EP. 15 - Reza Khadjavi, Shoelace - How the Pandemic as changed Online Advertising

Reza Khadjavi, CEO of Shoelace, on the Take Care Podcast

Transcript :

Rishi Sharma: [00:00:00] Hey everyone. Welcome to take care of today's guest is Reza Kajabi, CEO of shoelace, which is creating memorable experience that build brand equity. Welcome, Reza. Excited to have here.

[00:00:13] Reza K: [00:00:13] Thanks, riff. Pleasure to chat with you.

[00:00:15] Rishi Sharma: [00:00:15] Yes. I'd just like to start the conversation and give the audience a little bit of backstory.

[00:00:19]If you could just tell them your story and what led you to to eventually starting shoelace.

[00:00:24] Reza K: [00:00:24] Sure. Let's see how far back to go. I think I've always known that I wanted to, like built companies. I dropped out of university to start my first company with my brother. It was a laundry delivery business.

[00:00:40] So this is around like 2008, nine. We were building a kind of on demand laundry delivery business. So instead of like going to the local dry cleaner, like, order a pickup and someone come in, collect your laundry, and then deliver it back to you. So it worked on that company for quite a few years, maybe five, six years, but it never really like grew to be something very big.

[00:01:02]At the time, I wasn't really thinking about it in terms of building like a really large business or anything like that. It was just a building a regular company. And so through that experience, we didn't raise any money or anything like that. Through that experience, it was a lot of just hustle and grind to get the business off the ground.

[00:01:21]Me and my brother would both do the, all the deliveries ourselves. And we didn't really have any money to hire like a designer or developer or anything to build our websites who ended up learning how to code. On my own. So like do the deliveries in the morning and at night just became obsessed with learning programming.

[00:01:38]And it was fun because as I was learning programming, I was also kind of figuring out how to build the web app for this, for the strike clinic business. So I've actually found that one. And to learn programming, if it's just going through tutorials and stuff like that, it becomes difficult.

[00:01:54] Rishi Sharma: [00:01:54] You got that direct feedback loop.

[00:01:56] Exactly. Yeah.

[00:01:57] Reza K: [00:01:57] Yep. And so that was fun. It really exposed me to software and technology and I just, I kind of became addicted to it and I knew that at some point if I were to start another company, I want it to be a lot more closer to software. And just the idea that that business was so limited by.

[00:02:16]Geography. So we were, we grew up in Montreal and we were thinking about expanding the business to like a different city, like Toronto or something, and just the logistics that would have to go into expanding from one city to another. It was like, it was pretty crazy. So I remember at the time thinking that you know, this idea of building an online business, something that you can serve customers around the world as something pretty fascinating.

[00:02:39]So I ended up, after that, we sold the company to the local, to one of the dry cleaning partners that we were working with for a very modest sum. It's not a anything, me and my brother actually calculated, and we probably would have made more money if we'd worked like minimum wage jobs throughout that time period.

[00:02:57] So, but it was like a good experience. We learned a lot. Ended up moving to Toronto and joining. A company called Hubba, which was building kind of a marketplace for brands and retailers to connect. And they were pretty early stage joining it. I think it was about like 15 people or so at the time there.

[00:03:15] It was my first official job as a programmer, which was nice. It gave me some, some personal validity. Because at that time it was worried like had I have, I just become a failure. I worked on this business for so many years, just don't really have much to show for it. I don't really have a degree. Is anybody going to give me a job?

[00:03:30] So it was like kind of nervous about that. So getting this job was really nice. It made me, you know feel like I can now safely be employed as a programmer because I have this official job on my resume. So that was nice. But I kind of got the itch again. They knew that I, you know knew that I wanted to start a company again at Hubba.

[00:03:50] I met two of my co founders for shoelace. And after a while we sort of just started talking about. Different ideas and what it would be like to work together. And we ended up quitting our jobs. This would have been, I think we're coming up to six years now. May, 2000 sorry, five years, five years.

