Episode 202
April 16, 2021

"Well Made": You Need to Have a Reason Why Something Should Exist

Stephan Ango, Host of the Well Made podcast, joins Phillip to talk about how customer expectations, sampling behaviors, and how the software world applies to the physical world. Listen now!

this episode sponsored by

Society and Audience Connection

  • There’s a difference in connection with audiences—connection through logic (written) and connection through emotion (art).
  • On emotional connection: “...when it connects with somebody, it deepens the experience of the things you’re trying to say through words.” - Phillip Jackson
  • Lumi is a software company connecting packaging manufacturers to brands and creating lasting relationships between those brands and manufacturers. 
  • Not only has COVID-19 affected manufacturing, but there’s a generational gap between manufacturers and brands. Lumi is bridging that gap.
  • “I feel like we’re going to be in this golden age of business as performance art, where people are doing things that don’t make sense, but they’re doing it on a large scale when it comes to marketing.” - Stephan Ango

Tools with Soul

  • “How do you create, give your company a soul, give your thing that you’re doing a soul? That’s very hard. It’s like trying to define why your thing should exist…” - Stephan Ango on what his podcast, Well Made, is trying to define.
  • Slash Packaging is a hobby project of Stephan’s—and has helped brands tell the stories around their packaging. 
  • Slash Packaging isn’t trying to be the source of innovation for packaging, but they do want to build a framework for understanding what the more sustainable options are in your industry. 
  • “I want people to learn how to think about other ways that tools can be used so that they could find creative uses of these tools to expand all of our understanding and imagination and our horizons.” - Phillip Jackson
  • “This idea of default, the idea of sampling, the idea of ubiquity in the tools that we use has created other problems that weren’t easy to anticipate and I think harder to solve for, which leaves room for challengers.” - Phillip Jackson

Links


If you have any comments or questions about this episode, you can reach out to us at hello@futurecommerce.fm or any of our social channels. We love hearing from our listeners!

Phillip: [00:01:10] Hello and welcome to Future Commerce, the podcast about the next generation of commerce. I'm Phillip. Brian is out today, but I found a much handsomer...

Stephan: [00:01:19] Oh wow.

Phillip: [00:01:19] ...replacement for him. With us for the second time, but this is the first time that our audience is hearing it on Future Commerce. Welcome, Stephan Ango from the Well Made podcast. How are you?

Stephan: [00:01:31] I'm doing great. I'm glad to be the new co-host going forward. And yes, I have a voice for podcasting, I suppose. A face for podcasting. So we can't prove the more handsome side of things.

Phillip: [00:01:46] You have the voice as well. I listen to you on the reg.

Stephan: [00:01:51] Likewise.

Phillip: [00:01:52] Yeah. I've become a fan of Well Made. It's one of my at least monthly listens. I don't... Do you do this thing? I'm curious from one podcaster to another if we can just kind of random off topic here. I sense that when we drop a new episode, we see episodes from three or four or five, six weeks ago light up, and I have the sense that people sort of binge. So it's like if you really wanted to get an idea of, like, how people consume content, it's really interesting running a podcast because you see people sort of catch up. And I feel like I do that with Well Made, as well. I don't know if you see that at all.

Stephan: [00:02:30] In my own personal behavior, that definitely happens, especially sometimes if I'm like cooking or cleaning around the house or doing some of those types of activities. I like to have that same kind of voice going on in the background. I also have certain podcasts that I listen to as I'm falling asleep, which is not at all a dis on the host. It's just like some people have like very soothing voices. And I kind of want to hear what they're talking about and learn through osmosis. And just gently they'll rock me to sleep. And if anyone uses my voice for that, I don't feel bad about it at all.

Phillip: [00:03:06] For those who who are listening to the dulcet tones of Stephan and Phillip, while you're going to sleep, we salute you. It's actually that's the reason why a year and a half ago, we were seeing twenty seven thousand people engaging with our content and nobody would ever leave an iTunes Review or email us when we said send us some feedback.

Stephan: [00:03:29] Because they were already asleep by then.

Phillip: [00:03:30] I was like, "Are these all bots? Are they real? Yeah. They're all asleep. They're all asleep by the time they get to the middle of the episode. {laughter} I was like, "Brian, we need active content. We need things that you can't like, dual screen." And so we started writing essays and reports and now we have an accidental research business that's kind of an incredible thing.

Stephan: [00:03:49] Well, that has been great. Yeah. Vision 21. Has everyone listening to this downloaded the white paper and everything?

Phillip: [00:03:56] I think so. It's amazing to watch the folks that engage with it. It's like the New Zealand Travel Board downloads this white paper about what the future of commerce might look like. It's kind of amazing how those kinds of things widen your horizon and deepen your reach with a certain type of person...

Stephan: [00:04:18] Who is doing the graphic design on that? Because it always looks so sharp.

Phillip: [00:04:21] Thank you so much. It's all internal. We are, I say that we're like the first what I would say is like a vertically integrated retail media business in that we do it all ourselves. We don't ship podcast editing out to podcast motor. We don't ship creative out the door. We have a creative director who has a very strong network of two or three people that he works exclusively with. Shout out to Jesse Tyler on our team.

Stephan: [00:04:51] Someone who knows typography on your team. That's what I...

Phillip: [00:04:54] Yes, yeah. It's very strong. Of course, the stuff that we put a lot of thought into, like on the print side takes a little slower to get over to the web side. But we are trying very hard to visually distinguish ourselves. We're very... The things that move us and motivate us are the things that we're like, oh God, like we got to do that for ourselves. Because that's the thing, right? I feel like there's two parts to this. I'd love to hear your thoughts, but you'll connect with a certain kind of a person on an intellectual basis, like the logic center of your brain. I can write a thousand, two thousand words, and make a really reasoned argument. And that would connect with somebody, there's another kind of a person, maybe even the same person, but you can connect in a different way on an emotional level if you can engage with them through art, because art has this way of bypassing logic. It just connects. It maybe doesn't connect with everybody, but when it connects with somebody, it deepens the experience of the things you're trying to say through words. And that's why I think it's so strong for us. Like music in particular, setting tone in music and setting across all the multiple properties that we have these days. And then, yeah, the artwork being the other piece of that sort of visual music, if you will.

Stephan: [00:06:19] I think about that all the time, especially aside from Well Made, I'm running the supply chain packaging company called Lumi.

Phillip: [00:06:27] Which is the actual thing that you did.

