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Michael Veazey and Jason Miles - Understanding First Principles In Economics, Macro/Micro And Market Monopoly

icon-calendar 2021-05-05 | icon-microphone 1h 11m 8s Listening Time | icon-user Joseph Ianni
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Michael Veazy and Jason Miles marks the first time I had two guests on and my gosh do I want to do this again. The duo also host their own show, The ecommerce leader, and you can see for yourself how the two work together to better convey a point. Not that the theme of duality was intended by any means, but it’s worth noting since this episode covers monopoly and duopoly, as well as micro and macro economics. We also talk about first principles in ecommerce that while we've been in the conversation for some time now, is worth visiting for the first time no matter when. 

Michael Veazey is an ecommerce consultant based in London, England, an Amazon private label seller and a podcaster/speaker. His main work is now for owner-operators of 6- and 7-figure ecommerce businesses with a focus on Amazon. 

Jason Miles is an e-commerce expert from Seattle. He’s the CEO & Co-Founder of Sew Powerful, a charity designed to combat extreme poverty in Lusaka Zambia by creating jobs for adults that focus on making purposeful products; and Liberty Jane, a design-driven e-commerce operator in the sewing category. He’s also a Udemy instructor, a best selling author and a podcaster.

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Tags: #Ecommerce #E-commerce #Shopify #Dropshipping #ShopifyStore #Entrepreneurship #Debutify #michaelveazey #jasonmiles #theecommerceleader

Jason Miles: You've really got to do a deep dive on your, you know, market that, that research, if you're new to your niche that you want to serve is super important. You know, the ideal scenario is you're very, very, very familiar with the niche market you want to serve. Start with something that you are incredibly knowledgeable about, passionate about, or willing to do a ton of research on or a good amount of research on to really understand the dynamics of play.

Michael Veazy:  As a first principle, which is you have to add value to the marketplace. If you put a product out there, even it costs you a lot of sweat and time and money to put it out and that you haven't added any value because you're just putting more of the same out there. So you'll get paid the same, which means no profit.

Joseph: You're listening to Ecomonics, a Debutify podcast. Your resource for one of the kind of insights into the world of e-commerce and business in the modern age. This is Joseph. I'll be presenting a wealth of industry knowledge from interviews, with successful business people and our own state-of-the-art research. Your time is valuable so let's go.

Michael Veazey and Jason Miles marks the first time I had two guests on at the same time. And my gosh, do I want to do this again. The duo also hosts their own show, the e-commerce leader, and you can see it for yourself, how the two work together to better convey a point. Now that the theme of duality was intended by any means, but it's worth noting since this episode covers monopoly versus duopoly, as well as micro and macro economics. So, yeah, I just thought it was cool to point that out. We also talk about first principles in e-commerce that while we've been in the conversation for some time now is worth visiting for the first time no matter when or where you're at. Okay not when you're at, unless that does apply to you. I'm not your boss.

Michael Veazey and Jason Miles. This is an Ecomonics first. I have two people, uh, as guests on the program today. So this is exciting how you guys doing and how you feeling today? We'll start with you, Michael. 

Michael Veazy: Well, yes, thanks. I'm over in for one sunny London and really, really looking forward to deep diving into economic principles. Absolutely love this stuff. So looking forward to the show. 

Jason Miles: Oh man, I'm jealous. I'm in rainy Seattle. So I'm doing well, uh, as well. So thanks for asking.

Joseph:  I'm over here in Toronto, Canada. We have, uh, we had about five minutes of really nice weather. And, uh, that's, that's been sustaining us all the way through it till the next five minutes we have in June.

So, you know, it's, it's enough, a little, a little goes a long way up here in the, in the great white North. 

Michael Veazy: Sounds like London weather, to be honest.

Joseph:  I, I, this, this is a tangent, but I'll tell you a very, very quickly, I worked for a, a watch company and we sold internationally and a great deal of our customer base was in the UK.

And so I would start my shift at 10:00 AM and, you know, the day it was already part way through in the UK. So I would get calls from UK customers and be like, it's been five hours, and I haven't gotten on my watch. And then we had other people who would call and the, the FedEx delivery driver put the, he took the package and he put it out by their porch.

So I got a call saying, you know, I live in London, right. It is raining all the time. My package is completely decimated.

Michael Veazy:  Pretty good work on the accent, by the way. 

Joseph: Thanks. I've had, yeah, I've had a lot of, a lot of practice on that and there goes my pen. So while I picked that up, why don't I start you guys off with the, uh, the big Ecomonics traditional question, which is who you guys are and what you guys do. And this time we'll start with you, Jason.

Jason Miles: Sure. Um, uh, honored to be here by the way. And, uh, yeah, have been selling online for, I guess, um, 13, 14 years now. Uh, we started on eBay, my wife and I did. It was a kitchen table enterprise. Uh, I was full-time nonprofit manager and it did a non-profit management career for 20 years. Uh, as my full-time employment. Are we good? 

Joseph: No, I was just, I was just remarking that 20 years. That's a no, sorry. Yeah, no, I, uh, I, I, I don't know. I'm, I'm, I'm I have a bit of a quirky career path. I, I, I'm very, very happy with his job right now, but I would need to pass the two year threshold for it to be the longest job that I've held.

Jason Miles: Wow. Well, yeah, I'm a, I'm, I'm slow to stuff. So I did 20 years in nonprofit management and, and why my wife and I built a e-commerce business first on eBay. And then um, uh, migrated it to ultimately Shopify in 2013. And, um, it's called pixie faire. It's in the sewing niche. We have a marketplace basically, uh, with, uh, sewing patterns.

Yeah, I have a catalog of about 3,100, uh, products on our, in our Shopify site. I think we're at 2.6 million transactions now, uh, through our store. And, um, they had a great time doing it. I've retired from my nine to five job, uh, in 2014. And then about three years ago, I started doing, uh, coaching, consulting and book writing, which is sort of my side hustle on, on life. And, uh, so that's me. Yeah. 

Joseph: And, and Michael, uh, yourself. 

Michael Veazy: So I, uh, as you see I live in London, England, um, uh, like yourself, I think have probably the maximum I've ever worked in a job was about two years until I, you know, did the whole e-commerce thing. So, um, Some people call that a serial entrepreneur. I think I was just kind of trying to find the right path, I guess.

Um, so I worked with six, seven and eight figure Amazon sellers who's struggling to scale, um, particularly focused on sales related issues. So the easy wins optimization, which is surprisingly neglected, even though it kind of feels if you're in the midst of it, like everyone's perfect at it. In fact, implementing it at scale can be tricky.

Um, and the primary mechanism for that is deep focus mastermind. So really I'm focused on consulting these days. I have sold on Amazon. I have little bit of a finger in the pies there. Um, I personally realized a while ago that frankly, my passion is for business in the more abstract sense. Um, and whilst I keep my finger on the pulse by doing a daily management work for some clients on Amazon, that's really where my passion is the strategic level, because I think it's just under used by, uh, entrepreneurs. So that's my sort of focus and passion.

Joseph: Uh, you know, uh, w we wrote done, uh, easy wins optimization, and, uh, I'm going to, I'm going to table that, because that is something that I would like to get your take on afterwards, but we have a really important subject that we wanted to make sure that we got to, and I want to know for certain that when I'm done this recording, that I've devoted as much time to it as it is warranted by the context.

If we have time afterwards, I also want to hear about how you guys got into, uh, working on your program together, but we'll, we'll get to that. So. Here we go. Uh, we're going to talk about economics principles. I have been lucky to have quite a few conversations up to this point. And so my, my gut tells me that a lot of what we refer to as economics principles has been brought up, but I don't think it's been characterized in, in this particular way.

Here's my, my, my first understanding of it. I think the more we connect to the fundamentals of commerce, especially when we compare it to the ever-evolving e-commerce marketplace, the better off we are, because I think there's a lot, a lot of, a lot of allure to the digital side of things happened very rapidly.

