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Demystifying Influencer Marketing for Ecommerce Brands (Episode 159)

Hector Pantazopolous has over 10 years of experience in the online advertising and marketing industries. Hector co-founded SourceKnowledge to help e-commerce and retail brands to gain incremental lifts in sales by turning store catalogs into a shopping feed. 

Stores successfully use the SourceKnowlege platform to access in-market shoppers on comparison shopping engines, channel-driven content sites, in-text ads, native placements, influencers and deal sites. 

Founded in 2009, SourceKnowledge is headquartered in Montreal with offices in Toronto, Vancouver and Los Angeles.

Hector has seen the fluctuations evident in today’s e-commerce marketplace, particularly the impact of micro and nano influencers as a way for more businesses to drive sales.

What you will learn

  • What led Hector into the digital platform space
  • An overview of how Hector’s company SourceKnowledge works
  • How to identify and manage influencers with the ability to offer effective advertising
  • How SourceKnowledge diversifies risk across e-commerce platforms
  • Hector shares his biggest learnings as an entrepreneur in the digital space
  • Plus loads more!


Jeff Bullas

00:00:04 - 00:01:12

Hi everyone and welcome to The Jeff Bullas Show. Today I have with me. Now, I hope I pronounced that correctly, Hector. So Hector is from Montreal, Quebec and has over 10 years of experience in the online advertising market industries. Hector co-founded SourceKnowledge in about 2009 to help e-commerce and retail brands to gain incremental lifts in sales with advertising outside of the walled gardens. And we're talking about the big players like Google and Facebook. SourceKnowledge helps e-commerce sales get an incremental lift in sales by turning store catalogs into a shopping feed and I'm very curious about that.

Stores successfully use their platform to access in-market shoppers on comparison shopping engines, channel driven content sites, in-text ads, native placements, influencers, interested to see what you think of influencers, and deal sites. Founded in 2009, SourceKnowledge is headquartered in Montreal with offices in Toronto, Vancouver and Los Angeles and clients around the world.

So welcome to the show Hector, it's great to have you here.

Hector Pantazopolous

00:01:13 - 00:01:14

Thank you very much, Jeff.

Jeff Bullas

00:01:15 - 00:02:05

So Hector, you're from a beautiful part of the world called Canada, which I've had the joy of visiting and enjoyed it very much and even got to visit old Quebec, which is fascinating. It's like a bit of France just dropped into Canada, it's very, it's almost like a, I suppose a theme park dropped into the middle of modern Canada, but I love Canada. And so what I want to know, Hector, is how did you get into all this digital platform space, digital advertising. Tell us what caught your eye early and what was the inspiration and the call basically to start this. What was the inspiration for this originally?

Hector Pantazopolous

00:02:06 - 00:08:23

Yeah, I mean I can take you back to kind of pre-2009, what sparked my interest in online advertising and just the concept of running a website and being able to make money off of it, which is really what sparked my curiosity. My first job when I cut my teeth into this industry was really just running relationship manager and a partnership manager for a little e-com shop that was selling artwork on the internet. And my job was very basic, I was contacting website owners and trying to get them to put our affiliate links on their page and our advertising on their page. So I was communicating with, because of the nature of the product, I was communicating with little art blogs and really hobbyists that had online presences that were just discussing artwork and great artists and renaissance art etcetera etcetera. And they were just placing links on the side of the page and we were cutting them a very sizable check on a monthly basis. And just that connection and concept that I was facilitating this transaction. It was something that was being done between a little company in Montreal and a blogger and enthusiasts in Middle America I thought was fascinating. So, this is really what piqued my interest in the online advertising space and to learn more and more about it. That's what really brought my career into this, I think, you know, fast forward to 2009 when we started the company, myself, my co-founders, we were all part of the same organization that unfortunately was about to be sold and they were closing down our local offices. We all got together and we had the same, similar interests and same kind of experiences there. The idea was, well, could we provide online ad services to small bop and pop shops or just retail sites or anybody out there that can do this themselves. And this was very, very early on and that was in 2009 and that's what SourceKnowledge first was. We were providing, you know, search services and marketing services to companies around the world that needed that extra help. And it wasn't until we started building on our technology and building on the tech platform that we really got into the attic space and getting a bit more sophisticated in our product offering. So I can lead you through kind of the path of SourceKnowledge where we started running display ads and running on a little display network and really got our, got some success running video ads in pre roll ads and, and that's when things really started to pick up. That was about 2014-2015. That was our, you know, top high water mark for us when we were doing very, very well in the video space. But the video space at that time, we were building technology to hook into larger companies like YouTube prior to

