In Reviews We Trust

Season 2: Ep. 5 - The Performance Mindset: Unlocking Conscious Profitability and AI-Driven Success, with Arjun Jolly from adQuadrant

July 04, 2023 Season 2 Episode 5
In Reviews We Trust
Season 2: Ep. 5 - The Performance Mindset: Unlocking Conscious Profitability and AI-Driven Success, with Arjun Jolly from adQuadrant
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode host Callum McKeefery talks to Arjun Jolly, the COO and Co-Founder of adQuadrant, one of the world’s leading digital advertising firms.

They discuss the power of the performance mindset, the new focus on conscious profitability in 2023 the 'wait and see' year,  applying AI to enhance workflows, the impact of having a challenger mentality and above all, how health = wealth.

Callum McKeefery:

Arjun Jolly

Show notes:
Triple Whale
True Classic

The Almanack of Naval Ravikant

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Callum: Welcome to the In Reviews We Trust podcast. I'm your host, Callum McKeefery. Today we have a very special guest joining us. Arjun Jolly, COO and co-founder of adQuadrant, a leading digital marketing agency. Arjun's experience has not only revolutionized how brands connect with their audience, but also has made him a successful in ventures like HIMS and Bolt, yet ready to gain insights from his journey and learn how the future of digital marketing is changing and evolving.

Arjun, could you tell me a little bit about. How you found your way to launching adQuadrant and what differentiates you from other digital marketing agencies? 

Arjun: Yeah, sure. Well first off, Callum, thanks for having me. Really excited to join me today on the podcast. You know, it's interesting because adQuadrant was launched quite, quite frankly, at a, you know, random circumstance or a series of events.

So my brother and I were co-founders in the business and we both come from a performance marketing [00:01:00] background. We were actually affiliate marketers and entrepreneurs in the early two thousands with a variety of different businesses in the internet and digital sectors. And really, you know, what happened around 2010 to 2013 roughly, we kind of, you know, found ourselves in a position where we had some previous success and we were just trying to think and figure out what's next. And you know, it's funny cuz because my brother and I, were, were we're different personalities and we bring different things to the table. And at that time I was in I was in grad school and I was going through all these, you know, MBA frameworks and things like that, and, I said, Hey, why don't we sit down at, at a coffee bean in Long Beach with a blank sheet of paper, and why don't we run through a framework?

So we did that. We literally took a blank sheet of paper and we drew up at Quadrant, and, and that's really the, the, the birthing of the company. And, you know, the, the thing when we launched it, which was a little bit unique and different is number one, We don't have a background of being agency guys, and thereby there's no bias in terms of running an agency.

It's a completely fresh perspective [00:02:00] with a deep rooted kind of cause and d n a that comes from performance marketing. So we're wired towards thinking. How do we actually drive against a CPA, a return on ad spend, an me r? How do we really make sure that the dollars that we're spending are performant and as efficient as possible as we scale that that budget up and in and in turn grow these businesses that we're working with?

So I think that. That that rooting from where we come from has really enhanced our outlook in terms of the success that we've been able to create by, you know, driving a lot of growth for many of the brands that we work with. So different perspective, fresh perspective, but again, we are deeply, deeply rooted in terms of how do you actually turn $1 into four or five or whatever it is at a scalable 

Callum: fashion.

Yeah, that's, that's really funny that you say you come from that affiliate performance marketing background, because I. I kind of probably come from that same environment as well when I first started [00:03:00] out you know, early two thousands. And I think that gives you a different mindset. You're so focused, especially if you was involved in performance marketing, like you were saying in the 2010’s era.

Everybody was so focused on getting that ROI and like having to be very, very careful where they put their budget, they had to get a return on investment. It was all about finding really good clients and, actually squeezing as much profit out of all your budget as possible. And you probably don't see that enough from agencies. 

You know, you see all this fluffy speak and a lot of plans, digital marketing plans, but not actually that hustling mentality of this is what you've got to do Exactly. And very clearly. This is where your customer is, this is how you've got to find your customer. And definitely giving you that digital marketing background, that affiliate background, there is no wastage and that [00:04:00] that's beautiful that you've come from that background.

