The Future of DTC


Today on commerce tea we are looking towards the future.

The future of commerce. We are joined by Ethan Choi, Partner at Accel. Specializing in growth, today he is joining us to talk about one of his favorite topics: consumer internet companies. What's that? Well...

Let's dig in!



Ethan Choi

Ethan Choi joined Accel in 2018 and invests in SaaS companies that are redefining workflow and collaboration, enterprise automation, and e-commerce infrastructure. He also focuses on consumer internet companies and online marketplaces.  

He represents Accel on the boards of 1Password, Klaviyo, Nuvemshop, Shogun and Invoca, and helped lead Accel’s investment in Bird.

Prior to Accel, Ethan worked at Spectrum Equity, where he led investments in and served in board roles at Lucid Software and PicMonkey. He also worked on investments in Headspace, Jimdo, and Prezi, and was actively involved with Ethan also spent time at Domo Technologies and Dell EMC, focusing on product development and strategy.

Ethan is from Sydney, Australia and graduated from Brigham Young University.



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show notes.

  • [03:23] Who is Ethan Choi?
  • [06:36] How did you get into tech?
  • [07:59] Why DTC?
  • [19:30] What is a consumer internet company?
  • [22:23] What does the future of commerce look like?
  • [25:54] What does the future of DTC look like?
  • [29:43] Let's talk about the conference coming up!
  • [32:14] QR codes are great
  • [38:39] Book shoutout: Atomic Habits by James Clear
  • [37:44] Book shoutout: The Premonition by Michael Lewis
  • [39:38] Book shoutout: Becoming by Michelle Obama
  • [42:50] Where can you find Ethan on the internet?



Rhian 0:00
Today on Commerce Tea, we are looking towards the future, the future of commerce. We are joined by Ethan cheoy partner at Excel specializing in growth. Today he is joining us to talk about one of his favorite topics, consumer internet companies. What's that? Well, let's dig in.

Welcome to Commerce Tea, a podcast to help you succeed on Shopify.

Kelly 0:29
I'm Ryan. And I'm Kelly. Grab a mug and join us as we talk about all things commerce.

Rhian 0:40
Hey, Kelly, let's say I can't write code, but I want to create workflows that carry out repetitive tasks automatically. So that way I can focus on my business and create great customer experiences. What what to use,

Kelly 0:54
I recommend Mesa a no code workflow builder for any action your customer takes, you can use mesas built in features to extend your connected apps, set up email notifications, receive forms, scheduled tasks delay workflows in much more. Developers like me also love Mesa because we can lift the hood on any automation to customize for total control.

Rhian 1:14
Okay, I'm in how do I start go

Kelly 1:16
to get That's and their team of automation experts will support you on your journey. 24 seven, every aspect of your website is a variable that could be impacting your business's revenue. We all want to grow our business and we may change in the hopes of seeing our business grow. Maybe you add a new graphic here new social proof on your product page there, maybe change your pricing. But do you know if this new thing is helping or hurting you? Today, testing is a requirement understanding what is and isn't working for your business. You don't need to be a rocket scientist test. In fact, I set up my first test in less than 10 minutes on a client store using neat A B testing. After the test was live. We saw a confidence level on each of our tests to know which is actually best for the business, how they sort of see additional revenue per view for each variants. Give her friends that need a be testing twice a day and start testing for your business. Head over to try need AB comm slash commerce dash t to start your 14 day free trial. Again, that's TRY dot n slash commerce dash T.

Rhian 2:25
Here's our intro yay sponsors. I really like that might be not typical for what he is used to.

Unknown Speaker 2:34
No, this is this is fun. You guys make this more fun than just like listening to someone's voice.

Kelly 2:42
That's the goal. That's

Rhian 2:43
an immersive experience. Yeah, that's really truly odd.

Kelly 2:50
For for those listening, because I'm going to make sure that Hello Chris. Chris is our editor. Chris is not going to edit out what just happened. So whenever we're getting ready to start an episode, we just kind of like sing and dance where our intro is supposed to go. And then we actually jump right into the episode. But I think that was just too good to like, well, you guys are good. I got some like dad did bad Dad Dad dancing. And that's well, I do have bad news for the listeners. They do not get to enjoy the dancing. Yeah,

Rhian 3:23
yeah, sorry. Sorry about it. Sorry about it. Well, so even welcome. Who are you? And what do you do?

