EP 27 - Casey Gauss - Expert Tips on Sourcing, Launching, and Selling on Amazon

Awesomers Authority - We'll talk to subject matter experts that talk about various topics that would be of interest to other Awesomers who are listening including, but not limited to, starting a business, running a business, best marketing ideas, sourcing in China, organizational development, tools to help your your business more profitably and much more.
Casey Gauss is the founder and CEO of Viral Launch, an Indianapolis-based tech company offering innovative software and creative services to Amazon Sellers. Casey founded the company in 2014 when he was 21. He has gone on to leverage his passion for tech, building cool things, learning, and helping others through the expansion of the company to over 40 employees. He continues—nose to the grind—in his obsession with Amazon market philosophy, helping a growing number of Amazon businesses achieve success in the world’s largest ecommerce marketplace.


“Be willing to put in the work to get to where you want to be; no more, no less.”

On today's episode, Steve introduces us to guest Casey Gauss, CEO and Co-Founder of Viral Launch. Here are some key points on today’s episode:

  • How Casey built his company, Viral Launch.

  • Casey’s origin story as a young entrepreneur.

  • How important it is to focus on your happiness.

  • His prediction for Amazon and why it’s important for businesses to be optimized on the platform.

So subscribe to the Awesomers podcast and learn more about Casey Gauss and his amazing entrepreneurial journey.

Welcome to the Awesomers.com podcast. If you love to learn and if you're motivated to expand your mind and heck if you desire to break through those traditional paradigms and find your own version of success, you are in the right place. Awesomers around the world are on a journey to improve their lives and the lives of those around them. We believe in paying it forward and we fundamentally try to live up to the great Zig Ziglar quote where he said, "You can have everything in your life you want if you help enough other people get what they want." It doesn't matter where you came from. It only matters where you're going. My name is Steve Simonson and I hope that you will join me on this Awesomer journey.


If you're launching a new product manufactured in China, you will need professional high-resolution Amazon ready photographs. Because Symo Global has a team of professionals in China, you will oftentimes receive your listing photographs before your product even leaves the country. This streamlined process will save you the time money and energy needed to concentrate on marketing and other creative content strategies before your item is in stock and ready for sale. Visit SymoGlobal.com to learn more. Because a picture should be worth one thousand keywords. You're listening to the Awesomers podcast.

1:22 (Steve Simonson introduces today’s guest Casey Gauss, CEO andCo-Founder of Viral Launch.)

Steve: This is episode 27 of the Awesomers.com podcast, as always you can find show notes available at awesome Awesomers.com/27, that's Awesomers.com/27. Today my special guest is Casey Gauss which is a great example of an entrepreneur breaking out a normal and dropping out of college and jumping into the E-commerce world. Now Casey is a Co-Founder of Viral Launch which was a platform built and designed as a software, as a service platform to help Amazon sellers source launch and dominate on Amazon.com in the Amazon Marketplace to be more precise. So these are all third-party sellers. I was fortunate enough to meet Casey way back in the old days when he had just began and I really saw what wonderful potential this young fella had. And he's a brilliant guy regardless of his age. Certainly wisdom beyond his years and his quest for analytics, for measurement and performance is consistently above average for sure. That's what makes him Awesomer. Successfully, his company's performed over 30,000 product launches with 7,000 plus brands that are responsible cumulatively for billions of dollars and sales on Amazon. They've helped multiple products achieve number one best seller in their top level category in Amazon which is a great achievement. And fundamentally he has built this company which is a size at least of somewhere between 48 and 58 people at this point. And he's brought together extremely talented, developers and creative people and coaches and now management as well. So it's a real great pleasure to have Casey on the show today. Welcome back Awesomers, here we are again talking about all things awesome and today I have a very special guest Casey Gauss. How are you Casey?

3:02 (Casey starts to talk about Viral Launch.)

Casey: I am doing wonderful Steve. Thank you so much for having me on this podcast.

Steve: Definitely my pleasure. Help me pronounce your last name. I don't know that I've ever gotten it right yet.

Casey: You're close. It's “Gus” like a bus or sauce, yes.

