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A Decade in B2B eCommerce: Lessons Learned and What’s Ahead

The B2B eCommerce Podcast

Oro Podcast

Key Points

  • One of the key things driving our team is seeing how businesses – previously manual and reliant on the outdated practices – embrace digital transformation. When this happens we feel that we helped a company not only automate sales or whatnot, but also secure their position on the market in the long term.

  • While established B2B companies tend to be slower in adopting new tech, when they do embrace digital and see positive customer feedback and improvements on the sales side, the ball starts rolling very fast. At this point, it's crucial to not go head-first, but take a phased approach to any further technological implementations. This way, you'll have time to figure out what works for your company and fine-tune processes if necessary.

  • One of the things that help us evolve as a company is that we really keep the communication line open. Anybody can bring up an idea that they have and we'll consider it. We also challenge our employees to voice concerns. And we listen to them. Because to succeed, we need to learn to change.

  • The B2B industry is on the tipping point: the next 5 to 10 years will bring along disruptors whose growth is fueled by digital transformation not only in terms of the commerce side of things, but also in terms of the customer experience. That's why it's important to not stand still as a business and evolve to become agile and ready to embrace whatever the future holds.

EPISODE 7

A Decade in B2B eCommerce: Lessons Learned and What’s Ahead

Full Transcript

 

Jary Carter: Hello, everyone. Welcome to B2B UnCut. I give a second people to join got some live joiners here. We’re recording this for folks that want to listen to it later. I’m Jary Carter. I’m the host of B2B UnCut, we’re here in the final episode of 2022. 

And today’s not just another episode that we’ve had some really cool and exciting guests this year, we have two, three actually big things for you. 

One, we’re going to wrap up the 2022 season. Two, we’re celebrating Oro’s 10th anniversary, I have a couple of really exciting guests here for the 10th anniversary. Congratulations. I’m excited to talk about this. 

And three, we have a surprise guest for you who will join us a little later.

But I want to talk to these two very important, very interesting people that on this podcast, need no introduction that we’re going to let them give a little bit of an introduction: Yoav Kutner, who is the CEO and co-founder of Oro and Dima Soroka, who’s the CTO and co-founder of Oro. Gentlemen welcome to the podcast today. It’s really an honor to have you both. Thank you for joining.

Yoav Kutner: Thank you, Jary.

Dima Soroka: Thank you.

Jary Carter: Now the Three Amigos back out again. All right. So I would love to have you to just briefly introduce yourselves. A lot of people in Oro ecosystem they hear your names. A lot of people may be new to the Oro ecosystem, and they may not know your background. So we’d love to just allow you to to introduce yourself a little bit about your experience in eCommerce your experience in B2B eCommerce and and how you got to Oro. Yoav, let’s start with you. And then we’ll head over to Dima.

Yoav Kutner: I got into the eCommerce world in 2004. We then created a product that we thought we’re going to use for ourself and our customers called Magento. And that  took off for some reason. I don’t know yet why, but was trying to figure it out and then that product took off, I was the co founder and CTO there, was leading the product and technologies. 

And after we sold out to eBay, I left in 2012. I was bored to work, but I loved what I was doing. So when a few of us here on the call that decided to work together again, which was what we loved and build products. We started Oro and what we learned at Magento was that the B2B  space. The B2B industry is  underserved when it comes to digital commerce. And that’s where we  set our sights for and what we’re passionate about for the last 10 years now.

Jary Carter: Great. Thank you. I can’t believe it’s been 10 years it really just thinking about that October 2012. Was only gone. Dima, I’d love to have you introduce yourself to the team.

Dima Soroka: My eCommerce journey started in 2006. So I’m a little bit younger than you are. And yes, and it’s also started a company called Varian was working with Yoav that time and was part of Magento journey. And in 2012 was happy to start Oro, which would have been a very nice journey for the last 10 years. And yeah, so I love technology. I love to new challenges. I love working with customers. I love working with my team. That’s about me.

