This Week in Innovation
Gwen Morrison Partner, Candezent Advisory & Retail Cities Consultant on the The Intersection of Digital Innovation and Physical Retail

Gwen Morrison Partner, Candezent Advisory & Retail Cities Consultant on the The Intersection of Digital Innovation and Physical Retail

June 16, 2022

Gwen Morrison, Partner, Candezent Advisory joined Brian and I for a discussion on the rapid evolutiuon of retail, the buildout of the metaverse and the state of voice technology.

Gwen has an extensive retail agency and consulting background in shopper insights and retail innovation. Over 15 years at WPP leading their Global Retail Practice commerce initiatives across the group. Hosted large agency/ client events around the world. As a trend expert, developed the themes, curated content and recruited ad tech sponsors. Analyzed purchase platforms and new physical formats reshaping shopping rituals across the globe. Particular interest in the impact of Voice driving fulfillment shopping while Visual Search inspires exploration of new lifestyle ideas. Have consulted on new technologies for measuring and optimizing productivity of the shelf. Innovations series for clients including Walgreens Boots Alliance, Nestle, IKEA, Ford, TJX, Macy's, Walmart International, BP, Falabella, and Microsoft.

Speaker at Industry events on the new era of unified commerce where data drives brand content, product innovation and future access to goods and services.

Give it a listen and let us know what you think?


 Today’s guest

 Gwen Morrison

Partner, Candezent Advisory 

Consultant, Retail Cities 


Podcast Hosts

Jeff Roster




Brian Sathianathan



Podcast Website




Listen Notes


#innovation, #thisweekininnovation, #DigitalTransformation, #podcast, #retailpodcast, #emergingtechnologies, #5ForcesOfInnovation, #TRI2022, #tri2022, #Startup, #Startups, #Retailers, #retail, #retailtechnology, #retailtech, #futureofretail, #retailtrends, #VentureCapital, #VC, #Founders, #Entrepreneurs, #Gartner, #IHL, #mentorship, #ArtificialIntelligence, #AI, #cloud, #InternetOfThings, #IoT, #Blockchain, #LowCode, #Data, #conversationalai, #virtualreality, #augmentedreality, #livestreaming, #socialcommerce, #metaverse, #NFTs,




Brandon Rael, Business Transformation Leader, Capgemini Invent on Driving Innovation

Brandon Rael, Business Transformation Leader, Capgemini Invent on Driving Innovation

June 10, 2022

Brandon Rael, Business Transformation Leader, Capgemini Invent joins us to talk about innovation in retail.

  • Capgemini Invent is Capgemini Group’s innovation, design, and transformation powerhouse, accelerating ideas into prototypes and scalable real-world solutions that help our clients get the future they want.
  • By combining strategy, technology, data science, and creative design expertise with an inventive mindset, we partner with our clients to innovate and transform their business, helping them navigate today while plotting a course for the future


Today’s guest

 Brandon Real

Brandon Rael

Business Transformation Leader

Capgemini Invent 

Podcast Hosts

Jeff Roster




Brian Sathianathan



Podcast Website




Listen Notes


#TRI2022, #innovation,#retail, #thisweekininnovation, #DigitalTransformation, #podcast, #retailpodcast, #emergingtechnologies, #5ForcesOfInnovation, , #Startup, #Startups,,#Retailers, #retail, #retailtechnology, #retailtech, #futureofretail, #retailtrends, #ArtificialIntelligence , #AI, #cloud, #InternetOfThings, #IoT, #Blockchain, #LowCode,  #conversationalai,,#supply chain, #computervision, #VentureCapital, #VC, #Founders, #Entrepreneurs, #mobile, #Gartner, #IHL, #virtualreality, #augmentedreality, #vr, #3d, #ar, #XR, #livestreaming, #socialcommerce, #metaverse,




[00:00:00] Jeff Roster: hello everybody. And welcome back to this weekend. Innovation today.

[00:00:02] I have a, an old clubhouse friend Brandon Al business transformation leader at cap Gemini invent Brandon. Welcome to the.

[00:00:10] Brandon Real: Thank you so much, Jeff, for having me. It's a pleasure to meet you, Brian as well.

[00:00:13] Brian Sath: Likewise, welcome Brandon.

[00:00:15] Jeff Roster: So Brandon, why don't you start by talking about, we all know cap Gemini, but cap Gemini invent is a term that I a group that I haven't, I've just only started to take a look at.

[00:00:24] So why don't you unpack a little bit about what that is. Tell us about yourself, your background and what you're doing.

[00:00:30] Brandon Real: yeah. First about my background as you mentioned in our clubhouse meetings I have a deep background in retail merchandising, supply chain. I actually was a retailer, so I walked the walk.

[00:00:39] I talked the talk and and I enjoy just solving complex business challenges and enabling through technology events and some transforming businesses and growing revenue, his dreams, and just halfway through my career, I decided to make the pivot over to consulting. And I joined a number of firms where I've focused on business digital and technology transformations and helping to pivot these organizations, especially in the [00:01:00] retail space, to the new ways of shopping in the ways of engaging a customer and especially all the digital.

[00:01:06] Innovations have come up the last five to 10 years, I've really focused on the customer journey, the customer experience and across all the platform, which you can imagine cap Gemini invent is essentially the transformation innovation powerhouse that doesn't compare to the larger firm.

[00:01:19] People know that cap I is at really KA is that really Lauries a significant. Technology implementation partner that's that really works with companies for two or four, five year engagements that really drives process improvements. And then is that integration partner you have, but then, but the innovation side is really that kept my inventing.

[00:01:36] It's a conglomeration of about 10 different firms that were acquired the last three or four years. And I think back in 2018, the firm decided to create this subsidiary that focused on digital transformations. Really accelerating ideas and not just driving innovative ideas, but how do you actually operationalize those?

[00:01:55] How do you make them real? How do you actually make provide significant value to the customer? How do you provide [00:02:00] improvements for the employees and how they do business and how they scale that? We are actually working close partnership with the larger cap, Jim and I team, but in general, We'll do those short term, agile, quick acceleration of value and growth for the customers.

[00:02:14] And our focus is on the long term, sustainable partnerships, especially all the, just all the disruptions that the industry's facing. We're there. And we have the capabilities and teams to address all that.

[00:02:25] Jeff Roster: how long is the typical engagement? Is that something you can talk.

[00:02:28] Brandon Real: I can. So we typically like it in the door expand for more. So our goal is to the, that crawl, walk, run approach to innovation. And really that, that 12 week engagement is our first starting point in relationship with our typical clients to really pinpoint the challenges, the opportunities and the gaps, and then define that longer term roadmap together.

[00:02:47] It's a, it is a matter of having the right experts in the room, the right understanding of the industry and the right understanding of the capabilities that are out there for technology perspective.

[00:02:55] Brian Sath: So in this journey as customers get started Brandon with the, [00:03:00] with early engagement of 12 weeks. Where do they, where do they go from there? So is this initially are these customers mostly customers who don't have an innovation process in place or do they have something in place?

[00:03:12] How does that, how does this

[00:03:13] Brandon Real: play out? It's a combination of those two, so it could be. A more mature organization that actually has a dedicated innovation team that really does, but they only have the foundational framework of funding, those innovative ideas into something, tangible, something real.

[00:03:26] How do you build those to a backlog? How do you actually prioritize those? How do you actually then go ahead and build those from a agile perspective into real work products? They actually will result in a solution. So we've seen those clients on that journey who are, have some material in the space and they need to get some help and an advisor, a partner to guide on that journey, given that framework and foundation you need, there are other organizations that are just delving into it.

[00:03:49] They really need to brainstorm how, what innovation means to them and what it needs to operations. They need a lot more support from us from a advisory perspective and actually, or the capability they need to get innovation started. [00:04:00] There are different paths there's and it's very unique for a client for sector.

[00:04:03] We can talk more about later where I see some sectors are a lot more advanced than others in a retail in.

[00:04:09] Brian Sath: Perfect now in terms of an overall adoption perspective as customers are, going through your engagements and getting an understanding of what they want to be doing and what are the priority, how many, what percentage or like how, like at a higher level, just so what is the adoption rate like going forward?

[00:04:26] Do they make it like an ongoing and you. They have a, because that's one of the challenges with innovation, right? Sometimes it becomes a very project based compared to, it becomes a lifetime practice in the

[00:04:35] Brandon Real: company, right? Yeah. I think that strategic mindset shift is taking and just know it from from being a project based methodology, to really looking at, from a product or initiative perspective, what is the business challenge you need to solve?

[00:04:51] What is the customer experience enhancement? We're trying to actually produce. And you think of it in terms of actually building a product or a service or a capability versus a project. [00:05:00] That's what we're trying to do. That's what our main goal is with the clients to work with is to become more projectized to more customer centric and to actually produce things that will add value for the customer to drive business growth and revenue, and actually help enable the workforce be more effective and productive.

[00:05:17] Jeff Roster: So when a client comes to you initially, are they. Are man. I want ask what I mean, I wanna do the analyst thing and figure out exactly what the percent of innovative retailers is still in retail. I used to, we used to talk about it being three to 4% of retailers would be truly innovative or at least cutting edge and leading edge.

[00:05:34] And then, 25% fast followers, 50% mainline. And then the dreaded slow adopter. So when somebody knocks on your door, are they already innovative? Do they want to become innovative?

[00:05:43] Brandon Real: The good question. Jeff, I think they have they've they, if committed to their team, do they committed to their shareholders that they wanna become more innovative.

[00:05:51] They have some ideas how they wanna approach it in some cases, but they don't have that formal structure. They don't have that. But that prioritization that's needed to become more innovative and [00:06:00] most critically they have embedded innovation as part of all the capability units. Whether supply chain perspective through operation perspective, merchandising, certain planning, pricing having innovation as dental operation is doing to fail.

[00:06:12] So you have to incorporate embed innovation and a customer first mentality across the entire organization. Otherwise it's, it doesn't result anything substantial in my mind. So

[00:06:23] Brian Sath: that means Brenda, this probably also will. I think you made a really great point. That means this also needs to be like a very.

[00:06:29] C level driven initiative or a board level driven initiative. Is that what you're currently seeing in the industry? The ones that

[00:06:35] Brandon Real: succeed, the ones that succeed? Yes. As long as that, that top down direction, that executive sponsorship, cuz ultimately it comes down to the people component is people, this process technology, the people component in my mind is most critical and in my experiences where all transformation, innovation initiatives fail is when they don't get people to adopt and evolve and pivot to the changes or embrace it.

[00:06:59] Brian Sath: Totally. Totally [00:07:00] agree. And that's one of the things that Jeff and I covered a lot in our podcast as well, because that's one that, that has been one of the challenges in innovation. So as you are, in this journey, like how are how are leaders like adapting it and are leaders are you seeing scenarios where.

[00:07:15] It starts with an innovation team who actually starts this engagements with you or does it start at the board level? How it, how is it propagating through the company? What is like the general practice you've.

[00:07:25] Brandon Real: In my experience, typically is now an innovation team in the past. I the last several years, it was a board directive initiative and was a more enterprise wide.