And I, I am sure that gives you a massive different perspective on. On what you're doing, especially for e-commerce brands. Yeah, 

Arjun: The other thing I just add that really quick, Callum, is that yeah, you know, that perspective, the unique thing about it is that, you know, we spend dollars like our own.

So we're not, you know, we're not looking at it as, oh, great, there's this, you know war chest that you're coming to the table with and, you know you're gonna spend a bunch of dollars just in the spirit of getting, you know, impressions or eyeballs. Since we, since we have been affiliate marketers since the, you know, late 90’s, early 2000’s, we've been bootstrapped since day one in every business that we've created, and based on that kind of mindset, we've, we've bootstrapped, we've grown, we've you know, succeeded, we've failed.

But, but in all that journey, it's really on the basis of understanding that you have [00:05:00] to have cash flow to make it work. And there are certain times and circumstances and businesses that you know you can acquire customers at a more expensive rate than you normally would, but there's a longer tail strategy behind that.

Yeah. In terms of, great, you're gonna pay more now because CPMs are up. But your long-term strategy is if you're gonna acquire more you know, at a higher cost on the front end, how do you enhance your LTV? How do you enhance AOV? How do you really make sure that it's still gonna pan out at some point?

Or even if you're doing it at a break-even where your competitors are trying to do it at a profitable rate. That might yield just your ability to capture greater market share. So I think that, yeah, the key is key is when you look at that kind of performance mindset, there's times where you run fast no different than when you're going to the gym.

You're gonna, you're gonna lift hard, you're gonna sprint, but there's times where you slow down. And I think the key in marketing. Is conscious, conscious [00:06:00] effort and really being aware of why you're doing what you're doing, how you're allocating those dollars. What's a test? What's an anchor strategy? And backing it into a little bit of a, a longer term goal instead of, you know, just the immediate ROI that you're getting on that specific ad or, or campaign.

Callum: Yeah, a hundred percent. A hundred percent. I was talking to somebody the other day and they were saying something very similar. It's all about, you know, they were doing a lot of loss leading stuff, but you know, they were writing it off and telling me, Hey, Callum, we're doing this. And I was like, what? Why are you doing this?

You shouldn't really be, you know, that's not good business to be losing money on all these sales. And he was like, but Callum, we're collecting all this first party data. We've got a strategy once we, you know, we're not losing money on clients, but we're not earning a huge amount out of this product right now.

But we're gonna be turning into a different model. We're gonna be doing subscription. We've got all this data now. And we're hoping that we can expand and build loyalty into the business. Right. And I kind of think a lot of businesses are having to do that a a little bit more, [00:07:00] think differently.

What, what changes have you seen, like in the last 12 months?

Arjun: Oh boy. That's a, that's a big question because where the economy is at right now. But look, one of the biggest changes, I think, is that businesses are now, again, going back to the, that awareness and conscious comment I made earlier. They're now far more aware and conscious of profitability in their own business. Yeah. You know, if you look at the past 12 months versus the past 36 months being, being the, the years of the pandemic, The, the pandemic was a bit of the wild, wild west, right?

I mean, it's an event that, that nobody could have predicted, nor was there enough historical data to be able to read the tea leaves in terms of what was around the corner in the next month. So you had. Changes in shipping costs. You had freight going up, you had locked up supply chain. Yeah. You had so many different factors [00:08:00] that were affecting you know, the, the ability for brands to quite frankly either fail or succeed because some of those factors were, were, were positive in the sense that, you know, you could be disguised by what was happening and you could still succeed no matter what.

Right. Because of the tailwinds in the category. So many brands were. So many brands were just surging, right On the basis of great people are at home and you know, great, you need a garage gym, right? All of a sudden you have this surge in a category, but then, yeah, then things start to normalize, right?

And I think that the past 12 months has really. Shown a, a grand amount of light on the normalization process that's occurring. And that normalization process is now causing a greater level of, of focus on profitability of businesses to make sure that, you know, the over investments that may have been made or Overly aggressive tactics that may have occurred over the past three years and now [00:09:00] normalizing growth rates are normalizing.

