What a terrific chat with Paul Mabray, Wine Unicorn & Digital Futurist!
Click on the arrow above to watch the video.
What impact does social media have on wine, both for wineries and wine drinkers?
How has that changed dramatically over the past year?
Our guest this evening is a wine unicorn and digital futurist. He has created and led companies that have transformed the wine industry through the strategic and visionary use of technology.
He believes that the future of the wine industry hinges on its ability to adapt and change to meet consumer expectations, wherever they are, whether that’s online, at the winery, in the liquor store or at home.
Welcome to the Sunday Sipper Club Paul!
P.S. Join us Monday October 2, at 6 pm eastern with Nicola Lovato, Ambassador, Santa Margherita Wines.
Watch previous episodes of the Sunday Sipper Club (SSC) and find out who’s coming up next.
Want to know when we go live Monday with Nicola Lovato?
We’ll be simultaneously broadcasting on Facebook Live, YouTube Live Stream and Twitter Live Video via Periscope.
Watch previous episodes of the Sunday Sipper Club (SSC) and find out who’s coming up next.
If you’d like to read the comments for this tasting, or make a comment yourself, visit:
Here’s a sampling of our lively discussion from our tasting…
In the video below, Paul Mabray talks about wine and social media. He sparked international debate with his comment that wineries will experience digital Darwinism if they continue to just watch their customers migrate away from traditional sales and communication channels.
He shares insights on why Social-Local-Mobile is so critical for the wine industry. You can also now watch part two of our conversation that focuses on mobile apps and making sense of social media conversations.
A Digital Think Tank for the Wine Industry: That’s how Paul Mabray describes his Napa-based consulting company that uses strategy and technology to solve problems in a complex category.
Paul has been working in the wine and technology industries for 17 years and has been a guest lecturer at University of California’s Berkley School of Business, UC Davis that has trained winemakers around the world, as well as at many international conferences.
– the decline of print wine columns and influence
– where do wine consumers get their info?
– traditional wine & food shows are a events waste of marketing funds
– “social”: engagement, tips, sharing
– “local”: findability, store locator, stock
– “mobile”: on the go, you find me
– but how to measure it? does it translate into sales?
– content is the future of advertising
Throughout my career, I have had the good fortune to invent and lead companies that have led the way forward for the wine industry as a whole. My wife jokingly says that my special ability, super power is to connect seemingly unconnected dots and see solutions and synergies where they have not previously existed.
I pride myself on my ability to think strategically and solve difficult problems that typically exist on the fringe of traditional thought and theory in the wine industry. My passion for technology has allowed me to apply modern tools and solutions to an industry that has traditionally been slow to adopt these methodologies, and to propel them forward with competitive advantages via scale and speed.
Despite my devotion to technology and the wine industry, I see my primary purpose in the form of enhanced customer experience. The future of the industry hinges on our ability to adapt and change to meet consumer expectations around service and products.
AVERO / NYC-Napa / Dec 2016 – Present
Hired to resurrect the VinTank software for restaurants, hotels, and wineries to create a whole new MarCom software offering for Avero.
• Launched the software in record time (45 days) with minimal resources (2 FTE’s)
• Facilitated a major change in new technology leadership to modernize Avero into cloud based technologies and processes
• Introduced the organization to new planning, marketing, and communication techniques to improve customer service, intra-company collaboration, and execution techniques.
W2O / San Francisco / Mar 2015 – Nov 2016 (Team 45 – 5 Direct)
Technology Business Leader responsible for leading ALL W2O software initiatives. Managed two core teams to build and enhance three core platforms (one external, two internal) that supported ~$17M of analytics and services businesses as well as software sales.
• Managed technology team reduction from 40 employees to 12 (~$9M in cost) while decrementing 90 software products and maintaining key software that supported $17M of business
• Created new methodologies in partnership with analytics teams to measure and extract consumer insights from social data
• Personally sold $2.8 million in analytics and agency work to wine companies including inventing new ways to predict wine sales via social signal
• Maintained VinTank’s customers at a 95% retention rate
VINTANK / Napa / Dec 2008 – Mar 2015 (Team 3)
Founded the world’s first vertically focused social listening and social CRM platform for the wine industry
• Responsible for strategic planning, budget forecasting, latest estimates, SG&A planning, P&L administration for complete business.
• Self financed and grew the company to over 1200 wineries with only three employees but an ARR of $1.2M. Growing 200% YOY
• Became the industry thought leader for wine and digital
• Lead technologies like geo-fencing, profile stitching, vertical listnenig and social CRM from the wine industry that have been written about in books and digital think tanks like Altimeter
• Successfully sold VinTank to W2O for a seven figure exit
WINEDIRECT / Napa / 2002 – Nov 2008 (Team 112 – 8 Direct)
Founded the industry’s first e-commerce SaaS platform to help facilitate DTC sales for the wine industry. Raised $15.6 million from Venture Capital and Private Equity firms to make the software the most powerful in the industry.
• Responsible for strategic planning, budget forecasting, latest estimates, SG&A planning, P&L administration for complete business.
• Help lead the entire industry into modern DTC and e-commerce via our software and services
Sr. Director – WineShopper.com – Sr. leader for the first wave of wine online companies.
Project Manager – Niebaum Coppola – Started their DTC programs (wine club/ecom)
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Barbecue Wines: Food Network chef Rob Rainford shares his favourite grilling tips, barbecue wines and his mouth-watering recipe for grilled Thai flank steak
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Pairing Wine & Social Media: 10 Wines to try when you’re getting social
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What impact does social media have on wine, both wineries, and the wine industry? That’s the question we’re going to explore tonight on the Sunday Sipper club. I’m Natalie MacLean, editor of Canada’s largest wine review site. And you’ve joined me here where we meet every Sunday at 6:00 PM. That’s Toronto New York time to talk to the most intriguing people in the wine world. Now, before I introduce our guest fully in the comments section below folks, I’m just going to toggle over there right now. Would you please post just yes or no. How important is, is social media important for you in terms of learning about wine or getting wine recommendations, that kind of thing? Yes or no. Is it really important to you? That’s what I would love to hear from you as well. if you share this video, we are going to be giving away a bottle of wine from our guest as well as access to his very amazing report on digital media, social media and wine.
it’s a report that people pay a lot of money for, but he’s offering access to it tonight. So please post in the comments below. All right. Onward and excellent. Okay. Our guest this evening is described as both a wine unicorn. I love that. And they do futures. You can hear me, can’t see him yet. He’s great. He has created and led companies, that have transformed the wine industry through the strategic and visionary use of technology. He believes that the future of the wind industry hinges on its ability to adapt and changed consumer expectations wherever they are online in the winery tasting room at the liquor store in the restaurant. We’re at home and he joins me to live right now from his office in Napa Valley, California. Welcome, Paul Mabray.
