In this Prime Talk Podcast Video Sponsored by GETIDA – Jason Magee shares his stories of networking & innovating in eCommerce. Jason is the Director of Business Development at Teikametrics – a Retail Optimization Platform for Amazon & Wal-Mart, shares his life story and his path into eCommerce.
Jason grew up in Virginia and graduated from James Madison University. His first job after graduating was for a Press Release software company which he quickly outgrew. Jason carved his way into his next position in an innovative way and participated in the global growth of a global currency processing firm. He then witnessed the power and rise of eCommerce which led him into joining Teikametrics.
Teikametrics is at the forefront of innovation and attention to eCommerce sellers’ needs, and with Jason’s passion for networking and innovation, it keeps on getting better.
Find out more about Teikametrics.
Find out more about GETIDA.
Find the Full Transcript Below
Yoni Mazur 0:05
Hi, everybody, welcome to another episode of Primetime. Today I’m really excited to have a good friend of mine. I’m having Jason Magee. Jason is the Director of Business Development at Teikametrics. Teikametrics is a retail optimization platform for Amazon and Walmart. I really love this company on a personal level from my experience as a retailer online. So Jason, welcome to the show. So happy to have you.
Jason Magee 0:30
I see you did your hair for me today, you look good. If I had any I would do mine as well. But uh…
Yoni Mazur 0:37
Thank you appreciate it. When Jason comes around, I gotta you know, just, it’s always an honor.
Jason Magee 0:42
He put on the blazer and everything I just put on some taken metrics, you know, for me.
Yoni Mazur 0:47
I haven’t got this ready since my military days, you know, like my army general is coming to visit and you know, CLM so I love it, man. Well, it’s
Jason Magee 0:57
Really good to talk to you. And just to preface this I work remotely for a living I ever work remotely for two years, probably about a 70% chance my naked three-year-old comes busting in the door. So do you really want some? Some fun?
Yoni Mazur 1:12
That’ll probably happen so we are gonna add it to the end-of-the-season bloopers.
Jason Magee 1:15
There you go. This absolutely the second episode of CNN or something. When the kid comes roaring in his mom grabs him and Yanks it out.
Yoni Mazur 1:23
When is the BBC I think it was on the BBC? But you’re working remotely. And you’re in Virginia read Charlottesville.
Jason Magee 1:28
I am. I’m in Charlottesville, Virginia,
Yoni Mazur 1:30
Charlottesville writing, you know, these days writing, we’re recording this at a, you know, June 4, this is a desert writing, you know, worldwide, not worldwide, but nationwide and the states. How are you guys doing over there? Is this craziness going on again? Or no?
Jason Magee 1:43
You’re good man. Yeah, it’s a crazy time. I mean, you know, Charlie service has a lot of, you know, I love where I live to. But look, there’s not a lot of great history of him. You know, we’re I mean, there is a lot, but there’s obviously a lot that you don’t want to overlook. I mean, it just the challenge is is really like, like, obviously, I’m biased. My son, my oldest, he’s three years old when I was seven, eight weeks old, but it’s just trying to explain the ways of the world to him. And it’s one of the things I joked about when I had a kid was I remember when they left, let me leave the hospital. I’m like, you guys are gonna let me leave with this thing. Like, how do you know I’m fit to be a parent? Like, yeah, it’s scary. When you don’t really there’s no playbook. Right? But no, I mean, you and I’ve known each other for quite a while too, and you just want to surround yourself with good people and lead by example. So yeah, it’s crazy, for sure. But I’ll tell you what, it’s kind of nice. Not being in a major city where, you know, there’s you know, a lot more unknowns. And I feel for a lot of my colleagues in Boston Who are you know, sitting in high rises or something like that. So all is well Other than that, have a happy, healthy, eight-week-old baby boy, but it’s happy. So we’re all good, man. How are you doing?
Yoni Mazur 3:01
Good, thank God, I really can’t complain. I know just to make it into the framework. This episode is gonna be all about you. So like they say enough about me, let’s talk about you.
