Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics with Radu Palamariu

#50: Jett McCandless CEO and Founder of project44

July 30, 2019 Season 1 Episode 50
Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics with Radu Palamariu
#50: Jett McCandless CEO and Founder of project44
Chapters
Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics with Radu Palamariu
#50: Jett McCandless CEO and Founder of project44
Jul 30, 2019 Season 1 Episode 50
Radu Palamariu
project44 has also established partnerships and out-of-box integrations with over 600 telematics devices and over 60 TMS vendors
Show Notes Transcript

Jett has built his expertise in transportation, logistics, and SaaS technology, and decided to create project44 to connect transportation networks in real-time and deliver seamless interoperability between carriers, shippers, LSPs, systems, and customers. Over 8.5M assets are tracked in their system across 48+ countries. They have raised over $100M+ through multiple rounds.

Discover more details here.

Some of the highlights of the episode:

  • The story of project44 – creating a less fragmented chain through the platform. 
  • How they became the first technology company to be a FedEx, JB Hunt, and Old Dominion Trust API integrator. 
  • Attracting and retaining talent- the biggest challenge for project44
  • Using 25 KPIs to track the company’s status. 
  • How they help clients like Amazon improve visibility
  • Path to profitability and are we heading for a recession
  • “Doing what you’re saying you’re going to do and providing value to the team members you work with and your customers are what’s important.”


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Speaker 1:
0:00
Hello and welcome to the leaders in supply chain podcast. I am your host radical Mario and managing director of Oakwood Global. Our mission is to connect the supply chain ecosystem in Asia and globally by bringing forward the most interesting leaders in industry. And it's my pleasure to have with us today. Jet McCandless, you and founder of project 44 jet has built his expertise in transportation, logistics and software as a serious technology. On five years ago he decided to create project 44 two connect transportation networks in real time and deliver a seamless interim interoperability between carriers, shippers, logistics service providers, systems and customers. Today over 8.5 million assets attracting their system across 48 countries and they've raised over $100 million through multiple rounds. Project for the four has also established partnerships in out of the box integrations with over 600 telematics devices, 16 transportation management system vendors and their advanced visibility platform supports all transportation modes and shipping types, including parcel final mile, less than truckload volume letters, doesn't obstruct load rail, intermodal, and option at jet. A pleasure to have you with us today and thank you for making the time.
Speaker 2:
1:10
Well thank you. And it's a real honor to be on the show. I appreciate the opportunity to spend the time with you. Thank you.
Speaker 1:
1:15
I hope there's a, and, and, and I know that the, the name itself, project 44, here's a good story to itself. So maybe let's start there. Maybe tell us a little bit about, about how the name came about, how it's also connected with your vision for the company.
Speaker 2:
1:28
Absolutely. Thanks for, for allowing us to unpack that project. 44 s global headquarters is based in Chicago and there's a, there's a really popular, uh, highway called route 66 that ended in Chicago right outside of our office and that once from Chicago to Los Angeles. And it was really how a lot of important, uh, export happens in this country, but it was really a small, uh, infrastructure, uh, really create a lot of bottlenecks in the u s and several decades ago, um, they started, uh, project 44, which turned into highway 44 a replacing a route 66. So it was kind of interesting for us to have that right outside of our office. And then also when you think about what we're doing, uh, route 66 and highway 44 was a physical, uh, upgrade and transportation logistics and project 44 is the digital upgrade for transportation and logistics.
Speaker 1:
2:30
Yeah, I mean it's, it flows quite, it flows quite well in the, in everything they will. It's, um, you know, it's a, you couldn't have asked for a better metaphor, so just make sure you don't change your office location.
Speaker 2:
2:41
That's right. That's right. Um, and, and, and
Speaker 1:
2:46
thinking a little bit about the industry and, um, um, it's, it's a big challenge, right? They mean to, to move a single pallet of coats from origin to final destination. There's, there's basically changes and interchanges between, on average of 10 companies, I think a speeding, some reports that individuals, a product's clear, customs cross borders, the, there's a change of vehicles. So there's a lot of change of hands and change of a change of papers as well that, right. So, um, I think that that's, that's basically the main challenge that you're trying to address. And I wanted to ask you how, you know, how are you doing it and some clear examples of, of how project 44 creates a less fragmented chain through your platform?
Speaker 2:
3:29
Yes. Well, you and, uh, most of your listeners have a pretty great understanding and I think they, they live a lot of the challenges in this very complex ecosystem. Um, whether you want to look at it from a Transportation Lens, so just Dick's lens or a supply chain Lens. Um, it's very, very complex. And you have manufacturers, distributors, retailers, LSPs, three pls, the carriers, vessel companies, the terminals, the ports, there's so many different, um, segmentations. And then within each of those companies, there are many different folks that the supply chain and logistics touches. Um, so by its nature, it's, it's very, very fragmented. Um, you add in more complexity as you start to look at it from, uh, globally and you start thinking about the different governments that are involved. Of course, it's kind of in the headlines with news right now. We're talking about tariffs.
Speaker 2:
4:21
And, um, and there's one thing that I think we all know about government. They tend not to be very, very digital. So you have this really manual process that's um, that's, that leads a lot of paperwork. Um, both because there's not one trucking company or, or LSP that's really global for all modes of transportation. Um, that's the best in in all areas. Um, and then you stack on more complexity with the low ROI C or just the low, um, low profit margins would be another way to say it. Um, and that's what kind of leads the industry to be a laggard and tech. And, but the other thing you get is a lot of folks in this industry have moxy and they have grit and they've really come up and so they're going to find a way to get the answers. And that's why we have so much phone calls and emails and kind of back and back and forth.
