Manage episode 283879773 series 2798195
Power BI has altered the course of many people's lives for the better, and that is surely the case with our guest Jonathan Perl. Coming from a financial background, he was already well versed in the Business Intelligence tools of the past. But the Power Platform spoke volumes to Jon. So much so that he changed his entire career path in order to share his expertise with these tools with others (and make a few shekels while he's at it). His data journey is as unique as they come!
- 1:55 - A LinkedIn message turns into an awesome friendship and professional relationship, Jon not only identifies but solves a problem in the Supply Chain, and Jon's new software product NOAH is born!
- 15:25 Jon's ability to extract useful data from the dirtiest garbage is amazing! Cut and Sold-sounds simple, it isn't so simple
- 30:00 Which backgrounds are the best makeup for C-suite executives
- 54:30 Rob's experience of an orthodox Shabbat observance at Jon's place was eye-opening...and what's next for Jon Perl?
Rob Collie (00:00:00): Hey everyone. Today's guest is Jon Perl. JP we call him. JP's got a very interesting backstory. Jon has managed rock bands. He's worked for Hedge Funds. He started his own successful apparel company and ran it for a number of years before encountering Power BI, and deciding at that moment that data was a better business. So he sold his company in response to encountering Power BI, I'm not making this up. So now, in addition to slinging Power BI on a part-time, nearly full-time basis, he now also runs a software as a service startup in the supply chain and logistics industries fields, domains. Additionally, he's also one of the most interesting paradoxes I've ever met. As an adherent of the Orthodox Jewish faith, he spends a full day every week with no technology, and in the other six days more than makes up for it. Absolutely crushing it. No one navigates technology like this guy, he just takes a day off, one day a week just to rest. Really compelling figure. Fantastic conversation. I hope you enjoy it. So let's get into it.
Announcer (00:01:10): Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention please?
Announcer (00:01:15): This is the Raw Data by P3 Podcast with your host Rob Collie and your co-host Thomas LaRock. Find out what the experts at P3 can do for your business. Go to powerpivotpro.com. Raw data by P3 is data with a human element.
Rob Collie (00:01:34): Welcome to the show. JP, Jon Perl. How are you, man?
Jon Perl (00:01:40): I'm great. Thanks for having me. Nice to see you, Tom. Nice to see you, Rob.
Rob Collie (00:01:44): It is a pleasure to have you. I'm glad that we got this queued up. We pulled this together pretty quickly too, so go us. Agile. That's right. We don't do waterfall podcasting here, we run the agile method. So Jon, it's probably three years ago, two and a half maybe.
Jon Perl (00:02:04): Something like that.
Rob Collie (00:02:05): I got what is definitely my absolute favorite LinkedIn message of all time.
Jon Perl (00:02:11): Thanks.
Rob Collie (00:02:12): And it just came in, out of the blue, and it was so heartfelt. It didn't have an agenda other than just being human. It was just such a gift.
Jon Perl (00:02:25): Wow. Thank you so much.
Rob Collie (00:02:27): It was from this guy named Kevin. I'm just kidding. It was from you. Do you remember sort of the gist of what you said in that note?
Jon Perl (00:02:40): Yeah. More or less. I remember I just read your book. I was super jazzed up about Power BI and this whole new power way of [inaudible 00:02:51] data that I had struggled with before. You tried to build all kinds of little duct tape type connectors with different tools, and then to finally see it come together in such a beautiful way. I was obsessed. Yeah, I was in business at the time. I had a company called Andy & Evan. I was in the clothing manufacturing business. I did it for about 10 years until I hit a breaking point in the [inaudible 00:03:15] business, slinging onesies.
Rob Collie (00:03:16): Yeah. I mean, you started with the signature product, right? It was like an Oxford onesie, or something like that. What was it?
Jon Perl (00:03:26): Yeah. We called it the Shirtsie. I was laid off from a Hedge Fund in 2009. I had nothing to do. I started a business with my friend from Synagogue. "Hey, you're unemployed. I'm unemployed. There's no jobs in finance. Let's go sell shirts. Let's go sell custom shirts." Custom shirts are like the worst business in the world, going, selling three shirts at a time, measuring people, it's humiliating. They don't fit. Then my first son was born and I said, "Hey, this is not working out anyway. Why don't we have some fun." I made him a dress shirt with a onesie, snuck a snap closure in the bottom, and we said, "Hey, we have something here." We had $3,000 in the bank. We took $3,000 and showed it at a trade show. Literally went for broke.
Jon Perl (00:04:15): Out of the gate, had some traction, built this business over 10 years, selling to department stores and discounters and really kind of working my way up the chain, or down the chain, however, you look at it, ultimately selling to master retailers and kind of hitting a breaking point, running a small business that's so capital driven and with no investor backing and high cost of capital.
Jon Perl (00:04:37): I was having a really hard time in the business and one of my twice a year, number crunching marathons to plan what we were going to buy for the season. It would always fall out on a Jewish holiday. That Jewish holiday I was in Portugal with my family, having a really nice time. Right afterwards, okay, partner dumps all the buying on me, in the middle of the holiday. I'm on vacation. I was up all night, three nights in a row and slept during the day when my family went and toured in Portugal. I said, "You know what, enough of this." I had your book with me.
Jon Perl (00:05:07): Then on the holiday days where we don't carry a phone, we don't turn on lights, we read, and we hang with our family, whatever, I had your book. I was like, wow. I just spent a week doing this crap. I'm done with selling Shirtsies. I'm going into the data business. I used the technology, the power query and Power BI to create a pitch deck for my company to go and sell it, and met with as many people as would meet with me. Got lucky. Six months later was able to close a deal, sell the business. From then on, it was like a new career, a new beginning. I reached out to you to say, "Hey, what's up? Who is this guy? This guy just changed everything."
Rob Collie (00:05:49): First of all, I love the idea of a Jewish holiday that's dedicated to reading my book. Can we invent something?
Jon Perl (00:06:00): [inaudible 00:06:00] into the holiday, but you know, there's some.
Thomas LaRock (00:06:02): There are a lot of them you, so it's possible. It could already exist.
Jon Perl (00:06:08): Yeah.
Rob Collie (00:06:08): You just have to discover it, I suppose. The other thing is, I just love the random stories. It's so typical really. It's a story old as time. Get laid off from a hedge fund, start an apparel business making dress shirt onesies for babies, and then discover power BI and go, oh, I need to sell this business and go do something like this. I mean, how many people share that story? It's probably like two, 3% of the population. Every story is so unique. I love these semi random, zigzag paths. They're just, I think one of the most fascinating and valuable things to me. I don't really know what it is about them that speaks to me, but they really do. Let's complete the picture. Pre hedge fun. Anything interesting in the pre hedge fun days?
Jon Perl (00:07:00): Managed a band. Toured around the world with the Jewish rock band. That's a whole another story for another time.
