilding and hope or the notion that the Jaguar symbol meant elegance and excitement. I just I just thought this is just a fantastic thing. The notion of managing a brand is NASA.


And I wanted that moment. I was so blessed with a moment where I thought this is what I want to do with my life. And I started proper brand strategy, my second year of business school. And ultimately, David joined us as vice chairman, a moment where you not only have an inspiration like that, but a moment where you can identify someone you look up to is an incredible asset. And this is my idea of happiness today. Everybody needs a kitchen cabinet, and that is you have to have people on your shoulder who you know well enough that they can whisper in your ear even when they aren't around.


And it doesn't necessarily have to be a parent. It doesn't necessarily even need to be someone, you know, it can be someone you admire. And you have to commit you have to commit to knowing them really, really well. And that's either getting to know them personally or reading everything that's ever been written about them such that you can channel Muhammad Ali, you can channel Madeleine Albright, you can channel Angela Merkel, you can channel Mother Teresa, whatever it might be, you can channel Jesus.


You need people on your shoulder and for different parts of your life. Whenever I think about how I comport myself professionally or how I equate myself professionally, I think of Warren Hellman, this very thoughtful man, very direct, very smart, by the way, the probably the most famous private equity guy ever. But I remember he said to me, we don't see anybody so largest private equity firm in California. We don't see anybody. If we feel like we've been wrong, we just don't work with them again.


And in thirty years in business, I have never sued anybody, nor have I ever been sued. Now, that sounds like I'm inviting someone to take legal action against me and probably will, but I'm proud of that.


I would rather just not engage in that. If people aren't good to me, I don't work with them again. I try to always be generous with people and as a result, I think I've managed to avoid most most legal kerfuffles. In addition, David always had a generosity about him, one he knew more about one thing than anyone else in the world. And I thought I would love to be that guy. I would love to know more about one thing, no matter how narrow than anyone else in the world.


And he was always very generous in meetings, acknowledging points. He was just a total gentleman. I also look up to him because he's been married for fifty years and has I think it's four daughters that love him immensely and play sports every day. I just like his masculinity. I like how aggressive he is around sports. And then he gets off the field and he's just goes kind of like gentle soul.


Who is better?


Who is better at this one thing than anyone who ever walked the planet? That one thing being brand strategy. My Dean, my former dean, Peter Henry at the business school is someone I've tried to get to know and I try to mirror or role model specifically around. I get angry at my colleagues when I think they're being a jerk. So I think they've wronged me. I hold grudges and it's something I hate about myself. And what I learned from Peter is that he always wanted the other person to win.


And as I've gotten older, I try to think about, especially because I have a lot of young people working with me instead of thinking what's good for the business or what would make me rich or like what's a win for them? How do I leverage my talents and my blessings such that it's a win for them?


When it comes to my friends, my mom is my role model. My mom is on my shoulder.


Even though she passed away fifteen years ago, she was super generous with her friends, super kind and had boundaries like a mother fucker.


And I've done that with my friendships. I'm a I like to think of myself as a generous person. I don't keep score. I try to be a thoughtful, loving, generous friend and on a regular basis I cut someone out of my life. I don't believe in having friends just because you went to college with them. That's one reason. But if you're not enjoying them and they're not enjoying you, I don't think there's a reason to stay friends with them.


When someone is constantly taking or is rude or makes passive aggressive comments all the time, you're generous with them. What's going on? How can I help? And then after a certain amount of time, if that shit keeps on, you cut them out of your life. I like bringing in new friends to my life, which means on a regular basis I have to shed friends. I don't do it errantly. I don't do it happenstance, but I am generous and then I have boundaries.


And I learned all of that from my mom. You need a group of people on your shoulder. You need a kitchen cabinet.


Life is hard. You will come a. Every day, a shit ton of decisions that you don't know exactly how to respond. Case in point, I have someone working with me and to be blunt, this person is not doing their job. And I was speaking to a colleague about the situation. And the colleague asked me, I wonder if this person is going through something. And I like that this person immediately went to maybe, you know, maybe it's not about the job, maybe it's not about you, maybe it's not about the work relationship, maybe it's not about the employer employee relationship.


Maybe this person is going through something and that's where you should start. And this individual is this very gracious guy I've known for a long time. And I thought, OK, I need to be more graceful. I need to demonstrate more grace. I need to model this person more often when I feel I'm not on the right side of a trade with one with someone I work with.


You want a group of good people on your shoulder, the you know so well, so well, you can turn to them and they can whisper in your ear, here's how I would handle this.


Our producers are Caroline Chagrinned and Drew Burrow's, if you like what you heard, please follow, download and subscribe. Thank you for listening. We'll catch you next week with another episode of the property show from Section four and the Westwood One podcast network.


By the way, what is she doing? What is what has happened to Michelle? Wolf, I'm like one of the seven people to watch her Netflix series and thought it was genius. Does anyone has anyone heard from Michelle?