Season 03 / Episode 015

Affiliate Program Management Agency JEBCommerce Acquired by Executive Team – An Interview with Jake, Nicole and Gabe

With Jake Fuller, Nicole Ripley, Gabe Ripley - Executive Team, JEBCommerce

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Join Jamie Birch, founder of JEBCommerce, in a historic episode with JEB’s new ownership team: current CEO Jake Fuller, Director of Administrative Services Nicole Ripley, and Director of Creative Services Gabe Ripley. As they mark a significant moment in the agency’s history, the episode explores the future direction of the company and the affiliate marketing channel. After nearly 20 years, the transition to a new ownership team promises exciting new heights for JEBCommerce. Listen in for insights on the journey ahead.

About Our Guest


Jake Fuller, Nicole Ripley, Gabe Ripley




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[00:00:48] Jamie: Well, welcome to the Profitable Performance Marketing podcast. I am Jamie Birch, the founder of JEBCommerce and your host today and for all of season three, and two, and one. I’m stoked to talk to you guys today. We have, I know I say this every time special guests, but we actually do have special guests.

[00:01:07] We have three guests from JEBCommerce, our executive team joining us today, and we have really big news, really big news. I want you to listen to the podcast. I’m not going to share it here in this intro. I’m going to let you listen, but we have the JEBCommerce CEO Jake Fuller. We have our Director of Administrative Services, Nicole Ripley, and we have our Director of Creative Services, Gabe Ripley joining me to talk about that big news from JEBCommerce.

[00:01:36] I would love to tell you all about that right now, but I want you to listen to the podcast. No other notes today, nowhere to direct you, I’m going to get out of the way so you can listen to my conversation with the executive team at JEBCommerce.

[00:01:50] Well, everyone, welcome to the Profitable Performance Marketing podcast. This is a very special episode. Now. I know I say that a lot, but this is actually a big deal. Got big news. Joining me today are the new owners of JEBCommerce. From my top left, Jake Fuller, Nicole Ripley, and Gabe Ripley.

[00:02:10] Welcome to the Profitable Performance Marketing podcast.

[00:02:14] Jake: Thanks for having us. I’ve listened to many of these episodes and first time to join.

[00:02:21] Jamie: And only a few we forced you to listen to, right?

[00:02:24] Jake: That’s correct. Yes, that’s correct.

[00:02:27] Jamie: Well, it’s exciting to have all you guys here and exciting. This is huge news for JEBCommerce. After 19 years I’ll be moving on to some other things and you guys will be stepping into ownership. You guys have been really running the company for the last six, seven months as I stepped down and moved into a marketing and employee development role in June.

[00:02:47] And this is just a natural step. So I’m really excited to talk with you guys. Gabe has been evading this podcast probably since we started and being involved or being out there publicly in this way since you started but we got you here now and I’d really love to dive in with each of you.

[00:03:06] On this podcast we always start with origin stories. Where you came from from a career perspective and your career path. I don’t know who wants to start, but I should probably do proper introductions before we get going. So we have Jake Fuller the JEBCommerce CEO. Jake, you took over in June, 2023.

[00:03:28] And then we have the husband and wife team of Gabe and Nicole Ripley. Nicole, you’ve been with JEB for nine and a half years. Nine and a half years. And you are currently the Director of Administrative Services. So you’ve been in that role for some time, started as my assistant and just took on every role that you possibly could. I’ll let you describe what you’re doing.

[00:03:52] And Gabe, we’ve been working together since 2000, but at JEB you’ve been here for 10 years, right? Almost 10 and a half

[00:04:02] Gabe: yep I think it was, what, mid I think it’ll be, what, mid June of this coming year will be ten.

[00:04:09] Jamie: 10. Crazy. Still not sick of me yet.

[00:04:17] Gabe: No, we’re still good, man.

[00:04:19] Jamie: Good, good. Who wants to go first? Tell us about yourself, your career history and really want to dive into why was this a great next step for you. I’ll let you guys fight over who wants to go first.

[00:04:34] Jake: They’re both looking at me. It feels like on the screen here. Um, so, so I’ll jump in. Yeah, Jake Fuller here, CEO. Some of the listeners may know me, some may not. For me, my professional career started actually in door to door sales. And so sales. was a capacity of sales has always been the direction I’ve taken.

[00:04:56] And many moons ago I got into door to door knocking, selling alarm systems. And that was a, that was probably… it’s probably the most aggressive way you can cut your teeth in the sales industry is knocking on a stranger’s door time and time again. But I found success with that. I found success with that over about four years.

[00:05:13] I helped the company open a few remote satellite offices across the country, hired teams. And that’s when I started to realize that working with people was really what my passion was about. It wasn’t the sales aspect. It was talking to new folks. It was hiring these teams, opening these offices and working in that kind of team atmosphere.

[00:05:33] But I wanted to get away from that. I knew I didn’t want to go pound pavement for the rest of my life. So, about 13 plus years ago, my first digital marketing job was that a company called Integrate, and they’ve changed a bit over the years, but they are a marketing hub software solution for brands to manage and operate really any facet of their digital strategy.

[00:05:54] And so for me to jump into there I got to understand and learn about what is SEO and SEM, what is paid social, what is lead generation, what’s affiliate marketing and I just naturally gravitated towards the lead generation side, specifically on the affiliate part. And as I dove deeper into that, my career expanded and I went to a lead gen affiliate marketing agency that was focused on providing SEO and SEM services, website builds for clients and then more importantly, the lead gen side, which is what I operated when I went there.

[00:06:26] And then fast forward about two years from that agency, I decided to branch out on my own. I always had, a thought that I wanted to run my own company, and so I did just that in 2015. I launched my own lead generation company that I ran successfully for about four years, and it was, it definitely had some ups and downs.

[00:06:45] I think being the first time I jumped into that there were things that you don’t think about when you come up and decide I’m going to launch my own business. Well, you don’t think about how invoicing with clients works and if they don’t pay you on time, how are you going to cover that? Especially in those insurance.

[00:07:01] Yeah, there’s, there’s a, there’s a whole lot you got to learn for sure. But it was probably the most rewarding work that I’ve done because it was something that I built, something that I created and something that I had control over its direction and it’s capacity to grow. That was a really cool experience.

