Podcast: Giving Customers Their Lives Back with Michael Rentz

In this episode, Michael Rentz, CRO at Gnosis Freight, joins Host Brian Glick, CEO of Chain.io, to discuss tech that makes customer’s jobs and lives easier.

Giving Customers Their Lives Back with Michael Rentz

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In this episode, Michael Rentz, CRO at Gnosis Freight, joins Host Brian Glick, CEO of Chain.io, to discuss:

  • Tech that makes customer’s jobs and lives easier
  • Growing container volumes and data complexities
  • Supply chain visibility purchasing trends
  • The importance of relationships in the supply chain industry
  • FinOps challenges in international trade
  • Gnosis company culture, sales, and product development

Michael has spent his career helping people live a better life, by moving their goods to all parts of the world. In his role as Chief Revenue Officer at Gnosis Freight, he oversees sales and growth.

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Episode Transcript

Brian Glick  00:04

Welcome to supply chain connections. I'm Brian Glick, founder and CEO at Chain.io. On this episode, we're going to be talking with Michael Rentz from Gnosis. This is going to be our second Gnosis interview in a year. So just want to clarify that they don't pay for this. I saw them recently, and we'll talk about this a little bit in the interview. And I just had some more questions. I wanted to ask them because I think they're, you know, really cool team and a good group of people working quietly in the industry. So I hope you enjoy the episode.

Brian Glick  00:40

Michael, welcome to the show.

Michael Rentz  00:41

Thank you for having me. Good to see you. Happy Friday.

Brian Glick  00:44

Good to see you, too. You're actually the second Gnosis person we've had on the podcast. I think that's a first time repeat for us. So congratulations. Why don't you give us just a little bit of your background and the background of the company, so we can give everyone some context?

Michael Rentz  00:59

Sure. So Michael Rentz, I run the commercial side of our business here at Gnosis Chief Revenue Officer, which I've always too fancy of a term for what I do, which is basically sales, talk to new customers. I've been here for years. So really, I met Austin, fortuitously, right after the pandemic started four years ago. And Jake, our CTO. So then here for years, I started in the industry industry being international logistics about 10 years ago. So and I got my start on the ocean side with Maersk. I was introduced to the business through my mentor in business school, who was Jim Newsome, who at the time was the president, CEO of the South Carolina ports authority. And so went to work for them amazing experience, but was always a bit more interested in innovation, technology, getting solutions to into customers hands quickly, a bit more creativity. So I left in July of 2018, was doing some things on my own, was introduced to Tech Stars, convinced them to do a supply chain and logistics themed accelerator in Charleston. And I had to raise money in order to do so it was a corporate backed accelerator, I got two thirds of the way until the pandemic hit, and kind of shut everything down, kind of dusted off the resume. It was just trying to pick up, you know, whatever gig I could and got introduced to Austin McCombs, who's the CEO of Gnosis and at the time, I remember thinking, Oh, great, another redneck with a trucking startup in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. So I got on the first call, which was on Zoom, of course, because it was the height of the pandemic. And then I immediately realised that he had solved something that I thought was impossible. And it was right here in my backyard. And it was unbelievably fortuitous, I met Jake right after. And then at the end of that consulting gig, I was brought on by an investment bank, we came to terms, I jumped in hit the ground running full time, at the time, it was just for engineers, you know, working out of a back office of a freight forwarder, and Mount Pleasant. And we've grown significantly, 40 Something employees now in the office still bootstrap four years later. So that's how it all started.

Brian Glick  02:53

So I saw you guys at TPM, and you had a conference room down the hall from our conference room. And I think you and I probably didn't see the light of day for three days, because we had just customer after customer kind of turning into these private conference room at the TPM show, which for anyone who doesn't know is the big freight conference on the west coast here in the US every spring, you guys have relatively quietly built this business compared to say, a lot of venture backed companies, I would say, including us, right? How like, what's the magic?

