In this Prime Talk Podcast Video Sponsored by GETIDA, Ian Kaneshiro, head of sales and customer success at SellerSnap. Ian discusses how to price your products on Amazon. SellerSnap is a leading repricing platform for Amazon sellers. Ian shares his personal journey into eCommerce.
One challenge Amazon sellers face is owning that elusive “buy box” without getting into a price war and without actually losing any revenue. There are automated AI tools available out there that can help sellers with this constant battle. Yoni Mazor of Prime Talk discusses one of these AI repricing tools and how it can help you on your Amazon journey to grow and scale your business.
In today’s episode, Prime Talk has teamed up with Ian Kaneshiro, head of Sales and Customer Success at SellerSnap, one of the leading repricing platforms for Amazon sellers. SellerSnap’s main mission is to help Amazon sellers maximize their profits and scale their businesses and they can accomplish this with this leading game-theory-based algorithmic repricer and strong seller analytics.
Ian Kaneshiro shares his personal journey from college baseball player to his decision to move halfway around the world to Israel for love to his current position at SellerSnap. So if you’re an Amazon seller needing help with the repricing battle, or if you’re at a crossroads in your Amazon story and need some inspiration, then this episode is for you!
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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 Ian Kaneshiro. Ian is the head of sales and customer success of SellerSnap, which is a leading repricing platform for Amazon sellers. So Ian, welcome to the show.
Ian Kaneshiro 0:20
Thank you, Yoni for having me. I'm super happy to be here. Caught a few of your episodes in the past. So I'm excited to have a chance to talk to you.
Yoni Mazor 0:27
Awesome, we're so glad you can make the time to join us today. Alright, so today's episode is really going to be the episode of Ian Kaneshiro. You're gonna share with us, you know, who are you? Where are you from? Where were you born? Where did you grow up, you know, all the way to where you are now. So I guess without further ado, let's jump right into it.
Ian Kaneshiro 0:45
We’re really gonna go into the depths of it today. Cool. Let's do it. So, yeah, my name is Ian Kaneshiro, originally from Los Angeles, California. Quick take on that is I'm actually calling you from Tel Aviv, Israel, which I've been here for about five years now. And so that will kind of kind of lead into my story a bit. But yeah, you know, I was originally born in Los Angeles, California, big passion, growing up was baseball. And that kind of led me in all the different directions. Because, you know, when you're growing up playing competitive sports, you know, first of all, teamwork is a huge thing that comes to mind when thinking about that. So that has really helped me in my professional career with that mindset. But also, when you're a teenager playing ball, you have to take into account time management. And, you know, I was always really aware about, like, you know, about the value of money, and, you know, I wanted to go out and hang out with my friends. But I had to, I always had to kind of kind of work for it, you know?
Yoni Mazor 1:48
So tell me, hold on, in terms of the baseball team, right? So how old were you? What was the, you know, the dynamics there? What was the context? Give us a you have to work you have to take a bus, you got dropped to the, to the practices while you're playing the local, national statewide?
Ian Kaneshiro 2:04
So yeah, that's a lot of really good questions. So I started when I was four, you know, lucky enough that my folks would take me after work every day to practice and to every game, and I had a really supportive childhood in that. And you know, growing up, you know, we started to play, you started to play ball with like, the same guys all day, every day, sometimes your teammates, sometimes your competitors, but at the end of the day, you know, what, uh, whatever it was, you know, 13 years old, when things start getting really competitive, you all have the dream of going pro, right? So we're all kind of competing in that way to make each other better. You know, a little bit of a spoiler there. I didn't go pro. But that's a different story.
Yoni Mazor 2:44
So what was your position? Which position you excelled in, in the game? Is it pitching, is a batting, is it catching?
Ian Kaneshiro 2:49
So I, I played, I played a little bit of everywhere, you know, play a little bit of everywhere growing up. But I loved the outfield. I love the running aspect of just trying to chase something down, chase down that ball that's, you know, moving pretty fast. And but yeah, and everybody likes a swing. Everybody likes to hit and so that's probably that's probably the real, the real passion of the game. Right?
Yoni Mazor 3:10
For sure. For sure. All right, great. So you go up, and then you took this into, you know, high school, or beyond? Or what was the trajectory?
Ian Kaneshiro 3:18
Yeah, so I took it into high school, I played High School ball, actually, you know, got cut from the team, my first year, I didn't make it. And then, which made me kind of want it a bit more, worked hard, was able to make it my second year as a sophomore and then, you know, played throughout the rest of my career. And, you know, that was something that I was really proud of, you know, it's, it's one of those things, it's really a humbling experience to learn at such a young age to, you know, not be the best anymore, because you always have someone you know that you're always hear, there's always gonna be someone better than you. And I felt for me at a really early age, I was something really interesting. And, you know, I bet we can make some connections, like throughout this conversation about always having someone better than you. And is that a reason not to do what you want to do? Not to do what you love to do, right? Oh, yeah. And, and so one of the things that I always kind of prided myself on was, even though I wasn't necessarily the best, I wanted to be one of the...I wanted to be the hardest worker on the field. So you know, even if it's like, the talents, not there, you know, this dude grinds, and that was something that was really important for me.
