Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics

#61: Lidia Yan CEO and Co-Founder of NEXT Trucking

November 14, 2019 Season 1 Episode 61
Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics
#61: Lidia Yan CEO and Co-Founder of NEXT Trucking
Chapters
Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics
#61: Lidia Yan CEO and Co-Founder of NEXT Trucking
Nov 14, 2019 Season 1 Episode 61
Radu Palamariu

Lidia Yan the CEO and Co-Founder of NEXT Trucking. NEXT is venture-backed by investors including Sequoia Capital and Brookfield Ventures. In January 2019, we closed $97M in Series C funding, bringing them to $125M in total funding.

Discover more details here.

Some of the highlights of the episode:

  • NEXT - the APPLE of trucking
  • How NEXT achieved profitability in their first year
  • Rapid scaling from 100 to more than 200 employees
  • How it is to be a female in a male-dominated industry
  • The USD60 billion DRAYAGE market
  • Work for a cause, not for applause and seek respect not attention because it lasts longer. 


Follow us on:
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Show Notes Transcript

Lidia Yan the CEO and Co-Founder of NEXT Trucking. NEXT is venture-backed by investors including Sequoia Capital and Brookfield Ventures. In January 2019, we closed $97M in Series C funding, bringing them to $125M in total funding.

Discover more details here.

Some of the highlights of the episode:

  • NEXT - the APPLE of trucking
  • How NEXT achieved profitability in their first year
  • Rapid scaling from 100 to more than 200 employees
  • How it is to be a female in a male-dominated industry
  • The USD60 billion DRAYAGE market
  • Work for a cause, not for applause and seek respect not attention because it lasts longer. 


Follow us on:
Instagram: http://bit.ly/2Wba8v7
Twitter: http://bit.ly/2WeulzX
Linkedin: http://bit.ly/2w9YSQX
Facebook: http://bit.ly/2HtryLd

Speaker 1:
0:00
Hello and welcome to the leaders and supply chain book dust. I am your host Radha Paula MRU, managing director of ethical global all mission is to connect you to the supply chain ecosystem globally by bringing coal in. The most interesting as an industry and it's my pleasure to have with us did EBDI young was the CEO and cofounder of next truck. She is no stranger to taking on a challenge. Our latest venture is taking on one of the largest industries alive, the 800 billion trucking industry and she has brought in some of the biggest venture firms to Beck her new idea. Next is a technology platform connecting shippers with carriers and beyond the truck load. Long haul. Next is in innovating solutions specifically for drainage and port operations and that is venture backed by investors in proving Sequoia [inaudible]. Good, thank you. Is in January, 2019 they close 97 million in serious seats, UC funding by bringing them up to a total of one to 5 million in overall funding media. Thank you for making the time and it's a pleasure to have you with us today.
Speaker 2:
1:09
Absolutely, absolutely. Thank you for having me today.
Speaker 1:
1:12
Um, so let's start maybe with the, with the beginning of the story for next cause. Uh, as far as we did some research, it's yourself and your husband and two engineers that, uh, that got this started working day and night trying to push out the first prototype. And, uh, now five years later, you were, you were well on your, on your way. So maybe tell us a little bit about the humble beginnings of the stories and, and you know, walk us through two and what you're up to today
Speaker 2:
1:41
for sure. So next is the first trucker centric marketplace where we connect shippers with small trucking companies, primarily own operators, all fleets with less than six trucks. So a company mission is really to empower the truck drivers to drive the way they want, when they want and how they want. So we focus heavily on portray edge pulling containers through the ports. Um, the beginning of the story. Yeah, it was actually very humble. Um, my husband has been in logistics for over 15 years and he awkward a few warehouses and uh, uh, he was actually running their largest distribution centers for TVs in Southern California, um, since he's, uh, he's running a traditional three PL company. Uh, my background is e-commerce. Um, I received my MN degree in communication management and I worked at for ad agency and, and then I did develop my interest in digital marketing before I launched my first eCommerce website.
