The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 8 months ago

Ep 167: Local Insights and Dinner with the Taliban w/ Matt McNabb

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Ep 167: Local Insights and Dinner with the Taliban w/ Matt McNabb

Part of the "Is This A Good Time?" series hosted by Brandon Barton.

Hello everyone and welcome back to the Pavilion podcast. I am your host, Brandon Barton you're listening to Is this a good time the show where I put Pavilion members in the hot seat for 15 and 22 minutes today we hear their incredible stories, shows around Tuesdays and Thursdays. Hit subscribe. So you do not miss hearing from our experts. Our guest today is Matt McNab. He is the Ceo of Native and we talk about some crazy stuff first of all on the ground intelligence and building a network of people that can give you information locally. But man, we also get into having dinner with the Taliban which is somewhat insane. This one sponsors Sandoz. So Sandoz of the leading sending platform is the most effective way for revenue generating teams to stand out with new ways to engage a strategic points throughout the customer journey By connecting digital and physical and strategies. Companies can engage, acquire and retain customers easier than ever before. All right, let's do this episode 81. Is this a good time? Alright, I am here today with Matt McNab. He is the Ceo and co founder of Native Based out of new york matt. So great to have you on the program. No, thank you Brandon. And just I guess 11 small correction. I I was the Ceo and founder of Native but I am now chief strategy Officer at premise premise data. Whoa, is this, is this is this breaking news, uh breaking news here in the public um podcast. Yeah, so we just merged with premise just being announced. Now we've been, we've been competitors in many ways for for, for a number of years but decided decided to merge together to go big. That's great. Well look, I'm, you know, all meat, no filler, we jump right in. I want, I want to hear about everything. So why don't you, you know, start with earlier in your career, how you got there, you know, decided to found a company and now decided to sell it to kind of cool journey for us to hear about. Yeah, I have a bit of, a bit of an unusual backgrounds. Tech founders go. So my, my background originally is in running quantitative and qualitative field research teams in war zones. So I graduated from grad school, took a one way flights to Pakistan, went out to the Pakistan afghan border and spent a number of years doing primary field research, going out, meeting with the Taliban kidnappers, Local government officials did that for a while, Afghanistan Pakistan Northern Nigeria, Somalia kind of all of the vacation spots around the world somehow somehow spots and yeah, yeah, so uh, and somehow, eventually, eventually made my way into into the world of world of tech, but most mostly because my experience in running field research teams is very similar to, if you will the gallops of the world or the episodes is the world of Nielsen to the world, all of those types of market...

...research providers as well as I later came to realize things like the google maps, teams doing street view and all kinds of other vertical applications effectively, all the ways of sensing the world by being there. There's certain types of things you can't know unless you're there. And all the ways of actually being there tend to be hugely human intensive, they tend to be recruit a bunch of people, train them up, feel the mouth to go capture the data and lots of people managing those other people. And what I realized was I, you know, the summer of 2016, I found myself in the white house situation room a few hours before a ceasefire went into effect in Syria And the principles, they're basically said, look, we've got we've got the ceasefire that's going into effect. And you know, we have no way of knowing whether or not it's going to work and we need to know as quickly as possible so that we can support the humanitarian efforts to make sure people are safe and and so on. So I built a program across six cities in Syria where every time a bomb dropped, we had locals getting pictures and video evidence of violations of the ceasefire. And we combine that with satellite imagery and social media monitoring. I kind of walked out of that experience, I took a Uber ride home, I ordered ordered delivery through through Instacart and minibar for cocktails and so on. I sort of walked away from the experience saying, you know what these, what these companies have solved for in the on demand economy is the human logistics problem? How do you recruit train onboard, manage pay largely the people moving around. And if you could apply that human logistics solve to the world of data and all those problems of actually being there at scale from the google street view to the googles, to the nielsens to the gallops, you would have something incredibly powerful and so that's what we built, built, built a network in 89 countries and 27 different languages of locals using an app that could be tasked on demand to capture any type of, any type of data, any type of observation or interview at scale and basically sent the world from the ground up. So that's what native was. And then premises that has a fairly similar business model, crowdsourcing model and and I will take on, I'm taking on the role of Chief strategy officer to focus on how do we own that as an entire category where the kind of planets of the world, so to speak, come to kind of define the category of small satellites and the Gps of the world have come to own a lot of ways to define the category of sensing the world from drone, There's all kinds of different applications of just simply being there and we intend to own that category. That's the job. That is incredible. And so who's the, who's the buyer here? Like, is it, is it government contracts, is it, I mean, it seems to be a lot of different ways you can take it. So a lot of our work...

