Alyce isn’t Greg Segall’s first startup—his first began when he was 19, and there were more that followed. But when he talks about the difference between the success of Alyce and the others, it isn’t merely a matter of lessons learned through the years.
It was, in fact, the birth of his daughter that inspired him to create something more – with a purpose that makes a difference “The love that you have for this little baby is like more than you’d ever imagine,” Greg says. “And the last company I started was great…. But it wasn’t an impactful business.”
To create a business with more meaning, Greg developed what he calls “the three pillars of giving.” They include giving an authentic experience, giving back to the community, and giving to the planet.
On this edition of Founders Journey, Greg tells us how he came to appreciate these principles and incorporate them into the very foundation and platform of a business that’s changing the way we approach digital marketing and relationship building.
More information: https://www.alyce.com/
A serial entrepreneur, Greg Segall founded his third company, Alyce in December 2015 with the goal to fundamentally change the way people invest in business relationships using corporate gifting, swag and more. The mission is to help everyone create personal bonds with everyone they do business with.show more
Each “investable” moment create by Alyce is built on the 3 pillars of giving:
– How to create an experience that can authentically bring people closer together
– How to give back to planet
– How to give to those in need
Prior to Alyce, Greg was the former founder and CEO One Pica, a premier global e-commerce agency, where Greg worked some of the largest commerce and supply chain infrastructures in the world, including 3M and Scholastic.
Greg has also invested, scaled, and aided the acquisition of several retailers, taking them from single-digit operations to hundreds of millions of dollars within a few years. One Pica was acquired in December 2012 by a holding company in San Francisco.
Greg lives in Massachusetts with his wife and threenager. He is a tech geek, fitness freak, podcast junkie, baseball monkey and 6-string shredder.
Alyce creates authentic, Personal Experience moments through gifting, swag, and direct mail to help businesses grow at scale. As the only Personal Experience (PX) Platform, Alyce bridges the physical and digital worlds to enable Enterprise companies better engage, connect, and convert prospects and customers while delivering measurable results.show less
DISCLAIMER: Below is an AI generated transcript. There could be a few typos but it should be at least 90% accurate. Watch video or listen to the podcast for the full experience!
Greg Segall 0:00
There’s a difference between just going and solving the actual problem they want, versus understanding that you’re taking an opinion against that, which is where innovation actually happens.
Alexander Ferguson 0:14
Welcome to UpTech Report. This is our founders journey series UpTech Report is sponsored by TeraLeap. Learn how to leverage the power of video at Teraleap.io. Today, I’m excited to be joined by my guest. Again, Greg Segall, who’s based in Boston, Massachusetts. He’s the CEO and founder of Alyce. Now, this is part two. So definitely go back and listen to part one, we talked more about their AI power to b2b gifting platform, where they’re trying to redefine direct mail swag, and gifting with a scalable, hyper personalized approach to account based marketing and actually read at the end of our interview, I loved what Greg said he’s trying to scale authenticity, like, Wow, so definitely go back and listen to that. But Greg, I’m excited in this episode is to hear more about your journey. I mean, this is didn’t start yesterday was five, six years ago, 15 years ago, five years, okay, five years ago. And I think I just saw a report on your site that you guys just raised a Series B, is that correct? So lots of exciting things have been happening. But take me back, like all the way back before Alyce, how did you what was the journey? How did you get to where you are?
Greg Segall 1:18
Let me go back to college. Let’s go back. Let’s go back. Yeah, so I think, you know, I started off as an art major, actually a college and I’ll tell you why this is important, as I sort of, sort of go through this. And I will say this, that I basically drew sculpted and painted a bunch of naked people for about, you know, three years, which is sort of my entry level to Archie entry to the art world. But I also fell in love in computer science my sophomore year, and I was always a big computer geek, you know, even through middle school, and you know, and before that, as well. It’s sort of like in the during the 90s. And not to date myself, but there you go. But the, the the I started my first company when I was 19. It was an agency, we were focused very much on the e commerce space, as time went on. So we became one of the largest e commerce agencies around and we focus on a platform or in the early days called Magento, which was just recently bought by Adobe Muse about a year and a half ago for, you know, one and a half billion dollars. And I remember when it was just eight of them, and, you know, rolling yo off, we started that and I were talking, you know, we’re both basically starting our companies up and trying to figure out what’s next. And, you know, grew that company sold that business until the end of 2012. stayed on for a couple more years, and then was looking for what to do next.