Stephan: [00:06:30] Yes. What I spend most of my time on. But I often think about how it's such a dry and boring world. I'm always thinking about how can we make supply chain more poetic, more artistic, more sculptural, more interesting. And I wonder sometimes if I'm just shouting into the void, like just all by myself thinking about that, because I'm not sure if it resonates with anyone, but I feel like it's important in order to communicate ideas and just to have fun.

Phillip: [00:07:00] Such a strong... This is the podcaster in you being so good at your job. Let's talk a little bit about Lumi and sort of what it is, because I know we covered that the last time we were on the show. But then COVID happened, and we never published it. Sorry. But if we could use like, what is Lumi? Maybe bridge that thing that you just said about how you can take this unsexy sort of thing and make it poetic and artistic. I feel like that's what direct to consumer has been doing with packaging and making it experiential. It's not just a utility, a means of getting it to someone in one piece or in its intended shape. It's actually become part of what is differentiating direct to consumer eCommerce businesses in an industry otherwise where products sit on the shelf and they're like single use packaging. How does Lumi fit into that story as the art and poet in you sees it?

Stephan: [00:07:55] Well, you know, first and foremost Lumi is a software company. So that's what we make. What we make is software, and it's software for factories. So factories run on Lumi. They usually Lumi to find jobs basically that match their equipment. So factories, some factories, are using Lumi basically as their website, because you find that if you search for corrugated boxes on Google, you're going to find 90 percent of it is like garbage. It's like ads and just random stuff that has nothing to do with what you're looking for. And a lot of the companies that truly have the equipment, the people who are doing the real work, they are not web designers. They're not software creators, they're manufacturers. And so we give them the tools to showcase their capabilities, tell the world about the kind of certifications and sustainability work that they're doing, and then how do we then help the brands find those manufacturers and work with them. So all our tools are designed around making it as easy as possible for those two parties to work with each other, transact with each other, make things and be happy with the end result. So it's protocol oriented. It's like creating the language that allows those two parties to work with each other. But then we happen to be kind of on a meta level in this incredible transition as a society where we're going from a primarily physical retail based economy to a primarily eCommerce economy, primarily online economy. And we're still so early on, I mean, even with COVID kind of accelerating certain habits and behaviors, we're still I don't know what the latest figures are, but twenty percent let's say a maximum of retail spending is happening online. So there's if you walk into a grocery store or a drug store and look around, every single thing that you see on a shelf is going to be redesigned. The packaging is going to be reinvented for an eCommerce first experience, like all of that stuff right now is designed to shout at you from a shelf and say, like, "Hey, I'm whitening your teeth" or you know, "I have got this flavor," and you don't have to do that in an online world. You don't have to have your packaging tell that story. You can tell that through videos and podcasts and writing. So we just happened to be at that point in time. And how do we make the tools that allow the people who want to do that to, but work with the manufacturers who can?

Phillip: [00:10:38] Connecting. You're connecting people to people.

Stephan: [00:10:41] People to people, but also like machines to machines in a certain way, because a lot of the work that we're doing is actually trying to make things a little bit more efficient. And sometimes, like people can get in the way of that, even if they want to be part of it and have like a really strong relationship with their manufacturer, when they want to place orders or see the status of something, they don't necessarily want to have to ask someone. They want to be able to log into an interface and see that instantly at whatever time of day,

Phillip: [00:11:14] That's the expectation that we all have how things should work today. Right? There's this expectation that if you've been listening to the show out there, you've heard me say it for years now. It's like customers have an expectation of your brand that you didn't set.

Stephan: [00:11:32] Right.

Phillip: [00:11:33] That expectation was formed by other great experiences. And sometimes we say Amazon in that sentence. But I think it's just there are so many out there who are creating marketplaces of other natures or how online consumer based retail and marketplace experiences give you this expectation. Why doesn't that work that same way in a business context? Like it should work that way? Well, that's my expectation that it should work that way.

Stephan: [00:11:59] And generationally, we're going through a huge transition where the people who are entering the workforce from a supply chain standpoint, the people who are using Lumi on the brand side, they're millennials and Gen Z. And if you are part of that generation and you're used to going on Door Dash or Postmates or whatever and ordering a sandwich, I mean, the process of ordering a sandwich on Postmates is like pretty similar to the process of ordering packaging. It's just that it takes like a lot more time and more money and more complexity. But you're saying, hey, you know, I want this kind of sandwich, hold the pickles and then you have, like, visibility over every step. You have more visibility over this like 15 dollars sandwich than most supply chain managers do over their supply chain. And so when you are someone who's 23 and going into work at one of these eCommerce brands in operations and you realize I don't know what's going on, it's like that is the mismatch in expectations. Meanwhile, the manufacturers... I don't know what the average age of a manufacturer at Lumi is, but I would guess it's around 30 to 40 years. We have some factories on Lumi that are over one hundred and fifty years old like that are running Lumi. And they are aware that they need to kind of adapt to how these new generations want to purchase things. So there is a big generational shift there.

Phillip: [00:13:24] And on the platform they manage their, not just capabilities, but maybe availability?

Stephan: [00:13:30] Availability. Yep. That was a big thing, especially over the past 12 months. We have this status tracker that helps kind of aggregate everything that's going on through factories on Lumi. You can see that if you go to Lumi.com/Status. There's all kinds of weird stuff that happened. We were all following closely the Suez Canal for the past few weeks.

Phillip: [00:13:51] We got to touch on that.

Stephan: [00:13:53] That kind of stuff happens all the time. And it affects... I mean, we had, you know, Texas went down for a week because there was no power. And all of those types of things affect what factories are capable of. And so we try to make that visible to everyone who needs to have that information. So that, the quoting process, the production tracking process, the invoicing process, it's all these kind of, you know, not sexy things. That's where can we bring some intuitiveness in fun and art and something to that experience? That's the hope.

Phillip: [00:14:32] It's so funny, you said this happens all the time, being closer and closer these days to the supply chain side of the business. My job has changed in the last year. And these days I'm actually working in sort of a different role in my day job. And I see more of it than I ever have about what actually goes into making the things that we all consume and how that stuff is exposed to eCommerce and now how... There was a hold up for a month or so or longer in Long Beach that caused all kinds of issues with a lot of brands that we worked with. It's surprising how often that happens.

Stephan: [00:15:20] Every week. Not all of them rise to the level of kind of emotion that there was with that Suez Canal one, because there were so many memes going around with, you know, the little truck trying to dig out the front of the ship.

Phillip: [00:15:35] The big ship. It's very stuck.

Stephan: [00:15:36] Yeah. Or a lot of the good ones were like someone my my emotional well-being. And it's just giant ship. Here go outside the little, you know, truck trying to make things better.