Google pulling that YouTube inventory off of the exchanges at that time, you could still bid on all their traffic. We were doing this Dailymotion, we were doing this with LiveRail which is a very big company that got acquired by Facebook. So our connections on the traffic side were really to connect to these very large organizations that had pulled together everything into an SSP. And that was our technology and that's our DSP and that's what we did. And you know, some of these big companies made some business changes and that ended up really affecting our business, which is kind of what we created a bit of a downturn for us. And you can almost say that we recast and reset a new company around 2018 when we focus on e-commerce and that's when we really started to build out our platform, build out our ability to, there was a company here in Canada called Shopify. That was becoming very popular, so hey, made it really simple for people to build websites to sell the product on the internet. Our experience with the video space taught us something, it taught us that pre rolls and views and CPMs are great, but if you can't tie it back to a transaction or sale, it's very difficult to justify your budgets, to coins. So we focused on e-commerce, we focused on click based traffic and we focus on driving sales, because that would be much, much harder campaign to turn off when things get into the downturn. And yeah, we've had a significant success ever since. I think that we have, then last year was our best year ever. So we surpassed already what we've done on the video side and I think the, now again, our experience has taught us that, you know, focusing on performance and sales, you're not really gonna go wrong. So

that leads us to kind of like our current product offering and what we've done, you know, to teach. I mean, I, and back to your question, you know, back when we were, when we started the company, we had a bit of with tons of confidence in ourselves that we can actually create a online business and be successful and well, we knew we could have some level of success I think are kind of really started to be cemented in the open web as we've always existed that we've never played well just reselling another company services. So we've always kind of championed companies that have the ability to work with multiple vendors, multiple advertisers and staying outside of the walled gardens and that's where we've always built our value.

Jeff Bullas

00:08:24 - 00:09:43

Let me ask you questions. And so in terms of if you're an e-commerce store, how would they use your services? And you talked about essentially in turn catalogs into a shopping feed and obviously you bring some of your video expertise into this as well. And also you talk about if you can't track results back to a source, in other words you can't justify. And you talked about click based ads. So let's have a chat about some of the things that you offered to e-commerce stores, like if I was an e-commerce store, what would you be saying to me and what is the, in terms of how you would help them grow sales and then track the results of your ads as well. So going okay, so this ad works, this one doesn't, we need to do more of that, less of this. Tell us a bit about the actual detail, I suppose a quick overview of how you work with an e-commerce platform and especially someone on Shopify, which is the big e-commerce platform because e-commerce used to be a lot of custom sites that you built from the ground up. And then what happened is Shopify came in and it was all hosted software as a service type scenario. So tell us a bit about that.

