Nick Shucet (00:16.303)

Welcome to the Million Dollar Sellers podcast. I'm your host, Nick Shucet. Today we've got Nater Youngchild on the show. He's the co-founder of D8aDriven, which has now been acquired by Carbon6. 

He's also helped the brands he represents on Amazon achieve over $500 million in growth. Welcome to the show, Nater. I'll go ahead and kick it your way and let you tell the listeners a little bit about you, where you're from, and how you got into where you're at now. 

You've got an interesting story, so let the listeners know where you came from, the move you made, and how it's working out for you.

Nater Youngchild (00:57.394)

Oh, awesome. Thanks very much, Nick. Yeah, excited to be here. Let's see where to start. Before I started helping sellers and working with sellers on Amazon, I used to work at Amazon. I'm actually from Washington State. 

While going to school, I started delivering groceries in Washington State online, we let people make their orders online, and we went and got their groceries. We worked on the islands in Washington State so it was a big barrier to entry.

Get in the ferry line, and pay a ferry toll. We had customers that were trapped if you will. The pain was real and I was a poor college kid and I was also recognizing I wanted to start a business that had low overhead. 

I realized that I could illegally just walk up and down the ferry line and access the entire population set and tell them about my services. That's how I got started in e-commerce. My first e-commerce was a white page. It said, tell me what you want from Trader Joe's, Costco, and Target. 

We went and got it. Very quickly, that was when I started to realize there's quite a taxonomy, a data science, a complication, if you will, to like catalogs and nuances of products and customer's preferences.

It sparked an interest for me in how much of that likes can sit in Excel sheets. You can start to do predictive and you can start to say, okay, when a customer asks for dairy gold, 2% half gallon milk, and they don't have it, maybe there's another product on the shelf that is the most like that product. 

How can you predict that? I had fun playing with that. My partner and I eventually moved on to Seattle. I want to get to a larger customer base. At the time, there was no one delivering groceries on all of the West Coast. 

The last company doing it on the East Coast was a company called Peapods, but no one was delivering groceries on the West Coast. We were in Seattle, the only ones doing it. Similarly, we went to high rises that didn't have parking garages. 

We were looking for that customer who's got a big pain point, it's obvious and easy to access. We just, again illegally snuck into the apartments, knocked on every door, and gave flyers so that we could access the customers.

Started running the business there. It was a good experience. Limited customer set though. There are only so many high rises without parking garages in Seattle. Then all of a sudden we got a phone call from King 5 News, a local news in Seattle. 

They said, Hey, we wanted to do a segment on grocery delivery for citizens of Seattle because we have been told that Amazon is about to launch their test beta program called Amazon Fresh in just Seattle and we wanted to show Seattle people their local option versus the new, I guess now local option in Seattle with Amazon being there. 

We were like holy cow, this one, we were a little like, oh my God, we're going to go from zero competitors to one competitor who's for sure going to eat our lunch, but we were young and dumb and excited and we were like, but this is the greatest marketing opportunity of all time. 

They said we're going to buy the same groceries from you guys and Amazon and we're going to let the viewers see the difference in cost and the difference in how long it takes to get delivered. 

We deliver faster than Amazon and cheaper. We were like, this is incredible. We were so excited. I don't remember if it was exactly like a Friday-to-Sunday moment, but it was the most inspiring Friday. Then it ended up being the most humbling Sunday of all time. 

I think it was 300,000 hits to the website and three customers. Still to this day, I don't truly know the answer, whether it was that people just didn't wanna make their orders right then when they were hearing about it, or there's probably a multitude of reasons that could explain it. 

To me, it was like this wake-up moment of, holy cow, you're now getting, you're at the table with the big boys, and a lever, if you will, of advertising that you'd never be able to pull off on your own that was incredible, was not very effective for you. 

It was super humbling. It forced me. I come from a blue-collar family. I'm the first Youngchild to ever go to college so I didn't have the mentor set or the group of people around me to kind of bounce ideas off of the situation I was in. 

If I knew then what I know now, I would have probably tried to get funding at the time. We had just shifted over. We were also starting to do with groceries. You would just put your grocery list in and then we would go. 

Let's say you had 10 things on your grocery list and we'd go find on the internet where the cheapest place for those 10 products were and we'd have them shipped to you. Whether that means three of the items are gonna come from Amazon, two from Walmart, three from, you'd get all 10 items and we would make referral fees across each of those. 