Yoni Mazor 4:29
So your commitment, your passion, your dedication, will offset anything. So it just...it will make you a valuable player, even if other components are kind of missing. So that was kind of your understanding at a young age into the game?
Ian Kaneshiro 4:41
Absolutely. And, and especially when you're working on a team, like on a baseball team, you have what nine other dudes on the field with you at any one time. You know, it's not just about you. And so it's, it's about the common goal. And so, there is really a position for everyone out there, you know? If you got your star players you got the people that like bring everything home and you have you have supporting roles and so...
Yoni Mazor 5:07
You guys win any titles at all or any achievements and accomplishments on the league or anything?
Ian Kaneshiro 5:11
So my program did as I was going through it, but I was not on a championship team and still a sore moment, whatever it is 10 years later, man. I can remember where I was when we got back from the playoffs during my senior year.
Yoni Mazor 5:29
Gotcha. So listen, it took us a while after high school what was the next station for you?
Ian Kaneshiro 5:33
So the next station was college. I played, I got recruited to Cal State Monterey Bay, a D2 school in California.
Yoni Mazor 5:41
What's it called? What's it called the school?
Ian Kaneshiro 5:43
California State University, Monterey Bay.
Yoni Mazor 5:46
Monterey Bay that’s the location area?
Ian Kaneshiro 5:50
Monterey Bay. Yep, on the central coast of California. Yeah, and, you know, that was also another situation, you know, I leveled up, I was in a situation, you know...
Yoni Mazor 6:00
DId you get a scholarship to play at all? Or you just wanted to get your degree in a certain field then also kind of keep the passion going with baseball?
Ian Kaneshiro 6:07
I went actually for baseball first, knowing that, you know, time was probably ticking on that baseball career, but also, you know, the, the secondary goal of getting an education and, you know, kind of leveraging that.
Yoni Mazor 6:22
What’d you study? What was your major?
Yoni Mazor 6:26
Nice. On a side note, what was your like baseball team? Which team are you a fan of?
Ian Kaneshiro 6:31
Dodgers! Big year, big years for us! You know, I went my whole life without a World Series. So you know, we could have a whole nother podcast about how stoked I am on that.
Yoni Mazor 6:41
Nice. Congratulations, glad for you. It’s always nice when your team is finally shining. Okay, so you're in school, studying business while playing well, three, four years?
Ian Kaneshiro 6:53
So I actually only played ball for one year. And it wasn't working out for me. And I decided to focus on school. And during that time, I had this really awesome opportunity to study abroad, got some grants, got some scholarships in order to go and do business programs and focus on international business. And well, story short, I ended up going to two different countries in my first year and that year, into Bilbao, Spain, and then Torino, Italy. And it was really, really wild. Again, you know, this was something that happened really quick. And I had a really cool opportunity to meet people from all over the country all over the world.
Yoni Mazor 7:37
So how long were you in Bilbao? And how long were you in Toronto? By the way?
Ian Kaneshiro 7:40
It was. It was five months in Bilbao, and I think five or six in Torino.
Yoni Mazor 7:48
That’s pretty long. So combined together you were out of the country for a year-ish, right?
Ian Kaneshiro 7:52
Yeah, almost. Yeah.
Yoni Mazor 7:53
Did you pick up any Spanish or Italian at all?
Ian Kaneshiro 7:56
I think you know, at the time, I was rocking it. But if you try to tell me to go back, I'm not gonna do very well. But you know, I
Yoni Mazor 8:04
Did you pick up the cuisine, at least? You know, the food was probably tremendous.
Ian Kaneshiro 8:08
Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. I mean, I'm a big pizza guy myself. And it's unreal. It's not fair.
Yoni Mazor 8:16
You're talking about the Italian side right? And the Spanish side, what kind of food was there, that blew your mind?
Ian Kaneshiro 8:24
So in the region of Spain, they have these...They have their own version of tapas, which are called pinchos. And you get a little pincho, which is sometimes like a sandwich with a nice cold beer. And you know, it was a beach city. So I was living the dream, you know, whatever it was 19-20 years old. Able to drink legally, drinking beers with the buds and…
Yoni Mazor 8:48
The drinking age over there is 18, right? You can start drinking 18 over there?
Ian Kaneshiro 8:51
Yoni Mazor 8:52
Here in the United States is 21 and older. But so take us through the years. Let's get more chronological. So let's start, let’s use, you know, your overseas experience as a benchmark. So what year were you in Spain and what year were you in Italy?
Ian Kaneshiro 9:06
Wow, that must have been in the fall of 2011 I was in Spain and the spring of 2012 I was in Italy.