Hector Pantazopolous

00:09:44 - 00:13:01

Yeah, very good, very good. I mean that's you're absolutely right. And that's the reason why we went down this road of the Shopify connection and plug in. So our first ideal client base is essentially a customer that's selling products on the internet who's built their store using Shopify. We have others we can work with, but let's use Shopify as the example. You're selling product on the internet, you're running campaigns with Facebook and Google already because they're the big boys and you're obviously doing that in order to work with us, in order to take the difficulty outside of your hands for a marketing person, you essentially go to the Shopify app store and install our app. And by installing our app, we're doing two things. We are pulling out all the product catalog from your website, including the images, the title description, the prices, all the information directly from your website. It's up to date in real time because as you keep your store up to date, our feed will be up to date. So you don't have to worry about whether the ads are broken or going to a broken page or anything, as long as you keep your store up to date, the ads will always be exactly what they should be. And we put tracking pixels on your page. So we're going to put the ability to track whether or not campaigns generated a sale or not directly on your page. Typically in the past and the days when every store was accustomed to sight, every tracking pixel was a custom pixel as well and it was extremely laborious to figure out how to put something through Google tag manager properly. And there was a back and forth there and there's a whole agencies that would build hours to figure out how to put tags on people's websites. These days things are thankfully simpler. We do this for you once you click that button, everything happens in the background. So you're ready to run your campaign and your campaign is essentially CPC by your running in on our traffic which is outside of the walled gardens. And you're setting your performance goal so you're telling us what you want to see because we put that pixel and tracker on your page, we know what sales are going to happen. You're only gonna be paid if a click happens, so only if somebody's actually landing on your page. Most of our customers would go in there and put sets a $5,000-$10,000 a month. A return on ad spend let's say three X. So every $100 I need 300 bucks in sales. And off we go and our system will run the camp in. And what we do is we try to hit your three times three X return on ad spend and we're not going to blow your money if we can't hit it. So the system is simply designed to scale itself back if we can't hit your goal. So it has, yeah it makes it a bit easier for the marketing person. The marketing person does not have to put a tracking pixel live, the marketing person doesn't have to deal with product feeds and they don't have to worry about whether or not you know this online system is going to spend their budget and not hit their goals because we won't.

Jeff Bullas

00:13:01 - 00:13:27

Do you do, so a lot of the time is data becomes very important in terms of making sure that you are tracking ad spend versus return. So did you do testing first and then scale it up? Is that how you start? Like you do a small sample test, tell us a bit about that and then I want to dive a little bit more into this sort of data that you give to your clients.

Hector Pantazopolous

00:13:28 - 00:14:53

So as we run our campaigns it's a bit of a, you know, crawl walk run approach so your first couple of days will be slow as we determine, okay, are we able to hit this? So are we able to drive some conversions here? So it's not unusual for spending to be fairly low from the first couple of days and sales start trickling in. And then we learn which of our sources perform best. And what we have is we have what we call our smart bidder, which determines how much are we going to pay for this traffic on the supply side. So, when the click occurs, you know, there's a base rate that will pay for that publisher and whether we pay more or less for that click that's all dependent on the performance goal and the performance metric that's being hit. Once you pay more for a click, you have the higher chance of getting more traffic, obviously, that increasing. So that's kind of the way that we determine, okay, is this working? Is it not working? And if it is working, let's pay this publisher more as long as we're hitting the thresholds to get more of this traffic lights and none of this is done. This is all done automated. There is no manual intervention, there's people overseeing and looking at it, but no one's going in there, making adjustments themselves. We have our own algorithms that are doing this.

Jeff Bullas

00:14:53 - 00:15:21

Right, okay. So you've built your own platform to manage all this for you and okay, and also you've obviously got a connection whether it's an API into ad networks or sellers. So tell us a bit about, so what sort of ad networks are you plugging into, what types? Just tell us a little about what lies behind the scenes of that wall.

Hector Pantazopolous

00:15:22 - 00:17:17

So on the traffic side, you know, we split up our traffic in a couple different ways. So one, you're either running on a deal or review site, which is a direct relationship. That means it's a website that we have a direct relationship with that's putting our links up. We have APIs where websites can automate this and just put campaigns up and down on a daily basis. Many of them do. We can also run on an in text network. These are anybody, any huge text companies that essentially deal with content article pages and huge content sites. So it's not a direct relationship, that's the ad network side of the equation where they go out there and replace links on hyperlinks on article pages with whatever pays them the highest rate and we're one of the buyers that will bid on that traffic. Some of this is done in a bit more of a real time basis at this point. Some of this is done in a manual basis, depending on the sophistication of who you're talking to. Then we have a set of traffic that is comparison shopping engines, that's all direct, that's these are again websites that we have direct hooks into, we speak with the owner of the website and we hand them there, the product catalog based on this shop via app install. And we have social, social is the influencers and those influencers are again direct. This is primarily on Instagram, but not specific to any social platform and these are individuals that come to us to run campaign. So the ad network side is really the in text kind of piece of the equation. The rest of it is direct relationships that we've built on over the years that we have to publisher relationships with.

