Advanced E-Commerce Insights from Ex-Amazon Director John Rossman

Episode 202

Ready to unlock the secrets of e-commerce and equip your business for a future of success? This episode, featuring John Rossman, former Amazon director and current founder of Rossman Partners, offers a deep dive into the ever-evolving world of e-commerce. Our chat uncovers key insights into the role of small businesses in shaping the e-commerce landscape, highlighting their potential in swift decision-making and quick strategy adoption. We also explore the integral role of Artificial Intelligence in e-commerce, providing savvy entrepreneurs a roadmap to staying ahead in the digital age.

Fascinated by the intersection of AI and business productivity? John Rossman shares his expertise on how companies can leverage chat, GPT and generative AI to maximize value. From generating innovative ideas to optimizing Standard Operating Procedures, Rossman stresses the power of AI tools in boosting business processes. He also underscores the importance of clearly defining processes and employing automation as critical steps for scaling businesses.

In this hyper-digital era, Rossman prophesies the potential for companies to achieve up to 100x increases in productivity. But how do we avoid the pitfalls that often lead to failed digital transformations? This episode reveals the habits that can lead to success and unpacks the concept of a “big bet”, a cornerstone strategy Rossman himself used to reach his current success. As Rossman shares his journey from Amazon to Rossman Partners, you’ll gain insights into the strategies that have propelled his trajectory and can similarly drive your own entrepreneurial success.

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Welcome everyone to the Firing the Men podcast, a story for anyone who wants to be their own boss. If you sit in a cubicle every day and know you are capable of more, then join us. This show will help you build a business and grow your passive income stream in just a few short hours per day. And now your host serial entrepreneur is David Shoma and Ken Wilson.

00;00;24;01 – 00;00;50;11
Unknown
Welcome, everyone to the Firing the Man podcast. On today’s episode, we have the pleasure to interview John Rossman, the author of The Amazon Way, a book series, which is based on his experiences serving as the director of enterprise services while employed at Amazon AECOM. Since leaving Amazon, John founded Rossman Partners, which helps businesses grow in scale in most industry verticals on digital strategy operations and culture.

00;00;50;12 – 00;01;09;09
Unknown
For those of you that missed it, we interviewed John on episode 123 back in March of 2022. We are excited to have him back on the show to dive deep into the state of e-commerce in 2023 and beyond. Welcome to the show, John. David and Ken, great to be back firing the man. Thanks for for inviting me back again.

00;01;09;09 – 00;01;35;03
Unknown
I must not have offended you enough on the first time around. I’ll try to do better this time. Yeah, actually the opposite. You’re one of our audiences favorite. Yes. Which is why we. We reached out, invite you back to the show. So really excited to get into this. So for our listeners that did not listen to episode 123, can you share with us a little bit about your background in your path from Amazon executive to founder of Rosman Partners?

00;01;35;04 – 00;02;07;14
Unknown
So I was an early executive at Amazon. I was there from early 2002 through late 2005. I got to lead the launch of the Amazon marketplace and we launched that and for holiday 2002, I also ran Enterprise Services where we ran another great big brand e-commerce infrastructure. So Toys R US, Target.com, a bunch of other great brands. I left Amazon in late 2005, started working with clients on their digital strategy and innovation and programs, and it was about six years after I left the Amazon.

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00;02;07;15 – 00;02;25;24
Unknown
One of my clients at the Gates Foundation actually said, Hey, you know, you should you should write a book about all the little things that you learned at Amazon because you do a nice job of inserting them into our work to help make change happen. So I released the first version of the Amazon Way in 2014. We’ve done three editions of that.

00;02;25;24 – 00;02;58;02
Unknown
So the last one released in 2021. That’s really my story and the story of the leadership principles at Amazon. And then I wrote a complimentary book called Think Like Amazon 50 and a Half Ideas to Become a Digital Leader. That’s the full playbook of all the mechanisms, all the strategies, everything. So they’re they’re nice complementary pairs. It’s it’s a bigger book when I released the book, these things called Keynote Speech Invites started coming along, and I was a partner at a consulting firm at the time and I was like, Oh, that’s interesting, but never in my plan, never might play.

00;02;58;02 – 00;03;18;19
Unknown
And so I started taking those. And so I founded Ross and Partners in 2017, and my business is, yeah, a third keynote speaking, a third advisory work and a third consulting work Will we’ll take on projects for clients and then I write books and a newsletter as my hobby. That’s awesome. Well, one question as a follow up on that.

