being open to wearing many hats. I mean, being creative, I mean, not thinking of it. It's a very different mindset. I mean, working for a larger company. I mean, even coming from GM, I mean, I talked about it. I mean, it honestly moved to sloper. It just, I mean, I loved it, I mean, what we're doing, but it probably would have taken five years to do what we're going to accomplish in one year. And I think you have to be ready for that coming to a startup is even if you've come from a big company, like a failing company, or even even smaller companies, just be open to change. I mean, chaos happens. It's normal. But be pragmatic, too. I mean, it's, you don't want to have to, I mean, feel so much pain, it means it's not intentional pain of being in a start up, but I think you also have to be comfortable with, I mean, things do change week by week, and you and you have to have to kind of overcome that. And that concern.
Everyone, this is Devin Miller here with another episode of The inventive journey. I'm your host, Devin Miller, the serial entrepreneur, this girl in several startups and seven and eight figure businesses, as well as founder and CEO of Miller IP law. We help startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks. If you ever need help with yours, just go to strategy meeting calm and we are always here to help. Now today we have a another great guest on the podcast. Kirk Markel, and Kurt grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania did college there and then wanted to be a chef. But switched to being computer science, which we'll get into a little bit of how you go from one extreme to the other, worked in for a few company or companies in the DC area, went to grad school in British Columbia, went to work with Microsoft for a period of time, then wanted to be a bit closer to, to the customers who did a start up in around 2001 ups and downs with that, and then when did another company with in 2008, they kind of restarted the original company. So that one off bootstrapped, bootstrapped a different company, worked for some buyers for a few years, and then went back did a few other things before starting his more recent company that he's doing now. And that's a condensing of a lot longer journey. And so with that, welcome on the podcast, Kirk.
Yeah, thank you so much appreciate being here. And yeah, it's definitely been some ups and downs. So happy to happy to talk about it today.
Absolutely. So I would did kind of a quick walkthrough of your journey. But take us back a little bit in time to growing up in Pennsylvania in the smaller town garden, you're going to college being a chef and then decided you want to be a chef anymore.
Yeah, no. So I grew up in a in a college town, my dad's a college professor, and so kind of always had been in that a little college town in Pennsylvania and Kutztown and grew up through high school and I did my undergrad there. And really, I mean started to mean computers were I mean, I'm old enough where I mean trs 80s, were kind of the thing back when I was in high school and kind of getting going really, really early on. There wasn't even classes for computer science back back when I started it was just kind of played around on the side. And then my dad had an apple two in his office in his that he was using for college and I spent a lot of extra money I'm calling bulletin board services and things like that and got in trouble. And calling like Alaska and things like that. So learn learn the hard way about the internet are kind of the early days of kind of pre internet. And yeah, just decided computer science was was something I really enjoyed. But didn't think it was going to be my career, I thought it was just kind of a hobby, something to play around with. And then really just realized, I mean, this is my passion. I mean, it's a it's something I really enjoyed. And I see the creative side of it. And I think from a from a cooking side, that was always the thing of I mean, I decided, Okay, cooking was going to be the hobby and computer science is going to be the career. And I just
had a curiosity. So because he kind of went into this thinking you're going to be a chef, did you kind of make that balance of Okay, rather than being a chef or doing that as a full time job and doing your thing? What made you decide to flip that or flip that or flip that around?
Yeah, I mean, honestly, my father was, was the one who kind of gave me a kick in the butt about No, do you really need to go to a four year school. And I had already filled out my application for color Institute of America, like we're boarding and went all the guys in, in in New York. And I mean, I was probably like, 14 and I went to I should also say I went to college really early. So I started college at 16 graduated 19 and so actually, it was I was probably like 1415 and was thinking of going to culinary school and he was like nope, you really needed I mean, think about your career and think about doing a four year school and so I kind of ended up flip flopping it I mean, sort of dragged screaming a little bit at first, but uh, it ended up being the right decision. So I think, I mean, there's so much about entrepreneurship and I watched a lot of TV shows about I mean starting starting restaurants and things like that, and I find so many parallels Between starting companies and being kind of solo shops so it's it's I think there's a parallel universe there.