...increasingly is fascinating. Consumer goods companies. So it's fortune 50 companies that have the challenge of saying coca cola for example, identified that in Mexico City, There are 117,000 locations that sell coke and if you want to understand how well your product disposition is that price, right? All of those types of execution metrics sending people 217,000 locations to check. It's hard. And so you can imagine in that type of scenario, if you have something similar to an Uber like network where you've got to, In our case 10s of thousands of data collectors all across Mexico City who can very quickly be tasked to visit those stores to get an answer to your question that your ability to understand what's happening in the market really quickly at scale affordably. It's just something that's not been possible before. So that's, wow, that's incredible. So, so, so the advent of the smartphone with cameras and everything has just made everybody on an on demand reporter. Yeah, that's right. Yeah, there's gosh, I'm trying to think, I think it's in West Westworld, there's a, there's an element to the newest season of Westworld where people just pick up jobs and do things like this? Uh, it's uh, it sounds incredible. So do people just kind of opt in have this on their phone and then say, you know, there's a bounty, let's say for something and I would love to pick that bounty. So we actually, in designing it, we recruit a number of people from Uber to build out the dispatching system, so it operates very similar to rideshare or food delivery type application. So people download the app, they become a contributor to that network. They have a whole series of different tasks, sort of like I'll pay you five bucks if you go to the, to this location and answer these questions. And so it becomes a competitive marketplace where they represent those contributors represent the supply and you know, coca cola for example, may represent the demand and so our job is to connect the demand and supply at scale as efficiently as we can, so that whatever questions that coca cola may have, they can get them at scale across across the markets. I love it. What an interesting concept. I got to go back to 11 question though, which is, you have to tell us one story during your times of being on the ground and all these dangerous places where you felt Unsafe or like just some wild sh it happened, I'm sure tell us one. So yeah, I've got a lot of, a lot of stories, I have to say, one of the things that I rather enjoy about, about running a tech company is that mr my most of my travel now is the places, you know, like London or Hong kong or you know san Francisco, it's, it's slightly slightly more civilized than maybe whatever I'm accustomed to. But...

...yeah, well, so I guess one story I recall when we started doing work first started doing work in Pakistan, I didn't know the place at all is incredibly dangerous where along the border and there at the time there was a particular minority group that was heavily represented in the Taliban, the Taliban and that and that, that part of the world of that part of the country and there was a particular well known kidnapper who was, I think on the book, son was most wanted list at one point for kind of kidnapped for higher and we went to his home, um, and had dinner with him because he, he was a, although a well known kidnapper, he was a prominent representative of that minority group that was disproportionately represented the Taliban. So we, we, we showed up and it was very Casablanca. So he lived in the middle of like the movie, he lived in the middle of sugarcane fields and when you showed up, I guess apparently when we arrived for dinner it was between police raids and we arrived in his home for dinner and you know, a bunch of very heavily armed guys who very clearly had never seen Whitey showing up for dinner. And so we we it was it was about midnight or so and then just in the middle of middle of nowhere and we sat down for dinner. And what was fascinating was that his men, his guards and so on. He started bringing all the furniture back into the house because whenever the police would raid their, steal their stuff. So it was very Casablanca. So they had all this like floorboards and things that would flip over to hide all the furniture valuables. So they were just kind of progressively bringing in back the chairs and you know, we're kind of this kind of stuff and you know, I at the time I didn't really know what I was doing, you know, I didn't I didn't work, I didn't work for anybody. I basically hadn't even created, we ended up creating a research organization, but I didn't even, I didn't have a real job, I was just really fascinated and the stuff and later created a job out of it. And what I realized was when saying that I was an american was probably a health risk at that time. And so I told them, I'm not sure I would do it this way again, but I didn't understand. So I told him that I was, I was irish and when he asked me where Ireland was where Ireland was, I kind of knew I was going to be okay. I wasn't quite the target that he had in mind but yeah, I don't know that, I'm not sure I would do that again. But it was interesting that is introduction that is a, that's the type of risk you take as a young person and maybe not, maybe not as you get later in life. Okay. Oh man, No, that's incredible. Well look you know we'll speed through some of these other ones but you know that's an incredible story. Look, luck and hard work to get you to where you are. I wonder if there's any like little scoops of kind of luck or hard work that you want to kind of share with us along the way to...