00;03;18;19 – 00;03;38;02
Unknown
Do you like public speaking or. No, I love it. I wouldn’t want to do it 100%, but I love it because it’s just a different way of impacting people and reaching them. I give them energy. They give me energy. I really appreciate the invitation to go out and whether it’s representing a brand or working with an executive team.

00;03;38;02 – 00;04;12;13
Unknown
My favorite engagements are where I get invited to a management team meeting. Or maybe it’s a board meeting, and even though it’s framed as a keynote, it’s really a mini consulting assignment. And we’re really what’s on the table is their thinking and we’re discussing how are they going to compete in the future. Those are my favorites because because those are ones where we’re really diving in and challenging essentially the status quo of their organization On every basis, both from a strategy basis as well as from a culture and leadership and true corporate priorities.

00;04;12;14 – 00;04;36;10
Unknown
Yeah, So board the boardroom kind of like your wheelhouse, right? Go and go and directly in there. So yes, but my favorite is working with small to midsize companies who actually have the ability to make decisions and change like small companies have a ton of advantages to big companies. And those advantages are the ability to make a decision to try something new, to make an experiment out of it, and to move so much faster than big companies.

00;04;36;10 – 00;04;57;20
Unknown
It seems like David and I were just talking about this earlier, but we can’t get through a single podcast without talking about A.I.. So I figured we’ll just we’ll start out with with AI and get that one on the table. And it’s tremendous. John How should companies look to create value leveraging chat, CBT and generative AI? Well, it is an opportunity, but the opportunity is, I don’t think, quite how it manifests itself.

00;04;57;20 – 00;05;22;09
Unknown
What’s going on today is people are playing with it, right? They’re experimenting with it. I think there’s a few really obvious use cases that the developer use. Case. My boys are both computer science major software developers now and catch up definitely impacts our business in content generation. It’s really easy to see the impact that chat GPT can have in that, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

00;05;22;09 – 00;05;47;17
Unknown
But for the rest of your workflow, what you really need to do is start with identifying what the work is, what is the outcome you actually want, what are the requirements that need to go along the way, Eliminate as many requirements as possible, simplify the workflow, document the workflow measurements in place, and then as a last step, think about and consider, well, what’s the automation opportunity?

00;05;47;18 – 00;06;14;11
Unknown
Sometimes it’s a generative A.I. step, sometimes it’s just a workflow integration step, sometimes it’s some other types of technology. But in my experience, where companies get technology wrong is where they start with the technology. And what you need to do is, you know, in this kind of gets into the Amazon playbook, which is start with the outcome you want, work backwards with the first step being simplify that workflow and then apply technology at the end.

00;06;14;14 – 00;06;36;02
Unknown
So I’ve seen tremendously, like my favorite use case is the one and this was actually I got this idea in the Wall Street Journal and it works really well, which as you know, they did a test of giving an innovation question to four MBA students or asking chatbot, and they asked Chatbot t you know, give us a hundred ideas on this general scenario of ways to innovate.

00;06;36;02 – 00;06;55;26
Unknown
And so I’d been playing that game with some of my clients and some of my own work, and it really does just free up the mind, gives you ideas. You know, half of them are pure garbage. Half of them, actually, just for me, spurred variations of what the idea was. But it it gets you into kind of that brainstorming mode, that unconstrained thinking mode.

00;06;55;26 – 00;07;19;23
Unknown
And so it really is like an instant collaborator in order to generate ideas. So that that’s one that’s impacted my work. We had a little bit of a conversation about your poster business and how you were thinking about applying they in your poster business. You guys weren’t talking about that. So in this particular business where we’re selling posters and in the past we’ve worked with artists to come up with these.

00;07;19;23 – 00;07;46;13
Unknown
However, we’re going to start in 2024 using AI tools to come up with custom posters. And there’s a number of different tools out there that you can put in a query and and it will spit out an image. And I’ve seen a couple instances of this, my favorite being draw picture the Last Supper, but instead of disciples, place them with wrappers from the nineties and it was outstanding.

00;07;46;13 – 00;08;09;04
Unknown
And that is just kind of an off the cuff prompt. And so we’re also very big on spot testing. And so the ability to come up with a high amount of designs and then split test those we think is going to be really helpful. Whereas in the past typically we’ve kind of been, you know, asking our, asking our customers which ones they like but have never really been able to tap into creativity at this scale.