Michael Rentz  03:28

Yeah, I mean, that's a great question. And it's, you know, it's always a bit more prosaic and not as sexy or extravagant as people want to think it is. I think it all starts with Austin. You know, Austin, is unique. And I think once in a few generation type thinker, he's obviously brilliant, extremely high IQ. But he's also incredibly traditional and old school. But when I started, everybody had to be at the office at 730, everybody had to wear a collared shirt. He was 25 at the time, and like, No Cussing in the office. And I was like, this is kind of a an interesting dynamic. But it's that same mentality, that same ethos, where it was just like, Olson is also very good at identifying patterns way out into the future, like unbelievably out into the future and kind of picking out different vectors and how they're going to intersect. And I think he just saw that we were at the end of this, like Hyper Growth grow at all costs, you know, inject a bunch of cash, focus on gross margin and customer acquisition, don't really worry about churn or really serving your customers or about retention. And he just saw that was at its end, and just really wanted to kind of like take care of customers. And I don't think initially that being venture back was out of the equation. We have that conversation every day when is it the right time to raise money? When is it the right time to pour gasoline on the fire but it's always never on the sources but on the uses is like, Well, what exactly would we spend it on? And I just think Austin has kind of held true to that and it has kind of like, helped everybody in body that Spirit is like let's just go get a few more customers. Let's just go get a few more customers. Let's just try to stay profitable. The next thing you know we had 100 Something customers in good numbers and good metrics, and really good product from that, because we've listened to our customers. And so I just think we kept our head down because there was no other option. Austin was very diligent about that, and put us in a really good position here, and then things change around you. And then we have a conversation like this, but I think it was just trying to figure out how to stay alive every day.

Brian Glick  05:21

So one of the things that I've noticed from the outside, as I've known, you know, the three of you and kind of the company is kind of a impressive amount of discipline on who you are, who you want to be and who you want to sell to. I would imagine, though, that a it's never that clean on the inside, and be that as the person in charge of revenue, there can be some temptation to stretch those boundaries, or kind of What's that feel like behind the scenes? That still

Michael Rentz  05:54

was probably the most contentious piece of the business, which is sales. I mean, we're really small on the sales side. So of the 40 people, 33 are engineers, my team's probably like 567 people. And I'm still the only like, true everyday seller that's out there trying to win deals. So I'll catch a lot of flack from the engineers. But it starts with Austin, obviously, with the culture, but it's unlocked truly by Jake, I think Jake is, and I don't mean this hyperbolically I think he's the best CTO, certainly in lock tech space. But I've seen him have conversations with people that have been in international container trade 30 to 40 years. And I would say Jake is like a top tier expert when it comes to logistics. And so he's a really peculiar and deadly combination of somebody that can think outside the box very creatively, but still has the horsepower of like a coder. And that made it easy for me, because a lot of the times it was Jake and me going into these meetings, and like in real time saying, Yeah, we could do this. Yeah, we could do that this. And that's a dream scenario for somebody that selling something, because I just want to say yes, and then we'll figure out how to do it. And Jake has that same attitude. And so it's been funny to see Ross have a bigger team on the engineering side who tries to say, no, no, we don't want to do that. No, we don't want to step out of that. But recently, Jake and I have been laughing, it's like, because we're kind of going back to our roots, where it's like, let's just sell and create selling, creating, that's our DNA. Now, we don't do that at scale, you know, we got to put some, like some bumpers up where like where we can do that. And literally, technically where we can do that with regards to our infrastructure. But I think that we're trying not to lose that spirit of being able to create and build and serve the customers. So from the revenue perspective, that's all I'm saying is that it makes it easy when I have somebody like Jake, extremely confident that he can do what I sell, what is

Brian Glick  07:37

the target customer like? How broadly or narrowly in that world? Because, you know, if you save the target customers, only people who export, you know, yellow flowers from Charleston, right? You can be very valuable sell them anything, because it's a small world, if you say, it's anyone involved in global trade, it's a hot mess, right? So how have you guys define that,