Alexander Ferguson 2:33
This is one piece right?
Greg Segall 2:34
One mica There you go. So I’m going to tell you why I named it Alyce, which is you should ask me that because you literally just did exactly why I’m very calculated with names. So thank you very much. So one, pica, O ne space p ICA. Everyone’s like one pika. Like we’re not pika Chu. Like, come on, you know, like, this is ridiculous. So, you know, the the next business, I played around with a bunch of different casino startup ideas after selling my first company, and I came to this realization that, first of all, I was having my daughter, and you know, when my wife is pregnant I was you start to start to understand that the world is very different than when your daughter is born, it takes you from a very, like, you know, the world revolves around you to all of a sudden, now the world revolves around this little, little nugget that you have, you know, that’s there. And like, the love that you have for this, this little baby is like more than you’d ever imagine, you know, anything ever in the world. And, you know, it just made me believe like, you know, the last company I started was great, loved it, the employees, the story, everything that was there. But it wasn’t like an impactful business wasn’t something where the root and the purpose of the business was actually set from the second that the business was actually, you know, built. So I remember I have the whiteboard, originally, he did an onboarding for our new class, you know, for this this last couple of weeks, today that joined up with Alyce. And, you know, I showed him and I was like, Look, there was three pillars of giving that were that were listed on the beginning first whiteboard when I was like, what’s the business model that we want to create as an organization? And when I recognized was when I started my first business at 19. I wasn’t very intentional, about, like, what are the values of the business? What are we trying to do? What’s the vision, you know, what do we see as our like, was our vision of the future and how are we actually making sure that that’s, you know, instantiated in the DNA, the business? And, you know, I wrote the three pillars of giving, and the three pillars of giving we’re number one, how do you make giving like a truly authentic experience in b2b which is super brought with like fakeness right now, you know, and just like it’s all surface level, right? And it’s squish balls and you know, crappy vests and you know, all the other stuff that people are doing and golf events, I don’t golf, right, steak events, I don’t eat steak, like just things that are not relevant to me, you know, as you go and end up actually hurting the relationship more than helping it. So the first pillar getting was how do you give to people to make it an authentically an authentic connection between people that investment. The second pillar giving was how do we give back to those in So how does it that the business model I was very enamored, always enamored, you know, back in my ecommerce days with like, Toms, you know, shoes, right, and I know, the founders and you know, was working with them, you know, in the early days of Toms, and, you know, they’re one for one mentality or model and then Warby Parker did a fairly similar thing, you know, with their model as well on I start with them when they first started off as well. And it was very interesting just to, you know, think about, well, how do how does the business model fit that we’re, it’s just about giving back. And that’s where the donation model came into Allison, where when you you give a gift, the person has the opportunity to be able to, you know, donate to a charity, their choice, the value to a charity, their choice. The third pillar of giving was, how would you give back to the planet. So everything was rooted sustainability, if you look at corporate spend, in terms of, you know, events, and swag, and gifts, and everything that sort of plays into that meals, trips, tickets, all those things, so much of it goes in the trash, so much of it is wasted, at the end of the day, which has a huge effect on the on the world. And so sustainability and that, you know, power to get back to the planet was like a core tenant of that. So anyone that’s joining with Alyce understands those three, three pillars of giving, and understands that that is really like the driving factor is that this is a double bottom line business, it’s about being able to have that huge impact on the business that’s there. So stop there.
Alexander Ferguson 6:19
Right, right from with that Manifesto, be when you started the organization.