[00:07:34] But now we're seeing these smaller, team's more agile teams, such an as an innovation practice. Like you mentioned, grow where now they're coming funding ideas and they work with the cross-functional teams and they're coming up with value added, incremental things they can do to. The customer experience to improve how they operate.

[00:07:50] That, that really, that paradigm shift from that long term transformation, and it was two to three year engagements where there's a substantial investment of time and people and [00:08:00]capabilities, and there's a cost component to it without realizing value. We've seen those actually dissipate and actually evolve into that agile that really clear and concise path to value.

[00:08:09] And it's it's more incremental, give the customer what they want, try to pivot to where the customer behaviors are going and also enable workforce both the store level and the corporate offices to be able to respond and read and react more predictably. So if you can provide incremental value versus longer term engagements that's where we're seeing things go direct.

[00:08:28] Brian Sath: Perfect. Perfect. So one thing here, Brandon, I think what we've seen in the past, I'm sure you guys have seen this in cap Gemini as well. Like when these innovation initiatives are initially set up and to rolling across the organization that like, like how do they actually set the expectation of what the transformation or the initiative would do, right?

[00:08:48] Because the setting of these KPIs in two year engagement or two year investment in innovation, Yield X, Y, Z, or the innovation team that they hire would yield X, Y, [00:09:00] Z. How do you, do you guys have a framework and something that you help your customers think through this thing?

[00:09:04] Or and how, what are you seeing generally among clients in terms of, because sometimes some folks underset the priorities. And claim victory soon. So others over set the priority and fail. And others have no priority. And then they come back and say figure out what to do.

[00:09:18] What are you seeing? And what is what do you recommend? What are your practices? Yeah.

[00:09:22] Brandon Real: Yeah. Great question, Brian. I think what we are seeing is they'll have an idea holistically where they want to go, or they have a real strategic focus for say their supply chain. We need to digitize the supply chain.

[00:09:33] We need to do workforce enablement at the store level. Then they make, they will drive a certain KPI or where they consider a metric they wanted to go up against, but the challenges were all the. The epic and the features and those products and services that they need to produce to enable that growth, to enable, hit those targets.

[00:09:51] And that's where we come in. As those advisors and experts to accelerate value. We have these accelerated frameworks. We have the EIA innovation framework. We [00:10:00] have also in our practice, we have a mix of folks who are in the industry, but now we have design a design house. We have fraud, we have, innovation teams.

[00:10:08] So we have. A very robust, comprehensive approach to innovation. And the most critical part is how do you prioritize and how do you actually enable innovation come to life? And that's where the rubber hits the road.

[00:10:19] Jeff Roster: You can't set us set that up and leave it. How do you prioritize

[00:10:22] That's the gate. Do you start at the, at the function level, like supply chain or merchandising, do you start at the CEO level or do you start at the C CEO level? Where, how do you do.

[00:10:31] Brandon Real: It's definitely top down. But we actually want to break it out to more more tangible ways of doing things.

[00:10:36] So we'll actually build value streams where we'll have a supply chain team. We'll have a customer service team. We'll have a accounting team, risk and compliance, whatever they may be. And within that those value streams will have these cross-functional folks who say these are the high level ethics you wanna actually.

[00:10:54] Come up with these are the three, three tough goals for the next quarter we wanna achieve. Then how do we do that? [00:11:00] By actually building these 10 features, these 10 things actually will help us achieve those goals, but it cannot happen unless you have the cross-functional team involved. So we're looking at the your VP level, your director level of supply chain, your VP of merchandising, your VPs of of separations.

[00:11:15] And they all work together and collaborate, in a very agile way of these are the three things you could focus on. And these are the 20 things we actually produce tangibly to actually enable these things to come to life. So it, the goal is that you have to continuously improve. So innovation is not a a static experience for these retailers.

[00:11:33] They need to actually incrementally add more in. So you produce one thing, a new feature for the for mobile device or their native apps. You actually have to keep evaluating, assessing how it's going. See how it's performing as through KPIs and then see if there's any any revenue growth or any evidence improvements have come outta that.

[00:11:50] And then you continue to evaluate, and then you go to the whole cycle again, of going through that backlog and that prioritization of innovation imperatives, and then keep that cycle going. So it's not a [00:12:00] static thing. It's not a two to three year roadmap. It's a continuous cycle of innovation and that most successful retailers who are able to pivot and adjust to the marketing conditions.

[00:12:09] Have this cadence in place. But if they don't, certainly capture my event is that trusted partner for them.

[00:12:15] Jeff Roster: So let me ask you a really tough question when you're done. After about six months to a year, is the retailer spending less money or more money on whatever solution you're working on?

[00:12:26] Brandon Real: less because there's a significant cost overhead in running these operations, these where we see innovation teams that are not efficient, they're not prioritizing the work. So once that efficiency kick in, once the teams get into that cycle of that continuous improvement, they come up with those features and there was, and new services capabilities.

[00:12:45] There's a lot more efficiencies and scale that comes out of that. And the goal is to actually, we wanna walk away, transmit all our knowledge to them. So we empower them. They have the knowledge, they need the capabilities, they need the frameworks, they need to accelerate innovation. So essentially [00:13:00] their cost will go down of running the operations and their value will go up because they're incrementally.

[00:13:04] Producing these new ideas and the concepts, and actually operationalize them versus going to a Excel spreadsheet for later. Yeah.

[00:13:11] Jeff Roster: That's one of, that's always been one of my bug abouts being the the forecast guy on retail it spend is the idea that success always had to equal increased it, spend.

[00:13:20] And right. When you're dealing with 2 million retailers, 500 tier ones and thousands, tier two, and then millions in tier three through five it's hard to make that case, but I always try to get away from using that as the sole benchmark. If you needed to use that number to justify it, spend awesome, fine.

[00:13:36] Do whatever you want with my, my. But don't always assume that more it spend means a better functioning organization. Just might me just might mean a much more leaky boat. So that's interesting. Interesting. Yeah. At

[00:13:49] Brandon Real: that point Jeff, this we've seen so many inefficiencies is legacy. It debt, all infrastructure.

[00:13:56] We talk about no code low code the, I if you can only [00:14:00] imagine the, some of the challenges and nightmares are seen out there from our architecture perspective. So I think that's another area opportunity is to really clean their architecture up, streamline a way that this retail can actually.

[00:14:14] Deinvest in the oil architecture and reinvest in something actually gonna provide value. And it's provide the intelligence the analytics and the visibility, the data, visibility, the trends, and to be able to track and and forecast properly. Those elements are still out there and there's still plenty of companies, a 20 or 30 year old architecture that's just patched together to, to somehow operate

[00:14:32] Jeff Roster: I'm really proud. You said low code and Brian didn't scream over, overtly over, over the over his mic. So thanks Brian for not doing that all. We got a big smile on his face that I'll tell you for sure. Interesting. And I'll ask you another tough question. Feel free to punt on this.

[00:14:46] And it goes back to my experience, bringing in a WMS system when I was 25 and I made the very stupid mistake of suggesting to a couple of people that, oh, we're gonna, this is gonna be a lot more efficient. And those people actually made money in it being [00:15:00] not efficient. And I learned a very good lesson as a very young warehouse leader.

[00:15:05] Yes. I gotta assume there's people making money with inefficiency. So when you come in and you say, Hey, listen I assume you don't lead with that. But how do you navigate that? Those.

[00:15:15] Brandon Real: You have to look at their processes and you actually have to sit down with them and have a face to face conversation with these leaders and these functional experts.

[00:15:22] Tell me about your day in your life. Tell me what, when do you go about doing this process? How do you actually do it? What tools are used, what's missing? What are you doing offline? You assume we live in this fully integrated cloud work based world where everything's connected seamlessly that isn't the case.

[00:15:37] There are, Excel, unfortunately is the best friend out there of the industry has not gone away. And for a CEO future, it's not, but these full that the really the goal is to get that fully integrated platform where everything's visible, everything's transferable, everything is in a cloud based place, so you can slice and dice the data and that doesn't exist necessarily.

[00:15:55] So we look for those inefficiencies, those gaps we won't actually respect, the work they've done because they've been [00:16:00] successful for decades and people. That this this knowledge that really matters. So what do you, what can you take from their current processes is, and determine what could be enhanced and optimized and what could we do to make it better connected and more efficient.

[00:16:12] There'll be cost savings will also be new ways of doing business of driving new revenues, increased revenues.

[00:16:18] Brian Sath: Yeah. The other thing, I think also, Jeff, what we've actually seen in a lot of these circumstances is that there is so much legacy in there that a lot of. Brands and retailers can't replace legacy that fast, right?

[00:16:31] That's where these upscaling and low code no code type platform comes in. As long as it has the, it is architecturally scalable, right? Which one of the things that we focus at at iterate and interplay, right? To provide an architecturally scalable platform, you can actually create business services that you can create a service.

[00:16:50] Layer that you can build on top of that is also continued to scale as a business, right? Because that's one of the challenges because the, like the rip and replace is not [00:17:00] that easy within enterprises. That's one of the challenges that you and the other thing problems is like a lot of times ideology has a lot of built in priorities.

[00:17:08] They, like in this Amazon style, one way gate projects versus two way gate projects, right? Some of these long projects that take years, like the one way gate projects are hard to convince leaders to go through. So that's why I think this whole, this bridge building is a big part of the business.

[00:17:23] Brandon Real: Absolutely agree. Yeah. It is truly a mindset shift because it organizations are. Naturally tuned to think operationally the tasks they need to run maintaining the systems the infrastructure keeping the business going, which is all crucial, but then there's the innovation side of red house.

[00:17:37] So it's really focused on that value of the components that the customer experience enhancements and how to become more digital, more connected. So it's a, it requires robust. I would call it change management or change enablement. And that's where. We can come in as well as a cap jam our organization with our workforce enabling team and their, to help organizations, pivot and shift.

[00:17:57] It's not just about technology. It's not about the tools and [00:18:00] capabilities. It's the people, that has to make it happen. And the mindset shift to get there.

[00:18:03] Jeff Roster: Agree. Do you have to be leading edge or bleeding edge to be innovative?

[00:18:11] Brandon Real: I think there's an inherent amount of risk bleeding edge leading edge, I think is how risk adverse the organization. That're willing to take those risk or calculate risk. Then certainly you can go there, but if you're not in the industry, that's that's changing day to day, or if you're not in the industry that requires that leading edge innovation and it's a definitely.

[00:18:28] Risk evaluation has to be done there. Can you pilot and our recommendation is to really pilot things and measuring test results. You wanna do a full-fledged program where you're going well, king wide with innovation component, rather you wanna actually pilot district or a region or actually department test measure the results.

[00:18:47] And you could be a little less risk. It could be more risk adverse that way, but also. Be able to scale it up quicker once you might, should actually prove the results.

[00:18:57] Brian Sath: Yeah. What's also interesting, Jeff, there is the [00:19:00] risky question and Brandon, let me know if you agree or you have different comments, is that like the risky equation that applies to a traditional business process also applies to innovation, right?

[00:19:10] Yes. What is like the biggest B bank you can get for the, the bank for the.

