The Sales Hacker Podcast
The Sales Hacker Podcast

Episode · 3 years ago

33: How to Grow and Scale a Company in the Digital Age w/ Ilir Sela

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

This week on the Sales Hacker podcast, we interview Ilir Sela, the Founder and CEO of Slice, one of the fastest growing companies focused on the small business space in the US.  

Slice helps pizzerias compete with Big Pizza by transforming the way they manage their business.  Scaling a company this day in age is all about navigating the digital age. 

One, two, one three,hey everybody, it's the salesacker podcast. It's your host, Sam Jacobs.I'm the founder of the revenue collective. We've now got locations and chapters inLondon, New York, Denver and Boston and much more to come. Mostof the chief even officer of a company called behave box. Now this weekon the salesacker podcast will really excited to have the CEO and founder of oneof the fastest growing businesses serving small businesses in the country. It's a businesscalled slice, originally called my pizza, and slice is essentially a platform toprovide a full suite of marketing services and, I think, customer generation services backto the independent and small business and small pizzeria community all over the worldand all over the country and they've got over Tenzero pizzerias that are using theplatform now. It's a vertically integrated platform, so it's really focused exclusively on pizzaand it's one of the companies that's growing really, really quickly here inNew York. The Lear Sella, the founder, actually bootstrapt the business allthe way up to two thousand and fifteen before taking a dime of capital andat that point they already had over threezero different pizzerias on the platform. Soit's really a story of a founder understanding deeply in industry, helping grow abusiness from the bootstrap phase when he was running it from US starbucks and StatenIsland and taking it essentially all the way. And their last round financing was afifty million dollar investment from from ggd. So it's a great story and aleaders just really a very logical, very compassionate, very empathetic founder andCEO, and you can hear that come through in the way that he talksabout the business. So we want to thank our sponsors before we get intothe interview itself. The first is air call. It's a phone system designedfor the modern sales team. Are Call seamlessly into greats into your crm,eliminating data entry for your reps and providing you with greater visibility into your team'sperformance through advanced reporting. When it's time to scale, you can add newlines and minutes and you can use incoll coaching to reduce ramp time for younew reps. and I know are call is absolutely killing it. Jeffreakers,their VP marketing, was on the show a few months ago, great company, visit air, called out ill forward slash sales hacker to learn more.So that's are called out io forward sales hacker, and they've got great customerslike Uber done and Bradstreet and pipe drive, as well as thousands of others.And then our second sponsors, outreach. That's outreached, IO, the leadingsales engagement platform. Outreach triples the productivity of sales teams and empowers themto drive predictable and measurable revenue growth by prioritizing the right activities and scale andcustomer engagement. With intelligent automation. Outreach makes customer facing teams more effective andimproves his ability into what really drives results. So hop over to outreach, thatio forward slash sales hacker, to see a thousands of customers, includingcloud air, glass door, Pandora Zello and many, many more, relyon outreach to deliver higher revenue for sales wrap. Now, without further ado, let's us into this interview with the Lear Cella, founder and CEO ofslice. Hey everybody, and welcome back. Hopefully it's back for you, whoeveryou are a listener to the sales hacker podcast. We are incredibly excited. This week we've got the CEO of one of the fastest growing businesses inNew York and one of the most admire just for the way that they're growing, for the quality of their execution and also for the fund that they havewhile they're doing it. So. A Leer Selah is an entrepreneur who seeksto improve communities by bridging the digital divide between local establishments and corporations. Sincetwo thousand and ten he has served as the founder and CEO Slice, whichused to be known as my pizza, a mobile and online service that enablespeople to easily order from author take pizzerias in their neighborhood. In addition tofostering a top donch pizza eating culture, which is very important that slices NewYork headquarters, Leers also built a southeastern European Operation Center to fuel growth,maintain the operating costs and, yes, eat great pizza. And we'll hearall about the diverse origins of pizza from alera presently. Before this, hewas a founder at CEO of Nerd Force,...