Unknown Speaker 3:30
First of all, thank you so much for having me on. It's a pleasure. I have been a big fan of the show for a while and just you guys have such a great reputation precedes you guys. So I'm a partner at Excel. We're a global venture capital and growth investment firm, maybe to give a little bit of just 20 seconds on Excel. We've been around for, you know, 40 years as a firm one of the oldest in Silicon Valley. And we're global in terms of our presence, we've got an office in Palo Alto, and then an office in London and Bangalore. And we invest across every stage of a business. So we do seed series A and we're probably most famous for being investors in Facebook in the series A and being the first institutional investors there. And, and then all the way through to you know, very late stage rounds. And so we do a mix of consumer So Facebook, Spotify, Bumble, Etsy, kayak, things like that. And then we do a lot of enterprise software as well. So things that people may know like Slack, Atlassian, Dropbox, Miro, one password. And we do a lot of security and infrastructure software too. So investments like CrowdStrike and, and so forth. And we've done we've been investing in e commerce for a very, very long time. I think if you look at our history, it's I think it's 20 plus investments. We've invested from everything from marketplaces to actually B to C brands to enablement companies to marketplaces. So, a lot of rich experience and I help a lot of our work around DTC and, and the tools and the software that's enabling merchants to go direct to consumer. But I just like to say I stand on the shoulders of giants, because a lot of my partners have have made incredible ecommerce investments that has given us access and gives gives us a unique perspective today.

Kelly 5:31
I'm curious, how did you get into this line of work?

Unknown Speaker 5:35
Oh, boy, okay. You know what, it's so funny. I, the goal, I always love technology. When I was a kid, I won't go into like the cliche, I was pulled apart computers, but I did it. And my dad was was was mad at me. But like, the whole goal was actually I love software. I love the fact that like, you could kind of encode workflow and processing. So my, my goal always was to be like a software entrepreneur, I was going to do a start up and probably fail miserably over and over again. But, you know, ended up being where I, you know, post school, I did a little bit of investment banking. And then I was able to join a firm where I could invest in software companies, and my thinking was two years of investing, and I'm gonna go join a startup or start something. And it just ended up where I just love working with founders so much, and helping them build their business and hire people. And I got enough of that entrepreneur experience plus the ability to work across lots of different companies. And so it's been really fun. So it's almost, I guess, 889 years of doing this.

Kelly 6:36
Oh, cool. I always love origin stories, like how did you end up in like, a very specific career path that I've obviously learned more about since I've been in the e commerce world for a while now. But it's, it's one of those things like, I don't know, do people like go to school specifically, that fall into it, I fell into e commerce. So

Unknown Speaker 6:58
I said something, I'd love to hear your guys's stories, too. But like, for me, it's it's my dad was an entrepreneur. He was an immigrant to from Korea, to Sydney, Australia. And so that's why I've a weird accent. Somewhere in between Australian English and maybe something else and then mixed in there to know just watching him build a business and I think my passion for entrepreneurship. I guess maybe one reason why I've really enjoyed this and had some level of success. Success is because entrepreneurs, they kind of feel like, I want to help build their business and they feel that energy and so yeah, I don't think you you plan on doing this you kind of like fall into because you're so passionate you know about it. So

Rhian 7:38
absolutely. And and we've, we've spoken in the past, and we've talked about just the power of e commerce and direct to consumer. Can you talk a little bit about before I get into the what is the consumer internet company? What do you love about DTC? Why, why that space? Cuz I love it too.

Unknown Speaker 7:59
Yeah, you know, I like to say, and maybe this is just I'm being so self deprecating on this call, but like, I'm just not cool enough to invest in like the very cool DTC brands, like, I like b2b software. I'm sorry, I do. And so it works out where this layer like I can still help really cool businesses. You know, like, I was talking to our place the the ceramic frying pans last week on mine.

Kelly 8:28
20 minutes. My wife?

Unknown Speaker 8:29
Yeah, yeah, I think she's bought like five of them. For me, actually, it kind of ties back to entrepreneurs and helping them and so I remember, like, as a little kid, helping my mom who had a small business, she had this little health sale on, and I just remember helping her market some of her services and, and like the little things I would do, it actually would drive some results. You know, and so, I think for me, the Small Business entrepreneur, the person who's just starting out who's got a dream of building something really cool and selling it to lots of people, I really gravitate towards that. And so this this ability to invest in the picks and shovels, layer and add on though I you know, Holly Finkelstein, which you had on your, he likes to say, you know, arming the rebels and I kind of love that, you know, there are behemoths out there like Amazon and they don't need any help from investors like me, or,

Kelly 9:26
or anyone

Unknown Speaker 9:26
else. Anyone. You know, I know maybe some of my stuff sounds like I'm trying to villainize him, I don't, maybe there are things that that that they could do better for their merchants, etc, etc. But they're, they're a necessary part of what needs to happen for e commerce to reach its full potential. They had to go and build the infrastructure, the payments, logistics, you know, invest billions of dollars. And but at some point, merchants grow up and they say, hey, look, this is the best thing for me. I need to want to take control of my own customers because on these marketplaces, they don't Get to actually engage with them one on one. I think that's not cool. You know, it's in some respects, I think, obviously the marketplace is bringing customers directly. And it's almost like instant demand. But what they give up in return is that ability to really build personal long term relationships with their customers. And, and so for me, I think just the key to success for any business long term is to own the those customer relationships. And I think, in this new day and age of, of what shopping looks like, where everything is moving towards digital. You know, I think a lot of it is about giving the tools that Amazon has like personalization and search and, you know, Merchandising, and putting the power of those marketplaces and the technology that they have, to the small businesses. And I think that's something I really resonate with.

