The gig economy is transforming the workforce. From Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, Taskrabbit & Doordash, workers are signing up for individual gigs, delivering food and groceries, ferrying passengers from one place to another. However, there are auxiliary marketplaces being built on top of the sharing economy, & Paneau is one of them.
Paneau is empowering drivers & local businesses, through its highly customisable ad platform that’s being built on top of the ridesharing ecosystem.
Today we are thrilled to have Nader Khalil, CEO & Co-founder at Paneau, a company leveraging the gig economy to build a platform for Hyperlocal rideshare advertising.
Jed Tabernero [00:00:00] The gig economy is transforming the workforce from Uber left to Airbnb, TaskRabbit and Kodesh workers are signing up for individual gigs, delivering food and groceries and also ferrying people from one place to another. However, there are auxillary marketplaces being built on top of the sharing economy. And panel is one such company. Panel is empowering drivers and local businesses through its highly customizable ad platform that's being built on top of the ridesharing ecosystem. Today, we are thrilled to have Nada Khelil, CEO and co-founder of Pano, a company leveraging the gig economy to build a platform for hyper local share advertising. Hey, this is things have changed, your host, Jessica and Adrian are just trying to figure it out, including this intro,
Adrian Grobelny [00:01:09] we meet Pioneer's breakdown topics and have a laugh.
Nader Khalil [00:01:13] Welcome to the conversation. I've lived in San Francisco for almost four years now. I moved right after college and I live in North Beach and if you walk down Columbia Street, you'll notice that like every other shop seems boarded up. It keeps happening. In fact, the cafe where I started coding and in fact, the failed started before I was coding it there. And when we started out, we were on board. Drivers from that cafe, they got an eviction notice in December and so they shut down. So what we kind of recognize is that it's really, really hard to be a local business owner today. And that's what makes America so cool and what makes a city so cool. Right. That feels like South L.A. feels like L.A. San Diego feels like San Diego. And there's a reason for that. Those local businesses. Right. Like we're not all trying to dine at Chili's. There's this Italian immigrant who loves making pizza. They come to America for a better life and they just fucking make a damn good pizza. And that's it. It's successful, right. That's the American dream. And it seems like it's not there anymore. And that's not the that's not I don't want to live in a world that's like that. What we kind of realize is we want to create something that's really helpful for local businesses and we talk to local business owners. And when we were starting this, it was like I talked to like a bar owner bar none in the marina. You guys probably been there, right? Yeah. So you see, OK, but you have been there recently. Right. And it's what we talk to the bar owner and he's like, you know, three years ago, two years ago, I used to have lines out the door. Now those people moved because the city is kind of this revolving door and the new young people don't really know what my spot. Yeah. So it's tough. I think that just kind of resonates with more than just that bar. So if you look at the types of advertising platforms that you have the options today, right. You have digital ads, think Instagram ads, Web banners, block, you have out of home ads, think billboards and bus wraps. So they're very different. So first of all, physical ads, you're just priced out. If you're a local business owner, you can't afford a thirty thousand dollar billboard. This is not going to happen. But there's so much more valuable if you have an out of home ad space, you know that the person was dressed when they saw your ad. You know that they're out and about when they saw your ad. But it's on an Instagram. I can be in boxers, in bed scrolling on my feed. And that's when I saw your ad right. Online ads are great for online businesses because if a click will get you to walk into the door, right. That there's no equivalent for physical businesses, that's where what you wanted to do was create an out of home ad space so that you can guarantee that people are dressed and on the move when they see the ads. Right. And we wanted to bring in this interaction mechanism that digital ads have. But physical ads, out-of-home ads do not. That's where we decided let's put a tablet inside Uber and Lyft, because that's how we get around in the city. Right. I'm OK. We're not driving. And the idea is I'm in North Beach. I'm visiting my friend in the mission. I walk around North Beach, so I know North Beach businesses and my friend's going to show me his place in the mission. I'm driving through some five neighborhoods on my way to the mission. That's the perfect opportunity for those businesses to tell me why I should stop. And we should build a mechanism that allows me to click on the ad and stuff. And that's what we've done. So we have an out of home ad space. That's that we don't let local businesses get priced out from and we've brought in these cool interaction. So if you see an ad on piano, you can read about your car, you're going out for drinks. You see ten bucks off a pitcher at this new spot. You could say, fuck it.
Shikher Bhandary [00:04:54] That that's that's really interesting because like, how many rides do people take? Uber has done more than like five billion rides. There are like three million people driving for Uber. So you can just see what the total addressable market is like. The TAM is just crazy.
