Episode #61 Transcript | Lidia Yan of NEXT Trucking

[0:00] Radu Palamariu:

Hello and welcome to the leaders and supply chain Podcast. I am your host Radu Palamariu, Managing Director of Alcott Global. Our mission is to connect you to the supply-chain ecosystem globally by bringing forward the most interesting industry, and it’s my pleasure to have with us today, Lidia Yan, who is the CEO and Co-Founder of NEXT Trucking. She is no stranger to taking on a challenge.  Our latest venture is taking on one of the largest industries alive, the 800 billion trucking industry, and she has brought in some of the biggest venture firms to back her new idea. NEXT is a technology platform connecting shippers with carriers beyond the truckload long haul. NEXT is in innovating solutions, specifically for drayage and port operations and that is venture-backed by investors in proving Sequoia Capital and Brookfield Ventures. In January 2019, they closed 97 million in series C funding by bringing them to a total of $125 million in overall funding. Lidia, thank you for making the time, and it’s a pleasure to have you with us today.

[1:09] Lidia Yan:

Absolutely. Thank you for having me today.

[1:12] Radu Palamariu:

Let’s start with the beginning of the story about NEXT Trucking. Our research shows that you, your husband and two engineers that got this started. Working day and night to make the first prototype. Now, five years later, you are well on your way. So maybe, you can tell us a little about your humble beginnings of the story and walk us through on what you’re up to today.

[1:41] Lidia Yan:

For sure. So, NEXT is the first trucker centric marketplace where we connect shippers with small trucking companies, primarily own operators of fleets with less than six trucks. Our company mission is really to empower the truck drivers to drive the way they want, when they want and how they want. So, we focus heavily on port drayage pulling containers through the ports. The beginning of the story was very humble. My husband has been in logistics for over 15 years, and he offered a few warehouses, and he was actually running the largest distribution centers for TVs in Southern California. Since he’s running a traditional 3PL company. My background in e-commerce. I received my MA degree in communication management, and I worked for an ad agency and then, I developed my interest in digital marketing before I launched my e-commerce website.

[2:43] Lidia Yan:

What really triggered me to get into trucking is really one event. I was actually visiting my husband at his company and a driver from a multi-billion dollar trucking company came to the warehouse to pick up a load. So, all he had was a piece of scrap paper with the low number jotted down on a phone call was his dispatcher. It took our warehouse three hours to search every square inch of the facility to come to the conclusion that this load was not there. So, it’s really just one incorrect digit that triggers this whole fishing expedition. It’s a huge waste of resources and the time of their drivers and warehouse workers. So, we were thinking if there’s another way we can better streamline the whole process. After talking to many drivers, we came up with NEXT trucking, a marketplace that connects shippers with carriers, and we use more matching technology to make the flow of goods from ship to shelf easier for shippers and more profitable for drivers.

[3:51] Radu Palamariu:

Good. That’s a story that I can say does not happen quite often actually, even today. I must admit that you have made a better solution for that. Since we’re on that topic, I remember being stranded with a friend recently somewhere in Barcelona and recently a friend was trying to get the load from one of the major express companies that I will not name for their benefit, and he was trying to get that parcel out faster because he had to set up his booth for a conference, and actually they couldn’t find it in the warehouse, and he had to escalate this issue, and I don’t know how many managers, and two hours later we were able to find it in the warehouse.

[4:40] Radu Palamariu:

Let’s just say it wasn’t a very nice process so, it was great to hear that you’re trying to change that. There are other few companies with the strength to change that and hopefully, soon we’ll have better solutions. Maybe let’s get a little into NEXT Trucking and your next customers and the propositions, and you mentioned drayage, which is the first one that opposed to longer hold on the movement of goods. So, maybe it’s from the port to the warehouse in a short distance. Please tell us a little about your target clients, and propositions, specifically for NEXT Trucking. How do you add value to that?

