Kalika Yap: Meditating, Marathons, and Mantras

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Kalika Yap: Meditating, Marathons, and Mantras

Kalika Joy Nacion Yap is a three-peat entrepreneur; a published author and true influencer. Based in Santa Monica, California this successful founder recently had her "Little Brand Book" published by HarperCollins, and she's been featured in many of the nation's most-respected publications. Born in the Philippines; university in New York; and businesses in SoCal and Hawaii -- this global citizen energizes with her creativity and positive drive.


From Wikipedia:

Kalika Joy Nacion Yap is an American entrepreneur and inventor.[1] She is known for inventing the Luxe Link, a fashion accessory that hangs women’s purses to keep them off the floor.[2] Yap is the founder and CEO of an interactive design and consulting agency called Citrus Studios, based in Santa Monica, California,[3] and The Waxing Company, a waxing salon in Honolulu.[4][5] Yap is president of the Los Angeles chapter of the Entrepreneurs' Organization and is host of its podcast, Wonder.[6][7]


Little Brand Book


  1. Women Magazine
  2. ^ "Purse Hanger for Table: Purse Hooks & Bag holder". LuxeLink. Retrieved 2017-02-23.
  3. ^ "Los Angeles Web Design Company & Marketing Agency". CitrusStudios. 2014-06-20. Retrieved 2017-02-23.
  4. ^ "Home". The Waxing Co. Retrieved 2017-02-23.
  5. ^ "Women-Owned Businesses Thrive In L.A. « CBS Los Angeles". Losangeles.cbslocal.com. 2015-01-12. Retrieved 2017-02-23.
  6. ^ "Entrepreneurs' Organization – Los Angeles: Board of Directors". Entrepreneurs' Organization – Los Angeles. Retrieved 2 September2018.
  7. ^ "Entrepreneurs' Organization: Podcasts". Entrepreneurs' Organization. Retrieved 2 September 2018.

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Dave Douglas: Welcome to another episode of Up2. Eight years ago, Up2 started as a live event series showcasing leaders who are as humble as they are successful. The humility piece is extremely important as we identify leaders who can inspire others. We try to focus our interviews on the non-business aspects of their lives and in doing so, have found that there is a real thirst to explore their hearts and minds in atypical ways. Our host, as always, is Adam Kaufman and our guest today is Kalika Yap. We're glad you joined us. We'll be right back.

Adam Kaufman: Hello. My name is Adam Kaufman, and I'm thankful you're joining us today on the Up2 Podcast. I want to tell you about a group that I'm grateful for and that is TownHall, Cleveland's most popular restaurant and one that I can say is the only place my wife tells me she can eat every meal, breakfast, lunch and dinner. TownHall was the first all non-GMO restaurant in the US a few years ago and they're now expanding into Columbus, Ohio soon. I'm also very selective about who we choose to partner with for this podcast and it was with open arms that I embraced the idea of partnering with Bobby George and TownHall. To learn more about what they're up to, you can visit TownHallOhioCity.com.

Kalika Yap: Welcome back. You're listening to the Up2 Podcast. Here's your host, Adam Kaufman.

Adam Kaufman: Our guest today is a repeat entrepreneur, an inventor, a published author, a podcast host, a wife, and a mom. She's known for inventing the Luxe Link, a fashion accessory that hangs women's purses to keep them off the floor. I know my wife loves her Links and Kalika even patented the hooks. She's the founder and CEO of an interactive design and consulting agency, Citrus Studios, based in Santa Monica, California. She's also the founder of The Waxing Company in Honolulu, and more recently, she founded Orange and Bergamont, offering community and digital solutions for female founders.

Adam Kaufman: Impressively, her companies have been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, the LA Business Journal, the Huffington Post, on the Today Show, on CNN, MSNBC, and Microsoft's Entrepreneurial Week. Earlier this year, Harper published her Little Brand Book, we'll delve into that a little bit, and she's also the host of Wonders, a widely listened to and watched podcast she hosts in conjunction with Entrepreneurs' Organization. She's a museum trustee, she has run seven marathons, wow, and she and her husband have two daughters. Amazing Kalika Joy Yap, welcome to Up2.

Kalika Yap: Hi, Adam. How are you? Thank you for having me on.

Adam Kaufman: That is quite-

Kalika Yap: It's nice to be here.

Adam Kaufman: ... a bio and there is more, but I wanted to not spend the full 40 minutes talking about your accomplishments, I wanted to talk to you more in person. You've been up to quite a bit.

Kalika Yap: Just a little bit.

Adam Kaufman: Well, what have you been up to lately? How has the COVID protocol been for you, all things considered?

Kalika Yap: For the first week I was really down and out. I was really... Usually, if something happens, it will take me three days, but this one took me about a week to sort of recover, but I've got to tell you, I think... and I don't tell this to a lot of people because a lot of people aren't having the same experience, it's probably the best thing that has ever happened to me.

Adam Kaufman: What do you mean by that?

Kalika Yap: It was a way for me to really reset everything in my life and you realize how much time you're really wasting. I am no longer commuting to meetings; I am no longer jumping on a plane for EO. I was supposed to be in South Africa and Japan and all this running around. You realize that you can accomplish so much online, and I can spend so much time with my family.

Adam Kaufman: Yes.

Kalika Yap: It is organized and I think the best part of it is that here I am in the world, influencing everyone else, but not having the opportunity to influence my own family. When you're around your own family, you can share, you can coach, you can organize, you can uplift, you can teach, so it has been phenomenal. It has been really a blessing in disguise.

Adam Kaufman: That is refreshing to hear and to continue with that thought, I know, working out of home as well, the children have been sponges around, even if I'm not teaching them in the moment, but they hear who I'm interacting with or see what I'm working on.

Kalika Yap: Right?

Adam Kaufman: Your children are even younger than mine and I know they're sponges at this age.

Kalika Yap: They do not follow what you say, they follow what you do.

Adam Kaufman: Yes.

Kalika Yap: They see me do my meditation practice, they see me working out, they see me drinking celery juice, even though I know that they won't, but that's what I remembered growing up. When I left for college, I remembered what my parents would do and then, I would do those same actions.

