CXSeptember 9, 2021

Connected, by mParticle Episode 1: Efficient scaling with Nick Warner of Route

In the first episode of the podcast we interview Nick Warner, Head of Growth at Route. Nick shares best practices for driving growth with limited resources, working efficiently across functions, and optimizing acquisition costs.

In our inaugural episode of “Connected, by mParticle” we host Nick Warner, Head of Growth at Route and one of the rising stars of startup growth hacking. Nick caught the startup bug early, and after 10+ years working at consumer-focused mobile apps he hasn’t yet been able to kick it. In his words, “I love growing companies, it’s what I do!”

Through his time at Route, and also from stints at Fair and Eturi prior, Nick has built a deep expertise in growth marketing across both product- and marketing-led organizations. In this conversation, we get Nick’s expertise on:

  • Driving growth with limited resources
  • Working effectively across functions and why it’s important to do so
  • Optimizing acquisition costs across major social networks such as Facebook and Instagram.

If you enjoy this conversation, you can subscribe to “Connected, by mParticle” on any major podcast player. To get more content like this, you can subscribe to our monthly newsletter, mPulse, right here.

Transcript: 

Abhi Seeth:

I know I've said this a million times, but seriously, thanks for thanks for making time to do this.

Nick Warner:

Absolutely brother, absolutely good to be here!

Abhi Seeth:

Before I get into some of the questions and, and, you know, pick on you for, for certain situations. You know, would love to just kind of understand, you know, who, who Nick Warner is and share that with with our listeners.

Nick Warner:

You got it. My name is Nick Warner. I'm the Head of Growth for Route. I've been in the mobile app space for most of my career. Growing up nearly like 10 years in mobile apps, specifically on the consumer side. And I love growing companies. It's what I do.

Abhi Seeth:

I know we've been working together for the last few years understatement of, of the century, but I wanted to, to dive into that a little bit, right. Because just looking at your career trajectory, I mean, it, it seems like from day one, right? You've, you've been at startups and, you know, startup one led you to start up two and startup two led you to start up three. What about startups like, or, or what drives you to startups? Like what about startups appeal to you?

Nick Warner:

Yeah, so I would say that it really started when I was in college and I went to college at San Diego state, some call it the Harvard of the west. <Laugh> but at San Diego state, there is an awesome entrepreneurial program and it essentially operates like a scholarship where if you get accepted into this program you get the competencies, the mentorship, and all, all of the learnings of how to start your own business. And it's called the Leonard Laven entrepreneurial program. And I was an art major at San Diego state and kind of didn't have my way about me. And one of my buddies told me to apply. I was one of maybe thousands, other kids who applied for the program, the only art major I can assure you. And I got in, on a whim. And that program really exposed me to what entrepreneurship is and like what it means to start your own business and getting traction.

Nick Warner:

And so you start reading zero to one and, you know, the lean up and all these different books. And I'm like, all right, this is this clicks, man. This is, this is really this is really interesting. Yeah, and my exposure to the work world at that age was very limited. And so like, this was, this was definitely around where I felt I could expand and, you know, ex support my curiosities with. And so during that program with some of my co you know, some of my other students, we started some businesses, some had some successes some successes, some had failures some gained traction some got a lot of views. It was, it was a really cool experience. And when I was a senior I, you know, this was during the time when mobile apps were sort of really taking off, like Facebook was creating their mobile app, kind of that transition from web into mobile was taking place.

Nick Warner:

And I knew that, you know, apps were gonna be the next big thing. And so in San Diego, the startup community at the time was kind of interesting very dominated by medical and scientific companies. And, and there weren't a lot of like, true, like, Hey, consumer focused companies that, you know, you could see there now it's a little bit different. So at a at a venture event at San Diego venture group that I was not invited to, but crashed <laugh> I middle of the day and skipped class for I sat next to a gentleman who was working on a product, working on an app, just telling me about his idea and showed it to me. And it was all in the parental control space. And I was like, this is really interesting. I was a late bloomer to the iPhone.