Rob Collie (00:07:08): I didn't know that, I don't think. Maybe you told me once. I have to hear things like five, six times before they really get cemented.
Jon Perl (00:07:15): I tell you what was very really interesting, post that story. The part that I skipped was that process of trying to sell my business. I went to bigger companies. I was selling to Costco. I went to bigger Costco vendors. It kind of went up the chain to some bigger folks who were doing business orders of magnitude larger than mine. One or two orders of magnitude bigger than my business. What I saw was just fascinating. They didn't have the tools that I had. They had floors full of people, crunching numbers and exporting and uploading and emailing. They were clueless to all this stuff. That's where I really saw the opportunity.
Jon Perl (00:07:57): Like hey, I have this little business operating on such a small scale, but doing the same type of business, more or less. I'm communicating, I'm EDI with trading partners, and sending messages in and out of my ERP. I want to pull all kinds of data from my ERP and measure certain things and watch certain things and trigger certain things. The business is really all the same, regardless of the scale of it, was the same business. I had job offers, when I met with all these people that said, "Who made the charts? You made these charts? These are good charts. Think he's a chart guy. Our CFO just left. Do you want to be CFO?" Literally, I had CFO offers, COO offers, and I chose this path of being independent and start a software business and continue to do consulting in this discipline. Keep my tools sharp.
Rob Collie (00:08:48): Yeah. Tell us about the software business, because when you wrote the mail to me, you wrote the LinkedIn message, I don't think you had the software idea yet. You were data BI, considering maybe some of those jobs that you were being offered, but considering starting a consulting outfit, essentially. But then somewhere along the way, aha, more opportunity. You were able to spot something else. Tell us a little bit about that software pivot.
Jon Perl (00:09:13): Sure. One of my consulting clients at the time, his name is Jackie Deed. He's become my business partner now. Very soon after I closed on this, on the sale, I was able to leave my business without any obligations. Couple months into our consulting arrangement for his company, I was consulting for a few people at the time, and I loved that. I loved seeing different companies, how they operate. A client of mine at the time was a cannabis packaging company, like also that just fascinating business. Jack has an exclusive distributor of Little Tike's baby gear. Again, trading business, bringing in containers, registering your inventory, sending big tickets to the warehouse. It is a comfortable thing. Gave me an offer I couldn't refuse to come and consult for him for this business. Helped with the operations.
Jon Perl (00:10:02): A couple months into it, I said to Jack, I said, "There's another void in this business. It's more of an interactive thing. It's not just like a data gathering thing, but it's a data collection problem. There's this black hole in the land of ERP where you order goods from presumably supplier, perhaps are overseas or some other locale. They have a different system. They're a different organization, and then you receive goods from them at a later point in time. Everything that happens in between there, between the time you purchase goods and the time you receive goods is kind of a black hole. It's tracked with the email, Excel, text messages. Where's my goods, which container, what's happening, where is everything. I noticed that was a big problem. Even at these big companies that I was seeing. They have entire departments full of people, walls of file cabinets, full of customs files, bills of lading and printed out emails, and hundreds of millions of dollars a year of it. They just hire more people and make more documents and there's got to be a better way."
Rob Collie (00:10:56): What's the problem in that black hole? Is it that you don't know if your goods are actually on the way? If they're going to be on time? Is that the problem with the blind spot?
Jon Perl (00:11:05): The blind spot is that purchases that you make from another vendor turn into shipments in from that other vendor, and the purchases and the inbound shipments almost never match. There's a mixing bowl that happens. Some of the shipments go, some of the PO goes early. Some of it goes late. Some of it goes here. Some of it goes there. Some of it's consolidated with other POs or other POs from other vendors, and they go in the same container. It's a big stew. We call it a [chillant 00:11:33].
Rob Collie (00:11:32): Yeah. It does sound like a nightmare.
Jon Perl (00:11:38): Yeah. It's an accounting nightmare. It's a logistics nightmare. So we said, Hey, what if we make a cloud platform where we take your purchasing data, we make it available to your vendors, log into the same platform. We provide that mixing bowl of creating the shipments, and so doing, we're now in charge of all of the invoicing, all of the packing lists, all of the commercial documentation. We're not reliant on someone looking at crazy Chinese packing. I mean, nothing wrong, I have no issues with China. I love China, but sometimes their packing lists are a little funny. You don't have to deal with that anymore. There's a lot of savings in there. There's a lot of time savings, a lot of dollar savings. There's a lot of stakes made, that just things just slip through, and just providing that turnaround of what you purchased into what's ultimately going to come. The costing of it, the landing costing, the process of it is a big void.
Rob Collie (00:12:31): Just to underline, Jon loves China. One time I was trying to get ahold of you. I forget what I was trying to get ahold of you about. I didn't hear from you for a couple days. When I eventually got ahold of you, you're like, "Yeah, you know, I was over in Hong Kong the last few days at some cannabis packaging trade show, or something like that." I was like, "What? How does? What?" It doesn't have anything to do with anything we've ever talked about.
Thomas LaRock (00:12:56): He was on vacation.
Jon Perl (00:12:58): Yeah. Exactly.
Rob Collie (00:13:02): It sounded like you'd decided to go 24 hours before you got on the plane too. It was just something you do. I went to the store to get some eggs, and I went to Hong Kong.
Jon Perl (00:13:12): No. I went to the store to get eggs. And now I'm at Burning Man. How did we get here?
Rob Collie (00:13:22): Exactly. I no longer wish to be called Jon. I am now Desert Flower.
Jon Perl (00:13:33): I spent a lot of time overseas. Over that 10 year period, I was probably in China maybe 40 plus times. I had my own people there. I had an office there. I had staff there. I had people producing packing lists. Collecting data from the factories.
Rob Collie (00:13:48): Wow. All right. So, that's what the software product Noah is, that you're working on.
Jon Perl (00:13:55): Yeah.
Rob Collie (00:13:55): You're not just working on it, you've got some deployments now?
Jon Perl (00:13:58): Yeah. We made a beta release just before the end of the year. We have three customers in beta right now. We decided to release the product with a connector to QuickBooks, because it was kind of low hanging fruit for connection, and also our ability to get clients, it's very ubiquitous. We thought it was a good investment because there's ubiquitous, there's a big potential market for it. It's really exciting times. You don't cover a lot of things and you start pulling the sheets off, and people start using it and trying to scale. But yeah, that's where we're at.
Rob Collie (00:14:25): That's something I've told you before that I think is, it's not the remarkable thing about you, but it's this weird detail that stands out to me amongst the rest, which is, as a side note from one time I was visiting a client many years ago and I was sitting in this like oak paneled boardroom. This was a retailer that did, I mean, I don't know, this is at least like a hundred million dollar a year retailer, at least probably more than that. They have hundreds of stores. I have no idea what the revenues are like, but this is not a small outfit. So the president of this giant retailer is sitting in the boardroom and we're all working on various things. It's all Power BI stuff and everything. At one point I kind of like looked up, I was working with one guy and I looked up to ask the president a question.
