Our Conversation with Sam Nasserian
We sat down with Sam Nasserian, Founder and CEO of Cozymeal, the top marketplace for culinary experiences in North America. We’ll learn how he has built one of the biggest network of chefs worldwide and has managed remote teams for companies including Upwork, Cozymeal and JustAnswer.
World’s Best Boss with Ruckus is a series of conversations with business leaders, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders that explore how the best bosses attract fantastic people, build up their teams, and keep their employees happy.
Sam Nasserian, is an entrepreneur, speaker and startup advisor. In 2014, he founded of Cozymeal, the #1 marketplace in the U.S. and Canada featuring the best culinary experiences and products, including top-rated cooking classes, private chef experiences, team building activities, cookware and more!
Host: Anish Shah is the CEO & Founder of executive search agency Ruckus. Anish has worked in-house in Growth roles at Snapfish and Getable. He started Bring Ruckus as a Growth consultancy 11 years ago working with 40+ clients, then re-focused his firm on executive recruiting for Growth leaders.
Watch the Full Video
- 6:22 Sam Nasserian shares what he looks for when hiring
- 9:25 Anish asks for certain traits in desired talent
- 11:40 Sam explains city managers tasks in Cozymeal
- 13:40 Sam shares on how he evoke strengths within teams
- 16:06 Sam points out tips for managing remote teams
- 20:38 Sam shares how cozymeal has worked around COVID
- 27:38 Sam shares how he ensures culture isn’t sacrificed by growth in Cozymeal
Read the Full Transcript
Anish Shah (00:00):
Yeah, quick introductions here. So my background was actually running growth for different startups, both full-time and as a consultant for quite a few years and then began building out teams for these companies as well about seven, eight years ago, with the whole idea that people experience you know, doing these roles on a functional level, you know, we’d be a great fit to recruit then, you know, folks who haven’t been able to, to be as deep in the weeds. So split a time between consulting and recruiting for quite a few years. And actually just went all in on the recruiting about four years ago and now run an executive recruiting firm focused on generally recruiting across growth marketing, product, analytics design and now we’re a team of nine.
Grace Portillo (00:43):
And Sam, you can go.
Sam Nasserian (00:45):
Absolutely, yeah. Glad to be here. Thank you for inviting me. My name is Sam Nasserian. I’m the founder of Cozymeal and we are essentially a marketplace where you can find and book all sorts of experiences around food and alcohol from in-person cooking classes to online cooking classes, to food tours, private chef services, team building events and around food and alcohol, mixology classes, et cetera. And in the past nearly 13 years I’ve been focusing on marketplaces. I was in leading leadership roles at two previous companies prior to starting Cozymeal where I was leading a department and both were marketplaces. I was the head of the international team at JustAnswer. And then later on was the head of the it vertical at Upwork. And I have been, you know, since the beginning of my career, very excited about marketplaces, especially marketplaces around service providers, because I believe these marketplaces really empower these service providers to offer the services to a larger audience. As at the same time, the marketplace is also enable the customers to easily find and book the service providers, be it at a company that JustAnswer Upwork or at Cozymeal. And so it was a very natural step for me to to start Cozymeal, especially since I’m also very passionate about food and cooking. And so we have been in business now for the past six years and are in over 60 cities or actually more 80 cities nationwide as well as in Canada and are continue to expand.
Anish Shah (02:39):
Awesome. And you say that you you know, you have a deep love for cooking. Are there any anecdotes that you can speak of before you started Cozymeal that kind of speak that where you, you know, were you cooking regularly? Is there a certain type of cuisine that you you’ve just fallen in love with and that’s your favorite would love to like, kind of dive deeper into that and, and your love of food?
