E137: An Inside Look Into EcommerceFuel Live 2018April 16, 2018 in Ecom-Crew-Podcast
If you went to the EcommerceFuel Live event in January and got shoved a microphone in the face by me, then this is the episode you’ve been waiting for :)
You might have forgotten what transpired during the event (especially if you got drunk during the party) but this episode, with all the snippets I recorded both sober and drunk, will surely remind you what an awesome event ECF Live is. If you didn’t go, I am pretty sure you’re going to want to go next time.
This episode is long overdue considering how long it’s been since January but this is the first time in EcomCrew history that we’re doing something this different. And in light of new and different things, we’re doing something that’s another first: we will be raffling off an EcomCrew mug for those who comment below.
That’s right, just comment anything about the episode down below (for example, let me know if you think Andrew Youderian’s prank is mean) and you get a chance to win an EcomCrew mug, shipped to you for free, anywhere in the world.
Special thanks to Andrew for making ECF Live possible. Make sure to check out this awesome community here. Thanks also to those who put up with me during these interviews, and to the cop who was Andrew’s accomplice. I hope you read this and know you’re awesome :D
E114: Chasing Retail Dreams with Bill D’Alessandro
E95: Growing and Selling Drop Shipping Businesses with Andrew Youderian
E99: An 18-year Ecommerce Journey with Kevin Stecko
E91: Ecommerce Growth and Profitability With Dana Jaunzemis
E94: On the Road with David Couillard: How to Run an Ecommerce Business while Traveling with Family
Thanks as always for listening, let me know if you like this episode, and until the next one, happy selling!
Full Audio Transcript
Mike: This is Mike, and welcome to episode number 137 of the EcomCrew Podcast. You can go to EcomCrew.com/137 to get to the show notes and comments for this episode. And we’re doing something new for the next few episodes. If you want to chance to win an EcomCrew mug, and we will ship to you for free, just go comment on this post by the end of the week. So go to EcomCrew.com/137, leave us a comment.
We’re going to pick one person at random and ship you a mug anywhere in the world just for being a listener and for commenting. We’re trying to get more comments on the episodes, and this was a good one to start with, because this is going to be about Ecommerce Fuel Live which happened back in January. And what I wanted to do was to do something different for the EcomCrew Podcast.
We recorded a bunch of different snippets. And apparently was able to spend some time with Abby in the Philippines office putting all this together, storyboarding it out, recording all the little things that had to be filler. I think it’s a neat episode, not only because it’s just a different format than what we’ve done in the past, but because ECF Live was such an amazing event. It’s one of my favorite things to go do in commerce every year, and this year did not let down as well.
So just a quick reminder, if you are not an Ecommerce Fuel member and you do at least $250,000 in sales a year, you should go to EcommerceFuel.com and sign up today. I do not get anything for saying this, they are not a sponsor, but it is something that’s been really impactful and important in my life. And I consider Andrew Youderian the guy that runs it to be a really good friend, and I definitely support the community over there. It’s just an amazing group of people.
And it’s an online forum, vetted online forum. So they make sure that you’re actually doing the revenue that you say you are. And it’s a forum that they really stress a two way street. So it’s not just leeching off of everyone else, there’s a lot of really good back and forth conversation. And once a year they do these live events that I’ve been fortunate to be able to speak at the last three years now. It’s just been a great development for me professionally, really I have enjoyed it, and I hope you guys enjoy this behind the scenes look at what happens at an ECF Live.
Hey guys. So it’s Monday morning January 8th. It’s 10:30 in the morning here local time in California. I’m just going to the office and realizing that it’s ECF week, and wanted to get the journey started here with this podcast documenting the week. I’m looking over my presentation, got some finishing touches to do on that, really excited about this week. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’ll probably be exhausted by this time next week, but looking forward to it.
I guess you could say that ECF week formally kicked off when Nathan touched down and arrived at our office in Escondido. It was great getting to hang out with him for a couple of days. I met Nathan for the first time just a few months before that at a Washington DC meet up. I’m originally from Washington DC and happened to be in town during the time that they were doing the ECF meet up.
It worked out perfectly, and I met Nathan among some of the other sellers there. It was cool catching up with Nathan when he came out and visited us just a couple of days before ECF Live. Welcome to San Diego Nathan.
Nathan: Thanks Mike, it’s good to be here.
Mike: You just flew in from DC, right?
Nathan: I did, I was just telling you it was 95 when I left this morning.
Mike: Like really negative five.
Nathan: Yeah, and then the temperature was like negative 20.
Mike: As you know I grew up in DC. And right now I’m not regretting the decision to leave, so that’s crazy.
Nathan: No it’s been really nice just being here and getting the chance to work on other things.
Mike: Yeah, welcome to the office. We’ll show you around, you just got here. We’re going to go out to dinner tonight [inaudible 00:04:01]. We’ll hang out all day tomorrow, and I think car pool up to Laguna on Wednesday, is that the plan?
Nathan: Yeah, I’m looking forward to it.
Mike: Cool. Well welcome to San Diego and we’ll talk more soon.
Normally for ECF, I might try to get to the event at least a day if not two days before. I’ve been speaking there the last couple of years so I like to get there early to clear my head for that. Also there is usually a few people that kind of come in a day or two early, and you get to hang out with them and bond with them in a way that you wouldn’t with other people.
This time it was in my own backyard. So I invited several people to come a lot earlier, and it turned out to be the entire week before the event. So starting Monday morning, Nathan came in, someone that I had met at an ECF meet up in Washington DC. We kind of hit it off, and he spent some time with me. And next scene though we were having lunch over at Stone Brewery [ph] with a bunch of other ECFers and kicking the week off.
Just real quick everyone, what’s the thing that you’re looking forward to the most here at ECF just starting on Thursday?
Female: For me it’s seeing all the friends I’ve made over the last probably three years, this is our fourth ECF.
Female: And I will say I’ve made the best friends and colleagues I’ve ever established in this group.
Mike: Three best friends anyone could have.
Male: Yeah, I heard Mike is going to have a pretty good key note there.
Male: I mean the community there is just amazing. So it’s definitely seeing the friends there and hanging out, and learning a few tricks here and there. You always come out with some good stuff. But making more friends and building those bonds again.