[00:04:11] We quit our jobs in May, 2015. And we didn't really have an idea at the time, which was a little bit risky. I wouldn't necessarily advise that, but we felt like the three of us had the right combination of skill sets to kind of build whatever we wanted. And we just got tired of, you know, trying to brainstorm on nights and weekends.

[00:04:31] We just wanted to throw all of our energy at ideating and working on different problems and give ourselves like three, four months than if we weren't able to come up with something. Then. Kind of just go back and try to get another job again. So that's what we did and worked on a few different ideas and I'll spare you all of the very various things that we worked on.

[00:04:51] But the last experiment that we were working on that led us to shoelace was this idea that we wanted to help businesses who shared a similar audience but didn't compete with each other. We wanted to help them cross promote each others. Businesses. So somebody buys a product from business a, how do we have that, you know, customer see an ad for business B or vice versa.

[00:05:15] And so we wanted to do this like clever method of retargeting each other's audiences. So if somebody leaves that website, then they'll see, you know, a retargeting ad for the partner business or whatever. And so we talked to customers about this who pretty much into it. But the feedback we got was that, you know, this is a really clever idea.

[00:05:33] I would love to give it a shot, but we would also just kind of struggling with our own retargeting. So could you maybe just help us with that? And so we accidentally stumbled into this, into this realization. We're not from the industry, from like the ad tech industry by any means, but we. We stumbled into this realization that that was right around the time where Facebook was sunsetting their ad exchange program, the FBX program, where they were basically working with with partners on.

[00:06:01] Cookie sharing and sort of building a retargeting distribution network that way, but there were just rolling out their custom audience and their own pixel. And that was like a very big, new thing for Facebook. And so a lot of people were trying to figure that out. Like, how does Facebook's custom audience work?

[00:06:17] How does dynamic product ads work? How do you upload your catalog? And so that was right at the beginning. And then Shopify was also really starting to take off. And brands were kind of building their online stores on Shopify. And so we found ourselves like in this accident, so middle ground between Facebook and Shopify.

[00:06:36] And that's when we quickly learned that that was a good opportunity for us to explore. And we built a pretty basic app that would help. Customers like pretty easily launch retargeting campaigns on, on Facebook and so automated some of the. Pixel event, firing some of the product catalog stuff and just made it pretty easy to launch dynamic product odds, which obviously then became a lot easier to do over time.

[00:07:01] But at that time, you'd have to read through like a few blog posts, get into your theme dot liquid, export your product catalog. And it was pretty messy for, especially for nontechnical. The competence owners. So that's sort of what, what threw us into that trajectory. And then obviously over time, as dynamic product ads got easier and easier to do, and as retargeting got more and more annoying for consumers, we started to kind of evolve on our business.

[00:07:27] And you know, it's taken a few turns since then, which we can get into. But that was sort of the origin story.

[00:07:34] Rishi Sharma: [00:07:34] Thank you for. Thank you for breaking that down. So I know that you mentioned in there that you wouldn't recommend to anybody out there to simply just cut their bridges and jump into entrepreneurship, but what advice would you give somebody, now that you've started several businesses, one sex, more successful than the other, what advice would you give them to start a bit, start a business or think about exploring an idea.

[00:07:57] Reza K: [00:07:57] I think that the first thought that comes to mind for me is to this is to move quickly. I think a lot of people get stuck in their own heads and you know, you see them and you talk to them, and for like four months, they're just, you know, thinking about their idea. They're kind of fashioning a, they're theorizing with it.

[00:08:18] They're just kind of marinating and the idea for just way too long. And I think that is. That feels to me like the biggest difference between, getting things rolling virtuous versus just like having a dream of, of starting a company one day. And I think people really, tend to overcomplicate how easy it would be to launch a business.

[00:08:38] So like, people create these excuses that you know, in order for this idea to work, I would need to do this, this, this, and this and this, and I'll need like these many resources and it's going to take this much time to work on. Whereas like. You know, the, like, the theory of the lean startup has been kind of repeated to death, but it's, it's, it's a, you know, how do you break down big idea into something that you could just test like in a, in a very small way.