Jeff Bullas

00:17:17 - 00:17:59

Okay, so I'm curious about the influencer side of things. So you said you get approached by influencers. Do you have like a, do you approach influencers so that you can get effective influences? So obviously there's a lot of influences out there that specialize in a certain area like health products or fitness products and so on, beauty products and the list goes on and on and these are on Instagram. So how do you manage and how do you identify influencers to be able to offer effective advertising? And then how do you manage and monitor that to see it's working? I'd be curious about the influencer side of things.

Hector Pantazopolous

00:18:00 - 00:21:48

So influencers is a very vague umbrella term that seems to cover a lot of things. When we say influencers and we're talking about social, we're talking about a very niche section of that ecosystem, it's primarily micro influencers that are deal seekers and extreme couponers or really the deal review people, it's a subset that exists essentially it when this started, I guess Amazon was the first one to really open up their affiliate platform to influencers and make it much simpler for influencers to drive traffic directly to product pages. So this subset kind of grew out of that. These essentially are, you know, an individual that will have a following, usually they're about 10 to 50,000 followers on Instagram. Instagram is the main driver of this and everybody that's following this person is looking for a transactional relationship, they're looking for them to post discounts, deals that they found. So the influencer's job is to go around to the merchants and see if they find promotions, discounts or specific products that they like, they think their audience will enjoy. And if they do find something, they'll post it, post an image of it, they put the price on it, they'll put their own little branding on the posting enough off it goes and this and how do they get paid? In our ecosystem, they get paid on a click. So if somebody essentially does this promotion through their Instagram inside there in that post, it is very well understood that they need to go to the link and bio if they want to proceed to actually transact for this product. So let's see the image, they like it, they like the discount, they go to the link, go to the bio, this user click on the link in bio, they have a list of all their offers that are up, click on what they like, that's when inputs are getting paid and we track the performance, one click occurs, and it's just, it's like no other advertising, once the click occurs, we can track whether or not that user, it's actually going to convert purchase a product or not, and whether that's hitting the performance metrics of the merchant. So, the interesting thing about this is this content is new, this content isn't traffic that would have gone to the retailer anyway. If it hadn't been for this influencer, you would not have gotten this traffic. If the deal, discount product merchant is, I'd say something that the influencer is interested in, it can go viral. We have had instances where there's just a deal that's great and all the influencers pick them up and they all and suddenly you're driving a huge glut of sales. So there is a, it's kind of like catching fire, in that respect. So that's very, very interesting and it's something that the, you know, the retailers have to be aware of, aware of how to use them in the most effective way as well. So, you know, that particular niche is unique and definitely something that we're looking to grow even more they come to us at this point, we don't, you know, we don't really need to recruit, they know who we are and they come to us and they try to sign up to post more and more of our product offerings.

Jeff Bullas

00:21:49 - 00:21:53

Yes, some influencers thing didn't exist a decade ago, did it, really?

Hector Pantazopolous

00:21:53 - 00:22:06

No, no, and it's not a lifestyle influencer, you know, that's the person that we're dealing with is not that type of influencer.

Jeff Bullas

00:22:07 - 00:22:15

Right, okay, these are more influences that are actually very targeted. Making money from coupons and clicks, is that what you're saying?

Hector Pantazopolous

00:22:16 - 00:22:26

Yeah. And any discounts, they're looking to, looking for a deal, they want a deal or discount, then they want to promote it to their user base.

Jeff Bullas

00:22:26 - 00:22:39

Okay, so you've built your own platform because you learn along the way that relying upon the big guys who can change the rules overnight.

Hector Pantazopolous

00:22:40 - 00:22:41

It's not a good idea.

