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 in London, New York, Denver and Boston and much more to come. Most of the chief even officer of a company called behave box. Now this week on the salesacker podcast will really excited to have the CEO and founder of one of the fastest growing businesses serving small businesses in the country. It's a business called slice, originally called my pizza, and slice is essentially a platform to provide a full suite of marketing services and, I think, customer generation services back to the independent and small business and small pizzeria community all over the world and all over the country and they've got over Tenzero pizzerias that are using the platform now. It's a vertically integrated platform, so it's really focused exclusively on pizza and it's one of the companies that's growing really, really quickly here in New York. The Lear Sella, the founder, actually bootstrapt the business all the way up to two thousand and fifteen before taking a dime of capital and at that point they already had over threezero different pizzerias on the platform. So it's really a story of a founder understanding deeply in industry, helping grow a business from the bootstrap phase when he was running it from US starbucks and Staten Island and taking it essentially all the way. And their last round financing was a fifty million dollar investment from from ggd. So it's a great story and a leaders just really a very logical, very compassionate, very empathetic founder and CEO, and you can hear that come through in the way that he talks about the business. So we want to thank our sponsors before we get into the interview itself. The first is air call. It's a phone system designed for 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's performance through advanced reporting. When it's time to scale, you can add new lines and minutes and you can use incoll coaching to reduce ramp time for you new 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 customers like Uber done and Bradstreet and pipe drive, as well as thousands of others. And then our second sponsors, outreach. That's outreached, IO, the leading sales engagement platform. Outreach triples the productivity of sales teams and empowers them to drive predictable and measurable revenue growth by prioritizing the right activities and scale and customer engagement. With intelligent automation. Outreach makes customer facing teams more effective and improves his ability into what really drives results. So hop over to outreach, that io forward slash sales hacker, to see a thousands of customers, including cloud air, glass door, Pandora Zello and many, many more, rely on 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 of slice. Hey everybody, and welcome back. Hopefully it's back for you, whoever you 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 in New 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 have while they're doing it. So. A Leer Selah is an entrepreneur who seeks to improve communities by bridging the digital divide between local establishments and corporations. Since two thousand and ten he has served as the founder and CEO Slice, which used to be known as my pizza, a mobile and online service that enables people to easily order from author take pizzerias in their neighborhood. In addition to fostering a top donch pizza eating culture, which is very important that slices New York headquarters, Leers also built a southeastern European Operation Center to fuel growth, maintain the operating costs and, yes, eat great pizza. And we'll hear all about the diverse origins of pizza from alera presently. Before this, he was a founder at CEO of Nerd Force,...

...which is an on site tech support company which he later turned into an international franchise opportunity and eventually acquired by nexus in two thousand and eight. So He's a two time entrepreneur and also I've gotten known a little bit over the past year or so. Just really a very clean and logical and INCI flon inspiring founder. So earlier welcome to the show. Thanks so much for joining us. Thank you saying I'm really excited to be here, obviously chatting with you, and thanks for the really kind intro welcome. It's my pleasure. So the way we like to start is what we call your baseball car, just because you know there are people out 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 your last name. How would you prefer that we pronounce it? Oh it's Stella. There you go, Eliri Sella founder and CEO Slice. Tell us about slice, just tell us about the company. Yeah, I mean you did a much better job than I'll probably do. But what we do is we work with small businesses. So we're tackling the massive pizza industry. It's a 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 chains on one side that make up about a third of the industry in terms of in terms of revenue, one quarter of the of the industry in terms of locations, and then the rest is just super fragmented, predominantly small business mom and pop pizzerias. And I have a background in the industry in the sense that my grandfather, my uncle, my dad and today thirty four family and friends own pizzerias as far out as Arizona. And having a tech background, ton of family and friends just approaching me for help with not only publishing their menu and putting together a website for their small business, but helping them with digital ordering and all these things. And so what we do is we empower these local small business pizzerias with all of the technology, marketing and data really required for them to digitize their businesses. So if you look at the big chains, over seventy percent. Now, if you sing a lot domino's pizza, over seventy percent of their business is transacted through digital channels, and this is for pickup, delivery, Walk Ins, you name it. And then you look look at the local segment, completely underserved, over thirtyzero locations have no online presence and, you know, just really a massive opportunity, I think, for us to help the local, local small businesses compete in this day and age, and we do it with this vertical approach. So slice as 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 and so 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 transition their 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 I met 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 you think about aout the industry. But first let's start at the beginning. So this is a family, sort of a family industry, but it's an ethnic industry in a way, and it's not just about Italy. So Walker through sort of your origins and tell us a little bit about the fact that you know, pizza has a very strong penetration, not just in Indaly but in other places. Yeah, so, as I mentioned them, I'm I'll be in 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 a lot of pizzerias, obviously Italians as well, but just historically, you know, how did that come to be?...