Adam Kaufman: Mm-hmm (affirmative), mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kalika Yap: Now, what a fantastic opportunity for them to be around... be around parents that really care and show... and of course they also see me reacting. I was having some issues with one of my designers and I was giving him some coaching and I was giving him some tough love. He stepped up to the occasion and they saw me celebrate him and then they came into the room. They're like, "What was that?" I was just like, "Yeah, that's what it is," and I started pounding my chest and started going, "Yes. This is what we want." Then, the whole atmosphere changed. I'm pretty animated and dramatic, but it made people feel good to see how I can celebrate these little successes and it's for the good of everyone.

Adam Kaufman: Yes.

Kalika Yap: It's phenomenal.

Adam Kaufman: These are some silver linings for sure during this unusual COVID period. Are there any of these things you'll keep post COVID? Will you work from home more often, for instance, travel less, or any other ways to expose your children to your work life once we get out of the pandemic?

Kalika Yap: Yes. I think I'm going to continue. I think that we're going to be in this situation for about three or four years.

Adam Kaufman: Okay.

Kalika Yap: Earlier, when this started happening, I asked my forum, the Entrepreneurs' Organization, you have a forum, and one of my friends was like, "Oh, this is going to be over by June," I'm [crosstalk 00:06:38]

Adam Kaufman: Your forum is like a personal board of directors.

Kalika Yap: Correct.

Adam Kaufman: Okay, and somebody thought it would be over in June.

Kalika Yap: I told them, I was like three or four years and I think what you have to realize is you have to realize how your habits have changed. For me, I canceled my membership for the gym. I know you're still going to the gym. I canceled my membership. I am no longer getting my hair done. I was getting my hair done three times a week and I'm not doing-

Adam Kaufman: I stopped getting my hair done, too. I don't know why people laugh. I don't know why people laugh. What have you learned about yourself, honestly, during this time? You're already a reflective human being. That's one of the things I like about you, very self-reflective, but have you learned anything new about yourself?

Kalika Yap: There's a great quote by Albert Camus, French Philosopher, that says, "In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me lays an invincible summer." I think that this COVID thing, your true self shows up.

Adam Kaufman: The good and the bad.

Kalika Yap: Yeah. I really don't think of it as bad; I think of you're learning.

Adam Kaufman: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kalika Yap: Every single day I'm learning something new; every single day I'm looking at different trends and it's exciting. I mean, The Waxing Company in Honolulu had to shut down. It shut down for a couple months, it's shut down right now, so of course I have issues with business. Marketing projects are being canceled, but what a huge opportunity. You know what we're going to do for The Waxing Company? What we're doing right now is we're putting content online. We're going to teach people how to wax. We're going to teach people how to start their own waxing company.

Adam Kaufman: Smart.

Kalika Yap: That's what we're doing. We're digitizing everything.

Adam Kaufman: You're digitizing your expertise. You're already an opinion leader in the salon, so to speak, and now you can do that virtually.

Kalika Yap: I would have never done that, and you can scale that.

Adam Kaufman: For sure.

Kalika Yap: I can't scale my waxing salon.

Adam Kaufman: That's what everyone keeps talking about is COVID has, in terms of business, it's accelerated inevitable change. At some point you might have eventually thought, "Why don't I become an online expert waxing," but now, or your team members there can do all that and they're forced to do that maybe sooner than they would have otherwise, thought to do that. Just like you and I are talking right now, I'm not in Santa Monica and you're not in Cleveland, but here we are. It's a nice silver lining.

Kalika Yap: What a joy it is to reconnect with such another incredible human being like you are.

Adam Kaufman: Thank you.

Kalika Yap: This is amazing. We would have never been having this conversation-

Adam Kaufman: You're right, you're right.

Kalika Yap: ... because of this. That's amazing.

Adam Kaufman: Right. Do you think you will return to a post-COVID old ways, like office place setting? I'm really interested in talking to operating entrepreneurs who have staffs. What is your staff saying? Like, "We never want to come back." Twitter famously said to their employees they never have to come back, remote work forever, but there has lately been more movement towards return to the workplace. People are missing some of the collaborative creativity. What are you thinking about that currently? This story isn't done, but what's your current thinking on that?

Kalika Yap: There is a fantastic podcast that Matt Mullenweg and Sam Harris did. I don't know if you know Sam Harris, the neuroscientist-

Adam Kaufman: Yeah.

Kalika Yap: ... about the future of work. It has changed and it has changed permanently. I think that the reason why I think that we're not going back to the status quo is there was a stigma about working from home. Even though the founder of Basecamp, Jason Fried, has been working from... he's been touting... I've been a client of Basecamp, which is a project collaboration tool-

Adam Kaufman: Yeah, we use Basecamp.

Kalika Yap: ... for over 20 years.

Adam Kaufman: Yeah, good company.

Kalika Yap: 20 years and he's been touting this. He wrote a book... What is it called? Rework or something like that. They've been talking about this for years, but there's a stigma because I do website design and people would always say, "Oh, you work from home," with this condescending tone.

Adam Kaufman: Yeah, a little unfavorably for sure.

Kalika Yap: Now, it's smarter.

Adam Kaufman: What do you think though post-pandemic because this will end? Do you think you'll have a return to the workplace?

Kalika Yap: The people that are having the hardest times are the ones with young, young families.

Adam Kaufman: Yeah.

Kalika Yap: Kids that are under the age of five, that's the difficult part. I look at my team and some of them are commuting two hours a day to get to work and if I can remove that two hours a day and they have an opportunity to work out, they have an opportunity to read a book, they have an opportunity to hike [crosstalk 00:11:21]

Adam Kaufman: Sleep another hour, spend another hour with one of their kids. Right.

Kalika Yap: I mean, being with their family, why not?

Adam Kaufman: Become a better version of themselves, including performing for the company.

Kalika Yap: Right, but I did install new software on their computers. I had to go get everyone computers and laptops because I had to monitor. The phenomenal employees just continued to be phenomenal and the ones that are like... you have to coach.

Adam Kaufman: Right. You have the type of career I really like, doing multiple things.

Kalika Yap: Yes.

Adam Kaufman: You don't do just one thing. You're not making just one type of widget, like so many of our mutual friends are known for one particular product or service. How do you decide what types of work to pursue, Kalika, and when do you say no to things? I'm sure you're stimulated with so many different opportunities, how do you filter that?