[5:25] Lidia Yan:

Primarily, it’s a two-site in the marketplace, so we are the shippers to trucking companies under the shipper side. We primarily focus on enterprise shippers that fortune 500 companies. Today, we work with hundreds of shippers, actually, including 6 of the top 10 in America. On the carrier side, we’ve probably fitted this out as small trucking companies, which accounts for 90% of the market. There are operators, small fleets with less than six trucks who don’t have resources or software and who don’t have technologies and who were under-appreciated in the past. So, we wanted to have the technology to empower them. From a shipper perspective, we really bring transparency to the shippers. They can treat them, track a load in real-time, and they can really receive the proof of delivery. It’s literally a piece of paper proving that a load is delivered and that the paper has the driver’s name on it, the shipper’s name on it.

[6:25] Lidia Yan:

In the past, if a shipper goes through a traditional broker, the broker has to trace down that piece of paper from the driver and the driver has to go to a truck stop, fax that piece of paper over to the broker for scan and send to the shipper. The whole process may take up to two weeks or even longer. It drags the shipper’s cash flow because they cannot build their buyers without that proof of delivery. With everything digitalized and on the apps, the shipper can build their buyers a lot faster they can increase their cash flow. As an enterprise, we also provide EDI and API integration, they can use their existing transportation management software tended those through their software to us. We feed the low status back to them. For carriers, we probably empower small trucking companies, drivers. We wanted to allow them to work the way they want at the time that they could really have the freedom to make their own choices.

[7:25] Lidia Yan:

The reason why people choose to become a truck driver is really, they wanted to have this flexibility of life. But unfortunately, even today, most drivers rely on non-traditional brokers to find them loads or be in phone calls or text messages. A typical driver will rely on a few, a handful of brokers they have a relationship with finding them loads and that they don’t necessarily find them those that meet their criteria. What we did is to predict what drivers want according to their behavior, their historical data, and we put the drivers on the loads that they want it to haul we can really reduce the time that they spend negotiating back and forth with traditional brokers and increased the efficiency, so they can make more money and haul more loads.

[8:17] Radu Palamariu:

I’m just curious, why did you choose to focus on drayage? Because we have other companies that have gone into marketplaces for long distances. You have been fairly specific in starting and I think, now, you’re expanding into other services but you have started and you have been very focused on that first mile on the drayage components. What led you to decide it?

[8:45] Lidia Yan:

Trucking has five sectors, truckload less than a truckload or drayage pulling containers from the port to look away whose inter-modal is from train station to local warehouse and small parcel. We focus on drayage which is a $60 billion market, extremely fragmented, lack of technology and it says it is also the most difficult and the much complex sector in trucking and there are a lot of moving pieces and tons of stakeholders and a lot of players in the ecosystem. So, containers are put on the ship, then they arrive at a port, go through customs and through terminals and where they’re put onto a chassis, then picked up by a driver to the warehouse. Then, the warehouse needs to all know the merchandise and the truck needs to pick up the container and written at the same or a different terminal and then you need to make an appointment.

[9:38] Lidia Yan:

In this terminal and make sure you have the containers out before the last free day to avoid late charges. We caught to merge and the return of container before the free time expired, or we call FTE to avoid per diem charges. So there are different chassis providers and a typical trucking company to deal with. They’re the whole ecosystem and there are different players and chassis some of the chassis belong to the private companies and belonged steamship lines and most of the players in the ecosystem don’t share data. So, it makes the drainage ecosystems super complex and super difficult. If just looking at Ellen long beach ports, we have two ports, we have 12 terminals and everybody used a different operating system, different appointment system. They don’t share data. We are actually very excited to be the first company that addresses drayage problems and abuse drape solutions because 40% of the merchandise in our country’s important and your age is really the first and primary journey of every single important good. We call the first domino of the supply chain. If we don’t do drayage right, it will impact an entire supply chain and the way, the first mover in drayage and its super complex where beauty, beautiful big software that empowered the entire ecosystem drayage. That’s also the reason why we attracted a lot of very talented product engineering data scientists to join the company to be the next generation of change solution that will be one of a kind in the industry.