Yoni Mazor 9:16
So you said...so it was one followed the other or you had like you know a stint in between?
Ian Kaneshiro 9:20
Yeah, like back to back. So the gap was January of 2012.
Yoni Mazor 9:25
Got it? Wow. Phenomenal. All right. So you did your world tour in Europe and then came back to the states to finish the degree?
Ian Kaneshiro 9:32
Came back to the states to finish the degree. And that was kind of one start of you know, me entering into the workforce. I ended up working for the International Programs Office at my university.
Yoni Mazor 9:46
Nice and so what you do what you are what you did you graduate and started transitioning into work for the school.
Ian Kaneshiro 9:53
So that I started in 2009. I started working for the school in 2012.
Yoni Mazor 9:57
So 2012, you know, professionally full time, this is your...
Ian Kaneshiro 10:01
No, this was actually this was a, this was in my, during my degree.
Yoni Mazor 10:06
Yeah, I'm saying when you when you graduated, that's when you start working for them full time or?
Ian Kaneshiro 10:10
No, I didn't. I didn't work for them full time. I worked for them for the last two and a half years of my degree.
Yoni Mazor 10:15
Got it. I got it. So after you graduated, what was the next station?
Ian Kaneshiro 10:18
So the next station was being in LA. Moved back in with my folks, trying to find a job, you know, it was what was what 2014.
Yoni Mazor 10:31
So hold on, you graduated in 2014 and then you move back to LA? Or you graduated 2012 and then? What was the time…?
Ian Kaneshiro 10:36
I graduated in 2014, and I moved back to LA. And, you know, I was looking for work, I was looking for something that was meaningful, or something I could sink my teeth into, and really, and really grow into. And I was having a lot of struggle getting my foot in a lot of the doors, as were, you know, it was like, it was a time where a lot of my friends were having similar issues. And so what ended up happening was, I worked a couple of part time jobs, just to save up some money.
Yoni Mazor 11:14
Take us a little bit, if you can, just take us a little bit to the mind frame of, you know, being an LA, like the industries that are available over there that you're looking into, and you were getting, you know, it was challenging. Was it more of the entertainment business, was it more the financial business or real estate?
Ian Kaneshiro 11:30
So, you know, I think what everything that I've been I was looking for, I was looking into more into, into sales, into a sales job, whether it was whether it was retail, or maybe...or tech is something that I had a bit of experience that working at the university doing recruiting for, for the International Programs, you know, trying to sell students on studying abroad, you know, something, I was ah I got a knack for this, it’s something that I can, that I want to bring to bring to the company. And you know, everyone asks for, you know, an entry level job, but you need eight years of experience, right? It's just such a complicated world to enter. And you just keep on, you keep on interviewing and grinding and interviewing. And just one of these days, it's gonna click, but like, also, there's some opportunity. There's some times where you're like, like, Look, I got to get a job. And you know, you gotta pay the bills, you know, or you got to save up money so you can see you can kind of start your life that way. And so throughout that I ended up getting a call from a summer camp. I was working after my college years called Camp Tawonga and California, a bit of a shout out.
Yoni Mazor 12:44
Camp Towanda? How do you spell that?
Ian Kaneshiro 12:46
T A W O N G A. Towanga.
Yoni Mazor 12:50
So now they're gonna get the shout out. Yeah, no problem.
Ian Kaneshiro 12:53
They're gonna get the shout out. And so I worked at Camp Tawonga for many summers, but this summer, I decided to go back. And actually, long story short, I met a girl there and decided...who was Israeli, decided to come to Israel.
Yoni Mazor 13:08
Hold on, so which year did that happen? 2014 already summer? Or 2015?
Ian Kaneshiro 13:13
That was, wow, that was 2015 I think.
Yoni Mazor 13:15
Gotcha. So you kind of bouncing around for like a year in LA until you got the opportunity to go back to the camp 2015 summer, you go there and quick. romantics happen. And you meet a girl who lives on kind of on the other side of the world, almost in the Middle East. And there's a plot twist right?
Ian Kaneshiro 13:33
And there's a plot twist. And so I ended up, you know, finding a way here again, I came to Israel,...
Yoni Mazor 13:42
Hold on, let's talk about the psychology behind the move. So you meet a girl, you fall in love, that's great. But what compels you to uproot yourself and make such a dramatic move? Let’s touch on this a little bit. What was in your mind? What compelled you so much to…? What was, even how the idea started? Okay, you might have a long distance relationship, she might want to come to to live in LA, the American you know, American lifestyle or the American dream, for example, but talk to that a little bit.