[00:07:16] And for different reasons, I was ready to get out of that specific industry of affiliate marketing that was really lead-gen focused, so I would work with different aggregators, different websites. I had about seven websites that I owned myself where I realized very quickly, I was not the professional who could run their own paid search and paid efforts to his sites and find a profitable way to keep that up.

[00:07:39] So I had to find people that were better than me at that. And that’s where affiliate really came in and really, really started to dig into the affiliate world is working with those third party sites that had an audience I couldn’t reach to drive that traffic into my sites and ultimately generate leads that I could sell to my partners who were looking for that information and that traffic.

[00:07:58] So, that’s how I got into the affiliate world. And then I had a private exit in 2019 which I was satisfied with. I was really happy to close that chapter, and then I got back into call it employee life, if you will, but I’ve always had that mindset that I will one day run a business again, and it will be my business at some point or another. I didn’t know how that would come to fruition, if you will, but I’ve always agreed that if you think about where you want to go and you’re open to what doors come your way and you take those opportunities, you don’t know what’s going to come of that, but if you keep that end goal in mind, you might get to the position where you can… again, where we’re at now, take over and run the company, not just from the CEO position, but owning it, which is not something that was on my agenda when I came here a little over three years ago. So that’s kind of my general story on how I ended up where I am now.

[00:08:51] Jamie: Yeah, and I think some of the aspects, I’ve run JEB for 19 years. My wife and I have other companies and that aspect of you’ve already done the ownership because it’s one thing to run a team of affiliate marketers. It’s one thing to run a team of sales professionals. It’s even one thing to be the CEO of a company.

[00:09:10] It’s different to own it. So knowing that you had that experience and the affiliate experience and leading teams is I think one of the many things that are going to lead to a lot of success for you guys and for JEB, in the future. And you’ve been with us for going on four years. I think you started right in the…

[00:09:28] Jake: Middle of the pandemic. Yeah, right in the middle of the pandemic. That was exciting times.

[00:09:36] Jamie: When we started the company, the economic time wasn’t great either, and a lot of my mentors said, “if you start something and it’s there at the end of a chaotic crisis like the that you guys are going to be much stronger and you’ll last.” And we have, and the pandemic was crazy and you came on at a, at really the craziest time, I think in all our lives and the company’s done well.

[00:09:59] You brought a lot to it right away. So tell me what outside of wanting to own a business, what’s exciting you about ownership of JEB and why was this the next great step for you?

[00:10:13] Jake: I think that’s a good question. I think a lot of people, whether it’s within their job, they might not have this opportunity. This is a fantastic opportunity that all three of us have here. One thing that draws me to this is, again, going back to my, my joy of working with individuals and when you’re at a company of any size, if there’s anything that you go, “I think this needs to change, or I’d like to see this change a bit differently” when you have that capability as an owner to say, “great, I can make this pivot now,” it rests on your shoulders.

[00:10:43] It comes with a lot of responsibility. I think a lot of people know that, and it can come with risk of course, as well, but I think the excitement of having that authority to some degree, and I don’t know if that’s the right word, cause authority is not what I’m looking for, but just the ability to pivot and make choices and steer the direction of the ship, so to speak into the future really excites me.

[00:11:05] And it’s one reason affiliate marketing has been where I’ve always been drawn back to. I think like any digital marketing strategy or channel it shifts constantly. Like if you get into this business or into this industry and you don’t like to constantly learn and adapt, don’t start. But if that excites you this is where you want to be.

[00:11:24] And that’s, I think, when it comes to ownership, the same applies is you constantly have to adapt, think on your feet, and make decisions moving forward. And, and that kind of keeps me getting up in the morning and… and moving forward.

[00:11:37] Jamie: And that’s one thing I see as a commonality between the three of you is that curiosity to keep learning to pick up new things. It’s definitely something that I see with all three of you. So that’s great. I’m excited to have, you’ve been running things since June and doing well.

[00:11:51] And yeah, so let’s move on. Which one of you two want to go next. Who’s going to be, I’m so excited to have you guys on this very public-facing thing, whereas most of the time, the interaction you guys have is with our team and not out publicly like this. So, bravo for coming on board.

[00:12:10] I want the world to meet you guys. So who wants to go?

[00:12:15] Nicole: I

[00:12:15] Jamie: Don’t make eye contact with me. There we go.

[00:12:18] Nicole: I’ll jump in. Nicole Ripley, Director of Administrative Services. And my origin story I started out with a degree in forestry, forest recreation, and I worked for the park service one season and the forest service for a couple of seasons. Gabe and I had moved to North Idaho and my intent was to continue that career path when …

[00:12:46] Jamie: We have forests and parks and things

[00:12:49] Nicole: We’re in this beautiful…

[00:12:50] Jamie: Logical assumption.

[00:12:51] Nicole: Yeah. We moved here in the fall when the rec season is quieting down and the forest service isn’t hiring at that time. So I took a, what was supposed to be a temporary position at Coldwater Creek, and that morphed into a permanent full time position as an Assistant Buyer in the merch department, and I really did a lot of… product information, product management. It was an administrative slash support role. The VP that I worked under, she helped nurture my skillset with organization and paying attention to details and…

[00:13:28] Jamie: Which has probably kept me out of jail.

[00:13:30] Nicole: well, and…

[00:13:31] Jamie: …been working here. Yeah.

[00:13:35] Nicole: Possibly. I was going to say, those skills that were nurtured at that time of my career, I’ve been able to bring forward to here. So I spent six years at Coldwater Creek and then took some time off when our daughter was born, but I came back into the career world as Jamie’s executive assistant.

[00:13:55] And over the years, he has really let me just flex those muscles the organization and keeping track of all the nitty gritty, a lot of the behind the scenes stuff. I’ve shared with Jamie before, the idea of a stage production where you have the actors and the orchestra is out front.

[00:14:15] I don’t want to be there. I want to be behind the curtain. I want to be behind the scenes. But I want to be making sure that everything’s in its place. So that way everything that’s happening out front is running smooth, and Jamie has definitely allowed me to do that here. Brought me in and said, “Oh, you’re good at that? Go for it.”

[00:14:33] And I think I’ve really grown here and I’ve really enjoyed my position and I think taking this next step as a co-owner is a very exciting opportunity and it seems natural and I feel prepared for it, thanks to Jamie’s guidance for the past almost 10 years and even…

[00:14:56] Jamie: Or sometimes complete lack of guidance.

[00:14:59] Jake: Yeah.

[00:15:00] Jamie: “Can you please handle this? I have to go do other things.”