Wow. Thanks for having me back. That was the best introduction ever. I’m not, it’s amazing. You gotta get to a point. Exactly how I think so. Yeah.
Well, Paul, you are so impressive. It’s easy to give a great introduction to someone who has so much material to work with. Seriously. So, let’s, that’s a very high level. I could have said a lot more. Fill in the gaps for us. Paul, tell us a bit more about yourself, your personal life, where whatever you’d like to fill in. Sure,
sure. So, let’s see. I’ve been in the wine industry for 24 years. Can you believe it? No, I can’t. Not with that baby face. Thank you. Yeah, I have a picture of Dorian Gray in the back, you know, so just keeps it. But yes, I’ve been here 24 years and I’ve had a really, really lucky run at it. So, but everything that’s had been micro that’s done well is using technology to move them forward. You know, just kind of leaning into it. , as you said, I am a bit of a unicorn cause I’m the only tech, a CEO that’s been around so long. I’ve just so stubborn. So I think stubborn. and I, I’ve always been kind of trying to bring together Silicon Valley and wine valleys, Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley. , as you know, I started a wine direct, which was the first e-commerce SAS company. And then, recently VIN tank was sold twice over, which was social media. And I, you know, who knows what’s going to be next? Maybe the internet of things, I don’t know
Yeah, that’s, that’s hot. Oh, there’s so much I want to ask you. So we are going to dive in the pool. Woo. All right. So we’ve talked, we talked about three, four, it might’ve been, uh, more years ago. That was the most shared post, uh, for our site ever. It was a hundred of shares, which represents, you know, thousands of people, great conversation. What has changed since? Absolutely. What, what is the big changes, especially if we focus it into the last year or two, three, like what’s
changed? Yeah. You know, it’s been a while actually since we’ve chatted, but, you know, I think the wine industry, is starting to wake up to digital. Actually in some ways. I mean, you see a constellation spent I think $56 million, and that’s a three on digital marketing, digital marketing, digital marketing, and that’s up from $4 million about four years ago. So you think about that, that’s, that’s huge exponential growth. and they’re gonna continue to add to that. if you look at, uh, the Y street, e-commerce is the fastest-growing thing in the United States. So more and more wires are having to sell via e-commerce or are choosing to sell via eCommerce, which, you know, I wish they would’ve started in 2002, but I’m happy that they’re finally catching up, you know, 15 years later. it’s encouraging. It is, and we have Amazon now that it bought whole foods. So I think it’s going to, yeah, it’s going to catalyze a lot.
Is that going to be a disruptor the way I had to, I’m sorry I had to do this, Paul. I don’t know if you can see this Uber, that’s the one I chose for this. I wanted it to be on-trend or trending or something. , but the way Uber disrupted the taxi industry, the way Airbnb disrupted the hotel industry is Amazon, especially now with whole foods going to disrupt the wine industry.
Well, I think that they have the best chance of it. One of the best chances. I think if you look at, the wines you see probably close to, if not the last industry, that still hasn’t been changed by the internet and that I said that for years.
Yeah, I know. I re-listened to it. It’s like, it’s still the same thing. It’s crazy.
so we don’t have an expedia.com. We don’t have an Uber. We haven’t had any of those disruptors so much. you know, I would argue that maybe the Vino is on its way there.
Yup. The app. Yeah. What about wine.com that’s been around forever. It did. Why didn’t that disrupt anything? Or
it’s interesting, I worked for wine.com. It’s me, you know, so, I worked for the original unwind shopper, wine.com. I think that, uh, there’s so many factors that play against that, a lot of regulatory stuff more than anything else. And it’s still just kind of hindered by this regulatory burden. I, you know, in the United States as you know, had that be Supreme court here in case, why don’t we sell direct to consumer crusty and lights, but, uh, you know, retailers really couldn’t that well, so they’ve been left behind. there is a case going to the Supreme court from Chicago, a retailer saying if whiners can do it, why can’t we do it? I think that that’s going to be one of the most disruptive things that we see in the wine industry. And I think that as you look at Amazon’s acquisition of whole foods, as soon as that hits the docket, and if that wins, Amazon will, will be a dominant force, especially with the pick pack locations. All the whole food pick applications they can buy in California direct from wineries or while she’s, you know, Oregon. So their ability to get the lowest cost and ship all the way across the United States is going to be unprecedented.
Absolutely. Yeah. And we’ve got three 13 stores, I don’t know if it’s in Ontario or across the country here in Canada. Of course, we’re facing those same cross borders. you know, uh, put prohibition hangover laws, you know, it’s been legalized on a federal level and then you’ve still got provincial regulations, tangling things up. I just was, would be interested to see if this really disrupts the business of says the LCBO which is our monopoly in Ontario. Yup. I know very well. Here’s hoping. Yeah.
how do you convince wineries, Paul, that this is something they should be doing?
Yeah. You know, that’s, that’s been a mantra I’ve been seeing for what, since 2009. Right at this point. That’s a long time. , I feel like I’m still saying the same thing over and over again. And in fact my presentations, they say the same thing and you just have really different cool star Wars slides as you know. So, but I, you know, I, I say, if the phone rings in your tasting room, would you answer it? If an email comes from a customer, would you answer? These new phones are called Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and delectable Vivino. but that being said, Patty, let me make sure I get you that five tribes report., we took it just to kind of walk you through. We took 80 million people that talked about wine online. Wow. So quite a sum. And then we took 5 million people that bought wine, uh, vis-a-vis a consumer direct from wineries, most of the United States, mostly California centric.
and then we put them together. And we found the van between the two of the kind of the commonalities and we did some factors and we narrow it down to about quarter-million people and then we sample set about 12,500 of those people. And what we are trying to do is trying to send what is that crazy kind of person that actually, you know, who, who buys wine from directly from alignment when you have all these choices, right? When you have wine.com so, and yet why would someone go directly to the wall? What is the psychology behind them? Whatever they want to understand that piece first. and I know that 12,500 sounds like a very small number. Um, but we actually analyze everything they did. So we analyze, they had, 5.3 million followers. They had like 183,000 conversations about wine online. you know, 2.3 million total posts of everything they’d ever done, just at 12,500 people, right?