Nader Khalil [00:05:12] Like we started this. I didn't know what it was or attack or whatever, and I didn't start this to make a successful business. I started this to have because I genuinely care about the impact and I'm kind of brought up on the note, like, why us? Why me? Why zoom? Right. Like, Zoom was like the one hundred and fifty if video chat. Right. Gmail came out so late and there were so many email was solved until Gmail. Right. And so essentially you find people that, that care enough about a problem and those companies into existence. And so why us? It's because we're going to build this company into existence. We have and will continue to do so. We have an idea of how we want the world to look. And I think the happy path of tech is like, why don't we all just sit alone on our sofas and dictate our whole life by our thumbs? If the card for everything, order things, bring it in. And I think people like to go do this. I do. So letting a local business owner focus on the thing that they love, which is making a good pizza or making some incredible food or whatever it may be, because that's where their heart is and this is where our heart is.
Shikher Bhandary [00:06:08] Got you kicked it out of the fucking fun. The passion. Oh, man. That's sick this year.
Adrian Grobelny [00:06:15] You talk about it. I can just hear the passion and it hits you personally.
Nader Khalil [00:06:19] Yeah. This is this is this is what community is supposed to be is like like we can we should be connected is like a globe like a globally like that's awesome. But that doesn't take away from stuff feeling like I and from North Beach feeling different than the mission and things like that. And so today we're doing we're attacking this problem. By creating a revolutionary ad space that doesn't exist, that hadn't existed previously, and there's doing doing what we can to kind of level the playing field for the local businesses compared to corporate advertisers,
Adrian Grobelny [00:06:48] what's really unique about the way you guys go about it is it sounds like you guys are really on the ground meeting these businesses.
Nader Khalil [00:06:56] I'm going I'm taking a tablet, walking into businesses. And, you know, it's funny, like I walk in with a tablet. I'm like, hey, I'm the CEO and co-founder of Teno. And like, I was up this, like, shoe boutique on Union Street. And the lady was like, oh, hey, Mr. CEO, we like you know, you get you get some of those. But every now and then you do get a very genuine interaction. And there's nothing better than actually connecting with people and really understanding the pain. Points like the difference between Silicon Valley companies and other companies is like companies everywhere in the world are made to make money. Companies in Silicon Valley are created to solve problems. I think that's really resonates. And you see that a lot. I think people do genuinely look to solve a problem. And if you do so, the rest of it will kind of figure itself out like financially and everything. You know, economics are great. There's healthy margins, things like that. And so then it's just really focusing on making the impact.
Adrian Grobelny [00:07:48] So how did you start approaching these businesses where you first getting a feel for? What kind of issues are you dealing with? Did you do your own research and trying to figure out, OK, how are these businesses marketing? What do they currently use and how could I improve it? So what was your approach and how has it evolved through time as you're scaling and growing
Nader Khalil [00:08:09] Facebook in kind of a B test, some small thing, go interview a group here and interview a group here or try a red button for a million audience members and a green button for another million and see what got more clicks and things like that. Right. But like, if you're small, you can't do that. So you really just have to take a leap of faith. If Facebook was to go change their product dramatically, like that would be very disruptive, like the stock market would would feel right. Like they can't do that. The beautiful thing about being in a startup is you can do that. You can pivot a whole 360 degrees if you wanted to. You can just keep going like have an assumption, take the swing, grab some data and revisit your assumption if needed. What's what do you think's your most important data point? Do you collect all this data? You present a lot of data to the businesses that work with you to to give them more value. What do you think is the most important data point that you collect? I don't know. You know, it's interesting, we built up like a metrics dashboard and things like that. The local business owners don't really seem to check that as much. And the more sophisticated advertisers are really data focused data for the smaller businesses, like they're busy doing their things right. They're kind of like the chief everything officer. And they don't they don't have time to go into the data. So for them, it's really about like did I did I see that? I feel it. Some of the happiest customers, I'll tell you one of them, he's never going to quit. The day he put up an ad, his wife got in an Uber and he and she saw it. And there's a picture at like 10:00 p.m. emailed to me. He was like, yeah. And then like all of his friends keep texting him, but like, you're in my Uber, you're in my Uber. So overhead, Marina, they were like when your plastic surgeons in your Uber or something like that. And that was like on their story. So he felt the exposure. They're not they don't have marketing teams. They don't have they don't have marketing cycles. We're figuring out what works, what sticks, what doesn't. Who's the what are the types of best customers. We listen to them. We like iterating our price points and pricing models, like finding a price point that's more palatable for some of the smaller businesses and less sophisticated advertisers.