We were starting to do that. We had gotten listed as one of the top 10 apps not have to leave your home from Huffington Post up in front of Instacart who had just gotten started. Again, if I knew then what I know now, I would have done things differently. 

We also missed the pandemic, which had a massive impact on grocery delivery. A lot of factors went into it, but long story short, I told my partner, Hey man, I'm going to reach out to all these Amazon folks that signed up for our service because a lot of people signed up with Amazon emails. 

Maybe they were one, potential customers, or two, who worked at Amazon and were checking out who their competitor was or local competitor. I reached out to all of them asking for an interview. 

I remember I think it was three people who replied saying like, it was a little immature, and weird. Everyone else was crickets. Then one person responded with I don't remember exactly, but they were like, This is weird, but kind of cool. 

I'm interested in meeting you. Met them, and then that's when they told me, before the interview process, the interview process that Amazon is wild, it's an entire day. There's a bar raiser. You go in your hour after hour, after hour with different people. 

One of those people's job is to just break you down, and see how you are when you're not on your game. Pretty interesting experience. Before that, the person I was interacting with was telling me about how Amazon has three different arms, if you will, within its ecosystem.


You need a product, you need to store the product, and you need to find a way to get it to customers. You also need a place in which customers can find out which product is right for them, why this one versus that one. 

Then lastly, you need a system that goes and gets those eyeballs to go to those detail pages. The world of advertising, the world of detail pages, and the world of inventory management. 

They said that there was this job that they had that allowed you to run one brand. You have to run all three sections inside Amazon. Their pitch to me was, Nater do this and you're gonna have this unique opportunity to learn the ins and outs of all the parts of Amazon and how they work together. 

You might not like two of them, or you might not like any of them, but it'll allow you to figure out what you like and what don't you like. That's what I did. I joined Amazon. At the time, my job was to take these really large brands offline and make them big on Amazon. 

Amazon knew at the time that toilet paper I think eight out of every 10 households that go to a store to buy toilet paper are buying something else with the toilet paper. Amazon was going off this data. 

The gateway drug to a lot of other things to be purchased in a cart was if people bought toilet paper at your store, they're going to buy a lot of deodorants, shampoos, batteries, and all the other things humans buy. 

My job was to take these big toilet paper brands offline like Charmin, Quilted Northern, and Angel Soft, and make them big on Amazon. I was handed the keys to the kingdom. I was told by Nater, here's how these algorithms work. 

Here are the metrics they care about. Here's how much this metric is weighted over that metric. My job was to kind of put my finger on the scale for those brands to make sure that they were doing the right inputs into the Amazon system. 

They hit those with the system wanted to see so they could maximize their exposure and then eventually conversion, knowing that they're a brand that is trusted so they just needed that exposure. 

Took brands from zero or a couple were doing a million to over 30 million in less than six months. I got to touch scale, hands down was not touching before in my startup world. That was exciting to me.

Then that was the catalyst though for me to say, okay, I've learned how the ecosystem at Amazon works, at least the thought process that goes into controlling all of these gatekeepers or mechanisms that keep it all flowing. 

I liked my time at Amazon. It is fairly entrepreneurial for a big company, but for various reasons, I saw it wasn't for me long-term so I wanted to go back to entrepreneurship. That's when I said okay, I'm going to start an Amazon consulting agency. 

Take all of the secrets and tricks and know-how and give access to it to brands, who want to work with me. At the time I had started, I couldn't get anyone to say yes to work with me, but that's also cause I was idealistic and young and I was used to having an email address. 

I was like, I'm only going to work with Patagonia and Quicksilver, these brands that I liked and admired from my youth. Crickets, none of them responded. Then I eventually found my way into finding a few brands I could work with. 

Then the model that I set up to make it zero risk for them was I did percentage of growth. My first couple of years actually in growing Amazon businesses was eat what you kill. If I ran their business and they didn't grow, they didn't pay me. 

If I ran their business and it grew, I got a piece of that growth delta. Ran that Amazon agent, then it became an agency. Started getting a lot of employees, and more clients to serve those. I ran into the classic ‘what got you here isn't going to get you there’ situation I think a lot of entrepreneurs find themselves in. 

