252 – Sid Jatia of Under Armour – Zooming Out, Thinking Forward

Sid Jatia

Technology’s role in growing business by servicing the consumer, from the perspective of a major apparel brand…

Sid JatiaSid Jatia, Vice President of Global Ecommerce for sports apparel brand Under Armour, joins Pavan Bahl, Marc Raco, and guest host Rohan Deuskar (Stylitics) at South by Southwest.

In this episode:

  • Being associated with the innovation agenda is good, but events like SXSW force companies to stop, look back, zoom out, and ask what’s so excting about their brand, a moment of pause, look at status quo, look at what the future needs to be
  • Under Armour’s new subscription service aligning on the purpose of the brand to make you better
  • Armour Box
  • Connected sensors
  • IoT, as a platform, is the future
  • Progress in washability for wearable techSid Jatia
  • Commerce is the act of creating desire
  • Using tech in stores to drive
  • How does Under Armous play in helping people achieve their goals
  • Top of funnel marketing important to help in  conversion
  • Opportunities with connected fitness apps
  • The brand will win if you service the consumer
  • How the fitness trend in China is on fire
  • Importance of social portals in Asia
  • A need to protect privacy, using “Line” in Japan, consolidation platform
  • Machine learning, AI, impact for digital channels
  • Creating immersive experiences, how this helps with goals, top of funnel marketing
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251 – Balaji Ravindran of Markable – See, Search, Buy

Markable

Making all visual content shoppable with the power of computer vision and deep learning AI…

MarkableBalaji Ravindran, COO of Markable (state-of-the-art computer vision, deep learning AI technology to provide a better shopping experience, improve SEO and maximize the ROI of visual content), a winner of the pitch competition for the 2018 Alvanon Trailblazers Conference  in Partnership with Coresight Research, joins Pavan Bahl and Marc Raco in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser.

In this episode:

  • Why Markable matters
  • How Markable has a team that is a set of people from different backgrounds, all with a similar mission of solving problems for fashion
  • Origjnally started like a Shazam for fashion
  • The solution they are bringing to the table – solving the hardest problem of using compter vision and machine learning
  • The ability to identify what clothng is in images within a few seconds, then searching for them within a marketplace, catalogue, or brandMarkable
  • Multibrand retailer
  • Can see items similar just by clicking an icon
  • Taking a screen grab online, upload it, and find similar things in the catalog
  • Automating fashion houses that normally employ people to sit and manually tag images with many attributes – changing to AI in a fe seconds, can focus on trend analysis and forecasting
  • Everyone has a powerful camera and GPS on mobile phone — can take image of clothing you like, then search for similar items from multiple places, — the right products, at a cheaper price
  • Next: being the marketplace where people go to search
  • Available as a Chrome extension
  • Data is trained, model identifies and picks only the right content
  • Subtle differences in color, etc – looks at hue (not color) and identifies exact RGB value
  • Cutting through the noise
  • Conditioning people for use
  • The potential of integration into smart TV
  • No shopping done through ads on TV, but this is changing that
  • Consumer marketplace will adopt by 2020
  • Markable must take leadership in innovation
  • And a gift of a glimpse into the next 50 years
  • And Minority Report makes an appearance—again
  • More senses will permeate technology, closer into the virtual reality world
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250 – Josh Wexler of RevCascade and Souler – More Time, More Money, Less Risk

Josh Wexler

Helping retailers operate and scale their online marketplaces, automating all aspects of their dropship programs…

Josh WexlerJosh Wexler, Co-Founder & CEO RevCascade & Souler (technology that enables any retailer, influencer, or publisher to transform their business by launching, operating and scaling their own dropship programs), a winner of the pitch competition for the 2018 Alvanon Trailblazers Conference  in Partnership with Coresight Research, joins Pavan Bahl and Marc Raco in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser.

In this episode:

  • Wexler on how we’re still at early stages of how the Internet is impacting every industry
  • Things are changing constantly
  • RevCascade represents the fastest growing part of every client’s business
  • Companies re restricted by shelf space, budget to buy prooducts, stockroom size, and storeage
  • Drop-ship allows brands to dramatically expand number of products
  • So many logistics are no longer an issue with RevCascade’s technologyJosh Wexler
  • Often, products are in a sweet spot that a retailer might not want in stores, too niche, don’t want to take shelf or warehouse space, great for customers, great for bottom line
  • Souler, leveraging drop ship technology – unlocking value in a market, influencers very prevalent in how ecommerce happens
  • Souler as a layer on top of RevCascade, influencers can build own stores with brandsthey represent and connect them with followers
  • Unlimited potential
  • Microinfluencers are possible
  • Souler’s go to market strategy, currently in pre-beta for possible Fall 2018 launch, focused leaning toward luxury with premium brands
  • Enabling ability for brands and influencers to stay in control of who they are working with, including adjacent brands
  • How it is free to join the Souler platform, as another form of marketing for brands and platforms, a kind of ROI channel and a marketing channel
  • Wexler’s previous company seeing ad spend shift from offline to online
  • Followers vs. engagement, audience vs. community
  • Where else can you accomplish a $50M run rate in a short time than online?
  • Making sure consumers get a great experience
  • Amazing distribution platform
  • When the idea of Souler came as a “ah-ha” moment for an experiment
  • Every retailer can leverage drop shipping the way Souler has been built
  • Partnering in live podcast community events with MouthMedia and influencers such as Def Jam and Bobbi Brown, Souler Salons to engage community
  • Brands and influencers coming together
  • Want environment where people are doing instant commerce, in the moment, on the spot
  • Positive energy that RevCascade is a part of, Souler is a catalyst for that
  • What makes an impression on Josh – what resonates is people who don’t take themselves too seriously, humble, sense of humor, have a POV, and reflect those sensibilities
  • Wexler played lot of sports, part of teams, playing a role as an athlete, not the main player, leading from the bench, and how the sum is greater than its parts
  • Being very influenced by someone that shaped him, high school basketball coach
  • The importance of being knocked down a peg
  • Intuition meets ability
  • Wexler proudly seeing his kids’ aspirations, having big shoes to fill while wanting them to create their own paths
  • The importance of having the confidence to follow one’s own heart
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249 – Strategies from the C-Suite – Growing and Scaling Your Company