Sam Nasserian (02:59):
Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, I, since I was a child, I always liked I was always very curious about cooking. I would watch my mom in the kitchen cook. I would often sit next to her when she was watching cooking shows and really enjoyed buying groceries, buying high quality produce, and cooking and it has been always a part of my life. And then when I came to California, I moved from Germany to the US in 2007 for grad school. And I went to Stanford for grad school. And when I moved to California, I got even more excited about cooking, especially because California is such a melting pot with so many different cultures and different cuisines. I think the cuisine that I’m mostly passionate about is actually California cuisine because you have really high quality produce. It has some also obviously some influence from other ethnicities, especially Asian cuisine. And, and I love the high quality produce. I love the the dishes that are tasty as well as healthy. The number one thing that is important to me are the ingredients. So I usually I prepare often simple dishes with very high quality ingredients. And to this day I regularly book also cooking classes with Cozymeal and not just to test a product, but because I, I like learning about new cuisines and preparing new dishes and also connecting with other people when I’m taking those classes.
Anish Shah (04:32):
Very cool. Yeah. I mean, I grew up in California as well, and yeah, it’s pretty hard to find the level ingredients that we get in California being as fresh and, and consistent anywhere else in the world. So I, I definitely understand that. So yeah, just a quick overview about this program. We try to bring in people who have built great cultures and have consistently had to hire great talent and you know, get feedback and insights on, on how they’ve done it. And we call the series World’s Best Boss.
Sam Nasserian (05:06):
Good. Glad to be here.
Anish Shah (05:08):
Yeah. We’re, we’re so excited to have you especially because, you know, everyone is such a foodie these days, right. And there aren’t, there aren’t that many tech products that are really integrating that passion that everyone has with, with what you’ve built. So I, I think it’s really a fun area for, for an audience to learn more about also particularly how to like fuse your own personal passion into your own startup as well. Right. You see a lot of startups chasing trends and like going after whatever’s popular at the moment when the founders frankly, could care less about you know that particular industry or that particular product or that particular just because it’s popular and trendy, but it’s great to see someone who’s sort of taken their passion and then also turned it into the product that you get to play with and build you know, on a, on a daily basis. And then with that, you’ve, you’ve built a kind of nationwide team, both within localized headquarters. And then also kind of the model of having people being geographically distributed into targeted cities that you want to, you want to grow over time. And I’m curious, you know, what, what, what are you looking for when you hire someone? What are the key traits? What is like your sort of litmus test on whether you find someone who’s going to be phenomenal for you or not? I’d love to know how you, how you go about it.
Sam Nasserian (06:22):
So there’s some standard criteria that I think a lot of people follow, I would say probably everyone follows, you know, you look at the resume, you know, you want to check in on their education, the relevant work experience. And those are obviously very, very important. I also look at, have they been jumping around a lot in their previous careers or not for us, it’s very important when we hire people that they stay with us for a long time. I think that gives them the opportunity to have a big impact in the company. And it’s also good for us because obviously over time they also build up a knowledge base that they can leverage in their role. And they build up really institutional knowledge. So it’s important to me that usually in the career, they haven’t been jumping around too much.
Sam Nasserian (07:11):
Culture fit is very important to us and also that I can see myself and other team members as well. They can see themselves working with that individual candidate. And the way we usually find out about it is that we, in the interview process, we, we do some case studies with them. And those case studies are not only just puzzles that sometimes companies, you know, ask you to solve, which I think they’re, they’re not bad. Puzzles are great, but usually also we have like real world questions. Like for instance, we are working currently on, on launching several new product lines and we are already in the middle of of the launch for those product lines. And so one of the questions is usually how will you launch this product line? Can you walk me through the steps? And usually those questions are often often challenging.
Sam Nasserian (08:05):
Sometimes depending on the question we give them maybe a few days to per and then maybe set up a second meeting where they’re presented sometimes also they, they would answer it on the spot and they don’t only help us better assess if they can think analytically, if they can solve a problem, but they also help us assess to a certain extent, if they could be a good culture fit in the way they’re interacting with a interviewer. If they, you know, find a challenge during the problem solving process how are they dealing with it? If we give them feedback, are they, you know, reacting to it or not? Are they reacting to it in the right way or not? And then we are really passionate about food. You know, every single team member at Cozymeal really loves the product and also the space they’re in. And so for us, it’s an added bonus when they’re also, obviously passionate about food. And I think because of the fact that we have a product that people usually like, I mean, who doesn’t it makes it easier for us to, to find people who also either like the product and the space.