Greg Segall 6:24
Yeah, because it again, it was it was this like life changing moment when you have your, your, you know, your daughter, you know, in that specific case, which also affected some of the things I’m happy to talk about, too, in terms of like, I have this very, like, passion project around like, how do you how do you empower women and minorities in business, especially in tech, which is like so raw with like, you know, the, the white dude syndrome, you know, that’s that we have, right? Yeah, yeah, I don’t know if it’ll be named something else. And, you know, whatever. But like, that’s just the reality of it. And, you know, it’s, it just it fundamentally changes your perspective on on not only the world, you know, and understanding, like, you’re not caring for this as being you know, for the next 18 years, until, you know, until they they go off hopefully, right? You know, into the world and into, you know, you just want to make that person’s life as good as humanly possible. But that’s only going to happen if you actually make the world around her and us, you know, that much that much more powerful. And that was something I was missing in my first business that I really feel like was like a real big driver for this was something that had to do with giving back was always was a big piece of it.
Alexander Ferguson 7:26
Yeah, I’m gonna say a bit more about kind of the the steps here on that journey. So you had one, pica?
Greg Segall 7:33
Okay. pica, pica is also an eating disorder. So by me naming a company at 19. Like you should have slapped me across the side of the head because it was horrible. Nobody say it. It was an ironic name because a pica was a print measurement. I also found out about a year into it that it was a eating disorder. And I’m like, I guess we’re living with that. You know, like,
Alexander Ferguson 7:52
cool. hindsight, you’re like, yeah, okay, well, next time, we’ll do that really? Well called years around. There you are, you’re in that, but then you, what was the timeline here of your daughter? And then you’re like, let’s start it because I see the 2015. That young began is right. Yeah. Did you like just bootstrap at the beginning? Did you already like, you know, let’s, let’s get some funding, how, what was that journey step.
Greg Segall 8:13
So it was bootstrapped for the first year of the business. So it was myself and a couple of interns, you know, sort of starting to build this off, and one engineer that we had, that I was working with. So again, I’m a computer science guy. So I’m diamond engineer myself. So basically, we actually built the first version of Alyce, and I’ll take you a step back in a second here, but we built that in six weeks. And that started on October 31, of 2015, we launched on December 14, or 15th, you know, of 2015, with like most of the functionality and like some semblance of working order there, right, the experience was there, and all that stuff was there, leading up to that, which is a big difference in terms of how I started this company versus the previous one was that I did a lot of market research, like literally a month’s worth of market research on the gifting space. And I’m not gonna go into the story, but like, I’d started with a bunch of ideas, was testing out with different friends and then always came back to the gift swag, you know, all the spend in corporations. And when I talked to 513 companies across from from October 1 until October 31 113 513 companies I still have the list because I went back to that. And it was like three to four, five companies, six companies a day, you know, just having these half an hour 45 minute conversations of friends in the spaces and asking them what the opportunity was you start to recognize that there was so much opportunity in the space and so much money hundreds of billions of dollars a year being spent across all those different categories. So I was like alright, there’s something big here and then the behavior and the stuff they kept asking was like well I never send the right thing I don’t know what to send. What’s the right time to send this the process is a pain in the neck I always just end up falling back on the holidays, blah blah blah like and then you get into like the questions about how do you invest into those relationships? All Well, we do the no these events and blah, blah, blah. It was like it kept going on and on and on where you’re just like Wow, there is There’s so many problems to solve here. And how do you do that? And then the other big theme of that was, well, how do you tie it back to ROI? They’re like, we’re spending more money on our on our gift swag events than we’re spending on our CRM map, you know, marketing automation platforms and everything combined. So you’re like, Okay, that’s, that’s super interesting. And then you got to then in that, that research, I also got to the fundamentals, because I would always ask them, well, what’s the experience that you’d want, and that’s where you recognize everybody said the same thing? Well, they keep they send me stuff I don’t really care about I’ve my drawer full of crap at home, you know, that I have, or I bring it to my kids, and then they throw it and we throw it out, you know, year later, because it’s stuck at the bottom of their toy clouds, or whatever it is. So all of that was sort of the culmination, you know, around this, you know, around the the the concept around that. And again, it all stemmed from those three pillars of getting, as I mentioned before, so went from that we built the platform and six weeks launched, it had 20 customers like almost instantaneously, we didn’t like an alpha. And then there was the magic moment happened there. Because we had this high power, I had this hypothesis, that if people use Alyce and they sent gifts, they’re going through a digital experience. Now they’re going to experience Alyce and now there’s a viral effect built into the business. Well, that just took off. So all of a sudden, the first five people that sent their gifts during the holiday season, you know, leading up to Christmas, all of a sudden, like five more people said, hey, how do we get access to Alyce? So we can send off gifts to our employees, or blah, blah, blah, or whatever it was? And then that was where I was like being there’s the there’s the magic, the magical idea? How do we harness that? How do we use that and leverage that as a as a big thing. And every bigger brand that started using Alyce gave us more brand exposure, gave us more trust in the space. And then that helped to obviously build, you know, build us into where we were.
