Is AI the Future of Social Media Marketing? A Conversation with Cortex’s CEO, Brennan White


Brennan White

Brennan White is the Founder and CEO of Cortex, a company that has developed artificial intelligence solutions for social media marketing. He is also the Founder and Managing Director of leading social media marketing agency, Pandemic Labs. He has won the “Shorty Awards,” “Webby Awards,” and “INC 5000” for two years in a row. Additionally, Brennan is passionate about sports and is an advisor to SportsMe. He is also an investor in Robin and Tablelist. In his free time, he loves watching rugby matches.


  • Why visual content is important
  • Potential of data-driven marketing
  • Will AI threaten or aid creativity?
  • Humans vs Automation
  • Cortex’s journey
  • What is a Visual Vocabulary?
  • Predicting events with Machine Learning
  • Redbull’s marketing strategy
  • Tesla’s marketing strategy



  • 00:38 : Growing Up in Massachusetts
  • 02:12 : Brennan’s Family
  • 04:10 : Interest in Rugby
  • 09:35 : Passion for Music
  • 12:33 : First Job After College
  • 14:51 : Learning How to Sell
  • 19:20 : Inspiration for Cortex
  • 22:32 : Predicting Performance of Visuals with AI
  • 27:45 : Creativity: Humans v/s. Automation Programs
  • 37:01 : How Cortex Helps to Convert Prospects
  • 45:46 : Companies That are Crushing Content Marketing
  • 54:59 : Using AI to Get Insights Into the Beer Industry
  • 57:39 : DoA: Who Would You Have Dinner With?
  • 01:02:22 : What Would Brennan Do with $10 Million?

AI is opening up possibilities in almost all fields. Content and social media marketing are no different. With machine learning and AI, marketers can make smarter decisions that get more effective results.

Brennan White is the CEO of Cortex, a social media artificial intelligence software solution company. On Shane Barker’s Marketing Madness Podcast, he discussed how AI can be used for social media marketing.

Based on the discussion, here is how you can leverage AI for creating better content:

1. Get Social Insights

Knowing your audience is the key to succeeding at marketing. With AI social listening tools, you can keep a tab on your brand mentions and reputation. It can also help you find emerging trends in your industry.

You can use these insights when you’re looking to create fresh content. Instead of just creating content, the smart way is to create effective content.

So, if your target audience is talking about an upcoming music festival, you can create posts that are somehow related to it. When you give your audience what they are interested in or looking for, you are more likely to get new leads.

You can even decide to launch or withdraw products based on these insights.

Starbucks uses AI to track the consumption habits of customers. Based on what’s popular, they decide which items should stay on their menu.

2. Predictive Analysis

Another key advantage that AI offers is its ability to predict what consumers are likely to buy. From a sales and marketing perspective, that’s a huge plus. Consumer data can help you predict trends. Even before you put your product on the shelf, you can use AI to see its sales forecasts.

While strategizing, you can use this data to your advantage. You can send your customers relevant offers when you’re expecting them to run out of your product. Or you can also make changes to your product based on audience preferences.

For instance, if you find that red colored labels get the attention of your customers more than black ones, you can change your design.

For more insights on how AI can help you take your social and content marketing strategy to the next level, tune in to the podcast. If you have any questions about the discussion, you can share them in the comments section. We’ll get you the right answers!