And then now you, you couple this normalization with the massive opportunities for efficiency that are being created by AI, right? And yeah. And what's happening there? So there's this, the past 12 months I think have held this This convergence of two massive things happening, right? The, the, the emergence of AI on one side and what that means for the workforce and production and speed and efficiency and labor costs and whatnot, coupled with the normalization of growth rates and requirement for profitability on businesses to be able to survive the next five and 10 years.

I, I think it's been an interesting period for sure. Yeah, and a lot of change. That is you know, if you look back to pre pandemic years, you know, it's kind of like, oh, okay, that makes sense. But then if you look back in the past 36 months during the pandemic, you think, oh my gosh, what's happening? Like, the world is, you know, completely 

Callum: shifting.

Yeah. I mean, if you look at the pre-pandemic years, back when, like this lens now [00:10:00] everything looks so calm. Everything looked so simple. Yeah. There was no, none of this like AI, everybody having to like switch their businesses into an AI business. There was, there was obviously not the pandemic. Everybody just had quite decent growth.

Yeah. We wasn't going through, you know, the, the financial situation that we we're probably going through at the moment. Yeah, everything looked pretty calm, look back for the, you know, pre, pre 2021 and, and now since then it's been wild. What's a, talking about like brands Well actually let, let's cover something that you just said then.

When we're talking about AI, obviously everybody's talking about AI. There's not a podcast in the world right now that's not talking about ai. There's not a news story that's not talking about AI but I, I kind of figure because of your affiliate background and, and being in that affiliate background, you have to move super fast.

You know, you see a trend, you jump on it and you have to like try and [00:11:00] embrace it. So what are you doing in AI with AI in adQuadrant? Are you, are you doing, I, I'd imagine you're doing different bits with it, but what, what are we, what have you got going on with it now? 

Arjun: Yeah, it's a good, it's a good question, and I think that, you know, there are so many different types of applications for AI, but I, I think that the, the grandest application, one thing that we're working on is, is really kind of workflow enhancement.

Yeah, if you will. So how do you enhance the efficiency of your existing workflows that maybe have taken four hours, five hours to conduct in a previous period and now you can shorten it down to one to three hours? That the thing with AI though, that, that, you know, I, I'm seeing as of where it is today, and this could change tomorrow with how fast the advancements are occurring, but it's not replacing.

Human, you know, intelligence. It is really a, it's really a, you know, amalgamation of data that is, [00:12:00] Leveraging that massive data set towards an output, but the output, it's not something that you can just take that output and say, okay, great. That's my final product. So I think there still is an element for the AI pilots of great, you have the efficiency that's being done, but only the human brain can really turn those outputs into.

The, the types of outputs that will trigger an emotion. And that emotion is what will create an action to take place. Whether that's a conversion action, whether that's a you know, purchasing behaviour, whatever it is. And I think that, you know, even when you think about creative, right? There's a lot of.

You know, elements around automated creative development AI driven creative production, if you will. But even then, you need to make sure that those outputs are really conveying the appropriate emotion that, that you're trying to capture in your audience that you're going after and who your persona is and all that type of stuff.

So I think that. For [00:13:00] us, it's really workflow enhancement as of today. Yeah. But we do have our eyes on it and we're always looking at how do we, how do we really ensure we are you know, capturing not just a trend, but you know, making sure that if it's a trend that's here to stay, that it's integrated in how we operate as a business.

Callum: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, we are doing quite a bit with IT reviews and we're, we're doing obviously a lot of sentiment analysis, understanding what people are writing, So you can literally ask questions to your of the reviews and it'll give you back answers. But literally, for us, it's changing by the day. We, we were, we were only allowed to put so much information into the model yesterday, and I think that they, they, for x the amount of data we could put into our model overnight, and we're like, geez.

It's like everything's changing so fast. It, it's pretty scary. I was playing around with. Our new AI feature today and I was, I was in an account and I said to the account, I said, [00:14:00] what's our worst performing product? Straight away? Bang, this, this is your worst performing product. Reason why you sell loads of it, but it gives you a bad reputation and it shows you all the reviews that it's why you shouldn't sell this product cuz it's damaging your reputation.