Phillip: [00:15:52] My crushing anxiety and CBDs gummies.

Stephan: [00:15:55] Yeah. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:15:55] Digging away at the...

Stephan: [00:15:57] Exactly.

Phillip: [00:15:57] Exactly.

Stephan: [00:15:58] But that's happening all the time. I mean. Yeah, they don't all rise to that level. But I mean obviously COVID itself was a huge whirlwind on the supply chain for a bunch of reasons and had all of these ramifications. You've got all these patterns that have to do with climate change that are going on, like the stuff that we saw in Texas. But also there's hurricanes. There are things... There was the trade war and all the tariffs that were going on with China. So every week there's something along those lines and some of them are more fun and interesting to look at and others are more terrifying. But they all end up having some impact on the brands and the manufacturers that are using Lumi.

Phillip: [00:16:47] One of the themes of the report that you brought up earlier was this trend toward maximalism, which is such an interesting thing, and it's expressed in so many different ways. In fact, I'm writing a piece today that will go out over our newsletter, The Senses, which is where I'm saying the reason that April Fool's Day this year felt so much less than is because everything every day is always maximalist. It's like it's April Fool's Day every day. Things that seem absurd happen every day. But that's the world we live in now. In fact, products that you are convinced should not exist and have no audience actually do. And they do. And so it's like, you know, I remember The Incredibles. It's like when everyone's super no one is. Well, when everything's maximal, like when everything's absurd, nothing is. It's so funny because I'm going to contrast that, the reason I'm bringing it up is I'm contrasting it against the very last podcast of yours that I listened to in the Old World. I remember I was driving to the last event that I ever went to in person anywhere in February, late February, early March of 2020. And I was listening to you interview...

Stephan: [00:18:09] Kyle Chayka.

Phillip: [00:18:10] Kyle Chayka about minimalism and digital minimalism and this idea of like not just minimalism in like the aesthetic sense of the way we decorate our homes, but almost like living digitally minimal. And I feel like we're so far away from a world where that was a topic that we talked about. Culturally I feel like so much has happened. I'd love your counterpoint on that.

Stephan: [00:18:35] I don't know... Well, I think that it's like everything is happening all the time and it's hard to parse what people's actual preferences are. And so I do think that there are certain things that are possible. I feel like where we're going to be in this golden age of business as performance art, where like people are doing things that don't make sense, but they're doing it on a large scale when it comes to the marketing of it, but actually a small scale when it comes to the real dollars that are moving around. But that's OK. It's kind of interesting and fun. Meanwhile, I do think a lot of people are trying to simplify their life so that no one asked for that minimalism podcast. It was just, you know, probably 20 to 30 percent of my guests are just people that I'm interested in and ideas that I'm curious about. And I've always kind of had a more minimalistic approach. I mean, even just the title, Well Made, of this show is sort of about how can we find the products and the things that are Well Made and focus on those? Can we have less stuff and have more better stuff?

Phillip: [00:19:49] I think there's always space for that, and it's the thing that I love about Well Made is this intersection of people is sort of almost... Activism is probably the wrong word. But it's people that have, you know, a particular point of view and a story to tell and also sort of the duality of how that fits into the world that we actually live in and how we all enable commerce to exist. And we all realize that a lot of commerce is superfluous and sort of meaningless and creating and bringing things into the world that are minimally used, even minimally enjoyed...

Stephan: [00:20:38] That's a different definition of minimalism that... {laughter} I'm going to minimally use your product, which is I'm going to buy it and then not use it. Like VR goggles.

Phillip: [00:20:48] Like how people listen to the podcast. It's like I'm just going to use it as a means to go to sleep, which I guess in that case would be great. But yeah, there's this sort of more, more, more that we enable in some small way. I'm sure. I feel like sometimes I get concerned about the like am I adding to the noise? Do people need more noise? Am I being a voice that actually... Am I using whatever platform, whatever voice I have to bring some sort of change about or some good into the world? Not just enjoyment. Not just entertainment, but am I using that in some way to bring about some sort of... To bring about the world I'd like to live in.

Stephan: [00:21:32] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:21:34] Is that is that too dreamy as a podcaster as a startup operator? I don't know.

Stephan: [00:21:40] I don't think so. And I think that a lot of the ideas that I try to have kind of represented on the show are ones that are not mainstream yet, that are ideas that maybe are only possible at a small scale because they're really pushing the extreme of some end of something, like some new business model around... A lot of interesting new business models around reuse and kind of moving things differently through the supply chain wouldn't really be possible for a really big company to do because they're sort of anchored in this approach of how they do things and making tens or hundreds of millions of dollars doing it the old way. So it's hard for them to adapt to something very different, but I'm really interested in, I want to have an episode soon about the right to repair, for example. This is an area that I'm very curious about. And over the past, like 10, 15 years, ever since, you know, Apple has gone supernova with the iPhone and its approach to building products, we've really gone down a route where things are becoming less and less repairable. And I'm interested in having both sides of that conversation. Like, why is it better that things are not repairable? Maybe there's a good argument for that. But also, why could things be more repairable? And how can a business model empower that? So we had a little bit of that with clothing, like we had someone from Eileen Fisher, we had someone from Patagonia come talk about this clothing. But what would that look like for electronics or other types of products? It's an area that I'm really curious about but that might not be possible at every scale.

Phillip: [00:23:38] Especially on Lumi as like a software product, you have this multisided marketplace. I feel like podcast's in some way or kind of a multisided marketplace of ideas. The thing that has shaped our, we were talking in the pre show about learning and public, like that's sort of our new understanding of what we've done with the show. If nothing else, it's been great for us to kind of work out where and how we fit into this world. And so over the last two hundred and one episodes our learning along the way has been from having people like you on the show that come and sort of provide new perspective and then to have an audience of people that come and tell us their perspective. And we're the conduit in which we're connecting those two types of ideas together. And we're ultimately I feel like I benefit the most out of it, sort of selfishly, in that I'm the person who's sort of being challenged every day to make things or bring those two things together in an equitable way, because not everybody that listens to the show likes everything they hear. And we hear about that sometimes. And I don't know. Do you sense that you have that sort of same...

Stephan: [00:25:01] I'm totally in in the same mindset that I want to learn in public, because I think there is such a fear now in the world of being wrong. People are afraid of being wrong. And like cancel culture, for example, has even further pushed people in that direction, I think, as a side effect. There's obviously a lot of good things that have come out of it, but there's also that fear of being wrong, I think, is more exacerbated than it's ever been. Because if you're wrong on the Internet, then 10 million people are going to come after you and that fear exists. And so I think most people are wrong about things all the time. And it's OK to be out there with saying things that are wrong so that you can learn why you might be wrong or what other perspectives might be. I haven't had too much of that in terms of feedback, but I think that more people should be more open about what they're trying to educate themselves about at any given time, or not be afraid to be wrong in the process of learning.

