How to get Logistics PR coverage, LogTech Startups during downturn, new Flexport CEO (with Emma Cosgrove, Eric Johnson)

Show notes

We invited two prominent journalists back onto the show who cover the exciting fields of logistics, supply chain, logtech and e-commerce. Emma Cosgrove writes about logistics with a focus on e-commerce for Business Insider and Eric Johnson is Senior Editor for Technology at The Journal of Commerce, where he leads coverage and analysis of technology's impact on global logistics and trade.

Our host Boris Felgendreher wanted to know what stories from the recent weeks and months Emma and Eric thought were the most interesting and deserved to be discussed in more detail.

So the three ended up diving into the impact that the economic downturn is having on the logtech startup ecosystem, the appointment of Amazon Executive Dave Clark to the role of CEO at Flexport and they also talked quite a bit about how journalist like Emma and Eric go about their jobs covering the industry and what you the audience can do to show up on their radar and get a chance of getting coverage. So there is some real actionable advice here as well that we hope you will find useful.

Helpful links:

Journal of Commerce:

Business Insider:

Eric Johnson's Substack:

The LogTechies Job Board (The coolest Jobs in Logistics Technology - Personally curated for You):

Boris Felgendreher on LinkedIn:

Eric Johnson on LinkedIn:

Emma Cosgrove on LinkedIn:

Show transcript

00:00:02: Hello and welcome to the logistics tribe I'm your host boys felgendreher and today I invited two prominent journalists back to the show.

00:00:13: Who cover the exciting fields of logistics supply chain LogTech and e-commerce

00:00:17: Emma Cosgrove writes about logistics with a focus on e-commerce for Business Insider and Eric Johnson is senior editor for technology at the Journal of Commerce where he leads coverage and Analysis of Technology's impact on global logistics and trait

00:00:30: I wanted to know what stories from the recent weeks and months they thought were the most interesting and deserved to be discussed here in more detail.

00:00:37: So we ended up diving into the impact that the economic downturn is having on the LogTech startup ecosystem.

00:00:43: The appointment of Amazon executive Dave Clark to the role of CEO at flexport

00:00:48: and we also talked quite a bit about how journalists like Emma and Eric go about their jobs covering the industry and what you the audience can do to show up on the radar and get a chance of getting coverage so there's some real actionable advice here as well that I hope you will find useful.

00:01:03: Before we get started a quick thanks to our supporters gray orange

00:01:06: great orange automate swales operations through a combination of AI software and autonomous mobile robots gray orange systems are in place at some very prominent companies such as Ikea or the Danish household goods and Furniture retailer risk

00:01:18: if you're looking to get your warehouse and fulfillment operations to the next level with the help of autonomous robots and automation.

00:01:25: You should definitely have great orange on your list check them out at grey

00:01:30: All right and now let's move on to the show with Emma Cosgrove in Eric Johnson enjoy hello Emma hello Erica welcome to the logistics tribe thanks for being on the program

00:01:41: hello thanks for having me yeah great to be back for us thanks for having me back

00:01:45: you're right your back both of you have been on the show before so yeah indeed welcome back few people have been.

00:01:51: On the podcast twice or what a great honor for you to be on the show again fantastic and even better that you making it work because we're just figured out that we calling in from three different continents Emma is in Manhattan Eric is currently traveling in India,

00:02:05: calling in from Delhi and I'm calling in from the undisclosed location somewhere in the boonies from Germany so we've got it all covered fantastic like I said in my short introduction just prior to when we started I want to talk to you today about a couple of interesting stories that you've guys have come across from the world of logistics supply chain

00:02:22: and particular LogTech because that's your Forte that those are you area so I'm super curious to hear what we can discuss today in terms of the stories that you find appealing and interesting,

00:02:31: maybe undervalued now before we get started I'd like to ask you about something different a different angle which is.

00:02:38: I would love to hear more and learn more about how you guys you've been in the business and writing about logistics and LogTech space and e-commerce for quite a while

00:02:48: how do you go about writing stories how do you come up with ideas how do you research how do you

00:02:54: tap people for interviews do you talk to Startup Founders directly do you have your pool of people that you pulled you talk to agencies that are in between.

00:03:04: All of that stuff let's start with you maybe Eric you've been around the block a few times you've seen it all from you know press releases that say say nothing and go nowhere to real juicy stories that you've dug up fill us in on how your daily work as a journalist in that space looks like nowadays

00:03:21: yeah Boris Kirk question we you know part of part of you don't often get asked about how your,

00:03:28: how do you sort of like structure your day and how you do your job as a journalist so I appreciate the absolutely and hopefully this is helpful to everyone out there I think so I think this should be insightful I think a lot of people are just in the dark on how this works and how this whole thing works I think there's a lot of people in the audience

00:03:41: who would love to get their stories into the news and to into the into the prayers and they don't know how to do it

00:03:46: maybe they have great stories but not done or to make them come to life so anything you can share that makes life easier for them and for you would be helpful yeah I would agree actually I've been asked this a little bit

00:03:57: more than usual over the last few months and I guess there is some curiosity about how this all works.

00:04:04: I would say of all the things you mentioned it's sort of an all of the above scenario right like I think as someone whose.

00:04:11: I in who's been writing about logistics or supply chain or technology or some combination of those for almost 20 years now.

00:04:21: There's times where.

00:04:25: The news is a little slower in coming and then there's times like the last two years where it's literally like make it stop I need seems White.

00:04:35: But that said you know you have to be as a journalist you have to be attuned to all the different channels of story ideas.

00:04:45: That are out there because you don't want to miss the one.

00:04:49: That ends up being something that is really meaningful to you and your audience just because it's not the normal way that you sort of generate stories so.