Shikher Bhandary [00:10:08] And so speaking about price, now, what Pano is doing is connecting drivers and riders with local businesses. Right. What tracks better for you, the number of rides, or is it time or duration?
Nader Khalil [00:10:24] Yeah, we do viewers. So we will tell you the number of viewers that you got in front of and then four on the price point we actually do. We pay the drivers, we give them a free tablet, free install kit and we give them cash every month just for having a tablet up and we pay most competitive within our within our market. So one thing that stops a lot of people from just like doing things is like this idea that like, oh, like the idea needs to be good, really good needs to be better. And I don't think anyone sitting on a sofa comes up with a good idea, then goes out and executed it. And it's successful like a business is not how it works. It's like there are two types of people, those who are moving and those who are not. And if you're moving, you'll stumble upon things. And through just like tinkering on your way, you'll find things. I didn't just like come up with like I didn't just like wait to have piano and then start working. I would like all these field started projects before I called Korem, like right out of college. I just I think I knew, like, I didn't really like just like going to work and coming back and going to work. And I wanted to to just build something and really just put it out there. And I always told myself there are three eight hour shifts in a day, one of the eight hour shifts to sleep in gym, and you have two eight hour shifts to do whatever one of them was for work. And then I spent the remaining eight hours just like hacking away on stuff. I called Khorram and I was like, yo, let's make like a truly touch first. But it needs to be like a Unix based, like I want my terminal, but also like I like I had like a pen and I could touch like Windows 10 and I have every crumb. And this is like me, like now we just have to add this out there. And Chrome is just he was like, bro, I've worked on OS is fucking hard. That shit is. Yeah, I feel like that failed. And then I tried to make a gooey for Python. I was like because I made like a Python script that moves all the screenshots before the Mac os McGarvey automatically put screenshots together. I like wrote a Python script. I can just like declare your desktop and throw your files essentially literally the stacks but just off like a Python script. And I sent it to my girlfriend on a and she ran it and she was like, wow, Python can do that. And in my head I was like, why does she not? Like she said, how can we make Python so stupid? Simple that she could have just thought about this and built it. And so I was like trying to make a GUI just like a user interface for Python. And that's it was stupid hard. So that failed. And then, like you guys know about Amazon, go, yeah, it's like grocery stores where you like you just essentially take like walk. It's like essentially every grocery store becomes your part. You walk in, you take items. So the way that they do it is they spend millions of dollars breaking up the store and the cameras and shit and RFID and vision and all that. And it cost like millions to bring up the store. So then I had an idea. I was like, OK, what if we spent one hundred dollars to rig up a store and got 80 percent of the items? And then for the remaining 20 percent, we use like machine vision. And so, like, I ran with that, we got like a provisional patent. And then we like as I was working on that and it was kind of like failing falling apart because it required a stupid amount of capital. That's where I kind of had the idea for Peno. And I was just like I call my co-founder and it's like, what do you really think about this? Because, like, I actually like that. And I think I feel like we could really bring this to market. And so it was just like there was like this weird month where we would kind of code on both things. And every time I open up the folder for Puno to code on it, I felt like I was cheating. I was like, oh, but I have this other thing. And I already spent like three thousand dollars to try it. But then afterwards I was like, I thought that. But like, I think the idea here is that like I didn't like wait for an idea. I just kind of ran with it. And when we had the idea for Puno, we didn't have an idea about like we didn't understand the advertising market, we didn't understand the differences between out of home and digital ads. We didn't understand like we didn't care about someone being able to click the ad or the Uber. We were just like, this would be a great place for local businesses to have to be highlighted. If you could just give us a synopsis of one, the the company, how this works. So you get into an Uber, the narrative. And then second thing is maybe the a little bit about the industry out of home ads is a term that in the industry it's like it's a term and it means that I mean, what you would imagine. Right. It's the ads that you see when you're dressed in you're walking, it's the billboards, it's the bus wraps it firefly, the big screens on top of the cabs and stuff. That's an out of home ad placement. Typically, what you have without a home ads is you get a lot of impressions, but the impression isn't as valuable, like you're whizzing by it with marketing. You kind of want multiple touches. If someone sees your ad seven times, it'll leave a much deeper impression. So on average, it takes like seven touches to convert. And digital ads are cool because I could we can target people ridiculously. If you want to target, like left handed nuns, you could do that on Facebook, probably.