Jeff Bullas

00:22:41 - 00:23:21

No, it's not. So if you're relying upon Google as your only source of business or Facebook or it doesn't matter who, but you can get run over by them because they change the rules so obviously you build a platform and I'm intrigued by, okay, so you got hit by Google removing, you know, their services from the market as in being able to sell via YouTube and did it themselves obviously. So, how do you go about building your platform? I’m intrigued by that because you've obviously built a software platform, is that correct?

Hector Pantazopolous

00:23:22 - 00:26:02

Yes, yes, it was a difficult transition. So it was a transition on the fly that we had to kind of continue to run a business where we, it wasn't like all our business turned off in a day, it just was clear that it was, it took a couple hits and it was trending downwards. So at the same time, you, and that's was a balancing act because you almost have two different companies that you need to silo and your brain needs to silo in two different ways. On one end, you're building a product for the future and you're dealing with developers and doing the project roadmaps and you're talking to marketing and you're paying for, you know, something that you will work in the future, you hope and you're building into that and on the other side you're dealing with the existing customer base and the existing client base and the operational and sales side of that, and that has to continue to happen. So it's a bit of a two step for us, you know, other companies would essentially, you know, defunct one company and spin up another perhaps, I don't know, but that's not what we did. We kept SourceKnowledge running and we kept our client base going and we kept servicing the clients and yeah, it was a rough year because you don't know once you're building this product if it will work, if it will transact, if it will function at the same time, you have employees and you have people and you have staff and you have clients and you have to keep everything kind of going. So you know, I'm not gonna say that part wasn't rough, that part was rough. That was there was nothing, you know, obvious about our success in that regard, but when you push persevere and you push forward, so you know, we did things at the same time once we launched our product with the Shopify app and the Shopify store, it was, you know, it slowly but surely it was another one of those where issues where just the momentum was there, it was obvious that this was working and that's where all the resources and time and effort started going into and that's just very quickly the focus of the company was there. So, you know, but I can't say here that the idea of focusing on shopping e-commerce and building our own software that puts into Shopify is always great as an idea as it was. There weren't times when we sat back and thought, oh boy, I hope this one works, certainly come up.

Jeff Bullas

00:26:03 - 00:26:18

Yeah and that's the challenge, isn't it, the changes happen especially quite can happen quite quickly in the digital world and the, you've got to enjoy the journey of constant evolution and it's like this balancing act between what worked last year maybe doesn't work this year, whether it's Google changes algorithms on search so you can lose 50% of traffic, Google did an update in December which affected us very possibly they've done changes in a year or two before that didn't and then other people have spoke to a friend of mine yesterday works in the digital space has said she got hammered by the Google's update in December. So it's this, you know, relying upon one source of your main source of revenue is, it's not a good idea. So and you've learned that along the way obviously. So is Shopify big percentage of your business in terms of what you plug into, is that, or do you play with other players like this BigCommerce which is an Australian platform for e-commerce as well. What's your strategy for diversifying risk across e-commerce platforms?

Hector Pantazopolous

00:27:19 - 00:29:34

Alright, so Shopify is still in terms of client base, there's two types of clients that we work with right now. Direct brands which is what we've been discussing and the direct brands are Shopify BigCommerce, this type of thing. In that ecosystem, Shopify is still the largest player that we work with right now. We've diversified. Yes, but the shop is still definitely the largest provider of retailers. But on the, just the diversification point, what we've done about a year and a half ago, we've unlocked kind of the platform that used to only be available for direct brands. It is now available as well for indirect brands. So this is where we speak to the ad networks of the world that, you know, I may not have brand traffic or, pardon me, campaign for Nike or Adidas, but an ad network may somehow, but I have traffic for them because that's I'm dealing with all these varied supply sources and they all have traffic from multiple merchants. So I will take their ad and I will run it through our system and I'll run it on our traffic. That part of the ecosystem, which is just indirect ads, has grown significantly. That has allowed us to really, really drive up the revenue as well. So we have at this two tracks that were running on, we feel like we're pretty spread in terms of diversification of where you get your ads from because of this, because we know it's not, there's no, there isn't one source of all our retailers, we would like to have more direct retailers obviously than indirect ones, but that's a work in progress selling to major brands as a small Montreal based company, that's a work in progress of course, yeah, so that's our strategy and that's really how we've been able to build and grow the business.