[00:15:03] Nicole: But those were learning opportunities for me. So…

[00:15:06] Jamie: They were, and I have already expressed my standing apology having to work with me for so long and maybe some of the off things I’ve asked you to do, but I’d say definitely like you have always… one thing I’ve grew to lean on and probably the thing I’m going to miss the most is having you sometimes right next to me and other times metaphorically right next to me, making sure that what we’re trying to do at JEB is getting done, is organized, is structured, and then the things around it, and Jake you’ve already seen this running your own business, but for those owners who are listening… there’s so many things around the vision that need to get done that a lot of founders, they’re not good at doing, they don’t want to do, and you need someone like you, Nicole, have been able to put structure to the vision.

[00:15:57] And none of the things we’ve done would have been possible without that from you. I’m excited to see that continue to help JEB grow.

[00:16:06] Nicole: Yeah. Yeah, and I think the company as a whole that we have embraced processes, that’s one of our values. And Gabe will probably speak more about this too. That’s something that naturally I gravitate towards. If there’s chaos, then I want to create structure. I want to create routine.

[00:16:23] And I think as a collective here, the four of us have worked to implement a lot of processes in a lot of what we do, and that’s something that, again, just going forward that I’m really looking forward to continue to do is to improve what we have done and to. Take those I’m stumbling.

[00:16:43] This is going to…

[00:16:43] Jamie: No, you’re doing great. No, we’ll leave this in. You’re doing great. No…

[00:16:48] Nicole: …know where I…

[00:16:49] Jamie: thing we’ve all leaned on is you, you being able to to continue to, and you are in charge of HR finance and any administrative things. Around the company. So bringing that structure and organization to a growing company that will continue to grow and bring on new team members, take on new clients most likely new services in the years to come.

[00:17:11] We’ll talk about some of those later on, on this podcast, but bringing that and your skillset to bear, because most of the time when clients are interacting with you, it’s probably a contract signing date and establishing the accounting. Items and then invoicing. And if there’s any other those types of issues is where, where they’ll experience or interact with you.

[00:17:33] Nicole: Yeah, yeah, I don’t have too much interaction with the clients except for in those instances. And again, I think this goes back to just, that stage production where I’m not out front. So, but I’m behind the scenes and I’m trying to do all those things to keep the company working, so that way the team, the affiliate managers and the assistants and Jake can get the work done. And that’s really my passion. I think over time, sometimes people… I don’t think they give a lot of credit to someone who does feel good about being in a more administrative position. I think some of those positions sometimes get maybe look down on, but something that thrills me. I like to organize, I like to file paperwork I like to make sure all of our T’s are crossed and our I’s are dotted, and I think Jamie definitely knows that now.

[00:18:24] Jamie: Yes. Oh, yes I …

[00:18:25] Nicole: Learning that, and Gabe, of course, he knows this many years, so, yeah.

[00:18:31] Jake: And people like, I feel like people like Jamie and I highly value positions like this and individuals who take joy in it because that’s not where I want to be.

[00:18:40] Nicole: Well, and, yeah, and that’s what I hope…

[00:18:42] Jake: It’s a fantastic thing that you do. What people, I think listening need to know is that, those visions that we talked about. Jamie had mentioned there’s a lot that goes behind that vision as an owner and the direction you take a company without Gabe and Nicole and what they do, I don’t know if we could pull off a lot of the things that we’ve done in the past six months, let alone the past 10 years.

[00:19:03] Nicole: And that’s part of been one of my goals as I’ve worked under Jamie and then now going forward, with you, Jake, as a CEO is to just take care of all those things behind the scenes, that way you don’t have to worry about it and you guys are focusing on what’s moving us forward, keep us going down that path.

[00:19:20] Jamie: Yeah, definitely. And you’ve done such a tremendous job. Like I said, probably the two biggest things in this transition are, what am I going to do with my email? We talked about that yesterday. I’m still trying to figure that out. I’ve had a JEB email for probably before there was a company JEBCommerce and then just all the stuff that you’ve been able to do and the organization you brought to my life.

[00:19:43] People have learned, especially when you were in your first role as Executive Assistant, that if they couldn’t get ahold of me to call you, if I didn’t know, then Nicole would know, and that bodes for the company as well.

[00:19:55] So you are the glue, and I’m glad that you’re staying on and in this ownership role. I know owning and taking that step can be daunting and risky, but glad that you’ll be on this ownership team.

[00:20:07] So anything else that you want people to know anything about where we’re going, that you’re excited about?

[00:20:13] Nicole: No, I’m thrilled that we have this opportunity and I think we, and I think Jake will speak about this a little later, the vision and the plans for going forward are very exciting. And I think it’s a great opportunity and I’m thrilled to be here.

[00:20:26] I’ve been happy at JEBCommerce for the past almost 10 years and I anticipate having that, yeah, just feeling, feeling really good about the future, excited for it.

[00:20:36] Jamie: Awesome. Awesome. Well, let’s go to the man with the best lighting on this podcast that we have. Hands down. I’m not surprised if you’re watching this on our YouTube channel, exactly who I’m talking about, I don’t know what you’re doing with your lighting Gabe, but you look fantastic.

[00:20:54] Gabe: Thanks. Thanks. Yeah. I see it like a little bit of a shine right here, it’s, it’s just the, just the sweat. So no

[00:21:00] Jamie: You look well tanned. Like, like you were just on vacation. I’m going to…

[00:21:05] Gabe: I don’t know why.

[00:21:06] Jamie: Lighting set up.

[00:21:08] Gabe: Yeah, yeah, exactly. I did purposely set it a little tan. So, yeah.

[00:21:14] Jamie: Well, it’s working brother. It is working. So bring us up to speed now. I don’t think you started in forestry but tell us about your career path. You and I have worked together since, since 90 or 2000, I think 2000.

[00:21:29] Gabe: Yeah, I think it was early… I want to say it was early 2001 if memory serves. I think I had started just maybe a couple months before you did.

[00:21:37] Jamie: You did. You definitely were there when I got at Coldwater. Yeah. So go ahead. I’m going to shut up now.

[00:21:42] Gabe: No, no, no. That’s cool. Someone else to corroborate the story. It’s all good. So yeah, started at Coldwater just graduating from Oregon State in 2000.