Fair enough. So So now you said, Okay, I'm going to make the switch, I'm going to go from what was going to be a shaft and more now computer science, I'm going to go into that direction. You study that, and you come out with a degree. Where did your journey go from there? Yeah,
so I mean, after college, I knew I wanted to get out of this small town and was, I mean, I had done some internships actually, back in the day, you could get jobs for the government in the summer, and I did some little GS for jobs and lived in DC for some summers and loved it, and then ended up moving down there. It was a great, I mean, BC was a great time, I guess that was in the kind of late 80s, early 90s, and had a blast there. And then started to think about grad school, did a little bit of grad school at GW in near DC and then decided to really do it full time. And so I've worked for I guess, four or five years in there. All kinds of I mean, it's it's interesting looking back I mean, various kind of similar media related companies, and ended up going to grad school for computer graphics. And UBC in Vancouver had a great program for that ended up going out west.
So in so he did that now he doesn't do graduate school for a period of time now you coming out of graduate school. So you went to work for Microsoft was that you always wanted to work for Microsoft or a powerhouse. It was the first job you got kind of what you want it to be your kind of how did what led you to go to Microsoft is the way to start your journey out?
Yeah, I mean, it's it's funny I was going for computer graphics kind of ended up in my math and physics skills, probably I knew that I was kind of not going to cut it as a graphics researcher and sort of pivoted into the multimedia area, kind of more in the video space and started to learn about distributed systems and actually ended up seeing a job opportunity at Microsoft, where they were just starting off with the first version of the Microsoft network. I mean, this is really early on pre internet. And it was a perfect fit. I mean, I saw I joined a really incredible team there. That was basically building, you could think of it almost like the first pre web browser. And all of the streaming media controls basically compete with AOL, back in the day, and dropped into an incredible team there. And it was it was a super fun experience. And so I ended up pivoting into Microsoft Research for three and a half years and worked on 3d virtual worlds, which was something that I mean, never thought I get to experience but it just was a I mean, super, super fun experience great people there to
say, so you do that? No, that definitely makes sense. You do that for six years, you know, you've been at Microsoft for quite a period of time, you know, and it's a good company, I'm sure with good benefits, good pay, and everything else. So what made you decide that you wanted to go from Microsoft, which is a juggernaut in the software industry, to being more of a startup or small business or doing your own thing, kind of what was that trigger? What was the motivation there?
Yeah, I mean, if you think back to that time, it was a, it was kind of a crazy time I left basically right when the 2000 crash was happening. And I mean, the stock market was crashing, and Microsoft, the DOJ trial was happening. And so it was kind of I was at a point where I mean, I think Microsoft was having some struggles, I was kind of trying to find my place there. What do I do next there. And also just really started to see the, I mean, the internet wave really happening and just wanted to be part of it. And so I left it actually started, um, worked for a little company for just about six months, and doing some video transcoding work as a director of engineering. But I met a guy there that ended up being my co founder, and we really, the company we work for got merged with somebody else. And so it was either go with them, or go off on our own. And so you decided to take the leap, and basically had to it was just he and I, he was the kind of hustler I was the hacker, and we went for it. So it's pretty, I mean, classic, classic kind of dive in deep sort of
manage you guys, when you guys decided, Okay, we're gonna take the leap, we're gonna, you know, got the founder, co founder, and you got the right side type of skill sets. Did you have a business in mind? Did you already have an idea of what you're going to go after? Or was it just Hey, we think we can do something cool. We'll figure that out later on, or kind of how did you arrive? And now that that other business has been acquired once you get together?
I mean, we pretty much do what we're doing day one. I mean, it was it was basically about automating video transcoding. And if you think back is a while ago, 20 years ago, it's, I mean, YouTube didn't exist yet. I mean, they're really a lot of this stuff that we're so used to today didn't exist. And the idea of automating how to get video onto the web. There weren't a lot of companies doing. And so I had an idea from my experience that I could do it better, and build a media management system that could I mean, be something useful. And we pretty much went heads down for a while and started building something realized. I mean, we we kind of need to double down and build more IP ourselves. Which I mean, back in the day was I mean, something. I mean, as you know, it's key to figure out okay, what's your value in the IP range, and we did start grinding and we bootstrapped the whole thing. We never took any funding in and started to get a bit of momentum. And this is maybe we could talk about the ups and downs in the early days, but it's, it's uh, yeah, when you're bootstrapping I mean, it's every dollar is a good dollar. And so we learned a lot.
