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Going Deep with Aaron Watson

Aaron Watson is the CEO of Piper Creative. On this show, you'll hear thoughtful, focused conversations with entrepreneurs, executives, and innovators. Guests include Nathan Chan, Kevin Kelly, Bill Peduto, Morgan Housel, Noah Kagan, Tucker Max, and Barry Ritholtz. This is the biggest business podcast in Pittsburgh.
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Now displaying: 2022
Sep 26, 2022

Jacob Hanchar is the CEO of Digital Dream Labs. He is a neuroscientist by training who loves entrepreneurship,video games, and learning.

 

Jacob started out as an angel investor for Digital Dream Labs,an ed-tech company founded in 2012. They are the makers of AI robotic companions such as Cozmo, Vector, Puzzlets, InfiniDrive, and Butter Robot. They lead the field of assistive technology that improves the lives of all ages and backgrounds.

 

In this episode, Aaron and Jacob talk about selling robots as companions, they also break down how he bought IP associated with his robots for pennies on the dollar, and why robots of all shapes and sizes need to be designed to be a little more cute.




Jacob Hanchar’s Challenge: Volunteer a couple hours in your local library or museum to get young people more interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education.

Connect with H. Jacob Hanchar, Ph.D.

Linkedin

Twitter

Website

 

If you liked this interview, check out the episodes GPT-3 & Robotics w/ Tom Galluzo and Ice Cream Empire Secrets w/ Chad Townsend (Millie’s Ice Cream).





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Sep 19, 2022

David Brumley is the founder and CEO of ForAllSecure, a startup spun out of Carnegie Mellon University, that has raised over $36 million.

 

The company provides cutting edge cybersecurity solutions to Fortune 500 companies and government agencies, including the Department of Defense.

 

Straight out of college, David Brumley worked in IT at Stanford University fixing and securing issues with the university’s open network. His challenges motivated him to pursue towards a decade-long research quest to solve the problem of real-time, automated testing and security compliance.

 

This research led to the founding of ForAllSecure and their first product “MAYHEM”, which scans software for bugs, generates exploits, and fixes vulnerabilities.

 

In this episode, Aaron and David talk about selling security to the Department of Defense, how he raised millions of dollars from Tier 1 VCs, and how his startup is the culmination of more than a decade of academic research.



David Brumley’s Challenge: Look at what you’re good at and pay it forward. 

 

Connect with David Brumley

Linkedin

Twitter

Website

 

If you liked this interview, check out the episode Naval Ravikant’s Wisdom w/ Eric Jorgenson where they talked about the power of leverage and how to use more of it.





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Sep 12, 2022

JT Garwood is the CEO and cofounder of bttn – a healthcare product distribution platform. 

 

Bttn has modernized the healthcare distribution  system, to provide doctors easy, reliable access to high-quality, brand-name medical supplies.

 

JT has scaled the company quickly due to their ability to save medical offices lots of money. In this episode, Aaron and JT talk about how bttn raised $20million from Tiger Global, their edge as a distributor, and the benefits of hiring his dad to be his company’s COO.

 

They also talk about the essential role that sales has played in scaling their two-sided marketplace.



JT Garwood’s Challenge: Choose positivity today.

 

Connect with JT Garwood

Linkedin

Twitter

Website

 

If you liked this interview, check out episode $35 to Visit a Doctor When You Have No Insurance w/ Dr. Timothy Wong (iHealth Clinic)



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Sep 5, 2022

Wesley Gray is the founder and CEO of Alpha Architect, an investment platform for building custom, low-fee ETFs. 

 

Wes is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Economics at The Wharton School, served as a Captain in the United States Marine Corps, has an MBA and PhD in Finance from the University of Chicago. 

 

His interest in bridging the research gap between academia and industry led him to found Alpha Architect, an asset management firm dedicated to empowering investors through education.

 

In this episode, Aaron and Wes talk about strategies to “beat the market”, how being a professor is the best gig as an entrepreneur, and his biggest advice to entrepreneurs.

 

Wes’ Challenge: Register at https://alphaarchitect.com/mftf/ to join the March for the Fallen 28-mile ruck march

 

Connect with Wesley Gray (Alpha Architect)

 

Wesley Gray's Linkedin

Alpha Architect's Linkedin

Twitter

Website



If you liked this interview, check out episode Index Funds, Bitcoins, and Telling the Truth with Mike Green.

 

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Aug 29, 2022

Ali Moiz previously founded and sold Streamlabs and Peanut Labs, for a combined enterprise value over $180 million. 

 

Currently, Ali is the founder, CEO, and meme Dealer at Stonks, which aims to help founders save time in fundraising so they can focus on the business.