[00:21:53] So started there in, in the fall of 2000. And as an image production expert, if you will. Expert’s I guess maybe a little rich given how early I was out of school, but that’s…

[00:22:06] Jamie: Hey, there, there weren’t a whole lot of image experts back then either. So you, you were probably one of the leading ones right away.

[00:22:13] Gabe: That’s fair I think we were doing some things that were a little cutting edge and in that time. So yeah started out at Coldwater in 2000. I remember us connecting early on and then learning more about what affiliate was through you and your efforts there.

[00:22:29] And I don’t think it was too much longer, maybe it was ’02, where we started really collaborating where you needed assets, both in terms of visuals and copy content. So we had a three person department within the web department that was focused on the affiliate efforts, and we had done that through, gosh, I think until basically until you’d left, I think…

[00:22:54] Jamie: Yeah, I bailed.

[00:22:55] Gabe: ’05. Yeah.

[00:22:57] Jamie: Well, it’s ’04. And ’04 is when we started JEB. So, yep. Yeah, and I had done some stuff from the parking lot at lunch. Some side gigs a little before that. But, yeah, sometime in 2004.

[00:23:11] Gabe: Nice. Yeah. Yeah. That sounds, that sounds right. Okay. So that was early history between you and I. But then, once you had left to start JEB I stayed in web roughly in the same capacity still doing affiliate work and image production starting more in on design side, but then at a certain point had an opportunity to move to catalog, and that move for me really was to better understand the overall picture of the business, because they were involved in more heavily involved in the retail side as well. So really wanting to understand the scope of the business, the flow of work, the flow of assets just to really better.

[00:23:54] Know how things function so that, well… I could better find my place, if you will. And then once I had that under my belt, moved back to web and really just kicked it out of the park with the rest of the team until about 2013 then transitioned to a role in the UI/UX. department and really cut my teeth on some new things that we were working on. Different applications, different features and functionalities of the website.

[00:24:23] And really honing our efforts in on serving our customer in the best capacity that we could. And the data around it really just finding out what they needed and we would serve that up to them. And it was it was a pretty exciting experience. And I think I’ve taken a lot of what I learned in that role and morphed it into how I’m able to support the JEB team using that experience and user interface and design.

[00:24:52] And trying better to understand what it is that our folks need internally to help them get their work done as quickly, efficiently, and accurately so that our clients can benefit from that as well.

[00:25:07] Jamie: And yeah, so you came on about 2014, but you and I had worked on a bunch of stuff from our living rooms, from the parking lot. We started something while we both were at Coldwater (sorry, Christine) called Gnu Milk, and I think that was from Meyla’s quote board. Or someone said, “all the cows are mooing, but there’s still no new milk.”

[00:25:30] And so we, we did a Thousand Things To Do. So we had a blog with, I don’t know, what was it like 15 cities? We’ve done all this stuff together under the Gnu Milk GNU, I think is how we spelled it at the time. But one of them was a Thousand Things To Do. So we had like 15 cities with writers in each of those cities going, and exploring, and writing blog posts about what they experienced.

[00:25:56] And I think a memory just came up Nicole on Facebook where we had gone somewhere to specifically write an article for the Coeur d’Alene Thousand Things To Do.

[00:26:08] Nicole: Those were fun times.

[00:26:10] Gabe: Yeah. Oh, that’s great.

[00:26:13] Jamie: The one thing I’m trying to explain your role and the things that you do at JEB because your title is Director of Creative Services, and you definitely hold that role, but in the last couple of years your skillset… is the one thing I’ve found, and to Jake’s point, these things couldn’t be done without you. Your skillset is so much…

[00:26:38] I’ve known a lot of designers, a lot of creatives, and they are able to create, they’re able to take something from their mind or someone else’s mind and get it out in the world, but they’re technical skillset isn’t strong. But you’re almost as much a programmer as you are a designer and the process orientation of JEB and automation for your main clients would be internally… what you do is so much beyond that. And you’ve really found your place the last three years at JEB doing way more than just creative.

[00:27:16] Jake: There’s a reason everybody at JEB deems Gabe just The Wizard. That is that, that is the acronym that we all use to describe Gabe. I’ve done that on interviews and we’re interviewing for new staff. “This is our wizard, Gabe. You can take his title or not, but he’s a wizard. I don’t know how he does what he does sometimes, but it all comes together.”

[00:27:36] Nicole: That again.

[00:27:39] Gabe: Yeah, well, yeah, I…

[00:27:41] Nicole: No, yeah.

[00:27:43] Gabe: I was having some difficulty describing how I experienced myself in preparation to talk about it here today, and I feel like I must have some sort of undiagnosed ADD or something, just because it seems like I can never sit still. Like there’s all sorts of different things that interest me about the various things that we do or, about the world in general. And I came up with a list of the things, the hats that I’ve worn at JEB and continue to, and it really does span everything from the creative to the more technical side of things. I proudly wear that mantle of… I don’t know about the jack of all trades, but maybe more of like a generalist who’s able to bring some of those the broader experiences and, or concepts and deliver something that’s necessary or needed in the moment and that might not have existed without having those experiences, if that makes sense.

[00:28:40] Jake: You’re speaking in wizard terms. That’s for sure. I’ve always seen Gabe too, as … talking about his technical experience and his creative aspect of what he does, a lot of people who are listening might not know he’s got a 3D printer and build some amazing different projects you have sent out this custom pen that you did on your wood lathe there’s so many different aspects to…

[00:29:03] Jamie: I got mine.

[00:29:04] Jake: The craftsman that you are right now.

[00:29:05] It’s my favorite pen. But as it applies the JEB I think what clients don’t ever probably even know is that a lot of what they experience through how our team reports on their channel on a weekly basis. The processes that we have internally how that data ties back because we’re network agnostic as an agency, and so we have to work with all of these different softwares, pull that data together, put it into sometimes custom reports. We have our own internal processes. We’ve got go-to-market materials from a marketing standpoint, stuff from a sales outreach standpoint, all of that ties back to Gabe and how it goes from, again, here’s…

[00:29:44] Jamie: All roads lead to Gabe Ripley.

[00:29:46] Jake: …here’s what, here’s what our clients are needing from us. Here’s where we have different data sources. How do we tie that in so that it’s efficient and our team can stay focused on the client and not on these, call it administrative task, that could take up way too much time if we let it. And he ties all of that together through technical prowess and creativity. And again, just being a wizard.