One, the secrets, the tricks were becoming more well known. They were less secret. They were less unique so they had less of a specific value. Add impact to my brand and all the other brands were doing something similar. 

Whether it was the number of images on your detail pages, using infographics, breaking certain review thresholds, or leveraging variations and breaking variations in different life cycles of an ASIN. 

A lot of groups out there, and it went from not being an industry to there being no million-dollar seller club. There were no seminars. There was no group. There was nobody even on YouTube really, selling good or bad advice.

Then all of a sudden it exploded. Lots of people were on Amazon. Lots of people were sharing their experiences on Amazon. A whole online community started to emerge and that made access to information cheap. 

My core business model of an agency was a little bit of execution, but in reality, it was access to information, wrapped into execution. That business model was threatened significantly. That was the external factor. 

Then the internal factor was humans suck. Humans have good days, they have bad days. Sometimes humans do something and it works, but it doesn't work because of the thing they did, but they misassociate it. 

It was because of the thing they did and they got to go fail doing that same thing 10 times before they finally are like, oh, it wasn't the one time I thought it was that, that resulted in this outcome. 

I struggled to grow an account management team scalably. I didn't struggle to grow one outward facing. I could hire people, I could keep them employed, and we could do good things for Amazon businesses. 

Internally in my heart, I was up at night worrying about the account managers doing this for that brand. I know they have a baby coming, are they even thinking about X, Y, and Z, these future things coming for the brand? 

It was a struggle. I just saw that it wasn't scalable. That was when I said, I wanted to build, what eventually became D8aDriven. I want to build a system that looks under every stone and finds out everything that should be done to an Amazon business. 

Our first customer was my agency. All it was, was a notification system inside of my agency so I didn't have to rely on my account managers to know what to do every day. It said, here are the 10 things you should be doing on this business based on we're seeing these inputs, we're seeing these outputs, we think you should do A, B, C, and D. 

That was where D8aDriven started. We also saw sellers and brands were demanding to do things more as individuals or internally at organizations. They wanted to control their Amazon business. 

We saw over time that it was likely that there'd be fewer brands and sellers wanting to outsource all of their Amazon business to people who weren't internal. We said, let's see if we can work on building this tool so it can be external facing so that brands can use it instead of just our account managers. 

That's when we started putting the hands of D8aDriven into our customers and then fast forward a year or two. We got to I think again, ‘what got you here isn't gonna get you there’ situation. It's like, I think a revolving door for entrepreneurs. 

For us, we had an advisor who was way smarter than us in data science, machine learning, statistics, and artificial intelligence. He told us you need X number of data to be analyzed to truly turn over decision-making to machines. 

That X number of data was honestly just far too many sellers and ASINs and transactions than we were probably ever going to be able to put together a sales organization, an account management team to service. 

To get towards our goal of turning decision-making over to machines, we needed a partner who understood distribution at a different level. When we started looking for a partner, it was everything from partners to investments. 

It didn't start as a pursuing acquisition. Then it ended up, we found a great partner in Carbon6, who owns many other tools in the Amazon seller and vendor space that for various reasons we felt was the right place to land for D8aDriven and that they could take it to a level that we probably would have struggled trying to do it on our own. 

That's where we are today. We got acquired earlier this year and have been integrating into their ecosystem ever since and excited about what the future holds there.

Nick Shucet (16:40.623)

Nice, man. As I hear you tell your story, I'm reminded of why I like D8aDriven so much, because we use it in our business. We started using that self-tasking service. Then, I don't even know if you know this, but we just recently handed all of it to you guys. 

You're managing all of our accounts now.

Nater Youngchild (17:02.702)

Craig said that, yeah.

Nick Shucet (17:07.983)

Craig's great, I love working with Craig too, and I love the balance that you guys bring to the table. I didn't even know that you had a grayish background as well. I always thought Craig was the hacker, and Nater was the guy who used to work at Amazon and knew all the right moves to make for Amazon. 

As you tell your story, it's clear that you figure out how to between work systems and what's going on. Like you said, navigating that ferry line and popping into those high rises and figuring out how to sell things. I think that's the beauty of D8aDriven. 

On Amazon, you have to have both. You cannot just do everything by the book because you're going to get smashed by a competitor who doesn't care about doing things by the book. You've gotta be able to, I like to say, take off the white hat and put on your gray hat or your black hat or whatever it is. 