Speaker 2:
2:43
Um, so what really triggered me to get into trucking is really one event. So I was actually visiting my husband at his company and a driver from a multivalent dollar trucking company came to the warehouse to pick up a load. So all he had was a piece of scrap paper with the low number jotted down for on a phone call was his dispatcher. And it took our warehouse three hours to search every square inch of the facility to come to the conclusion that this load was not there. So it's really just one incorrect that digit that triggers this whole fishing expedition. And it's a huge waste of resources. And it was a time of their drivers and warehouse workers. So we were thinking if that, if there's another way we can better streamline the whole process. So after talking to many drivers, we came up with next Truckee a marketplace that connects shippers with carriers and we use more matching technology to make the flow of goods from ship to shelf easier for shippers and more profitable for drivers.
Speaker 1:
3:51
Good. Well that's, that's a, that's a story that the, that I can say is, um, um, is not happening quite often actually, even today. Um, so I must, I must admit the such solutions as yours and that the tech driven solutions are better than needed. I remember myself, since we're on that topic, uh, being stranded somewhere in, in Barcelona recently with a friend and he was trying to get the load from, um, from one of the major express companies that I will not name for their benefit, I guess. And, um, and he was trying to get that parcel out faster because he had to set up his booth for a conference and, um, and actually they couldn't find it in the warehouse and he had to escalate this issue to, I don't know how many managers and two hours later we were able to find it in the warehouse.
Speaker 1:
4:40
But, uh, let's just say it wasn't a very nice process. So great to hear that you're trying to, trying to change that. And there's, there's a few other companies like your strength to change that and hopefully very soon we'll have better, better solutions. Um, so maybe let's go a little bit into, uh, into next trucking and your target customers and the value proposition. And you mentioned rage, right? Which is the first mile, which is made more from, from a, as opposed to two longer hold, uh, movement of goods. Right? So he's maybe from the port to the, the warehouse or an orchid shortcut in short the distance. Right. So maybe tell us a little bit target clients, um, very proposition specifically for, for next trucking. How do you add the most value?
Speaker 2:
5:25
Yeah, we primarily, so it's a two site in marketplace. So we kind of, shippers with trucking companies under shipper side. We primarily focus on enterprise shippers, fortune 500 companies. Today we work with hundreds of shippers actually including six of the top 10 in America. Uh, on the carrier side. We've probably fit this out. Small trucking companies, which accounts for 90% of the market. Oh no. Operators, small fleets with less than six trucks who don't have resources or software and who don't have technologies and the who were underappreciated, um, in the past. So we wanted to really be a technology to empower them. So friendship perspective, we really bring transparency to the shippers. They can treat them, track a load, real time, and they can really receive the proof of delivery. It's literally a piece of paper proving that alert is delivered and that the paper has the driver's name on there, the shipper's name on it.
Speaker 2:
6:25
But in the past, you know, if a shipper go through, a traditional broker broker has to trace down that piece of paper from the driver and driver has to go to a truck stop to fax that piece of paper over to the broker broker scan and send to the shipper. The whole process may take up to two weeks or even longer. So it drags the shippers cashflow because they cannot build their buyers without that proof of delivery. So with everything digitalized and on the apps or shipper can build their buys a lot faster so they can increase their cashflow was anti-oppression prayers. We also provide EDI and API integration so they can use their existing transportation management software tend to lose through their software to us, we feed the low status back to them. For carriers, we probably empower small trucking companies, drivers. So we wanted to allow them to work the way they want at the time that they want so they can really have the freedom to make their own choices.
Speaker 2:
7:25
And the reason why people choose to become a truck drive is really, they wanted to have this flexibility of life. But unfortunately, like even today, most drivers really are untraditional brokers to fund them low. It's fear, phone call, text messages. And the typical driver will rely, um, a few, a handful of brokers that they have relationship with to find them nodes and that they don't necessarily find them those that meet their criteria. So we will, what we did is really to really predict what drivers want according to their behavior, their historical data, and we put the drivers on the loads that they want it to haul so we can really reduce the time that they spend, um, negotiating back and forth with traditional brokers and increased the efficiency so they can make more money and hormone loads.