Ian Kaneshiro 14:12
I think, look, that is...that's a great question. What ended up happening was, you know, again, I was working those two part time jobs, saving up some money, and just trying to try to figure out what's going on and let's be real, I was not having the best time of my life. You know, this is supposed to be time exiting school, entering the workforce, and being a young professional and that wasn't happening for me. And so I met this girl, who we actually just got engaged about a month ago. And thank you and so we, after this whole thing, I was like, You know what, what if I...What if I came to Israel, you know, there's Israelis at the camp, like, oh, there's programs, come and do it. And I was like, All right, let's do it. You know, I've not I'm not afraid of going and living on the other side of the world. You know, I had a good reason to. And but the problem was I didn't have two nickels to rub together. And so I found a program, a masa program, that...
Yoni Mazor 15:17
What’s a masa? (Says something in Hebrew)? Journey? Masa?
Ian Kaneshiro 15:21
Yeah, masa is “journey” in Hebrew it is, but they're a nonprofit organization. Run, like, affiliated with a Jewish agency about bringing young people to Israel building strong connections with Israel as well. And, and, yeah, so I decided to take advantage of the program, you know, they give you a roof over your head, and they pay for your flight. And I said, You know, I said, Let's go!
Yoni Mazor 15:49
Oh wow. If I can identify this correctly, you know, life for you was just getting started. But, you know, there's challenges along the way. And he said, this is an opportunity to really start off a fresh new page that, you know, will excite you. And if you’re being challenged might as well you know, be challenged in a new environment that a, you know, historical connection to right and being a Jewish person. But also there's a component of love. And you were able to really identify opportunities there are more than you were, you know, your own space. So, you took a leap of faith you operated yourself and got on that plane.
Ian Kaneshiro 16:24
Exactly. And that was all within like a three week span. Application, getting...
Yoni Mazor 16:32
Wow. That’s neck breaking speed. I would imagine a few good months, maybe a year, but three weeks? Wow. 21 days.
Ian Kaneshiro 16:36
It was exactly like that. And you know, spent a year in the program. And
Yoni Mazor 16:44
Which area of Israel did you land in when you first arrived?
Ian Kaneshiro 16:46
I landed in Be’er Sheva if you know the area?
Be’er Sheva, yeah, that’s in the southern area, the Negev, right? It's more of a kind of a desert area. And if I had to compare, it might be like the Las Vegas visual but no casinos? No gambling?
Ian Kaneshiro 16:58
No casinos, no gambling. Yeah, they you..don't have the big pools...
Yoni Mazor 17:03
The landscape, the geography. I mean more on the geography level not on the Sin City level.
Ian Kaneshiro 17:09
Yeah, you know, ended up there doing...teaching English, working in the schools down there. And you know, how to had a great time, you know, learning a little bit more about, you know, myself as a Jewish person, you know, giving back to a community, even though it wasn't, you know, my community from LA, it is a Jewish community in the world, which is something that was like, was, was pretty cool to do. And, and yeah, you know, they teach a lot about, you know, about Israel and the history. And so it was a great learning experience, you know, really pushing my comfort zone. Also, again, learning a new language. Not speaking a word of Hebrew.
Yoni Mazor 17:52
How is it now? Fast forward five, six years later, you got it? You dominate it?
Ian Kaneshiro 17:58
I get by. Yeah, I can...I was in the bank. I was at the bank last week. And I was well, not in the bank. But, you know, I was talking to a banker on the phone, and I was like, Oh, I know more Hebrew than I think.
Yoni Mazor 18:08
Ian Kaneshiro 18:10
But yeah. And so I decided, you know, things were working out. I, you know, I really love this country...
Yoni Mazor 18:15
So we're still 2015, right? Because you're in the summer. So towards the end of 2015, you moved there, and you spent about a year in Be’er Sheva, settling and in the program. So now we're about 2016. And what was the next station after that?
Ian Kaneshiro 18:30
The next session was Tel Aviv. Well, I went back to camp for a short period of time.
Yoni Mazor 18:35
What? Back to the States?
Ian Kaneshiro 18:36
Back to the States, wanted to see my folks and and kind of get settled, but knew I was coming back.
Yoni Mazor 18:42
Got it. 2016 once again, you’re at camp summer, then you will go back to Israel and transition into the big TA.
Ian Kaneshiro 18:50
Transition...Yeah. Transition into Tel Aviv. Exactly. Which is for anyone out there who has never visited, I argue that it's the best city in the world. You know, we got the beach vibes. You got the tech vibe. It's a great city for young people. You know, it's a blast here.
Yoni Mazor 19:06
You know, it's truly I can vouch for that. Yeah, I can vouch for that growing around the, you know, the Tel Aviv area, it really never sleeps. You know, you I remember growing up as a teenager, anytime I went to visit, 12am, 1 am, 3 and 6am. It's like, you know, it keeps running and moving. So now I live in the New York area. Really, I see a lot of resemblance. For two, you know, global cities, cosmopolitan cities who really don't go to sleep. Maybe the pandemic changed things quite a bit. Yeah. Well, that's hopefully just temporary. Yeah.
Ian Kaneshiro 19:36
Fingers crossed. Fingers crossed, for sure. Yeah.