Alexander Ferguson 11:38
And you had made a mention in our last discussion here that your your focus on Midmark and enterprise when you began, you probably were taking almost any business at the beginning. Yeah. And then you’ve just slowly worked your way up until you got into the enterprise organizations.
Greg Segall 11:52
Is that yeah, that? Yeah, the pro in the con of Alyce, especially in a space like this is that every company, every department, every company, every team, and every company, every person, every company can use Alyce for some reason, for some way, which is different than like having an analytics platform where you’re like, well, I’m going to go in and target this specific, you know, persona and sell into this and blah, blah, blah, whatever it is. And in this specific case, it was well, where do you focus. So the first thing was like, for the first year, just let’s figure out where the opportunity is, we had some hypotheses around that. So we end up doing actually a lot on the employee side of things, but starting to realize that that that it’s considered a nice to have not a necessity, because as soon as like, it’s, it’s been brought into the heightened area right now, because all of a sudden, it’s like, oh, my God, everyone’s remote, we got it, we got to invest in our people. But as soon as people start going back to hybrid and some of these other things, you’re going to realize that there’s gonna be some of a swell down there. So what I said is, I made a conscious decision, you know, sort of going into the 2017 ish timeframe, you know, sort of towards the end there be like, we have a lot of companies using this under sales and marketing side, how do we just focus on that, so we ended up cutting out almost 400 500 customers, you know, out of that, it’s almost starting with like a dozen, and building the business back up as a SaaS platform focused on sales and marketing, because it was all about that, that like program, they’re subscribing to not just, oh, I’m gonna send some gifts off, you know, for some random thing. And that’s basically it.
Alexander Ferguson 13:11
Just a quick clarification, the beginning, it wasn’t SAS that people just sending gifts whenever they thought of it.
Greg Segall 13:16
And we made the action Martian. Yeah, it was actually because we made it we because again, go back to my ecommerce roots. The unfair advantage was I knew all the Warby Parker’s and, you know, the grommets, and all these other companies, and I just went to them, and I was like, I’m gonna hand you free customers, just give me give me a margin off of that. And then it was free for anyone to use the platform and just come on. But it also caused episodic usage, non programmatic usage, because they’re actually subscribing to the Alyce approach. That was what we that was the big breakthrough that we had in 2017, which led us to have it, you know, raising our seed rounds, because we started to show some of that traction around how we how we were, you know, fundamentally approaching the business there.
Alexander Ferguson 13:52
It was, which What year did the seed round come in? Is that 2017? When you know, we did an Angel
Greg Segall 13:56
Angel round in 2016. Okay, we did two touches in that. So we did want to in October, September, October, October ish of 2016, and then another one in February. So those are like a small, small round. So it’s like half a million total between those two. And then we raised 5.4 million in in September, going into October of 2017. So it was almost a year later after we actually had that. But by that point, we sort of learned a lot of the a lot of the stuff that was that was happening there and kind of like build a much tighter hypothesis hypothesis around what’s the fundamental thing we’re actually trying to solve here, knowing that it’s a huge industry and whatnot.
Alexander Ferguson 14:35
Would you agree or recommend the approach you took of kind of bootstrapping and getting to that point before you brought in the funding versus get bring it right at the beginning?