 

Stonks is a platform for virtual Startup Demo Days. It has quickly become popular in helping startups find their angel investors with the help of event organizer.

 

Join Aaron and Ali on this episode as they discuss how he got it up and running so quickly  with over $15 million monthly investments, while avoiding lessons from past startups, and what he is doing with the wealth he had acquired from his past companies.

 

Ali Moiz’s Challenge; Clean up your calendar, remove things that don’t need to be there and use that time for personal development.

 

Connect with Ali Moiz

Linkedin

Twitter: Ali Moiz

Twitter: Stonks

Website

 

If you liked this interview, check out Naval Ravikant’s Wisdom w/ Eric Jorgenson and Billionaire Henry Schuck just IPO’d ZoomInfo during a Pandemic.

 

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Aug 22, 2022

Jim Shorkey built his family’s auto business into more than 9 dealerships, over 800 employees and 15,000 new & used car sales per year. This podcast explores how he did it.

 

In 1996 Jim Shorkey Jr.’s father died and left him the Jim Shorkey Auto dealership. With his experience as a sales manager, Jim Shorkey was arrogantly sure he was going to be successful in growing his business. Instead, he brought it to the brink of bankruptcy.

 

Jim had to grow his skillset and discipline quickly to save the family business. He credits mentors and the book Think And Grow Rich for how he was able to turn things around.

 

Join Aaron in this episode as he finds out how having a mentor and reading a book multiple times helped to pivot Jim’s perspective and why he plans to live to 122 years old.

Jim Shorkey’s Challenge; Buy Think And Grow Rich, read it at least three times, and disagree with him.

 

Connect with Jim Shorkey

Linkedin

Facebook

Twitter

Website

 

If you liked this interview, you’re gonna love our episode Don’t Marry Your Business, Commit to Your People w/ Jason Wolfe.

 

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Aug 15, 2022

Scott Heeter is the CEO of Heeter, a third-generation commercial print firm that has been running for 75 years.

 

Heeter is one of the largest commercial marketing firms in the country, with over 140 full-time employees in Pittsburgh and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Duke Print and Graphics, in Cleveland.

 

Heeter has evolved from the commercial print company that it was to a more customized provider that include mailing fulfillment, digital marketing and other innovative services.

 

In this episode, Aaron and Scott discuss the challenges that Heeter overcome to attain regional dominance in the printing industry, how he has built their corporate culture, and how they’ve retained valuable employees for the long term.

 

Scott Heeter’s Challenge; Don’t rush through difficult decisions.

 

Connect with Scott Heeter

Linkedin

Facebook

Website

 

If you liked this interview, check out the episode Blow Up Your Business Plan w/ JD Ewing 

 

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Aug 8, 2022

Sara Makin has built Makin Wellness into one of Pennsylvania's top online therapy platforms in just five years. She started Makin Wellness in 2017 on a mission to help millions of people heal and become happy again by providing excellent mental health care.

 

Today, Makin Wellness has over 50 employees and a goal of becoming a national provider of a results-based, individualized approach to online mental health care. Sara entered Psychology Grad School with a clear vision of having a multi-state Mental Health Company.

 

In this episode, Aaron and Sara discuss how to scale a remote mental health startup, managing millions of dollars in medical billing, and articulating a clear vision for your company.

 

Sara Makin’s Challenge; Take ten minutes in the morning to do something nice for yourself.

 

Connect with Sara Makin (Makin Wellness)

Linkedin

Twitter

Website

Instagram

Facebook

Tiktok

Pinterest

 

If you liked this interview, check out the episode Ketamine for Mental Health w/ Mindbloom founder Dylan Beynon.

 

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Aug 1, 2022

Justin Moore is a Sponsorship Coach & Founder of CreatorWizard, a training program that teaches creators how to find & negotiate brand deals. With his wife April, Justin has been a full-time creator for nearly a decade and has been running an influencer marketing agency for over 5 years.

 

Justin and April started creating content back in the days before brands reached out to collaborate with influencers. They started with a cooking channel and a family vlog channel and did daily videos for several years, eventually growing their total following to over 1,500,000.

 

With more than a decade of experience in content creation, it is easy to see why Justin Moore is able to help creators find & negotiate their dream brand sponsorships.

 

In this episode, dive deep with Aaron as he and Justin discuss how a side hustle led to quitting his 9 to 5 job, managing his influencer marketing agency, and the opportunity on Amazon Live.

 

Justin Moore’s Challenge; Reach out to that person. Reach out to that potential partner.