And I think stuff like that is gonna be amazing for D two C brands. I think that's, you know, Gonna give them real insights that's gonna really help their business. You know, you can ask it crazy things. This, this new model that we've created, I can't wait to release it, to be honest, to show it to everybody.

Yeah. Talking about e-commerce, what's a site that you actually, you know, you look at and you like, and, and you think, you know what, they're doing it right. They're doing digital marketing right. They, they've really nailed down what they're doing. And you've talked about 'em to your clients. What's one of those sites 

Arjun: in, in respect to a, a brand perhaps?

Yeah. Yeah. [00:15:00] I think one of the obvious ones and that I think is being talked about a lot today and this is not a plug in any means, but I'm wearing one of their T-shirts right now is True Classic Tees. They've they've done some really interesting things in a category that's incredibly saturated, and their growth rate has been wonderful.

I had the joy of sharing, a cab with with Ben, who's their CEO when we were in Vegas for a conference a couple, couple months ago. And just a really nice guy. And, you know, It, it's interesting you look at the backgrounds of the two, the two founders, and, you know, they came from I think Ben might, might have been at Facebook, and I forgot where the other co-founders background was from, but it was a it was a story that was created in just a couple years from going to, you know, $0 in revenue to, you know, nine figures plus Wow.

And those types of stories. I really enjoy those types of stories because, Number one, we've created those stories ourselves for [00:16:00] brands that we work with, so we know what it takes, we and, and when we, when we see it in the market. And true classic Tees is not a brand that we work with necessarily, but, but I understand the DNA and, and the, the requirements of what it takes for a brand to get there.

And in their instance, You know, they've done wonderful things on bundling to increase AOV. Like if you look at their site, I don't even know if you can purchase a single product. You're gonna, you're gonna get walked in somehow some way to buying five t-shirts no matter what. Like, whether it's five T-shirts, five polos.

I mean, I ended up buying a package of like seven and I. they're, they're nice shirts and I enjoy them. But it's, you know, you think about it and it's like they're, they're t-shirts. There's so many other t-shirt brands out there, right? Yeah. And you couple that with the fact that they've got an incredible creative strategy.

So Callum, you're a dad. I'm a dad. The emotional trigger that got me - all their ads about dad bods and how it's gonna make my dad bod go away. Right. So, okay, great. You got me emotionally. Yeah. You know, my persona. The products are good [00:17:00] products, and then now you're gonna couple that with a, you know Complex and enhanced measurement and incrementally strategy.

So there's a combination of, in a series of events between creative and measurement and even supply chain and AOV and conversion rate and all those different things. I think that they have done a good job of making those things come together. And, you know, there's a brand that we created a similar story for growing them from, you know, seven, nine figures in DTC revenue in about 18 months.

And it was a similar type of thing. It was, it was all of these kind of, you know, orchestrated efforts coming together to really make that impact. And that's an example, you know, again, a brand. I think that has done a good job of it. And for them I think they've done a good job of it publicly because they're.

They're out there telling their story as well and educating other e-comm founders, which is really wonderful 

Callum: to see. Yeah, I think that's definitely grown. Their brand, [00:18:00] obviously you see them everywhere because they're out there talking a lot. They're out there talking about their brand. They're out there talking about how they create their brand, and then other people talk about it.

It is just a brilliant process for them. It's to building in public process. So. something you just touched on there is, is like that you were talking about, you know, the dad bod that being a segment and then you've got the other bit, you've, they've got so many segments to their marketing.

How important is it, so if you had a new client come to you, how important would you stress that segmentation is to them getting those segments right every single time? And understanding their customers. Cuz I see so many brands, DTC brands that are coming through and they just don't seem to understand who their customers are.

They don't seem to have that understanding of really this is, this is who my customers are, this is this persona, this is this persona. They don't really got that true understanding. How, how do you get that through to your clients? That segmentation is gonna be key to your success. 

