Episode 178 Featuring Connor Curlewis

How Prehook Can Help You Build Quizzes To Generate Leads And Grow Your Ecommerce Sales

How Prehook Can Help You Build Quizzes To Generate Leads And Grow Your Ecommerce Sales

In today's episode, we talked to Gen Furakawa, co-Founder of Prehook, an app that helps Shopify merchants create amazing shopping experiences through quizzes and product recommendations.

Gen shares with us the story of how they founded Prehook, their quizzes and how it works and can help your store, the initial problem of merchants they wanted to solve, and his life as a digital nomad moving from country to country.


From working at Junglescout to founding Prehook

Connor: I know that you're on quite a lot of other podcasts and I've heard you speak in great depths about quizzes, and it seems that, you know, an awful lot of amount marketing, but I wanted to know who you are and how you came to be interested in what you do now?

Gen Furakawa: All right. Well, thanks. That's a unique way to start and I appreciate it. Yeah. So I'm based in Austin, Texas. Born and raised in New York city. And ended up in Austin from California.

I was working for a company called jungle scout, which is an Amazon product research tool helps people find products to sell on Amazon. And we started remote. I was living in San Francisco at the time and we opened an office in Austin when the team started to grow and we needed a headquarters. So that was in 2018 which brought me here. And I just bring that up because the people that I'm working with now, we're also part of the founding team at jungle scout.

So we started working together in 2015, Michael and their developers kind of like built out the first version of the web app and jungle scout. So yeah, we have a long history of working together and work well together, which has been fantastic and a lot of fun. And in 2020, kind of like in the middle of the pandemic, we all left jungle scout at that point, kind of doing our own thing and realize that we wanted to work together and stay in the e-commerce space, but more in the Shopify space.

So Amazon marketing is really focused around SEO and paid ads. So you might have your listing and you're optimizing your listing to focus on people, searching for a specific widget, but Shopify is different. So Shopify people might land on your site and you can have just like maybe one product, like, let's say it's a multivitamin, but people end up there for lots of different reasons. Maybe it's to improve their immunity system or maybe it's to improve sleep. Or maybe it's just for general health or aging. 

Whatever it is, people might have different needs and it's harder for merchants to understand what problem they're solving for. So we thought maybe if answering a few questions, you could get a lot more depth and understanding of what the problems the customer is experiencing, what their goals are, and then how you position your product and your marketing accordingly.

We did a fair amount of customer research start building other product we launched in 2021. And at this point we're going hundreds of Shopify merchants are using our product, getting a lot of value out of it. And in the course of launching like the macro state of marketing has changed a lot, which I'm sure you're aware of. And your listeners are as well in terms of iOS 14 launches. iOS 15, third-party cookies being deprecated, or that that's kind of like coming later in maybe 2023, 2024 and GDPR and basic privacy issues. 

All that to say that the reliance of direct to consumer brands on ad networks like Facebook, Google, YouTube, Instagram, the cost per clicks have been increasing. The targeting has become more nebulous, harder to create targeted campaigns and therefore cost per acquisition in general has increased. So there's a real urgency and need for merchants to understand their customers better as in capturing zero party data and build a direct relationship with them.

So that could be email that could be SMS, but basically owned channels as opposed to paying for ads, which, you know, Zuckerberg could be raising rates on ad clicks, you know, and so yeah, this important importance and urgency of gathering customer data has really changed the landscape of what we felt we were building when we started in 2020. 

Impact of Ad Blockers in the funnel

Gen Furakawa: So what it'll do I think is basically like brands are moving over in terms of their marketing spend and marketing mix, moving away from paid ads. And so there's more focus on like customer experience is what I've been seeing a lot of. So it is having a brand is putting forward the narrative of the founder story and the product and the benefits of measured against what the customer's needs are.

So that's where personalization just kind of at a high level is becoming more important. And I think one way to differentiate your customer experience, your brand experience and shopping experience from other competitors. So whereas in 2015, it was far easier to sell. You know, slap your private label on it and then put it out there. And then you're optimizing your, your listing or you're running ads to a landing page. That's been optimized now. That's not so much the case because the barriers to entry have lowered.

