Creator Lab - interviews with entrepreneurs and startup founders

Revealing conversations with the leading creators of our time. From proven entrepreneurs building the companies of the future, to non-profit founders creating change and the artists shaping our culture - we go beyond the surface to find the nuance in what it takes to turn your ideas, into action.
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Creator Lab - interviews with entrepreneurs and startup founders





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Now displaying: 2020
Oct 29, 2020

Pomp is a partner + co-founder of Morgan Creek Digital.
He hosts a top 10 podcast, has an audience of ~400k followers on Twitter + writes a daily letter to 80,000 investors.

Watch + subscribe on YouTube:

Let us know what you think on Twitter:
@bzaidi @creatorlabfm

Five Things You'll Learn:

  • actionable ways to grow a Twitter, YouTube & e-mail audience
  • subscriptions, ads + the future of media monetization
  • “digital art” + emerging trends to invest in
  • the pros, cons + innovation of "rolling funds”
  • staying motivated + perspective gained from serving in the army


  • 00:00:00 Intro
  • 00:02:12 Who is Pomp?
  • 00:04:13 “Having an Audience is the New Currency”
  • 00:06:08 Building an Audience is Hard Work
  • 00:07:32 One Platform At A Time
  • 00:11:48 Pomp’s Daily Routine + Staying Consistent
  • 00:15:30 How To Get Twitter Followers
  • 00:16:58 “Twitter Is What Linkedin Should’ve Been”
  • 00:18:01 Links Hurt Virality
  • 00:20:53 Behind The YouTube Algorithm
  • 00:23:47 Editing For Social Media
  • 00:24:52 How Pomp Grew His YouTube Channel
  • 00:27:40 Writing Eye-Catching Headlines
  • 00:30:36 Podcast Discoverability
  • 00:32:06 Complete vs Perfect
  • 00:35:52 “Trigger Fingers Turned To Twitter Fingers”
  • 00:37:48 Navigating Platform Risk + Organic Reach
  • 00:40:26 Future Of Monetization: Substack, Subscriptions + Ads
  • 00:42:14 Investment Approach
  • 00:44:13 Pomp’s 4 Rules To Wealth
  • 00:48:21 Investing in Digital Art?
  • 00:52:13 Why Use A Rolling Fund?
  • 00:55:22 If Money Was No Obstacle…
  • 00:58:08 Perspective Gained From Serving In The Army
  • 00:59:52 Wrap Up
Oct 21, 2020

Dr. Emily Anhalt is a psychologist, co-founder + chief-clinical officer of Coa, a mental fitness platform + community.

She’s conducted research with prominent psychologists + entrepreneurs on how leaders can improve their emotional fitness.

She's collaborated with companies like Google, Asana, TEDx, NASDAQ, Bloomberg, + True Ventures

Watch + Subscribe on YouTube:

Let us know what you think on Twitter:
@bzaidi @creatorlabfm
@dremilyanhalt @joincoa

(1) how to be proactive about your mental health + emotional fitness
(2) identifying + dealing with anxiety
(3) actionable tips to deal with imposter syndrome
(4) dealing with co-founder breakups
(5) survivor guilt, sublimation + other psychological concepts that may impact your life


  • 00:00 Intro
  • 00:02:09 About Emily + Coa
  • 00:06:41 About Anxiety
  • 00:10:04 Difference Between Depression + Anxiety
  • 00:11:45 Where to Start with Therapy
  • 00:14:19 Where to Find Therapy
  • 00:16:59 Dealing with Anxiety
  • 00:19:21 Trust Future You to Deal with Future Problems
  • 00:20:25 Identifying Triggers for Anxiety
  • 00:21:29 Healthy and Unhealthy Reactions to Adversity
  • 00:24:22 Common Work Conflicts
  • 00:28:12 Survivor Guilt
  • 00:30:28 Does Gender Play a Role in Conflict Resolution?
  • 00:33:11 Co-Founder Conflicts
  • 00:38:02 Co-Founder Breakups
  • 00:39:20 Imposter Syndrome
  • 00:45:08 How Childhood Experiences Influence The Present
  • 00:48:13 Affordable Therapy For All?
  • 00:49:36 Wrap Up
Oct 14, 2020

Sam Parr is the founder & CEO of The Hustle, an 8 figure media business. They have 1.5mil people subscribed to their daily email newsletter + are on track to hit 8 figures in revenue with their paid newsletter, trends.