 

Connect with Justin Moore

Linkedin

Twitter

Website

 

If you liked this interview, check out our episode Men’s Fashion Reviews, YouTube, and Building a Brand w/ Jon Shanahan.

 

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Jul 25, 2022

Josh Caputo founded HumoTech in 2015 as a spin-off from his CMU research robotics department. His passion is focused on developing and commercializing cutting-edge robotics technology that addresses current societal needs like prostheses and exoskeletons. 

 

Josh and his team have built a platform to enable the world’s top researchers to more rapidly iterate on their products and designs. This will eventually allow robotics to assist people in achieving higher levels of mobility and a greater quality of life across medicine, engineering, and business.


In this episode, Aaron and Josh discuss Humotech’s goals, how they’ve bootstrapped a hardware company, and why exoskeletons will change the way we live.

 

Josh Caputo’s Challenge; Go on a hike, turn off the cellphone and ask yourself what you are doing with your life.

 

Connect with Josh Caputo

Linkedin

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Website

 

If you liked this interview, check out our episode The Construction Robot Revolution with Jeremy Searock where we discuss how Advanced Construction Robotics applies robotics technology in the rebar industry. 

 

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Jul 18, 2022

After years as a chef in the fast-paced world of fine dining, Chad Townsend decided it was time for a change.


He purchased an expensive Swiss-made food processor that would finely puree frozen foods such as ice cream or sorbet. His wife, Lauren, allowed him to make this purchase under one condition: he had to have it paid off by the end of the summer.


What started as a fun summer hustle turned into a 10,000 sq. ft. Ice Cream Manufacturing and Franchising business. Growing his homemade Ice cream Business, he had to put processes in place and hire people he can trust.


In this episode, Chad and Aaron discuss what it takes to scale-up food manufacturing, how to find good franchise partners, and their strategy for coming up with new flavors.


Chad Townsend’s Challenge; Spend some dollars (buying products) from somebody who lives within 50 miles of your house.

Connect with Chad Townsend

Linkedin

Instagram

Website

 

If you liked this interview, check out our episode with Bill Sarris where we discuss how he turned his family business into a Candy Powerhouse.

 

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Jul 11, 2022

Dr. D. Lansing Taylor is the Director at the University of Pittsburgh Drug Discovery Institute and an expert on Computational Biology. He has translated that expertise into more than 29 patents and multiple successful startups

 

His companies include Biological Detection Systems (now owned by GE Life Sciences), Cellomics (acquired by ThermoFisher), and Cellumen (now part of Cyprotex).

 

Dr. Taylor’s current companies are Spintellx and BioSystics. Spintellx focuses on computational pathology, using machine learning to identify abnormalities in tissue samples. BioSystics is a database and analytics firm that creates digital twins from complex data for research institutions and Big Pharma clients.

 

In this episode, Dr. Taylor and Aaron discuss the potential of precision medicine, the application of digital twins, and how doctors will work with data in the future.



Connect with Dr. D. Lansing Taylor

Linkedin

Facebook

Website

 

If you liked this interview, check out Building a Billion Dollar Company Treating Rare Diseases w/ Dr Gordon Vanscoy

 

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Jul 4, 2022

Brett Randall is the President and CEO of Aliner, a manufacturer of folding campers and travel trailers.

 

After selling a family business, Brett was brought in to consult on turning around the 30+ year old RV company. Eventually, his experience in manufacturing optimization, market channel development, and growth led to him being recruited to run the company.

 

A few years ago he bought out a majority of the shareholders and is building Aliner into a larger part of the growing RV market.

 

In this episode, Brett and Aaron discuss how he turned around the company, their distribution through select retailers, and how he evolves the product lineup.



Brett Randall’s Challenge; Every month, pick one thing to get done.

 

Connect with Brett Randall

Linkedin

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

Aliner Website

 

If you liked this interview, check out our episode with JD Ewing where we discuss how he transformed one of the largest office furniture business, the values he instilled in the culture and his method of financial forecasting. 

 

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Jun 27, 2022

Aarthi  Ramamurthy has had a long and successful career in technology. She has lead product teams at Microsoft, Facebook, and Netflix. Aarthi has also built two startups, including Lumoid which went through YC Combinator.

 

In the midst of the pandemic, Aarthi started a show w/ her husband Sriram on the social audio app, Clubhouse. On the show, they’ve interviewed some of the biggest names in business and popular culture including Elon Musk, Calvin Harris, and Mark Zuckerberg.

 

In this episode, Aarthi and Aaron discuss why we should be optimistic about tech, lessons from leading teams, and practical startup advice.

 

Aarthi Ramamurthy’s Challenge; Build something. Separate it from your identity.