...which is an on site tech supportcompany which he later turned into an international franchise opportunity and eventually acquired bynexus in two thousand and eight. So He's a two time entrepreneur and alsoI've gotten known a little bit over the past year or so. Just reallya very clean and logical and INCI flon inspiring founder. So earlier welcome tothe show. Thanks so much for joining us. Thank you saying I'm reallyexcited to be here, obviously chatting with you, and thanks for the reallykind intro welcome. It's my pleasure. So the way we like to startis what we call your baseball car, just because you know there are peopleout there that may not know about slice and they may not know about you. So your name, first of all. Let's get their correct pronunciation of yourlast name. How would you prefer that we pronounce it? Oh it'sStella. There you go, Eliri Sella founder and CEO Slice. Tell usabout slice, just tell us about the company. Yeah, I mean youdid a much better job than I'll probably do. But what we do iswe work with small businesses. So we're tackling the massive pizza industry. It'sa forty five billion dollar industry in the US. It's divided into two parts. You have the big as I call it big pizza, the big chainson one side that make up about a third of the industry in terms ofin terms of revenue, one quarter of the of the industry in terms oflocations, and then the rest is just super fragmented, predominantly small business momand pop pizzerias. And I have a background in the industry in the sensethat my grandfather, my uncle, my dad and today thirty four family andfriends own pizzerias as far out as Arizona. And having a tech background, tonof family and friends just approaching me for help with not only publishing theirmenu and putting together a website for their small business, but helping them withdigital ordering and all these things. And so what we do is we empowerthese local small business pizzerias with all of the technology, marketing and data reallyrequired for them to digitize their businesses. So if you look at the bigchains, over seventy percent. Now, if you sing a lot domino's pizza, over seventy percent of their business is transacted through digital channels, and thisis for pickup, delivery, Walk Ins, you name it. And then youlook look at the local segment, completely underserved, over thirtyzero locations haveno online presence and, you know, just really a massive opportunity, Ithink, for us to help the local, local small businesses compete in this dayand age, and we do it with this vertical approach. So sliceas a brand, our goal is to champion what we call the micro brands. So we champion the JOE's pizzas and Motornos and Billy's pizza and Brooklyn andso forth. And so we've partnered with over tenzero locations were, you know, growing pretty fast and scaling the business and we can do to add,call it anywhere from four to five hundred new locations on a monthly basis.And our job is obviously to continue to shift and help these small businesses transitiontheir business from an offline business to digital one. So this is you know, there's a lot to dive in here and I remember when you and Imet in personally walk through it and it was just really, really fascinating and, as I mentioned in the at the Intro, really inspiring how cleanly youthink about aout the industry. But first let's start at the beginning. Sothis is a family, sort of a family industry, but it's an ethnicindustry in a way, and it's not just about Italy. So Walker throughsort of your origins and tell us a little bit about the fact that youknow, pizza has a very strong penetration, not just in Indaly but in otherplaces. Yeah, so, as I mentioned them, I'm I'll bein by background and I think something maybe a lot of people don't know,maybe some do, but especially in the New York region, Albeian's own alot of pizzerias, obviously Italians as well, but just historically, you know,how did that come to be?...

I think, and this is moreof an educated guess, but also just knowing and understanding the history of myown family. You know, the region where Albania exist, former Yugoslavia,was a communist region for over fifty years and as people try to escape thoseregimes in the S and s and s, the natural migration. The closest reallysafe haven was Italy. So Italy is basically a ferry right away fromAlbania, and so naturally people migrated to Italy, I assume, picked upthis amazing craft and then the goal is always to make it to the UnitedStates, as they made it out here, typically in the New York area.I think you know they're just kind of brought that passion and craft overhere as well and so traditionally an Italian obviously industry and cuisine, but youdo have a lot of all beings that that own pizzerias around the around theNew York area. But now it's kind of transported and transferred out into intoother states. Called it Florida, obviously, Arizona and really other parts of thecountry as people move out of New York and just kind of transition theirlives into into other parts of the country. So that's how my uncle and mygrandfather landed on their pizzeria. So he moved to Italy, briefly workedat a pizza kitchen and then when they moved to Manhattan, to New Yorkin the early S, they opened up a pizzeria on seventy five and thirdcalled Charlie's pizza and it was a family business. They ran it for oversix or seven years. My older brother was born in New York and thenafter some time they decided to move back home and that's when they went backto Yugoslavia back then, and that's where I was born and then when Iwas ten years old, the entire family moved back to New York and openedup another pizzeria, and so it's been that way ever since I can remember. I took a tech path, went to school, have a computer scienceand math degreen and out of school launched the Tech Support Business and a lotof my clients and first customers were pizzerias and we were setting up, youknow, voice over Ip phone lines and setting up some websites and whatnot.And through that business, I think, you know, the natural evolution wasto really hyper focus on the industry and that's when I launched my pizza.It felt like, when I first heard the origin story, that it wasn'tquite an accident per se. But had you always been aware of how bigthe pizza industry is or was because, certainly from you know, my firstimpression, which you disabused me of, was, you know, or asort of health food, health craze kind of time. Everybody's focusing on,you know, no carbs, and yet here is my pizza and now slicebecoming one of the and growing at one of the fastest rates, at leastin New York and probably in the country. So when did it occur to youhow dominant and how big the pizza industry was. So again, I'vebeen surrounded by the industry almost my whole life and it was around two thousandand eight, two thousand and nine. Once I started getting a lot ofthese family and friends and and friends of friends that were asking for some helpin terms of websites and online ordering, I just realized that the requests werekind of all the same and it was a little bit of an Aha momentand took the time to really study the category in the industry as a whole. And so we always kind of knew that it was just a massive industrybecause these pizzaia entrepreneurs are actually really successful. It is a at the unit level, a very successful business, a difficult one, and it's really reallydraining on the entrepreneur, as most businesses...

