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Marketing Agency Exposed Podcast

May 20, 2020


In today’s episode we have guest Jay Myers, co-founder of Bold Commerce - arguably the world’s largest ecommerce app company. Jay shares some of the secrets that have been key to Bold’s success as well as the method he uses to set and achieve business goals in any climate with a team of over 300 people. His business is a great example of experimentation, listening to the customer, and adjusting until they found their stride. Now he is able to passionately lead a team of over 300 people through the challenges of surviving and thriving in business and in life. Bold was one of the first app companies on Shopify, and is not a key player in the global ecommerce space. 


Resources Mentioned: 


Top 3 Curtain Pulls in this episode: 

  1. Focus on Your Customers! When you start to focus on the competition too much, you start to veer more towards what they are doing and not focusing on what makes you special and unique. Instead focus on your business and your customers and let them guide your decisions. 
  2. While the global pandemic has left many companies with losses, there are also a TON of opportunities to shift and grow through this- a combination of creativity and innovative technology solutions are helping many local brands reach customers in a whole new way.
  3. When it comes to setting goals, choose 1-5 objectives important to your success and then identify measurable metrics as indicators of your progress towards each objective. This is the OKR method. Using this concept for group goal-setting as well as team and individual goal-setting is a great way to ensure that everyone in your organization is on the same page AND can pivot quickly if needed.


For more tips, discussion, and behind the scenes:


About our Guest:

Jay Myers: Co-founder of Bold Commerce, possibly the the longest-running app company in ecommerce, that provides solutions for the world’s most innovative brands.


About The Guys: 

Bob Hutchins: Founder of BuzzPlant, a digital agency that he ran from from 2000 -2017. He is also the author of 3 books. More on Bob: 

Brad Ayres: Founder of Anthem Republic, an award-winning ad agency. Brad’s knowledge has led some of the biggest brands in the world. Originally from Detroit, Brad is an OG in the ad agency world and has the wisdom and scars to prove it. Currently that knowledge is being applied to his boutique agency. More on Brad:

Ken Ott: Co-Founder and Chief Growth Rebel of Metacake, an Ecommerce Growth Team for some of the world’s most influential brands with a mission to Grow Brands That Matter. Ken is also an author, speaker, and was nominated for an Emmy for his acting on the Metacake Youtube Channel (not really). More on Ken: 


Show Notes:

[1:10] Ken introduces our guest, Jay Myers, a Founder of Bold Commerce. 

[2:25] Jay thanks Ken for the intro and speaks about the value of teamwork and cooperation in the founding of Bold. He has 3 business partners that all brought unique skillsets and visions to the table, and Bold could have never existed the way it does without all four of them. 

  • Jay loves the Agency Exposed podcast! He speaks on the idea that “knowledge is power” and how he takes an opposing stance. The real power and value is in SHARING knowledge. 
  • “The companies that are going to win are the ones putting in the work, executing day in and day out… if they’re a competitor, they still have to out-hustle us.”

[3:53] Ken asks Jay how competitors have impacted him. Jay speaks about how his view about competition has shifted over the years. 

[5:08] Jay: “When you start focusing on the competition too much, you start drifting into that lane… what you need to focus on is your customers, you need to listen to you customers, there will always be competition and that’s okay.”

[5:51] Brad asks Jay to clarify what Bold does and how it is used in ecommerce businesses. 

[6:00] Jay summarizes his journey to Bold. From an early age he was passionate about online stores (since 1998 when he was 18), eventually moved one to Shopify and noticed their app store. 

  • Eventually teamed up with a couple guys after seeing the opportunity. Bold started as an app company with a suite of apps, everything from subscription programs to upselling and bundling membership programs. 
  • Bold is primarily a Shopify partner, but also Big Commerce and Woo Commerce. 

[7:41] Ken: “Correct me if I’m wrong, Jay but doesn’t Staples run on your checkout right now?”

[7:53] Jay speaks about Staples and their price tools engine product that allows dynamic price changes. 

[9:40] Bob asks for Jay’s perspective of the pandemic and what he’s seeing and predicting for the future. 

[10:38] Jay talks about how he’s expecting ecommerce to experience a second wave very soon. Prior to the pandemic, global ecommerce was hovering around 17%, and over just the last month it has shifted to 30%. 