Michael Rentz  08:03

I would say that's more of my job than just pure sales is like being the tip of the spear on like, we need to go here and we need to get a certain critical mass is the bcos. I think it was blind naivete. Three or four years ago, when we started targeting the bcos. And like we had a lot of success there. And we just didn't know what we didn't know. And that's difficult to sell to them. But it worked out for us. And so I'd say they are one A and then everybody else is kind of one be and by everybody else, I mean the non BCOs. And I think it works that way. Because everybody ultimately is in service to the bcos in our industry. And because we build products, whether it's software or data for the bcos, there is a tremendous amount of value in those products for everybody else that's also servicing the BCo. So I think our North Star for sure are the bcos. And if you had to further constrain that, I would say 1000 containers, or more per year is what I would consider in our sweet spot, which is about 3000 to 3500 importers depending on how you look at it a few 100 More exporters. And that's a really good target customer segment for just bcos without going into the other segments. Now we do have a lot of other customers outside of the VCO segment, but like my focus is on serving the VCOs and ellsen number is just because once you get to that volume could be 500 could be 1000. Mostly we'll have one border one three PL at that point, kind of managing everything and like the real problem we solve is like taking away the disparity between the disparate sources of data they're receiving from all the different vendors as they kind of diversify their risk across a handful of carriers or partners. So that's where you really start to see problems become exponentially more difficult. It's about 1000 containers or more per year.

Brian Glick  09:47

Yeah, I would say that's when the day the spreadsheet breaks. Like to that point, you know, you've got a few containers on the water at any given time. And the spreadsheet works just fine. Right and then yeah, And then this cheat breaks and then they call you, right? Yeah, hopefully. Exactly. So what are you seeing in the bcos? What's different now than three or four years ago and what they need from you?

Michael Rentz  10:10

I spent a lot of time thinking about this. So a couple things. It's like what's like real demand versus fake demand? And what do I mean by that. And if you look at like, we're ultimately under the umbrella of visibility, although I would say we've created our own new category, which is container Lifecycle Management, which is a combination of visibility. But the difference is we also provide the ability execution. So the ability for our customers to do their job from within our platform, it's an operating system. And so what I mean by that is at the height of the pandemic, for the first time ever, people in the C suite are going What the hell is demurrage? And detention? How do we fix this? Why is this so expensive, and you had big movers, like Project 44, who were there to say, hey, we can solve this with visibility. And people needed to do whatever they could to fix these problems. And so they onboard rapidly or made decisions quickly. And now what that did for us is kind of falling behind them was it created a line item in a fiscal budget for visibility for the first time ever, where people were having a much more robust due diligence process of evaluating what's out there. Also, simultaneously, what happened is the demand dropped off, there wasn't really a supply chain crisis, there was too much inventory on hand, the warehouses were at 100 plus percent. And they were kind of waiting on these goods to flow through demurrage. And detention wasn't as big of an issue. And so there was demand, because they were told by finance to go out, here's your budget, go find visibility partner, but there was no real like panic demanded, like, we need to buy this now. I think that ultimately helped us because people were testing other people's data, their products, etc. But so that has been interesting to kind of navigate, I'm sure everybody's experiencing that they rice has longer sales cycles. And then up to about a week ago, I would say the supply chain was about a steady state as it's ever been. There were no real disruptions, you know, people that kind of absorbed the impact of the Suez Canal disruption, and the Panama Canal disruption, margins were thin for all the different service providers, and everybody was taking heightened good care of the bcos. And so the urgent attention, you know, wasn't as big of a sticking point, everything was pretty smooth. And then I would say the difference in data providers, for lack of a better word, whether it's directly from the ocean carrier, or from anybody that's selling data, or visibility or container lifecycle management, the differences in the quality was marginal, because there just weren't disruptions. And so a lot of people started to compete on price. And so it became interesting to like, what exactly are bcos looking for, and it became any way to reduce costs or the cost of goods or cost the money. And I think that's where, you know, we had a competitive advantage. And that's what bcos were looking for. Now, the Baltimore thing, obviously, like, tip the cart a little bit, so there's going to be some new disruptions. And we'll see how good everybody's eta is, are when there's a queue of vessels waiting at the port. And you can't rely on the ocean carrier milestones, and you got to be able to toggle between different sources. And it's got to be near real time. And that's where I think our model is very competitive.