[00:19:16] Brandon Real: Exactly. There's that risk award principle, we won't heard about it. So it's as an evaluation, we'll do it firms and we'll actually we'll do that financial modeling to see what, what the cost components are, what the incremental things we need to add.

[00:19:28] And then new solutions, capabilities, and tools and frameworks to add, and what the expected results will be from a revenue perspective that lift that increase of margin increase of. So that's something we'll actually work to ensure that prioritization of these imperatives goes through.

[00:19:42] That is the financials and the, and quantifying things is a way to actually manage risk and mitigate it.

[00:19:50] Jeff Roster: What emerging technologies are you particularly bullish on? Let's say maybe out 18 months.

[00:19:56] Brandon Real: For retail. I'm Alling on social selling on the me [00:20:00] metaverse engagement. Oh, that's a

[00:20:01] Jeff Roster: whole separate conversation we're gonna have for sure.

[00:20:05] But social. Yeah. But social selling. So define that a little bit. What do you mean by social selling? So

[00:20:09] Brandon Real: social selling, I is that connect to consumer. I we live in age where everyone's perpetually connect to advice and we have the goal where the customer's going and we, we highly recommend clients.

[00:20:20] Connect and engage with really authentic content across social media channels. If you wanna actually convert this customer, make that experience seamless and intuitive for the customer, whether they're on Instagram or TikTok, but you have to actually have all these supportive processes and infrastructure in place to make that happen to be mobile first digital first and customer first, but it's all about storytelling.

[00:20:38] It's all about being authentic as a brand. Those technologies are fascinating to me. And from a retail operational perspective, I'm all in as a ex planner and buyer, if I had the tools that are available today, I could think of the wonder wonderful things I could have done as a merchant planner back in the day.

[00:20:55] So AI put it demand analytics, machine learning. Are truly [00:21:00] groundbreaking. If we can start introduce those to the industry, we get ahead of the curve, especially an industry that's been fully disrupted by the supply chain challenges globally by the impacts of the pandemic. By now the inflationary periods.

[00:21:13] Now we are seeing so many retailers, mid-size largely retailers who are overwhelmed the inventory because they overcompensated because they wanna have a contingency stock in place in case. They don't have the inventory. So if they could be a bit more predictive and have more analytics and their disposal, maybe they wouldn't be in this situation.

[00:21:31] They're a predicament they're in that we need to mark things down.

[00:21:34] Jeff Roster: So let's go back to the the metaverse conversation. We got into an interesting discussion, a little slash debate yesterday on clubhouse talking about different cuts on the metaverse. I think I know where you're coming from, but unpack your thinking a little bit. Pros and cons.

[00:21:47] What's real. What's not real. And how should retail executives be thinking about this thing, this blob that we've now packed a lot of things around called the metaverse.

[00:21:56] Brandon Real: Yeah, I think there's a lot of hype out there. I think it's how you [00:22:00]actually make it real. The fact is we're.

[00:22:03] The emerging customers coming up, whether they're gen alpha or gen Z or in the millennials, they have the power and authority of discretionary income. And they're in the gaming world and they're in this environment already. Why I try to engage with them through the metaverse with something authentic and interesting, and that will help drive drive them to actually engage your brand more.

[00:22:22] So if you could do it in a way that's unique and that's gonna really resonate this work with this generation. Certainly that's another sales channel or engagement channel. It may not lead to a purchase, Jeff, but it actually will lead to a good experience or something that's actually drive into, stay with your brand.

[00:22:37] And, we've seen. Nike has delved into it, in that marketplace as well as Gucci, Louis, Baton and others in luxury space. So again these firms are really focused on innovation and customer experience and digital already. So the metaverse set next logical step of that journey, that evolution and go where the customer is go away.

[00:22:56] They're actually engaging. It's not gonna replace the brick and mortar stores. There's still [00:23:00] 85 to 80% of the sales are happening. It's not gonna replace the the native apps. And social selling through social channels certainly is gonna continue with the matter versus the next evolution in my mind.

[00:23:10] I think there's so much potential.

[00:23:13] Jeff Roster: Yeah. I would agree on that. And so as we navigate through some of these conversations, we've had in Ricardo's room, on, on clubhouse and depending on whether somebody's either too hyped about it or not hyped enough, if somebody's too hyped, I guess is a good analyst.

[00:23:26] I wanna go the other way. If somebody's under hyped, then I want, look, there's real technology there. There's. There's without a doubt, real technology, will it all add up into some crazy thing where you and I walked through a virtual store, looking monkeys or something. I don't know that I'm not interested in, do I want to kind of experiment with a kayak, at REI Kind of testing through different rapids.

[00:23:44] Heck yeah, I wanna do that. I don't wanna do that in a heartbeat. And we're already doing that. It's called flight simulation. So we've had, pilots have been doing this for 30 years. I don't know. It's just one of the it's that one technology that I've seen in an awful long time, or it just seems like it's a hot button issue on either side, either oh, it's [00:24:00] all nonsense or it's the greatest thing ever.

[00:24:01] And everything it's somewhere in.

[00:24:04] Brian Sath: Yeah, I think it might end up going through the hype cycle as well. Brand

[00:24:09] Jeff Roster: Brian, everything goes through the hype cycle.

[00:24:11] Brian Sath: Yeah. What I mean is we, like a lot of the little lot of the brands, the big brands are trying this out as marketing campaign, as, like most marketing campaigns end, they have an end date on it.

[00:24:21] And then once they end, if. Campaigns don't actually yield the right benefits. Then the traditional metric and the math that most marketers use, they will measure it by the yardstick and say, Hey, it didn't work well, then it'll go through the value of dissolution for a while. And then the few will catch on.

[00:24:38] And eventually there maybe business cases written saying, if you did well, did really. Yes. And then they may think about like platforms from that point on with. So I think, this is one of those just like everything else I don't think it'll fail. I think it's there to stay, but I think there is also probably a value of dissolution coming pretty soon.

[00:24:56] Jeff Roster: It's the trough. Of disillusionment, not the value of the shadow [00:25:00] of debt, the trough of disillusion, the trough

[00:25:02] Brian Sath: of, yeah, exactly. I'd have my card. Uh, could be a hurricane or a storm or a or even just a rain of it doesn't

[00:25:09] Jeff Roster: matter. oh, it's probably all the above. So if Brandon, what would you tell somebody if they came and, I'm sure any, every retail executive has to have bumped into this world word a ton.

[00:25:20] What's your advice? What do you, how do you. , how do you deal with some of the hype and then how do you get, how do you get I want executives to put their hands on technology and experiment it in a controlled experiment, become comfortable with failure. That's my big I'm scream.

[00:25:33] I've been begging for 20 years. Be, accept failure if you do it smartly, but this idea that you can't, you know, and that's. Very personal experience. You, if if you can't fail at a project, then you can't succeed. And I think that's been retail's biggest stumbling block is this fear of failure.

[00:25:49] So what, how do you what's your council for somebody that's trying to understand what they should be doing with it?

[00:25:55] Brandon Real: In my mind, if you keep every single focus, every single initiative on the customer [00:26:00] and your customer experience. You have to do whatever it takes from a strategy, future perspective to keep your customer engaged and satisfied.

[00:26:08] The customer loyalty right now is the most challenging aspect of the relationship. How do you retain these customers? It's gonna require boldness is gonna require element of risk. Is it required innovation? If you are not willing to take a chance or strategic risk to actually drive that engagement and keep that customer coming back for more.

[00:26:26] They you're doing to be oppositely and that retain the retention cycle is the most challenging aspect right now. Cuz the customers will find, there are ways of losing customers that worked didn't exist before they have a bad experience on the social channel. They have a bad experience in your e-commerce engineer, your mobile app or in general something worked the way they expected from a private perspective.

[00:26:46] So you cannot afford as a retailer not to take those calculated risk. And driving innovation imperative forward, and you have to be willing to take a loss. And we've seen obviously the big guys like Amazon target Walmart innovation [00:27:00] first, and you'll see them. Some of initiatives never came to fruition.

[00:27:03] Some of that actually failed didn't resonate with the customer. They have the capacity and the capital investment to do that. But every single retail has to have a similar mentality of its. Always day one right now, because the customer's changing so dynamically and so aggressively, you can afford to be stagnant.

[00:27:20] You have to actually take these risk to even be relevant or to be vital moving forward. You can assume everything's gonna be stacked the way it was and that your low customers will stay with you.

[00:27:31] Jeff Roster: Hey, as you, as a retailer, looks around their organization. If they listen to this podcast and they go and look around their organization, what are a couple of telltale signs that they need to do something different?

[00:27:43] Brandon Real: Biggest sign I seeing I'm seeing is really within the organization. There isn't an awareness of innovation. There isn't awareness, these new ideas that they're enveloped and absorbed in running the business the way they did the last 10 to 15, 20 years. that they're really risk averse or they're not willing [00:28:00] to on these new challenges or innovation isn't embedded within all the functions.

[00:28:04] We talked about, like supply chain or merchandising or operations or eCommerce. We need these groups to work together and then, and break the silos down, actually collaborate and come up with new ways together. New ways of doing business, new ways to engage with the customers and new ways of actually driving innovative ideas to reality.

[00:28:21] This has to be a crucial imperative for retailers, who are facing price compressions, increased costs, their global supply chain, disruptions, gas prices, you name it. And so they cannot afford to to avoid, innovation and the criticality of it.

[00:28:38] Jeff Roster: Yeah. And add a labor strike at the port of Los Angeles, which is on our future.

[00:28:43] I think. Hey, as we wrap up, I like to ask every one of our guest two questions.

[00:28:47] What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?

[00:28:49] Brandon Real: Never stop learning. Never stop people to take risk and and take calculated risk as you're you don't have you have that. You have that runway to take calculated risk to actually do [00:29:00] what an innovation uh, leader has to do, take risk and actually see where it goes and just continue to pivot as professionals.

[00:29:05] If the one thing doesn't work out, you have the chance to actually. Change your approach and try something else, and then via lifelong learner, but also know the power, your network and really. Find ways to help each other, get through things together, be more collaborative and be more open to new ideas.

[00:29:21] And I think learning is the most crucial part for a young professional is to learn as much as possible, as quickly as possible and to apply those learnings, but we'd be willing to take on new ideas.

[00:29:32] Jeff Roster: And finally, what skills do you that you use now? Do you wish you would've paid more attention to back either in college or at the early part of your.

[00:29:38] Brandon Real: I think the softer skills, I think we were so focused on running the businesses and doing the everyday work, but the softer skills are 90%. What we do is actually engaging with clients, engaging with leaders and had the approach I have today, or the understanding of the depth and breadth of knowledge of how to deal with people.

[00:29:54] We can become more, more effective, as as professionals, I think. There were some rough patches. We've all [00:30:00] gone through that, in early part of our careers. And I think if I had that savviness and that understanding that the people component is the most crucial part, I think it would've been nice to have that knowledge back then.

[00:30:10] Jeff Roster: For sure. That's probably a good place to put a pin in it, Brandon. Hey, thanks so much for this conversation. I definitely gonna be following up either in clubhouse or maybe getting you on the pot again, as you get more experience working with retailers. Cause I think you're at the center of what has to happen, this whole transformation, this whole push towards innovation.

