*This epic post is an excerpt taken from Chapter One, a book recently released and written by Thankyou. co-founder Daniel Flynn. The book details Flynn, and his co-founders’, Jarryd Burns and Justine Flynn, entrepreneurial journey of building and growing their successful social enterprise startup, what they have learned and the advice they have for others.
The book is sold online and in bookstores via a ‘pay what you want’ model, meaning you can pay $2.50 or $25,000 for it.
In four weeks, Thankyou sold 43,640 copies of Chapter One raising $1.4 million. All profits made from the sales go towards Thankyou’s FutureFund to fight global poverty.
“If I just had enough money, then I could easily…”
Said anyone and everyone who has had an idea, ever.
When you’re implementing an idea, it’s tempting to think that if you could just meet someone rich and encourage them to give you lots of money, then you could make your idea a reality. There is no denying that at some point in your journey, many of you may require money.
But before you do, there is something much more valuable you’ll need. Let me explain by sharing a story from Thankyou’s past.
It was a warm Sydney night and I was with Morgan, one of our founding team members, at a conference. We had been on our feet all day, manning our stand, when one of the event organisers approached us with some exciting news.
He told us that he had scheduled 15 minutes into the diary of one of the major speakers at the conference for us to pick his brain. And as if that wasn’t thrilling enough, we were told that this particular speaker was a self-made billionaire. We honestly couldn’t contain our excitement.
I quickly did the sums and worked out that if, by some miracle, this man chose to donate just 0.1 of a per cent of his money to our company, we would have $1 million in the bank.
We’d been waiting for what felt like years to meet someone like this. We knew that we had a solid business concept but one of our key challenges (or so we thought back then) was finding people who believed in our vision to back us financially… despite the (not-so-minor) roadblock that we didn’t offer shares or equity in the company, as we are 100 per cent owned by our own charitable trust, which means we exist 100 per cent for impact.
In our heads, to change the world, all we needed was someone wh o was financially set to get behind us and give us some money. And on this particular summer evening, it seemed that our moment had finally arrived.
After battling a fair amount of pre-meeting nerves, Morgan and I managed to walk into the room somewhat confidently. We saw the man we were meeting, sitting at a large table in the corner of the room and as we approached, I couldn’t help but mentally take note of a few things about him. For starters, this man looked just how I imagined a billionaire would look. He was dressed in an immaculate suit with a pocket square, diamond cufflinks and a diamond and gold tie-clip. He had also taken his shoes off and placed them neatly together on the floor next to his chair, which I hoped was a sign that he was relaxed.
We sat down in silence and he simultaneously placed both hands in front of him on the table. He looked us both up and down and then, without smiling, said, “What do you want?” Although I was caught a little off guard (there was no small talk, not even an introduction!) I jumped straight into my spiel. I tried to quickly explain who we were and what we did, which I hoped could lead into a conversation about the financial assistance we needed. About a minute into my explanation on what our organisation was all about, he cut me off and with a loud voice said, “Daniel, I asked you, what do you want?”
We were a little stunned. Morgan looked like he’d seen a ghost and I was trying to talk but wordswere just not coming out. Before I could squeeze out a sentence in response, he continued, “I get paid $25,000 for 15 minutes of my time by world leaders to advise them. I’m giving you this time, so tell me: what do you want?”
I somehow spluttered out that we were just two young guys who looked up to him, and that we wanted to learn what it took to achieve what he had. I then asked if he would be willing to work with us, to support us from a mentoring and financial perspective.
We won’t forget his response in a hurry. In fact, I think his words are forever etched in our memories. “Stop wasting your time,” he said bluntly. “Quit this rubbish and go and do something worthwhile with your lives.”
He began telling us how his son, who he said had one of the highest IQs in the country, had completed a series of university degrees and was a roaring business success, before concluding that that’s what we should aspire to. Then he asked, “Do you know what the richest country in the world is?” This was obviously not a question he wanted us to answer, since he answered it himself before we could even attempt a reply.
“Africa,” he said (which, as it turns out, isn’t even a country). “It’s about time they helped themselves. I will never support something like this because it’s a waste of time.”
Once he had finished his speech he looked at me and said, “Is there anything else you want?”
We were both frozen in our chairs, desperately hoping this was a bad dream instead of reality.