Jason Magee 3:15
Well about myself…
Yoni Mazur 3:17
We’ll try to get you we’re trying to milk you out for free for the good stuff. Well, yeah, but this is you know, today we want to basically, you know, get the story of Jason McGee you know where you’re from? What’s your background? Where do you go to school? How did you begin your career? So I guess without further ado, let’s go you know, get right into it. Let’s have some fun.
Jason Magee 3:36
Yeah, absolutely. Well, so I guess background I’m just a small town kid from a small city in Virginia man. I grew up in a place called Harrisburg. Not too far for me, a middle child. So I have to have an older brother, older sister, and a little sister so massive, you know, massive mid-middle child syndrome, looking at p pay attention to me, but uh, no, it was great. I grew up as I said, I lived in Harrisonburg also went to college at James Madison University. Where’s that located? It’s in Harrisonburg as well. So local.
Jason Magee 4:11
Yeah, got it.
Jason Magee 4:12
Yeah, it’s a funny man. Um, when I was applying for colleges, I wanted to go to the University of Florida. And I was dead set on a lot of family in the Gainesville, Florida area. And I wanted to be a business major. I knew sales would be something I wanted to do in business development and things like that. And I remember JMU shout-out to the Dukes out there. JMU has, you know, one of the top public business schools in the country, and I often knew I wanted to do international business and Jamie has a ridiculously strong program. So it was easy for me to look around the backyard at James Madison. The other thing too is I had to pay my way through college shows. I sat there when I was like 17 and I was like, Wait a second. I’m at the pay 40 grand A year myself, you know, 120 grand to go to school for 16 grand to go to 160 grand to go to school for your school. Yeah. But yeah, I made the decision to stay in the state stayed local. And then after, as LeBron James put it after college, I took my talents to the DC area and started my selling career there.
Yoni Mazur 5:25
Was is roughly when you finished college and started entering the business world?
Jason Magee 5:30
I finished college in 2010. And I started my professional career. I think I graduated on a Friday, and I think maybe I gave myself maybe a week, but I started right after that.
Yoni Mazur 5:48
Yeah, off to the races. Yeah, after the race. 2010 Yeah.
Jason Magee 5:52
2010 God, 10 years in the game, I was young and naive to not really know what what what, like I knew enough as a college kid to know about, you know, the great recession and what happened. But there’s also beauty and I evety when it comes to how hard it really was for people working in real estate and stuff like that. So So
Yoni Mazur 6:14
What was the gig? What was your first, you know, a major role in your professional career?
Jason Magee 6:21
It’s interesting. So I look I had, I didn’t have there’s a lot I didn’t have figured out. But I think what I knew I wanted to do. I knew early on, I wanted to be in business. When I was in high school, I knew that that was what I wanted to do.
Yoni Mazur 6:37
Many of you own something that’s yours be the business owner.
Jason Magee 6:41
Yeah, well, just first off being the business owner number one, but also just like this beat like, just I remember my dad actually would give me a lot of books like you know, thinking to grow rich. Like every book, Robert Kiyosaki put out. So I just took it upon myself, I was like, I just want to, I want to be in business. I don’t know, particularly what I want to do yet. But then when I got to college, I wanted to be different than the average person doing just finance or marketing. So I was like, You know what? I, I, at the time, I’d never traveled much globally, I think I’d only been up and down the East Coast was like, You know what, I’m breaking out of my shell. I’m gonna do international business. I selected Chinese as my language.
Yoni Mazur 7:23
Jason Magee 7:24
Yeah. So I knew my thought process was I want to be an asset on paper, you know, you know, when you don’t have much experience in the work world, how do I set myself apart on paper? So I did international business with China, Chinese Business Studies. So I
Yoni Mazur 7:41
This was in James Madison. Yeah,
Jason Magee 7:43
Yeah, yeah. So I went, I lived in China for for a few months. And then I knew
Yoni Mazur 7:51
This was during school, or when you’re ready to start working during school. Got it.