Brian Glick  13:01

I've never thought of you guys as visibility, right? I've always thought of you as execution. Awesome, right? And as being closer to a TMS than to a visibility provider, right? And wherever, you know, container lifecycle management, TMS, like all of these terms, people can hang whatever meanings they want off of them, sort of, but I'm curious, like, II sort of mentioned it, but I want to go a little bit deeper on this, when you're selling, is it more important to you to be what your customers need you to be so that they can make the purchase? Because I'm a very, very stubborn person. Yeah, right. And for us, like, it's very hard for me sometimes as a founder who had a vision to like, go fit into someone's budget line, and for something that I don't think we are, but as like a seller, you know, have you moved that public facing definition to match the buying cycles? Or how do you think about that?

Michael Rentz  13:54

No, I think we relied more so on the other side of that coin, which is education of trying to change the market trying to create a category try. I mean, we've seen that with RFPs. Now where it's like, the title of the RFP might be visibility, but the criteria listed in the RFP is container lifecycle management, I'm like, okay, you know, people have an idea of what they can get out there. And it's helping us, obviously, you're intuitive and smart, but you've also got time on your side. And you've known us for a very long time. And we were just execution, you know, in like we were buying data from our now perceive competitors back in the day, and just got tired, or Jake got tired of the data being incomplete and decided to try to supplement it himself and build his own data model, and was able to do it and worked well enough to where we could stop relying on others data and just power our own system. You know, that execution piece with our data. And then people found out about the data and it became the fastest growing piece of our business but when we talk about customers and fitting into RFPs when you think about Gnosis think about the software and then think about the data 90% of the customers on the software side or the VCOs now when you use our software, use our data, you know was vertically integrated, it's powered by our dowel. But 90% of the customers on the data side are non VCOs, there are a handful of bcos that just want the data that API to enhance whatever they're doing in their TMS or their ERP or their in house build system, whatever it is, but it's primarily those non VCOs, the India freight forwarders, truckers, ocean carriers, technology providers, other visibility providers that just want good, trustworthy, complete low latency data. So it's good to distinguish between those two when we talk, but you're right, we are more execution. And I think hopefully, a lot of those assumptions are coming true, which is people ultimately want to use data, they don't want to see that. And if you're looking at data, something probably went wrong. And if you want to be pro, manage, and we'll get in the weeds and you know, then you're going to need an operating system, you're going to need an execution piece. And that's where we're finding our success on that. I

Brian Glick  15:50

think when I helped build one of the first systems, you know, this would have been 2001 2002 timeframe, you know, even then, like the trendy term, and certainly terms did not pick up as much speed before social media as they do now. But like, was exceptional management. Yeah, right. And that whole idea that if you're logging in, you've already sort of lost the game. Yeah. Right. Like, the point is, like self healing systems, or like, you know, the ability editor, I don't think we're certainly we're not at the point, I think on any system, even the really big ones have like the system, calling the carrier and saying I want that container that was supposed to offload in Baltimore, to skip Norfolk and offload and Savannah because I have more access to the rail there, whatever, you know, like, nobody's there. And I think anybody who says that they're selling something, but that ability to drive action, I think has always been the right answer. And I think we may have lost sight of that as an industry for a little bit. But I certainly agree with you that that you know, getting stuff done is the new sexy again. Yeah, man.