Steve: I'm going to recommend a new spelling for that but no that's fine I digress no. So thank you again for joining us. So for everybody out there we gave a little intro already but Casey founded and I believe is the CEO of Viral Launch and this is a company that helps Amazon sellers advance their business. But Casey, maybe you could share a little bit more in detail about what you guys do and and what your claim to fame is at Viral Launch.

Casey: Yes, so at the heart of it we are just focused on helping to build the most successful brands on Amazon through software largely. So to date we've worked with a little over 10,000 brands run over 35,000 product launches and these brands consist of people just looking to make some extra money online. Making a couple of extra $1,000 a month, to our largest private label client did over a hundred million last year in 2017 and now we also work with some major brands as well. So some fortune 500s, some fortune 100 as well. And we have software, we have services, again just focus on helping these guys succeed. So whether that be with optimizing their listings. We have five people in house that just write listings or brought a photography or software to help drive keyword ranking or software to help you find what is the next product to sell and everything in between.

Steve: Yes and again the thing that I really respect and have followed along and admire is the fact that you guys continue to iterate and with each generation of your company and generations are counted kind of in every quarters like a new generation because there's more software coming and there's more advanced capabilities. What's the most recent crown that you've added to the or gem in the crown that you've added?

Casey: Yes, so the last corner was all about optimization as we are about to go through a huge growth phase. So last quarter we've launched a... well actually it was at the tail end of q1 a keyword tool. So basically what we're able to do is find tons and tons of what we call vertical keywords. So just a large breadth of keywords but also have it really boiled down so that you're not spending hours trying to find what words are relevant, what words aren't relevant and then prioritizing it from there. Actually in last quarter we added... it's a small feature but a listing builder that helps you build the best listings for your product and we hope sellers understand, should I put this in the title versus a bow points and so forth. And so we just try to make that process a little more data-driven for customers and help them work through that a little more efficiently.

Steve: Yes and so again for everybody's benefit, obviously being optimized on Amazon it's a very important thing especially if your Amazon Centric or even have a significant Amazon presence. But some of these functions in my view with knowing what good products to pick, I think your product is called market intelligence is that right?

Casey:  Yep and then product discovery helps you to find which products market intelligence is, the data around those markets.

Steve: So that's really kind of Amazon centric but once you pick a good product that probably has relevance in other market places. Also building listings that has relevance another marketplaces in my view because the same core philosophies about using the right keywords and being relevant and all of those various things. Finding a product that people care about number one, and then optimizing it to so that people could find it. These are basic premise that work on any marketplace in my view.

Casey:  Oh yes completely.

Steve: Yes.

Casey: Yes, I think that I have a limited perspective in these other marketplaces. We are a hundred percent focus on Amazon. Recent reason being is if you look at the breakdown of e-commerce sales in 2017, it was forty three, more than forty three percent on Amazon and then second place was eBay was six point eight percent and then tied for third place was Apple in Walmart with three point six percent. So like from an opportunity cost standpoint it does not make sense for us to focus outside of Amazon at least for now.

Steve: Sure... Sure, I think that's a… No worries about having a very precise focus not in the least from my standpoint. There are many folks Awesomers and E-commerce guys out there who already have their own brands. They're selling on their own sites or other places and my main point is that the basics of optimization relevance etc are irrelevant or are applicable to any anything that you do. But before we kind of dive in a little bit about your origin story, I wonder if you could just tell us maybe what's a common problem that you see the clients show up to viral launch with? Well that's a very common scenario that they show up with and that you're able to help them solve.

Casey: So the common and most impactful issue is people just having wrong products for their goals and their resources essentially. So I continue to believe that product selection is the number one maker break decision. This is specifically or may be largely for the seller that is just looking to make some good additional income through Amazon and at that point you probably don't have that big of a budget. You probably don't have an existing brand more or less you're just looking for a product that can cash flow some good money in which case product selection is everything. Having the right product makes everything so much easier. So we have tools as you had mentioned that can help you to identify those products, help you to validate. That market is actually a good market for you and so yes like that's something that I cannot stress enough whether you use fire launched or not.

Steve: Yes. Boy again very very sage wisdom. Hey how about picking the right product that has a good opportunity that matches their expectations. Good advice.

Casey: Hundred percent.

Steve: All right we're going to take a quick sponsor break and we'll be right back.