Jason Magee 7:55
So I knew that eventually, I wanted to do something global in nature. But I knew early on, I thought, we always joke that I tried to talk my way out of anything. So I’d be was always gonna be all I’m going to be a lawyer. And then I realized they didn’t like to read as much as or write as much as the average person does that make you know what sales look really, really good. So the first job out of school, I had a bunch of friends that worked at a publicly traded company called vocus. They sold to a private equity Company A little later, but it was software sales. So I was selling online press releases it, which evolved to a marketing suite. My goal was, I want to learn the art of the sale. And I want to understand how to solve people’s problems through whatever I was representing as a company. So I went to that company called a vocus. And I was I was a sales rep there.
Yoni Mazur 8:50
Nice. And how many of you stay there?
Jason Magee 8:54
I was there for almost three years. I started out as a sales rep, I had a very, you know, thank God, I had a really, really good successful career, you know, shut up the leaderboard, I actually started managing a team, a year and a half into that I was 24 years old with the team of 12 reps. A lot of which were older than me. So it was I learned a lot. Like, you know, I had this, you know, I think everybody needs to have a level of confidence to you know, be comfortable with who they are. But it was great, incredibly, incredibly big learning experience for me. It was
Yoni Mazur 9:33
I mean, pretty quickly you got into management that’s kind of unusual. People, not just one or two, it’s a whole crew.
Jason Magee 9:39
Now it was a crew of 12 people man it was a lot I learned a ton about myself I learned about you know, meeting people at their knowledge levels are not the right word, but meeting people in the way they live life and how they interact and what their goals are, what their motivators are just truly like how to connect with people. It was it was amazing.
Yoni Mazur 10:00
Yeah, nice. And what was your next step? What was the next? I guess? 2013? What was the next station? Yeah.
Jason Magee 10:05
So I felt that I had, you know, really learned a really good foundation for sales and being able to sell software concepts and something you really couldn’t see feel or touch. Then I started managing I
Yoni Mazur 10:19
that’s what I usually call intellectual. When you sell software, it’s really an intellectual process to relate the message of the value of that initial intellectual property product. Well, what’s software it’s something really, really intellectual, that’s the, you know, this evolves, you know, digital platform, which is, it’s not like right here. Brady got it, right. Yeah. So it’s, it’s very unique, it’s very upscale, and so to speak. So,
Jason Magee 10:42
man, and I have to credit when I was in college, I took a sales class. And the professor was, was a former executive at Rosetta Stone, you know, it Steve hertz and Berg’s his name here in a sales course there. And it was just incredibly eye-opening in terms of, you know, how to sell correctly, how to be aboveboard, how just to like, be a good steward for yourself. So next step, there, there was a company, this is where I started to really map out my path in terms of doing global business, there’s a company called World first, which did global money movement for individuals and companies. It checked all the boxes, you know, selling a concept, you know, moving people’s money around the world, for, you know, businesses and individuals. There, it was a relatively small company, when I was just, you know, looking online, I found them. And they didn’t have a position that I saw on the website, but I liked the company. So I just picked up the phone, and I called them straight up. It’s called, well,
Yoni Mazur 11:46
That’s cool, that’s unusual.
Jason Magee 11:47
I did, man, I have never been one-to-one to, you know, back down from a conversation. I said, Look, I know you don’t know me, my name, Jason McGee. Here’s a little bit my background. I know you don’t have a role that I like, or that I think fits me very well. But look the work. This is an ever-evolving process. And I learned early on, you hire very well if you had the opportunity to hire somebody in the right fit, isn’t there? Like, you just want to bring on good talent. So I think with emails, like, Look, there isn’t something I see that I like right now. But I’d love to open it and establish a relationship. I know there’s nothing there from it. I’d love to come to meet you. So I called one of the co-founders of the US office. It’s a London-based company. And we met, we met in October of that year,
Yoni Mazur 12:39
What were they based out of in the US? They have based out of the Arlington area or Northern Virginia, it was too far from you actually happens to be around your corner.
Jason Magee 12:42
Yeah, walks in, I just live nine minutes down the street. So I lived up in Northern Virginia then and I went met the CEO, um, I can’t I yeah, I think we actually got a beer together. He met me up. So like I had sort of an informal meeting with him. And we just hit it off very well. And we essentially shook hands and he goes, look, I really am passionate, you know about you, I think you’re a great fit. I don’t think there’s anything here and I said, Look, I’m not closing any doors, that’s fine. I’m calm a month and a half later, I get a call from them. And they said we’re bringing in our new CEO. And we’re gonna actually create a partnerships team here. And I know that’s something you said you were interested in, would you like to be the first US employee to run partnerships at this company. So just like that, the opportunity opened up and I was the head of partnerships there for the US office.