Yoav Kutner: I do want to say that’s the most I’ve ever heard Dima talk :)

Jary Carter: I know it’s very hard, very hard to get Dima to talk much about himself. I do. The way we’re going to structure this call is we’re going to talk about the business elements of Oro, and the early days and the starting, and we’ll look forward into the future, because I think you have such a rich perspective in that. 

And then I think we’re going to talk about some of the fun things. Towards the end of the call some of the early stories some of the interesting things that may be a little bit lesser known to folks within the ecosystem. So, let’s go back, though to 2012. From a business perspective, what was the digital eCommerce and specifically the B2B digital commerce landscape? 

Yoav Kutner: When we left Magento, we really felt  the B2C space, the Business to Consumer Direct to consumer space was very  saturated already with so many platforms in the game. But what we noticed at that time was that more and more companies that were actually not necessarily focused on selling direct to consumer started coming online or trying to go online, let me say that was some  digital commerce.

And as we ran a B2C platform, we really thought what’s the big difference? Right, we can just do it and everything’s okay. And we saw this across the board, all the platforms were  , yeah, it’s the same thing as the shopping cart, the Add to Cart Checkout, no problem. There were other players on the market. At that time, they were more  specific, or industry specific needs for a specific verticals that were serving specific B2B needs, but they were, again, very  our cake.

There were  all technologies that were not really extendable. They weren’t necessarily flexible, and didn’t really answer the way the user experience that was demanded by some of the buyers was actually evolving. So it was very stagnant in terms of what was offered to B2B, unless you were in a specific vertical to have this specific tool. Trying to use any other platforms that were built for B2C was very, very hard. And that’s where we put ourselves into that’s where the gap that we try to fill at that time.

Jary Carter: Thank you, Dima, any additional perspective, you would add there?

Dima Soroka: Yeah, I think one important aspect of B2B at that time, and now is B2B is where your organization working with other organizations and sales teams need proper tools to do the job, right. And taking this into account. That was one of the driving factor, why we started our journey with CRM product, right? Because that’s where sales team seats, and that’s from where online conversation with the customer starts. I think it was that time, and it’s still relevant nowadays. And it will be relevant for unforeseen future.

Jary Carter: Yeah, it’s such an interesting point you make because we did start with a CRM product, because there was such little connection in traditional B2C technologies and the actual sales experience, the customer experience, this multiple touches in a sales experience.

Yoav I’d love for you to weigh in on that sort of single dimensional. And you were part of the problem, right? You’ve talked about this before, in creating this amazing B2C platform that at the time had a ridiculous amount of market share, but almost no B2B capabilities, or really thought process to it. So talk about that a little bit, if you wouldn’t mind just weighing in on that.

Yoav Kutner: Yeah, sure. And again, just reminding everybody this is about 15 years ago, so much younger, much bigger, much bigger ego so, with Magento, we really thought we created the end all of all ecommerce platforms, right? Meaning that we thought we can achieve anything with it. 

We were not as educated about what the needs and differences are for the B2B space. So we really  thought  what’s, again,  I mentioned before, it’s, there’s a shopping cart and an Add to Cart button what else is needed, right? 

But really, we were doing a disservice to many of our potential customers because they really didn’t get the feature set that was that needed to be created in the underlying technology to actually do this and support their actual needs. 

So just one example is pricing engine right? We were coming from a platform that was all about the same price for everybody we treat everybody the same. Just has to be as intuitive as possible to check out for the highest average order the amount that we can gap. And that’s it. Where we started working with B2B companies, we started learning that there’s a deep relationship between the customers and the buyers and the sellers in this case, and really have to focus about the specific user experience that they need in order to actually be successful using this platform. 

So our first attempts were very basic in terms of what we were offering, and nobody was actually using it. So when we started building some B2B implementations on Magento, we were okay, use it as is, it’s basically B2C, but you, you can use it for B2B and we saw that there was no use of the platforms that we were building. 

Other cases, we started investing, our customers were really wanting to invest in get there. And then we caused them to build 80% of the code that they needed on top of Magento. So basically, we ended up with a very custom solution, and then they had to support it, etc. So the costs were really, really high for them.