[00:09:07]And so my biggest advice would be like. If it's a software business, like find a way to launch it without writing a line of code. It could be building a landing page and then showing it to people to see if that problem even resonates with them or if there's something that can be done manually for the first like four or five customers that doesn't even require any software or anything to try that.

[00:09:31]Yeah. I'll give you an example. A friend of mine was, was talking about this idea where. It was something like that he wanted to build on like the Uber for photographers or something, and he was thinking about like this network of. Freelance photographers that would like walk around tourist sites.

[00:09:46] And if you were a tourist, you just open your phone and call one of the photographers to come to you quickly. And, and, you know and how fascinating would be. And so you're thinking about the network of photographers, thinking about. The app and all of these like various components. And my advice then was like, go to a tourist destination, like where, I dunno, a tee shirt or something that is representative of this of this brand and walk up to people and say like, Hey, can I take your photo?

[00:10:14] And see if, see if they do that or see if you can, like, you know, just what, what can be done to just test the idea tomorrow, this afternoon I'm obsessing and having a serious, like, biased towards. Getting the ball rolling because the, the idea never ends up looking like what you initially thought it would.

[00:10:34] And the longer people delay starting to just get it out there and talk to customers, try different things. You mentioned like feedback loop early on, but like that's, that becomes the problem with the feedback loop becomes way too long. So in short, that's, that's my advice is like. Launch something, anything quickly and and have really, really, really rapid feedback loops so that you can learn quickly.

[00:11:01] Rishi Sharma: [00:11:01] I think that's very, very good advice. I think the more often people are just building up the number of obstacles as opposed to kind of narrowing down to what a potential solution

[00:11:09] Reza K: [00:11:09] could be. So yeah, in a way I find it's like our brains softening failure for us. Right? So it's like, you know, you, you create all of these different conditions that need to go, right.

[00:11:21] In order for my idea to work. It's almost like we're creating an off ramp for ourselves that, and two years from now when we say that, okay, this idea didn't work, then at least we have this like, pile of excuses. Well, yeah, obviously it didn't work, or like, it's all these different things that needed to happen.

[00:11:36] And, you know, it's a, and so I think we're, it's sort of this, self-sabotage of setting ourselves up for having an excuse later of, of why didn't work out. Okay.

[00:11:49] Rishi Sharma: [00:11:49] No, I, I agree completely. So let's switch over to you know, it shoe lace. You are working with some of the leading data direct to consumer brands, e-commerce brands out there.

[00:12:00]And you're helping them to build a better experiences with their, their advertising and retargeting for people to come back. Now what, what are some of the pillars that you've found from all the clients that you've worked with them make a memorable brand experience?

[00:12:15] Reza K: [00:12:15] Yeah, so I think to me, when I think about brand, and I think a lot about story and this idea that, you know, humans are so drawn to stories and that.

[00:12:29] A brand to me is a brand that is able to, to tell a story and resonate with a group of people in a certain way. And so the, the biggest when somebody, when, when a brand doesn't feel like it has anything special, usually it's an absence of a story. So an example is a brand like Tracksmith, which I think is just a phenomenal up and coming brand for the do apparel for runners.

[00:12:55] And. When you, when you consume their website, when you look at a lot of the content they put out, it's very clear that they have a story. They stand for something and you know, they specifically stand, stand for, for like the amateur runner who has this pursuit of excellence. Who wants to be. Who wants to take the craft of running super seriously and and as opposed to kind of just you know, wearing whatever and going for a jog.

[00:13:24] Like it means something that if you were attract Smith outfit you've now suddenly taken running a lot more seriously. And so it has that impact on the consumer. I know I used to give the outdoor voices example on. No, they, they got through a bit of trouble in the last little while, but I think regardless of the turbulence they went through, through, nobody can understate the, the powerful impact of the brand that they created.