00;08;09;05 – 00;08;26;29
Unknown
That’s brilliant. And I think that’s, you know, some of the first use cases coming along is truly the creative aspects of the work that goes on. But I love that. I think that’s pretty cool. Sara David, one other thing that we’re doing is for the podcast. So David was a in a former life, he was a CPA, I was an engineer.

00;08;26;29 – 00;08;44;11
Unknown
And so we’re not super creative people, right? And so for a podcast podcast, we would brainstorm on titles and, you know, it’s like having a CPA, an engineer, non creative come up with title. So now we use we use AI and we just say, Hey, give us, you know, five sample titles and at least like what you said, John, I’d like at least spur some creativity.

00;08;44;11 – 00;09;06;01
Unknown
And we’re like, Oh, let’s take some of this one and put some of this fun. And so we’re using it in that as well. But I would like to highlight what you mentioned, John. I haven’t thought of it that way, but essentially taking every one of our, you know, in support for something and then stepping it to stepping through and then looking where there’s areas forum for movement, and then at the end, okay, where can we apply AI to to minimize those steps?

00;09;06;01 – 00;09;30;04
Unknown
So there’s nine steps in this. So can we put AI in here to minimize these? But first, look through them and map them out. I really like that. Yeah. So maybe you have 7 to 9, you know, poor processes in your business, right? Design products, launch products, inventory products, fulfill orders, you know, kind of your your, your whole life cycle identify, you know, whatever a number of those are and then write out the steps relative to each one of those.

00;09;30;04 – 00;09;57;18
Unknown
And make sure you understand, I think especially where the metrics are and what I find every business of every size is an under instrumentation. They don’t actually understand cost, quality, cycle time of their core processes. And so think about how to actually define and then measure those, take out all the non the non critical requirements and then apply some automation to it.

00;09;57;18 – 00;10;19;10
Unknown
And that’s the way to truly be able to scale your business. If, if, if it’s just you and a couple of people that are, you know, line of sight, you can get away without having super good process definition. But if you hope to scale your business, I believe that process definition and then automation is the absolute key to scaling those processes and your business.

00;10;19;10 – 00;10;41;00
Unknown
Absolutely can. We’ve got a 2024 planning meeting, and I’ve got some notes on this. We’re going to we’re definitely going to be doing that. So very nice. So so John, you’ve got a you’ve got a book coming out in in February of 2024. Can you tell us about that book? Yeah, absolutely. So the name of the book is Big Bet Leadership Your Transformation Playbook for Winning in the Hyper Digital Era.

00;10;41;00 – 00;11;03;21
Unknown
You’ll be released. Your 27th 2020 for this book is really it’s not about Amazon, but it assumes all the things from Amazon. And it’s really about a lot of the lessons I’ve learned from my client work since leaving Amazon and how to get or to change to happen in companies. And that’s the essence of the book. I have a coauthor.

00;11;03;21 – 00;11;24;13
Unknown
My coauthor was my client, a T-Mobile. I got to be the senior innovation advisor, T-Mobile for a couple of years. Kevin was my client there, and I was riffing on a new book last year, and I wrote a proposal for this one, and I sent it to him and he immediately calls called me, which he never does. And he was like, Man, I’ve been waiting for you to do something like this.

00;11;24;13 – 00;11;50;21
Unknown
And so I talked him into being my coauthor. So we’re we’re really excited about it. We kept it a real nice read or listen, we’re going to have a bunch of great tools and supports at the website connected to the book, and I’ve got an offer for the audience here, which is if you go to big bet leadership, econ, big bet leadership dot com, put in your email address and your Kindle email address and the podcast you’re listening to, which is firing the man.

00;11;50;21 – 00;12;16;17
Unknown
Then when the book releases next year, I’ll send you a Kindle version of the book. And my only request in it’s a request is to please write a customer review. This audience among any audience appreciates the value of customer reviews, especially in the book category. It’s extremely important. Regardless, I’ll send you a copy of the book and I wrote this Every one of these principles scales, you can use them for yourself.

00;12;16;17 – 00;12;34;20
Unknown
For a team of five, for a team of 500. And it’s not a methodology, but what we do is we attack all the core reasons why big bets fail very nice. Very nice for that. We appreciate that exclusive offer for the firing to match the audience. And we’ll be sure to post a link to that in our show notes.