I think ever good dollars a good dollar, no matter where you're at? I don't take any dollar again, always. Yeah, no, I definitely think that makes sense. So so you guys did that. He said, Okay. You know, we're going to, we've got our founder, co founder, we've got an idea, we're going to go for it, you build a company. And then I think that there was, you know, as you mentioned, the ups and downs. And one of you I think, when we chatted before and correct me if I'm wrong, is it you know, kind of around 2008 he wants to kind of, uh, restarted the company, or relaunch or that was kind of how did that come about? and what wasn't necessary, necessitated that?
Yeah, I mean, we've been going for a while. And I mean, we've been making, I mean, I guess, seven figure revenue, though some bigger revenue and be able to survive, we were, I mean, had a small team. And I think we hit a point where, I mean, it was the classic kind of co founder divorce scenario where it just, it wasn't working anymore. And so we, I mean, it was a really rough period of time, where we had to decide, okay, do I just go get another job? Or do we figure out a fresh start for the business, and ended up kind of figuring out a way to move on and basically restart a company was able to bring over the IP from the other company, do I mean, a lot of legal fees, and all that kind of stuff. But it's a, it ended up being a I mean, a positive? And so brought over a, my VP of sales as one of our new co founders. And, yeah, it took another four years, but we want to, I mean, really, I mean, blossom and make something out of it and sell it?
No, and I think that definitely makes makes sense. And, you know, you kind of hit that Crossroads where we can shut it down and go do something else, or we've got to do a change, because something has to change, and kind of hit that restart button on the business. You know, it sounds like it was a good path forward. Now you guys hit the restart button. And I think for another four or five years, you continued on and before you sold the company offset, right?
Yeah. So we I mean, we started to get a good number of newly named brand customers, we had all the major broadcasters, I mean, we had ESPN, we had nbcu. So we're doing I mean, it really, I mean, if you look at it that way, we were doing the job for a really tiny company. There were some really big competitors out there. And that was what we hit is there was a couple sort of whales of custom of competitors that had a lot of funding. And we just couldn't compete. And so we ended up either I mean, do we take in funding? Do we kind of sell to somebody and try and figure out what the next step is, because we kind of hit a limit of what we could do and in a small bootstrap company, and so we ended up selling really, especially get international distribution and sales was key. And then yeah, I mean, it was I kind of kept the same role kind of Chief software architect role and kept grinding away for a number of years. But it was, I mean, I can't say it was a I mean, it wasn't really the outcome I expected it probably wasn't as lucrative but I mean, it's an exit. You'll take me out, I'll take it. And, and yeah, I worked for them for I guess about I mean, three years after the after the sale.
So now he worked for them for three years. Oh, I guess first of all, you know, you sell and say, okay, we've kind of hit our limit where we want to take this what we're able to do with that will sell it will stay on for a period of time, you always hope that that will be lucrative and make worthwhile, sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't. But then you hit the end of that three years, then where did you go from there? What What did you first of all, let me decide to end the air ended with you know, the fire or not continue to work there. And that can be everything from Hey, at the end of the golden handcuffs, I wanted to go do my own thing to the business wasn't going where I wanted to or wasn't as fun or any never things, or they didn't want me anymore. So kind of what made you decide to go from the working for the buyer to your next thing?
I mean, it's a little bit of both. I mean, there wasn't an out period. But then also, I really, I mean, the cloud was happening. I mean, as as much as I started the business, kind of when the internet was starting, this was really the transition to the cloud. And one of the reasons that I sold was I wanted to double down and essentially build a cloud video transcoding service. I mean, so what you see now with, I mean, encoding comm or bitmovin, or even what elemental has with their sale to interview us. I mean, it's that was where I wanted to take the business. And it didn't end up going that way while I was still employed there. So I spent about I mean a year, just self funding a new startup, building out a lot of cloud technologies just starting to get my hands around. I mean, what are the benefits of cloud technologies. And so that was the biggest thing. I mean, I had an ability I still contracted for them for a little bit. So I kind of was able to kind of keep fix bugs and keep things going on the code base I'd written but but yeah, it was I saw the cloud as the next big thing. And that was what I wanted to double double down on.
Now you saw the closet next week. See now if I remember and you can correct me if I'm wrong. For the next four or five years after you left. The other company didn't go dry. To your own new startup, but you worked for other people or other companies for a period of time, is that right?