I replied, “Well, we are so grateful that you have taken the time to meet with us. Again, it’s inspiring for young guys like us to get to spend some time with you. I’m wondering if you have any final advice for Morgan and I?”
“Yes,” he said. “Buy my book.” The silence in the room was deafening. We stood up and walked quietly out of the room. Morgan and I didn’t talk to each other as we slipped through the corridors, out of the venue and onto a pier in Sydney’s Darling Harbour. It’s hard to explain the feeling of having your high hopes not just dashed, but also literally lit on fire in front of your eyes. I felt like I’d just been punched in the face and I was choked up.
But right then, as we stood on the pier, we both started to laugh, and laugh pretty loudly. I remember jumping up and down while shaking my head at one point and repeating, “What was that? What was that?!”
Morgan and I spent a few more minutes laughing, shaking our heads, waving our hands and then we finished by hugging. Yes, hugging. It would be interesting to go back in time and ask the people looking at us what they thought was happening on that pier that day. It turns out we were learning a very valuable lesson; that money isn’t always the answer to our prayers.
We thought that a big payday from our billionaire friend would give us the start we needed, but in hindsight, I’m glad we never got handed a golden cheque that warm summer evening. The thing is, with less financial restrictions comes the temptation to pump money into things simply because you’ve got the budget for it. In doing so, you run the very high risk of spending on something that’s an average idea – and average ideas almost always bring average return.
An average idea with lots of money injected into it can achieve results – this happens all the time in advertising. Big companies with huge budgets pump out very average TV and billboard advertising campaigns all the time, and the results they accomplish are good enough for the people who signed off on them to keep their jobs. As Robert Stephens, founder of Geek Squad, says: “Advertising is the tax you pay for being unremarkable.”
When you have no or little money, you are forced to focus on implementing the remarkable. This might sound like a stretch, if you’re of the belief that remarkable ideas are expensive. But I’ve learned that truly remarkable ideas will always attract the money they require to work – all you need is a little momentum.
Momentum changes everything
At one point in the early years of the Thankyou journey, I booked a 15-minute meeting with the Australian managing director of Wrigley, the world’s largest chewing gum company. The intention of the meeting was to say a short thank you for a small partnership that we formed with one mutual retailer, and to quickly give him the rundown of what our organisation was all about. I walked into his office feeling pretty nervous because I wasn’t sure what to expect.
Many people in important positions can be very direct (and even tell you to go and buy their book!) and when meeting with them, you can get the feeling that just by talking to them, you’re wasting the oxygen in the air. This meeting ended up being the complete opposite of that scenario.
When I arrived, the MD shook my hand and then we walked over to the couches in his office and began to talk. Time flew by and 20 minutes in, I asked him if I should let him go. He proceeded to tell me he’d blocked out one hour for our time together. I was a little taken back but he started sharing with me some of his lessons learned and most valuable insights. The meeting became less about the potential partnership and more about him helping to develop me.
There were many great insights shared in that one hour, but there is one that stands out; I’ve drawn on it many times since. “Momentum changes everything,” he said. “Once you have it, keep it because it allows you to ask for things that you could never have asked for without it.” This concept underpins all of our greatest moments and turning points in the Thankyou journey, and it’s a concept that will change everything for you if you get onto it early enough.
You may have heard the expression “putting the cart before the horse”. It’s often used as a negative reference by suggesting someone is doing things the wrong way or in the wrong order. But I like the idea that by doing things the wrong way, you can sometimes have your cart pulling your horse.
This is remarkable (people will literally remark about it). Why? Because no one notices horses that pull carts; they blend in. But people are intrigued by the cart that pulls the horse and might just want to get on board this phenomenon, which only adds to the momentum.
Back in 2011, we decided that launching a TV commercial would be a great way to take our brand awareness to the next level. We had heard from someone that television stations donate one per cent of their airtime to not-for-profits, so we figured it was worth a shot to try and obtain some free advertising.
We quickly figured out that, airtime aside, it can cost some serious money to produce a good-quality television commercial. We worked out that we had a few thousand dollars to invest into this project. This meant that no one was very keen to help us, because they were not too confident such a low budget ad would even make it onto TV.
Unfortunately, we also learned that the one per cent of pro bono advertising space is highly sought after. We had further hurdles to overcome, like the fact that our organisation didn’t quite fit the standard not-for-profit mould, even though we’re a social enterprise that exists 100 per cent for impact.