Michael Rentz  16:55

It's, that's what my LinkedIn says, giving logistics folks their lives back. You know, I didn't come up with that, that was kind of revealed to me. You know, when these first I've had people cry on the call with me, you know, where it's like, I'm an inbound logistics manager, I've been doing this 20 years, I got a family, when I'm spending at the height of the pandemic, 12 hours a day, seven days a week, and people said, I want to rearrange the furniture in my house, I want to take my kids to the waterpark. And now I'm being asked to do stuff where I have no idea how to do it. And then a solution like ours, where it is as simple as managing by exception, and just frees up their time to kind of keep the containers moving. And people were like, Thank you. You know, I think our industry is awesome. I think it's relationship based, I think it would be a very boring world, if we automated the ability to have a system intelligently tell something to skip a port and go to the next one and offload here like I wouldn't be in the industry. If that was the case. You know what I mean? Like, that just wouldn't be fun, you know, picking up the phone, getting more people interacting with them. You know, having a relationship with these people, is what makes our industry special. I think you would agree with me on that. But at the same time, being able to free people up from things they didn't sign up for, is what we do. What

Brian Glick  18:02

gets you out of bed in the morning, what's your favourite part of all of this, I

Michael Rentz  18:06

would have said, what I just said, which is helping people, our customers like making their lives better. I know that for a fact where it's like, I'm 100% confident that when they use Gnosis, their lives get better, and they're ultimately able to pursue whatever it is they want to pursue in their life. If it's taking their kids to the waterpark, or rearranging the furniture in their home or whatever it is reading books, I would say it's a strong competition now from the young folks I have on my team that I'm seeing, exceed my expectations, and perform and come into their own and have their own voice and authenticity and tone and close deals and learn to code when they're not supposed to learn to code or didn't like, that drives me more, you know, is like seeing the people that I've hired, come in, exceed the expectations, you know, become their own individual become high performers have a good life like that is up there with the customers. I love that. That's what picks me up out of bed in the morning. I'm

Brian Glick  19:05

gonna say I'm deeply offended anytime and everyone else is getting this on audio, but I can see you anytime somebody with a full head of hair and no grey and their beard says the folks on our team. It hurts me a little bit. So just gonna let you know. It's funny how fast it comes, doesn't it?

Michael Rentz  19:23

That part is insane. I'll be 36 this year. So I'm the second oldest person Gnosis a whole

Brian Glick  19:29

bunch of people listening. Just want to Oh, bless your heart.

Michael Rentz  19:31

Yeah, I

Brian Glick  19:32

think that's all. Yeah, well, it's just the kind of maybe a slight aside but I was at the customs used to be the trade symposium. It's something else now but the big customs event is in Philly this week. And I had dinner with some people who were my age when I met them and are now about to retire. And I'm 45 right there. are now in their 50s and 60s. And I'm still the kid there. So, you know, we've talked about this being a relationship business, but it really, really is. Yeah. Right. Like, you know, especially in these little segments, right, whether it's, you're in compliance, whether you're in the tech pieces, these sub groups, yeah, you'll see the same people for 2530 years. So you better treat them? Well. Yeah.

Michael Rentz  20:22

Yeah, you better treat them well, and you better while being around them, because you're going to be around them. And if not, then that's okay. You know, but this might not be the right industry. For you. I was thinking about international business. And I was thinking about, like, what is international business and nothing less South Carolina, I'm from South Carolina, South Carolina has always been good at international business for hundreds of years. And I was like, why is that? And it's like, well, what are like truly international things, you know, that you can say, are the same everywhere. And it's food, it's drink, it's dancing, it's family. It's like those types of things. It's like, you don't need language, to communicate, when it's like, no matter where you go in the world, you can pretty much do anything people are going to be eating or drinking or dancing going out, you know, and it's like, you got to enjoy that and respect that. And the differences in that. But no, that's kind of what unifies people. And that will certainly what was appealing about Mariska, like going to work internationally was like that. I was like, that seems amazing. I would love to go see other cultures and experience in the same things that kind of fuel us.