Shikher Bhandary [00:14:46] Yeah. Yeah. What a specific example of the
Nader Khalil [00:14:51] targeted left handed nuns, you bitch. There was a guy who was trying to sell me an email list that he used left handed nuns as a specific thing. And I was like, that's she's a little bit. So you can get really granular. The problem is, while the targeting is there, the impression is less valuable. There's a lot of studies that show that out-of-home ads actually like fire, more confidence in the brand because like not just fucking anyone can buy that banner. If you see a billboard, you're likely going to think higher of that brand. Out-of-home ads have that plus digital ads. You can you can target and you can get click think about it. Like the quality of the impression is weaker, right? Because it doesn't it doesn't inspire confidence. If you see banner ads, are you just like, oh, what a great brand like fuck now. So the idea is that, like, you've really targeted and it's and you can actually take action immediately. Right. You can click on it, boom, you're in the store. So that's kind of what they're banking on. But that doesn't really mean much for local businesses. So the next logical question is like, OK, so why do why do businesses still use digital ads? And it's because they've priced out right. There isn't a solution that actually works for them. They they're they're stuck doing that because the other option is prohibitively expensive, like go go wrap a bus. And that's just not going be cheap. Nothing in SF is cheap to build, but also with billboards, there's there's a weird overhead. Right. You have to like print the thing, you have to get it painted. You have to like all those types of things that digital ads kind of do away with. We place dynamic interactive tablets inside Hubers in this and we let businesses advertise directly to the writer and the writers can engage with the tablet and actually take action. So every time you're in a new neighborhood, you're going to see new content. So we have we're using our GPS on our tablets. So it's geo fence and we can actually get super granular. Geo fencing, for example, if we want if you as an advertiser, wanted to interact with riders as they're going to or from a Warriors game, we can do that. So it's a whole new level of targeting. If you want to target business people at a business conference at the Moscone Center, we can target the Uber and Lyft on their way there. Right. So there's a whole new level of targeting that doesn't exist on other ad platforms because we are out of time, but also digital. We're getting people when they're in the move, we're going to see you're going to see unique deals that are only available now. And you can you can save coupons to your smart wallet. We integrate with the Apple wallet and and we have our own Android solution because Google wallets are kind of all over the place in terms of support with different devices. You can read about the car. You can even just simply go to the website. Some businesses just want that. We have Thordarson integrations, GrubHub, OpenTable, social media links. If you just want to build a social media following
Shikher Bhandary [00:17:26] so a person, a writer gets into the car and does a tablet right in front of them and they can just start accessing or just clicking things that they are interested in. And local businesses, ads for those ads for bigger companies, I guess, just starts popping up and they can take action.
Adrian Grobelny [00:17:45] OK, just visualizing how you have this tablet, did airlines or airplanes ever spark that connection? Because it's almost like you're basically an Uber, but it's such a parallel to airlines and they have their own sky miles, their loyalty programs. You can buy things.
Nader Khalil [00:18:04] I know I'm ready for duty. That's like it's like literally the
Adrian Grobelny [00:18:07] same day Buber's and you can scale this way more and you're way more reliant on data and geo fencing. That's crazy.
Nader Khalil [00:18:14] Oh, shit. I didn't know about that. Could you. Yeah, I could imagine if you got access different to the planes moving, but like we never thought about that. We were just so busy with, like excited about our solution. Like why do we use tablets because Android tablets are dirty done that was it. Right. I didn't we didn't know. No way. Trying to replicate anything previously. But it was funny because our first two customers. But what the reluctant ones, they were like, oh like are you are you guys like the New York taxi cab stuff? And the first time I heard that, I was like, fuck no. What do you mean? But then I understood, like, oh, there is actually a lot of similarity. We are really focused on making a writer experience, not just like extra revenue. We want this to be something that's great for the writers. Our drivers are called us and told us we're getting higher tips and higher ratings. There's definitely something that like the writers like we don't allow audio. So it's not meant to be a pesky experience, even if an advertiser like actually a lot of advertisers have asked, like they do want audio, especially the larger, larger companies. But we're just saying, no, that's
Shikher Bhandary [00:19:06] interesting because I lived in New York for like two years. And when you get into a yellow taxi, yellow cab, you have like The Tonight Show, just like blazing with just blaring on. That was the first thing trying to press the mute button. And it's always not functioning and it's like the worst experience. So this is really interesting.