So it's easier to launch a product. So that's where the narrative becomes more important. I think that's where, what you know about your customer becomes really important. So there's this thing called the customer experience gap and the customer experience gap, I think is a huge opportunity. Basically, customers are looking for personalized experiences and will reward those brands that give them personalized experiences in the form of higher average order value, more repeat purchases and ultimately higher lifetime value. 

But those that do not execute on that are just not going to kinda like keep pace and won't get the wallet share of the brands that personalized. The challenge is and where the gap comes in is that brands are struggling to deliver on that. So whether it is a matter of the data that they have, because ultimately personalization comes down to what data you, what you know about somebody that you're going to be sending them a particular campaign or automation or segment them in a certain way. You don't have anything of that nature. Then you can't really personalize. You have nothing to personalize on. 

And so those brands that don't have the data and aren't using, even what they do have will fall behind a net customer experience gap will, will remain. But those brands that do execute on it effectively, we'll see an increase in average order value and conversion rate and all the things that contribute to top line revenue. So anyway, that's a long answer to your question of how the change in data available availability can impact e-commerce merchants. And so that's my take on it. 

How the quizzes help to connect the "customer gap"

Connor: It probably links quite nicely to your company. Can you explain to people who aren't familiar how your quizzes work and what you're trying to do to connect that customer gap? 

Gen Furakawa: Yeah, totally. Basically, an e-commerce quiz, we can start there is just answering a few questions, likely also capturing a lead. So that's an email or SMS and then recommending a product. So if you think of walking into a brick and mortar store where you have a sales associate, who's asking you a few questions, like what are you in the market for? What brings you in this store? What challenges are you having now? 

And then the sales associate is maybe thinking through how to solve Connor specific needs with the products that we have in our inventory. And so it's essentially a quizzes doing that at scale. So there are a lot of the highest D2C brands, or a high growth DTC brands. You might think of Warby Parker or Hims or Hers or Roman. 

So yeah, basically these brands will be leveraging quizzes. In their shopping experience to kind of like guide you to simplify the buying process. So in the same way that you're walking into a store, the quiz acts as the same way to simplify the buying process for you. 

Connor: Yes. That's a very simple analogy, something that's interesting, I guess, with the quizzes, like when you speak to somebody in a store you have like ad infinitum possibility. You know, as to, I mean, I'm only limited by what the store can sell you. Is it the same in a quiz or is it more kind of like tailored to make people make a choice? How does that like logic work? 

Gen Furakawa: So you mean to recommend a product or not? 

Connor: Yeah, I guess I'm saying like is the quiz tailored to, you know, push a product or is it tailored to explore options for the customer?

Gen Furakawa: I see. Yeah. Yeah. Great question. So it could be either, essentially it kind of depends on the main goal of product. So for example, there's a product recommendation quiz. And so we have a lot of our customers that use a product recommendation quiz. So based on Connor's needs. So we might ask some basic information, like, what's your gender, what's your age?

And let's say it's for multivitamin, what maybe like what's your health routine, or what are you trying to achieve then recommending might make sense. And so one company that we have that uses our product. And so that's like an adaptogen brand, a mushroom tea, and they're seeing great success with the quiz because people don't necessarily know which adaptogens tea is right for them because how many people actually know or are familiar with mushroom based. Even though it's an ancient, ancient adaptogen or medicine. It's relatively new to the modern consumer. 

So that's where a quiz can simplify things and break it down in ways that we're familiar with. So we do. What problem we're having or what health challenges we're having, but we don't know how that relates to whether it's a lion's mane, mushroom or a Reiki mushroom. We do know what tastes we like, but we don't know what specific flavors of tea make sense. So that's where pairing the kind of like ingesting the information of what the customer's looking for and then recommending a product makes sense. But there are other examples, like, like let's say Beard brand for example.

So beard brand is a big men's hair men's care brand. They started selling razors. They sell other things like shampoo, fragrances, facial products. They have a personality quiz. So that's one, that's a little bit more, like fun and whimsical and less about putting a product that makes sense to the shopper. And instead it's more about like gathering data I think. 

So you're saying like, all right, what are you, the type of quiz, the premise of the quiz is what type of beer to manure you basically like out of six categories of potential men are you, what are you? And then that's just their way of gathering this data about you. And then from there, they're using that to segment and create more targeted campaigns via email and SMS. 