[11:18] Radu Palamariu:

Suddenly, you didn’t hear that in your first year. I was reading and you did eleven million in revenue and you were already profitable. So, I hope I’m getting it right, but if indeed you wish to profit so quickly, that’s quite a feat because I think today most start-ups take a long time. Again, not to name anybody, but before they reach anything close to profitability, tell us a little bit about that. How did you manage to get profitable so fast and what were the main success factors?

[11:51] Lidia Yan:

I think one is really we focus on the truck drivers because truck drivers’ shortage is the number one problem of our industry. Our industry lacks 50,000 truck drivers at this point. It may reach up to over a hundred thousand truck drivers in the next five years. The turnover rate is 97% and people do not want to stay in the industry. So, we focus on the driver shortage problems. We beat the solution surrounding the driver’s needs, we want it to aggregate a capacity under our platform and then how to trackers to make them more efficient. I think that’s a direction that we went after is really to put a majority of our focus on the supply side to make sure that next have enough supply and it had quality supply because I’ll both really give an apple in trucking. We wanted to bring in the best drivers, claim that ground, rate on time, deliberate great services, and then we formed the largest, a virtual fleet that could provide consistently great service to our shippers.

[12:58] Radu Palamariu:

Good. If I’m to drill a little bit deeper because I’m still intrigued on the profitability cycle, definitely offering quality is one aspect and is very important to get to profitability because a lot of companies, especially tech platforms, which we see nowadays, whether it seems logistics or supply chain at the largest scale you have like Uber that when we’re in the lift, and they take a really long time to get there. Is there something else that you did on top of ensuring the high quality of drivers that made you achieve that level of making the business already profitable?

[13:44] Lidia Yan:

I think another aspect might be, focus because logistics is a trillion-dollar industry and trucking are $800 billion industry. It’s very distracting if you want to do everything and it’s actually the common mistake a lot of companies made is trying to do everything at one time. When we started, we highly focused on beauty lanes, and they were very original driven. So, we focused on Southern California, home-based or drivers first. We only onboard drivers in Southern California and then when we approach shippers, we approached the shippers who have this lane, which means they will ship from Southern California. We viewed the liquidity in supply and demand simultaneously, that saved us a lot of money because just imagine if I’d written a bunch of drivers on East coast at this point, while I don’t have East coast loads, I should either find, spot market loads at a lower price.

[14:50] Lidia Yan:

I will have to take a loss on it or I will train the drivers very quickly because I don’t have those for them. And the same thing, if I onboard a shipper who has tons of load on East coast, while I don’t have drivers who live there and who take those loads, then I’m going to train my shippers very quickly. Otherwise, I’ll have to pay a lot of money trying to cover the loads last-minute through like a traditional brokerage way. I think being very focused and being very original driven is really something that set next apart from the rest of the players in the market.

[15:31] Radu Palamariu:

That brings me to an example that I recently read about a company that had 80% of the revenue out of Australia and New Zealand and still made it to a billion-dollar status because they were to your point focused, and they got really good at the product. They have the platform optimize then, they can go globally or regionally fairly fast. I really like your sharing in terms of being focused, specific, regional, not going out of your focus area too fast and spreading yourself too thin. So, that’s a great sharing for sure. What would be now some of the biggest challenges that you faced with us?

[16:22] Lidia Yan:

Big challenges we face in operations?

[16:28] Radu Palamariu:

What would be your biggest challenges right now when it comes to your operations?

[16:33] Lidia Yan:

We’re scaling at an incredible pace since, June of this year we’ve doubled our headcount to more than 200 employees. It was many new people who come on board. It was a challenge to establish consistency across the board. To overcome this, we gathered our leadership along with feedback from many of our employees and launched the two sets of core values. There are six guiding principles for the way we run our business, drivers first, we wanted to make sure that the company is really surrounding the first value around our drivers because we called ourselves trucker centric. So, the driver is really the first and most important factor for the business. The second disagrees in a commit, focused on the true North. We are a change agent is given and trust and passion too way. So, those are the six major values and that is guiding the company and to make sure that we bring the people in that shares the company values and also we can grow our talent base with the same principles.