Speaker 2:
5:20
It adds this fragmentation. What we are trying to do here is have the, provide the visibility and the automation to all the parties of the ecosystem with both within the company and their suppliers and their carriers. And of course that leads to less fragmentation of data and companies you're able to, to leverage project 44. Then of course for tactical and strategic core reasons, something like a, what's a driver's Eta so they can better utilize a warehouse or a, they can improve their customer experience. Um, maybe something more strategic, like they can lower their inventory level, especially like seasonal products or how can they, I'm going to do planning at your retail store locations so they know when some of their, their, their folks can go on, go on lunch break as the truck and arrive or not. So we noticed that fragmentation or that lack of connective tissue in the industry, um, really causes that fragmentation?
Speaker 1:
6:17
Oh, absolutely. It's probably, I mean, across all industries is, tends to be one of the most recommended. Then also, um, paper based, um, let's say paper based, uh, or archive, uh, type of process driven industry. Um, and that's where we are seeing a lot of tech development, uh, coming in, especially in the last couple of years in project for business being, um, a good system being developed around it. Um, I'm just one wondering and thinking a little bit about maybe to take, um, to take an example of a concrete example of one of your clients and you may just to name them, you may, may choose not to name them, but, um, and, and how you help them specifically. And also how did they do the point of, because you know, the, the getting all the different providers and vendors on the system, I mean, how does that work? Is that easy to do? Is that hard to do? Does it date a long time? How did you manage to, you know, to, to get that done and then maybe some of the results that they achieved by using project 44?
Speaker 2:
7:16
Yes, absolutely. So I think most people know that, uh, Amazon leads the way with visibility that they're, um, they were really the catalyst that they kind of created this delivery economy. Um, and the idea behind the delivery economy is pretty simple. It's that when someone's buying a product, it's, they're not just buying the product. They're also buying the logistics and the delivery, um, experience when they're, when you're, and then, uh, when, when you're selecting who they're buying from or when they're kind of thinking about how that experience was. And so we kind of package it up as the delivery economy. And Amazon was the catalyst. They were the first ones that kind of said transportation logistics is not a cost center. Transportation logistics is really a tip of the spear to customer experience. I'm really proud to say that, uh, you know, our largest customer project 44 is, is, is Amazon.
Speaker 2:
8:07
And so we're able to help, um, I think one of the most progressive companies in the world, uh, deliver that amazing experience and provide that visibility. But we also have some really other amazing, uh, customers, uh, because we are a platform. We have some of the oldest manufacturers in the world, like sp Richards, which is the oldest in the u s and we also have some of the most, um, progressive, modern, um, digital marketplaces like a, like emerge that you use project 44. So I think, uh, kind of a con concrete example, really simple, um, ROI it seems like right now, um, most of these companies were really start their digitalization journey with where's their, where's their stuff. When we think about aware a truck or a container, when, think about that, that really is just a warehouse with wheels. And a lot of companies are starting to realize that there's a cost to that inventory and that, um, the better, the better they understand where that inventory is or where that rolling a warehouses, the better they can start to, to optimize. Um, they're actually warehouse, uh, facilities and, and their, and their stores. So we've got some great case studies where, um, instance, uh, like Magna, which does a lot of outsourcing, um, of actual car manufacturing over in, in Europe and, um, they've had huge efficiencies, uh, from inventory and also productivity. Um, from us being able to tell them where, where their product is in different inventories at.
Speaker 1:
9:44
Hmm. And, and I like the, I like the term warehouse on wheels and it's, it's more and more of a mindset there on that. And this is even, I was reading and I think there's startups even doing that on, um, or, or planning kind of the, the routing was the, uh, was the, um, our goal still on the ship. Um, there's, there's different programs that can optimize that as well. And I'm sure you might have something and, uh, in the, in the store around that. Um, I, I want it. And that being said, I want to kind of, uh, jump a little bit to, to a question that, um, that is very relevant, uh, also playing a little bit devil's advocate here. Right. Um, because also this companies that have fairly extensive, um, teams of internal programmers and fairly extensive it departments, what would be the, you know, what would be the benefit of them building their own API APIs rather than, you know, uh, paying for, you know, for somebody like, like yourselves or, uh, how do you see this, this situation, this scenario, because it's, is the forever conundrum, right? Is like, do you do it yourself that you, you go and are sick. How do you see things? And obviously you're going to be biased, but maybe just tell us your perspective.
Speaker 2:
11:02
Yes. I, I tier tier report. I am a, I am, I am biased. Um, but I always, most things just follow the money and you can kind of figure out how it's all, how it's all gonna shake out. What you're talking about is what I would consider like a pride of authorship. Um, these companies that say that, hey, they can build, um, this type of technology, the project 44 is developed themselves. One thing that's unique about us versus our competitors when we're talking about the visibility product is that we started with the LSPs and third party logistics providers. One of the reasons we started with them is, um, and I, I, uh, they're, they're fickle. They have a ton of it resources and they have the best chance of building something similar to project 44. And I think initially the reason that we went out to that market first is, um, we knew that they would be the most difficult, um, to onboard their large carrier networks.