You have to get dirty a little bit to truly compete, especially in some of those more competitive niches. That was cool here in your background and all that stuff. It makes it more clear to me as to why you guys have been successful in that niche.

Nater Youngchild (18:26.27)

I couldn't agree more. I think a good microcosm example of what you're describing for us was when we were first building out the D8aDriven recommendation, it started just with, what Nater, my co-founder, and our other employees, what we think should be done when X happens to your business?

What should you do? Then we started to measure it. Then we started to realize, oh, some of our recommendations were accurate, that the expected outcome. Then sometimes it wasn't, or sometimes it was gray. 

We couldn't quite prop it up as a recommendation we could always stand behind. In the deodorant category, it seemed to be 90% of the time that the input-output relationship was true, but then in electronics or TVs or vacuums, it wasn't. 

Then we started to get unique recommendations by category. Then that's actually what motivated us. We haven't quite perfected this, but not having our consideration set of all the things that could be done on an Amazon business just coming out of our heads. 

How can we get the smart, ingenious, unique, creative things outside of our heads, whether it's this seller or that seller or this vendor trying different things, how can those be consideration sets into our system as well so that we can truly be more of a marketplace of knowledge that's not fixed but dynamic. 

We started letting our sellers, as they did things that were outside of what we were doing with them. They were just trying things on their own. We had a peanut butter company in Portland, Oregon, a small company. 

We took them from totally irrelevant to the top 10 in peanut butter at a certain point on Amazon. That became their pitch deck for Safeway and distribution and all kinds of brick-and-mortar, which is cool. 

They just literally took a screenshot of being top 10 on Amazon and were like, do you or do you not want this in your Safeway? I worked for him, a side note for folks out there looking for brick-and-mortar distribution. Anyways, he started, this was like five years ago now, I don't remember exactly, but he started, he, he told us that, Hey, I'm just going to send all my Instagram traffic to Amazon.

And we were like, okay, never really thought about it. We weren't doing it and we didn't know if it had an impact. All of a sudden we were like, it had no impact for the first portion of a few months. Then all of a sudden everything changed. Impressions 10Xed and they weren't 10Xing at the same rate in which he was bringing traffic from Instagram.

It'd be a hundred clicks from Instagram, which would mean a hundred new hits to your detail page, which you would expect. 

It would be a thousand new hits to the detail page on the run rate change. Then the conversion rate was also increasing at the same time page views were increasing. We're like, this is statistically significant. 

This does not happen on repeat. Our system was able to identify long before Amazon announced switching from A9 seeding over to A10 and giving ASINs more credit giving them more value internally and giving them more exposure. 

If you bring outside traffic to your detail pages, our system was able to detect that was a thing long before Amazon made it public and was telling people about it. We were recommending that to our clients and different nations, we were working on long before it was becoming common knowledge. 

That was also what motivated us to say, okay, we can't just have this fixed system that's just as smart as we once were. It's gotta be dynamic. It's got to be informed by new ideas, new data and constantly evolving. 

Our recommendation system evolves. The recommendations you get on your ASIN today might be different based on the learning that the system has. 

That was when, again, our advisor was like, to do that properly and at scale with strong accuracy, you need millions of data points analyzed to truly hand that over at a statistically significant level. 

Which was frustrating, humbling, but also empowering once you accepted it and then just said, okay, how can I drive a path towards that? I think entrepreneurs often find themselves having to do often. 

If you can just kind of reframe the challenge or the problem in your head of, okay, it can be frustrating or it can be a clear path to how to succeed. Once we switched that shift to say, okay, instead of being frustrated and trying to fight against it, let's just focus on how can we build a path that is in line with that reality.

We ended up fumbling through it on our own. We went through three iterations of it complicated, but basically, you need big data from big data, and you need to turn it over to algorithms, algorithms are just rules. 

If X then Y turned it over to those, and then we tried to identify and make notifications happen when if X then Y wasn't resulting in a range of which we thought Y should be. It was getting too much. That was when we started seeking partners. 

That's when we crossed paths with Carbon6 and learned about their founder's experience, Justin Cobb's experience in mass distribution in a different industry focused on getting the hands of what he was selling to lots of people.