Well, I'm actually Um, so for one year, I was full time self funded. So yeah, so I started a little LLC, hired some contractors, and basically did that for a year. It wasn't, I mean, built a lot of really interesting stuff. But the projects I was going to use it for, basically, it was taking on prem software into the cloud. So kind of wrapping on premise, just normal packaged software and making it into a SaaS service, which, ironically, just Amazon just announced a product in this space like a couple weeks ago. But it's, it's something that I mean, packaging up, that is still a value. And it was just a lot to bite off for basically one person without a business partner. And so I ended up just taking a job at General Motors, and I saw an interesting, I knew I had to get a job at some point, and they needed somebody with video experience. And it was a really interesting way to move to Austin, get some experience with that, I mean, a totally different type of business. I mean, quote, big data was the thing back then of, I mean, how, just how data was moving around in industries, and I just wanted to learn and so I kind of look at it as a sort of gap here have I had a lot I, there's stuff I wanted to learn and expand my knowledge. And, and honestly, that experience really was what ended up resulting in this company that I have today.
So now he did that for, you know, kind of your gap year and then after the gap year, kind of where did you go from there?
So I got recruited up to stats in Chicago, a sports data analytics company, and then basically, they had some transition. So I ended up going back to San Diego work work for a company in San Diego. Honestly, the last several companies have been just people that I've known through the years, saying, Hey, we need a senior engineering exact, I mean, we have a new company, or we have a role, can you come help us kind of goes here in one in in this new role. And so that's what I've kind of done, the last several jobs ended up in working for a company up in the Bay Area. Most recently, they were a VC backed company in the drone, image, space image analytic space. And we, I mean, basically incubated a brand new product there, it's really exciting. They, I mean, then COVID hit, I mean, so we had to go to some different directions with that product, but ended up kind of working out a deal where we can kind of keep the customer list that we kind of developed there, but kind of go off my own way, and build a brand new company, which is somewhat related to sort of tangential to what we're doing there.
And that's just gonna say, so he did that for a period of time kind of worked with the other businesses, you know, do some consulting or work for them. And then COVID hit now is that when unstuck the error kind of word is unstuck, which is what you guys are doing now? Or unstruck? Sorry, let's start. Yeah, advice,
I think, is it stuck? But I'm struggling? Where did Where did that fit in everything?
Yeah. So I mean, it's honestly, I'd written a business plan for almost the same business when I left GM, and I was thinking of starting it then didn't have access to the investment community is much not kind of being close to the Bay Area. And it's funny, I mean, I had the opportunity to kind of learn what the sort of sort of the needs and the wants are the industry, the last couple of companies, and just really from better networking, I mean, that met the right people to do a seed round. And everything kind of fit together and started, I guess, q4 last year, put together a seed round and basically spun out and did this we started, I guess, February of this year officially and closed our seed round in March.
Okay, so now you've started that you got your seed round now, you know, that kind of brings us a bit up to where you're at today. Now if you kind of take the business where it's headed, what's it what you're kind of projecting out? Where do you see things had an extra kind of what's the what's the next step for you guys in the next you know, six to 12 months.
And we're, we're grinding right now. So we're aiming at, basically, we're deep into product development. We're planning to go into like a private preview, basically in the July timeframe at this point, and then we have a number of kind of warm business partners and customers that we're looking to roll this out with. It's I mean, everybody from ports to chemical companies to pulp and paper companies folks like that. So clearly my industrial companies that use media in different ways I mean, everything from images to videos 3d. And but yeah, it's a team of six full timers. So um, we've all worked together before. Basically some I mean, engineers, sales folks, designers, that yeah, I mean, we're super heads down right now and the products looking great. I mean, we've only been basically at it for two months full time. But the thing is, the back end of the product is what I've been working on for the last five years. So I had actually taken everything but in that startup that I started five years ago, I had a lot of nights and weekends and built out a lot of IP and so that's how See what we injected into this new company? So the backend was mostly like 80%. done already. So we're really focused just on building the front end and building gaps right now.