[17:47] Radu Palamariu:

Understood and when it comes to, I mean doubling operations from 100 to 200 dates, a major shift and it’s also obviously much harder to integrate that many people in such a short period of time and culture and setting up clear value proposition is definitely important. I’m just wondering, was there something else that you’ve done or any other principle of fast scaling that you follow on top of making sure that the culture and the value of the companies are clear to help you navigate such fast growth sports?

[18:24] Lidia Yan:

I think like every company we made mistakes when we were smaller and the company’s culture really works hard and get shift down. I think when we reached about a hundred people in the company, we do see a shift of culture, and we will then assemble a culture committee. The culture committee includes people not only from an executive team, we assembled the team that is interested in shaping the company conscious for NEXT, we’re passionate about shaping company culture. So, that includes in a mid-level manager, customer service, operation representatives and even some co-truck drivers. So, that’s how we finalize in a ship, it was a pretty long process like where we really spent three months trying to figure it out, what our identity is, what we want ourselves to be and what our values, what are the values that are important to the companies, to the people here.

[19:27] Lidia Yan:

And that is our foundation. We believe once we have a solid foundation, it’s a lot easier for us to scale. Obviously, we implemented a new training process to onboard new people. We viewed a much bigger product engineering data science team to bring more automation to the edge to short and new employee onboarding. We have a learning and development team to help us really to speed up the onboarding of new employees. We’ll also focus on bringing with the talented people who are passionate about what we’re doing and who truly are passionate about solving a real-world problem.

[20:06] Radu Palamariu:

I’d like to have more questions for NEXT and I think you’re building a fantastic product and you’ve given us some good pointers, but I want to cover your personal story because it’s a peculiar one. It’s a different one and I think we should have a lot more in the industry. You are a woman that set up a trucking based tech company. We don’t get to see a lot of such profiles unfortunately, I think that we are on the right track, but it’s taking us a bit of time as we go. I wanted to shift the focus to you personally so, tell us how is it for you to be a woman in this world of truckers and trucking companies and shipping lines and shippers and all of that doesn’t matter. Does gender method, did you get any challenges around that? How did you experience it?

[21:04] Lidia Yan

That’s a good question. Yes, I think trucking is a male dominated industry and so as technology and you don’t really see that many female founders in tech company or trucking industry. Unfortunately, I’m in both of them, I mean both of them and I’m an Asian woman, I’m an Asian immigrant woman. So, I do and I have an accent and I’m only 5’2”, so if you put me next to a 53-foot trailer or an 18-wheel rig, like I just did look out of place a lot of times. I didn’t have a lot of challenges in the early days, when I pitch investors because they just couldn’t vision me next to a truck. I even got questions like, do you drive a truck and do you know how to drive in trucks?

[22:11] Lidia Yan:

It was very difficult early days, but I think at the end of the day, it’s how we show the hard number to the investors. We do have tremendous growth as a company, that set us apart from the rest of the players. We did have challenges, but I think one thing is that I am very persistent as a person and I do work very hard and also I’m very lucky that ICM mode a fantastic team that is passionate about what we’re doing and who’s truly caring truck drivers. That’s also the reason why we put the company mission as truckers first is really to empower the truck drivers. I think overall my experience is very positive. I’m very lucky that I have, investors like Sequoia and Brookfield on my board, they truly care about what we’re doing, and they are determined and the two really disrupted this triggered sector, and we know we’re getting something that is super complex which is huge. It’s a huge product that we beauty, but it will bring tremendous value to the industry and it can eventually change the industry fundamentally. So, I think everyone’s super excited about it. We’re definitely doing the right thing at the right time, and we have the right people, and we’re in the right environment.

[23:49] Radu Palamariu:

You got me very curious about another element of your personal trajectory because you morphed a few years ago from China to the US, so I wanted to dig a little bit into the background and why you chose to do that and, what were some of the implications of doing that for you? Obviously, you’re going to set up NEXT in the US, but tell us a bit about that more.