Phillip: [00:26:15] But you don't learn just by... This is sort of the strange nature of themed podcasts. Where essentially at the core, commerce is the thing that brings us together on a show like this. But commerce is vast, and it touches so many different things. And you could say all kinds of different things are commerce in nature, like commerce touches everything. So, you know, the themes from one show to a next could be very different. You look at a report like we did earlier this year, and it's like 10 wildly different themes and topics that I feel like are things that exist in the world. And they will alter the way that we engage in commerce. But they're not all necessarily commerce centered in nature. Where you go and listen to another podcast, and it's very eCommerce tips and tricks and AOV and conversion rate. I find that having our platform sort of softly defined as being commerce centered, but not only commerce focused, is the thing that has allowed us to have new and fresh ideas and sort of change and morph over time. I get the sense from your guest list, Well Made is very similarly architected.

Stephan: [00:27:37] Yeah. I never really get into those types of things, like how do you optimize some metric?

Phillip: [00:27:42] No.

Stephan: [00:27:42] And I don't know why. I think those are really important topics, but I find that podcasts are maybe not the way that I learn about that stuff. I like to dig into... I mean, Well Made is a very selfish podcast in some ways. It's just really I'm the core audience of it. {laughter} And so hopefully other people get something useful out of it. But I am interested mostly in how do you build a soul? How do you create, give your company a soul, give your thing that you're doing a soul? And that's very hard. It's like trying to define why your thing should exist is really kind of the exploration of the show overall because maybe a lot of things shouldn't exist, and so you kind of have to have a reason why to exist because otherwise maybe you would be better off like working on somebody else's idea and helping them bring their vision to life, and I think that that's a question that because like, for example, DTC has become so sexy as a thing, like lots of people want to be an entrepreneur in this area. Why? Because they feel that it would be cool to be thought of as an entrepreneur, a DTC entrepreneur, or something like that. And that's not really a great Reason to start a company because it's going to take years of your life to do and it's going to be very painful. You need to have a reason that you are doing this for yourself, for the world, for the people who are working with you, for the partners that you have and Well Made is just a conduit to help people find what that reason might be.

Phillip: [00:29:41] Hmm, oh, that's deep. I often encounter so many interesting like topics and people on your show. Sorry to keep coming back to the show.

Stephan: [00:29:55] No it's...

Phillip: [00:29:55] I'm like a mega fan. And they always fall in these like, interesting like, I'll go on a long run on a Saturday and Sunday and I've got my pods cued up and Well Made is right there. And one that I remember from when I was training for a 40 miler back in August and so like my longest long run was a 50K like two or three weeks before. And so I was like catching up. And I remember hearing Leah Thomas on your show.

Stephan: [00:30:33] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:30:34] An intersectional environmentalist, I believe, is how she's sort of described...

Stephan: [00:30:42] Yeah, she coined that term.

Phillip: [00:30:43] Yeah, intersectional environmentalism, yeah. There is just like the types of topics you touch on are things that I think really just, and having people like that super challenge me. But I remember being on that run and like stopping and actually like I don't want to say weep, but like, I had a good cry. There was a lot to it. It was really hot. It was Florida. It was August. But hearing like her own perspective of why she does what she does in the world and how we were in the middle of the social justice movements of 2020 and hearing that sort of all happened at the same time while in the middle of a global pandemic, while it's like... It just sort of set the tone for me. And it reminded me that we actually have this... There's this amazing thing that we have and this ability to communicate these really complex ideas and have these incredible people that can come and give their own perspective of their own life experience. And again, if your show was in this tight little niche, and it wasn't free to explore that, we wouldn't have the beauty of that. And I feel like that's the thing that having this soft concept of Well Made allows you to do, to explore whatever. I'm very moved, by the way, that you built the show. I have no other reason to say it other than I'm a huge fan.

Stephan: [00:32:12] For me, whenever I go into the darkest recesses of my mind is a very existential one, like the scariest thing to me is like what if everything that we're doing is completely meaningless? Because it is kind of, in the sands of time. And so, you know, in a weird way, I feel like a part of that is exploring how can you give a company or a thing that you're doing meaning and, you know, someone like Leah Thomas, each episode is dropping some sort of like seeds for someone to take and say, yeah, that is something that I really care about. And not everyone is going to care about every different kind of seed of an idea there. But hopefully there's one or two that resonate along the way. And maybe the unique combination of the two or three things that matter the most to you are what turns out to be the formative elements of the soul of what you are or what you're trying to do. And I think there's a lot of that that is connecting with how people want to do business in the twenty first century. There is a philosophical, existential aspect to it. And we're in the process of redefining what capitalism should be like. And so those two things, I think, are more intertwined than people think because when we think capitalistically, we think about, you know, money, basically. But there's a lot more to it than that, I think, for the people who are involved in the day to day of why they're participating in that system.

Phillip: [00:35:37] Do you see the things you do, Well Made aside, say at Lumi... Do you see that as a platform to bring about some kind of change? I know slash packaging was a thing that seemed really interesting. Maybe you could use that as a vehicle to talk about it.

Stephan: [00:35:56] Well, slash packaging is a hobby of mine. SlashPackaging.org is a website that is aiming to collect every website from eCommerce brands and legacy brands and any type of company that's making a physical product that is interested in telling the story around its packaging. So what I'm trying to do is standardize around this URL, packaging, so, you know, FutureCommerce.com/Packaging or whatever the brand might be. And now we've had around one hundred companies who have joined that and created a slash packaging page, from really small startups to like Amazon.com/Packaging and Neutrogena.com/Packaging.

Phillip: [00:36:45] Wow.

Stephan: [00:36:45] And so you can go there to SlashPackaging.org and see all of these companies and what they're doing. And a lot of it is about learning in public. I'm trying to get across to some of the slower movers, like the bigger companies who they're like, "I see what you're doing, I'm interested, but we're making some major improvements to our packaging right now, and we're not going to put a page up until next year." And my point to them is like, "Well, that's exactly why you should put a page up right now."

Phillip: [00:37:14] That's why you should have it up now. Tell people it's coming.