It was interesting to discover how this game worked. Nearly every non-profit in the country pitches for the space, which was to be expected, but we were informed that some networks have longstanding partnerships with certain charities, making it harder for other organisations – ie us – to compete.
To give ourselves the best possible chance of being selected, we were advised to use our tiny budget to make the best-quality advertisement we possibly could, to present to the networks in the hope they would choose us over the hundreds of other submissions.
In this instance, we decided to well and truly put the cart before the horse, with the hope that this approach would get us a better result. We booked a meeting with a managing director at one of the major networks. Our pitch was fairly simple: we essentially walked in and shared our story and then said, “We’ll produce one of the best Community Service Announcements (CSAs) you’ve ever seen. If you like it, play it. If you think it’s no good, then we don’t want you to play it.” It wasn’t your average pitch from someone trying to get free ad space. It’s a known fact in business that you shouldn’t over-promise something that you aren’t 100 per cent sure you can deliver on, right?
The thing is, we were naive enough to think we could deliver – and then some.
They seemed to love the Thankyou concept and the fact that we were so confident in our ability to deliver a high-quality production. Or perhaps they were fascinated enough to watch us attempt it? Either way, they replied that as long as the quality was as high as we promised, they’d air it. It was the closest we could possibly get to a pre-commitment and by using this strategy, we effectively edged out our competition and secured ad space.
Sure, there was one small stumbling block: we needed to make one of the best CSAs in the business, something that had seemed impossible just days earlier. Before this meeting, producers, editors and suppliers didn’t want a bar of us, or our tiny production budget. But by getting the support of the network (and later on, other networks that came on board) we had created momentum. With this momentum, we were in a better position to ask for the other things we needed to help us make a world-class CSA.
Now, we just needed an idea.
Capturing the ‘Thankyou Water moment’
Coming up with an idea that we could actually execute within our budget proved to be challenging, as anticipated. We’d tried to gain support from some leading marketing agencies, but it was evident that they were used to working with big budgets. They came up with plenty of ideas, but they had no way to execute them unless we were able to provide a bigger budget.
One night in our lounge room, Justine and I dreamed about the ad concept with another Daniel, a creative genius who would later work on our Coles and Woolworths Campaign. Together, we came up with the idea of capturing the ‘Thankyou Water moment’ in super slow motion – that is, the moment that takes place when a customer purchases a bottle and simultaneously becomes part of funding water projects.
The way Daniel described the concept visually sounded amazing and we were all excited. Daniel did flag that, in order to get an incredible result, it could only be filmed on a camera called the Phantom Flex, which filmed in super slow motion at 10,000 frames per second.
When we found out that this camera was worth $250,000 and would be very expensive to hire, at that moment I knew we’d hit the jackpot. Not because the camera had an awesome name (although that didn’t hurt), but because this idea was so big and really so impossible that it might just work.
We started meeting production agencies and told them our idea, but we were quickly shut down when they found out it required the Phantom Flex and a shooting schedule of two days in Australia, followed by about five days in Cambodia. If that wasn’t enough of an ask, we also needed to shoot water, which meant the camera would get wet – requiring a very expensive waterproof case.
It was explained to us that there were only two of these cameras in the country at the time, and they were usually hired out for around $12,000 a day for the camera alone. The waterproof case was in itself worth upwards of $100,000. We were told anything was possible if we had the budget for it, but clearly we didn’t.
We weren’t going to let the naysayers stop us, so we began to contact anyone we could find in the country who either owned or had a connection to someone who owned a Phantom Flex. One of our team got onto a guy named Andrew, who owned one of these magic cameras, and the good news was that he was open to meeting. I flew up to Sydney straight away to meet him.
After we sat down, I explained how we had this idea for a TV commercial and that we had the support of a major network to run it, provided the piece was of the highest quality. I invited him to use his talents to help make something remarkable and inspire Australians to join our movement.
I told him we could cover flights to Cambodia plus food and accommodation for the duration of the short trip, but that we couldn’t afford anything more. In other words, I was asking him to work for free, while using his very expensive equipment – and to commit seven days to our project with no financial return.