Jeff Bullas

00:29:34 - 00:30:14

So you've got to be more involved in selling physical products from e-commerce stores. Is that more your focus, that raises another. And so that makes me think about another area, such as affiliate selling. Have you been involved at all in, which is affiliate selling is more selling what we call high margin products that knowledge online training software as a service which typically have very high margins, that can give away a lot of commission to those who promote it. Do you play in the affiliate space at all or thought about it? I'm interested in your thoughts if you have.

Hector Pantazopolous

00:30:15 - 00:31:16

Many of our ad networks that are purchasing products, purchasing part of the traffic to our system, they are affiliates, but they're purchasing on behalf of retailers. Physical products, as you said, not software as a service, not online learning, training, you know, any financial legion, this type of stuff. That is a huge market out there, we don't currently play with it, we don't currently have that niche on the traffic side, we could, but to me, this is a traffic problem. It's ensuring that you can place those ads in areas that will drive the performance. If you can, then it makes sense, if you can't then stay away from it. So I don't think we haven't solved that particular problem yet. So we don't do a lot of that type of affiliate space, this type of thing.

Jeff Bullas

00:31:16 - 00:31:51

Affiliate normally relies on the fact that the site, that's one of your affiliates as selling your product or service has got a lot of organic traffic. That in other words, it's because the challenge in any digital advertising is that the cost of advertisers increased over time and then trying to get a return on that click that costs X. And you talked about three X early in our conversation, do you find the increasing cost of digital ads becoming more of a challenge over time in terms of generating a positive return?

Hector Pantazopolous

00:31:52 - 00:34:14

Absolutely. I think go back to three X example, and this is just, you know, this is the industry that we're in retailers that will come and test our platform often times will put their return goal that they want to hit in the system. The return goal, there's no policing of that return goal. It is up to the retailer to be reasonable. Put their actual goal, I have had instances where, you know, brands that will put a goal, That is essentially the return that they get from their own branded search off Google and, you know, the return, they get off their own brand name off Google is what they put in our system as a goal. And that all reasonable, that is to expect, you know, us to perform to that degree when I ask, well, what is your total Google return on ad spend when you factor in how much you're spending on Google brand and non branded, and then you're, you know, the sales you're getting. It's no work near the three extra for X number, but they do it anyway, because it's Google, same with Facebook. So, the cost of advertising has increased and I think, you know, dealing in the ecosystem, it's difficult for the retailers to understand that, to build trust. I mean, I guess that's really what it is and the ones that work with us for a while, they trust us, they understand how the system works there more reasonable in their goals, they have the conversation, but, you know, online ad space and an online ad tech in 2023, there's a history of just the players that are probably, you know, deviated from, the trustworthy side of the equation too often. And this is where it's caused, you know, situation where many retailers when they first start running campaigns, they just, they don't trust the numbers, they don't trust the return goals and you need to navigate that. I feel like there's not really much a company our size can do about that other than continue to hit the performance goals. Just continue to do our job effectively.

Jeff Bullas

00:34:15 - 00:34:46

Right. So that leads me to the next question, which is and after that I want to ask you, what have you learned along the way as an entrepreneur as to wrap things up in other words, what are the top two or three teach you to say to someone who's going to be when that will be my last question, which would be, what are your top tips and what have you learned along the way? So data, do you have a dashboard that your retail that your customers can dial into and see their numbers in real time?

Hector Pantazopolous

00:34:47 - 00:35:56

There's a one day delay. But yes, they can see their spend, they can see their sales, they can see the order ID amounts, they can see whether or not the customer is new or returning meaning has purchased off your e-commerce store before or not. So you can measure right away if this is a customer would have got anyway, which is the main goal that every merchant has. So yes they do have an online dashboard where they see those metrics, we're not Facebook, so we don't have metrics on, you know, gender and age and demographic data or the occupation data or anything like that. You know, our information is really on the transaction that we delivered to the customer. Where was it, when was it, who was it, whether it was new or not. And whether or not they use the coupon code or not use the discount code or have they transacted without using a discount code. So this is all done on a regular basis. They have access to this through real time, through real time dashboard.