Mike: I think Dana put it so eloquently as she always does, one of my best friends in e-commerce these days, just so smart. And as she said, these are the best friends that we’ve made in any industry we’ve been in. And it’s interesting how this particular community, this type of group of people just gels in a way that I haven’t seen anything else I’ve done. And previously I did computer consulting and then Affiliate Marketing, and I was in a sales position before.
And there just hasn’t anything like the group of people that I’ve met in e-commerce and probably anything else that keeps me wanting to do what I’m doing just to hang out with these people more, it’s just been awesome. So after spending ECF week, the preview part of it before heading up to Laguna in San Diego, a few people definitely came by and hung out with us at the office. We had lunch there as we just mentioned. It was time to fire the car up and head north up to Laguna.
All right, it is Wednesday morning, start up the car, got to plug in the address in the GPS here, going to head up to the Surf & Sand in Laguna. And it looks like we’re headed into 15557 coast host highway. All right, we have arrived at the Surf & Sand. We’re going to go check in, see if they have a room ready for us. We’re early, it’s one o’clock, but if they don’t, we’ll put our stuff in storage, come back and check on them.
Normally one of the things that frustrates me more than anything when travelling is getting to a hotel room and being told that your hotel room is not ready yet. I don’t travel well. I always joke that between the time that I leave my front door from wherever I’m going from to getting in the front door of where I’m going to, that is not my favorite thing in the world. And getting to a hotel and just being told that you’ve got to wait around before you can check in is like hitting the [inaudible 00:07:16] for me, but not at ECF Live.
It was like okay well whatever, I wasn’t going to really spend any time in the room anyway. Right now I want to go hang out with my friends. So that’s exactly what we did. I just threw my bags in the storage room there and walked over to this rooftop bar that was one of these like most picturesque settings you could ever imagine. I can’t do any justice explaining it with words. I wish I could include a picture in this podcast.
But we were up on a rooftop bar overlooking the hills of Laguna. It would be something that you would see on a postcard, waves crashing on the beach, the hills in the background. It had rained recently. It was January so this super beautiful green setting up on the mountains. And we sat up there from lunch time until the sun sets just having a good time.
And the next few clips you can kind of tell how good it was, how we were having the drinks kept coming. We had a couple of drinks and then happy hour happened, and then it was time for sunset, and finally headed out. But there’s some pretty funny clips, real behind the scenes stuff here that you’re going to hear in the next few minutes.
Male: So he was saying was, oh yeah here’s Mike and…
Mike: What he said is here is Mike, not Moike. My name is not Moike.
After listening to this back, I feel like I had to jump in here just real quick with a little bit of a disclaimer that I know Dave for a while now. I would consider this guy to be one of these like one of my best friends that I’ve only met a couple of times. It is someone that I really hit off with. We first met in Asia actually and had a couple of interesting evenings out there.
He came to a supplier dinner that one of my suppliers allowed me to have him come to, and we had some drinking times over there. So by the time he showed up there at ECF Live and I had a few drinks, I sounded like a kind of a jack here. But I hope that he knows I was just giving him a hard time. And it was great to see him again and hang out. As always just a super awesome dude that has done amazing things with his business. And this interaction here is pretty funny actually.
Mike: So here’s Mike.
Male: I really said Mike.
Mike: Okay, I’m really simple Mike. I’m translating everybody here real time I’m translating.
Male: Because he tells me all the time like…
Mike: Because he tells me all the time.
Male: What I should do and I can’t do it.
Male: He tells me the steps I should do to build my business.
Mike: Right, and what he’s saying — now while Dave is saying this, he’s doing it really enemy [ph] with his two hands. He has five fingers that he could type on a keyboard. He could do the same things I do, but those fingers…
Male: Not the right order.
Mike: Not the right order. Okay, well how was that offensive?
Male: It’s the way I said it.
Mike: I have other British friends, man you can’t offend me with your British accent or your Irish accent sorry. Oh, I’ve done it, I’ve done it, I’ve done it.
Male: Oh it’s great to how you intended it.
Male: Or Mexico.
Mike: It’s actually going over Mexico. So what he’s trying to say to people on the Ecommerce Crew land is that I have analogized which is a name and a word analogy – that I’ve used an analogy, analogized the word. Here is the reality and I know this that Dave is not from Britain, he is from Ireland. I know that and I know that, and I know the difference because I’ve been to both of those places. They’re actually different islands and they really are islands. I liked when lived in Costa Rica and everybody asked me, what’s it like to live on an island, and I said, I don’t know, ask someone who lives on an island what it’s like.
Female: They add all of themselves up and just have us in their sound streams.
Mike: I would have ripped out all they said.
Male: Actually Mike, one the first signs that we caught him up was we’re at a supplier dinner in China.
Mike: That’s right.
Male: So they…
Mike: We’re not going to talk about that.
Male: No, no.
Mike: Here we go we’re talking about…
Male: No, no, no so they were pouring like a lot of drink. So they’re doing a lot of cheers…
Mike: [inaudible 00:11:08].
Male: Yeah, I was skipping on some of them actually.
Mike: You threw them over your shoulder?
Male: No, no I just thought just not drinking the whole thing. And the guy kind of did notice but then at the end he noticed.
Mike: He noticed you, he got called out.
Male: It was a shame.
Mike: He got called out by a Chinese.
Male: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I was like I’m really sorry like I just couldn’t do it and I felt like I let everyone down. It’s like oh God.
Mike: And as an Irish man.
Male: I know, it’s particularly…
Mike: Did you feel like – did you feel bad that this white dude over on the other side of the table was drinking you under the table? I mean were you a little bit embarrassed, this American pacey white America?
Male: You did a great job.
Mike: I did, I drank…
Male: You flew the…
Mike: Were you embarrassed?
Male: I was embarrassed; it was close to football.
Mike: It was occasional football yeah, because like when the American now drinks the Irishman…
Male: Then there is something wrong.
Mike: But don’t ever call an Irishman a Brit.
Male: No, no that’s, okay that’s…
Mike: That’s was bad.
Male: To keep that one in.
Mike: That was bad to keep that in, I did bad okay.
It’s actually really funny listening to some of these clips back. I kind of have my head over my face just what was I doing. And contrary to what Dana said, I did not edit out the embarrassing parts for me. I’m pretty self-deprecating. I think that it’s important to have fun. If you can’t make fun of yourself, then you shouldn’t be doing this stuff I guess. So yeah it was a lot of fun listening to it back even though it’s a little tinge been embarrassing.