No, I think that sounds like he'll be an exciting, exciting time and always kind of fun to see how things turn out as you guys continue to build and grow, especially as you've brought on some funding you've seen, you know, have the bit of wherewithal to have a bit of room to breathe, or at least focus on the focus on the business side for a period of time. And it seems like funding is always one of those where you're never quite done with it. Yeah. Now as you as you do that, that kind of brings us up to a bit where you're at today and where you're heading go. With that we'll transition over to the last two questions I was asked at the end of each podcast. And as a reminder for those of our listeners who also do the bonus question after the normal episode, so if you want to hear us chat a little bit about intellectual property, definitely make sure to stay tuned. But otherwise, we'll jump to the first question normally, or our last at the end of each podcast, which is, if you're along your journey, what was the worst business decision you ever made? And what did you learn from it?
Yeah, I think I mean, one that I always think back to is as a small company, we were doing a deal with a very, two very large companies. One, kind of in the media space, one more of a technology company, and we strung ourselves out too far without money coming in the door. And so it was I mean, it was one of those kind of like hope is not a strategy which is kind of one of my main mantras where we hoped for too long and it they ended up killing the project that we had done probably between three and six months of work with them on our dime with no money coming in because there was this big sort of I mean pot of gold at the end of the thing that we're hoping for. And I think it's just a lesson that I've thought about many times since then where you got to get some consulting money you got to get something on the way because these big companies have the money to spend and when you're small i think it's it's too easy to kind of just assume everybody's going to be nice to you and do the right thing. So I think that's that's one of the biggest things that I think about when when ever faced with a similar situation in the future
no and I think that there's there's a fair point to that in the sense that you know, sometimes you're like oh they'll pay me they're good for it I just want to get the work and I want to impress them and do a good job and everything else and that you know that in any case you go you it's kind of death by 1000 cuts you continue to move along more than you feel that you otherwise feel comfortable with but because you kind of be oh I can wait a little bit longer oh they're good for it all just do a little more work and then you look back and you're like well you're gonna pay me and then it's you know when there's whether or not they pay you and whether or not you can sustain and whether or not what happens if they're not happy or any number of things and so I think there's always that kind of get that initial whether it's the color down payment or initial retainer or initial or whatever, to make sure that they're committed and they're there's actually the funding there and then they're going to pay you so I think that's definitely an easy mistake to often make as a startup but also a good one to learn. Jump into the second question, which is if you're now talking to somebody that's just getting to a startup or small business would be the one piece of advice you'd give
him I think it's I mean, being open to wearing many hats I mean being creative I mean not thinking of it it's a very different mindset. I mean working for a larger company I mean even coming from GM I mean I talked about it, I mean it honestly moved to sloper it just I mean I loved it, I mean what we're doing but it probably would have taken five years to do what we're going to accomplish in one year. And I think you have to be ready for that coming to a startup is even if you've come from a big company like a Fang company or even even smaller companies just be open to change I mean chaos happens it's normal but be pragmatic to I mean it's you don't want to have to I mean feel so much pain I mean it's not intentional pain of being in a start up but I think you also have to be comfortable with I mean things do change week by week and you and you have to have to kind of overcome that that concerned
no i think that definitely makes sense so and I think that's a great piece of advice as well so awesome well is is a reminder for people we'll talk about intellectual property in a minute but otherwise if people want to reach out to you they want to be a customer they want to be a client they want to be an employee they want to be an investor they want to be your next best friend any or all the above what's the best way to reach out to you connect up to you and find out more?
Yeah, I mean LinkedIn is usually did a lot but also on Twitter. We have a I mean just my name Kirk Marco on Twitter or unstruck at unstruck on Twitter are probably the main place right now where our website just on sort of calm
awesome I definitely encourage people to reach out connect up find out more in the in support a great business so well as we wrap up thank you again for coming on the podcast now for all of you that are listeners if you have your own journey to tell me like to be guests on the podcast, feel free to go to inventive guests comm buy to be on the show. We'd love to have you do more things as a listener one make sure to click subscribe and all in your podcast player so you know all of our awesome episodes come out to leave us a review so other people can find out about all of our Some episodes. Last but not least, if you ever need help with patents, trademarks or anything else in your business, feel free to go to strategy meeting comm grab some time with us to chat. So now as we wrapped up the normal episode where you know, it's always kind of fun, I get to pepper you with questions, you get to talk about your journey. Now we get to switch gears a bit, and as you get a guest asked a question, and I get to be in the hot seat for a minute. So with that, I'll turn it over to you to ask your number one intellectual property question.