00:04:57: I think ideally stories generate from having conversation with a wide range of your sources both new old.

00:05:05: Five ones that your colleagues may turn you on to ones that someone you know may have turned you on to.

00:05:11: And a story germinates that sort of catches a trend that you're seeing across all those conversations right that's probably like the purest form of what we do.

00:05:21: In terms of like trade publication journalism.

00:05:27: Not all stories develop that way some are by a press release sometimes it's an agency,

00:05:33: that I know really well they know how I work I know how they move their clients are and they tell me hey Eric I know you cover this a lot.

00:05:42: I have an interesting angle that one of my clients is working right so that's a that's a very.

00:05:48: Strong way to get in front of me and get my attention and tick.

00:05:53: A box that meat that's meaningful for me to me is the agency knows what's important to me and my audience.

00:05:59: And the founder of the company trust the agency to sort of like be that.

00:06:05: Conduit a lot of Founders just Reach Out directly to me like we're in a obviously we're in a world where you can reach out to me on LinkedIn on Twitter WhatsApp SMS.

00:06:15: Text email.

00:06:18: Through the website I mean there's a million different ways right so there's the the layers in between getting in touch with me or not just like finding my phone number it's you can you can get in touch with him a million ways and an intact.

00:06:31: That's often a way that I learn about new companies learn about Trends is a ton of DM conversations on Twitter a ton of.

00:06:39: Four messages on LinkedIn so it's really like everything all of the above I would say the one thing to not do is just walk in and say.

00:06:49: It was really kind of tired language about transformation and digitization and.

00:06:55: But every word of the day is and say you're an AI and ML and say.

00:07:00: My company is doing all of these things and more for the biggest companies in the world it's like well okay I can I've never heard of you so.

00:07:07: Howdy how are you doing all these amazing things if right if I've never even heard the name before it so.

00:07:14: Think you know see how I write see who my audience is understand that.

00:07:19: And then work with me and realize it's a process we're not going to call we're not going to talk today and have a.

00:07:26: You know a cover story in the jsoc tomorrow it's just not how it works so yeah is for me to get to know them.

00:07:33: Yeah just back to that story round agencies versus direct contact is there there's no preference I sense from you I mean it's always work for you there's there's Founders who are terrible at

00:07:45: explaining themselves to me and would be better suited to have someone be like that.

00:07:51: Layer in between to pick it up yeah yeah and then there's Founders who were amazing and tell me all sorts of interesting things about their company out the industry.

00:08:00: And then just play you know on the flip side there's amazing agencies that totally get this industry inside and out.

00:08:07: And they're not going to waste my time and then there's ones that just message me every single day let's talk to their.

00:08:15: I had wine sorry am I not letting you jump in here but not I literally had one I had one company's agency message me 30 straight working days and finally I said and I didn't think they were that applicable to me.

00:08:28: What I cover so I finally said hey.

00:08:31: Let's have a briefing and literally they got back to me like an hour later and said you know I think actually our client doesn't think there.

00:08:39: Where the right body of your the Right audience for me it's like well you probably couldn't determine that 29 emails ago but thanks for your time so yeah I mean just

00:08:48: it's just a little bit of basic research you don't have to like dig deep to understand how I work and who the audience the Jo see it's just do a little

00:08:58: basic research you have a general idea about like what whether something is going to be interesting to me or not so.

00:09:06: Yeah do you see any difference between working with LogTech startup founders

00:09:11: versus the traditional Logistics that you also cover is their different approaches a different Generations or no difference at all

00:09:18: the LogTech Founders I actually wrote it subset on this a while back LogTech Founders tend to be a little more Savvy about

00:09:26: how important the importance of creating Buzz early on in their progression as they build their company you know a forwarder small forward or midsize floor and somewhere in

00:09:36: suburb of the US it's probably not thinking about guerrilla marketing the same way that a you know VC back company that has to grow is by a certain.

00:09:45: In a certain period of time does so it's just a little bit more innate I'm not sure which which is ultimately better right like you can burn an audience.

00:09:54: By over marketing yourself sure but.

00:09:58: Probably better to over Market yourself and under Market yourself I mean I'm quite sure which is better for me personally let me jump in because yes please is a simpler process

00:10:09: usually most of the time it is there are fewer barriers to entry fewer people need to sign off it takes a lot less time to get what I need,

00:10:20: to write a story whereas working with a massive.

00:10:23: Multinational corporation they just move slower and I mean that would be a surprise to absolutely no one but the ones

00:10:31: I think sometimes that I gets frustration from big companies because I maybe don't feature their new efforts as much and

00:10:41: a lot of it is because they are not really willing to give sharp analysis they're not really willing to compared to competitors they're just very polished and corporate and that's their prerogative I'm not judging them for that but it does make the coverage less interesting and it makes the stories more difficult to turn around

00:10:58: at the piece that I need to turn them if that makes sense that actually nicely dovetails with the experience that I've had with

00:11:05: interviewing people for my podcast which is I quite enjoy talking to Startup Founders because they're there is a certain sense of

00:11:12: I don't want to call the Navy T but like some openness some some freshness some they're not as polished they're more open they're they're they're willing to just talk openly and it takes a while until they mature and sort of few things get taken off the table and they surround themselves with more.

00:11:27: Corporate Communications and all of a sudden stuff becomes a lot Slicker and a lot more.

00:11:32: A lot more polished and a lot more sort of regulated I feel like hot easier when you don't have a stock price to worry about correct correct that's right.