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00;12;34;20 – 00;12;50;21
Unknown
Yeah, absolutely. And I’m excited for that book to come out. You know, some of my favorite books are when, you know, some of the stuff I get the most information from books is when someone writes from their experiences and lessons learned and it’s usually like jam packed with just really good stuff. And so I’m excited to get to read your new book.

00;12;50;21 – 00;13;12;24
Unknown
So let’s decipher hyper digital era. Can you explain to the audience what is a hyper digital era and then how can companies prepare for this? Yeah, so the book, the framing of the book is, you know, winning in the hyper digital era. And so in the preface of the book, I make a forecast and a comparison, which is not my natural orientation, but essentially the digital era.

00;13;12;24 – 00;13;36;08
Unknown
The starting point for the digital era is considered to be the Netscape IPO in 1995, right? So call that coming up on 30 years ago. If you think about the types of change that has happened, the winners and losers over the next 30 years, my hypothesis is, is that the next 30 years we’re going to look back and go, Oh, well, that was that was a pretty quiet period.

00;13;36;08 – 00;13;57;17
Unknown
That was a that was a pretty mild period. And so I think that this this next period, we’re going to look at the release of Chattooga Beatty as, again, the starting gun of a new era, and that’s the hyper digital era. And I think what’s going to distinguish the hyper digital era from the existing digital transformation or digital disruption era is this which is the first era.

00;13;57;17 – 00;14;30;01
Unknown
We did a great job at reinventing customer experiences, great mobile apps and experiences. But if you look at how work actually gets done within most companies, we’ve seen very incremental productivity, right? We’ve been doing I get 2% productivity improvement in corporate workplaces. What’s going to be different in the hyper digital era is this which is we are going to see companies that have a completely different type of productivity scale than most companies have today from anywhere from a 10 to 100.

00;14;30;03 – 00;14;52;20
Unknown
And it’s because of what we were just talking about, which is they applied disruptive technologies like A.I. to actually completely rethink the front office, the mid office in the back office of their company. And they are looking to engineer with so much more automation and simplification in those businesses. So that’s what I think will be distinguishing of the hyper digital era.

00;14;52;20 – 00;15;12;20
Unknown
It’s not going to happen next year. It’s going to happen, you know, over the next 25 years. But you’re already seeing some companies really lean into the automation capabilities and really shooting for rethinking, you know, the type of productivity they should get in their back office. Let’s talk about the hyper digital era as it relates to digital transformations.

00;15;12;20 – 00;15;38;14
Unknown
So stat out there that 70% of all digital transformations fail. Why do you think that is and what do you think the other 30% are doing to succeed? I’d say the range goes from anywhere from 70 to 85% of all of these big bets, right? A big bet is any type of innovation strategy or digital transformation or M&A activity where anything where essentially the the executive team goes.

00;15;38;14 – 00;15;55;11
Unknown
I think this is a really good idea. But you don’t know for sure, right? Like that’s that’s the bet part of this. And you wouldn’t take it. You wouldn’t do it if you didn’t think it was a really good idea. But understanding and recognizing that there’s a material risk, that’s what makes it a bet. And so all of these things fail.

00;15;55;11 – 00;16;17;08
Unknown
Unfortunately, David, there’s not an easy answer to why they fail. There’s there’s a wide variety of reasons, but it starts with this. First is they don’t have clarity and they don’t have clarity of either the starting point, like, what’s the problem we’re trying to solve? And especially they don’t have clarity, like what’s the future? How is this going to work in the future?

00;16;17;08 – 00;16;41;20
Unknown
What’s my hypothesis on what the future state is? So so they have these fuzzy, vague feelings. They start the program, they start the spending with this fuzzy understanding of it. So that’s a big part of where they start. Secondly, they start with enthusiasm and momentum and and acting really quick. They quickly just slow down into normal types of programs and projects, right?

00;16;41;25 – 00;17;00;15
Unknown
They don’t run these things. They don’t maintain that sense of urgency. And the third thing that creates this this, you know, failure rate that we’re talking about is it’s the natural orients mission to just treat everything like a requirement, like, hey, got to get that done, done. I got to get that done. Then I got to get that done.

00;17;00;15 – 00;17;25;08
Unknown
And what we’ve found in our research, in our work is that if you can accelerate, if you can identify the 3 to 5 critical risks of your hypothesis about, well, what’s the future, why am I doing this bet if you can truly zone in on what the 3 to 5 critical risks are and then accelerate the testing of those, the validation of those bursts is what normally happens is you actually defer those out towards the end.