Kelly 10:51
I could talk about Amazon, like for this entire episode. Guess you could do like the, you know, here are the, you know, the reasons why they exist. And I could just be like,

Rhian 11:05
Well, have you on 2.0, the 2.0 edition?

Unknown Speaker 11:07
No, but you know, it's funny, because like, actually, one of the things I want to talk about too, is like just how global this whole phenomenon is at DVC. And maybe I can weave that in now, because I did go into a ton of work to go and basically map out what's happening globally in DC. Because it is a global trend, obviously, thanks to the pandemic. And prior to that it was kind of slow moving. But you know, in Africa, you have jumia, which is the Amazon equivalent coupon in South Korea, you have Mercado Libre down in Latin America, you have the C group down in Southeast Asia. And it's amazing because you see the same pattern play out, these marketplaces go out, they invest, they Forge, the heart and the infrastructure, they they vet, the merchants, they build trust with consumers, they subsidize some of the experience. And then once people are used to buying things online, the merchants kind of gain more power, and they should become more independent, and you're seeing this DTC wave happen everywhere, it's really amazing to see. So

Kelly 12:06
it really is. And you know, from the agency standpoint, you know, I've had so much opportunity to speak with these merchants from all around the globe, that it really isn't just a, you know, just here stateside, or anything like that. And it's cool seeing the differences in like, the creativity that's coming out from, you know, various places as well.

Unknown Speaker 12:26
It's amazing. And I think it's, it's all about like the again, like power, empowering the person who's dreaming up a big company in the garage, or wherever it may be. And so I think the key thing is, you know, what Shopify did incredibly well, and others like big commerce, and, and, you know, over in Asia is in South Korea, there's one called cafe 24. And in Hong Kong, and Southeast Asia, this one called shelf life, we invested in a company called noodle shop, which is doing that in Latin America, is to try and make the software really easy to use. And so I think if you can make a delightful experience for the merchants, they can use it. And it's something that actually that's why that's another reason why D to C hadn't happened historically, because actually, a lot of that software was only built for enterprises. So Salesforce commerce cloud, or Magento, or, you know, Oracle ATG, they were big, heavy, it took six to 12 to two years to implement, and you had to get out, you know, it was it's just so expensive and time consuming. And so for the SMB and mid market, merchants Finally, you know, these platforms emerged, and it gave them really easy to use software, and then in the ecosystem, to go and build all the things that they needed to. And I think it does take a village. And I think the platforms that are smart enough to enable other developers to build on top of the platform, like Shopify and big commerce and moving shop and, and others. It's the right approach, because there's way too much to build for one single company,

Kelly 13:54
and they're not one size fits all, either. No, that's right. And you know, rightfully, that's why both Ryan and I have flourishing businesses build on top of Shopify.

Unknown Speaker 14:05
100%. And I think the thing I always say is like, so in the US, right, we're at 17%, ecommerce penetration, actually, all my work, I can give you the origin story of like, why I started all this work was like, actually, about five or six years ago, I almost invested in Magento, we're looking at that business, they spun out of eBay. And I was I remember, like, impressive business, I got to know the CEO Mark LaBelle, and this great guy, great guy named Mike lead and the rest of the great team there. But like, the thing that stood out to me the most was like we were 8% penetrated in the US ecommerce. And I remember like, just that that stat kept me up at night because I was like, why is this so behind? Why like we're in 2016 like eight out of every dollar eight, you know, eight cents out of every dollar is like only ecommerce and I was like What is going on? And so it set me on this quest of like, Okay, I'm going to go find we missed Shopify. are missed off by as an investor. And I was like, Look, I'm going to go find at least the the other areas that I can invest in whether it sits on top of Shopify or otherwise, I got to go find them because there is this massive wave coming. And this is even before we thought a pandemic, I mean, none of us knew this was going to hit in 2020. And so when the pandemic hit it took was I frankly, I think, as an investor, what was seemed like a really sleepy category. Like, actually, I think, prior to the pandemic, if you if you talk to a lot of investors, they just weren't really super excited about this category, except for shop, you know, Shopify, and, you know, actually, you know, we invested into amazing apps that sit on top of Shopify and clay, vo and Shogun, which we can talk more about, but you know, even those two, as I brought those up, and actually recharge, you know, ocean over there, like, we were nervous about platform risk, and I got that question constantly. And so, but I think in the end, it's the wave is so big, even if you sit on top of Shopify, you can build multi hundreds, millions of revenue, multi billion dollar valuation businesses, because the eecom wave is so big, and I think there's decades and decades and decades of penetration left to go. Without a doubt, so something