[00:30:08] Jamie: Yeah. And, and maybe this could be a full hour on the many…

[00:30:12] Jake: …it could be.

[00:30:13] Jamie: of Gabe that we love. But Gabe, that, that quote: Jack of all trades and master of none. It’s an unfinished quote. Everyone quotes that part, but they don’t quote the rest, which is paraphrased, but oftentimes better than a master of one. And so a lot of time, the whole world has taken that as a knock for generalists. Well, you never… you didn’t dive deep into any one thing and you’re not an expert on that, but that quote, that’s not what that means. As we’re all talking, I’m thinking about your strengths and sometimes it’s just being in the room. We’re trying to solve a problem, whether it’s for a client or delivery issue, or one of the main things that we’ve been trying to do at JEB and we keep working on it since its founding is how can we get all of the other stuff done automagically so we can build relationships?

[00:31:04] Because building relationships is hard. It takes time. And if we have to do reports, if we have to do… whatever we have to do that takes us from that, that’s hours, that’s minutes taken away from moving the ball forward. And so a lot of times, we’ll just have you in a meeting. Like, I don’t know why you’re here, but I know your brain and your different skillsets, while we’re talking, you’re going to think of the problem.

[00:31:27] And we have probably a million of those, and then your role really becoming that the last three years of like, “this is the problem we’re having come into this meeting.” And there have been so many times where you’ve brought a solution, a refined process, adding a level of automation to something so that our team could focus on the relationship building, focus on the client where we didn’t even know that that’s what you’re building.

[00:31:52] And you come back and say, “Hey, I released this new process, this automation, or this is a way we can better communicate with affiliates and develop these lists” and all those things, it’s really been tremendous to see and really see you bring all these things together, find your place and just kill it. It’s been tremendous the last couple of years for sure.

[00:32:11] Gabe: Yeah. Yeah. Honestly, thanks for that. And honestly, I had never heard the end of that quote before. So that’s an interesting one to contemplate. And I agree. In a lot of ways, I think I’ve really found my home, if you will, in terms of the work that I do. I enjoy all of the different aspects, whether it’s creative or technical, but bringing all those things together into a form that, as you said, helps the team get their work done, I think is really the culmination of those skill sets really is where I feel like I’m not only most effective, but the most fulfilled.

[00:32:43] It’s been a journey getting to that place, but I think now that we’re there really stepping into that, sinking my teeth into it, it’s been great.

[00:32:50] Jamie: Awesome. And so why was this the next perfect step for you?

[00:32:55] Gabe: Yeah, that’s a, it’s a really good question. And something, I’ve been contemplating. I think in a lot of ways, I’ve always had this desire to set my own path, chart my own path, and this is definitely a good way to do that.

[00:33:10] Plus, as we just described, I really do enjoy what I do. And who I do it with and for. I’ve seen our team really succeed, all of us here, everyone on the management side shout out to everybody who does the heavy lifting. We wouldn’t be here without them, so props to them too.

[00:33:30] And, honestly getting to see them succeed, getting to see the efforts… their use of the tools, process, and workflows that I put into place, or the ones that we put in collectively, it brings a lot of satisfaction to my day. I want to continue to do that in a capacity where I can hopefully do more as well.

[00:33:51] Another aspect that had come to mind too, is that, honestly affiliate and or partnership marketing, it’s an exciting industry and one that really brings value to the equation through building relationships, the technology that makes things that we do easier and, or even possible, all of those are exciting to see and to be a part of.

[00:34:11] And I think as far as being on the ownership side I’ve found myself in the past kind of falling into a bit of a comfort trap. So I think, with a bit of skin in the game, I think it helps me avoid that and really keeps that fire lit, making sure to get what I need done and be accountable to everybody who’s looking to me for solutions or what have you.

[00:34:32] Jamie: Awesome. And I know you will continue to bring all those things and be relied upon by everyone for so many different things in this next iteration of JEB.

[00:34:42] Jake: I could speak for that too from my end. I think making this move it’s a lot more comfortable of a choice and feels a lot more… feels as if the fit is where it needs to be with the Ripleys alongside with me. I had told them prior, “if you guys are along for this ride with me I feel a lot more confident about the direction we’re going.”

[00:35:02] I feel really confident about the space and where JEB is headed, which we can get into in a minute. But again, I think having that stability and some of that historical knowledge that they carry over me on JEB over the past decade, our processes, how we operate, I think it’s an extremely key component on how we move forward and continue that success.

[00:35:19] Jamie: Awesome.

[00:35:20] Jake: So I’m quite curious to hear though, Jamie, you ran this company for, I think, 19 years. We’ve just had that birthday. Is that…

[00:35:28] Jamie: Yeah, October 19 years. Yeah.

[00:35:32] Jake: And so obviously a lot of us have chatted internally over the course of this whole year. But I’d love to get a real good picture of where you’ve been and what led you to the decision where, “Hey, it’s time to step away from JEBcommerce.”

[00:35:47] Jamie: Yeah. Well, I appreciate you asking that. It is a big deal on both sides when a transition like this happens. For me, when we started JEB I was a freelancer, a consultant, and at one point my wife and I saw the opportunity to keep doing what we’re doing and do quite well, just me doing the work, or to really build it as a business. And at the time there was, tremendously high unemployment rate here in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and Kootenai County, and we felt led to provide careers and jobs. At the time there was no like digital anything. It was barely internet here in Coeur d’Alene.

[00:36:25] So there was no jobs out there that was going to something exciting. So, when we did that, what we wanted to do was build a place that was more than just here’s a job, punch the clock, and get out. We wanted to build a career. Well, as a leader, what you have to always be looking at is: where’s their next step?

[00:36:44] You don’t have to, but I think as a leader, you have an opportunity to be thinking this way. What’s everyone’s next step? And how do I prepare them for their next step? So we’ve always focused heavily on well, not always there’s a couple, there’s a couple of times in our histories where I didn’t see the mark we wanted to hit, but it’s always been employee development, and mentorship, and coaching, and training, and how do we get every single person ready for their next step?

[00:37:11] Hopefully, we’re growing and their next step is here, but if not, they’re still going to have a next step and we want them to be ready for that. So there’ve been employees who’ve come through and say, I want to be a Director of Marketing inside an advertiser like the Ripley’s and I were at Coldwater Creek.

[00:37:27] So we’ve poured our time and our energy into making sure that they’re ready for that. So while we’re doing that, you guys were ready for your next step and so was I. It’s very fitting in how we built JEB and what our core values were and what we were trying to do with our employees of getting everyone ready for the next step.