Speaker 2:
12:00
And we knew that if we could provide enough value for them to lease the product from us, that um, companies with different profiles like manufacturers and distributors and retailers didn't have as large of it budget or engineering budget for, um, for software development. Um, we would certainly get a lot of value out of us. And I think when we first started the company, to your point a few years ago, most we had, that was our biggest obstacle. Um, companies would just say, hey, we're going to try to build this herself. And I think what we saw happening is when their peers or when your competitors started using project 44, they were able to extract value from having this visibility and automation and weeks where they come and try to build themselves a year later, two years later, and they found themselves still, uh, much farther behind. You know, we have over a hundred software engineers at project 44, so it's very, very difficult to, to, to keep up with, um, all those connections to those carriers that we're building.
Speaker 2:
12:58
Um, building all the tools, um, to onboard to carriers, maintaining the connections to the carriers. But probably more importantly than that, it's actually the data that flows. So we give our customers the, the option, do you want to opt in or opt out of data sharing? Really we're in different to it. If you opt out, then you, you're not able to, um, purchase our analytics products. If you opt in, then you can purchase our analytics products. And W our current customer base spends over $150 billion a year on transportation. That's a huge number. And so the large majority of our customers, um, share their data with us to build analytics products. And so there's no company in the world. It doesn't matter if it's Walmart, Amazon, they name whoever, uh, the largest broker ever. You're thinking no one has over 150, a over a hundred billion dollars of, of data being used to build these analytics products.
Speaker 2:
13:54
So now some people may think, hey, that, that makes, um, that levels the playing field. But what we found is our really progressive customers take, um, use our products for the visibility and automation. They use our analytics products, and then they have some type of team internally that's building their own proprietary analytics. That's their secret sauce that allows them to beat their competitors. And when they focus their engineering resources on that secret sauce, rather than just simple carrier connections, they're able to attract better talent, their time that markets faster and their customers are happy. Uh, so that's, that's Kinda how we think about it. I suspect that of the top 10,000 global brands, there will be some folks out there that have that pride of authorship that will want to, um, uh, try to build it themselves. Candidly, I think, uh, the, the two companies that stick out the most that we were never able to, to, to, to get his customers, they wanted to build it themselves where it was and toys r us. And I think we've already seen how those, uh, those two movies end. Um, so that's kind of what that, that's why that mindset's so dangerous when companies think that way.
Speaker 1:
15:03
There's, there's been, yeah, there's been a little bit, I won't name anybody, but there's been a few on the through the other side, but, uh, yeah. Um, and to stick to data because that's, that's another sticky point. And, um, on that topic, um, and, and we have GDPR and we have the data privacy and, um, a lot of emphasis put on security. Um, I know that that's, that's been very important to project 44. So maybe tell us a little bit about how, and it's a major concern to clients, right? Nobody wants their data to end up in the hands or be used by, you know, by gps ways. Right? So how do you, uh, how do you make it extra safe and how this project 44 whole was predictable, built around ensuring data security.
Speaker 2:
15:54
We've taken a very seriously from, from day one and I think everyday we learn and we do, um, we challenge ourselves to get better and better at it. But there's really, there's two, two different stories that merge together here in both here, unique, um, that that separates from competitors. One, we started with a chief architect, um, that came from Oracle. There was responsible for their medical platform. And so as you know, there's a lot of government regulations over, uh, medical data and it's very sensitive. Um, and it's, uh, it's, it, it could have some really negative impacts of it leaked out there and it's at an individual patient level and there's of course the security, the umbrella that for companies that are managing that, having that level of chief architect design, uh, our system in the US was absolutely incredible for us. But when we looked at Europe and we looked at our competitors, um, that really tried what, what, what, um, Gardner called lift and shift, meaning they took their US technology and they tried to shift it to Europe.
Speaker 2:
17:05
You see that really they all, they all failed at doing that. The reason why is to your point is GDPR, um, uh, is such a serious topic over there and their systems weren't designed to, um, to US systems weren't designed for, for GDPR. So when we looked at, oh, how can we get to Europe, how can we keep the same level of integrity that we have in the u s around Security and privacy? Um, we look to acquire company and when we looked there, there was a company that had been in business for for quite a while. Um, they had, uh, they thought of themselves as data as a service. They had a great relationships with the carrier, a community. They had never turned a customer in the company's history, which is incredible. At the same tech stack is as we had. Um, and, uh, their software was built, uh, hand in hand with not only the best technologists, but also with an attorney, a full time attorney that specialized in GDPR. So when it was set up by a tenant level, um, it's all designed, uh, to, uh, with GDPR in mind. We acquired that company last year. We have taken the best practices from both companies. Um, and now it's, the system's fully integrated. So, um, it's, it's certainly more expensive, uh, the approach that we had, but we think, um, uh, to keep the trust in the market that it's a wise investment.
Speaker 1:
18:37
Yeah. I mean it's, it's, yeah, it's, it's probably the only, it used to be this to be an even, even bigger concern than a dominance with, with time. Maybe some people there, some people have become more, uh, you know, more or less scared. But then Merced happened than them. There's a few other things and then, then a portrait. Yeah. This, this, this is, um, is probably gonna stay as long as the, one of the main topics for systems were very, very, very long time to come. Um, I have another kind of devil advocate type of a question. And I think it's one of those also a, and you know, obviously you can, you can take it, but the sake of this six and part is a, I'm sure that this question is asked to you by a lot of your clients. Um, cause at the moment tech has, has taken a, taken a huge development within the space of transportation. There's a lot of their former visibility platforms merging. Uh, there's a lot in different angles. How would you say that, that, that you are unique, right? So how is when a client asks you, okay, how is project 44 unique and what can you bring unique to the table in working with me? What would you say
Speaker 2:
19:51
thanks for the opportunity to, um, for your platform? To answer that, that question, I think we're unique in, uh, in a number of ways. One, I've been in the transportation logistics industry for, for about 20 years now. Um, and so I've, and I've been fortunate enough to work with some really amazing, talented folks. In fact, uh, quite a few that have been on this, on this show before and whether that's with a lens as, um, being, uh, a carrier, a trucking company, a third party logistics company as a consultant helping different folks in the ecosystem, shippers. Um, and so when I saw what I saw over those, those 15 years was the same patterns happening over and over and over again. And that pattern was this is that there was not a connective tissue or communication layer that allowed ecosystem to, uh, to communicate whether it's a carrier and supplier and retailer or any, any combination that you want to put together there.