Rob Collie (00:15:09): And I said, "Hey Jeff, I got a question for you." He's staring at his computer screen. He goes, "Hold on just a second here, Rob, I'm debugging this ODBC driver on this server." I was like, did that actually just happen?
Jon Perl (00:15:25): Wow.
Rob Collie (00:15:25): You, you cannot be kept out. I can invent the most byzantine, horrible, database schema underneath some sort of line of business application. I could walk away and say, that is as good as RSA encryption. It is not crackable. No one's ever getting that data out of there, in any form useful. Then Jon comes along and goes, Hmm, let me see what I can do. You mentioned so casually sometimes, "Well you know, I went and I looked at the schema under it. It's bad, but no big deal." The next thing you know, you've got like working dashboards. I'm just like, wow.
Jon Perl (00:16:12): Thanks. I think we spoke about, one really interesting one. I did some work for a company in Columbia, South America. A large plastics manufacturer. They have some ancient, ancient, Fox pro system. I was not able to get a gateway connection going on it. I was not able to really get any kind of PM to speak of. I wasn't getting in, so I had them do all these exports for me, all these CSV exports. Okay, just as much as it'll let you do. Items, as much as it'll let you do, just as much data as you can. Okay. Sales, like sure. Accounting, yes very good. Deleted sales and not deleted, open, closed, just give me everything. They'd send it and all the headers are in Spanish.
Jon Perl (00:17:00): You have to spend some time with someone just to even understand what the heck you're looking at. Fantastic. Of course, DC sales, Mr. Jonathan. What do I say, what you want to know about? Okay. Great. What about these other like 60 things that I don't know are in Spanish. Well then they have business in the Columbia peso and business in the U.S. dollar and tremendous inflation in the Columbian peso, or was it Columbian dollar? Whatever the case is, tremendous inflation. They wanted to know what their business has done over the last 10, 20 years of data that they sent me, but corrective, adjusted, for inflation with the U.S. dollar, so they could look at dollars and other currencies together being equal. So yeah, I've had some pretty wacky ones.
Rob Collie (00:17:48): Yeah. I think there's another business potential in your future where you're just like this shadowy figure on the world IT scene. You just go by some sort of moniker, they call you The Decoder, or Rosetta or something. Right. All you do is come in and consult to software teams that are trying to crack someone else's database schema. You're paid through a Swiss account, or you're paid in Bitcoin.
Jon Perl (00:18:19): I love it. I love it. Tell me more.
Rob Collie (00:18:22): I'm serious. You have to have both, right. You have to have the belief that you can do it, and then the ability to do it. If you lack either of those, you can't do it, but you believe. You're just insane. You believe that you can do it and then you go and you do it over and over again. I'm just like, I don't know, you should go after SAP next.
Jon Perl (00:18:45): That'd be a good one. Let's do it together.
Thomas LaRock (00:18:47): Rob, one of the first things he said, his comment was, just flat out, I'm going into the data business, right? Who says that? Seriously, who says that? Nobody goes to school to be a data janitor. Right. We all end up somewhere and he's one of the rare few people are like, oh no, I'm totally, I'm just going to go do this. And then he does it.
Rob Collie (00:19:11): Yeah. I agree. That was something that was so validating about the message you sent me on LinkedIn, was that you had gone and done things at that point in your life that I could probably never do. You'd started a freaking apparel brand.
Jon Perl (00:19:25): I wouldn't recommend it.
Rob Collie (00:19:28): I know. Your horror stories sound... They're chilling. But I mean, it's not like the early years of this business were nice and smooth either. So we have some common ground though. We kind of bonded a little bit over the nightmare, whitewater section of growing a business. But you had done that and it was kind of like, you'd now seen so much value and so much on opportunity in the same things that I had been seeing, that you were re vectoring, embedding your career on it. It's not like I could have been more convinced of what I was doing. I was pretty convinced, but at the same time, even when you're locked in on something like I have been, it still feels really good when someone from a completely different, seemingly universe, goes oh my God, and jumps over and jumps into your lane. Of course, you were there for like five minutes and then you were onto software, but you're still slinging a lot of Power BI these days. You haven't gotten rusty.
Jon Perl (00:20:24): Thanks. I try to keep current. You know how it goes. It always starts with a very simple problem. How come we can't know this and this and that. I want to know this. I bet nobody can tell it to me. As you peel back the onion and the layers and all these things, what they're asking presents a hundred different other things that are constructive to address, expensive sometimes, when you start to dive into this. I never look at the front end of the system. I don't even know how it works. I'm just looking at the data, the database. I have a totally different perspective, totally different set of glasses, looking at things differently than the business owners are.
Rob Collie (00:21:05): Yeah. A lot of businesses are like this, but you're pretty deeply immersed in the fashion and apparel business in New York City. You took me to visit a couple of those outfits, and this is a business, an industry with a lot of tradition behind it. It's got a very long history. Looking back, I could kind of feel that history walking through those offices. I didn't bother to check with you, but it was believable that the spaces we were standing in, those spaces have been used for that industry since the early 1900s maybe. By the way, since then, I don't know if you've watched the show, but since then, my wife and I have burned through the multiple seasons of the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Have you seen that?
Jon Perl (00:21:53): That's great. Yeah.
Rob Collie (00:21:54): What is it? It's cut to sell, the acronym that I kept seeing in a bunch of your reports that I had to ask you about. What was it?
Jon Perl (00:22:01): Cut and sold.
Rob Collie (00:22:01): Cut and sold. Right.
Jon Perl (00:22:04): Cut and sold. Yeah. They want to cut and sold. It's very simple. How many did I make, and how many did I sell? How many did I make, how many did I sell? That's it.
Rob Collie (00:22:15): Yeah. What's the actor who plays the father-in-law on Marvelous Mrs. Maisel? He was also in A Few Good Men.
Thomas LaRock (00:22:21): Kevin Pollak.
Rob Collie (00:22:22): Kevin Pollak, right. I could see his character in that show saying that.
Thomas LaRock (00:22:27): So good.
Jon Perl (00:22:31): Right, exactly. To them it's very simple, but in practice, to cut and sold. So cut is a whole universe of purchased goods and the resulting shipments from those purchased goods. How many of them did we receive of that during this period, whatever, and sold, you're looking at the entire volume of sales orders, invoiced goods, netting out the two, and it's cut and sold. These syllables like a universe data.
Rob Collie (00:22:58): Yeah. I think that's a fascinating place to bring modern up tempo BI. On the one hand, that culture, the people who say it's very simple, it's how many did I cut and how many did I sell? You can say this for sure. They are grounded in reality. This is a culture that is not going to lose sight of the important stuff. That sounds like it's a gimme, but I think a lot of business cultures can lose sight of that sort of on the ground reality. Okay. So you got that going for you in that culture, but the deep tradition I would expect as an outsider for it to be a little suspicious of new ways of doing things.