Full Transcript

Shane: Welcome to the podcast. I’m your host, Shane Barker. Today, my guest, Brennan White, is going to talk to us about visual content and the possibilities it opens up for marketing. He is the founder and CEO of Cortex, a company that has developed artificial intelligence solutions for social media marketing. Listen to him as he tells us how AI has the potential to revolutionize social media and what brands can do with it. Shane: Let’s just jump into this, so where did you grow up at I mean are you currently in the Boston area right now, right? Brennan: Yes sir I grew up in the Boston area as well so I haven't moved too far. The town I grew up in is called Western Massachusetts. It's like 15 miles directly west of Boston. So little sleepy town most people haven't heard of it, but you might have driven through it on your way to Boston. Shane: Gotcha, and so I'm assuming that you're a Bruins fan you're a Red Sox fan, and that you're a patriots or how do we? Brennan: Oh, hell yeah. Shane: Sports fan? Brennan: Yeah, a huge sports fan, I'm a giant part fan but all the other teams as well. And my family's actually from New Orleans so my kind of second tier teams that I look forward like the same thing. So this season actually being a phenomenal season for my family, the past all most undefeated, they are nine and two or ten and two as I got the outcome of the game yesterday, but they're both doing very well. Shane: I'm a 49Niners fan so we're doing well, too, which is a shocker I mean used to be in the 80s and 90s. It was awesome. And then there was like, 15 years where I was like, damn it, you know, this is terrible now like, now we're back. So anyways good things there, that is awesome I know. I've been out to Boston a handful of times and I'll tell you that, I would assume that if I wore a Yankee sack that I'd probably get in a fight with about 800 people or something like I know how passionate they are about sports and stuff like that. So I mean I would never want to test anybody from Boston when it comes to that, but I know how passionate you guys are when it comes to sport. So anyways, just wanted to make sure you're just as passionate. Brennan: Yes, sir definitely  Shane: Awesome, you are 15 miles, whatever from Boston, that's where you grew up. How big was your family in Boston? Brennan: I have one sister she's seven and a half years older than me. She actually went to completely different…she graduated from high school in a different town like, basically, end of my elementary school, she goes off to college, we moved to Western so actually, we went to a different town. It's almost like I was an only child in that town at least, that my Western friends don't really know my sister too. Interestingly enough, but just two parents, one sister very small family. And that even includes my extended family I've got one cousin, couple aunts and uncles not too much in terms of the numbers on the family, but very, very cool family, mostly based in New Orleans, like I mentioned a moment ago. Shane: Got you, so the family reunions are a little smaller Brennan Little small, Yeah, we got one actually coming up right at the end of this year, and they're usually in New Orleans, which is nice. So we get away from a cold. We get somebody delicious food were you know Cajun background so that food is very delicious to us and I am looking for an opportunity you know Boston's not really known for that spicy food so it’s a nice break. Shane: Now maybe the Cajun food like you can't tell me enough about that like any kind of like Creole or anything like that it's like over the top I'm a huge… the food I is just tasty food like I want something when I taste I'm like damn that's awesome I like that so I like my beer my wine like something that really kind of pack some punch to it so that's yeah I could only imagine the food that you guys are having out there for your family reunion, maybe I'll make it out there one day once I become part of the family or something like that you know who knows? Brennan: You are welcome sir let me know when you are in Boston. Shane: That's half the reason why I have this podcast so I get people to commit to things like that and I have a recording of it so when I show up they're gonna be like oh, wow, yeah, man. I guess I did kind of invite you in and like I do have it recorded so let's not make this awkward. Let's go and get those crawfish going you know, like, let's get some beers going and have some fun. So tell us, I mean you've already kind of given us some any interesting fact growing up other than nobody knows that you have a sister. I mean is there anything else that like not really but you know like is there anything else just kind of fun or like oh nobody knows that, any kind of fun facts? Brennan: No no, not really. There's a lot of incongruous background like I was a music major in college a lot of my professional contacts don't know I have that background that's usually surprising, I also played rugby for eight seasons and was captain of a rugby team and played in England and Australia and stuff so there's a few of those but nothing too crazy, nothing like super wild. Shane: That’s awesome the Rugby man, it's so funny. My son played rugby his last year in high school. And then my wife's brother played rugby forever, like literally forever. He was actually a coach at the University of Reno and played men's rugby and all that kind of stuff early on. And actually when I went to school in Chico, California I actually went to a number of schools but Chico where one of the places I ended up opening a bar, but I was actually going to start rugby I really love the idea of rugby, of course, it's a learning curve, right? When you jump on, you're like, okay, what do I do and where do I throw it? What happens, you know, but there were problems in it. I didn't have insurance and so they were like, hey, you don't have insurance dude what happens if you get your head cracked? And I'm like I don't really plan to get my head cracked, and they go, nobody does. And I'm like, Okay, well, maybe I should get insurance. So anyways, I didn't end up playing, I end up playing footy thought this was probably a few years ago. You ever heard a footy? Like Australia? Brennan: Yeah. Shane: Yeah, so that was fun, like I said, I'm very… Brennan: Violent right, I mean... Shane: Yeah, but I had an insurance, I was like, hey, and plus, I'm assuming that I'm probably like, lost knowledge over the years I'm assuming maybe if somebody jugged something, I would remember something cooler. I was kind of thinking that there might be some upside to getting cracked in the head a few times. But I don't know if I can't really tell you that there were any benefits or not, but I do love those physical types of sports. I mean, that is something that I kind of like, I don't know, like I was growing up as always, you know, I ran track and I played soccer and then did some stuff. My family was like, California hippies so they're like oh let's hug it out instead of like smash each other and I'm like I kind of want to smash a little bit and so anyways I didn't get into that stuff till later on in life but huge fan of rugby man, it's just a camaraderie and like the way they treat each other and all that kind of stuff is just an awesome sport. Brennan: It's great it's funny it kind of works like golf. I guess also works I don't play golf but you know it was talking about how people bond over golf and then this like secret business network. In my experience, there's like a secret business rugby network that works really well where you meet someone who played rugby you know they've got a trophy in the corner of their office with a like a ball leaning against the wall or something. And you connect over that you end up being really good relationship because A, you know you've got the connection and B, I think rugby itself actually lends itself to good leadership if you played a leadership role in the team because it's like football and that you've got plays and you got to get 15 guys all kind of doing the same thing. But it's live you know, never stops or almost never stops until you don't get… you know, you don't have the benefit of football where it's kind of from the same exact position, you're gonna have to talk and communicate on the fly. And so I think it actually breeds good leadership and the ability to think on your feet and make stuff happen. So, I think there's a lot of rugby players in positions that, cool roles throughout the business world that we can end up sniffing each other out one way or another. Shane: Yeah Yeah, one of my best teammates over the years was a Jesuit guy in high school and played rugby there and went on to actually be in the Super League, which is kind of at the time was the best league the US has now we've got a major league professional rugby league that just started a couple years ago, but prior to that, he won the Super League, super young guy and was a Jesuit guy, so I'm familiar with that team. Shane: That's awesome, man talk about a close knit community, that is one of the things too on top of the networking so my wife's brother Don, his name's Don Padlock, but he I'm telling you the community he goes into any area and they start talking about rugby and then all of a sudden they're like, whatever you need anything it is a nice little… the community is tight there which is awesome. So, it was nice to see that my son was able to tap into that little bit on this last year and once you've kept those connections, so that's cool, but where did you…? Brennan: You should have him play in a club latter Shane: Yeah, you know the funny part is that I would accept that I hurt my back doing CrossFit which is a whole another conversation. And so I'm trying to be a little… you know you get older dude, I‘m trying to do, I really want to go in there but then my body's like, Yeah, but you might break your neck or something, I'm like, yeah, that's probably true. Shane: So where did you go to college, did you go to college in the Boston area? Brennan: I went to Vassar College, which is about an hour and a half north of New York City. So it's in the Hudson Valley just to the west of Massachusetts, so not too far, like three and a half, four hours from Boston. Shane: Nice, Nice I see and it's closer to New York City. Brennan: Close to New York City, Yeah, you can just hop on the train as a college kid and be in the city and like an hour, hour and a half it's pretty convenient for partying and seeing the museums and going out with friends and all that good stuff. But I actually played a ton of rugby there too. And so I spent almost every weekend on campus, just training and playing games. So you go to the city as much as the average kid