Kalika Yap: Well, I know it's really random because I have a agency, I have a product, and then I have a service salon. I invested in my sister-in-law's company and then, she divorced my brother, so I took it on a hundred percent. That's that, because people are like, "Waxing, you're not an aesthetician. What's that all about?"

Adam Kaufman: That I would call kind of generally opportunistic, that scenario. It's not like you were a lifer in the waxing world, but that was an opportunistic situation that you decided to keep going with.

Kalika Yap: I don't know if you knew this, Adam, but we were the first waxing salon in Honolulu. Okay. We all wear bikinis in Honolulu. Why are we the first? That's definitely opportunistic because in LA, there's a waxing salon on every corner and I'm thinking, why is there not one? It made sense to me.

Adam Kaufman: Right. That was opportunistic and then you have these other pursuits I describe in the outset, plus you have what I call electives, different charities you get involved in, civic causes, political campaigns, EO, which is a huge monster of commitment and time. How do you decide where to jump in while still respecting the family needs and your hopes to do things with them, too?

Kalika Yap: Well, I think that there are just ideas and concepts that just seize you. Like, for the Luxe Link, the purse hook, my grandmother told me that if you put your purse on the floor, that means you're going to lose money. I didn't want to lose money, so I invented it based on another product that I had seen. There were all these J-hooks, gigantic hooks where you could use it to hang your purse and my idea was just like why does it have to be so big. This idea would not let me go. It is every single... at this point, I already had Citrus Studios and at that time, it was difficult. My company was young, I think it was like only a couple years old and I thought to myself, why would anyone in their right mind start a second company because one company is already difficult? I find that if you do creative framework, you understand your values personally and with business, it's easy for you to make decisions. You just need clarity.

Kalika Yap: How I make decisions is based on does it resonate with my core values. My core values spell out the word charm: change the world, have heart, all-in, be remarkable, and make lemonade out of lemons. If it resonates with that, the reason why I'm involved with EO, we empower entrepreneurs to change the world. Done, check. It's important to know who you are and a lot of times, in my purpose, my whole goal with Orange and Bergamot, my latest startup, is to help a million female founders flourish and create a million jobs. If I'm able to do that, I would feel satisfied.

Adam Kaufman: Have there been ever opportunities that you passed on that you wish you jumped into?

Kalika Yap: Okay, so I don't know if you know this, but Michael Dubin actually used to work at Citrus, my company. Michael Dubin is the founder of the Dollar Shave Club, so I would have loved to invest...

Adam Kaufman: I'm a customer. His video was so famous, his video went viral and that really put them on the map. Did you help produce that video?

Kalika Yap: Not the video, but I used to take him to EO events.

Adam Kaufman: Oh, my goodness.

Kalika Yap: I wish he asked me for money. He didn't ask me for money. [crosstalk 00:15:54]

Adam Kaufman: Is he still involved with the company now that they've sold to, I think, Unilever or not [crosstalk 00:15:58]

Kalika Yap: Yeah, for a billion dollars. Yeah, I think he's still CEO.

Adam Kaufman: Well, I'm a loyal customer the next time you talk to him. I use his products almost every day.

Kalika Yap: He's amazing.

Adam Kaufman: You wish you got more involved there. Is there ever a project that you'd be comfortable saying you probably shouldn't have gotten involved in, that it took too much time, or it was kind of a treadmill to nowhere? I'm really interested in how busy people who achieve, filter opportunities. We all miss things and we all take on things that maybe we shouldn't have, so it's kind of one of my favorite topics. I hope you don't mind me continuing to ask about it.

Kalika Yap: Yeah. No. In the beginning, I would say yes to everything and I would give money everywhere.

Adam Kaufman: Yes, yes, yes.

Kalika Yap: Whether or not it was museums, cancer, I would run marathons for people, I would be raising [inaudible 00:16:45] and it was really, there was no theme. Now my theme is entrepreneurs. I believe that entrepreneurs solve problems that make the world better.

Adam Kaufman: Amen to that.

Kalika Yap: Just like you, you're helping other entrepreneurs learn and grow right now. That's my thesis.

Adam Kaufman: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kalika Yap: I'm going down that path.

Adam Kaufman: I love that. Did your personal mission statement and that acronym come out of an activity that you were involved in or you just came up with that on your own? Was it a book that you read or a speaker that you saw? How did you come about creating these tenets of your personal mission?

Kalika Yap: This came out of what I learned from EMP, the Entrepreneurs Master's Program at MIT.

Adam Kaufman: Got it.

Kalika Yap: We had someone from a company called Nurse Next Door talking to us about core values and there was an activity that they did. They said, "Everyone stand up." Everyone stood up. "If you know your core values, stay standing." 10 people sat down. Then they said, "Sit down if your employees know your core values. Sit down if your clients know your values." I sat down. I came up with an acronym because I needed to remember it myself and I needed it to resonate with my company. My company's called Citrus and my other company's Orange, it's like there's a citrus thing, so we came up with make lemonade out of the lemons. The words, integrity and trust, aren't in there because it's just a given. Plus, you need to have that the core values generate a feeling. Your core values shouldn't be the same as someone else's core values. You know that song by the Black-Eyed Peas, I've Got a Feeling? It just makes you just feel like dancing.

Adam Kaufman: Oh, happy song. Yeah. Great song.

Kalika Yap: Isn't that the best? That song really talks about branding. I mean, that's basically teaching business in a sense. Right? The reason why you buy from someone is because it generates a feeling. I've got a feeling. As an entrepreneur, you have a feeling, you have an inkling that you want to do this. It's not here, it's not in your brain, it's not-

Adam Kaufman: It's more heart based. It's more heart-

Kalika Yap: ... thinking.

Adam Kaufman: Right.

Kalika Yap: Absolutely. When you're talking about you want to help people who are humble, those qualities exist here in your heart.

Adam Kaufman: Mm-hmm (affirmative). It's funny you brought up the Black-Eyed Peas song, because Will.i.am, the lead singer's famously now a pretty successful entrepreneur on his own and his tech knowledge is much more than a lot of the artists, so good song choice. I think our producer, I'll ask him to play as-

Kalika Yap: We've got to play that.

Adam Kaufman: ... play as much of that song as we can on the podcast without getting in trouble legally.

Dave Douglas: I'm not sure we'll be able to get away with that.