Arjun: [00:19:00] So I think it's gonna depend on the client and their intended outcomes, the brand and their intended outcomes.

So, let me explain. If you're an e-com founder that's running a a $1 million revenue GMB e-comm brand, and. You're okay with that, that's fine. You're gonna be 1 million and that's just the business that you wanna build. And maybe you wanna get to 2 million in 10 years, that's fine. Just keep doing what you're doing, right?

You don't need to worry about all of those different factors to get to a level of unlock at that level. You can throw a little bit of a, you know, broader approach. And you're gonna get some conversions and revenue and you'll be fine. The brands that we work with don't really fall in that subset.

We work with brands that have. A challenger mentality and the, the challenger mentality means it's a brand whose ambition exceeds their resources. It's a brand that wants to grow. It's a brand that may even look at the macroeconomic opportunity of what's happening, or macroeconomic climate of what's happening right now as a massive opportunity to, yeah, capture markets.

Go for it [00:20:00] to lean in when we're speaking with those brands. The persona driven creative testing engine that needs to be created is one of the most important things that you need to be able to do to, to really scale and lean into that mindset. So it starts, I think, you know, again, with who the brand is and the founders or the team behind it.

And what they're trying to achieve. And if they are trying to achieve the latter and be that challenger brand and really push and scale, you must have a robust creative and measurement oriented testing strategy to drive that scale. Because when your audiences get saturated, when your conversions are coming from all different places, when you have you know, different age demographics, geographical locations, you name it.

You need to be going after those categories in different ways. You know, I was talking to one of our clients that they have a very, they're, it's a high price point product, and it's in the health and wellness space. And the interesting, interesting thing about that is, you know, you think about the health and [00:21:00] wellness space.

There's, there are trends and there are you know, fads and, you know a lot of people are talking about saunas and you know, yeah. Cold plunges and all that type of stuff. Well, when you think about the geographical location of, of your audience, right? Let's say if you have a, you have a male audience that's, you know, 25 to 40 years old, a certain, you know, wealth threshold, that's six figures plus whatever it might be.

But you've got one person that's based in San Francisco and another person that's based in Milwaukee, right? Or in Iowa, you're gonna, you have to target, even just based on geographical location, you have to have a different, Message and, and the creative strategy behind that to be able to convey the emotion that, that, that individual, that male is feeling at that time in their location and what matters to them.

So when you're looking at expanding and when you're looking at acquiring and retaining customers at a, at a larger scale to actually push the [00:22:00] business forward. Creative testing and measurement have to be a huge component of it. And then you couple that with how do you enhance AOV and increase your CRL on the backend to make sure that that all the traffic you're driving is converting at the highest rate possible.

I think, you know, obvious stat Callum, is that you double your conversion rate, you double your return on ad spend, right? So there there's an element of you have to have that push pull balance between the entire creative testing engine. Yeah. 

Callum: I mean, conversion is, is so important. Obviously ad costs are going through the roof.

You know, what we do at reviews is, 

is all about helping brands build trust and convert more customers. What's some other apps that you've seen? I mean, imagine most of your, the brands that you work with are in the Shopify ecosystem, correct? Yeah What's like a, a must-have app that you say to all of your clients, you know, have you got this?

If you've not got this, make sure you get this. 

Arjun: So I wouldn't say it's that simple. There's a, there's a series of categories of, of things that you need to make [00:23:00] sure you have covered. Like for example, reviews would be a category having, having some measurement and attribution tools being a category, email marketing, sms, et cetera.

So I think the categories, but 

Callum: who do you put as your, who do you recommend as a, your measurement and analytics?

Arjun: It will vary based on the circumstance and the brand, right? Because we might have some brands that Triple Whale might be a better fit, but we might have some brands that Measured or North Beam could be a better fit depending on the scenario, right?

Yeah, and I think that's one of the, Maybe unique advantages that we have of not having like an agency mindset because there's no, we don't look at anything as a blueprint of what we're here Yeah. Will absolutely.