I think, and this is more of an educated guess, but also just knowing and understanding the history of my own family. You know, the region where Albania exist, former Yugoslavia, was a communist region for over fifty years and as people try to escape those regimes in the S and s and s, the natural migration. The closest really safe haven was Italy. So Italy is basically a ferry right away from Albania, and so naturally people migrated to Italy, I assume, picked up this amazing craft and then the goal is always to make it to the United States, 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 over here as well and so traditionally an Italian obviously industry and cuisine, but you do have a lot of all beings that that own pizzerias around the around the New York area. But now it's kind of transported and transferred out into into other states. Called it Florida, obviously, Arizona and really other parts of the country as people move out of New York and just kind of transition their lives into into other parts of the country. So that's how my uncle and my grandfather landed on their pizzeria. So he moved to Italy, briefly worked at a pizza kitchen and then when they moved to Manhattan, to New York in the early S, they opened up a pizzeria on seventy five and third called Charlie's pizza and it was a family business. They ran it for over six or seven years. My older brother was born in New York and then after some time they decided to move back home and that's when they went back to Yugoslavia back then, and that's where I was born and then when I was ten years old, the entire family moved back to New York and opened up 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 science and math degreen and out of school launched the Tech Support Business and a lot of my clients and first customers were pizzerias and we were setting up, you know, voice over Ip phone lines and setting up some websites and whatnot. And through that business, I think, you know, the natural evolution was to 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't quite an accident per se. But had you always been aware of how big the pizza industry is or was because, certainly from you know, my first impression, which you disabused me of, was, you know, or a sort of health food, health craze kind of time. Everybody's focusing on, you know, no carbs, and yet here is my pizza and now slice becoming one of the and growing at one of the fastest rates, at least in New York and probably in the country. So when did it occur to you how dominant and how big the pizza industry was. So again, I've been surrounded by the industry almost my whole life and it was around two thousand and eight, two thousand and nine. Once I started getting a lot of these family and friends and and friends of friends that were asking for some help in terms of websites and online ordering, I just realized that the requests were kind of all the same and it was a little bit of an Aha moment and 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 industry because 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 really draining on the entrepreneur, as most businesses...

...are, but really rewarding at the same 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 of the 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. This is 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's kind of like cereal almost. You have a pizzeria basically in every neighborhood around the 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 category and also the way we operate an I scale the business is really just championing 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 a really a social event and brings people together and it's a cuisine that does that naturally. And so when I saw that and I saw those dynamics and that behavior, that was really, for me, the the first sort of Aha moment and and really gave me conviction to tackle the category as a vertical and you know, I think food crazes and health sort of crazes coming go. I operate under hypothesis where, you know, no matter how healthy humans try 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's pizza or Burgers or, you know, hot dogs and so on, ice cream and potato chips, like they're never going to go away. There's always a line out the door at shake shock, no matter what. And that's the other special things about special thing about pizza, by the way, is that 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 meal for most of the country. It's how families feed their you know, parents feed their kids and families come together. It's there, it's their night out inside inside their house. So it's a really solid meal that I think just has 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 little bit to your go to market motion. So, so, big pizza, as you would describe it, which must be Domino's, Pizza Hut and Papa John's. Is that accurate? And maybe CAESARS? Yeah, and little CAESARS. Those are those are the big four. Yeah, so is it's seventy percent of the market. Is that right? So they combine, they make up about thirty percent of the revenue. Twenty five percent of the locations. Got It. But when you single them out and you and you dive into their unit economics in their business, seventy percent of their business. So seventy percent of that. Thirty percent is digital. So let's focus on how you pitch and sort of the company itself. So you have a sales team, is that right? And the sales team is calling local pizzerias and I how do 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 our hypotheses was that when you focus in a given market and you lead with a brand and values and product that speaks really clearly to the small business that it would accelerate the adoption on the small business side, and that's proven to be very true, and so we it's all...