Adam Kaufman: Well, you're also a risk taker and thanks for talking about how you filter ideas, but you're also a risk taker. You've taken some chances. Any of them not succeed or are you batting a thousand percent?

Kalika Yap: Me and my husband are completely different. I think I had Citrus Studios and Luxe Link and then I told him, "Oh, I want to invest in The Waxing Company," and he looked at me and he was just like, "What the heck is wrong with you? Why would you do this? Why would you put $150,000 of our money into this?" I just said, "I have a feeling that it's going to do really well." Then, we were profitable in three months, so I think that there's a difference between being a risk taker and being an intelligent risk taker.

Adam Kaufman: That's definitely true in my world of venture capital. We have constantly entrepreneurs in front of us, but we need to figure out how much of a risk tolerance we have and we're trying to figure out if in their gut they have the ability to roll with the punches and the stick-to-itivness that I think is innate in you, but it's hard to analyze the chances sometimes that we take.

Kalika Yap: We talk a lot about a lens, so one exercise I tell people that I mentor is take a look at a camera. You pick up a camera and you look through one lens. You see just a little bit of a landscape. You put the camera down and you, yourself, you can look at the entire thing. Sam Harris in his podcast, in his meditation app says, "Make your gaze very wide." Right?

Adam Kaufman: Mm-hmm (affirmative), mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kalika Yap: That's basically what you're trying to do. As someone who's an investor, as an entrepreneur, you're really trying to look at the landscape as a whole.

Adam Kaufman: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kalika Yap: Right? I took this... it was a self-defense class.

Adam Kaufman: Don't mess with Kalika.

Kalika Yap: One thing that they taught us was if you put your arms out like this on the side, do you see how you can see with your peripheral vision what's happening here? Right?

Adam Kaufman: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kalika Yap: You can see it. Right?

Adam Kaufman: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kalika Yap: Then, if you turn just another, like a quarter, you can see what's happening here to the left and the right. Right?

Adam Kaufman: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kalika Yap: Then, you do the same thing and now you're seeing 360 around you by just doing a turn, a left and a right turn, you can see 360. I think that entrepreneurs need to have that type of vision and a lot of times, too, because a lot of people can't see what's happening behind, they get a coach. For me, meditation helps me with seeing the bigger picture, the wider angle, and having an [inaudible 00:22:36] coach and having a tribe that can watch your back, you can make the right decisions.

Adam Kaufman: Do you have a coach or are you referring to your forum group right now?

Kalika Yap: No. Yeah, I do have a coach. Yeah.

Adam Kaufman: Oh, wow. Okay. Good for you. Are you allowed to tell me like is it strategic coach or just a private individual or one of the companies or is it a Gazelles program or a Scaling Up or EOS? You don't want to say.

Kalika Yap: I do EOS, but yeah. No.

Adam Kaufman: Okay, that's fine. That's cool.

Kalika Yap: It's more like a spiritual business coach.

Adam Kaufman: Guru, got it.

Kalika Yap: Yeah.

Adam Kaufman: That actually relates to what I was about to say with your prior comment, what you just described in having perspective, in moving back and seeing the big picture, I refer to that as God's kaleidoscope. If you think of a kaleidoscope and if you're right in front, you can just see a blue dot, but if you go all the way back through the cylinder and it's a beautiful mosaic in how it all fits together, all the pieces, so you need that broader, more distant perspective, kind of like you were saying with stretching out your arms and turning to the right or the left, kind of similar, the kaleidoscope.

Kalika Yap: That is a beautiful metaphor.

Adam Kaufman: Feel free to use it.

Kalika Yap: I'm going to buy... I'm writing it down. I'm getting a kaleidoscope.

Adam Kaufman: If I ever write a book, and I'm not sure that I will, but it will be called God's Kaleidoscope and I how I feel like all the pieces in my life fit together, but sometimes in the moment, you're like, "Why is this happening? Why is this blue dot right in front of me?" Then as I go back where I reflect backwards five years after the fact, I see why that had to happen in order to get to the next thing, which is the beautiful mosaic of the kaleidoscope.

Kalika Yap: Yeah, that is stunning, and I love the... I can see it immediately, so it is a beautiful, beautiful picture.

Dave Douglas: You're listening to the Up2 Podcast. We'll be right back.

Adam Kaufman: One of the aspects of podcasting I enjoy the most is the ability to delve into long form discussions without any interruption other than a periodic commentary about one of our partners. I'm grateful that Calfee, Ohio-based law firm, has agreed to partner with us. They have offices throughout Ohio and also in Washington DC, in New York, and Indianapolis, too. They are a full-service firm, every type of legal need.

Adam Kaufman: One example I'll share right now because so many of our listeners are entrepreneurs is not too long ago, a friend of mine sold his company to a public corporation. With that came some restrictions and ramifications on his future employment and to navigate through that properly, he asked my advice. Without hesitation, I recommended Calfee because I knew they'd have the right type of specialists to help him with his particular needs. My friend continues to rave about that experience and I'm very grateful that Calfee has agreed to partner with Up2.

Adam Kaufman: Whether it's selling your own business or the more routine needs of creating your first will or anything in between, this firm can really do it all in terms of legal needs. Once again, the firm is Calfee. You can find them at C-A-L-F-E-E dot com or on the Up2 Foundation website.

Adam Kaufman: During the first season of the Up2 Podcast, I had several companies and entrepreneurs approach me about potential partnerships, but I'm really selective before choosing to do something like that. One choice we did make happily is to partner with VividFront, a full-service, digital marketing and website design agency based in Cleveland that works with both local and national brands. They've built their entire client base on referrals and they've won a lot of awards, including the 2019 Inc Magazine Top 5000 Fastest Growing Companies, North Coast's Top Places to Work, and several others. They're known for their talent, they're known for their creativity, they're known for their culture, a firm I liked before we agreed to partner together for the show. Check out VividFront.com or you can email me, and I'll introduce you to their dynamic leader, Andrew Spott.

Dave Douglas: Welcome back. You're listening to the Up2 Podcast with Adam Kaufman. Today's guest is Kalika Yap.

Adam Kaufman: Tell me more about you. You mentioned meditation for a moment, and I remain just so impressed with how you do so many different things and juggle them. I've met your daughters and I certainly have met Rodney. Your family life does not seem to suffer at all given all that you're doing at work. I know meditation is important to you and you said something to me once, go slow to go fast. Can you talk about that a little bit?