Speaker 2:
20:56
But what I found was that all the parties in the ecosystem, they really wanted, uh, to, to share the information. They want it to be able to provide that, that of visibility. And so we really set out to build that communication, that connective tissue, which is why we have the largest API platform in the, in the world. Um, the first application that we're building on top of that is the visibility application. Um, there's a lot of other applications would be able to build on top of this, this connective tissue now that we have. Um, so I think that's a really big, big difference, um, that we're, we're solving the problem from the inside out. When you look at other visibility companies, they're trying to solve it from the outside in. Um, and that makes it really difficult when you look at the quality of the data.
Speaker 2:
21:43
Um, if somebody wants to, uh, take the information and put it in a bi tool or anything like that, it makes it pretty, pretty difficult for those companies. Another big difference I would say is that typically in life, whether it's personal or professional, I think you'd probably agree that there's this combination of carrot and stick that you can use. I have a, a soft spot in my heart for the carriers coming from the carriers. They have a lot of, uh, there's just a lot of headwinds that seem to be, um, that they've got to deal with every day. Uh, whether it's what kind of transmissions to pick out for the new tractors and engines are, what are the regulations for environmental or, uh, the dangers of, uh, the liability of the trucks that are, that are, that are driving a driver shortages. Um, you know, the, the drivers themselves, uh, being away from their families.
Speaker 2:
22:33
So they, I'd say are the whole ecosystem. They probably have the, the, the toughest, the toughest, uh, job there. I think our competitors use, uh, a lot of stick and they try to force compliance from the top down. Our approach is quite a bit different that we, we really started bottoms up and said, what kind of value can we provide for the carriers that would, um, they would want them to participate. They would want them to provide the highest quality data to project 44. So then in return we can help them service their customers better. And those are two really different approaches and that's why I think we get significantly better quality data from the carriers and why. Um, we have much better compliance. Um, and that's a word that like a shipper would, would, would use when you're, when you're looking at their results. But the result of that is, um, we're the only technology company in the world that's on the FedEx API integrator. We're the only technology provider in the world that's on j B Hunt's API integrator program, um, with the only technology company in the world that has, uh, old dominions a trust as an API integrator. So you really see the carriers, um, rewarding us by, by giving them tools that allow them to, to perform better and that ends up allowing us to provide a better product for, for the end customer.
Speaker 1:
23:54
Yeah. Um, and, and I'd love to, I'd love to also look a little bit in the future. Um, and, and how do you see, you know, what's next for the visibility market across the world and also this specific that variances in adoption in terms of let's say continents, right? Cause you mentioned the European markets is different than the u s market. We haven't yet touched upon Asia. Um, how do you see these things, the one in the future and to, are there some, you know, regional, the variances in adoption of the Trans visibility?
Speaker 2:
24:28
Yes, absolutely. We definitely see, um, not only differences, uh, in geographies or regions as you mentioned, but we also see it by mode. So in the U S for instance, um, LTL is much more mature than, than, than truckload. So our approach, and again, this is again, being very, um, carer friendly. It's let's meet the market where it is and let's provide tools to allow the carriers, um, to uh, to, to be their best, best selves. At the end of the day, they, um, are really just trying to service their customer and grow, grow their, their business. And so we use that philosophy, whether it's Europe or it's South America or it's Africa, whatever continent or country, we're talking about, whatever mode, meet the market where it is, um, and have really high quality data that comes into that comes into the, into the platform. Of course we adjust to whatever the local rules or laws are, uh, that, that, that, that government would happen. We also adjust culturally, uh, for example, in Europe, um, our carrier team, um, speaks 13 different languages in the u s our carrier team only speaks three languages. Um, so you see some differences there, but also I think you see that, um, their terminology is, is different in these, in each region. So how can you adjust that terminology so that people can access information that's most relevant to to them.
Speaker 1:
25:57
Absolutely. And, um, and I wanted also to, um, to kind of bring, let's say the, the reality of today and you're in a hyper scaling mode. You know, you've grown the company's company tremendously. You last, last five years. What are some of the most important challenges that you face at the moment for your next, you know, phase of growth? What are some of the bottlenecks in your operations have been in, in moving forward and growing, growing even faster? Tell us a little about that. Because you know, it's always good to have also the, you know, it's, it's a great story and at the same time, I'm sure that there's, there's a lot of challenges in, you know, to keep it real. Let's say.
Speaker 2:
26:34
Sure. Yes. Uh, I think I've been fortunate enough that, um, I've done the hypergrowth several times and as a consultant, um, had some really, um, fortunate positions to be able to help, uh, several other companies, um, achieve hyper hyper growth. Uh, it's never, it's never easy. Uh, um, it really always comes down to, to the, to the people that you have with inside the company and the culture that you have. Um, it doesn't matter how great the, the, the idea is and it's all about about execution. When I look at us specifically for project 44, um, it really does just come down to recruiting the right people. We're based in Chicago, which is, um, I think the right location for, for the product that we're building for the company. That will be, that we have, um, at least our global headquarters is here. Um, and I think the biggest challenge is off for all purposes, the type of talent that we're looking for.