Nader Khalil [00:19:26] I also like, for example, like what if most things didn't have audio? And then in the middle of your trip, one ad had audio and so you were just like kind of like relaxing or something like that. You know, we really are looking at this versus like a customer experience. Also, we have these really cool mounts, that mountain between the two headrest. So it's actually it's like kind of levitating in the middle of the two headrest for everyone in the back seat. So even if it's uber pool or whatever, like we have the whole audience covered
Adrian Grobelny [00:19:53] and you go over pricing structure, how how do you approach that? How have you changed it throughout time as you're scaling and work with more and more businesses? And then how are drivers involved in that? And what incentive do they have to mount these tablets in their cars and basically partner up with you?
Nader Khalil [00:20:11] One thing is like if you're a startup, you're almost always guaranteed you're going to be like undercharging for a service as you guys are figuring things out. The first thing we did is I threw out a price at a customer like a year ago, and they were just like, no, I was like, OK. Fifty percent off the field, maybe so. So we're going to do the fifty percent off price for everybody. We signed up our first forty businesses like that and then we like iterate with the price a little bit. But I think what was clear is that there's like different businesses that have very different needs. For example, like a plastic surgeon versus a restaurant, the restaurant might want like a smaller number of views and maybe just really close to the business versus the plastic surgeon might want to cover a lot more of the city and things like that. Understanding your customer types, iterating the price a little bit. I don't think we're there. I think we're it's always a work in progress and we should be aiming to iterate a more frequently. So our pricing is constantly changing. Right now. We have an entry point of just ninety nine bucks for the smallest of businesses. You get a few number of views, but you'll be on the tablet probably really close to your business and we can go up to as much as someone wants for the drivers. We're consistently paying them like 10x what the competition does. So right now, if you're a driver, like you can make a hundred bucks a month just driving with the if you're a full time driver, we look at it from from every angle. Right. So we have three stakeholders. We have drivers, riders and businesses. And we want to make something like we don't want to create something that's bad for anyone, but good for the others. Like we want to make something that's an elevated experience for everybody involved. And I really hope that that's what we're that's what we've done.
Shikher Bhandary [00:21:35] That's awesome, drivers driver's first.
Adrian Grobelny [00:21:37] Can you touch on the competitive landscape? What does it look like? How big is it? How many companies are there? What are they working on?
Nader Khalil [00:21:45] Yeah, there's no incumbent. You know, there's there's there's like a handful, maybe like three or so other companies that are putting tablets inside Uber and Lyft. I think the biggest one right now is octopus. They they put games in tablets and then, like, you can play with the games to interact. Yeah, I, I'm not really worried about competition, though. So even though there are a handful of other companies, there's a lot of cars and no company is going to have enough capital to put a tablet in every car. So what I'm really focused on doing is putting our heads down and making the best experience for everyone involved. And I think as long as we can comfortably do that, we'll be fine.
Shikher Bhandary [00:22:15] Yeah, Nado. So is Uber or Lyft or any of those big guys, are they aware of you? Are they aware of your company? Are aware of what you're trying to provide as part of the right dealing platform?
Nader Khalil [00:22:28] I think I think they're probably definitely aware of the services. They partnered with Cargo, which is another like car service, Uber service. So they're definitely aware of this.
Shikher Bhandary [00:22:38] OK, you don't need to take permission from them, right. To to advertise in the driverless cars. Right. That's totally different from the platform itself.
Nader Khalil [00:22:46] Yeah. And that's kind of, I think, the premise that all these companies are running on, whether it's cargo or Firefly or light out or octopus,
Shikher Bhandary [00:22:53] how big is their team right now at
Nader Khalil [00:22:55] Pano? Yeah. So we're seven people right now and we will probably will remain so until like March or so.
Shikher Bhandary [00:23:01] What's your hiring process like? Is it just down to passion to mix of passion and knowledge
Nader Khalil [00:23:09] or find the knowledge? Right. Like it's like the biggest thing that stops people is experience. Right. Like like if I knew about the ad industry, I probably would have never tried to make my own ad network or ad platform. Right. And like I would there's all these hurdles and stuff. But instead, like through being naive in that regard, I just kind of like it. So the things that we're learning like this hasn't been done before. Right. Especially the way that we're doing it. So the knowledge is kind of like hit or miss. Right. There's obviously some like hard skills like the development. But like on the sales front, we're just putting things in front of people and seeing what sticks and what doesn't and how we can better position it and how we can better create the product. We're putting things out there and learning so we can come back and innovate our product. And it's just like it's just like a really it's a tight feedback loop and we're just doing what we can.