...are, but really rewarding at thesame time. And so when I took the time to study the category,was blown away by just a handful of things. One is sheer magnitude ofthe category across the US today. It's a forty five billion dollar industry,as I mentioned, and by the way, this does not include, you know, frozen pizza or seven eleven pizza or coscope anything like that. Thisis revenue passing through take out on delivery restaurants where pizza the primary cuisine.The other thing I learned was that it's really an American staple. So it'skind of like cereal almost. You have a pizzeria basically in every neighborhood aroundthe country, super fragmented and distributed and basically every territory and very consistent.So over, sixty percent of Americans have pezza at least once a week whatever. Ninety percent have it once a month. And the beautiful thing about the categoryand also the way we operate an I scale the business is really justchampioning that existing behavior. So we're not about, you know, hey,have pizza breakfast, lunch and dinner and pushing it on a daily basis.We want a champion that family pizza night once a week or, you know, as we call it, pizza Friday, is at the office. It's areally a social event and brings people together and it's a cuisine that doesthat naturally. And so when I saw that and I saw those dynamics andthat behavior, that was really, for me, the the first sort ofAha moment and and really gave me conviction to tackle the category as a verticaland you know, I think food crazes and health sort of crazes coming go. I operate under hypothesis where, you know, no matter how healthy humanstry to be, and we all want to be and we focus on being, there's always room for some of the really great tasting cuisines, whether it'spizza or Burgers or, you know, hot dogs and so on, icecream and potato chips, like they're never going to go away. There's alwaysa line out the door at shake shock, no matter what. And that's theother special things about special thing about pizza, by the way, isthat out of all of these different cuisines that are more, call it,cheap meals, it's actually not bad for you. It's a pretty solid mealfor most of the country. It's how families feed their you know, parentsfeed their kids and families come together. It's there, it's their night outinside inside their house. So it's a really solid meal that I think justhas become a staple and so yeah, excited that we can tackle it.And and so when you say just talking about and sort of shifting a littlebit to your go to market motion. So, so, big pizza,as you would describe it, which must be Domino's, Pizza Hut and PapaJohn's. Is that accurate? And maybe CAESARS? Yeah, and little CAESARS. Those are those are the big four. Yeah, so is it's seventy percentof the market. Is that right? So they combine, they make upabout thirty percent of the revenue. Twenty five percent of the locations.Got It. But when you single them out and you and you dive intotheir unit economics in their business, seventy percent of their business. So seventypercent of that. Thirty percent is digital. So let's focus on how you pitchand sort of the company itself. So you have a sales team,is that right? And the sales team is calling local pizzerias and I howdo you acquire the cost er? Yeah, so we have a sales team.It's about sixteen people today. It's all inside sales. One of ourhypotheses was that when you focus in a given market and you lead with abrand and values and product that speaks really clearly to the small business that itwould accelerate the adoption on the small business side, and that's proven to bevery true, and so we it's all...