They spent or they had 53,000 online purchases, those 12,500 and they spent something like $17 million between that. So it was, it was a really heavy-hitting crew and that’s what that five tribes report comes from. Patty. It tells you kind of the psychology of who these people were, you know, uh, where they were. Now it obviously had a little bit of selection bias, meaning they are already digitally savvy, they’d skew a little younger or they stew more affluent. Right? Sure. but Patty, the thing that came out of it most, and Natalie is that in looking to find out who these people were, we also stumbled upon some causation and the causation was, how much is social media worth? So we, we used to think that people would talk about wine online a lot. you know, that’s going to be the people that buy GCC a lot. Not necessarily true, but what we did find that GCC, sorry, I just did DTC. I’m sorry. Direct to consumer. Consumer. I’m sorry.
When you start rolling out the acronyms,
I apologize. That was bad news. So what we’ve found out in the, in analyzing is the people that talked about wine the most were not the people that bought directly from wineries a lot. Actually. There are people that bought in a local supermarket, people that bought from online retailers. They actually bought a lot of wine, but not a lot directly from wineries. But what we did find out is that people that, uh, bought wine directly from wineries and engaged on social media were worth a lot more. So if they had a single solitary engagement on a social media platform, like alike, or a comment or a star or a heart or any of those things, they were 10% more over their lifetime value
in terms of how much they buy wine or repeat purchases
from that winery, from that wine from now at 10% more from that winery. Two times it was 29%, three times it was 38%. So these are some big numbers, right? They’re adding up. It sounds kind of hyperbolic, but when you think about it’s a noisy world. Yeah. You’re engaging with the people, you’re getting their intention where they’re at. So it’s actually worth money. I guess the point that I’m trying to say is there is actually for the first time ever, causation between social media and direct to consumer purchasing for miners are buying wide directly from whiter
and was, that’s, that is amazing. That is, I don’t want to lose that point. That’s fantastic. And now those likes or those interactions, was that when they were direct with the winery or, you know, a lot of wineries are not a lot, but some wineries are, are hiring, paying lifestyle influencers, especially when it comes to Instagram and they’ll count, you know, 50 a hundred likes or whatever. Cause I’m sharing this wine with my friends are all likes alike.
No, not all extra. Like, I mean, I, I think that, uh, you know, influencers have their place, um, you know, I think we’re kind of savvy to it. The consumer is savvy to it. We do like to buy things. Other people like, you know, the Rosie movement in the United States can be directly correlated to a Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s wine coming into the market. You know, if you look at the analysis on social media, but I actually believe that where people really drive it as, um, super fans, right? And I think windings are so big, everyone wants that instant fix, right? Like having, you mentioned wine, you, you’re an influencer, right, is a big deal and people care about and think about it. Um, but there’s also micro-influencers maybe I do a wine and my 10,000 fans like that, but what’s even better is if someone is really passionate about sharing it all the time, making sure to tell their friends about it. Like viral and fans are, are, they’re the amplifiers for brands and they don’t even know who they are usually. Sadly enough. You know, the wineries don’t know who they are. The wineries are like, I’m a super fan for Lopez. They have EDIA I love that wine. I love it. It’s funky. It’s strange. It’s kooky. You know, I’m a super fan of my wife’s winery. Obviously I have my wife work, my wife works for the Donum Estate
right? Yeah. Premium winery. Yes.
Yeah. And I’m enjoying the 2016 Sobule blog. If you haven’t had it, it’s really good. And she just had Charles Thomas, uh, joined who made illumination as the winemaker, Carrie. So he’s the consulting, winemaker. and he built illumination and he, he’s talking about 2017 to be the best signal block has ever made. So I’m excited
You also want to click follow so that you get notified when we go live. Plus Paul is going to share access to five people, uh, to the digital tribes’ report. Is that correct?
Yeah. I’ll give it a, actually anyone that watches, and if you email me or DM me or smoke signal carrier that I’ll get you the five traps report. It’s it, they don’t put you to sleep. There’s probably a few spelling errors in there, but it’ll
But you know, it’s actually really good. I’ve looked at a high-end view of it through another presentation you gave. It’s really insightful and wineries and wine agencies should definitely be paying attention to this. But even as a wine consumer wine drinker, it’s kind of interesting to see how uh, these tribes come together. But, okay, so let me,
it’s really exciting about the big data. That’s what it makes it really, that’s where I live, you know, you’re actually taking big data and turning it into something meaningful and digestible to help people do a better job. And then big data,
big data is another buzz word, but it is interesting in terms of all the components in that marketers are putting together. But back to your super fans for a moment. I know, um, one recent thing that I came across was JK Rowling, you know, Harry Potter. She did not give any review copies to the critics, the book critics. She invited, I don’t know how many super fans, um, everyday book readers and lovers of her book. And that’s who she let read the galleys or the first copies and she gathered them together and then they dispersed. So super fans are a great idea. Um, what does that mean for the role of the so-called professional critic now wine critic?
Well, you and I know that the, sadly the professional wine Creek has been under siege since the beginning of digital actually. And that’s because print, you know, what was the old saying in advertising when you advertise it, half of it’s working, half of it’s not, but I don’t know which half I think is the good metaphor. Right? I think so. The first thing they cut is all those wonderful lifestyle parts of a magazine and newspapers. And we’ve seen the continued decline in paying for what then you had the, uh, the blog that came out, so it became a bull market for free content. right. So, um, you’re always convenience free. It was brutal. Um, I think we’re kind of coming back to some better painting. Um, but as it relates to influencers and super fans, I think they’re two different things. Like an influencer like you, there’s a very, there’s only 20 of you, I think in the world now, 20 people who have an influence over a hundred thousand people. That’s a that’s a pretty elite group. I mean, if you think about an alley,
okay. And so we’re down to 20, I think the last time we chatted, you said there were 25
yeah. It’s getting less dropping like flies. Yeah. Yeah. They’re, they’re, they’re, yeah, they’re sad enough. Right.