I said, we had to change our mindset,  we have to learn what’s the real differences. But again, coming to pricing, we get millions of price points, or almost infinite price points for different customers. And now in the system, the user experience has to be tailored to the customer, and the user within that customer actually, is using the system at that point. So really had to shift our mindset, completely relearn what we call B2B ecommerce, or B2B digital commerce, and really build a product for that. 

And again, I will say that we don’t usually just jump into build products, we really looked at the landscape that existed, looked at the roadmaps of other platforms, we were big advocates of the existing eCommerce platforms to actually do this B2B, you can look back in the 10 years ago, we were talking about it, when we just had the CRM on the market, we knew that we want to integrate into an eCommerce platform. And we were advocating for those platforms to address the B2B needs. None of them picked up the ball at the time. And that’s what causes five years later to actually start working on our B2B and basically enhance our CRM product to support the front end part of it as well.

Jary Carter: Yeah, it’s really interesting. I’d love to fast forward to today, because Yoav has been right about a lot of things from a products technology perspective, and the way the markets going. What are some things that you think that folks should be how do you envision the market going in the next three to five years? What should people be thinking about?  it just give us a perspective on the next few years.

Dima Soroka: yeah, I think next few years, we’ll be from technology perspective, we see different trends, right? So we’re hearing about composable, commerce, headless getting traction, right? Of course, everybody looking only in cloud based solutions at this point, I think these trends will continue growing. And, again, we are definitely part of it. So for next three years, three to five years, we will add more capabilities to our product to support these trends. And know its customer needs are still the same, right? So more and more companies looking how to optimize a sales cycle. Because even this current economy situation, right, so these recession, inflation companies about optimizing the sales tax cycle, and to do so they need tools, and B2B commerce tools not only about facilitate your online sales to end users, it’s also about optimizing internal processes. So I think that’s where he’s going for next few years.

Jary Carter: What I appreciate you talking, bringing up these these phrases  composable commerce and headless and things like this, what and this may be a question for both of you: how much of this is hype versus reality?   how much of the idea of composable commerce, the idea of headless how much of that is sort of analyst buzzwords versus what’s really getting traction with customers? Because one of the things that I see is B2B companies are, in a lot of ways are really trying to are working to figure out  the basics of how to really get their motion online, or how to be omni channel or multi channel businesses. And I’m curious how these sort of industry buzzwords fit into what you’re seeing with real companies and what they’re doing. Maybe your view, you can take that one.

Yoav Kutner: I think when we started 10 years ago we came from the B2C world,  we already mentioned, and that was really cutting edge, right? We were everybody was trying to launch a unique eCommerce experience for B2C, everybody was coming up with different features, different user experiences, there was so many technologies that were focused around the B2C user experience, and for the store managers or whatnot. 

But we honestly expected 10 years ago when we started the journey that the B2B world will catch up, because when we started, we found out that the B2B world is maybe – I’m being nice here –  five to 10 years behind the curve on technology of the B2C world was that, and that was something that we were really surprised at the time. And I was hoping in these 10 years that they’ll catch up. 

I think we’re still playing a lot of catch up on the B2B side right now.  if we look at the analyst, and again, with all respect to the analyst, I think we, as technologists, as analysts we living in a different bubble than the B2B decision makers. When it comes to technology, we throw at them buzzwords and technologies and headless and composable. And again, I’m not saying we shouldn’t support them for the real use cases. But a lot of times we come in, and it’s much more basic, right. 

And again, to tell the story, because this happened more than once, where we found actually, customers do the executive team doesn’t use email. They basically get the emails printed out on paper, they write their answers in hand, and then somebody types back into reply to the email. So again, we have to adjust to the world we’re serving and talking to them about AI composable, stuff  that, when they don’t even have a website up and running. That’s  we have to play catch up. 

We were a little bit underwhelmed by how fast this industry is moving compared to others in the world. Meaning that they’re still behind, they’re still trying to figure it out, even though it took already, I think we’ll say five years that we were really into the B2B or digital commerce space for B2B companies. And I thought I will move faster, I’ll be honest, my expectation were that this is going to catch on fire and start jumping like it happened with B2C. 