...inside sales outbound, but we havenow created a an inbound funnel. Organically, we don't advertise to sign on pizzaio's, but we do have an organic sort of inbound animal that is abouttwenty percent of our volume. So we call pizzerias and explain our value propand the way we do that is as a full service solution, and Ican break that down a little bit more. But team does an amazing job and, as I mentioned earlier, we're bringing on board anywhere from four tofive hundred new locations on a monthly basis and it's just been it's been awesome, and so is the pitch. Do they have to pay a subscription oryou just taking a percentage of every sale and you're providing an order management systemand some kind of logistic service in the background? How does that work?There is no subscription service. We have a take greade model, so wecharge a per transaction basis. So it's basically performance based. But I thinkbecause we've studied the category at length and we've learned all the different nuances andlearned about all the different barriers to entry in terms of the local pizzeria,which happened, by the way, to be fundamentally different than other categories,even in a small business space. What that has really done and let usto create an offering and a solution that really has eliminated a lot of alot of the reasons that small business pizzeria owners would have to say no.So what we do is we basically just ask them to commit to being partof slice and we do all of the lifting. We don't push any technologyon them from day one. We believe in graduating them through this ladder ofvalue. So once we show some value and once we show the rewarding aspectof being part of slice, that is when we start introducing technology on theirside in the form of either you know slice, we call it slice sos, which is a dashboard that allows us to not only transmit orders butoffer order tracking for for the end consumer, but also with what we call slicelanguage, is their business performance dashboard, and so all of these things wetry not to introduce in the beginning. It's we actually try not to eventalk about it. What we really just want to do is have themfeel no pressure or have them feel like that they're not having to change anythingabout their existing habit in order to join slice. If they decide to joinslice and there's no technology required, is the pitch really hey, we're goingto bring you customers. Is that okay as like, what's what is thefirst phase if there's no technology that's required? Yeah, it's all about making surethat the owners bought in on the value of digital and so it's notjust promising new customers, because that isn't the only value add to joining slice. It's it's really about transitioning and offline business to a digital business and allof the benefits that come with that, which is higher order values on theconsumer side and greater efficiencies on the small business side. So the owner nolonger you know, if we've gotten pizzeria's to now process forty percent, nowapproaching fifty percent, of their business is now transacting via slice. Well,now they don't need three people answering their phones. Now they don't need tomake mistakes on orders that are handwritten and now you have consumers that are unhappywith those mistakes. Delivery drivers are going back and forth trying to redeliver thecorrect order. There's just a number of efficiencies that come into play once theowner is fully bought in, and so that initial conversation is really about thesebenefits. We have to get an obviously...

...publish the complete menu for the restaurantsof the owner transmits that to us. We have to get all of thisdata about the restaurant, like their delivery zone, you know, order minimumsand delivery fees and such, and we want to make sure that we setup a transmission method for the orders that allows us to transmit them within withinseconds. So really the conversation is much more about on boarding than it isabout, you know, selling anything. Is it intensive enough that you haveto have sort of like a pretty firm grasp of your unit economics to makesure that you're spending just the right I'm not, to acquire them? Oris the fact that you're really basically not, basically, you just said, notspending that much on marketing? Does that make the whole customer requisition willactually sort of surprisingly profitable? Yeah, I our acquisition costs on the smallbusiness side are so attractive and low relatively relative to the lifetime value of thesmall business. On slice, you're looking at typically somewhere around sixteen x LTVto CAC Ratioi that and so that's really exciting. Yeah, that's well,three to ones. What we shoot force. Sixteen to one is obviously in theabsurdly amazing zone. So walk us through. So you've got tenzero,five hundred, is that right? Pee Three on the platform. So areyou pulling them away from seamless, is it? Or from GRUBHUB or something? Or is it they're not even online at all? So yeah, Ithink anything you're just introducing something new. Yeah, I mean typically they're notonline at all and they're super fragmented around suburbs of some of the largest citiesand then longer tail markets. So for the most part were more the onlypartner that they have, but there are obviously cases based on markets, NewYork being one, and some of the bigger Metros, NEW YORK, ofChicago, La San Francisco, that are you know, we're aggregators, aswe call them, have a lot of traction. But the fascinating thing is, you know, even these aggregators, seamless and GRUB hub, they're justbasically driving some additional business to these locations. There are kind of skimming and asa result, we've gotten to a point where grub up and seamless,and some of these players are twenty years old and they're only managing single digitspercentage points in terms of the gmv of the small business and there are rotatingcustomers across multiple cuisines and all these things. And so I think we're the onlyplayer that's tackling the category with a core approach rather than an incremental approach, although our solution does end up being incremental in multiple ways. One isjust higher Aov from existing customers to is additional customers, because now you havethat presence. But you know, our goal is to be core. Ourgoal is not to be incremental. And some of the positive externalities of havingsuch a large base of customers and partners, which is all of these pizzerias,means that, I think you'd mentioned to me before, there's probably opportunitiesto help them reduce costs, even on things that you wouldn't expect, likelike supply chain. Is that right? Absolutely so. We actually, sincewe last spoke we've launched pizza boxes in the New York market, and sothe way to think about slice in what we're building long term, because notonly do we have a massive small business base, they are all pizzerias,so they're all basically a replica of one another in a lot of ways,and that allows us to focus on building an ecosystem that starts with digital butthen moves into to your point, to supply chain. So how do allthese Pizza Reia is buy pizza boxes, as an example, and they're buyingit on a one to one basis. They're buying it as a as anindividual, and we're bringing economge of scale...