Jon Perl (00:23:44): Oh, absolutely.
Rob Collie (00:23:45): Maybe even more than average. So you get this interesting tension. You're constantly, probably, appealing to that really grounded nature, like saying, look, that metric sucks and here's why, right?
Jon Perl (00:24:00): Yeah.
Rob Collie (00:24:00): That metric doesn't actually predict margin or profit. Right. It's the bad thing to chase. I could imagine getting that message across, probably easier than in most cultures, but then saying, oh, and by the way, we're going to bring in this new system. No.
Jon Perl (00:24:20): Exactly. Yeah. The [inaudible 00:24:22] is key and it's a very easy to overlook, because when you come in, you're thinking, I could light up the whole room here with data. I could show everybody something. I could do so much. Then it's very easy, especially when you're doing it as a one man show, which I'll sometimes do, to get lost in it yourself. You need to constantly be releasing the deliverables to the customer and showing them how to use it, ensuring that they're consuming it, giving them the right data to consume and measuring their engagement. It's so easy to overlook that.
Rob Collie (00:25:00): That I think is such an important point. I don't think we've ever talked about this on this show, and so we should. What you just said. So first of all, as the geeked out data nerd in a particular pond, it's so easy to sort of go off in a corner of your own and just have a party with the data. Here's my new imaginary friend, in fact, table three. And in fact, table three is going to have a conversation and we're going to talk.
Jon Perl (00:25:29): Exactly.
Rob Collie (00:25:32): We're going to write some just badass forms. We're going to make all these, it's starting to sound like Bob Ross, painting in his studio. We're going to make a happy little formula over here.
Jon Perl (00:25:40): You become a hoarder. I'm going to make some reports one day. I got that because one day I'm going to make reports. I'm going to be great. You're going to see.
Rob Collie (00:25:47): Yeah. Then there's the other danger. You invent something that you think is awesome, like this awesome report. Then you just, tada, right? And you walk away, just kind of brushing off your hands, like it's miller time, and you leave your audience very confused, frustrated, maybe even resentful, because what you gave them, it turns out doesn't actually help them.
Jon Perl (00:26:13): Oh yeah.
Rob Collie (00:26:13): I have done this. It's kind of like one of those diseases that you're never fully recovered from. You're always having to be wary and on guard for it. This is where one of our principles comes from is, think backwards from the actions that the user of the dashboard, the user of the report, think backwards from the actions that they could take to improve the business and then build something to facilitate that. Don't go build a report.
Rob Collie (00:26:45): If you say that I'm going to go show, take the data and essentially go forward from the data to the report, rather than backwards from not just the person, but like what their workflow could be, what they could do to improve the business, you end up in vast different places.
Jon Perl (00:27:03): Absolutely.
Rob Collie (00:27:05): One of them is really useful, and one of them can actually hurt your reputation with that customer base in a way that you can't recover from, because what you've done is you've shown them, you've confirmed for them their suspicions, that this newfangled system was shit. It could have not been shit, but we happened to build them shit. Now we thought it was cool.
Jon Perl (00:27:28): Well, everybody wants to say that it's shit. I mean, there's always going to be a naysayer. There's always going to be a shit sayer in the room.
Rob Collie (00:27:34): A shit sayer.
Thomas LaRock (00:27:36): It's like suit sayer.
Rob Collie (00:27:37): Yeah. But with shit in it.
Jon Perl (00:27:42): Don't send this link to my rabbi.
Rob Collie (00:27:46): His rabbi's like, he's using the sacred words. He's sharing them publicly.
Jon Perl (00:27:54): The first thing that this shit sayer is going to say, the first thing they're going to do is they're going to compare your totals to their totals. Doesn't match my report. It's the first thing they're going to do. You need to preempt that. If a part of the discovery process before you touch this is like, first show me your report, and then if you're lucky, maybe you can get some sequel behind the report and recreate it in [inaudible 00:28:19] and then you like, do some, here you go.
Thomas LaRock (00:28:23): Maybe decode a little sequel schema here and there. If we're lucky.
Jon Perl (00:28:28): Exactly. Show me what you want, I'll give you a better way to get it. That's the best way to start with the customer of Power BI, I find. The other barrier to engagement that I've seen is just understanding this new way of looking at data that only lives before a folder on a web page, and understanding the limitations of that. Better than understanding the limitations of it, using that. If you can't see it before the fold, it doesn't belong there. Look higher level. Also like, oh well, can I export it to Excel? Well, I need to see it in Excel. There's that guy. Okay, great. You have to also preempt that guy by having make sure that your data model has the measures, the right way for the totals, because when he goes into Excel, there's that bug that they never fixed, it's not going to make the totals. You know what I'm about.
Rob Collie (00:29:11): Yeah. It's those damn humans. There's like a mad scientist off the rails parable here, or something like, if only we could get the humans out of the picture.
Thomas LaRock (00:29:26): Rob, in your professional opinion, would you agree that Jon is someone that has the data gene?
Rob Collie (00:29:33): Oh my God. I think he might have gotten two copies. He's one of those genetic freaks, like Jamie Lee Curtis. He got two. He got two data genes.
Thomas LaRock (00:29:48): Jamie Lee Curtis of data.
Jon Perl (00:29:50): Wow.
Rob Collie (00:29:51): Okay.
Thomas LaRock (00:29:51): Wow. I'm not sure if that's good or bad.
Rob Collie (00:30:01): Well, it's one of those things that leaves you pondering. Yeah. That's what we do here.
Thomas LaRock (00:30:07): I wanted to ask real quick, because you had mentioned, you got offers of being a CFO, simply because you started using Power BI.
Jon Perl (00:30:18): I also have a bunch of accounting knowledge behind that. I worked at a hedge fund underwriting asset based loans. I know how to analyze financial statements. I have strong financial background. That's what I did at my company. I set up the systems and hired people to work with them, and was very hands on. I mean, started a business from the ground up. There was no, I didn't go into some place where there was employees. I did the work and then I had to hire other people and show them how to make a process and figure out what I want from them. Yeah.
Thomas LaRock (00:30:46): Okay. I wanted some clarification because I couldn't believe that somebody said, "Hey, this guy does Excel, put him in charge of everything financial." But I've heard stranger things. My daughter's going into accounting, or she has an interest in accounting. It always pleases me when I hear somebody with a little bit of accounting knowledge and some practical knowledge say of Excel and Power BI, and how it can take them places I think farther and faster.
Rob Collie (00:31:14): I mean, let me be clear. Not just is she interested in accounting, she's interested in forensic accounting.
Thomas LaRock (00:31:19): Yeah.
Jon Perl (00:31:20): Wow.
Rob Collie (00:31:21): Jon knows some people in that world. We can talk about that maybe backstage or onstage, I don't care. I don't want to put you on the spot.
