Amazon Selling and Long Term Success | James Thomson

Episode Summary

James Thomson of Buy Box Experts talks about the dynamics of Amazon selling, and how to sustain climbing the entrepreneurial ladder. James shares insight into his growth and success. If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur this episode is for you!  

 

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▶ Products Damaged in Amazon Warehouse

▶ Damaged Inbound Products

▶ Customer Return Issues

▶ Customer Service Issues

▶ Inventory Damage in FBA Warehouse

▶ Customer Returns Damaged by Amazon

▶ Inventory Damage in Amazon Warehouse Transfer

▶ Order Discrepancies

▶ Shipment Discrepancies

▶ FBA Fee Overcharges and Reductions

▶ Lost / Damaged Shipment from Carrier

▶ Inventory Destroyed Without Permission

▶ Reimbursement of unpaid Reimbursements

▶ Returns Posted after Amazon’s Return Deadline

 

Find the Full Transcript Below

 

Yoni Mazor  0:06  

Hi, everybody, welcome to another episode of prime talk today I have an amazing guest. When I say amazing, I'm not joking. We're having the legendary James Thompson. James is the Chief Strategy Officer of buy box experts, which is a leading marketplace agency. Plus, he's a former Amazonian who works for Amazon. And he's the co-founder of the prosper show, which is one of the most important shows for Amazon sellers all over the world. And also, he's a prolific author about e-commerce, and he wrote a few books. And he's a regular contributor to the media on Amazon-related stories. So James honored to have you Welcome to the show.

 

James Thomson  0:41  

Many thanks for having me on.

 

Yoni Mazor  0:43  

My pleasure, really. So today's episode is going to be the episode about, you know the story of James Thompson. So you're going to share with us, where are you? Where are you from? Where'd you grow up? How'd you begin your professional career, no career, and what's happening with you today? So, without further ado, let's jump right into it.

 

James Thomson  1:02  

I feel like I'm making up for not having had a Facebook page for many, many years. oversharing. But thank you for having me. I'm James Thompson. I grew up in Canada. I was born in England and then spent the better part of 20 years growing up in Canada and so on.

 

Yoni Mazor  1:21  

You're from Canada be born in England. Let's talk for a minute. Morning. Which part and why were you born in New England and not in Canada?

 

James Thomson  1:28  

Because my mother was in England? No, I'm joking. But my parents were studying abroad and happened to be in the womb of my mother while they were living in England. I was born in Oxford. 

 

Yoni Mazor  1:41  

And then our academic or your mother was an academic, University of Oxford.

 

James Thomson  1:45  

Yep. And then I ended up coming back to Canada when I was about one spent the next 20 years in Canada,

 

Yoni Mazor  1:51  

Which part of Canada?

 

James Thomson  1:52  

I grew up in a city called Edmonton, which is in western Alberta, and went to…

 

Yoni Mazor  1:58  

The western part of Canada from not mistaken.

 

James Thomson  2:00  

Yep yep, just north of Montana. I went to undergrad there and ended up moving to the states in 1992 to go to grad school. And I've lived in the states ever since,

 

Yoni Mazor  2:13  

Which was about to go into grad school.

 

James Thomson  2:16  

I had the opportunity to go to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee to do an MBA, and then I moved to Chicago, and did a Ph.D. in b2b distribution at Northwestern University. So back in the day, whenever.

 

Yoni Mazor  2:27  

You shouldn't know what your...

 

James Thomson  2:28  

1993 1998 I graduated from Northwestern. Back in the day, b2b distribution was not a sexy topic. And then fast forward a few years, e-commerce marketplaces came along, and brands started to realize that maybe they need to manage their b2b distribution. So I've been very fortunate to have gone, gone, and earned a strange degree, years before it became relevant. And now I find myself in a place where I'm having lots and lots of distribution conversations.

 

Yoni Mazor  2:59  

Yes, so you're a genius, right? Because yeah, you're a Ph.D. in b2b distribution, which is booming, and in the world of e-commerce today, but in the early 90s, or maybe late 90s, when he graduated, it was kind of maybe on the fringes of things. But now fringe totally talks about the mindset in 1998 of b2b distribution was just having Walmart or Sears, own everything, or they're the benchmark of everything, or what was the spirits back then.

 

James Thomson  3:27  

So I was living in Chicago, and the big b2b distribution company was Granger. And we're talking literally, purchasing managers flipping through catalogs trying to figure out how to get enough supplies for their companies.

 

Yoni Mazor  3:42  

Their carrier for the most part, what's the what's there.

 

James Thomson  3:44  

The model, distributor, huge, huge distributor carrying other brands, sales team going out, pitching to purchasing managers, b2b companies all over the country. Things have since come online. I mean, back in 1998. e-commerce was very, very nascent. Yes, Amazon existed, but it was not.

 

James Thomson  4:04  

Yeah. 

 

James Thomson  4:06  

So fast forward a few years, things started to come online. Now we've got Major b2b online, including Amazon business. And purchasing managers don't have to tolerate having salesperson after salesperson walking through their door, throwing them another catalog. Some of that still happens. But you know, you've got a situation where sales teams or brands can sell their products to retailers and distributors without ever actually having to meet them in person. Because everything could be done online.

 

Yoni Mazor  4:35  

So kind of, in a way democratize a little bit the b2b world where it's not only related to connections, personal connections, I know this guy know that guy or that I know that lady or this lady. It's more about if you have a winning product that consumers, you know, demand there's a demand for because there's ability in the e-commerce space to touch them directly, right, the b2c right? In terms of advertising or whatever it is, To generate the demand. And if there's a demand, you don't have to put too much on the b2b side saying, see, this is my brand. This is my product. This is a demand, there are data-driven, you can show the numbers, would you like to be a distributor? And boom? Is that kind of the dynamics? Or was that a lot of room for politics?