...inside sales outbound, but we have now 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 about twenty percent of our volume. So we call pizzerias and explain our value prop and the way we do that is as a full service solution, and I can 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 to five 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 or you just taking a percentage of every sale and you're providing an order management system and some kind of logistic service in the background? How does that work? There is no subscription service. We have a take greade model, so we charge a per transaction basis. So it's basically performance based. But I think because we've studied the category at length and we've learned all the different nuances and learned 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 us to create an offering and a solution that really has eliminated a lot of a lot 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 part of slice and we do all of the lifting. We don't push any technology on them from day one. We believe in graduating them through this ladder of value. So once we show some value and once we show the rewarding aspect of being part of slice, that is when we start introducing technology on their side in the form of either you know slice, we call it slice so s, which is a dashboard that allows us to not only transmit orders but offer order tracking for for the end consumer, but also with what we call slice language, is their business performance dashboard, and so all of these things we try not to introduce in the beginning. It's we actually try not to even talk about it. What we really just want to do is have them feel no pressure or have them feel like that they're not having to change anything about their existing habit in order to join slice. If they decide to join slice and there's no technology required, is the pitch really hey, we're going to bring you customers. Is that okay as like, what's what is the first phase if there's no technology that's required? Yeah, it's all about making sure that the owners bought in on the value of digital and so it's not just 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 all of the benefits that come with that, which is higher order values on the consumer side and greater efficiencies on the small business side. So the owner no longer you know, if we've gotten pizzeria's to now process forty percent, now approaching 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 to make mistakes on orders that are handwritten and now you have consumers that are unhappy with those mistakes. Delivery drivers are going back and forth trying to redeliver the correct order. There's just a number of efficiencies that come into play once the owner is fully bought in, and so that initial conversation is really about these benefits. We have to get an obviously...

...publish the complete menu for the restaurants of the owner transmits that to us. We have to get all of this data about the restaurant, like their delivery zone, you know, order minimums and delivery fees and such, and we want to make sure that we set up a transmission method for the orders that allows us to transmit them within within seconds. So really the conversation is much more about on boarding than it is about, you know, selling anything. Is it intensive enough that you have to have sort of like a pretty firm grasp of your unit economics to make sure that you're spending just the right I'm not, to acquire them? Or is the fact that you're really basically not, basically, you just said, not spending that much on marketing? Does that make the whole customer requisition will actually sort of surprisingly profitable? Yeah, I our acquisition costs on the small business side are so attractive and low relatively relative to the lifetime value of the small business. On slice, you're looking at typically somewhere around sixteen x LTV to 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 the absurdly amazing zone. So walk us through. So you've got tenzero, five hundred, is that right? Pee Three on the platform. So are you pulling them away from seamless, is it? Or from GRUBHUB or something? Or is it they're not even online at all? So yeah, I think anything you're just introducing something new. Yeah, I mean typically they're not online at all and they're super fragmented around suburbs of some of the largest cities and then longer tail markets. So for the most part were more the only partner that they have, but there are obviously cases based on markets, New York being one, and some of the bigger Metros, NEW YORK, of Chicago, La San Francisco, that are you know, we're aggregators, as we call them, have a lot of traction. But the fascinating thing is, you know, even these aggregators, seamless and GRUB hub, they're just basically driving some additional business to these locations. There are kind of skimming and as a 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 digits percentage points in terms of the gmv of the small business and there are rotating customers across multiple cuisines and all these things. And so I think we're the only player 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 is just higher Aov from existing customers to is additional customers, because now you have that presence. But you know, our goal is to be core. Our goal is not to be incremental. And some of the positive externalities of having such 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 opportunities to help them reduce costs, even on things that you wouldn't expect, like like supply chain. Is that right? Absolutely so. We actually, since we last spoke we've launched pizza boxes in the New York market, and so the way to think about slice in what we're building long term, because not only 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 but then moves into to your point, to supply chain. So how do all these Pizza Reia is buy pizza boxes, as an example, and they're buying it on a one to one basis. They're buying it as a as an individual, 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 now