00:11:40: Yeah so some of my conversation to the freshest the most inspiring conversations have been with startup Founders that are in a stage where they're talking very very freely without being being hindered and held back by,

00:11:51: a team of folks on the background so those are refreshing times and I'm anything else to add I mean you've heard what Eric said is there.

00:11:58: Anything that strikes you as odd or would you agree with what he said the way he works or anything anyway that you worked at the parts from how Eric approaches things I think we have a lot in common I'll point out that

00:12:09: I so I would call the Journal of Commerce trade publication and then it's B2B industry facing I used to work for a trade publication as well called supply chain dive that was two years ago and I worked there for almost three years

00:12:22: in my that's my five years covering supply chain but now I work for Business Insider which is a more mainstream publication with a more generalist investor audience especially behind the paywall which is where I write most of the time

00:12:35: and that means that I am looking for we're not a paper what the term in the industry is like a paper of record.

00:12:44: I don't cover every big you know big big big big deal I might skip it entirely because I can't add anything.

00:12:52: Special it will be covered to death everywhere A lot of times I on that big news which hurts my soul a little bit but I've learned to really love it because it means that I'm focusing on the stories

00:13:03: that

00:13:03: I can deliver unique value to that are mine that are based on Independent reporting and and that literally no one else will have so that could be analysis or it could be

00:13:14: straight old-fashioned scoop and that is my focus I think that's an important distinction

00:13:19: from mainstream press if that's what you're looking for even like Bloomberg or the times even they're doing more Logistics coverage and trade press in that I don't my job is to bring to the surface what is most interesting what's the most

00:13:31: like a really great story a really great human story in the logistics industry is always something I'm looking for a scoop that is going to raise the bar of our publication and make you aware of it

00:13:42: that's my focus and so there are tons of really interesting Technologies interesting initiatives

00:13:48: out there in logistics that I pass on every day because I just don't feel like I can give them that

00:13:54: that unique quality that's going to drive you to Business Insider when you have.

00:13:58: When Eric is going to cover a funding round or a merger like perfectly well with with lovely wonderful analysis so.

00:14:07: That's always my goal and also because I work in a mainstream publication I'll add that my inbox is.

00:14:15: A crime scene it is Monday in an in the United States I don't know I don't know if that's a global initiative but it is Amazon Prime week or whatever and yeah it's Global yeah

00:14:26: which is about prime products in the beauty category just because my you know email extension is at

00:14:34: it means I get a flood of General garbage so

00:14:39: it is hard to reach me this I know I'm working on it but it just means that reaching the off Channel off of email is usually a better way to go about it and then I'll also say that and I'm sure Eric feels this way too

00:14:52: I'm excited to speak to people who can speak to be about more than one thing on are willing to do so it's just efficient work so if you are currently a start-up founder but you used to work.

00:15:02: DHL let's talk about DHL.

00:15:05: And you're starting that's you know the first thing I do when someone introduces himself to me as I look at their background and see you know what do they know so.

00:15:15: Eric give an example of when a PR Company he said okay let's do a briefing and they didn't have the client like they didn't have the client committed to talking to him that happens all the time

00:15:24: it also means that like before I even talk to a company I'm often going to be like hey can we talk about this this and this to make the conversation more efficient and if some of that needs to be on background or off the Record just because I'm constantly looking to.

00:15:39: Intake as much about this industry as I possibly can even if it's not for a story today it might be for a story six weeks from now so

00:15:45: I'd say like bring your whole person to your pitch

00:15:49: whether it's personal or three through a PR Company PR people can explain your background and that you're willing to talk about it I think that would be a big plus that's what I'm looking for

00:15:58: I'd like to co-sign the whole like time efficiency thing I think part of the description is we want to talk to as many people as possible.

00:16:06: Has eight hours in a day let's be honest and 11 hours in the day we have to write also we're also just like every other.

00:16:14: Company in the world we have too many meetings every day you know there's other things in our life that

00:16:18: sometimes crop up so that time efficiency is a big thing and I think the issue that people tend to have with journalism with a big J like as an industry.

00:16:29: Is we don't get it perfectly right.

00:16:34: You know we're biased where this that the other thing I will tell you almost every single issue that arises from every legitimate publication.

00:16:42: But I've been a part of or that I know other people have been a part of it's just time it's time crunch.

00:16:48: The time between getting the information synthesizing it making sense of it writing it away that means something to your audience and then publishing it.

00:16:57: It shrinks every single day and so it's really a Time issue so I would say that's the big thing is be mindful of time be mindful of like.

00:17:05: If you're making an announcement give the reporter as much time as possible to like get some brain power because if you drop it an hour before it goes out you want coverage I'm probably booked into eight other things that day right and I'll

00:17:18: get to it maybe a week later right so it's not as slight on that news and it doesn't mean that I hate that company it's just everybody is insanely busy right now

00:17:27: so make sense awesome that was a nice little detour I had a sort of squeeze dead end before the actual conversation around stories let's start with those Merrick maybe you start off give us one story that you feel was

00:17:40: either you know so important for the industry that needs to be double clicked on and discussed and explored further in this conversation or something maybe that was undervalued flew under the radar and

00:17:52: deserves a second look so to speak where you want to start what's what's one of the stories that you want to surface I think probably the one,

00:18:00: I mean I'm not going to win a Pulitzer for this I don't think probably like.

00:18:05: Probably a zero chance of it but I think it's one that's super important right now is sort of taking stock of the temperature of the funding environment

00:18:13: and what how that's translating into technology into the logistics technology world yes it's one of those things where it's like every single conversation I have these days circles

00:18:23: back to that

00:18:24: issue at some point maybe it starts with it maybe it's the majority of it or maybe it's like the last question I get to but everybody is has an opinion on this right now and I sort of think it's a bit

00:18:35: and rightly so it's sort of mirrors how confusing and cross directional the signals in the greater economy are right now like you can go.