Speaker 2:
27:34
I'd say this, um, you know, negative unemployment rate. And so just, um, bringing on the talent, retaining the talent, um, to make sure that we can deliver to for our customer's expectations. We're in a really fortunate situation that, uh, when you look at our pipeline, um, growth, that's up into the right. When you look at our, our revenue that's up into the, up into the right, when you look at our, our nps, which is net promoter score, um, customer satisfaction, that's, that's up into the right and off, off a really high baseline. So all those things are going the right direction. So for us, it's really just, uh, it's about the people. Can we attract and retain the right people, um, team members to, to build the products and to, to obsess over the customers.
Speaker 1:
28:23
And, and, and uh, I know very good at under for that. So if you ever need, oh, could globalism, very good company and be great and love to work in my tent, my 10 seconds of commercial. Um, um, I, I wanted also to, um, I also wanted to ask you in terms of, um, some of the principles and some of the, yeah, I think some of the principles, but also, I mean for me it's fascinating what you've managed to build. I mean, personally and I think we're a lot of the listeners what you've managed to build in the last five years. And again, the global leader in your field and you see it's, it's not an easy, it's a daunting task. Right? So, um, what, what if you were to look back over the last five years and look back from a, you know, success perspective, what would be, what would you say that some of the most, you know, uh, successful things that you did and you did write are some of the most successful principles that you applied and led to to where you are today? What would those be?
Speaker 2:
29:24
Company? Well, I think it goes back to our core values, um, for who we are as a customer and I think or who we are as a company and, and uh, and just our team living those, those everyday. So you kind of mentioned earlier just, just, you know, I think, uh, you said real talk. Well that's, that's a core value at project 44. And you know, having real talk with our customers and with, uh, other, other folks in the ecosystem is something that's, that's really helped us along the way. It's not over committing. It's talking to customers about, um, where we currently are at, what we plan on, on, on accomplishing. And then also, um, with that real talk, I think, uh, it's Kinda like a say do ratio meaning that if we say we're going to do it, we actually, we actually do it.
Speaker 2:
30:13
Um, which sets a core value project 44 that we call actions live, live up towards. Um, another, another thing I think that we did, we'd done it that helped us be the global leader of visibility is, um, is obsessing over our customers, which is a core core value project 44. We, um, we just obsess over our customer. We believe that churn of a customer is only acceptable through through death or marriage. So, um, we've got really a lot of talented, talented people across the company that are working really hard on that. I guess that the way that we're able to, to, to get that all together is for a cause of another value of project 44, which is collaboration. So how do you get your, uh, not only your customer success team to, to obsess over the customer about how can the engineers also obsessive with the customer and how can accounting obsess over the customer and how can we, how can we kind of tie all these values together so that we can get the full wood of the spear behind the tip?
Speaker 2:
31:11
And if you can put all those together with the right vision and the right people, um, that's how, uh, you're able to overcome, um, uh, some of these obstacles that many, like when we first started fundraising three years ago, I would say, um, you know, probably, probably 40, 50, maybe in 60 vcs passed on us. Um, they just said there was going to be, to your point, too daunting of a task, too hard to do. Um, and I think our team's proven that, that they're up for, um, that type of, that type of challenge. And, um, embracing our values, um, to, to pull it all together.
Speaker 1:
31:46
So it's all about, it's all about the team. It's all about, I mean, it's a lot to do with the team. It's a lot to do with the culture. I could not, uh, I could not agree more with your, with your times there. Um, and I want to bring another very, um, let's say very tricky, tricky. I don't know if it's tricky, but it's, it's definitely a talked a lot about, uh, nowadays, especially with the hyper scaling, um, and, and with start ups that, that go very fast, which is profitability, right? It's like, you know, uh, it's almost like when, when we look at Uber and one day doing it, there's almost a, not a very clear site in terms of their, their profitability. And again, maybe I shouldn't have named them, but, um, but, uh, how do you, how do you think of, uh, of this point, right? I mean in terms of the future, in terms of project 40, tall, you continued to grow, you continue to scale, you continue to mature. What's to two becoming
Speaker 2:
32:41
perfect? It's something we, we, we think about. Um, but what we obsess more over right now is delivering value to our customers. And I think that's, there's probably two different schools of thought there. It's really hard to be profitable and be a tech company and have hyper growth on a, uh, in a company like ours. It's in a lot of different geographies. It has the complexities that, that, that, that we have. Um, we also, uh, are what's known as a network, a business or we have network effects. Um, and so, um, it is, it is, it is tough. Uh, but I think there are enough examples out there that show that if you, um, once you get to a certain scale and a certain size and if you build products not, not a service company, the profitability comes, um, at, at, at, at a certain point.
Speaker 2:
33:39
Um, I think the book that probably does the best job aligning with how we think about it as the book zero to one by Peter Teal as a great job of explaining, um, kind of the mindset that we and our investors, um, uh, kind of kind of bring to the table, which is delivering incredible value and the profits, um, will come, will come later. Um, uh, I think for us when we're thinking about, uh, I guess we talked about earlier about what are the challenges, what are the bottlenecks? And you know, I was fortunate that I didn't have to mention capital because we have a tremendous support from not only our current investors but also from other investors who would love, um, that, that are very interested in investing in us. And so for us, it's really about building that network. Um, and, and the reality is, is there are likely millions of companies that, um, that will want to access that network in to that scale is where the profitability comes from. It's not the first, um, 2000 companies that, that help us build a network.