It’s not the case, it’s I think we’re still early on. And I think and it’s shouldn’t be surprising to anybody who knows the B2B state. I mean, these are more established companies, they usually move much slower, their production cycles are longer they, they have products that run sometimes for the same product for 50 years, and they don’t change anything, right. 

So when it comes to their mentality, culture, I think technology sometimes is too fast paced for them to  catch up. And that’s where we have to put our consultant glasses on or hats or whatever, and say, Okay, this is why it’s important for you. This is how we get you up to speed. 

The good news is, once we see and do the first baby steps, we see that the there’s a demand for it. And there’s hunger within these organizations, as they hire more technology people, when they start getting feedback from customers or demands from customers, right, that start seeing features or experiences that they’re getting at other companies, they start accelerating, right. And we see that even though initially, it’s very slow adoption within the company, once the ball starts rolling, it starts rolling very fast, and we start seeing a lot of demand. 

So it’s sometimes even surprising to us, the company that we were talking about digital had no idea what we talking about, and then they on their whatever quarter quarterly or BI Yearly Meetings we have with them, they start talking to us about AI and headless and composable. So they’re catching on. That’s the good news. I think, again, it’s such a vast market that we really have to start addressing these things and I really feel it’s starting to accelerate again.

I say in the B2B pace it’s starting to accelerate, we are starting to see RFPs that are much more sophisticated in the B2B than we used to get. And I think this is something that is just going to start catching on and on. And again, I’m just saying it once more to round this up. 

But as companies that are serving this industry, we should be a bit more humble, not pushing necessarily the fastest and the best technology that’s right there that’s here today and gone tomorrow, and really invest in them for the long term. And like I said, B2B companies think in five year terms, 10 year terms, they don’t think in six months or months, like we used to be in the B2C world.

Dima Soroka: Yoav mentioned very important point. Yeah, I think again, on technology trends, you always should put customer in context. In B2B world, unfortunately, they’re not always technically mature companies, right. So again, going from printing emails. And so again, most of the companies already have your piece and other solution in place, but they usually have very minimal technical teams. And to support these companies, we should come to the market with a solution that can be easily implemented for the customer.

Jary Carter: Approachability of the technology… I actually think that’s not an overused buzzword in the B2B commerce world, because you’re seeing a lot of it,  you’re talking about your job, you’re seeing these companies go from these brochure websites that were built maybe 15 years ago, into this whole digital transformation. And, and it’s, first of all, what does that feel ? What does that feel to help a company put another engine on the plane of their growth and really watch that just completely transformed the company? 

Yoav Kutner: So for me, and I’m probably going to kill your reference for me as the Rock and Roll CEO. I love seeing business transform in a digital way. And I know this sounds corny but it’s such a difference to come to a company where everything is manual and some person that’s been there for , 30-35 years has everything in his head. And when we start asking questions, they’ll always say, oh, let’s call a Bill or Jane. And they will come here and give us the answer. And then actually, formalizing it in a way that actually is automated  saves a lot of time, reduces errors for the business. 

And then I love it, that after six months, 12 months, 18 months, when we touch base with the customers, we see how they started up, adapting into the new world, and adopting the actual technology to make them more efficient, more successful, more modern. And that’s it’s something I know, again, itit sounds not real, but every time I see that, I just leaned back in my chair, and I’m , Well, that’s one more company, we actually helped and that’s something we actually changed and we’ll know that this company is going to stay around longer, because the 10s or hundreds or 1000s of people that work in there, have a future with this company, and this company is going to stay around.

In some B2B cases, we talk to companies, it’s been around for over 100 years, sometimes even more than you know. And a lot of them are family-started business in late 1800s, or whatnot, that are still going on today. And working with their next generation and actually making them more modern and more applicable to what’s going on in today’s demanding world of technology. It’s something that I really love, I love this feeling of coming to this very manual company and start automating and see how people’s faces change, when they see that the workloadis lighter, and when they’re more efficient, and there’s less errors and this frustration and it’s still sometimes a cultural war within the company and we tried to walk a fine line between the old school of the company and and the future of the company. 