[00:37:47] We’ve been getting you guys ready for your next step so it was a natural transition, but I’ve also been ready for my next step. One of the really cool things that JEB has afforded me is I’ve started a couple other businesses. One I co-found with a very good friend of mine and we’ve been running for eight years, and it’s doing quite well.

[00:38:07] And we got to a point where both companies needed someone in this capacity and I’m only one person. And so, what was my next step? Part of that was helping you guys. Figure out what your next step was. And are you ready?

[00:38:21] Nicole, we talked about like always getting you ready for your next step and taking on new challenges. As I saw that was really your guys’s next step was to run the company. And then my next step was to dive further into the organizations that I started that JEB afforded us to do so.

[00:38:40] So, it was the right thing to do. And, maybe a few years down the road, you guys will continue that transition and some of our employees will have the same opportunity that you guys had. Oftentimes there’s a problem with founders is when they don’t know when to leave and they don’t know when the next gen has to take up that mantle.

[00:39:00] I think we found a good time for that. Maybe a little earlier, but I don’t know. I think we found a really good time for that. Jake, you’ve been leading the vision of this company for quite some time. And where we’re going and seeing you step in the CEO role in June has been really important.

[00:39:15] It was the right time for me to focus on some other things, and it’s who this company is. And that’s one of the things I’m so excited about. What I’ve heard you guys all talk about is what is a core value with JEB is serving others. From the specific role that you have in the company, but also why you’re drawn to this channel is it really is about helping other people and I’m excited that it continues for a number of reasons.

[00:39:44] Jake, you talked about the history that Ripley’s have. A really strong history, frankly, from the beginning of JEB. Gabe, you built our very first website. Again, at home while we were all working at Coldwater Creek, but you built the very first JEB website. So a lot of times in transitions, people were worried. What’s it going to be like?

[00:40:03] Well, yeah, two out of the three of you have been with me since the very beginning and I’ve helped JEB since then. And so that, that leads a lot to it. That common value of service is going to be continue to be exciting and things end. Things start. Things end, things transition, and that’s where we’re at now.

[00:40:23] It afforded me some time off. So I’ve had a pretty exciting summer. And the other organization, Renewed Horizons, is growing at a pretty good rate. So, excited to see, again, I’ve said this like 19 times, but excited to see where you guys take it.

[00:40:37] And yeah, so hopefully that answers your question from my perspective, my side anyway.

[00:40:42] Jake: It sure does. Yeah, no, and I can second you. Gabe, and Nicole, and I have obviously chatted quite a bit through this process and just our excitement to continue that core fundamental value of what JEB was created for and how it was created. Carrying that kind of torch, into the future is important to all three of us.

[00:40:59] Jamie: Yeah. And I think our clients, I know they’re not going to see anything but growth from the JEB team. A lot of the really great things that they’ve seen over the last decade, that team’s staying so you guys are still here, they’ll get that.

[00:41:15] But Jake, you’re the CEO, you’re leading the ship. Tell me where JEB is going and I’d love for you to tie in the trends in the channel and talk to us. This is a podcast about affiliate marketing. So let’s …

[00:41:27] Jake: Talk about…

[00:41:28] Jamie: …little bit into, let’s talk a little bit about that.

[00:41:32] Jake: Yeah, happy to jump in on that. I think again, going back to one of my previous statements, digital marketing as a whole, but affiliate specifically to narrow that down, it’s constantly shifting, right? So there’s… I think every year there’s always a new hot buzzword, there’s a new trend, and you’re trying to stay ahead of that curve.

[00:41:48] One thing in kind of reviewing how JEB has grown to where it is now and how we’ve got the reputation that we have with our clients and our place in the industry, is really fundamentals. One thing I see shifting in affiliate marketing is that go back to the roots of what’s a fundamental success look like within the channel?

[00:42:06] We can talk about a lot of different categories and buzzwords like influencers. That’s always, that’s been a hot topic. And frankly, they’ve been around for a long time, but they’ve become a hot topic in the last few years, especially. How does PR SEO play into affiliate marketing?

[00:42:21] There’s all these different facets of the channel that we can dive into. It is a complex channel for brands to really manage effectively, but one thing that we’ve realized at JEB, one thing that I’ve seen over, gosh, there’s gotta be hundreds of programs just in the past three years that we’ve at least audited, reviewed, and provided consultation on.

[00:42:42] And in that, you might find some really fantastic partnerships, but there are some glaring red flags. And one thing that Gabe has always tied our processes back to is ensuring that. We click off all of these fundamental aspects of what affiliate marketing is.

[00:42:58] So what does that look like? If you’re reviewing a program and it’s got 90 applications sitting in the pending tab that have been there for 30 days, right? A newsletter communication hasn’t gone out in 68 days or something obnoxious. There hasn’t been an updated text link or creative asset for a year. There’s a lot of these small, seemingly small, but glaring problems on these programs, and the channel really is relationship based. So if you’re a brand and you’re managing this internally with staff, you’re using an agency, one thing I think you always need to look for in something we want to focus on is: is the work being done on a day to day basis? Are we communicating with our affiliate partnerships to stay top of mind so that they promote our brand? Are we communicating out our best deals, our offers, our product launches? Are we approving and recruiting affiliates? Are we checking compliance?

[00:43:47] There’s so many aspects that I think get overlooked because they’re drowned out by, “Hey, do we have these fancy influencers in our program,” right? Answering yes or no to that might not deliver at the end of the day when your month end report goes out and the CMO or the CFO is looking at your affiliate channel.

[00:44:04] Are they going to care that big influencer is in the program? Are they going to care if you’re delivering the kind of profitability, incrementality, or ROAS on the channel that they’re looking for? I think that gets overlooked, and so moving forward, I think a big part of how JEB continues down the path that it’s always been on is, making sure that first and foremost, our team is fundamentally experts at running an affiliate program effectively and having a good foundation, because from that foundation, you can start to branch off. Now you can start playing with, “let’s collaborate with your influencer team, or if you have a PR team, let’s chat and see what kind of efforts and strategies you’re putting in place next quarter so we can amplify that and make sure we’re complementing that with affiliate.” You can do that only if you have that core foundation within the channel.