Speaker 1:
34:53
Hmm. When was that? And I wanted to from Europe, your perspective, CEO of the company right now and maybe for the next years, I mean it will change, but what are some of the most important metrics that you track to let you know that look project for the fall is going to add direction?
Speaker 2:
35:11
For us, we're the, one of the most important is um, how happy our customers are, our customers happy with our, with our product. That's, that's something that, um, is it is a true north star for us. Um, another metric that we, that we look at, um, is of course, uh, revenue. Um, at the end of the day it's a good indicator as to, um, if, if the products that you're building, um, are aligned with what companies out there want to want to accomplish. And then of course, we also look at the number of carriers and telematics devices. Um, uh, there were, there were, there were connected to, um, for us we want ubiquity. Uh, we want to be connected. Every truck, train, plane, boat barge, Rick Shot, space x, uh, drone, whatever it is, anywhere in the world that can, they can connect or they can deliver a product. We want to be connected to it. So we're always, always measuring that. Um, uh, you know, as a, as a to unpack more I would say, you know, we have 25 KPIs that we track as a, as a company that we all get access to on a dashboard weekly that roll up to five strategic objectives. Um, and I'll, I'll, uh, and so that really started to unpack that question a lot more as to how we're actually running the business. Um, month to month, quarter to quarter and year over year.
Speaker 3:
36:37
And actually everybody has XO. That's an interesting point. Everybody has access to this. So anybody in the company can kind of see the performance across the board or I mean is that, is that only for senior management? How does that work? It would be an interesting, you know, again, to your point of making, how is, does the engineer care about, you know, about the client is as much as the sales guy does or as close as the CEO. How does that work?
Speaker 2:
37:04
It's a, you know, you're welcome to come to our office. Uh, I'd love to host you here some sometime. And one thing you'd notice here that if you came here is that there's an incredible amount of information. I think we have, um, maybe, maybe 50 or 70 monitors in the office that, um, all these different dashboards that show all these always important, uh, met metrics. Um, and then not only are they by company or by department as to what's probably important to them, but we also share, uh, other departments within, um, within kind of that seating arrangement so that there's, um, some trends, there's transparency across the organization. Um, regarding those, those, uh, 25 KPIs. Um, all of those roll a desk level roll up to those 25 KPIs and everyone in the leadership team and executive team have, have access to that. Um, we share that information also in our town halls that we have, um, monthly.
Speaker 2:
38:05
We don't necessarily share it every, every month. Do we, we do share that information, um, from time to time throughout the, um, throughout, throughout, throughout the company. So I try to share, I think for us that striking the right balance of, um, it's, it's not withholding information. Like I think a lot of companies traditionally new for us, it's about what information can resurface to our team members that's relevant to them, that, um, helps them make better decisions, um, that, uh, gives them access to, uh, the cadence of the company and kind of where, where, where we are. So we know what we're, where we're winning and where we're losing.
Speaker 3:
38:47
MMM. And, and yeah, it's, uh, it's, it's so important to have, I mean, whatever gets measured gets done around like, oh, great. Then management a figure and Peter Drucker said, so, um, so that, that's key as well. Um, I have another interesting question that, that, um, that, that was put here and I think it's extremely relevant because, um, we seem to be in a time where the, there are a lot of similarities between the state of technology companies today and 2000 when the Dotcom bubble burst. Do you have any thoughts or prediction in, uh, in 2019 will this be the year the bubble burst? Will it not? How will that happen?
Speaker 2:
39:30
It's uh, you know, I find myself, uh, I'm on my free time kind of, uh, pondering that, that, that, that question. Um, I could tell you as the, as the CEO and founder of project 44, there seems to be an incredible amount of interest from institutional and strategic companies to invest capital. And there's certainly is more capital, uh, sitting on the sidelines that has a charter that requires it to be invested in certain time periods then than we've ever seen before. Um, I, I have thought like many people is this, is this like the.com bubble. But I also know when I think about the question, I, I look get, there's quite a bit of differences between it. Um, one big difference is that we're actually creating real value. Um, now we're in the, in the.com bubble. We, we didn't see necessarily, um, the, the value creation that you're, that you're seeing.
Speaker 2:
40:37
Like for instance, for us going from all these phone calls, emails, manual processes to um, to making a digital like, like we're doing, providing that visibility, that that's real value. There's a real hard ROI there. Um, so there that what I found even in recessions, um, is that anything that has an ROI seems to work well in a bull or bear bear market. Um, but I also think that if you look at even some of these really large outcomes that we're seeing now, the multiple, whether it's by subscription or revenue or whatever, that multiple ways, it's quite a bit less than the multiple that we saw, um, in the, in the.com bubble kind of or towards towards the end of it. So as crazy as it sounds is some of these multiples are actually pretty, pretty reasonable right now. Um, so I think that the fact it's real, real value being created, um, and there's so much capital on the side, but I think there's also something else that's that's unique is that you don't see as much these large companies investing in r and d like we've seen for the, uh, over the previous hundred years.