Nick Warner:

I had a Blackberry for a long time, but I understood, you know, the impact and the way that social media was kind of like impacting kids to some degree. And I was like, all right, this could be cool. This could be cool. And so I jumped on with that company as like the, I think the third official employee there was like our CEO, a engineer, and then me and we were in a closet. And that company eventually grew to, to a really good state. And along that way, I was exposed to, I was exposed to pretty much every adversity you might have when it comes to running a startup or starting your own business raising capital doing layoffs, hiring, raising more capital, you know, be going through product market fit and going through how to like Kickstarter marketing plan, how to build like the appropriate data platform.

Nick Warner:

So, you know, what's working in your app and then really taking you know, a bunch of unknowns and turning the lights on and saying, okay, like where are we in the marketplace? It's pretty cool. And I think that startups really give people who have inherent curiosity about their future and, you know, what is interesting them and allows them to apply that in a very unique way. And so that's why I've continued to gravitate to the startup space. And you know, maybe may, maybe I, I won't be here forever, but I can't, I can't find a reason to leave

Abhi Seeth:

A couple of thoughts there. I think one, you know, to hear you say, Hey, you, you got into this, you know, kind of amazing program then to go, you know, into, and, and actually kind of put your money where your mouth is go into a real startup, right? Not some series D 400 employee organization, but quite literally through three and then kind of go through those failures. Right. it, wasn't all pretty you know, success comes easily, but I think some of the failures too, in like accepting those and saying, Hey, I still want to do this and get back up and do it again. Is super impressive.

Nick Warner:

Yeah. And I, I think are, I'm not the only one who's had, who's had this story, you know, I, I hate, I think that when, you know, some people who jump into a startup, maybe it's right after college or you know, maybe they've taken a year off and they wanna get into the workforce, they might have this expectation. Okay. Like this startup is going to become like the next big uni unicorn. Right. And there's this dream that kind of like keeps you up at night. Like you think that you're gonna make out, like, you know, the mark Zuckerbergs of the world. And, and that's obviously not a reality, like out of everybody who's started a startup, like how many companies, these are public currently out of the United States and how many people are household names. Like not any, even some of the smartest people that I've been exposed to in this industry.

Nick Warner:

Like, you know, don't have the marque name to them. So I think where I, I, I kind of just, it, it really changed my frame of reference was understanding that, you know, any opportunity or any situation that I'm in, it is a foundation for learning. And if I compound my learning quicker and sort of like hack time by throwing myself in really horrible situations, then maybe I can become smarter in ways that are meaningful to how businesses and startups and products operate. So that was kind of my philosophy. I don't know if it's absolutely played out <laugh> and it was pretty naive at times, but you know, I think so far I've, I've been on a good track.

Abhi Seeth:

That's awesome. Yeah. I think it kind of segues into the next thought I had. Right. I think now that we've kind of established, okay, this is, you know, this is where you've come from. I think one of the things that I wanted to share with the audience is, you know, a bit of learnings, right? It's like, Hey, can, can we steal some things from from Nick Warner's book and you know, maybe apply it to you know, to our own own organizations on that point of learning, one of the things I wanted to ask you is from your experiences, just working with startups, what are some of the most important things to prioritize when, you know, you don't necessarily have like all the resources, right? You don't have, you know, a fully built out product team or 20 marketers on your team, or, you know, the budget to necessarily go and, and, and, you know, buy whatever you want. Have you kind of thought about that and like, do you have any guidance on, you know, from phases of a startup, right? Like what is ki, what are some of the, the, the key things that you try to to say, Hey, this, this is the, the most important stuff to get right. In the beginning.

Nick Warner:

I could probably answer that question for another 45 minutes. Yep. I was fortunate to be on a conversation with Andy Johns who used to be the VP of product or I think maybe the GM of Wealthfront, but he was one of the original sort of growth hackers at Facebook. And a similar question you know, was, I was asked to him month on this call and he responded with, you need to have an absurdly detailed view of who your perfect customer is. And I think that statement's really, really powerful in a way, because it is the evolution of what product market fit <affirmative>. And, you know, the concept of product market fit can be swayed a number of different ways. It can be swayed by how your CEO is perceiving your business or how your CMO is, you know, articulating and spinning this banquet of, you know, how awesome the product is and how, how awesome the consumers are.