...starting your company to selling a company man, you've done it all. Yeah, so both obviously lots the, I think one of the things that I would regard as being the luckiest is when you you know that moment when you, when you, when you realize that someone that you're working with or people that you're working with are exceptionally talented and you know you can screen for that etcetera but not really, I mean there's a certain kind of genius equal about finding somebody or people that are just really good at what they do and one of the first people that joined native was a woman who is no longer whether she's she, she's that stripe now but Megan dance and she was at Uber and helped launch Uber and a number of markets all across latin America it was out of their bogota office and I at the time understanding that we had this business model where we really needed to recruit people who who actually actually knew this stuff, you know what, we weren't hanging out for the talent with the taliban for years, stuff like that like I was doing that actually I knew what they're actually doing in this world. I ended up having a ton of conversations with folks at Uber to try to understand how they do what they do and I realized that the further you get away from headquarters, further you get away from bay area really and out particularly in emerging markets the more creative the more flexible they had to be you know the government was always trying to shut it down things legal and anyway, so I had spoken with a bunch of folks and I got on the phone with her and she was just spot on, she knew what you're doing. So I, I lied to her, I later told her this but I, I lied to her and said well I'm going to be in bogota to meet with the customer, can you can you meet up And so I just, I took a flight took a chance when that weather and she was incredible and I was able to persuade you to join us and Day one Very first day you know this is kind of tough when you have new employees and you're the founder of a company Day one you walk me through how stupid a lot of the choices that I have created the company were. And that level of feedback when you have someone that knows what they're doing that gives you that kind of feedback it's called. Yeah, yeah, working with that level, talents, lucky. And then building hard work, building on the network in 89 countries. The bulk of it, the bulk of it was done. I mean half of that, more than half of that was done by three of us and you know, three people doing that. It's a it's a lot of not a lot of sleep, Oh man, that's that's that's incredible any along the way, you know, any sales or marketing tactics, how do you get people to, you know, who don't even know what the heck you're talking about two actually do this, you know, stuff for you like what has worked for you in your past. So, so the the we have, we have marketing, so to speak on, on both sides of the marketplace, on the demand side and on the supply side, on the demands, on the...

