Episode Summary

In this Prime Talk Podcast Video Sponsored by GETIDA, Anthony Confranseco discusses working for Amazon and making an exit. Anthony is the Industry Liaison for PickFu, a leading consumer feedback service for Amazon sellers. Anthony shares his journey into e-commerce.


When you’re trying to launch a product, whether it’s your first or fifth, you always feel a bit of trepidation about your graphics and content. Worrying about the logo or color scheme can give you some anxiety for sure! Yoni Mazor of PrimeTalk discusses what you can do to ensure that you choose the right images and graphics or logos for you and your brand.


In today’s episode, PrimeTalk has teamed up with Anthony Confranseco, the Industry Liaison for PickFu, a handy little company that provides entrepreneurs with almost instantaneous feedback from their actual target groups about their market decisions. In fact, PickFu not only helps e-commerce businesses, but they also help people like authors and app developers too. 


Anthony Confranseco shares his interesting journey from working at a small start-up called The Points Guy, to working at the giant Amazon in Loss Prevention, to the beaches of the Philippines and an Amazon graphics business, to his current position with PickFu. So if you’re an Amazon seller about to launch a new product or anyone with market decisions to make, then this episode is for you!


Learn more about Pickfu.


Learn more about GETIDA Amazon reimbursement solution software


Find the Full Transcript Below

Yoni Mazor 0:06

Hi, everybody, welcome to another episode of PrimeTalk. Today I have a really cool guest. I have Anthony Cofranseco. He’s the industry liaison for PickFu, which is a very interesting company. It’s a leading consumer feedback service. We’re probably going to discuss and touch that more later but in the meantime, Anthony, welcome to the show.


Anthony Confranseco 0:25

Hey, Yoni. Thanks so much for having me on.


Yoni Mazor 0:27

A pleasure. I see that you are standing or sitting?


Anthony Confranseco 0:30

I’m standing. Usually whenever I do these, I prefer to stand Yeah.



Wow. You’re the first one I think in my show that’s standing. That’s awesome. Anyway, how you been? Where are you located right now?


Anthony Confranseco 0:40

So I mean, I’ve been pretty good as good I think as everyone can be with all this COVID craziness going on. Right now, I’m in Maryland, in a little town called Havre de Grace. I am normally based full-time in Manila, Philippines. But I got stuck traveling on the way to a conference and I’ve been here for the past few months…didn’t think it would be so long.


Yoni Mazor 0:59

Manila, Philippines. Interesting. I bet it’s quite a story. And hopefully, we get there. So you’re going to share with us. You know, your background? Who are you? Where are you from? Where did you grow up? Where do you go to school? How did you begin your career? You know, you’re going to take us to the adventure of you. So I guess without further ado, shoot, go ahead.


Anthony Confranseco 1:17

Alrighty, so I mean, I guess my background just kind of just starting off is, you know, I grew up in a small town in Maryland, I grew up and went to a pretty small High School. And, you know, early on, I guess, I guess where my career really started was going into college. Right. So I went to the University of Florida. When I first went to college, I thought I was gonna be a doctor, which is kind of crazy to say out loud now.


Yoni Mazor 1:43

What kind of doctor, did you know what kind of doctor?


Anthony Confranseco1:46

To be honest, I didn’t really even know very much. I just knew that doctors made money. And I thought that’s what I was going to do. So I went down to the University of Florida and sorely mistaken right off the bat that was not going to be a fit. Doing chemistry and biology and different things like that. So I ended up kind of switching into a business major in accounting and finance. And, you know, pretty much the thing that really hit me right off the bat is I was doing these different internships. And, you know, at the time, I thought I wanted to be the next big CFO of America. That was like, my big dream is to go and become a corporate exec. And, you know, I’d done these different internships when I was in college. And at some point, I started getting into the world of entrepreneurship and small business owners. While I was still in college, I was, you know, I had the opportunity to present in front of the CFO of Verizon and the entire financial executive team. And then I started to get into small businesses. And so the first real experience I had was with a company called The Points Guy, it’s a travel hacking website.


Yoni Mazor 2:47

And they’re still around, they’re pretty huge now. No?