Connor: Very cool. So right now it's a sort of text-based platform. Do you see for pre hook or other quiz companies like adopting like an AI assistant that actually has a phone call with customers?

Gen Furakawa: Yeah, that's a great question. I think that video is big. I think that live video is big. I think if you look at China, for instance, China is a little bit ahead of the curve in terms of e-commerce and tech adoption. They do a lot of, live calls or live sale. It's kind of like in America there's QVC, home shopping network, that kind of stuff.

But there is done on mobile and there are people that are selling millions of dollars on each call. That's not a quiz per se. It's more of like a video based selling, but in essence, it kind of captures some of what we're trying to do in terms of learning about customers or showing interacting with customers and kind of like demoing the product.

So, yeah I think ideally down the line, we can get to a place where video is one way. So type form actually has video-based quiz protocol, video ask. And so that's more like a prerecorded video and then it's like, choose your own adventure. 

Connor: Can you just explain how Typeform ties into pre hook.

Gen Furakawa: Oh, it doesn't at all. It does. Yeah. There type form, you know, it's a quiz and survey platform and they have a great product, but not really. So applicable to e-commerce in terms of the integrations and third party apps on it. But I just use that as an example of where like video works nicely in a quiz based platform. 

NFTs and its environmental impact

Gen Furakawa: That's a little off topic from e-commerce and quizzes, but I am working on an NFT kind of like a side project and empty analytics tool. If you want to hear about it, happy to go into NFTs and what 3d stuff.

So what we're building is called the yeti.xyz. So it's basically an NFT analytics tool. So assuming we're kind of like on the same page with what enmities are and the way that they are purchased on a secondary market is often on open seas. So open sea is kind of like the biggest secondary market where people are buying, selling, discovering trading NFT. 

The challenge is that for NFTs, a lot of the value is derived from the rarity. Right now there's a lot of popular. One of the popular trends is like profile picture. So that's why if you scroll down Twitter, you won't see anybody's real face anymore. It'll be like you know, pixelated punk and crypto punk, or it'll be an ape, you know, a board ape or a mutant ape. So these like profile pictures kind of like have taken over Twitter in some sense. It's the rarity that dictates the value. The only challenge is how do you actually quantify the rarity?

So there are tools that do that, but that's basically what our tool is doing is to is a Chrome extension for when you're on open. See, it will quickly show you what the rarity is of a given project. And then therefore, if you're kind of like looking to get into a project, you can quickly understand the rarity to, to know. You're the asset, the NFT that you may buy is underpriced or overpriced, you know? So it's just kind of to give a compass for buyers, collectors, investors, to know, to know that maybe the true value of an NFT. 

Connor: Cool. How does that work under the hood? Is it like scanning lots of different chains and layers, or is it just looking on the market?

Gen Furakawa: Yeah. Great question. So it's, it's strictly at this point, just for Ethereum and open, see open, see is, they've released Salana NFTs. So that's kind of like a separate thing, but under the hood each profile picture would have like a group of characteristics. So let's just say, for example, it's like the face and the expression, the eyes, the hat.

And so there are certain number of each of these traits and the, so we're, we're calculating based on. Kind of the frequency that, that a certain trait might appear. So out of 10,000 NFTs, you can have kind of like a, a rating based on an aggregation of these different traits and how often they're appearing.

And ultimately you're able to rank whether it's a a hundred or a 5,000 or 10,000 or more, you're able to rank how these are based on rarity. And then from there you can see where an NFT might fit in kind of like the grand scheme of rarity and value. Okay. 

Connor: So is this plugin free or would users pay for this?

Gen Furakawa: So we're still building it and probably it will be live in six weeks or so. And the pricing is still TBD. We'll definitely have parts of it that will be free and then we'll have parts of it that will be kind of feature gated behind a paywall. Yeah. Fair. That's genius. 

Connor: That's that's probably, yeah. Something that is very hard to understand when you're like, you know, browsing and fees is just the disconnect between value and height. So something that you're trying to fix there.

Gen Furakawa: Pretty pretty useful for people. Totally. And yeah, apologies if that was kind of like off the deep end, cause like, yeah, it's kind of a crazy wacky world in some ways. And I'm like deep down the rabbit hole. So the fact that people would be like, who cares about this? A whole different subject, but I do think that there is going to be a close intersection between e-commerce and NFTs. Don't think we're there yet, but, you know, Shopify is rolling out their beta of their NFT platform on Shopify plus.