Sign up for trends here:

Five Things You'll Learn:

  • how he’d build an audience differently today
  • starting a paid newsletter business + finding talented writers
  • copywriting + persuading people through the written word
  • incentives + the future of media
  • being emotionally stable while having a chip on your shoulder

Let us know what you think on Twitter:

@bzaidi @creatorlabfm


  • 00:01:58 Intro
  • 00:03:10 Sam’s Hot Dog Stand
  • 00:07:53 The Hustle + Trends
  • 00:11:01 Finding Great Employees + Writers
  • 00:14:19 “The Dumbest Millionaires are in Real Estate”
  • 00:15:50 Equity Splits In His Business
  • 00:18:06 “Buzzfeed + Vox are Horrible Companies”
  • 00:20:24 Subscriptions + Ads
  • 00:24:23 Ad Incentives + Fake News
  • 00:25:42 Free vs Paid Products
  • 00:27:52 Example: Start a Million Dollar Paid Newsletter
  • 00:34:20 Biggest Mistakes in Starting A Newsletter
  • 00:34:46 Finding Traction
  • 00:37:35 “Give People What They Need, Not What They Want”
  • 00:38:37 Paid Ads For Growth + Sponsoring Dave Portnoy
  • 00:40:04 Giveaways For Subscriber Growth
  • 00:41:43 Paid Newsletters Category Ideas
  • 00:44:24 How Copywriting Helped Sam Meet His Wife
  • 00:47:01 AIDA + The Funnel
  • 00:49:55 How To Write A Compelling Headline?
  • 00:52:55 Finding Ideas To Write About
  • 00:55:07 Editing + Content That Resonates
  • 00:59:09 Platforms + Distribution: E-Mail, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok
  • 01:04:37 Platform Risk – Owned vs Rented Channels
  • 01:07:44 YouTube Algorithm: Views vs Time Spent
  • 01:08:35 Sam Interviews Bilal: YouTube Growth From The Inside
  • 01:11:25 Seeing Android Grow From 4% to 80% Market Share
  • 01:13:42 Being Emotionally Stable
  • 01:18:12 Dealing With The Chip On Your Shoulder
  • 01:20:50 Chilling On 50 Mil
Oct 8, 2020

Jack Butcher is the founder of @VisualizeValue, a Twitter/Instagram account he's grown to 100k+ followers in less than 2yrs.

His business brings in $100k+ month with 99% profit margins.

Five Things You'll Learn:

  • building an audience from scratch
  • transitioning from selling services (time) to products (value)
  • how to tell better stories
  • leverage, compounding + other ideas that changed his world view
  • naval’s tweetstorm on building wealth

Let us know what you think on Twitter:
@bzaidi @creatorlabfm
@jackbutcher @visualizevalue

Timestamps (YouTube)

  • 00:00:00 Intro
  • 00:01:49 Jack's Background
  • 00:05:08 Naval's Tweetstorm
  • 00:09:23 $100k/mo + 99% Profit Margins
  • 00:11:27 Starting Visualize Value
  • 00:15:16 Communicating Complex Ideas
  • 00:17:37 Building an Audience from Scratch
  • 00:22:09 Difference Between Twitter + Instagram Audiences
  • 00:27:28 Constraints + Creating Consistently
  • 00:29:49 Keeping A Brand Fresh
  • 00:30:49 "Good Advertising Wears In, Not Out"
  • 00:34:00 Finding Your Own Voice
  • 00:36:54 Power of Visual Content
  • 00:37:38 One Platform At A Time?
  • 00:42:03 Platform Risk + Organic Reach
  • 00:47:52 Jack's Creative Process
  • 00:57:08 Lessons In Storytelling
  • 01:02:45 How to Stay Consistent
  • 01:08:07 Joe Rogan's First Podcast
  • 01:10:17 Internal Motivation
  • 01:11:30 The Future of Visualize Value
  • 01:14:04 Behind The Mind: "Seek Wealth, Not Money or
  • Status"
  • 01:20:16 "Do You Love The Poor or Hate The Rich?"
  • 01:23:49 Understanding Leverage
  • 01:26:26 Employee vs Owner Mindset
  • 01:30:30 US vs UK culture
  • 01:36:17 "When You're Finally Wealthy, You Realize It
  • Wasn't What You Were Seeking in the First Place"
  • 01:39:19 Wrap Up + Book "The Almanack of Naval Ravikant":
Sep 30, 2020

Who is Josh?