So we’re in a very interesting place. I think the life schedule of these companies where we are really seeing something that’s going to really revolutionize how they’re doing business. 

I love being part of what technology can do for your company and people. I’ve been doing it for many, many years now. And that’s actually what drives me. So it doesn’t when I wake up in the morning and choose if it’s B2B or B2C, or I used to do economic software or whatnot, it doesn’t matter what when we come and help people, and when we come and make their lives easier, and actually make them more successful, that’s really what I love to see in the end.

Jary Carter: I love that thanks for sharing that you love. I mean, I’ve been in probably hundreds of meetings with the two of us we’ve talked to companies about this, and in the conversation is never about shrinking. It’s never about staff reduction. It’s always about growth, it’s how do we take a company and give them a better competitive advantage and given them a higher growth? 

So it’s really cool to see you underscore that. I have one more question for the both of you. And that is speaking about what you love to do, which is helping B2B companies really sort of prepare for the future? What advice would you give, if you have one piece of advice to give to a B2B company, a B2B leader? 

Dima Soroka: Conclusion at this point that we can make is a B2B world is much slower than B2C. Right. So it’s, I think, again, it’s coming from a nature of the companies because business already function, alright, so people are already selling, selling on different channels. And they will come into online for us additional channel. And unfortunately, decision making process is slower. And unfortunately, they’re going live and exploring new opportunities is a bit slower process. So probably advice that I would give is  to be more opportunistic in this case, and accelerate digital transformation, accelerate online presence, that is important. And again, based on customers that we working with, we see one day going online, so that’s a game changer for them.

Yoav Kutner: I think, for the short term, companies that didn’t figure it out, have to start figuring it out. Meaning that it’s time now to at least take the first steps into digital. This world is moving fast, we’ve seen how industries are changing within the B2B already, right? Marketplaces are coming on board that are taking away other distributors.  Amazon is fighting a lot of B2B industries right now, right. Moving on decision making. 

And one thing that we see this a lot is that a lot of these companies in the B2B space that are afraid to take a decision and what impact that will have on the business. One thing we learned with these companies is that not trying doesn’t necessarily change much, right. 

And we really good at working with these companies about telling them okay, we’re not going to move all your business overnight to digital, right, let’s take a phased approach, let’s solve the biggest problems that you have, let’s treat the lowest hanging fruit that we can actually do quickly for you. And  see the success of that let’s start by moving maybe 10% of your sophisticated customers to this platform before we move everybody on. 

So a lot of times there’s this fear that we’re going to come across or technology doesn’t matter and just change the whole business overnight, do something new and they’re not really sure how that’s going to take with their customers etc. And what we actually introduced to them is look, it’s going to be phased approach, we’re not going to change everything overnight, we can take a year to three years even and we see customers that are doing it where they’re shifting small chunks of their customers you know month by month or quarter by quarter to the digital platform keeping their other customers working as is and figuring it out right fine tuning it etc.

Yoav Kutner; I think this concept is a bit foreign to a lot of companies and manufacturers that we work with where if they build an assembly line it’s a two year investment in building the line and then until they get some feedback on the whatever they manufactured. 

Here we talking about much faster feedback and much faster changes to what we need to actually fine tune for them to be successful. So my first and most important recommendation is to start, that’s the thing to start select something, even if it’s the wrong technology, even if it’s the wrong path, learn quickly and then change based on what you learned rather than sitting and trying to figure it out for five years. But that time five years is a lifetime in our industry in technology.

Jary Carter: I hear you reducing the risk of failure, or at least reducing the cost of failure as a learning experience to grow and sort of fail forward into something that works for the business. Fascinating. Well, thank you too, so much. For this, we’re gonna hang on, we’ve got our surprise guests already here. And so we’re gonna welcome Daphna Andrews, to our call today. Hi, Daphna. Welcome to the podcast. 

Daphna Andrews: Thank you. Glad to be here.