[00:30:27] And I definitely wanna, I wanna learn a lot more from you and your experiences. Thanks for jumping on the show today.

[00:30:33] Brandon Real: My pleasure. Thank you, Jeff. And thank look forward to the next podcast.

[00:30:37] Brian Sath: Thank you, Brandon, take care.


Brian Sathianathan, Co-Founder, on The Attention Economy

Brian Sathianathan, Co-Founder, on The Attention Economy

June 1, 2022

On today's edition of This Week in Innovation Brian and I  talk about the attention economy.

Give it a listen and let us know what you think?

Podcast Hosts

Jeff Roster




Brian Sathianathan



Podcast Website




Listen Notes


[00:00:00] Jeff Roster: Hello everybody. And welcome to another edition of this week in innovation today. Brian and I are going to talk about the attention economy, Brian, how you doing today?

[00:00:08] Brian Sathianathan: Doing great. Jeff, how are you Jeff?

[00:00:11] Jeff Roster: Doing well? They're putting in fiber in the neighborhood. So if you hear a jackhammer, let me know, I'll go to mute, but that's exciting times for us.

[00:00:18] So hopefully I will have a super fast internet connection maybe in, in a couple of months or.

[00:00:23] Brian Sathianathan: That is awesome. Yeah, that is awesome. I do have five Iran, fiber all the way because of, a lot of the meetings that I do. And some of the, like the demos that I do sometimes is very bandwidth consuming.

[00:00:35] So yeah, I did it like a few months ago and it's really good. Yeah, ever since then, I get pretty good

[00:00:40] Jeff Roster: connectivity. Fantastic. Brian, today, you want to talk about the attention economy? What what does that mean?

[00:00:48] Brian Sathianathan: So basically the the idea about the attention economy is it's almost thinking about, a consumer or a user's attention, the time that he or she spends, say watching TV [00:01:00] are interacting with the product are, spending time on the internet. Looking at that whole concept as the human attention is a scar commodity. and it's, there is so much of it that you, one any human or any person has in a given day, right? You only have 24 hours and you probably spend 1820 hours being awake, right.

[00:01:26] Or maybe 16 hours, depending on how old you are and how young you are. So the question is it's a scare. The point is that it's a scarce commodity and within this scarce commodity, how. Can brands our well can websites, our well can products grab the attention of any human, right? Any user, any consumer.

[00:01:49] That's why this is interesting. So we are applying the traditional economic theories, right? That we apply to finance, or any other scarce commodity. And you apply that theory to [00:02:00]attention to the human attention. And that is what the attention economy is. So you've taken something that's very much an art or like something that evolved over a time and you've attached and applied scientific principle to it.

[00:02:12] And you treat it like a scarce commodity and value.

[00:02:17] Jeff Roster: Okay, so makes sense. When I started my career, there were there was cable and barely cable and there was. A few channels, there was radio and that was it. And now I've got two plus million podcasts. I can dig through 600 channels.

[00:02:35] Almost, unlimited streaming services. So that time that I spend as a consumer becomes incredibly valuable where I put it. And it's a precious resource to all these various. objects, interactions, things that are looking for my time. What what do you do with that then?

[00:02:54] Brian Sathianathan: I think it's about no, I think it's a great question. I think Jeff, I think it's all about understanding where [00:03:00] users are spending time and how it is broken down between the different avenues, the different channels. The different types of activities, and then the brands, as well as these content providers, or even retailers can figure out methodologies to create value, because essentially a user's attention is not free. So how do you create value within that time? So that, it becomes a transaction, both parties benefit.

[00:03:31] Jeff Roster: Okay. So if you're a retailer, what do you do? What do you do with a busy mom? Who's got all these, 2 million podcasts to pick from and 600 channels. How do you engage that person in this new

[00:03:42] Brian Sathianathan: world works well? That's a great, yeah, absolutely. Jeff. So maybe what I'll do is let me talk a little bit about how things are broken down, right?

[00:03:48] Between, traditional things like TV and others, and how. How the internet, as well as, content on the internet is, consuming that pie and that how that pie is [00:04:00] beginning to grow between the different sites. And then we'll go into retail. But I think I definitely want to talk about how retailers can leverage some of these things and learn.

[00:04:10] How the media Giant's already using it. And there's a lot of lessons and I'll walk through some retail use cases, but let me spend like a, quite a bit of time talking about the media and the current landscape itself. So that'll give you a pretty good background, right? So if you look at like the TV watching, daily basis, I think we spend about three hours right on TV watching TV every day. So it used to be a little higher. It used to be like 207 minutes. At one point during the pandemic, it was 213 minutes a day. And then based on Statistica and other analyst sites, it's actually gonna go down specifically TV.

[00:04:50] What I mean is like traditional screen, the big screens on your home. But then if you break it down a little bit in terms of, overall screen time, that's actually not [00:05:00] reducing, that's actually increasing. So we are. all adults in America on average, over 18 are spending about four hours and 16 minutes a day.

[00:05:13] Watching consuming content. So that also includes the screen share time of things like YouTube, especially the younger audience, watching more content. And I'm sure, our listeners are aware that, the world population is about seven point 9 billion. So out of the seven, 9.9 billion, the YouTube audience is about 2.5, 6 billion.

[00:05:32] So that's the sizeable number, right? That's not to ignore. And YouTube's content reach is about 32% of the population, right? Of the internet population, not the world population, but the internet population then the average is about 51%. So it's pretty, pretty large numbers.

[00:05:49] You're talking about. They've also had especially tremendous growth during the pandemic and as we are getting, outta the pandemic because the audience is very strong, right? Same thing. Some sort of [00:06:00] applies to every other audience is like Instagram 1.4, 8 billion users rate. And then they average is about 18.7%.

[00:06:08] And they grew, I think about, 85 million users, 6.1%. TikTok is another one that's actually growing fast as well. They are 60 plus million users, 7.3, some percent usage. So you're seeing this audience of, audience growth across. And then you're also seeing streaming and mu music services, right?

[00:06:27] People are willing to pay for these things because at one point, there was a lot of ad covered content, but now of course there is 31% of the people in America pay. For a streaming service or a movie service, right? This is not only about just a subscription it's it could be about subscription on demand, one time purchase, right across all those things.

[00:06:47] So you're seeing like content, people are consuming content, but also paying for it. And there is also a big appetite for this type of things. Which is really interesting to see. The other thing is that, as people are spending a [00:07:00] lot of time in, free content consumption, social media, right?

[00:07:02] The whole social media advertising spend its itself is about 33 point. One person of the total ad spent right. Pretty big, so all these things are growing. And another thing that's interesting is because a lot of the stuff that we cover is very commerce oriented, right? So if you look at the worldwide RPU right.

[00:07:18] Average revenue per user for eCommerce, it's about a thousand dollars, right? In the us it's about $3,000. So the eCommerce is more advanced in the us. Other than us is, of course you have some of the Asian countries which have more commerce, like Hong Kong, for instance, So that's a big, that's a big number, and that sort of purchased the ARPO is broken down across about, electronics being the primary category about 9 billion, nine, nine 988 billion annual spend followed by fashion, which is about 900 billion. And then you have other categories going on. Another thing Jeff, that also somewhat caught my attention is this this whole concept of, grocery online.

[00:07:58] People purchasing grocery [00:08:00] online with any of the services. I, I think in my previous podcast I told right these days that Sarah and I, only like all of our safe shopping is pretty much in order online and pick up in store right now. We even started doing that with Walmart as well.

[00:08:13] So now we basically, do either, Walmart, grocery or safe a grocery, if we need to get grocery right. Worldwide, I think it's about 28%. Other population have at least done it. Now you look at the United States compared to the world, it's actually, the number is slightly low.

[00:08:27] It's about 23%, 23.7%, but that's actually an increasing percent rate. But the Asian countries have much more deeper online grocery purchases. This is an interesting thing because today I think even a few weeks ago, we ended up speaking to a couple of startups. Jeff, remember the delivery companies, right?

[00:08:44] This is a really exciting area because I think this has a lot of growth, potential. And I think pretty much, we are gonna have, Bo just like we having Amazon boxes appearing in our house all over the world. And even in the us, you're gonna have a lot more boxes coming in from not just Amazon, but all kinds of grocery and all [00:09:00] kinds of other retailers.

[00:09:00] Then that same thing also somewhat applies to other industries as well, like travel and everything, but let's let me first address the retail and then we'll talk a little bit about travel, right? Retail I think is interesting because in the retail space, like how can, if I'm a retailer, how do I actually gain the attention rate of my shoppers of my consumers?

[00:09:21] See, I think the most important thing is to look at all your touch points because in the old world, it used to be what I managed 10 years ago, eight years ago, when apps came in and it's all about I have a website online site, I have a, I have a. and then I have an app, but the world now is far more complicated because users have multiple touchpoints.

[00:09:40] It's just not the, it's just not the store. It's just not the online app. It's just not the website. Even in, on the only a mobile device, there are 20 different ways one could interact with you. They could be opening up a Google map app and they can communicate with you or with your brand through.[00:10:00]

[00:10:00] Through a Google's business messenger or through Apple's business messenger. They could be doing search on the phone. Your filters appear, they may be in the text, they might be texting their friend, but they may be referring to your brand or like they may doing a shopping, referring to the shopping notion, and then you could appear there's a filter, right?

[00:10:17] An app, a little app light in there, or an app clip. So all these touch points are there and there is much many ways to interact with the user. Which means there are more ways to the attention is sliced and diced in, in smaller chunks. But as a brand, you can't try.

[00:10:35] You can't, you cannot just focus on capturing all the major three chunks you wanna be able to capture. Smaller slices, but many of those smaller slices, which makes it harder for a brand, but also it creates more exposure, more probability that they will actually look at you. Which is which is much, much better.

[00:10:53] The other thing I also like to focus is as retailers, you always think about customer journey, right? Let me give you some [00:11:00] two examples on these journeys, right? One of the brands is one of the, one of the areas we could look at is essentially in the automobile sector, right?

[00:11:08] Imagine you are in the automobile sector and you have a brand within your company that provides. Oil changes. There's another brand that actually provide car washes. And then there's another one that does repair and maybe another one that provides paint. So you can look at how the attention gets broken across all these things.

[00:11:26] The car wash would be a weekly activity. Someone would come every week, every three week, every two weeks, every once a month. But then as you go through the upper spectrum, very seldomly with like once in every two years, they may get, they may come for a repair and hopefully they don't come, not a repair, but a pain job.

[00:11:45] Or a collision job, but they may come more frequently for an oil change, every three months. So you can look at all those things and plot a consumer's path, a journey through you. And how many times do they get to interact? Not just with one brand, but across all your [00:12:00] brands. So I think this is where, like a lot of the understanding of the customer's data is very important.

[00:12:05] Really deeply understanding the customer and breaking down all the, sort of the brand barriers and data segmentation challenges, but really understanding, like creating a full path, the full, the single view of the customer, the full view of the customer. Also understanding using machine learning, understanding how they're interacting across all your apps, because one of the challenges that happened within brands is that, and retailers is.