Here. Right? It's a unique set of circumstances that you're up against based on that brand's contribution margin, what they're selling, who they're selling to, where they're selling brick and mortar retail versus only, you know, DTC com, combination of both. So I think there's, there's a different application because a lot of the tools.

If you look at it as a Venn diagram, there's an overlap [00:24:00] in a lot of these tools that create a certain portion of it that compete against each other, but then there's a larger subset of the differentiators. And what we're gonna look at are how those differentiators of each of these tools in the ecosystem apply to that specific brands circumstance.

So there's a series of those tools. Yeah, I guess 

Callum: that's the best way. Yeah. Yeah. So we, we are seeing, obviously you're seeing at the minute in the Shopify ecosystem, this. Kind of bundling of tools now you know, brands that, that really did just one, one product. And now rolling out more and more. So you've seen Klaviyo going sms, apparently they're going into the review space.

You know, they're looking at loyalty. They're looking at what everything else you've got Yotpo, which has expanded their offering. You've got, you know, Sendlane just added reviews. There's lot, everything seems to be expanding, becoming. The app of everything, what's your thought process on that? Do you think that these giant apps are gonna be [00:25:00] the winners or, or is it gonna be these Cuz I, I have mixed views on this.

I don't know whether specialist apps will s you know, be a, be a better choice in the long term or, or in the short term. But definitely we're seeing this bundling thing happening in the marketplace at the moment. Which is, you know, it's interesting. 

Arjun: Yeah, I think candidly, I think there's gonna be room for both.

Mm-hmm. But CDPs are powerful. If you can have a robust CDP that has the right levels of functionality built into it in kind of a one-stop shop. That’s a powerful value proposition for a certain, certain type of business and brand based on the level of efficiency that can be achieved.

Yeah. And maybe some of those tools you know, if your CDP as an example and you launch an email to a, or you launch a review tool, maybe it'll be a, a seven outta 10 or an eight out of 10 versus if you go to a standalone, you know, reviews tool or an [00:26:00] email tool and that's a 10 outta 10. Sometimes brands are willing to make that sacrifice of pieces of functionality for the efficiency game.

So there's those types of brands, but no different than, you know some people are gonna wear your, your Nikes every single day. And then some people are gonna wear your Hokas yeah. Or your Brooks shoes, right? Yeah. So I think there's still. You know, even for the smaller players in the space that have a unique value proposition, there will still be an audience there.

For them, it might just be, there's gonna be a bit of a cross pollination and now they're, you might have some brands where, You know the ICP of, of some of these apps are gonna change. The ideal customer profile will change. Yeah. There may, it may be a little bit more finite and there might be a graduation period from the, the singular apps into you know, a, a larger CDP oriented, you know, merged app ecosystem, if you will.

Once those brands get to a certain point. So I think there's room for both. It's an interesting thing that's happening, but, but I think that there is, it's an important thing that's happening because when you're [00:27:00] a brand and you're scaling and you're focused on your business and supply chain and customers, the less you have to worry about on some of these other elements.

The better off you can focus on making your business and your product itself the best it possibly can be. Which, which great marketing starts with a great product, right? If you have, yeah, if you have a shitty product in the first, in the first hand, it's gonna be very difficult to get that out there and get the appropriate reviews and whatnot going.

So the more that brands and founders can focus on that product itself and make sure it's the best it possibly can be for the personas they're going after, that's great. And the rest of it, if there's an efficiency gain, I think there's an opportunity for that as well. 

Callum: Definitely, my mind is, is completely open on this.

I mean, we have, we've expanded, we now have a loyalty and referral solution, which we've built, and we are looking at expanding our offering, but it, it's, it's such a complex thing to do and whether it's the right move or not. So we're just testing the waters with a couple of things at the moment.

But we are very focused on.[00:28:00] the reviews portion of the business at the moment, over the next 12 months, what are the, some of the biggest challenges that you see e-commerce brands facing?

Arjun: It's a good, it's a good question. It's one, I ponder it daily. Yeah. 

Callum: So, so I, I was thinking about this the other day. Over the years we've had crazy, crazy Black Fridays and, and I think the last Black Friday was the first Black Friday where we didn't, numbers didn't go up on the previous year before they stayed flat.