Anthony Confranseco 2:49

Yeah, yeah. So you know, that was kind of my first jump into it. And you know, a lot of people ask me, like, how I was able to get into that role. And, you know, at the time, like, I was saying, I was doing the whole corporate thing, but I was also traveling a lot whenever I could, whenever I could skip class, I was getting on a plane and trying to find cheap flights, cheap hotels. And so I reached out to The Points Guy, and I sent them like, maybe 20 emails, just over and over, hey, I think your website’s so cool. You don’t even have to pay me, I just want to like, you know, I just want to help out any way I can. And eventually, I ended up getting in touch with someone who got me in touch to The Points Guy and actually ended up landing a job there. At the time they were based in New York, and this is…they were working out of a WeWork Office, this was still like when they were only maybe five or six employees.


Yoni Mazor 3:33

And what year was this? 


Anthony Confranseco 3:35

Ah, man, this must have been maybe four or five years ago at this point.


Yoni Mazor 3:37

So around 2015 ish?


Anthony Confranseco 3:39

Yeah, that sounds about right. 


Yoni Mazor 3:40

Okay, so you’re in Florida, correct me if I’m wrong? Okay. They’re in New York City. By nudging them you secure a job? What was your position there?


Anthony Confranseco 3:48

So I was just pretty much an intern, right? I was writing some articles, I was a, I guess they called me a strategy intern. So I was looking a little bit of article writing, doing reviews on airlines and hotels, but then I was also getting to do looking into our customer LTV and see the traffic on the website and kind of attributing that to…because it’s just a credit card affiliate business, right. And so they make money when people sign up for their credit cards. So kind of looking at the content plan and seeing how we can go and increase the, you know, the affiliate commission’s that we were getting for the site.


Yoni Mazor 4:22

And how’d it go? How long did you stay there?


Anthony Confranseco 4:24

It was really, really good. You know, that was my first experience going strong, something that was different from the corporate side of things. And you know, Verizon was a really cool experience, because it was such a big company. But The Points Guy was completely different. It was so much smaller. 


Yoni Mazor 4:38

And you know, who is The Points Guy? Give him a shout-out. What’s his name? 


Anthony Confranseco 4:44

Brian Kelly. And the story of the company was amazing. So I got to meet Brian on a handful of different occasions. I got to, you know, get exposed to some pretty high names in the travel industry. And so at that point that was really Yoni where it clicked for me. It was a combination of doing that internship working for The Points Guy. And then at the time too, this kind of all gets into the story I was traveling a lot and I was part of the entrepreneurship club at the University of Florida. But I’d never really gone to any meetings and I was on the Facebook group, and they posted up that they had gotten these free tickets to the Lean Startup conference in San Francisco by Eric Ries. And they posted up in the Facebook group and said, Hey, we got these free tickets to this event. Anyone who can get out there, the tickets are free. And so I didn’t know who Eric Ries was. I didn’t know who the Lean Startup was. But I was like, This sounds awesome. Like I can get a free trip out to California, I had a bunch of airline miles saved up. So I knew probably no one would be able to afford the tickets. I knew I could at least get myself out there. So sure enough, I go out to the Lean Startup conference. There are four of us kids from UF all packed into a room at the Fairmont. And that was my first real exposure.


Yoni Mazor 5:51

Sorry, four kids from who? From UF? What’s that? The University of Florida? So obviously, you flew together from Florida to the place or you met them there?


Anthony Confranseco 5:59

We just met them there. I’d never met the people in my life and just show up in the hotel room. And this was my big first experience in anything in the startup world. And it was super interesting, because over that weekend, right? Going around, and you know, everyone’s coming up to you and pitching you their ideas for this company, that startup that they’re working on. And you know, it just clicked in my head for a minute, I was so very clear that my life was going in two different directions. Either I was going to double down and do this corporate thing. I had already been going through college, and I was having some trouble with actually showing up and going to classes. And then you know, where it really clicked for me is when I you know, I remember I was helping The Points Guy, and helping with some of their Facebook ad strategies. And I remember going to one of my marketing professors, and I said, Hey, you know, what’s an acceptable cost per click on this kind of thing, right? And because I had never done anything with Facebook ads, and I very distinctly remember the marketing professor saying, I don’t really have any idea. And you’re not gonna learn that until grad school. So up until that point, I was pretty invested in I was actually doing quite well in the business school. But at that point, I was like, This is stupid. I’m not gonna go and sit here and spend all this time and effort. If I’m doing something in the real world, we were managing like millions of dollars. I mean, just like huge amounts in these ad spends for The Points Guy. And so that’s kind of where…


Yoni Mazor 7:17

On Facebook? Or also other channels? Was it also Google LinkedIn? What were your channels you guys used to advertise The Points Guy?