bring that buying power and partner with not even the distributor but the manufacturer of the boxes and bring all of them into one, you know, one point and then drive some, you know, value to the small business. So in the case of the boxes, we were able to discount those by about twenty percent. What does that mean? That means now that value can be passed 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 being sold for twenty four dollars, you can sell it for sixteen and have the same 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 about on, you know, the business of the pizza itself. But you know, you've been building this business. I think I have it that you guys 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 as many people as you possibly can. Walk US through, because you've been an entrepreneur 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 rate for what you want to achieve? Yeah, it's a great question that I will clarify. 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 Macedonia is about three hundred and sixty people. Oh Wow, okay, so it is 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 comes with some amazing cost benefits. We can drive a lot of opportunities and really competitive salaries in Macedonia. But to translate that in in the US or New York terms, the average salary for our team members there is somewhere around two dollars and fifty cents an hour. So so really really cost beneficial to the business and them. But with that said, I mean I've operated the business in many different ways, but specifically I boot trapped the business with that without a 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 and fifteen. And so during the boots draft phase, you know, it was just about Ski Ling and being focused on what we knew best, and that was partnering with local pizzerias and becoming their core partner in terms of digital and online 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 who were calling pizzaias and we had about seven people doing some customer service and support and that was it. And picked our head up in two thousand and fifteen and we did forty million in GMV that year and I was operating the business out of a starbucks in steell in New York, which is kind of funny looking back now. But and then from that point forward, and my focus was, you know what, I need to really surround myself with some of the best people in the industry. I reached out to the founding team of seamless that had exited the business by that point and my goal was to really bring 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 first round of funding, which was about a million dollars, and that was in in two thousand and fifteen. But it...

...was that was had nothing to do with capital. It was all about getting them involved in the business. You might 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 and then we started really scaling the team and investing in growth, and that's when we raised small round with primary ventures here in New York, which was about three million dollars. And then in May of twenty seventeen is when we did our first real outside ground of funding, which was a fifteen million round led by ggv. So in total we raised slightly below twenty million dollars and that has really really helped the business accelerate faster than we were really growing as a boot strap company. I think, you know, if our to do it over again, I probably would have picked my head up a little bit sooner to 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 obviously capital behind the business that allows you to invest faster and more than what you're just 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 raised our 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 the money? Are there functions that didn't exist that you've developed, or is it just more of everything? For example, you mentioned you're not really spending money on marketing, or at least a lot of it is is word of mouth and 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 did forty million in GMV in two thousand and fifteen. We did not have an 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 IOS and Android APPS. We've now really shifted approaching fifty percent of the business of our transactions are now happening on our APPS. We developed sliceos, which is the product I mentioned. That is small business facing, that is the pizzeria facing product that allows us to transmit orders and an offer order tracking using the restaurants drivers, and so a lot of it has been really product focused. And then, aside from that scale, the sales team have been able to really bring on board a world class leadership team. You know that I feel super fortunate to be partnered with and surrounded by, including them. Longtime CMO of seamless and Grubhub, Ryan Scott, longtime cteo of shopkeep, Jason Ordway, most recently the CFO from general assembly and run the one way, John Rucker, Kenny Herman, who's our ahead of bd and may be known by some as one of the folks that scaled single platform pretty quickly, and Rick Who's our chief people officers. So so just investing in some of these functions where we're really forward looking. So it's all about scaling, that only the restaurant side, but now the the user side, the consumer side, and and that ecosystem and and so we have some really, really big aspirations and obviously 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 these longer term bets. A lot of folks say that, you know, they're always 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 you want to be able to serve as many pizzerius as possible, but by their specific milestones along the way that are going to be proof points to you that you'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, the growth expectations that you have? Yeah, I think it's funny right, like I'm actually not a fan of all the people that's say hey, like we've gotten all this stuff done and we're just getting started. I understand the idea behind 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 you to 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 