 

Connect with Aarthi Ramamurthy

Linkedin

Instagram

Twitter

Website

Good Time Show YouTube




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Jun 20, 2022

Tony Greer, editor of the Morning Navigator, filters a chaotic global landscape through 30 years of macro trading experience and his own analysis to provide regular insight and risk/reward for each trading day.



Tony Greer’s Challenge; Explore the difference in the fundamentals of oil and tech.

 

Connect with Tony Greer

Twitter

Website

Jun 13, 2022

Tyler Denk is the cofounder and CEO of Beehiiv, a newsletter platform company that recently raised $2.6 million. 

 

Tyler was the 2nd employee at Morning Brew, where he worked on engineering, product, and growth. He was responsible for building the renowned referral program and bespoke tech ecosystem that facilitated the company to scale to a successful $75m exit in 2020.

 

Now, he and his team are working to develop all the same capabilities and features for anyone to use on the Beehiiv platform.

 

In this conversation, Tyler and Aaron discuss the key capabilities most newsletter platforms are missing, the lessons he’s taken from Morning Brew, and the success of the Milk Road.

 

Tyler Denk’s Challenge; Always leave the house with a few dollar bills to donate to the homeless.

 

Connect with Tyler Denk

Linkedin

Twitter

Beehiiv Website

 

Big Desk Energy



If you liked this interview, check out our interview with Jon Shanahan where we discuss Shark Tank, men’s cosmetics, and selling in large retailers.





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Jun 6, 2022
Peter Zeihan is a geopolitical analyst, author, and speaker who makes bold and startlingly accurate projections on the basis of geography, demography, and global politics.

 

He has authored 5 books about geopolitics; A Crucible of Nations, The Accidental Superpower, The Absent Superpower, Disunited Nations, and his latest, The End of the World Is Just the Beginning: Mapping the Collapse of Globalization.

 

Peter takes a somber, yet realistic, view of what the short to medium term future holds for countries around the globe. Decades of relative piece, secure routes, and economic integration represent an extreme outlier in the course of human history.

 

In this episode, Peter and Aaron discus how demographics and globalization will affect changes, trouble ahead for China, and how leaders can prepare.



Peter Zeihan’s Challenge; Donate to the AFYA Foundation.

 

Connect with Peter Zeihan

Linkedin

Twitter

Website

 

If you liked this interview, check out our interview with Doomberg where we discuss energy shortages, food shortages, and how to prepare.




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May 30, 2022

Jon Shanahan is the cofounder and Chief Marketing Officer for Stryx, a cosmetics and skincare company focused on serving men.

 

Jon has helped the company earn over 120 million organic views on TikTok, scale to millions in revenue, and launch in major retailers including Target, Nordstrom, and CVS.

 

Prior to founding the company, Jon built a brand and YouTube channel called The Kavalier focused on men’s fashion where he reviews menswear and helps his viewers look great.

 

In this episode, Jon and Aaron discuss the vision of Stryx, how he’s blended skills to market & sell, and how he pitched on Shark Tank.

 

Jon’s Challenge; Try something new that makes you uncomfortable.

 

Connect with Jon Shanahan

TikTok

Instagram

Linkedin

Twitter

Website

 

If you liked this interview, check out episode 386 with Jon where we discuss his first breakthrough on tastes, trends and style through his website The Kavalier.





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May 23, 2022

Jake Thomas is an expert at writing YouTube video titles. He has parlayed his experience writing more than 4,000 titles into his company, Creator Hooks.

 

Prior to founding Creator Hooks, Jake helped build a channel from 70 to 200k subscribers

 

After leaving to start his firm, he landed clients that include Hubspot cofounder Dharmesh Shah's personal channel and The Infographics Show.

 

In this episode, Jake and Aaron discuss his framework for writing a title, how to create more curiosity, and the power of owning a niche.

 

Jake Thomas’ Challenge; Develop your Model 100. Create a spreadsheet of the hundred channels with a similar style to yours.

 

Connect with Jake Thomas

Twitter

Website

 

If you liked this interview, check out episode 386 with Jon Shanahan where we discuss YouTube strategy and men’s fashion.





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May 16, 2022
Listen to Adam Haritan, founder of Learn your Land, discuss getting lost in a bog and hearing your calling.
May 16, 2022

Adam Haritan is the founder of Learn Your Land, as well as a wild food enthusiast, researcher, and forager. He is launching a new course, Trees in All Seasons.

 

He learned the value of wild food foraging while studying nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh, where he discovered just how beneficial wild foods could be in optimizing human health.  