there, but, it's a really good school for a lot of things. As I mentioned earlier, music major, they're really great music department out there so Shane: That’s awesome, I was gonna say music? So how was it, what was your plan for music? I mean, obviously, because you're not doing well, you might be doing music, but I mean that's not your professional career. Why music, just curious? Brennan: Well, yeah, people are always kind of thrown off by and in hind set, it seems an odd choice even to me… not being the guy who made the call. But yeah, I mean to me as a growing up in western, as I mentioned, we had one of the best public schools in the state, but it didn't have a music department in terms of, there were no music theory classes, you couldn't really learn about music other than, being in choir or band or something like that. And so, when I got to Vassar, one of my passions was music. But I was full on going to be a biology major, I'd done really well in the AP bio test and all that stuff and kind of just came naturally biology did. But when I got to Vassar, I took some kind of intro music series courses and I just said, Oh, my gosh, there's this whole language behind this thing, that I really like it, you know, this appeals to like, I've got the creative style, and I've got the kind of math and nerdy side and music is kind of like the meeting of those two minds, right? It’s absolutely art, but it's also heavily kind of based in numbers. So to me, it just felt really right. And so I just said, you know what, I'm going to go from zero to 60 and go from literal no experience with this I'm going to make this my major and do that. And the only thought I gave to a career afterwards was that, you know, I really wanted to compose for films. But you know, by the time I was done with Vassar, I was already kind of thinking about starting a business and that kind of stuff and never really looked back. And I've done a few little projects for and I worked at an ad agency and stuff for a while. And so, you know, occasionally there'll be a situation where we needed a 30 seconds of music for the background and some video or something and I got the flex my muscles once or twice, but not very often. Shane: Yeah. Well it's so funny because you need to think about that. Like I originally I wanted my major to be in photography, because I really enjoyed photography. But I never, this was in high school. I went to my counselor, and I was like, Yeah, I really want to do photography. My counselor was like, yeah, that's not gonna work. I was like what do you mean it's not gonna work. Like I was just like, kind of motivate me a little bit. He was like, what are you going to do? Like, you're going to do weddings, you like weddings? And I’m like, I don't know, I'm 14 years old that I don't never been to that many weddings and he is like, well there's just not a lot of money and I appreciate that, right? I mean, you don't want to tell people, I want to be a photographer and they are like yeah, you will make millions, go do it kid then all of a sudden you're like, why am I homeless? You know? So it was like one of those weird things, but now I wish I would have done more photography, not necessarily as my major, probably, but like, I just kind of dropped off as a hobby because I was like, this is photography just sucks. Like, you know, just wouldn't have this meeting with my counselor that I see once a year. And boy, he knocked that whole idea down, the whole photography thing. So yeah, I know. So I'm sure thing with music you like, yeah, I’m doing music you are like, wait a second. So how does this thing work on the end? Like, what do I do other than I think, movies and stuff, obviously that makes sense to do that. And you're able to flex a little bit on some stuff. So I guess it was, you know, it worked out where you're at today. Would you talk a little bit about an ad agency? So what was your first job out of college? Like, where did you go from after you graduated? Brennan: Yeah, so I always wanted to be an entrepreneur because my dad actually started an architecture firm. Just kind of like always kind of preach to me that you don't want to be trading time for dollars and you want to be doing your own thing. And I, you know, was young and impressionable. So I took that to heart but right out of college, I didn't have any money to start a company and of course, no connections or anything like that. So I took on three jobs right out of college and just lived at home and save money, the main job being a, I was a software sales guy for tech company in Boston. And so that was kind of like my first exposure to tech. And it actually was a SAAS company. Until you know, it's really kind of early in the SAAS world. So that was pretty good, gathered some experience selling there actually turns out I was pretty good at it. So I made a decent amount of money but like at nights I would be a bartender on weekends I was selling real estate and I was just trying to save as much money as I could. So I could kind of hang my own shingle and do my own thing once I had the right opportunity. Shane: I love that man. You grind it like I do you like so during the week, I was doing this, at night… because I used to own a bar I owned a bar in Chico I used to own a bar and some obviously real familiar… yeah the bartender side of things was always and then Chico was one of the number one, top 10 party schools in the nation at this time like playboy had mentioned it. So anyways, it was… of course the locals were… Brennan: Oh, it’s not that crazy Shane: Yeah exactly yeah, I don't remember a lot but I think I had a good time from what I remember from the pictures. Thank god there's no social media let's just put that out there. Like that doesn't even look like yeah, okay, that's me, that is my tattoo. Okay, that's me. Yeah, the funny part is like I do real estate now. So we flip properties. I have a real estate company called the RNS REI that we flip property. So that's funny that there's a lot of parallels there of you know, I never worked for a SAAS company. But I did do some sales. There was a company I did some sales for. And I think it's kind of funny. So with your cortex, you that probably was a little bit of a foundation for getting sales go in and kind of understand that whole process, especially in the SAAS business, right. Brennan: Yeah, it's funny because, you know, there was like eight year gap or So between those jobs and cortex where I found that a digital marketing agency and did that which the sales there is actually quite different. But yeah, the sales skills I learned, were probably some of the most valuable skills I have. And then of course, it helps with the first business. But that's a very large sales cycle, high relationship type business, whereas the SAAS business “Cortex”, you can actually, it's very analogous to what we did back then, which is, you know, lots of people coming inbound, trying to get them as much information as possible to make their decision as quickly as possible and as competently as possible. And so, a lot of the stuff we learned, I learned like 12-15 years ago, is now you know, coming to super relevant stuff, you don't really know what the time is gonna end up being really relevant actually ends up being quite relevant. So it's pretty cool how it all works out. Shane: Yeah, it's funny, I love that like when you talk about the foundation, like how people started off because I always think that's so interesting, like I used to do some door to door sales and I also worked for a real estate company. It was actually a buddy of mines. And I would do cold calling, you know, which is terrible. I mean, I was like the worst cold caller because everybody else was doing like 600 calls in a week. And then will go Shane and your numbers, you did 74 calls. Good job, buddy. And I'm like, and I knew the owner and I was like, just not a big fan. But I'm surprised they even kept me as long as they did. But it was just because I didn't like the cold calling. But I learned so much from that. Like, that was the foundation of psychology and how you talk to people. I'm calling people during dinner time, after they got off work, they're trying to spend time with their family, hey, do you want to refinance? And they're like, No, not at all, actually. And I'm like, sounds good. So what's your current interest rate? Like how do you… it's like no, I just told you I don't want to do this. Perfect so you guys had a 4 or 5% I had a 5% but I really need to go eat with my family. Sounds good. So when was the last time you guys refinance because you know what the current… You know, I'm going this big old thing and actually you're turning people around and I'm high fiving people you know. It was interesting to like, just the, how to work that right and how to like what I learned from there, even though it was the worst, I hated it. But I learned so much from that actual time of like that I applied today when it comes to sales and marketing. So it's kind of cool when you know that foundation when stuff you don't even think about later on comes back. You're like, Okay, wow, that was beneficial. Brennan: Yeah, I think yeah, especially on the sales front, of course, I can't speak to other jobs, like right out of college. But I certainly didn't say that, I think every job, every role, almost every role, especially in corporate America, even if you're not, if you don't go with sales in your title, I think sales, especially an entry level sales role is definitely helpful for exactly what you were talking about. Just getting used to talking to tons of people, you know, quickly assessing their personality types and whether they like, you know, direct information or they want to chat about stuff and just kind of understanding how to communicate with various people. Well, I think that that is, you know, only a benefit regardless of where you are, even if you're an idea or something. I think communication skills are huge. And, at the time, I had the same feeling as you, I was like, wow, this really sucks. I don't want to do this for a very long time. In fact, actually the impetus to start my agency, my first company was the guy in the cubicle next to me, I was 23 he was 43 he was divorced and had alimony and everything… Shane: Ahh motivation Brennan: Exactly and I said, you know what, 20 years from now I can be this guy if I don't get it going. And he did well, you know not to knock it but I just knew that I did not like that. And I was like I can't do this for 20 more years or even two more years. I gotta figure this out so you know that was a like, gave me the fire. Shane: Don't be like Bob Yeah, I mean, you are looking at emulate… Brennan: I was actually Bob. Shane: No, shut the front