Yoni Mazur 13:34
Now what’s unique about this story is that you somehow we’re able to open a door long before anybody realizes the structure. It’s unbelievable. Once they realize, oh, there’s a structure now. You know, we need to have partnerships, Yuri? Oh, Jason’s doors right there. Let’s just open the handle and let’s get this open. That’s, uh, I never heard anything like that. It’s pretty, it’s pretty cool.
Jason Magee 13:53
When I go get it, man. Obviously, you know, I say that with a grain of salt, making sure that you don’t trample people in the way but, you know, look, to the to where fast forward to where you are now, like, relationships matter, an incredible amount. And it’s such a small world, how many times have like friends as we work to do it, take the metrics, you are a client of ours, and then obviously, gotta get started. And here we go. We find a way. And it’s just because I learned to be loyal to people, you know, companies are these made-up entities and obviously I love what I do, but you have to be people make up companies. So yeah, I started. Yeah, I started there. And it was great. Like when we were there, offices based in the UK. So obviously got the international exposure there. started an office in the US quickly, they opened up a China office, actually, an office based in Hong Kong at the time, they eventually opened up Singapore, the Netherlands, numerous offices in the US.
Yoni Mazur 14:52
So you’re in the system with that tremendous global growth, right? You’re just a part of that already.
Jason Magee 14:56
I think we had, I’m gonna say maybe Round 100 employees by the time I left there, like seven or 800.
Yoni Mazur 15:03
Well, and your mission was to create all these partnerships on a global level or domestic level? Yeah, well,
Jason Magee 15:09
essentially, it as long as a partner was based typically it kind of changes the long story. But Porter was based in North America, if a partner had pockets of clients that we’re conducting business internationally, that’s my job was to strike a partnership with them. So I would strike strong partnerships with like, The Wall Street Journal had a massive, massive base of global customers. So we took one of their sub-entities and we had a partnership with them as an example. Three, talk about the international markets that they needed to move money, they were referred to us. So
Yoni Mazur 15:46
That’s pretty big, bid a pretty big distribution, Wall Street Journal, a top tier…
Jason Magee 15:51
It was great. And it was a lot of fun. I mean, it’s every, I was lucky and fortunate enough to be doing what I wanted. At the time, I wanted to work, I wanted to learn, you know, business development, I also wanted to work at a global company. So I was able to, to, you know, knock down two birds with one stone. Um, actually, that’s how I found my way into e-commerce as well, which is what I was kind of feeling
Yoni Mazur 16:15
I’m feeling it was the tip of my tongue. And is this, the more with the e-commerce light turns on for you on your professional career?
Jason Magee 16:23
It is. So it’s interesting. So my company actually created a way for cross-border, Amazon sellers at the time, to actually, set up local bank accounts for them. So for example, if I’m in the US, and I wanted to sell on amazon.co.uk, Amazon would make your transfers for you. So you have a US bank account, great, we’ll pay you pounds $2. But Amazon would take a very hefty conversion rate for that, right. So my company actually created a way to provide local virtual accounts, we were backed by major banks. At the time, where we actually like Barclays as an example, we could create a custom account fee that set in the UK, collect your revenue from Amazon, and then we wouldn’t repatriate it back into your home.
Yoni Mazur 17:09
So essentially, virtual bank accounts backed by Real World Banks, as you know, global institutions like Barclays. And by doing that, I guess the value was for whoever’s using the services to lower the fees, the conversion fees, lower the fees.
Jason Magee 17:21
But also, you know, we’re in a position to lock in exchange rates, right, you know, good luck in a forward contract, which means Hey, look, the pound is as highest as it’s ever been against the US dollar over the last three months. How about you lock this in at this rate? For three months was three months, you have a guaranteed exchange rate coming back up?