Kelly 16:11
I also stress to like shopper, potential Shopify partners, even like, there's, you know, we're talking like, there are over a million merchants on Shopify, but then you have all these other like app partners, and you don't have to have, you know, one, there's a competition exists for a reason, there doesn't have to be only one item, one market, one app in the space, you know, build something cool, find your niche, find some way to make it different or better. And you can really thrive.

Unknown Speaker 16:41
It's incredible, and shopping is going to change so much. So if you look at China, like the 10 years ahead of us and the way they shop, it's actually quite embarrassing. USA all the way by Hey, when it comes to eecom, where like we're moving at a snail's pace compared to you know, China and you know, live shopping and you know, they're buying things inside of super apps and the way they you know, there's a company called pin Duo Duo that it's social commerce where like a village leader, this is for tier two or tier three markets in China, where they don't have a lot of infrastructure like a group leader will go and buy something in bulk and then distribute it to the rest of the village. It's it's incredible and that business is growing, you know, at a billion of revenue doubling year over year and so like, we the way we shop is going to be so different in 510 years and so I think not only do we have tons of penetration left to go but a big evolution in the way we shop this consumers.

Rhian 17:38
Yeah, I think that's fascinating. I've always been very interested to in in payments and why the West tends to be light years behind everybody. I remember I mean, we've only just really tap is really

Kelly 18:00
and we still a lot of cards still don't even have a pin so

Unknown Speaker 18:04
debit cards are terrible for like, no Apple Apple built this amazing Apple Pay technology. No one like adopted it. Yeah, so like we're forced to. And so we love We love like the feel of plastic for some reason. I guess it's American. So finally we got used to touch with payments. But yeah, it's it's so funny. I'm still trying to get my head around why sometimes we're so behind, in some ways, here in the US compared to Asia and other places. But the exciting thing is, in some ways, like our economies ahead, in many ways our e commerce markets behind so it means that there's just all that much more opportunity for us, right? Yes,

Rhian 18:39
I love opportunity. I love it so much,

Kelly 18:43
Adrian, what can I do to help my support team be more efficient?

Rhian 18:46
I recommend gorgeous, gorgeous combines all your communications channels, including email, SMS, social media, live, chat and phone into one platform that gives you an organized view of all help requests. This saves your support team hours per day and makes managing customer orders a breeze. Sounds great.

Kelly 19:06
What else can I do?

Rhian 19:08
with gorgeous you can pre write and save responses to your most frequently asked questions. You even have access to the customer's order information. So you can personalize responses with things like an order or tracking number. This then frees up your time so your support team can focus on complex questions.

Kelly 19:26
This sounds like a great way to also increase sales and brand loyalty. Where can I learn more can request a

Rhian 19:30
demo visit Commerce forward slash gorgeous, that's Commerce slash GORG II s Okay, we could we could jam on this all day when it comes to I feel like there's several moments where I'm like okay, we definitely need to have Ethan back on because I want to talk more about building on top of the Shopify platform because even if you get 1% penetration, you're absolutely crushing it. You know, and I want to talk more about klaviyo and Shogun and and some of them Other folks that you you partner with and invest in, and you sit on the board of which, by the way, is really, really cool. I want to talk about consumer internet companies, because we told everyone what is a consumer internet company? If you could define that for our listeners, please?

Unknown Speaker 20:18
If you think about the internet, it's, it's, I mean, making a very obvious statement. It's, it's all pervasive. Right? And so it's, I guess, if you were to just say consumer internet, you know, the first companies that come to mind are the social media platforms, right? You know, they deliver content, they deliver commerce, they do deliver multiple consumer experiences all in one platform. You know, in my history, I've invested in a few of these, but mostly subscription focused ones versus kind of ad based one. So you know,, one password. headspace And so, you know, for me, as long as they leverage the Internet, and delivering some, you know, unique service for consumer, that's a consumer internet company. The funny thing to your point is, you know, almost all software these days, like a consumer can go and use and test out like Slack, you know, originally was built for developers and businesses, but you know, consumers were using for church groups, etc. So I think the definition is blurred these days. But, but I think as long as they've got something that that a consumer loves and, and loves and experiences, user loves experience using then, to consume it to a company.