Jon Perl (00:31:28): Accounting's the best business background, period. I mean in my opinion, it's like it's the basis for everything. After learning accounting, until you practice it, I don't mean practice it by working for a firm, practice it by live it. What is a balance sheet? Live your balance sheet. Oh no, I have no money at the bank, but I had tons of inventory, quick. Really understand what a balance sheet like means. I learned all that in the school of hard knocks and was fortunate to have opportunities in that.
Thomas LaRock (00:32:00): That's great.
Rob Collie (00:32:00): You know, at the end of the movie Cocktail, Tom Cruise comes back. I think Michael Caine is the other. I think it's Tom Cruise and Michael Caine. I could be wrong.
Thomas LaRock (00:32:08): But I think you are. I don't think it's Michael Caine. It's the other guy.
Rob Collie (00:32:12): Okay. Well, I don't know. Anyway, there's like the older mentor guy, right?
Thomas LaRock (00:32:16): Yeah.
Rob Collie (00:32:16): And Tom Cruise returns to him at the end of the movie, and what Tom sees is just massive success. The guy's living on a yacht, his bar has gone like a city block in size or whatever. It's been a long time since I've seen the movie. Tom is like, oh, he is just wowed. His mentor says, they're sitting alone now on the yacht at the end of the movie, and the mentor says, "Yeah, it's all going down though. I'm penniless. I'm bankrupt." And Tom's like, "What?" He's like, "I was good at bartending. I knew how to run a bar. I knew how to do that, but I was terrible at business." I don't think I even watched the whole movie.
Rob Collie (00:32:51): I think I just remember seeing the end and it was like, 12 year old me or 13, 14 year old me, whatever, when I saw it. It just seemed like some sort of movie cliche. Of course they had to give an explanation, or something like that. Then over time I started thinking of it as more like, okay, yeah, you can be bad at business, but it's simple. How many did I cut, and how many did I sell? Right. If you're making margin on everything that you're doing and you're bringing money in, how can you go out of business? It turns out, very easily.
Jon Perl (00:33:23): Absolutely.
Rob Collie (00:33:23): If you measure things based on sort of those simple, easy to see caveman metrics, you can miss an absolute crisis of timing coming for you, I've been told.
Jon Perl (00:33:38): Yes and no. The guy sitting in the CFO, I introduced you to an old school garment CEO. You saw. There were dozens and dozens of people, high level people. There were people in that office that came out of McKenzie and that came out of PWC, and there's like high level people in there. Well, what's he doing? He's looking at there was a little bit, okay, the total of this. He has it scratched out on a pad and he's got the total of that from last week. Looking at the two. I'm like, these two sticky notes, how come these are different? How come blah, blah, blah, but realizing a lot more now, almost three years into this pursuit of data, as the business, is that you can't underestimate the doing business part. The data is just the tools. Just because you're really good at working the tools, you could be amazing at working the tools, the best tool worker, that doesn't make you a business person necessarily. You have to understand where they're coming from. They're asking the questions that they're asking because they're trying to be protective of their balance sheet. Make sure this business lasts another generation.
Rob Collie (00:34:45): Yeah. I was just taking the long way around to saying that your statement that accounting is probably the best business background. I mean, I would've just been so stinking, dismissive of a statement like that four years ago.
Thomas LaRock (00:35:00): Really?
Rob Collie (00:35:01): Oh yeah, totally.
Thomas LaRock (00:35:03): I was going to question it, but only because I thought, economics. I think for people that did double major in economics and math, that I went to school with, I thought those were the people that were essentially going to run businesses. Right.
Rob Collie (00:35:16): I'm still going to be dismissive of the economics people.
Thomas LaRock (00:35:20): But no, these are the people I look back that I went to school with. I'm like heads on shoulders. They had everything that you need to do to run a business. If they were a good leader, that was somebody that could go and execute and do the proper analysis on stuff. Accounting, I've come to realize, I think so much more so than say, if you went to school for marketing. Okay. And I work in marketing and I don't want to be dismissive of it in any way. I think if you're looking for your next CEO, I bet on average the CFO has the edge over the CMO.
Rob Collie (00:35:53): Oh yeah.
Thomas LaRock (00:35:53): Right? I just do. So when I think about, who are the CEOs, who are the leaders, and what really is their background? I think it comes from two areas. One is sales and the other is accounting. Finance.
Rob Collie (00:36:05): In another show that we've recently recorded, we talked about how, for example, the CIO as a position, has exposure to basically the entire enterprise.
Thomas LaRock (00:36:17): Sure.
Rob Collie (00:36:17): And CFO, they only have exposure to an entire enterprise in the sense of money in, money out, which is basically, again, pretty damn comprehensive. I could certainly imagine by comparison the CMO job, being a little bit more tunnel vision. You don't have to be quite as big picture. I think anything that is forced to be big picture, is going to be fundamentally a more complete background. As you say, it still takes all kinds. I mean, we still need all these things, but if you were going to be an entrepreneur starting your own thing, to have a background that's more like a CFO and less like a CMO, it's probably a good thing.
Thomas LaRock (00:36:58): Yeah.
Rob Collie (00:36:59): I've learned the hard way. The analogy I guess I would use is, I just thought of an engine as Hey, you need fuel and you need fire. Right. Let's keep the fuel line unclogged. Let's keep the spark plugs sparking. Even just to take the timing metaphor, like if you're the cylinders aren't firing in the right sequence, you can rattle that car apart and you end up with air gaps in the gas line that you didn't expect and all that kind of stuff. If the engine stops, it stops. I have a whole, a much, much, much deeper appreciation of a statement like, accounting is the best background, than I had before I traversed this path.
Jon Perl (00:37:37): I think so. I wish I'd studied accounting in school. I didn't study accounting in school. I studied finance, which is similar. It's math based. I wish I'd studied more accounting. I wish I'd gone for a CPA and done that. My first job out of college, after my stint managing dance, which I did through college, but my first job working for a hedge fund, I remember I got like a week in. I'm working with this guy who, I mean I guarantee you, he did not study math in college or economics or anything like that. This guy was partying in college. He comes down and he's like, "Okay, we're issuing a term note to this and this client. They have an asset based facility. We're issuing them a term note now for our 1.75 million. They're giving us a building, it's worth 3 million. We're making it. Who knows how to... Perl, you just came out of school. Right? How do you do the amortization on a term note?"
Jon Perl (00:38:30): He was originating this business. He was principle riskee in this 1.75 million dollars that was going out. He doesn't need to know how to calculate the amortization on a term note, It was very illuminating to me, coming out of school, and saying like, "Okay yeah, I know all the formulas. I know how to calculate anything." I had my textbook and all this stuff, and I was like, wait a second. Look where they are. They don't know how to do this stuff. There's obviously like a lot more to it.