Kalika Yap: You know the Pareto Principle. Right?

Adam Kaufman: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kalika Yap: Focus on the 20% that will make the 80% better. Right?

Adam Kaufman: Yes.

Kalika Yap: I mean, generally.

Adam Kaufman: Move the needle.

Kalika Yap: I mean, that's what meditation does. It is the most important thing and when I'm meditating... so this morning, I meditated for an hour and 15 minutes.

Adam Kaufman: Whoa.

Kalika Yap: It is the most important thing. In my mind, no matter what ever happens, I tell myself this is the most important thing that you have to do today, every day, because if you are not... from Stephen Covey's sharpening the saw, you know why I meditate every day? Do you take a bath every day? Do you brush your teeth every day? Yeah, we do.

Adam Kaufman: Part of the daily routine?

Kalika Yap: Stress comes to us every single day. There's no... How are you going to clean all that up? You do that. How do you reenergize yourself? I believe it's energy, not time, that creates high performance.

Adam Kaufman: Energy, not time, that's true.

Kalika Yap: How do you renew yourself every single day? You can do that through meditation, you can do that through prayer, you can do that through working out.

Adam Kaufman: For the beginner who isn't good at or even familiar with meditating, someone doesn't start with an hour and a half. How would you coach someone to get started with that? It's a very attractive result the way you describe it, more productivity, more relaxed, less stress, but it seems like the barrier to entry is intimidating, meditation.

Kalika Yap: Again, this was part of my lessons from EMP, the Entrepreneurs' Master's Program, they said, "Select one thing." They had the book, The One Thing. Right?

Adam Kaufman: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kalika Yap: It took me a while to figure out what my one thing was going to be. You could only pick one thing. That one thing was a keystone habit that leads to better habits. That, I've got to tell you, it took me six months for me to even be able to sit still, but you know me. Once I write it down, I'm going to meditate.

Adam Kaufman: Yeah. It's a goal, but it's hard, though. I'm in the mode you just described. I cannot sit still for three minutes without thinking of the to-do's in my head or the problem that I need to deal with or what I'm excited about even. I just can't turn my brain off.

Kalika Yap: Guess what? You're not supposed to.

Adam Kaufman: Keep going.

Kalika Yap: Do you turn off your heart? No. Your mind is your mind. It's the awareness that your mind is chattering. It's that awareness that you're looking for. You're not supposed to stop breathing. People think like, "Oh, I can't stop my thoughts." Of course, you're not supposed to stop your thoughts. Your thoughts are you, but the thing... Okay, they're not you. Everyone identifies with their thoughts, but that is not who you really are. You are energy, you are this infinite spirit, you are this abominable spirit, you are a diamond that is in there and people don't see it. You are the shining light that's been inside. Okay, it took me... so, for someone who is considering dipping their toe in it, this is what I did. I took a six-week course at UCLA, I took-

Adam Kaufman: On meditation?

Kalika Yap: On meditation, six weeks.

Adam Kaufman: Whoa.

Kalika Yap: I took transcendental meditation. I had to take it twice and I paid money. I paid like a thousand dollars, $2000 each time because I just couldn't... I had to have someone train me just like coach.

Adam Kaufman: Transcendental meditation is very popular in the CEO community now, even on Wall Street. I'm amazed at how many uber achievers or Jim Collins level five leaders do practice transcendental meditation. There's something to that. I haven't figured it out yet, but there really is.

Kalika Yap: Yeah, because if you don't... if you cannot control your thoughts or not even aware of your thoughts, I didn't even know that I would have all these just random thoughts. If you have 90,000 thoughts a day and they're not helpful, then... My mom called me, my mom, my sister called me. Every single time my mom and sister call, I'm like, "Oh, my gosh. What happened?" Like, there's something big that happens, so my cousin is getting divorced after 25-30 years of marriage and they wanted to talk about that. They wanted to gossip about that. I basically told them, just like, "Oh, great. I'm glad that you told me." They were like, "Well, how do you feel about it?" I said, "I feel neutral." They wanted to gossip, and I just said, "It's just a waste of time."

Kalika Yap: Instead, I was telling them, "Okay, well, I'm working on this digital course. Can you guys give me some feedback on some of the stuff that I want to teach?" I redirected the way I wanted the conversation to go because I did not want to talk about my cousin, who's got five kids and now he's dating someone. I just didn't want to talk about that. We have such little time in this world and without this awareness, wherever your attention goes, energy flows. It's a waste of time. I want to change the world, so I want to focus on that.

Adam Kaufman: Thinking about your mother calling you about the family that are getting divorced and that wasn't on that game plan for you that day, you're focused on these other things and that's good to be focused, but do you ever think about giving yourself time to just mentally meander. Maybe it's when you meditate. We had a guest on the show who was the co-CEO of the Davos World Economic Forum, Philippe Bourguignon, lovely person. He talks about meandering. That's his main activity, mentally and physically meandering.

Adam Kaufman: That day, when your mom called you, you weren't in the mood to meander, but do you ever put yourself in a situation where you can meander and just let your creativity distractions become at the forefront of your mind and your heart?

Kalika Yap: That happens to me all the time, so when I'm in my meditation practice, I actually have a journal with me because I realize all the ideas come because they come up like a spring. When I take a walk, I have a tiny notebook that I write down. At the Peloton, on my bike, I have my notes because I'll think of something, like this morning on the Peloton, I thought of we train for tenacity. That came up and I wrote it down.

Adam Kaufman: That came into your head. Okay, so that's interesting. When you're exercising, whether it's walking or running or on the Peloton, you're not listening to music or to podcasts, you're letting your mind wander a little bit.

Kalika Yap: No. I'm actually taking the on-demand course, but these little inklings, they pop up and I think that's what the mind is for. A mind is a terrible master, but a wonderful servant. That's what your mind is for. It's to put connections together that weren't there. It's taking a look, like, "Oh, look at the airport industry. How do they onboard clients? How do they do that so quickly? Can I take that onboarding idea and put it in my business?"

Adam Kaufman: How do you learn? How do you expose yourself to new learning opportunities? Is it most through conferences or peers or books that you read because you're referring to many books right now, but how do you even decide what to read because there are so many business books, there are so many podcasts, other than yours and the Up2 Podcast. I know there's nothing better to listen to, but how do you decided even what to learn from?