Hey Amazon Marketplace professionals, this is Parsimony ERP and we get one question over and over. Can you please tell me exactly what Parsimony does? Well, we'll try but this only a 30-second spot so we're going to have to hurry. Connect to your seller central account and pull all the new orders, enter the orders with all customer data, enter all of the Amazon fees and charges, store them at the item level, generate profit loss reports at the SKU level, automatically generate income status, handle multiple companies, handle multiple brands, handle multiple currencies, facilitate budgets and forecasts so all customer interactions is in a sophisticated CRM system. Hey you get it. That's Parsimony P-A-R-S-I-M-O-N-Y.COM. Parsimony.com, we've got that. You're listening to the Awesomers podcast.

Steve: Alright, we're back again and today we're going to dive into Casey’s backstory because I like to pry and I'd like to know where people come from because the origin story are so varied. It's so interesting to me and I think they're interesting to other people too. So Casey let's begin at the very beginning, where were you born?

10:23 (Casey talks about his origin story.)

Casey: I was born in Fort Polk Louisiana in a military base. My dad was in the Army actually.

Steve: Oh how about that. An army brat kind of like me and so that answers what your dad did back in the day. How about your mom did she work?

Casey: So that was only for a few years - my dad ended up having kind of the rags to riches. We grew up in a trailer on my dad side and he put himself through school, actually the army put him through school and he got an engineering degree. So he ended up being a mechanical engineer. My mom on the other hand... my parents divorced at the age of 3. My mom on the other hand has kind of been one of those job hoppers. So she wouldn't go to college and so she was a hairdresser for a while then was a manager at McDonald's. When I was in high school and worked at McDonald's. So that was actually a lot of fun and yes she kind of moves all over the place.

Steve: Yes and that’s not uncommon to have kind of a white background. I think my mom also went to beauty school when I was just a baby and cut hair for some period of time after that. How about any siblings?

Casey: Yes, I have five brothers and two sisters…

Steve: That's pretty good score, is that eight total or seven total?

Casey: Eight total, so again my parents are divorced like I have one full sibling which is yes I'm the oldest. So I've one full sibling, I have two half sisters on my mom's side and they each have different dads and then on my dad's side I have four adopted brothers, so yes.

Steve:  That's boy it definitely a modern family for sure. So nothing we're keeping score but I'm edging you out by one. I'm the oldest of nine kids total. So just a bit outside there Casey. Now how about university for yourself? Did you go to university?

Casey: I did for a couple of years. I studied business and ran track at the small Christian College in Indiana. I ended up dropping out midway through my junior year. I taught myself how to code and I was building iOS apps around a new technology called Ibeacon at the time.

Steve: Mmm ibeacon, that was like store location interior stuff was it not?

Casey: Yep contextually aware like Bluetooth 4.0 devices. So you could tell someone's proximity to a location or something like that.

Steve: Yes fascinating and now when you dropped out at college is it because you saw some big opportunity in these? The apps that you were making?

Casey: Yes, in ibeacon it was this new wave that was supposed to blow up, didn't really blow up and so in the meantime…. well but also I am someone that was really passionate about learning and I felt like I wasn't learning the right things or learning much at all in college. So I was learning so much more in my own studying and teaching myself how to code, trying to start  business. So I felt like I was kind of wasting my time in garage.

Steve: I feel you. You made it far past me. I made it only one semester. So for sticking it out. So when you inferred that the experience itself was not perfect for you and you're learning kind of preferences, how would you characterize the experience overall? Did you love it? Did you hate it? Any feelings you care to share about that?

Casey:The experience of college or after? Okay yes. So College, so growing up it was kind of rough. So we moved around a lot, my mom didn't have money and we were kind of a big dater. She had multiple cars read that like home and there's like a lot of other things. And so home was a very uncomfortable place and but College was super comfortable and there's lots of food and it's like it was a really awesome experience. But I grew up a lot my freshman year and I was running track so that was a lot of fun but then by the time I was a sophomore and then into my junior year, I was a lot more ambitious than what the school's program or whatever had for me and so I was definitely ready to leave at that point.

Steve: Yes, definitely sounds like you went through a whole growing up period.

Casey: I did yes.

Steve: Amazing and what did you have, a first proper job inferred maybe McDonald's was in that tunt somewhere.