[00:12:29] As the demand for digital group, people just started releasing so many apps, right? There are so many apps out there. But there is no data that are collected from them, or not enough, or in the data is coming in. It's not merged with the remaining data. So this whole idea of being able to create that single view, understanding and personalizing and not just personalizing thing, but Uber personalizing, creating contextual personalizing, and also creating a cross brand. Holistic view of a given customer, I think is super important. I can also give a similar [00:13:00] example, Jeff, on the beauty industry, right? So if you are a beauty retailer, or if you're a beauty brand, imagine the female consumer, from the time she wakes up, till the time she goes to bed, all the way, on her shopping parents, the early wake up Mor morning routine. The application, of foundations, the application of makeup, the application of, mascara and all those things. And then from the morning, till the time one is going to work, and then online shopping behavior is right. And then ability to create journaling throughout this process throughout the day. And some parts of the data is automatically captured. The other part is cap manually entered. or captured through various forms of interactions. And then when she walks into your store.

[00:13:39] So this entire journey I think is a part of the attention. So the beautiful thing about retail, I think is it's unlike the ad folks, because the ad part where the ad providers or advertisers the traditional, the ad media. They, even though they have a large volume of data the journey is not clearly stitched because they're not the single brand that is provided because they are serving the [00:14:00]brands as a, as an ad tech or an ad media company.

[00:14:03] But I think as a retailer, you're serving somebody through that entire customer life cycle across that entire day in a life, which gives you a better visibility. You wanna track that data, right? And you wanna create better personalization, better ways to serve this customer. And also to think about methods to increase that attention space.

[00:14:27] Jeff Roster: Curious, Brian, if you've had any Any thoughts on the super apps that we've talked about a little bit in the past in use in China, in the east versus the west. And we don't have a super app, I guess I'm gonna tee up and see if if you think Elon's got a shot at turning Twitter into a super app, like that tweet that we both commented on.

[00:14:47] So maybe just talk a little bit about super apps in the customer journey in the, does that help or hurt in the attention? The intention economy. And then maybe speculate a little bit. What do you think Elon might be trying to do with Twitter? [00:15:00]

[00:15:00] Brian Sathianathan: See, I think the super app concept is definitely interesting because just like Ilan said, right?

[00:15:04] This super apps are like super, like extremely popular in Asia. WeChat is one of them. And there are tons of apps that's all using like single purpose. Even in the us, if you think about it I think A while back, there was some data I saw online that was like every day, consumers looks at only 13 apps, if you're not within the first couple of screen on your iPhone, or on Android app, most likely the app gets ignored or eventually deleted. So the idea is to that, Consumers have this goes back to the attention, right? Attention is a very scar commodity, right? Yes, we are increas. The pie is getting bigger and bigger, but it can only go so much.

[00:15:39] It's just like saying, there are only like, I don't know, X million Bitcoins or X million, X million resources of something. So it's a scares resource, so I think the question is how do you actually grab the attention? So I think the idea of a super app is differently interest.

[00:15:54] Super app apps, super apps have a positive and a negative, right? The positive is that you [00:16:00] are maximizing and optimizing the attention of the consumer. Because if you look at all the website, like all these consumer sites, right? As Jeff all these consumer attention technology the study of this, I think started 20, 30 years ago, I think, through Stanford and other places where they formally thought these kind of concepts in, in, in user design and computer human interface designs, all these concept of, attention attention optimization, things like. Keeping an eyeball on a site. And how do you create things? If you go to like things like, Pinterest, you keep on scrolling, the infinite bar, infinite scroll wheel comes in, those are all methods to create dopamine, right?

[00:16:37] Because the human mind always predicts. What's gonna come next. So a lot of these attention, capturing eyeball engagement T. Have been converted into scientific instruments, right? Like things like, companies like Facebook and companies like Pinterest TikTok, all these guys are. Over the years become experts and their expertise have been, got better and better by instrumentation, [00:17:00] of understanding the data. So the positive is that, you can even further optimize it through super app because as a consumer think about it, like it's just one app. It's very easy. I click on this, I do this, all my thing is there. I don't have to go through 20 things. In my daily today, if you look at it, certain apps are very hard, right?

[00:17:15] I have two separate emails. And then one email, if I had to respond to one email, one, one app has one method and the other one has another method. Then I go from my email to text message. I got copy things. It's just, it's very painful. It's very, it's not very sticky. It's very difficult.

[00:17:30] Every app optimizes within. But if you take the human functions across two, three hours of actions the optimizations are not there. Super, super apps allows us to even further optimize the experience and provide a better nicer consumer experience. So I definitely agree with Elon, but for retailers, there is a challenge with super app, right?

[00:17:47] If you are not in a retail business where, you can like the beauty example I gave you or the automobile. Example, I gave you, those are retail industries that is primed to do super apps because you have [00:18:00] 4, 5, 6 things that you can interact with. So you can create increase engagement, but they're also very transactional retail, businesses where, you know, you transact with somebody once in a while.

[00:18:09] So the problem with, so perhaps is that, so perhaps will create gateways, right? What I mean is today, if you look at online you, when you search. Google is your gateway. There is no better search engine than Google, right? Or unless you wanna have full privacy, somebody goes to do go, but then you don't get quite great results.

[00:18:26] Like what you get in Google. Facebook is your social gateway, right? Depending on who you ask. But then similarly, same thing on the same thing on the, on, at. If you are at home, either you ask your, a question to Alexa or you ask the same question to Google home, right? Those are becoming gateways, right?

[00:18:43] The thing with super apps is these bigger companies will end up creating apps that are highly engaging and they were, they already have lots of touch points with us. So they would, the super apps will allow bigger companies to create gateways. So there will be more wall gardens and more gateways.

[00:18:58] So you move from Apple's [00:19:00] wall garden, into Facebook's wall, garden, into Twitter's wall garden. When most ball garden. So it's it'll take out some of the retailers out today, a lot of retailers have to pay money to all these gatekeepers in order to get a small piece of the attention.

[00:19:13] So that is a problem. And that's gonna happen anyway. And so perhaps makes the problem even worse. But that's also interesting and an opportunity for retail brands is that, you can try your own super. And you can engage your loyalty consumers. You can engage your, consumers in there.

[00:19:29] And then, if you, so certain gateways are not fully established, I the wise go gateway in home is not fully established, even though the hardware is established, you can still put your app on Alexa. You can put your app on your home TV, in non fire TV or any of these things. So there are all these chances that these touch points still.

[00:19:47] So I think my encouraging messages, even though there is lots of negatives, the positives, I think outweigh and as a retail brand retailer or a brand, you wanna move sooner into these things and start [00:20:00] experimenting with these things.

[00:20:01] Jeff Roster: Do we have an example of a retail, an Western retailer that has a super app.

[00:20:06] I can't think of one.

[00:20:07] Brian Sathianathan: No, I don't think there is a retail, a strict retail example per se. But I think I've spoken to quite a few retail customers who are actually and prospects who are actually thinking of opportunities. So it's, I think it's coming. So

[00:20:20] Jeff Roster: That's pretty intriguing.

[00:20:21] And I'm guessing you're not gonna go any further into any detail on what you just said there. Yeah. yeah, but I guess what I can say, or I'll ask you. So Elon said that very interesting tweet out a week ago, saying. He could, why doesn't the west have a super app. And I think he was clearly implying that if he can successfully conclude Twitter AC his acquisition that maybe he might be thinking of that as a potential super app tying in a payment mechanism, tying in engagement, all that sort of stuff.

[00:20:50] So you're act, I think if I read you read your read your thinking there correctly you think that might be a possibility.

[00:20:58] Brian Sathianathan: It is a possibility. [00:21:00] Interesting. But I think the question is is it a possibility of Twitter is a hard question to answer, right? It goes back to Elon's own questions about bots and all the other things, but I think I'm a big wen more user, right?

[00:21:10] Venmo does that. To some degree today, right? You can actually pay, I can pay Jeff. And if I, within my network allow,

[00:21:17] Jeff Roster: feel free to, by the way, feel free to pay Jeff, all you all. You'd like,

[00:21:23] Brian Sathianathan: right now. I just have

[00:21:24] Jeff Roster: money going out. I don't have it coming in as much.

[00:21:26] Brian Sathianathan: I know. Yeah. But if I put that in if I make my conversation public, I could see that. And I can sort by certain categories, like all the yoga conversations or all, whatever, whatever interesting for, interesting house cleaning or whatever.

[00:21:39] You can look by topic and so on. I mean like people like, Venmo and some of these payment players, I think are also in a good chance to play there, but I think a lot of players will get into it. You will have Payment only social media companies going at it, then the strict content companies, right?

[00:21:54] Like Twitter and others from content perspective, going into payment and enabling payment in it. [00:22:00] I'm sure if like Twitter starts it, they can get a lot of volume because they already have a pretty big user base. So the possibilities are definitely there. And I think what's interesting that Twitter has compared to a YouTube or something else is.

[00:22:12] It's always Twitter is always considered as a short interaction, right? Payment transaction is a short interaction, even though shopping is a shopping bills over time, the actual payment process is always a short interaction. So I think it's very much in line with that thinking.

[00:22:26] Jeff Roster: It'd be fun to watch how that plays out.

[00:22:28] Brian, what happens in a recessionary scenario that we either are in, or a bunch of us think we are getting very close to in, in, in an attention economy scenario.

[00:22:42] Brian Sathianathan: I think that's an interesting question, Jeff. , I think this is As, recessions are hard to predict and when you come, when will you come out of recession, it's also hard to predict.

[00:22:49] But definitely, we are already from the financial side, a lot of value has been lost, especially in the last month of may and April. And I think it started in like late 20, 21. And you seeing these [00:23:00] things, I think in the financial markets as you, as very well, the, it's getting a stocks are getting a hit, even though stocks being a leading indicator.

[00:23:06] It's really good to see you. There are adjustments happening there, but then, that will also come into the private market with startup funding and, companies doing layoffs and everything. The attention economy is interesting, but before I go there, I also wanna talk about on the consumer side of things, because American consumers are spending today, right? If you look at like just the airline industry alone, because we have been, blocked at home for I don't know, year and a half or two locked at locked. And now everybody wants to go out. If you look at the whole package vacation, there is there was like 41.6, 5 billion, right?

[00:23:38] I think I think increase actually on the, sorry, 102 billion in package vacation this year alone year, over year increased 59% increase. That just speaks to the volume of spending and also goes. For the nature that people were, locked out at home during locked in at home during the research the pandemic period.

[00:23:57] And then you are seeing consumer spend, even [00:24:00] with the with, even with inflation, even with this high CPIs and all you are still seeing peoples spending. And I think that's also a sort of a pandemic post pandemic influence. But I think what'll happen is it'll take one or two quarters till this thing is squeezed out.

[00:24:14] I think we will have a very well spent summer, in terms of, more and more people traveling and spending more and doing vacations and all that stuff. And then as they come back, I think things will slow down. And I think along with the stock market getting hit, you will also probably see a consumer.