[24:16] Lidia Yan:

I went to high school to middle school and in high school seven years ago, it was a Shanghai foreign language school. I actually had American education when I was in school, so I was inspired by the highest education in the US and I always wanted to pursue higher education in America. So, after I graduated from college in China, I decided to apply for a higher degree in the US, I applied and I went to the University of Virginia first, I studied Italian and before I transferred to USC to pursue a master degree in communication management. It’s definitely great and beneficial for me through personal and career-wise because I had an education in China that focuses on discipline. We are memorizing the knowledge and I think American education led me to be more creative and more open-minded, and I remember in the early days when I was at UVA, my professor actually came to me and there was like Lidia Yan, I never see you raise your hand in the class and do you not have any questions or do you not know the answers?

[25:48] Lidia Yan:

Because I was in a culture that is about disciplines and you should never challenge or ask questions. It was a turning point in my life, and my professor actually forced me to raise my hand every single class. So, that was the first time I really became a more independent thinker and trying to be creative and to really to speak up for myself. I think it shaped my personality for the next 10 years and also it beauty foundation for me to be a founder of a company.

[26:29] Radu Palamariu:

For sure and that’s quite a story and I didn’t realize that you speak Italian, you can use this thing.

[26:37] Lidia Yan:

My Italian is really rusted. I think I can still read it but, I remember I was in Italy, and I was trying to speak Italian to a taxi driver, and he turned around, and he was like, lady I speak English, so I guess my Italian was pretty rusted.

[26:57] Radu Palamariu

Maybe the taxi drivers Italian is a slang dialect but you never know. It’s a fascinating story. I mean I understand quite a bit of Italian because I come from Romania originally and the language Romania and the Italian are the same root language of Latin, but the estimating for, somebody like yourself too.

[27:20] Lidia Yan:

Because I can also guess a Spanish as well, consistently the same with your language group.

[27:27] Radu Palamariu:

Exactly, it’s fairly close. I also wanted to ask you because you have been involved in other businesses, you’ve had your own business and I think e-commerce related. How has that you and some of the learning from those businesses maybe helped you when you set up and you, you started next.

[27:48] Lidia Yan:

I had another business which was a flash sale e-commerce company back in China. I was actually the first group of a startup that in flash sale in China. I started the business I remember almost 10 years ago and I had a really quick success after we launched this website. Six months in a company was actually profitable. So, I had a very lucrative, happy small business and I had a very small team on small, hardworking team. I remember Martin margin was like 75% because I was really the first, a group of people that were selling American fashion goods to Chinese consumers on the internet so, we are on a flash sale mode. So, it was a great mistake and, I think from obviously after six months and basically 12 months after we launched a website, we had tons of competitors, and we had the same business model and raised tons of money, and they moved a lot faster than us.

[29:05] Lidia Yan:

From that experience I learned that speed is the only competitive advantage wherein we had great ideas, we have great executions, we understand transportation and moving goods, but we didn’t move fast enough. We didn’t raise money fast enough, instead of keeping out first mover advantage, we have slowed down at exactly the wrong moment and that was the great lesson learned from that experiences. For NEXT trucking, I actually set out to raise money very early and literally when we had a prototype I set out to raise my first $120,000 and I called it the happiest check ever. It really got us started as I remember I was jumping up and down for two weeks for that first check because that was my first fundraising experience and there wasn’t too bad. I’ll start today, the company has over 200 people and it grew at 100% year over year and It’s definitely the great journey that we’re taking.

[30:23] Radu Palamariu:

When you spoke a lot about talent and having the right team across your businesses as well as in the past, tell us a little bit about the challenges of finding and identifying and attracting the right talent to the team. There’s never easy and as I’ve looked at you we doing executive as a day job and forecasting as a side job. To see a professional, they checked your website for four roles that you have available and I saw that basically there two big categories of roles that they are looking for. You’re looking for data scientists and you’re looking for a product expert but, these two jobs are probably in demand for every industry, especially the data scientist. The question then is how do you attract and find the right talent to come to the NEXT, then take the company to the next level?