We saw that as a skill set that jived well with what our technology needed. We also saw that they owned a lot of great tools like SoStocked, which understands inventory management well. 

PPC Entourage does a really good job of understanding automation around advertising management. PixelMe does a good job of understanding how to and the impacts of bringing outside traffic into Amazon. 

We saw that our recommendations may have gone this level deep across all things on an Amazon business. Now all of a sudden, if they could be amplified with PixelMe and PPC Entourage and SoStocked and other tools at Carbon6, they could go this much deeper into their sophistication. 

Maybe even expedite the quality of those recommendations on top of Carbon6 looking to serve everything from the small seller to the big seller and everyone in between and that is key to the technology needing all of that data to get smart fast.

Nick Shucet (25:45.391)

Nice, man. I'm excited to see how all that plays out as Carbon6. As Carbon 6 gets more integrated with D8aDriven and as they acquire more companies, I think it's one of the best acquisitions they made. 

I was super excited when I found out they were acquiring you guys. I thought it was a really good play by them, especially as they try and get tapped into the MDS-type members. I think D8aDriven is going to help with that. 

It's just going to be good for everyone getting involved with it.

Nater Youngchild (26:29.066)

Absolutely. We're excited. I think Carbon6 is, they're unique in that, I found them unique in that they're quite humble in looking to lean on experts who have slammed their heads into the wall over and over on these problems. 

They give credence to the different team members and they're a company of founders, of entrepreneurs, which is so unique. All right, because now I work at Carbon6, but I come from 15 years of running my own company in the Amazon space. 

So does Mike Zagare and different team members. It's exciting to have us all in one room and kind of see what they can pull out of us. It's cool.

Nick Shucet (27:14.287)

I know it's also allowed you to do some great things personally. You mentioned a successful ski bomb, living the van life. I know you just got back from Bali, which I was recently in Bali and that place blew my mind. 

It really like changed my life. I had a nice little segue from a surf trip that I normally take, where I'm just surfing, things are pretty remote. Then you got to go back to real life. I had a little bit of time in Bali. 

Which allowed me to live my life as an entrepreneur and segue to coming back home. It was eye-opening for me just to see how things are over there because it's quite different from Central America or Mexico where I usually travel for surfing. 

There's nothing left to be desired over there, in my opinion. You have everything you want. I'd love to hear how Bali was for you. 

I'd also love to hear more about how your entrepreneurship and your acquisition have allowed you to amplify the things that you love to do in your own life. I think a lot of us get into entrepreneurship for those exact reasons.

Nater Youngchild (28:36.318)

I think there's a funny trap that I think you fall into with entrepreneurship where you're like, I'll work 80 hours for myself as long as I don't have to work 40 hours for somebody else. Then you do that for a couple of years. 

You're like, oh, wait a minute, I don't know if that's quite the trade-off I thought it was because 80 hours of working just because your boss isn't breathing down your neck is still 80 hours instead of 40 hours.

In terms of Bali, my wife had wanted to go there for quite a long time. We got married. Our wedding got delayed because of COVID. She's Canadian. I'm American. I couldn't get to my wedding because the border closed. 

Crazy, crazy story, for another time. Anyway, our life got delayed, our wedding got delayed, our marriage got delayed, and eventually, our honeymoon got delayed. We finally were able to get married.

Then D8aDriven was getting acquired by Carbon6 so I couldn't necessarily hop off somewhere and disappear with her for a while. She'd always wanted to go to Bali. We said, okay, about a year after the acquisition, we'll do our official honeymoon. 

We spent the first week in Bali, fully detached, enjoying each other's time and thinking about life together. Then Bali was so far from the United States that we were like, if we're going to go that far, let's just stay.

Let's find some co-living, co-working spaces so we can just work from Bali. That's what we did. Then we spent a few more weeks in Bali. There are these things called co-living, and co-working spaces. 

It's basically like just fairly more affordable hotel-ish accommodations in which you're staying with mostly other entrepreneurs. They're usually tied to these co-working spaces that are open 24 hours a day. 

They have killer internet. You're with other entrepreneurs. In my case, I was able to meet with several other Amazon sellers who were there in Bali as well. To your comment about the acquisition and how that changed my life in terms of opening things up personally, I think I chose to be an entrepreneur very intentionally back when I left Amazon.