 

James Thomson  5:14  

A couple of big things have happened. Number one, it used to be pricing was not very transparent. If I came to you and I pitched you a product for this particular price, you didn't necessarily know what somebody else was also being offered for that same product. Now, price transparency is a lot easier, not just for b2b, but certainly for consumers. I can see the prices for products in Florida and New York and California all at the same time. Because at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter where I'm geographically located. It comes down to can you ship it to me quickly? If you can, I'll buy it from anywhere in the country. Secondly, you know, I think back to back in 9697, I went and visited dozens and dozens of purchasing managers and hospitals. I remember going in and walking into their offices, their offices, we’re always down in the basement, next to the morgue. A very exciting place to be working, oh, high energy places. Oh, yeah. And I go in and you know, office after office would literally have catalogs stacked halfway to the ceiling. And as the purchasing manager needed to find some doodad for some department, they're literally filing like picking a catalog and pushing papers out. And like this is insane. Because in a typical hospital, it's not unusual to have over 100,000 different skews that the hospital needs to buy. Well, how is a single purchasing manager or even a purchasing manager team? How are they supposed to keep track of all that? And how do you find out? If you're inefficient? How do you find out if, in fact, you could be doing volume purchases, I mean, it's very, very hard to keep track of all that when it's all paper-based. We're now online things have changed quite a bit. But it's changed a lot, not only for the buyers but it's definitely changed for the brands and my world today is all about brands. And helping brands make better sense of what they need to do to evolve in order to think more effectively about how to capitalize on the e-commerce channel. And by the way, it's not just what happens on e-commerce, e-commerce creates a whole bunch of waves for brands in their traditional brick and mortar channels. And so if they don't understand that there is this price transparency, there is this marketplace situation where products can easily be diverted and create pricing strains for traditional and authorized retailers. Now a lot of that kind of noise is now so big, that brands can't ignore it. But often, many of them have no idea what they're supposed to do to tackle it. So that's a lot of what I spend my time doing today is working with brand leadership teams to have those conversations and say, here's how you need to evolve, here are some of the behaviors you've had in the past that are going to get you in trouble. And quite frankly, if you don't wake up and fix these problems, it's only a matter of time before somebody else is basically going to dictate what happens to your branch. Yeah, got it. Not a pleasant situation.

 

Yoni Mazor  7:55  

Got it? So I'm trying to kind of jump back to 1998. Yeah, yeah, the early components of, of the mindset there. And of course, how and where we are today, and I guess, bridging that gap. So 1998 was where you got your Ph.D. And once again, to give us a little taste of the b2b distribution, which is, to be fascinating. I'm from the industry, you know, full disclosure also. But, you know, to the average listener, it's important that you know, what you just share with us, they have the ability to kind of gauge, you know, where the hospital was, and what's happening today, which is great. So 99, do you graduate. And that kind of my mindset in PHP in b2b distribution. highly unusual, but I think it's a blessing in disguise. So what was the next session 99 do for you?

 

James Thomson  8:37  

I want to I worked for a couple of consulting firms in Boston, and ended up then going into banking, and lived in Charlotte, North Carolina.

 

Yoni Mazor  8:48  

That sounds like smells like that's, that's, that's what I did.

 

James Thomson  8:52  

And then I went, went back to consulting moved to Atlanta, and work for Boston Consulting Group. And then I ended up saying, you know what, ECG?

 

Yoni Mazor  8:59  

Yeah.

 

James Thomson  9:00  

Yep, yep. And I decided I needed to stop moving around every couple of years for another job. And I said, Where do I want to go live? And I had had the good fortune through my consulting and banking work to travel to, what 70 different cities in the US. And while traveling to a city for a couple of days doesn't necessarily give you the full sense of what it's going to be like,

 

Yoni Mazor  9:22  

the culture. Yeah, no,

 

James Thomson  9:23  

I had a pretty good idea of where I didn't want to live. And they had a pretty good idea of what places I wanted to continue to consider. And I family still lived out in Western Canada. And I said You know what, I want to live in Portland or Seattle. Let me first figure out what kind of companies there are in those two cities. And then I'll make the move but I'm going to geographically target specific places and then find companies rather than finding companies and moving to wherever they happen.

 

Yoni Mazor  9:46  

Interesting. Yeah, that so yeah, no inclination to go back to Edmonton, Canada. That wasn't on you know, looking back.

 

James Thomson  9:52  

That wasn't something I was looking to do. You know, I had been doing enough things was the kinds of companies I wanted to work for. In Canada, basically, everything is based in Toronto, and Vancouver with the exception of oil companies being in Calgary, Alberta. I didn't really want to live in any of those three places. And so the opportunity to continue to live in the United States was something that I continued to explore that.

 

Yoni Mazor  10:16  

And I assume when you got married, your wife was American or Canadian.

 

James Thomson  10:21  

My wife is American and still is American. And I'm still very much Canadian. So yeah.

 

Yoni Mazor  10:25  

Oh, yeah, I got it. Alright, so it made sense. Also, there's, you know, she has her platform or family around here. So it also makes sense for you guys to stay in the United States. But okay, so you know, How many years did you bounce around to doing consulting from 1998? Until which year until you settled into you're going to share with us in a moment, was it Portland or Seattle? But how many years? Did you bounce around and consulting? Yeah, well, I ended up in America. Yeah.

 

James Thomson  10:50  

It was about nine years. And then in 2007, I was already living in Seattle, I left one bank in Seattle, and came to work for Amazon, and then working in Amazon from 2007 to 2013.

 

Yoni Mazor  11:04  

And six years before jumping to that, okay, so 2007 that's when you make the move. And you were debating between Portland and Seattle, when companies were debating just share with us a little bit of that. What was on the menu for you back then?

 

James Thomson  11:16  

Oh, I was I was looking at an esteemed bank called Washington Mutual, which no longer exists today..

 

James Thomson  11:24  

It's part of Wells Fargo. Chase

 

Yoni Mazor  11:28  

It got swallowed in 2008. With the financial meltdown. 

 

James Thomson  11:31  

I ended up going to work for WaMu. And I ended up leaving about a year before they got Well before they went bankrupt.

 

Yoni Mazor  11:39  

Yeah, 2007 or 2008. That's when they melted away, right?

 

James Thomson  11:42  

Yep. And so I ended up coming to work at Washington Mutual for a year and a half and then left to work for Amazon. And you know, a very good, very good timing to leave and come and work for Amazon. I was the only person who had ever worked at Washington Mutual and then came over to work at Amazon,

 

Yoni Mazor  12:01  

Let's say guaranteed on the first one to say.

 

James Thomson  12:04  

I was told by HR that they had never hired anybody for Washington Mutual people didn't go from banking into Amazon. Fast forward. A few years later, Amazon started getting into Amazon lending. Then they started hiring a bunch of bankers, but...

 

Yoni Mazor  12:16  

Capital lending again, a major lender to the e-commerce world. Billions of this

 

James Thomson  12:20  

Yep, yep.

 

James Thomson  12:21  

They did. Indeed.

 

James Thomson  12:22  

I remember.

 

James Thomson  12:23  

I had a conversation. When I was at Amazon. I had a conversation with the Amazon lending team shortly after they had been founded. And they wanted to talk to me because I was working on marketplace stuff. And they said, Well, you know about third-party sellers. I remember sitting down with them. And saying to them, well, I used to be a banker, and they kind of looked at each other like...