00:18:44: You can go on any news information feed or wherever you get your information you can find two diametrically opposed viewpoints of which way the economy is right now like where either you know.

00:18:57: I tweeted earlier today some it feels to some people like 15 minutes away from like Lord of the Flies territory and other people are like.

00:19:07: This is weird there's one point nine

00:19:09: job openings for every person who's looking for a job and like Freight volumes are high and every software company tells us that the Emma probably can agree tells us they're going 250 percent year-on-year and so

00:19:22: there's these really weird signals that we are brains are not processing properly.

00:19:27: I think that's the same thing inside of the funding environment to is you have we're still seeing lots of deals go down and some of them pretty big or sometimes we're seeing companies lay off people.

00:19:40: Proactively reactively,

00:19:42: sometimes those two things happened the same time a road trip she broke the story about stored laying off people like three weeks after they raise 200 or 120 in.

00:19:53: Some form of debt and Equity right so that's it like rightly so whatever their motivations and I think they probably had decent motivations for what they're doing but,

00:20:03: that's those are confusing signals to the market much less the employees right so they are but I think Eric what were unfortunately we're entering a

00:20:12: stage where Nuance is required which is not really something that social media platforms and even

00:20:19: medium organizations are great at humans I think are really not great at nuance and my headline on that stored story was pitched as you know.

00:20:27: However many months after raising so much money stored leadoff this many people and and part of the reason for that was because the employees were told internally that this is this money is going to get us through whatever is coming next

00:20:41: um but I think and that is the human side of that is heartbreaking and and really disappointing for the people that I talk to you within that company

00:20:51: and for anyone who's hiring of layoffs stories please remember that when there's always a person you're talking to a person who just got laid off if that were you you would want it to you would want it to get pressed it's relatable.

00:21:03: I would hope but I also think that funding rounds are coming with.

00:21:08: Directives and I can't say the specifically about store they don't have worms but I'm just saying that out there I'm hearing that funders are taking a closer look as I'm sure Eric can confirm but also there.

00:21:21: They have stipulations they want to see either cost pets or are they want.

00:21:27: Less spending in certain areas so it though layoffs and funding seem mismatched I think

00:21:36: that that's going to be a more common story for as we go through the next couple quarters and I'll also add that

00:21:44: there's a lag in the data here you never know how long these rounds have been in the works when they're being announced and so even though it's July I don't think we're really understand what the funding environment is until the fall just based on how long deals can take.

00:21:59: No it's totally right there is a lag and especially in the period sort of the quarter right after things turned after the

00:22:07: Ukraine you know invasion of Ukraine there was definitely a sense that companies were announcing during that quarter to show sort of a sign of strength,

00:22:15: right like oh even as the market is tanking we've gotten this round when it was actually signed the funds transferred in January right but they're announcing it in,

00:22:25: April so yeah that lag is going to play itself out I think over the next few months and.

00:22:31: I think everybody is really is very cognizant that like coffee you have to be more efficient with the money that you've been.

00:22:38: You're getting but the start of the thing that I wrote well after Emma's story was that they're still big rounds being side.

00:22:46: Some of them are happening post March.

00:22:50: Because there's still a lot of cash out there right and that cash is not as easy to attain but it still needs to be deployed can't Venture Capital firms own investors.

00:23:02: You're not pulling that cash off the table they want to see it invested they don't want to see it in a bank account earning well now might be earning 1.5% instead of.

00:23:11: 0.5% it's not enough so right like they invested in that

00:23:16: model of that vehicle for particular reasons so yeah I think I wrote something about you know flight to Quality I've had a couple DC's reach out after that came out and said that's exactly the way we're looking at it is like

00:23:29: see where that's more maybe even doubling up on a company that we feel really strongly about that.

00:23:34: Already invested in so it's definitely a big change from 21 that's for sure massive space yeah I'll be happy by the way because I am writing less funding stories because those were just getting really out of here.

00:23:48: Yeah I am too the other thing I just wanted to add as it's important to look at where if there are layoffs look at where they're coming from my colleagues at this Insider did a great story about how a lot of these layoffs are hitting.

00:24:00: What now seemed like the loaded recruiting teens where 2021 recruiters could have their pick

00:24:07: you know there will not be as much hiring this year and you're simply not going to keep your 15-person recruiting team in a year where you're probably going to end up flat so

00:24:16: digging into those layoffs I mean if you're if its core folks if it's if it's sales you know those are layoffs are an indicator but yeah they require new ones.

00:24:28: But I'll add one other thing about rolls I had someone fairly early on in this when it thinks flip they said the layoffs are not going to come from engineers.

00:24:37: Great Engineers of the ones that can pad their generally good ones especially our have their pick of jobs in almost any more kid we're still a lot of cash right so.

00:24:47: It's going to be those other roles those roles that are deemed a little bit more replaceable because the engineers is not as easy to,

00:24:53: is easily a software Engineers are the last ones to go I mean unless the whole thing goes down then of course there's no hope there and I think we are going to see more startups not just make it right I mean it was a long period of time where you could just.

00:25:05: Get funding and and sort of survive for several years without any good ideas without any Market traction sort of hide.

00:25:11: In between the pack I think those times are over I think this is really sort of a reckoning and like you guys mentioned where you know it's sort of investing in quality and it's sort of a weeding out of the stuff that really really works and it's proven itself and other stuff would just go under I mean I think it's but what do you guys make of the idea or the notion that.

00:25:30: The LogTech space will be the safe haven and sort of the space inside of tag.