Most of the conversation up there was just talking about this and the other, nothing really all that profound. But every now and then something really interesting would pop up. In this next clip is definitely one of those things. Not surprising Dana kind of started the conversation. At some point she started asking the group interesting questions. And this is one of the conversations that stemmed out of that, super interesting stuff.
So let’s put the microphone back on Dana for a second, because really we had a big profound — actually this was actually profiling seriously.
Female: This was profound.
Mike: It was good because — so my question to Dana was — because like in my mind, you can scale a business by just doing the same thing over and over.
Female: Bigger and bigger.
Mike: Well not bigger, you just do the same thing.
Female: Well scale is bigger.
Mike: We were talking about stamping more axes, so I don’t know how that guy…
Female: Right, but isn’t that scale?
Mike: So Allan, can you give us a sound effect with a stamping ROI [ph]?
Male: [inaudible 00:13:24].
Mike: So we’re stamping more axes, we’re just doing it over and over again. And at some point what happens?
Female: At some point if you want to scale it, your opinion is that you can stamp more and more and more.
Female: Just get more and more axe stamper [ph].
Mike: So you get more, you get a second stamper, then you get a third stamper and then…
Female: Then you need a manager or the third stamper.
Mike: And this is where you grow on this is when you hire large.
Female: Correct so once you add a layer of organization, it changes the structure of the business or the mission. So this is not my original thought. This was I learned it from Wayne Dyer who is dead. At some point, the organization becomes more important than the mission, but it works just the same in religion or spirituality or non-profits as it does in business.
Mike: Yeah so your organization becomes the Borg.
Female: Right, so it becomes actually more important than when you were stamping your long axes and you were happy. Then you hired one more person to stamp four axes and they were happy, and you hired another. But when they got a manager and then another manager, and then as you grew you needed more managers, suddenly the organization becomes more important than what you set out to do.
Mike: After listening to this back end, it’s kind of lined up one thing I can say that I’m most frustrated with about Dana is even after drinking all day, she’s still way smarter than me. I can’t even get an edge on her that way. But yeah this conversation about how the business becomes bigger than when you kind of initially intended is interesting, because I’ve been through this cycle a couple of times myself in previous businesses.
And as this one continues the growth that we’re doing now, when you go from being just a solopreneur and doing a couple of hundred, a half a million dollars in business to having some employees and get into that million dollar mark and the next thing you know you’re at two, then three, then five and whatever million and this year we’re forecasting ten. And then as we get our ten year plan, we’re looking at being a 100 million dollar company, and what does that look like, and how much is enough kind of thing. And it’s harder to continue to stamp those more axes and make that business not to become bigger than the sum of its parts.
So yeah, definitely really interesting conversation with Dana there. That night kind of ended as the sun set. And it’s funny, the southern California problems we always joke about how if it’s not within like three degrees, we’re not happy. And so was it perfect temperature then somewhere down then it “got cold,” and everyone kind of scattered like cockroaches when a light comes on. We headed back to our room and that’s when I probably got over to my room and checked into the Surf & Sand, saw just what an amazing place this is.
It was nighttime by that point, and you look at your balcony window and they had these floodlights that are heading towards the ocean just so that you kind of see the ocean at night, just totally spectacular setting. And that was kind of the closing of the evening heading into the next day. Started out actually with an impromptu meeting with Klaviyo. I had met them earlier the night before and arranged a meeting right before the event kind of got started that morning.
So we just talked over a cup of coffee in the conference room and just went over some of the new features that Klaviyo has rolled out, one of them being their new automated flow builder, talked about some other issues like deliverability and some other features and things that we would like to see within Klaviyo, really cool conversation. The first time I met anybody from Klaviyo face to face. So that was definitely a cool way to get the day started.
And then officially Andrew came out in a typical Andrew fashion, just talked about the events and some things that were kind of going on in e-commerce and the State of the Merchant Survey and things of that nature, just a bunch of things in e-commerce, talked about the birth of his new kid which was really cool.
He kind of surprised all of us about that because we knew that his wife Annie was pregnant and expecting any day, but they had to switch the conference dates around a long time ago to kind of accommodate that, and she ended up going into labor a little bit early. And yeah so he had a couple day old kid at home which is kind of funny to imagine him having to travel across country after that. But he pulled it off as Andrew always does. It was an awesome event and a great way to get things started off.
And I did my best. I got up in the very front row center because I knew a couple of my best friends in this business were going to be speaking first thing. And first it was Bill D’Alessandro, someone I have come to know and respect quite a bit, just an awesome guy, he’s got just an amazing business going on with Elements Brands. And yeah he was the first talk of the day.
And it was really interesting listening to his talk as I’ve known Bill for a while, and just kind of seeing the transformation in his thought process of how to run a four hour work week type of business to having to have an office and be committed to that. And it’s something that — he’s been on our podcast before. It’s something I’ve talked to him about both on the podcast and in private, and it’s just interesting how a lot of entrepreneurs don’t quite get this.
They don’t quite understand what they’re getting themselves into when they get an office, when they get employees. And they don’t realize the need to be more committed to them than you are to yourself, because you’re having people change their lives and come work for you. And this is a big moment for them and you need to make sure that you’re providing them a good work environment and a career path, things that you again as an entrepreneur I think about.
And it’s something that I work really hard with here at Terran, and Bill and I have definitely talked and traded the worst stories about that. Very, very cool to just see how his business has been transforming, and the talk was definitely awesome. After that was Kevin Stecko. It was really interesting listening to him talk, because he basically was talking about a journey of his business running 80s Tees. Kevin is another former podcast guest here on EcomCrew, a really good friend of mine, just a super awesome guy, a great dad and family man, just really interesting guy.
He started right out of college or in college actually selling t-shirts and turned this into a full time gig that he’s been doing for over a decade. And anyone who’s been in business for over a decade knows it’s not a straight line up, that it’s been a seesaw all over the place for him over the years, different changes in business models, different backend softwares.
And this is back in the day when Shopify or these types of things just didn’t even exist. And he managed to pull through all of that through all that time and really interesting stories that I knew most of it, but there was a couple things he threw out that I didn’t know. Most of all I just enjoyed watching him speak. I kind of get enamored like listening to my friends talk about the stop and entertain a crowd. It was definitely awesome.
So from there I think it was lunch time. I ran out to go get a couple of bites to eat. And I ate a whole bunch as I always get nervous before speaking. My talk was up later that day, so I knew that was coming early in the day. So I had a late lunch and got ready for my talk which kicked off later in the afternoon.