Brian Glick  21:20

The only say that because you've never seen me dance. Otherwise, you'd have crossed that off the list right away. Outside of Gnosis leave, just take your product roadmap out of this question. If there was something in the industry that is outside of your control that you could change, what bugs you What would you like, man, if everyone could just fix this? Hmm,

Michael Rentz  21:42

I don't know, man, maybe like honouring the contracts, as always been the most peculiar thing to me. You know, it's like whether you're on ocean carrier side, or the non ocean carrier side. It's like, if you booked 10 slots to for this week, and you show up late, you still got to pay for 10. Or if I booked 10 slots, and I show up with 10. But I can only get eight on and I get rolled. And everybody's like, Oh, well, that's just part of the business. But like, you aren't charged for that, that doesn't apply anywhere else in life. You know what I mean? I know nice checks. And Gordon, those guys are trying to solve that. But it's like you book an aeroplane ticket and you show up and they're like, oh, sorry, somebody more important than you showed up. You'll have to get on next week's flight. That's it seems crazy to me. I'm a lawyer, a licenced attorney. And so getting into the shipping industry straight out of law school. I was like, Wait a second, this doesn't make any sense. And now people kind of overcorrect. Every vessel is booked at 130% Knowing that 20% is not gonna show up with what they bargained for. And then we're gonna roll the rest. And I would change that, you know, I just think that that is crazy to me.

Brian Glick  22:41

Yeah, no, I agree. And it's funny. Every time someone says contract to me, I sort of mentally substitute the word price sheet. Like, it's not really a contract. It's a pricing sheet. Yeah. Right. And we're all going to agree that if this thing happens, this is what we'll pay for it. Yeah. And kind of just leave it at that. So

Michael Rentz  23:00

I would say that is driving probably the most innovation, both from our company's perspective, but from other companies, I see having really good success is like, what am I going to pay for it? You know, and figuring out what exactly am I going to pay for? A lot of the times, you won't get an invoice for 90 plus days after something happened that you're responsible to pay for. And then when it comes time to reconcile that the data you need to be like, it might be an overcharge, or undercharge isn't available anymore. And so if somebody will call it auditing, we've had a lot of success with that lately. I

Brian Glick  23:28

think people who have never had to mechanically deal with it, really don't understand how absolutely insane the financial processes that support, especially international trade. Yeah, and especially the ocean business, and the ndarray edge around ocean, how like not sit is, I was at a customer the other day. And one of the things that I do repeatedly with our customers, because we do so many integrations is when they're starting a new initiative. Sometimes I'll go in and spend a day with a customer, explaining to them all the mistakes they're about to make in the hope that occasionally they won't and accounting ones, they'll go, Okay, we're gonna bring in a third party accounting package to sit next to our TMS. And we just like I spend a day with them going, Okay. Have you thought about the fact that you change what's in your financials in real time all the time? And actual accounting software doesn't work that way? Yeah, yeah, we get ready to number to actual accounting software, it's supposed to be the number. And we're always like, oh, you know, delivery will be 600 bucks. Well, it's really 6030 Well, really, they needed, you know, a liftgate and really the driver was late and really this and this, and now it's 747. When the invoice comes, and everyone goes, Okay, right, like, that's cool. It's not want

Michael Rentz  24:49

to do a big announcement on your podcast. Sure. We're doing something we call like a fin ops, which is financial operations. And again, it was driven by our customers for that exact use case. You know, and it's like, certain point solutions come to us and try and buy our data. You know, because everybody needs good track and trace data, whether it's auditing or whatever. And it's like, okay, well, we have the data, why don't we just build the point solution on top of it kind of fits within our theme of this operating system for international shipping containers in your world, maybe 50% of an inbound logistics manager is financial, pre audit, audit, accruals, remittance pain, you know, everything. And it's like, Okay, we have all this information, we can do it, and we've started to do it. And we've done it enough, and there's enough demand. And it kind of fits the market. What I was saying at the beginning of the call, we're like d&d is really not an issue when most people are pretty well taken care of older people are still trying to trim costs, cost of goods, cost of money, paying people faster, you know, accurately. And we found I think, 15 to 25% of all invoices are inaccurate, and about 75% of the one count from the BCA perspective, was an actual mistake. You were like, Oh, my bad, you know, and then some of them get like, pushed back. But yeah, exactly what you said like, was there actually wait time? What exactly am I being charged for? What are the assets Oreos in real time that are changing with the market? That's a real issue right now.