Stephan: [00:37:16] Yeah you should tell people. Tell people that you're working on it because we want to make sure that companies can operate not in silos and collaborate on this broader problem, which is that we don't want to live in the Wall-E universe, like we don't want to live in a world where, you know, 50 years from now we've got skyscrapers made out of trash and we have to go live on Mars with Elon and his colony. Like we want to keep Earth a place where we want to live. I'm very supportive of also going to Mars, but I also hope that Earth is a place that we want to live. And so in order for that to happen, we need as much collaboration towards that problem as possible. So how do we make it a thing that every company is part of? But I think of that as far as that's kind of a hobby. It's a very long term thing. I plan to be doing that for as long as there's websites. So if websites still exist in 50 years, hopefully all of them have slash packaging. So it's a very... It's not... There's no real benefit to me doing that, it takes up a decent amount of time and the results are kind of like not amazing, but it's a fun project for me because the people who are within those companies creating the pages, they really enjoy doing it because they put in a lot of work that never gets talked about around some of these really boring things where they have reduced the gauge of plastic by 10 percent. And it made a huge impact. And someone worked tirelessly for, you know, a couple of years working with all the different suppliers to accomplish that. But actually, like, that story doesn't get to be told. And so that's maybe the most rewarding part of it is like getting all of these nerdy supply chain people together and having that conversation and giving them a platform to share the work that they're doing, even though it's maybe incremental. It's going to be a death by a thousand cuts, like we have to hit all of those, like incremental improvements to really avert the Wall-E scenario.

Phillip: [00:39:23] My first job in what I would say is sort of like the direct to consumer startup realm was a sort of B2B Snapfish competitor, which was just like this web to print company in Delray Beach. And we had this amazing print and direct mail business that we were solving really cool problems on, and in early days there I was a graphic designer, but I had a lot of this old world prepress color, separate sort of knowledge. But I was also a programmer. So they came to me early on and they said we want to like increase the amount of pieces that we can fit on a die cut. It was can we squeeze 10 pieces in a sheet that normally would only fit nine pieces? What we realized is that it wasn't just that we save margin and that we could fit more in shorter spaces, that we had so much less waste at the end. It was an incredible like eye opening moment that all of the things that go into the creation of a product actually produce a tremendous amount of waste in the process. And having less waste meant we had this whole other knock on effect of, well, there's less waste. That means we have like less manpower to have to, like, move the waste from one place to another, because then it has to be recycled in a very specific way to hit environmental goals. This really incredible thing that I had never thought about before, and it was early in my career, but I had never thought about before, is like the time that I spent was trivial. But the impact that I had was huge. And so businesses can super still win, but they can still save money and they can sell things at a better margin. But they can also have this great impact on the other side of producing less of a wasteful footprint in the world. I think about that a lot. For that to connect emotionally to me, it was like I had to put that in my own context of where have I done this before? Where have I seen this before and process. I don't think I feel like there's so much packaging in the world nowadays. If we had one single reuse container, could we possibly reduce packaging by 50 percent? Stephan, is that is that a thing?

Stephan: [00:41:22] Well, it's hard to describe because there's a lot of growth happening in the world at the same time. So are we trying to reduce in relative terms or in absolute terms the total amount of packaging? I mean, I think that what we're trying to do is move generally in the direction of a more circular economy where the inputs we don't have to have so much waste from the raw material to going through the full lifecycle of the product. So can we use more recycled content? I think it's less about are we actually going to remove a lot of packaging and more are we going to make it a more self-contained system? Because unless we are successful at inventing like a teleportation machine in the next hundred years, which maybe will happen, I don't know. I'm looking forward to that. That would solve some interesting problems if we can get there. I'm not sure if we're going to actually see in absolute terms a big reduction in packaging. I think what is more likely is that we can go towards a world where the inputs and outputs are more tightly connected and that we don't have to go in and cut down trees that are... Which is actually not really happening anymore, at least in the US, like most of the paper that's being used is all from managed forests. But there's still a lot of plastics that are coming from virgin sources. There's a lot going on there that can be improved and made more self-contained and circular. And that's probably where we're going.

Phillip: [00:43:14] I'm going to have to pause right here. I'm going to make a footnote of it and I'm going to tell people to be quiet because I super can't concentrate. Just one second. I'm sorry. Go for it. Chris, if you're listening to this roll of phat beat right here. {music} Sorry, I'm not trying to be prissy about it. Apologies. It's like three hundred and eighty five days of working at home. You would think I'd be used to it.

Stephan: [00:43:56] No worries. What you were asking about connects. With slash packaging that's sort of my personal hobby at the moment. But I think that in some ways I don't know what the answer to that question actually is. And I kind of would rather open it up to entrepreneurs to go and answer that question. So that's the power of like being involved in making tools is that we don't necessarily have to have the answer to some of those questions. If we are creating the tools that help make manufacturing more accessible to people, they can then bring about some of these innovations themselves. And we don't have to be behind the innovation. We can just point people towards here's how you access manufacturing. Here's a framework for you to understand what are the more sustainable options versus the less sustainable options. And then you take that and apply it to whatever industry you're in and figure out what the biggest problem in that industry might be and solve it in the best way that you can.

Phillip: [00:45:02] Hmmm. Wow, really well said, because I think that that's a bit of an often overlooked role that people play in the world, which is the creation of the tool, it's not necessarily the vision of the tool creator to have a full understanding of how the tool can be employed for good or for evil even. I mean, let's face it, that happens, too. But I find that to be... That's super interesting to think of yourself as sort of making a tool to empower people who have the power to use it for positive ends.

Stephan: [00:45:46] And that's basically the only thing that I've been doing my whole career is trying to make tools. And there is an image by a designer called Brett Victor that, like I think about this image all the time, every week. And it's an image of a hammer. And on one hand, there's a hand holding the hammer, the hammer, and then there's a nail. And a tool, his definition, Brett Victor, his definition of a tool is something that converts what you can do, move something with your hand, into something you want to do, which is, you know, put the nail into a wall. And so when you think about tools is that thing, which is like a car is a tool. Well, with self-driving cars less and less you're having to drive them yourself. But it converts like I can move my arms and legs around. How do I convert that capability that I have as a human being into I want to be able to travel to this place. Or we now have all kinds of tools that are computer based. So I have the capability as a human being of typing on a keyboard and looking at a screen. How can I convert that into being able to manufacture things all over the world in a few clicks? And so I find that that is for me, like just really, really rewarding as a life path to give people... I mean, podcasts are a tool.

Phillip: [00:47:10] I was going to say that myself.

Stephan: [00:47:11] Yeah, people can listen to things with their ears and convert what they hear into something that they can do. And so making tools is like the most fun because then people take that tool and do things that you didn't expect and you kind of get to have many offspring and the world doing these interesting things.