Greg Segall 14:45
100% I mean, I advise a lot of you know, women owned and minority owned businesses right now as startups right now, and I tell them the same thing I’m like, because there’s one fundamental concept behind it. Every dollar in is a piece of equity. So even when you’re spending capital, like when I think about it, my first business was bootstrapped. Right? So I kind of unbiased on this anyway, right? Because there’s different ways of growing a business where you can just raise tons of capital and figure things out which people do. They figure out businesses, you know, and there’s an unfair advantage to having some capital, you know, in some of those cases, but a lot of times it also causes unfocused, you know, approaches to a market, which means you basically take like a checkbox strategy, instead of a sort of a strategy around like, well, what is the what is it that you’re actually trying to solve for in those specific cases. So get back to the funding, the deeper and farther you can go by showing traction, the less of the company you’re going to give away. And also the higher the value the business is at that specific point. Especially it can be testing out very focused hypotheses from the get go, which again, I didn’t do an agency in this business was much more concerted, concerted and, and, you know, intentional in terms of how I was thinking about, you know, those those elements, it just got more intentional as time went on, because we just learn more, you’re like a learning machine, constantly evolving, and constantly learning more as you as you go.
Alexander Ferguson 15:59
If you had to think back to successful tactics that work to help you focus on those learning mechanism, what tactics Did you find and would recommend to others?
Greg Segall 16:12
talk to customers, right? I think there’s my I’ll be honest, like my business before Alyce, you know, I was called see fit, you know, another horrible name, which is fine, which again, goes to the intentionality of Alyce, you know, why why was picked, which I can go into later if you’re interested. But the the fundamentals of that was that I didn’t do enough user research, we built on a cool concept. But it was like, it wasn’t focused enough in terms of what’s the actual pain point that you’re solving for, like, you have to have empathy for what your customers actually going through, in order to truly be able to solve that problem. Now, there’s a difference between just going and solving the actual problem they want, versus understanding that you’re taking an opinion against that, which is where innovation actually happens. Right? Right. So if you go in, and you’re saying, Okay, I need to solve for, you know, sending more emails. The problem is, okay, I’m building a system, so you can actually just spam people more, but you’re not taking an understanding as to like, what’s the vision of the business? So you have to be understanding as to like, what’s the vision for the business, what’s the DNA of the values of the business, which forms the core of the people and your approach and your ability to, to adhere to those values of the business, which should link up directly to the vision, right, and your, your vision of the future, and then you’re actually building the business, you know, against those against that, that, that that capacity, and you’re building hypotheses, which have those as the undertones of how you’re actually driving the business forward, as you go there, too. The problem with too many companies is they come in and say, I’m gonna solve this little problem here. And again, you could, there’s many ways to skin a cat, right? You can go into so many different ways of doing this. But the more intentional you are around this, the easier it is for you to actually have control over what those hypotheses are, and then be able to test and know whether you’re actually moving in the right direction or not, with those specific with those specific places. So any of these companies, I’m always when it comes to advising, I’m always, always challenging back and saying, What’s the actual problem that you’re trying to solve right now? What’s the vision? Where are you on the journey? What’s the stepping stone? What’s the next stepping stone. And if you can’t articulate what that next stepping stone is, then you’ve got problems, you can’t articulate the previous stepping stones that got you there and tell and start to tie a thread through that. That’s it, again, your MBA, Angel rounds in the beginning, like in your in your nascent stage, like you’re just trying to figure out anything, right. But you have to have a focus hypothesis, at least to test against. Otherwise, you’re just like, you’re shotgunning things all over the place. And you’re not actually like, like building towards something, the whole purpose of hypotheses either be right or wrong, and then be able to take the next the next route. And you’ve got to be systematic on that versus versus this, like, throw spaghetti at the wall type of thing and hope something sticks, you know, as you go.
Alexander Ferguson 18:44
It’s certainly thinking the past experience of not doing that hypothesis approach and really, tying back to the customer, you decided to be this very intentional with Alyce. Obviously, you can’t do it by yourself, you build a team, but help me understand like, at what point in stage, were you leading the charge every step of the way, when when what was the most important first hire, major hire that you made that really helped you scale?