Casey: Yes, so my only real job was McDonald's and that was through high school and one summer after college and it was so much fun. All the “athletes” at my school worked at McDonald's so it’s me and a bunch of friends. My brother worked there, one of my sisters worked there for a while, my mom was a manager there so it was just a ton of fun week. We got to mess around a lot but we're also really good at our job. So that's my only job.

Steve: Oh that's a fun story. So let me talk about kind of from that point maybe when you dropped out of college, maybe you're even still working at McDonald's. What was the defining moment that kind of… if you can pin one down maybe there's a couple of them I don't know that push you on the road to where you are today.

Casey: Yes, so in terms of putting myself on the road it was more or less, these really late nights that I would pull teaching myself how to code. Just really reading everything I could get my hands on in terms of business and just really trying that really helped set me up for success. And then in terms of the turning point was when my Viral Launch Co-Founder. So I actually started with another guy. See if I don't know, if you….

Steve: I don't know, just vague because I talked to you not long after part of the company but carry on

Casey: Yes I'm with. Okay yes sorry I forgot. So anyways I wasn't the originator of the idea for viral launch and so that was really the turning point. I was going through this really tough time where my brother and I had to moved to Indiana off of money he had saved up delivering pizzas and so we didn't really have much money. My girlfriend at the time was kind of like paying for groceries. Part of the founding story is,  I built viral launch with socks on my hands because my brother and I couldn't afford heat in our apartment and it was so cold that I literally couldn't type. And so one of the hacks for typing when it's cold is cutting some holes in socks and so you can poke your fingers.

Steve: Alright let's take note of that everybody. If you had the power cut off or not wanting to use the power and and programmed in your ear socks that have been converted the gloves then you just live. Very impressed.

Casey: Yep. Anyways it was I think in my mind something that really caught my attention because my co-founder more or less I didn't understand Amazon especially third-party Amazon and my co-founder just pitched it to me. That we could make an extra ten thousand dollars a month selling art by building these websites and I was like okay easy enough. I can put these websites up in a couple of days and yes I'll just more or less follow your direction and hopefully this will be some good side money for me while I focus on my Ibeacon thing. And probably month, two or so we had month two or three we had made like five or six thousand dollars and I was like, oh wow this is like actually something we could really be making money here and I was really proud of this thing like I had tried some other things in the past. And then never really got off the ground and so this was the first thing that actually had some kind of traction. And yes I feel like it was that click moment for me in my mind. That was really a mindshift. mind, set, shift.

Steve: You're going to coin a new phrase there. You got a mindset happening, the reality, the fact that you're able to lean into that opportunity even though it sounds like you were skeptical about it is that fair to say?

Casey: Yes, if you don't know anything about Amazon and your friend who's a couple years younger than you like says you could make ten thousand dollars a month just by throwing up these websites, you might be skeptical yourself you know.

Steve: Yes and by the way if I'm not mistaken at the time you're around 21 years old?

Casey: Yes.

Steve: And so you're listening to a 19 year old - - - more or less teenagers are catching a scheme.

Casey: Exactly.

Steve: And here it's turned into a very nice business with... my guess is that you guys have probably dozens of employees probably 40 or more employees?

Casey: Yep almost 50 even we're about to hire 15 to 20 right now.

Steve: So there you go and I love that. So definitely a defining moment is taking that chance and despite the skepticism pushing through because opportunity knocks. Let's let's figure out what if we're going to answer or not. So how do you give me a big lesson maybe that you've learned on that journey from the time you guys started the business until today's present day.

19:12 (Casey talks about lessons he has learned on his journey.)