[00:44:51] Jamie: Yeah, I think it is very easy and has been for those in the channel to get distracted by the shiny thing and lose the fundamentals, and I know on this podcast, that’s been a focus this season is getting back to the fundamentals. Over 19 years I’ve been doing this, running JB, we’ve seen, probably 300 times the channel was over. 30 different times that there was something new is going to change it dramatically. And in the end it does come down to those fundamentals, just like, in any sport, if you want to get better, focus on the fundamentals, the other stuff will come.

[00:45:28] One of the things you mentioned was incrementality. We do a lot of audits and well, you guys do a lot of audits, and one of the things that prospects talk to you a lot about is incrementality. Talk to us a little bit about that.

[00:45:40] Jake: Yeah, I think that’s probably a buzzword going into next year for me. Budgets I think are starting to become more scrutinized by brands overall. I think going into next year, we’re not going to see that change. If you back up to 2020, which was a whirlwind, as you moved into 2021 budgets were a bit open for the e-com space. It was, “Hey, everything has been shuttered. Consumers are online. This is where we’re pushing our budget. Let’s get eyeballs on our site, on our product. How do we do that?” You saw this influx and then a rebound from that. So now I think it’s back to again, fundamentals and incrementality.

[00:46:14] Now brands might measure incrementality different, right? When’s the last time they’ve purchased, how do they come to our site? But for us, again, focusing on the fundamentals of how their program is set up also comes down to why we’re agnostic from a network standpoint, right? So understanding a brand’s needs, what their goals are, how they consider incrementality to affect their other channels and what they’re looking for will lead us to make sure they’re on the right network.

[00:46:38] We have the right software, the right technology in place to track what we need to track. So, I think that’s going to be the buzzword going into next year is incrementality. Profitability, I’ve heard that a lot with calls with prospects and clients is, “Hey, moving forward, we’re no longer focused on the top line revenue number. We’re focused on the ROAS or the profitability of the channel as a whole.”

[00:46:58] Now strategy has to start to shift, right? You start looking at the fees that are associated with the channel. Commissions that are associated, placements from a paid standpoint. How does it all roll back into the profitability goals and how incremental is it, how are we measuring new to file customers versus returning?

[00:47:15] A lot of different aspects we can go down, but that’s one of the things I kind of love to tinker with when talking with brands is understanding how they’re seeing incrementality and other channels and how they want to measure it through affiliate and the different levers and partnerships that we can introduce them to that help us do that. It becomes quite exciting.

[00:47:33] Jamie: Yeah, and incrementality is hard to… a lot of the times we’ll hear, ” are these sales incremental?” There’s a long process of figuring out the answer to that. And at the end, you’re still trying to get to intent, intent of the consumer.

[00:47:48] Sometimes when I’m buying stuff, I don’t even know the intent of why I’m buying it, let alone trying to get to some sort of qualitative measure. So bringing Gabe back in several years ago, we created together the incrementality benchmarking tool that is available on the website. We’ll link to it in the show notes.

[00:48:07] And it’s hard to answer whether a particular order was incremental or not. It’s not hard to figure out if your affiliate channel is positioned to generate incremental sales. So a lot of those fundamental things, the technology you’re deploying, your commission structure, who you’re working with, those kinds of things.

[00:48:25] And we have a seven step questionnaire that you fill out, asking about all these different areas of incrementality and you get a report based on your answer of where we feel you are and positioning your program for incrementality, and how likely you are to be generating the most incremental revenue and profit that you can. So definitely check that out. Just highlight one of the things that Gabe brings to the table and we’ll continue to do so.

[00:48:52] Now, Jake, I stepped down in June. You came in to start leading the company. One of the first things you did was reset our service levels and how those are shared. Prior to that with almost all agencies and in this channel and in others, it wasn’t really clear what the costs were and what was delivered. So talk to me about one of the very first acts as CEO you did and what’s available for clients.

[00:49:18] Jake: Yeah, it was completely shifting how we operate from a paid standpoint and a service standpoint. That was an exciting project. I think one thing that I always struggled with prior to that was when speaking to a prospect, a client, and trying to understand what their needs are, and again, there’s a lot of facets to affiliate marketing.

[00:49:36] So you might come in and want us to focus on a lot of different content partnerships. You might want to utilize different categories. You may have paid budget. You may not. You might run on several networks. You might run on one network, right? In each one of these scenarios, it requires a different resource load from JEB to support that.

[00:49:53] Prior to me stepping in and making that change, I felt as you had mentioned, no agency really had a pricing or resource plan on what you would get and how he would service your account. And so coming from a background of sales, I’ve been in different organizations at an enterprise level selling a software based solution where you can go onto different softwares and see here’s our enterprise pricing. Here’s our, our basic pricing, our professional pricing, and it’s very cut and dry.

[00:50:23] That’s more difficult to do when you’re a service agency. But you can look at where your resource time is being spent. So that was the first thing that Nicole and Gabe were instrumental in is figuring out how are we spending time on our client accounts.

[00:50:36] Where does that time need to go and how does it break down into cost effective ways for us to resource for our clients and be able to reach different types of clients? And so we broke out into four tiers all the way down to our Bronze package, which is very cost effective and focuses solely on those brands who need a little extra help.

[00:50:57] Young brands who are getting into affiliate marketing and really need some assistance and making sure those fundamentals are checked off day to day. They might not have a team resource to do that, all the way up to that strategic partnership where we’re meeting with their PR team every month and their influencer team and really building a unique strategy within the space.

[00:51:15] And so that’s available on our website now, but I wanted to distinguish for clients, here’s how we staff our internal team to resource what you need. And based off of what you need, there’s different prices to fit that. Prior to that, you can throw spaghetti on the wall and see what sticks, but it was really difficult, and sometimes we’d get it right.

[00:51:33] But sometimes, we’d have a client that we were servicing far more than expected, or vice versa. We would be serving as a client that wouldn’t need the resources that they were paying for and trying to rectify that.

[00:51:45] Jamie: Awesome. And Gabe, where exactly can they go see that on the website? I sometimes get the URL wrong. So you’re the master of that. Where can they go see these tiers?

[00:51:56] Gabe: That is available at

[00:52:00] Jamie: Elements, awesome. Well, guys, exciting times. I really enjoyed this hour with you guys. Finally get the Ripley’s on a podcast. You guys did fantastic. Lots of new things.