Greg Segall 19:12
So I’ll say this is a high level theme. Again, something I always say when I’m advising companies is that the job of a CEO is to put themselves out of a job, every stage of the business. And that’s something it’s hard to learn something I did a horrible job in my first company at and something that took me some time to actually like, tell that advice to people and then actually realize I have to take my own advice, you know, in terms of that. So you have to understand that your role is to figure out how do you build scale inside the organization with people that are smarter than you that bring other perspectives and other experiences to the business? right there’s a whole nother segment we go down in terms of like diversity of perspectives and just diversity of people and backgrounds and things like that. But the focus in on like the people that we brought in, I had to two key hires in the beginning stages of the business that we that we brought in one is Tory’s. Still with the businesses, the other one was, was a guy named Ryan, who we’re still friends with and sort of led the initial Customer Success charges that were there. During those like very early nascent stages, you know, that were there as well. And those were the two that stayed with the business specifically for the first two to two and a half years, that really helped shape a lot of the stuff because we were just in this constant learning, you know, experience motion that was there as we went. And they started building the teams around that and started to build in more more, you know, more pieces, as the stages of the business were, you know, continue to go on. So that was sort of the first stage. And then as the business got to like the seed stage, all of a sudden, the executive team broadened. And you started to have more folks that started to come into the business, you know, that that were, you know, instrumental, like, you know, I had a customer success, Shawn, and, you know, Mike is our, you know, head of sales, and like these folks that started to bring much more experience around being in situations at higher scale, what you want to do, like a business goes through an inflection point, usually every about a year and a half to two years, sometimes faster than that, sometimes it’s a year, you know, in there. And you have to understand that you’ve got to align the right experience and people around you to be accountable for the things that you’re going to be able to do to scale. And you don’t want to be guessing at that. But you also need to have, again, going back to diversities, you also have to be willing to take chances on certain people and be able to invest in those specific people, but also surround them with the right types of experience that’s there. And it’s a balance of that, you have too many too many experienced people, you have too many habits that are counted, that are counterbalancing each other that are there. But you do have to understand that like as the stages Go on, you’re building kind of a layered cake of, you know, accountability structure, and making sure that that’s being again rooted in the DNA and the values of the business, then you’re you’re on target there.
Alexander Ferguson 21:35
What would you say is one of your biggest lessons learned or insights from going from a service business? of an agency to a SaaS model? What what are some of the biggest lessons learned there?
Greg Segall 21:49
first lesson was told to me by one of our, one of our my favorite investors, in the early days, and still my favorite investors, Eric Paley, who’s in founder collective. And I remember sitting down with him in his office, and this was right after we raised the seed round. And he challenged me to two things. And he said, Okay, the first the first thing is this, he goes, you’re big, because I asked him I was like, I’m always trying to ask questions like, what’s what do you see is the biggest weakness? So just because like it was like to have the data points understand, like, what what things I’m doing well, not doing well. And he said, your number one problem is that you’re you’re you’re an agency, CEO, from the core, there’s a big difference between being an agency CEO versus a product VC. And again, this is three and a half years ago. And he said, an agency CEOs job is to say, Yes, a product CEOs job is to say no. And I didn’t sink in really what that meant until probably about a year later, you know, when I started to understand what that meant, and again, definitely more focused, definitely more intentional, definitely willing to say no, but I still have the agency habit of saying, Well, why can’t we do it all, you know, like, What’s stopping us, which is good, in a way, because it challenges, you know, linear linear thinking, in many cases, or binary thinking a lot of cases, again, my art background, sort of some of that creativity side of things is like, there’s always a way to do something more creative, and think scrappily, around how you actually solve these problems. And that’s also a problem with cash, it’s like, you can get complacency built around that too, right. And that’s a big thing I’m trying to instill in the business right now is like, you still got to be like, you know, cost conscious around things, but in being able to invest heavier in hypotheses that we know are actually working, and we know fit into the vision and the end, the, you know, the operational pneus of the business that we’re trying to move forward here, too. So that was one piece of advice, right? That, you know, agency CEOs say yes, and No, the other one goes back to what I just talked about, which was he challenged me, he goes, Okay, just raise $5 million. He goes, why are you spending $5 million next month? And I was like, what, you know, like, you came out of sort of left field and I’m like, uh, I joke about joke about this with him all the time, by the way. So, you know, and I’m like, what, like, what do you mean by that? He’s like, well, you just go spend $5 million next month, but why don’t you go just go do and blow this company up? Like, what what would you do? The point of it was to say, if you went spent the money right now, you don’t have confidence in where that money is actually being placed. So before you go spending the money, make sure you have the right confidence level in terms of where you’re going to be spending the money where that hypothesis is allowing you to say yes, let’s double down and you’re starting to get a lot of yeses in a row, instead of this, this like, you know, 101010 and you’re constantly failing, and you’re kind of like in this like teetering phase where just burning cash to burn cash. And again, again, having advised a lot of companies even including Alyce, you have to balance that because there are some things where cash allows you to test multiple hypotheses at the same time. So you have to understand like it is a burning cash business to get to the place that you need to be to be there. But there’s a difference in terms of just go throw a billion kajillion dollars at something and hope it sticks and then build no unit economics into the business versus you actually building you know, consistency and intentionality around how you’re actually showing, you know, sustainable growth as you’re as you’re building the business.