Yoni Mazor 19:39
Okay, so what do you do in Tel Aviv? What do you start working in? Or what do you station yourself?
Ian Kaneshiro 19:44
So at that time, I was working in an ad tech, in advertising technology, you know, buying and selling media space for a couple of networks. And you know, that I did that for a couple of years, you know, just trying to build my resume build some skills, especially, you know, on the sales and organizational side of my career.
Yoni Mazor 20:06
Were you supposed to bring new business or you were supposed to upgrade or upsell it up, you know, to current business stations?
Ian Kaneshiro 20:12
It was a lot of, you know, business development. So bringing new business, creating partnerships, and so that's where I really kind of found my niche, like...
Yoni Mazor 20:24
So who do you guys target? Who is your like, you know, target a client's profile for you?
Ian Kaneshiro 20:28
So we'd be looking at, we'd be looking at land partnerships with publishers. So, you know, media outlets, small like, you know, even small websites that are selling ads on their site, that was kind of our target audience, well and especially in my role.
Yoni Mazor 20:47
So you buy the space, and you sell it to the publishers or websites or both, or?
Ian Kaneshiro 20:53
We sell it to advertisers. So you sell it to what's called an SSP, which is a supply side platform, which is basically these large, mostly backed by Google, companies that are buying up ad space. So when you go into Google to buy your ads, whether it's you know, for Amazon or for your Shopify, and when you're buying that, you know, 300 by 250, you know, nearly square placement, it's going through a series of technological partners to get you on, on a specific web page in front of those customers that you're targeting.
Yoni Mazor 21:33
Got it. So there's a whole industry and there's a whole framework behind all these ads that we see just surfing on the web, that's what you’re saying?
Ian Kaneshiro 21:40
Absolutely, absolutely. And it's just, it's just data flowing in all directions, trying to figure out traffic...
Yoni Mazor 21:46
So there’s not just one party involved? Not just Google, there's a whole chain reaction, Google's kind of a big component of it. But there’s a whole chain reaction, because I would grow under the impression when I go to a website and all of sudden I see a banner of maybe a brand of a watch or clothing that I like, I don't mean, it's probably just google ads, you know, just pushing it in, you're saying, well, so it's a different...
Ian Kaneshiro 22:06
Look, if you follow the chain far enough, it probably is Google ads, there are going to be other, you know, technological partners, agencies that are kind of plugged into that. But for the most part, it is Google at the back of it, they are by far the biggest spender when it comes to ads, when it comes to ad spend.
Yoni Mazor 22:25
Got it, but like, what were you guys, when you're selling all this space, what was the benefit of buying from you, as opposed to just dealing with Google and that's it? For example, what was your pitch?
Ian Kaneshiro 22:34
So this was a bit of a bubble, right? Because what we would do is we would buy those, what's called a display ad, right? That's 300 by 250 static banner, and we would insert a video player in there. And so what would happen is that we'd be able to sell multiple video ads, first of all, video ads tend to convert better, you spend more on video ads, right? And you can run multiple ads, single placement. So you're kind of doubling down. And so that space, you know, was really about creating those partnerships, and, you know, generating revenue for both the publishers and our company. But it was really kind of missing something for me at the end of day in terms of like, a real value add.
Yoni Mazor 23:23
Soul. What's the soul? Where's the soul in this? It's cool, it’s a lot of companies, but it's very, it's in the digital space. You know, broad, it's everywhere, but kind of missing, you know, where am I touching?
Ian Kaneshiro 23:38
Exactly. And so that was the tough part for me, which ended up being the reason why, you know, I moved to the next station.
Yoni Mazor 23:46
But so what year was that? So you were there 2016, 17-18? How many, how long did you stay in there?
Ian Kaneshiro 23:52
So that was from 2016, to about 2018 or so. It was a couple, a couple of companies, you know, lived through...I got cut from one company, shortly after I was hired, then went to another company, lived through a couple of rounds of cuts, you know, mergers and then more cuts.
Yoni Mazor 24:16
All in the same space because of the digital ad space?
Ian Kaneshiro 24:18
All in the same space. Yeah, just a lot of consolidation at that time. And it was definitely kind of the Wild West. And so again, it wasn't….I could really feel it wasn't for me, and I wanted to get something a little bit more tangible so to speak.
Yoni Mazor 24:36
So where do you go next?
Ian Kaneshiro 24:38
So that's actually how I came to SellerSnap.
Yoni Mazor 24:42
There we go.
Ian Kaneshiro 24:43
I was looking to get back to that. First of all, is looking to get into a startup. Get into that startup space. I love the idea of having a lot of different touch points at someone very early on in a startup. And you know, I like the idea of wearing a lot of hats, a lot of new challenges, you know, you have to end up doing things that you don't necessarily know how to do. And if you don't know how to do it, you go figure it out. Sink or swim, right? Right. And so that was something that was really important for me. So, you know, I met the founders here at SellerSnap, Eli and Yuva, and my predecessor Lucy, and you know….