Nick Warner:

But fundamentally understanding product market fit is going to give you the signals on whether or not your business or your product is going to have it future. And so we utilize a number of different tools to measure product market fit. There's, there's an article by Raul VRA, I believe, hopefully, hopefully I'm pronouncing his last name correctly. He's the man CEO of superhuman. He wrote an article on a first round review which is an amazing site, a lot, a lot of stuff there. And it was breaking down, you know, how he turned his product superhuman and like just had a lot of compounding growth. And by focusing on product market fit and how you measure product market fit is pretty important. So there's a couple of questions that you can ask, like, how do you, how do you feel if you can no longer use the is product and you break it down to very disappointed, disappointed not disappointed.

Nick Warner:

And then another one, depending on who you're showing to is like, I wouldn't care. But if over 40% of your respondents say that they would be very disappointed if your product no longer existed, then that is a good indicator that you are on track for product market fit. And these types of these types of studies can happen during any point in time and your product's lifecycle and your business' lifecycle. In fact, we at route, we ran something at the very beginning of when we started with one of our single products, we've run it like three or four more times since we've launched that product, we've run a, rerun it for every individual feature. Like you can go on the granular level and just ensure that, Hey, like, are we on track here? And that is a really good thing to have in mind because it helps ground, you know, the confidence and the decision making of the business, ultimately into something that is concrete.

Nick Warner:

I <affirmative>. So then from there going back to like the absurdly detailed view of like who your perfect customer is, you know, unpacking that a little bit, it's maybe getting into the realm of like, okay, we want to build personas of our customers. Not a lot of people have that competency of building like, Hey, Hm, our customer's name is Jenny and she lives in Wisconsin and she has a household income of X and X, you know, not a lot of people have the aptitude to go through that exercise. And, you know, from there, you can't really understand the feelings that your customers might have. You know, you can't really measure something that's so subjective. So you need to bridge that by having a good grasp on what types of value indicators lead to engagement in your product or on your website, or you know, on your service.

Nick Warner:

Like if you're going. So let's say you're launching a a, you know, a brand of shoes on your website. Okay. Yeah. And you have, you're driving a whole bunch of traffic, right. But people aren't are bouncing. People are, are clicking shop. You've got six different videos showing how cool your shoe is. And you've got one call to action to shop now, like understanding, okay. Are all of our users viewing these videos? <Laugh> and if they're not, then they're probably not going to be hitting shop now. So you kind of like shorten that a little bit by saying, okay, maybe there's just one video or one product shot. Is this an indicator that will lead to shop now? And, you know, sort of building that user journey, according to the steps that are required in order for your customer to create like a value indicating action inside the product.

Nick Warner:

And so something that that we, we do for nearly every feature we launch a route and what I've done for at nearly every company that I've been at is mapping out a as clear as you can get the user journey of, of, of your product or a visitor to your site or a service like for service, you have, you know, your value streams of you know, sales cycle. You, you got your, your AEs, your SDRs. I'm probably messing that all up. And <laugh> no, no, that's yes. Oh, right. I'm on, it's all that bad. You're, you know, you're in my world a little bit now, but yeah, that's, that's spot on, oh, big. I'm making somebody out over there. And so you have those, those value streams, right. And you're mapping, okay, what's our drop off here. What's our drop off here.

Nick Warner:

What's our drop off here. Bam. And then it could be a moment of enlightenment. And the same thing happens when you're valuing your product, right? Like you have a splash screen, you have a signup screen, you might have some action inside of the product that leads to another action that leads to another action that leads to, oh, everybody who does this action retains at like a 10% higher rate. So then you kind of get the framework of all right. If, if we start moving these pieces around, how can we create a really cool experience that is meaningful? And you evaluate that with some data and, and identifying those value indicators. I think with what a, what a lot of startups really struggle, struggle with, right. All the gate is and this is an exercise that I, that I've gone through with, with founders and, and a couple of awesome projects that I've had the benefit of like sharing.