Kalika Yap: The best recommendations are always from other entrepreneurs. I've learned Never Split the Difference from one of my friends who's in YPO, Chris Voss, the FBI negotiator, that was the best negotiation book I've ever read, and I've read a ton of them, but I learned-

Adam Kaufman: Never Split the Difference?

Kalika Yap: Never Split the Difference, fantastic book.

Adam Kaufman: Okay. I haven't read that.

Kalika Yap: Oh, my goodness. It was-

Adam Kaufman: I'm going to write that down.

Kalika Yap: I'll give you one tip. He talks about he doesn't like how people compromise. He said, "Okay, if you're going to wear shoes, are you going to wear a brown shoe and a black shoe? No, why would you do that?" He's just like, "That's what happens when you have bad compromising happening."

Adam Kaufman: That reminds me to your all-in ethos a little bit, you're all-in with black shoes or you're all-in with brown shoes, you're all-in.

Kalika Yap: He says like, "Okay, here's a hostage. You're going to take one arm and I'm going to take the other arm? No. That's not going to happen." Anyway, it's phenomenal.

Adam Kaufman: Okay.

Kalika Yap: He is a phenomenal teacher as well, but I learn from my kids.

Adam Kaufman: What's something that your kids have taught you?

Kalika Yap: To listen.

Adam Kaufman: How are you doing with that?

Kalika Yap: They have a... not a safe word, but they basically tell me when they think I'm not listening to them and I gave them permission to do that because what I realized and I... EMP again, EMP, they said, "What do you think?" Ask your family what is it that you want them to improve on? They said, "You've got to be a better listener." Sometimes they'll come in and I'm the middle of recording a podcast and they'll come in and they want me to give them their full attention, so there are now rules where I actually, on my door, it says, "Recording session," like you can't come in, but any other time you can come in. You're allowed to interrupt me.

Adam Kaufman: If I was talking to your daughters right now and you weren't in the room and I asked, "How is your mother doing with the listening?" How do you think they would authentically answer?

Kalika Yap: I bet I could probably work on it.

Adam Kaufman: Okay. Well, that's good. That's honest. We're all working on it, right?

Kalika Yap: Listening needs to be practiced and I'm actually reading several books on how to be a better listener.

Adam Kaufman: One title I have in one of my work pursuits is I'm actually the head of listening for this group called Paths North because I love listening to the members and to the stakeholders and to the partners. It was a whimsical title at first, but I think it's appropriate for what I do there. I love... I'm a sponge around people like you and the others I'm fortunate enough to meet, so listening I think can't ever be overstated as how important it is.

Kalika Yap: Yeah. I can tell you're a great listener.

Adam Kaufman: Well, I'm talking too much right now, but that's because I have so many questions for you. One thing I wanted to also ask you about, Kalika, is you're still young, but do you ever think about your legacy? David Brooks famously talked about the two documents. Are you spending more time building your resume or working on your eulogy? Have you thought about that at all?

Kalika Yap: I used to think about the legacy and then I decided I'm going to live my legacy every single day.

Adam Kaufman: What changed that thinking for you?

Kalika Yap: I'm sure the people have talked about it before. I can't really remember, but to think that at 98 or however old I want to live until-

Adam Kaufman: God willing.

Kalika Yap: ... that that is going to be the pinnacle, it didn't make sense to me. I often travel in time in my head. Like, okay, if I'm 88, who do I want around me? I want my husband around me, I want my family around me. What decisions do I have to make today to make that happen?

Adam Kaufman: That's good.

Kalika Yap: I mean, that's why I stopped... I stopped drinking in 2014.

Adam Kaufman: Okay.

Kalika Yap: I wasn't drinking very much, but in my family, my uncle committed suicide, he was an alcoholic, my grandfather on the same side, my mom's side, he also died of alcoholism, and EO, Entrepreneurs' Organization, we were just drinking a lot and I didn't even like to drink, so I just-

Adam Kaufman: Right.

Kalika Yap: I just cut it out and I was [crosstalk 00:39:53]

Adam Kaufman: Experience sharing now. My father's an alcoholic, so I can relate to this. I'm sorry I interrupted you. What were you going... You replaced it with what?

Kalika Yap: Meditation.

Adam Kaufman: Okay.

Kalika Yap: It took me a long time because [inaudible 00:40:04] and everyone would drink and just like a big California Cab, like I'd just be like, "Oh, my god." I would just love my California Cab right now. Now I just don't even... it's just not in my repertoire.

Adam Kaufman: I bet people are noticing that more than you realize, for the good. Do you ever think about how your role modeling for? You have various platforms, podcasts, a couple different companies, your civic work. Do you ever think about who's watching you, who's following you?

Kalika Yap: Who's following me? No. I just would love to see more female entrepreneurs succeed. I was looking at some stats. There's 15 million male entrepreneurs. There's only 12 million female entrepreneurs. There's a three million-

Adam Kaufman: That's in the US?

Kalika Yap: The US, yeah, sorry. In the US. I'm thinking, why? What is stopping you from coming up with great ideas? I look at all the... there's several companies who've made over a billion... Even Kendra Scott, right?

Adam Kaufman: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kalika Yap: She was in EO and she started off with $500 as a single mom hocking her jewelry door to door. We need more of that.

Adam Kaufman: What's your current thinking about why there are not more female entrepreneurs? Is it just society or is it something wired inside women that they choose to do other things? Is it the-

Kalika Yap: There are 12 behaviors that hold women back-

Adam Kaufman: 12 behaviors.

Kalika Yap: ... and there's a great book. There's a book by Sally Helgesen and Marshall Goldsmith called How Women Rise and if you're not aware of these behaviors, one of them being perfectionism, then you'll be unconsciously holding you back all the time. I'm a recovering perfectionist myself. That's why I didn't want to do... when I was doing my podcast, I procrastinated for six months because in the back of my mind I'm thinking, "Well, it needs to be perfect, it needs to be perfect, it needs to be perfect." Start ugly. Start before you're ready.

Adam Kaufman: I don't know if you've ever been around Jean Case.

Kalika Yap: No. Who's that?

Adam Kaufman: Steve Case was the AOL Chairman.

Kalika Yap: AOL. Yeah.