And then all of a sudden, somebody can make a lot of money. And what they're missing are some of those key principles that people have to keep in mind just to run any good business, regardless of if it takes place online or if you're mowing people's lawns, whatever the case is. So that's my first, uh, initial understanding of economics principles, but I leave it to you now to, I guess, uh, uh, put me on the, align me on the correct path. So who wants to go first? I'm not sure who I should ask first about this. 

Michael Veazy: Jason, go ahead. 

Joseph: All right, Jason, go for it. 

Jason Miles: Yeah. Yeah. I'm happy to just give the kickoff, uh, overview of this. You know, it really started into my mind with watching some interviews that Elon Musk did about rockets and you know, all of the amazing things he does.

And he kept referring back to first principles. You know, you'd say this phrase, like, you know, we, we want to take things all the way back to first principles and engineering, et cetera, et cetera. And I thought to myself, man, it's so great that Elon Musk can have first principles in space, rocket stuff. I wish there were some first principles in e-commerce and I was like, wait, there has to be first principles in e-commerce like, what am I talking about?

So I really just started this mind kind of journey of what are the basis, you know, kind of core concepts, uh, that we're all depending on as e-commerce sellers. And of course, it's not surprising when you think it through it's micro economics and psychology. And so Michael and I, for our podcast work, we just started making, uh, a list of, uh, what we are calling e-commerce first principles and then started devoting podcast episodes to them.

And I don't know, we've done five or six or seven now, but the list of e-commerce first principles that we brainstorm together, it was like over 30 discrete topics. And, um, and they're very fascinating when you go back and you look at, okay, what is the microeconomic literature talk about and how do we apply that to our individual Shopify sites or Amazon accounts or, you know, our, our online selling efforts. And so that was sort of the origin of the idea.

Michael Veazy: As a follow-up to that Jeff Bezos is obviously got a physics degree and the richest two people in the world right now, your favorite person Elon Musk he was, I have, you know, just to disclose, I have some shares in tesla in case, but that's not really why I'm saying it.

And obviously some on Amazon. So maybe it could be said to be biased, but the richest two people in the world have physics degrees. I don't think that's a coincidence. Um, they, they talked about the triumph of the nerds back in, in the sort of early two thousands. But I think it's only really just beginning to really show up and the big nettle now. 

A couple of other things that make me think about first principles and how that ties in with Jeff Bezos and the genius that he's created with Amazon love or hate him. He is a genius operator. He had a 10 year wall street investment background. He wasn't just an operator. He was really, really good.

And I think that's another part of the first principles that he's applied to Amazon and that we need to apply as e-commerce operators. And the final thing about Jeff Bezos, fascinating thing is that he was sent to a special school. Now, normally in the UK special needs means, um, that you struggle. You have, you know, uh, you're behind the usual curve of, of educational development.

He's actually, you know, was exceptionally gifted. And he was put through a very special system. I believe the state school system or public schools, as you would say, in the US and one of the things that stuck from that, it's really being trained to think in a lateral, but very first principles-based way.

So famously, people have jumped in a, you know, a car town car with Jeff Bezos to be sort of interviewed on the way to the headquarters of the S level people. And he'll say something like quickly, how many manhole covers are in the USA. And you've got two minutes to try and figure out a way to solve that kind of unsolvable problem.

So I think that this, this kind of thinking is, is there at the top already. Not just Elon Musk, but with Jeff Bezos as well. 

Joseph: I'm going to throw one more into the Jeff Bezos mix too, is at Amazon, uh, took some time before it was profitable. I believe it actually, uh, reported its first profit at, in like 2014.

Uh, it's been a while since I looked at that fact. So you have to imagine, uh, the long-term thinking where he understands that this can't be profitable right away. He's going to have to continuously reinvest into the business until it gets to that profitability point. And even so the margins of it aren't as, uh, uh, aren't as disparate as you might think.

A lot of their ability to be successful is the fact that they, they don't have like, uh, especially when it comes to the products. The products themselves, you don't make too much money off of that, but you do start to make a lot more money. Once you start adding in a digital and you start adding an AWS. And so you can change the margins on that quite a bit.

Jason Miles: Yeah. I love that. Let me just mention, before we move past this point, the idea of applying first principles thinking is very, um, well, it's a well-worn path. So, you know, you can research how to do this, but the three principles involved in applying first principles thinking are identify your current assumptions about whatever you're working on.

For us, it's always our e-commerce selling and efforts and some specific aspect of it. Uh, and then the second principle is break down the problem into its fundamental principles, the most core concepts associated. And then the third step is to create new solutions and that's applying first principles thinking I would just encourage all e-commerce sellers, listening to this show to go down that path.

Michael Veazy: Absolutely. And Jason's, by the way, got a real knack for breaking the complex into the simple. And I think that's a, you know, very good because I have a tendency to want to go down a rabbit hole and go into detail. So we balance each other out on the podcast. Just one thing I want to say about Jeff Bezos and the whole profit thing.

Now I am not as sophisticated wall street chained analyst, but my understanding of what made Amazon great is I guess there's two things. One in tangible one, very tangible, but kind of hidden. If you look at it the wrong way. So talking about identifying current assumptions. The assumption that profit drives value is normal for most businesses, right?

Small or big. But the thing about Amazon is Jeff Bezos is first of all, he's famously thinks he's seven year chunks where everyone else thinks about the last quarter, that's one of the things. The second genius has had is to convince the wall street guys, that they should keep investing in a, a company that keeps putting off profit for like 15 or 20 years, pretty much, which is just crazy.

But the third thing is the actually don't think it's run for profit. I think it's about cash flow and their cash conversion cycle is actually negative. Meaning they get paid 14 days before they pay anyone else. I think that's really a piece of genius that everyone misses. The other genius though is this, when you get profit, you get taxed on that when it taxes your biggest expense, that slows down growth. And for a guy who's obsessed with growth and who was selling that explicitly to wall street, I think that's the key that it was all about. Let's grow, grow, grow, grow, which is a kind of public appeal luxury that isn't a crazy obsession that doesn't work for a privately held business to go broke.

Um, but secondly, how do you grow? Okay. You re-invest everything. How do you do that? Don't get taxed because it's your biggest expense. Apart from the way he's played the States off against each other for 20 years, eventually they've applied sales tax, but that took him two decades. So there's a lot behind that single statement and the profit in my personal.

Joseph:  I can imagine. So at least, uh, at least one seven year chunk worth of it, if not more than that. So I did listen to, uh, well, I thought it was just two parts of apparently there was more parts to it and yeah. Uh, it reminded me of something from my own personal experience that I think I can, I can apply here. So part of my, my hobby, uh, profile is that I do like playing games competitively.

And I, I mean, I've been playing a video game since I was very young. And when I, I started playing, when I was very young, I was left to figure things out on my own developmental skills on my own. I didn't have the internet too, have any guides or anything like that. And I would join the game community.

And a lot of the younger players, they initially, they would have the internet to act as a guide so they can tell them here's some tricks, tips, here's combos or stuff like that. And what I noticed is my fundamentals were stronger. I didn't understand a lot of, um, a lot of like the, the, the, the particular strategies that people on the internet were coming up with, but I understood things on a very core level.

And that, and that to me, I think, has been something that I think might be missing when a lot of people get into e-commerce is that they don't start with the fundamentals. They just start with the, the guide to reach success and it doesn't occur to them. Why there are, these things actually are successful.

And I don't want to like point to any more particular, a YouTube channel and saying, they're, they're forgetting to say the fundamentals. I would imagine for the most part, they do describe them, but they're not, they don't hone in on them. And so what I want to hear is your experience in this and perhaps with your own, um, you know, e-commerce development is, you know, when, at what point did the fundamentals, uh, come in and, or did the fundamentals come first or did you feel like you were, the fundamentals came a little bit later?

Jason Miles: Yeah, I mean, I think it's a great question. It's a great observation. I think you're totally right. That's how a lot of online sellers do approach the, the exercises. They come into it with a sliver of understanding about how to execute on a, maybe a part of a business model or a business model. They get training, they hear about some amazing thing.