I chose it for a lifetime. I didn't choose it for a particular business. I think that has helped me because I had to pivot my business numerous times. I think I would have struggled with some of that. 

I might have held on to something that wasn't there anymore if I was just committed to a business, but I was committed to being an entrepreneur. What that means is sometimes you need to work 15, 20 hours in a day. 

Sometimes you set up really good systems and you get to enjoy the benefits of just checking in on things one or two hours a day or even skipping a day every once in a while. 

I think over time, as someone who did that for 15 years, I was able to master different ways of organizing my work, organizing my checkups, and organizing different things that I think have helped me access more of what I think most people want in entrepreneurship, which is freedom.

Not necessarily freedom to just be a lazy bum, but I think there's the freedom to think critically and to think strategically about your business. Sadly doesn't come from having a lot of meetings or being diligent with every email or Slack message. 

It comes from the free space, like after getting your best wave out in the ocean, just going back and sitting in the lineup and thinking about that moment you were released, you were free of your mind, and then you come back to your mind. 

Sometimes the most pivotal things in your business might come from those little moments. If you don't give yourself the space to have those moments, it's really hard to artificially create them in Skype meetings or all the kinds of standard ways we operate our businesses, I find. 

For me, I was a ski bum before, sleeping in my car, and doing everything I could to ski. When I was working at Amazon, I would often sleep at the ski resort at night, do night skiing, and then make my way back to Amazon in the morning for work. 

For me, it was my true north. It's where I'm the most free. It's where I'm the most out of my head and into whatever that, I don't know, maybe true essence in my world. Some people call it God. Some people have different ways of describing it. 

To me, it's definitely when I'm on a mountain. Having that true north helped me just know that I wasn't building a business so that I could sell it or that an investor could be impressed with the P&L or all these other things that can distract us from the true reason we build businesses. 

I knew my true north was I wanted to be able to ski and have the freedom to ski when the powder was good. Having that true north helped me build the business around that. Whether it was when I have meetings, for example. 

I don't have an agenda before the meeting because as I'm skiing, I think of different things I want to talk about this person or that person or this client or that client. 

As I'm skiing, as I'm on the chairlift, I add it to, okay, that's the thing I'm going to talk to them about by the time that meeting comes around. Then that meeting comes around and I don't need to prep for the meeting because I already have a laundry list of things. 

Those things are usually higher quality than if I just gave myself 20 minutes to prep before the meeting. I chipped away at that over the years. Finally being able to exit, my first time exiting a company, my first startup, my buddy, when I went to Amazon, my buddy kept pursuing the business and he had done an acquisition with it while I was still advising. 

I got to see parts of an acquisition, but I wasn't at the center of it, it was my first time experiencing that. When you do that, you get some money at closing. You get a big moment to breathe. 

You don't have to put a bunch of money in your savings account or figure out what you're going to do with it. I think that helps and then also being able to hitch my wagon to a bigger organization that has more resources, that has a larger zeitgeist pushing it forward. 

If you will, it is exciting and be able to do that without having to just go get a job at another big company but do it in a way of giving them my baby and trying to help them make the most of it while also now I have the opportunity to contribute to many other parts of Carbon6. 

It has been really fun to be able to go somewhere that sees value in you rather than just sees you as ours and sees you as bringing valuable experience or knowledge that can be applied in various ways. 

I think it's been a really beautiful experience. It's been humbling in parts and challenging, I would say selling a company and then integrating a company is very, very different than building and running one. 

That's tripped me up. There's been things that have tripped me up. I just didn't plan for it, I didn't expect it. I think over those speed bumps, it's been a really exciting kind of downhill ride, and excited to see where it goes.

Nick Shucet (36:09.743)

Nice, man. It's always great when being true to yourself works out. In the long run, it can certainly be a little scary at certain moments. I know I've experienced self-doubt and wondering if I'm doing the right things. Am I being a lazy piece of crap? Am I being a surf bum? 

Those thoughts would go through my head. The way I look at surfing is exactly how you express skiing. That's where my best ideas come from. Surfing more is 100%, good for my business. My partner knows that, his thing is golf. 

We all have, and he inspires me because he has it on his calendar more than I do. You go look at his calendar, he's like, oh, I'm golfing, man. That's his priority because he knows that's how he shows up in the best way possible by making sure he gets that time in. 