Alexander Ferguson 24:56
As a leader. How do you organize your own My thoughts and day and process to be able to stay on top of that and make sure you’re you are following all those proper hypotheses and not going downside tracks and not getting lost in the minutiae.
Greg Segall 25:11
I mean, it’s hard. That means much easier when you’re a five person company, 10 person, company, 20 person company, you know, right from the beginning, you know, that’s there, because you’re in every conversation, or most conversations were in the same room, you know, in most of those those cases, I mean, for us, we were actually a distributed team, almost from day one, you know, there because we had some people in Russia, we had some people in the US, we have some people in the Philippines, we had, you know, folks in all different all different places that were there. And, and so it was, it was always like, how do we bring everybody together, but you can have that conversation daily, we did a daily standup for the first like two years of the business, where even as it got to 2025 people, every morning at nine o’clock, everybody stood around for 15 minutes. And we just talked about learnings in the business across the board. And it was a really cool way for everyone to be like, what are we hearing? What are we doing? What do we need to focus in on it, it was like a quick prioritization across the business and like a unit, you know, unifying, you know, moments around the business. As a business grows, you have to be again, be very intentional with the with the constructs and the frameworks you put into the business to be able to communicate that across the business. So everybody understands that has a very tight understanding as to like, what’s their role in solving the bigger, you know, things for the business? Now, we’re not perfect at this by any stretch of imagination, it actually we have a major initiative going on right now about how you build alignments in terms of this. Because you can very quickly get unfocused, without having that alignment in terms of what are we actually trying to do, you know, in the world, and in the business, especially where we’ve gotten to as a business as a whole and sort of our place in the market as well.
Alexander Ferguson 26:39
You’re right, you’re right, like, how many team members now?
Greg Segall 26:42
100 170 or so?
Alexander Ferguson 26:44
170? So going from obviously, 20 people and stand up? No, no problem. 270. That’s just that’s just not possible anymore.
Greg Segall 26:51
As soon as you there’s different inflection, but I learned from my first business, right, that was like, at, you know, 10 people, you know, sort of somebody when my friend told me, the law of like nines, you know, are lots of threes and nights, it was like 927, blah, blah, blah, whatever, whatever. It goes from there, you know, and stuff. And I was like, Yeah, I guess that makes sense. But really, it’s like, you’re, you know, you’re 10, you’re 25, you’re 50 or 150, you know, or 100 150. There’s like these inflection points where you just have to keep reassessing those frameworks to keep everybody in line with what are you trying to drive towards? The other thing that’s really important there, too, is, how do you drive that with an era of simplicity, it’s very, very easy to get get unfocused, if you’re not actually driving towards a very simple mission, and a very simple, you know, vision in terms of how people are going there. And again, ours is a very far reaching vision, like, we know what we’re trying to do. And there’s 17 different ways till Sunday to get to that to that vision. So it’s important to actually keep re baselining the business because also the markets changing constantly, you know, the competitive landscape, which is great for us, honestly, I love like you have to see seeing competitors in the space is actually First of all, it’s it’s it’s, you know, it’s it’s a way for you to drive yourself, right, you know, in terms of continue to innovate, but it also shows that the space is humongous. And then again, in our space, yeah, we can have $5 billion business again, to go back to hundreds of billions of dollars in the industry. Like there can be $5 billion businesses that come out of the out of the space like it’s, it’s, it’s just reasonable, is it what’s the approach that works in terms of different ways, you know, as as things go on there,
Alexander Ferguson 28:19
I love I love your mentality of how you approach the problem and willing to grow. Last question to just kind of wrap up our time together, looking forward, what kind of tech predictions do you make, cuz I know you’re both art and and computer science, you love technology itself, but what tech predictions would you make in the next year to near near term and long term 510 years.