Right, right. How do brands adapt to get the most outta Black Friday? Have you started planning Black Friday for your clients? You know, what strategies should they be putting in place and thinking about now to get the most outta Black Friday in 2023? 

Arjun: Yeah. Well, so yes, we have started planning for Black Friday.

We start, we start very early and there's a different set of strategies [00:29:00] that are deployed on the basis of, you know, again, the individual brand, whether it's a. Whether it's a heavy promotional strategy or it's a, a front loaded strategy where you deploy your your campaigns earlier to build your cookie pool and, you know capture email addresses and just do all that type of stuff earlier on.

Maybe it's not a direct purchase, but it's a, it's a different level of engagement that you can basically leverage a little further down the road. So I think that's gonna be a huge, huge component this year. But, but I wanna go back to your original question around really the next 12 months. And, and as I mentioned, I ponder it daily because it's a really important thing.

And, and here's, here's the thing about it. You know, I've talked to a lot of different VCs, investment bankers, brand owners, eight figure nine figure brands, et cetera. And the sentiment that I'm hearing and seeing today is that, 2023 is a wait and see year. It's a wait and see year. And that's the thing I pause to ponder on every [00:30:00] single day.

Because every day I'm waiting and seeing every day I'm thinking, you know, what's changing today? Like you look at the, the, the US-based stock market. Yeah. I mean, what, what the hell is going on? Right? One day it's up. One day it's down. One day it's up. One day it's down. There's no rhyme or reason. Obviously inflation's still, you know what it is, but, but you look at the macroeconomic indicators and where things are there, where things are looking there, and then you look at.

The changes in discretionary income and what's happening there. You look at the rise in in HELOCs of you know consumers and, and, and individuals pulling money out of the equity in their homes because cash is different. You look at, yeah you look at the, the amount of layoffs that are happening, and not only the, not only the, the amount of layoffs that are happening, but, but more.

Interesting is how the duration of time on market for individuals to find a new role. Yeah. So you have, you have this situation where layoffs are happening while hiring freezes are taking place. Right. So, so this is why, you know, again, when I have those conversations [00:31:00] about the, even the next 12 months, I think, you know, the, the wait and see aspect is, is, is true because we're in a bit of a.

Black swan event, right? Where it's, nobody could have predicted where we are at and nobody has enough data to determine what, what, you know yeah. The current circumstances hold for the next few years, right? So yeah, the next 12 months, I think it's going to be interesting. But I think that the businesses that are the most prepared.

To make the necessary, you know decisions to enhance profitability and, and really continue operating in that way. Those are the businesses that are, that I think are gonna, are gonna last versus if you're, if you're running at an unprofitable rate and you can't, you can't turn that business around, it's gonna be difficult to really.

Push it forward in these next, you know, the next 

Callum: period, so to say. Yeah, massively. Absolutely. Massively. And that's such a great reply to that question because I think, I think you're exactly right. We are in a, we are in a holding pattern. I think one day the news tells us we're going into a [00:32:00] recession the next day they tell us we're not going into a recession.

It's gonna be a soft landing, a hard landing. The messages are just different day by day, and. I don't, you know, if, if Silicon Valley Bank can go disappear, then anything can disappear in, in this current climate. And, and that's said it, it's a dangerous environment to be, to work in, to operate in, but also I think it leads to a lot of opportunities, like you said.

So at the end of the podcast, I always ask our, our guests one question, which is, what's something that you've recently. Read or listened to that's inspired you that you could share with the people listening and myself,

Arjun: It's a great question as well Callum, and it's, you know, again I come across a lot of content, but I think that I'm in an interesting stage of my life where I'm a dad I've got a two and a half year old and a, and an eight month old, right? So I think having kids has been really eye-opening experience for me, having been, an entrepreneur for so long and pushed [00:33:00] hard, lost my hair, all that stuff on, on the basis of the journey of entrepreneurship.