Kelly 21:42
I was doing some research on this earlier today. And I had pulled up this article from TechCrunch. And kind of set an aside, but it was explained how you can break it down into, like, easy to easy to understand what the company is, and hard to actually do it hard to build it hard to deliver on it. And they have a category that's hard to explain, easy to do in that category is there and I just thought that was funny. Again, total aside, unrelated, but I've had that tab up for a little while now. Oh, that's a that's a separate podcast, we could go. Yeah,

Rhian 22:23
that's podcast 3.0. a whole other thing I was I was speaking to somebody about doing due diligence yesterday, actually. And that person was my mother. And that was last night, when I was talking about VCs and angel investing. And I was talking to explaining about due diligence and the importance of due diligence. Anyways, I digress. Here's another question for you. What do you think the future of commerce looks like? Great, broad question. Very, very broad.

Unknown Speaker 22:52
Yeah. Look, I think I talked about, I keep hammering on this drum of 50% ecommerce penetration at some point where we get parity between, you know, offline and online spend. And I think I make this prediction. I wrote this op ed, and I think we publish it on excels blog. I made that prediction that we'll get there within 10 years. I might be wrong. But I make the prediction. And if if we get to that penetration, what what does that look like? I think Amazon continues to be a big part of our story, that story and our lives. And you know, today they're 30 something percent of, you know, US ecommerce market share. Actually, 2020 incredibly, was the first year that they lost US market. I don't know why people aren't talking about this.

Rhian 23:42
I didn't know I didn't know. Would you say that one more time? Say it again?

Unknown Speaker 23:47
Yes. And 2020. The pandemic year was the first year that Amazon lost us ecommerce market share after 20 plus years of continued gain, right. It's pretty remarkable. And so for me, that's why I'm so excited about this DVC train, because if you think about where that share went to, from just being honest, and hopefully not being, you know, making taking people off everywhere, but a lot of it went to D to C, and a lot of it went to Shopify, frankly, like Shopify shared more than doubled. Their gmv. Shopify is gmv about double that at a billion dollars of scale. And so, look, I think, a universe where merchants have direct relationships with us, they understand us as consumers, it kind of replicates the experience of going into a store that you you frequent, right? Like, hey, Mary there understands your she understands what looks good on you, you know, she understands like, you know, the colors that you like, etc. I think I think people do want that consumers want that. They don't want that in a privacy, you know, you know, I guess endangering way. But if merchants do that with respect. And they have the data and the tools to personalize experiences. I think that's a universe I want to live in. And I think that's what US consumers want. And I think that's where we're headed. And so I think my hope is a big chunk of that 50% ecommerce penetration is his merchants and using great software like bento, bento oven, clever cleveo, and Shogun and nuvem shop and Shopify and big commerce and others. And I think it's harder to do, because you got to be more thoughtful around what your technology stack looks like and how you use data. But in the end, it's going to pay off emotions.

Kelly 25:39
That's the question in this 50% you know, shift towards 50%. ecommerce, it I feel like it would be at the expense of retail. So how do you envision the retail experience changing? If we're moving more online?

Unknown Speaker 25:54
Yeah, I wouldn't reframe like at the expense because if you think about it, like it's really just a shift of spend, right? So if the brands do a good job, it'll just be like, less dollars coming out of you know, the the traffic and more dollars on eecom. And so I think the the forward thinking brands don't think of it necessarily as a, you know, like a zero sum game. It's how can we expand our presence and market share? And and be in all the, you know, be with consumers, which today is, frankly, mostly on our phones, right? How do we create mobile first brand experiences that differentiate us? And I think if you hear from, you know, we've got, I don't mean to shamelessly plug, but we've got this ecommerce conference that actually real and speaking that, so please come to us, you can be an amazing panelist. But it's on Wednesday, June 16. And we have some amazing Chief Digital Officers speaking there from you know, the the Gucci group, which is carrying brands and tapestry, which is Kate Spade and Spanx and Under Armour and athleta. And they'll talk about, hey, this isn't like a, this is a shift game. It's not something that's expensive. But I think, I think what what we hope we see is hopefully more integrated experiences. I don't know what that looks like.

Kelly 27:12
That's kind of what I was getting to, like, there are more companies who are starting to utilize retail as more of a showroom, that have a direct shopping experience, which I think is so cool.

Unknown Speaker 27:24
I think that's that's, that's a really, I think that's the future. So if you think about what Restoration Hardware did, right? I mean, they they basically converted their retail presence into showrooms. And I think, you know, we've got some companies that actually, for example, we're going to come to could go puff, where they actually acquired bevmo. You know, and they aren't actually using them as like retail locations. They're using them as warehouse locations. And so we're seeing things like on the supply chain side change, where retail storefronts, they're changing the nature of what they are. But I think you're right, like I think for you know, traditional retail, I think you'll see a lot more smaller locations. Use more showrooms and and I think having things delivered to your door is just so convenient that you don't have to like, lug a big gigantic dinner table in your car on the way home, or figured out that there. Right.