Anish Shah (09:13):
Yeah. I’d imagine, I imagine you get a ton of applications, because again, everyone everyone’s so excited about being a foodie these days. Thanks for running. Thanks for running through that with me. And do you feel like you look for, for different traits or almost a different profile for people who are you know, within your HQ versus people who are located and as, as, as kind of city managers and in all these different locations?
Sam Nasserian (09:38):
That’s a good question. I mean, some of the traits are the same, no matter what the role is, you know you know, we need them to be reliable. I everyone in the role in the, the company has some form of ownership. So I would need to feel confident that this person can own this project and handle it. And, and so those traits are the same, no matter if it’s someone, you know focusing on one city or if it’s someone who’s actually managing multiple cities obviously, you know with some roles, there are more, you need more generalists. So then for those, you obviously need some different traits than if it’s someone who’s just a specialist in one field. And I think especially some of the case, and, and this is also how we put together the case studies for the candidates. So if it’s someone who’s a generalist, we usually know have case studies where a good generalist would be able to do well versus if it’s a very specialized role. And then the case studies would be also catered towards that.
Anish Shah (10:51):
Okay. That, that makes a lot of sense. And, and tell us about the kind of thought process of having people located within different cities versus having everyone in one HQ. And what, what role do they play for you? You know, like what, because I think that’s a model where we’ve seen companies take two completely divergent paths, right? Where even like you know, I know Lyft versus Uber, you know, Uber was big on the, the kind of city GM model where Lyft tried to kind of centralize it a little bit more, what they, they still hired geographically, but they tried to centralize it a little bit more than Uber. Would love to learn your thought process of like the, the trade offs that you were seeing and then also like your strategy with that.
Sam Nasserian (11:27):
Yeah, absolutely. So the thing is, is I believe, you know, the more specialized there are about the city and the better they know what works in that city, what doesn’t, and when you look at the experiences in the marketplace on CozyMeal you know, many of those experiences are in-person experiences. And, and so by knowing the market, well, you also know which neighborhoods are popular as it relates to food tours, as it relates to in-person cooking classes. And that really helps us. And that really helps us. And we have been also, we have been following the model of having specialists in each city and that has been successful for us also during the onboarding process of bringing new partners into our platform.
Anish Shah (12:22):
Okay, great. And, and when people are sort of, and, and how many cities do you guys have employees in currently?
Sam Nasserian (12:29):
So we have team members in pretty much every city, we have business, we have team members and the employees are in a subset of those cities.
Anish Shah (12:42):
Okay. So like how many, how many are there currently?
Sam Nasserian (12:46):
So the, the, the total team of Cozymeal is around. If you count the core team members is around 25, and then we also have a a set of freelancers. We work with photographers who who create a lot of visual content for us.
Anish Shah (13:09):
Okay, cool. Makes a lot of sense. Yeah. So the next question on here is how do you evoke strengths within teams? You know, when, when there’s certain people who have certain strengths or maybe even don’t have certain strengths, how are you as kind of the leader able to sort of bring that, bring that out of people?
Sam Nasserian (13:25):
Yeah, it’s a good question. So for us it’s very important to me personally, that I empower the team members. And I think it’s good for the team member, but also ultimately it’s good for the company. And so when we hire team members, I, I do my best. And I tell also the hiring managers within the organization that they should do the same to you know, define clear goals, give the individual also enough responsibilities that that individual owns part of the business. So if it’s a junior team member, that junior team member would be owning a smaller part of the business. And as a junior team member, you know, grows within the organization, that ownership will also grow. And then as a result of that, they feel empowered that they know when they do something, first of all, it has a direct impact on their results, but also they know they’re moving the needle in that business unit.
Sam Nasserian (14:19):
And this has been working really well for us as an organization to empower team members and give them the opportunity to have a big impact.