All right, so it’s 3:35 on Friday afternoon. Before I stand on the podium for my talk, it’s looking like a packed house already, a whole lot of excitement in the room. I’m excited; it’s always fun to speak in these events. A lot of people I Know, they’re already looking at me. I got a little bit of a look over here from Greg. We’ll see how it goes. I’m excited. It’s a different environment than when I spoke before.
I’m starting to get a lot more [inaudible 00:20:52] like I was just sitting and thinking right before coming up here, I didn’t even feel like I was speaking actually. It just felt like I was going to be in the audience next. It’s filling up here right now so I feel nervous a little bit. But yeah practice makes perfect with everything. And so far I don’t feel that bad and I’m excited to get started. So let’s see how the talk goes.
Just like any other time when I speak, it was all relief to finally get this behind me in the rearview mirror. I’ve been working on getting to a point where I actually look forward to these talks and speaking, but not quite there yet still, a little bit on pins and needles as the event comes and it’s time to get up there in front of a bunch of people that you know and respect that you can’t BS in anyway because they’re way smarter than you. Definitely a lot of pressure there, but I had a really fun time once it was all over reflecting on this talk.
Andrew had asked me to speak about Facebook ads, and he asked me to actually launch brand new Facebook campaigns before the event. So the event was on a Friday, it took place on a Monday, he had asked me to launch Facebook ads that Monday morning and go over them live in front of this room, again things that I had never done before.
So I came up with three brand new Facebook campaigns I had never done before to targeting I had never done before and spoke about it in front of this room, and it was interesting. So I broke up the talk into a few different segments. The first was a presentation that I gave. I wanted to lead out with some thoughts that I had about Facebook ads or just advertising in general to kind of set the playing field and get people some things to think about. And then I went over the ads that Andrew had asked me to do.
And then the end of it was a Q&A session which was really interesting because I was the last talk of the day, I was able to stay into an extended Q&A, and finally ended up actually leaving only because it was time for a speakers dinner. And so it was very flattering that like three quarters of the room stayed over an hour late after my talk to ask questions and just listen to what I had to say.
[inaudible 00:22:58] was there talking as well at the end. Andrew had asked her to come join me during the evaluation part when I was evaluating the ads. And yeah, it was really cool just seeing how people responded to that, not only it’s – and I’m not an ego guy, but I definitely felt good, right? So there’s a difference I think between being egotistical and feeling loved and feeling like you’re being able to give a good contribution back to the community, and I definitely felt that way.
It was a great way to end the day, and I knew that I was getting to go to a dinner that Andrew traditionally host for all of the speakers, one of the nights of the events. So that was coming up right after that. So I knew I had a nice glass of wine waiting for me once we got to the restaurant.
All right, so it’s about 7:40 at night, presentation done. I had to bring my little microphone, so this might sound a different. It’s a little bit louder than the restaurant here as you can tell. We had a couple of cocktails; I’m feeling a little bit good. It seems like my presentation went well. I’m happy with it. I’m my own worst critic, but I think I did good.
I just had a rack of lamb sent to me. Andrew Youderian, first class all the way as usual took us out for speakers dinner and it’s just been a great company, great food, time to have fun for the rest of the evening. We’re going to go from here to the roof top bar and do that for a while. So we’ll see how that goes.
I got up the next morning after the speakers dinner and getting my talk out of the way, I knew that the next day, this day coming up was going to be a lot less stress induced. Again I still definitely feel stressed the day I have to speak in front of a large group. And once that’s behind me, I can definitely enjoy the rest of the event. And I knew this day was going to be just as enjoyable as some of the past days with a lot of really good talks coming up and it didn’t let down in any way shape or form.
As ECF Live came to a close for 2018, I knew probably the best part of the event was going to be the after party. It tends to be that way every year, just a great time, people don’t want to quit and go to bed because they know that it’s the last time. A lot of these situations you don’t see someone again until the next year. So yeah I mean the talks for the day were awesome, but the setting for the rest of the evening I knew would be even more awesome.
And as the event kind of wound down, Andrew had rented out the state beach in Laguna. It was about ten miles from the hotel that we were staying at, and man, it was just an amazing sunny right on the beach. So there was like a rope line where you weren’t allowed to bring alcohol past which was actually the beach, but right behind that still on the sand was roped off – I’m not sure exactly how this worked out, but there was tacos there and open bar and definitely really awesome way to officially wind down the event.
All right, so we just got to the beach for the closing party. So we’re standing on the beach, the waiter clashing [ph] behind us, there is drinks, there is good people, food and everything. One of the things I worked really hard at during this event was recording as many moments as I could get down on the recorder to put together a different type of episode like this. And when we got to the State Beach event, I took the opportunity to interview and just kind of put the microphone in front of as many people’s faces as possible, we’ll get to that in a little bit, and that seemed to be going really, really well until this happened.
We have another person to interview over here. We have one cop here smiling at us.
Female: I can’t talk over here, are you doing it for a recording or?
Mike: Yes, is that not good? I’m doing this for a podcast.
Female: Do you have a permit?
Mike: No, are you serious.
Female: I’m doing it…
Mike: So what you don’t hear on the audio for I had to turn this off was that Andrew ended up pranking me more than anyone’s ever done over me before. It was absolutely hilarious. I realized after a couple of minutes of arguing with this cop about how I just broke the law supposedly recording on a State Beach which seemed possible. I mean I live in California and it is a nanny state. It drives me crazy sometimes. They protect you in ways that you don’t need to be protected. And not being able to record on the state beach seems like something crazy of all that they might pass in California. But Andrew man, he really, really got me good.
He managed to find this cop that had been walking up the beach. He impromptuly got her to come over and hassle me and convince me that I had just broken the law and I was going to get I think $1,000 fine. I forget the exact number that she threw at me. But it was a big enough number that I wasn’t pleased about it, let’s just put that it way.
And yeah Andrew definitely got me good. And I told him, I was like look man, you kind of started a war here because I am competitive and I don’t know when to stop. So this will probably end in one of us getting divorced or something or losing our firstborn, or I don’t know exactly what will happen, but definitely going to get him back. It was pretty funny because I think that he actually felt bad.