[00:13:50] And that's another example of a great story behind a brand. And that story is, this is the example of like I mean, the founder was on a podcast once and she was breaking it down that. A lot of athleisure companies would position themselves as the kind of high performance athlete. A lot of the photography, a lot of the positioning of Nike and other brands are like push yourself to the limit.

[00:14:17] Like a lot of that aggressive language about high performing. Athleticism. Whereas, you know, outdoor voices wanted to position themselves as, you know, something for the recreation with somebody who doesn't want to run like. A 15 kilometer run in the morning, or somebody just wants to go out and like move a little bit and just be like lightly active.

[00:14:40]And then what their brand seem to stand for is that, that's okay. Like, you know we are meant for people like that as, as like a softer intro into, into just moving around and being a bit more active. And so I think when you can, when you can look at the brand and say like, . All right. What are they saying?

[00:14:58] What are they, what do they stand for? What do they want customers to feel when they interact with the brand or when they buy their products? Like is there a story behind the brand? And often I think the greatest brands, you'll see that there's a very compelling story behind it. And the reason why that's captivating is that customers want to see themselves in that story.

[00:15:19] Like they kind of want to be the hero of that story. And, it, it creates meaning in their life. And, and that's the sort of impact to batch that a brand can have. And it only happens when, you know, the story is very well defined, very well narrated, and and it lands really well with, with their customers and kind of reinforced with the audience and the community that it gets built throughout that.

[00:15:42] So it's it's not easy for sure. It takes a lot of. It takes a lot of just careful discipline too, to be so thoughtful about like every single subtlety of, of that brand building exercise. But I think. I think the people who don't get it right are the ones to kind of scoff at it and don't really take it seriously and say like, Oh, that's sort of just like fluffy nonsense.

[00:16:06] I'll make a good product and people will love it. And the, you know, to some extent that works, but the best companies of all times, I think, tend to have a really phenomenal brand associated to it. So, that's what I've seen at least.

[00:16:19] Rishi Sharma: [00:16:19] Thank you. Thank you for sharing that. How much, I mean, I think one of the questions people would say based on examples provided would be how much?

[00:16:27] How much does capital or raising capital have to do with telling a great story? Or does it not have anything to do with capital race?

[00:16:35] Reza K: [00:16:35] Yeah, I don't, I don't think it has to. I think in the case of Tracksmith, I don't know exactly, but. They've either raised no money or very, very, very little money. And their whole kind of mindset isn't necessarily about the kind of growth at all costs mentality.

[00:16:53] They are, they've been kind of moving pretty slow and steady. I, I'd have to look again if they had raised money since the last time I checked. Maybe it's possible, but, yeah, I don't think so. I think I don't have any examples that come to come to mind right now, but there are a ton of brands that are able to find kind of niche audiences and and create an emotional connection with a small pocket of the world.

[00:17:18] Right. And it doesn't take a lot of capital. It kind of just create it. What it takes mostly is. You know, crafting the story and finding a set of people who are, I'm believers of that story. And I don't think it takes a, it takes a lot of capital. Like I think it helps if you're able to hire one of those, you know, super high end agencies like the red antlers and you know, formerly gin lane to work on that stuff for you.

[00:17:44] Like they'll definitely give it a real push and do a great job on that. But I don't think it's necessarily a requirement.

[00:17:51] Rishi Sharma: [00:17:51] Oh, I think that's a, we'll clarify that for the audience. Any particular resources you'd recommend to somebody is reevaluating the brand or just launching a brand? Resources in terms of how to approach that, how to make sure they're taking that thoughtful look in, into into their brand, making sure all the touch points are kind of creating that coherent storytelling.

[00:18:14] Reza K: [00:18:14] So what I would say is, I think the best place to start is mostly like at the fundamentals. There's a really great book that I always recommend. It's called positioning the battle for your mind. And this is quite an old book. If I'm not mistaken, this this book was written in like the 80s or something like that.