So brands will be able to mint and distribute NFTs from directly from Shopify. The only challenge is for there to, for that, to really work that. Ideally a brand has a significant following already. And, and there's demand for an NFT that's been released. So you've seen Nike under Armour, Adidas, they've all kind of like partnered and done their own thing with NFTs.

And then when you fast forward a few years, maybe and everybody is kind of building out their own metaverse like avatar and clothing, then it might make more sense like, oh, you got these. Nike issues, NFT. And so that's kind of like where the intersection of NFTs and e-commerce might come the NFTs actually get moved.

Connor: Like it's on chain, it's on alleges you know, forever. And then you say to open sea with Shopify, I'm going to buy that NFT. Does it actually move? You know, can you explain that process to me because skeptical as to if it actually moves or if it gets kind of, you know, meta-tags as not there anymore and it's now here. 

Gen Furakawa: So I'm not a developer and I'm not technical in that sense. But I think that the way it would work and so you can go to ether, scan.io, for example, like, and you can link to that from open sea page for any asset. And what does happen is a transaction occurs where ownership is transferred from Connor to again. 

And so that is written into the ledger and it is immutable and it is undisputable and it is permissionless. So it happens if I buy it from you via open sea or any other. Then yeah, ownership of that transfers from your wallet to my wallet and it, it, you can see it on open sea, so there is a transaction hash that occurs with that sale. And from that point, it is full, you know, it's all of this on the blockchain is fully public permissionless. So I think that's where, yeah. To answer your question, it's not moved per se but ownership and wallet ownership is transferred. 

Connor: Yeah. It's going to be interesting to try and convince the public of that value, but I mean, you know, the only thing I can see now is like the art, the JPEGs for, you know, Twitter profiles. What do you actually foresee? If any people selling on Shopify through NFTs? 

Gen Furakawa: Yeah. So you've seen, or there are brands that are doing this. Like let's say some of these brands, like bored apes, they've launched a limited release merch. You have to be a token holder of a board ape in order to buy the hat, the sweatshirt, the basketball jerseys. And so the way it works like on Shopify is they validate that you have that you're holding the token, and then you're able to add it to cart and check out. But it's all gated by that validation basically scanning your wallet. 

So that's probably the most like realistic and next use case is that certain it's exclusive drops. Other ways are loyalty. So loyalty, because ultimately an NFT can grant access and build community. So if you hold an NFT USA, it's like, you know, your bored ape Adidas collaboration with that NFT that you're holding, you can maybe get exclusive access to events for only bored ape and adidas, or it could beresearch groups, private beta research groups for particular products, or it could be, yeah, like a loyalty card and people are getting airdropped basically sent things for free because they hold it. 

So a lot of it is basically, the equivalent of like a loyalty card or a VIP card that people are common commonly aware of and use. But this is just like maybe a different way of transacting. 

Connor: Yeah. Yeah, that's a lovely description. Yeah. I'm keen to see how that plays out. I am very interested in the governance aspect of the whole thing but I'm just kind of skeptical as to if it's building community or if it's just building another, you know, veneer of exclusivity, but I guess we'll just find out. 

Gen Furakawa: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, it is, it is. But that's part of it and that's why the value of crypto punks is so astronomical. Well first is because it was the first, but then also you might see people like Jay Z are part of it or, or a Snoop dog or a Serena Williams. And so they're all crypto punks holders in being a crypto punk holder. You all of a sudden have. Like access to them and you're part of a group. 

So it is that level of exclusivity, but maybe at a deeper level it's the ability to form connections or kind of interact with people of a certain ilk or people that are and ultimately it's these relationships that can compound into bigger things. And so that's a lot of deals is what group you're in. 

Connor: Yeah. Yeah, no, that's fair enough. I can see it working quite well with like a podcast actually. Like you, you have a token and you can kind of say vote on things like, oh, I'd love for you to interview again again. And then you just have a bit more of a, I think that's where the power lies is.