 

Yoni Mazor  12:41  

Banker liaison.

 

James Thomson  12:42  

We have people at Amazon, I used to be a banker. So that was...

 

Yoni Mazor  12:45  

Was that just for trivia purposes?

 

James Thomson  12:47  

That was 2012 2000.

 

Yoni Mazor  12:50  

That's when Amazon established capital lending and the lending team.

 

James Thomson  12:54  

Amazon lending was just getting started. Yep.

 

Yoni Mazor  12:56  

Got it. Okay, so let's dive into your you know, I guess the Amazon chapter. Oh, they were gonna give a bit more attention because it's relevant for the e-commerce space. Sure. And what kind of fundamentals I guess you grabbed from Amazon, and then, later on, pushed it from 2013. And on. So let's, you know, where do you start with Amazon? What was the purpose? What was the role? You know, let's dive a little bit into it.

 

James Thomson  13:14  

So I started in Amazon sports running the third-party business, December 2007, beginning of the month, q4, complete insanity. I literally was escorted on the first-day show my desk, somebody pointed out where the bathroom was said, Here's your password for your computer, we'll see in a month, because we're we don't have enough time to talk to you for the next month. Because it's Q4.

 

Yoni Mazor  13:38  

I kind of looked around like crazy boot camp.

 

James Thomson  13:40  

Totally ridiculous. But quite frankly, I was so excited because I was working in a company that had more data than I had ever seen in my life. And I started asking myself, okay, I have p&l responsibilities over this business, what are the things that I need to learn in order to figure out how to grow this business? In the meantime, q4, obviously, is insane. And everybody's growing, growing, growing, selling, selling, selling, nobody wants to talk to me, externally or internally. So I basically have three and a half weeks in December to figure out what's the lay of the land before somebody comes to me and says, oh, by the way, here's some project work I need you to do. I didn't have any project work, I created project work for myself, because I needed to learn the business very quickly. So early January, things started to become a little bit more apparent when I realized how my role fit in with all the vendor managers around me. It's very strange to be in the same department as someone and to actually be competing with them.

 

Yoni Mazor  14:35  

All the ones that you are on the vendors, vendors. 

 

James Thomson  14:40  

Third-party is third party, seller side.

 

Yoni Mazor  14:41  

So Amazon, you're on the third-party seller side.

 

James Thomson  14:44  

I'm literally sitting in a room by myself. And everybody around me is my competitor, vendor, all of my colleagues, all the vendor guys, and they're all looking at my excuse and my brand saying which ones do we think we can flip One piece. It's a very strange experience to be in. Everyone's like, Hi, James, how are you? And by the way, I'm, I'm looking at your numbers. And I'm thinking which brands can I take? Kind of like, What are you talking about? This is before FBA was anything meaningful, right? Quite frankly, we didn't really have a good alternative to offer third-party sellers to say you shouldn't go to one p, because they just want volume and they want prime eligibility. 

 

Yoni Mazor  15:27  

And they want the purchase order. Amazon pays a nice automatic fee automatically from the platform. much about packaging, branding, advertising, and that's Amazon stuff.

 

James Thomson  15:36  

Things were much simpler back in 2007-2008, much, much simpler. You live literally, if you could get your products on Amazon, you were happy. And then if Amazon came along and said, by the way, not only are you on Amazon, but we're going to buy a pallet at a time from you. It's Bingo. Right? That's, that's amazing. 

 

Yoni Mazor  15:52  

So you were like a little bit of a greenhouse inside that room right there. Like, you know, there's all these seeds, if one of them goes nicely, they want to just snap it off your basket, right.

 

James Thomson  16:01  

That's a good analogy. Yep. So I ended up leaving that role to go off to become Amazon's first FBA account manager. Because about a year into my sports role. FBA was something that we were being encouraged to sell to our sellers. And so I started creating reports, generating email campaigns, sending stuff to the sports sellers, not only helping them understand what products from Sports they should be sending into FBA, but recognizing that a lot of these sports sellers were selling and lots of other categories. 

 

Yoni Mazor  16:32  

Of FBA in 2000, in early 2008, right, that's your kind of started or about before that.

 

James Thomson  16:40  

Let's talk about beta. I mean, there was a long period of beta things that didn't really get started until about 2000, late 2009, early 2010. Because Amazon at the time, you know, it, when I think back, it kind of amazes me, FBA early days was being sold to sellers, as we have bigger warehouses than you do and you should put your products in ours. We can help you scale in q4, so you should use our facility instead of yours. And I specifically remember, shortly after I took the next role where I was FBA account manager, I would take large, very, very large Amazon sellers who were not using FBA, I would take them on FBA facility tours. I go to you know Pennsylvania, and Reno, Nevada, some to Phoenix, and I would bring in all the sellers, you know, a dozen sellers at once, and I'd literally take them through the warehouse. And one of the craziest things kept happening. Every single tour, people would walk in and say, oh, wow, can I start taking photos? Let's say, No, you're not allowed to take photos? And by the way, why do you want to take photos? Well, I want to figure out how I should lay out my warehouse based on what I'm seeing here. We're talking, you're walking into an Amazon warehouse that has like eight miles of conveyor belts. This is not your normal kind of warehouse. And by the way, it's not the warehouse layout. That is the secret sauce. It's the software around where do you place inventory? How do you make sure it gets picked quickly? How do you make sure that units get put together into the..

 

Yoni Mazor  18:13  

Robots? That alone is a huge investment long before the robot showed up?

 

James Thomson  18:17  

You know, just getting things figured out around? How do you put inventory in the right places? How do you make sure that you can find it when you need to find it? There's some unbelievable software that goes into that. 

 

Yoni Mazor  18:30  

What do you make of it though, the fact that these entrepreneurs, you know, third party sellers, were always you know, asking about is that an indicator of the character or the spiciness of the Amazon entrepreneur where I got to do it, I can do it, I can do it. I can do it. There's some sort of spirit like that, in that in that industry. No.

 

James Thomson  18:47  

I love entrepreneurs. I love Love, love working without Amazon traverse. However, when an Amazon entrepreneur says to me with great pride that he or she owns a warehouse, or is upgrading to an even bigger warehouse that has so many employees working in the warehouse. I get pretty hesitant to get excited about that. Because quite frankly, most of us never got into being an entrepreneur so that we can run a big warehouse. Yeah, so that we can deal with issues like shrinkage and unhappy employees in the warehouse and staffing for the rest. That's not why we became entrepreneurs.