[00:18:33] Rishi Sharma: [00:18:33] Yeah. Al Al rice. Yes,

[00:18:36] Reza K: [00:18:36] exactly. And yeah, and so what's funny about that book is that, you know, it talks about how, you know, consumers are bombarded these days with like messaging and and everyone's trying to kind of grab the attention of the consumer. And what, I was reading that book a little while ago and no's laughing that, you know, if that was true in the 80s, like what would, what would the author say about the state of affairs right now?

[00:18:59]And that, that book I think has quite, has done a great job standing the test of time. And I, I would I would recommend some of those. Types of material too, get a better sense of like the fundamentals of brand building. And it really is just about as the book describes, like creating a position in, in the consumer's mind.

[00:19:21] How do you grab their attention? What does what, what does it take to stand out in this kind of crowded environment? And it goes through a whole lot of, you know, specific examples of, of how to do that. So my. My thought would be to start with some of those like fundamental concepts as opposed to what's trending right now, or like what are, what are some good tactics?

[00:19:43] So I think like there's, there's the fundamentals and then there's the tactics. And so I think the best place to start is, is the fundamentals that a book like that is probably a good. Good place to start.

[00:19:55] Rishi Sharma: [00:19:55] Yeah, I think it's a great place to start for sure. So let's move on to kind of digital marketing as a whole and the state of it as we're recording it right now, are still in the midst of the coven situation, that scent that's going on.

[00:20:10]I'd love to kinda just kind of describe that and kind of, if you could just give a headline among kind of. What has happened since this whole thing occurred. We got stay at home orders and kind of how that's affect e-commerce in digital marketing.

[00:20:24] Reza K: [00:20:24] Yeah, I mean, yeah, so like it's, I think it's still so early to try to understand what, where this thing is going to go.

[00:20:33]But at least what we've seen over the last. Let's see. Maybe it's been a month now, right? I think like about March 15th was roughly when things started to go a little bit crazy. From, from what we've seen across all of our customers that first week or two. In kind of towards like the, the second half of March was pretty crazy across the board.

[00:20:56] I think there was a lot of interruption in supply chains. It was like consumers not spending everyone just like freaked out and just like collectively paralyzed a little bit for. For a good couple of weeks, a really only buying essential stocking up on toilet paper. All of those, the, the, the frenzy that we saw for the second half of March, but since the start of April, particularly in the last like week or so, I think a lot of what we've seen is as folks have spent more and more time at home and not really able to like go to stores and buy stuff. I think, I think you start to see a lot of movement towards e-commerce where people are buying stuff online, who previously we're a lot more comfortable, like going to the store or something like that until I think, it's a, it's a weird state of affairs because the world is sort of crumbling in a lot of different industries. But I think e-commerce is pretty decently positioned to, I think be able to survive the turbulence and then get some pretty aggressive tailwind whenever things start to calm down again.

[00:22:02] Cause now all these people are starting to adopt online shopping is a new behavior. So yeah, and it kind of fluctuates across industries. So we've seen. Some categories like food and bread bridge are obviously doing really well. Health and beauty, like skincare products doing pretty well. I think it kind of goes up and down a little bit, but like electronics, home decor plants, like a lot of these things.

[00:22:26]Would she would imagine, you know, when given people's current situation, what are they doing? What are they buying? What are they spending money on? Whereas other categories, like, you know, brands that were in the travel category who sells, so like, I don't know, camping equipment or backpacks or luggages like these things are taking a real hit for sure.

[00:22:46]And so I think you have a few categories that are seeing there's serious boom as a result of this, a few categories that are being like very, very negatively impacted as a result of this. And most categories in the middle are kind of just like neutrally making their way forward. And then the other element, which is very much related to like us and our customers, is that you've seen the cost of Facebook advertising and just paid advertising in general plummet quite a bit over the combination of, you know, a lot of large advertisers pulling back from their ad spend budgets as well as a lot of.