I wish I didn't have to have so many things lined up over here for the waves to be good. I think you understand that as a skier. Sometimes there are really good conditions, sometimes they're not golf. Golfers have to deal with that, too.

For the most part, you can go out any day and hit some balls and get that satisfaction.

Nater Youngchild (37:29.294)

Very true. I think for the listeners, I could give a book recommendation, and it's more in your alley than mine. I surf, but I honestly surf because my wife takes me somewhere that there is in the mountains. 

That's the reason I surf, but I love it. I've come to enjoy it. There's this book out there called Let My People Go Surfing by the founder of Patagonia. I couldn't recommend it enough. He does a really good job of articulating this concept in greater detail. 

He references his MBA not being a degree, but being something called management by absence. How can you hire the right person with the right inspiration, and the right motivation for the right job and then get out of their way? 

I think that idea is quite linked to this idea. Similarly, how do we get out of our way? If we're just solo entrepreneurs and if we do have a team, how can we get out of the way of our team members doing great work? 

I think you find a lot of those answers in the, again, the surfing for you, the skiing, snowboarding for me, the golf for your partner, the thing that allows someone to just get out of their head, out of their inbox, off the keyboard, I think is so powerful.

Nick Shucet (38:48.267)

It's powerful and I think it's critical. I think a lot of people deal with those same struggles that we mentioned, self-doubt. Am I being lazy? It's crazy to me how sucked into business and chasing money and your to-do list that you can be even when you're aware of this stuff. 

I've gone months being like that and then I finally go on a surf trip and it's like I've been asleep for a whole quarter of a year and I'm like, what the hell have I been doing? You need that to snap out of that. 

We do get sucked into it and it's important to have that opportunity to look back and realize what you've been doing. I think that stuff's becoming more to the forefront as people talk about mental health more and take that stuff more seriously. 

Being a father, I have kids too, so that plays into it. I have to make sure I'm showing up there very well as a father and as a husband, because if I don't, then all that guilt and shame, eats away at your energy. 

You don't show up as well. I think it's similar. Those things that are important to you.

You've got to continue to nurture those things and not let them die. I'm sure you have friends too that you grew up skiing with and then they stopped skiing. 

They're like, oh yeah, I'm just too busy with work, or oh yeah, I got the kids now and I'm married and you could tell a piece of them is dying on the inside. I truly believe it's better for the wife for the kids for the business if you keep doing those things.

Nater Youngchild (40:42.734)

I couldn't agree more. I think it helps people to get around, whether it's formal groups or informal groups or just peers that help give them a mirror to reflect, are they staying honest with what they want? 

I have a men's group that I meet with, where we check in on each other once a month about whether are we staying true to what we wanted as individual men long before we became husbands fathers, CEOs, and acquired entrepreneurs. 

All the things that all the hats we eventually end up wearing. I couldn't recommend that enough. It doesn't have to be formal. It doesn't even have to be that informal group. Sometimes it's just the friend that you are living different lives with but knows you deeply. 

Just that connection. I've often found the best way to ask for help is by giving help. When you show up for someone and you're that sounding board for them, I think there's an unspoken reciprocal that comes from that. 

I couldn't recommend seeking peers to interact with, to help you stay true to your essence. Aside from the peers, you need to help you make better Amazon decisions or the nuanced stuff. I think those peers, to be honest, MDS is such a unique group. 

That finds itself right on that like a balancing beam. I've seen it at least at the events I've gone to. There's surely the specifics like, hey, do this on your Amazon business. Hey, I did this. It worked for me. 

Oh, that's great learning, but also the over drinks talking about this or that strategy of getting your kid to do potty training or this and that about how are you managing your overseas workers and how are you able to step away and have more time for yourself? 

Those conversations happen in MDS. That's cool. That's rare. I've been around the Amazon business and this ecosystem for a long time and that type of community is rare. Awesome thing that you guys have made and cultivated and continue to do.

Nick Shucet (42:47.691)

MDS is amazing and it just continues to get better and better. We had some great events recently. We had the MDS connects around Amazon Innovate. I had a lot of late nights, which I'm not used to. 

Here, I'm usually in bed by nine o'clock when I'm at home, getting up at five in the morning, but over there, you know, we're staying up until one, two in the morning, not getting drunk, not like how it was back in the day when I was younger. 