00:25:35: That's paired from some of the worst Bloodshed because if anything we've learned that last two years three years.

00:25:43: Is that there's such a big demand for supply chain tag on LogTech you know such chaos and there's so many analog manual stuff

00:25:51: still in deployment that the technology Investments have to be made so is that a reasonable thing can you identify with that position or is it wishful thinking

00:26:01: that the LogTech space will be the only safe space so to speak I was going to call it naive but wishful thinking maybe I think if you if that statement if you feel that statement in your heart then you are may be in denial about their being

00:26:15: bad LogTech there's plenty of

00:26:18: bad useless LogTech out there I just because it's targeting a sector that still needs desperately needs modernization doesn't mean it's any good so there's also I mean

00:26:30: I'm coming across a few companies as I try and figure out you know which sinking ships to cover that

00:26:37: don't have that you know this is no secret but they don't have the tech they said they had you know a lot of startups sort of start out with less Tech than they intend to have in the end and then they develop it as they go.

00:26:48: That isn't gonna work in this in the scenario so yeah I mean I think that I think that funding will keep coming into the sector in a reasonable rational way which I'm still seeing but yeah I don't think we're safe from

00:27:03: the implosions that everyone is seeing the The Cliffs are less steep

00:27:09: I would say because the consumer Tech side is

00:27:13: much more susceptible to these massive drops in Revenue based on sort of Trends and markets so I think LogTech is less likely you know if your Revenue was Tiny it's probably still tiny but it's not going to disappear entirely

00:27:29: but yeah in terms of the lifetime of a start-up if it's if it's bad Tech it's.

00:27:34: Yeah I've also talked to a lot of LogTech startups who over their evolution eventually reached a point where they had to hire people from the industry so sort of

00:27:44: people that have worked in fight for waiting for a long time that expertise is needed I wonder if some folks have been in the traditional Logistics industry if worked there for many many years of sort of spook now and less prone less willing

00:27:58: to jump into a start-up situation because of.

00:28:01: The inherent risk that are rising now and it's getting more and more difficult for these young startups that do need Logistics personnel and expertise to grow I wonder if that's if that's a thing do you see that happening,

00:28:12: Eric what do you think I don't think it's any harder now than it was before

00:28:18: and I say that because the money if the market it's this is not a tech only implosion kind of situation it's you know there's signs across the market that we may be entering whatever you want to call it a recession or a self.

00:28:32: Softening.

00:28:33: Autumn and inflation is high potentially Freight volumes are coming down in the fourth quarter so the forwarder the 20-year vet and forwarder may not have the

00:28:43: their pick of jobs

00:28:44: as they would in like a flush market and so if there's an opportunity to join a start-up that sounds interesting and is paying pretty decently and will really value your expertise because you're not you're literally the only one who's done this on their team

00:28:58: I still think there's going to be there's going to be people in veterans who want a different type of challenge.

00:29:05: And I don't think that necessarily fundamentally changes just because the market is a little bit different.

00:29:11: I don't know I think it's very much case-by-case I it would be interesting to see like.

00:29:15: Data about like how much matriculation there is from incumbent type rolls into startups there must have been a lie.

00:29:23: Over the last two years just based on all the cash

00:29:26: and all the hiring and how much of that will go back to incumbents how much of that will stay with those those veterans kind of moving from one startup to another to another seeing a lot of that

00:29:38: honestly actually the last few months more than bouncing back to you know kind of an incumbent existing type of

00:29:46: guys there's a fair bit about this for us actually because I'm always I'm always out there looking for a crazy signing bonus that I can write about and no one's been willing to go on the ride together

00:29:57: enough want to share their crazy shining bonuses but that was something I was hearing from recruiters a lot last year was that folks that incumbents are looking for a lifestyle change they want that fast-moving less red tape sort of environment.

00:30:10: Conveniently that was coupled with some of the best deals.

00:30:15: You know that I think the folks in this industry are going to see for a while I think if you're an individual and Logistics it's inclined to work for a start-up which is not everyone by any means.

00:30:25: Um then you're looking at the deal in front of you and that deal is probably if you're not an engineer not going to be as good today as it was a year ago and.

00:30:33: You might also be focused more on Direct compensation rather than Equity at right now at least I would hope that that's what your focus is done

00:30:41: brand new opportunity but I think folks who are inclined or still going to do that because there are still just a huge black and white difference between,

00:30:49: working at a massive forwarder and working at a start-up with less than 100 people it's just a very different life yeah horse tonight can I Circle back on the weather LogTech is a little bit insulated from.

00:31:02: So I may be a little I may disagree a little bit with Emma I don't think we drastically disagree but I think I think there's a couple things.

00:31:10: That work in the LogTech Industries favor right now one of them is that the like things in crypto and fintech and consumer Tech and health Tech very few companies and LogTech we're getting those

00:31:23: crazy crazy thousand time multiple valuations and funding rounds right so there is a

00:31:30: there's a smaller Hill to descend off of then in some of those other industries that were wildly

00:31:38: some of them even B2B it wasn't just all consumer stuff right so that's one thing that I think

00:31:43: right now it was a struggle last year why is no LogTech company you know a hundred billion dollar valuation right it's probably a positive now because ya know long time

00:31:53: was it even close to that so there's far there's less Farms off the second thing is a lot of the companies that I think have a have a bit of a tough road ahead of them.

00:32:03: Our suppliers to other software companies so if you are selling your technology to another set of.

00:32:11: Less than five year old software companies that are struggling right now with the funding environment and have seen their valuation slash and not going to IPO like they thought they were.

00:32:21: And are having to cut staff that hurts your business if you are a supplier of LogTech software.