Anthony Confranseco 7:23

Back then it was all Facebook. So I’m out there at the Lean Startup. And everyone is, you know, pitching me the ideas. I’m meeting all these other people. And I remember it clicking for me, I’m like, I feel like I’m at least as smart as these people. I feel like I’m at least as charming. The difference between these people that are going and chasing their dreams and going and doing all these things. And then there’s me, there’s…I wasn’t really invested in my academic career, I caught some interest about what I wanted to do. And so that’s kind of where it clicked. The other thing that really blew my mind Yoni is when we were there at the Fairmont. I have a very good memory of a guy who later became my business partner. So this is all gonna tie in. But I was sitting in the bed next to this guy, right? His name was Eric, and he was working on his laptop and I look over, it must be midnight or something. I’m like, Dude, what are you doing? He’s got this huge excel sheet. And he said, Oh, this is a list of everyone at this conference. It’s their first name, their last name, their title. And because he was going, he was trying to find different people who would come and speak at the entrepreneurship club at the University of Florida. And so you know, this must be a list of like, 100 people with names, titles, and I was like, did you put that together? And he said, No, I didn’t put it together, my VA put it together. And I said, What’s the VA, right? And then so, it was a combination of like seeing other people that were going and living their lives and chasing their dreams. And then there was a combination of like, seeing that, wait, there’s probably this whole world that I don’t even understand all these tools and tips and tricks. And that’s what turned out to be true. So after that, you know, learning out what a VA was, I started going crazy with reading the $100 Startup, reading The Four Hour Workweek, reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad. And then that’s, that’s really where things shifted for me. So kind of where the story goes from there is I pretty much stopped going to class completely. At the University of Florida, the only reason I stuck around, I told my parents, as I took like a semester off. I told them that I was still going to class. And you know, I really wasn’t. The only reason I stuck around was that there is this business consulting team that the University of Florida had, where they had these international consulting competitions where they send you…they would pay for you to go and travel around this world, around the world and do these consulting competitions. So I stayed around as long as I possibly could. But when my GPA dropped, and then I got kicked out of business school, I wasn’t allowed to stay on the team. That’s when I completely stopped going to college. I said, I said to my mom and dad, I said, Look, I’m paying for this. I’m not going to finish. I know it’s not what you guys want to hear, but this is what it is. So this must have been like maybe 2016-2017.


Yoni Mazor 9:49

Alright, so 2016-2017 You’re still with The Points Guy. You’re immersing yourself in the business world and the entrepreneurial bug is pounding you left and right, which ended up with you basically leaving your academics. What’s the next station for you?


Anthony Confranseco 10:01

Yeah, so the next step was I was working remotely for The Points Guy, I was making some income, pretty much I wasn’t going to class anymore. I had completely withdrawn from all my classes. And that’s when I really started to travel a little bit. I was, you know, working remotely, getting a couple of different gigs. And then the last kind of step before, before things really shifted was I took a job with Amazon. I did, over the summer, I did a summer internship with Amazon, it went really, really well. It was in a loss prevention role, which kind of sounds like the craziest thing, but I worked as an intern inside a fulfillment center in Tampa, that’s where I started off. And the internship went really well. In fact, while I was an intern, I was able to put together a white paper that got approved while I was an intern that put in X-ray screening into all the North American fulfillment centers. So a lot of people don’t know this, but when FC workers are going in and out they are, actually, you know, they have to, you know, have their bags searched, because people do steal things from the fulfillment centers. So I put together a whole paper and pitched it and, you know, that was like my baby. Anyway, when after my internship was done, I ended up getting an offer from Amazon. And I told them straight off, I said, Look, guys, and I knew a little bit of Amazon’s background and their policies…


Yoni Mazor 11:15

And this was the summer of 2016, or 17?