Andrew sat back with a pondering look on his face, then smiled and said he would do it. He later thanked me for giving him the opportunity to be part of the project, which I thought was crazy because we were so lucky to have him join us. As chance would have it, he had also filmed for Mick Fanning and other world pro surfers, so he had a waterproof case for the camera.
Andrew’s commitment to our project that day was valued at well over $70,000. That’s what we call momentum.
Following our positive meeting with Andrew, we wrote to one of Australia’s best colourists (the term for people who colourgrade your ad), named Vincent. Because the networks were committed to air the advertisement and we now had both a camera and an operator – someone who was extremely respected in the industry – on board, he was willing to help out in a pro bono capacity as well.
Funnily enough, because the colourist had agreed to be involved, so too had one of the leading editing groups in Australia. They happened to be editing the new Coca-Cola commercial in the next room. We wrote to an international artist, Jonsi, who donated a song for the ad. All in all, by the time it went to air, over $110,000 worth of time and resources were donated to make our commercial happen.
Best of all, the networks loved the finished ad, which meant that as well as securing a heap of random late-night spots, our commercial also appeared many times in prime time, including during the cricket tests and the ARIA Awards. We discovered that the approximate value of one of those spots alone was worth $20,000! Over time, we ended up receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of donated space.
How did we, a tiny little organisation (remember that this TV ad launched two years before the Coles and Woolworths Campaign), go from one of the thousands of cause organisations vying for free ad space, to one that actually secured the support of the networks?
It all came down to momentum. As we discovered, momentum truly changes everything.
Does this concept only work if you’re doing something cause-related?
You might be thinking that due to the nature of our company, momentum is easier for us to create than for others. Yes, our securing support from television networks did rely heavily on the fact that we exist purely for a cause. Having said this, the Wrigley CEO who shared his thoughts with me wasn’t limiting the ability to create momentum to cause-driven organisations; after all, he ran a very corporate enterprise.
At the start of this book, I talked about the challenges we had in obtaining funding to get our idea off the ground. We had met with so many people and pitched them our ideas based on our cause, but stuff changed the day we began to gather momentum. By securing the bottling factory’s commitment – which, when you look at it, was no more than “if you can sell it, we’ll make it for you” – we were able to show Visy that we were serious.
Visy wouldn’t have looked twice at us if we didn’t have a factory lined up. And while they did donate 30,000 bottles to us because of our cause, they gave us the bottle shape for free mainly because it hadn’t been used by any major brand and would still make them money from every bottle that we’d sell. While they gave us a leg up, it was still a good commercial deal for them.
Getting the factory and Visy behind us helped our pitch to MBC. They figured we had something going for us if we had these two big companies backing us, and they reasoned that if they didn’t get in on the action, a competitor would.
Landing our first order for 50,000 bottles was the final momentum builder, which helped us raise the $20,000 we needed to register the company and cover all of the set-up costs involved.
I guarantee that if we walked around with a nice business plan asking people to donate or even invest $20,000 into a group – one with no experience and a big, bold, crazy idea that’s up against global competitors who have literally saturated the market – we’d still be walking around today looking for funding. That was our first approach for months before we decided to find a way to create some momentum.
An example of the horse pulling the cart would be: find your $20,000 start-up capital, then register the business, and then try and get a distribution deal. But the cart pulling the horse scenario is: land the 50,000 bottle order, then figure out a way to find the $20,000 you need to register and set up the business.
As an organisation, we have used this key strategy in almost every way possible. We’ve had over 700 media features throughout our journey and nearly every major Australian television network, newspaper or radio station has covered our story. Media has been a huge part of helping create momentum, as lining up media commitments has helped us obtain more support from retail and corporate partners. You’d be surprised how lines like, “You may have seen us on Sunrise yesterday morning” or “We are in BRW magazine this week, and we were wondering if you’d be interested in…” help to open doors!
Our gala event in 2012 was a huge success and it’s my belief that the greatest momentum creator there was David Koch, aka Kochie, the host of Channel 7’s Sunrise. Him hosting the night was the first feature of the event that we locked in. We had barely any budget for the entire evening (as usual) and we’d never run a big event before, but the day I got the email from him to say he would fly down to host the event was the day that I knew the gala’s success was a done deal.
Why? Because it made a big statement that this event was a serious deal and it gave us the momentum to get everyone else – from the caterers to the venue, to the print company, to the band – involved. We ran a world-class event because the reality is, everyone wants to be involved in an idea that’s moving forwards and if they can get their seat at the table, they’ll bring their best to it.
