In this episode of Add To Cart, we are joined by Nathan Bush, the guy who usually hosts this podcast! As a way of celebrating 100 episodes of Add to Cart, we decided to interview the boss for a change. Nathan is an eCommerce Strategist, Co founder and Director of eCommerce talent agency eSuite and of course host of the Add to Cart podcast. Before all that, he was Group Digital Manager at Super Retail Group and was placed in the Top 50 People in e-commerce four years in a row. In this chat, former guest and friend of Add to Cart, Tom Hintze from Mr Pool Man, takes us down memory lane with Nathan, unpacking where it all began with Super Retail Group and driving it home to Co-founding e-Suite. As always, there are nuggets throughout the conversation of the high fives and the low blows, this time with Nathan’s own spin on it.
“I had this epiphany and literally one night I was like no-one’s looking after people in eCommerce, no-ones looking after this talent pipeline to help businesses that’s most important.”Nathan Bush
Questions answered in this episode include…
- Who would be Add to Cart’s dream guest?
- Why did you decide to set up an eCommerce talent agency?
- What’s the most significant mistake you’ve ever made?
Respond to your energy
“I think it was a personal thing for me, honestly. If I look back on it, I remember one day, I got home and my wife Sarah just looked at me, and she was like, “You just look grey.” I’m like, “What are you talking about?” And she’s like, “Your face is gray. You’ve just lost the passion and the energy and the excitement.” And she’s like, “It’s not just today. It’s been for the last few weeks. When’s enough enough?”
And I think it was that combination of not being hands on, not being creative, spending a lot of time in meeting rooms, convincing heaps of people of a direction, and trying to play that game, rather than just getting in and doing things. And even though that stuff’s important, it’s not where I get my energy from. So I think there was a really great lesson for me there, is that you need to respond to your energy and what excites you, because it impacts everything.
I had two young kids at the time, they would’ve been one and two, and so you come home and you’ve got nothing left for them. And that’s just the worst feeling in the world, because that’s what you’re doing it for, right?
So that was a turning point for me, to kind of have that conversation. To have someone else realize it in you, even though you were innately feeling it. To have someone else realize it was like a real, oh, wow. I’ve got to do something about this.”
Consultants have feelings too!
“You have to win some people over, right? Some people just hate consultants, because either, one, they’ve had bad experiences with them before, which is totally understandable. Or, they feel threatened that the consultants are there to make them look bad and to do their job.
I remember one senior manager … I wasn’t a consultant at the time… but one of my bosses that I worked with one time, we had a consultant in and we were doing the introductions. And these aren’t small consultants, we’re talking big four consultants. And we came into the office of this person, and the first thing this person said to this consultant was, “Do you want my watch?” And the consultant was like, “No, I don’t, why? Why would you say that?” He’s like, “Oh, I thought you just want to take my watch, so you could tell me what time it is.”
And so that was their view, right? And that’s just one individual, but it was just like, “Oh, you’re going to just come in, pump me for information, and then relay it back in another way that doesn’t actually add any value.” And you get those kind of personalities, and that’s the beauty of being an independent consultant, is that you can pick and choose the people that you match the energy of, and that you get along with and you feel like you can create value together.
Because at the same time, I can come up with ideas and I can share where I think the road to gold is, but I’m not going to be the one in there every day, so if I don’t have people who believe in that with me, and we can develop it together, then no matter how good that strategy is, it’s not going to lead to results.”
From strategy to people
“The story that I kept coming back to was, ‘we can do this, this is all fine, it’s all achievable. But if we do it, and if your sales triple, who’s going to look after it? Because I’m a consultant. I’ll come in and help you get the direction, but I’m not running this ship for you. Where’s your team? Where’s your expertise? Where’s your skills?’ And a lot of them would turn around and go, ‘Well, we don’t have that part sorted out yet. We’ll get the technology first or the marketing first.’ Which obviously then, if it can’t be supported, leads to a horrible customer experience and it’s really short-lived and you won’t get long-term ROI.
So we created eSuite to help people fill the gaps in their business. Our motto is around connecting fast-growing retailers with the best e-commerce talent. All we do is e-commerce talent. At the moment, we’ve got a fashion director, through to e-commerce managers, to UX specialists, to warehouse managers, to product specialists. So anything in the e-commerce sphere is where we play.
The ones that we’re seeing the hottest demand in at the moment is, I would say two, is paid performance. If you’re in paid performance, you’re in hot demand, and development.