Jeff Bullas

00:35:56 - 00:36:44

Right. Because data builds trust, doesn't it? And then you've got to make sure and data and also it's quite, data also is an affirmation. In other words, it affirms what works and what doesn't, so and that's motivational. I know for me a dashboard saying, okay, dial into your numbers from the night before and going okay. And what are we sold? Where does it come from? What are the different niches? You're going, okay, so for me, I find data actually motivating and a data dashboard is part of that. So it builds trust. So and essentially every business now needs to have that information, that data to measure to see what works and what doesn't otherwise you just, I feel if I'm not seeing that I'm flying blind.

Hector Pantazopolous

00:36:45 - 00:37:17

I agree. And I remember when we first launched, because obviously we built a product as iteratively, you know, getting off Excel sheets and Google Sheets and into like, okay, now everybody's going to log into the system and this is where all the data is, it was a bit of a Eureka moment, because as you said, it's far, it's real when you have actual reporting that you can share with a customer on a regular basis that they can log into and access themselves and manipulate as they wish.

Jeff Bullas

00:37:18 - 00:37:32

Yeah exactly. So it leads me to my last question and I'll be interested, we've heard someone along the way is what some of the biggest learnings you've had as an entrepreneur, especially in the digital space, your top two or three tips that you could share with listeners and viewers.

Hector Pantazopolous

00:37:33 - 00:40:08

Yeah, sure. I guess the top tip for me really is don't get too focused on one result, you can have an overarching goal and overarching idea that you want to achieve once you start a company start building a software, start, you know, start your business, but especially in the digital space, things change so rapidly and it's not, it's often not your fault, it just happens and you will need to be reactive, so don't get muddied and stuck on a specific idea, if you're effective goals to build the greatest, you know, widget and six months into the project, that widget is not feasible anymore. Just change and adjust. Don't get stuck in it just to keep adjusting. So you have to be nimble in this space and you have to love that. I mean, it has to be something that keeps you, instead of it, keeping you up at night, it should be something that sparks your creativity and imagination. And for me it does, for others it keeps them up at night and I can understand that, but that's not my experience. So that's my first kind of, definitely my tip. Don't get stuck in the weeds. You will have to adjust your ideas and plans and that is very normal and you haven't failed if that's happened, you've just been smart about it. That's essentially it, you know, and then surround yourself by good people. So when you're starting a company, your first couple of hires and your first couple of people that you bring in and even the partners that you decide to partner up with, those are big decisions that need to be taken with thoughtfulness, you could be employing these people for the next seven, eight, nine, ten years and you want to work with them and trust them and you definitely want them to work with you and trust you. So if you surround yourself by a talent and or people that understand you and understand your weaknesses and you understand their weaknesses and vice versa, the positives. That is, that's key to growing your business, so definitely do that, pardon me. My third idea, I have to come up with one now.

Jeff Bullas

00:40:08 - 00:41:51

Two is fine, Hector, two is fine like so what you really said is that things are going to change, so be just be

ready to change with that. I think the other thing I heard you say is don't spread the risk by not being reliant on one platform. I think that's maybe the third point, number two have a great team, look after them. And for me to get out of the way, let them trust their ideas doesn't mean that you don't, you know, make comments, but I've been always amazed by what the team comes up with if you let them just offer their creativity and knowledge and expertise. And so, Hector, thank you very much for sharing your journey. It's one that you, the business plan that you did or didn't write in 2009 is basically being thrown out the window as you had to evolve with the change. And quite often ask, okay, so did you write a business plan or not? Sometimes it's just an idea that evolves over time and they write the business plan a year or two later. But Hector, thank you very much. It's been a pleasure to chat to you and learn.

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