Speaker 1:
8:17
And I'm just curious, why did you choose to focus on, on drayage? Because, um, you know, we have, we have companies, we have other companies that have gone into marketplaces for long, longer hope, right? For a long distances. You have been fairly specific in starting and I think now you're, you're, you're expanding into other services but you have started and you have been and still are very focused on that first mile on the dredge component. What led you to decide it?
Speaker 2:
8:45
So trucking has five sectors, truckload less than than a truckload or drayage pulling containers from the port to look away. House. Intermodal is from train station to local warehouse and small parcel. We focus on drayage which is a $60 billion market, extremely fragmented, lack of technology and it says it is also the most difficult and a moose, the complex sector in trucking and there are a lot of moving pieces and tons of stakeholder and a lot of players in ecosystem. So contenders are put on the ship, then they arrive at a port, go through customs and through terminals and where they're put onto a chassis, then pick up by a driver to look away or house. Then the warehouse needs to all know the merchandise and the truck needs to pick up the container and written at to the same or a different terminal. And then you need to make appointment.
Speaker 2:
9:38
It was terminology and make sure you have the content is out before the last free day to avoid late charges. We caught the merge and the return of content or before the fee time expired or we call FTE to avoid per diem charges. So there are also different chassies providers and a typical trucking company to deal with. They're the whole ecosystem and there are different players and chasses some of the chats belong to the N, you know, private companies and belonged to uh, you know, steamship lines and the most of the players in the ecosystem don't share data. So it make the drainage ecosystems super complex and super difficult. If just looking at Ellen long beach ports, we have two courts, we have 12 terminals and everybody use different operating system, different appointment system. They don't share data. So we are actually very excited to be the first accompany that address drainage problems and abuse drape solutions because 40% of merchandise, you know, country's important and your age is really the first and mile journey of every single important good. It's, we call the first the dominant off the supply chain. If we don't do drag right, it will impact an entire supply chain and the way, the first mover in edge and it's super complex where beauty, a big beautiful software that empowered the entire ecosystem [inaudible] edge. And the, that's also the reason why we attracted a lot of very talented product engineering data scientists to join the company to be the next generation of uh, change solution that wa that will be one of a kind in the industry.
Speaker 1:
11:18
And suddenly you didn't hear that in your first year I was reading you did a 11 million in revenue and you were already profitable. So that's, that's quite a, I'm, I hope I'm getting it right, but that's if indeed you wish profitability so quickly, that's quite a feat because I think that they, uh, most, uh, most startups take a long, long time. Um, again, not to name anybody, but before they reach anything close to profitability. So tell us a little bit about that. How did you manage to, to get profitable so fast and what were the main success factors?
Speaker 2:
11:51
I think one is really we focus on the truck drivers because chocolate shortage is number one problem of our industry. Um, our industry is lack of 50,000 truck drivers at this point may reach up to over a hundred thousand truck drivers in the next five years. The turnover rate is 97% and people do not want to stay in industry. So we focus on the driver shortage problems. We beat the solution surrounding the driver's needs, we want it to aggregate a capacity under our platform and then how to trackers to make them more efficient. So I think that's a direction that we went after is really to put a majority of our focus on the supply side to make sure that next has enough supply and it has quality supply cause I'll go is really to bid an Apple in trucking. So we wanted to bring in the best drivers, claim that ground rate on time, deliberate great services and then we formed the largest, a virtual fleet that could provide consistent great service to our shippers.
Speaker 1:
12:58
Good. And if I'm to, to, to, to drill a little bit deeper cause I'm still, I'm still um, intrigued on the, uh, on the profitability. Cyprus definitely offering quality is one aspect and is very important and S and to uh, to, to get to profitability because a lot of a lot of companies, especially tech platforms, which we see nowadays, whether it seems logistics or supply chain or you know, at the largest scale you have that when we're in the lift and the DD and whatnot, they take a really long time to get there. Um, is there something else that you did on top of the ensuring the high quality of drivers that made you achieved that level of making the business already profitable?