Yoni Mazor 25:27
How’d you meet them, what was the circumstances? What was the backstory?
Ian Kaneshiro 25:32
The backstory was this was application number 50. And just just grinding it out for
Yoni Mazor 25:41
50 for them or 50 for you?
Ian Kaneshiro 25:42
50 for me, got it. So I was again, you know, you're in this space of like, trying to find the right one. I had plenty of offers, but none of them felt right. Because look, when you are looking for a job. And this actually goes back to, we spoke about Chad Rubin. I watched that webinar a couple.
Yoni Mazor 26:07
Yeah. The episode, the Chad Rubin episode is 40, maybe 30. Between 30 to 42, you'll find the Chad Rubin episode of this show. Yeah, go ahead.
Ian Kaneshiro 26:16
Yeah. And he said something that I really resonated with, that kind of reminded me of this, is that you're looking to find a job with someone who you know, believes in you and wants you to grow. And or something along those lines. When I guess he was in Israel, his boss got cut, and then he went, and then he went back, met his new manager, and it wasn't a good fit. Right? Yeah, yeah. That's the way I feel about a lot of...I felt about a lot of the companies I spoke with was just, you know?
Yoni Mazor 26:45
Environment, you're saying in other words, the environment has to be nourishing for you. It has to be, you know, something that you believe in, something that you are passionate about, you're energetic and motivated. And then that's it. You're all in, you're all in and there's no second thoughts. There's no hesitation, there's no pulling back.
Ian Kaneshiro 27:00
Yeah, exactly. Then you just got to go for it. And then, you know, once, you know, once I was in, we're kind of off to the races.
Yoni Mazor 27:11
So how’d you identify those components? So you’re, you know, in application number 50. And they’re telling you okay, come in for a meeting, I assume an interview? You sit down and what do you feel? What was going on? Tell us about the romantics of this.
Ian Kaneshiro 27:23
First of all, you gotta you look at who your direct is going to be, who the direct manager is going to be, especially in a startup, you got to know that that is going to be the person that...
Yoni Mazor 27:33
How big was the team? Let's talk about the context. So what year? This is 2018?
Ian Kaneshiro 27:39
This is 2018.
Yoni Mazor 27:41
And how big is it?
Ian Kaneshiro 27:43
The team at that point was four and I was going to be the fifth.
Yoni Mazor 27:50
So employee number five, and how many years in business already?
Ian Kaneshiro 27:55
They were in business about a year and...a year and change.
Yoni Mazor 27:59
Got it. So they established about 2016, 2017? Right? So you come in, kind of a year into the mix, employee number five, everybody's giving high fives that you're in, because you know, you're number five. You can look them in the eyeball, you see the hunger, you see the passion, you see the opportunity for you to have an impact, positive impact on you actually,
Ian Kaneshiro 28:21
I think that's the biggest thing is that, you know, I really wanted to have, you know, you could have a small impact on a big company by going working for, you know, I don't know, for Apple Google or whatever, right? small impact on a big company, be a cog in the machine, do your task over and over and over forever. And, you know, that works for a lot of people. But for me, what I want to do is I want to make a splash in a company, I want to have a big impact on a growing company. I don't want to work for a small company forever. But I do want to help a company grow.
Yoni Mazor 28:56
And it's big now. And also you get both worlds to work when it was small. And you work when it's big, but at least you take pride in having the roots. Exactly. And ownership on the growth at least.
Ian Kaneshiro 29:07
Exactly. And you know, and especially on a small team, you got to have a lot of buy in. And it's a super exciting process to go through. Because I've had a lot of conversations with some of my friends and even recently, and I don't know if you've experienced this, like this whole thing about like, being an entrepreneur, everybody wants to be an entrepreneur. And I love that I love that idea. I want to be an entrepreneur as well. But you don't have to be an entrepreneur. You don't have to be the one to start the company to take on the entrepreneurial spirit. And to be you know, a real entrepreneur. There's like a lot, you know, in the book, the Lean Startup, they talk about intrapreneurs in big companies and like that same idea goes for whatever size firm you're working for. Right? That you can really that you can really take the bull by the horns and like do your own thing with industry. That's already in a framework that's already built.
Yoni Mazor 30:02
Got it? Yeah. So what I take from what you're saying is that, you know, being an entrepreneur is great. But you don't have to take all the risk, all the liability, all the mental pressure that really comes with it, you can be a part of an organization that embraces entrepreneurship and shine in that environment. So, it's a few, maybe less degrees of pressure and craziness, so to speak. And it gives you the space and room for you to really, you know, make that impact that you are in the comfort zone, which is great. I think it's a great combination. I think that ultimately great organizations are great entrepreneurs, which have a great team that have an entrepreneurial spirit, and the ability to shine altogether. And one plus one makes three and creates more greatness and more value. Okay, so you entered 2018, you have a place to grow. So talk to us about you know, the company, tell us now, what's your purpose? What's the mission? And you know, in the next two, three years that you're in already, what are you guys doing?