...and so, as an example,we have over twozero PIZZAIA partners in the New York market and we can nowbring that buying power and partner with not even the distributor but the manufacturer ofthe boxes and bring all of them into one, you know, one pointand then drive some, you know, value to the small business. Soin the case of the boxes, we were able to discount those by abouttwenty percent. What does that mean? That means now that value can bepassed along to the consumer, the owner obviously, but also the consumer,and you're getting more valuable and product. So instead of a large pizza beingsold for twenty four dollars, you can sell it for sixteen and have thesame margin on it. And that's our vision long term is to drive value, convenience in quality across the entire ecosystem. That's great. So we focused abouton, you know, the business of the pizza itself. But youknow, you've been building this business. I think I have it that youguys are about ninety five people, which actually, giving your growth rate,doesn't seem like you're spend any money as quickly as you can and hiring asmany people as you possibly can. Walk US through, because you've been anentrepreneur before. What's Your Perspective on growth? What's your perspective and venture capital,and what's your perspective on how to grow the company at the right ratefor what you want to achieve? Yeah, it's a great question that I willclarify. So there's about ninety five people in our New York office.We do have an office in Belfast, Northern Ireland, that is engineering focus. There's about fifteen people there, and and then our our team in Macedoniais about three hundred and sixty people. Oh Wow, okay, so itis a big up. Any so it's a big it's a big team.But but with that said, as an example, the team in Macedonia comeswith some amazing cost benefits. We can drive a lot of opportunities and reallycompetitive salaries in Macedonia. But to translate that in in the US or NewYork terms, the average salary for our team members there is somewhere around twodollars and fifty cents an hour. So so really really cost beneficial to thebusiness and them. But with that said, I mean I've operated the business inmany different ways, but specifically I boot trapped the business with that withouta penny raised between two thousand and ten and in two thousand and sixteen.So I didn't raise a penny of outside capital until September of two thousand andfifteen. And so during the boots draft phase, you know, it wasjust about Ski Ling and being focused on what we knew best, and thatwas partnering with local pizzerias and becoming their core partner in terms of digital andonline ordering. And we did that with a very small team throughout those years. For the most part it was one engineer. Eventually it was two engineers, but that was basically it. I had three sales people in Macedonia whowere calling pizzaias and we had about seven people doing some customer service and supportand that was it. And picked our head up in two thousand and fifteenand we did forty million in GMV that year and I was operating the businessout of a starbucks in steell in New York, which is kind of funnylooking back now. But and then from that point forward, and my focuswas, you know what, I need to really surround myself with some ofthe best people in the industry. I reached out to the founding team ofseamless that had exited the business by that point and my goal was to reallybring them on board and tap into their network and help me scale the team, which then would eventually help scale the business. So they led my firstround of funding, which was about a million dollars, and that was inin two thousand and fifteen. But it...