Casey: Oh man, I've learned so much. So one thing that I'm really keen on right now and I'm noticing kind of in the team as well as myself. But so often, do we have the ability? Do we have the means and resources to achieve whatever our goal is or to solve a problem that is inhibiting us from reaching our goal? And the reason we don't reach it is largely ourselves. We're not thinking about something in the right way and there's been a number of times whether it's an algorithm that we need to put together to complete a product or its this team that we put together that isn't working out so well. But there's always some destination that we're trying to reach and know for example there's an algorithm that we were working on for one of our products and we probably worked on it in a few different ways over the course of a month. And the tool was like ready to go save for this one algorithm and what it took was not like getting other people on or like pushing harder getting new data or anything like that more or less it was me stepping back in thinking from a first principles perspective. If we really thought about how to build the best algorithm or how to really solve this problem barring any like predispositions or or any boxes that we've put our minds into. How can we solve this? And it was like such a simple thing that we had to like change up and it was something like once we had that mindset shift it took one of our devs probably 40 minutes to put the first draft of the algorithm together. And it was like amazing and so that  could that exact thing has happened just a number of times. And when I think about like my family and some of the reasons why they're having the hardships that they do. Again it's like a mindset thing and yes it's so encouraging to me because like that means that you have a lot of the resources that you need in order to get to that next step. You aren't thinking about it right and so anyways yes that's one thing I'm super big on right now.

Steve: I definitely agree that it's often... there's the old saying “You can't see the force because of all the trees” right. So often when we get ourselves kind of stuck in that day to day grind, it's hard to fly up and take a fresh look at it and I've had many of those cases where we spent, believe me, well more than a month of effort and just banging our heads against the wall until we either said this isn't worth it or this isn't working or whatever the area is to break the rhythm and then fly out above it and then go oh holy crap we just we missed the body. You feel like an idiot at the time but yeah at least I do. And often I realize that's the dues to get to the solution we had to get there however we had to get there.

Casey: Yes and I get I think as leaders, as CEO’s, as entrepreneurs, it's our job if you have a team. I feel like more and more that's becoming my job not to provide solutions but help them to see the boxes that they're putting themselves in. So that they can get to the solution. So much easier than they originally thought it was.

Steve: Boy if there's ever a golden nugget being flowing around that's one right there as as a CEO for many years now. Too often our instinct is when somebody brings you the problem we think we have to deliver the solution but really our framework should be how to solve problems, not solve every problem ourselves and the more that we solve the problems for our team. So when somebody knocks on the door, hey I've got this problem, you go oh just do this. You're creating a permission-based problem for your company where everybody goes oh well I have a problem I just go in there he or she gives me the answer. And then I walk around without really any accountability because the boss gave the answer, what you want and what you'll find is the team will often come up with better sustainable solutions long-term than we can. But we should establish that framework to help them work through that problem. How are you finding that in your growth being able to support and develop that as your team is growing so rapidly.

Casey: It's absolutely necessary because I can only be involved in so many functions of the business and it's the saying, don't give a man a fish, teaching him to fish or whatever the saying is right give him a fish, feed him for a day, teach him to fish, feed him for life, something like that. And that's something that I have the natural tendency to want to jump in and say like oh here's what I think right but I am trying to practice that like reserve to be able to not talk so much but just focus a lot more on listening and asking the right questions and helping them get to the answer. And we right now we're really focused on hiring executives into the team and so we have a VP of customer success she is CEO of this 300 person company before here. And she's amazing at that and so I'm really trying to learn from her. Some of the other people on the team. So that I can do a much better job of that because I'm always like oh let's just jump in and share ideas and like you're saying that isn't sustainable.

Steve: It's a tough balance because many entrepreneurs myself included, we were tactician to begin with. Even Casey in his example he was a coder right. He's coding stuff but I can't imagine you're coding today is that right?

Casey: No, no.

Steve: Yes, so we have to evolve and we have to develop ourselves to be the best service for our organization and it's not solving the tactical level problems day to day. It's empowering the people given, the resources, the other team members that whatever is necessary to allow them to solve it and operate the company in an effective way. And believe it or not in my experience even though we're really great tactician and technicians over time the organization will often come up with a better solution than we could have anyway and many times. And things I wouldn't have ever thought of. So I'm sure you'll see that if you haven't already as you go.

Casey: Yes.

Steve: How about let me ask you this, in all this time your programming, when you got socks on your hands well, is there a time you just wanted to give up and whatever your options were go, get a job back at McDonald's or whatever was? Is there a time you just said this is too much for me, I just need to step back and do something different?