Like it's less of like a cause you don't really gain, you know, access to people through an NFT. You can just message anyone. You know, on Facebook or WhatsApp or Twitter but what you do gain, I guess, is like a authority to vote. Maybe you just have one voice with that token or the thing, the thing I'm scared about though is just like people who more wealthier have more tokens and then it kind of, doesn't fulfill its promise of like, you know, revolutionizing everything. It's just like, if you have more tokens, you have more say and things like that. 

Gen Furakawa: Yeah. I hear you. But, you know how crazy it was that just even one year ago, you know, May 2021 like bored apes kind of blew up, so you, or I could have put a few hundred dollars in and gotten a boarded then and now they're, you know the tennis maybe or now she's, I don't even know a hundred plus, but you know, in that sense, it is a little democratize. 

So those who are maybe early in life, and I still think that there are a ton of potential future blue chip projects and so that's ideally what we're trying to solve with this product is making it easier to discover and buy those. 

Connor: Yeah. Yeah, that's a really compassionate angle on your project is making sure that people don't get like duped into buying the next ape when it's actually probably going to go nowhere. 

Gen Furakawa: Everybody's buying or making the next ape. And yeah, there was so much saturation now. So, whether people are calling it a bear market or not frothy of a market as it was, you know, like in 2021 but I think it will come back.

And as you've mentioned, like the use cases and, and, and the market, those who are holding entities, I think will only increase because in some ways their hand will be forced and it will be a necessity. And in some ways it's like what we have now will only expand. 

Sustainability and longevity of ecommerce

Connor: I just want to pivot slightly. You're a very experienced authority in e-commerce, you know, jungle scout, pre hook, and now you're going into NFTs from my perspective, I'm slightly worried about e-commerce because of climate change. 

Like the more and more I learn about the planet, the more and more I think like the society that we live in, won't be the same in 20 years, you know, will we be selling cosmetics like as aggressively as we do now? Or are we going to be spending less time on computers and more time in the real world? What do youforesee about the sustainability and the longevity of e-commerce? 

Gen Furakawa: That's a good question. I don't think it's going anywhere. In terms of like, whether it's Amazon or Shopify people building their own stores and selling direct to consumers. I don't think it'll go anywhere, but what you're talking about, like the environmental impact and sustainability, I think that's another, like a slightly different topic, or issue, and that will change it. We're seeing customer sentiment show that, that there is more of an importance and priority on like brands that kind of a spouse, their sustainable nature, or who focus on things kind of like at a grander scale, larger than just selling more widgets.

And so one example, an example here is Patagonia. Patagonia is doing a lot in terms of like how they position their brand and even not even so. Selling new stuff. I think, you know, they like the don't do black Friday sales because they say nobody needs more stuff but the point is that the sustainability will probably increase in terms of like how brands are like, thinking about it.

But I don't think that it will necessarily have an impact on like the upside or the frequency of people buying online. I honestly think that that will probably only increase and we're seeing that now, whether you look at retail stores or malls or just how Amazon Prime's numbers are going up. That's the only because like, it has become so obscene, like easy to buy online and to kind of like choose your, like what you're buying and why. 

Connor: Yeah. No, I think you're dead right. And you know, it's another thing I guess, moving from mortar, brick and mortar to online stores, but what I'm concerned with is like you have I mean, like Shopify started only, you know, half a decade ago, you now have 17 year olds, but we were like, oh, I can just make a seven figure business. I think that the trend is very interesting to me, of all of these new young entrepreneurs coming in, building a stores. We're, we're kind of convincing ourselves that this is the thing to do, you know, buy more stuff.

But it's very interesting because Shopify themselves a kind of sustainable and they have like reforesting programs and things like that. While at the same time, you know, encourage like a hyper capitalism. I know you don't work at Shopify. It's kind of the not really your business, but it's just interesting to me.

Gen Furakawa: Yeah, no, absolutely. I hear you. It's a conundrum. And we're seeing this now with like, you know, a supply global supply chains are being impacted food prices, commodity prices, it's becoming more, it's impacting us on an individual level more where maybe we're realizing. That the system at a high level is rather fragile and separable to big changes or thing changes like, you know, like far away like Ukraine and Russia and how that's going to impact the ability to basic crops, soy, and corn and stuff. 