...was that was had nothing to dowith capital. It was all about getting them involved in the business. Youmight not have even spent the money if I'm understanding the economics the right way, but it's sort of a way to just bring them in. Yeah,yeah, we didn't. We didn't touch it for a good twelve months andthen we started really scaling the team and investing in growth, and that's whenwe raised small round with primary ventures here in New York, which was aboutthree million dollars. And then in May of twenty seventeen is when we didour first real outside ground of funding, which was a fifteen million round ledby ggv. So in total we raised slightly below twenty million dollars and thathas really really helped the business accelerate faster than we were really growing as aboot strap company. I think, you know, if our to do itover again, I probably would have picked my head up a little bit soonerto bring these team members, basically in these partners, into the business sooner, because there are some amazing benefits to having partners like that involved in obviouslycapital behind the business that allows you to invest faster and more than what you'rejust bringing in. But I think the timing was really magical in a way, because we didn't raise capital as an idea and we didn't raise capital,you know, when we only had five customers, by the time we raisedour million dollars we had threezero small business partners on the platform. That's amazing. So first you mentioned that it really helped to accelerate how we spent themoney? Are there functions that didn't exist that you've developed, or is itjust more of everything? For example, you mentioned you're not really spending moneyon marketing, or at least a lot of it is is word of mouthand sort of organic in mounds. So how do you spread you know,fifteen million dollars around when you get that checked from or that wire from ggv? Yeah, a lot of it has been really focused around product and engineering. So, as I mentioned boot trapping, I had one engineer. We didforty million in GMV in two thousand and fifteen. We did not havean APP, we didn't even start one yet. It was all transactional web. So you know, in a short amount of time we've developed our IOSand Android APPS. We've now really shifted approaching fifty percent of the business ofour transactions are now happening on our APPS. We developed sliceos, which is theproduct I mentioned. That is small business facing, that is the pizzeriafacing product that allows us to transmit orders and an offer order tracking using therestaurants drivers, and so a lot of it has been really product focused.And then, aside from that scale, the sales team have been able toreally bring on board a world class leadership team. You know that I feelsuper fortunate to be partnered with and surrounded by, including them. Longtime CMOof seamless and Grubhub, Ryan Scott, longtime cteo of shopkeep, Jason Ordway, most recently the CFO from general assembly and run the one way, JohnRucker, Kenny Herman, who's our ahead of bd and may be known bysome as one of the folks that scaled single platform pretty quickly, and RickWho's our chief people officers. So so just investing in some of these functionswhere we're really forward looking. So it's all about scaling, that only therestaurant side, but now the the user side, the consumer side, andand that ecosystem and and so we have some really, really big aspirations andobviously our vision is to continue to grow this business for four years to come, and so a lot of the investments are being made in some of theselonger term bets. A lot of folks say that, you know, they'realways in like sort of the first inning. Where do you think you are?Is there an end state? I mean I'm sure that you know youwant to be able to serve as many pizzerius as possible, but by theirspecific milestones along the way that are going to be proof points to you thatyou're on the right journey. Obviously the...

...capital is one and hiring the team, but what else are you looking forward to confirm, you know, thegrowth expectations that you have? Yeah, I think it's funny right, likeI'm actually not a fan of all the people that's say hey, like we'vegotten all this stuff done and we're just getting started. I understand the ideabehind it, but somehow it feels like everyone's just getting started. I mean, if you're just getting started and you start in two thousand and ten,you right, right. And so for us, our growth opportunities are,you know, in two areas. One is, obviously we can do youto stay focused on the pizza article. There's a lot of growth there.So we can grow x in terms of number of locations from this point on, and that means you're capturing significant chunk, call it ninety percent, of theindustry in terms of locations. The real growth opportunity is growing within thesort of depth within the pizzeriam. How do you go from managing three percentof their order volume to seventy percent of their order volume the way dominos isdoing it. To give you a comp an average domino's location, and theyhave about fifty six hundred locations in the US. The average location does onethousand online orders per week. The average small business pizzeria, well, mostdo nothing, but the ones that are plugged in are doing somewhere around fifteenonline orders per week, one hundred and five. So we view that asa massive growth lever. So our focus will be on depth, not justwidth. And then you have opportunities to activate the same ecosystem in other marketsthat are international. Or you can do this and step and repeat the modelfor the next logical vertical. If you want to stay in the food space, let's call it Asian cuisine. But it doesn't have to be limited tofood. It's all about empowering offline small business markets and digitizing them and unifyingthem under our brand. Yeah, I mean that, thousand to fifteen.That's a domino's is a great business. Jeez. I mean that the businessmodel itself off, aside from the cuisine, is impressive. Yeah, it's incredible. You know what the big really misunderstood and I think, overlooked componentof that is that digital drives efficiencies through the small business and in their case, through their franchise's. That efficiency is then passed on to the end consumeras value, and so domino's has not raised the prices of their food intwelve years. And this is a value driven category. Now you look atwhat's happening in Manhattan as an example, which is not a core market force, just naturally isn't. But in Manhattan, where you have seamless, you haveall these local pizza rea's partnering with seamless and they had to take ratesfor seamless or now anywhere from twenty to thirty percent per order, and sothe owners are increasing their prices. So if you go and order a largepie at Joe's, you're probably going to pay, I don't know, twentytwo or twenty four dollars for a large pie, and that's, for me, fascinating and I'll call it crazy, but I don't blame them. Andnow what they're doing is boxing out the value driven customer and they're just becominga you know, call it up foody pizzai of that caters to the topfive or ten percent and then all of a sudden when you you know,by the time you kind of wake up to the fact that that's what's happening. As a long tail outcome, you know, these businesses start realizing thatthey have no, no future, and so they're closing down. Well,well, and that makes what you're doing all the more important. The othersort of nonintuitive, although now that I see all these kiosks at across therest are industry, it's clear to me how powerful the increase in average wortervalue can be when you're just presenting a very clean, well merchandise visual interfaceto say hey, you know, you...