He called me a couple of days after the event and made sure I was still going to be talking to him. But the next time that we saw each other, and I was like, look man I’m not mad at you for doing this. I’m just mad that you’re up now one to zero and I got to get up two to one now somehow on you because this is war man. So yeah it was very interesting, a really good prank. I will definitely get Andrew back one of these days. But for right now he is definitely in the lead and we’ve got to fix that as soon as we can.
All right, so I just got pranked more than I ever have in my entire life. I’ve never been pranked this hard, and we just started a war because you know how competitive I am. You know I can’t let you have a leg up on me. So when you least expect it now, but let’s just tell people what just happened. I was over here recording these all segments, and a cop walks up to me and asks if I have a permit to be recording.
We’re on a State Beach, I’m drinking, and it seems very possible because California is a crazy state. I live here but like she takes my ID, she’s like she’s going to run it, and she’s like it’s $2,000 fine for doing this recording. And Andrew walks over and says, what’s going on man? I’m like I don’t know, like this is real. He’s like you’ve just been pranked.
Male: We let you — I let you sweat for a good five minutes. You didn’t notice the whole contingent of ECF people over here in the corner ahead of us just enjoying and rolling.
Mike: Right, I did not.
Male: I saw you sweat it out.
Mike: But that was a good prank, I will get you back. Just know it’s coming someday, but it will be when you least suspect it, I’ll be like you.
Male: Are you sure you want it. This is like mutual satisfaction, are you sure you want to do that?
Mike: Sure it is, no, no, no I don’t let anything go.
So as things were winding down at the State Beach and we were just about ready to head back to Bill D’Alessandro’s for the after party — more on that later. But I ran across my good friend Steve Chu, someone that if I had my druthers or whatever, we didn’t force ourselves to go spend time meeting and talking to people, we probably would just spend three days shooting the crap together.
But it was perfect timing, because I was thinking a lot about what happened at the event, and Steve’s assistant happened to be there as well, someone that he doesn’t get to spend a lot time with because he lives up in San Francisco and she’s down in LA. And I finally got to meet her for the first time, and we started just kind of reminiscing I guess about how we have people back in the office making us look a lot better than we are. And I think that goes for a lot of just public personalities and stuff. Obviously the people behind the scenes that never get enough recognition are the ones that actually make the stuff happen. So have a listen, a little bit drunken conversation between me and Steve about the people behind the scenes.
All right, here we go. Here’s what’s really happening. This is now the third take of this particular part. We haven’t done — I’ve been here for three days, we have really said anything. Steve and I just can’t get through this simply because all we do is give each other a clap, this is all that we do. And we’ve both been drinking, but the reason we pulled out the microphone from the pocket because like it’s literally — but I was just telling Steve about Abby back in the office who’s going to hear this.
But Steve runs an amazing podcast called My Wife Quit Her Job. If you guys haven’t heard of it, you live under a rock, you need to like crawl out from under your rock, and go to iTunes or Stitcher or whatever the hell you get your podcast. Go to My Wife Quit Her Job. He’s a way better interviewer than I am.
Male: He’s so modest this guy, he has clearly been drinking.
Mike: No it’s not true. You know that we talked about this over. No listen, all of us have our strengths and weaknesses. And you know that I know that you are amazing at what you do.
Male: Thank you Mike.
Mike: Let’s put this in following mode because you put more prepping away, and you seem to care about it more than I do.
Male: I don’t know about that. I don’t do any prep.
Mike: I was just kidding, like you’re really good at what you do man.
Male: Actually you’re much better than just to add living speech than I am. I’m actually not good at that.
Mike: I mean you know one of the things like I’ve always had a hard time accepting. It’s just I think…
Male: I do too actually.
Mike: That’s an entrepreneur’s dilemma. And some things at this point because of the podcast thing or speaking, you realize like man, I’m pretty good at that thing and you realize – like you have to realize you’re making somebody better at that. Anyway I think I am good at the uploading thing. But you ask way more interesting questions because you’re probably smarter than I am anyway.
Male: You can tell I’m blushing right now guys.
Mike: No it’s true. You feel like I’m a street fighter guy, you’re a book smart guy, like you’re really like you’re like a chip rocket scientist, a computer chip designer, a rocket scientist kind of guy.
Mike: Stanford, really smart, you’re a really smart dude. I mean like don’t be blushing, you’re incredibly intelligent.
Male: How have I ever demonstrated my intelligence? I am going to need it around here dude.
Mike: Alcohol is the great equalizer. But in all seriousness man, like I’m proud to call you my friend. I am happy I’ve been able to be on your podcast. I’m happy that you have been on my podcast. But the real topic today that we’re really seriously talking about is that the only reason that we even look like or even worth anything is because of the people behind the scenes.
Male: That’s true.
Mike: Really serious. We were joking around here but being serious. The person putting this whole podcast together right now for me is Abby. And it just happens to be the person I just met, your amazing assistant puts down every My EcomCrew — My Wife Quit Her Job. We’re putting it there at MyEcomCrew [overlapping 00:33:08].
Mike: Because I want to have my just to be like you. You have My Wife Quit Her Job, so I put my in front of EcomCrew.
Male: Well here is something I will say that when I tape my podcast, it is full of ums and all these awkward silences and whatnot. And the only way it can sound good is if someone is able to take all that stuff out.
Mike: Yeah, and who is that?
Male: And that is Fani [ph].
Mike: And she’s right here, let’s put her on the podcast. I don’t think that she’s bashful; you don’t mind doing this, right?
Female: No I don’t.
Mike: Let’s give her a second.
Male: She’s been putting this thing together.
Mike: So Fani.
Female: Yeah, it’s Fani.
Mike: Where do you live?
Female: I live in LA.
Mike: LA, and where are we right now?
Female: We are in Newport.
Mike: So, you just drove down here?
Male: She did. She drove an hour and a half.
Female: Almost two hours, an hour and 50 minutes, and then another half an hour.
Mike: So you’re going to hang out with us all night tonight Fani?
Mike: Awesome. So seriously I want to thank you for making Steve sound awesome. I want to thank Abby for making me sound awesome or as awesome as I can be. It’s amazing to finally meet you. I actually have heard a lot about you. Steve and I have talked a lot about like these podcasts have become so difficult to do after a while. I mean just – you’ve been at it for almost three years or four years.
Male: Three years.