Casey: Yes, I mean I I would say that to some degree. I have that thought at least once a week right. Even to this point I mean and I think naturally it's our natural tendency to it’s fight or flight right and like fighting or running away from the problem. Always sounds or seems like a better solution and the thing that I've found at least that I need to do for myself is just train myself to in that mode shift from flight to fight and say you know well, you know a solution can be had here or we can solve this problem. And then honing that energy and whatever that feeling is whether it's lack of self worth or it's a question of am I the right person for this or is this worth it. I mean I think is it worth it? A little bit different but regardless like I've had that question consistently since I started bar launch. Three and a half years ago and so it's definitely not something that I, at least in my experience is ever going to go away. So you need to come up with these like strategies to cope with it and for me it's like this really sucks but like I need to push through and if you have any bit of success or traction then like looking back on where you've come and being excited about that helps. I think Tim Ferriss is big on this but looking at what is the worst-case scenario and I think that when I look at worst case scenario it always makes me feel so much better because worst case scenario probably isn't bad, not that bad. In some cases it's not bad at all. I know for me I'm so focused on pushing ahead and moving so quickly that I forget to pay attention to how well things are actually going I'm only paying attention to how fast we're moving. And so anyways those are like my two biggest coping mechanisms, the first one is looking or the best one is looking at worst-case scenario because it's probably not nearly as bad as you think it is.

Steve: Yes that's quite right. Tim Ferriss in his book for our work week talked about this premise that you're afraid to do something, you're afraid to deal with something whatever the case may be just imagine the worst-case scenario. Just sucks it all the way up to the end and it's rarely as bad as people make it out to be and even if it is bad it's like yes you can rebound still. So that's I think a very good coping mechanism also the thing that works for myself is we are... we're trying to get… at the Awesomer you kind of podcast in the community. We're trying to encourage this idea of gratitude right. And part of that gratitude starts with taking a victory lap every now and then. If we don't mark our milestones and go gosh this was a really good day when this happened and that's my next question for you actually. Give me an example of one of your best days in your professional life so far.

Casey: I bet what... a recent woman is,.. we signed this Fortune 100, this huge deal with this fortune 100 which was the first of his kind so that was incredible.

Steve: Nice that's very exciting and now did you guys do anything as a company to celebrate that, in the old dot-com days people go. They had higher Elton John and to a million dollar party and things like that. What did you guys do?

Casey: So I think we just had a happy hour at the office and so we let people like at 3:00 p.m. or something the happy hour started and I gave like opening speech like hey guys  we're really killing it. We send this do good.

Steve: That’s actually far more practical by the way than hiring Elton John.

Casey: Yes. Relatively frugal person but we definitely try to celebrate the wind. So tomorrow we're celebrating q2 we're going to a top golf and we're talking about q3 then also we have food or food there and just getting together with the team. Cohesion is really big as well so you we get to kill a few birds with one stone there.

Steve: Yes that's really fun to do and it actually does help encourage the culture of celebration yet, also accountability because everybody knows that these fun events or lunches or whatever the case may be are on the back of accomplishment and so everybody has it drive that next accomplishment. Let me ask you this Casey now, notwithstanding Viral Launch has its own suite of tools and so forth and I'm going to set those to the side because you're biased but well is there another favorite tool that you have day-to-day that you just couldn't or wouldn't want to carry on without using this tool? It could be an app, it could be a process could be anything but just something day-to-day that you just can't live without.

Casey: So I don't think this is, well probably my iPhone if we wanted to really think about it I live downtown and so I commute on what is called a Busan port. It's like a motor electric longboard and so I don't have to worry about parking. It takes me two and a half minutes to get into the office and it's also like a fun ride. So that has completely changed my life I don't know how relevant that is. And then outside of that I have an assistant, so Sutton it's a tool of sorts and she has completely changed my life on the professional side and helped me to be so much more efficient. So much more effective on time and really allows me to focus on the things that I need to be focused on and also like holds me accountable to make sure that I'm where I need to be. That I'm prepared for the most part as well as possible. So that has been a game changer for me and that doesn't have to be somebody in an office that you're paying a huge salary to. You could get started with VA to start working through some of your emails or whatever just to simplify lot of the noise in your life that isn't really worth you spending your time on.