But point being is, I have a little bit of a different perspective in terms of what really matters, right? On the basis of where I'm at and, and what matters to me right now is how, how do I, how do I live a long, fulfilling life so that I'm there for my, my children, and so that I can really create a legacy that outlasts me and create as much value as I can for the people around me for, for our employees, for our clients, and.

You know, ultimately the thing that that drives me every day is how do I create value for others? So you couple all that with what's in my Instagram feed, and I actually came across a couple things this morning that really resonated with me. And it's really about health. It's about health and wellness and how do you make sure you're taking care of yourself.

Yeah. So there was two things I came across this morning that that actually resonated with me quite a bit. The first was a post that I saw on a page called Mind Body [00:34:00] Green. And it was a woman that was, was talking about, you know, her run-in with an 80 year old man. That was, that she basically ran into him after hiking to the top of a mountain.

And, you know, her and her friend had cycled up it and he was walking and just completely energetic and ready to go. And she asked him, what's your secret? And his secret. And what he said is You know, I walk 3000 miles a year. I walk approximately six miles a day. And the interesting thing you know about that, that post is she was talking about how the fact that like, you know, you look at the previous generations and what you can learn from them and there was no, there was no orange theory fitness or like crazy high intensity thing going on, but it was just walking.

It's the simple things. Yeah. That ultimately can, can change your life. Right. And I think it's those simple things that turn into. Consistent and repeatable habits that can really impact the longevity of your life and impact your [00:35:00] wellbeing and your daily aches and pains by just simply moving.

And I think that, it's, it's something that really resonated with me because we're on the computer so much now that most businesses are remote or in a hybrid. Workforce we're at home or in an office where it's not, again, the pre pandemic way of working, it's difficult to even remember to get up.

Yeah. And. It's, it was just an important reminder for me to, you know, just say, Hey, you know what? It's okay to, to unchain yourself from your screen and take a call while you're going for a five mile walk. Nobody's going to, be upset that you're not on video for, 30 minutes while you go for a couple miles and just get your blood moving and your body moving.

So, just one of those things that, for me and the stage that I'm at, it's an important reminder for me around what really matters and. Health is wealth. Health is 100% wealth, and it's, it's so crucially important to do whatever else you want to do in your life. 

Callum: Yeah, [00:36:00] 100%. A hundred percent. One thing.

Right. So honestly, what you've just said, it, it, I'm so much on the same page. I was actually walking my son today and he hit my baby. He's four months old and I was taking him for a walk earlier and I always have. One AirPod in, you know, when he falls asleep, I'll listen to a book or I'll, you know, listen to a podcast.

And I've started listening, started reading the book about it's the Almanack of Naval Ravikant, which is Naval on Twitter. Yeah. You know, the founder of Epinions, Angel List and various things, and I dunno whether you've read that book or have listened to that book. So amazing.

It literally is what you are just saying there, which is, you can have, you know, wealth and you can have all of these things, but if you've not got your health and you're not moving and you're not keeping your mind busy, but as well at keeping your body busy, then you're gonna [00:37:00] fail.

And there's no point being. A rich old person who can't move, basically. And, and it, it's a, it's a really nice book. It's almost like, It's like meditating while you're walking, listening to the, the voice of this narrator. It, it's absolutely brilliant. You'll have to give it a try. Yeah, 

Arjun: I haven't read it, but it sounds, sounds like something I need to read for sure.

Callum: Yeah, yeah I found it by accident on, on audio audible and I'll send, I'll drop the link in the show notes cuz. It, it was, it's been a really good book for me recently, and it, it's really helped me. Arjun, thank you so much for being a guest today. You've been absolutely brilliant. I can't wait for our listeners to hear this podcast.

It's gonna be a great one. Awesome. 

Arjun: Thank you again for having me. Appreciate 

Callum: Thank you Arjun, and have a great rest of your day and hopefully we can go for a coffee when I'm in Irvine next. You got it, Callum.

Arjun: Thanks. Thanks so much. 

Callum: Bye.


Callum: Thank you for listening today. In reviews we trust is a bi-weekly podcast where I hope to be bringing you advice and [00:38:00] insights from brands that are taking the e-commerce world by storm.