Rob Collie (00:38:59): Michael Lewis' first book, before Moneyball, before The Big Short. His very first book was called Liar's Poker. It was about his days at Solomon Brothers. He tells the story about at their orientation, or indoctrination, retreat camp or whatever, where they're attending classes all day long. He divided the room into clans, in his description. There was like the frat boys in the back. All they did was like hoot and holler and bang on the desk every time someone said something about, we're going to go out there and conquer. We're going to make fat coin. They just go bananas in the back of the room. I know which of the clans from that class, the person you're talking about came from.
Jon Perl (00:39:52): He had memorabilia from the movie Animal House on his wall.
Rob Collie (00:39:54): Yep. There you go. Thank you for not doing anything that swayed me from my cliche.
Jon Perl (00:40:03): Yeah. I can't make that up. Constantly using [inaudible 00:40:11].
Rob Collie (00:40:11): When he says, was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor. He might not even know that it's irony.
Jon Perl (00:40:20): Exactly.
Rob Collie (00:40:21): But drives a Lamborghini.
Jon Perl (00:40:24): Yeah. And there's time to be set for both. I mean, one can't have it without the other, vice versa.
Rob Collie (00:40:28): I completely agree. My adult life has just been sort of like a journey in recalibrating what's valuable. Some things that I thought were valuable, not so much, not as much as I thought, and from other things that were, that I was dismissive of and, nope. The real world can't be wrong. You might want certain things to be valuable or more valuable than others, but if the market is just constantly telling you otherwise, you're a fool to ignore that. You've got to come around. I think that's kind of a beautiful thing in the end, but it was hard one lessons.
Jon Perl (00:41:05): Yeah.
Rob Collie (00:41:06): What do you think the coolest thing, to the extent that you can tell us, maybe you can obfuscate it, but what's sort of like the coolest thing you've ever either done or found with Power BI?
Jon Perl (00:41:19): That's a good question. I had a client once, I was operating a division of a family business. They operated one division and the parent operated the company. Okay, this is your corner. You're going to operate this part of the business. I can't get more specific than that. The client had come to me saying, "Hey, we don't have tools to measure these things that I want to measure about my business. I think we're really on target for this." If you look at it that way or whatever, asked me to make some data models or reports, and I did, it was a tremendous amount of work. The result of it was that their assumptions were wrong and the business was doing horribly.
Jon Perl (00:42:00): They had brought me in to help them prove their point and say, "Hey, this is why we're in business. Let's show like our performance." We went to measure the performance. The performance wasn't so good, or let's say not good, but different than the client expected. That was one of the more interesting things that I found, because a lot of this is, as we said, it's a personal thing of dealing with the people who are consuming the data, and why they're consuming the data. That put me in a very compromised position. I could take it out on the data guy, obviously at first. No, can't be, no way, ah, no way. It is. Maybe we got to change some things. That also put things into perspective.
Rob Collie (00:42:49): How did that work out? Did they come around to believing you?
Jon Perl (00:42:52): No. They definitely believed me that they had to change some things about the way they operate their business, the things that they invest in as a business, the kind of inventory that they're willing to invest in and hold. As a result of the measurement of the performance, it's a balance sheet, you're taking cash and you're turning it into garments, as it were. Then you want to turn those garments back into more cash than you started with. That's an investment. The money sits in those garments for a certain amount of time. You want to measure your return on that money and the velocity of the turn of that money. I was able to work with them to better their forecasting and better their understanding of their own business and where to focus.
Rob Collie (00:43:31): I think this is something we'll all just agree on. I'm going to say it anyway. I think in that story, the social engineering, the navigation that you had to do of the social framework in that situation, was far more difficult and more valuable and more rare than the ability to produce the reports that told the truth. It's another one of those, oh yeah, this is knowledge that I've acquired in the last 10 years. It's another one of those rebalancing of what's valuable. I have a similar story where we were hired by a very, very, very large liquor manufacturer. One of the biggest. They wanted us to tell them the impact of their gift program that they run at the holidays every year. So you've seen these right. There's a bottle of liquor and a box with like a flask or a couple of glasses or something like that.
Rob Collie (00:44:25): I never knew this, because I never really paid attention. But, those gift boxes are usually exactly the same price as just a bare bottle by itself. The same price. The gifts that are in those boxes are very expensive on a per unit basis. Sometimes like $6 a unit in cost for the gift, because it's a nice glass, it's a nice flask or whatever. And so, margin wise, on a unit basis, these liquor companies are giving up well over 50% of their normal margin.
Jon Perl (00:44:58): Wow.
Rob Collie (00:44:58): On these things. Now of course, they sell them like crazy to a tremendous volume. The old story, we make it up on volume. Okay. So we were hired, they didn't tell us what their intent was, but they just wanted, they said essentially like, okay, you want to be told the truth, right? Yep. Totally tell us the truth. Give it to us straight. We went and looked at it and saw very conclusively that this was killing them. Just destroying them. The amount of lift they were getting from offering the package was, there was lift. They were selling more units as a result of doing this, but not nearly enough, not two X. They were going to get the same volume of lift, most of that lift was just seasonal. They were going to get it anyway. We were done with this. It didn't take us very long to come up with this result. We even kind of had to sit on it a little while to make it look like it was harder than it was. We don't do that at P3, but we did that at my last company, when I wasn't in charge. That's one of the reasons why I'm not there anymore. Started a different thing. Soon as they got it, they fired us, because I guess they had, it was the same thing, right. They'd hired us to prove that it was working. It's been a long time.
Jon Perl (00:46:22): Well, it could have been both, that it was working and you couldn't measure it.
Rob Collie (00:46:25): It's sort of the epilogue to the story. I was at Target before the holidays, and I didn't go down the liquor aisle. I was down some other aisle. On the end cap of one of the aisles at the back of the store, there they are, the gift packs of this same brand. And it has the nice gift in it. I'm like, oh my God. I look at the price, and then I just dashed across the store. I left my wife. I said, "I'll be right back." I dashed across the store, run down the liquor aisle, find that bottle, same price. They're still doing it, but they put it in a different place in the store. They didn't put it side by side. I think we still saw behavior adjustment. The person who was going to come in and buy it anyway is going to go to the liquor aisle and just buy it. But it's an impulse buy type of thing on the end cap. I started scratching my chin, like okay, it's probably that they've hired three different firms since then to tell them the same thing.
Jon Perl (00:47:34): Yeah. I'm sure they want someone to tell them that it's working and find a reason why, so they can continue doing it, because they love it.
Rob Collie (00:47:43): Yeah.
Jon Perl (00:47:43): I've seen this problem. With my partner and my clothing business, he was the sales and marketing guy and I was the operations, finance, make it happen guy. Well yeah, of course we have to show green ones, even though no one buys them, because it has to be in the line because that's what it's going to bring people to the booth. In your liquor example, if you could measure how many people bring home those Jameson glasses, and then they have the Jameson glasses forever, or the next however many years. They're probably more likely to buy Jameson the next five times they go to the liquor store because they already have the glasses in their house. It might not be able to be measured.