00:32:29: To a forwarder or a shipper that is moving physical goods and those goods volumes are virtually the same this year as they were last year.

00:32:38: You have a bit of continuity in terms of like the stability of that market so those would be the only two things now what Emma said is.

00:32:46: The Tide is going to go out and there's going to be a bunch of companies.

00:32:49: It's sort of read the crest there's also a lot of like duplicate companies there were five six seven versions of the same type of idea.

00:32:57: Came up over the last year or two.

00:33:00: Um not all of those are going to keep going and if you know last year the thought was oh well all these are going to keep going and then they'll consolidate or get picked off.

00:33:09: Some of them are now not going to make it right so.

00:33:13: That's there that would be only things I doubt about yeah consolidations really interesting to just because I'm really eager to see

00:33:19: I'm assuming they're going to be a lot of Aqua hires coming up in the next couple years just as the tide goes out and where is the value in these startups that aren't going to make it is fascinating like are are the people.

00:33:32: Worth an acquisition is the tech worth an acquisition

00:33:36: even a very very you know fire-sale one I love seeing that stuff it's fascinating they'll be interesting all right let's transition to Another Story Another angle am I maybe this time from your and what else have you been watching been fascinated by lately in terms of stories yeah selfishly brought one with my own but um

00:33:52: it was with friends the Dave Clark of it all Dave Clark former consumer CEO of Amazon is going to a seagull flexport.

00:34:00: I think that will be news to No One listening to this podcast but the implications and ramifications of that are fascinating to me on both sides had a story looking at Dave's

00:34:12: um Dave is if I know I'm looking at Dave's record and Amazon he is a notorious.

00:34:20: He's a builder he likes to build big and build fast that's his this story of his tenure at Amazon and he's responsible for the sort of physical shape of that company today which is.

00:34:31: Considerable and undeniable heading into a company that doesn't have physical assets as of yet is a fascinating transition and just sort of temperamentally he's known as.

00:34:45: With demanding quick hard-nosed but but very smart so I'm

00:34:50: so excited to look just like this is a great thing for me personally to be able

00:34:56: hey get this story to tell for months and years ahead and then back at Amazon as well Doug Harrington is his replacement who is.

00:35:05: Perhaps a polar opposite.

00:35:08: He's a retailer at heart cares a lot about product and Merchandising and customer retention and share of wallet which was not Dave Clark Focus

00:35:19: based on the Insiders that myself and my colleagues have talked to you so

00:35:23: both sides of that big shifts are going to be fascinating to watch but I'm also really eager to hear both of your.

00:35:31: Thoughts on on the Dave Clark moved flexport because I talk to about to Amazon folks about it all the time but I haven't talked to that many industry folks about it I think it's a killer move

00:35:41: I was surprised though I thought that that Ryan Peterson would stick on for much longer and then the first question that popped into my head around this was well obviously it's a great validation for flexport

00:35:52: one but Michael the question I immediately had was well is this a story of.

00:35:57: A natural progression that most Founders go through their great Founders they're great at getting something off the ground but later as the organization becomes bigger you need a different set of expertise that really.

00:36:09: You know you find in the founders right so you have to bring on somebody else on board they can scale a large organization has a skills.

00:36:17: Like a guy from Amazon or is there is there more to the story is there some bigger things going on behind the scenes some problems may be at flexport that prompted the whole thing and sort of expedited.

00:36:27: So it's hard to say from the outside I mean I don't have,

00:36:30: any insights that have better insight into what's going on in the company but but Eric maybe maybe you have yeah you know it's funny Emma I hadn't really thought of it until you were

00:36:39: talking about you know you're sort of excitement about covering this as a story but I think I may be the only.

00:36:46: Porter who knows maybe Alex it Forbes at this point does too but feel like I may be the only reporter.

00:36:53: Like knows flexport ten times more better than I know Amazon.

00:36:58: Right yeah that's right you know like I think Dave Clark has been a very public figure in business circles for very long time.

00:37:07: He's been studied from afar and I've never had a conversation with him I

00:37:13: unlike you I haven't sort of done an analysis of his like leadership style and it's building style flip side is completely true like I've written so much about flexport there sort of in some ways like my white whale

00:37:25: so it's yes totally interesting from a neutral Observer perspective to watch this very public.

00:37:33: Successful person join this company that's on the Vanguard of like what this technique log Tech movement has been over the past 10 years I have no idea how it's going to work out.

00:37:44: I have some inclination.

00:37:46: But definitely not a consensus in my head about the reasons why it happens I you know I've talked to a bunch of different people that have floated different ideas about.

00:37:56: Why it is that they turned to him why he may have accepted it.

00:38:00: And what Ryan's motivation behind it is I can't say that any of them are more true than what Ryan and Dave have said about it themselves.

00:38:09: I think this is I'm very much a wait-and-see type of person like I just I don't have a very good crystal ball so.

00:38:17: I just don't know how it's going to play out it seems like a great and interesting match but beyond that and I'll be you know I'll write a million things about this as it progresses obviously because people are.

00:38:28: So interested in it and yeah it is important it's very important right in our little neighborhood look at the world yeah we're gonna find out how important it is but I think there's an interesting

00:38:37: point to be made here about late-stage LogTech startups to the

00:38:42: timeline for IP o is not looking the way it was a year ago and I think there's a lot of rethinking

00:38:50: going on out there what do we need to show what progress we need to make what is our priority now I think a lot of folks were headed toward that not a lot a handful of folks who were headed toward that that finish line

00:39:03: and,

00:39:04: it's delayed now so got to make big moves in the meantime I'm not saying this is what the Dave Clark move is related to specifically I don't have that

00:39:14: confirmed information at all but I think there are a lot of startups out there that have had to really rethink their story for the next year or two.