Phillip: [00:47:34] This is the problem that I have with the way that some trade media and retail trade is employed, which is there's a lot of focus on best practices. And I'm all for best practices, in fact, I feel like we're heading down a path of what I would call reverse skeuomorphism, where there's the things that we have that we take for granted in the real world, are soon to be imposed on the digital world. A good example would be web content accessibility guidelines becoming case law is a great example of the real world and the structures we have in the real world that provide reasonable access for people that are disabled to be able to have, you know, to have public accommodation, to be able to get into a building or to use a restroom or to give them the same means of access that anyone else would have. Those are things that are coming into the digital space. And so I have the sense that in the future, building codes for creating digital experiences are a thing that we all have to abide by, because it's not only is that the right thing to do, but it's the thing that provides the public accommodation for people to be able to use software, for people to use the digital experience. And that's something we take for granted every day in the real world. There's a reason this roof hasn't fallen in on me, and that's because somebody designed the roof to withstand a Category 5 hurricane. Because I live in Florida. We build things for a reason to a certain code because it's good for people. We've sort of been, we're so early on in the web, we're 40 years into the web now. Like, that's such we're right at the beginning of this thing that we haven't really understood how the tools could be best employed for good or for bad. And that's what the problem I sort of have with the best practice media, if you will, Stephan. It's like we're limiting ourselves to the understanding of the usefulness of a tool for this moment in time. That content's not useful in two years. That content's not... There was no such thing as Evergreen in our space. But what I hope to do is to get people to think. I just don't want people to think that I'm thinking for them. I don't want to tell them as the, I'm not even a tool maker, but I don't want to tell anyone how to employ a tool to best use it. I want people to learn how to think about other ways that tools could be used so that they could find creative uses of those tools to expand all of our understanding and imagination and our horizons. And I've often been criticized for not having actionable content. But the problem with actionable content is it becomes past tense. There's an expiration date attached to it.

Stephan: [00:50:43] It's interesting because I can make the argument from every angle, like I could definitely play devil's advocate on what you're saying. I can also really reinforce what you're saying. I mean, I think most tools have defaults and sometimes people don't question the defaults enough. They're like just inheriting a bunch of defaults from whatever industry or tools and things that they're using and never questioning them and at best, your maybe overlooking some real opportunities. At worst you're perpetuating some sort of system that might be questionable ethically or something else. And so, you know, on the other hand, there might be cases where people are questioning the defaults a little too much. So it's hard to... I'm not sure if I have a particular opinion about this one way or another. I think sometimes people are not doing it enough and sometimes people are doing it too much. But I think the parallel to software is interesting because, you know, software has had major evolutions in one of the big moments in time that was like very inspiring to the early days of Apple was the transition towards object oriented programing. And that idea is like basically instead of writing all the code, we've been moving for the past 40 years in a direction of more and more levels of abstraction, where you can take an entire system that has been built and just kind of plug it in to whatever you're doing. And now we're evolving towards a world where it's almost like object oriented company building where you can kind of glue together entire systems and kind of run your company very lean on top of like these entire chunks that have been created by other people. And so as a result, you're inheriting all the assumptions and defaults that they've made, which may or may not be good. I mean, sometimes they're kind of the middle area of the bell curve. Like, yeah, they're good 80 percent of the time, but maybe they're not actually perfect for whatever it is you're doing.

Phillip: [00:53:04] And I think that's what leads to this phenomenon where it's the Shopify effect, where the tool that has given so many people so much opportunity also is the thing that has so homogenized experiences that it's like we are now suffering from a sea of sameness. And that itself is fatiguing. The very tool that brought about this huge change. And it's in no way to criticize Shopify. We are full disclosure. We're partners at Future Commerce with Shopify. Love them to death. Thank you for your business. But at the same time, the ubiquity of it has created other problems for entrepreneurs who now have to spend an ever increasing amount of money to stand out among everybody else that looks and behaves the same, has the same functionality, has the same ability to hire the same people, to create the same functionalities with one click. Like you said. We're witnessing something right now we're working on a piece about this idea of like sampling behavior and consumers. And, you know, it's really evident in the world of beauty. There are certain products like lipgloss, for instance, very hard to find people that say that they're fanatical about one lipgloss. You kind of sample lipgloss. But mascara... If you wear mascara like you have a favorite and you very rarely change that. I find that to be fascinating. The same thing is happening in the Shopify ecosystem where there's the sampling behavior that is evident and Shopify store owners,  because they can install 15, 20 apps a month and then retire them. And that's never been possible in the world of enterprise software before. At the same time, you still have stand out massive players in SaaS eCommerce that are ubiquitous across the whole ecosystem. And every single review platform kind of, there's only 10 of them or 15 of them. And most people use one or two of them. So I think this idea of default, this idea of sampling, and the idea of ubiquity in the tools that we use has created other problems that weren't easy to anticipate and I think harder to solve for, which I think is when it leaves room for challengers. I think that's when folks have to come in to try to disrupt what the defaults are.

Stephan: [00:55:49] Yeah, totally. I couldn't have said it better.

Phillip: [00:55:51] I wanted to, speaking about this concept of skeuomorphism, I find it fascinating. You're sort of in that supply chain world, which I always say is packaging, but it's not. But there is this with the explosion of...

Stephan: [00:56:09] Manufacturing in general,

Phillip: [00:56:11] Manufacturing.

Stephan: [00:56:11] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:56:12] But in my context, I always come back to watching how the digital world adopts real world behavior for us to understand it. Like this skeuomorphism the example always being like the legal pad design of the notes app on the iPhone for many years. It's like it looked like a yellow legal pad. And that was for us to understand or for the broad consumer base to understand how to use the notes app. Doesn't look like that anymore, but that's how it looked for us to drive adoption. I find it fascinating watching NFT's right now mimic trading cards. Like they look like trading cards. They look like a piece of the real world that's now expressed in the digital world. And I wonder, I'm kind of just throwing this on you out of no where, do you see... And like loot boxes are another great example, in video games. We have taken something from the real world, and we're expressing a digital world for us to understand it. Eventually that will mature, to have it to take on its own context that couldn't exist otherwise. Like NFTs will become NFTs, and we'll do things within NFTs theoretically one day, unless it's a huge bubble. That couldn't exist otherwise. I'm curious if you ever think about things like that or how you see that play out in your world and how that informs...