Mike: Three years [overlapping 00:34:19]. What ends up happening over time is that something like when you first started it was exciting and new, and this is like going to be so cool. But eventually it becomes like a lot more laborious and it’s like talk radio. So without you guys behind the scenes, you make us look good. Steve thanks for I know because we’ve already mentioned Abby. I thank you and I hope we have a great rest of the evening.
Female: Yeah it’s important.
Male: Because I don’t need to see Fani like ever, once every couple of years I would say, right?
Female: No once…
Male: Once every year.
Mike: All right, just have a good rest of the night.
Female: Yeah, you too. Nice meeting you too.
Mike: One of the main reasons I go to an event like ECF Live is to meet new and interesting people in e-commerce. There are just so many awesome stories out there. It’s also really fun to catch up with old friends and kind of build on relationships we’ve already built. I did my best this trip to get the microphone in front of as many random people as possible. And here’s a little mash up of all the awesome people that we got to talk to while at ECF Live.
Male: Hi guys, I’m David. I’m traveling on the road, so I’m pretty much from a lot of places. And I sell hard cases.
Male: I’m [inaudible 00:35:34] in city of Missouri, and my brand is [inaudible 00:35:37].
Male: I’m Allan. I run a car and truck accessory parts like part catalog. I am from Austin, Texas.
Male: [inaudible 00:35:44].
Mike: Is there a website or anything?
Male: There is a website [inaudible 00:35:48] or you can call 800-868-4703 I believe.
Mike: Awesome, I hope the number is right because it’s going in the podcast.
Male: Bill D’Allessandro [inaudible 00:35:57] I sell household goods, personal care products, sunscreen, shampoo, bioils [ph] [inaudible 00:36:01].
Male: New York City, Kevin, and I sell face paint; clown supplies and decorative [inaudible 00:36:05].
Male: My name is [inaudible 00:36:05].
Mike: Where are you from?
Male: Lyons, Georgia.
Mike: And what do you sell?
Male: Big shoes.
Mike: Big shoes.
Male: At 2bigfeet.com.
Mike: Where are you from, what do you sell and all of the stuff?
Male: I’m from Riverside, California and I sell [inaudible 00:36:18].
Male: My name is [inaudible 00:36:21]. I’m from Toronto, industrialstores.com and I sell everything industrial.
Male: My name is [inaudible 00:36:27]. I am from the state of Georgia and I sell mouth wash.
Male: [inaudible 00:36:31] McComas. I run [inaudible 00:36:32]. We are a digital agency. We do custom design development on Shopify.
Mike: My good friend Dana is here visiting from North Carolina.
Female: Right, I’m from Wilmington North Carolina, and I sell very exciting [inaudible 00:36:44].
Male: My name is [inaudible 00:36:49]. I’m from Uruguay. I live in the UK. We import South American products. It’s amazing time, thank you for doing all the podcasts and everything you do. I mean it’s amazing; we take a lot of value from it.
Male: My name is Dave, just arrived.
Male: My name is JP. I came down all the way from LA just for the closing party, worth the one hour and a half drive in traffic. I run an e-commerce store called Proteeth Guard, and we sell custom fitted dental mouth guards online.
Female: Hi Mike, I’m Natalie from Cute Kid Stuff in Toronto, Canada.
Male: This is [inaudible 00:37:19] from San Diego and [inaudible 00:37:22]. We sell breast feeding and return to work.
Male: I’m Jeremy Roberts from mommymakeup.com.
Male: [inaudible 00:37:36], I’m from Ireland. I have [inaudible 00:37:34].
Male: [inaudible 00:37:36] I sell baby products.
Male: Kevin Williams, I’m from the city of Utah and I sell [inaudible 00:37:41].
Male: Hello, I’m [inaudible 00:37:42]
Male: [inaudible 00:37:44] and my business is clean air gardening.
Female: Hi, I’m Lucy Hageman [ph]; I’m with leanpeople.com [ph]. I’m based out of Philadelphia and we sell faded ladies [inaudible 00:37:53] reversible, beautiful colors.
Female: My name is [inaudible 00:37:55] and I’m from Boston, and I sell [inaudible 00:37:58] online.
Male: I’m Mike [inaudible 00:37:59]. I’m from Indianapolis, Indiana and I sell memory foam pillows.
Male: [inaudible 00:38:06].
Mike: Your name is Natalie.
Female: Yeah, I’m Natalie [inaudible 00:38:13] from Charlotte.
Mike: Charlotte and you are the fiancé of Bill D’Allessandro.
Female: Yeah, I would say I’m the better half of Elements Brands and we sell all the things [inaudible 00:38:21].
Mike: Yeah you made Element Brand, Elements Brands. Nathan has already been on here a little while ago. He’s still hanging around. Tell everybody again where you’re from and what you sell.
Male: I’m from the Washington DC area, and I sell [inaudible 00:38:34].
Male: [inaudible 00:38:36] from Shiloh, Illinois and I sell online workplace safety training and certification to keep our construction workers safe.
Female: Hi Mike, how is the going? Nicole [inaudible 00:38:45], how are you?
Mike: So Nicole, where are you from, what do you sell?
Female: I live in Santa Monica, California. My company is Brave Era. It is 100% silk travel sheets designed by women for women for eventful travelling.
Male: Hi, my name is Peter [inaudible 00:38:59].
Male: My name is [inaudible 00:39:00]. I’m from San Diego, living in LA right now and I’m selling [inaudible 00:39:05].
Male: Tony [inaudible 00:39:07] Charlotte, North Carolina and I sell maps.
Male: My name is Zach from Minnesota, Minneapolis Minnesota. I sell firearm parts and accessories at [inaudible 00:39:16].
So I definitely want to thank everyone for allowing me to get the microphone in their face. It was very impromptu a lot of times; they didn’t know it was coming. Almost everyone was good spirited about it, but you can see how many awesome people were at the event. I kind of feel bad now because you think about how many people were there and I only got to interview a small portion of them.
But hopefully next year we can do this again and get more people interviewed. It’s a combination of trying to produce awesome content for the podcast and also enjoy the event because I know it only comes by once a year. But hopefully [inaudible 00:39:54] like a little bit of insight of all the awesome people that come to this event. And basically the way the whole thing ended was at this party at Bill D’Allessandro’s suite.
We had kind of talked about this for the day before leading up to this. So we had stopped by and got some alcohol to bring everybody to the suite. And I thought it was going to be like five to ten of my closest buddies who were in the suite, but it turned out to be more like 40 to 50, a completely crazy way to end the event. It was so awesome.