So, but the super fans, do they not have a following of 100,000 people or they tend not to, they just tend to be really advocates of a brand and
they’re Mike, they’re micro-influencers their, their, their, their, their own following. But you know, there’s, they’re like me, right. I would be a super fan. So, you know, I’m the guy that everyone knows likes wine. I’m the guy that gets a call in the supermarket, you know, once a month or twice a month, say, Hey, I’m looking at a row of wine, which should I take Nick or I have friends that fall on my, to the lexical, uh, to see what I’m drinking. You know, and I brag about certain lines more than there. As I said, I will always talk about Lopez. I’ll always talk about cornerstone. You know, I love Mathias and there’s a lot of wines that I’m big fans of, dirty and rowdy. If you haven’t talked to Hardy Wallace, he’s a maid. You should meet him by the way.
I’d heard him. Yeah.
You would love him. You would love him. Yeah, I do. He’s just, he’s like the sweetest man I, I’ve ever met. He said his laugh is infectious. He is a why man. He was a blogger. Uh, he won that, that, uh, the hardly a the always is a really good job from Kendall Jackson. He was never, yeah, yeah. And he was there for six months and then start a Zune wine brand and it’s called a dirty and rowdy. and, and he’s just funny and clever and just an all-around good human being and like you are. So it’s like this is great. You guys should definitely meet. Yeah, Matthew.
Oh, that sounds like fun. Okay. So we’ve got our super fans, but um, let’s go back again cause there’s stuff I want to make sure I cover with you. Trying to justify the ROI of social media, the ROI of caring, the ROI of yes, service and individual attention and engagement. But how does that scale, how do you convince a mid-tier winery or a mid-level marketing manager who has a sales force or senior management going, no, no, no. I just want, did you get a thousand likes? Did you get a thousand, you know, 10,000 impressions? I mean, how do you talk about that with them? I, you
know, look, I loved it. Then, the concept of scale, but there’s nothing better than scaling a human experience and people sharing it over and over again. And I have a saying that all customers are important and not all customers have the same importance, right? So, well, some customers are worth more than others. The freedom principle, sometimes surprising customers that’s not worth a lot is actually more valuable than just going to the same customer over and over again. So randomly choosing a customer that’s not where something is showing up at their door, the case alive. Imagine, imagine how that would make somebody feel, you know, or I’m obviously paying better attention to them, the better customers. And how do you get them to work their way up the ladder to be that at the top and they keep maintaining them as long as you possibly can? , there’s a, I’m sure you know about this or I know that they were in this thing called the age of the consumer. And we’re also in what’s called the subscription economy, right. Everything is getting through subscriptions, micro subscriptions everywhere, whether it’s iTunes or, um, the new kind of, uh, plated and a blue apron or, or stitch fix the clothes that come in the mail. Yeah.
Product as a service. Like they’re making everything over into service. You’re right. They send you clothes, you can send them back, no hassles. So yeah,
right. Or meals that you’re getting that they prepare them. There’s the hot sauce club, you know, and then there’s a predictable income stream. The irony about this as wineries were one of the first ones to invent that model. W it was, it was newspapers, it was the Columbia record house, whatever, that you put your stamps on the records that you get in the mail, right? And then, uh, um, and then wineries, the differences is wineries never matured. So what’s happening in the subscription economy is in order to maintain a customer, you have always got to create value. You always have to be making things easier, right? That’s why the customer being so customer-centric and creating something where you maintain these customers and hold on to them when you’re doing symptoms for them over and over again, it’s foundational I think. Yeah. Yeah.
I’m sold, for several reasons. You know, one customer story, and you’ve said this, but, and I’ve seen it. One customer, a story can go everywhere with the intro, with social media. So it’s not just that you did this special thing for one person if they share it or gets around that is scaling, so to speak, and amplifying. Also, we always know that the cost of, um, winning over a customer is far more, uh, far costlier than getting a repeat deeper engage. Yeah. Get that, you know, the person who’s already buying from you go deeper, deeper, deeper, make sure they’re with you, make sure they’re purchasing more often, deepen the relationship. But still these people I find, um, there’s still the sort of marketing managers and so on. They’re so tied up in well how, you know, you know, how fast is your traffic growing or whatever. Um, or you know, how many more impressions? So how do you still, how do you talk to them and say, no, it’s about deeper engagement? They’ll go, I can’t put that in a chart.
You know, that’s an interesting question. I think that that’s, I think the trends are showing that already. I think that you know, creating better customer service if you look at Zappos is sold for one point $3 billion to Amazon cause they do customer service, a better shoe company that is the shoe company. If you go, you should still go there on their page, the about us. And they say they are a service company that just happens to sell shoes. That’s great because the homogenous nature of the internet is it either becomes commoditized or you add service. And yes, in a world of the infinite choice of services, the only differentiator I really believe that I say that over and over again. It’s particularly special in wine. I mean, look, our selection line is absurd. It’s, it’s mind-boggling. And how do you retain that customer? How do you make a relationship with them? Well, part of it is how do you talk to them? How do you service them? How do you make them feel better? How do you make them feel experience? How do you remind them of things, right?
And not just at the winery but when they go back home. Um, that you’re still having that connection with them because, you know, I think it’s a lost cause. Um, I used to be in the tech industry and there were the sort of dreamers who would say, no, our technology is better. And so I see it in the wine industry. No, our wine is better. It’s like, you know what? Okay, you got to make good wine. They got to like it, but there’s got to be something more not with, you know, as you said, I think there are 150,000 new wines in the US alone every year worldwide that are exponentially larger. And so how are they going to remember you through experience? Maya Angelou, the poet, and writer, American poet and writer said, um, they won’t remember what you told them. They won’t remember anything else, but they will remember how you made them feel. That’s absolutely right. And if you can connect with that, the feeling which comes through personal service experience, that’s what they’ll remember.