 

Yoni Mazor  19:20  

Yeah, guys, and this is coming from, you know, a Ph.D. for b2b distribution. And if you think that this is a brutal place to be, and it's not impressing, well, I think you're not in the entrepreneurship game just to deal with all that. It's like a war zone. Everywhere. It's like a mini-war zone. It's, there's a lot of blood being spilled all around. So yeah, so you don't take pride in that. I got it.

 

James Thomson  19:39  

So the balance the issue is, how do you balance having control of your own inventory, versus letting Amazon handle inventory? Back in 2012 2011? I was doing a lot of these tours. I know quite frankly, a seller could show up with 100 times more inventory tomorrow than they had today. And it wouldn't even make a blip on Amazon's radar, no problem, send it all in. And this is back in the day when these Penny booksellers would literally back up 18 wheelers full of us books and put them all into FBA. Amazon didn't have long-term storage fees. And quite frankly, there was no disincentive to just put all your...

 

Yoni Mazor  20:20  

Bees were so thirsty, this beast called warehouse. I remember my freshman year 2013 you know, I was trembling for $10,000 worth of shit of good. Yeah, but it flew out of the shells right away. And then it's 100 1000s and it's a million. It's like this beast has no, you know, sexual appetites. It's, it's unbelievable. And it's still like this today. But now it's on a global level. ship it to France, ship it to the UK ship it, ship it everywhere. It's just amazing. The spleen, the seeds that were planted back in 2007 when the original beta kind of launched Yeah, something like that. Yep. And you got more involved in the, you know, 2008, nine or nine years where it was really critical. skin and bones. Yeah, it's fascinating stuff. 

 

James Thomson  21:04  

I got to work on a couple of crazy situations back in q4 of 2010. And 2011. Amazon ran out of warehouse space in q4. No kidding. So I was literally walking around with a spreadsheet of how much space we had in each warehouse. And who we were going to dole out that inventory space to which FBA sellers we're going to get 200 units of space are 10 units, essentially.

 

Yoni Mazor  21:31  

A raffle.

 

James Thomson  21:32  

Like a raffle. It was crazy. Crazy. 

 

Yoni Mazor  21:36  

Now that's the secret. I never realized that I wasn't top-down. He said this is 2010 and Christmas.

 

James Thomson  21:41  

Yeah, I was starting in November of 2010. And then it happened to a lesser degree in 2011. Again, and of course, we've had this happen in 2016 2017, and again, this past 2020. To your point, the beast is hungry, and no matter how much you feed the beast. Turns out, there are more people that want access to the fulfillment center space than Amazon has warehouse space. And so even if Amazon puts an ipi score in place, even if they put inventory restrictions on new products, even if they change

 

Yoni Mazor  22:18  

I want to tell the audience the IPI inventory performance index that Amazon has for Fulfillment by Amazon sellers, by the way, is fulfilled by Amazon. You know, so if you're under the threshold that really limits your ability to send units if you're above the threshold, you should be able to get to go and kind of you don't get any limitation, and that's kind of new, you're talking about the day, 2010 11 like, just give us Amazon's give us even if it just lays down and dogpiles, us. We're not gonna even charge you a penny just let us grow. Yeah.

 

James Thomson  22:44  

So I mean, Amazon's gotten much more sophisticated about making sure that their fulfillment centers are just that they're there for fulfillment not for storage, that they're for fulfillment. But figuring out what products go in how much of those products go in? How do they start to disincentivize sellers for putting products in there for too long?

 

James Thomson  23:06  

It’s impressive to see how they've continued to refine that. And basically, try to better align the incentives of what is good for Amazon and what is good for sellers. But we're now at a point. Now with 2020, the rapid advancement of e-commerce, Amazon can't build fulfillment centers fast enough. So one of the things that I'm very much hoping will happen here later in 2021. The seller fulfilled prime beta is very much underway. Now two years underway, it's closed, no one else is allowed in, Amazon's tightening up the restrictions on seller fulfilled prime, beginning of May, they're going to roll out these new requirements, which are much, much more aggressive than what SFP sellers have been able to do in the past. I'm very hopeful that even with these much more aggressive restrictions, that Amazon will reopen the program and say if you want into seller fulfillment, and you want to use your own warehouses to do prime eligible shipments, if you can meet these requirements, we would love to have you participate in this program. Quite frankly, Amazon needs other people's warehouse space to be able to continue to make prime eligible products available because they can't build momentum. 

 

Yoni Mazor  24:14  

Amazon's tapped out so to speak. And now they're encouraging the sellers to set up their own warehouses like the question that you were asked in 2009 How do I send my wares to be like this and take photos? So you know, fast forward about a decade Amazon's like Yeah, no, we don't have to take the photos we're coming in will kind of create this program for you. So we can use your warehouse and basically create all these satellite warehouses everywhere. It's almost like the antenna of a seller, you know, who sells cell phones, it's gonna be everywhere. Every second third warehouse you knock on the door, it's probably doing it could be doing a selfie or self-fulfilled prime. That's one way to scale up and Amazon is that scalability. So it's a, you know, historical level. It's amazing to see the shift of momentum from the seller's warehouses where they Listen on the platform, they ship it off on the warehouses, then Amazon, trying to magnetize all the units into their ecosystem. And now, now they're saturated. How do we bring it back to the sellers, but do the Amazon way or create this model? But once again, it's two years in the making of a self-fulfilled Prime Minister p, we can't really determine that it's a major success. But I am also aware that I think it's called onside ABA also performed by Amazon outside, you know anything about that.

 

James Thomson  25:26  

Yeah, that program closed in February last month, no more.

 

Yoni Mazor  25:29  

Got it was essentially what they're giving you the tools at the College of systems to actually be considered an FBA center, NASA fulfilled. So fulfilled prime, it's fulfilled by Amazon, also wasn't a major success. So it seems like there's a little bit of a challenge for Amazon to create that mold and create that satellite aura effect to utilize a third-party seller, as you know, giving you that Prime badge, you know, every SFA. Got it. All right, let's make it back into what we're ready in 2010 or 11, in Amazon's next year to see where it kind of, you know, solidified itself. And we'll go on to the next station after Amazon.