Adam Kaufman: Jean Case, his wife, Case Foundation she's the CEO of, she's also now the first ever female head of The National Geographic Society in Washington DC, and she wrote a great book called Be Fearless.

Kalika Yap: Be Fearless?

Adam Kaufman: It wasn't just about female entrepreneurs, but many of the stories were female focused and really good read and I'd love to introduce you to Jean sometime if you were ever inspired, once you look at her book or something.

Kalika Yap: I'd love that.

Adam Kaufman: A real good thought leader in the female entrepreneur space. I want to bring up one other thing with you today before I let you go and that is meaning. You always seem happy to me and I know you're a human being, so that's inevitable that you're sometimes going to have down periods. We all do. What gives you the most meaning in your life? When you're happy, it's contagious. I think meaning is a little different. I was actually asked to give a talk once on happiness because the host thought I was a happy person. I accepted the speaking engagement, but I changed it on microphone. I said, "We're going to talk not about happiness today because happiness is fleeting. I want to talk to you about meaning." What gives you the most meaning in your various pursuits?

Kalika Yap: I think, just like you, you love sharing wisdom. What gives me meaning is lifting others as we climb, as we rise.

Adam Kaufman: What allows you to do that, do you think? Is it your business, is it your show?

Kalika Yap: My mom... oh, you mean like what I'm actually specifically doing?

Adam Kaufman: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Kalika Yap: You can change a life. You don't have to change... I know my goal's like a million. You don't have to change a million, you just have to change one.

Adam Kaufman: A million entrepreneurs. Right.

Kalika Yap: You just have to change one. That one person can be the catalyst for someone else.

Adam Kaufman: Yeah, that's the kaleidoscope, that's the God's kaleidoscope.

Kalika Yap: That's it.

Adam Kaufman: Right. What inspired you to write the book? Is part of your meaning pursuit in the form of the book?

Kalika Yap: Yes. The Little Brand Book, which thank you for bringing it up, was published by HarperCollins.

Adam Kaufman: Pretty recently.

Kalika Yap: April, yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative). It was my first step towards educating people around who they are because a lot of people don't spend enough time with who they are, so that's why they don't have a purpose. You're spending time with me now, so I'm getting a chance to know you. We spend time with our family, and we ask them questions, we ask them questions like what's your favorite color, what's your favorite book, what's your favorite app?

Adam Kaufman: What are you worried about?

Kalika Yap: Yeah. We don't spend that time with ourselves, so the book is basically about archetypes. I believe that everyone falls within these archetypes, but there's a primary and a secondary archetype and if you understand who you are, it's just a... it's fun. It's like a quiz that you take, and my archetype is I am a maven leader, a maven is someone who teaches and a leader's someone who gets stuff done. That combination, and there's 144 archetypes in the book, helps people take just the first step in getting to know who you are.

Adam Kaufman: Who's the audience for the book? It's not just female entrepreneurs. I thought it was and maybe I'm wrong.

Kalika Yap: It is because they're very like female, but I'm actually coming out with a second one-

Adam Kaufman: Please do.

Kalika Yap: .... for men-

Adam Kaufman: Please do.

Kalika Yap: ... called Minimal Viable Brand.

Adam Kaufman: We need that. Us men, I'll speak for the male species, we need that. Will you have 144 more archetypes for men?

Kalika Yap: Well, they're all the same meaning. I'll give you an example. Like, the Dollar Shave Club, Michael Dubin, he's the guy next door, that's his archetype.

Adam Kaufman: Really?

Kalika Yap: He's the regular guy. That's why he appeals to a regular guy, that's why people loved him so much.

Adam Kaufman: Yeah.

Kalika Yap: He wasn't the rebel. He isn't Red Bull. He isn't Mountain Dew, Goofy and-

Adam Kaufman: Right, right. He's not the world's most interesting man, that great character on the ads.

Kalika Yap: Yeah, exactly. Right?

Adam Kaufman: Hilarious. Yeah.

Kalika Yap: With swagger, you know.

Adam Kaufman: Right, right.

Kalika Yap: He's just, "Dude, I don't want to pay $36 for a freaking shaver. Who's with me?"

Adam Kaufman: We invested in a company called Man Crates and it's in California. It kind of reminds me a little bit of the Dollar Shave founder, I don't know him like you do, but the Man Crate is like gifts for men.

Kalika Yap: Yes.

Adam Kaufman: Females are better at chocolates or flowers or things to hang your purse with. What do men send each other? He created these crates that you have to open with a crowbar and it's like guy stuff. Like, different barbecue sauces or hunting knives and not even just masculine gifts, but it kind of reminds me what you're talking about.

Kalika Yap: I think it's so true. This is another really important business thing. You need to know who your audience is.

Adam Kaufman: Definitely. That's when I asked you about the book, who was the audience for the book, and it sounds like the second book will be more geared towards men, so I'll definitely read that. Before we go, I have to correct one thing. You recently told me that you think you're the world's laziest person.

Kalika Yap: Yes.

Adam Kaufman: I think today's conversation proves how inaccurate that label is, but do you honestly believe that about yourself?

Kalika Yap: You know what? The best programmers are lazy ones.

Adam Kaufman: Says who?

Kalika Yap: You know what? I think so. I started off as a... I was programming in HTML and then I'm always looking for shortcuts.

Adam Kaufman: I see what you mean, efficiency and yeah.

Kalika Yap: And automation.

Adam Kaufman: I see your point.

Kalika Yap: You want to see how lazy I am? So lazy that I never want to make the same mistake twice.

Adam Kaufman: That's smart. That's not lazy. That's smart.

Kalika Yap: It's lazy because I don't ever want to cry over that guy who cheated on me, whatever, that is the one principle in my life, never make the same mistake twice because I wouldn't want to experience that again.

Dave Douglas: I've got to say I'm with Adam on this one. This is not lazy at all. This is being smart. This is-

Adam Kaufman: Our producer is laughing over in the booth. He had to chime in here.

Kalika Yap: Okay, thank you.

Dave Douglas: Just like figuring out ways to actually accomplish more and to be more effective.

Adam Kaufman: I love that about you. I mean, I'm making fun of the fact that you're "wrong", but the point is you're tremendously accomplished, you want to do more, and I can attest to the fact that you also-

Kalika Yap: Maybe I can just clarify.

Adam Kaufman: Yes.