Speaker 2:
13:44
Um, I think another aspect might be um, focus cause you know, logistics is a trillion dollar industry and trucking is the $800 billion industry. It's very distracting if you want it to do everything. And the, it's actually the common, you know, mistakes a lot of company made is really trying to do everything at one time. Uh, when we started, we highly focused on beauty lays and they were very original driven. So we focused on Southern California, home-based or drivers first. We only onboard the drivers in Southern California. And then when we approach shippers, we approached the shippers who have this lane, which means they will ship from Southern California. So we viewed the liquidity in a supply and demand simultaneously. That saved us a lot of money because just imagine if I'd written a bunch of driver on East coast at this point, while I don't have East coast loads, so I can't, I should either find, you know, spot market loads at lower price.
Speaker 2:
14:50
So I will have to take a loss on it or I will train the drivers very quickly because I don't have those for them. And the same thing, if I onboard a shipper who have tons of loads are East coast, why I don't have drivers who live there and who take those loads, then I'm going to train my shippers very quickly. Otherwise I'll have to pay a lot of money trying to cover the loads last minute through like traditional brokage way. So I think being very focused and being very original driven is, uh, it's really something that said next apart from the rest of the players in the market.
Speaker 3:
15:29
[inaudible]
Speaker 1:
15:31
no, I mean that's, that's a, that brings me to, um, do an example. I recently read about a company that, that had 80% of the revenue out of, uh, out of Australia and New Zealand, um, and still made it to a billion dollar billion dollar status because they were to your point focused and they got really good at, at the product. They have the, um, they have the platform optimize them, then they can go globally or regionally fairly fast. Um, and I really like your sharing in terms of, um, you know, in terms of being focused, specific, regional, not going, you know, not going, uh, out of your, let's say, out of your focus area to fast and spreading yourself too thin. So that's a, that's a great sharing for sure. Uh, what would be now, what would be some of the biggest challenges that you faced with us?
Speaker 2:
16:22
Yeah, big, big challenges we'll face in operations.
Speaker 1:
16:28
Yeah. What would be your biggest challenges right now when it comes to your operations?
Speaker 2:
16:33
Well, we're scaling at an incredible pace. Um, so since June of this year we've doubled our head count to more than 200 employees. So it was many new people come in on board. It was a challenge to establish consistency across the board. So to overcome this, we gathered our leadership along with feedback from many off our employees and launched the two sets of core values. So there's six guiding principles for the way we run our business drivers first. So wanted to make sure that the company is really surrounding the first value around our drivers because we call ourselves trucker centric. So driver is really the first and most important factor for the business. The second disagree in a commit focused on the true North. We are change agent given and trust and passion to way. So those are the six major values and that is guiding the company and to make sure that we bring the people in that shares the company values. And also we can grow our talent base with the same principles.
Speaker 1:
17:47
Understood. And when it comes to, I mean doubling operations from 100 to 200 dates, a major, major shift. And it's also obviously much harder to, uh, much harder to integrate that many people in such a short period of time and culture and setting up clear value proposition is definitely important. Um, and I'm just wondering, was there something else that you've done or any other principle of fast scaling that you follow on top of making sure that the culture and the value of the companies are, are clear to help you navigate such fast growth sports?
Speaker 2:
18:24
Well, I think like every company we made mistakes when we were smaller and the, the company, Kurt culture's really work hard and get shit down. So, um, I think when we reached about a hundred people in the company, we do see a shift of culture and we will then, we really assembled a culture committee. So culture committee includes people not only from an executive team really, you know, we assembled the team that are interested in shaping the company conscious for next, we're passionate about shaping a company culture. So that includes in a mid level managers, you know, customer service operations reps and even some co truck drivers. So that's how we really finalize in ship. It was a pretty long process like where we really spent three months trying to figure it out, what our identity is, what we want ourselves to be and what our values, what are the values that are important to the companies, to the people here.
Speaker 2:
19:27
And that is our foundation. So we believe once we have a solid foundation, it's a lot easier for us to scale. And obviously we implemented a new training process to, on what new people, we viewed a much bigger product engineering data science team to bring more automations to edge to short and a new employee onboarding. We have an learning and development team to help us really to speed up the onboarding of new employees. And we'll also focus on bringing with the talented people who are passionate about what we're doing and who truly passionate about solving a real world problem.