Steve:  Yes very good advice, first of all the longboard sounds really fun I have to say it is and now they're putting batteries basically on everything bikes, longboard, surfboards, it's just about anything you can come up with. So I like this idea but it really can't be understated the the value of a really good assistant help manage your time and this is the old philosophy of breaking down the $10,000 an hour task versus the 10 or $20 an hour tests. And the reality is too often we're like ah I'll just do my email myself or I'll just do the schedule myself. We take on too much, we think we're saving ourselves time or because I can do a bet or whatever the mentality is but once you kind of get the system right and you understand how to manage that relationship correctly that can be extraordinarily empowering. Do you find that.. there's been leverage for a point as a result of having a good assistant?

Casey: Oh yes absolutely. I've had her over the, if you're a part of a fast growing company then your responsibilities as a CEO will likely be changing month-to-month, every three months, every six months and so she has really helped me to transition through those phases and also I try to hire somebody that was quite a bit more experienced. So she had been an EA for a few executives at Angie's List in the past for example and so she has helped me level up in. I didn't even know that I should be doing this or I shouldn't be spending my time on this and she has that experience to know to be taking those things off my plate. So yes it's been incredible.

Steve: That really is a good use case story right there. So now we've laid some background we're going to come back up for this next break and we're going to talk about Casey’s view of the future, you won't want to miss it. We'll be right back.


Empowery, the name says it all. Connecting E-commerce entrepreneurs with great people, ideas, systems and the services needed to sustain business dynamic into growth. Empowery is a network; a cooperative venture of tools and resources to make you better at what you do. Because we love what you do. We are you. Visit Empowery.com to learn more. You're listening to the Awesomers podcast.

Steve: Okay Casey we're back and this is the the segment I like to call the crystal ball and this is where they'll tell us all of the important things are going to happen over the next five years. Just like you have a time machine and know what's going to happen but really we're specifically interested in predictions you have about your field of expertise at Amazon Marketplace or e-commerce at large anything you wish to share. What's your thoughts?

34:37 (Casey talks about his prediction of the future.)

Casey: Yes, I mean I think that and we're seeing this happen at an accelerating rate at this point but I think more and more the Amazon Marketplace specifically will become more difficult to enter for new sellers as bigger players come in right now. Amazon assuming you understand the tactics it's all a function of how much money are you willing to spend and right now the advantage is that the people with huge dollars, big brands, private equities like they don't know the success tactics but they're interested and they're starting to learn. And so anyways it will become more and more difficult to compete in the space with smaller budgets. So I think that there will largely be some kind of consolidation in the market for people that have a lot of money for bigger brands as well as manufacturers selling direct and the recent manufacturers aren't a huge threat right now cause because they don't understand the marketing side. But I think as technology helps to automate that process as as well as the manufacturer is starting to realize the opportunity for them to sell directly, I think that it squeezes the third party seller. Now the advantage for the third party seller is the barriers to entry in markets which tend to be review quantities. And so that's why I'm a huge proponent of going as hard as possible right now because if you can build those barrier to entries as this consolidation continues, begins, accelerates, continues, whatever it will be more difficult for those guys to impede on your territory essentially. So I definitely see that happening. I think that just playing on Amazon will become more less efficient or more expensive however you want to look at it just as technology continues to improve and I guess lowers the competitive advantages of others like. Right now it's the people that are really focused on the tactics that are succeeding but as technology kind of erodes that anyways so there is that and I see again bigger brands really starting to take Amazon seriously. So for those in the Amazon space I guess that is my relative prediction. There's a lot of questions I have as to, it looks like Amazon is wanting to consolidate first party and third party. I don't know exactly what that means but probably means more to control for the big brands because these guys have very limited data. They don't get to see daily sales reports, they don't get to see number of impressions on their listing. So they can't see conversion rate like the amount of data they have is space compared to third-party sellers which is very spares as is but anyways as these guys get more data and more control again it just amps up the competition and so my pitch to you is go super hard so that you have that barrier to entry and it's that much more difficult for people to enter your space.

Steve: Yes, time is of the essence everybody. I do think that that's a very salient set of predictions there which is it's typical of any marketplace. it's going to become more competitive and as the opportunities continue to expand the big brands are going to pay more and more attention. This is the same way they did on Google 10 or 15 years ago where they weren't really paying attention to SEO, they weren't really paying attention to ranking or even advertising on Google for that matter and over time you've watched the cost per click go up you've, watched the competitive nature of SEO go up and even change often people don't even think of it as SEO anymore. So that's inevitable to find those same types of big players with big budgets coming onto the Amazon Marketplace and this is a perfect time and a perfect opportunity for us to take advantage of the short-term tactical set of options that we have and maximize those to the greatest extent possible. I think that's very good advice let me ask you this Casey as we bring it to a close any other words of wisdom that you have for ecommerce, Awesomer is out there who are trying to figure out how to make their way in the world.