Yeah. I recommend anyone watching this show, whatever industry into ’em to follow Brian Solis. Do you know him? Yeah, he wrote, he’s a famous writer, wrote the consumer experience in other ones to do is Olivier blind in both of these guys are like on the cutting edge, user experience and how you lead no matter if you’re a product, the technology, a service company, how do you lead with this experience? How do you roll into every part of your brand? you can eat, he’s got free speeches on YouTube. Both of them. They have great books. I think X is the, uh, experience. Um, um, Brian sillies is a great guy too and they’re just, and so is Olivier. you know,
Oh, is there any fabulous like he, he’s on the ball and I was, yeah, I was reading one of the articles you wrote on medium about him. Thanks actually to Darryl woods in Toronto, who’s a big fan of you and Danny, uh, he pointed that article out to me and I’ll bet you Darryl’s watching tonight. Um, [inaudible] absolutely. But still, that article on the medium was fantastic. and that was true engagement because that’s another point, Paul. Like we get a lot of, not just in the wine industry, not to, it’s not specific to the wine industry, but when I called the retweeting of humble brag, so someone posts a review and it’s like, eh, glad. Yeah, whatever. I liked it as opposed to truly engagement that would say, I don’t know, take the conversation further or something. What do you think? Yeah,
I agree with you. Hundred percent of me. I’ve made fun of Trump’s work in the past. You should read former speeches. I don’t want to, I don’t want to embarrass them any more than I have. Yeah, exactly. But the are all over the place where you’re just retreating. That’s not engagement. That doesn’t help. ’em it’s broadcasting and it’s nauseated and it’s, it is me Meyer’s amazing that way. He chooses people, he tells them about an experience. And you know, I used to have, a bad experiment. This is why I tried to do show the positive. I drive up and down highway 29 or one Oh one through Sonoma and I would tweet a winery saying, if you answer me in the next 30 minutes, I’ll stop by and buy bottle Apollo wine. I’ve only bought two bottles of wine out of hundreds of tweets. So just to be clear, so I feel bad cause it, it, it was a bit of a wall of shame. So I kind of stopped doing it. But I mean, the reality is that says something I’m telling you. I’m coming in, I will buy a bottle of wine. If you just say hello to me,
the phone is ringing, the digital phone is ringing and it’s, we’re too busy. Yeah. Oh, so, okay. So Patty Ross says, wineries still are afraid to reach out to club members beyond the club shipments as they’re afraid of cancellations, email marketing, more so, but not engaging them on a social, Oh, she just disappeared. So that was her comment. I don’t know if you wanted to say anything about that.
That’s funny that you know, I think that that’s just bad business practice. If they’re not reaching out to their members because they don’t want them to cancel that, that’s, that’s not good. I mean, that’s
petty on inertia. I mean, I’ve totally switched my focus this year too. I just want to devote crazy people, my tribe. And yeah, I mean there’s, you know, several hundred thousand people subscribe or members, uh, who have signed up.
Speaker 3 (00:29:42):
But the ones I email most with, it’s like, I just want people who want to hear from me frequently. And if you don’t go away, I’m not for you. You know, it’s,
I think the w where social, I agree with you is the tribe. It’s about the people that you care about. It. Sadly enough, it’s been a little bit more polarizing this year with politics, everything else. But social really allows us to break that Dunbar rule in my opinion. It really allows us to the Dunbar rule, it says if we can only have 150 meaningful relationships, I think it’s, I think it’s 150. I should double-check it, but it’s pretty small.
Speaker 3 (00:30:20):
Sounds good. Yeah, that’s true. That’s true. And that’s what you need. Go deeper with those people.
Agreed. But, but social media also allows you to maintain that Dunbar rules out a lot. Cause I look, we haven’t talked in a few years, but we talked online quite a few times in between. So I’ve always said this is social media. Are that thin connections between the DeQuincy make, we’re having a thick one right now. We’re enjoying some wine together. We ha we had a thick one at a farmstead a few years ago. Um, have lunch together. but in between these deterrents and if you put a lot of thin ones together, by the way, you get a thick relationship as well. So there are people that I’ve talked to only online and it’s the first day I meet them in real life. It’s like we’re long lost, friends.
Do you feel you know them? Yeah. Yeah. Well, we do know each other. We’ve been around a long time. That’s true. That’s true. Laura Millan says facing this challenge at the winery I work for right now and I’m trying to bring us into the social media world. So much pushback because it’s so hard to quantify the results. I know I keep beating this.
I’ll send them, I’ll send them a report. You can quantify, you can show it to them and they will, they will. If they can’t get that then cause they want 10% more for lifetime value. They want 20% more. So they use that report we sent you.
Speaker 3 (00:31:37):
Okay. I’m good. Yeah. I can’t wait to read it. She should definitely use that. That’ll help her convince her bosses. Perfect.
No, I was gonna say, considering that most of the human population is on social media. Yeah, yeah. At least in the first world countries. I mean, it’s like say, it’s like saying, Hey, all of our customers are here, but we’re not going to talk to them. We’re going to where we’re going to go to this cave and see what happens.
I, this was in one of your presentations in New Zealand and I was like, how many of you are online? How many of you are on social media? How many of you have a smartphone? It was 100%, I think 100%. It was 100%. And yet wineries and forces and so on. What, that traditional loan, no, no, no. It’s, it’s the stuff that’s on TV and print and so on. That’s what counts when it comes to coverage, reviews or advertising, you know, we’re all living digitally and I don’t know, it’s just,
I dunno, we’re really resistant against it and it’s a very multifaceted problem. Obviously the wine industry, it’s, uh, uh, culturally challenging. It’s, it’s um, you know, I don’t, I don’t really understand it yet. You know why it’s totally there. I would spend my Rubik’s cube for a couple of decades now, so I’m almost sure I got three or four of the sides figured out, but we’ll see. We can get the last two. Yeah.
Yeah, please. I love wacky wines. Yeah. And I picked wines because of labels. Uber. What is your, what is your wackiest variety that you like? I mean, that you really enjoy?
Oh, I’m going to sound so safe. if I picked something like. You know, what I’ve started loving is, um, the wines of Santa Rini. So I’ll try not to be too trendy cause I, I think volcanic wines are having their moment. So I like to be, I like to be off-trend and unfashionable. If I can. so I do like them. I don’t know. There’s something alive and energetic there. orange wines. Okay.
I hit miss for me. There’s some of them, they’re amazing and sometimes you’re like, that’s just a flawed wine.
Weird or funky or something. Or I still like the crisp whites, Gruner Veltliner and all that kind of stuff. I don’t know. Pickle now there. Okay. Tell us about that. Go ahead
again. It’s a no, no, no, you know it very well. It’s just a, it’s just a nice sharp line that’s, you know, a dry and beautiful. It’s, I love that wine. It’s not a lot of people have it, so it’s pretty rare. Yeah. I’m at least US-based. Do you, have you drink any or do you enjoy it?