Shikher Bhandary [00:23:57] So what's your day to day like with regards to that?
Nader Khalil [00:24:01] Yeah, everything I'll do, anything I'll sell, I'll paint or code. If there's like small I call it, I've like doubled it like sales focus development. If there's like we want to or sign up flow or something like rather than like design it and like make a pitch to someone and have them take it all just like sit down and do it, which is the benefit of being like a technical founder. I'm really trying to like lean into more like muscles and obviously pitching as that as that takes place.
Adrian Grobelny [00:24:27] So how do you unlock doors with investors and try to unlock their bank accounts? You know, you're really passionate about this. So I feel like a lot of investors might might see a lot of noise because they see so many people excited about their startups. They they're like, oh, let me tell you about my startup in an elevator or wherever they are. How do you what's your approach to telling your story to investors and what's been maybe like your best success story and what's been a time where you really got grounded and humble from hearing an investor's feedback
Nader Khalil [00:25:03] you got you've got to find out what the VCs investor thesis was, and that's how they say it. I didn't I don't like that it didn't resonate with me, at least because it was kind of like, who cares about investment thesis? Like if I'm presenting a cool opportunity, like they said that they should take it right. And so but you can't think of it that way because what you're what you're doing is you have presented a thing and you're pitching it to a company and you want that company to to back you a little bit and you've got to make sure it's the right company. Doing a little bit of research on the thesis that you do reach out to can go a long way to
Shikher Bhandary [00:25:32] leveraging the VC strengths. So if they are into, I don't know, media or they're into right haling or they know the market. So it's better to get the VCs who are experienced.
Nader Khalil [00:25:44] Yeah, but just like the VCs, if you have a beverage pitcher to a beverage company. Right. It's kind of it's just really it boils down to that, like, look up what the firm tends to invest in and see if there's something that rhymes with what you're doing. And I think that you'll find a lot more success because it will just resonate more. You know, all these DC partners, they're humans to go read their tweets, go read what they write, and you'll kind of understand who they are and where they're coming from and that'll help you really position your initial pitch. So when when we started fundraising, I would email this thing and it was just like. This is what we do is we put we put the fucking thing it just a few short months we've gone. So we're like, fuck that, right? Like no one read that. And I would see it like I have an email tracker thing, right? Like no one's open in that shit. And if they do, they're not responding. And just like in my head, I'm like, what's wrong here? Like, this is actually really cool what we're doing. And it's just like look like it's not about what you say, it's about how it's received. Right. Also, there's steps. Right. As much as like as an entrepreneur, you just want to fucking do it right. Like doesn't work like that for some things and like sales especially. And if you're if you're fundraising, it's sales, you're selling your equity for some cash. The cycle is just kind of like initiate a conversation, like your email shouldn't be to sell them on the company. Your email should be to get on a phone call, on the phone call. You can peak their interest a little bit more and then maybe that'll lead into a pitch. And then maybe after the pitch you'll actually get some cash. Right? Like no one's going to read an email. We, like, check. Right. Like it doesn't happen. Don't say more than like ten words about your company in the email. So, like, so I change my email approach to this really simple. Like, I'd actually spend like a few hours, like researching the person I wanted to reach out to one. It's like, do I actually want this person to invest in my company? And then, like, once you once you kind of like read about the person, you will find something that did resonate with you for any reason. And then that's the greatest opening line. It's so genuine, right. It's just like, hey, like I saw like you did this. That's actually really cool. And I really appreciated you putting this out there. I appreciated you saying this one line. They're going to read that next line. I started to it's been really exciting, you know, seeing this traction take off the next line. Five minutes for a call. A few minutes of your time can make you my hero. Done. That's an email. Someone's going to read it. And then ever since I moved to that, I actually started getting responses because this is genuine, right? It's not copy paste it. It's not like I actually did research the person. I actually have a reason why I think that they'd be someone I'd want to partner with. And like, there are a ton of voices. So, like, it's okay to be picky. Like, I think at first I was just like if there was someone who wasn't quite resonating, I was like, I should still send them an email. It's like, no, find someone that you really do want to send it to. I want to learn about you now. What do you do in your off time when you have it? Yeah, so I up my gym membership, I got like a really nice one, pretty much like all I do is work and so like it's really nice to have a really nice gym. I don't know if I want to I want to pretend and say I do other shit, but I don't. I like I so I mean I work out every day like I don't let myself not do that. It's just like there are days where I'm like, oh, like today's one of those days like I've skipped gym in the past. I should skip the gym today. It's like I just fucking go. It's like I work still there. You're starting to do it and I'll just feel better by doing it. So I used to go surfing a lot. I don't do that as much. I really enjoyed it. I skate to work. I like skating. So it's a nice little I actually have a new one coming in today. I didn't buy it because I'm not in a place where I should be doing that, but I still my brother's bought. He got new wheels on it like last year and he never he never took it out. So it's a loaded dervish. So I'm really excited about you guys skate loaded. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I saw that boosted board, by the way. Adrian. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Adrian Grobelny [00:29:27] I missed that thing so much.