Stephan: [00:57:34] I think about that. I think about the reverse, which is how do things that we've learned about the software world apply to the physical world? And I think a really good... There's a lot of that. A good example of that is in... I think a lot about Amazon Web Services, when I think about what we're trying to build with Lumi because think about the past year, as it has looked like for Zoom. Zoom was this company that was kind of this B2B enterprise software and now the whole world is using it and they've grown their subscriber base however many hundred, like a thousand percent. Now, every school is using it, every office is using it. Everyone who just wants to chat with their family is using it. And yet the scaling has been almost maybe they had a few issues here or there, but pretty much has been very smooth. And that would be impossible in the physical world. I mean, just impossible. The fact that you could go overnight, like have a hundred times more demand for your thing, you wouldn't be able to instantly be able to deliver it. And so I think that this is a really interesting question about how supply chains will evolve. One concept that we've been pushing forward is this notion that is a software term called load balancing. Load balancing is what I mean when we're talking about Shopify, when we talk about any website nowadays has a load balancing, which is when too many people are trying to access it and one server starts to slow down you're routing that traffic to other servers, so that everyone still has a high performance experience. Well, in the world of physical manufacturing, when you have a crisis like COVID or you have something that is happening somewhere in the world with the Suez Canal or something, how do you enable that kind of redundancy where all of a sudden, like, yes, I can turn on manufacturing in this other location to reroute things so that nothing is getting slowed down. Or suddenly overnight my product went viral on Tik Tok and now I have so much more demand and I'm going to be out of stock like within the next week. How do we make sure that we have these scalable systems that allow us to kind of do what we're doing in the digital world, in the physical world? So that's a big one that I think about pretty much all day long when it comes to building like tools that will kind of inherit some of the properties that digital can do in the physical world.

Phillip: [01:00:14] That's fascinating, actually, because you are creating a tool that ostensibly allows for that, I would assume?

Stephan: [01:00:25] Yeah.

Phillip: [01:00:25] Do you have examples or do you have like a real world example of those sort of like impacts where people are able to use Lumi to find...?

Stephan: [01:00:35] I mean, that was 2020. {laughter} You know, every brand. Every brand had...

Phillip: [01:00:40] {laughter} Every brand.

Stephan: [01:00:42] Yeah. I mean, especially anyone who was buying from factories in China. Anyone who was dealing with factories who have had to shut down because of COVID in the US. There was a lot of things that needed to be rerouted. There were shortages of materials. There were shortages in freight availability in certain areas. Still going on. China to US right now, a lot of challenges going on there. So giving people the way that it works, we kind of alluded to this earlier on, but because Lumi is a marketplace, what happens is the kind of functional unit in in Lumi is what we call an item, which is a set of specifications. And we put a lot of work into defining the language of if you want a box, that box has specifications. It says I'm 12 by 12 by 5 inches. I'm made out of B flute 32 ECT Corrugated, that's craft on the outside, white on the inside, flexigraphically printed with Pantone, one, two, three, four, ad 50 percent covered. All of those details is basically part of the protocol that says this is what I want to make. And then you put that into Lumi, and then you click, "Give me some quotes," and then that makes it available to all of the manufacturers that are in Lumi and they can all see that this person wants ten thousand units of that box to be delivered to this location. And they can all bid on it right away. And then you can choose the one that fits what you want, whether it's pricing or the sustainability factors of that factory, because that factory happens to be one hundred percent solar powered or something like that. You're making that choice and then you're transacting and then that those boxes show up at some point. But if suddenly something happens with the factory in Texas because all the power went out and you need boxes, you can go back to that set of specs and say, run that again, give me some pricing from other locations and you're instantly back in business. So I think that those are the types of things that we think about when it comes to like making, bringing some of those digital ideas into the physical world.

Phillip: [01:03:02] Oh, that's an interesting... So that... That really gets me, because I'm thinking about sort of the once you hit some sort of critical scale, which I assume you probably are already there, and you have a number, some sort of representatives, statistically representative number of manufacturers in the world that are using Lumi, you could probably predict demand and maybe shape demand based on some sort of incentives that you could bake into the platform so that you can shift demand around to avoid those kinds of problems to some degree. Are those things that you think you're having to solve for in the future?

Stephan: [01:03:43] That's definitely on our radar. It's sort of happening kind of naturally because of the marketplace dynamics. If a factory for some reason is not getting as much business as they might usually, they might be willing to go five percent lower on their price than they usually would. And so like it automatically, like the market kind of defines that and balances itself out. But it has been something where we've been thinking about how to enable manufacturers to proactively say, like, "I'm going to have more capacity of this kind at this point. Make it available to people." Whereas right now it's more like demand side is driving it. I think that there's opportunities for the supply side to drive it and say, like, I've got this capacity, do you want it? And I think that that's a really interesting thing that hasn't... You see that at like very, very large scale in the world. A manufacturer like TSMC that makes all these chips will be able to pre sell all of its inventories years in advance of like what the production line is capable of doing. But you don't see it as much in things like packaging or on a smaller scale. And I think there's some opportunities there potentially.

Phillip: [01:05:04] Sort of like meeting demand, creating demand. These marketplace dynamics, right? And that's super interesting. I saw that you recently, you're hiring a Head of Marketplaces. How does that as you're building that out, is there maybe a future wherein Lumi sort of expands categories into other ways to solve other problems, in other outside...

Stephan: [01:05:33] Yeah.

Phillip: [01:05:33] I don't know, like how could that be reimagined to solve other problems that are similar to what Lumi's solving now?

Stephan: [01:05:39] Well, we're constantly adding new manufacturing processes to Lumi. So every few months there's new capabilities. This year, the big area that we're focusing on is primary packaging. Over the past couple of years, we've been mostly doing secondary packaging, which is like the outer shipper type of stuff, but now we're opening up to more factories who have capabilities with vessels, jars, bottles, all of that kind of stuff. And we move fairly, like intentionally one process at a time because we are trying to define that language that I was talking about before with specifications. So we want to have a very strict way that we match supply and demand. And that's based on like what is it that they want to transact about? So that's how we approach adding new manufacturing processes to the platform. But in the future, we think of ourselves as a manufacturing platform, not a packaging platform. So it could go into many different directions in the future. As far as the question about the Head of Marketplace operations, that role is really about monitoring, I guess. We have a supply chain management service as well, but what we're seeing is that more and more companies are bringing in that expertise in-house or have that expertise in-house. And so we're just OK with providing just the tools and for you to run that work on your side. So what marketplace operations is about is really kind of monitoring at a larger scale all of the activity that's happening on Lumi to see like, oh, here's a problem that's waiting to happen and kind of calling that out and making sure that problem doesn't happen because someone's waiting to get a proof approved, which is like one of the critical moments. Or samples need to go back and forth between the brain and the manufacturer. And we realize, like, that workflow could be streamlined a little bit. So we're really in this monitoring world, kind of seeing how things are happening and adapting what we're learning from streamlining things on one side. Like the cool thing, if you're a brand on Lumi, is that you're constantly getting the benefit of what other brands on Lumi are learning. You know, and Shopify kind of does that, too. But like in the physical world, it gets kind of interesting how you might be constantly, like avoiding problems that you haven't run into yet. So the first one who runs into the issue on Lumi, maybe it kind of sucks for them, but then everyone else gets to learn from that experience.

