Jamie Davidson of AMZ Insiders talks about How to Create Growth When Selling on Amazon. In this Prime Talk Podcast Video Sponsored by GETIDA – Jamie Davidson – Co-Founder of AMZ Insiders – The New Model of selling on Amazon that doesn’t require you to waste your time or your money.
About Jamie Davidson of AMZ Insiders
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Yoni Mazor 0:06
Hi, everybody, welcome to another episode of Prime Talk today I have a special guest today I’m having Jamie Davidson. Jamie is the co-founder of AMC Insiders, which is a leading coaching program for Amazon sellers that are looking to scale. But also he is a nine-figure seller on Amazon as well. So Jamie, welcome to the show. Hey, thank you, Yoni. appreciate you having me. A pleasure, really. So today’s episode is gonna be all about you the story of Jamie Davidson. So you’re gonna share with us? You know, who are you? Where are you from? Where’d you grow up? How’d you begin your professional career until where you are today. So I guess without further ado, let’s jump right into it.
Jamie Davidson 0:43
Yeah, sure. So, yeah, just starting off with a little background. Is that correct? Yoni? Yeah, I mean, so I won’t go in perfect chronological order. Right now I’m in Atlanta, Georgia, we’ve got a large warehouse here, about 30,000 plus square feet. And although most of our inventory is all at Amazon, we have got a good-sized warehouse here for some of the other platforms we sell on, I’m originally from New York, and actually Syracuse, New York, I went to a kind of a traditional corporate background initially. And I’ll get I’ll jump around a little bit. But I was an army officer. for college. I went to the United States Military Academy at West Point. So I was an army officer earlier in my career, my 20s, and went to grad school MBA and was, you know, in a bunch of different corporate, you got your degree at West Point? I did, yes.
Yoni Mazor 1:39
Wow. pretty serious stuff. Okay, let’s backtrack a little bit. Once again, the Syracuse area you were growing up? And like growing up, do you do anything that involved entrepreneurship? Or? No, what would your parents do for a living? A little bit?
Jamie Davidson 1:52
Sure. Yeah. So it was kind of like, I’d say, we were kind of middle class, maybe upper-middle-class family up there. My father was an attorney, he was actually a racecar driver, professionally, when I was a kid, for a lot of years, and he had kind of entrepreneurial background, too. I remember he had all these dry cleaners he owned, and he lost a few things that fail to like you know, some, like a cookie store in the mall, and a, what else, we have a couple of restaurant investments that, you know, so I was always around that a little bit, you know, and it wasn’t I didn’t consider myself an expert, in course, this time period to obviously, it’s different than today, when you have like, you know, the internet and all these abilities or the barrier to entry was so much higher than for anything, right. So it was like, you know, entrepreneurship, then kind of looked a little bit more like, you know, some cases like, of course, like franchises, or get into things like that all this stuff didn’t exist
Yoni Mazor 2:48
So was it a franchise or did he start to open try to open something on his own, like a great big franchise based in Atlanta? Yeah, that was that. I think there’s a big franchise based in Milan, I think it’s great American cookies. It’s based out of Atlanta.
Jamie Davidson 3:00
The cookie, when they opened it was, was kind of based off a franchise, but it was their own. It was like there was David’s cookies, I think kind of as a franchise is kind of a well-known place in New York. And they, and they opened, you know, similar version, but the dry cleaners was a franchise brand as well, too. So, so yeah, no, and again, as a kid, I’m not really focused so much on his stuff. I’m more like playing sports, and, you know, my friends in school and everything, but I, in the back of your mind, you probably, you know, it’s kind of there. And even as you know, he’s still a practicing attorney, even even though he’s older. You know, so I always saw I was kind of around that of kind of, you know, being your own boss. And, you know, kind of just competing building your own business.
Yoni Mazor 3:43
Yeah, building clientele, you know, building your brand new niche that you’re playing in. That’s, I guess, something you had to absorb early on with the family. Your mother, she worked also or?