I’ve only had a few. I get to taste everything the LCBO brings in, so I taste a lot of wines. So yes, I’ve tried one of, no, no more than one.
they’re kind of like a mix between a peanut Gratiot and as Sauvignon Blanc. And then we’d be, the way I’d describe it, you know, from my use as a reference point, maybe I love white Rio Hoss, by the way. I don’t know why. That’s interesting. Yeah. They’re kind of cookie in line there. Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
Where is the balance of how much content both wineries and wine review sites should be pushing out versus engagement?
Yeah. You know, so we live in the age of concept pollution. I’d say during the extremes going, I thought it’s the saying that in the next 24 hours it’ll be more a constant grid since 2002, the beginning of time or something like that, some spoof certainty and it’s just, I believe in good quality content. I think that that’s still good, you know, you’re telling your story if you’re telling it well and you’re telling it frequently and consistently across channels, that’s just part of what you’re supposed to do. I think every brand is a media company. You know, their job is to create the content and put it out and tell their story. I do think though that if I were running any wine brand, I would only do 10 to 15% content creation and 85, you know, 90% engagement
responding to people on social media or whatever,
not just responding, proactively reaching out to them, finding people I want to talk to tribes that I want to engage with, you know, and whether I’m doing that through small micro-advertising so they can encourage them to talk and start the conversation or through actual one-on-one, uh, regardless, I, I’d really be spending my time trying to get my message to these people, letting them know that I’m here a real brand. I really care about what they think. Just see your points, right? Have those really dedicated people because they’re going to tell it to more people and they’re going to tell to Wednesday it’s going to be a, you know, a great, wonderful, cascading a gift?
Absolutely. And you brought that up with Danny Meyer on Medium that people would be just saying, I’m having a birthday in New York City and I, what was the example you used?
That’s exactly that. What that was exactly. They’re sort of coming in New York City and he’s a lie. I have these three restaurants are open that night. Or um, you know, we have a great appetizer, you know, we’re doing special bloody Mary’s. So this morning you’re trying to contextually fit that in, uh, to start new conversations with potential customers. I mean, Danny Meyer’s the King of that, um, and his book setting the table, it’s really kind of a great foundational book for anyone doing any business in life.
Absolutely. I’ve read that as well. I absolutely loved it. And you know, we have a restaurant tour here in Ottawa. Steve who worked with Danny Meyer and he’s got the Danny Meyer, um, what do you call it? Ethic in him and has raised the bar here in Ottawa for dining. He’s got three restaurants now. He’s so successful. But that training that came from, he was front of the house, Somalia at Madison 11, 11 Madison and a few other places with Danny Meyer while he was in New York for five years. Anyway, it’s a great, great example. He talks about just one divergent note here, but someone, someone coming in, um, someone had a business meeting and they had a leather briefcase but with the long strap and it was broken and so they checked the bag and then by the time they’d finished lunch or dinner,, they had got that bag replaced or repaired, the strap repaired so that, you know, stuff like that, you know, it just hero stories that do actually get shared I think
even if they don’t get shared, I mean, you really make a difference in someone’s life. There’s no better service than that to, you know, make someone feel better in a smile with a good customer service call or, you know, you know, we, we, none of us are doing, you know, brain surgery or genetic testing that’s going to secure cancer. So what can we do in the human condition? Why we’re out there busy being capitalists, we can make people feel better. I think that I think that that’s, I think that that’s something that’s lost. And I think the internet lost it a bit. And I think that we were going to bring it back. It’s really, looks, in a world of infinite choices, it doesn’t matter if it’s wine is this service. How we do service is really gonna make the difference for all of this. However, this is the same. And people invest so little in that service quality.
Yes, that’s true. And two weeks ago I was chatting right here with dr Laura Katina from Argentina and I said, why did you not switch? But she’s both an emergency room doctor in San Francisco and she makes wine with her family winery and Argentina. And she said, she realized she could make a are people happy with wine? And she thought it was as important as being an emergency room doctor. So you just said, you know, we’re not doctors, but she really had a lot of bourgeois stress for me personally, uh, that I’m not a doctor, but she, she really framed it nicely that actually it’s about making an impact in the world. And, you know, this is where we’ve planted ourselves. And we can do this. Like we, we can actually make a difference in people’s lives with what you’re talking about.
Yeah. We can do it through the blind as a general category. We can do it through the simplest piece of how we run our business or how we help our businesses do a better job making people feel better, you know?
What digital tools can brands use to a bill brand’s awareness? Build brand awareness. engage consumers while at the location and see, engage post-visit.
Yeah, so I, I think that it’s the philosophy versus a singular tool. Um, obviously there’s a lot of good tools out there, but it’s like a, you have to have that digital mindset. You got to the part of that digital, your companies have to be thinking digital. Starbucks has this digital flywheel. Um, uh, if you look at the fortune 570% are new and they’re going to dope the last over the last, you know, 20 years. So the fortune 500 switch so fast, it’s going to continue. You, you have like a, right now early in toys R us, it’s probably going to go bankrupt this year. You know, sad, right? I mean, yeah.
Is that because of Amazon? Amazon is eating their lunch or
perhaps I think it is a lot to do that. I mean it’s just everything’s eating their lunch. Look, they’re, they’re competing, on a, a multifaceted war. Now they have locations. It costs money. You have to fight online, and yet you have to really lean into the digital piece because that frontier is larger.
And what is the digital flywheel that you mentioned? What does that for startups?
So Starbucks has what’s called the digital flywheel. It’s their whole philosophy around, um, everything from the way that they do the payment. When you walk in using your iPhone, uh, the way they collect data, there are all these components that are making the consumers job means whether you buy a gift card, I use the internet. All of this stuff is how they’re putting together this concept called the digital flywheel to seamlessly make the experience both intelligent and, and better for the consumer. Right. and that’s a philosophy that comes from the internet more than anything else. Um, and their last, uh, uh, ironically the CTO that started the digital came from the wine industry. Yeah. So yes, Steve was a, with a wine shopper, wine.com way back when. So yeah, he was nice. I think he’s the CTO of semantic or something now, but I really interesting that he came from that piece.
Yeah. Really. what do you think about, I mean, we’re doing it here now, but live video or video in general for the wine industry versus text and other ways of sharing and connecting?