Speaker 1:
20:06
And I'd like to, I have a lot more questions, uh, for, for next. And I think you're building a fantastic product and you, you've given us some good pointers, but I want also to cover your personal story because it's a, it's a peculiar one. It's a different one and I, and the one that I think we should have a lot more in the industry. Um, and you are a woman that, that set up, um, a trucking based tech company. We don't get to see a lot of, uh, of Sachi profiles unfortunately. Still. I think that, you know, we are on the right track, but it's taking us a, it's taking us a bit of time as, uh, as we go. So I wanted to shift the focus to you personally, media. So tell us how is it for you to be, um, a woman in this, um, world of truckers and trucking companies and shipping lines and shippers and all of that. Doesn't matter. Does gender method, did you get any challenges around that? How did you experience it?
Speaker 2:
21:04
Ah, that's a good question. Um, yes, it's, you know, a think trucking is a male dominated industry and so as technology and you don't really see that many female founders in tech company or trucking industry, so it, so unfortunately I'm in both of them. Um, [inaudible] I mean both of them and, uh, I'm an Asian woman. I'm an Asian immigrant women. Um, so I do and I also have accent and I'm only five, two, so if you put me next to a, you know, 53 foot trailer or an 18 wheel rig, like I just did look out of place a lot of times. Um, you know, I didn't have a lot of challenges in the early days, uh, when I pitch investors because they just couldn't, you know, vision me next to a truck. I even got questions like, do you drive a truck and a, do you know how to drive in trucks?
Speaker 2:
22:11
So, uh, it was very difficult early days, but I think at the end of day, it's, we show the hard number to the investors. We do have tremendous growth as a company, um, that set us apart from the rest of the players. Um, uh, we did have challenges, but the, I think one thing is that I am very persistent as a person and I do work very, very hard. Um, so, and also I'm very lucky that ICM bode a fantastic team that is passionate about what we're doing and who's truly caring truck drivers. Um, that's also the reason why, you know, we put the company mission as truckers first is really to empower to truck drivers. So yeah, it, I think over all my experience is very positive. I'm very lucky that I have, you know, investors like Sequoia, Brookfield on my board, they truly care about what we're doing and uh, they are also determined the two really disrupted this triggered sector and we know we're getting something that is super complex, super big. It's a huge product that we beauty, but it will bring tremendous value to the industry and it can eventually change the industry fundamentally. So I think everyone's super excited about it. Uh, we're definitely doing the right thing at the right time and we have the right people and we're in the right environment.
Speaker 1:
23:49
And you, you got me very curious about another element of your personal trajectory cause you morphed a few years ago from China to the U S so I wanted also to dig a little bit into the, into the background of that and why you chose to do that. And what were some of the implications of doing that for you. Obviously you're set up next in the us, but tell us a bit about that, that more.
Speaker 2:
24:16
Um, I went to, so I went to high school [inaudible] high to middle school in high school seven years ago. Gosh, Shanghai foreign language school. So, um, and I actually had American educations when I was in school, so I was inspired by the higher educations any U S and I always wanted to pursue to higher education in America. So after I graduated from college in China, I decided to apply for it, uh, a, you know, higher degree in the U S um, I applied, I actually went to university of Virginia first. Um, I studied Italian and uh, before, yeah, before I transferred to USC to pursue a master degree in communication management. Um, it's, it's definitely great and benefit for me, uh, personal and career wise because, you know, I had the educations in China that it really focus on disciplines, focus. Uh, you know, we memorizing the knowledges and I think American education led me to be more creative and the more open minded, and uh, I remember in the early days when I was in UVA, my professor actually came to me and there was like Lydia white, I never see you raise your hand, uh, in the class and the, do you not have any questions or do you not know any answers?
Speaker 2:
25:48
Because I was in a culture that is, you know, it's about disciplines and uh, you know, you should never challenge or ask questions. So that was a really a turning point from my life is like, and my professor actually forced me to raise my hand every single class. So that was the first time I really became a more independent thinker and trying to be creative and to really to speak up for myself. I think it really shaped my, uh, my personality for the next 10 years. And also it beauty Fundation for me to be a founder of a company.