[00:23:22] Consumers spending a lot more time on their feeds that has created, you know, a pretty big imbalance in Facebook's auction, which has meant that the cost of our advertising is plummeted quite a bit, which is, is a pretty unique opportunity for brands who are able to continue operating right now, especially if you look at the world of paid advertising, like we were reaching a point where the topic that was on everybody's minds, including shoe ice, was that.

[00:23:51] You know, the cost of advertising has gone way too high, and brands need to start taking a serious look at the way the requiring customers, their lifetime value map, like those start, those types of things. We're starting to get. So important that like, you know, brands weren't able to succeed or, or exist or kind of be able to survive otherwise.

[00:24:12]But everything's sort of changed where you start to see that equation go back to what it was like a few years ago, which again is. It's not healthy. I think we're, we're still gonna see it. It's a time period where brands are gonna rely way too heavily on paid advertising for their customers. And then over time, that's going to come back to bite them cause they've thought, no flex their muscles of being able to acquire customers through their more kind of organic channels.

[00:24:38]But in this, in this current time period there's definitely an opportunity there. And so, yeah, it's, I think. E-commerce is one of the industries that it's still beating and not as it affected as as most, most other industries. But again, like there's still so, so unclear where things are going to go.

[00:24:59] Like the number of people that have applied for employment insurance is just like the. It's, the economy's on like a bit of an unpredictable state right now. So it's not clear what things are gonna look like. So I think most people are kind of just taking things like week by week at best. Very, very hard to plan for months at a time at this point.

[00:25:26] Rishi Sharma: [00:25:26] Yeah. Thank you for giving me a recap on kind of a situation and kind of some forward looking thoughts. Is, would you still say that Facebook, Instagram are still the top platforms to, to advertise in this current current time for new brands? Or is there any newer, newer, newer platforms that you would recommend or older platforms like Google?

[00:25:46]Over this time.

[00:25:47] Reza K: [00:25:47] So that's, that's hard for me to say because our experience is predominantly on Facebook and Instagram. We're running like some small scale tests across Google, Snapchat, Pinterest, etc. For customers. But the bulk of our ad spend goes towards Facebook and Instagram. So I don't, I don't have good enough visibility to be able to compare it to other platforms.

[00:26:08] But Facebook and Instagram are, you know, obviously, like. Really powerful platform given the amount of data that is pumped through Facebook's pixels to be able to understand like, what, who are the right types of customers who would be interested in, in various types of products. I think it has matured so much as a platform that it's system is able to do a really good job, but like putting the right ads in front of, in front of people.

[00:26:39]And it's where a lot of consumers spend time, right? I think it's a, it's, it's a really powerful platform for that reason, but then you also have obviously like people are in their homes and they were thinking about like things that they want to buy. And so I don't have firsthand experience about this, but I would imagine that, you know, search advertising is a really big deal right now as well because.

[00:27:03] You know, somebody is, you know, having an idea about a thing that they're looking for and there's no store that they can drive down to go and get it. And so they're sort of just like beginning their search on the internet. And so search engine marketing, I imagine is a, is, is a really interesting place to be in right now as well.

[00:27:21] Rishi Sharma: [00:27:21] Yeah. No, I think it's definitely interesting time for just possibly, if you have a little bit of extra capital experimenting and other platforms and trying to figure it out. But I think you're right. Most of the traffic is still going to be on Instagram and Facebook, so definitely moving forward is they're not just focusing on Facebook and Instagram.

[00:27:40] Is there any particular types of. Trends or creative that you've seen that's more popular than not in terms of the content using advertising?

[00:27:51]Reza K: [00:27:51] I think it varies a lot, right? It varies on the type of business and the demographic. So you know, brands that are reaching a much younger demographic. I think needs to account for a different type of creative.

[00:28:06]So I don't, I don't think there was like a one size fits all answer, but a lot of it I think just comes down to testing different things. A lot of times people will have an opinion about like, what could work on a given on a given campaign. But after trying a few different things, like you suddenly realize that something else is is, is working better.

[00:28:26] So I don't think Thursday. There a one size fits all answer there, but a lot of testing I think usually helps reveal strategies that are, that are working for, for different brands.