door. Brennan: You nailed it. Shane: Look at that, what are the odds? I'm gonna go play the lottery today. Maybe I'll go to Vegas tonight or something. What are that? I was thinking of Bob. I literally thought Bob I was like, do you want to be like Bob you like his name's Bob. I'm like, okay, just so you guys know out there in the podcast world. We didn't have that plan. That was not something that was planned. I just said Bob. That's what happened speaking of Cortex Brennan: I can confirm I don't think anybody even like my co founders and people I don't think anyone know that guy's name. So there's no way you could have source that that was just pure clairvoyance, right there. Shane: I should go on the road. Maybe I have a talent that could be my hidden talent, but I just like kind of tap into people's cortex. I mean, I really think the brain and I there's something there. Interesting. Maybe this is the reason why my wife can't leave me is because I always know what she's thinking before she does it. Yeah, yeah. Very interesting. I'm gonna have to look into this a little further. But you know, other than the fact that I'm obviously extremely smart. Because there's no way I’m obviously going to tap into people's brains. Tell me a little bit about cortex man. Like, how did you start that company? And what was the premise of that other than you were looking at Bob and thinking, Oh, I just don't want to die in this seat next to Bob. What was your deal? At what point where you like, Okay, hey, like, did you just start Cortex after that, or was there an agency you started or like, kind of what was the journey? Brennan: Yeah, there was a step between it? Yeah exactly, so the Bob story was the impetus to start something. But the first opportunity was actually a digital marketing agency. In fact, it's called Pandemic Labs, it still exists actually crushing it right now. My co-founder is actually one of my best friends from middle school back in westernSo, you know, kind of reconnected with him. And he had some experiences that kind of echoed mine, where we said, hey, you know, we were both the class of 05 in college, which if you do the math, we were the last or the first class that was on Facebook in college, he was at a different school than me, but we both were in that initial 20 schools that could be on Facebook before the general public. So we had this experience using social like users. And then you know, as 23, 24 year olds, you say, hey, you know, businesses are going to want to use this and you know, you see people kind of taking stabs at YouTube or early Facebook before they were brand pages or right when Twitter launched and trying to figure that out and saying, they need a young person who actually uses this stuff to translate for them. And that's actually where the agency came from and the Pandemic Labs was specifically to help people use social, in fact, as far as we can tell, where the first Social Media Marketing Agency in the US, and so we were kind of a little too early, you know, we started in early 2007. And, you know, the market didn't really pick up till 2009, let's say, but, you know, we were doing that. And when the market did turn around, we'd already had some deals with Puma and Dunkin Donuts and stuff and so we were going to be the only game in town, and that led to, big booming business for creating content for ads, and social and all that stuff. And that's where cortex came from. So, if you can imagine we're working with the big Fortune 500 brands kind of globally, and we're seeing the same exact problem at every company, at every level, which is that whether we're talking TV ads or online video or social, or any of that stuff, as long as there are visuals involved, there's an entire guesswork, you know, the entire thing is, is predicated on somebody guessing a piece of content and doing the best effort to create something cool that they hope the audience will like. And then some CMO somewhere, kind of rubber stamping and saying, I don't know what's going to work, but I gotta try something so,  for me, from my perspective as the agency that's kind of, we were on the hook for the success of all this, it is really hard to repeatedly be successful. Although Pandemic was and still is quite successful at that. The kind of impetus came out of trying to solve that underlying problem, with a lot of ad tech out there that does a lot of kinds of specific ends of the funnel things but the thing we were trying to deal with was, how do you predict the performance of these visuals, whether it's an image whether it's a video because if you could do that, then you can invest with confidence across all these different channels. And you know, exactly, should I put half my budget here? Or should I create, you know, if I'm going to go do a photo shoot for this brand, you know, what should be in the photo shoot? How should we make these series of photos look different to hit the audience we want right? Those were the questions we were constantly asking and when we failed, that's effectively how we failed over and over and over again. So when that happens to you the 50th time, you gotta go, Wait a second, it's the same damn problem, can we solve this? And luckily for us, Boston is the next we were basically next door to MIT. There's a lot of smart kinds of technologists around here. So you can very quickly say, hey, does anyone know how to solve this problem? What technology should we be using, that kind of a thing. My business partner and I neither of us were the tech ones. We were both business guys and so we connected with some guys in Boston very quickly that happened to be machine learning guys that said Oh, yeah, this is a perfect machine learning problem we can do this, then we were off to the races and as you said earlier, that's basically like, four and a half years ago. Shane: So it's crazy, it's funny to you, a lot of this stuff that you do is like early? Like, I mean, I'm not gonna say too early, but like, right like, which is crazy. I mean, if you think because there are things I mean, give me an example, I think it was, came to the name of the company, but it like Safeway is pretty much like Safeway when they wanted to deliver groceries. And they were like, the biggest startup that failed, because they got whatever it was $1 billion, whatever the number was, and they wanted to deliver groceries, and it was just too early for the concept. And now Safeway, there are other companies that are doing that now with the share of the economy, and there are all kinds of other stuff. And I'm not saying you guys aren't gonna make it because you guys are doing phenomenally well. But it's just interesting, because you're like, I think we were the first social media agency here and you know, whatever you said, 1942 not really is it 2007 like a long time ago, right? And same thing with Cortex we look at this and we go, okay, like, what you're talking about is saying, hey, let's predict what piece of content is going to be going to produce the right types of outcomes, right, which is kind of,  that's the hardest part of marketing, right? They always say I know, 50% of my marketing is working. I just don't know which 50%, right? I want to be able to take… Brennan: No, I was gonna say that is the quote that everyone quotes and you're exactly right. The conclusion everyone draws from that, I think, has traditionally been the wrong conclusion. And that's basically why we created cortex because the conclusion was, well, we got to track things better, which is certainly true. And we do have to track things better and we're still kind of like embarrassingly bad I think as an industry at tracking lots of parts of marketing at least some of it, of course, is quite good nowadays. But the other thing you could draw right there as you can see, Well if marketing itself is this big question mark in terms of investment because that question is effectively what a CMOs asking themselves every day. I've got this, you know I got 100 million dollars to spend next year, and I really don't have a lot of confidence and where to put it. And then the question we could have asked ourselves after that is, why is that? Which the answer is because all of it currently has this big question mark opinion, bullshit in the middle that is creating the content. And so if we looked at that, a little bit, other people looked at that a little bit differently, they certainly would have come to the same conclusion we did. Which is that, you know, there's this big question mark, in every single process, when it comes to marketing and advertising. If we solved the question mark, all of a sudden we'll know we have a much, much higher level of confidence in what we're doing across any of the channels if we can figure out what the content is going to do in advance. And so is that was that was us kind of just taking a step back and saying, this appears to be the problem we're having, if it's across all these different companies and all these different industries, it can't be just us. So, that was a risk we took, and you're exactly right. We're like, I guess two for two at least. I'm too early. If I ever do this again. I will wait a few years because the early part is tough, but so far, both of them have done fairly well. Shane: The thing is that you're blazing the trail, which is awesome. But it also sucks, because we've also done that I mean, I've had companies in the past that I've owned, are like, this is awesome. Nobody else is doing this. And I'm like, God, this really sucks. Nobody else is doing this right? Because you've got to educate everybody you gotta tell the world, right? So it's like, it's awesome. And then we talked about earlier in the podcast, you said you were at an event, I think you were speaking at an event. And everybody was looking at you like, oh, my God, this is awesome that you speaking in Chinese I just don't know what he's saying right? Like really? Which when you explain what it was, because people are like I don’t get what you are saying but that's just its like, so crazy but when you think about, it's not crazy. Yeah, I guess it is crazy in the sense that we're like, you know, you're saying, hey, I can tell you guys which content is going to bring you the better outcome, right, which is like the Mecca, right? It doesn't get any better than that who doesn't want to know that? I want to know, I'm going to produce 10 pieces of content, which ones are going to have the higher likelihood for being successful because then I don't hopefully, have to do the other two or three or four and at least I know what kind of content is going to resonate the best. And the reason why that's based off of data, right? And that's for the creative side, the visual side of things, whether