Speaker 2:
41:47
Um, and so they've essentially consciously or unconsciously made a decision that they're going to outsource r and d, uh, to startups and then acquire, uh, that, that innovation, um, for, for growth engines. And so many of these companies are really well capitalized to, to, to acquire, um, startups and not, not just tech, but as startups in general. You know, I was just, prior to this, I just had a great, great, uh, energy bar called rx bar and Kelp, Kellogg's, you know, they're a block away from us here in Chicago. Um, Kellogg acquired them I think for like $600 million. Really simple innovative product. But it's just an example of, um, innovation that, that, um, you didn't see with inside the, with inside the company. I think that's, we're seeing that also in the technology side.
Speaker 3:
42:39
I thank you for, for, for sharing that. Um, and I'd love to, to ask you also in terms of, we've talked about us, we've talked about Europe. How, how about Asia, your plans in Asia and specifically in Asia, you're going to come across and as you well know, there's a different set of challenges because, uh, you know, you talk about Indonesia, you have 17,000 islands. So you, you're talking about archipelagos you're talking about, you know, Philippians as the other countries like that is not necessarily one compact block of land. So, you know, it's kind of two questions in it. So, you know, what's your plans for Asia in general? And then second question is, you know, how, how will you deal with the complexities of our archipelago countries?
Speaker 2:
43:18
Yes. And, uh, it's, it's Kinda the same answer for, for both questions. So our goal at project 44 is a ubiquity. Um, so, uh, and we will meet the market where it is. Um, the, because we have high quality data and because we are multimodal platform, we have the ability to stitch different modes together. Meaning we can stitch together a barge with a terminal port with a truck within a train or rail, and then back to a vessel that then goes on, uh, uh, to, you know, to land and then tow, uh, air. Um, so I think I put this in a unique advantage to, uh, for some of those, um, those regions where there are or requires multiple modes. Uh, and I think for some of those areas, um, they're more advanced in technology and other areas are, are, are less advanced in technology and we're meet the market where it is.
Speaker 2:
44:28
Um, and I think it's a great opportunity for some of the less, um, developed regions to really be able to leapfrog ahead because they don't have the legacy technology to kind of overcome or you don't need to, uh, justify, um, sunk costs of legacy technology. Um, and yes, we plan on, uh, Asia, we have, um, a lot of customers. Um, you know, you can use project 44 outbound Asia to, to Europe, um, to, to North America, uh, are ready and you'll be able to, to South America, um, here before it, before the end of the year. Um, uh, so we're pretty, pretty excited that and we're B entry Europe. Um, here we are really, really closely. Um, so really excited about that.
Speaker 3:
45:12
And I'd love to kind of, um, go a little bit deeper into the talent side. Um, cause I've been a, in the, actually specifically we got a question in the question so I'll need sounded like this. Um, it looks like jet has some real world class players in his team was the secret here as they would normally be gobbled up by the usual huge tech companies. Um, and you did mention that the employment is negative on the type of, you know, engineers and coders and software programmers and that type of skill sets or what's your secret sauce? How did you attract them?
Speaker 2:
45:50
I'll do keep them for us. I think it's a, it's a combination of, of, of different things, but I think a players attract a players. I think B players attract c players. So for us it's really about always making sure that we have the right, um, recruiting and procurement or interview process, uh, for, uh, for, for folks. And I think it's also when they're onboard, uh, the team making sure that we retain them. Oh, project 44 is not the right fit for everyone. Um, what we do at project 44 is, is really, really hard. And I'd say there are most startups and most tech companies are probably an easier place to work at in project 44 and we don't, um, it's not hard to work out because we create artificial challenges or obstacles factor work really hard to, to, to knock down a friction wherever we find it. But, um, we're still in tough challenges. Shipping in logistics is probably one of the oldest, uh, industries in the world. And, um, we have to, uh, we have to attract people that are really interested in and solving these um, uh, these really difficult problems. And for the right folks that are competitive, that um, that really like a, a challenge and want to work with a people, then project 44 seems to be a great, a great fit for them.
Speaker 3:
47:17
And I remember that the, I mean we met in, in garden numbers alone. I remember that I met some of your, your team members and some of them specifically, I remember this conversation and I'm going to bring you, because I think it's a, it's important point. It's also an interesting point because view from the dynamics of the market today. So he was, he was a very senior executive, I think a senior in terms of both experience but also age. And he was almost saying something to the extent, and we were having this conversation around the topic of diversity. Um, so, um, uh, so we were talking about, you know, having a diverse workforce and he was saying that, um, that the, uh, project 44 approached him and he was semiretired and uh, and then, you know, he was very engaged in like the vision of the company and then he decided to join you.
Speaker 3:
48:03
But what I liked is the fact that, uh, you kind of took the approach of, in his case at least, and I'm sure it's, it's quite a varied workforce, but, um, very experienced almost at the end of the career, but obviously coming from the industry that, that in, he knows the industry very well and you've got him into add a certain flavor. He was saying that he's learning a lot from the young, young generation within the project 44, I think the other way around. How do you also think in terms of diversity and kind of balancing skills and balancing also experiences, ages, you know, uh, how does that play a part?
Speaker 2:
48:38
It's, it's a huge, a huge part of the success of project 44. It's a diversity of thought and experiences and backgrounds, um, from all different parts of the world in, in age to, to your point, it's something that, um, that we take take really seriously here. Um, for us, I think that would just have a, a zero tolerance for anyone that dumb doesn't embrace, um, diversity. And that we are constantly challenging ourselves to, uh, to put the work, um, both local communities and nationally, um, to find talent that, um, can add the most value to, to our customers and, um, to, to, to the team. Um, I think the solving that not only is it good for the company and our customers, but it's also good for the, for the community to be able to have, um, so many different people with different backgrounds participate in and building project 44 that I think is going to have a really huge impact on, on mankind.