Kelly 28:19
Yeah, things that nobody likes to do.

Rhian 28:22
When we're talking about this, I'm thinking everlane, bonobos, Casper, they're those flagship stores away. This is all pre pandemic, of course, we'll see how everything comes back. But those were all stores who would walk in, and I remember taking my daughter shopping at everlane. And she was so perplexed why we weren't walking out with they just shipped it all to us. But it was such a cool it's still was a really cool experience. And it was really specialized customers. And I think that's what's gonna really make the difference when these DTC brands go omni channel go retail and also when bigger brands have to niche down to keep up with that experiential moment. I think we're gonna see a lot of that white glove concierge, that's what well, or maybe this is just what I want. I just want concierge everywhere. I just want to feel fancy wherever I go. So really quickly, you talked about the conference we were going to ask you about the conference. And so some folks from gorgeous are gonna be there. Mahlum so some of our sponsors are actually going to be speaking as well recharge we've had to guess her recharge on before Shogun clay vo there's so many Shopify apps, everybody who's going to be at this conference. Can you just talk a little bit more about that conference? And it's free, right?

Unknown Speaker 29:43
Yes, it's free open to anyone. It's, it's virtual. And we've actually had almost 1000 people signed up already and the call the list of people sign up is incredible. We're talking about directors and VPS of e commerce for amazing brands that you would all know Talking about like the heads of ecommerce or major tech companies, everywhere we're talking about, you know, the who's who of startups, lots of agencies. And so we've got an incredible people coming to the event to listen. So open to everybody. It's on Wednesday, June 16, starting at 9am. Pacific, and if you want to register it's ix e comm Connect dot Excel COMM And that's e comm with two ends. And and yeah, and then we've got some incredible speakers, like I said, all the companies that you mentioned from the Shopify ecosystem and others, including alloy,

Rhian 30:38
How can I forget?

Unknown Speaker 30:39
And we've got all of the major e commerce platforms so big commerce, Shopify, actually, that that one's I'm moderating that panel, it's gonna be fine. I was just chatting with more yesterday, they were just fighting over who's the best platform. So that's going to be like the WWE events where they all wrestle each other to death, Allah, who's the best platform. We've got some amazing brands that I mentioned before. We also have the social media platforms who are talking about how commerce is changing on Snapchat and Pinterest and Facebook and Instagram. And then we've got some some great moderators. So we've got Anna Maria kantara, Alcantara from Wall Street Journal and Ludvig from the economist, and Alex Wilhelm from TechCrunch. So it's we're putting a lot of energy behind it. And we have Mark Laurie from Jetta calm and my partner Samir, who invested in both of Mark's companies and diapers calm who will be our keynote. So lots of exciting things

Kelly 31:35
not to miss. That's for sure. I also do want to clarify for our listeners, Excel is ACC e L. It's not like optics.

Rhian 31:45
And we will put this in our show notes.

Kelly 31:47

Rhian 31:48
go register. It's going to be good. I'm not just saying that because I'm speaking although obviously, it helps, it helps. But it's really a rock star cast of folks who are doing and moving in the e commerce ecosystem who know I was looking at it today. I was like, man, I cannot wait to listen to this panel. I cannot wait to listen. I just can't. I'm just so excited about about it. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 32:14
actually, the one panel I forgot to mention was our kind of p2p ecommerce delivery. And we've got the CEO of Stitch Fix the CRF doordash, the CEO of goat, the former chief strategy, Chief Strategy Officer, eBay, and a company we just invested with misfits, which is growth of fruit delivery. So I chain Yeah, that's right. Actually, speaking of which, if I can tie that to the future of commerce, I remember I was in Korea like this was maybe 778 years ago. Yo, in South Korea in the subway, so it creates like, also, Korea actually has the highest ecommerce penetration in the whole entire world, it's pretty amazing. They've really integrated their payments from a consumer standpoint. So like on their phone, they can pay for the bus ride to the groceries to everything, right. And so it's incredible, because you, I was writing in the subway and on like, just on the Billboard on the wall, there's basically it looks like a grocery store with like, grocery items. And people were just going through and scanning the QR codes or the items that they wanted on their phone. And they were literally shopping for groceries at at the subway station, just using a billboard, and that those goods would be delivered to the house the next day. And so if you think about what the future looks like, we can shop anywhere, right and integrate offline and online experiences. All of us who are building technology, we just need to imagine that kind of stuff where it's seamless, right? And I think that's pretty cool.