Nick Warner:

Some of my knowledge on is that I, if you're working with a visionary product manager or visionary CEO or a VI visionary VP in, in some degree in their mind, they're going to have the absolute perfect view of what their product is going to be. And that will remain consistent nearly at every stage of your business's journey. And what's important is recognizing, okay, we don't have resources <laugh> to create this absolutely perfect product where, you know, we're uploading live videos and, you know, we've got, we've got kids posting videos, and we've got people sharing videos, and we've got this messaging part of the product. And we've got this, the feed of like all of this information and news and stuff like that. I'm talking a little bit like Facebook <laugh> you know but you don't really have like every single one of those features requires a lot of resources.

Nick Warner:

So you have to be comfortable saying, okay, we've gotta start somewhere. And at this point in our life cycle, the best strategy that we could lead with is saying no to things. You know, that's what that's, everyone's very resistant in the early age to say, no, because you want to do everything. But when you, when you do everyth all at once, you end up creating product and creating features, that might be a lack. Luster might be buggy. And, you know, you may have cut corners in an area that you didn't realize was super important to the customer experience. And you know, that creates frustration and toxicity, and it starts things off on a really bad foot. So what, what I would take is an exercise, like whether you have like a product journey map that product journey out, then map out the most ideal product journey and then break it off into chunks and say, okay, what can we accomplish now? What can we create next? And that, that creates a roadmap. You know, you don't realize it, but you're building that roadmap in your head.

Abhi Seeth:

You know, you're right in that, I think we all write in, in all of our jobs and what we wanna put out. Like we have this kind of like ideal kind of version or thought of what this thing could be. But oftentimes, right, like we don't actually go out and test those assumptions. Mm-Hmm <affirmative>. And what you said there, I think is so important because you have to be visionary, right? You have to start somewhere and have an idea, but at the same time, you gotta go out and test that idea and, and be very meticulous in your measurement of, you know, if you think this video is gonna lead to a, a particular action that you want a customer desire, or you maybe start thinking, Hey, this is my ideal customer. And when you start to give them surveys or, or, or reviews you know, maybe you realize like, Hey, what you originally thought when you started this journey, isn't actually know the data doesn't necessarily support that. And I think that maybe is what allows startups to quickly pivot and change and kind of make, get better at, I guess, placing those educated bets on what's gonna succeed next.

Nick Warner:

Yep. I, and if I could abbreviate that it is understand product market fit, you know, make sure you have data inputs to evaluate your decisions and then plan according to your resources. You know, so there's a lot of stuff there.

Abhi Seeth:

Oh, no, that's that's awesome. Okay, so I'm gonna, you know, I think one of the other things I wanted to talk to you about too, because you've obviously created some really amazing experiences products in your career, and I've seen that, right. I've had the pleasure of working with you for the last three years. There's a lot of like seemingly, and again, I, I don't think a lot of this is intuitive maybe and potentially for some of the folks listening that there's this like very interconnected, like layer of different people and, you know, even technologies and data that have to come together in like these unique ways to, to drive these kinds of experiences. So, yeah, I guess my question is, you know, can you speak a bit to like the importance of kind of how working with colleagues, partners, teams kind of outside of maybe your own core team have helped you discover and drive, you know, a product or an experience or an outcome?