Josh Clemente is the founder of Levels. He’s a mechanical engineer, CrossFit L2 trainer + previously leads teams at Hyperloop + SpaceX where he developed life support systems for astronauts going into space.

In this conversation, we discuss the importance of optimizing your metabolic health, how software can drive behavior change + the future of health tech.

Full video on YouTube:

Topics We Discuss

  • what is metabolic health + why is it important?
  • stories from working with Elon Musk at SpaceX & Hyperloop
  • why you should monitor your glucose
  • the myth of the “balanced diet”
  • know who to trust when it comes to nutrition science
  • actionable advice on improving nutrition, exercise, sleep + stress
  • how software can help drive behavior change

Full Time Stamps (YouTube)

  • 00:00:00 Intro
  • 00:01:21 Welcome
  • 00:02:26 What is Metabolic Health?
  • 00:03:54 SpaceX
  • 00:06:28 Hyperloop
  • 00:08:21 Inspiration for Levels
  • 00:17:17 The Myth of a Balanced Diet
  • 00:21:29 Why You Should Monitor Glucose
  • 00:25:07 Knowing Who To Trust On Nutrition?
  • 00:27:52 Using Levels
  • 00:36:50 Price Per User + Team
  • 00:44:55 Funding Levels
  • 00:47:04 The First 3-6 Months
  • 00:50:52 Branding + Finding An Audience
  • 00:54:03 Marketing Lifestyle Apps
  • 00:57:25 The Future of Health Tech – Integrating Health Data
  • 01:02:18 Collecting Health Data + Influencing the Health Care System
  • 01:06:56 4 Parts of Health: Nutrition, Exercise, Sleep + Stress
  • 01:15:08 Wrap-Up
Sep 23, 2020

Subscribe + watch on YouTube:

Let me know what you think on Twitter:

Who is Jim?

Jim McKelvey is an entrepreneur, glass-blowing artist + philanthropist.

He’s most well known as the co-founder of Square, the financial payments company he started with Jack Dorsey (founder of Twitter). Jim also co-founded the non-profit “Launch Code” and he’s an independent Director of the St. Louis Federal Reserve

Jim’s book, The Innovation Stack, is available for purchase. Or sign up to the email list at the bottom of this post to win 1 of 5 copies we’re giving away to listeners

Topics We Discuss:

  • the origin story of Square
  • Square's 14 part "innovation stack" that allowed them to win in this tough market
  • reducing the cost of a card reader from $1000 to $0.97
  • going up against Amazon + winning
  • examples of innovation stacks from other companies
  • the unbanked + underbanked
  • his thoughts on digital currencies
  • invention vs innovation
  • entrepreneurship vs owning a business
  • if "billionaires should exist" + his "billionaire moment"
  • why being a billionaire ≠ happiness

Book Giveaway
We’re giving away 5 copies of Jim’s book to email subscribers, details here:

Timestamps (YouTube)

  • 00:00:00 Intro
  • 00:00:49 Welcome
  • 00:01:50 Early Career as a Glassblower
  • 00:03:10 Meeting Jack Dorsey
  • 00:05:59 Beginning of Square
  • 00:10:59 Underserved Markets
  • 00:15:13 Studying a Market for Something That Doesn’t Exist
  • 00:19:03 The Unbanked + Underbanked
  • 00:24:49 Square’s Innovation Stack
  • 00:28:21 Invention vs Innovation
  • 00:30:21 Getting Square's First Users
  • 00:33:38 What Were The Large Existing Players Missing?
  • 00:42:22 The Delusion of Innovation
  • 00:45:26 How Square Went Up Against Amazon + Won
  • 00:50:43 Entrepreneur vs Business Owner
  • 00:52:32 His “Billionaire” Moment
  • 00:54:52 Being Treated Like a “Walking Wallet”
  • 00:56:33 Should Billionaires Exist?
  • 01:00:21 Industries That are Ripe for Innovation
  • 01:05:30 Digital Currency
  • 01:08:13 Advice on Investing
  • 01:10:30 "If you inherit wealth, you're not rich"
  • 01:12:24 Being Rich ≠ Being Happy
  • 01:13:44 Philanthropy
  • 01:16:39 Dealing with the hardest period of his life
  • 01:19:33 Wrap Up
Thank you to our partner
This week's episode is supported by InstaSleep Mint Melts, the drug-free, convenient sleep aid.
They’re easy to take without water & melt in your mouth like a mint. They’re designed to help you fall asleep faster & wake up without feeling groggy in the morning.
If you’ve had issues sleeping like I have, try them out - available at select Walgreens stores and their website:
Sep 16, 2020
Subscribe + Watch on YouTube:

Let me know what you think on Twitter:

Who Is Kat Cole?
Kat is one of the most impressive business leaders in America. Fortune magazine named her on their 40 under 40 list & her story is often cited as an example of the “American Dream”.
She worked her way up from being a waitress at Hooters aged 17, to an exec at 26 and a president at 31.
Today, she’s the president of a parent company doing $4-5bil in sales in 60+ countries, across 6500+ locations.

Their 7 brands including Cinnabon, Carvel & Jamba Juice.
In this conversation you’ll learn how she thinks about growth, adapting products to emerging trends, using brand partnerships to grow & the factors that go into expanding internationally.
Five Things You’ll Learn
  • Lessons In Leadership – how to establish credibility, even as a young leader, to lead a team through any situation.

  • Emerging Trends + The Innovation Adoption Curve – how she thinks about adapting to emerging trends for brands like Cinnabon + Jamba Juice. Finding your place on the innovation adoption curve while holding onto where you came from.

  • Impact of Lockdown On Malls + Airports – how recent events have impacted their 6500+ locations in malls + airports, and where she sees opportunities

  • International Growth – the factors you should think through when expanding internationally, stories of mistakes made, and examples of situations she navigated in Argentina, Turkey + UAE

  • Brand Partnerships – controlling your brand when expanding with partners, and when to consider licensing vs franchising vs joint ventures
Time Stamps (YouTube)
  • 00:00:00 Preview
  • 00:02:04 Welcome
  • 00:05:01 From Waitress to Vice President of Hooters
  • 00:08:41 Invaluable Lessons In Leadership
  • 00:14:18 “I’m Friendly, But Not Your Friend”
  • 00:16:49 Blending Humility + Confidence
  • 00:20:57 Scale + Revenue of Focus Brands
  • 00:22:12 Case Study: Turning Around Cinnabon
  • 00:29:23 Opportunity = When Your Company Says “No”
  • 00:33:03 Approach To Testing New Products
  • 00:35:10 Adapting to Trends: Jamba + Cinnabon Example
  • 00:42:11 Jamba + The Innovation Adoption Curve
  • 00:48:54 Mall Traffic In 2020
  • 00:51:47 Prediction On Airport Traffic
  • 00:53:22 Increased Search Demand For “Near Me” + “Delivery”
  • 00:54:35 DTC vs Third-Party Delivery Services
  • 00:57:25 International Growth: Hooters in Argentina
  • 01:01:11 Importance of Cultural Context: Turkey Example
  • 01:04:47 International Context – Asking the Right Questions
  • 01:06:29 Factors To Consider When Expanding Internationally
  • 01:12:08 Growing Through Licensing, Franchising + Joint Ventures
  • 01:14:51 Brand Partnerships – Controlling Your Brand
  • 01:17:34 Wrap-Up
Thank you to our partner
This week's episode is supported by InstaSleep Mint Melts, the drug-free, convenient sleep aid.
They’re easy to take without water & melt in your mouth like a mint. They’re designed to help you fall asleep faster & wake up without feeling groggy in the morning.
If you’ve had issues sleeping like I have, try them out - available at select Walgreens stores and their website:
Sep 8, 2020

Who Is Ryan?

Ryan Begelman co-founded Summit Series, described as “TED meets Burning Man” & “The Davos of Gen Y” by Forbes

They’ve become known for hosting incredible events with thousands of leading creators like Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos & Jessica Alba. Summit acquired Powder Mountain, America’s largest ski resort after pre-selling the opportunity to their community.