 

James Thomson  26:07  

I ended up running Amazon services, which is the group that recruits almost all the third-party sellers onto the amazon.com marketplace. This is about a year and a half before Amazon aggressively started recruiting Chinese manufacturers. So we were still recruiting primarily US and Canadian-based companies, and trying to get them to sell their products on Amazon. So back then we're doing about 100,000 new sellers a year. I think now it's. 2011-2012. Yep. Yep. So but that business was growing already more than 40% year over year, and it was already a billion-dollar a year business. Just absolutely crazy how fast the growth was, I have to think back to my days as an MBA student, where you would talk about, you know, how do you build a growth strategy for your business. And, you know, we would talk about, oh, you know, let's grow our business 10% this year, and rah, rah, rah, and then you go work for Amazon. And it's like, let's go build our business 5%, this month, rah, rah, rah. And you say to yourself, women, we didn't talk about hyper growth like that. But I'll tell you a one really interesting thing about Amazon, I'm so glad I work there. Because it forced me to think absolutely critically about what the key levers are of growth. What is it that I can do today, that is the absolute most important thing that will help me build my business. So instead of saying, Well, I can keep busy doing all sorts of things. That's not the point. The point is, there are really only two or three things in any job that you have only two or three levers, so those are the most important, and you've got to figure out what those are. And then you've got to test out how do I move that lever forward? And working on.

 

Yoni Mazor  27:46  

Amazon double down and double down, double down...

 

James Thomson  27:48  

Double down, double down. Test. Once you know something's gonna work, scale the heck out of it as fast as you possibly can? Because if you don't, some other marketplace will. And so you've got to figure out how to go and grab as much of the ocean as I can? Once I knew that I figured out how to go find all the fish in the ocean.

 

Yoni Mazor  28:06  

Like the analogy, I might use it. So thank you for that. Oh, yeah, this is what I connected to so greatly. Looking into my experiences in the Amazon seller space, but also in the solution space. Really a good business, really, if it's good business, right, it should have two to three main components, you have the real down, you realize that's really that's what moves the needle about everything around it. So if you do well, and keep doubling down and pushing hard on it, everything else will kind of fall into place. Because you're healthy, that growth is the health of a business, which you know, translates to revenue and to hopefully to profit, and then you can get talent, you can get, you know, better systems, better software, whatever it is, you know, that compounds into a great company, which Amazon did along the years. So, so yeah, so you're in charge of that growth. You're saying, you know, it was explosive, and you leave around 2013.

 

James Thomson  28:54  

I left 2013, about a week before my wife had our second child. And within two weeks of leaving, I started getting calls from people saying, I see you updated your LinkedIn profile, and you're no longer at Amazon. Can we hire you to be a consultant? So I did a little bit of consulting for about six months, while you know, playing daddy at home, which was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed that. But I quickly realized there's an awful lot of sellers out there that need help. And it's not clear what kind of meaningful help is available out there. So I set up a little business, I started doing more consulting, started doing some project work for some folks. Fast forward a year later, August 2014. I met my business partner, Joe Hanson at a conference. And we really hit it off and realized that there was an opportunity for us to do some work together. We ended up doing a bunch of different types of projects before we ultimately ended up joining forces to do consulting work together and working together to build the prosper show. So between 2014 and 2016, we were very, very good. busy with all these ideas saying what are we going to do? You know, we can take on the world here, you know, we know the answers. We don't know the answers. But we have ideas of how we know the answers and start as I say, the prosper show, and then work together on what is now by box experts. And so, you know, quite an interesting journey to get to the point where you find yourself aligned with someone else and decided to go into business together and realize that the issue is not whether there's enough demand for your services, it's about figuring out, where are you going to spend your time, what are you going to work on, because lots of people need certainly lots of sellers need help. And quite frankly, we only have so much bandwidth. We made this rather important decision back in about 2016, that while both of us had been primarily consulting with third party sellers, we quickly realized that it was more effective for us to be working with brands, rather than working with just traditional resellers on the third-party marketplace, we'd worked with companies that were general merchandise resellers, and quickly found that there's literally no margin available to pay a consultant and pay Amazon and for the entrepreneur to put money in his or her own pockets. So we decided to work with brands that we saw as being the way, way, way behind when it came to understanding how e-commerce marketplaces worked. And so we've been very fortunate to be able to build a successful business with brands. But what's very enjoyable for us is that the prosper show was an opportunity to work with third-party sellers, many of whom were private label sellers, private label development was a fairly new one in about 2013 14 is when that's when it really started to take off. So we were working with private label sellers, we were also working with national brands, both of whom needed different types of help. One we can help through the conference when we could help through our agency. And so we've been very fortunate to get to know a lot of service providers, a lot of amazing entrepreneurs who have, quite frankly, some business models that I couldn't understand how they were making money. And lo and behold, they make money and make lots of money. So it's a really amazing opportunity for me to be working with Amazon sellers. And I am constantly humbled by how clever some of the folks selling on Amazon today are.

 

Yoni Mazor  32:24  

It's an amazing industry with some amazing people with amazing trades, and an amazing ability to pioneer things and push forward and make money in such crazy creative ways. But I want to touch a few points and unpack it a little bit of a few of the components. So Johansen quickly shares with us his experience at a conference in 2015 gave us a little context about his experience and how you guys I guess bundled together and today you guys are still partners will give us a better understanding of his caliber or his story.

 

James Thomson  32:56  

Joe started building private label brands a year out of college, and he built and sold four different brands, all of which leverage the Amazon channel primarily. And when I met him, he had just sold his last brand and was starting a little consulting practice of his own this little company with three people called BuyBox Experts. 

 

Yoni Mazor  33:18  

And so technically speaking well what year that established about box expert,

 

James Thomson  33:22  

I think it was in 2013, late 2013.

 

Yoni Mazor  33:27  

So once again, he had a few brands sold it, you know he exited them successfully 2013 he created this little body called buy box experts to kind of help I guess other brands from the experience that he had being so successful at it, you come from a different direction from the system from Amazon, knowing both sides, you know, the private label sellers which are kind of not that dominant back then it was mostly on the reselling side, right. So now you know at least early on you guys kind of complement each other I would assume in a lot of dynamics, him coming as a seller you coming from the Amazon system, and having such an amazing bandwidth to understand where things are going. So BuyBox Experts were already established in 2013 you may meet him around 2014. And the immediate connection wasn't about joining BuyBox Exports more about why creating content creating the prosper show was what was the what was Yeah, victory early on.

 

James Thomson  34:16  

We thought we were going to build some training, training tools for sellers and that never went anywhere. But it was a good opportunity to get to know Joe better and figure out that while we both had knowledge of Amazon, more importantly, we had very similar values in terms of what we wanted out of life professionally and personally. And quite frankly, to me, that's way more important. Knowing that we've got alignment there then do we actually have completely complimentary skills professionally? turns out we do have complementary skills as well, professionally. They're things that Joe loves to work on that I can't stand and vice versa.

 

Yoni Mazor  34:52  

That's a great partnership right there. 

 

James Thomson  34:54  

Yeah. And lo and behold, you know, we know how to do enough things between the two of us that we were able to keep the business growing. And by the time we get to 2018 is 2018. At that point, we ended up, acquired a couple of firms and helped build our business quickly and step function. And we'd already pivoted away from primarily working with resellers to now working with third-party, private label brands, or national brands.