The next few clips kind of illustrate like how tired and just exhausted kind of people get by the end of this thing, but no one wants to go to bed because it’s kind of turn the lights out on this event. And knowing that you’re not going to see a lot of these people for six to twelve months until the next event rolls around, and that part is always sad.
So enjoy the waning moments of ECF Live here. There’s some pretty funny clips in here. You can tell that some liquor had been flowing pretty steadily by this time of night, and a combination of doing that a few nights in a row and it’s just getting late everyone being tired was kind of funny here how things kind of wrapped up. So have a listen and enjoy the end of ECF Live.
Well the after party is now officially starting. We have gone to Bill D’Allessandro’s room, and this is when you realize the sort of person Andrew Youderian is. I had this experience last year when I key noted an ECF, but I only got a [inaudible 00:41:22] room. Bill D’Allessandro has half of the hotel. There’s like…
Male: A little less than half.
Mike: A little less than half. Okay we have one third of the hotel right here. His balcony is bigger than my room. He has what I would call a big deck out here.
Male: I will say some people have been known to say that.
Mike: You’re right. So we just got here. There’s a few people wandering in, Brand. Let’s see who’s here. Brand is here, Brand has got Two Big Feet.
Male: How is the going?
Male: What’s up?
Mike: And mystery woman that doesn’t want to talk in a podcast. Michelle is in here. She is texting on her phone, I don’t know what she’s going to say, hello Michelle.
Mike: All right so there’s going to be a few people wondering here. It’s midnight now. I expect this to be the best thing in the conference, it always is. So it’s 1:23 AM. It’s that time of the night. I had a way for Natalie to have a few drinks because she’d be too embarrassed to do this without some liquor, but welcome to our super party, super finale. What’s your name, where are you from, what do you sell?
Female: Hey EcomCrew fans. You’re talking to the super fan.
Mike: Super fan.
Female: My name is Natalie. I am the owner of totallydazzled.com where I sell stone embellishments for wedding DIYs. And I pride myself on being Mike Jackness’s absolute number one super fan. I’ll never forget the moment that I met him. I pretty much felt like I was meeting Brad Pitt. I was like so excited. I felt like asking for an autograph and a picture. And I just want to thank my brother…
Mike: That’s absolutely true because like I thought that like tonight I got pranked by Andrew. You heard about the story, right? I thought that Steve was pranking me with you, because like you were so excited. There’s no one like my wife, my own wife was never really excited to talk to me this way ever. It was like crazy that Natalie was just so excited. So it’s awesome to finally get her on a podcast. Again I had to wait until this time of night. It’s like normally like right now you’re coherent, because you had to get like a little bit of liquor.
Female: Yeah, yeah, oh yeah for sure. I’m all about like partying in a pay [ph]. If Brad Pitt or Mike Jackness wants to like have drinks with you until four o’clock in the morning, like that’s what you do. You don’t say no I’m tired and I have to go to bed.
Mike: And for the first time ever my name has been mentioned in the same sentence with Brad Pitt. Awesome Natalie, hope you’re having fun tonight, hope you had a great time at Ecommerce Fuel.
Female: I had an awesome time and I just want to thank you for all the amazing – it’s my first one. I had an amazing time.
Mike: Coming back next year?
Female: I’ll definitely be back next year as long as you’re here.
Mike: And Bill D’Allessandro.
Female: Yeah. I appreciate the couple of the small shout outs of the super fan that I got on a couple of episodes now, and I really appreciate all the amazing content that you put out.
Mike: So what’s your name, where are you from, what do you sell?
Male: My name is [inaudible 00:44:25]. I’m from Bozeman Montana and I sell radio equipment, CB radios, TV antennas, mounting accessories.
Mike: But you are not telling the whole story because…
Male: I’m telling the whole story.
Mike: No, you are not because you purchased this business from Andrew Youderian himself.
Male: Very true.
Mike: It is really a neat story because like you worked for him…
Mike: At that business.
Male: Yeah, I was the operations manager.
Mike: [overlapping 00:44:48] you loved the business and now you purchased it. But the thing that is really interesting is that it’s now been a couple of years removed and you’ve done so much stuff with it in growing that business. It’s so incredible.
Male: Thanks Mike, I appreciate that.
Mike: And when first met you, it was like I remember you like — at least in my head, I don’t know if this is true but like when I first met you, I feel like you were like on rightchannels/ECF.
Mike: You worked for both companies and you were kind of like a guy that was – or maybe not, I don’t know.
Male: I never really had many responsibilities at ECF, really minimal.
Mike: Andrew’s first conference, he didn’t own Right Channel, yeah I don’t think so.
Male: No, I didn’t. So I kind of served as the e-commerce manager for both Rightchannelradios.com, and actually if you remember trollingmotors.net, the other business that Andrew sold.
Mike: And that was one he did everything the auction with.
Male: Yeah exactly.
Mike: And that was — Abby will throw the show notes in, Andrew talked about this in one of the podcasts that we did. We got to get you in the podcast. It will be good, it’s like Andrew sold that business and now we can do like a continuation of what you’ve done with it since then.
Male: Yeah absolutely. We should do it in like nine to twelve months. We should do a podcast because I have some ambitious goals for 2018.
Mike: Well you know where to find me.
Male: I know where to find you.
Mike: We shouldn’t do the podcast tonight because none of us are coherent with that but you’re doing good.
Male: I’m surprised that this is working out.
Mike: It is working out.
Male: It’s so loud.
Mike: Well I mean that’s what makes this to the end. The [inaudible 00:46:17] noise you hear in the room is what makes it a part of the atmosphere.
Male: All very good.
Mike: It looks like this is what it’s like to be at ECF Live. We are about 50 other nerds in here that are e-commerce nerds.
Male: I know and it’s only like two in the morning.
Mike: And who ever thought that nerds could drink until 2:00 AM.
Male: I know right.
Mike: Yeah, so we’re doing it.
Male: I feel pretty good about…
Mike: We’re going to do it tonight; at the end of the night the last sign up is going to be the last man standing. Are you going to be back for that?
Male: The last man standing? I’m probably not going to be the last man standing, no.
Mike: It was good talking to you. Until nine months from now when you’re back on me, when you tell me about how…
Male: How the business is doing.
Mike: All right, yeah we’re going to see you. I know Natalie was astonished; she’s going to be in the competition.