Nick Warner:

Oh yeah. Oh yeah, yeah. Great question. <Laugh> oh, thanks. Great question, man. I think in some ways that having an, having an answer and an understanding of, of, of that situation can turn into an absolute superpower for you as like an, an individual contributor as a manager anything higher as a VP, even as a CEO, like you have to be able to you know, branch out of your comfort zone in order to get done. I, and so I, wait, can we carry on this podcast? Yeah, yeah,

Abhi Seeth:

Yeah. We can do whatever do we want

Nick Warner:

So so I will say I'll, I'll give a little bit of an anecdote here. So I started as a like, quote unquote, I think a marketing manager was my title, but those three of us, I was marketing manager. We had engineering and had like CEO and you know, I didn't really know what I was doing marketing wise. Like I, I, I ran some ads on, on, on Facebook and done some search engine ads and you know, my knowledge of the business was very limited. And when you are given a, a role like, you know, whether it's marketing, whether it's product, whether it is, you know, you're an engineer, you're working as an analyst you're never going to have the full picture of the business unless you actually go out and seek it. And that full picture of the business is going to help you make better decisions in your role and hopefully help level you up at, during your duration at that company.

Nick Warner:

So what I did, and as we grew, you know, kind of like starting from that, three of us eventually becoming like 20 people, mostly all engineers is I recognized that we were developing some pretty intense technology. We were utilizing like a mobile device management technology back in, I don't know, 2013, 2014, which was not in the consumer space whatsoever. And I didn't know how it worked, explain civil. I had no idea how it worked. And what I did is I grabbed like our head of architecture and sat him down in a room. I got him like lunch that day. And I was just like, dude, we are going to have, have a huge knowledge transfer with me. I need to know how this works, because if I know how it works, then I know how to get the best customer to use this product. All right.

Nick Warner:

And I need to know when they're using this product, how they're going to retain, what's going to trigger where the aha moment is going to be. And sometimes it's not as simple as like, you know, signing up for a subscription for content. Sometimes it's very much like you gotta, you gotta take this user by a journey. That's not gonna be easy. And, and, and getting users to onboard for this product a was not easy. Like they had to get, they had to get another device and, you know, in install a profile on their child's device, were' in the role of parental management. So it, it was, it was a lot and, and our journey that had a lot of friction, but what that did is, you know, that that really allowed me to be comfortable of opening up these other lines of communication and one thing.

Nick Warner:

And I guess like maybe, maybe this is a mental model to some extent, but it, I am, I, I have like, no, hubous when it comes to being in a meeting or, or talking in a room when I know that I am without it out, the dumbest person in that room. Like if you have, if you were surrounded by the smart artists, individuals like try to absorb as much information from them when you can't always ask questions, always, always try to understand their point of view, start developing that competency of building empathy with your colleagues, because you never know when you're going to lean on them for something and where, where it really pertains to, you know, growth and, and user acquisition or marketing is that you're, if you're a marketer or you're in a position where you're marketing a product, sometimes you're never going to be in control of what that product looks like, or or what that product does or how that product conveys value to the customer.

Nick Warner:

You might have opinions, but you're not gonna be in control of it. Your voice might be big. It might be low, but, you know, you might not ever be in the, in the room where those decisions are being made. Right? So what you need to do is you need to talk to those individuals of why decisions were made, right? Like, you know, why does a user have to do this? Why is that valuable? And during those conversations, you can pull out some awesome tidbits, some of the best marketing copy, or like the best you know, value props have come from those discussions. For me, you know, like hearing, hearing an engineer, discuss the product of like, yeah, if the user does this, oh, guess what? Then they can do this and that, then they can do this turns into a bullet point on a slide deck that gets you to raise money from a visa.

Nick Warner:

See, like, those are the best types of conversations to have. And I think that you first, if, if you're not doing them, then that's totally fine. It could be easy as like getting coffee with somebody. You know, it could be as easy as just asking a product manager, Hey, can I sit in on your standup? I wanna know how, how you lead, lead the team. You know, you, you want to get a feel for how, you know, this area of the business operates very rarely are people gonna say no, cuz it's like no sweat off their back. And if you ask them for advice or you ask them to explain and educate you on this part of the product, people love being in a position where they talk knowledge, you know, like that's yep. It's, it's great. Like I think it, it, it's something about that human connection that that elevates, elevates you in a certain degree.