At the same time, I think it’s also important that they see a purpose in the job. When you look at our marketplace, we have chef partners, we have partners who are offering food tours, and we are expanding into other, we have mixologists and we are expanding into other verticals. And one of the goals of our marketplace is also empowering those partners and helping them to increase their earnings. And so I, I always make sure that the team members at Cozymeal, the employees at Cozymeal see that purpose as well, because that itself also really helps to get the best out of the individual when they know there’s really a purpose in this, it’s not just like them meeting their goal, you know, them, you know, making the salary and a bonus, but also, oh, I’m actually helping our partners to have a better life and, and have a better income.
Anish Shah (15:30):
Amazing. The next one. What are some tips for handling cross continental kind of remote teams? You, you’ve already spoken to how many folks you have in so many different locations, any tips for, you know, maintaining culture, communication keeping people motivated when you can’t, you know, see them in-person any, any failures also that you’ve learned that you guys maybe didn’t do, right. And you had to kind of go and learn and go back to drawing board would love any, would love any learnings from you.
Sam Nasserian (16:03):
Absolutely. So, you know, we had this setup early on, you know, I mean, even, even when we, when we started Cozymeal and we were just in two cities, so we launched Cozymeal with this current service in July, 2014 in San Francisco, shortly after that, we expanded into LA. And then we were for two years only into those two markets. And even then we had our software engineers, which is still the same team overseas, our software engineering team is in Ukraine. And so we had from the beginning on to work with remote teams and certain things that have worked really well for us. And I recommended to other entrepreneurs and other executives is you need to treat them the same way as if you are all in the same office. And the communication should be ideally the same way, meaning that I would not just rely on email communication.
Sam Nasserian (17:00):
I, in our company, we do, we have a lot of meetings. Whenever we would meet, you know, when we were all in the same office, we also do that meeting even with remote employees. The meetings are always via video. It’s very, very important. And I believe when you have a video conversation, it’s 70, 80% the same as if you are sitting next to each other and this way you actually do to get to you, you do to get to each other and you, you see each other several times a week. And so that’s something that’s working really well for us. Like all the communication besides email is via video. You know, you can use zoom, you can use Skype and other products like Google hangout. That’s very important. We have regular meetings. We have something we call them scrums which, and it comes obviously from, from engineering / product development.
Sam Nasserian (17:57):
But we introduced it. I introduced it session day one at the company which means we have three days a week. We have our scrums where every team member, pretty much every core team member joins it. And then each team member says in 20, 25 seconds, what they’ve been working on, what they’re planning on working on. And all the scrum meetings are also via video. So you get to see each other, you know, what the other people have been working on. It makes the job more exciting. You know, you, you know, you want to present what you have accomplished. You want to hear from others, what they have accomplished. It also encourages them to have conversations afterwards. So sometimes someone might mention something interesting they’ve been working on, and then someone else in the, in the team hears it and actually would like to continue the conversation.
Sam Nasserian (18:47):
And then they connect after the scrum meeting and continue the conversation. So I think the most important thing, if you want to sum up is communication, you know, and that you want to, you want to keep the communication going and you want to do it ideally over video. So you get to see each other failures. I think we have been lucky that we, we introduced this very early on simply because in my previous roles, I was also managing remote teams and we were already doing it that way, this way. This was easy for me to introduce because I just continued what I had been doing already at Upwork. And especially I JustAnswer where I also had a remote team in Europe. But we have had, you know, in the past, obviously we have some entire freelancers where I feel there was not enough communication happening. And then the resulting project that they were working on to complete was not in the way we expect it to be. And then what we learned on was we have more regular communication. And then I think nowadays with all the technology we have is it’s, it’s, it’s really easy and it really replaces the need to be all in the same office.
Anish Shah (20:06):
Yeah. Okay. No, that, that makes a lot of sense. It sounds like a lot of your previous experiences helped make it really smooth as you moved into to kinda this organization so yeah. You saw some of the things go right. And not so right at, at Upwork and, and JustAnswer this is something we were just talking about before we, we started the, this session here. How have you shifted gears during COVID across the board and in, in any way?