Kelly 33:43
I'm just glad that people aren't finally actually using QR codes. Again, why we didn't use them before? I don't understand now the pandemic is like, Oh, wait, we can use QR codes for menus for everything. It's it's

Rhian 33:58
Yeah, it's fantastic. I've been I've been getting asked recently, by some folks, some companies that I'm advising, should we be putting QR codes on our marketing material. And this is the first time I've never been asked that question up until the past three months. And all of a sudden, everyone's like, Wait a second, this actually works. And it converts well, and people go. So maybe we should change the way you're marketing and thinking about this instead of thinking, Oh, this is not a technology that is used and adopted. Because guess what? We're using it, we've adopted it, we all know how to do it. Now,

Unknown Speaker 34:31
you know what it speaks to how hard it is to change consumer behavior, right? And attitudes, right? And so sometimes it takes a pandemic to make us or, you know, get, you know, catch up to where technology has been built. But it's it's amazing because like if you again back to my theme around, it's so early in e commerce like new from shelf example, down in Latin America. It's incredible prior to the pandemic, if you if you went back like 15 years ago when Amazon was just starting I remember like I I think I was in middle school. I remember going to Amazon's website and trying to buy a pair of sneakers, thinking about it and being like, actually, I'm looking to buy it. I haven't seen it in post. And I don't know if it fits. I just don't know if like, it's going to actually arrive at my door. Like those those concerns that I had, which we don't we just take for granted today. They still like that is what other countries look like today. And so it's it's kind of crazy to think that that's where we're at still in 2021.

Kelly 35:28
I'm just I'm excited to see what this industry looks like, even like two years from now. Yeah, one year from now, one year from next

Rhian 35:36
art this industry is light is we're at warp speed, every day. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 35:40
And and if you think about the investment dollars that have gone into, like the Shopify ecosystem alone, like the app ecosystem, I was trying to get my head around, like with the latest numbers, it's definitely over a billion dollars, has gone into investing behind Shopify, just Shopify apps like this. And they obviously have expanded to other platforms, too. I think that's mind blowing. And that's happened in such a short amount of time. And I think that may end up being 5 billion 10 billion if we just play out the next five to 10 years. And so

Kelly 36:06
Dan, and I are going to capture a billion of that. This is a good time to tell our listeners that Ryan and I are building an app. We're not going to tell you what it is yet.

Rhian 36:15
Yeah, we're building in stealth. It's a secret. The opposite of building in public, we're building it

Unknown Speaker 36:24
for you bootstrap your company. Right, right. So it's amazing. I mean, we have so much respect for bootstrap is I mean, it's incredible.

Rhian 36:33
Yeah, both Kelly and I are bootstrapped. And I remember when we my business partner, Josh, and I had talked about raising around and I'm talking six, seven years ago, we were told, there is absolutely no way that's ever going to invest in you because you're only on Shopify, and come come now. 2021. It's like, well, maybe maybe that's different, maybe, maybe we were wrong about that. So it's been really cool to see that evolution. And we bet on Shopify a really long time ago, as did Kelly. And we were like, nope, this is it. Ecommerce is the future, we believe. And we're really happy to be here,

Kelly 37:09
because amazing friends.

Rhian 37:15
So we could have you on all day. And I really would love to have you back quite quickly to chat more because I think there's a lot more to unpack and we can get some questions from our listeners as well. But in the interim, and I gave you absolutely no notice if any of this. We're gonna do book shout outs, we'll go first. And then you can go next, you can dress and it's just what book Are you feeling right now? Are you reading right now? Are you enjoying right now? So Kelly over to you.

Kelly 37:44
I am a really big fan of Michael Lewis. I read everything from Michael Lewis, he recently came out with a new one called the premonition of pandemic story. And I know, we're still technically in the pandemic, why are you already reading books about the pandemic? It is a fascinating read. Having a background in public health, having a Master's in Public Health, having worked at the CDC and seeing how things happen, how everything works at the CDC, just it I left the CDC after nine months, like I just couldn't do it. And reading, reading about the CDC in the book. No, I was just like, See, this is why. And of course, I know dates way back, but it's a really, really, really good read. Of course, Michael lewis's writing style is phenomenal and just keeps you engaged. So highly, highly recommend. Ryan, what about you?

Rhian 38:34
So, okay, don't hate me.

Kelly 38:38
I'm not gonna hate you.

Rhian 38:39
My book recommendation is atomic habits. And the reason I say don't hate me since Kelly has been talking about atomic habits on this podcast for over a year now. I've been actively resisting. Maybe I've been in and around la too long, where I'm like, oh, if it's if it's cool and hyped, maybe it's not actually no, I was wrong. I was totally wrong. I eat my words. I'm fascinated by it. I've been reading it every single morning. I don't want to say it's life changing yet. But it's already changing the way that I frame the way how I how I approach things and the way I think about things. So that's by James clear, big fan.

Kelly 39:15
Everybody go read it. Rhian texted me after she started reading the book. And she was like, now I get how you are the way that

Rhian 39:26
it's true. You make more sense now and I already thought I knew you. And that's why she does things this way. That makes sense. That's very efficient. So Ethan, over to you.