[00:28:38] Rishi Sharma: [00:28:38] Yup. I think that's great. Great advice for anybody that's looking to try new things or advertise. Is there any particular.

[00:28:47] Topic or conversation that's happening in the digital marketing space. And the brand building space. That is a myth you'd like to just kind of debunk and kind of say it. This is kind of, doesn't make any sense for why white people are talking about it.

[00:29:04] Reza K: [00:29:04] It's, it's hard to say in this exact moment, right?

[00:29:07] Cause the world just kind. Got flipped on its head and, and so in some ways anything is possible right now. And so I think, I think it's very difficult for anybody to make, any sort of definitive claims right now. So I think maybe that's the one thing I would, I would debunk that if anybody makes any definitive claim right now, I think it's a worth, worth being a leery about.

[00:29:31] I think we're all sort of in this. Large scale experiment together, trying to figure out what what are the next opportunities. I think, yeah, I don't, I don't have a, I don't have a good myth two to the bunk right now. No, no,

[00:29:47] Rishi Sharma: [00:29:47] no problem. You know, sometimes, you know, situations don't. Don't need them.

[00:29:52] Don't allow that to happen. So that's fine. Yeah. So let's move to just the final questions now. So we'd like to just break down certain routines, morning routines, rituals that our guests have. Break it down for the audience. So is there any morning routines, rituals, or habits as you do and the course of the day or regularly that provides you value that could help the

[00:30:13] Reza K: [00:30:13] audience.

[00:30:14] Yeah. So I do a few things. One thing that I do, there's a couple of things that I do do every single day. One of them is before I start my Workday, I will usually journal for about 10, 15 minutes. And this is just like just brain dump of anything that's on my mind. I don't really do anything with the things that I write.

[00:30:36]Just sort of just like decluttering my mind. Things that are worrying me or things I'm concerned about are usually the first things to come out. But I do try, I do do that every single day. I'll use like a, a notion board for this. And I have like a calendar view. So every morning I'll just like create a new entry.

[00:30:54]Which is cool. And I, I have like a couple of years worth of entries that sometimes it's fun to go back and see what was on my mind a couple of years ago. So I do do that and it's really helpful. I also. I used to kind of, every morning I would just like, run out of the house and go to work and usually just like grab something to eat on the way.

[00:31:15] And I was like, just in a rush all the time to, to go and start my day. And then one of the things that I started about a year ago is to just be a bit more like slower to start the day. So like, I always make a pretty good breakfast. I make an omelet every single morning. It takes me a bit at a time and like chop up the onions and, and just like prepare it.

[00:31:37] Which if you would've asked me a few years ago, I'd be like, this is such a waste of time. Like you're gonna, you're gonna spend like 30 minutes on this. Like you got work to do, like just like run to work already. And I was just like in a rush all the time. And I felt like that was a really big change for me.

[00:31:53] But instead of just. Running all the time, it kind of just like, wait, where am I going? I'm like, I don't, I don't, I don't know if I have another really good strategy that I'm pursuing. And so kind of I'm scrambling to figure out what to do with sort of how I found myself in the past. Whereas now I just try to be a bit more deliberate about playing offense of like, what, what do I want to do?

[00:32:15] What do I want to focus on? And being okay with a bit of a slower start. To the day, just to kind of be more calm and collected. Let's see. The other routine is not daily, but I'll go for a run maybe three or four times a week early in the morning before starting my day, and that I found is really helpful.

[00:32:34]Those are. Those are some of the top routines that come to mind.

[00:32:38] Rishi Sharma: [00:32:38] Yup. Thank you. I think that's going to help the audience and give them some great suggestions. So I guess this is kind of bleeds in your answer kind of bleeds into the next question. What does personal care mean to you? My, not something recently that you've mentioned that you're going to start to incorporating into your life.