[31:18] Lidia Yan:

I think in the early days of it was pretty challenging because logistics is new to the tech talents and a lot of tech talent in Southern California worked for large media companies or traditional tech companies and the logistic is a new topic. For me, I enjoy working with people who are passionate about what we are doing and It’s not to write the ride and join a company because of the hype. Today, we have talent in the office who is truly passionate about what we’re doing, and then we also encourage our tech team to go on a truck to sit with the drivers and spend a day and to really understand the life of the people. I think the most rewarding moment is when, truck drivers are coming in, and shake our hands and told us how appreciative they are for changing their lives.

[32:27] Lidia Yan:

That was the most rewarding moment for the team because we’re building something that changing people’s life and it is something that has a purpose. So obviously we were small and It was very difficult to attract the right talents because you really need people to believe in a vision. We are an operating company which means we need the talents from burst, trucking industry and technology industries. It’s a little bit challenging in the early days when we wanted to really formed a company culture but to be fair like after Forbes called us which is the next billion-dollar company, as we made it a little easier for us to be more selective when it comes to talents. Now we have told him those people join the company and of course, I think the idea of logistics and the renovating logistic industries really got out and became a trend and it allows us to bring in the best of people who are truly interested in a sort of the drayage problem.

[33:51] Radu Palamariu:

I know that you have spoken in the past about having a one particular top million-dollar question that you want people to answer during interviews. Tell us a little bit about that question and why is it so important?

[34:07] Lidia Yan:

You said my interview questions?

[34:09] Radu Palamariu:

Yes. The team was reading, you have mentioned that you have one top question that you usually ask in an interview to make sure it will fit, between the NEXT and the candidate. I don’t know what is that question? So, I’ve got to be really curious to ask you.

[34:31] Lidia Yan:

I do have a set of questions that I always ask and I think reasons lay or what is the greatest flaw in your communication or leadership style? I think I wanted to hear people who give me honest answers because it’s very difficult for people to really confront themselves and provide genuine feedback. It lets me understand that this candidate can really reflect him or herself and I think self-awareness a really a great quality for a human being, like nobody’s perfect. If, we really have self-awareness, and we will be able to improve ourselves so that’s why I always ask that question.

[35:29] Radu Palamariu:

Yes, that is true and of course you can find online some scripted answers to that question, one of which is, I worked so hard and I’m so passionate about my job that it’s my biggest school. So, I’ve read some feminists I’m sure that some people would actually give, but I thought that you get your point that in general, in my experience as well, that the bigger the company is actually the more politically correct they get. I understand the reasons why, but I think that authenticity, being able to reflect on yourself, being able to be genuine about what you’re good at, what you’re not good at. it’s quite important because nobody is actually perfect. But unfortunately, I would say in most big companies, that’s not really the case and I think people do a lot of pretending.

[36:21] Radu Palamariu:

I am happy to hear that you make it as a very important trait to look for NEXT. I think in general, in the smaller companies it’s a lot more prevalent that people should be more authentic. I hopefully one day this will translate into creating all companies, not just and not just segments of it. I wanted to ask you about the topic of diversity. So, let’s come back to you being a woman of Asian heritage in that both tech and logistics world. I don’t know why there are fewer women, but I think in both worlds are quite a few, and he’s not on his boat by no means. It’s a fight between who has fewer women and I think we should fight on who can open up the numbers of a veteran who can get more diversity faster but what would be your thoughts? I think it’s a big question, it’s a big topic on the agenda of most companies that they want to encourage diversity. They want to get more females on board then and as part of the tech as well as the logistics journey but how can we do that? What is your thought as the firsthand being a woman in that position?