Jamie Davidson 3:51
My mother worked a little bit earlier on, but a lot of times she was Yeah, we had, there was four of us, myself and my three siblings and a couple, my older-younger sister and an older brother, and so we she mostly took care of us.
Yoni Mazor 4:06
Nice, nice. Okay, so you grew up and you finished high school? Was that your hometown?
Jamie Davidson 4:09
Yes, up in Syracuse, my hometown outside that little area called Fayetteville, a little town outside of Syracuse, New York, which is up in the cold of a lot colder than I am now. But then, yet, I decided to go to West Point. And I had some family history of military, my family, to my father grandfather had done similar so uh, but yeah, I decided to go there. Like, I like the kind of competitive nature of their way where you’re the gentler West Point.
Yoni Mazor 4:38
What year did you start at West Point? What was the year?
Jamie Davidson 4:43
Well, yeah,, I was 1990. I graduated 94 at West Point. 99.
Yoni Mazor 4:46
Yeah, so that was a storm that’s around that timeframe, right.
Jamie Davidson 4:49
Yeah, exactly. My freshman year was what’s called your plebe year was the first in January that you’ve kicked off all the kind of the Air Force, sorties, and everything.
Jamie Davidson 5:00
I stayed at West Point at the time. And we’re at the time, the last major war had been Vietnam. So at the time at West Point, when I was there as a freshman, they were telling us, hey, you’re all going to be there, because their mindset was like, Hey, this is going to be a very long thing. But of course, was different now after I when I was in the service, like 97-98 now there was like,
it was actually my soldiers in my unit, you know, a lot of smaller things like over in Somalia, over and some things in Haiti, there’s, there’s a lot of different things.
Yoni Mazor 5:30
So what was your role? And you’re all you guys were infantry. What was your role?
Jamie Davidson 5:36
Yeah, so we were logistics officer, I was based, like, refueled aircraft and set up fuel lines, I had, you know, kind of in the field before we supported a ranger battalion. That was with us just and then there was a special ops Task Force One as the Nightstalker is the guys that went into get been locked in with the aircraft. So we would always go in a little before them to set up, you know, kind of in the different areas to make sure things could function on their own.
Yoni Mazor 6:00
So how does this work? You do four years of college in West Point, right? 90 to 94. And then you have to commit a few years to the service?
Jamie Davidson 6:09
Yeah, exactly. So you have a once the West Point, once you start your junior year at West Point, you can no longer quit, you know, you can’t transfer leave. you’re committed. Most people that make it that long, or you know, that’s not a problem. But you have a five when I was there, it was a five-year active duty commitment after graduation. And then a total of eight years, including reserve time, as you know, the minimum. So that’s how it worked.
Yoni Mazor 6:35
Yeah, so so let’s get the chronology straight. So 94 until 90 or what 2001. You stayed in the service?
Jamie Davidson 6:41
I actually got out around 98. So it was a little bit they let us out a little bit early because they were actually drawing down the service a little bit, because when I was at West Point, Bill Clinton came into president at like 96, and they were shrinking down the actual active army, so we had a little bit of an excess officer. So they offered us some of us out which, which was good for me because that, you know, my buddies had gotten out some of them. They said the economy was going well, and people are getting jobs and everything else.
Yoni Mazor 7:09
Peace times, peace times in a sort of speak.
Jamie Davidson 7:11
Yep, yep. Exactly. God, right.
Yoni Mazor 7:12
So 98, after, you know, graduating or being, you know, finishing successfully, or your military service, what’s your next station?