Nick Warner:

And so if those relationships didn't exist I probably wouldn't have seen any success in my career. I would be in San Diego on the beach, probably serve and drinks at a bar, you know, like I would've gone in a completely different direction if I didn't recognize that I needed to start getting this info because those, those individuals like engineering, that architect that I talked about with you, finance, you know, you know, DevOps, they become your best, you know, support when moments really matter or when you need to get something moved over to the finish line.

Abhi Seeth:

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, and it's, you know what, what's interesting there too, and there's a part of this, you said it's like some of your best ideas, you know, from, from say maybe a marketing perspective, right. Didn't necessarily come from you talking to other folks in marketing about the greatest idea came from, you know, maybe interacting with, with a product person or someone on the engineering team. I don't know the analogy I almost had when you were talking about this is like it's almost like knowing, like, you know, you're in this tool shed and you know, maybe you have all these, but like, you don't know how to use, you know, use them and you don't know what combination of how you're gonna use these tools to build something. But the more folks you talk to, the more like you understand, okay, like I can use, you know, this tool in this way, or I know the company works in this way. And because I know that, you know, actually it might not make sense to, you know, to build a camp pain or build a journey or incorporate this, you know, part of a, a product in my roadmap. This actually works better.

Nick Warner:

Yep. Dude, exactly. Like in, for the toolbox analogy, if you're told to like build a Treehouse and you've got a screw, that's a Phillips head in a toolbox and you don't know what a Phillips head screwdriver or drill, it looks like the only way to figure out if it's gonna work is by trying to use other tools. Right. Like, yeah, you gotta leverage you know, what, you have your disposal staying

Abhi Seeth:

On the steam of connectivity for, for a, just one more question, you know, maybe could you share a story, you know, from a, from a connectivity of data and technology any cool stories about how you kind of combine tech and data in an interesting way to make something happen? You know, maybe for somebody, you know, a product manager, kind of a, a data driven marketer listening to this podcast.

Nick Warner:

Yeah. I, I absolutely my, the company before routefae, it was a car subscription company. I'll use this one as an example. We were driving user acquisition through paid media as a pretty much anyone in the automotive space does. And we were, we were getting really, really good at it, really good at driving like top of the funnel, user acquisition. And part of, you know, the, the business and user journey of, you know, being a car subscription <affirmative> you have to pick out a car, right? You have to find a customer who's getting bombarded with all these different options, getting decision fatigue from looking at Subaru Toyota, you know, Nissans, or Bentley's like everything, like there's, there's so many options on table and you gotta break through that noise and order to get that user at the right moment with the right product in order to make them create that purchase.

Nick Warner:

That is why automotive is so difficult to, to really win. And when it comes to performance marketing, you see a lot of brand stuff because, you know, it's not always attributed. And so what we were, what we had is we had like a really robust user base. And we had a lot, we were, we were scaling subscribers and we really wanted to capitalize on, you know, the existing users and try to catch those users who are in the, you know, warm decision phase of leaning towards a vehicle inside the app and get them into a, an experience that could drive, you know, a subscription. And the easiest way of us being, having that control is, was through paid media. So we had this awesome recommendation engine at fair, that was built from some of the smartest people I've ever been around that, you know, based off of the one or two cars you would browse during your first session would eventually, you know, learn to say, Hey, here's, here's this Toyota Camry, or here's this Honda pilot stuff like that in a really short amount of time.

Nick Warner:

And this engine basically like took our, our product catalog and, and turned it on its head. And, and it was super cool, really efficient. And we wanted to find a way of all right, how do we take this proprietary you know, model that we've created in our internal catalog and utilize these to create like a really awesome reengagement experience on, you know, Facebook and, and Instagram. And you have these three major pillars here that don't talk to each other there by any stretch of the imagination. And don't talk to each other in a really cool way. And so what we were, what we were able to do, and like, I, I'm gonna give you a shout out. You helped me out tremendously on this is you know, we saw that there was a major opportunity here to leverage this data for paid media.