We call the shiny objects, you know, like, Oh, a merge or a, whatever it is, you know, retail arbitrage or whatever the new thing is they've heard about. Um, but you know, when, like when I work with coaching clients, um, one comes to my mind who, uh, was just a grinder in their industry for 25, 30 years and, uh, never made that much money.

And then they develop a product associated for, you know, with their, with what they did for their industry. And they are now happily millions and millions and millions of dollars a year, uh, of this simple product. But they spent 30 years knowing their customer. They spent 30 years knowing what doesn't work.

They spent 30 years knowing how to describe the terms and the wording choices and all of that in their industry. And so, you know, that their transition to e-commerce was not complicated. It was not about technology. It, you know, they just, just absolutely destroy it because they knew who they were serving and they knew that the product need existed.

Um, so I think those are those kinds of examples are very, very common for all of us when we see people really crush it and you pull back the covers, you'll see, oh, they, you know, they've had experience in this industry or that, you know, they've had good, solid business training before, or they, you know, they failed a few times and learn through the school of hard knocks.

Um, and those are how those are lessons are how we all learn. Our first principles are basics, you know, it's the basic karate chop. We all have to learn how to get stuff done. Yeah. 

Michael Veazy: I think to also, um, to your point, Jason, around the, you know, you've got your 10 steps or 12 modules or whatever, uh, to success now having tried to create, or haven't created a rather monstrous course for people starting from the beginning, which is no longer the people that I really serve.

Cause it's, it's very hard to help people starting. Um, but one of the troubles that I understand and sympathize with is when you're trying to teach people something from scratch, you need to keep it simple. But here's the thing I would say that what I love about your approach, Jason, um, and you just given a great example of that.

You break things down to very simple things. Okay. How do you get first principles? Identify current assumptions, break down the problem into fundamental principles, create new solutions. Now that is very simple looking, but it's a simple truth because there's some quote by a great American whose name escapes me, but it's something like the money follows practices is not going to succeed in the money for principles there's always going to, or something like that is not the right quote. I don't know who it is, Jefferson or somebody along those lines. And the point is this, that if you are working from first principles, the practices you create from that will be on a solid ground.

So if you ignore the laws of physics, it goes wrong. And there are certain laws of business. It turns out. And I think Jason, I really share this passion for this, that we were talking about this a few weeks ago, when we both turned out, we were both doing the same kind of nerding about this stuff. And the reason that I'm passionate about it is because exactly that thing, that it's really hard to simplify things, but it can be done if you're very mindful.

But as you said, Jason and I liked that sort of reality check is that a lot of it comes to the school of hard knocks. And nobody wants to sell that in a course either. Cause that's pretty unpalatable, but I think it was the truth.

Joseph: When Jason mentioned that karate chop, it did remind me of a, of the karate kid. Um, cause in, in the movie and this is, I think the single most important lesson that comes from that movie is that, that he's he's, he thinks he's being trained and he's being trained, but he doesn't realize it. He's just doing a unconscious muscle memory and he's just painting fences and he's any sanding floors and he's waxing and it gets frustrated and understandably so because the ultimate lesson is not being revealed to him yet.

And I also suspect that there has to be that moment of doubt in order for something to properly sink in. Like if you, if I'm 100%, uh, committed to something and I'm completely devoted and there's no skepticism whatsoever, it doesn't give me the ability to then open my mind up in such a way that the real lesson comes in.

Like you have to hit, you have to reach a low before you can reach a high. And so I, I imagine that a lot of people that have come to, uh, uh, to, to speak to the guys have had those issues. Like you were saying, the school of hard knocks people have, like they failed numerous times before they finally understand it.

And. I guess the way I would like to ask this as a question is what would be, what's the right way to fail? Like how do we, how do we fail correctly? And how do we really understand the lessons so that we don't keep failing again in the same way? 

Jason Miles: Oh, often and quickly, I guess, is the answer. Uh, you know, I always liked this, um, this part of Robert Kiyosaki's book, rich dad, poor dad, um, where he was being interviewed by a reporter and, um, her, her basic gist of her interview went along these lines.

She said something like, um, um, 80% of businesses fail and you suggest people start a business. Why, why is that a good plan? Why aren't you just setting them up for failure? And he said, who cares? His response, responsible, who cares? And she's like, what do you mean? Who cares? All those people, they fail. And he says, if my business fails, I'll start another one.

And if that one fails, I'll start another one. And he said, I just did it doesn't matter. You can fail in business as many times as you need to, before you figure out how to do it. Right. And then you get all the benefits of business. And I just, I love that thinking. And it's this like, you know, ideally we would, none of us would fail at all.

We would just hit a home run first time up to the plate, but that's not reality. A lot of times when we fail or what most likely happens is we'll implement a business model and we'll realize the downsides of that business model. So we got it working, but then we realized, hey, this is just sort of like a little, you know, a two-stroke engine that puts out like three horsepower.

This is not going to get me to 200 miles an hour type thing to use the car metaphor. Um, and so you've just start looking for a better business model, you know.

Michael Veazy:  I just add to that as well. It may be a sort of more moderate version if I, I agree entirely with what you're saying about Robert Kiyosaki's quote, he does say rich dad, poor dad if I remember that he's better to fail before the age of 30, which puts me almost two decades, it's beyond that age. So if you're slightly less risk on the nut and then nuclear version is Jim Collins principle from good to great, great by choice. Great by choice, by the way, is the book to read.

If you're in a higher risk, high reward kind of area like a, you know, more unstable environment, like most internet based businesses move so fast and the environment moves so fast and his principle is fire bullets, then fire cannibals, and he references like an 18th century British sea battle, where you make sure you, you fire the bullet and you use a certain amount of gunpowder and metal, but you you're not on the aim yet.

And then you try again, you try again, and then once you've got it in the right aim, then you put your, your big amount of gunpowder and you, your few, but really impactful cannibals. And to me, that really makes a lot of sense. And I think that's a less nuclear version. Another way of putting it is simply just try and make sure that any failures you have won't, won't bankrupt, you personally, and all your business and the line is not that distinct because frankly, if you're borrowing more than a certain amount of money, it tends to be with personal loans and then your houses are at stake.

So I would say that that's, um, a less extreme version, but that that's also kind of micro failures. That was when they analyzed, uh, businesses that were working very, very difficult environments. Like the airline industry, Microsoft versus Apple back in their comparison point. And that was a consistent theme as well. 

Joseph: One particular point that I want to raise is just the, the, the metric of, you know, try to have your failures before 30. And what I find about age based instructions or advice like that is that as generations continue to, um, uh, unfold, I think the metrics do change. Um, I'm myself, I'm 30, I'm 30 right now.

And, uh, I've only just moved into an apartment, you know, once, uh, a few generations prior to that people were consistently moving into apartments or even buying homes, um, much, much sooner in their lives, because I think it was, it was a simpler time economically. And so what I think is, is that you have, we can look at it as age and age will eventually become a significant factor, but I think it has a lot to do with what personal milestones a person has passed.

Like for one is somebody else, depending on me, like, do I have a child to raise or, or have my parents gotten to the point where I now have to be more responsible for them. Okay. Now I have other people that I'm accountable to. Now it's much more difficult to fail because now the failure will not only affect me.

It will affect other people. Um, so I, I tend to look at it that way, but maybe that's my, the, the little bit of youth I have left, I guess, uh, the little optimism I have left for the, uh, for the future. 

Jason Miles: Sure. 

Michael Veazy: I think you're out. See, right. I mean, what you just said is the dependency. I think it really, it comes down to what is the responsible yet courageous act, given any person's personal situation. I guess the age thing, what he really probably means is you got the energy to pick yourself up and fail and fail again. And you don't have kids yet who are, depending on your fear away. Having said that, traditionally, as you said, back in the day, you haven't had kids at 18.

I think Robert Kiyosaki did have kids and he did sort of famously say, I think it was maybe Kiyosaki and other people who said it, like some people would say, oh, I can't take a risk. Cause I got kids. And, uh, to which his responses are going to take a risk because I got kids because I want to build a future for them.