Unknown Speaker 39:38
Thanks for springing on this one. So what I what I was doing is I actually pulled out my audible I don't have time to read books. I got three kids and a puppy and, and this job is pretty pretty demanding. But the last one I listened to is actually Michelle Obama is becoming

Kelly 39:53
Oh, that was a really good one.

Unknown Speaker 39:55
And I tell you what, like I won't make this political at all, but I love the Obamas I just don't I think reading about how she and Brock like the values, I think what impressed me most about that story was the way they were, the way they grew up. it resonated with me because I'm from an immigrant family that we, my parents were not wealthy when I grew up and the challenges that come from, in some ways, the way society treats the those who are in lower socio economic places, and the striving and the hard work and dedication determination, it takes for someone of her background, to get through to become someone successful, who can make an impact. And I think it takes values and principles and a strong family and a really strong partner to do that. They're obviously incredibly impactful. And so we can't all be like them. But I think that, for me was just, it was a really powerful book, because I think for us too, like, as you know, not not to talk too much about bras aside, but like the Asia, the, you know, the, you know, anti Asian hate thing that's obviously really important to me personally, and then, you know, the empowering African Americans and rectifying some things that have happened in history and having more and more role models of folks who've gone through the struggle, who've become successful and up in positions where they can look back and reflect. I think we just need to hear more and more of those stories. Completely agree.

Rhian 41:29
I couldn't agree more. I love that that was your recommendation. Yeah, actually, that made me grinning ear to ear. I that's fantastic.

Unknown Speaker 41:38
Yeah. And actually, sorry, one more thing, like more female, most female examples. I kind of my wife will say this through like, I think I consider myself a feminist. And I think every guy should be at some level a feminist because I think in order to rectify, again, some of the history, we all need to kind of over rotate towards that to fix things, right. And so I have two daughters, who I love and cherish dearly, and I want them to have the exact opportunities that I had and everyone else has. And so I think it's incumbent on all of us to try and level the playing field. If whether it doesn't matter what side you're on, try and level it if you can, I guess is a good message for all.

Rhian 42:20
Yes, I love that. And I agree with you. a level playing field is critical for everybody to succeed together. And if we don't all win, then does anybody really win? Right. So okay, final final question. And like I said, we're gonna have you back. If you if you'll be back, we want you back. I'll have to think about it. I mean,

where can we find you on the internet?

Unknown Speaker 42:50
You know, it's so funny. I, I've kind of been this like, heads down, investor, I haven't really built a social presence. And so for this conference, it's the first time I said, I don't even really use Twitter. Like, it's kind of embarrassing. You know, LinkedIn, which some people call the most boring social network is probably my most active like, social network. But anyways, I started using clubhouse for the conference, I did a couple of clubhouse sessions. So I'm trying to, you know, just the thing I guess I'm doing is I'm trying to get out there and beat the drum of this DTC thing, because I think it's, it's going to benefit all of us, consumers, merchants, everyone. And so yeah, I'm on Twitter. I met Ethan Troy seven. I said, I'll be on TechCrunch is doing a spaces live today. So I'll do that today. So I'm trying to get out there a little more. That's it. Sorry, what time is that? It's 2pm. Pacific. So I'm trying to do some more things. But that's that's one way LinkedIn is one way and and then I'm on the Excel website. So if there's some way if you're, if you're building a cool company, or just want some advice around, you know, some things that we've seen on consumer b2b or e commerce, more than happy to help and so I don't know if you guys give out email addresses that may be a little bit scary. So maybe I'll just add phone numbers. I won't get my phone. Text me. You can find me online somehow. Perfect.

Kelly 44:19
Even thank you so so much for joining us. This was an absolute blast.

Unknown Speaker 44:23
This is a blast. Yeah. No, thank you guys. It was a real pleasure. And congrats on what you're building. I love Commerce, Tea. And we need more folks like yourself just to build great companies, you know, talk about great things, and so appreciate what you do.

Kelly 44:37
Thank you. Thank you. Thanks for tuning in. And thanks again to our sponsors for supporting this episode. We have a YouTube channel you can visit slash Commerce Tea. If you like our podcasts, leave us a review on Apple podcasts reviews make us really happy please do it. I beg of you. Thank you. You can subscribe to Commerce Tea on your favorite podcasting service. We post new episodes every Wednesday. So grab him Join us then we'll see you next week by

Rhian 45:05
locked in, it's a time clock for Shopify. With clocked in your team members can easily clock in and out of their shifts from anywhere. You can manage your team's hours as they work remotely with an intuitive interface that can be used from desktop, tablet or mobile. Check it out at clocked or in the Shopify App Store.

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