00;17;25;08 – 00;17;45;00
Unknown
So if you can those are the three reasons why these transformations fail. There’s many other reasons underneath those three, but those are those are three key ones, and that’s what we’ve oriented. The book towards was was really working towards, you know, creating habits that tackle those three key root causes. And again, we do it in a nice story format.

00;17;45;00 – 00;18;06;08
Unknown
So the book is is interesting with a bunch of additional tools to go with it. And so, John, can you define big bets a little bit? Maybe give a couple of examples for like big bets for the audience? Would it be like a product launch? Would it be like a new program, like a new product launch? If it’s a product that is significant lately different than products you’ve launched before.

00;18;06;08 – 00;18;28;21
Unknown
But if you have an easy time trusting the forecast for the product launch, then that’s probably not a big bet, right? You have good historical reference points and you have the skills to be able to do that. But if it’s a new customer, a new geography, a new marketplace, or a new product line, you know, again, you think it’s a good idea, but but you probably don’t know for sure.

00;18;28;21 – 00;18;49;00
Unknown
So that’s a type of big bet. Any type of major transformation. A transformation is a fundamental change in how you operate, right? So if you were undergoing, you know, hey, how do I apply I into my business, that could be a major type of big bet. If you were going to do a merger and acquisition, that could be a type of big bet.

00;18;49;00 – 00;19;09;22
Unknown
Again, it’s anything where you think it has the potential for a significant positive impact to the business, but you know that there’s material risk, like there’s big aspects of this that you can’t fully appreciate yet. You don’t know for sure how it’s going to work. You can’t you can’t absolutely commit to the ROI, then that’s the essence of what a bet is.

00;19;09;23 – 00;19;28;29
Unknown
Excellent. And I appreciate that. And and so your advice on at least bringing up that the metrics there is focusing on the three, that’s the vertical habit of big bet legends. Right? And so so you know, Kevin and I had the fortune of of working with and for a few big bet legends Jeff Bezos and John Leger from T Mobile.

00;19;28;29 – 00;19;56;11
Unknown
And then we studied, you know, others like Elon Musk and what we found is that they tend to do a few things very differently than other types of leaders. And those three things are they create clarity. They maintain the lost city and they accelerate risk testing. I’ve just been listening to the new Elon Musk book out. It is an absolute story after story after story of how Elon does those three things in his companies.

00;19;56;12 – 00;20;13;05
Unknown
You get these really hard things done that he’s done at Tesla and SpaceX. X Okay, excellent. No, I appreciate what was what’s the new book from for me that Elan has out. Yeah it’s just Elon Musk by Walter Isaacson. Gotcha. Okay. Yeah, that’s a good book. But we’re not here to pitch his book. Right? Right, right. Just to just a small piece out of that.

00;20;13;05 – 00;20;42;02
Unknown
Okay. So, yeah, So you’ve been a senior innovation advisor at T-Mobile and a senior technology advisor at the Gates Foundation. Can you tell us about those experiences? Yeah, Yeah. So I was very fortunate. So they’re both after Amazon, I worked at the Gates Foundation for close to seven years. They were a client of mine and during that time I got to act as the senior technology advisor, primarily in the U.S. program.

00;20;42;02 – 00;21;07;06
Unknown
And really what I did was I worked with the program officers in their contracts and in their grants and with their grantees to guess what, figure out getting clarity on on the problem that we were trying to solve and what our hypothesis was on what it was going to look like and to put together the pieces to help go test and build for whatever that grant was that the Gates Foundation was making right there.

00;21;07;06 – 00;21;23;11
Unknown
Their funders and strategists, they don’t execute their work, and so they’re always out there working with grantees. And so I got to do a lot of work with grantees, my work at T-Mobile. So I wrote a book that we haven’t mentioned here today, actually, which is called The Amazon Way on Iot, and it’s a book about the Internet of Things.

00;21;23;11 – 00;21;51;04
Unknown
It’s a strategy book about the Internet of Things. And a few people at T-Mobile read it. And Kevin and his boss called me and said, Hey, come on over. And we spent a day together meeting. And it was they were really interviewing me. And so they were looking at building a new business incubation practice. So this would be new business models, new capabilities beyond their core business today that they could incubate and launch over time.