Brian Glick  26:06

I usually try to wrap these up with like, let's take a moment and let you pitch but sounds like we got there naturally. I'm excited to see that stuff. I mean, I think it is the last bastion of spreadsheets really? Yeah, it's sorting all that crap out. Yeah. And fighting with your accounting department. So yeah,

Michael Rentz  26:22

that's why I get uninvited to certain panels and stuff because I can't help but pitch. I'd say every call sales call. Really, I'm sorry.

Brian Glick  26:30

Well, it's funny, when you're into something, when you're excited about it. You want to talk about it. Right. Like that's a natural enthusiasm.

Michael Rentz  26:37

I think we'd have the similar in results, which is what you're doing makes people's lives easier. You do the same thing. You give people their lives back. And so I think we share that kind of in solidarity. I'd be curious to know we're at the end of q1 or some people's q1, let's just call a calendar year q1. Where do you think we are relative to where you thought we were supposed to be? Everybody wants to tell us what the year is going to look like from an economic outlook? We're three months in? Where do you think we are? I think this year is only nine months long. You know what I mean? I've been planning, I think the last third of the year is going to be a wash because of the election. So as like, if you're gonna get it done, you got to get it done before October, basically,

Brian Glick  27:13

this is what I told my sales team, my board in December, word for word. Yeah, that's what I told them. I say, you know, I'm like, I kind of triangulated a few things. One, you know, it's always good to get down. And I'll give Ben a pitch here. But the Ben Gordon summit down in Florida, if you catch the invite, because I was able to listen to a lot of the CEOs from the LTL and truckload side talk about their pessimism for the year, privately, right? You know, it's like this whole, a lot of people saying the same thing, which is, at the beginning of every year, people like, oh, yeah, by the end of the year, it'll be fixed. And then they're like, but where's the data to support that? Right? There's just sort of blind optimism. I agree that from a software selling standpoint, the hardest point is getting a customer to make a decision. Yep. Right. Like, that's the thing that's hard. And people can only make so many decisions, and they don't like making decisions under a cloud of uncertainty just as humans. Right. And so to kind of break down why I agree with you on the selection thing. It's not a question from the perspective of a software salesperson. So setting any opinions about the candidates aside, it's not a question of who's going to win, and somebody's waiting for a particular outcome. It's a question of uncertainty. Yeah. And people and markets both hate uncertainty. And so yeah, I don't think you're gonna see a lot of people wanting to make strategic purchases, and I think both of us sell strategic products, right. We're not selling Kleenex. Yep. So yeah, I agree with you that the second half, especially the fourth quarter, are going to be, you know, a little bit rough, because, you know, election takes you basically up to Christmas, right. From a sales window standpoint. Yeah. Then you're back into next year. Yeah. So yeah, get it done. Now. I am a little bit optimistic that the economy's landing a little softer than maybe we thought it would. So maybe it's not so bad. No, I

Michael Rentz  29:08

agree with you on that. I wish there would be somewhat some unification on like, is it going up? Or is it going down. And I think the uncertainty kind of kills everybody's ability to make a decision, but personally, professionally for your work. And then there's this being in the growth, a scale up phase of a company and the whole idea of nobody gets fired for buying IBM, de risking these decisions. You're not selling to a business, you're selling to a person and somebody's got to put their name their signature on something and push it over to finance and say, Hey, this is what we need. And there's already a lot of pressure or you know, cost pressure in organisations in every industry are have trimmed headcount. It's about like these people have families to take care of and don't want to draw any unnecessary attention to themselves and it's not really the environment to take risks. all comes down to on our side, maybe a similar for y'all de risking these decisions. And it's not just for one person is basically for five different stakeholders in it's at all is slightly different value proposition of like, why is this a safe decision? And why is this actually going to make your life better and your company's business better, you know just got to takes a tremendous amount of horsepower and clarity to get that message together and push through with timing. You know, timing is a big key on