Rob Collie (00:48:24): Yeah. It's a loyalty program. You've got to consider the whole picture. You've got to zoom back sometimes and realize you're not working just under a microscope. I think that's really good advice. It's kind of like the argument about whether it's okay to have dashboards with a dark background. You can say, hey look, the cognitive science is very clear here. The dark background interferes with my ability to ingest information, probably by about 5%, not by much, but it's clear which one's better. The white background is better, right? Except that the dark background catches people's attention. It's more fun for them to get involved with. They feel cooler when they're using it. If you consider the whole thing as a funnel, I've got to get their attention and then convey information. Maybe the dark background dashboard has a better throughput of information conveyed than the white background dashboard. But no, no, no, no, you have to get really, really zoomed in and make your career on. Anyway, I get really grumpy about this. I'm going to stop now.
Thomas LaRock (00:49:29): No, no, keep going.
Rob Collie (00:49:35): We can just have one podcast, it's nothing but a screaming match of insults between me and one of these celebrity, cognitive scientists that think they understand that visualizations only work a certain way.
Thomas LaRock (00:49:48): Oh yeah. I have the whole post about contentious issues, data issues.
Rob Collie (00:49:51): That isn't what the world needs.
Jon Perl (00:49:52): I think it needs a little of everything.
Rob Collie (00:49:54): We're all stocked up on tribal combat these days, I think.
Thomas LaRock (00:49:59): It's trial by combat.
Jon Perl (00:50:00): Oh man. Wow. Difficult times.
Rob Collie (00:50:09): It is. You're a long time New York City resident, right?
Jon Perl (00:50:15): Yeah. But I grew up in the DC area.
Rob Collie (00:50:17): You grew up in the DC area? Well, we don't talk about that. We want to represent you as our home grown New York City.
Jon Perl (00:50:27): Yeah. I've been here 20 years, and 20 years in Manhattan. Yeah.
Rob Collie (00:50:30): All right. All right. We'll just say you've 20 years. We're going to round that up to, I lived in Manhattan my whole life. I grew up watching the Knicks. COVID's thrown you a curve, right. You're still living and working in the city part-time, but you've got a new outpost.
Jon Perl (00:50:51): Yes.
Rob Collie (00:50:51): Outside.
Jon Perl (00:50:52): That was pretty wild. I mean, after living in the city for 20 years, I have three little kids and we're living in this small apartment. It didn't feel small to us in, let's say March 1st, and then like March whatever, 14th, they closed the school down. Then I was like, wait a second, this apartment is really small. Long story short. I was like, we got to get out of here. I'm not riding out this pandemic in Manhattan, not happening. I panicked and was very lucky, I found a house to rent in Long Beach, New York and called the owner right away. We were in the house in 48 hours. It was for sale. There was nothing inside. I mean, we're talking I had teams of Ikea builders and whatever. 48 hours, I was out of city in this house, in the suburbs.
Rob Collie (00:51:40): That's right.
Jon Perl (00:51:42): Yeah. We spoke about it.
Rob Collie (00:51:44): There's something about the furniture you needed was only available in Baltimore, or something like that, and so you found someone that you'd never met before and hired them to go pick it up for you.
Jon Perl (00:51:54): I rang a commercial van enterprise, sent them to Baltimore, Ikea. Brought it here to meet the Ikea assembly. Yeah.
Rob Collie (00:52:02): It's all about supply chain.
Thomas LaRock (00:52:09): This reminds me of reading about Andrew Yang, who went upstate. They asked him, why are you spending the pandemic upstate? And he's like, can you imagine me trying to be in Manhattan with the kids in school and only a two bedroom apartment and all that. I'm like, why didn't I think of riding out the pandemic in my second or even third home? I don't know why that just never occurred to me to have that opportunity.
Rob Collie (00:52:32): It's like the VP at Microsoft that would sit down in meetings with us and tell us things with a straight face, without any understanding at all, that this was like a really tone deaf thing to tell the rest of us. You know folks, I think... He just had a kid, right. He'd be like, "You know what the real secret to having kids I think is to get two nannies, one for the daytime hours and one for nighttime hours." Just so matter of fact.
Thomas LaRock (00:52:57): I had that same experience, Rob. He was vice president and he goes, I was explaining a couple of things at home. He goes, you should consider hiring a nanny. I just stared at him. I'm like, you want to swap paychecks or something? How do you think that's relatable? In any way.
Rob Collie (00:53:15): Yeah. I mean, the salaries at Microsoft for the job I used to do are now just like way higher than when I was there. So, maybe that conversation's different, but at the time, none of us in the room could afford a nanny, and he's telling us that you need a second shift.
Thomas LaRock (00:53:40): Maybe it's more economical, they're only working part-time.
Jon Perl (00:53:46): No. I'm not that guy. I ended up ditching my apartment in the city. I've been a bullet and had two places for a little while. Got rid of my apartment in the city and decided to do this. I own the house now for less than... Beautiful house, thank God that left for less than my rent, just rebalanced my life a little bit. I didn't buy three houses.
Thomas LaRock (00:54:04): I didn't mean to imply otherwise. I knew what you were saying. Sorry.
Jon Perl (00:54:07): Yeah, no worries.
Rob Collie (00:54:08): We can dream.
Jon Perl (00:54:08): Yeah.
Rob Collie (00:54:08): But that apartment of yours was kind of a score. To give it up, had to take some guts.
Thomas LaRock (00:54:15): There's lots of vacancy in New York.
Rob Collie (00:54:17): You think so?
Jon Perl (00:54:20): Right now, yeah. But I mean, that was an amazing fact. At the time it was like, it probably still displaced price wise, for what it was. Rob came to my house for a proper Sabbath, Friday night dinner and Shabbat lunch. Showed him the whole thing. Rob and Joslyn came. We did all the prayers. The whole thing, like soup to nuts.
Rob Collie (00:54:42): Yeah. We put our phones away. That's the longest phoneless stretch in my last seven years. I was on my phone more at Burning Man.
Jon Perl (00:54:55): Rob left his wallet and his phone at the door, out of respect. We were like, wow.
Rob Collie (00:55:02): You can't come into someone else's house and be disrespectful. But I did turn off the light in the bathroom when I left. Everyone had to go to the bathroom in the dark after that, until someone I think politely nudged me and I'm like, oh, I'll go turn it on.
Thomas LaRock (00:55:21): Oh man. That sounds like it should be a book like, Pranks to Play During Shabbat, at your friend's house.
Jon Perl (00:55:31): By the way, that's a thing. Any non-Jewish neighbor of an observant Orthodox Jew will know all about that.
Rob Collie (00:55:36): Would you mind pressing the down button on the elevator for me?
Jon Perl (00:55:43): Yeah. Somehow it's not weird, essentially.
Thomas LaRock (00:55:46): It's not, can I put a borrow cup of sugar? Hey, could you come over here and turn a light on for us in the bathroom?