Ryan also bought into Bisnow Media, became CEO & sold for a reported $50mil+, all without venture capital.

What You’ll Learn

Part 1: Business Frameworks + Backstory

  • Framework For Business Ideas – a technique to generate ideas: marketing, monetization + markets
  • Bootstrapping + Buying A Mountain – how they pre-sold an idea to their community to buy a mountain for $50mil + why you should consider bootstrapping too
  • Joint Venture Waterfalls – applying a concept from private equity to real estate + businesses
  • Dealflow – four ways to think about generating deal flow: hunting, trapping, farming, trading
  • Replacing Yourself – how to find, hire & train someone to replace you

Part 2: Holistic Entrepreneurship, Philosophy + Mental Fitness

  • Redefining Wealthy + Holistic Entrepreneurship – creating a well-rounded, fun & meaningful life through entrepreneurship
  • “Software For The Brain” – train your brain for mental fitness, developing awareness + neuroplasticity
  • Practical Philosophy – concepts from greek philosophy, Buddhism & stoicism to help you be less reactive + less annoyed
  • The Story of the Chinese Farmer – a parable about nature + grounding yourself in truth
  • Ego – is wanting to leave an indelible mark on humanity a form of ego or something to strive for?

Time Stamps (YouTube)


Thank you to our partner
This week's episode is supported by InstaSleep Mint Melts, the drug-free, convenient sleep aid.
They’re easy to take without water & melt in your mouth like a mint. They’re designed to help you fall asleep faster & wake up without feeling groggy in the morning.
If you’ve had issues sleeping like I have, try them out - available at select Walgreens stores and their website:
Aug 21, 2020


In this episode, we discuss the world of micro private equity, buying existing companies with little money down & the philosophy of becoming an owner.

Ryan has a growing portfolio of 7 products, including, a popular SaaS Shopify app. He’s doing 7-figures in revenue, all while living a nomadic life traveling the world, coding on-the-go & making music.




  • importance of ownership of your actions + becoming an owner in a business
  • building from scratch vs buying an existing company
  • thinking through career transitions + knowing when to leave your job
  • how to work with a romantic partner
  • partnering with investors to buy companies
  • his opinion on self-funding vs raising investment
  • why job security isn’t about the company you work for
  • breakdown of his first 6 figure acquisition
  • why someone would sell a business in the first place, and what to look out for
  • what is seller side financing + how can you use it to buy a company with little money down
  • SBA loans + how you can use one to acquire a company
  • dealing with people who have negative energy
  • scaling a team beyond yourself



  • 00:00 welcome
  • 01:42 why ryan landed in korea
  • 04:46 learning languages
  • 05:57 not pitching
  • 08:43 ryan's background 09:31 learning to code + becoming an owner
  • 11:40 bootstrap vs venture capital
  • 15:07 pros + cons lists
  • 17:14 raise to make your vision bigger
  • 18:51 nuance + balance from extremes
  • 22:42 importance of becoming an owner
  • 25:33 54 side projects + 7 companies
  • 28:13 7 figure revenue, 70% margin
  • 28:49 running a business with a romantic partner
  • 34:27 knowing when to leave your job
  • 45:52 job security + your own skillset
  • 48:42 why buy vs build from scratch
  • 51:57 do I need money to buy?
  • 53:22 buying with no money down
  • 59:23 how to value a small business
  • 1:03:23 what is seller side financing?
  • 1:04:33 what is a clawback provision?
  • 1:05:33 why would someone sell a business?
  • 1:07:43 "it's too good to be true"
  • 1:11:32 two types of people, which one are you?
  • 1:14:27 dealing with negative energy
  • 1:16:36 debt vs equity to buy companies
  • 1:18:01 using SBA loans to buy companies
  • 1:26:26 business returns vs real estate vs stocks
  • 1:27:31 be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful
  • 1:29:57 partnering with investors to buy a company
  • 1:32:59 scaling a team beyond yourself
  • 1:37:32 being conservative in tech
  • 1:39:47 types of luck
  • 1:43:28 what's stopping you?
Aug 7, 2020

Who Is Emily?

"Most Important Entrepreneur of The Decade" - Inc Magazine

Emily is a true branding expert.

She's helped to build brands like Allbirds, Casper & Boxed from the ground up & paved a new path for entrepreneurs building in the direct-to-consumer (D2C) space.