Speaker 1:
26:29
Mm, no, for sure. And that's, that's that's uh, that's quite a story and I didn't realize that you S so you, you speak Italian, you use this thing.
Speaker 2:
26:37
I, my Italians really rusted. I can't, I think I can still read it but uh, I remember time I was in Italy and I was trying to speak Italian to a taxi driver and he turned around and he was like, lately I speak English so I guess [inaudible] was pretty rusted
Speaker 1:
26:57
or maybe or maybe it takes a taxi drivers they tell it is a slam that like so, you know, you never know. But
Speaker 2:
27:03
yeah,
Speaker 1:
27:05
it's um, yeah it's, it's a fascinating story. I mean I understand quite a bit of Italian cause I come from Romania originally and the language [inaudible] the same word language of Latin, but the estimating for, for somebody from, you know, like yourself too.
Speaker 2:
27:20
Yeah. Cause I can also kind of guest Spanish as well. Consistently same your language group.
Speaker 1:
27:27
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. It's fairly close. Yeah. I wanted also to ask you, because you have done, you have been involved in other businesses, you've had your own business in, I think e-commerce related. How has that also helped you and some of the learnings from those businesses maybe helped you when you set up and you, you started next.
Speaker 2:
27:48
Yeah, I had another business which was a flash sale eCommerce company back in China. Um, I was actually first group of startup that a in flash sale in China. Um, I started business I remember almost 10 years ago. And uh, we, I had really quick success after we launched this website. Six months in a company was actually profitable. So I had a very lucrative, happy small business and I had a very small team on small, hardworking team. And, uh, um, and I remember Martin margin was like 75% cause I was really the first, the group of people that were selling American fashion goods to Chinese consumers, uh, internet of your flash sale mode. So it was a great wrong, and, uh, I think from obviously after six months, uh, basically 12 months after we launched a website, we had tons of competitors and we had the same business model and raised tons of money and they moved a lot faster than us.
Speaker 2:
29:05
So from that experience, and I learned really speed is the only competitive vintage. Like we had great ideas, we have great executions, we ha we understand transportation and the moving goods, but we didn't move fast enough. And also we didn't raise money fast enough. So instead of keeping out first mover advantage, we S slow down at the exactly the wrong moment. So, so great, great lesson learned, um, from that experiences. And so for next trucking, I actually set out to raise money very, very early. Literally when we had a prototype I set out to raise my first $120,000 and I call it the happiest check ever. It really got us started. And, uh, I remember I was jumping up and down for two weeks for that first to check cause, uh, that was that my first fundraising experience. And there wasn't too bad. Um, that's got, I'll start at and the today the company has over 200 people and it grew at 100% year over year. It's definitely the great journey that we're taking.
Speaker 1:
30:23
When you spoke a lot about Tevin and uh, and having the right team across your businesses and now in next as well as in the past, how, tell us a little bit about the, the challenges of finding and identifying and attracting the right Dylan to the team. Because there's never easy, and I've looked at your, I mean we do executive such as a day job, what testing is our side job. Um, and I, um, I just as a to see a professional heavy, they checked your website for four roles that you have available. And I saw that basically there's two big categories of roles that are looking for. You're looking for data scientists and you're looking for product, um, uh, product experts. But this two jobs are probably, uh, jobs that are being in demand for every industry, especially the data scientist. So the minute the question then is how do you attract and find the right talent to come to the next, then take the company to the next level?
Speaker 2:
31:18
I think in the early days of it was pretty challenging, um, because you know, logistics, so new to the tech talents and a lot of tech talent in Southern California worked for in large media companies or um, you know, traditional tech companies and the logistic is very, very new topic. Um, and uh, for me in, I enjoy working with people who are passionate about what we are doing. It's not really to write the ride and, uh, you know, join a company because of the hype. Um, like we, like today we have talent in the office who are truly passionate about what we're doing. And then we also encourage our tech team to go on a truck to sit with the drivers and spend a day and to really understand the life of the people. I think the most rewarding moment is when, you know, truck drivers coming in Chicco hands and that tell, told us how appreciative they are for changing their life.