Jamie Davidson 7:19
Yeah, so as a military officer, there’s these recruiters, your military job recruiters, and they run that specific focus on with called Junior military officers, you go there, they have like 50 companies there. And they’ll set you up with like eight of them to interview. And so I did that and met this really good company. It’s called MBNA. America bank, which was a credit card company is now owned by Bank of America, but they had actually several Westpoint guys and Air Force Academy Naval Academy guys that were kind of like the think tank to help with all their strategies and figure out how to optimize revenue and minimize risk at the bank. So it was good for us. I went there for about six years. It was interesting after I was leading big teams in the military in my 20s. Like, and I had like a 50 person platoon. And but when you go to the corporate world, like they’re like, yeah, you’re, you know, you don’t know how to do this. So you start really small again, you start like, you know, individual contributor, nobody can boot camp. Oh, yeah. But they’re like, you know how to use Excel. I’m like, Yeah, I know how to use Excel. They’re like, No, no, we’re talking like, you know, you’d have to like break Excel. I’m like, I’m smart, ill figure it out. It was like some heavy analytical experience and getting after it, but then
and then over time, slowly, like, after like a year or two, they give me a little team, I do really well, like that three-person team, and we did some cool stuff back then they give me a bigger team. So like a lot of things in life is if you do a good job with it, though, you know, more opportunity will come. So I did it…
Yoni Mazor 8:49
So where were you based on when were you living out? You’re living still in New York State or somewhere?
Jamie Davidson 8:54
You know, good question. So in the military, I was stationed down in Savannah, Georgia, the Fort Stewart area. And so from there, I moved to Delaware, which was a big, big credit card, financial area at the time. So So yeah, I was up there for about 10-12 years, got a couple of different jobs. That’s where I did my Masters in Business there at university, Delaware, and then…
Yoni Mazor 9:16
So you did your masters during the 298 until 2004?
Jamie Davidson 9:19
Yeah, I did it like in two, I forget the days like 99 I thought I was gonna leave and go full time to like, you know, the, bigger business school like Duke or something. But the bank agreed to pay for it, you know, to kind of stay on so they paid 100% of it, which was cool. But I jumped around it, you know, a couple eventually. I was there I think for six or seven years. Eventually, I then went to Home Depot recruited me because I recruited military officers and into this program
Yoni Mazor 9:46
Hold on so in 2004 or 2005 you dabbled with Home Depot?
Jamie Davidson 9:49
Yeah, I think I was I think it was the early 2000s. I’m trying to gain, I’m getting older now.
Yoni Mazor 9:53
It’s interesting. It’s also Atlanta-based as far as I know.
Jamie Davidson 9:56
Yes, exactly. Is Atlanta-based. They call me up, you know, these different recruiters would call you up like usual, it’ll be other banks, right? Like, hey, Capital One, you know, we want you to I was like, yeah. And Home Depot called me. I was like Home Depot. I’m like, I don’t think so. Not wearing like an apron going around stuff. And then at the time, I was making probably like $80,000 a year or something or $70,000 I forget $75,000 Which to me was pretty good money in my, my 20s and, and then the Home Depot. Like we’re paying like six figures plus to get generals like, that was at the back. I got my attention. Yeah. Oh, yeah. Let me go to the conference room and call you back. Yeah exactly.
Yoni Mazor 10:31
So, you know, what was the proposition? What was the role?
Jamie Davidson 10:35
The role was at the time the guy from Bob Nardelli was the number three guy at General Electric. He had been there and he left around 2000 Something like that. Yeah, yeah, those times you know, your stuff. You’re like, Yeah, I got to interview you. Next. I learned more about all your stuff. But yeah, so Bob Nardelli was like, there was like, I remember there was like three top guys that GE that were supposed to become the next guy right? Like him and Nardelli, like lost out to Yeah, right. So and then our deli got, you know, so he got some crazy, you know, $25 million package to come to Home Depot after the founders were stepping aside. And who Arthur Blank who owns the Atlanta Falcons and they brought Nardellii and in our daily is like a super hard-charging intense. And aggressive like his dad, I know, his dad got a military background, but he was a very, like, you know, GE had everything process-driven. So he was trying to bring that into Home Depot, which was like a total culture shock for Home Depot, because, like Home Depot was, you know, very kind of good old boy, you know, like, sir, customer service focus, but he was, so he came in, so there was a culture clash, but part of bringing that in, he wanted to bring in, you know, kind of guys with more education and more background. And so, you know, I’ll kind of fit that mold along with some other people. And they’re willing to kind of maybe technically overpay for that position we were in. But to try to build those guys in the idea was bring us in for store experience, run a store for like, a year or two. Kinda like the military, you know, you do it for a couple years. And then and then to put us into different roles within the Home Depot. And then we will have that experience. So yeah, I did that. Which was
An interesting, really good experience. It was like drinking from a firehose, I mean, Home Depot, I think it was like a $70 million store. It was like a little craziness, all the stuff going on. You’re working all the time when everyone else is off and on holidays and for mornings on Monda.