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00;21;51;04 – 00;22;16;05
Unknown
So I got to work with the T-Mobile team for over three years and kind of setting up the process and the approach for doing that and then running ideas from the very inception all the way through testing and launching those ideas. And a lot of what we had in big leadership was taking some of the Amazon principles about working backwards, using memos to write out our ideas and then debating those ideas.

00;22;16;05 – 00;22;39;04
Unknown
This is where we kind of transitioned from the Amazon approach. I’m working backwards to something that’s more tailored for companies that don’t have all of that DNA from Amazon. And so big Belt leadership, a big part of the backbone for this book is from the work that Kevin and I did together T-Mobile in when they were pitching this idea of the incubator, did they have a lot of the same concerns that, say, a small business would have?

00;22;39;04 – 00;23;03;20
Unknown
I mean, were they were they unique to a large publicly traded company or did they were there things that they were concerned about that would also be relevant in, say, $200,000 business? I mean, if diversification, if figuring out where new revenue streams were going to come from beyond their core business today, if those are issues that small business owners think about, then yes, this was this was very applicable to them.

00;23;03;20 – 00;23;34;01
Unknown
But the easy aspect, if I if I’m the highlight, like what are the three things in innovation Pipeline has? It has a way of thinking in bets, right? Think in terms of hypothesis what your ideas are. And then the second step is a truly agile way of testing and refining those ideas. And then the third is really portfolio thinking, understanding that instead of focusing on just one idea or one bet, you really have to think in terms of your portfolio and understand you’re going to have winners and losers in that portfolio.

00;23;34;01 – 00;24;00;12
Unknown
And not to get fixated on just one idea. And so again, I believe that that concepts and those concepts scale across any type of business and as well as teams within bigger businesses. In one follow up question that you’ve talked a lot about testing and in the physical products space, there are some obvious quantitative tests, right? Google, Google Search Trends, search volume on Amazon, maybe the velocity of sales of competitors.

00;24;00;12 – 00;24;20;15
Unknown
Then there seem to be things that don’t fit into a spreadsheet. For instance, are customers going to buy this or are they going to like it? And so what are some maybe unique ways or ways of testing that you’ve seen that help address some of these non-monetary if things that don’t fit into a spreadsheet? Well, here’s here’s one which is reverse engineering.

00;24;20;15 – 00;24;58;06
Unknown
And so reverse engineering is really the process of not just studying a competitor or like product or analogous product, but really trying to recreate the story of how that product came to be and what type of impact it is. And so when you do that, especially if you’re comparing like I have a very specific idea of of a product or service I want to do, and then you go and do a very targeted reverse engineer hearing of what you think is a product or a company that you can learn from that can help fill in the question marks that are in your hypothesis about your new product.

00;24;58;06 – 00;25;21;13
Unknown
That’s essentially reverse engineering that product, and that is a great way. Add to your all the testing ideas that you talked about there. And in my experience, like, you know, people just skip that hard. But but really effective work that can be done on the reverse engineering like they just don’t they just want to get building. They just going to get launching and taking the time to think about these things.

00;25;21;13 – 00;25;43;06
Unknown
And again, that’s why having a portfolio can be helpful. So you’re kind of moving between ideas, but just slowing down a little bit before you pull the trigger on something. You know, we talk about in big about leadership, we talk about, you know, picture an archer and an archer, you know, when they have the bow drawn and they’re pointing, it’s really easy to change direction, change, change the aim of it.

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00;25;43;06 – 00;26;04;10
Unknown
But once you release that arrow, it’s really hard to change, to change the trajectory. Right. And that’s how you should treat these. These pre commit time is realized like there’s a lot of our in in having those degrees of freedom and only commit only release the arrow when you know what you want to go do. Yeah that makes total sense.

00;26;04;10 – 00;26;25;11
Unknown
So John I usually don’t ask this question but you’ve worked for some amazing companies, some great client, some what has there been any any project or company or client that you’ve worked with that’s been the most rewarding to you personally? Well, you know, on one hand, working at Amazon complete, you know, I was I was a partner at Arthur Andersen before I was at Amazon as an engineer.

00;26;25;11 – 00;26;47;27
Unknown
Also, like, I thought I knew a lot of things and I just Amazon was like a graduate level school on systems thinking, on accountability, on using metrics in the business, on customer centricity, kind of all the leadership principles. And so I was really able to lean into many of the practices that that I knew and that I practice, but I saw them taken to a whole new level.