 

Yoni Mazor  35:25  

But when did you Okay, so once again, I want to send the moment you are captured the moment you stepped into BuyBox Experts. So the initial idea was to create content, maybe some sort of educational materials for the sellers. Yep. But so when you officially enter a buy box export, we realized we know what, you know, we can complement each other. He already has this organization. Bob, thanks for letting me just join in. When was that moment?

 

James Thomson  35:47  

It was in late 2015. And it really wasn't there really wasn't like a sit down where we said we should join forces was one of those things where I started helping him with some projects and

 

Yoni Mazor  35:58  

organic you were just he was just, you know, enrolling into it organically because you're just doing things together. You guys know, do you wake up? Do you see this is pretty much already all and kind of one network one platform BuyBox Experts? Yep. Well, you were kind of forced under fire. I've worked in the organization, Garden, which materialized around 2015. So the prosperity came away this year.

 

James Thomson  36:20  

We found it in 2016, we had gone to a couple of different shows that other organizations have put on and what you guys met.

 

Yoni Mazor  36:29  

Right 2014 We met in, in a conference Somalia,

 

James Thomson  36:32  

We met at another conference, and we attended a number of these conferences, because several of our clients were attending these shows, and it was a convenient way to meet up with several clients all at once. And we were just disappointed with the quality of the education and all of these shows. They were basically big marketing shows; they weren't really educational shows. And while they had educational sessions, they weren't educational sessions. They were sales pitches. And so we decided that little foolishly we said, well, I'm sure we could do a better job by creating our own show. And I remember I remember we were at the show in Vegas. And Joe and I looked at each other and neither Joan or I can remember which one of us was foolish enough to blurt out, we should do this ourselves. We both decided that. How difficult Can this be you just got to book a room, get some speakers, and then you're off and running,

 

Yoni Mazor  37:21  

You entered into the world of politics and diplomacy of the commerce Amazon space unknowingly and created a beast in a good way. So the first year was probably Rocky. But in 2017 18, it became like a benchmark for which I can vouch for it. And I participated. It was a great event, super educational, a lot of value. A lot of connections or good connections are made by a lot of friendships. So I think it's an amazing establishment, you guys are created and also excited along the way. We can maybe touch that a bit later. But okay, so once again, 2013 and after that a year, you're kind of on yourself doing a consulting 2014 customer, you know, you meet Joe, you guys get aligned, right 2015 you enter into bio-bricks exports officially 2016 prosper show, you know is established. And then I guess take us to from those moments until today, what was the trajectory thereof growth, and progress, and realization of a strategy?

 

James Thomson  38:18  

Well, Prosper was quite an eye-opener for us because we started to meet so many of the other service providers and solution providers in the Amazon space. And many of them didn't really have a vehicle for getting their names out. And so now we had a physical event where people all get together. I've been fortunate to meet literally hundreds of amazing solution providers and service providers who have found some gap in Amazon's offering. And they've put a solution together to serve that. And when I think back to all the things that I learned through prosper, as much as I enjoyed the process of actually putting together an agenda every year with the right kind of speakers and the topics that I thought were most relevant, being able to meet the service providers and figure out what they're up to and say, Wow, that's really cool. I never thought of that as being an issue. But I can see not only is that an issue, but you can scale that to hundreds of 1000s of sellers. So again, working with entrepreneurs who are finding clever ways to build businesses, I didn't come from a family of entrepreneurs. And so being able to now be surrounded by entrepreneurs all the time. It was rewarding, it was very rewarding, but it was also a little scary. Because, gosh, people have a lot of energy and a lot of drive all the time, having been in a corporate role where Yes, you work hard and you've got to move quickly. But there's always that safety blanket of someone else's paying my salary, and I've got my health care coverage. And, you know, unless I royally mess up, I'm still going to be here tomorrow. Well, when you're an entrepreneur, every day, you got to give it you're all. And you got to be saying what do I need to do so in a month from now in a better position. What do I need to do in six months from now, I'm in a better position. When you're in a corporate role, it's just not the same situation. So making that transition for me, you know, in 2013, I left corporate America and I went into being an entrepreneur on day one. I didn't really know what I was getting myself into. And I, quite frankly, drive my wife crazy. And I drive Joe crazy, because, you know, I like what about this, we can work on this, we can do this. My wife says, Don't you have enough things to do to fill your day? And Joe and I, I mean, we are each other's worst on our own worst enemies, because we're like, oh, yeah, that's a cool idea. We should work on that. Let's do a pilot. Let's do that. And then we look at it. And we go, we have 10 pilots running right now this is this, we can't do this, can handle this. So we got a little bit more responsible about how to put ideas on paper, figure out how to rank order them, and say, That's a good idea. But we need to wait until we finish some of these other ideas. But it's so freeing to be an entrepreneur if you've got enough runway around you from some of your businesses, parts of the business that are working. It's so cool to say you know what, there's an opportunity, I think we can go tackle it this way. 

 

Yoni Mazor  41:11  

Let's go see if we can make this work, or a way we're doing something right now resources are the right combination of resources behind you to have the advantage and you're sad that these innovative or creative things will actually materialize.

 

James Thomson  41:23  

We hope they're going to materialize. But we go in with the idea that even if it doesn't materialize, there's a bunch of stuff we're going to learn along the way, that's going to give us a much better sense of how this whole mechanism works. And then we can respond with another effort to try to tackle it from a different direction. 

 

Yoni Mazor  41:42  

So you see value in the experience a lot of values, and oh, who was a new set of?

 

James Thomson  41:45  

Absolutely. When I worked at Amazon, I didn't, it wasn't until I started working there that I appreciated the understanding or the whole concept of making calculated risks and being willing to test things out, over and over and over. You've got to be running this test. If it doesn't work, why didn't it work? How do we tweak it? Okay, now, let's do another test where we tweak it a little bit and see, what do we learn here, what works. And eventually, you tweak enough times, and you get to a point where you say, you know what I think this is going to work. And when you get to the point where you say I think this is actually going to work, then you've got to figure out how do I scale the heck out of this? You know, at Amazon, one of the strangest things about working in Amazon is you have no resources to get anything done. And so you got to figure out really, how do I get something done with no resources? How do I borrow and steal resources from other groups? and say, I really need your help on this? Can you pull these reports for me? Or can you, you know, put this doodad somewhere on the website? Or can you do something for me?