...got the Pie. Do you wantthe chicken wings with it or do you want the large cook with it?In a way that sometimes, you know, the humans aren't as good at,it's game changing, even even the kiosk. To your point, andI think you know the way I explain it is just don't let customers orderfrom memory, because when you order from memory you're not going to order alot. But if you give them the convenience and you publish without even havingupselling tools, you will get a big lift in Aov. And then onceyou add upselling and some of those recommendation tools, you start seeing a reallyhuge lift and that that's amazing. So that's our advice for small businesses iseveryone's always so focused on getting new customers and really no one ever is focusedon getting more and the most out of the existing customers. Yeah, it'sgreat advice. So one sort of last topic, because this has been really, really fascinating. So thank you for your time. But you've been youknow, you've been an entrepreneur now for quite a while and you're obviously youyou come from a CS background, you're an engineer by trade, you comefrom the pizza industry. So those are all well developed skills and sort ofcapabilities. But something that's not always intuitive to people is the ability to leadand the ability to grow and manage. What are the principles, because you'veobviously become quite good at it. You're recruiting this incredible team. What areyour principles for management or leadership that you know we as as listeners, cantake away and sort of think about? Ruminata? Yeah, I think youknow, first and foremost, transparency. I'm super transparent. I think havinga vision and really being able to communicate that, and this doesn't just applyto entrepreneurs and founders. Everyone in a leadership role needs to have a visionand needs to be able to communicate and really rally other people around that vision. I think this partnership mentality. I don't consider my team as people whowork for me. We work together, they work with me and we growtogether, and so having a partnership mentality is really important. And then ownershipmentality. And so I'm not a micromanager. I believe in bringing, you know, the best people possible to come solve a problem and letting them ownthe problem, almost as a business within the business, and being a supportlayer for that business. Right. So, how can I support this partner inmy business to succeed? What are some resources I can go and bringto the table to make, you know, their job easier, but to givethem really an opportunity to succeed at the highest level? And and thenflexibility and being coachable. Founders an entrepreneurs always look for team members who arecoachable, but my question to them is, you know, are you coachable andflexible? Are you made? Yeah, and so I just try to alwayskeep those things in mind and I come in every single day with alearning mentality. I if I'm not learning every single day, then I don'tthink we're doing a good job as as a team. So I think justkind of taking that approach, you'd be I think a lot of people maybe surprised by the outcome of that. And we have some people around ourteam that are amazing, amazing leaders. They can go and launch a businesstomorrow and probably be incredibly successful, and so why not put them in thatsame position within our ecosystem, within our company, to be able to tolead and grow and and learn from them as well. So so I wouldsay, you know, if you met me two years ago and you sawme again last year, my hope and my hypothesis is that a lot ofthings about me change, but you know, my core beliefs didn't. And thenyou know, if you and I were to touch base today, Iknow we first spoke about a year ago, you'd probably, and my hope isthat you'd say the same thing about me this year and then hopefully coulddo to grow into next year or so.