So it does come down to, as you said, the relationship to these things rather than just the things themselves. 

Joseph: So what I want to do is, um, uh, take this knowledge so far and see if we can. Uh, develop a, a brief but ideal, uh, guide frame for, uh, for my audience, men, many of whom are either doing Shopify stores or they're just waiting for the last little nugget of inspiration before they get into it.

So with applying the principles, how would somebody, um, correctly or as much as possible, you know, there's still plenty of lessons to learn, um, set up a Shopify store, pick a product in their niche and, and get started in competing in the marketplace. 

Jason Miles: Yeah, well, the microeconomic principles associated with what you just described, obviously supply and demand is the most central theme in microeconomics.

And, um, so picking a product is really a tricky one for our personal story. For example, when we started on eBay selling, we did auctions of handmade doll clothes. Now, for those of you who are uninformed about the wide world of doll clothes, there is actually a market and people actually pay a lot of money.

So we could auction, um, my wife's handmade items for three, four or $500. But, um, and so there was a market for that, but the problem was, uh, she had to take a week or two or more to make the thing. And so we had, uh, an obvious market, but the supply was the problem. And so back in 2009, we shifted to publishing her patterns as digitally downloadable files, PDF files.

And we were experimenting whether there was a market for that. And as it happens, there's a huge market for, uh, sewing patterns. Um, and so that was the shift we made in 2009. And that really set the course of our, you know, the next 12 years or whatever it's been. So I, you know, I think, but the interesting point is this Amazon didn't allow for selling PDF files. eBay didn't allow for selling PDF files. So if you looked on those marketplaces, you would see zero for supply or demand because they literally, by their terms of service, didn't permit it. So you've really got to do a deep dive on your, you know, market that you want to serve really understand what is and isn't available.

Uh, why it's, well, not available in certain places and look for opportunity there. And, um, you know, that's that, that research, if you're new to your niche that you want to serve is super important. Now, you know, that ideal scenario is you're very, very, very familiar with the niche mark you want to serve so that you know, these things.

Uh, and so the supply side and the demand side is something you can wrap up, remind around really, really quickly and find opportunity. And you don't find that by going to Alibaba and just randomly looking around for stupid stuff, you know, you don't, you don't find it by just seeing what other people are doing successfully on Amazon and then doing a me too version of reality.

Um, and so you've got to take a more thorough approach to it than that. And, you know, and so that's, I guess that's, that's sort of my advice for somebody who's just getting into it is start with something that you were incredibly knowledgeable, passionate about or willing to do a ton of research on, or a good amount of research on to really understand the dynamics at play.

Michael Veazy: Totally agree with everything Jason said. I would just add to the supply and demand thing. A couple of nuances. I mean, first of all, um, just echo what you were saying that I've had a couple of clients recently just going to start it from scratch on Amazon with a kind of private label slash unique product play.

One of whom, um, within about a month decided what he was going to sell because he's a passionate consumer of a certain type of products. And he has a lot of friends who do the same thing. Another guy, frankly, I'm about to say to him, I think we should stop working together because I don't want to waste your money because he's been going around in circles for six months.

Cause he doesn't seem to have any particular passion for a particular thing or know anybody. And when I suggest to him that he talks to actual real people about the problems they're having, he's very resistant, which I get because it's hassle and you're bothering people. But the trouble is that it's really hard to develop a great product without talking to people.

Cause people that once you pay us at the other end of the system, another way of putting it is every single thing in the system is a cost except for the consumer save. You don't know them and you don't respect their needs then you'll, you've already off target at the beginning. So, you know, it's simple, but that whole let's go.

And jungle scout thing is just a disaster, please, please. I beg somebody. If there's nothing else you take away. If you get to sell on Amazon, please don't just go on jungle scout because everyone else does it, including the Chinese factories. And they, they do do it in small scale. Chinese factories don't do things at that scale. They'll send 400 employees to a training day on how to hack jungle scout with a black as a black hat. So that's not the way they go. Um, a more  positive note. I absolutely and passionately in love with the star principle, which is Richard saying, and it's basically a reiteration of the Boston consulting group make matrix was came back from the sixties and it simply means that you need to be in a fast growth market and be able to be the leader in the market.

I have at least twice the revenue of your most competitor. Most markets will not lend themselves to that. And if you have a Venn diagram overlap of, um, I really know and care about this market and I know people I can go and hustle and give my prototypes to say, what do you think? And it's, you know, hits the star principle. That's not going to be much left, but what's left is really promising hunting grounds. 

Jason Miles: Let me just add one tiny little bit and then we'll keep, keep going. But I think the solution to a lot of this problem is, uh, people over, um, try to over-serve too big a market. They, they try to serve too big a market. I always encourage people go smaller, go into a sub niche, go into a sub niche of a sub niche, go into a market that is so darn boring.

No one is interested in being a successful marketer in that space because it's just too niche. And, uh, that's, I think part of the solution is really getting into something that is, uh, where you can actually be, uh, the dominant player in a very, very small space. Uh, and that's, uh, that's just a general principle that I think is very, um, effective for a lot of people. Yeah. 

Joseph: There was one question that I wanted to, uh, ask you earlier. Um, there's one thing I was interested in knowing about with the, uh, with the clothing, for, for dolls, which was, I had always thought that if I'm making something that takes a lot more labor and it's more of a, uh, secondly, uh, more of like a boutique or more of a premium, there's like, there's a, there's a very specific word that I would want to use for it, but I can't find it right now.

So I'll just move on from that. But I figured that you, what you're doing in order to make sure that it's worth the time is that you would increase the cost to reflect how much time it would make it takes to make something. Um, so, you know, at the very least compensated for, for hours worked. So what I was wondering is was there a limit to how much people were willing to pay, but it didn't, it didn't reflect the amount of time it took to continue to make it the material.

Jason Miles: Yeah. That's a great question, actually, you know, there are uh, doll clip one-off doll clothes, uh, custom designers and makers who have sold items into the thousands of dollars. Uh, and you know, it's, uh, so, so the, the top end is TBD, I guess it depends on who makes it, and who's the customer, you know, I mean, you think about literally British royalty who has, uh, uh, six or seven or eight year old daughter, what would they pay for a custom toy for their, you know, for their daughter or Hollywood celebrities.

The price is not the issue. So, but, but that doesn't mean that, uh, on the supply side it makes the system of making it any more simple. So for all those reasons, we thought now we would rather pivot out of it into digital goods, which has amazing properties near zero marginal costs, uh, being the most powerful concept for digital goods.

Um, and, uh, so, so, you know, that was our choice back then in 2009 and it's served us really well. Yeah. 

Joseph: I do have to wonder, uh, and not just with the royalty in the UK, but royalty in general is if the. If the princess would have a doll or if she would just be allowed to like hire human beings to play the role of the dolls instead, and just, yeah.

Jason Miles: I'm pretty sure they have dolls, but.

Michael Veazy: If I had to choose guys, since you mentioned British royalty, um, I would definitely go for celebrities that they seem to spend very freely and very unwisely than the British royalty is always got the media looking at them and they actually kind of quite sensible in a weird kind of way if having a billion pound palace can be said to be sensible. So I would sell it to the celebrities, just so you know. 

Joseph: Yeah. I, I wanted to expand the question now, cause I didn't want to go after, uh, I go after the, the, the UK wrote the in specific. Um, so Michael, I got, I got a question for you with the w with your client who you're, uh, on the verge of. Uh, let him go.

It sounds like he, your client is, is missing some key motivation or some key understanding that is costing him his ability to do something significant in the space. And everybody that I talked to, um, even, even if somebody is, let's just say that, you know, they, they, they drop ship something that is, uh, uh, uh, you know, beneficial, but not exactly world breaking.

They still want to contribute to the net, good with their content. They still want to help other people because you never know who you're helping. Some people can really use this, this market to get out of a rut. And I've talked to people who used this to get out of ruts and they've improved their lives.