00:39:23: Based on the the state of markets right now yeah and it's only been announced right so the transition will happen sometime in September I believe right so it's.

00:39:31: It's going to be a transition time and Ryan is not completely going to disappear but he's moving to the board so he's going to still be around and.

00:39:38: I think at some point in the announcement he said that he's going to work there forever until he dies whatever he's always going to be on board so if I'm just paraphrasing but I mean he's building

00:39:46: phenomenal thing when was the last time that you build a new forwarding company from scratch particularly with a with a tech backbone quite the feed I think what the story that would be written,

00:39:56: and one thing that we picked up on in our coverage of it was both of them said statements because neither of them wanted to talk to me my.

00:40:06: They said in statements.

00:40:08: That within five years they expected flexport to be the you know the biggest name in supply chain or something to that effect so to me that was you know

00:40:16: they put themselves on the clock with a specific timeline and what does that mean right what does that mean because what you just said Boris is.

00:40:25: So true like if you if everyone sort of wiped their memory clean of what.

00:40:32: Flexport was to this point and you just said holy cow and nine years they've become whatever they are the 15th biggest.

00:40:40: For order in the formation of the Agents of the US which is no small feat.

00:40:45: It's an incredible accomplishment but if the goal was to build something.

00:40:51: That had never been built before but does not exist in the market that story is yet to be written right and so you know you could see Dave Clark.

00:40:59: Joining as Ryan thinking he's the one to get them to that.

00:41:04: Because I don't think Ryan ever intended to build like a direct competitor of kuna Naga.

00:41:10: And I don't think his investors invested in him and continue to invest in him and the company.

00:41:16: To create an analog to kuna Noble right that's just not what they set out to do they set out to build something a lot bigger and a lot more all encompassing

00:41:25: yeah but I think a lot of this talk is also to this Privado that comes along with the startup founder that it sort of wants to rule the world I will look how frequently the market is

00:41:33: and always has been and yes they've made great progress but they're still just a small fish among many many small fish and it among many many big fish right so it's not like

00:41:42: even in a five year time scale this company is going to dominate the market or catch up to the largest place in the market

00:41:50: but maybe I'm too pessimistic and I shouldn't be a startup founder.

00:41:52: I think being good at Twitter is often misconstrued for ego we kept holding in too much or we may be talking too much about Ryan Peterson but one thing he.

00:42:02: I'm super fascinated about is the way he positioned himself as the person that is to be quoted and talk to and ask.

00:42:11: Anything related to supply chain remember that's dead time when he was in this 60-minute helicopter.

00:42:16: Hovering over Long Beach commenting on what's going on there some people find inspiring and sort of impress other people find it obnoxious as anything in between but

00:42:25: the way he's gotten himself on the map as the person to side into tweet into like his post on stuff related to logistic supplies and that's quite fascinating I don't think

00:42:34: I've ever seen anybody who's accomplished dad to be sort of the

00:42:36: the Quasi spokesperson for the industry we probably have mixed feelings about that and how do you feel about mixed feelings about it I think it's a lot less complicated than people think journalists are on Twitter.

00:42:47: If you want to get their attention be smart about something they need to know about on Twitter.

00:42:52: A minority of journalists are also on LinkedIn if you're super smart unlike if I'm starting to cover a subject I've never covered before it's very often that I will put Search terms in social media sites to see who's saying things that seem smart and if you're not saying anything publicly.

00:43:07: But you're sitting there thinking I'm really smart why is no one asking me.

00:43:11: We don't know how to find you there's no directory so you gotta be visible to be visible that's all I'll say

00:43:17: invisible he asked for sure yeah and no I there's so many CEOs and forwarding companies and Logistics that do know their stuff but they're just invisible like you said.

00:43:26: Like who is good at Twitter who was good on LinkedIn.

00:43:30: Of sharing their thoughts and being being open and perceived as a thought leader I don't think there's that many there's not many good case examples.

00:43:37: So the bar was pretty low maybe for him so and he have kind of pulled it over it yeah and also said that like if you want a little bit of insight into a newsroom.

00:43:47: You know there's me I'm a logistics reporter I cover Logistics all the time but we also have a team of 20 business reporters who.

00:43:53: Grab something new everyday who are doing the quicker hit shorter stories that are less in depth and require less analysis and CNN has a breaking news desk you know the Wall Street Journal has a breaking news desk that will occasionally pick up an m&a deal in logistics when

00:44:07: it's after hours or whatever so you can imagine if you are.

00:44:12: Young and you're young journalist who covers a different industry every single day who are you going to be able to find it short notice,

00:44:21: Ryan Peterson he's just findable he's easy easy to get like

00:44:25: it's not rocket science well he's been fine but not easy to get look Eric you don't get in for the interview so either I'm gonna be,

00:44:33: not a while Eric anything else to add in your perspective on the way that

00:44:37: Ryan Peterson has become the Quasi spokesperson for supply chain Logistics because of his omnipresence on Twitter what's he doing well what anything to comment on what what he should be admired for I think he's you know two of the two rolls of

00:44:51: the two rules of social media are

00:44:54: be consistent voluminous and have a strong opinion and he's all three of those things on social right so he's

00:45:03: like you're going to see his stuff one way or another if you're interested in this industry or like am I said.

00:45:09: I mean there was a point last year where he was on 60 Minutes and this that and the other and I was kind of like you know as a reporter I was kind of like if I'm a general news reporter I might.

00:45:20: Try to find someone else to speak to get a different point of view about this.

00:45:25: But what he has done I think and what the marketing team at flexport in general have done is they've essentially to Emma's Point they've essentially.