[00:24:30] Consumer credit squeeze and other things as well, because those are just natural things to follow. Now let's go into the, going back to this. So that's just the financial side of how the spending and the. The different touchpoints, but now if you go back to the attention economy suffered a, started a recession two quarters ago, maybe in January, as people are getting out of the pandemic. As some of these folks like Netflix and others, and even zoom lost, Netflix lost subscribers. And then the eyeballs are slowly slowing. The water in Ukraine [00:25:00] is moving attention out, and especially as we are approaching summer, more and more people are gonna travel, which is actually gonna take away a little bit of the online usage and some of the attention. But those are things that will return back again. But I think it's really interesting to see when you take the consumer spending squeeze that might come two quarters from now.

[00:25:17] And And the attention recess attention economy recession. But I think attention economy will always grow in grand scheme of things in short terms. Like I said, within a short time window, you may have an up pan down S and flows, but I think over time it'll still increase, because attention is a very scarce commodity rate. Whether, I think whether you are using it online, whether using it in traditional media, whether they're using it, doing physical shopping in stores it's a scares commodity. People have only so much time in a given day.

[00:25:46] So I think definitely brands have to compete. Retailers have to compete, the big companies have to compete and the science have to be mastered more and more, every.

[00:25:55] Jeff Roster: So in wrapping it up what should a retailer be doing? As we begin to think about [00:26:00] the impacts of an intention economy and as we all, as consumers begin to understand the value of our time and where we give well, where we give our time and where we give our attention, what should a retailer do?

[00:26:12] Brian Sathianathan: I think for retailers and even brands. I think this has always been a big priority, even though they don't specifically, call it an attention economy. This is somewhere, all, somewhere in marketing slides all the time. They call it generating traffic and leads and 63% of marketers, that's their biggest challenge.

[00:26:29] That's their biggest priority, right? This is across true across, all retail and brands. But the thing what's really interesting is I think I would focus on a couple of. First, I think I would focus on all my consumer touchpoint, which most brands and retailers know. But also not only to touch points that is available today, but what are all the possible touchpoints, right?

[00:26:49] My customer journey, which most retailers know their journey very well. but also understanding it from an instrument instrumented fashion, it's what is the empirical qualitative side versus what is the [00:27:00] measured quantitative side, do they do go together? And I think the third part that's really important is understanding and getting a holistic view of your data.

[00:27:08] Do I have a holistic view of the data today, right in my do I have a holistic view across. Do I have a holistic cross promotion strategy? Do I know my consumer cross brands across all the silos I have in my company? That's a very important one. And then once those three things, I think the thing to focus on is like, what are my, what are the avenues of my being present today, right?

[00:27:30] Because today it's not just having a mobile app, right? Because if you're a, not a well known retailer, people may not even use your mobile app. And very seldomly. So you wanna be able to, even with, in, in the whole aspect of mobile, you want be able to be in, be a filter. You wanna be able to be in business messenger.

[00:27:46] We want to be able to be in, search app plates. There are so many like avenues within just one device, right? That actually applies everywhere. That's similar math could apply in store. There are so many touchpoint in store similar things apply [00:28:00] online. So I think you want to think hard about what are all the touch points very carefully.

[00:28:03] And how do I leverage those touchpoints? Things like super apps, think of things like, being. Providing capabilities and all these touchpoints. The other thing is also understanding once you have data on your consumer, apply AI, unleash the power of machine learning, right? Understand your consumer more deeply, be able to do in a deeper contextual personalization ability to know your consumer at at an N equals one level, right?

[00:28:30] Not the traditional all school segmentation. You are consuming individually, but then not only just that, but also contextually. What Jeff wanted two hours ago is very different from what he wants right now. He wants me to transfer Venmo, him money. I'm just joking. But the idea is that people's attention and requirements change by the minute.

[00:28:46] But understanding that when they're interacting with your brand, I think is critical. So that's why I think, you wanna look at AI as that force within your. Jeff.

[00:28:55] Jeff Roster: Brian, we used to talk about the customer journey almost.

[00:28:58] Yeah. Almost cause it's like an interesting [00:29:00] idea or a concept, but as we, as a retailer tries to navigate through the attention economy and trying to battle. Re, battle us consumers getting off that, that journey and being distracted, that becomes much more of a mission, critical strategy going forward.

#innovation, #thisweekininnovation, #DigitalTransformation, #podcast, #retailpodcast, #emergingtechnologies, #5ForcesOfInnovation, #TRI2022, #Startup, #Startups, #Retailers, #retail, #retailtechnology, #retailtech, #futureofretail, #retailtrends, #VentureCapital, #VC, #Founders, #Entrepreneurs, #Gartner, #IHL, #ArtificialIntelligence, #AI, #cloud, #InternetOfThings, #IoT, #Blockchain,




Joey Rubinstein, CEO, Supplyve on Redefining Ordering for Independent Retail

Joey Rubinstein, CEO, Supplyve on Redefining Ordering for Independent Retail

May 31, 2022

Joey founded Supplyve in May of 2021 after seeing firsthand the rampant issues in Small Retail. He's a graduate of University of Maryland's Supply Chain program, and today sits on the technology council of the National Small Business Association.

Give it a listen and let us know what you think?


Today’s guest

 Joey Rubinstein



Podcast Hosts

Jeff Roster




Brian Sathianathan



Podcast Website




Listen Notes


#innovation, #thisweekininnovation, #DigitalTransformation, #podcast, #retailpodcast, #emergingtechnologies, #5ForcesOfInnovation, #TRI2022, #Startup, #Startups, #Retailers, #retail, #retailtechnology, #retailtech, #futureofretail, #retailtrends, #supplychain, #VentureCapital, #VC, #Founders, #Entrepreneurs,#Gartner, #IHL,

[00:00:00] Jeff Roster: Hello everybody. Welcome back to this week and innovation today. I have two very interesting guests. I have Joey Rubenstein, CEO of supply and kin doubt. Joey, welcome to the podcast.

[00:00:11] Joey Rubinstein: Thank you so much, Jeff. It's great to be here.

[00:00:13] Jeff Roster: And tell me a little bit about yourself and what you're up to, what your company's.

[00:00:17] Joey Rubinstein: Sure. I studied a supply chain and entrepreneurship at the university of Maryland go TURPs. And basically after that, one of my friends approached me and he was running this independent retailer.

[00:00:27] And he realizes, oh shoot. The way that we're doing our supply chain is really problematic. Everything was very manual. There were all sorts of issues in terms of the way in which they ordered, how they ordered from who they were ordering, when they were ordering you name it, they had problems with it.

[00:00:40] We, started speaking to hundreds and hundreds of different people that were within the industry, trying to understand if this is a real problem or just something that was, localized

[00:00:46] turns out it's a huge problem. So we dove in headfirst.

[00:00:51] And basically what we're trying to do is we're trying to redefine their ordering process from their vendors and make their lives a million times.

[00:00:58] Jeff Roster: So let me understand. When you [00:01:00] talk about independent, what's your definition of independent retailer?

[00:01:03] Joey Rubinstein: An independent retailer is basically a one, mom and pop store all the way up to, as a chain of like 10 stores.

[00:01:09] Jeff Roster: Very interesting. And today those retailers I'm thinking about my brother's place. It's probably a lot of paper. I'm not even sure. There's Excel sheets. There's probably, you're probably trying to try and replace physical

[00:01:19] Joey Rubinstein: paper. Yeah. So actually initially we started out by interviewing like in-depth like a hundred different independent retailers. 93% of them were not using any sort of technology. They were using either Google sheets or pen and paper. The majority of independent retailers received their basically their orders through what's like paper. Like they actually get, invoices, physical paper, invoices

[00:01:38] that's not to say that there are people that aren't familiar with technology and willing to adopt technology. It's just that up until now, they have been underserved.

[00:01:46] . So basically the technology that, that we would be replacing is the technology that comes with the point of sale. So in every point of sale, that's basically where people swipe their credit cards.

[00:01:54] A lot of times they have these tack on, supply chain software but they're very ineffective and they suffer from the same problem that [00:02:00] actually all the current technology suffer from even all the way up to SAP, which is that they require a massive amount of manual data entry.

[00:02:06] So if I want to get my system up and loaded it on square, for example, I would have to type in, each individual product that's within my store. So let's say I have 10,000 products. It would take me 180 hours. Which is seven full 24 hour days just to type in my products. And that's not to mention when I'm actually getting, stuff into my store and I need to, update the inbound inventory.

[00:02:25] While there is technology that is, technically within the stores, people don't use it by and large because it's just too cumbersome. And I think basically what we did is we built a product that, addresses all those things. It allows, basically minimal manual data entry and that's the long and short of it. And now, we're just, just getting running, we have a number of stores that are signed up we're, signed with a couple of vendors as well.

[00:02:45] But the small market as an aside is very large as well.

[00:02:48] There were 156,000, stores in our sort of initial starting market, which is to say convenience stores groceries and liquor stores. And that's really just the beginning because this is also applicable to, sports stores, sporting goods [00:03:00] stores, it's applicable to toy stores. It's applicable to you name it as long as they have barcodes.

[00:03:05] And things are really looking good.

[00:03:07] Jeff Roster: Yeah actually that was my next question. There is no segment that you need to worry about. You're not focusing on grocery or anything. Anything with a barcode

[00:03:14] Joey Rubinstein: works for you in the short run. Obviously you need to stay focused in order to, build a viable business and all that stuff.

[00:03:20] So we're starting with the grocery and the three I named before, which is, grocery convenience stores and liquor because they have a similar product set but then we're going to work our way out, as time goes on

[00:03:28] Jeff Roster: very interesting now, Ken Dowd is on the line with us and Ken is on the advisory board, but I wonder if you could unpack a little bit how you two got connected and Ken, maybe you could tell us about your background because I couldn't even begin to do it justice.

[00:03:44] Ken Dowd: I met Joey early on about four or five months ago. Very aggressive team. I met the whole team by zoom. What I liked about they did early on was they started small and had a lot of lessons learned on how they were working their [00:04:00] process.

[00:04:00] And as you can see, they're building to larger efforts. But I liked advising these guys and talking to them. I'm a retired major general in the army. Did all the logistics most in Afghanistan and Iraq and Kuwait. In the 2014 timeframe, 2012. And Joey asked me to jump on the team and advise them on ideas and thoughts and way ahead.

[00:04:22] But I would just tell you, these guys are very aggressive and they do a real good job on lessons learned. And then they build that into their process.

[00:04:30] An aggressive team for an old guy like this, watching these guys try to improve process. Always makes me excited.

[00:04:37] Jeff Roster: What's really interesting to me is for such a young startup to have such a strong advisory board.

[00:04:41] That's what really, Can S same thing. I got a call out or I got a email out of LinkedIn, out of nowhere for some, some young guy doing something up in Palo Alto and it's I get a bunch of those. And for whatever reason I went up and.

[00:04:54] A lot of it was because of the advisory board that, that Joey already put together. When I'm talking to startups, that's, I [00:05:00] highly recommend putting an advisory board together. And I think in this case, he hit it out of the park with some very big names. Yeah can I can't miss the opportunity to ask you some some military questions.