They've helped their parents out. Um, and it's, and it's inspirational. It sounds to me, and I'm not an expert on this. This is just the best that I can do under the circumstances that he's missing. The motivation to do something good for other people, like is missing the motivation to do favors. Am I, am I close? Is, is there like, what is his motivation to get into e-commerce in the first place? 

Michael Veazy: This is a very good question. I guess really, I would say that for me, this is more about coaching than e-commerce, but it's kind of the same thing. It comes to the motivation question and who should be doing this and who shouldn't.

And I don't get to decide who should, and shouldn't do things with their life who've been incredibly arrogant of me, but what I do know is who I believe will succeed in a business model based on my experience and who I think I can help, which is a much narrow and easier question. And I think for me, it's kind of a failure as a coach slash as a, an educator to not put across somehow through the hundreds and hundreds of podcasts episodes I've done for newbies on Amazon, which I'm now stepping away from.

I somehow haven't got across the fact that you really need to care about something. And, um, I've tried to do that. I've had guests on who talks about it. I've had guests who've built and sold businesses who clearly care about that stuff like Ben Leonard to have had on recently. Um, who sold a seven figure business within two and a half years of creating it?

Why? Because he was very, very passionate about the area. I think partly, partly luck, probably timing. And somehow I haven't communicated that. So that was an educational fail. And I also didn't as a coach managed to filter him out through the, the application and interview process and say that, you know, maybe you're not the right person for this to be fair.

It's one of those things you can't really find out whether something's for you or not to Jason's point earlier without the school of hard knocks school of hard knocks of not even starting is even as sort of as much hard knocks is just boredom and frustration and going round in circles, looking at spreadsheets all day, that's kind of being part of my experience of entrepreneurship as well is that that going in circles in the wilderness for years. Jason, I know you've had your version of that. So maybe you had to try this for six months on paper to discover it wasn't for him. And that's maybe. Okay, man, that's a use of time that was valid. 

Jason Miles: Yeah, I'm happy to chime in on that a little bit. I spent 10 years not knowing what to sell online. I heard about a guy making a thousand dollars a day in 1998 on a, you know, on the internet. He had a traffic school website. He had set up and it was one of the first traffic school websites on the internet. And, um, I talked to him, he needed data entry help for a couple hours a week, and I didn't work with him, but, but the idea of a thousand dollars a day on the internet just was like baked into my brain.

Well, for 10 years, I poked around in evenings and weekends trying to understand what to do, how to do it. I made no progress. Um, and then, but ultimately what happened was I saw my wife doing something at such extraordinary level that I thought there's an opportunity to be the marketer for her and so raw.

And so I would just suggest to anybody who's in a stuck position like that, that just literally cannot, um, think of something maybe, maybe they're brilliant technical marketer, but they're not a product creator. So I would encourage them to go find a partner or go be a marketer for somebody else's product and serve them for a couple years and learn through their passion for an industry, for a niche for a customer, because you don't know why they're not succeeding like for that 10 year period.

Um, I mean, I, I have an MBA. I mean, I, I wanted to do it. I was interested in the topic. I just literally couldn't think of a product to take to market. And so, you know, I mean, there's, there's a million reasons why it won't work sometimes, but I think the kernel of the idea is that a confused mind always says no, or go slow.

And if you have somebody going super slow, they're confused. And you have to figure out how to help them get unconfused without judgment. I mean, without, you know, I mean, without psychoanalyzing, none of us are psychologists, but I think, you know, sometimes having a collaborator or a partner is a great tool to help people go forward.

Michael Veazy: And just on that point and to sort of out myself, if you like, I'm not a very product centered person and the way that I've ended up collaborating cause my wife doesn't happen to create physical products is because is to end up working for example, I've got some clients, I've got a client who's heading for somewhere over $10 million a year in revenue.

And they're very, very good at operations. And they're good at creating products in importing them, which is all mental hernia to me. I can do it, I can teach it. Um, but I don't enjoy it. And where's that optimization to that point. Is actually amazingly wide open. I looked at this stuff, they got basically not to reveal too much.

They've got a bunch of kitchen products, like hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of private label products, nearly all of them on just plain white background. So I'm like, dude, I could say, improve the optimization of this and get you a return on the investment. Very straightforwardly. So I've now I've said that I've got to go and implement the 400 skews for her and then learn the lessons and teach that.

But that's an example of where I now own the fact that I love marketing. I love strategy above all, and I don't particularly love the process of creating physical products are important to them and that's okay. And I've finally come to terms with that. So you don't even have to do it within your own business.

In the end, what I think is fairly straightforward as a first principle, which is you have to add value to the marketplace. If you put a me-too products out there, even though it costs you a lot of sweat and time and money to put it out there, you haven't added any value because you're just putting more of the same out there.

So you'll get paid the same, which means no profit and wherever you can add value, if you add extreme amounts of value, just do that thing, you know, and it may not be creating a product to your point. 

Joseph: You know, even in having this conversation with the two of you, it, I was thinking about my own Shopify store. I didn't have one before getting into e-commerce. Uh, this podcast has been my entry into it, but after talking to so many people, it's hard not to be inspired and motivated and a little jealous, but mostly inspired and the product that I'm working on. And I'm happy to be open about it is these drawers that you stick to underneath the desk.

So that it's adhesive. I can pull it out. Oh, I got a new drawer. And, uh, and that's the product, but I mean, there's only so much passion that I have for a drawer that you can stick on any of the desk, but the real passion behind it for me is the ability to rethink my space and how can I use every square inch, whether it's floor, wall, ceiling, Or sky, how can I use this to optimize my space?

And so I, in this being a video show, I'm going to take full advantage of it. But I have numerous wall hooks all along my wall. Uh, we're hanging up headphones and coats. Uh, and, uh, if, if it wasn't so far away, I would show you guys the drywall that I ripped off, because I didn't know how to remove them properly.

And that's the part that I am really passionate about is I love the idea that my wall is a floor that I can't stand on. There are so many things that I can do with it. If I just think creatively, if I just think outside the box and that I think to me is the fundamental, and it's the principle that I would want people to think about when they're selling their product too.

It's like, what is the cycle? Like, what is the problem beneath the problem? What is the incentive and the inspiration that I want to leave people with to see their home in a new way? 

Jason Miles: Yeah. I love that. 

Michael Veazy: By the way, I want to just say that I'm not a passionate about creating those products, but I am a passionate, neither of those.

And I'm looking around in a small flat in London. Um, absolutely. My wall like is covered when I do the disservice. I've put up these, for example, electric static, whiteboards that stick to, um, Stick to the wall and not with adhesive, that's a genius invention because suddenly I've got a whiteboard space, I've got walls.

I don't really have any floor space. We were stuck to the Gunnels, but that's something I feel passionate about, but as a consumer, so there is a matching passion for the problem, which reminds me of the phrase, love the problem in others. People get obsessed with products. I think if you obsess about problems and really fall in love with constantly scratching that itch, that that's really a key.

I think you put your finger on it very well. 

Jason Miles: Yeah. 

Joseph: Excellent. Well, I, and not without the help of the, both of you. So for that I say, thanks.

I had another question. This isn't a about, uh, about the principles. Um, so before I move out of that, did anybody have any final points they wanted to raise about economics principles first, just in case there was any like key point I forgot to ask about. 

Jason Miles: No, I mean, I think it's just, uh, I would encourage everybody to go deep, deep into that idea. Go, go study yourself. Yeah. 

Joseph: With the, um, with the thread of like, what are, uh, what are fundamentals, um, beneath, I want to keep that in mind with this next question. So one of the points that, uh, you had raised on your podcast that I listened to was about how a lot of the times the markets end up as a monopoly or duopoly.

So can you just sort of, I don't have to like, um, uh, butcher it. Can you just run through what was the, uh, the, the, the premise here and then I'll ask my question. 

Jason Miles: Oh, sure. Yeah. Well, I think all of us probably are aware of the fact that online businesses tend to run towards winner, take all situations. It happens online, very, very frequent, like the internet wants to make winners in product categories.