00:45:35: Made flexport the kleenex of logistics and by that I mean you call it at least in the states we call.

00:45:42: You know a tissue to blow your nose the kleenex we don't call I don't call it a nose tissue or whatever it actually is called.

00:45:48: Call it a Kleenex and to the person who's not in the industry they are the reference point for Logistics now because of how prominent they've been.

00:45:58: Out in the market right along with a maybe a couple others but they're the ones who are they're the ones who are sort of the label on top of the big weird Logistics.

00:46:07: And that by the way may be true from a u.s. perspective but I don't think that is equally true for Europe I don't think good maybe that's due to the fact that fewer people in Europe used Twitter and I'm not as hooked to that channel as maybe in the US.

00:46:21: Well it's still a journalist platform also in Europe but not so much

00:46:27: Boris when we say Global Logistics we mean Asia to us that's right the quiet part out LOL I don't know.

00:46:35: I mean Global Logistics is every Asian here I guess I know but like when CNN does it they mean getting ourselves.

00:46:43: Of course yeah yeah I stuff our stuff in the US okay then so maybe it's the closest Circle to to the question of the topic we had at the very beginning any advice for folks out there LogTech startup Founders as well as people.

00:46:57: And more established roles executive roles in logistics

00:47:01: and the way you present yourself to the outside world in social media in particular to catch the attention and tell your story and show up on the radar of journalist like you or maybe even the business and mainstream press any last bits of advice

00:47:14: I'll go first I guess this is advice it's really just an Ask humility Humanity loosen up talk more freely like

00:47:21: one of the things we are talking way too much about Ryan but Ryan's awesome freak he is sometimes wrong paw very publicly and he will.

00:47:32: I often say I was wrong about this who did somebody corrected me that is a is a very difficult thing to do I think he gets dunked on a lot and.

00:47:42: It is the fear of being wrong the fear of saying something that you're not authorized to say I think

00:47:47: often gets in the way of people sharing their actual thoughts about the actual industry so if you can find ways within your bounds and without losing your job to get around that and and if you have insights into the market to actually put them somewhere public where someone like me might be able to find them

00:48:03: um then I Am 1000 times more likely to find them if they're findable and and also on the startup side I just say I am always looking for humility,

00:48:13: if you tell me that you're going to do something that's like clearly unrealistic and impossible I don't think you're ambitious I think you're deluded so like.

00:48:22: Be realistic be have some humility tell me your human story just talk to me like I'm another person fantastic Eric anything to add any advice from your end yeah I mean I think the first step is is like how do you get noticed I think Boris is kind of what you were,

00:48:36: initially asking about is.

00:48:38: What does it take to stand out from the crowd part of what Emma said you can you can accomplish before you even get on the phone or on a zoom with us.

00:48:46: Is like the tone of how you approach the more,

00:48:51: the last form letter it looks like the last buzzwords you use if you were sorry fewer bugs were to use cheese I'm supposed to be a writer.

00:49:00: You know the more you are talking about.

00:49:05: Hey I know you cover this and I know and I am hearing from our customer base that this particular issue.

00:49:14: There's a problem and I think we address it right that's the way.

00:49:18: To get someone like Emma's or my attention rather than we have a platform that's transformational for the entire industry right so.

00:49:27: That that's the way and also like Emma said email is probably the least effective way you're way more I'm way more attuned to like when people reach out directly to me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

00:49:39: Or Whatsapp then I am on email just a fact once I don't have the volume of emails I'm sure that Emma does but it's enough to make me like.

00:49:48: Not want to use that as the generation of leads.

00:49:52: And then once you're on the phone just like I said before realize that it's a relationship you have to share a lot if you.

00:50:01: You know you need to give a lot to get a lot from a relationship so don't,

00:50:05: expect me to write a glowing piece about you if you don't want to talk about real things real like what your actual competitors are your Revenue I know a lot of people are not comfortable talking about that when you are.

00:50:17: Let's talk right like it's an ongoing thing and you have to you have to have trust in me that I'm going to I'm going to be responsible with the information you give me.

00:50:26: And tell me you can tell me a bunch of stuff off the Record and I'm never going to violate that and it's probably going to build our relationship pretty strong.

00:50:34: If that's the type of relationship with her

00:50:37: so awesome we leave links to your profiles to both of your profiles in the show notes and let's see how if people honor you advice and please please report back to us we also leave Links of course to your to the articles that were mentioned today in quoted so

00:50:51: and if people haven't gotten the subscription to the Journal of Commerce or

00:50:55: to Business Insider they should definitely do that and they should also definitely check out Eric's sub stack right that you offer for free Still Still for free or he's already charging for it no still for free

00:51:05: now it's a thousand dollars per newsletter it should be it should be free it's totally free Clarence Johnson that yeah we leave a link in the show notes.

00:51:15: Emma Eric thank you very much for being on the program today is very exciting I have a feeling that you guys have to come back I think there's a lot more stories that we had on the radar that we wanted to cover that we didn't get to cover but we covered the stories we did in a decent depth Road

00:51:28: thank you very much for that appreciate it a lot hope you'll be back for more thanks again

00:51:33: until next time thanks course appreciate it alright that was the logistics try podcast episode with Emma Cosgrove and Eric Johnson I hope you enjoyed Today's Show

00:51:42: if so please make sure to subscribe to the podcast so you don't miss any of the future episodes on board felgendreher until next time.

00:51:50: Music.

New comment

Your name or nickname, will be shown publicly
At least 10 characters long
By submitting your comment you agree that the content of the field "Name or nickname" will be stored and shown publicly next to your comment. Using your real name is optional.