Ian Kaneshiro 30:53
Yeah so basically, what SellerSnap does is we are an AI game theory repricer. And so what we do is we serve Amazon sellers. That is, that is it. Those 3P sellers, those third party sellers out there. And our goal is to help sellers obtain that buy box, you know that part on the right side of your screen, where you click, you know, buy now or add to cart, all those third party sellers are fighting for that space. And our goal is to get our sellers in there. But while focusing on avoiding price wars, and getting the high and getting the buy box at the highest possible price. Which are two major pain points that a lot of sellers have, because of the way that the buy box is structured, where you enter price wars, you drive down the price really cut into your margins. And so that's, that's really our focus. And so our focus is providing a great technological experience and tool, and, but also an awesome customer service as well. Because, you know, and I experienced this a lot with all the different tools I use, you know, you put in your credit card, and that's it, right? They give you your tool, and there's no personal connection, one of the things we really try to do is maintain that personal connection, or at least kind of have, like more of an open door policy, like you have a problem come to us. And you know, if we don't know what we're, if maybe that's not our space, or we don't know how to solve your problem, but like, let's work through together and, you know, figure out a solution. I think that's something that's, you know, really special that our team here is, is that we really care about our customers. And it's super interesting, because there's a lot of companies that say that and you can, you know, my feeling is like, don't talk about it, be about it. And, and I can say that our team here, really proud of everyone here that you know, we're about it.
Yoni Mazor 32:52
Awesome, very cool. So tell me about the user as well, like, this seems to be more like an aggressive platform where you have to there's a lot of touching, meaning that the users touch it all the time, because the price management for them is critical, right? Or this is why like, set it and forget it what's, what's the environment, like?
Ian Kaneshiro 33:06
It's a bit of both, it's a bit of both, because we're using the AI technology, we have the ability to set it and forget it, you know, you don't have to go set up complex rules, go put drop in your min and max price, that you're willing to sell at and let the AI do its thing, right?
Yoni Mazor 33:23
Yeah, but I'm saying even if you do that, you still stay on the platform because you want to see the results, you want to see, like real time, it's almost like stock trading. So there's my minimum maximum, but you always keep your eyes on the pricing, because you wanna see the margins, are they going up? Are they going down? What's above? 70%? Is it 80%? Is that kind of the event if you guys created on the platform?
Ian Kaneshiro 33:42
It's not. And the reason is, is because there's so many different, you know, like, what, there's millions of products out there on Amazon, and you know, some have a velocity of, you know, 1000s of sales a day. And some might have, you know, 1000 sales a year or less, right? And so just watching price changes on, you know, on SellerSnap or through Seller Central is not as beneficial as taking advantage of the automation that we've created, and going out and go do what you do best, right? You know, a lot of sellers and a lot of sellers I speak to are really savvy and know different areas of business. And it could be you know, it could be sourcing and developing partnerships with wholesalers. Or it could be you know, managing their inventory if they have a warehouse, you know, running that warehouse like a well oiled machine.
Yoni Mazor 34:38
So they’re logistics wizards.
Ian Kaneshiro 34:40
Yeah, exactly. And they don't necessarily have an interest in repricing. They just want the repricer to work. Try to maximize margins. And so they want to forget, set it and forget it. And so it's about having that balance of you know, of giving that automation so you can go focus on what you're really good at. And also giving the ability to customize like, I have sellers just like you described that want to watch and want to tweak. And we have that as well. But the mindset is, let's automate, let's get back to the basics, get back to what we're good at, and, and focus on the other areas of my business to really help grow.
Yoni Mazor 35:20
So basically, this is ultimately how you help Amazon sellers scale - by taking the grunt out of the constant war, the pricing war, right? So they can have the set it and forget it opportunity because it's relying on AI. And at the same time, they can really scale on what it can do best if it's the sourcing the financing, logistics out of growing your team, make it a well oiled machine, so they can grow like to tremendous volumes on the platform on Amazon and get wealthy. Really that's what they're all doing it for it. I haven't met the Amazon seller that's doing it for not for profit. So. So yeah, that gives them the opportunity to achieve that. Yeah, and I can relate to it could definitely relate how important it is. Very good. So I guess, you know, looking into the future, what do you see going on with SellerSnap and the marketplace? Where's this all going to, from your perspective?