...spicy side is a little bit easier, particularly in emerging markets because the idea of the gig economy is basically the most, the world, we just call the economic informality. Lots of people have a just lots of different jobs where and once they get accustomed to the idea of earning money through mobile phone, it kind of catches really fast, but on the, on the demand side we we mostly target fortune fortune 50 companies and where startups and so the question is if you're, you know, scrappy startup working with some of the largest companies in the world, how do you do that? How do you hook their attention and how do you demonstrate that you understand them well enough that you know, you can move through sales cycles otherwise just ludicrously long. And one of the things that we did that I did early on, I realized that we needed our marketing collateral are content are creative in particular to be super localized and feel like we were already there. And so ones that I did this because we had a presence all over the world and we sell into regions or markets all over the world is I I found some really talented photographers and videographers on instagram black people that's like not their job, you know, and just reached out and said like this stuff is amazing. Uh here's some specs, I'll pay some cash. You probably don't do this for a living. You know what you think? And I found this one waiter in like Hong kong who is just amazing and he just liked it as a side hustle, just not even side hustle just this yeah for fun. And I found this stuff and I flew him all around the region in Southeast Asia and had them take photos and so on. And I made it very specific because we sell the consumer goods companies made it very specific to the products those companies sell in situ in market so that it didn't feel forced. So it felt like we are already there and if that's the value proposition that we we offer is presence, local presence, the ability to give that, and it was a very scrappy, very cheap, but incredibly, incredibly powerful way of being able to convey. You know, we we get you were already there without, you know, it's more than just like putting the logo on the website, you know, that's that's, that's that's such a cool tactic. I wonder, I wonder if other people can take that story and apply it to what they're doing and like what's what's a way to just, you know, because you're really showing somebody with a picture with the video, they say, oh my God, I need that information, it's so clear to them. And yet, and yet with a cold email. Yeah, yeah. And also, I mean, to the extent that you can, to the extent that you think thought that you're thoughtful about the production of your creative. That's the variable, right? So variable is, sorry, creative is the variable, otherwise you're sending emails, you're sending messages, you have content on your website, everybody else does too. But the variable is your...

...ability to convey that you get it by by that that image that may be actually something just in the background, right? But it conveys a message of confidence that you understand what whatever it is that your customers going through and you know the idea of using stock creative and so on, it just flies it entirely. I mean your ability to to have your customer understand that you understand them can't be done more effectively I think than creative. That is thoughtful and I love that. Love that. All right, real quick. What's any position that you're hiring for? One key position? Well, so yeah, so so we we have a sales sales development effort that is global and so sales development reps, et cetera that work with us on a on a global basis because we sell under regions that's a tough tough thing because you need to find creative ways to do sales development and be data driven about it despite being in many different languages and cultures and so on. And so we're looking for someone to to lead, lead that and build out that sales development function who's super data driven but also flexible enough to work across crazy time zones and language differences. Very cool. Great. Hopefully we'll find it now that it's out there. What about some shout outs, people that you follow, You appreciate what they're putting out there. Yeah, I imagine this is this is a very common one for this for this community but definitely the Revenue Intelligence podcast with gone. I mean there's stuff is amazing devin read in particular I think some of the stuff that he produces on content marketing and what I find most fascinating not just about the content of their podcast but rather about the positioning of the brand. They've been very very very very effective at using of defining a category of revenue Intelligence and kind of building a building a brand around a category rather than just an author. And I think that's it's just incredibly just incredibly effective. Love it and and last but not least you've been around the world where where would you tell me? Is that your secret spot secret restaurant circulation. So I'm a bit of a foodie. I went to culinary school a bit when I was in paris for a while when was younger and so I don't I don't cook anymore but I love to try new things. Last week I was in Istanbul and what's what's amazing is the Soho house in Istanbul has taken over the U. S. The old US embassy. It was the U. S. Embassy for like a really long time. And it's incredible because they've taken over the U. S. Embassy and turned it into a private club in a bar and it's you know they restored it to its old glory of the paintings the whole thing and then the middle of it is a you know white marble counter bar and it's just it's kind of crazy. It's it's yeah, it's very cool. It's very cool. I...

...do that. Next time. Next time we're in assemble we're going, yeah, yeah, do it love it. Love it. Well matt, so good to have you on. You have incredible stories, you know, sight that you just sold the company. Congratulations. I'm excited for the next part of your journey and looking forward to staying in touch man. Yeah, cool. Thanks man. I appreciate it. All right. That's our show. Thank you so much for listening. If you love the show, rate and review, I say every single week, I guess twice a week and you don't do it. So I'm asking you to do it. That's my thanksgiving gift from you to me, reminder this episode is brought to you by Sandoz. So they deliver modern direct mail, personalized gifts and other physical impressions that make your outreach more personal. I had so much fun. I hope you did too. Now he'll crush your numbers if you see some Yeah.

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