And that that happens because when you get ranked. You know it by any sorting metric, other sorting metrics, rank you, uh, you know, and categorize you. And it's a snowball effect. Um, you know, we have clients who, um, are number one in Amazon for their key phrase or keyword, and they get a ton of traffic from off Amazon, from bloggers and people who will be like, Hey, there's, you know, six, the six specs, best products in this category, that category.

And they all just compoundedly link to the winners. And so this whole idea of a winner take all market opportunities is true. And, and this is the important part it's true at every level. Of the internet because of the way that system works, applies to the smallest of weird little niches, just the same as it applies to coffee or laptops, you know?

Uh, and so I think that's just the basic of the idea and what it means as you want to put yourself in a position to be number one in your category, even if your category is tiny, um, and start to learn the lessons of a niche, uh, uh, dominated niche by an industry leader, or, uh, find a niche that's not dominated and work to install yourself as the winner. Yeah. 

Michael Veazy: The only thing I would say to that, and I could agree with every word you said is that actually I think is bigger than the internet. There was a study in the sixties, which was before ARPANET even really existed. And even then they found that pretty much all markets tend towards monopoly. I think what happens on the internet is accelerates and intensifies it.

I think I see this as extremely, uh, intense on Amazon. So I think you have to respect that reality that if there's the classic, uh, problem that people fall into, particularly when they're new, but not only then is that you get excited by the size of a market or the time the total adjustable market that's really totally irrelevant.

The only thing that matters is what you can take. And to the point of the star principle being the number two in a market, sounds like a great idea. If you're making X amount of money where X feels like a lot to you, but if you're not the dominant player, you don't get the economies of scale. You don't get to set the prices.

You get to define the, you know, if I'm selling an iPhone and I want to sell a Samsung, okay. I find is defined what it gets smartphone equals. Now I have to be different from or better than, but I can't just be my own thing. And therefore, um, I think we have to respect the nature of the monopolized than lost more monopolistic nature, and therefore just stay away from most markets quite simply. 

Jason Miles: And what a lot of people don't understand when you're not the leader in your category, is that when as new people come in, basically think of it like this way.

If you're the market leader, your job is to grow the overall market. And when new entrants come in, they will receive an ever decreasing fraction of the total addressable market. And so even if let's say there's five players in your space right now, and you're the dominant one, the others will receive smaller fractions as you go down from the second place, third place, fourth place.

But imagine if you have a hundred players in your space, each of them will receive an even smaller fraction of the incremental sales that occur. And so as the market leader, even as something goes larger, larger, larger, which is your job to basically promote the category or the topic, uh, you are the you're the de facto winner and entrance become less.

It becomes less and less appealing for entrance. The more there are the worst their economics all get, um, and their marketing, their energy, their enthusiasm for the topic will, uh, creek to you. It, it will roll to you as the market leader. And those dynamics are very fascinating to, to think through anyway. Yeah. 

Joseph: Well, the part of it that I was struck by the most was when you had been referred to that, if it's not a monopoly, it ends up being a duopoly. And then you, and you pointed out the competition between say a Apple and everybody else, which I would say is spearheaded by Samsung. So I guess I could say Apple versus Samsung, but even that isn't, uh, telling the full story.

And the reason why it stuck out to me is because while, um, monopoly is often the result of, uh, of market, uh, and commerce, I think duopoly. Is the result of just the human condition or just our understanding of the universe at large, uh, cause we can break down a number of things. Some of which I won't say out loud because some are controversial, but many things can be broken down into this or that.

Uh, you have light and you have dark you of life. You have death, you have star, you have stop. I what my position is and I wanted to hear if you guys think, uh, there there's likes to this, or if you disagree, explain why is that I think duopoly is the ideal, um, market structure because it's the closest one to our ability to function as humans.

Um, you have a, you have two party systems and a lot of in, in the United States you have a gift Coke versus Pepsi you have. Are, are you, I mean, yeah, I guess there's like the Amber light, but for the most part it's red light, it's green light. So I think our ability to understand things as humans is, uh, characterized by our ability to put things into this or that.

Jason Miles: Well, the winner will always have people who hate their service or product, right. So where do those people go? So, so success breeds like complainer's, you know, like there's just going to be people who are unhappy with whatever you've done, whether it's a service or a product. And so it does set the stage for a dominant second position.

Um, from there it breaks into a million shards and it falls apart beyond that our recent track trout did the seminal work in this regard in terms of marketing, um, marketing warfare is their book and their basic commentary is be the category leader or create a new category. And those are your two choices.

Um, and that logic has been applied in business over and over and over again and all disciplines. And, um, I think it's sound thinking. 

Michael Veazy: To that point, I think that I'm glad you mentioned the cat creating a new category thing, because I think that's actually the key often for a star business and Richard Kosch by the way, just to, just to put why I think Richard Kosch is as a God amongst men, because first of all, he's a consultant and then he retired from that and those fifties, whatever, with a few million pounds and turn that into, I think he's worth like somewhere so fractional billionaire, 300 billion, million dollars or something from his own investments.

So he followed his own advice, which is pretty rare. The second thing is out of 16 investments you had lost. I heard eight had a positive return. No venture capital gets close. The average, average, good venture capitalist with experience and battles cars, one in 10. So the, the guy's a legend and what he did, for example, his first big investment was in Betfair and Betfair was in the gambling category. They created an online version of it. So it's not a neatly e-commerce example, but at least it's internet based. And, um, this created a new niche. And the definition of when is something, a new niche is a really critical one. It's quite subtle, but he gives a few hints. For example, you got different consumers, different competitors.

So for a while, they didn't really have any direct competitors because if you've ever been in a betting shop in the UK, there's sort of used to be full of very old men, smoking rollouts and was kind of a sad place. Whereas online at home, it was a different experience and they turned out they didn't have any direct competition.

So he invested a million pounds or 1.5 million bucks didn't need to invest any more that turned into a hundred million pounds because they created a category and then dominated it. And of course other competitors have come in. And to your point, you're always going to have the culture and the counterculture, but even as so-called you opoly is normally.

There's normally one person is winning a lot better than others. For example, with parts of political systems, without getting, I'm not an incident, the allegiance to this, but in the UK system, like the labor party is the kind of, you know, the, the second pass in  is I guess, or the conservative party or the sort of policy currently of government.

But if we actually lived, look at the statistics, labor party has been around for about a century. They haven't been in power for a great deal of that. So actually, if you're looking at the monopolistic nature of the UK government, it's mostly conservative with certain variety of labor, just every so often.

So even as you, hopefully isn't normally an equal thing. Um, so the dynamics of these things are very interesting, but I think the key is just to be creating a new category or breaking off a version such that it could become is a really super powerful thing. And to some extent, I think, you know, pixie faire is a really great example of that.

It's not a new category, but you dominated it. You've consolidated it. You created a home for those consumers in a way that possibly didn't exist before. 

Joseph: And, and, and that's a very important end point. And so even if I relate that back to, um, a lot of, uh, fundamental, uh, human or universal understandings, when you just look at life and death, well, life is far more the winning side of this because we all have our experiences based on life.

And death is something that well, I mean, it happens and it's something that we're aware of, but it's, it certainly doesn't influence us to the same level that life is influencing us because we're living in each moment. That's something that I'm going to want to like, think about it for hours and hours and hours.

As I lay awake, unable to fall asleep, it was like, how do these different competing sides actually end up. Oh, holding their own market share at the universe. So that's something I'm just going to take away. Uh, I, and I, and I will say too, um, just to compare how politics are in Canada and I, and I don't want to like go down this rabbit hole because we're almost out of time anyways, but just as a statement of fact and observation is that I, I, I believe that Canada is dominantly a, is a, is a left-leaning country.

It's a, you know, a liberal minded country. And so I would say that the liberal party here is more of the dominant party. Uh, whereas the conservative is more like the, the counter, uh, country. And a lot of that just has to do with, I think the mindset, Oh, this is a rather progressive country in a lot of ways.

We have a lot of progressive pockets, not throughout the whole country, but when just taking what you're saying and thinking about it myself is that, yeah, we, there, there is a dominant party here, even if they're not always in power. 