Well, I mean, we all know the video’s becoming is much more consumable. Images are much more consumable than text. , I think that the the the cost to produce video as well, it’s cheap to do it really nicely or to at least if you do it cheaply to make it feel like you’re, you know, there’s a reason you’re doing cheap and you’re being thoughtful about it. It’s content creation again, which is the most expensive and hardest part about wineries and where they have the most trouble. It’s also the most fun, you know, so that’s why a lot of wineries actually lean into the content part of the business of social media. They’re creating new ads and new, you know, whatever. Um, versus engaging with consumers. Cause that’s the really boring drudgery work to some degree in some people think, you know, marketer likes to make big pretty pictures or big pretty videos or you know, that talking to people one on one or doing data analytics on why these people think this way, they can think like them. It’s not as fun. Right,
right, right. And then over to mobile, cause I just want to have, we’re already at 45 minutes is fantastic. It’s just boom, boom, boom. So you’ve got the Vino delectable, some big hitters on mobile apps. What’s going to happen to the wine app space? Is there a room for others or is it pointless or,
so we’re down to the big, we’re down to the big four at this point, right? So you’ve got a Vino delectable, , wine-searcher and cellar tracker. , so tracker, while it is not at the same volume, it’s just Eric is amazing. It’s a classic community.tastemakers for sure. but it’s a zero-sum game, right. I don’t want to use two apps, so whatever I invest in as an app and, and you know, I, I love the electable. It used to work much better. you know, uh, and now it’s not, it has a little bit more pattern problems and hoping that, that Antonio fixes it with his team. Right. But I’m not, I’m not moving, even if it’s having these pop-up ads, it’s giving me now because all my wines and there’s a hundred,
right. Yeah. You’re entrenched because you’ve invested your time. Yeah.
And they haven’t, they’re not making it where, you know, Eric is really very Switzerland that way, not to, to, to make upon him his wife’s. but she was an ambassador to Switzerland last year or the, you know, uh, anyways, um, he’s really good about like letting people take the data cause he believes there’s a service that people will support him cause he’s doing really good things. Um, but these other apps have just dimensionally changed the way that we talked about wine cellar comes from a time when people would go home to their computer and take notes. And these apps are real-time at the moment. And what people don’t realize is what most wineries, and I wrote an article about this on medium recently too. Okay. what people don’t realize is that for every review there’s 10 to 20 pictures of that wine that people are going to the supermarket or the LCPO or taking pictures to say, is this a wine I want to drink? Right. It’s the crowd. Think about it.
Yeah. And are they really, I mean, is it useful when you get 28,000 reviews of one? Why and what are people doing? Isn’t that overwhelming or is that just that’s a crowd. Yes.
So it’s a crowd. Yes. It’s like, it’s like Amazon reviews, you know, I have to say that I’m a bigger fan of the pro plus consumer kind of waiting. Delectable does. I’ve, I’ve told that to high-need quite a few times, which is there’s a certain nice balance that says pros, a rating is really high, but consumers are in a really low or you know, or there’s a correlation between the two of there. You’re getting a lot of, um, especially when you see the pro, you’re like, okay, I can take some confidence and the consumers are not misguided. Right? Tomatoes, they’ll show the critic. Exactly. And then they’ll show the exact, it’s just like rotten tomatoes. Exactly. I think that’s great, that’s the perfect one because if you look at things like Yelp, you know, I’ve seen Yelps, it had like a McDonald’s as 10,000 stars, five stars.
I’m like, again, it’s like your open tables a lot better than that, you know, and four square. But I mean, these crowd is the new critic. It’s a reality. But how does that weight itself out? And I think that that combination of pro and consumer or, you know, top and bottom also have a, have a play, right? Um, people that consume their, like Amazon, right? If you’ve ever done the Amazon reviews, you go to buy your Amazon, I will get their worst review or a couple of them and I looked at a couple of the top reviews and try to create my own educate guests at the dissonance between the two. Right. So, um, you know, if everyone’s bragging about it, why are they bragging about it so much and if someone’s really upset about it and what are those things I need to be aware of before I go into that purchase, whatever it is.
Absolutely. Yeah. totally spokes a Rameet narrowing. What’s the feature you’d like to be, see you’d like to see be added to your favorite wine app? Paul?
Yeah, that’s, that’s, that’s an interesting one. Ooh, that’s a good question. So, you know, the purchasing of wine is still a problem. Um, there’s no real good purchaser to buy the wines from or to put it in a saved list or to share that wine specifically with, Hey guys, these are the wine, you know, like almost like a, a playlist, you know, this is my plan. I drink all my Spotify playlist says, Hey for you, they’d love to follow my feet. Here are the white wines I’m going to put in my recommended flow. Yeah. That way you don’t have to sort through 400 wines to find the ones that I like. So maybe like a, like a, a playlist would be a playlist that you could actually
consume because as you pointed out, the long-tail searches are music books and films and wine, but wine is the only one that can’t be delivered digitally. That’s exactly right. So yeah.
And, and you know someone, Adrian I think is doing an app with playlists for travel, like into, he seemed like a, it’s called wine rod. So he’s going through and doing like a playlist, Hey, I went to these wineries. I liked that notion of a playlist. Does it, it, it saves time, right? Yes. It’s like the customers. Yeah. Customers recommended this. Also recommended that or you know, who, who do you follow and who do you really like of their tastes? Like I really enjoy Elaine Brown’s a palette.
No. Oh, I’ve heard of her. Yeah. Oh, man. You have to meet her. She’s amazing. She has a great palette. I enjoy her wines are a little more esoteric, but she’s really deep and really ritualistic about understanding them, you know. Sounds good. I’ve got a lot of homework after this. , and so do you think, PR is dead? Like, you know, I still get press releases announcing the new vice president of such and such and there’s like no wine to taste or anything. I mean, what was the role of PR agencies? It’s really interesting.
So PR was a dying industry, around let’s say 2007, 2008, it was like really relegated to the place of, events, coordination and press releases, right? That, that was kind of the thing. And obviously influencer like yourself, you know, uh, reach outreach, right? So that was the kind of thing. , but then along came social media and it brought PR back to exactly what it was about, which is public relations, right? So social media was this broad thing and actually more PR has been absorbed. PR companies gravitate to social media management, social media, and they’ve learned a whole new discipline around PR. And then, social media and marketing, then that became the fight. So you’ve seen a lot of social media or a lot of PR agencies and marketing agencies first turn digital, second focus on social media or first [inaudible] second social media, then do digital and then mash together.