[00:05:11] What can retail learn from your experience? You, have you worked in, or you actually you manage lead probably the most sophisticated supply chain in the history of man. I would think us, us, military. W what can we learn in retail from what you what you've done?

[00:05:24] When

[00:05:25] Ken Dowd: It was bringing in expertise from industry to show us how we might be able to do our processes and procedures in the supply chain. One thing I did as a GO (General Officer) was work with industry on ideas and things they might already have figured out. And then, as you talk about the supply chain and things like that we're coming out of Iraq in 2011.

[00:05:52] We put a lot of this IT and processes that we learned from other large [00:06:00] IT industries in there to make our effort coming out of there very easily done. And then the supply accountability of all that equipment and trucks and personnel was outstanding. And so I just see, what Joey's pulling together.

[00:06:19] There may be ways we can link up. On ideas to always improve both processes and DOD and retail.

[00:06:30] Jeff Roster: Yeah. That's that's exciting. I'm an old supply chain person, myself. Mervyn's target. And lived in, lived and died in the supply chain. And I guess I'm happy and probably a little sad at the same time to see supply chain really moved to the forefront.

[00:06:42] Not just because of the amazing things we've always done, but the fact now the entire world realizes how delicate a supply chain is. So any any expertise that we can drag into retail, I think is just phenomenal.

[00:06:53] Ken Dowd: I think Jeff, a lot of it happens to like your background is relationships you build through [00:07:00] your time in the military through your time in industry.

[00:07:03] There's always great ideas out there. And I think leaders have to take time to listen to those ideas and see if they'll help the process as we move forward.

[00:07:13] Jeff Roster: Yeah. Very interesting. So Joey want to go back to the question about. Advisory teams and advisory boards. What, where did you get the idea to go after some pretty big names.

[00:07:24] And if you want to drop some of the other names on your advisory board, feel free to

[00:07:28] Joey Rubinstein: yep, absolutely. Basically what happened we're a young company. And it's really important to be able to look at your company honestly and say, see what the weaknesses are.

[00:07:36] It's really important to have people that have time in these industries and that understand these industries really well.

[00:07:42] So that way, even just the little things like where you can ask them questions, Hey, how on earth do does, this part of the supply chain work cause, cause people that have actually done things, over a course of 30 years they obviously understand things, more in depth than, somebody that is coming in fresh.

[00:07:59] Again, there are [00:08:00] different advantages and disadvantages to each, perspective. There's actually a podcaster named Greg White with Supply Chain Now. And he was talking about how the most successful startups have, supply chain startups generally have people with fresh eyes and then excellent advisory boards.

[00:08:13] So I took that to heart. I reached out to Ken, basically took a flyer. I said, listen, we're trying to do something really cool. You have a lot of experience in this would love to get you on board. And then we also added on Maxime Cohen. So Maxime is one of rethink retailers, 100 retail influencers of 2022.

[00:08:33] Yeah. Oh, he's yeah, another guy's on there. I wonder who that is. Wonder how I found your name now anyways, but basically Maxime absolutely crushes it. In terms of retail analytics. He's one of the foremost experts in that he wrote actually one of the books on predicted.

[00:08:46] Like analytics and how to, best guess what you should be stocking. So he's a really great expert and that fills a strategic need of ours, to understand cause analytics are really important part of what any company in this space is doing. And then we also added on Levy.

[00:08:59] So Edith [00:09:00] Simchi-Levy is part of almost like a Royal family of supply chain. She's really one of these, long standing experts. She knows everybody in the supply chain. She also exited a couple of supply chain startups herself and basically wrote one of the original textbooks on supply chain. So people that really genuinely understand that we actually added another really excellent advisor yet, but things are, things are just getting close right now. So I'm not going to go into details, but, follow our LinkedIn, you'll see it there. And yeah basically each of them, really add something special to the team.

[00:09:27] They've all proven themselves as really incredible assets, people that really want to help. And I think that sort of the approach that. Is that it's good idea to get as many, smart people in the room as possible, because if, if you get challenges to your opinions, so what ends up happening is that your opinions get stronger as a result.

[00:09:46] That's our philosophy as a company and it's been working out really excellently. Like we've turbo-charged our business in a lot of different ways through that approach.

[00:09:53] So we keep, like Ken was saying, we keep an open ear and an open heart and that's, that's been really effective. And I think that's, that's probably a good principle just in [00:10:00] general.

[00:10:01] Jeff Roster: It might be a good principal. I don't see it done all that often. So congratulations on that. If you're listening to people that know what they're talking about, that's a, I think you're about 10 miles ahead from what I've seen over the 30 years or so can I wonder if we, can we get any fun, supply chain stories, military supply chain stories, and just maybe one from your experiences?

[00:10:19] Ken Dowd: I guess the biggest one and one I'm proudest of the most is. The the Iraq drawdown in 2011 I got to be in charge of that oversaw all the efforts coming out of Iraq. And we had truck convoys going in there. We had airlifts going in there. We actually got airmen to drive our trucks because we had so much stuff to get out of Iraq.

[00:10:41] And then the other thing was working with the Iraqis and the Kuwaitis to make sure we all cooperated to graduate. So I can remember standing on the last the border of Iraq and Kuwait watching the last M rep come out of Iraq. And I was just hoping that darn thing wouldn't break down [00:11:00]and it rolled out of there.

[00:11:01] And it was a great day, but I had many of your friends on the sideline from the press watching those M reps move. And I was just so proud of our soldiers, airmen, Marines, and Navy folks who made all that happen. And it was all about teamwork. So that was an exciting one with all that stuff coming out of Iraq in 2011, and president Obama had just made the decision a couple of months before.

[00:11:31] So we had to really execute plan, train, and rehearse, and it went very.

[00:11:37] Jeff Roster: Wow. Hopefully hopefully all your experiences in retail are maybe a little less dramatic than that. But that they'll, there'll be as challenges and maybe in some regards. So it's going to interesting to watch how you folks run.

[00:11:46] Joey, what, where, what regions are you operating in or which regions do you have customer wins at now. And can you talk about any customers.

[00:11:55] Joey Rubinstein: Sure. We are in Israel.

[00:11:57] And then we're also in the ne the Northeast of the U [00:12:00] S so we have, a few businesses out in New York, a few businesses out in the Maryland area. And we're, expanding trying to take that whole area.

[00:12:06] So basically they're using our platform. They're really enjoying it. They're getting a lot of, a lot of pleasure and a lot of I would say gains as a result of what we built. And hopefully we'll be able to match up with these guys and provide them the best experience possible because in my opinion, independent retail and the conception of small business is probably the most important thing for a functioning, country.

[00:12:27] The idea that people have financial, independence and are able to run their own lives. To me, that's really important.

[00:12:31] Jeff Roster: Interesting along those lines, I just listened to a report talking about, as we.

[00:12:36] Hopefully everyone realized at this point, we're in a baby, a formula problem. And somebody reporting that in New York city was saying hard to find it at CVS, but all the local bodegas for whatever reason and ethnic bodegas tend to have a lot of baby formula. I'm not sure why that is. Maybe just people don't know it's there, but if anybody doubted the importance of the supply chain over the last two years they haven't been watching the news.

[00:12:58] So kudos for working with that [00:13:00] very important link. That most of us in retail have either started in independent retail. Have family members in are going back into the independent retail, but boy, what a backbone of the U S kudos on that. Hey, as we wrap up, I want to ask it, Joey, I want to ask you a couple of things.

[00:13:15] The last two questions.

[00:13:16] What advice would you offer for young entrepreneurs? What would you say to young people getting

[00:13:20] Joey Rubinstein: started first and foremost?

[00:13:23] The best way to learn is by actually doing things and by listening to people that have done things you can always re you can always iterate, right? You can always come up with and improve ideas, but unless you're actually out there and testing them out in the marketplace, so you're not going to really know what ideas are good, and what ideas are bad.

[00:13:41] And this follows basically this line of philosophy from this book. That's very, well-known in the entrepreneurship world, which is like the lean startup by Eric Ries. Fantastic book. And basically what it talks about is, you, as an entrepreneur, what you really want to do is you want to get the quickest product that you possibly can out into the marketplace.

[00:13:59] [00:14:00] That's viable the minimum viable product MVP. And then you want to basically see how that's, reacted to in certain circumstances. It means that you need to cut things out of the product and in certain circumstances. You need to add things to the product, but just by having, having the exposure and actually seeing things on the ground.

[00:14:14] That's really important. And then the second thing is I think that people really discount their own agency, going into a philosophical perspective. I think that people have a lot more control over their lives than many people would like to admit. And agency's really critical.

[00:14:27] Like at the end of the day, each one of us could say, I have this idea. I want to go make it a reality. And just because people say it's not a good idea, maybe they don't understand. And sometimes a lot of people can say a certain message and it turns out to be completely not correct. And that actually is something that, you, I think pretty much every early stage startup probably experiences a lot.

[00:14:47] We're all speaking to, hundreds of different, investors and venture people, and they're all giving you all the doubt in the world. But then you'll see the people that manage to get through that because even the most successful with a few exceptions, even the most successful [00:15:00] ones, they all have the exact same sort of trajectory, which is to say there's a lot of doubt at the beginning, then things start moving forward and you keep plotting along.

[00:15:07] So then all of a sudden that doubt turns into, huh, this is interesting. And really it's just about, proving yourself and not really listening to I would say negative feedback, as long as you've done your homework.

[00:15:19] Jeff Roster: Awesome. And last question, what skills that you use now, do you wish you would have paid more attention to back in college or the early part of your career?

[00:15:26] Joey Rubinstein: In college, I would say number one finance and accounting are important skills. But that being said, I think that, also more of a, like kind of a philosophical view of things. I think that kind of taking an outside perspective and figuring out what you're good at and what you really want to focus on and figuring that out as soon as possible.

[00:15:47] That's a good thing because indecision really doesn't get you very far and it makes sense, people want to check out their different options. But I think that if you have a clear idea of what you want to do and then just work really hard to get to that idea as soon as possible.

[00:15:59] So what you're [00:16:00] doing is, life essentially is cumulative. As you build in a particular direction, you're going to be more and more. So I would say, I would have paid more attention to the things that would have really pushed me in the direction that I'm going right now.

[00:16:09] I would have paid a little bit more attention to the supply chain aspect of what I'm doing. Once I discovered that I really liked supply chain, which was pretty early on relative to marketing, I wish I'd focused a little bit more on that.

[00:16:20] Jeff Roster: Fantastic. That's a good place to put a pin in it.

[00:16:22] Joey Ken, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and tell us your story. And I wish you as say, as a proud customer of many independent retailers, I wish you the best of luck and I hope you can help us solve some of the, some of their supply chain problems. Thanks. Thanks for coming on board.

[00:16:37] Joey Rubinstein: Thanks so much, Jeff. Thanks, Jeff.











George Shaw, Founder & CEO, on Spatial Intelligence

George Shaw, Founder & CEO, on Spatial Intelligence

May 22, 2022

Headquartered in Mountain View, CA, delivers a retail spatial intelligence solution that understands customer and staff movement using AI with existing cameras and data sources. This empowers retailers with rich and real-time insights that reduce labor costs, improve the customer experience, and optimize merchandise and marketing displays - driving growth and reducing cost across their entire fleet of physical stores.