 

Yoni Mazor  42:44  

Your research and they want to remember, we came to the office, you were the resource because you're growing all these brands and the sports thing and the vendor side they wanted, you know, you use you as a resource to grow their own ecosystem. So I see the elements that can connect these dots at this point. Interesting, very interesting. The Amazon was very interesting, where they keep you hungry, they keep You foolish. So you keep scrambling and to, to make things work and you know, make them viable, and once they do indicate it is viable. That's it, that's when you put the push in the scale, the Amazon way, and a lot of muscle behind.

 

James Thomson  43:18  

They also give you access to the largest database that exists on earth. Yeah. And so being able to say, I have this idea. Let me go see what the data Amazon tells me. And by the way, when I'm pulling data out of Amazon, I'm pulling, you know, a million customers' worth of data in the last 24 hours. That's a pretty robust sample, I don't have to say, let's go do a focus group and spend two months collecting data, I can get actual behavioral data...

 

Yoni Mazor  43:43  

Right? Nielsen rating door and FDA pays front and then maybe trying to send somebody This is Yeah, this is really the secret sauce we have beyond Amazon that maybe not everybody's aware of the amount of data. And the behavior of consumers in that ecosystem is so tremendous. It's the period by enemies to any brick and mortar retail. Ill give you a small example. When you walk into a Walmart, you might be holding this type of shampoo bottle and the other one and you chose the other one. But Walmart does, you know, you held the other one are we looking for when we show up on Amazon, we go into this listing of that shampoo and the listing the other shampoo and you scroll down the page, they actually know what's going on what are you kind of looking at, and eventually, it shows you other and you know internally they can maybe tweak the other one to also be just as good or and so many ways to perfect things and create an edge and make the whole experience for the consumer just superior. So they're sticky. You go in there, you're gonna buy something that is the power behind Amazon because you have all that data, what really works workplace magic for consumers, and, you know, make it a beast. So she tasted that. But um, 2018 right. That was you mentioned that you know, as a part of the growth because you're mentioning, you know, this year to pivot from being corporate America and to an entrepreneur, you know, learning from mistakes. n 2018, is where you essentially start swallowing so to speak other businesses. So that is a real hardcore entrepreneur move because you can grow by, you know, making the right beds and right. But then you can also the second way to go is buying other businesses or, you know, mergers and acquisitions that have too many strategies or growth organically from things you decided as a part of a strategy, but also just buying others. So maybe take us there a little bit into that position where you, you started, I guess, merging with other organizations in creating, you know, the skill that you are today, maybe you can touch on the skill of buybacks expert is today, which really materialize as far as I can detect the past two or three years.

 

James Thomson  45:38  

We knew we were only good at certain things as an agency, and we could see that our clients were looking for additional skills. So we looked around, and we said, we need better one peak capabilities, we need better advertising capabilities, we need better product listings and sales, outbound sales capabilities. And so we looked at a number of different firms and decided in the end that we could try to build these things ourselves, or we could merge or buy another company and very quickly, you know, instantly have that capability. Now, obviously, you got to integrate with another company, you got to make all the pieces better.

 

Yoni Mazor  46:12  

The country is integrated now.

 

James Thomson  46:13  

I mean that that takes time, but it takes less time than it does to try to build something from scratch when Joe and I didn't have certain skills of our own. And it's hard to go and hire people who have other types of skills when you don't know how to qualify whether they're good, better or best at those other skills, such.

 

Yoni Mazor  46:31  

A pain point for entrepreneurs in the domains you're not familiar with. How do you really gauge if you have somebody? Yep. Worthy on your team or not? Really, it's a real struggle. I share it as well and a few components. So it's an unknown, but you guys as a decision said, Okay, we're gonna open up to recognizing other organizations who do have those strengths. And I know, I know, and merge with them. But let's talk a little bit about body count. So 2018, how big was the team in BuyBox? Experts? What was the first company? the organization I guess merged with? And what were the, I guess, growth numbers and actual physicality? I remember as far as you remember, yeah.

 

James Thomson  47:08  

I think we were about 8 to 10 people. And we merged with another company called Karen Co. company that had about seven or eight people. So now we were you know, yeah. And then we ended up in September 2019, we merged with another company called No Zanni. the company, they had about 80 employees. At that point, it was...

 

Yoni Mazor  47:35  

How big was Buybux Experts? And then the 2019 number...

 

James Thomson  47:38  

We were 45 or 50 people.

 

Yoni Mazor  47:41  

So you're 4550. And he swallowed a company, so to speak. That's aggressive.

 

James Thomson  47:47  

Yep, yep. And then we ended up acquiring another company called Agility, which was a strong, strong advertising company, a small company, but nonetheless, very, very good skills. Some top talent came over with that company. And you know, we've continued to grow since then. And we're now a little over 200 people. And it's not so much just the number of people. To me, what's more, important is, number one, do we have all the skills that we think we need to have to put out a full-scale offering to our clients? And number two, are we big enough that we can organize our talent so that we have different centers of excellence and we are now at a point where we have a design team, we have a content team, we have an advertising team? Do we have an account management team? we don't look to our account managers and say you're expected to do all of this all at once. It's really hard to do that thing in Amazon changed so much, how can one account manager keep up with all these different changes and so by having different people that focus on each one of these areas, it's really helped us as an organization to be much more tuned to the changes of what Amazon is throwing our way.

 

Yoni Mazor  48:58  

God so it seems, it sounds like you know, the organization is more layered towards you know, with a lot of talent that gives excellent or, you know, excellent performance and coverage and all these components. As you mentioned, yeah, maybe the logistics maybe the advertising, maybe the marketing whatever is needed for all these brands that you know, the organization works with to have a supreme, excellent experience on all levels and all fronts you don't have to there's no potholes and the experience or the ability for you of the organization to really create the perfect solution as an agency marketplace agency for you know, a brand to grow in the end especially in the Amazon sphere. So if I'm a brand I do only brick and mortar I want to enter into the sphere of Amazon and you know have maybe a regionally or nationally recognized brand. When it comes to Buybox Experts that's what they can expect excellence and all these apartments because it's obviously the as you experience the right talent, but it's layered in such a degree where there's it's it has the ability to scale, almost like the Amazon warehouse. You know, it has an insatiable appetite, advertisers keep on coming in. And you bring out data with their ability to grow into the marketplace that is that kind of the ambition? 

 

James Thomson  50:08  

It's the ambition, I mean, every day, we have to work on getting better every day figuring out how to stay in tune to our client's needs, there are some things we're really good at. And there are some things you know, we're still working on getting better at. But the idea around what we want to be, we have a very clear sense of what we want to be. One of the biggest challenges I've had as an entrepreneur is asking myself the question what I want to be when I grow up, quite frankly, I'm too busy living in the here and now with my business to ask, Where am I going to be in two years where we're going to be in five years. We're at a point now where we know what we need to do to keep going, and where we need to continue to make investments. And you know, it's exciting to be in a place where the foundation is coming together. And we're seeing this, this all makes sense. 