And that will be, you know, seven months down the line, food prices are going to be higher. So maybe, you know, focusing on less as you're saying, and then also more of like a less of importing, let's say from China or a reliance on some of these things from overseas. Maybe, I don't know, I'm not necessarily that strong in global economics, but we're all being impacted on an individual basis every day. So I think you're spot on. 

Connor: You're right too. I think Ukraine grows 20% of the world's wheat for flour. So that's going to be pretty crazy in the few few months, I guess e-commerce does encourage small businesses and therefore kind of locals.

So that's kind of interesting will the environment like the supply chain is incredible. I guess when I started in e-commerce, I didn't really understand just how many New Zealand online stores are just dropshipping. Oh yeah. That was an insane realization. Just going through, you know, the stores that I would visit normally and being like, that's definitely just coming straight from China.

Oh yeah. It's insane. And it's like made in New Zealand, you know. 

Gen Furakawa: Designed in California. Made in China. Yeah. 

Connor: Yeah. But I guess like, even just understanding that I'm, I'm hopeful for customers to become more aware and you know, shop locally. Save the environment in that way. Yeah, it's crazy. 

Gen Furakawa: Yeah, indeed. 

Future of web three

Connor: I know we've kind of squirreled around a bit. Yeah. I kind of wanted to touch on all of the future topics at the end and now we've scattered them through. 

Gen Furakawa: Yeah, no, it was a lot of fun. I eligible wide ranging conversation but I do think e-commerce and customer experience customer data is kind of like the common thread here.

Connor: Yeah. Yeah, no, for sure. I think the internet itself and I'm keen to see a web three does in this area as well, just upscaling customers, you know, the more that people know, the more educated our society is the better it's going to be for everybody. So do you see any web three projects that are societally improvable? Improving mankind? 

Gen Furakawa: Yeah, totally. I think of some, I've seen some kind of like social impact DAOs. DAO is a decentralized autonomous organization, basically like taking a web three and organizing people around a common mission. And so I think for that, yeah, for sure. And then also there are just different points like everybody there are a lot of challenges and concerns with Ethereum and its impact on the environment. 

Another coin that's specifically kind of built around environmentally friendly stuff is Tezos. I'm not that familiar with it, but I do know that like the environment is something that everybody is thinking about with Ether. Certainly thinking about as it relates to money because it's kind of correlated to gas fees and so gas fees can certainly spike as more people are running transactions. So yes I have. But I'm not that familiar with it, but I do know that people are using web three as a way to galvanize people around environmental causes.

Connor: Yeah, yeah. DAO is a really interesting, do you think that you know, companies like your own would utilize a Dao or how do you think it actually maps onto real hierarchies in company? 

Gen Furakawa: Yeah. You know we've toyed with the idea of doing it as a DAO but haven't yet. And I think like there, there are technicalities and stuff that might complicate it, but the benefit is that you're getting like more of a collective power. So that could be economic power where people are like, you know, I'll buy in for a thousand bucks and then therefore we can pool our money and do something really cool with it.

So, you know, whether last year people all buy in, like, hey, let's buy an original copy of the constitution and raise like, you know, $40 million in 48 hours, or there's a link style. That's pulling money to buy golf courses and in putting in money, then you're kind of like investing in this so I do think that there's definitely going to be. Like a lot of applications for it.

And we were considering it haven't yet, but the notion of having a collective group power is really cool. And so we almost think of it. And equivalent of raising outside funding, you know, like say venture funding except it's crowdfunded. So yeah we've considered it kind of like at a high level. And I think we'll probably see more, more brands do it. 

Digital nomad life

Connor: Yeah, no, it is. It is very interesting. I'm keen to see it to more governance. Pretty cool. 

Just going to step backwards a bit. This is actually was going to be my first question. But when you were discussing how you started with jungle scout and prehook, you know, you brought up in New York, moved to San Francisco and now you're in Austin. So I've had a similar sort of move around in my life. I want to know how moving so many times has impacted how you live your life and if there's any lessons that you've had from moving so much. 

Gen Furakawa: Yeah. Great question. Well, so I've moved far more times. I didn't want to go into, go into list. But yeah, I spent my first 18 years in New York and then went to college in the east coast. But probably like one of the best times of my life was like in 2017 when, you know, I had like a one-year-old baby and it was me and my wife and her. San Francisco was getting very expensive at the time. It was like the peak of rent and we were like, why are we paying so much to live in a one bedroom?