Yeah, no, I mean, I think it's, it's interesting, because having been through asking myself this question of I mean, do we do patents? I mean, how important are they in a small company? I think that's my big question. I mean, I've seen both sides of it. And I mean, I know there's value especially with selling your company to have a patent portfolio. But I mean, just think have you have any advice for? when is the right time to to patent your technology? And maybe Are there times when patenting isn't the right thing? Yeah, I
mean, I would look at it. One is, you know, what is the plan for your business? Meaning, hey, is that one where we're not? Where I guess what is? What is the core of your business? is a better way to put it in the sense that, hey, is the technology that we're going to be building and innovating? Is that going to be the core of our business? Or is it going to be the brand, we're gonna build a killer brand, we're gonna have great customer service, great branding, great marketing, great sales. And you know, that's what we're going to pride ourselves on? Or is it something else, you know, something else in the business. And that's kind of where it started. Because if honestly, if the technology isn't going to be the core, if that's really not where you're building, intellectual property, at least on the patent side, now, maybe branding, you're going to go on the trademarks liabilities for patents, probably doesn't make sense, because you're not going to drive that value, you're not going to get that return. Now, let's say you are working on and whether it's software, hardware, you know, or mechanical, or anything in nature, you say, Okay, now what we are, is we're going to innovate, we're going to put stuff new, and it's going to be different, that's good. That's where we're gonna put the folks in the business, then the question becomes, is, you know, one is, first of all, do you have the budget to be able to do it, if you don't have the budget, don't get it, get your company up and going and actually get a product that you can make money off of, because you can have the world's best intellectual property, the company goes under, and you never make sales, it's not going to survive. So I would always make sure that you have that plan within there. And then the question is, is now what is what is the purpose of your intellectual property, and there's usually a couple that you may be looking at one, it is going to be, hey, we want to protect what we have. So if somebody else comes along, they rip it off, they copy us, they otherwise do something that we want to be able to control so that somebody doesn't take all of our hard, hard work, or time, money and effort and just simply ride her coattails to success. And then the second one is also more of an investment side. And it can be an asset as an example. And he kind of mentioned that it's going to be one where in an angel investor, venture capital, or somebody else is going to come along, and they're going to say, what assets? What's your type proprietary value? What do you what do you protect? How do you protect it? And then is it investable? And so that's one where you can say, Hey, you know, are we getting intellectual property to protect yourself down the road? Are we doing it to make ourselves more, you know, or more attractive to investors? Are we you know, another one is, as you may say, okay, right now we're not looking even for investors, but down the road, we're looking for a merger, or we're looking for an acquisition, or looking for a licensing play or anything of that. And again, that's where I would start to parse it out. Because each one of those has a bit of a different strategy. If you're going to do now if you're if you need an investor dollars tomorrow, and all the investors are saying, we're not going to invest into you until you protect what's proprietary about you, you have a much more sense of urgency versus if you're saying hey, down the road, we want to do licensing, we want to set ourselves up for merger and acquisition, then you may hold off for a bit, get the company up and going and then focus on the intellectual property. One other kind of side note the you know, oftentimes that, you know, startups and small businesses don't or aren't aware of, or at least people that haven't gone through the patent process as much as anytime you put anything out in the public, you have what's called a one year disclosure period basically means if you offer for sale, you put down the public but on a website, do a presentation, put it out to people at any way, you basically get a one year time click to time clock ticking, that if you miss that window, if you are after if you're one day after that one year, you just donated whatever you put out in the public, you can no longer get a patent. So you have to kind of balance all of those and then you know, it's always a question is is it worthwhile for the investment and you know, you're asking a bit of a bot is a probably a bias question because you're asking of intellectual property. I get intellectual property, but I think it's is it going to be core to your business? Is it worthwhile is protecting invest? And if so then it's worth giving worth wildly intellectual property? And if not, if you're saying something else is more core to your business, then focus on that and build it around that so there's a lot to unpack unpack there. Those are a few of my thoughts if you have the, the thoughts that you may, or looking or thinking consider if your startup or small business looking to get a patent. So with that, we'll go ahead and wrap up the podcast. Thanks again, Kirk for coming on the podcast. It's been a fun, it's been a pleasure, and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last.