Sam Nasserian (20:35):
Yeah. Good question. I think one of the key benefits we had was we were not all working from the same office. So which meant technologically switching to video calls was no challenge at all because we were already doing that in terms of the product line we had to make adjustments you know, Cozymeal was focused entirely on in-person experiences prior to COVID. And we already had the large network of really very top-rated chefs, mixologists. And then the switch we had to do was to switch to online and offer, start offering online experiences from online cooking classes, to online mixology classes, to virtual team building events that a lot of companies book with us. And it turned out to be much better and easier than I thought in the sense that these online experiences have been very popular. And our online experie expenses are all life and interactive, which means if you book a cooking class it’s, it’s like as if in the same room with the chef, you ask questions, you can ask, follow up questions, chef checks on, you ask you to show your dish that you’ve been preparing to provide you tips.
Sam Nasserian (21:51):
And I believe actually even when the world has defeated the pandemic this online experiences, the popularity will probably go down compared to the current popularity, but I don’t think it will go down to the level it was prior to the pandemic because people also see a big value in them. For instance I’m a huge fan of our online cooking classes. I’ve booked one on Sunday. I attended one on Sunday, I’m attending another one, this coming Sunday. And the reason is because these online experiences are often logistically, much easier to set up. Meaning that if you book like an in-person cooking class, you have to go to the venue, you do the class, you have to come back. And obviously there’s a social aspect. You have a great time and people love it. And it’s good. And, and I don’t think that will be replaced, but I think another option is, is if you do it from your own kitchen and within an hour and 20 minutes or an hour, you prepare a, you know, dish and a life and active cooking class.
Sam Nasserian (22:48):
You don’t have to travel to that venue and come back. And I think that provides good benefits. Yeah. So that was certainly one of the big shifts we made is towards online experiences. And then on the in-person experiences, we, we started providing our chef partners with more options to communicate to the customers, what measures they are taking to make the experiences as safe as possible. So if you go on Cozymeal.com, we already, we are getting now again, booking for our in-person experiences. And then, so you see that it says that in the profile chef, will we wearing a mask chef? We providing masks. This experience is social distancing friendly in the sense that the chefs usually spreads out the participants in the room that they have at least six feet and a distance or some of the experiences are outdoors, especially if it’s like a barbecue class.
Sam Nasserian (23:48):
So we did that. And then there have been some products that we as a company have been planning on launching for a while in the past like year and a half. And you are planning on launching them in 2021 and those products are more immune to COVID 19. And so cause of the pandemic now we decided to launch sooner. And so we haven’t made the announcements yet, but in the next few weeks we’ll be announcing a few launches of product lines that are related to food, alcohol, and cooking in general. And that work really well during the time of the pandemic, but could also work well outside of the pandemic. So we have, we have been keeping quite busy.
Anish Shah (24:36):
Yeah, no, that’s amazing. That’s amazing that you’ve been able to shift, make so many shifts. And honestly, I think I’m more, I’m more attracted to your online classes than you’re probably in-person classes, because I love the opportunity to, to get lessons from people who are geographically located all around the world. Right. If I want to learn about you know, for example, Grace, right now, as an Argentina, if I want to learn about Argentinian, I’d much prefer someone in Argentina than in New York city. I’m going to, I’m going to, you know, I’m going to feel like they’re going to be able to bring something special to the table since, since they’re currently there and they’re up to date on all the newest trends over there. So I, I love that the fact that you can basically get a, get a chef from anywhere in the world and not just within your, you know, 25 mile radius.
Sam Nasserian (25:19):
Exactly. That that’s, that’s another huge benefit anywhere in the country and in the world. Yeah. So we have like chefs in Italy, Spain, Japan that are offering you know, Italian, Spanish, or Japanese cuisine in your time zone. And then you can book them in your time zone and it’s a life and active class and it it’s a great experience that you would otherwise not be able to, to have unless you travel there.
Anish Shah (25:42):
Yeah, no, that, I, I love that it might be a lot more boring of a date night though, if you’re, if you’re both on zoom instead of you know, a local, a local cooking class. But yeah, I’m guessing like one of the biggest drivers of, in-person as sort of like date nights.