Speaker 2:
32:27
That was the most rewarding moment for the team because we're building something that changing people's life and it is something that has a purpose. So obviously we were small. It was very difficult to attract the right talents because you really need people to believe in a vision. And also because we are a a operating company. So which means we are a, we need the talents from burst, trucking industry and technology industries. So it's a, it's a little bit challenging in early days when we wanted to really formed a company culture. Um, but to be fair, like F after Forbes calling us and next billion dollar company, uh, Ashley made it a little easier for us to, um, to be more selective when it comes to talents. And now we have really, really tell him people join the company. Um, and the, of course, I think the idea of logistics and the renovating logistic industries really got out and, uh, became a trend. So it allow us to bring in the best of people, um, in the who are truly interested in sort of the drainage problem.
Speaker 1:
33:51
And I know that you have a, or LR, you spoke in the past about having a one particular top million dollar question that you want people to answer during interviews with next. Tell us a little bit about that, that question and why is it so important?
Speaker 2:
34:07
You said my interview questions.
Speaker 1:
34:10
Yes. So I was, I was, uh, the team or was reading that you, you mentioned you have one top question that you usually ask in an interview to make sure that there is a fit with between next and the, and the candidate. And now I don't know what is that question? So I've got, you've got to be really curious to ask you.
Speaker 2:
34:31
Yeah, I do have a set of questions I always ask. Um, I think reasons lay, I always ask, you know, what is the greatest, the flaw in your, you know, communication or leadership style? Um, I think I wanted to hear people who give me honest answers because it's very difficult for people to really confront themselves and provide genuine feedback. And also it also let me understand that this candidate can really reflect him or herself, right? Because, um, I think self-awareness is really a great quality for a human being. Like nobody's perfect. And, uh, if we really have self awareness and we will be able to improve ourselves. So that's why I always ask that question.
Speaker 1:
35:29
Yeah. So true. And uh, and, and uh, of course you can find online some scripted answers to that question, one of which is worked so hard and I'm so passionate about my job that [inaudible] it's my biggest school. So I've read some feminists I'm sure that some people would actually give, but I thought that you get your point that I'm in general actually it's a, in my experience as well, that the bigger the company is actually the bigger the companies get, the more politically correct they get. And you know, I understand the reasons why, but I think that authenticity, being able to reflect on yourself, being able to be genuine about what you're good at, what you're not good at. Um, it's quite important because nobody is actually perfect. But unfortunately, I would say in most big companies, that's not really the case. I think people do do, do a lot of pretending.
Speaker 1:
36:21
So I'm, um, I'm, I'm a happy to hear that, uh, that you make it as a very important trait to look for in, in next. And I think in general, in, in, in smaller companies, it's a, it's a lot more prevalent that people are, uh, should be more, more, much more authentic. And hopefully one day this will translate into the creating in all companies, not just, you know, um, not just segments of it. I wanted also to, to um, ask you about the topic of diversity. Right? So let's come back to you being a woman of Asian heritage in that both tech and, and logistics world. And I don't know where there's less women, but I think in both worlds are quite, quite few. Um, um, so, and he's not his boat by no means. It's a fight between who has less women. I think we should fight on who can open up the numbers, a veteran who can get more diversity faster. But what would be your thoughts? Cause, um, it's a, it's a bit good. I think it's a good question. It's a, it's a big topic on the agenda of most companies if not all companies and they want to encourage diversity. They want to get more females on board then and as part of the tech as well as the logistics journey. But how can we do that? Um, what's your, what's your thought? There's firsthand being a woman in that position?