Greg Segall 28:40
So the first thing I talked a lot of thought on my friends is that we’re going to move from this era of automating quantity, you know, and, and, you know, automating the like activities, to automating intelligence. And people have to understand that there’s going to be this like five year journey that people are going to get to where it’s going to be a lot more about like, you don’t have to think as much but it’s going to allow you to focus on a lot more of the activities and make them a lot more valuable as time goes on. There’s a lot of work that has to be done in there right and there’s a lot of things especially as you look at like you know, we’re very we spent a lot of time in like the data privacy world which you know, even look at like Google and like the you know, the cold cookies situation stuff that’s happening right now you know, as well like there’s an even like Facebook and Apple you know, always like following that story as well you know, very closely it’s like anything, markets can shift and change at all different cases which changes behavior in the space and they get a COVID was changed fundamentally changes like you’re in my in my house right now. So you’re getting a chance to see like my four year olds books, you know, and like my my wife’s art and stuff like that, you know, that’s that’s here it’s like very creepy scale, you know, skulls and stuff like there’s there’s all different ways to to you know, be in somebody’s space now and be more personal than on a one to one basis. So I think like some of that ice has been broken and that’s going to speed up you know, that that intelligence you know, facet. Part of that is like just knowing things like you’ve got the the you know, the different industries like revenue intelligence they’re talking about and conversational intelligence and all these things that people are talking about, which gives you relevance around that. And then there’s all this other elements around like, Well, how do you do that at a higher scale around that what we were talking about in the previous, you know, episode to plug that for you is like, how do you scale authenticity? And how do you actually continue to drive, you know, drive that as time goes on as well. And we just, there’s a vision I have in terms of what that’s going to look like in the future, and how, what we’re doing right now, and how we’re being a center point of that is such a fundamental, you know, and the most emotional place to actually be, which is a big piece piece that that has to be, you know, evolved inside of business as well. And obviously, you’ve got AR and VR and all these things that are going to totally fundamentally change how people look at shopping, and I’m an e commerce geek. So like, I’m looking very closely a lot of those trends, you know, crypto or blockchain, you know, is going to fundamentally change how people are thinking about, you know, things, I mean, you know, NF T’s are interesting, but, you know, I think that’s going to be interesting, interesting evolution as time goes on, that’s there. So there’s a lot of tech tech trends, but privacy control, behavior, change, shopping, all that type of stuff is going to be like, you know, a fundamental difference that’s there. But in the in the real world where people have to interact with each other. There’s gonna be a lot of technology focused on on how you actually bring people together,
Alexander Ferguson 31:16
bringing people together that that is the future. Thank you so much. This has been thoroughly enjoyable. Definitely for those that want to hear more about Alyce go back and listen to part one of our discussion on UpTech Report comm You can also head over to Alyce.com, ALYCE.COM, able to request a demo, learn more about their platform. Thanks again for your time. Right.
Greg Segall 31:37
It’s greatly appreciate it. I
Alexander Ferguson 31:38
will see you guys on the next episode of UpTech Report. That concludes the audio version of this episode. To see the original and more visit our UpTech Report YouTube channel. If you know a tech company, we should interview you can nominate them at UpTech report.com. Or if you just prefer to listen, make sure you’re subscribed to this series on Apple podcasts, Spotify or your favorite podcasting app.