Speaker 3:
49:47
Mm. And, and there was another, there was another thought that came to my mind. Again, coming back to coming, coming into the leadership realm, right. And hyper scaling the involves you hire people for the role today, but then basically the same people in 12 months might have all of the sudden the team of 20, 30, 40, and uh, people under them. So from a leadership perspective, what do you look for in people? How do you, how do you, how are you able to assess, is this person the future leader of the organization or not?
Speaker 2:
50:19
Well, I think to your, to your point, you, when you start out in your, your, um, you're a smaller, you tend to be a lot of generalists and you, um, and as you start to grow, you start to hire people that are more, more specialized. And as you start hiring more specialized people, there's opportunity for folks, um, to go from an individual contributor, uh, to a player coach to an executive role. And so what I typically do is, um, I think that project 44 has a responsibility to help these folks. Our team members be their best selves. But I also think the team member has a responsibility to invest in themselves. Um, whether that's through books or programs, um, uh, or executive coaches or there's a whole number of things, um, to, to go through. And so we have a combination of programs being, uh, uh, you know, startup.
Speaker 2:
51:18
Do they not, I guess now we're a growth company. Um, resources are, are limited, but we do have things like continued education. We have some internal programs, um, that we've recently kicked off with. Um, you know, uh, for managers or for individual contributors that want to become, um, managers. So there's a number of, uh, of, of ways to that. I think we, we approach that. Um, and we have some really amazing people that have started out at the company, um, early on that have moved up then, uh, in the company, uh, into some leadership roles. And sometimes, um, they say, hey, I need to, um, I could think of a few examples. They say, I think I've gone as far as I can go. The company needs someone with more experience. How about, um, we bring someone in with more experience that I can learn from.
Speaker 2:
52:13
Um, and then, uh, uh, and, and we can accomplish our goals even better. And I think that's that kind of, that real talk as a value that we have in that collaboration and that accountability that we all have across the table. It's not having an ego. It's about, um, us all working towards, towards our goal. And when you can create that type of culture, um, everybody, everybody wins, including the person that raised their hand and said, hey, um, maybe, maybe someone else, um, with a little bit more experience can be brought in because they then get the, um, mentor that new individual and then they were able to transfer those skills not only internally to your project 44, but if we're being realistic, um, people don't stay at companies for 25, 40 years now. So they are able to leverage that, um, to, uh, for wherever their, their next, um, adventure in life takes them.
Speaker 3:
53:07
Final question from me. Um, and I like to, I like to ask the suspend and then particularly also in, I mean, in New York case you've had an eclectic career, um, you, you've done all sorts of things. Now you're, you know, now you're the CEO of project 44 in has been a great story.
Speaker 2:
53:23
When you're to look back, what would be some of
Speaker 3:
53:26
the best pieces of advice that you've received throughout your, your career now, your startup life and that have helped you the most?
Speaker 2:
53:35
Yeah, I've reflected on that question and in, in a while. Um, but the things that come to mind immediately are, um, you're only you only as good as your, as your word. And I think that's, that's really important. So, um, especially in a, in a, an ecosystem is small, as small as we are. Um, it tends to be kind of Bait, basic advice of uh, surround yourself with people that are smarter than, than, than you are. Um, you know, don't burn bridges along the, along the way. And, um, the more you think, you know, the, the less you actually, um, realize that, that, that, you know, so I think it's just kind of some of this, uh, the basic advice that, that, that's much smarter, more accomplished people have been, I've been, um, recording various ways, have, um, I've really, uh, kept cat captured. Um, I'm not aware of, uh, any type of sustainable get rich quick or instant success. Um, uh, it, it often is many years of, of just doing what you're saying you're going to do and um, uh, providing value to the team members you work with and your customers.
Speaker 3:
54:46
And I love it. I love that. I think we've been, we've been also for many, many years and hundreds of years, people have been looking for the get rich quick type of formula. Um, and there's been a all sorts of books and um, publications that you could buy some dodger than others in terms of the five and seven, now three steps of becoming a millionaire overnight. But yeah, in general, they don't work. Um, and, and a fundamentally, I, I also agree wholeheartedly with you that fundamentally success is a, is a, the heart is following a few principles and doing it all over again and all over again and all over again and having the patience to grind it over. So, um, um, so thank you for, for the sharing jet and then has been a very insightful discussion. Appreciate the keeping it real and appreciate the, uh, the good examples that you've, you've shared. And, uh, we wish you all the best in the [inaudible] project, four d for All the best in the continued the, uh, success and continued growth.
Speaker 2:
55:44
Well, thank you. I appreciate the opportunity and uh, thanks for, for all your listeners out there for the, for the support in to you so that thank you very much for the opportunity.
Speaker 3:
55:53
Thank you for listening to our podcast. If you liked what you heard, be sure to follow us on [inaudible] dot com slash podcast for all the show notes, links and extra tips covered in the interview. Make sure also to subscribe to our emailing list to get the news in the nick of time. If you're listening through a streaming platform like iTunes or stitcher and you like what we do, please kindly review and give us five stars so we can keep the energy flowing it get more people to find out about our podcast. I'm most active on Linkedin, so do feel free to follow me to stay tuned for our latest articles as well as future guests for the podcast. And if you have any suggestions or any other idea, please feel free to write to me. I respond to all, and also please make sure not to miss our next episode where we will be having a few other c level and top leaders in supply chain joining us. Stay tuned.
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