When you’re trying to implement an idea, instead of getting stuck on the fact that you don’t have the resources to make it happen, think about what it will take to create momentum to naturally attract others to get involved.
Originally, we had the vision to get our water into the mainstream, but we couldn’t crack the retail market. We didn’t have the budget or the other requirements to convince a retailer to get on board.
So we created momentum with the 7-Eleven campaign, which presented an opportunity too good for them to say no to.
We replicated this strategy on a much grander scale when we pitched to Coles and Woolworths, and when rebranding as Thankyou in 2013. The development of the new product range needed serious funding, and then once we landed the supermarkets, we needed even more funding to manage the growth. Once we had momentum behind us from the campaign, the funding was a lot easier to obtain than before, when we were just running around saying, “We hope we’ll get the supermarkets on board.” Those campaigns were bold, innovative and a little bit cheeky, but ultimately they were constantly putting into practice one of the greatest lessons we’ve learned: momentum changes everything.
To make your ideas a reality you need momentum more than you need money. In time, everything else you need will come.
The key to building momentum? Be fast
“It’s not the big that eat the small, it’s the fast that eat the slow.” This quote, made by New Zealand tech entrepreneur Rod Drury, is a philosophy that we live by at Thankyou.
Why? It’s because it sums up our fighting spirit. The reality is, each one of our competitors has hundreds or thousands of staff, with bigger marketing budgets and more resources than we could ever imagine. We’ll never beat them in size, but we may just beat them with speed.
One of the most fundamental keys to disrupting the status quo is being fast. Fast to market, fast to innovate, fast to fail, fast to learn.
What is fast? Fast is Kirk, in our sales team, emailing our General Manager of Marketing, Sarah, late one afternoon with an idea inspired by something he’d seen on Facebook. I was copied in on the email and read it as I was walking into a meeting. I thought to myself, “I don’t know if that’s a good move; what if it doesn’t work, we’re too busy, it’s the end of the day and we don’t have the time for this, we don’t want to be known as an antagoniser brand…”
However, by the time I was out of the meeting, Sarah had already made the decision to proceed and it was game on.
So, just what was ‘it’?
It was April 2015, and Virgin Australia Airlines had just announced that they would now provide complimentary food to all passengers on board, in an effort to challenge the number one carrier in the country, Qantas. They then posed a question on their Facebook page on the day of the announcement, asking, “What food and drink products would you like to see on board?”
Kirk thought we should share it with our fans. Sarah agreed and after sharing Virgin’s post, hundreds of people requested Thankyou products. The next morning, there were more than 800 comments on the post in support of Thankyou, which soon grew to 1200.
Then one of the team had an idea to tweet Sir Richard Branson. So we did: “Hey @richardbranson @VirginAustralia Overnight 800 responses to FB post in support of @thankyou_group. Thoughts??”
After that, we had a moment of realisation. Did we just tweet Richard? He’s the king of this sort of publicity stunt, so what the heck were we doing? Our initial nerves dissipated once the tweet got retweeted to over 5 million people, before the media began covering the story, rehashing blow-by-blow accounts of our mini ‘campaign’.
There is an online influencer in New York, who is ranked in the top one per cent on LinkedIn and top 0.5 per cent on Twitter, who joined in the conversation and shared our tweet with his 1 million-plus followers.
Then an influential BRW reporter jumped in, tweeting: “Veteran master of the publicity game @richardbranson faces challenge from Gen Y pretender @danielmflynn”. I thought being called a “pretender” was a little offensive, so I responded with the tweet: “Just thought I’d ask the question off the back of fans going nuts for the Virgin post we shared. Pretender??” The reporter then replied with: “Pretender, as in ‘to the throne’. Not a pejorative term. Look it up”. I responded with, “Ha. Got it! Should have finished uni!”
At this stage, we thought that since we’d taken this one to Richard and we were apparently challenging the throne, we had better step it up a level. Someone on our team knew a guy. She called him, and although he hadn’t heard of our brand (a little disappointing), she explained what we needed and asked if we could count on his support. He said no. There was some back and forth over a number of phone calls and then at 12.37pm, he emailed us saying, “How soon can you get me artwork? If I have any window, it’s right now!”