the industry in terms of locations. The real growth opportunity is growing within the sort of depth within the pizzeriam. How do you go from managing three percent of their order volume to seventy percent of their order volume the way dominos is doing it. To give you a comp an average domino's location, and they have about fifty six hundred locations in the US. The average location does one thousand online orders per week. The average small business pizzeria, well, most do nothing, but the ones that are plugged in are doing somewhere around fifteen online orders per week, one hundred and five. So we view that as a massive growth lever. So our focus will be on depth, not just width. And then you have opportunities to activate the same ecosystem in other markets that are international. Or you can do this and step and repeat the model for 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 to food. It's all about empowering offline small business markets and digitizing them and unifying them under our brand. Yeah, I mean that, thousand to fifteen. That's a domino's is a great business. Jeez. I mean that the business model itself off, aside from the cuisine, is impressive. Yeah, it's incredible. You know what the big really misunderstood and I think, overlooked component of 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 consumer as value, and so domino's has not raised the prices of their food in twelve years. And this is a value driven category. Now you look at what'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 have all these local pizza rea's partnering with seamless and they had to take rates for seamless or now anywhere from twenty to thirty percent per order, and so the owners are increasing their prices. So if you go and order a large pie at Joe's, you're probably going to pay, I don't know, twenty two 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. And now what they're doing is boxing out the value driven customer and they're just becoming a you know, call it up foody pizzai of that caters to the top five 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 that they have no, no future, and so they're closing down. Well, well, and that makes what you're doing all the more important. The other sort of nonintuitive, although now that I see all these kiosks at across the rest are industry, it's clear to me how powerful the increase in average worter value can be when you're just presenting a very clean, well merchandise visual interface to say hey, you know, you...

...got the Pie. Do you want the 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, and I think you know the way I explain it is just don't let customers order from memory, because when you order from memory you're not going to order a lot. But if you give them the convenience and you publish without even having upselling tools, you will get a big lift in Aov. And then once you add upselling and some of those recommendation tools, you start seeing a really huge lift and that that's amazing. So that's our advice for small businesses is everyone's always so focused on getting new customers and really no one ever is focused on getting more and the most out of the existing customers. Yeah, it's great advice. So one sort of last topic, because this has been really, really fascinating. So thank you for your time. But you've been you know, you've been an entrepreneur now for quite a while and you're obviously you you come from a CS background, you're an engineer by trade, you come from the pizza industry. So those are all well developed skills and sort of capabilities. But something that's not always intuitive to people is the ability to lead and the ability to grow and manage. What are the principles, because you've obviously become quite good at it. You're recruiting this incredible team. What are your principles for management or leadership that you know we as as listeners, can take away and sort of think about? Ruminata? Yeah, I think you know, first and foremost, transparency. I'm super transparent. I think having a vision and really being able to communicate that, and this doesn't just apply to entrepreneurs and founders. Everyone in a leadership role needs to have a vision and 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 who work for me. We work together, they work with me and we grow together, and so having a partnership mentality is really important. And then ownership mentality. 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 own the problem, almost as a business within the business, and being a support layer for that business. Right. So, how can I support this partner in my business to succeed? What are some resources I can go and bring to the table to make, you know, their job easier, but to give them really an opportunity to succeed at the highest level? And and then flexibility and being coachable. Founders an entrepreneurs always look for team members who are coachable, but my question to them is, you know, are you coachable and flexible? Are you made? Yeah, and so I just try to always keep those things in mind and I come in every single day with a learning mentality. I if I'm not learning every single day, then I don't think we're doing a good job as as a team. So I think just kind of taking that approach, you'd be I think a lot of people may be surprised by the outcome of that. And we have some people around our team that are amazing, amazing leaders. They can go and launch a business tomorrow and probably be incredibly successful, and so why not put them in that same position within our ecosystem, within our company, to be able to to lead and grow and and learn from them as well. So so I would say, you know, if you met me two years ago and you saw me again last year, my hope and my hypothesis is that a lot of things about me change, but you know, my core beliefs didn't. And then you know, if you and I were to touch base today, I know we first spoke about a year ago, you'd probably, and my hope is that you'd say the same thing about me this year and then hopefully could do to grow into next year or so.