Ian Kaneshiro 36:10
There's a lot of things that are going through our head, our team here is again, you know, I would describe as super switched on. And so we're always throwing around ideas, anything that pops up in the Amazon space, we need to notice, we need to react to, whether it's a change through MWS, which is Amazon's marketplace web service, that they changed something kind of behind our backs, we need to go fix or you know, new opportunities, which such as what's happening this year is you know, they're they're launching a new API, which is Amazon's launching new API, which is going to include business pricing. And so Amazon has this real big push for business to business selling. And so that, you know, there's things like that, that we're we're really trying to sink our teeth into, and understand so we can continue to provide, you know, an awesome pricing service, not just on, you know, the b2c or the business to consumer level, also on that b2b that business business level as well.
Yoni Mazor 37:12
Got it. So there's technological advances going on. Hopefully it's going to open the door to generate more business but on the b2b side, business the business side, because there are organizations that bought Amazon just like you know, regular humans like us, right consumers. But they buy a little bit more in bulk and so if we can give them a better discount pricing or business pricing, they call it Amazon. You can boom you can sell more volume and move things faster. Very good. Absolutely. Alright, so let's I'm gonna try to package all you know the whole story because it's been fascinating so far. Born and raised in LA, right. Real passion for sports, and particularly baseball growing up. Also played ball during the college years, graduated around 2014. Settled back in LA, you kind of dabble along, you know, jobs until 2015. In the summer, you hit a summer camp. You meet Mihael, you know, your future wife, God willing. Right? And then she's originally from Israel. It gives you a little bit of plot twist. In three weeks, you decided I said, I'm gonna uproot, go to Israel, there’s a special program. So you did that 2015 and 2016 you spent about a year in the South of Israel, in Be’er Sheva, settle in the program, really immersing yourself in the culture and the environment. Around 2016 you go again to camp right in the summer. And then once you land back in Israel, you're in the ad spend space right advertising space and digital advertising for about two years from 2016 to 18. And then 2018. And this is what I call the moment where e-commerce came knocking on your door and pulling you in right full force. And you enter the SellerSnap environment and supporting Amazon sellers and their journey of conquesting the buy box and optimizing their pricing so they can keep on scaling and moving forward. Thank you so much. You know, it's been great to learn here, I learned a few things and appreciate it. Alright, so now to wrap up the episode, I want to kind of touch two things. The first thing will be is if somebody wants to learn more about you and want to connect with you, where can they find you? And the last thing would be is what is your message of hope and inspiration for entrepreneurs listening out there?
Ian Kaneshiro 39:16
Sure. So first things first, if you want to reach me, you can always reach me on LinkedIn. Ian Kaneshiro. And maybe I don't know if you guys do banners here?
Yoni Mazor 39:27
Yeah there’s gonna be, yeah I do.
Ian Kaneshiro 39:29
So I'll do that. Again. You can reach me on LinkedIn at Ian Kaneshiro. And then you can always email me at email@example.com. Always happy to chat with anybody both in and out of the Amazon space. I’m also on that clubhouse app, so I'm actually really loving it. So feel free to….
Yoni Mazor 39:47
Yeah, it’s great to be in the club.
Ian Kaneshiro 39:50
Oh, it's great to be in the club. So if you're on there, feel free to ping me, love to chat, and then hopes and aspirations for entrepreneurs? Wow. I think at the end of the day, I, you know, I work with, I work with a lot of Amazon sellers, you know, our team here has a real entrepreneurial spirit. And I think the biggest thing is, I really hope for entrepreneurs to find their own path to success and to happiness. They don't...success and happiness don't always go hand in hand, you can have one and not have the other. But you know, like, have that eye on the goal. But, you know, really enjoy that journey. I think that it's really easy to get sucked into this idea of like, you know, I have to pay to get in a, I don't know, get in a course with this entrepreneur who's making 20,000 figures on Amazon last year, and he's gonna tell me exactly what to do so I can become rich too. And I think that my biggest thing is like, find...it's important to find your own path, because that person is also you know, doing their own thing. That's a revenue generation. For them, that's lead gen for them like that. That makes sense. And that's cool that that's their business. But like, it's important that everyone finds their own journey and enjoys that journey. Because at the end of the day, like, you can't take it when you're gone. Right? Let's enjoy, enjoy that path. Enjoy. You know, those moments of success. And also, you know, and also those moments of, you know, a bit of failure when things aren't going well, when you're like, when you don't make the team or get that job, right? Like, it just means that there's going to be another door that opens. And it's again, I tell you, it's all about that journey.
Yoni Mazor 41:52
Gotcha. Gotcha. So, once again, as far as it's not what you're saying. Find your passion, find your path for success, but always have the balance in mind. Because financial success is great, but have the balance where you can also merge it with happiness, you're gonna have a great journey and really try to enjoy the ride, it might be challenging, might be a grind, as long as you enjoy it. And there's purpose. You can be extremely successful on a financial level, but also on a personal level, on a happiness level, which is just as important in my opinion. And I think that's what you're getting at as well. So beautiful. Ian, thank you so much. I hope everybody enjoyed this episode. Stay safe and healthy. Till next time.
Ian Kaneshiro 42:26
Yoni, thank you for having me. We'll see you!