Anthony Confranseco 11:17

This must be 17 I think, yeah. Okay. Amazon, give me a job offer. And I say, guys, I’m not at all planning on graduating, I want to know, can I still work for you guys, if I don’t graduate and they said, We don’t care at all, doesn’t matter to us. You’ve done a great job on your internship. And so that was all I really needed. At that point, that was when I completely told my parents I leveled up and I said, Guys, I haven’t been going to college for the past year and a half. There’s no way I’m going to finish, I do have a full-time job offer with Amazon, they don’t care if I graduate. And so this is what I’m going to do. And so they were fine at that. I mean, they knew that Amazon was a legit company. So there’s not, you know, too much that can be done. And so I was gonna start full time and fall in the one last thing that I wanted to do before starting full time in the fall was I wanted to set up an Amazon FBA business and set it up to make some passive income. Because I’d learned a little bit about FBA, I’d seen other friends doing it. And I knew that once I started working full time at Amazon, I wasn’t probably gonna have time to do much else. So before I started, I moved out to the summer, over the summer to the Philippines with that guy from college, Eric, and…


Yoni Mazor 12:24

Why did he move though? I know you have a passion for travel, it seems like you will…your ambition is to be a citizen of the world which is cool as I commend that but what was his angle leaving to..Did he take you along? What were the dynamics there?


Anthony Confranseco 12:37

Oh, no, it was just…we have a small group of e-com sellers that usually for about you know, maybe a two month period, we’ll just take a time off and we’ll just go and travel together. So he was just like, Hey, what do you want to do for three months? Like, let’s go to Cebu, Philippines. Never had been there, just no idea, but let’s go check it out.


Yoni Mazor 12:55

What was the name of the town? How do you…? Zibu?


Anthony Confranseco 12:58

Cebu, C E B U.


Yoni Mazor 13:00

C E B U? Cebu? Okay, shout out to Cebu, Philippines. Is that near the capital at all or no?


Anthony Confranseco 13:05

It’s a quick flight. It’s like the second largest city but it’s the beach city. So you go there. It’s like the equivalent of Phuket I guess for the Philippines.


Yoni Mazor 13:14

Probably phenomenal. Sounds phenomenal. Okay, so you and Eric, hit the Philippines. What happened over there?


Anthony Confranseco 13:20

Yeah. So it was super good. We’d go out. We’d, you know, I learned how to sell an Amazon FBA super great. Launched a product. And you know, we have a good summer kind of get things get ducks in a line. And then I moved back to the US to start a full-time job with Amazon in Houston. Things go really well in that first year. I really don’t have anything bad at all to say about working at Amazon. I really did enjoy the job. I loved it.


Yoni Mazor 13:45

So 2017 September, you know, a year in, a whole full year you did in Houston, Texas? In the loss prevention, same roll? Or?


Anthony Confranseco 13:55

Yeah. Loss prevention and loss prevention is a really cool role. Because you’ve got this FC with like, 4000 workers, right. And so a lot of people ask, they say, like, do people do employees actually steal? Dor associates actually steal? And the answer is yes, they steal a lot. And in fact, some of one of the biggest cases I’d ever heard of was there is, and people get very clever with it. A guy actually Newark. What he did is over the course of two years, he stole a quarter-million dollars in iPhones. And how he did it is he had a lunch box. And every day on the way leaving the FC, your lunch boxes searched, but he was very smart because he created hidden compartments in his lunchbox. And so every day like clockwork one or two iPhones just walking out and over two years to a quarter-million dollars in iPhones. 


Yoni Mazor 14:40

How’d you guys find that out? What was the trigger for you guys? What was the red flag that made you say, something’s off here?


Anthony Confranseco 14:45

Yeah, so that one is, you know, the criteria you…


Yoni Mazor 14:49

But you’re in Houston, what I’m wondering if you’re in Houston how’d you find out about it?


Anthony Confranseco 14:53

So that wasn’t my FC. That was just the biggest one I’ve ever heard of.


Yoni Mazor 14:56

Ah, you heard of it. Okay


Anthony Confranseco 14:57

Inside my fulfillment center, we solved big ones, I’ve never seen anything a quarter-million dollars as big. But the cool thing was that not only did you get to actually do the theft investigation, so, imagine this Yoni, this fulfillment center is like 4000 workers, but it’s also absolutely massive, it’s just giant. And every single time that something moves in the FC, it’s tracked. And so a lot of our job would be as we would have these investigations, we knew that something had been stolen, but we didn’t know out of the 4000 people, we could see that there are inventory deviations, but we had to figure out who did it and what was the extent of the theft. And so it’s pretty cool getting to do the investigation work, I got put through, like interrogation training. So like, it was like a multi-day course, learning how to interrogate people, I got to deal with some really cool scenarios, like we had these, like, even just at my site, we had a vendor fraud case where they were supposed to be selling, you know, a vendor, you know, because they get paid upfront for their inventory, right? And so they were, they were reselling Nvidia graphics cards that cost like 400 bucks a pop. And what the seller did, they were very smart, are they sent out all of these packages that were similar size and weight of these graphics cards, but they were putting just random items in it. So like lens caps, a deck of cards, whatever it might be. And by the time that they found out just at my FC alone was like $100,000 and company-wide was like $2 million. So some of the things would get really really bad.