That's my approach and I also make sure that everyone doesn't really get caught up in this race. It's really important to have a very level head approach things with, you know, first principal mentality and not get caught up in a lot of the hype that comes with being in this startup scene, especially in technology. So we just kind of go about it at our own peace, focus on the things that we believe in and not worry too much about the rest. I think that's great advice. So we like to do a little bit at the end here where we pay it forward and talk about things that have inspired you, books that you've read, people that have inspired you, any content that you think we should assume, either books that had a particular impact or people that you think we should seek out? It's a good question. The one book that I mean I read a number of different books and most recent one I'm reading is book called Blitz Scaling, which I think is probably the current hot notebook. Yeah, the hot new book, but my life, the life changing book I 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 have indeed, and what are your thoughts? I'll turn it to you. Well, I thought you know the thing I liked about it most. First of all. I mean there's a bunch of thoughts, but one of them is how he inverts a lot of the relationships that we assume. We're sort of baked it. For example, you know, we assume that the rise of acric culture was this blessing to humanity, but in fact he points out that our overall collective utility was probably happy our in a person basis when we were all under gatherers and our diet was much more diversified. So from the perspective of how just looking at the rise of civilization and how sometimes the way we think 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 completely agree and I think for me, if I were to summarize the book in one or two sentences, is that storytelling is the greatest and the most unique superpower 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 apart from 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 great storyteller yet, but I'm working on on my communications. A good I think. So. I'm sure you know, you guys are growing. Are you hiring? 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 go about applying to a job of it slice? If you are? Yeah, always hiring. Always open to meeting people. Even if we're not hiring, I'm always open to meeting and learning about, you know, all the different people, especially in the in the New York community. We currently are hiring for 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 where you 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 the call. But Yep, always open to meeting new folks and happy to meet head of marketing and head of technology, folks, and simply for learning purposes and, 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 hope to see the person soon. Thank you so much, Samon. Congrats as well, and excited to continue our relationship and will definitely speak soon. Will host you for for a pizza Friday here. It's lesson. I'll be there. Sounds good. Thank you. Hey, folks, Sam Jacobs here. This is 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 now they've got over tenzero different pizzerias that are on the platform. And just listen to 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 transforming their business where they can increase where average order value, they can lower their costs 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 journey and it's one of the companies that a lot of folks in New York know about because of the way that he's building and running the company, which is intelligently a sort of proportionately and thoughtfully. I guess the last thing that I would say that sort of jumped out at me earlier mentioned, you know that he was reading sapiens and he talked about the power of storytelling, and I think that's especially true in sales. Stories have the ability to capture the imagination in a way that so sort of raw numbers simply don't. So even though, you know, we hear a lot about all the different ways that people learn and some people are oral and some people are visual and some people are kin esthetic and some people like numbers and are highly analytical and other people are more subjective, I really think that storytelling is a core and a central capability, not just for sales people but for executives. You have to be able 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 just looking at tables and numbers, they often don't know what they're supposed to take from it. The conclusions aren't always obvious or evident. And so when you think about becoming an executive, it really comes down to sometimes the ability to communicate, even more so sometimes in the ability to actually do and so working on your storytelling capabilities, working on your ability to synthesize data into a narrative that makes sense and that speaks to both the intellectual and emotional needs of your listener. 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 advanced call center software, complete business phone and contact center, one hundred percent natively integrated, and our Rach of customer engagement platform that helps efficiently and effectively engage prospects, to drive more pipeline and close more ideals. If you want to 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 five of your closest friends. Share it on Linkedin, twitter or elsewhere. Again, I think elsewhere is probably facebook. If you want to get in touch with me, find me on twitter at Sam f Jacobs or on Linkedin and you 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 talk to you next time.

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