 

Yoni Mazor  50:56  

Hard floor, it seems like when there's more of a heartbeat, now you can build even larger structures on it. So beautiful. Okay, so thank you so much for that, I think, you know, this is where you are today. This is now as you mentioned, so I want to kind of recap the episode real quickly. And see, if we got to write in for dinner, we're gonna go to the last part of the episode. Alright, so actually born in England, but raised in Canada up to 20, then you are moved to the states to get your Ph.D. would be to be distribution graduate about 2008, from 2008 until 2007, you Roman you know, as a consultant between you know, Bank of America, and other organizations in corporate America, until you land into Washington Mutual WaMu, in 2007, in Seattle, knowing that this is kind of also the air you want to be settling in with your family. Yeah, 2007, you hit Amazon, on the sports side and helping the third-party sellers. And then within within within the experience, you also grow, materialized and grew into, you know, the MBA program, helping you know, set off the ground for Amazon, and then being in charge of, you know, a large portion of the third-party sellers, right, as you know, as a whole. And then you do it, you graduate from Amazon, quote, unquote, 2013. And then if around for a whole year you, you, you're in the consulting space, and most in that industry, the e-commerce in 2013 blog hazard that you meet a Johansen. And in a conference, you guys kind of have this chemistry and the ability to start working together on projects and more on educational things. But within a span of almost a year plus, in 2015, you woke up and said, Hey, I'm already here, established with your organization he created which was BuyBox Experts, you know, as a marketplace agency. And then you guys work to harden and scale. And he also created the prosper show in 2016 a year into the mix and to BuyBox Experts. And then around 2018, as you guys you know, as you find yourself as an entrepreneur, think about the future, you know, having a responsibility to generate continued growth for the organization, you start entering the path of mergers and acquisitions where you know, you start swelling, other companies, and today, you know, fast forward into 2021. You know, buy box experts is probably one of the largest, if not the largest Amazon Marketplace agency in the world, you know, with leading brands enjoying its ability to scale and generate continued growth so that I get a ride. This is kind of the body of the episode.

 

James Thomson  53:23  

I hope I haven't over shared but yeah, that's basically that's basically where we're at. Now, the most exciting part is, you know, we're just getting started here. With every one it's like climbing a hill. And the further up the hill you climb, the better your view is of the next frontier, the next frontier and the next frontier.

 

Yoni Mazor  53:42  

And most importantly, you feel like you have oxygen to keep climbing. That is important, right? Like, look back.

 

James Thomson  53:48  

But I still have some oxygen. 

 

Yoni Mazor  53:51  

Yeah, it’s a professional entrepreneurship level not maybe on the physical level, you know, I'm in my mid-30s. I feel I'm starting to feel what you're saying. But yeah, at least on the entrepreneurial spirit inside you realize, you know, you can do more, it's amazing how over time when you build there's little success and realize, okay, you take by what you do, but you still humble and say I want to keep climbing because I really see how I can get more. But um, alright, so thanks so much for that. It's been fascinating, at least for me on the personal side to explore, you know, your experience. And I want to kind of close the episode with two components. The first one, if somebody wants to connect to you or reach out to you, where can they find you so you can give them a handle. And the last thing will be what is your message of hope and inspiration for entrepreneurs listening out there?

 

James Thomson  54:34  

So if after listening, everything you've heard today, if you still want to talk with me, I can be reached at James at BuyBox Experts calm or you can find me on LinkedIn. I'm very active on LinkedIn and love. 

 

Yoni Mazor  54:47  

You can also read the news, you’re all over the news, but that's a different discussion for a different episode. Yeah.

 

James Thomson  54:52  

And then in terms of you know, the hope and inspiration, if I'm speaking specifically to companies looking at being Amazon sellers because that's the world that I know best. Amazon is a huge marketplace. People naturally gravitate towards it because it's huge. And they say, I'm sure I can get on there and be the next millionaire. I'll be the first to say Amazon is an incredibly dynamic place. It's full of all sorts of different sellers with all sorts of different ideas in terms of what they need to do to accomplish success. Success comes in many different flavors, some flavors, quite frankly, don't make a lot of sense to me. But if you're going to be, if you're going to take your hard-earned capital, and put it into a business that leverages the Amazon channel, my single piece of advice to you is, make sure you go in with eyes wide open, you've done your reading, you've got a network of people that you can leverage to ask questions, and to continue asking questions. Even if you have all the best information in the world, and you've got data to tell you, what are the kinds of products you should be getting into, and how do you get in and out of products as necessary. Even with all that kind of information, it's still going to be a very steep path to becoming successful. And even if you hit something that you would call success today, tomorrow, the world may change completely. And you may find yourself with a very bitter feeling around the whole experience. And so Amazon is a place that's very hard to find long-term happiness. It's a place where you have to work really hard. And as hard as you work today, tomorrow, you'll probably work even harder to stand still. And so that part of the attraction of Amazon is often overlooked, and not well understood. I don't want to push people away from participating in Amazon. But I do want to make sure that they go in and they're completely aware of what they're up against. And they recognize it's going to be hard work. I don't care how amazing your product is, you can have the best mousetrap in the world. Amazon doesn't care. Amazon customers may never find your product. And so you've got to be thinking about how to become the best athlete possible? Not necessarily the best athlete with one particular skill, but the best all-around athlete, because you're going to need every one of those skills to remain humble, to remain flexible, and to remain willing to learn that even if things aren't necessarily your direct mistake, that bad thing can happen to you every single day. And lots of people get very frustrated by the whole process of being a seller on Amazon. At the same time. If you do find success, and you have the opportunity to network with other Amazon sellers, I am so rich with friendship from people that I've met through the Amazon Marketplace, people who are driven to find a way to solve these problems, find a way to keep persevering. It's exhilarating to be surrounded by these types of folks. So I hope you will consider joining this, you know, an elite group of people that want to make a living on Amazon. But recognize that to remain successful in this place. It's a lot of hard work, and you're going to have to keep humble and keep on top of your game.

 

Yoni Mazor  58:14  

Beautiful, beautiful. So stay humble, stay flexible, get ready to work hard. And if you do, you'll be you know, you know you'll find success and hopefully join that elite group and find a very warm and prosperous community of brilliant people. So James, thank you so much for that. I hope everybody enjoyed it. Stay safe and healthy everybody next time.

 

James Thomson  58:33  

Thank you, Yoni.

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