[37:29] Lidia Yan:

I think obviously diversity is super important and next we have over 40% of our employees that are women. Obviously in this male dominated industry, I’m pretty happy about diversity in the company because women actually bring a different perspective when it comes to what trucking is like and how to treat the drivers. I think at our company we’re unique because we are a blend of technology and operations. So, we do have talents from those industries, and we are creating a unique culture to really mingle two kinds of talents to put them under the same roof and allow them to work together as a team. So, we’re actively working to build an exclusive workforce. I think other than 40% of my employees are women in around three quarters of the workforce that is considered ethnic minority. So, we’re definitely a very diversified company, and we’ll continue to do that.

[39:00] Radu Palamariu:

If you were to look at the industry in general, the tech industry and the logistics industry, there’s a bit of a local level with the logistics tech that is coming up. What do you think as an industry, we can do more to encourage more diversity? Does it start in school? Does it start withdrawal models that can be used for mentoring? I’m just curious because I’m actively looking and putting together, and I have initiated that it’s a personal pet peeve for me in some ways. I mean I am thinking of how to put it out there. I think a lot of people are thinking a lot of the same ways, but we haven’t quite figured out. There’s no silver bullet. I think we should try more things and discussing one way to do it. I’m curious if you think as an industry, there are more things that can be done and what would those things be?

[39:59] Lidia Yan:

I think we definitely can use more of your podcast to promote the idea of being diversified in our industry and bringing more talents in the industry. I think with all the technology company coming into the industry, a logistics become sexier for sure. It also allows us to bring in a different pool of talents to the industry who brings in different perspectives and different talents, to our industry this is really to move the industry forward. I think one thing is that technology companies like us on the forefront of promoting data, sharing and promoting technology. We have podcasts like yours and also mainstream media that is promoting these ideas. If you’re looking at it, every single industry logistics was left behind. The single industry is more modernized and digitized, but if you look at the logistics it is the biggest industry that got left behind.

[41:05] Lidia Yan:

There’s a reason behind it because 10 years ago, if you talk about logistics nobody would want to talk to you because it seems so remote to a lot of people. For e-commerce companies or in the trading companies the logistics cost was a fraction of their margin. So, people didn’t really pay a lot of attention to logistics until recently because of the e-commerce international training and the visibility that the internet brought to lingo, the trading and the margin is really slim for many companies that are logistics companies. All of a sudden, people realize that logistics costs almost account for 10% of their margin. So then, everyone looks into the industry and realize that logistics is a trillion-dollar industry where there’s no technology and it’s really behind when it comes to technology or automation. The point is, it’s a great opportunity for companies like us or the punk monies who are interested in renovating this industry to come into play at this time.

[42:21] Radu Palamariu:

Absolutely. Final question from me then, what would you say with the best advice you got in your career, maybe as an entrepreneur. Let’s just put it as an entrepreneur, what’s the best advice you’ve got in your trajectory and career as an entrepreneur that could help other people who are considering maybe embarking on a similar journey?

[42:44] Lidia Yan:

I always use this quote “work for a cause, not for applause and seek respect, not intention because it lasts longer.”

[42:54] Radu Palamariu:

I love it. Work for a cause, not for applause. That’s a brilliant way to say it. Definitely there’s not a lot of applause in startup world learning, especially at the beginning. Maybe for the very few that started, in general it’s hard to get this applause and it’s not that easy. Thank you so much, it’s been a great pleasure. Thanks for joining us and for sharing and for having this open discussion and I wish you all the best in the future.

[43:28] Lidia Yan:

Thank you so much for having me.

[43:30] Radu Palamariu:

Thank you for listening to our podcast. If you like what you heard, be sure to go to www.alcottglobal.com and click the podcast button for all the show notes of the interview. Subscribe to our mailing list to get our latest updates. First, if you’re listening through a streaming platform like iTunes, Spotify, or Stitcher, we would appreciate a kind of review. Five-star works best to keep us going and our production team happy and of course share it with your friends. I’m most active on LinkedIn, so feel free to follow me. If you have any suggestions on what to do and who to invite next, don’t hesitate to drop me a note. If you’re looking to hire top executives and supply chain or transform your business, please contact us as well to find out how we can help.


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