Yoni Mazor 12:39
I mean, in the past 20-30 years Home Depot has boomed into digital means they’re doing amazing things. So I gotta you know, you came into the boom era where it’s really getting it’s um, it’s put for hold on Yeah, it was good I was in that environment store you know, I was up in a tub come down to Atlanta for part of the rotation but then they run the store was back in, in Delaware area. And you know, that was like, it was like, this is a good experience. I know I definitely don’t want to do this for a long time. This is like you know, this will kill me. So and we’ll walk through it a couple more things we can jump back here without you.
Yoni Mazor 13:14
So I want to go station by station. So okay, so you got the bag you got home depot is the next station.
Okay? You definitely thorough Okay, if you’re not gonna let me skip over anything. All right, I need to unpack it. So this is where I spent about a long period of my career. I’m also not the company but the industry until I got into Amazon. Which is there. There was a company called Kaplan it’s called Kaplan Test Prep. It’s known for like LSAT and the see okay, with a K it’s it’s owned by the Washington Post. So most a lot of college kids know that or you know, for the LSAT prep all about. So for-profit education business, just preparing people, you know, to go-to for the standardized tests, you know, whether it’s the G mat for business school, or MCAT for med school, or SAT, all that stuff. So, and it was brought home depot, they saw that experienced military, they’re like, dude, make you a regional director run a region of the company.
Yoni Mazor 14:13
What year was that they reached out?
Gosh, 2000, 2006 maybe adding 2006 somewhere? Yeah.I was like, Oh, this is cool. It’s like all the stuff I know. But I don’t have to deal with any inventory. At the time. I was like, this is like Yeah, exactly. There’s a lot of like smart kind of quirky people a Kaplan like, they’re all like, a lot of them are like a genius test takers are all like 99% not all of them, but a lot of them you’ll be ninth percentile test-takers and, and I always said Okay, you guys maybe like, really good at these tasks. But, you know, but I’m better at business. You know, like I can help you on the business side, and there are some other people so it was a nice balance, but it was a pretty It was a cool environment, a lot of really good quality people and so there they’re kind of similar back to my MBA days, like you do. And I ran the region for a while. And after a couple of years, they promoted me to like report directly to the CEO. So they called us territories around like, the northeast of the US. And then they gave me some international markets over in Europe, Middle East, and Africa.
Yoni Mazor 15:19
So what was your involvement in actually, we hit a spot here with it. And I’m curious about so holiday is on SAT side, which is domestic here in the US, but what can they do on the global level Caplin, for example?
Jamie Davidson 15:28
Yeah, so we had an office in London and Paris, and there were two other and then you do some deals in other countries from there. But there are a couple of other businesses that were part of this too. Besides the test prep, there was the English language business. So like in the EU, in the UK, like in London, first of all, the G mat is big. So the actually SAT too, there’s International, there’s a lot of American schools overseas, too. But the English language was massive in London as my British director would tell me, she’s like, Jamie, if people want to come here to learn how to speak proper English. I mean, not like your American English. British English. Yeah. Yeah. So they were proud now there was that mostly, it was mostly that some sap which wasn’t huge, but like a lot of the business school stuff was pretty big to the G mat. But you know, not as big as the US but decent.
Yoni Mazor 16:16
Got it? This is part of the exercise over there overseas is to do the AC T’s and come to the United States and go for college. Was that part of the route?
Jamie Davidson 16:29
Yeah, yeah. Cuz like a lot of these, like, let’s say, x paths, and people that are over in these countries, you know, a lot of them are their kids are there and they’re at, they’re going to most likely come to the US for college. So, so Yeah, exactly. There was thinking back that was the primary aspect. But again, it was definitely more niche than just business.