Nick Warner:

And we just had to find a way of putting into a format that Facebook could digest and could be layered with our targeting. And so what we did we built a a, a, a new attributes model for our customers that would be support ordered by a recommendation engine so that we could reengage customers with cars that they hadn't already seen, but aligned with their in-app interests in Facebook and in Instagram, and get them directly into the app again to subscribe and eventually purchase that product. And it, it was awesome like our, that, that monolith of a project allowed us to lower our CAC cost acquisition costs tremendously because we were able to capitalize on our existing users in a way that we had never capitalize on number four. Now, I don't know if, if that mechanism can exist in this world today with, you know, some of the changes that have been going on when it comes to you know, user information and, and what you're able to like lean on, but it was a really awesome project and allowed us to like, have a wide range of creativity.

Abhi Seeth:

To me, it's always fascinating, you know, to, to work with folks like yourself, right. And in this particular case, I had the, the privilege of kind of working hand in hand with you look, the, the data's out there, right. I mean, there is information you know, potentially locked up or, or being used for, you know, a singular purpose. But when you kind of came to me with this idea, right, you said, Hey, well, you know, we kind of have all this data over here. Right. And if we can leverage it in the right way and just get it to, you know, some of these other systems that kind of traditionally don't speak to each other, right. There's something that me, that, like, I hadn't seen anyone do, like combine you know, inventory information in that way. And the fact that it kind of resulted in such a you know, a spectacular result at the time was was awesome. But I think it started with you know, with you sitting down, looking at the data, looking at the systems that you know, you potentially have to optimize and, and putting all that together.

Nick Warner:

Yeah. I, I mean, it, wasn't perfect. <Laugh> right out the gate, you know, we would have ads that, you know, all you saw was a background image. You did see a car, it was, it was beat. But, you know, as, as as we started to recognize, okay, these are the attribute models we need in order to create, you know, this specific sort of retargeting at it. It started working out really, really well.

Abhi Seeth:

Awesome. Awesome. I love it. Nick, I you know, realize, again, I, I can't thank you enough for your time here, but you know, for a minute, if you'll indulge me before I let you go, I, I'm gonna ask you to take off, you know, Nick, the, you know, the entrepreneur and, and, you know, kind of growth product, hacker, extraordinaire I want, I want you to take that hot hat off. Like, what's one of your favorite brands or experiences is as a consumer and why and then I'll follow that up. I, I wanted to get your take on a, I, I got a couple hot takes that I wanted your your answer on.

Nick Warner:

Yeah. So one of my favorite brands you know, that's a really difficult question for me to answer

Abhi Seeth:

<Laugh>

Nick Warner:

It is, it is, man. I think that we're, we're in this time right now where and I think it's, you know, this direct to consumer sort of wave that, that catapulted over the last five years is that you, as a customer have like such a crazy, when you're purchasing from a company, like you have the expectation that, you know, this is going to be a world class product, a world class experience, I think in the world of, and that's like, you know, hard retail eCommerce in the world of mobile apps. You know, what I, what I love is you know, I I'm actually kind of go, gonna go off the reservation here. Okay. My one experience and product that I love right now, and maybe it's because, you know, I I've got that crypto bug is it's a, it's an app called voyyager.

Nick Warner:

They, and a, it's kind of like a competitor to Coinbase and there's something really unique about their experience, in my opinion when you've, when you're going in the financial sector and I've had to, like, you, you know, I'm one of those people who's inherently curious about new products and, you know, go like I go through the onboarding of dating apps for no reason with like random <laugh> random you know, you know, personas just so I can see how the onboarding is evolving, and then I'll do the same onboarding with like, you know, credit car run. I'll do bake of America. And I just wanna go through these operating experiences and like, you know, seeing like, okay, how are things changing and what are they trying to get the users to do? And what does it mean to them? And, you know, through that experience, you start to like, get exposed to like, okay, this is very frictionless.