Jon Perl (00:55:53): I forgot about it. What about, you're in a hotel on vacation. Surprisingly, there are a lot of hotels that, if it's near a synagogue, they'll know the [inaudible 00:56:07] Hotel in Guangzhou, China. It's right next to the [Harbin 00:56:10] Jewish Center. They have people on Friday night who will take you up, they know exactly what to do. I try to teach my kids that it's not a limitation, that's more of an opportunity and a privilege to be able to turn off for 24 hours every week, in a very disciplined fashion and focusing on other things that are not screen based, like your family and your relationships. It's a nice thing. So yeah. Got to experience that with Rob.
Rob Collie (00:56:38): It's also an excuse to drink more beer, because when over in Israel, I went to the bar or something in the morning and I wanted a coffee. They were like, sorry, we don't make coffee today. I'm like, okay, what can you do? Beer. I'm like, all right.
Jon Perl (00:56:59): That's right.
Thomas LaRock (00:57:01): Is all beer kosher? Is every beer considered kosher? Can't be.
Rob Collie (00:57:05): It's the machinery that was required to deliver it to me, I think was the issue at that particular point in time. It was the espresso machine, the coffee machine couldn't be turned on that day.
Thomas LaRock (00:57:15): Okay.
Jon Perl (00:57:15): Yeah. Exactly. They could give you a beer out of the fridge, because they could just open the fridge, give you a beer and somebody could charge it to your room. But as far as cooking goes, we won't turn on or off a fire and we'll only eat things that have been on the fire that have started cooking before the [inaudible 00:57:32]. Stews and stuff during the daytime, or whatever. At a hotel, even if you do this at commercial scale, it's no different. They'll serve breakfast and they'll serve whatever meals within that framework. So yeah, if you go to the hotel bar it's kosher. They're not going to flip on the espresso machine that day.
Rob Collie (00:57:48): What's next for JP? What's next for Jon Perl? What's next for Noah, for your software baby?
Jon Perl (00:57:54): I'm very excited about the launch of Noah, my platform for international commercial trade. We've rolled out a very, very exciting suite of tools to enable buyers and sellers of international goods to communicate and facilitate business in a way that they haven't before, as a data guy or creating an international language of data. What's inside those containers and those cartons and those pieces and those inter packs. What's the UPC codes? I don't know, not everyone gets excited by that. I get excited by that. If you know what that even means, it means you can save money. You can eliminate error, means you want to know on that sticky note, what's with your business, if you have a better platform which to run your business.
Rob Collie (00:58:34): Yeah. You're going to sell more of what you cut.
Jon Perl (00:58:38): Exactly.
Rob Collie (00:58:43): We're in the cut and sold business, not the cut and wasted.
Jon Perl (00:58:49): Exactly.
Rob Collie (00:58:52): There's nothing about that description you just gave that seems apparel specific. It sounded a little bit more broadly applicable. I mean, it turns out that there's a lot of stuff that gets bought and shipped internationally.
Jon Perl (00:59:05): Absolutely.
Rob Collie (00:59:06): We've never talked with this before, but it kind of sounds like you might be just starting with apparel.
Jon Perl (00:59:11): Yeah. We're starting with apparel. We actually have a couple of disparate customers. We're doing the exclusive distributor of the Rubik's cube, is our first customers.
Rob Collie (00:59:18): What?!
Jon Perl (00:59:18): Yeah. That's an exciting one.
Rob Collie (00:59:23): Rubik's cubes are one of the most efficient things to pack into shipping boxes. Did you know that?
Jon Perl (00:59:29): Actually, you know what, I get excited about packing Rubik's cubes to shipping boxes, because you can get a ton of them into a container, and every container is worth a lot of money. That's how I think about it.
Rob Collie (00:59:40): Do you know if you make the box that surrounds the Rubik's cube, just like one 16th of an inch less on edge, you get an extra thousand Rubik's cubes in that shipping container.
Jon Perl (00:59:50): I don't joke about that stuff, man.
Rob Collie (00:59:52): You don't joke about that? You should see Bill Gellin when it's time to publish a book. This book in this raw form is like 320 pages, and he goes, but you know, every multiple of 16 costs us an extra arm and a leg because it's like an extra roll of paper. They fold it four times to make 16 pages. It's like this binary computer thing, the memory only comes in 16 megabyte sticks. So he's able to get a 320, just with editing and layout, not even editing, just layout. He's able to get a 320 page book down to 253 to get under. He is ruthlessly thrifty.
Jon Perl (01:00:36): By the way, I would love to go all Joe Rogan podcast with Bill Gellin. That would be...
Rob Collie (01:00:45): He's on our list, man.
Jon Perl (01:00:46): I would love to listen to him going Elon Musk on your podcast. That would be a lot of fun.
Rob Collie (01:00:52): We're going to be cuing him up within the next probably six weeks I think. We didn't want to just shoot our Bill Gellin shot from the beginning.
Jon Perl (01:01:02): He's coming, I promise. Oh no, I didn't mean that. Oh, sorry.
Rob Collie (01:01:12): Jon, I enjoyed this immensely. This has been one of the best things that in my professional life, I've really enjoyed this podcast.
Jon Perl (01:01:20): Thanks man. Yeah, me too. This was incredible. Was my first podcast.
Rob Collie (01:01:20): Yeah. Well hey, it's just like my 17th. That's it.
Jon Perl (01:01:29): It's a privilege to get on with you anytime. I always learn a lot from you, Rob.
Rob Collie (01:01:36): Vice versa. Like I said recently, a professional excuse to talk to someone interesting for an hour and a half. I mean, man, even if no one was listening, that would be worth it.
Jon Perl (01:01:50): Rob, I'm going to call you the data Rebbi. A Rebbi is one of those Hasidic guys, who's got a massive posse. He's got a big gymnasium with bleachers. He's got all those guys who are singing and dancing. The guy in the middle with the beard and the coat, the whole get up, is called the Rebbi.
Rob Collie (01:02:08): Okay.
Jon Perl (01:02:08): Then the guy, they'll go around him, we call the Hasidim. Okay. The Hasidic people, those are the people who follow that specific route, so I'm going to call you the data Rebbi.
Rob Collie (01:02:19): Sounds cool. It sounds short for rebel. It does. It sounds pretty hip. It's like Rabbi, but a little hipper. Here's my Rebbi, he DJ's my parties.
Jon Perl (01:02:35): You say Rebbi instead of Rabbi, people will know you're really in.
Rob Collie (01:02:38): Really? All right, man. Thanks so much. This was great.
Jon Perl (01:02:42): All right, guys. Thank you.
Announcer (01:02:44): Thanks for listening to the Raw Data by P3 podcast. Find out what the experts at P3 can do for your business. Go to powerpivotpro.com. Interested in becoming a guest on the show? Email Luke P, L-U-K-E-P @powerpivotpro.com. Have a day today!