Yoni Mazor 16:21

So Amazon paid $2 million for bogus inventory, basically. So they collect the bill, but they send you bogus product as a vendor to Amazon, not as a third-party seller.


Anthony Confranseco 16:32

Right. And the thing that they were doing that was even smarter is in sometimes this would happen is what a vendor would do is they would pre-load, they would send a bunch of useless inventory, but then they would raise their price so that they would lose the buy box, just with the intention of going until they get their payout. And then once they’ve been paid out, they don’t care, they start releasing the inventory, and then it gets caught.


Yoni Mazor 16:54

So it’s very interesting. And no, what’s interesting is that they gave you the life experience to interrogate people on delicate matters. It’s never a fun, pleasant thing to suspect anybody. And you have to play that role. And you did it. And I guess you did it successfully. Because you guys, the loss prevention, you prevented more loss for Amazon. Probably millions of dollars out throughout the cycle of a year, which is something I’m sure they appreciated, which is good. Okay, what was your next station? What was the next adventure?


Anthony Confranseco 17:22

Yeah. So what was next is, you know, I loved my job at Amazon really, really loved it. The only thing that I didn’t love was obviously you, you know, you don’t get unlimited vacation, right? And so…


Yoni Mazor 17:32

Ahh the travel bug.


Anthony Confranseco 17:34

That was what really hit it for me. I remember I had come back, I traveled a bunch just in that first year, I took a trip out to Egypt. And then I had gotten back from that. And then I took another trip out with my girlfriend at the time and some friends out to Bali. And I remember flying back on the plane from Bali, we were only there for about a week or so. And Eric, the guy I was talking about earlier was actually on that trip. So we went out, a small group of us, went and stayed in Bali. And I remember thinking on the flight back home, shoot, I’m not gonna be able to take another serious vacation for another probably six months until I could accumulate my PTO. And given I had like a good amount of paid time off with Amazon. But it’s just nowhere near to what I was looking for. Anyway, long story short, though, is that was the only thing that I didn’t like about Amazon. And so actually, at the time, I was even looking, because my friend Eric, the guy who had taught me how to sell on Amazon, was living in the Philippines. I had lived there. I was like, I mean, Houston was a great city, but I wanted to go and see the world. I wanted to travel. And so I was actually applying to…I wanted to do something International. And so I was actually applying to internal transfers within Amazon, I was trying to get out to Singapore, I was literally going anywhere. I was like you guys can put me anywhere, I just want to be somewhere International. And I got a call one day from Eric, the guy, and he had this graphics company called Virtuous Graphics. And I had actually helped to hire some of their original employees when I was living out in the Philippines with him over the summer. And so I was very well familiarized with the business. At the time, they had about eight employees, and they just did photography and graphic design for Amazon sellers. And so the real story is I was dating a girl at the time and we broke updating and then I texted that guy Eric, who had met her about a week ago when she was in Bali. And I was like Hey dude, I just want to let you know Hannah and I broke up and so he’s like Hey, give me a call and so I think he’s like ready to console me you know make me feel better and so we get on the phone 20 seconds and he’s like yeah, well I just want to let you know I didn’t really like her anyway but now that there’s nothing tying you down, why don’t you come out here to the Philippines and help me scale Virtuous Graphics? And I thought this is absolutely insane. I was gonna have to repay a huge signing bonus, a big signing bonus, a big relocation, also I, you know, they gave me starting off 64 shares of stock which obviously had invested. So pretty much walking away from it all and but…


Yoni Mazor 19:52

Yeah, they call it a cushion job. Yeah, cushion position, a cushion job. You bit the fruit of..the forbidden fruit of becoming an entrepreneur. Yeah?


Anthony Confranseco 20:02

Exactly right Yoni. And so I knew, if I didn’t do this, this was something that I was gonna end up regretting for the rest of my life. And the really cool thing I liked the most about traveling, which really took a lot of the risk off for me, i

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