Growing and Scaling

The development of people, culture, brand, products, and structure necessary for growing and scaling a business – sponsored by Knotel…

Growing and ScalingThis MouthMedia Network Live event was recorded in front of a live audience at Experience Knotel, a interactive space located in the heart of Noho in New York City (666 Broadway) designed to showcase the experience of working in a flexible, adaptable, always energized environment. Sponsored by Knotel – Your agile business deserves an agile space. Knotel will find, customize, and operate your ideal office while you focus on your business. Discover more at www.knotel.com

Panel:

Growing and ScalingSteven Balasiano – CEO of MHR Advisory, Counsel at Sills Cummis

Terri DiPaolo – Head of Licensing, Sponsorships, & Endorsements at TKO

Jodd Readick – CEO of LymeLog, Founder of Roam Coin, Co-Founder of User Centric Communications

 

Moderated by:

Avani Patel, Co-Founder of Ember, Founder of TrendSeeder

 

  • All of the panelists have scaled businesses, but it was not easy

Building infrastructure, scaling people

In hindsight – what the panelists wish they knew when getting started:

  • One thing missed – human capital cost, expanding rapidly, then pulling back when it didn’t work out
  • Utilizing freelancers as hires when scaling rapidly
  • Sometimes always looking for best talent out there, and, if found, will find them the right seat
  • Trust your gut

Finding the right people, with an eye on the future:

  • Always recruiting, keeping an eye out for talent, keeping controls in place
  • When someone is not the right fit, handling without harming the company morale
    Damage control, avoiding piecemeal job firing

Scaling the brand, keeping consumers happy, keeping brand identity

  • Building with an eye on what you want to be in the coming years
  • Making sure there is consistent growth, not opening in a new market unless confident of strength in that market, undertaking systematic expansion
  • Continuing to maintain the culture internally as you scale large
  • Considerations in integrating different businesses or department that merge

Mentors

  • Being around and consulting the people that are around you, mentoring each other
  • And it is a clerk’s world

Q and A

Brandon McKenzie, Metrobutler

In an evolving real estate ecosystem:

  • Tremendous opportunities that didn’t exist before

Marie Chestnut, CareerList

Finding opportunities for a startup that has differentiation in a market with challenges:

  • The value of a cold call, get approach new marketplace, geography or industry with a lot of competition but you have differentiation but requires investment, need one big fish by any means necessary
  • The value of grassroots efforts, the ability to make something really relevant is so available today
  • Figure out a niche within an industry or brand

Xian Horn, Positively Positive

Importance in leadership of emotional maturity:

  • Dealing with time management, expanding and becoming more than a brand, especially as one person
  • Why you need to have a notebook, and the importance of a personal assistant
  • Prioritizing, quick wins
  • The importance of being focused
  • The Pomodoro time management technique

 

Panelist bios:

Steven Balasiano

After a successful bankruptcy practice at the premier New York law firms of Kelley Drye & Warren and Stroock, Steven Balasiano joined The Children’s Place and was part of the executive team (Chief Administrative Officer) that scaled the company from 70 stores and $70 million in sales to 1200 stores and $2.3 billion in sales across The Children’s Place and the Disney Store brands. He was directly responsible for real estate, store design, construction, procurement, human resources and legal.

Subsequently, Steven was appointed President of Ventura Enterprise/Star Garments, an apparel manufacturer with 7 factories and over 10,000 employees in Sri Lanka, Hong Kong and China. He was recruited to strengthen operations, productivity and financial management for the family-owned and operated business with major accounts, including Ann Taylor, Abercrombie & Fitch, Victoria’s Secret, Liz Claiborne and Marc Jacobs.

He then acted as president for Comtex, a large global apparel sourcing company, with 8 buying offices in Asia and manufacturing facilities in Vietnam and Bangladesh producing merchandise for the most respected men’s, women and children’s brands in the industry, including Polo, Calvin Klein, Children’s Place and Perry Ellis, with revenue in excess of $1 billion.