Give it a listen and let us know what you think?

Podcast Guest

George Shaw

Founder & CEO 



 Podcast Hosts

Jeff Roster




Brian Sathianathan



Podcast Website




 Listen Notes


#SpatialIntelligence, #thisweekininnovation, #retail, #innovation, #innovationstrategy, #retailinnovation,#Startup, #Startups, #Retailers, #retail, #retailindustry, #retailtechnology, #retailtech, #futureofretail , #retailtrends, #retailinsights, #retailnews, #retailtech,  #DigitalTransformation, , #emergingtechnologies, #podcast, #retailpodcast, #VentureCapital, #VC,  #Founders, #Entrepreneurs, #startupstrategies, #startupfunding #startupstories #startupsuccess #startupfounders,  #retailstartups, #founderstories #founderlife #Gartner, #IHL, #TRI22, #5ForcesOfInnovation, #ArtificialIntelligence , #AI, #cloud, #data, #InternetOfThings,  #IoT, #machinelearning, 







Manil Uppel, Co-Founder, Delivery Solutions on Advice #Advice4Entrepreneurs

Manil Uppel, Co-Founder, Delivery Solutions on Advice #Advice4Entrepreneurs

May 10, 2022

I'm starting a new series called #Advice4Entrepreneurs. I ask the same two questions to close out the interview: 1. What advice can you offer budding entrepreneurs? 2. What skills that you use now do you wish you would have paid more more attention to back in college or the early part of your career?

This series are those last two questions.



Jeff: One last question. What skills that you use today? W do you wish you would have paid more attention to back in the early part of your career or back in college?

Manil: I think I came from a corporate background, I used to work with Cisco, in tech-support consulting and then eventually sales for them. And then, we went, I went from there to having an app that delivers booze. So nothing prepared me for that switch.

But I think one thing that if I look back now is in my career, I didn't have a lot of  entrepreneurs and I was not exposed to that role. It was almost like for 15 years, I was in a corporate role and that's the only role I knew. And I never bothered to look beyond my book is all about habit for this company.

This is my mission. This is all I'm doing. No re so I think getting out of your comfort zone and [00:35:00] looking at other people and just engaging, with people who are different than you, and who are doing different things that helps us all. Much sooner. And also I think finding the right mentors, right?

You don't have to go figure everything out yourself. There are people who have seen this movie before. There are people who have started this movies and you don't have ad grade rules. I think, off hour, one hour with those people is really, save you a lot more time and effort.

These are things that I didn't do in my year and I. If I just explored more and Brendan Sergeant mender, that would have made maybe, I wouldn't have done maybe, I made I dunno, 15 mistakes. I probably wouldn't have made 25 then if I had some exposure there,

Jeff: wow. That's fantastic. I'm going to ask one followup question. So I lied one followup question on that, and I bet I know the answer to this. You mentioned lack of mentors, and I hear that from a lot of the kids that I've talked to in various colleges around these things. I'm curious how many people have re young people have reached out to you to ask, to be mentored or to ask for maybe a half hour of your time, just saying, Hey, I'm a young entrepreneur.

Give me three or [00:36:00] four thoughts or something. I'm just curious. How many kids have reached out to you?

Manil: Zero. The only my my school, I went to business school. And duke has a very good entrepreneurship program. So

Jeff: cost me some money in the final form, just so you know, and the bowl and when sentimental, but, oh,

Manil: But yeah but duke did have a an entrepreneurship.

With this, go to the alumni or now in entrepreneurship. And, they invited me to come and chat with, all of their students for their current class and stuff like that. So I think that was one thing I did last year and it was like highly fulfilling, but it was under their do banners in their facility to them, but nobody or Gallogly as commons and I'm trying to do something.

I have lots of say and it's very important, right? It's very important that you don't have to reinvent the wheel from scratch every time. It's

Jeff: well, you just have to have the guts to ask that's the point I want to get at. Interesting. Man, thanks.

Thanks for the time today. Very interesting stuff.


Fang Cheng, CEO & Founder on Building the Next Gen CX Automation Platform

Fang Cheng, CEO & Founder on Building the Next Gen CX Automation Platform

May 5, 2022

Fang Cheng is the Founder and CEO of Linc, a conversational CX Automation platform built for retail that is focused on the conversation in commerce. Her focus is to create extraordinary customer experiences through conversation that span the customer lifecycle to grow revenue, reduce support costs, and increase sales conversions.

Linc is a CX Automation platform delivering pre-built customer experiences at scale and high-fidelity digital worker automations throughout the customer journey from pre-purchase to post-purchase, including solutions for brand awareness, consultative buying, buying assistance, order support, and customer retention.

Linc's platform empowers brands like Kimberly Clark, Carter's | Oshkosh, Levi's, Vineyard Vines, Thrive Market to provide 24/7 assistance on all conversational channels, including SMS, Facebook, Google’s Business Messages, WhatsApp, and Voice connected platforms, enabling anywhere engagement and support.

Give it a listen and let us know what you think?

Podcast Guest

Fang Cheng

CEO & Founder


Podcast Hosts

Jeff Roster




Brian Sathianathan



Podcast Website




Listen Notes

#voicetechnology, #voiceassistant, #voicecommerce, #voicetech, #voiceassistants, #innovation, #innovationstrategy, #retailinnovation,#Startup, #Startups, #Retailers, #retail, #retailindustry, #retailtechnology, #retailtech, #futureofretail , #retailtrends, #retailinsights, #retailnews, #retailtech, #thisweekininnovation, #DigitalTransformation, , #emergingtechnologies, #podcast, #retailpodcast, #VentureCapital, #VC,  #Founders, #Entrepreneurs, #startupstrategies, #startupfunding #startupstories #startupsuccess #startupfounders,  #retailstartups, #founderstories #founderlife #Gartner, #IHL, #TRI22, #5ForcesOfInnovation, #ArtificialIntelligence , #AI, #cloud, #data , #deeplearning, #naturallanguageprocessing , #sentimentanalysis , #conversationalai, #InternetOfThings,  #IoT, #machinelearning,



Manil Uppal, Co-Founder, Delivery Solutions on Last-Mile Orchestration

Manil Uppal, Co-Founder, Delivery Solutions on Last-Mile Orchestration

May 2, 2022

Manil Uppal is Co-Founder of Delivery Solutions. Delivery Solutions is a SAAS based B2B white label solution that enables retailers to have Same Day Delivery, BOPIS, Curbside, Shipping & Post Purchase with a single API and global multi-provider network.

Give it a listen and let us know what you think?

Podcast Guest

Manil Uppal


Delivery Solutions

 Podcast Hosts

Jeff Roster




Brian Sathianathan



Podcast Website




Listen Notes



#lastmiledelivery, #samedaydelivery #BOPIS, #lastmilelogistics, #lastmile, #lastmileorchestration,#curbside, #instorepickup, #innovation, #Startup,  #Startups, #Retailers,   #retail, #retailers, #thisweekininnovation, #DigitalTransformation, #retailtechnology, #retailtech, #futureofretail , #retailtrends, #emergingtechnologies, #podcast, #retailpodcast, #VentureCapital, #VC,  #Founders, #Entrepreneurs, #Gartner, #unifiedcommerce, #socialcommerce, #5ForcesOfInnovation, #ArtificialIntelligence , #AI, #cloud, #data , #deeplearning, #naturallanguageprocessing , #sentimentanalysis , #conversationalai, #InternetOfThings,  #IoT, #machinelearning, #Blockchain, #LowCode, #Data, #computervision, #SaaS, #unifiedcommerce, #socialcommerce, #mobile, 






Steve Wen, Co-founder and CEO, Dray Alliance: the Doordash of Container Delivery Combatting Port Backlogs

Steve Wen, Co-founder and CEO, Dray Alliance: the Doordash of Container Delivery Combatting Port Backlogs

April 27, 2022

Dray Alliance is a venture-backed startup that is focused on building a container trucking platform to deliver shipping containers from ports to warehouses. Its technology connects container shippers with a network of vetted truck drivers through a mobile app.

By leveraging API integrations with the ports and data from the mobile app, Dray Alliance’s platform allows container shippers to manage and track all container deliveries in a single web portal and make truckers more efficient.

The company has raised a total of $55M in venture capital (Matrix Partners, Craft Ventures) and working capital financing, and is already working with over one hundred enterprise customers, delivering thousands of containers a month.

Give it a listen and let us know what you think?

Podcast Guest

Steve Wen

Co-founder and CEO

Dray Alliance

 Podcast Hosts

Jeff Roster





Brian Sathianathan



Podcast Website




Listen Notes





#innovation, #innovation, #Startup, #Startups,#Retailers, #retail, #thisweekininnovation, #DigitalTransformation, #retailtechnology, #retailtech, #futureofretail , #retailtrends, #emergingtechnologies, #podcast, #retailpodcast, #VentureCapital, #VC,  #Founders, #Entrepreneurs, #Gartner,#5ForcesOfInnovation, #ArtificialIntelligence , #AI, #cloud, #InternetOfThings, #IoT, #Blockchain, #computervision,  #Robots, #dronedelivery, #lastmiledelivery, #lastmilelogistics, #lastmile,

#StartupsOfNRF: Natasia Malaihollo, VP, Business Development, PopCom on Building the PopShop Digital Pop-Up Shop

#StartupsOfNRF: Natasia Malaihollo, VP, Business Development, PopCom on Building the PopShop Digital Pop-Up Shop

January 23, 2022

Popcom has developed  what they describe as a robotic storefront platform, called the PopShop Digital Pop-Up Shop. It’s a very sophsicated vending machine that can provide merchandise immediately as well as an e commerce platform. 

This interview is the 11th in the Startups of NRF series.  I’ll ask each of the startups exhibiting in either the Innovation Lab or Startup Zone the same 8 questions listed below.

  1. Can you introduce yourself and tell us about
  2. Your company
  3. The problem you are solving
  4. The “pigeonhole” question:  Where does your solution sit
  5. Where are we in the adoption cycle for this technology?
  6. What is the message you’re sharing at NRF?
  7. How do you see 2022 shaping up

For all the college students out there

  1. What advice can you offer budding entrepreneurs?
  2. What skills that you use now that you wish you paid more attention to?

Give it a listen and let us know what you think?

Podcast Guest

Natasia Malaihollo
VP, Business Development

Podcast Hosts

Jeff Roster




Brian Sathianathan



Podcast Website




Listen Notes



#nrf2022, #StartupsOfNRF,  #innovation, #innovation, #Startup, #Startups,#Retailers, #retail, #thisweekininnovation, #DigitalTransformation, #retailtechnology, #retailtech, #futureofretail , #retailtrends, #emergingtechnologies, #podcast, #retailpodcast, #socialcommerce, #mobile, #VentureCapital, #VC,  #Founders, #Entrepreneurs, #Gartner, #5ForcesOfInnovation, #ArtificialIntelligence , #AI, #cloud, #conversationalai, #InternetOfThings, #IoT, #Blockchain, #LowCode, #Data, #computervision, #Robots,  #pos, #loyalty, #livestreaming,