it be pictures or video. I think it's phenomena. I think it's almost crazy, it almost sounds a little crazy. Brennan: Yeah, and especially because I think a lot of people are high level thinkers, which I think is actually good and I think they think humans are creative, and I haven't seen a computer or software be creative. Therefore, it's up to us to be creative, therefore, there's no way to track it. They're kind of thinking high level abstract, which is useful. And I think in general is a good way to think in this case, though. The way AI is taking over things not only marketing, but everything is that people hear the word AI and the phrase AI they think like or somebody like that or data from Star Trek. That is something that's very human like and has a broad range of capabilities.You know, like a data from Star Trek didn't move around. He can see, he can talk, he can hear, he can also process lots of data. But actually AI in the real world, the way it's taking over our lives today is via these super narrow capabilities so it's absolutely reasonable to say, humans are the only things capable of doing creativity today, that's super reasonable. But even two years from now, it's absolutely reasonable to say, the totality that I think of as creativity is only doable by humans, but between now and then, little pieces of what you previously might have called creativity now, you're just going to say, oh, software does that. In our case, it's looking at millions of images, processing it all with machine vision, knowing exactly what colors are being used, what objects are in the image, whether they're humans in the image, what age they are, what gender they are, where they're located, all that stuff, and using a different type of machine learning to find the patterns. That's something that you know, you humans could kind of do unofficially now you're going to get a sense for the patterns, you could hire a team and try to manually do that. But you know software is just really, really much, much, much better than humans at that one tiny piece of creativity and so you lose, it's five years from now everyone's doing it our way, just that little piece of it. You don't really think of that as creativity anymore, you're going to use it Okay, software does that better, but we do this right. And so over time, you're just kind of like software is getting better at a narrow piece and biting that off, and then another narrow piece and biting that up. And then eventually, what we want started as creativity, half of that is going to be done by software and the other half still going to be in human hands. And the humans are getting much much better because the inputs into what they do, when you go to make an ad campaign, if you go into that creative process, knowing the colors you should be using, what the audience likes to see, what exactly, what kind of humans should be in it, to make the audience happy where the ad campaigns take place, all those kinds of things that just makes your creative process much more successful. And so it's cool because you're exactly right kind of people when they think at a high level, they're like, well, this is human stuff, how does human stuff get automated? From a big perspective, they're right, I don't think creativity will ever go away and I don't think creative jobs really will ever go away. But these individual things that make up what we currently consider to be creativity, those will be done and are currently being done, as you can see with us by a software and AI and so it's pretty cool. And I think it sneaks up on you in terms of where the automation is going to happen and how it's gonna affect the day to day. Shane: So, so just break this down. So is the goal of cortex to get rid of all the humans? Just kidding Brennan: No. Shane: No, just kidding, totally kidding I think what you said is awesome, because it you're like wait a second, what just happened? No, I think is awesome about what you said all joking aside is that I love it because it's like, okay, let's say there's 20 things that happened in this process, and AI or machine learning can take care of one or two more things, right? And maybe three things and maybe four things but there will be things that I would say maybe not in our lifetime. And maybe that's not true, that will be able to take over 18 of those 20 things, right. But for now, it's like the way that humans work in the process, but it’s no difference, let’s give me an example, let's say, SEO, right. So in the beginning, I would, you'd look up keywords, you kind of do this kind of do that  and then you have some software that you can look it up a little better. Now, it's not AI or machine learning. But the idea of it is that there's still takes some eyeballs, right, you can look at these reports, you can do all this stuff but that just makes it easier to be able to put this stuff together. And it's the same thing with this it's like we're going to take care of these little things that you might not look at as a headache. But these are things that we're going to make easier for you to be able to put together the pieces of the puzzle, for you to make that decision as a human, let's say I think the way you explained it, I think, it’s unpalatable right because now you go, Hey, we have these machines and we're going to look at a few colors and we're going to tell you which one works people go, well that sounds freaky, well what about like, I mean, am I involved, am I not involved? Like, at what point you know, I just see Will Smith coming down and then just take all the humans and put them in a bag you're like, oh god but wait I have some ideas he was like no ideas from the humans, just give it to the machines. So, I think people freak out about that but really at the end of the day the way you explained it is like, to me that makes sense. Like it's just going to make things easier right we're here to take a look at things that maybe you might process with your brain you look at you go I think they like this, like this but we as humans, I can't take in 10,000 pieces of data, process it and then say hey, this is what we're getting and that's where the deficiencies happen. Brennan: Yeah, exactly. And so I'll give you a real world example one of our customers is a big consumer products company haircare skincare, things like that. And, and they did an initial analysis with Cortex one of the kinds of gateway drugs we sell is a visual vocabulary report. That's the name of the product and it's made for people who are not ready to jump in with both feet who are probably a little hesitant, like you described, they don't necessarily want to invite an AI to the party yet, they're not sure what that means. This is a PDF, they can take it, they can leave it, they could share it, it's really easy. It's not threatening. But what it does do is it shares hundreds of different trends and creative choices that they can test. And it predicts how the creative choices will impact the performance. And one of the trends or two of the trends that they saw were color trends, one of which was about pink. And it showed that this kind of specific type of thinking actually gives you the exact hex code, right because we're not dealing with humans we're dealing with software with the ability to be super duper accurate. It gives you the exact hex code of a kind of light shade pink, it said this pink is 19% performance, better will add 19% to your performance. And then later in the kind of findings, it had a slightly darker shade of pink, and that hex code for that and it said that this pink will detract, put up the numbers, like 18, or 17 is similar number, but the negative side from performance and they said, wait a second, so just by changing our images from this darker shade of pink, to this lighter shade of pink, we captured the data for 35 plus percent in performance? And, you know, that's effectively what Cortex is telling them that by making this slide color choice to their ads and their content, they're going to make a huge impact and performance down the line. And the cool part was they shared with us that they tried to do a color analysis before and because humans can't really see at the pixel level and can't really see necessarily reliably between, you know, the light pink in the dark pink, and they wouldn't know exactly where to draw the line anywhere, when they were doing this campaign, they did effectively, when they did their own analysis, they did like the 12 colors that you get in the crayon box. They did one pink, they did one red, they did one blue, so that until their analysis about pink was that it was roughly a neutral color, right? And so I said you know pink you know about zero doesn't really have an impact on performance. Let's move on and look at other colors right? But it turns out there's actually two stories in the pink. And there's no way that they could have known that in advance without a software. And again, when you get back to the human question, like, are the humans on that team less valuable to the company now? Or are they more valuable to the company now, right now that they know they can make those changes across all their designers, across their photographers, across their campaigns and all of a sudden you know, the company performs better simply because the ad can cost them… and that's just an example kind of one change of course, it's looking at thousands of these things and communicating them all very quickly and easily. And yeah, back to that story you're kind of getting at that's the crux right is that in every case where automation you know, screw AI, but in every case where automation has appeared, the worker has become more valuable to the company not less. When we went from manually assembling Ford Model Ts on an assembly line, one person doing each screw, there's like, you know, five employees for the whole car assembly, because a lot of it is automated, those humans are responsible for much more value delivered than the thousand humans it took before. And it's the same story here. Even though the word we're talking about is AI, it's the same exact story that, you know, when your marketer gets more reliable, when they're able to provide more value as a CEO or CMO that division get more of your budget, not less. So you know, we're not really seeing anybody automating away jobs with it. Shane: No, that makes sense. What is the biggest hurdle that you're seeing? I mean, because it really comes down to I think, how do you get a big company to commit to something like that? Because I think when you say that makes sense. But it's like, and I know you guys have been doing this for about five years. I mean, you guys are way ahead on this whole thing. But it's interesting to me