Most recently and through his consulting company, MHR Advisory, Steven launched the proposed Sanrio/Hello Kitty Stores expansion in the US, restructured and reorganized a $100 million private label children’s apparel company, and advised Sequential Brands on the potential retail expansion for many of their brands.

Terri DiPaolo

Terri DiPaolo is currently Head of Licensing, Sponsorships & Endorsements at TKO, a boutique talent agency where she advises talent and brands on their licensing strategy and provides guidance on best practices for establishing and maintaining a successful brand licensing program. Terri also maintains her legal practice, representing brands and talent.

Terri’s career spans the entertainment and consumer products industries, having worked as music attorney in private practice for over a decade before holding positions as General Counsel and later Chief Operating Officer at brand management house, Authentic Brands Group (a private equity owned brand portfolio company) where she was one of four executives to take the company from zero to over $100mm in EBITDA in 5 years. At ABG, Terri supervised the sales and licensing teams, managed an internal legal staff and guided the patent and trademark strategies for over 15 intellectual property portfolios globally. Prior to ABG, Terri served as General Counsel of Bob Marley’s Estate, working on transformational deals including the launch of: House of Marley and Marley Coffee.

As an entertainment attorney Terri worked with clients ranging from “baby bands” to some of the biggest names in music, handled acquisitions for multinational publishing companies and helped to structure the music division of Lions Gate Films. Terri spent a year in Europe working for boutique creative agency, 180 and returned to the US to help General Motors clear their music for advertising when the company was in bankruptcy.

Jodd Readick

Jodd has spent over 30 years as a serial entrepreneur, product innovator, and management consultant. His multidisciplinary career covers a variety of industries and includes highly specialized telecom expertise. Jodd has designed and managed telecom infrastructure systems, and software as an entrepreneur and Fortune 100 executive.

Co-founder of three innovative telecom firms: User Centric Communications (enterprise grade telecom carrier, named by Deloitte as the 6th fastest growing Tech Firm in NYC), Vumber.com (patented anonymous phone numbers to protect personal identity), DMI Communications (1st international carrier offering pre-paid and walk in services).

Jodd has significant experience working with Fortune 100 companies. He spent 5 years as Manager of Marketing and Strategic Planning for the DuPont unit that created the Rapid Interactive Prototyping methodology (now known as Agile Development). Previously, he spent 6 years as a subject matter expert for Arthur Anderson focused on M&A transactions for Samsung and AT&T. Jodd created the least cost routing system for NYNEX Mobile, advised Wells Fargo on call center architecture, and created the first expert system for medical collection billing for Beth Israel Hospital and, perhaps, the first auto-dialer (sorry). He holds an issued patent for Vumber, and a filed international application for an AI based system for a lung cancer detection method.

Jodd is currently the CEO of LymeLog, a medical app to track symptoms and treatments of 1 million chronic Lyme patients, Founder of Roam Coin, a patented blockchain technology allowing international mobile roaming at 80% discount from existing rates, and is creating the IoT infrastructure for Opti-harvest.com, which increases crop yields by over 20% by increasing the amount of useable light under the canopy of trees.

Jodd serves on the Board of Advisors for numerous startups. He is active angel investor and a founding member of the New York chapter of Keiretsu Forum, the world’s largest angel investing network. He holds a BA in Psychology with an emphasis in Artificial Intelligence from Stony Brook University. He graduated from Stuyvesant High School, where he connected the computer lab to the ARPANET in 1974. He was one of the original phone phreaks, which predated computer hacking.

Avani Patel (Moderator)

Avani has years of experience in the startup world in various capacities including as a founder, advisor, mentor and investor. Most recently she co-founded Ember, an investment fund that provides inventory financing for e-commerce to consumer companies. Avani is also the founder of TrendSeeder, a value add “mentor” capital fund working with founders of emerging fashion, beauty and health & wellness companies to build brilliant businesses. TrendSeeder also boasts a highly curated list of over two hundred mentors recruited by Avani from the executive levels of the most highly regarded fashion companies around the world. In addition, Avani served as the Director of the Harvard Business School Startup Studio in New York, where she used the TrendSeeder methodology to support Harvard Business School alumni entrepreneurs in NY. In her work with TrendSeeder, Harvard Business School and other organizations, Avani has advised over five hundred entrepreneurs. She has also traveled the world, including to Oulu, Finland for the Midnight Pitch Fest to share her entrepreneurial expertise. Avani was also named a Role Model by Carrie Hammer and graced the company’s runway at New York Fashion Week in 2015.

Prior to founding TrendSeeder, Avani had a career as a corporate attorney where she worked on multi-billion dollar mergers. However, TrendSeeder wasn’t Avani’s first foray into the fashion world. She founded a men’s and women’s contemporary clothing label when she was in law school which was featured in a fashion show at Lollapalooza. Avani also finds the time to give back and has worked with organizations like the Tory Burch Foundation, the Girl Scouts and the Athena Center at Barnard College.

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