Yoni Mazor 16:4t
Yeah. God, okay, so So you were doing this from 2006? Until which year?
Jamie Davidson 16:52
They’re expanding it. And it’s only that 2000. Yeah, around that time period of 2010. That’s it? Yep. Yeah, that was it. And then I stayed in this industry up until I said up until we get into the Amazon e-commerce stuff. But I was, but also what happened there was so, I started having some investors reach out to me something. And basically, at that point, it was a an investment banker connected with me, and I didn’t really know what really what an investment banker was, or private equity, didn’t know, I knew what those terms. I’d heard of those terms. I didn’t really know what it was. But so I had this investment banker reached out and said, Hey, we should grab lunch sometime. I was like, Yeah, sure. So I met with them. And he was still in the Delaware area, or Yeah, I was still in Delaware, staying in Pennsylvania, Delaware. And I was traveling all the time, up to Manhattan. It was based up in Manhattan. And you know, I travel obviously, Boston, New York, London, all that stuff. But so he was like, Hey, you know, What, are you doing there? He’s like, What do you mean? He’s like, well, he’s like, well, you’re probably not, you know, he’s like, actually, this is, you know, full disclosure. He’s like, he’s like Kaplan’s run by a lot of Jewish guys. And you’re not Jewish. So you’re probably not going to be the CEO there. I kind of laughed, I never never thought of that. But he goes, up. He goes, and there’s, you know, I know those guys, I sell a lot of companies to them by you know, but they’re kind of a bunch of weenies. He’s like, you should be running your own company, you know, or this at the other. And, of course, I’m like, you know, kind of flattered, but he was like, he’s like,
Yoni Mazor 18:21
Well, I think you have a Jewish last name. Davidson is a common Jewish name. As far as I know. Bill Davidson. He owns he passed away. But he owned the Detroit Pistons. And he has a big okay. He’s a billionaire.
Jamie Davidson 18:31
Yeah, I should have tried to put that over on them. it’s all good to be careful, a lot of really good people there. And it’s a really good quality company, it still is. But again, I was putting the pieces together kind of what why was this investment banker interested in necessarily, but it was interesting. So he said to me goes, Hey, would you mind if I introduced you to these private equity companies? And for him I was almost a lead magnet, he would message these private equity companies and go, hey, I’ve got this talented young entrepreneur, or young, talented young operator, not newer, I think it’s gonna be a future CEO. would you be interested in meeting with them? And they would always go like, Yeah, sure. Anytime, anytime swing by some time, and these guys will be in, you know, Chicago, Boston, New York. So I would say
whenever you’re in our city, let us know we’ll set up a time. And some of these were like some of the biggest private equity companies in the country. I mean, up in New York City and Chicago and by like I said, and so the more I’d go meet with these guys, the more I kind of be like, okay, I kind of joke like oh, this is where all those Harvard MBAs are in the Wharton guys have been hanging out like I wonder where you guys all disappeared really ago. So but they would all be up there. They’d be like, they always be late pretty cool guys, and very smart. But they’d be like, you know, we bought these five little companies and we’re always looking for someone to you know, help us run them and, and
Yoni Mazor 19:57
Hold on. Let me understand the play the plays that you’re you know, you’re the really good operator. Experience in the military had experience in banking experience, in retail experience in education, they can package that into one of their investments. That was kind of the play?
Jamie Davidson 20:09
Yeah, exactly. I call it’s like being a hired gun. So a lot of times it by these companies, and sometimes it’s still true today, right? It’s an entrepreneur that can get the business from zero to 10 million or 20 million or 30 million. So not like massive companies, but you know, nice, and they in the private equity buys a majority of it, and now they’re trying to get that company, let’s say from 30 million to 100 million.
Yoni Mazor 20:30
And that’s the shoulders, you got the shoulders to lead?
Jamie Davidson 20:33
Yes. So yeah, there’s private equity typically will bring in a couple of guys that can