 

Wild plants, on average, are more nutritious than their cultivated counterparts (i.e. wild blueberries vs. domesticated blueberries, wild lettuce vs. iceberg lettuce). The wild food diet is the diet that we, as Homo sapiens, have been consuming for the majority of our time on this planet, and it is the diet that we are most adapted to consume.  

 

Today, very few Americans consume any wild foods, and instead subsist on nutrient-deficient products that scarcely resemble anything real or natural. It’s no wonder that degenerative diseases like cancer, diabetes, and chronic inflammation are so prevalent.  We have abandoned our natural diet and are suffering as a result.

 

In this episode, Adam and Aaron discuss trees, his new course, and commitment to quality.



Adam Haritan’s Challenge; Find a tree growing close to your home and identify it.

 

Connect with Adam Haritan

Twitter

Youtube

Website

 

Trees in All Seasons

 

If you liked this interview, check out when Adam visited Piper Creative to talk about business strategy.





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May 9, 2022

Matt Blocki is the founder and CEO of Equilibrium Wealth Advisors. Matt is also a co-founder of Wealth Advisor Training, which was founded in 2022 to help provide resources to the top wealth advisors around the country. Wealth Advisor Training gives advisors a comprehensive education platform to give better proactive advice and develop systems to scale their business.

 

Matt regularly speaks in the financial planning industry, including to top firms Thrivent and Mass Mutual.

 

In this interview, Matt and Aaron discuss Matt’s career trajectory, how to attract great clients, and their plans for WealthAdvisorTraining.com.



Matt Blocki’s Challenge; Rate all facets of your life and do the requisite work to improve the lowest rated pieces.

 

Connect with Matt Blocki

Linkedin

Facebook

WAT Website

 

If you liked this interview, check out our conversation with Brent Johnson where we discuss Dollar Milkshake Theory and his early career at Credit Suisse. 





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May 2, 2022
Mark Nelson is the managing director of the Radiant Energy Fund, which advises governments, nonprofits, and industry about nuclear energy. 

 

Mark works tirelessly to prevent early closures of nuclear plants around the world a nd has attended the UN climate conference in Glasgow as a delegate from the American Nuclear Society. His efforts span the globe, working to save nuclear plants from Germany to California. 

 

Mark holds an MPhil in Nuclear Engineering from Cambridge University and degrees in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Russian Language and Literature from Oklahoma State University.

 

In this episode, Mark and Aaron discuss the differences between France & Germany, the complexity of the US electric grid, and reasons for hope.

 

Mark Nelson’s Challenge; Find out where you get your power from, what nuclear plants are nearby, and communicate to politicans that you don’t want them shut down.

 

Connect with Mark Nelson

Linkedin

Twitter

Website



If you liked this interview, check out our past episodes w/ Dr. Rita Baranwal about nuclear energy and the government and Doomberg about coming shortages of food and energy.



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Apr 25, 2022
Eric Jorgenson is the author of the Almanac of Naval Ravikant, a GP in the seed investment-focused Rolling Fun, and the creator of the course Building a Mountain of Levers.

 

Eric also has a podcast called Jorgenson’s Soundbox and was part of the founding team of Zaarly, proximity-based, real-time, buyer-powered market platform.

 

Eric has condensed the wisdom of Naval, a prolific entrepreneur and investor, into a concise and poignant book. That book has opened doors for him and represents a clever method of accelerating one’s career.

 

In this conversation, Eric and Aaron discuss Naval’s advice for creating wealth, how to build the skill of being happy, and how to get started creating leverage for yourself.

 

Eric Jorgenson’s Challenge; Find and implement one new automation to create more leverage in your life.

 

Connect with Eric Jorgenson

Twitter

Website

 

If you liked this interview, check out episode 46 with Taylor Pearson where we discuss writing the End of Jobs and creating better career opportunities.





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Apr 17, 2022

Christopher Nguyen is the CEO and cofounder of Aitomatic, where he aims to redefine how companies approach AI in the context of life-critical, industrial applications.

 

As a multiple-time tech founder, Christopher has played key roles across a wide range of technology startups. He has also operated in large corporations where he has built the first flash memory transistors at Intel and spearheaded the development of Google Apps as its first Engineering Director. 

 

Today, he’s become an outspoken proponent of the emerging field of “AI Engineering” and a thought leader in the space of ethical, human-centric AI. 

 

In this episode, Christopher and Aaron discuss AI’s shortcomings, the mission of Aitomatic, and how diverse experiences keep life engaging.



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​​Christopher Nguyen’s Challenge; Separate the what and the why when problem solving.

 

Connect with ​​Christopher Nguyen

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Aitomatic Website



If you liked this interview, check out our interview with Tom Galluzzo where we discuss GPT-3, robotics, and entrepreneurship. 



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