Michael Veazy: Yeah, politics is a dirty game. Yeah. scary. 

Jason Miles: Hate politics. 

Joseph: Yeah. Okay. Fair, fair. Fair enough. I, but, uh, I just thought it was worth observing, so I will, uh, put a, put a pin in that before that mic blows up. So I use another one little tidbit I wanted to share with our audience that you guys talk about on your show. Uh, it was a difference between tribe versus community and I've, I've heard people say to me before, you know, find your tribe, find your tribe.

I'm like, yeah, that sounds like a great idea. What's a tribe exactly. In what, how does, how, when is it, when is it a tribe and when is it a community? 

Jason Miles: Yeah, it's a great question. Um, and, and I think the main takeaway from that whole conversation is to get clear on, um, the, the opportunity you have to bond with people and your customers, um, and whether or not.

Yeah, that that is existing with, or without you and how you partner or participate in that situation. And, um, you know, there are a lot of online communities, for example, that have sprung up over the last 30 years for niches or industries or topics, you know, there's million of them. Uh, and, and, uh, that's one thing, um, and understanding who the community leaders are and, you know, who's sort of a thought leaders in the space.

Um, and, and I think that's different than understanding your true fans or your like, you know, the famous article about find your 1000 true fans. Um, and I think it's important to think through the difference between those two things. Um, and if you co-op to community, uh, the, and they support you, that's fine.

Just realize they can just as quickly disown you or own someone else as their solution to their problems. And whereas a tribe or a thousand true fans would be people who are passionate about. Your implementation of the product or your, you know, your solution that you're offering. I think there's nuance there between the two. Yeah. 

Michael Veazy: I really love this distinction, like every time again, the podcast adjacents one reason I do is because he comes up with something I'm like, wow, this is amazing. Um, this makes me think, for example, I'm an avid Apple user, but I'm not an Apple fan boy, to the extent that I'm going to go and queue up in the rain.

There are certain people who will always forever buy Apple products. I am not one of those people. I'm one of those people that sort of artistic creative type and I golf musician friends and photographer and friends, which is very useful in e-commerce and, um, they tend to own max and I guess I I've got it for that reason.

I mostly got it cause I was sick of PC. So it was more of a reaction against, it was almost a counter-cultural thing wanting that works, but I will throw it out the window with swearing and get another thing. If it's, if it keeps them misbehaving, like my current iMac is not behaving the way it should.

The flip side also to, to your point there, Jason, that you can do so, uh, you know, a community as distinct from a tribe of fans is thinking if you're, if you're making that distinction, if I've got it, if there were language about right, can not only disown you, but I think that the flip side of love is not disinterested.

It's hate. I get passionately angry with stuff that I paid a lot of money in that have great face in the brand and then let's be down. Um, you know, that happens with cars that my dad used to own a BMW, which is famously pretty reliable. And these days apparently they break down a lot and they've got electronics.

I don't personally know because I don't own a car cause I've lived in central London, but, um, You know, with my Mac is a classic case in point that I get very, very angry to an extent I didn't with the PC. I got frustrated, but I kind of thought, well, this is a piece of junk. I kind of expect it. So there's also the, that's another nasty nuance that if you're going to bake people passionate about your brand, you better serve them.

Well, particularly if you're premium because the expectations are really high. 

Joseph: One thing I'd like to add on to that too, is that when, uh, someone who is, uh, that passionate and they enter that mindset where they're, uh, their love has now converted into an equal amount of hate is for a, for a marketer or just for the business.

That is an opportunity to then turn that hate into an even deeper, even more passionate love if they are, if you're willing to pull them out of that. So, one example for me is when, uh, I've been a lifelong Nintendo fan and I, uh, the, the, the previous console generation, it was this tablet that would plug into the, into the device and I didn't use it all that much.

And then I tried charging it in and then all of a sudden, it just, it just bricked. And so I called an a dentist, says, listen, guys, I barely use this. And all of a sudden in a bricks. And he says, yeah, you are like a few days past the warranty. I'm like, Oh, okay. Now I'm getting really ticked off here. I explained to them.

I, I came from a place of, you know, I I've been a fan my whole life. I have, I've always loved Nintendo and I just  and they can tell, they can tell that I'm honest in my inflection and say, okay, just, uh, just, just mail it in. And we'll, um, we'll fix that right up. Uh, and then I know the time I dropped one of my devices, it smashed and, uh, and they had shipped me a new one, um, uh, afterwards that basically got costs.

So it didn't, it didn't, it didn't have to buy like a whole brand new one. So like, there was a moment where I was going to be really, really, really disgruntled. And I was going to, uh, express that and it was going to cause it, and, and I think they understand that they understand that when people are passionate and they want to, and they have access to social media, I all, all 15 followers on my personal YouTube channel, we're going to, we're going to hear about this.

That can cause a lot of damage. So we understand that. Okay. Here's a, here's a market opportunity. Let's see if we can pull them out of that, that dark moment and get them into an even brighter spot than they were before. 

Michael Veazy: It's obviously true. The classic case on Amazon, which is kind of so primitive and obvious that it shouldn't need saying, but people still need to say it.

Sometimes it seems is very simply that if somebody gives you a one star review and of course Amazon makes it incredibly difficult to find who it is. But if you can do that, um, through various means of diligence then, and turn it around and give them a new products, refund, be profoundly apologetic, even send them a card.

And the post says that then, um, you often will get it turned into a five-star review, but even if you don't, and this is the thing that we need to just be broadminded about the word of mouth, I swear that there'll be talking about it to somebody. If you give them an exceptional experience, even if they don't bother you to get down to updating your, your listing. And of course they've dinged your conversion rate, which makes the economics of that product worse. So it matters, but still we got to do everything we can. We've got to really stand behind that, that promise that we've made to community. And I think to your point, Jason, that I think, um, in the end and this sort of ties in with what we were saying about somebody finding something that matters to them.

I think we got to do stuff that matters to us. I think if you don't do that in the end with a sort of millennial driven consumer base now, um, now that they're are outnumbering, the baby boomers, aren't by definition, we'll do more over the years to come. We can't afford to be anything less than engaged because it's kind of almost dangerous to be half-hearted now.

Joseph: Well, well, yeah. Uh, speaking as the, uh, uh, the millennial out of the three of us, uh, I, there, there, yeah, I can, I can definitely attest to, if I were, uh, an unhappy, I would have, I think, seven or eight different channels, both on social media, different WhatsApp groups, uh, call my mom. There's a lot of things that I can do to, to cause damage.

All right. Uh, so, um, I got one more question that I want to ask you and then I'll let you, uh, let you both go. And this one is some, a thread that I have been working on in a lot of the conversations that I've been having with people. Um, so it's not specifically to do with a content that I picked up from you guys is just more of like something that I want to get your take on.

And it has a and actually it ties into a lot of what we've just been talking about. So one of, I guess the promotional term is one of the things you hear about in the e-commerce base is, you know, be your own boss, you know, don't get, if they want to be cynical about it, they say fire boss. I'm like, you know, okay, you don't have to go that far, but here's where I've had an issue with it, which is that I think as long as we are in the interest of trying to make money, someone is our boss. And sometimes it's just one person that is paying us. Sometimes it's moved like when I was freelancing, it was like several bosses. So that one pressure from one person is now disseminated across seven people or how many clients I had at the time.

But when we're running a store, when we still have bosses, we just have thousands and not tens of thousands and not hundreds of thousands of them. So now the pressure from one person is now spread out over many, many, many, many, many people. And when I, I just wanted to hear your take on that is like, is. It w where am I?

Where is my logic? Maybe not quite chalking up, or do you do agree? Do you disagree? Overall? I the, the fundamental point is we are always working for somebody regardless if it's one person or a thousand. 

Jason Miles: Yeah. Um, well, I was, uh, my olden days when I was a nine to five guy, I was a human resources guy for half my career.