Sam Nasserian (26:00):
Yeah. So in-person date nights we would do a lot of girls night out a lot of team building events for companies for all those use cases though, we also have the online experiences and, and, and, and they use them use the online experiences. I mean, for date nights, it’s usually obviously for couples. So it means in a couple books that they’re usually in the same room, the person who is not in that room is, is, is a chef. And the other participants, obviously if it’s a public class, not a private class. So that’s been working really well and then companies book it for virtual team building activities. And that’s another thing I think we will have post-COVID more remote teams. And as a result of that, if you want to do a team building activity it has to be virtual because they are in different locations. And I think these virtual team building activities will, will also stay popular, even post COVID and more popular than they would before.
Anish Shah (27:05):
I hope so. I mean, I’m sure logistically it’s pretty fun for your, your chefs to be able to just circle through so many classes at once and have huge audiences. And it, it makes a lot of sense. So as you, as you’ve sort of grown, obviously there’s more and more employees within your org, there’s geographically distributed. You know, I think when, when you’re a small nucleus and there’s, you know, five people sitting in the room together, you guys can all be on the same page, you have the same culture, but you know, what have you done to implement maintaining, you know, culture and excitement in the company as you have so many employees now how has that changed from sort of like that five people sitting in one room to, you know, to the number, to the large number that you’re at now?
Sam Nasserian (27:43):
Yeah, that’s a good question. And also very distributed team. I think the things you were you were trying to do in terms of culture, when we were a much smaller team, it’s important to try to maintain them, even when you’re a big team and you see a lot of successful companies that have hundreds or thousands of employees, they usually try to do the same, which is you want to make sure that everyone is about aware about the company vision, and ideally you want to have the buy-in of every single team member. You want to keep the clear communication, you want to make sure that people have or know these are the options that I can communicate with my team members. These are the options that I can communicate with the executive team if I want to provide feedback. So I’m always, I tell every single team member, you know, whenever they have feedback, even if they don’t report to me directly, I’m available to receive that feedback and they can always connect with me. And and then in general, and provide them the opportunity to to provide feedback and listen to the feedback. And whenever, as long as it’s possible, make adjustments that you can make, this has been really key to our success. And this is also something we want to maintain, no matter how big we get.
Anish Shah (29:06):
Okay. And do you ever feel the push and pull between, you know, obviously your, a venture backed company and, and so forth, you know, so obviously you have to grow at certain multiples to, to please investors and just to please yourself as you’re running this company and you want it to grow naturally, have you, have you felt having to and encounter a trade off between in the name of hyper growth versus company culture you know, has it torn the culture apart or not torn apart, but created riffs at all in chasing hyper growth? You know, do you feel like the two have to be misaligned?
Sam Nasserian (29:41):
No, not at all. I think I think as long as, as you empower the team members and each team member actually owns a business unit and you communicate to them clearly, these are the goals. The, you know, we want to get from A to B and this is the reason I want to get from a to B you can get them actually very excited to, to also contribute to growth because they see the benefit themselves. And that then actually helps you ensure happy growth versus if you just said, you know, came and said, you know, our revenues are at 5 million a year, and now we want to increase to 50 million a year in the next 12 months, do it versus, you know, you, you know, have a clear path and, you know, communicate to them clearly, okay. This unit, you know, we want to grow from here to there, and this is how we want to get there. And you, as a team member will be leading this part of the initiative. You can actually get the team even more excited than before.
Anish Shah (30:41):
Okay, amazing. Thanks for that jump to the next question. You know, I think as you are a CEO of a company and as you’re founder, you’re, you’re going to have made mistakes along the way, otherwise, you know, how are you going to learn? Was there any kind of thing you can point to, or is like, oh boy, that that was a, that was something that didn’t go well. And that was something, some people might call a failure, but I was able to learn a lot from that.
Sam Nasserian (31:09):
Yes. I mean, we, you know, in the past we had, you know, launched you know, what we usually do is, you know, we, we started offering a marketplace where you can find them book cooking classes with local professional chefs. And the vision of Cozymeal had always been to be the marketplace for everything around food and alcohol. So, which meant, you know, we started cooking classes, then we’d be expanding to other verticals. And so we, we had some verticals that we tested in 2016 and they were not successful. And so we, you know, we spend a lot of time and money on launching them and we didn’t see the success. And and essentially we had to pull back. I, I mean, it was, you can look at it at that vertical as a failure, but I look at it also as an opportunity that we learned something, we saw what didn’t work, what can we improve next time? And there is like one of those verticals that we were looking at in 2016, we actually launched it and it was not successful. We are actually now going to launch it again in 2020. So we visited and I think we will, we have learned from the mistakes we made in 2016, and I’m confident that it will be successful this time.