because I would think if I was a company, I go, Okay, that makes sense. And again, I think you already kind of touched on a little bit like you have these kind of these steps to reel them in, let's say like educate them. You are like look at this initiative. Okay, that's kind of cool. That wasn't real expensive. Oh, now we tried this, okay. And then you get them to a point where they are like, this is changing the game. I could imagine that for the last five years of trying to convince people to do this, because it's even today, I think it's phenomenal. But it's still a little bit like, ooh, you know, I know you have a lot of good case studies. And so but it's still a little… I'd be a little bit worried. But I would think once they drink the juice and realize, Hey, this is awesome. Like you'd have people signing up all day long. Brennan: Well, yeah, actually, that's been the case. So the first three years, let's say we're definitely hard and we're certainly learning and kind of missionary selling, as you say, kind of saying, hey, this exists, try us out. But yeah, that's changed dramatically in the past year. Now most major brands out there are looking for something like this and are coming to our door, you know, 95% of our revenue, probably more of it now is inbound. We don't have to… I don't have that cold calling job like I used to anymore. It's all coming to us which is great. But yeah, to answer your first question, yeah, there's basically three steps of maturity that we see. And we've built a product for each step. So if you come to us, and you're like, I have heard of this, but I don't really know what's going on, we have that thing I mentioned the visual vocabulary, which is effectively a hex. And it's not scary, you're not committing to anything, it's a one off, you can take it and run with it. You can never call us back. It's there for you to look cool internally and to shop around the decision makers and to kind of make you look awesome. And then usually, that leads to the second step, which is now that you have all this data that you then tested and kind of waved around internally that told you all these new trends. Now you probably want to commit to that data as part of your process. That's the stage two, we got a product for that, then secondly, just a lot more data in more readily available fashion. And then stage three is, let's say you're a company that has tasted the data, you've seen the impact that it has, you’ve built your process around it. Now you want to optimize the use, you want to guarantee that kind of data is everywhere that it needs to be that we're taking maximum value from this data, we have a platform that is fully operational SAAS platform that not only tells you the data, but also automates a lot of decisions for you, right? Because if you can think about this, where this is going, if Cortex knows the colors that your audience likes, and it knows what should be in the images, and it knows all these creative choices, and it knows them by platform, and by the time of day, and all these things, because it's using clustering, to compare all of those inputs to find patterns. So it'll know let's say, next Friday that your audience is most likely to engage with a piece of content that is a picture of a, you know, your alcoholic product on the beach with the certain colors in it. It also can then plug directly into your digital asset manager and find that image for you and get it ready. It doesn't have to just tell you, it can actually just go do it. And so our platform, kind of a top tier it already does not read it plugs into digital asset managers, we've got a partnership with Getty Images and plugged into stock. So, it basically tries to fulfill your content calendar automatically waiting events, and do all the planning and strategy for you kind of built on all that data. And so it's basically you know, you're exactly right, there's people at every stage of the specification, but we've solved that by kind of giving them the right medicine at each stage. Shane: Yeah, that's what I was thinking is, like I said during the clip, that's what it is, right? You got to kind of like ease them into it, because I'll be honest, like what you're saying is awesome. But I can imagine that like that first step of like, okay, so you guys are going to like feed me this and this and it's like, and that's going to work because the thing is, this is what's awesome about it. It's like what we've done in the past doesn't work. Like just staring at something and saying, I read this article, and I heard that green is really good for SAAS companies, right? You're like, where'd you get that from? Well, I read an article on and Shane said that green is really good for SAAS companies. And Shane actually is also a speaker at events. I think Shane is a color specialist or maybe he's not we're not sure, but let's use green. Right? Like there's really nothing behind that. I mean, if you read my blog, please everything I read on there is 100% true and I am you know, no just kidding not probably 100 well, it's true. But anyways, you get my point, it's like what is the data behind that? How do we like other than what we feel are we kind of think like, you guys are taking the guessing game out of that, and providing that which is like, I can't believe you guys did this five years ago, you guys are still around. Because I can imagine those three years was just grueling because I mean, even now, it's still a little like, Wow, that's pretty crazy. Like three years ago, people are like, I don't know like it's just something else. Brennan: What is this shit? Shane: Yeah, yeah, exactly. Okay, I get it. But man, this is a little freaky. Like you really tell me you can do this. And how is it having people like that on your team? Like, because you said you're don't do machine learning. So you have somebody in your team that does I can only imagine your meetings like when the people are like, well, this is what we're going to do, we're going to be able to predict, like how much revenue we're going to have in 30 days because of this, this, this and this. And all you have to do is look into this and you taste this and look at this and then all of a sudden, well the numbers you're like, God, machine learning is amazing. Like, it's just nuts, man, like, I know enough about machine learning, not that I could implement it or you know, go do software or anything, but like, I've actually go studied up on it like just the background of it is just absolutely, like, floors me, it's just like crazy to me. Brennan: Yeah, it's really exciting because frequently it's us directed, its stuff that we knew from the last company and that we've been hearing from the customers that, you know, we want to be able to do and we go to the tech guys and like this is the mission, let's do that. But you know, increasingly now we've kind of checked all the basic boxes of what we thought we needed to build. And now it's them saying Hey, did you know we can predict this and we go and what? That's incredibly valuable can we put that in the product tomorrow, like that’s incredible. So it is a pretty exciting process you're exactly right and, you know, part of it is like they have PhDs and they've gone deep on this. And we haven’t, so part of it is like this stuff is evolving relatively quickly across all fronts. So like, you know, for example, if Google put out tomorrow, some crazy image processing capabilities that we don't have now, like, you know, you can look at an image and look at the angle of the sun and figure out the exact time it was taken and making this up. But let's say they could do that they're like, we could just immediately deploy that to make our data set more accurate and better, that's effectively what's happening every day, somebody rolls out this new thing that we can just bolt on to the processing part at the beginning of our process when we gather the data, and process it. And that just makes us better at predicting, the data sets more rich. And so it is a really cool time because you know, as we go, these guys, of course, they're kind of nerding out on it just for fun all the time and professionally, but also for fun and that they'll be like, hey, this thing just came out. Let's test it and see what it does and it turns out now we can predict this other thing that unlocks x more percent performance for our customers. And so now it's the phase where it's really cool like that, like exactly what you're describing. Shane: I would think it’s, like I know, man I don’t know this but I kind of notice that Apple comes up, obviously with things that is the future right of the Apple, 27 is going to have this, this, and this and maybe not 27, like 15. So we have these things is you can't go too far ahead where the tech doesn't keep up with that, right. So whatever that is, and I would have to imagine, like, you have these meetings, and your guys are like, Hey, we can implement it, just do this. And you're like, dude, that's not till 2022 like we're they still have to grasp on to what we're doing now right? Like, I really feel like there's probably some these guys are geeking out and having the time of their lives and figuring out some really cool stuff that you're like, I can't even write something about that right now. Because I think it would blow people away I think people wouldn't fully get it. You know what I'm saying? Like, I don't know, man, it's really exciting. And I can only imagine the meaning, I wish I was a fly on the wall and some of the stuff you guys were talking about because I'm sure I would just leave there. My nose would be bleeding with my brains coming out and going oh my god that was absolutely amazing they're just cool stuff man you guys got some cool stuff going on. Brennan: Well thank you, next time you're in Boston come on by we will host one specifically for you. Shane: It might be sooner than later be careful I'm a big fan of Boston I was long story short actually, I was supposed to I was either gonna move to Boston or Chico like after I saw Good Will Hunting which is I talked about this on another podcast but love that movie Good Will Hunting. I don't know why I was like, I'm gonna go to Boston and I was like, my mum was like over to Chico, that's an hour and a half away I was like, yeah, I'm gonna move to Boston, she was like alright, sounds good. Anyways, that's a whole other conversation. So tell me when we're talk a little bit about a content are there any companies you look at like they're creating Epic Content, or maybe even a client that you guys are maybe tie into that because I don't want to say, just look at something and say they're creating Epic Content, or is there any evaluations you guys have done and said this company is like, they