And then, um, and, and then ultimately I was in charge of all human resources. And so I do take your point about the customer in essence, being a form of boss, but, but there's, you know, parsing it out a bit. What a boss literally has is higher fire authority over you and customers do not have that. So, you know, there, there is a difference now, you know, I've, I went full-time with our, our business on January 1st, 2014.

And it was the day I ended my, uh, you know, nine to five career. But now I work 24, seven, three 65 on a whole bunch of projects all the time. And, uh, although technically I don't have a boss I'm in a 50 50 partnership with my wife really in support of her business. She, you know, and so, uh, she, there's this funny sinus at one time on the show, gold rush, Alaska.

And it was over this guy's desk. Tony beets is the guy he's a real character. And, uh, the sign over, it said, I'm the CEO, because she said I could be. And, you know, so that's sort of fun jab, but just the reality that, um, you know, we do all have bosses to some degree, but when you are a CEO of your own company or owner of your own company, you really have removed a lot of the controls over just the top level choices that can or can't be made.

Uh, and, um, and, and so there's huge, you know, comfort in that. If you can make it work on your own, I think you realize over time, wow. I've liberated myself from having that type of control or pressure on my life. Uh, and it's, uh, that's why people go into business frequently and it's an incredibly valuable part of being a business owner is the sense of control. Yeah. 

Michael Veazy: So I've got to take on this as well. Uh, we were always working for somebody was your kind of discuss point load the British essay style would be in the, you know, we're always waiting for somebody to discuss first thing, be your own boss. In my case, that's a mixed blessing because I'm often working for an idiot who is very ambitious indeed for his work, his IME and my VAs in the Philippines who sets ridiculous, ridiculous, ridiculous workloads.

My workload for a day normally is actually a pretty full week. And I know this of myself and I try to back off it. So working for yourself is a mixed blessing, depending who you are and how good you are at project management and people management, right? 

Jason Miles: Your a bad boss to yourself? 

Michael Veazy: I'm a bad boss to myself. Yeah, I am what I'm within a sort of structure of a company or an organization then that's mitigated by other people say, might, you know, we're not going to actually achieve, you know, this project in a week is going to be 10 weeks.

And I go, ah, yeah. Okay. So I think the first thing is if you're your own boss, you need to get by two things, I think, to, to counterbalance that insanity that can descend for the very ambitious person, which I certainly would count myself as number one, get a coach because you need some outside head, particularly if you don't have a business partner and number two, get into a mastermind of your peers because they'll be going through the same stuff and they could give a bit of reaction to when you propose something and everyone goes, dude, that's never going to happen at that time.

Sorry. There may be there. Right? So that's the first reflection. The circle. And when they maybe to make it too, to think about the orientation too, in a bit more of a generous mindset, the whole idea of not working for somebody as a desirable concept in an interesting one. So it reminds me of the Stephen Covey, seven habits of highly effective people continuum.

He talks about dependence independence, interdependence. For me, this really ties in with the things you've just referenced a dependence, it being an employee. If your boss dislikes you, they fire you, you're dependent on their opinion. And that leads to certain behaviors. Some not so good. The second one is independence.

If we lost the mentality, which was kind of, I was still trying to wean myself off of my, my wife has that. So we're both, we're freelance musicians in London. Um, independence is so, so important, those people, um, and Robert Kiyosaki talks about this in his little diagram, doesn't he? The, the, the fault, the quadrant, um, and then interdependence.

It's more of a feeling of like, we, we depend on other people. I can't make anything happen without guys in China, without, um, people, um, who are doing photography with Amazon fulfilling stuff. For me, I don't even want to be the guy fulfilling stuff. Why would I want to be, you know, a solo preneur in the end, that's a miserable existence.

So that changes, maybe I would just want it to come to the end and say, we could change the language and saying, instead of saying, we're always working for someone, you could say we're serving someone. We could be serving them unwillingly. If they're telling us to do stuff we don't want to do. And I do, I want to get up in the middle of the night and deal with some crisis.

No, really. But is it important? Is it part of my service to people? Well, okay. If I see it that way, it's a different mentality. It's a different feel of it. And I think that in the end we have to be humble enough to say, well, we're kind of going to get paid for serving people, but we should have the mentality of serving without getting paid anyway, that are to that the point of, I forget who it is, who said it, but the idea of being the, you know, sort of the person who takes care of the clients or the consumers before they spend any money with us, that we have that mentality. And if we can try and develop that, I think it changes things less of a burden. 

Joseph: I think your point about interdependence is one major takeaway for sure is that no one is going to survive, thrive or flourish in business without other people did the idea that like a lot of my ability to succeed with my own store is dependent on a country very, very, very far away from here is one thing that, I mean, it's been true. It's been true all this time and yet. Yeah, this is really probably the first time that has really sunk in. So, uh, that to me is like my, my, my major takeaway. And with that, I'm going to let both of you, uh, I, I almost don't want to let you guys go, but I'm, I'm, I'm afraid I'm going to have to, so, um, let the audience know how they can check out your content and if they want to reach out to either of you individually or as a collective or whoever, however you two prefer to do this, uh, by all means, let us know.

Jason Miles: The simplest thing to do is the e-commerce leader.com uh, is the, uh, the website for our podcast, which is called the e-commerce leader and happy to have people check it out. It's, uh, an honor to be, uh, you know, in conversation with Michael and we do a conversational podcast on topics. We don't do interviews, I guess, so that it's just sort of a different style of podcast and we have a great time with it.

We try to do deep dive. We're currently running down that track as we talked about of, uh, e-commerce first principles, but we've got a couple of years track record now of putting out a lot of great content. And so people can check that out. Yeah. 

Michael Veazy: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, to, to Jason's point, um, we can, uh, be found on Spotify or Apple podcasts and what's nice is that I get feedback from some really bright guys who are listening and, and enjoy the content.

So it's not a huge audience, but I think the quality of the ones that I stumble across is, is really good. So we're reaching the people that I guess we intended to reach with the kind of message we wanted to get out there. I guess the other thing to say about it is we tend to dwell on and start from sort of 50,000 foot view concepts rather than being very tactical oriented, because there's so much of that out there that I guess we didn't feel we needed to add that.

Um, so there's sort of just the topics we talked about today is kind of quite typical of the sort of thing you would get if you listened to as well. Um, in terms of getting hold of me, I guess we ought to also mention that we, we, we do work separately, um, as consultants. So for me, the best thing I offer at the moment is probably the amazonmastermind.com, which is a small group intensive work with six and seven figure Amazon sellers, many of whom also developing their own Shopify stores as well.

And, um, that's been very successful about three and a half years. So that's, that's thing to check out for people at that stage. Hey, Jason, do you want to tee up? 

Jason Miles: Oh yeah. Winning on shopify.com as our, as our coaching, uh, site and for blogging, I have a business partner, Kyle hammer, and I, he focuses on Amazon sellers and I focus on Shopify sellers and, uh, together we do our coaching.

Yeah. It's a fun, fun, fun job. 

Michael Veazy: Well, I, I enjoyed listening to your podcast. I, myself, as I've established, uh, numerous times is I'm a big fan of fundamentals. I think it's really important to get the fundamentals right before you move into the tactics and move into the strategy because you can learn the strategy, but if you don't know why they work, then it, it will, it's just not going to, it's just not going to matter.

So, uh, with that, uh, thank you to both of you for being here. This has been a lot of fun, and I really appreciate both your time. 

Jason Miles: Thank you. 

Michael Veazy: Been a pleasure. 

Joseph: Excellent. All right, listeners. Uh, I think you'll know what to do, and if you don't go and listen to, um, many, many more episodes, both for myself and, uh, our guests here and as well as, uh, all of the guests, everybody has a really important to say.

And I think each and every one contributes a really important piece of the puzzle. So, uh, go off and, and put your puzzle together. Take care. 

Thanks for listening. You might've found this show on many number of platforms, Apple podcasts, Spotify, Google play, Stitcher, or right here on Debutify. Whatever the case, if you enjoy this content and want to help us thrive, please take a few moments to leave a review on Apple podcasts or wherever you think is best. 

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Joseph Ianni

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