Brian Glick  30:24

that. I think we also maybe got a little spoiled salespeople during the pandemic, whether the narrative was good or bad, whether it's going up or going down. When there's a clear unifying global trend. Yeah, it's easy to know how to sell something because it's, you just talk against that commonality. Yep, we're actually sort of feel safe. When do we get back to normal? Now we're back to like, oh, it's all complicated. You know, it's not Star Wars, where it's like, here's the good guy, and here's the bad guy, and we're gonna go blow up the Death Star, and therefore everyone's gonna be happy. Yeah, right. You're selling a much more subtle set of things in a complicated world. But that's really how it's always been. If you block out those couple of years. Yeah, at least for the 25 years, I've been doing this. I can't think of a time when that wasn't true. Yeah, except for those couple of years of the pandemic, where it was like, it was so easy to create the narrative, like the work of the marketing department to support the sales team was obvious. Yeah, right. There is a pandemic, you don't have good data, we're gonna get you good data, or there's a pandemic and your freights not moving and you need better collaboration with your transportation providers. Yeah. Right. Like, boom, boom, boom. Now, the hard work starts of like building long term sustainable change over the next 20 years. Yeah, yeah, exactly. And then we can both retire, and then somebody else's problem. That'd be amazing. Just flash forward.

Michael Rentz  31:52

We're good. I think I'm built for retirement. Honestly, people like you won't be able to sit still. Like, I think I'm built for it.

Brian Glick  31:59

So let's wrap with that question, then what's your retirement look like? Man

Michael Rentz  32:03

you know, a lot of my life facing adventure, you know, whether I mean, I spent time in South America, backpacking, Southeast Asia, I got to travel a bunch for Maersk. And that was always like, the next big adventure for me, you know, based off all my friends that are having kids. That seems like the craziest thing you could do right now is like, have kids, they say like, it's insane. But it's beautiful and wonderful. So I would love to have children, that looks like retirement, for me is like to be able to live on some land and on a farm or something similar. You know, with some kids, that's retirement, I used to read a lot, but I'm transitioning more into trying to work with my hands. So whether that's like gardening, or farming, or smoking meats, or cooking or stuff like that, you know, I'm kind of over all the books now. That's

Brian Glick  32:49

awesome to hear. And again, it's proof that there's a lot of different paths and a lot of different people in this industry. And, you know, we all somehow figure out a way to get along. You know, thanks so much. This has been a blast. I know, we had a wonderful conversation. So you know, appreciate your time. Hope you enjoy the weekend. And I hope everybody enjoyed the episode.

Michael Rentz  33:07

Thank you. Appreciate it.

Brian Glick  33:12

Thanks again to Michael for what was just a fascinating conversation. Again, just love talking to the guys over there at Gnosis. If you haven't had a chance to download our co2 emissions Best Practices report, make sure you head over to Chain.io and there's a pop up to pull that down. We had a lot of fun over the course of last fall, doing interviews with a tonne of cargo owners and freight forwarders and brought some wonderful partners in to get a broad view of where companies stand from an missions perspective. So really excited that that was something we could get done. And make sure to head on over the site and get that downloaded. Also check out we've got on the blog, a bunch of new product updates. And we've got some new content coming out soon specifically targeted at some of the gaps that exist in supply chain data for shippers. So where are the challenges and the struggles as far as bringing in great third party data to drive innovation to drive digital transformation in this highly collaborative industry where most of the data you need lives outside your company. So be sure to check us out there. And as always find us on LinkedIn, find Gnosis on LinkedIn and we'll have the link to their website in the show notes. So thank you for listening

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written on April 10, 2024
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