seem to know what's going on when it comes to certain types of content? Or do you have a client or somebody, just want to kind of tap into somebody that maybe somebody you could look up and go, wow, this is, you kind of get a better idea, I guess. Brennan: Yeah, of course, yeah so take one step back first you know, if you think about what we're talking about, you know, we've kind of talked about it from the brand marketer perspective, but even put the other hat on. We're talking about making content that the consumer wants, and we were talking about knowing, this is a technology that allows you to know what the consumer likes. And so it allows you of course, then to create content the consumer wants. And if you choose to do that, then of course, you're way ahead of the game. Yes, there are several examples, kind of on a spectrum, by far and away the most committed to that vision is Red Bull, as I'm sure we're familiar with, right, they're a drink company, but they have an entire division that is self-sufficient, financially, that is literally just running cool events that their audience would like to look at, exactly they put a guy into space so he could jump out of space and parachute down. They do all those weird you know, like boats jumping off of platforms into water, things like all those events, but they completely committed to the idea that giving the consumer something that the consumer values is the point right and then they kind of literally their company is divided into the drink apart and the content part so they've completely committed to this and as you can see that they're never going to run out of stuff to talk about they're never going to not be you know constantly in the media. And of course their drinks do quite well until I think they're probably the best example simply because they've effectively created a media company to service that vision. And they did it back when it was still guesswork right. Nowadays they probably are more sophisticated I don't know if they're using AI like we are and if they aren't they will just call us but I mean, yeah, ultimately, like they are committed to it with both feet and… Shane: You know, another thing is about Red Bull and I read a book on this and they talked about Red Bull this was interesting because it wasn't maybe 10 years ago, whenever they started up. I remember going to like festivals and events and music festivals. And they were handing them out like hotcakes. So I couldn't get them out you know what I mean, $4 apiece and they're handing out thousands of these. I remember thinking God, that's kind of an interesting concept like you just not even remember these pretty girls just handing them out like this, like hundreds of them at a time. And so I'm like everything kind of what's the point of that you know, and just kind of whatever. And so I started reading this book and they talked about what they did with Red Bull would do is the psychology of Red Bull obviously is you're getting some kind of you know, endorphin rush, right, you get something where you're drinking it, you're kind of this heightened sense. But you're also at a concert or a music festival you're seeing your favorite artists, right. So you having the best time of your life, you're drinking Red Bulls, so you're tying in that experience with Red Bull. So that's amazing. So they would hand these things out so whatever, 10,000 people are drinking Red Bull or whatever the number is 1000 watching their favorite artists having the time of their life, there with their girlfriend and they're thinking about Red Bull, so every time they will go to a market or someplace they see a Red Bull they think about the experience. So directly tied back in so they were at these events and they couldn't hand out enough of them. Because once again you tie in your brain goes man, I had a phenomenal experience there and it's tied into that Red Bull and when I read that I was like, God, that's brilliant. Because at first I was like, I just don't understand how you're getting any value from this because you're just handing them out. Like you don't really know if they're going to drink them again. But they were playing on the game of like, hey, your brains going to tie into that, which I thought was brilliant. That was one of things Red Bulls phenomena they are. They're mainly a media company. Like there's literally a media company that sells drinks, I guess that’s what it is. Brennan: Yeah, exactly and the funny thing is whether the brands have realized it or not, almost every consumer brand has to think that way. Now, there's so much content, the average brands getting 15,000 pieces of content per year, just to be competitive, on social and other different things all wins and if you rewind 25 years, right back in the let's say the 80s right before the internet entirely, they were creating what a few dozen commercials a year a few dozen ad spots and magazines, a few dozen print. We're talking maybe on the order of a few hundred pieces of content, which over the past 34 years is now 15,000 pieces of content. So they are media companies whether they think of it or not and so getting smart about that like Red Bull. Red Bull just got in front of it and leading the way and you know companies even like Tesla, they're not set up like Red Bull is, they haven't jumped in, in that regard but they know as you can tell like they know that the best thing they can do, the thing their audience wants is tidbits of videos or content about these cool new futuristic products. So even though they're very product focused and they haven't done what Red Bull did, they didn’t build a giant division they spend almost nothing on marketing Tesla, but they're actually philosophically very similar and they lead with their story and they lead with you know, we are building the future and here's a glimpse at all this cool futuristic stuff and I think you know, even though in terms of their spend there can be the exact opposite of Red Bull, I'd still put them in that category of the company, you totally get that. Shane: Yeah, no, I agree I think that any kind of launch they do is always people just lose their minds, right? And the amount of orders they put in like just recently the one they did with the cyber truck and that there was a company, broke the window and it sounded like Yeah, but the end of the day they got millions and billions of dollars in sales, it's like the things that he brings out and have a price point and the amount of thought they put into it, it's one of those like, I look at these and I go why hasn’t anybody else come up with this like it's so weird to me. But he saw that there was a need there right when it comes to the electronic cars are now the cyber ones and there's just you know, I mean, flame throwers, all this, you know, other companies, these guys just interesting stuff. It's just like content that people love, and they crave it, like we talked about, you know, it's like that craving of like, God, I can't wait for Tesla to come out this next thing or whatever that is just the same as Red Bull. Like, what's their next video gonna be like, what are they gonna do? They're gonna jump out of what? He said to jump out of the moon or whatever it is, and, you know, come down and live stream the whole damn thing. So it is interesting, like that kind of content. And once you know what kind of content your audience likes to produce more content like that and kind of have that strategy in place. Brennan: Yeah, we haven't done any analysis of Tesla cars or anything but I would absolutely predicted that recent fiber truck does exceedingly well simply because it took a stance from a design point. That’s the kind of world as we've seen, almost every car kind of tries to hide in the middle and look just like all the other cars. In fact, during their presentation that you saw, they took the logo off of all the major selling pickup trucks and you really get down the part they all look basically identical functionally the same, in fact that you know, they took a stance here aesthetically, right? They’re certainly not going to appeal to the masses, but they don't need to appeal to the masses right to be one of the biggest selling trucks of the year they sell 100,000, 200,000 of those and they're off to the races right. And so they did kind of like you know, I don't know what kind of research...this is entirely you know, must guessing, and probably guessing well, but you know, they're making a choice and they're saying this is what we think our audience wants. Let's go aggressively in that direction which you know, most companies don't really have the balls to do it so to speak Shane: They are pre selling the vehicles. I mean, think about that, it's like crowdfunding. Like, let me go ahead and put this out. Here's the concept. Let me go ahead and get 10,000 orders ahead of time and now I've got funding it's just a crazy thing like you don't ever see Ford go, Hey, we're coming out with a Ford Explorer. We can do a launch today because oh my god, the Ford Explorer. I'm gonna buy one. Nobody says that. Right? This is like, we're like, Hey, you can go buy him off Tesla right now. And people are losing their minds. And like, I bought one. It's only $40,000 and this is awesome. I'm going to get it in six months. You're like, this is crazy. Like you just, it's just nuts, man. I love it. Like, I mean, we could talk about Tesla for like 10 days, but that's the things I think they build up it and Apple is the same way. I think Apple has that kind of like when they get together and get excited about things and get people kind of pumped up and but I know I asked you about a few companies. I want to talk to you about a few more things we're getting to the end of this podcast, but I know I wanted to talk to you about Madcon 2020 like you had you actually, you spoke was it Madcon that you spoke at this year? Brennan: I don't believe we spoken there yet but we're speaking there next year. Shane: Ah, that's gotcha. So you are speaking there next year. So I know that you're a keynote speaker. What is your presentations that you do? Is it mainly about cortex? I mean, it's gotta be about educating the public about this. I mean, that's got to be a main part of your speeches. Brennan: Yeah, it's really, it's, it's almost like cheating from a keynote speaker standpoint, because we don't really have to talk about ourselves at all. We do go into every single presentation, having just process a bunch of data, either about companies we know will be in the audience or industries that you know if it's an industry conference, or whatever, the one I was at Thursday was in Belgium, and I went in there and we processed the entire beer industry, because Belgium of course are very