Male: Natalie, are you going to be last woman standing tonight?
Female: I will keep standing as long as Mike is still standing, I will hang strong.
Male: You’re going to hang. Still Natalie is committed to going round and round with you.
Mike: I’ve been there with her before, she doesn’t give up easily.
Male: Oh there you go.
Mike: She is not giving up.
Male: I like the drive; I like the motivation, the patience.
Mike: It was good talking to you man, thanks [inaudible 00:47:30]
So it’s 3:06 AM and Solow [ph] had the nerve to ask me if I’m still okay to record the podcast considering what condition my condition is in. So Solow how is the going my friend?
Male: I’m good. I think you can record a podcast.
Mike: I can record a podcast. This is on autopilot, I can do that. I’ve done like 120 of these.
Male: Oh yeah.
Mike: This is no problem.
Male: Just at 3:00 AM.
Mike: Hey it’s 3:00 AM, I must be lonely. He’s got nothing, he’s like what do I even do now?
Male: Yeah, okay.
Mike: How do I come up with this stuff?
Male: Hey more air time on Ecomcrew, I’m done.
Mike: You just keep talking.
Male: Okay cool.
Mike: So I plugged this simply because I thought we were going to have another casualty here. There’s one, two, three, four, five, six, seven eight, nine, ten, eleven, there’s 12 people still up in the room at three o’clock in the morning. This is what Ecommerce Fuel is all about. I promised myself to be the last man standing. I now realize it’s not going to happen. But I’m going to wait for another person to leave and I think that Alan, I feel like he’s going to be the next one. He looks like he wants to go to bed; he looks like he wants to go to bed. But Solow…
Male: I could sacrifice myself.
Mike: You want to go to bed.
Man: to have EcomCrew, yeah I can.
Mike: Are you feeling sleepy. Now they’re dropping like flies. Say good night.
Male: Good night.
Mike: Good night.
Female: Good night.
Male: Good night.
Mike: Three of them have dropped, it’s 3:15 everybody. Even Solow is gone now.
Male: No, no, no.
Mike: Solow is staying, he just said good bye. We’re going to get up and give hugs but there’s three more drop and now there’s like nine left. So the ball is about to drop we say good night. So they’re dropping like flies, it’s 3:20 AM. We were supposed to play tennis tomorrow at eleven. I’m thinking that’s not going to happen.
Male: I feel good to play tennis with you.
Mike: Now what would be a good prank is to tell you that I’ll meet you on the court and then I show up. That will be a good prank. I can start with that tomorrow.
Male: Let’s just put $50 on the game.
Mike: For tennis. I will use Filipino pesos for my $50, and you can use US dollars.
Male: Filipino just sounds less enticing. It has to be an enticing offer.
Mike: I’m out; I’m going to sleep in.
Mike: I’m thinking that like we should grab breakfast or something in the morning as a something.
Male: I would love to.
Mike: But, here is a but I sense.
Male: But I have a debrief meeting with Laura and Lauren.
Mike: But you were going to have to have tennis at eleven.
Male: Let’s do eleven. We can at least [overlapping 00:50:07], I’d love to hang out or have breakfast, where are you going?
Mike: Bill, Bill D’Allessandro, come over for a second. We got a podcast segment to record. This is on the record.
Male: I think we decided though, you and I discussed this Mike; we decided it was only fair if you were equally hung over. And so if Andrew is more sober than you are right now, then it disqualifies the whole tennis match. So if he would like to play you in tennis, he needs to take several shots immediately.
Male: Best two shots.
Male: Right. I’m going to go sleep.
Mike: No, no…
Male: Sort of my 5th commandment.
Mike: So we’re going to end the night with a Andrew Youderian shot, that’s what we’re going to close the podcast with. And we’re going to close off. so was it going to be a whiskey shot or a vodka shot?
Male: I love gin – excuse me tonic water on the rocks, it’s really a drink to control yourself.
Male: Yeah, all right.
Mike: And Abby cut this up and make this sound good.
Male: Abby I do not…
Male: This is Mike Jackness.
Mike: I had a last pair standing.
Male: And that’s the way the cookie crumbles.
Mike: That’s the way the cookie crumbles.
So what ends up happening at 3:26 AM is I thought that I had two microphones becomes the most interesting thing.
Male: It’s not valid, is it.
Mike: It is pretty late. But I don’t know about you Bill but I am done. It’s your room, so you’re going to stick with this a little bit longer than me, but there’s one, two, three, four, five, well Bill is not there. Yeah it’s like six of us left at this point. And I always say I want to be the last one standing, but I feel like I’ve done my job.
Male: It is important to have to – that my voice comes in clearly at 3:26 AM.
Mike: What’s interesting is the level of articulation of the pre boozing Bill D’Allessandro to the post boozing Bill D’Allessandro.
Male: That’s why I try to do my speeches.
Mike: Yeah. It sounded like you had a couple of shots of [inaudible 00:52:09] when you talked earlier.
Male: It’s all in moderation you know moderation.
Mike: Solow wants to officially serve as the last voice of the 2018 Ecommerce Fuel Live meet up at 3:28 AM, say good night.
Male: It’s such an honor. Now that I thought I witnessed the official sign off and now that this is the official sign off…
Mike: This is it.
Male: I can go to bed now too.
Mike: You can go to bed but you got to say good night.
Male: Yeah, I’m saying good night, good night EcomCrew.
Mike: And as Solow so eloquently put it, that’s a wrap for this episode folks. It is the end of ECF Live 2018. I had a blast as you can probably tell from a lot of these recordings. I just absolutely loved putting this particular episode together; it was a lot of fun. I want to thank Abby again back in the office for all the help with the production.
This was not an easy one to put together. It was a different project for us, and I think it came out really great. I’m really proud of what we’ve been able to do there with that. So again just as a reminder, you can go to EcomCrew.com/137 to get to the show notes for this episode. One person who leaves a comment on the episode will win an EcomCrew mug. Just make sure that you comment before the end of this week and we’ll put you in an automatic drawing. It’ll be a free mug shipped to anywhere in the world. All that you got to do is leave a comment. Until the next episode everybody, happy selling, and we’ll talk to you then.
Michael started his first business when he was 18 and is a serial entrepreneur. He got his start in the online world way back in 2004 as an affiliate marketer. From there he grew as an SEO expert and has transitioned into ecommerce, running several sites that bring in a total of 7-figures of revenue each year.