That's my approach and I also makesure that everyone doesn't really get caught up in this race. It's reallyimportant to have a very level head approach things with, you know, firstprincipal mentality and not get caught up in a lot of the hype that comeswith being in this startup scene, especially in technology. So we just kindof go about it at our own peace, focus on the things that we believein and not worry too much about the rest. I think that's greatadvice. So we like to do a little bit at the end here wherewe pay it forward and talk about things that have inspired you, books thatyou've read, people that have inspired you, any content that you think we shouldassume, either books that had a particular impact or people that you thinkwe should seek out? It's a good question. The one book that Imean I read a number of different books and most recent one I'm reading isbook called Blitz Scaling, which I think is probably the current hot notebook.Yeah, the hot new book, but my life, the life changing bookI read about a year and a half ago was a book called Sapiens.If our aren't exactly have you, I'm assuming you've read it. I haveindeed, and what are your thoughts? I'll turn it to you. Well, I thought you know the thing I liked about it most. First ofall. I mean there's a bunch of thoughts, but one of them ishow he inverts a lot of the relationships that we assume. We're sort ofbaked it. For example, you know, we assume that the rise of acricculture was this blessing to humanity, but in fact he points out thatour overall collective utility was probably happy our in a person basis when we wereall under gatherers and our diet was much more diversified. So from the perspectiveof how just looking at the rise of civilization and how sometimes the way wethink about things is can be inverted to look at it a different way,that was one of the big takeaways I had from the book. I completelyagree and I think for me, if I were to summarize the book inone or two sentences, is that storytelling is the greatest and the most uniquesuperpower that humans have and I would advise everyone to work on that craft.Be a storyteller, and that doesn't mean make things up, but it means, you know, being a great communicator and storyteller is what sets you apartfrom any other mammal on the planet. So that was for me the biggest, I think, Aha moment, and so I don't think I'm a greatstoryteller yet, but I'm working on on my communications. A good I think. So. I'm sure you know, you guys are growing. Are youhiring? We got a lot of folks out there that probably a love pizza, be love helping small communities and small business people and see our talented seller. So if if you are hiring, you know, how should they goabout applying to a job of it slice? If you are? Yeah, alwayshiring. Always open to meeting people. Even if we're not hiring, I'malways open to meeting and learning about, you know, all the different people, especially in the in the New York community. We currently are hiringfor a VP or an svp of sales specifically on the small business side.That would eventually scale into what I call our chief restaurant officer. And yes, or anyone interested can just go. I think it's jobs at slice lifecom, but really just go to slice lifecom and there's a big link there whereyou can look at some other opportunities that are available at slice and apply.Feel free to reference this podcast and interview and I'm happy to drop on thecall. But Yep, always open to meeting new folks and happy to meethead of marketing and head of technology, folks, and simply for learning purposesand, you know, meeting New People and really just scaling our networks.That sounds great. Well, we are. Thank you so much for participating.congrats on all the growth. It's...

...been a great conversation and I hopeto see the person soon. Thank you so much, Samon. Congrats aswell, and excited to continue our relationship and will definitely speak soon. Willhost you for for a pizza Friday here. It's lesson. I'll be there.Sounds good. Thank you. Hey, folks, Sam Jacobs here. Thisis SAM's corner. Really Nice conversation, really good conversation with a Leer Sella, the founder and CEO Slice. It's really a very special company.They bootstrap for five years and then he only took financing really recently and nowthey've got over tenzero different pizzerias that are on the platform. And just listento how he thinks about the business, how it's really about value and partnership, partnership both with the people that he works with, so kids executive team, but also partnership with those pizzeria's helping them improve their business and really transformingtheir business where they can increase where average order value, they can lower theircosts and lower their supplies by buying in bulk for things like pizza boxes,which they're doing here in New York City. But it's really been a special journeyand it's one of the companies that a lot of folks in New Yorkknow about because of the way that he's building and running the company, whichis intelligently a sort of proportionately and thoughtfully. I guess the last thing that Iwould say that sort of jumped out at me earlier mentioned, you knowthat he was reading sapiens and he talked about the power of storytelling, andI think that's especially true in sales. Stories have the ability to capture theimagination in a way that so sort of raw numbers simply don't. So eventhough, you know, we hear a lot about all the different ways thatpeople learn and some people are oral and some people are visual and some peopleare kin esthetic and some people like numbers and are highly analytical and other peopleare more subjective, I really think that storytelling is a core and a centralcapability, not just for sales people but for executives. You have to beable to communicate. You have to be able to synthesize all of this data, but say is so what that comes from the data, because people justlooking at tables and numbers, they often don't know what they're supposed to takefrom it. The conclusions aren't always obvious or evident. And so when youthink about becoming an executive, it really comes down to sometimes the ability tocommunicate, even more so sometimes in the ability to actually do and so workingon your storytelling capabilities, working on your ability to synthesize data into a narrativethat makes sense and that speaks to both the intellectual and emotional needs of yourlistener. I think that that's a differentiator when it comes to building your career. So this has been Sam's corner. Finally, we want to think,of course, as always, our sponsors. Those are air call, your advancedcall center software, complete business phone and contact center, one hundred percentnatively integrated, and our Rach of customer engagement platform that helps efficiently and effectivelyengage prospects, to drive more pipeline and close more ideals. If you wantto find us, you'll find the sales hacking podcast on itunes with people play. If you enjoy this episode, please tell at least fifty to fifty fiveof your closest friends. Share it on Linkedin, twitter or elsewhere. Again, I think elsewhere is probably facebook. If you want to get in touchwith me, find me on twitter at Sam f Jacobs or on Linkedin andyou can google me on the Curero behaviors. You can send me a message.I try to respond and thank you so much for listening and I'll talkto you next time.

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