passionate about their beer and they do beer quite well. So we went in there and shared a bunch of… we kind of gave them the heads up about what is AI doing in marketing, you know, the high levels and then, you know, screw me talking about this. Let's get down to it. I'll show you some stuff. And we just go through a bunch of trends, a bunch of work in the beer industry, you should apply these colors you do these make these changes, blah, blah, blah. And then we went into a small little sub industry of furniture stores, Justin and Belgium and Denmark and the Netherlands, because there were a bunch of those people in the audience. And then we looked at one company, which was Deloitte, and we just looked at their built in office and we were like, this is what your Belgian office should change to target their marketing more and we've kind of went through that as the presentation and it's super visual, it gives them immediate takeaways and of course, we can do it at the push of a button. So super easy, just you know, the day before two days before, to kind of get the companies from the guy running the event and say, you know, who's gonna be in the audience who should we tell this to, process all of that and share it and so Shane: I love it. That is cheating. That is absolutely, I’m so mad at you right now, that absolutely is cheating and is so not fair to the other people. I'm a keynote speaker now and that just that kind of pissed me off, but super excited about that mean that's insane. Like the fact that you tied that in your presentation and people read them. They're like I met. Wait a second, he just talked about like, what? He just gave some suggestions, right? We should probably write this down. Right? And then it only matters that people afterwards are like, Hey, thanks for that tidbit. Like what's the next steps? Well, God, that's awesome. So now we're gonna have to talk more about that, because I'm doing a lot of keynote stuff in 2020. So I'm gonna have to, I am going to get in the minds of the people, I'm going to be able to mesmerize them more and be able to know what colors I need to use. So, alright, so we're getting to the end of the session… Brennan: Here, I'll commit here in recording. If you have an event that you're really excited about, and you want some trends, you come back to me with at least a week notice and we'll get you a bunch of trends and you'll look awesome. Shane: I'd say this is the thing, one thing is for me to look awesome. It's going to take a lot but we're hopefully that will work. So one thing is the presentations and the other thing is that obviously I'ma let my wife knows that we're going to start coming your family reunions. I mean, I feel like this is good, man. I mean, at this point, I feel like we're really close like our families are going to be close. I couldn't be any better except we are which this is the hard part. This is the part that becomes very stressful. Because this is the part where we're going to have to break up because we're sneaking up on that hour mark, but I look I have a few more questions for you. I know this is a hard part but I'll see you in the family reunion. It's not a big deal. Like we're going to be together forever at this point. Yeah, I'll see you guys in a few days this is awesome. I'll tell my wife to get the tickets this would be awesome. So what if you could, you know, because I love the way that your brain works this is gonna be interesting question, so there were three people dead or alive that you could have dinner with who would that be? I'm always intrigued by this because you with your background of like, you know music but yet you biology and but you're now seeing the future through machine learning. An interesting background. So I'm curious on what three people dead or alive, would you have dinner with? Brennan: Oh, that's really good. So dead family members aside, because I think you could certainly answer that with all your you know... Shane: Yeah. For sure. Brennan: I think it's more interesting if we keep it to, people that everyone knows. And I certainly Yeah, there's a whole like 20 musicians of course. I'll throw Solonius Monk out there as an amazing jazz pianist. But actually, he would not be on my list. I think for this purpose, you know, where I'm at with my life and, you know, kind of my responsibilities to Cortex and things. I think they'd all be helpful on that front. I think Elon Musk actually it not sound like a fanboy this entire thing, but I think if you think about it, if my goal is to kind of level up my own software, I think you spend dinner with him, and you just kind of because not to compare ourselves in the slightest, but he attacked every problem at its roots. Right? He said what's the problem with this? Let's create much much cheaper rockets, so that we can become a multiplanetary species. What does it take to do that? I'm going to go do that and he actually does that. Right. And that is, I think, something that everyone can learn from. Of course, I wouldn't want to take too much of his time. You know, he's saving the world..The other two, I would say another one to level up my own software would be Eisenhower. Because again, you never know what to trust and historical things that I've read quite a few biographies of him and he seems to be a very wise person. Shane: Yeah, for sure. Brennan: To contrast Elon Musk with the kind of raw brain power seems like Eisenhower always made, maybe not always, but very, very frequently made the right call even in tough scenario. Yeah, exactly. And I kind of want to know how you know like, what is his process that kind of way the urgency versus the you know, the importance versus whatever and how to make tough calls you know, in some of the toughest scenarios out there you know, during the Cold War and World War Two all that kind of stuff. And you know, I don't know if you're familiar with is like smoking stories you familiar with that? Shane: It rings a bell, but I don't know if this specific story. Brennan: Oh, well, yeah. He just used to be a smoker. Kind of like everybody in that generation was pretty much a smoker, especially people in the war. And then he came back and he got sick and he has a heart attack or something, I forgot the impetus. But one day he decided to stop smoking. And rather than everyone else, what everyone else would have done, which is like, throw everything out and tell their friends, he kept cigarettes in his breast pocket for the rest of his life, and never touch them again. And the only reason he would ever touch them is to lend them to people when they ask for one. And he said the reason he did that is because he was reminded of the victory every time he didn't grab it himself. It means just like, well, that's just exceedingly badass. I'm not sure. You know, those kind of things, learning from that. And then I guess the third guy would be a really, rather than going leveling up my software in general. Third guy would be really specific case with Marc Benioff from Salesforce. Specifically because he created a category that didn't exist before. And he basically, you know, helped create or created the Cloud and SAAS and CRM basically, I wouldn't give him all the credit for all three of those, of course, but you know, he defined a lot of those categories that weren't categories before. And Cortex is attempting to do that, you know, you heard me, we could have defined ourselves as a marketing software or, you know, we focus on lots of different types of marketing, but realistically, we're focused on creativity and visuals. And there really isn't a category for software that focuses on something that fundamental yet and you know, in addition to your whole point about the five years being pretty tough, because people aren't looking for this. I think it's also tough because, you know, there really isn't a category you know, visual understanding their creativity. Non bullshit making software. We're trying to  create the category and that guy, he's created the category for sure. Shane: That's awesome. All right. We got my last question. Those are all three people that I mean that I would love to meet with myself. Those are all the people that are like obviously thought leaders in their space. So if I was to give you a winning $10 million lottery ticket, what would you do with it? Where would you spend the cash? Brennan: Oh, I'm very boring in this category. I would, you know, I'm struggling to think of a more exciting answer to make this not boring. But my real answer is I would invest it very conservatively, I would have the… I include inflation and reinvest that every year. So it never loses its value over time. And then whatever comes after, you know, whatever comes on top of that in the year I would help my niece and nephew go to college, help my family, I've got, like I told you before a really small family. So I think this is actually a doable thing. There's only like, 11 or less total or something. Right. So I think I can kind of take care of everyone if I played my cards, right. So I think that's realistically what I do. But you know, I'm a big fan of boats and helicopters. So if you want a really cool, exciting answer, you know, maybe pretend I said that. Shane: Yeah, well I mean you taking care of your family, there's nothing wrong with that. Like there is that's you taking care of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, right so that make sure everybody's all taken care of. And lastly, if anybody needs to get in contact with you, where can they obviously, tell us about your website if you want to give out your email address give us the fun stuff. Brennan: Cool. Yeah, of course. So cortex is can be found at, really easy, We are super active and responding people can find is there. People can find me on LinkedIn. It's literally LinkedIn/Brennanwhite, the simplest thing possible and I'm super active getting back to people you know, least every couple of days if not every day, and then I'm on Twitter occasionally. I mostly just share stuff, not a big, I don't think people want to hear my opinion too much but astronomic is my Twitter handle. So all those are options. Shane: Awesome. Awesome. Well, Brennan White, man, thanks for being on the podcast today. And if you guys, if this is your first time listening to the podcast, Make sure you guys subscribe to it. And Brennan once again man, thank you so much for being on the podcast Brennan: Thanks for having me. Really great talking to you today. Shane: All right man, we'll talk soon.


Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing, product launches, sales funnels, targeted traffic, and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.


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