And living in a one bedroom with a newborn is hard. So we packed up and moved out and started to kind of like live as digital nomads. It's always been a dream of mine is you know, if you're working remotely, you can live anywhere. And so went to Europe and we're in like Paris and Barcelona and Berlin and Stockholm.

And all these like places that I felt were like amazing and I was living there and working there, and life was good. And we just had you know, one suitcase each, not a lot. And so it just like the moving part. We were settled here and we live in a small house in Austin but you know, I am kind of simple. I don't need a whole lot to be happy and certainly don't need a lot of trinkets or things. 

In fact, I like less things simplifies my life and I think it distilled down what's really important. And so at that time it was living together together and like exploring and kind of like having these events. So that's probably the main takeaway is where you're deriving your, your like happiness or energy from, and for me, I find like more things kind of just becoming more of a headache and, and adding to more clutter. So yeah I've liked simple.

Connor: Yeah, no, I think you have to love your own fate. So if you know what you thrive on, like, you know that you prefer less things, then you can just lean into that and totally on that bus dude just don't need anything really.

Gen Furakawa: Fast wifi. Yeah. Headphones. Power. 

Connor: Yeah. The trade-off with the digital nomad thing, cause I've done it for a few years now is just, you know, balancing novel experiences in like a new city, you can rock up, find a flat pretty quickly. You can work, do the same thing you've been doing the whole time, but then it's like, finding a community in that city, I found that like, even being incredibly extroverted, like it's so difficult. But can be incredibly rewarding as well if you find those people. 

Gen Furakawa: Totally. And that's why I think like maybe I at minimum a month or three weeks in one place is good because bouncing around, like if you're really trying to work and maintain the focus and productivity of your normal day to day while exploring, it's very hard to cram into lesson on one.

And I think that's also where you get into a little bit of a local routine, and you might find that the restaurants that you like, the coffee shops, you, like, you might find some interesting people. But absolutely that's a hard thing of being transient is ultimately it's about people, you know, so I've never done it solo.

But I was in a group called the dynamite circle where, you know, they focus on being location, independent entrepreneurs people doing online stuff and so that's kind of like one of the main premises of it is like, how can you live your best life while working remotely? And what do they say?

Well one of the helpful things is what cities are good. You know, Austin is popular there. Mexico. City's a very good digital nomad hub. Lisbon is good for kind of quality of life and cost. And of course, Southeast Asia, Thailand, Bali, Vietnam, you can do your currency. And in my case, the dollar goes far. So you're able to live a nice life at a low cost of living. 

Connor: Yep. Yeah, that's pretty, that's pretty awesome. I'll throw my hat in the ring. I'd say if you're going to do the digital nomad thing, you should go to rock climbing, gyms and martial arts. Dojo's cause you'll meet some lovely people there or like a community garden, but I spent like a year in London trying to learn that lesson. I didn't really know until the very end, the best a digital nomad of experience was in Kenya where you just can't help, but make friends just walking down the street. 

That's what you were saying as well as like you go, oh, they will be some cities where people are just far more receptive to new people in Nairobi, Mombasa, it's kind of just alien to be walking down the street and a guy would come up to me, you know, at least once a day and be like, Hey, what are you doing? Who are you? You wanna play a game of basketball? You want to come meet my dad? And it's just like, this is something I'm used to.

Gen Furakawa: So I'm so cynical. I'd be like, what are you trying to do? Exactly. Exactly. That's the beauty of getting outside of your normal comfort zone is like, that's just, people are just generally nice and welcoming. That's amazing. 

Connor: Yeah. Oh, 99% of people just want to have tea, kids, and laughing. Is there anything else that you'd like to touch on again? We've covered a nice little range of topics. 

Gen Furakawa: No. Like I had a great time, thanks so much for the conversation and having me, if there's anybody that is interested in learning more about how zero party data works and, and a quiz and e-commerce strategy, whatever, happy to talk. My email is [email protected]. Feel free to add it to the show notes but yeah I'm just trying to, you know, like help as much as possible. So it was a great conversation. Thanks so much for having me. 

Connor Curlewis
Connor Curlewis

Former Content Producer

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