Win A Free Book

We're giving away 5 free copies of Emily's new book: Obsessed: Building a Brand People Love From Day One

Sign up here for details:

What You’ll Learn

The approach Emily and her team use to create brands that people love from day one.

Real-world examples from brands like: Apple, Nike, Warby Parker, TOMS, Allbirds, SoulCycle, Everlane, Thinx, and more.

You’ll learn:

  • 3 pillars of brand strategy: mindset, key problem, brand idea
  • what you can learn about brand storytelling from stand up comedy
  • getting to the consumer need & “the why test”
  • knowing when you’ve got to the “core brand idea”
  • the difference between functional vs emotional brand storytelling
  • the best way to get customer feedback
  • how consumer expectations are being redefined
  • why brand consistency is no longer the only approach to take in 2020
  • how subtle language can make a huge difference in the tone of your brand communication

Time Stamps:

00:00 intro
1:24 who is emily?
2:00 equity vs agency fee
3:09 branding book
4:15 what is the importance of brand?
5:05 defining brand
9:08 3 parts to brand strategy
14:40 customer interviews
20:33 beyond functional benefits
22:51 casper + core brand idea
25:30 airbnb + the why test
29:50 evaluating brand idea
30:30 boxed + comparing to competition
32:30 allbirds examples
37:40 nike + laddering up value
38:10 apple + green text
41:35 soulcycle brand juxtaposition
42:50 breaking the rule of consistency
44:30 thinx
47:40 non-profits + cause
50:50 toms shoe
53:10 warby parker
53:37 bombas
54:55 everlane
59:40 cancel culture + consumer expectations

Jan 14, 2020

Full show notes:

Landing In Mexico City

There’s an energy that radiates through Mexico City that is unique to this part of the world. Colorful buildings paint the streets next to food carts full of locals trading stories from their day. Innovative design, delicious food & a rich culture is at the heart of this mega-city.

“Emerging Mexico” as I would learn, is alive and well. I could see why The New York Times named it the #1 place to visit in 2016.

But when I first visited in 2015 to hang out with my old friend Hassan, I knew little about what was bubbling under the surface. That was the halfway point of our now 10yr friendship, meeting as young, ambitious employees in Google’s EMEA headquarters in Dublin.

Bonding over Arsenal games, Fifa marathons & long chats in Slattery’s Pub, we talked about one day building companies that we would be proud of. And Hassan has stayed true to that vision ever since.

Finding Opportunities In Emerging Markets

Hassan co-founded GAIA, one of Mexico’s leading startups that is disrupting the furniture business. They’ve re-imagined what a vertically integrated player could look like: from designing & producing their own products, bringing technology to create new retail experiences & even having their own GAIA trucks to control the delivery experience for their customers – they’ve been a shining light of what the future of retail should look like.

In just over 5 years, they’ve grown to 18 stores, 350+ employees & built a multi-million dollar e-commerce business that has a healthy mix of online to offline revenue.

Hassan forged his own path. Leaving his safe job at Google in Europe, to move to Brazil to learn about startups in the region, before planting his own seed in Mexico.

It’s his ability to get up and run towards the action that I was most fascinated to dig into. In an age of endless debate around luck vs skill – Hassan shows what it looks like to take control of the decisions you have agency over.

But what I love most about this convo, is that we talk through some of the challenges that many of us face when trying to go down the entrepreneurial route.

Where do you start? What should you focus on? When is it safe to leave your job? What skills do you need to build & who are the people you need to look out for to turn your idea into a reality?

Five Things To Listen Out For:

(1) Emerging Markets – why he thinks there’s so much opportunity in emerging markets like Mexico

(2) Knowing When To Leave – how he thought through leaving his safe job, to move twice & settle into countries where he didn’t speak the language

(3) Preparing For Entrepreneurship – the skills you can develop in a job to become a better entrepreneur

(4) The evolution of the CMO role – how marketing is changing

(5) Growth Debt – and how to avoid making mistakes when growing so quickly

Subscribe and watch on:

Full show notes:


Connect with Bilal on social:
Instagram @bzaidi212 @creatorlabfm
Twitter @bzaidi @creatorlabfm

Thank you to our sponsors, who help make this show possible:
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