[00:52:13] One thing for our listeners to know, this won’t be the last you’ll be hearing of Jamie Birch on this podcast. We are interrupting the regular flow of episodes to share with you this first week of January, 2024, this exciting news we’ll go right back to the rest of season three. We have episodes recorded, they’ll play out until the end of April possibly May. You’ll still hear me introducing the podcast.

[00:52:40] Season four will probably start up again in the fall. And I believe Jake, you’re going to be hosting a season four and beyond of the Profitable performance Marketing podcast.

[00:52:52] Jake: Yes, that is correct. And it’s exciting to go from my first podcast appearance to host in a matter of months. So my apologies to the listeners on those first few episodes. Bear with me.

[00:53:06] Jamie: Well, they had to go through my first few, so they’ll be fine. But Jake has been listening to me on this podcast now for two and a half seasons, so I’m sure he’ll be just fine. So you will hear my voice through season three, which will end somewhere around April.

[00:53:22] But, I’m just so excited to welcome you guys as the new owners and tell the world about about the three of you and really excited for all our employees who are going to continue to get the kind of leadership that I always tried to provide, and continue to see the company grow. And they’re going to continue to get those opportunities and see a leadership team that has already proven themselves very good at continuing to mentor, and coach, and train, give them and bring them new opportunities and really help them become the best version of themselves. Then, like I said, who knows, maybe in the future, they’ll have an opportunity to be sitting here with the three of you on this podcast talking about that as well.

[00:54:03] Any last parting words before we bounce today?

[00:54:07] Jake: Just a gracious thank you to having us on for the opportunity. I think just your leadership and help getting us to this point facilitating the direction I think you wanted to go and probably knew that we wanted to go as well. I’m stoked for next year. I’m stoked for our team the industry and what we continue to get to pursue.

[00:54:28] Nicole: Agreed.

[00:54:29] Gabe: Yeah. Couldn’t have said it better. And thanks Jamie for everything that you’ve done too. And I know our paths will cross not just soon, but probably frequently. So I look forward to that as well.

[00:54:41] Jamie: Well, I anticipate calling you for just about everything and asking Nicole where my stuff is probably for six more months. That will definitely, definitely happen. Well, awesome. Thank you guys for joining me. Appreciate you guys so dearly. I know we’ve all become more than just coworkers and have been that way for some time.

[00:55:01] I am really proud to say that I’ve been able to be a part of your story and we’ll anxiously wait on the sidelines and watch how you guys lead JEB to greater heights. So thank you for joining me today and yeah, enjoy the rest of your day.

[00:55:17] Gabe: Thanks, Jamie.

[00:55:18] Jamie: Well, fam, you heard it here first: ownership change at JEBCommerce. Wow, it has been one heck of a wild ride. Jake, Nicole, Gabe, thank you so much for joining me today. And thank you for coming to work for us and putting in so many years at JEB. I’m so excited for you guys taking over the helm, and leading the agency into the future, working with the great clients that we have, and with an amazing team.

[00:55:51] I am going to miss a lot about working at this company that I founded almost 20 years ago. The employees have been fantastic. I will miss working with them every single day. You guys keep chugging along, keep growing, keep doing what you’re doing.

[00:56:06] Jake, Nicole, and Gabe I couldn’t think of anyone else that could take this over and do the company justice. So here you go, here’s the baby I’ve been growing for 19 years. She stayed in the house one year longer than they tend to, but now it’s yours. Go do great things with it.

[00:56:23] I’m really excited. You know, as we kind of pointed out on this podcast, there’s many reasons why this was a really, really good move, but that commitment to serving others, to serving the team, to helping them grow, and then helping our clients, our advertisers grow, that was one of the big reasons.

[00:56:41] The experience within the space of the new CEO, but also the experience with JEB that Gabe and Nicole bring, a decade of experience. You guys are in great hands with this team leading the agency into the future.

[00:56:57] I’m excited to watch from the sidelines, be your guys biggest cheerleaders as you lead the company and our fantastic employees continue to do great work, and you guys provide them with bigger opportunities and lead the company in places that I wasn’t able to go.

[00:57:12] So I’m stoked to see that. If you’re still with us, thank you for listening to this entire podcast. Definitely share it with a friend and reach out to Gabe, Nicole, and Jake. Give them a congrats. You can actually find them all on LinkedIn. We’ll link to that in the show notes as well.

[00:57:30] But yeah, so you’ll still hear from me. Like I said, you will hear the entirety of season three, and you’ll have a full season and this season is fantastic. Jake and a few of our team members will be joining everyone at Affiliate Summit, so please pull him aside.

[00:57:46] Not sure if I’ll be there yet, but we’re still working that out. Always fun seeing all my industry friends and introducing the new team to everybody. So very excited for where the company is going.

[00:57:58] And for all of you that I’ve worked with, thank you for being part of my story. Thank you to my mentors who helped us get to where we are, in a position where our employees can take over. Thank you for pouring into me and all the time you spent with me. To all my friends, and colleagues, and peers in this space we’ve worked together for a really long time and thank you so much for being part of my story.

[00:58:23] Thank you for helping me, for pushing me. To our competitors, thank you for giving me the drive the competition for us to all become better. There’s so many, so many people we’ve had on this podcast that have been instrumental in my career and to all of you, thank you so much.

[00:58:39] It probably won’t be the last time you hear from me. There are a couple of projects I’m working on right now. It’s the other company that me and my co-founder founded eight years ago. It’s growing rapidly and doing some phenomenal work. Hope to see you out there, but thank you.

[00:58:54] This industry has given me everything and beyond I could ever, ever imagine, and you know I’ve been fortunate to be able to give back and to do some great things in here. My time in this channel has been amazing, and we’ve been able to do some great things.

[00:59:10] So thank you to all of you who are listening. All the guests that we’ve had, all our advertisers, and all the employees over the years. Thank all of you for being part of this great story. And stick around, JEB is going to be doing some great things, continue to do some great things, continue to lead this industry. You don’t want to miss that.

[00:59:31] If you’re an advertiser, and you’re looking for help, this is the team that you need. Go over to Check that out, reach out to Jake and the team, they will be working with you on that. You can reach out at

[00:59:49] And, you could reach me at LinkedIn, just look for Jamie Birch. You can reach me over there and yeah, share this podcast with a friend. It really helps to get the word out when you share, but also when you leave a five star review, whether that’s on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or the podcast player of your choice. Please go do that and thank you guys for listening and being part of this ride. Enjoy your day.

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