[11:45] Jay speaks about how the internet has impacted local merchants negatively over the last 15 years. When a customer can find a cheaper price for the same item from a factory across the world, that local merchant has lost out on that business. 

  • But what’s happening now is that local merchants are solving the issues they’re facing with creative ecommerce options. Local merchants will go online and the strength will be put back into their court. 
  • There is enormous opportunity currently for companies that can come up with creative solutions to bring their store experience online. While it’s an unnerving time globally, for many entrepreneurs have never seen this kind of explosion of growth and it’s EXCITING. 

[15:08] Ken adds that he has had similar thoughts. “That creative problem-solving is what’s going to help you succeed through this.” 

[17:34] Jay speaks on one example he’s seen: “People are cancelling their subscriptions like crazy, but also people are signing up for subscriptions faster than they ever have…. It’s really brought to light what people value.” 

[18:13] Ken speaks about how businesses are doing the same thing, they’re shaking up their expense and reprioritizing them. 

[19:35] Ken asks Jay what his leadership style was prior to this and how that has changed during this crisis.

[20:03] Jay speaks about opening their Austin office back in January and how things have changed since then. 

  • There is overcommunication happening at all levels within their 350-person company. Teams are meeting daily via Zoom or Google hangouts. A “town hall” meeting happens 3 times a week and everyone participates. One-on-one meetings have ramped up and when people ask “how are you” the question is taken much more seriously than ever before. 
  • They are focusing on transparency overall, because the more information employees have about the real state of the company, the more opportunity there is for them to step in and fill the need and provide solutions. 
  • Around 70% of their staff doesn’t have kids, so they are even more productive than they were previously. 
  • One of their buildings was reaching max capacity, so now there is new focus on how necessary buildings really are, how a partial work from home schedule may be the smarter move at the end of the day. 

[27:45] Brad adds that he thinks companies will realize they don’t need huge buildings and giant parking lots anymore, that they can downsize to half the space and create a more laid back coffee shop vibe for their employees. 

[28:35] Ken talks about how entertaining the idea of changing has been an interesting process. He talks about Metacake taking on a hybrid schedule is likely, and mentions that there is an enormous benefit to working from home that not many people talk about.

  • “There’s a part of this that allows families to kind of be closer together and that area’s not really discussed  or talked about. But I think that when that unit breaks down a bunch, I think it causes a lot of problems in our society. If we have this ability now to foster that a bit more… I know it works better for me.”

[30:30] Ken continues: “There’s so much benefit that comes from that… mental health, family health… businesses can pioneer without sacrificing anything.” 

[31:20] Jay mentions OKR, or Objectives and Key Results. It’s a system where you create company-wide objectives that is broken down into smaller objectives each quarter. Each objective has key results, typically a number. 

  • Further, every department creates their own individual objectives and key results, and within those departments every person creates their own objectives. For remote working, this is an invaluable tool! 

[36:12] Jay speaks more on OKR’s. It is actually more difficult than you’d think to come up with a good objective, because those that are achieving every objective they’ve set for themselves probably haven’t set their sights high enough. 

[38:24] Ken talks about how setting objectives in this manner can be a cure for shiny object syndrome, or the idea that companies can get into a flurry of directions and make little actual progress. 

[38:50] Jay: “A lot of companies succeed more because of what they said no to than what they say yes to.” And almost indigestion happens when there are a TON of opportunities or ideas that get backed up. When objectives are set, every opportunity comes along with very quick decision making, because it is easy to ask if any one deal will move the needle on any objectives. 

[41:49] Brad asks Jay how long it took before Bold was able to build brand equity. 

[42:13] Jay responds that it took several years and a lot of changes to find their lane and eventually build that equity. They settled on Bold Commerce after many rounds of experimentation. 

  • Hitting the “jackpot” came as sort of a fluke, when they designed an upsell app for Shopify that allowed massive growth without Shopify breaking. In thinking like a merchant, they were able to give companies and customers a great experience. It gave them a great reputation right off the bat. 

[50:15] Brad thanks Jay for his time and speaks about how he loves the focus on the customer or client. Even when designing apps to help businesses, there is always a focus on providing the customer with the best value for their money.