00;26;47;27 – 00;27;09;16
Unknown
So to some degree, Amazon was definitely the the most impactful in how I operate today. All right, John, can you tell us about Rossman Partners and what type of clients that you work with? So Rossi Partners is a firm that, you know, focuses on helping their clients solve wicked problems. A wicked problem is any non-obvious challenge in you, in your business.

00;27;09;16 – 00;27;30;27
Unknown
And we have a very flexible kind of set of models from, you know, books and solutions to workshops and keynotes to consulting arrangements to that. And we work from anywhere from startup concepts and ideas all the way through big enterprises. And you can read more about us at Rossman Partners dot com. So David or John, anything else we want to cover before we get into the fire?

00;27;31;00 – 00;27;52;29
Unknown
Nothing else on my end. This has been an awesome interview. This hasn’t been the fire around so far, but I know we’re getting ready to start the fire early so I understand. Second fire rounds. Okay, are you ready? I’m ready. This is an easy one. What is your favorite book? I am a book aficionado. You know, I mentioned I was reading the new Elon Musk, but I would say my favorite recent book, it is a classic.

00;27;52;29 – 00;28;18;11
Unknown
So it’s a little bit older book, but it’s called Good Strategy, Bad Strategy. It gave me a new set of words and a new framework on how I naturally approach my work today, which is really what I would call problem based strategy development. And so instead of a lot of companies do strategy, but they talk about their mission and then their their mission and then their vision, and then they have a five year revenue forecast and then they talk about how they’re going to do that.

00;28;18;11 – 00;28;40;01
Unknown
And they call that strategy. And while that’s interesting work and can help drive alignment, what you need to do before that is you actually need to take an honest look at the challenges in your business and really be able to identify like what are the choke points, what are the real challenges and problems in the business, and then devise a strategy and a tactic for solving that problem.

00;28;40;01 – 00;29;03;06
Unknown
And so when you approach strategy that way and that’s that’s what good strategy, bad strategy talks about is that’s problem based strategy development. So that’s my new recent favorite book. Awesome. I’m adding that one to my list. What are your hobbies? So I’ve always kind of joked that writing these books is my hobby. This last one became a little bit of a the job, but, you know, I get up, work out early every single morning.

00;29;03;06 – 00;29;21;20
Unknown
I really love moving and I just find that that is just makes me so mad. That’s like my meditation and my place over. I have a French bulldog is name’s Boss Man. He’s actually not here today, but he usually joins me for these things. And so but we’re very fortunate to have a great, you know, my two adult sons and my wife.

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00;29;21;20 – 00;29;40;11
Unknown
And we just have a ton of fun together as a family. That’s awesome. What is one thing that you do not miss about working for the man? You know? I mean, it’s other people making commitments that I have to be accountable for. So that is ultimately what in my path towards being, you know, my own man, right, running my own firm.

00;29;40;11 – 00;30;07;20
Unknown
It wasn’t early in my career, but what I found was I didn’t want other people making commitments that I had to be accountable for. And so so that’s really what I don’t miss about working for the man. Last one, What do you think sets apart successful entrepreneurs from those who give up, fail or never get started? I would say it’s that they don’t understand truly what a hypothesis is and what a bet is and how to go about testing it or you commit all into it.

00;30;07;20 – 00;30;33;09
Unknown
And so that’s what, you know, happens at both big companies and small companies, is they they believe they have a good idea and then they just commit fully to it. Sometimes that idea is the right idea. Usually it requires a pretty significant adjustment. Sometimes it’s not the right idea at all. So if you can approach everything as an experiment and really lead with experiment based strategy, execution, then you avoid all of that problem.

00;30;33;09 – 00;30;51;22
Unknown
Thank you for being a guest on the Firing Demand podcast. If people are interested in learning more about you, getting in touch with you or buying one of your books, what would be the best way? So LinkedIn is probably the easiest way. John Rossman at LinkedIn. John Ross Mint.com is my keynote speaking website. Ross and partner WSJ.com is my business website.

00;30;51;22 – 00;31;13;03
Unknown
And don’t forget to go to Big bet leadership dot com to register for the book. Absolutely. And leave that review. We will post links to all of that in the show notes. John, I want to thank you for being a guest on the Firing Man podcast and looking forward to staying in touch. Well, I hope I earned the right to be invited back some time as the would I be the first three time only if I deserve it.

00;31;13;03 – 00;31;20;05
Unknown
So I’ve got to do something in the future to deserve a call back. But I really appreciate the opportunity to come talk to it. Absolutely. Thank you. Sure.

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