Speaker 2:
37:39
Um, I think obviously diversity is super important and next we have, uh, over 40% of our employees are women. Um, obviously in this male dominated industry. So I'm pretty happy about diversity in the company because, you know, uh, women actually bring a different perspective, um, when it comes to, you know, what trucking is like and how to treat the drivers. Um, in also, I think in our company and we're very unique because we are a blend of technology and operations, right? So we do have talents from those industries and uh, and we are creating a very unique culture to really mingle two kinds of talents in the, put them under the same roof and allow them to work together as a team. Um, so we're actively working to build an workforce. Um, and uh, I think other than 40% of my employees are women in around three quarters of a workforce, uh, uh, considered ethnic minority. Um, so we're definitely a very diversified company and we'll continue to do that.
Speaker 3:
39:00
Hmm.
Speaker 1:
39:00
And if you were to look at that, um, and the industry in general and um, again this do industry, the answer is the tech industry and is the logistics industry, but there's a bit of a, of a local level now with the logistics tech coming up, how would you, what, what do you think as an industry we can do more to encourage more, um, more diversity? Are there certain, uh, does it start in school? Does it start withdrawal models that this suddenly mentoring? I'm just curious if uh, cause I'm actually actively looking and putting together and I have initiated the, it's a personal pet peeve for me. It's it in some ways. I mean I am actually thinking of how to, how to put it out there. And I think a lot of people are thinking a lot of the same ways, but we haven't quite figured out. There's no silver bullet. Right. I think we should try more things and just discussing about is one way to do it. And I'm just curious if you think as an industry, um, there's more things that can be done and what would those things be?
Speaker 3:
39:58
[inaudible]
Speaker 2:
39:59
well, I think we definitely can use more of your podcast to promote the idea of being diversified in our industry and bringing more talents in the industry. I think with all the technology company coming into the industry, a logistics become sexier or short. Um, and it also allows us to bring in a different pool of talents to the industry who bring in different perspective and different talents, um, to our industry. So really to move the industry forward. Um, I think one is really, um, technology company like us are definitely on the forefront of promoting data, sharing, promoting technology. And also we have podcasts like yours and also media, uh, mainstream media that is promoting these ideas. Really, if you're looking at it, every single industry is, would you say it was left behind? Like every single industry is more modernized and the digitalized it, but if you look at logistics is, is the ma the biggest industry that got left or behind?
Speaker 2:
41:05
Um, and there's a reason behind it because you know, 10 years ago, if you talk about logistics, nobody, like nobody would want it to talk to you because it seems so remote to a lot of people. Um, even for eCommerce companies, uh, or in the trading companies, but just the cost was a fraction of their margin. So people didn't really pay a lot of attention to logistics until recently because of the commerce international training and a, the visibility's that internet brought to eat lingo, the trading and the margin is really slim for many companies that you Congress companies. And all of a sudden people realize that, uh, you know, logistics costs almost account for 10% of their margin. So then, you know, everyone look into the industry and realize that logis is a trillion dollar industry where there's no technology and it's really, really behind. Uh, when it comes to technology or automation. So the point is, we, it's a great opportunity for companies like us or the punk monies who are interested in, you know, renovating this industry to come into play at this time.
Speaker 1:
42:21
Absolutely. Final question from me then, uh, what would, what would you say that the best advice you got in your career, maybe as an entrepreneur, let's just put it as an entrepreneur, what's the best advice you've got in your trajectory and career as an entrepreneur that could help other people that are considering maybe embarking on a same similar journey?
Speaker 2:
42:44
Uh, I always use this quote, uh, worked for a cost, not for a plus and a seek respect, not intention because it lasts longer.
Speaker 1:
42:55
No, I love it. Work for a cause, not for applause. That's, uh, yeah, that's, uh, that's a brilliant way to say it. Um, and definitely, definitely there's not a lot of clauses in startup world learning that especially, yeah. Especially at the beginning. Um, maybe, maybe for the very few that naked, but, uh, but in general it's hard to get those at Moses and not, not, not that easy. Um, yeah. Thank you so much. It's been a, it's been a great pleasure. Thanks for joining us and for sharing and for having this open discussion and, uh, wish you all the best. Uh, we're uh, well the future. Thank you so much for having me. Thank you for listening to our podcast. If you like what you heard, be sure to go to www.ellicottglobal.com and click the podcast button for all the show notes of the interview.
Speaker 1:
43:40
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