We're just having good conversations, and hanging out with good people in cool places. I'm sleeping in a little bit later until nine or 10 o'clock, but I'm waking up feeling great. It's just all good energy that comes out of that group for the most part. 

We had the MDS Japan event which was like a side thing just to go snowboarding. We didn't talk about business. We just got to enjoy each other's company and sure, there was a little bit of business talk but our businesses are a representation of who we are. 

It's like an extension of ourselves. It's not like it's here's work Nick and personal Nick. It's an extension of ourselves. That stuff naturally comes out and it's just such a great thing to be able to share with other people. 

Honestly, I don't have a community like that here where I'm at. It's important to be a part of something like that. Is the men's group you're a part of like a public thing or is that just something that you and some of your buddies put together or something?

Nater Youngchild (44:31.598)

It's a personal thing me and buddies put together, but we're kind of talking about, you know, how can we, you know, how can we, it's served us, all of us so well. We're having conversations about how can we try and just hand this over to others. 

Or put it out there so that others can make great use of what's become a critical tool, I think to all of our successes.

Nick Shucet (44:53.803)

I think that's super important, man. I love how you put it, before we were CEOs, before we were husbands, before we were fathers, because you don't hear that in American culture. What you hear is you become someone else after you get married. 

You have to live differently after you have kids. You have to put away those old things you used to do and take your job seriously. In my opinion, that's what has led to this big mental health crisis in America. 

COVID popped the lid off that because you couldn't hide it anymore. I don't think COVID necessarily caused it. I'm sure it did contribute a little bit, but I think there was already a big issue there that was just waiting. 

COVID brought it out in the open, in my opinion. That's great that you've got that going, man. Would love to chat a little bit about if there's something there we could integrate into MDS a little bit. 

I think that would be a great view. I think you'd have some willing people to participate over there in that group that would really get a lot of value and add some value back into what you guys have going on. 

Let me know if you ever want to chat more about that. I'd be happy to see if we get some interest. 

Nater Youngchild (45:57.473)

That's a great idea. Yeah.

Nick Shucet (46:17.943)

Well, Nater, man, it's been great having you on, man. You have an amazing story. I even learned some new things about you. I was glad you came on, man. I would like to get you on again sometime. 

I'd love to know how things progress for you. I'd also love to learn a little more about your tactics and tips that you would have for some people who wanna take their hands off the business a little bit. 

I think it would be cool to bring you on for another episode sometime shortly. For now, why don't you just let the listeners know how they can reach out to you, and how they can learn more about D8aDriven if they're interested in checking out that service? 

I think every MDS member should be using D8aDriven, at least the self-tasking service. Craig has been able to do escalations for us too. He's got a 100% win rate for us. I like to think that I was pretty good at handling cases and stuff, but Craig is next level with it. 

It's been so life-changing to be able to hand things off to D8aDriven and Brian, our account manager, who I'm getting to know more now. We have meetings twice a week.

Nater Youngchild (47:25.705)

He's ruthless.

Nick Shucet (47:40.095)

It's like talking to another MDS member, man. I couldn't have dreamed up a better situation, honestly. It feels really good. We're still early in it. I know I'm hyping it up a lot, but I do expect that we're gonna look back on this moment. 

We’ll be like, this is one of the things that allowed us to reach our business goals and our personal goals, honestly. I'm stoked to come back and revisit this change in our business.

Nater Youngchild (48:12.45)

That's awesome, Nick. Yeah, I'm thrilled that you're finally here and able to see the impact you can have on your business. This conversation is, it's a little bit of a joke, but I almost wonder if somehow we need to write into our contracts. 

One of the stipulations is you have to spend X time surfing. Once we deliver this value, make sure you use it to its fullest potential, not just more emails and more crap.

Nick Shucet (48:39.915)

That's what it's about, man. That's what it's about.

Nater Youngchild (48:43.142)

You can find us at, D8aDriven is spelled D and then the number eight and then “a” and then driven. Sounds cool, looks cool. It's honestly just a cheap URL back when we were trying to get started. 

My email is I’ll be happy to interact with anyone in the space.

Nick Shucet (49:07.319)

Right on, Nater. Thanks for coming on, man. We'll see you again soon.

Nater Youngchild (49:09.75)

Thanks, Nick. Bye, everyone.

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