Nick Warner:

And they made it so easy, you know? Mm. And with something that is rather difficult to grasp you know, like cryptocurrencies for somebody who doesn't, who's not familiar with anything in the crypto space, you know, there's a couple of ways to go about it. There's one way where it's like, you know, you're handholding them and you're really pro adding a tremendous amount of education. And you're trying to get them to understand what Bitcoin and Ethereum are. And, and like I would do through what are these experiences with my dad and like, bless his heart, man. I'm like, Y you know, it's a lot to grasp if this is a very new thing that you're jumping into, and what Voyager has done as an is, they've made that experience very simple, like no noise, super easy, very direct, like, you know, almost dumbed it down to a point where it's almost impossible to get lost and like, not know what it's like to place a transaction on a big Quin or Ethereum or any sort of cryptocurrency in their marketplace.

Nick Warner:

And I feel like that's really interesting to me because it's an industry that is very complicated, is getting a lot of buzz and getting a lot of traction at this point in time. So many people are coming in absolutely blind and making bad decision, and they're, they found a way to like, sort of curb the bad decisions while also providing a really delightful customer experience. And they did that by making it simple. And I, I think that's pretty cool. It's a, it's a cool product that I, that I'm into right now

Abhi Seeth:

Love that Matt, and, you know, again, spoke in like a true true professional that's, that's so funny that you actually go through like the, a experiences and sign up flows just to see what people are doing. And <laugh> yeah. Goes to show, man. I mean, this is why you're on top of the game. Right. But shout out to Voyager and yeah, it's definitely something I'll, I'll I'll take a look at right. This is the fun part hot takes, right. Totally unscripted. Okay. So I gotta, I got a, a few rapid fire questions for you. Most of 'em are kind of true or false or yes. Or no type questions. Okay. <laugh> so let's you know, and listen, I, I don't know this about you. I, I feel like I have to know. Cool. All right. Pineapple on pizza.

Nick Warner:

Oh, absolutely not.

Abhi Seeth:

<Laugh> okay. All right. All

Nick Warner:

Right. We absolutely

Abhi Seeth:

Not. We can keep talking then this was, this is a relief you know, in this. Yeah. All right. All right. For sure. Cool. winter or summer sports?

Nick Warner:

Summer, summer. I don't like the cold. Awesome.

Abhi Seeth:

All right. You know, trusocal guy LeBron or MJ.

Nick Warner:

Oh, MJ man. Lebron Adiva. <Laugh>

Abhi Seeth:

So heyve come on. I thought, you know, I don't know. I thought it would be tough for you given, you know, LeBron's you know, the LA guy now. Oh

Nick Warner:

Man. I've I've been to games at the staple center and have booed that man to his face.

Abhi Seeth:

<Laugh> okay. Love that. Love that. All right. I got two more for you. Froyo or ice cream, cream.

Nick Warner:

Oh, ice cream, man. You know, there's something about going and getting ice cream and eating ice cream. That's just awesome. I mean, there's, I there's nothing, no knock onroyo, but you know, the, you have a lot of range when it comes to ice cream flavors that, you know, can really hit spot. You

Abhi Seeth:

Love that. Yeah. And, you know, again, I, I forced you into a choice there, so you know, froeo's good too, I guess the right. Answer's both, but <laugh> okay. And then the final one for you, just because I am a voracious eater and a huge foodie favorite restaurant in SoCal,

Nick Warner:

Favorite restaurant in SoCal. Oh man. There is there's a, there's a restaurant that's in San Diego that is really just near and dear to my heart. And it's called sea level. It's like owned by a group and you sit down there, you're overlooking like the the San Diego, like sort of like bay, like Coronado bridge, downtown San Diego and the Harbor. And it's just beautiful, like one of, one of the best great food, great ambiance, and would always, you know, take anybody who's visiting in San Diego there C level. So

Abhi Seeth:

Good, amazing, amazing. Well, Nick, thank you for being first, you know, episode one, launching this podcast with me. And again, I think these are, you know, there's so much here and so many amazing insights you know yeah, really Ken, Ken, thank you enough for making the time.

Nick Warner:

Thank you for, thank for having me. Thank for having me. I'm I'm very honored.

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