38:51 (Casey’s final words of wisdom.)

Casey: Kind of on the same point of just going as hard as possible. I think it's just really important to understand you want out of life, what you want out of your current circumstances because I see people that want to be able to have all this financial freedom or they want to retire early on and what ends up happening. And what I've seen happen a number of times in the Amazon space specifically is they have these aspirations but their actions doing really line up with them or like they get very complacent and it's like I think it's only appropriate to become complacent once you've reached whatever destination you're hoping to reach. And and I hope like complacency can be perceived as both a good thing as well as a bad thing like. I think it's important to focus on your happiness and what actually makes you happy and being comfortable with that not necessarily focusing on more and more and more but anyways just going back to be willing to put in the works to get to where you want to be, no more, no less because it's the people that get to a good point. But not necessarily what where they want to be that start to get complacent and then they lose a lot of their opportunity or the low-hanging fruit opportunity to get to where they want.

Steve: So yes I think again, very very sage wisdom even coming from such a young fella. But the reality is people often they have these wants but the wants aren't needs and so they will just kind of think about what they wish they had or what they aspire to get. But all of us at least my general advice in the opinion is that we are where we are as a result of our actions or lack of actions and there's just no other way to say it. I'm a very big thinker when it comes to my personal individual responsibility it’s where it begins and ends. I can't blame anybody else, it's all on me and the in my experience the more people will take that kind of individual responsibility accountability for their own fortunes, defining their long-term why and what makes them actually happy. By the way spoiler alert it's not just being filthy rich, I know plenty of guys who are literally billionaires. They're not that happy. Now there's probably a couple that are but the money does not equal happiness as weird and as trite as that may sound that's not the goal. Happiness comes from other things. So I think that's also very good advice. Well, alright. Thank you Casey this has been very instructive and very helpful. Everybody's going to be able to go to the show notes and find the details about how to look up Casey's company and follow him. I don't know if he's on Twitter or any of these other things but we’ll post any of those he shares with us and make sure that people can kind of follow along with his path which is an exciting path indeed.

Casey: Thank you, well thanks so much Steve our again honored to be on here and just really appreciate everything that you're doing.

Steve: Ah believe me I'm a big fan. We'll be right Awesomers right after this.


Catalyst88 was developed to help entrepreneurs achieve their short and long term goals in E-commerce markets by utilizing the power of shared entrepreneurial wisdom. Entrepreneurship is nothing if not lessons to be learned; learn from others, learn from us. I guarantee that we will learn from you. Visit catalyst88.com because your success is our success.

Steve: Well that was another fun episode of the Awesomers.com podcast. Casey is one of my favorite guys because he's just a fun guy to hang out with. Totally passionate about entrepreneurs and helping others and I just love the origin story aspect of this because it helps us reflect that the guy was so passionate about programming and kind of developing his skills and building up. That he's literally put socks on his hands and cut it into finger holes and just carried on because they didn't have heater and to be able to go from that adverse position without really knowing what was ahead. That's a classic Awesomer. Just kind of going, I know that I'm passionate about this, I know that I love this. And really regardless of the situation I'm in today I know it can get better if I follow my dream. A truly inspiring story as always in these Awesomer origin stories. Don't forget this was Awesomers.com episode 27, so you just go find the show notes at Awesomers.com/27.

Well we've done it again everybody. We have another episode of the Awesomers podcast ready for the world. Thank you for joining us and we hope that you've enjoyed our program today. Now is a good time to take a moment to subscribe, like and share this podcast. Heck you can even leave a review if you wanted. Awesomers around you will appreciate your help. It's only with your participation and sharing that we'll be able to achieve our goals. Our success is literally in your hands. Thank you again for joining us. We are at your service. Find out more about me, Steve Simonson, our guest, team and all the other Awesomers involved at Awesomers.com. Thank you again.