So the amount of marketing, communication companies that are becoming, we do PR and we do marketing, including creative, et cetera, et cetera, is growing rapidly. I mean, they’re just collapsing together faster and faster. So I think the role of PR is changed dimensionally. I think that it’s gone back to its original, roots, which is how to make the public feel about your product day. You know, um, not just influencers, that’s just newspaper writers. Um, you know, not just events, but everyone, how you make everybody feel good about or know about it or understand your story. And that’s similar to marketing. So there, as I said, they’re mashing together pretty strongly. Wow.
That’s cool. Yeah, it is actually cool. It’s a cool time to be marketing communications. It’s a very hard discipline. I mean, the amount you have to know as a marketing professional. So
everything from like, you know, analytics, you know creative too. And then you start to slice about the different disciplines, whether it’s print or broadcast or digital. And then when you got to digitally, I’m like, I don’t know, a hundred in variation. So, so many specialties that are turning up
and then just knowing the industry itself, which is endlessly, endlessly complex and analysis silly putting that all together. It’s a jigsaw puzzle. Oh, Paul, this is so I could go on all night. Let me just remind people that doubt. Oh, do you want to show the bottle or no, you have the Sauvignon Blanc, but you can hold it up. Anyway. So for those who share our conversation tonight, cornerstone sellers, it is. Yes. And which one are we? It’s a premium California wine. Yes. So which one do people have a chance to win And how much is that retail average?
I think it’s like 55 bucks.
$55 is worth a share. I’m going to, while you’re doing that, I’m going to show. So folks, if you just share this a conversation, pressing the share button, um, there it is and he’d make a comment that’s even better. we will announce the winner of tonight’s contest next week. It’s $50. Okay. And while you’re there, you can also follow so that you get notified when Miguel live. And also Paul has generously agreed to share the link for this digital tribe report. Very valuable, lots of great insights. So post in the comments below if you want to know about that. And I’m gonna share with Paul the link to our conversation once this is done so that he can share yet more links and it can go on forever. I will link you up. That’s great. And the people that you mentioned as well, that’s all going to be great. Um, so Paul, is there anything that we have not covered that you’d really like to mention right now? Cause we’re, we’re not on a hard time limit here. So yeah,
2018 is going to be a tough year for the wine industry.
Why is that? Yeah.
Well, Rob McMillan from Silicon Valley bank is already telegraphing, you know, some, you know, early indicators of the softness of the market. As you can see, it’s really impacted. There’s a lot of wholesaler consolidation in the United States. Um, you know, there’s a lot of acquisitions going on, bigger wineries gaining bigger. , it’s, it’s just, there are so many challenges hitting us at the same time. The consolidation challenges that we’re going before hitting and it’s even hitting on the direct to consumer, the winery a direction inside. I mean I think Napa Valley has 700 whiners. Huh, wow. Right. I mean it’s just region and so, and even though we’re, we’re, we’re overly fortunate that we have like, you know, anywhere, depending on the stats, 2.9 to four-point million people coming through the Valley every year. This is the first year that I’ve heard both in Napa and Sonoma that during the tourist season it’s, it’s not as strong as it was the last year. Even though the same people are coming through and it’s, it’s cause it’s diffused. Now there are more wineries spreading them that well, I mean, right. and how do you, how do you compete if you have a weekend, right? And you’re going to Napa, you can visit four to six wineries without just getting blasted.
Sure, sure. But there’s 700 to choose from and then Sonoma is right on your doorstep,
right? Yeah. Man, you can jump over the Hill the same day or vice versa. I mean, what they have like three, 400 or something like that. It’s, it’s, it’s, it’s amazing, right?
So again, service diff differentiates. You’ve got to have that relationship perhaps before they come to visit Napa. Like you’ve been online connecting with them.
Right. Or, you know, when they’re there, making sure that they feel, you know, that connection. Not like a, like a, you know, meet, grind, you’re trying to get people through the doors, you know?
Yeah. People can sense that. And especially in this hospitality industry, whether you’re talking to them or at them.
Yeah, exactly. For sure. And I think that that’s something that we are all going to experience pretty heavy duty in 2018. Um, and then the concern of like, companies like Amazon are getting, uh, you know, international competition, like nobody’s business., you know, there are so many factors playing at us this year. It’ll be interesting to see even that even the, even those cheap wine clubs that are coming out, right, whether it’s a club w or a from wink or there’s the one that’s a net good wine, you know, they’re, you know, your convenience, these virtual brands that don’t actually really exist. It’s getting harder and harder.
Absolutely. Wow. So we’re going to have to talk again and I’m well a month from now to a year from now, see what’s changed. I’m sure lots will change and we will absolutely know. Paul, this would be great. We will also post all this online, but just give us a shout as to how people can best reach you online.
I’m most successful on Twitter @PMabray. So I’m easy to find Paul Mabray. I’m the only, I’m the only guy that hasn’t named. I’m very lucky that way. it’s a pretty unique name, so I’m exactly on Twitter. It’s easy to find me. I answer every tweet, I answer every DM. So I actually even answer every email if you email me too as well.
Are you sure you want to give this? I would hold off the email. Twitter, Twitter is good constrained 140. Right?
soon or maybe, yeah, maybe. Anyway, it’s still, it’s a good gating factor to the 280 tweets by the way. They look very long, by the way. Have you seen any yet? No, I haven’t seen them yet, but I’d rather have them do the tweet stream. They had a plot feature that they’re allowing people to put it into a conversation thread. They have a threaded, whether they’re going to add a, and I thought that was more interesting. Again, it leads to 80 for sure. I don’t think that’s going to fix Twitter’s problems, but I still love Twitter. I love like a hopelessly bad boyfriend. But anyway, I am right there with you. And it’s a tough one, right? It really is. You love it. It’s, I love it. I hate it and I love it. I hate it. I love it. I hate it.
Yes. Yes. Paul, this was so great. Thank you. Oh, it’s so excellent. The insights and just, we have material here for three hours, but I’m going to wrap this up and folks stay with me cause I’m announcing last week’s contest winner and a bunch of other things. But Paul, thank you so much for your time and for your generosity and, and sharing your intelligence.
Let’s assume I’ll come to Canada. You come back to Napa. .
Absolutely. Wouldn’t that be fun? So I will say good night for now and you can go back to your four lovely children and a beautiful wife.