Yoni Mazur 17:40
Teah, they can hedge their bets hedge costs. It’s been interesting. Yeah. It was so funny. Like
Jason Magee 17:47
that was like the laughingstock. When I first joined, it was like the laughingstock of the company, like he had these other companies, I’m gonna make a $4 million payment from lb zeros at this exchange rate with this spread involved. And then you’d see a little trick will come in for Oh, we made 43 cents on this Amazon transfer. Um, it was a very small aspect of the business. And I saw it growing like it wasn’t huge at the time, but I saw it growing.
Yoni Mazur 18:11
What year was this? If I can ask 2013? Did you start there? And then what was your way you guys introduced that for 214.
Jason Magee 18:18
About a year in we did it. My memory slips me what year we did, it probably did a year or two before I started, but it was a really small part of the business. I did this 20 2014 in January is when I started, got it started there. I sort of was like carte blanche like blank slate Jason, you can grow partnerships in a team however you want. I decided that I want to I just love the reliability of Amazon payments that hit bank accounts every two weeks, I saw only saw e-commerce growing. So rather than chasing these Marlins, where there was a lot of competitive space in the FX game in for large bank transfers, like you know what, we have a first-mover advantage in the e-commerce world, why do I not strike partnerships with everybody I can in this industry and just lock it up. So just very complimentary. You have a company or consultant or agency that actually would help, you know, set up your entity to sell on Amazon, or especially another country? Oh, by the way, here’s the bank account for you that’s free to set up and use world first. So they actually would just funnel clients to us and we just had complimentary services. So I struck up just a lot of very, very good partnerships. And honestly, a lot of my friends in the industry that I consider personal friends now started because of the relationships I created, they’re in the hands that I shook when I was at World first got it. So yeah, I mean, a matter of fact, funny, fun story about how I landed on Teikametricss is
Yoni Mazur 19:49
I was waiting for that. I guess the next step or next station was Teikametrics, now everything, yeah, look, I love a good story,
Jason Magee 19:53
Right. It’s all about the story. Alister McLean Foreman’s a founder of Teikametrics. He was one of the very first third-party sellers on Amazon back in 2003. The cliche I always joke out there being the perfect team and like, ran a British, you know, British moved to the US, went to Harvard ran for the track team started while running for the track team and the British Olympic team started an e-commerce business in his dorm room. Right? Alister was just a couple of years into starting taking metrics and I was just a bulldog. I just loved Alistair’s business. And to be honest, it was he who made it seem like it was a lot bigger of a business than it was at the time. But I was like Allister, we need to partner I love what you guys do. I know you support marketplaces globally, we should partner because we should just it makes so much sense for us not to do business. So you saw a clear synergy between the activities of both companies and why he was this when he started, I guess, recognizing that 2014 actually is
Yoni Mazur 21:00
Early on in the world first…
Jason Magee 21:02
I just loved it. I loved their concept of big data and machine learning and Allister still pulls up his emails, all of my original emails, and I was like, I just never let them go. You know, I just really felt passionate about that partnership, but I just did it for the right reasons. I was like, Oh, she has an article i think is relevant for you. Are you seeing this in the market? Hey, do you know of this person making introductions to Alastair to starting this relationship? Um, I wasn’t taken. I was at World first for about five years. And I was world our world-first relocated to Austin, Texas. So I lived in Austin, Texas for about three years, told my wife who would be one year, one year turned into three, I had a baby boy there and my son Wyatt, and you have to pay the piper at some point. And so I promised we’d move home. Charlottesville is about as close to Harrisonburg as I’ll get but I love it here. Alice’s like Jason. Look, I would love it if you came in ran partnerships to Teikametrics.
Yoni Mazur 22:00
This is around 2018 2019.
Jason Magee 22:03
We started these conversations in early 2018 was actually at the prosper show in 2018. Obviously, for those that are, everybody probably does series prosper show one of the leading Amazon conferences out there. So talk to me about funding that was coming down the lines and who was a, you know, who was a part of the management team in who he is hired. And that gets very excited. So we talked early level, high level in early days about that, come to IRC, we start coming down the path like Alright, this is getting traction. I really mean Alastair really took it to me, you want to meet up, create a plan and prove how I would handle you know, running something like that. They’re 2018, S