We had just a few minutes to whip together a design file and email it up to him. While this was happening, we called the news teams at Channel 7 and 9 and asked them to head to Virgin’s head office in Brisbane. Twenty minutes later, a digital billboard truck arrived at the same destination, with a message that read: “Hey Richard! Love the question your team posted on Facebook… Looks like there’s a truckload of support for Thankyou #ichoosethankyou”
Sure, “truckload of support” may not have been the best creative in the world, but it’s all we could come up with in the short space of time we had to work with.
Within 24 hours, we reached millions of people through a campaign that didn’t cost us a cent.
The billboard driver donated his time, even though it was the first time he’d heard of Thankyou.
My favourite comment I overhead that day was from one of our team, who said, “I went into a meeting hearing that we’d tweeted Richard Branson, and by the time I came out we had a billboard truck and media heading to Virgin’s head office!”
Articles came out praising the speed to which we reacted. The former MD of Kellogg’s Australia, Jean-Yves Heude, was even quoted as saying that never in his 31 years of experience, had he ever seen a team turn around a communication campaign like this.
How do I know he made this comment? Because I was standing next to him! We’d got him on board to help coach some of our team and the day this campaign went down, he was in our office.
At the end of the day he uttered in shock, “Never in my 31 years…” to which we all clapped. I called him later to thank him for his kind words and also to ask him if I could quote him in the media; we’d had a number of reporters call us and his statement would make an amazing quote.
This is an example of being fast. While it’s this sort of thinking that will bring results, it’s not easy.
It involves trusting your team to make decisions. I wasn’t 100 per cent on board when I saw the idea pop up in my email, but sometimes we have to trust others to fly with things and possibly fail and learn, or succeed!
After all was said and done, Virgin posted a response to us on their Facebook page, saying thanks for our little “drive by”. We took this as a very positive sign!
So what happened next? We were fast and it was perfect, because it’s Virgin and they are fast, right? Well, maybe we caught them on an off month. It was weeks before we were able to secure a meeting with the Virgin Australia team. While they’re not handing out Thankyou muesli bars and bottled water on flights just yet, we’re hopeful that a partnership between Virgin and Thankyou will eventuate in the near future! They seemed to be interested in being customer-led, especially if their Facebook post is any indication, so we’re keeping optimistic. Watch this space!
Sir Richard Branson is a serious game changer; he always has been and always will be. When Virgin starts a business it is no doubt fast; we were experiencing an organisation possibly becoming slower as it got larger. Virgin Australia changed the game when they started with $10 million (most airlines start with ten times that), but today, it’s a huge organisation with hundreds of moving parts and thousands of staff – no matter how awesome an idea is (even if it goes driving past on the side of a truck), it’s going to take time to get it across the line.
Does this mean big organisations are slow? Does this mean that only the founders can truly live out game-changing type thinking and activity?
You might be tempted to answer yes. But then, let me remind you that the book in your hands was ranged by Shayne, Scott and Josh from LS Travel Retail within 24 hours of our first pitch meeting with them. They are not founders and their organisation has thousands of staff; they are one of the largest book retailers globally. Yet, they were able to think differently and change the game.
Were they fast? Yes. Did they take a risk? Yes. Was it uncomfortable? No doubt. Will it work? Maybe.
We really hope so!
In other words, this isn’t a concept for the one per cent. We can all apply this thinking. To change stuff you have to think fast and act fast, because that is what gives you the competitive edge. After all, it’s not the big that eat the small; it’s the fast that eat the slow.
Some thoughts to takeaway
- Make sure your idea has the foundation of being remarkable, not just average.
- Average requires a lot of money to execute and will be forgotten tomorrow.
- Don’t fall into the trap of getting busy looking for money; the secret to success is to get busy creating momentum.
- Once you have momentum, fight to keep it.
- Fight for it with everything you can because it’s one of the hardest things to create.
- When you have it you can ask for things that you never could have without it.
- Putting the cart before the horse is a great metaphor that’s useful for all of us.
- Of course, it’s not actually possible if you are literally in the horse and cart industry. Or is it?
- There are two definitions of the word ‘pretender’ and it’s best not to mix them up… especially during Twitter exchanges with really smart guys.
You can purchase Chapter One online at the Thankyou website or in store at News Link, Relay and Watermark book shops.