Nader Khalil [00:29:29] It's it flies. It's so fun. You know, there's like a moment where you're just like, wow, this is incredible. That moment for me was when I bombed the hill. Going up the office is like not too far from my apartment. So I actually like taking the regular skateboard. Sometimes I'll even walk it like it's really just kind of how I'm feeling. So another thing that you like to spend your time doing, what I love so much is you support the businesses that do business with you. Yeah. And even local businesses that don't like you know, not everyone is going to believe in our product immediately. And that's fine. Like, I'm not it's not a knock against them, but I really into supporting the small businesses. You know, there's a guy, his name for sale on my walk home is this like Peruvian guy and they have a small flower shop. Him and his sister, they had it for like forty years. It's it's like tiny, like almost like us. It gets a hole in the wall, like the flowers are on the sidewalk. And I remember the first time I was like I was a kind of drunk and I was walking home from a bar and I see these flowers. I started talking to him and I just like I was like, you know, I'm going to get on a nice book. So I asked him and I was like, twenty dollars. He's like, twenty five, I'm fine. And he just like looked at the flowers and he picks one here and he picks one here and he put them in his book and it was like the best I've ever seen. And I was like wow, that was really cool. And I it's like seven bucks more than like Whole Foods. But then the money doesn't go to Jeff Bezos. It stays in the community and it goes right to sale. Right. And like it was actually really cool as I started exclusively buying flowers from for sale. And every time it's such a different book and I just kind of realize it's kind of like really cool, you know, it's like whatever however he felt waking up, whatever inspired him that day, it's kind of like went into these flowers and every time. You just kind of like looks at the buckets of the flowers and he picks the bouquet that he wants to make and every time it's unique and like if you bought a bouquet right after me, you're not getting that book. It's different. It's so unique and special. And the flowers even last longer. And I think there's just like something about it that resonates more like, honestly, is it to write? It's like more special, like these flowers. It's like, yeah, I'm huge on on supporting our local businesses.
Shikher Bhandary [00:31:39] I wanted to ask one question. Was there any pivotal moment while you were building piano that you were like, you know what? This could actually be a really cool company, really big company?
Nader Khalil [00:31:52] Yeah, I think we were selling to a business owner. And so we have this really cool dashboard where you can go and launch your ads on the fly, like you can change your ads within 30 seconds across our entire fleet. So which is huge for local businesses. Right. Because like an online business is the same 24/7. But your drug spot is very different place at 2:00 p.m. than at nine a.m. And so, like, you can actually run different ads for different times or physical businesses. That's never been possible before. Every ad that goes live on to know, we created the webpage for it automatically system generated and it has all these incredible links. Want to get you a fresh Uber lift or reroute your current one. Want to get you social media links once it gets you Jordache integration, OpenTable, whatever it is, custom buttons, whatever you want. And one business owner was just like, oh my God, you built the world's simplest web page maker because you automatically generated a page with all the things I need. And I was like, oh my God, we just, like, brought software to like a whole new demographic. And like, I, I think that we could really dove into this.
Shikher Bhandary [00:32:49] That's incredible.
Nader Khalil [00:32:51] You know how hard it is to put something into your Apple wallet. It's impossible. You have to code this thing from scratch, then you have to use a digital signature register with Apple, digitally sign it. Then you get this file, then you deploy it. It's like, who the fuck's doing that? So like like we have an Apple past designer integrated in the portal so that local businesses can go and design a custom coupon and they can just put that shit right there in your Apple wallet. Wow. Yeah. And they just they go right there. And so that resonates with some businesses because they're like, oh, so I can use that now too. It's like, yeah, it's not just for the large corporations like it's just we've simplified it and we've kind of democratized access to that type of stuff. And so the more we can do that, the better. So one of our advertisers, one of our local businesses, they spend like a like a thousand five hundred a month on SMS messaging for like marketing, like, those things are really expensive. And I remember thinking like. I can make that so I like pulling all nighters, it's coated it and like I threw it in the water, like Alec and I, the co-founder, like we sat there and we just busted it out. And now all of our customers have free SMS marketing as well. And like, we're selling it at cost. Like, I don't like I didn't want to make a dime off that. Like, this is like, fuck it. Like they're in their advertising with us. Like, cool.