[00:32:52] So

[00:32:54] Reza K: [00:32:54] personal care, I'd say, there's a, there's a friend of mine, if you have show notes, but I can send you his Twitter. His name is dr Dr. Cameron . He's a, he's a psychologist and an executive coach, and he has his Twitter thread that I really like. He talks about, and it's kind of addressed at CEO's are aspiring CEOs, and he goes like, if you want to be a CEO, try to be the CEO of yourself first. Which I really stood out to me and I think it. Because the first thought that came to my mind when, when I heard the word personal care that like a lot of people want to be entrepreneurs, want to be founders, want to be operators, and I think we neglect what a massive like logistical operation, our like being is, you know what we need to eat, how to sleep, like how to just like manage our own mind priorities.

[00:33:46] Like there's just this like. It's almost like a, like a nation that exists within us or, and we have to be like the president of ourselves of our own organization. And so I think, to me, the thought of personal care is thought of like, just being in control of your own self. Because if, if not, then how could one possibly have any sort of positive impact anywhere else?

[00:34:11] Right. Like, if you're not able to. Have a grip on, on the challenges of, of of your own self, then it makes it very difficult. You'd be kind of starting from a position of weakness to try to address any external challenge. So just kind of, yeah. Understanding that, that, no, there was a, there's an organization within you and you are the head of that organization.

[00:34:35] And being in control of the logistical elements of that organization to me is is how I think about personal care.

[00:34:44] Rishi Sharma: [00:34:44] Thank you. I think it's a, it's a great advice to start with oneself and then move from outward from there. So final question. If you were to have a dinner party, who would you invite.

[00:34:55] Guests can be dead or alive

[00:34:57] Reza K: [00:34:57] and why? Mm. I mean, hearing hearing federal law makes me think I should definitely pick a dead guest. But the first thought that came to mind was Vinod Khosla. I'm a huge fan of that guy. He's he's an investor and he talks, what I love about him is that he talks a lot about failure and how.

[00:35:19] A failure is sort of a skill to be mastered as opposed to something to shy away from. And this idea that, there is no success without failure. And so the point isn't to try to avoid failure. The point is to try to fail intelligently. And how do you think about that? And he talks about concepts like considering the upside of the initiative.

[00:35:41] So if you want to kind of do something and there's a likelihood to fail, if the upside of that is really high. And the downside of that failure is manageable. Those are the games that you want to play as opposed to ones where, you know, the, the, the cost of failure is really high and the upside isn't even not that high anyways.

[00:36:01] So like what, what's the point of, of playing games like that and it, and it seems simple, but I think I think a difficult thing to master, so it definitely would want to talk to him more. I think I, I'd, I'd for sure invite miss seem to lab as well there. And I think like I'd probably be confused by most of the things that he says, but the one or 2% of things that I could like pick up on and, and kind of internalize already I've been kind of life changing for me.

[00:36:31]So we'd love to talk more to him about that. And then, yeah, one person that I could bring back from the dead would potentially be Andy Grove who wrote the book high output management, who I think it's kind of become the Bible for management. And so many people refer to that book as the kind of principles of of management.

[00:36:54] I think from that book, I learned the concept of high leverage work and how. You know what, what is, what does it mean to be a manager and how do you measure the productivity of a manager? And again, with , with a lot of creative people like that, I think I've probably only internalized a small percentage of those ideas.

[00:37:14] So it would be great to talk to them in real life. And. Dig

[00:37:18] Rishi Sharma: [00:37:18] deeper. Yeah, I know. I think it's a great group, especially in these current times. I think it'd be some pretty interesting conversation. So thank you so much for being on the podcast or as a really appreciate you having here. If the listeners wanted to connect with you online where should where should they go to reach out to

[00:37:36] Reza K: [00:37:36] you.

[00:37:37] I'm fairly active on Twitter, so that's not about place. My handle is resident Kajabi and I'm most available on email dot com. Yeah. All right.

[00:37:48] Rishi Sharma: [00:37:48] Thank you again and it was a pleasure having you on the podcast.

[00:37:51] Reza K: [00:37:51] Yeah, thanks, rich.

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