Phillip: [01:08:31] That's sort of just the challenge of being... They say when you're a trailblazer, you take a lot of branches to the face.

Stephan: [01:08:40] Yeah.

Phillip: [01:08:40] That's just part and parcel of being early adopter, I think, in any industry. You're right. There's there's all these opportunities for improvement. Would you say that you're very disciplined in trying to solve one problem and not get distracted by solving a dozen problems? How ambitious are you in that regard?

Stephan: [01:09:05] Yeah, I don't know. It's hard for me to answer that question. I feel like you'd have to ask like our investors or something like that. It's hard because I'm so in it. I think that we're pretty good at that. We tend to move a little slower than a lot of startups because in a way, we kind of have to because like I was mentioning, like the manufacturers have been around for 100 years. So not that we're moving at that pace, but that we're we're certainly accommodating their rate of learning and adoption and trying to kind of, you know, definitely nudge them towards these new software systems, but also understanding what they have to teach us and coming at it from a standpoint of respect of what they've built. So I think that we try to stay focused in the sense that we're only trying to solve the problems of packaging and collateral right now. At the same time, that's a trillion dollar industry and people don't realize how big that is. So I'm not sure if the answer is yes or no. Hopefully it's somewhere in between.

Phillip: [01:10:12] And that could be your life's work. And it would be a worthy cause, I think. Hey, I think you touched on it earlier. When you talk about existential dread, what keeps you up at night? What are the things that you're hoping to solve sometime soon? Are those solving your customers' customers' problems?

Stephan: [01:10:33] I sleep really well at night. You know. I don't... Yeah, I think that...

Phillip: [01:10:39] I love that.

Stephan: [01:10:39] The thing is that now, you know, Lumi is 50 people. We have been doubling or tripling in revenue every year. And that is not something that I am... I'm not involved in every single thing that's going on at Lumi. So my general thing that maybe keeps me up at night is I want to create the best possible environment for everyone else to succeed. I don't think of myself as the king of Lumi. It's a collaborative democratic definition of what it should be. And so hopefully people can can jump into that and do the best work of their life. That's what I'm really hoping for. And so I'm always thinking about how can I create the environment that enables that as opposed to saying like, you know, necessarily driving exactly what's going on day to day.

Phillip: [01:11:45] So good to have you on the show. I'm reasonably certain this one gets published. I'm pretty sure.

Stephan: [01:11:52] {laughter} Well, if I become the co-host, I'm just going to insert myself and we'll have Brian on our next episode to talk about what he's up to.

Phillip: [01:12:00] That's true. And you need to laugh maniacally at your own jokes, and I think you'll be a worthy co-host. I think that that's what it takes to be a  co-host on the show.

Stephan: [01:12:10] Well, he brings a lot of energy every time. And I really appreciate that about Brian. I feel like you and I are more on the same kind of, you know...

Phillip: [01:12:19] Yeah. There's a stream of consciousness there that is very its own thing.

Stephan: [01:12:24] I wish he was there to interrupt us.

Phillip: [01:12:26] He should be. "Yeah, but yeah. Yeah. Guys." That's my Brian Lange impression, by the way. Someone sample that and put a drop of phat beat behind it. It's been so good to have you on the show.

Stephan: [01:12:38] Yeah. I love talking to you, and I love everything that you're doing. So when we did our fated episode that ended up in the can, it was like the crossover that nobody asked for. But I was trying to compare it to The Avengers. It was coming together, bringing all the superpowers. I don't know who the rest of the Avengers team is missing, but we should have like a podcasting festival for this whole... I don't know... The whole crowd that's involved in this.

Phillip: [01:13:12] That would be super cool. And just kind of finishing on the note of the sort of learning in public, building and public thing, we were talking in the pre show about someone I admire, Packy McCormick, and there's something Packy has done in building from the beginning that I think completely upends the way that I think about creating content that I think people want to listen to. There's been this taboo in the industry for years of sort of creating content and then like not letting that be co-opted by commercial interests. And but yet at the same time, it's like there's really only a couple of models to monetize that kind of content. It's like you either have an agency that's trying to drive some sort of thought leadership so that you benefit from it in the end or you have ads like we do and we've done pretty well with that. Or this other model which Packy seems to be doing, which is just being sort of blatant about it and sort of saying, hey, like these people, or these like businesses and corporations have deep expertise, deep expertise. And they could bring a really interesting perspective to the whole of one very narrow topic by allowing them to create the co-content with you. And that's something I'm hoping to explore more, because I see people like yourself who have this deep expertise and companies like Lumi who could be saying and doing so much more with us. Now, I'm putting you on the spot here, but we could be doing something on such a different level where if, you know, in times past, we would have only thought about that kind of collaboration. And I make the stuff and you sponsor it.

Stephan: [01:14:54] I like that idea.

Phillip: [01:14:54] And I think that there's this evolving mind set around like what actionable content or inactionable content might look like in our space. And I have to credit folks like Packy who are changing that.

Stephan: [01:15:07] If I were to do that at Lumi, what I would say is like, yeah, when we do these podcasts and things and like we're having the founder of the company on or whatever, but a lot of the knowledge and the work, the day to day work is the people on the team.

Phillip: [01:15:19] Hundred percent.

Stephan: [01:15:19] And often they're not the people who have like an audience or something or have... They're not necessarily going to bring the traffic, but they're going to bring the knowledge. And sometimes that's the person that you should be talking to or bringing that together. And so, yeah, I mean, I see a huge opportunity there.

Phillip: [01:15:38] Let's do it again. If we can keep Brian away, that's fine. But I think maybe we should have you back with Brian on as well.

Stephan: [01:15:45] Any time. Thank you.

Phillip: [01:15:46] Thank you, Stephan. Stephan Ango. Hey, go check out his podcast. It's called Well Made. It's one of my favorites, and I think it'll be one of yours as well. And remember, we can change commerce. And I believe that commerce is going to change the world. So we can all do that. We can bring that into existence. Thank you for listening to Future Commerce.

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