Shikher Bhandary [00:34:07] This is a platform to use. Yeah.
Nader Khalil [00:34:09] That's a huge fuck you to the SMS company 50 bucks a month. Yeah. I think this is where I notice it's like I think we, I think we touched something here and, you know, talking to a chef in Oakland and I showed what we had and she was just like she was like, thank you. Every person who tries to sell me something isn't this fluffy thing. It's software. I don't get it. This is the most direct pitch ever. And I love it. I love what you guys are up to. Like, keep at it. Let's talk Monday. She's going to sign up. And I don't think anyone in any big company or any successful company knew exactly what they were up to when they started. Entrepreneurs want you to think that they're visionaries because it's easier than to go fundraise because investors like visionaries take my money. But it doesn't work like that. Think of anyone. Right? You hear a lot right now, the Amazons, this empire. Oh, Jeff Bezos knew what he was doing in the 70s. Fuck no, no. He probably had like theories and ideas, but he was just busy baking a bookstore. No one would have built a bookstore for thirty years and then gone into an empire right at the end of the day, what Amazon did, that's really cause they accidentally made us and then that subsidizes their entire business. You know, that's why they can go make like knockoff albums and whatever the hell they want to do with this. They have money to throw around. So like like they didn't know how it started. There was like one Christmas. They had, like, a bunch of Web traffic. They scaled up their servers January 1st. There is no Web traffic there. Guess a license to shut out. And that resonated. Right. So they didn't he didn't know that. Jeff, no matter what he tells you, he did not know he was doing that in like whenever they started Amazon. If you think about, like, Apple. Right. Like Steve Jobs didn't know what an iPhone was in the seventies. Right. They just kind of like trucked along with what they had. And it was actually really shitty for a lot of time. And then they were they were like, oh, my God, there's a software called Multi Touch. And then like an engineer was like, how can we design interactions around this? And then it became like, oh, we can make a phone. There wasn't this. I'm going to come up with ideas here. Like, that's not how it works. You just got to go be in motion and like, things will happen if you were given, like, whether you want to call it data or whatever it is. If you're if you're sprinting when you approach things, you'll take them and sprint with them. But if you if you're not sprinting and if you're sitting, then you're not going to like, take these things and sprint with them. You're not going to stop sitting to go sprint when you see a thing. So just move. And that's actually why I love when my friends are starting. I love that you guys are doing this podcast. I love what you guys are already doing with the podcast. But the fact that you guys are in motion and that you have gone out on your own and done stuff means that as you find great opportunities, you'll take them and you'll run with them and you'll build this podcast and everything that comes with it to be something great and huge. And so I'm excited. You made me cry.
Shikher Bhandary [00:36:41] I got to realize
Nader Khalil [00:36:43] this is your last warning, dude.
Shikher Bhandary [00:36:45] Yeah. Like I said, I think it's like setting course and just constantly correcting your course until you hit the point where you actually want to get to Senada. Is there a way people can get in touch with you or read your material? Is there a way do you have a Twitter or a way people could keep up to date with what you're doing at panel
Nader Khalil [00:37:10] and listening to this podcast? Yeah, well, totally. So I nather, like later on, like everything so Nather and ADR later with the I'm on Twitter with the handle Nather like gladder. I'm on LinkedIn. Yeah. I'm not too active on social media. Typically I'm like really, really busy, but I definitely try to be I think I've made like two tweets in the last six months, but, you know, it'll probably be healthy.
Shikher Bhandary [00:37:34] That's healthy. Jed's got like one in six years, so.
Nader Khalil [00:37:38] Yeah, yes. I'm on those platforms. Follow us on Twitter. Pernot Io's our website. It's Pano on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Shikher Bhandary [00:37:47] That's an EU.
Nader Khalil [00:37:49] Someone said something funny. They're like bread, water. And I was like, what? Because it's like, oh my God,
Shikher Bhandary [00:37:57] this is where we got this is where we get
Nader Khalil [00:38:01] no
Shikher Bhandary [00:38:02] thanks for listening to Things have changed.
Adrian Grobelny [00:38:05] Be sure to subscribe to never miss an episode and follow us on our Instagram at THC underscore part.
Nader Khalil [00:38:11] We're going to see you next time.