Kalika Yap: I don't like to use my brain as much as it needs to.

Adam Kaufman: Yeah. You work smart.

Kalika Yap: Like, here I have my little... I showed this to you. I have my meditation tracker. It's my... I have to have a tracker because I don't want to have to say which one... is revitalizing breath after inspirational breath or is it before physical breath, I just don't want to do that. I have like, habit tracker here, I [crosstalk 00:49:41] on video.

Adam Kaufman: A habit tracker.

Kalika Yap: A habit tracker. The first one on my habit, guess what? It's hugs. I give everyone a 20-second hug.

Adam Kaufman: Now, do you think you honestly need to read that reminder to help you hug people?

Kalika Yap: Yes.

Adam Kaufman: I think that's in your heart. You need to read that.

Kalika Yap: No. You know what it is? It's a good reminder because when was the last time you gave your wife, your kids, a 20 second hug? 20 seconds. I downloaded this app called Relish and that was one of the tips because when you hug someone for 20 seconds, it releases oxytocin.

Adam Kaufman: Okay, you just mentioned Relish. That's an app. I was going to ask you, do you have any life hacks? So many podcasts are about efficiency and the most popular ones, like Tim Ferriss and The Knowledge Project and Shane Parrish, it's all about life hacks.

Kalika Yap: [crosstalk 00:50:32]

Adam Kaufman: Oh, yeah. You have-

Kalika Yap: I didn't about this Knowledge Tracker. What is that? Writing down.

Adam Kaufman: The Knowledge Project, Shane Parrish. It's one of the most popular on Wall Street and also, it's popular in Silicon Valley, too. Anyway, my point is they're always exchanging ideas on life hacks or how to do things quicker, faster, better. You have a lot of those in your life. What's one of your favorite life hacks and maybe it's this Relish app that you just told us about. If there's something else that you could share with us, give us some tips on being smarter and less lazy, like you?

Kalika Yap: Like me. I mean, I love Sam Harris' Waking Up app. There's a 30-day free trial. He's got a 50-day course, it's 10 minutes, and this guy's a scientist. You know?

Adam Kaufman: Right.

Kalika Yap: I would recommend anyone that app, Waking Up app.

Adam Kaufman: Wake Up.

Kalika Yap: Waking Up.

Adam Kaufman: Waking Up. Okay, I'll check that out and I suspect we'll like it. If so, we'll put it on the notes for the show here. You have given us so much to think about today, Kalika. I can't believe how fast the time has gone, but I'm so grateful that you gave us some of your valuable time today.

Kalika Yap: Thank you so much, Adam. Maybe you should be on my podcast, too. I want to learn about you. Can we turn the tables? Can we do that?

Adam Kaufman: I don't know, I'm the head of listening, but if it means more time learning from you, then maybe we can do that.

Kalika Yap: We can do live.

Adam Kaufman: I'll do my hair.

Kalika Yap: All right, thank you.

Adam Kaufman: Until then, thank you so much and really grateful and all the best.

Kalika Yap: Thank you so much.

Adam Kaufman: Wow, what a terrific episode, Dave. Kalika Yap has so much to offer, I don't know how we can limit it to five takeaways, but a few of the key points I will try to digest and incorporate into my own life. Number one, create a framework to understand your own values. Doing so and sticking to them will make all of your other decisions a lot easier. Number two, developing a theme. Kalika's is entrepreneurs. Provides direction and can help you navigate the many paths that show up in front of you and, more to the point, career and life themes that generate feelings, those are the ideal ones.

Adam Kaufman: Number three, slight changes in the angle that you look at things, changing the vantage point can make opportunities look very different. I thought that was interesting. I don't know that I do that well. Number four, the priority Kalika places on daily meditation. I know I don't do that well. I don't meditate at all, I've tried, and I find it very difficult, but she has me convinced of how valuable it can be. Number five, perfectionism can hold us back. "Start ugly," she said. I'd never heard that before, start ugly. Now, she was being funny here, but I totally see her point. Don't wait until all the conditions are absolutely perfect to take your big chance.

Dave Douglas: I love that one, Adam. That one's really powerful. I find myself preparing and just continuing to prepare all the time because I don't feel ready to start doing something.

Adam Kaufman: Right.

Dave Douglas: Just do it.

Adam Kaufman: Yes.

Dave Douglas: Be a person of action.

Adam Kaufman: Very good.

Dave Douglas: Love it. Those are great takeaways and now it's time for this week's listener mailbag.

Adam Kaufman: Okay.

Dave Douglas: We've got a note here from Eric Ludwig. He says, "Dear Adam, I had a great time listening to your podcast with Waverly last night. My son, Ian, and I were driving back from a soccer game and he listened so intently. Loved how it was a local guy from Kent State and was a relatable story."

Adam Kaufman: Oh, that's so nice listening with his son. Thank you, Eric.

Dave Douglas: Yeah, really great. Then, we also have a special shout out to Pablo Lopez, who is the co-founder of Mocina Coffee. He's a super committed entrepreneur building this coffee company right now and he was the guest on another podcast last week called The Bridge.

Adam Kaufman: Okay.

Dave Douglas: He mentioned Up2 on the podcast.

Adam Kaufman: Nice.

Dave Douglas: We'd like to acknowledge that, thank him, and-

Adam Kaufman: Thank you, Pablo.

Dave Douglas: ... return the favor, so thank you so much, Pablo.

Adam Kaufman: Awesome. It's good coffee, too, by the way.

Dave Douglas: Have you had it?

Adam Kaufman: I have. Wonderful. Mocina Coffee.

Dave Douglas: Can others reach out to us?

Adam Kaufman: Yes, absolutely. We would love to hear from listeners, we'd love for the listeners to please forward this show to others if you're so inclined and to rate and review Up2. That's how the show grows. Email me, text me, send all the bad comments to Dave.

Dave Douglas: That's right.

Adam Kaufman: I'm just kidding, but yes, we'd love feedback like what we got from Eric and Pablo today.

Dave Douglas: A final thank you to Kalika Yap and a big thanks to all of you for listening to another episode of the Up2 Podcast.

Adam Kaufman: Up2 is a production of Evergreen Podcasts. A special thanks to our producer and audio engineer, Dave Douglas. I'm your host, Adam Kaufman, and thank you so much for listening to the Up2 Podcast.

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