Anish Shah (32:28):
I love that. So based upon, you know, how the launch went in 2016, are you able to speak at all in how you’re going to change the strategy based off of what you learned in, in 2020, do you maybe launch things, slower, launch things faster, do smaller test markets, you know, like from what you did in 2016, are there very specific takeaways where you can say, oh yeah, I, I would’ve done this, this thing or this thing, or this thing a little bit differently. Looking back and, and with of course hindsight being 20/20.
Sam Nasserian (32:58):
Yeah. Good question. I mean, I think there was a combination of several things that led to that certainly the product itself, the, the vertical launching that vertical was a good idea, but the way the product was put together was not optimal. And and now we, we just know better how we can put it together in a way that it would be more appealing to users and customers nationwide and hopefully later on worldwide. That was one thing. The other thing was we decided to launch in simultaneously in two cities, you know, with a goal I thought we can test it in two cities. Maybe one city might not be necessarily ready for a product like that. The other city would be ready. And as a result of that, I wanted to test it in two cities this time we would just be focusing all of our efforts in one city and, and make sure this is successful in that city. Before we expand into other cities, we have been in general, good at that, that we maybe launched a product would usually tested in a few markets before we would rolled out nationwide. But here in this case, I think it could’ve been better if we had just focused on one market.
Anish Shah (34:20):
Mm. Okay. And then just slowly, keep, keep, keep rolling and rolling, rolling it out and keep the cost lower, learn more and iterate.
Sam Nasserian (34:27):
Yeah. I mean, I think for the first market, you know, you want to really focus on that market. You want to make sure it’s success on that market after that, depending on the product and the situation and the resources you have, you could decide either if you want to continue to expand it slowly, which means one market at a time, or what some other successful companies have done is once you’re proven it in one market, you can take it and then launch it simultaneously in 20, 30, 40 markets, as long as you have the resources.
Anish Shah (34:56):
That makes a lot of sense. And the, the changes from 2016 to 2020, is it now more people, is it more comfortable doing things online and that makes you more comfortable launching some, some previous products that maybe were weren’t as successful or are there, are there just changes or shifts in the world world that bit better?
Sam Nasserian (35:18):
I think the, the, the products we are considering and, and sorry, by the way, for being so secretive about the product itself.
Anish Shah (35:26):
No, of course, of course I understand.
Sam Nasserian (35:28):
And, and announcing it and soon, and it is from our perspective right now, at least the way we see the product. It, we just didn’t put the right product together in 2016. But that was independent of COVID and everything that has been going on in the last few weeks and months. So I believe if we actually, four years ago, if we had done what we are planning on doing now, the launch would’ve been already successful.
Anish Shah (36:01):
Okay. Awesome. Makes a lot of sense. Jump in the next one.
Anish Shah (36:08):
That will be all of the questions okay. Yeah, I, I really want to thank you for, for joining us today. I think I learned a ton, like number one, how to keep talent excited and intact across multiple geographies. It seems like what you’ve done was create a foundation at the very beginning of your company that you’re able to take from your previous roles and, and all your learnings there. Usually founders go through a lot messier of a process and not really, they don’t really understand the foundational layers of, of, of how to do this stuff until, you know, years down the road, but it looks like your, your previous corporate experience or startup experience and marketplace has allowed you to kind of come in on day one and, and, and lay that foundation. So that’s really great.
Sam Nasserian (36:51):
Anish Shah (36:53):
Yeah. thanks for joining us, Sam, and this will, this will conclude our live event. If you’re interested in the recording, definitely reach out to us. And we’ll be following up with more information. Thanks so much.
Sam Nasserian (37:05):
Thank you. Bye bye.