Jary Carter: And Daphna, this is news for folks, is actually taking over as the host of B2B UnCut as we go into 2023. So she’s going to be taking over the podcast in 2023 Daphna you’re new to the Oro team. So we’d love to have you. This podcast has really grown throughout 2022. And you’re gonna take this into the next phase of growth and excitement and all the things that are gonna happen in 2023. So I would love to have you introduce yourself with that with that preamble of where we’re at today. 

Daphna Andrews: Thank you for passing the baton. And I really hope that I can continue the excellent hosting that you have done Jary. 

I’ll give you a quick background about who I am. But just hearing what Dima and Yoav have been talking about it’s almost needless to say that I’m just so excited to join a team of talented and smart visionaries. Iit’s taking calculated risks, it’s making data driven decisions, there’s so much to being a digital company. And about me, I have 22 years of global B2B experience. I started at HP, with the first iteration of the B2B eCommerce Web Store. So I’m really dating myself. 

And we really started as a startup really operating inside this giant company building, what ultimately would be responsible for a platform that was transacting $6 billion in revenue at its peak during my tenor. And from there, I went to an agency helping to develop and lead B2B and digital transformation projects and programs for enterprise customers. And really, no matter what I do, no matter where I am, my focus always is the customer and the customer has to be at the center of everything I do, or the company does wherever I’m at. So that right there is the big reason of why I decided to join Oro.

Jary Carter: Awesome. Well, thank you inspiring introduction. I was amazing to me how much experience you have on the customer side of B2B commerce and actually growing B2B eCommerce for for 20 years is a lifetime you were sort of the pioneer in the industry. So while everyone else was talking about it, you were doing it. And so I think there’s, you’re just going to add such a richness and depth of perspective, that and it’s gonna be unique from I think anything that anybody else is brought to this podcast. So I’m really excited to see where you take it. And with that, I’m just gonna make you host Daphna.

Daphna Andrews: Yeah, let’s do it. I do just want to say a quick thing. Just about , what, why also, I really joined Oro and what my mission was, just so I can  give more context, because I really am a long term practitioner. And I’ve really had to work in this space. And at a time when B2B was such an afterthought, I mean, even our team was so small at HP, and really proving ourselves. 

And what I want to just talk about is why I really joined Oro, I mean, I pursued this company,  I have been tracking this company since 2018. And the reason for that is when you’re on the business side, and I was a senior product owner at HP, and really having to depend on our IT team. And having this enterprise software where it would take so long to just get any changes, if you had a user defined field, if you had some sort of payment change any configuration, I was hamstrung and totally dependent on it. 

And what I see here in Oro, what is such a game changer about this platform is you can configure so much in that admin console. And Oro comes along as this native B2B solution. And it’s a business users dream, right? So this admin console is giving power to the business. And it really enables practitioners to not only be responsive to our customers needs, we are definitely flexible also for all the different verticals that we operate in. And finally, a part of all of that is enabling the company that is using OroCommerce, to be resilient in business operations, which is absolutely key today in this economy. And when you throw in very powerful sales enablement tools, that really makes the merchants and their sales teams much more efficient.

So I guess I could sit here and go on and on, and keep standing on my soapbox. But all in all, I really want to talk about how the power of Oro is really key in today’s economy, and in today’s world of true digital transformation. So when every second counts, and every penny counts, it’s absolutely critical to empower the business to make data driven decisions, so that they can delight their customers in real time. And I’ve never seen that before in any platform. I mean, let alone B2B, I just I’ve just never seen that in a platform. So I really want to talk about the company also overall is very special. 

And I would to turn it over to instead of me just talking, obviously, it’s not the Daphna podcast, definitely. I’d like to turn it over to talk a little bit about how special this company is, and how they’ve managed to focus on the people as well. And that was something so different. When I joined this company, this team, I saw how through crises, this company gets stronger. So for example, with the war in Ukraine, we have so many employees there that the company took it upon themselves, and was being transformative in supporting the team members, keeping the lights on getting them to safety, doing everything they could. It’s in your DNA to be very compassionate for our employees, our customers and everything. And I’m curious how you develop that.

Yoav Kutner : So I’ll start with this. And definitely I think for us, we don’t realize we do that until we have new people join us and tell us that we focus on our company and our employees and Our team as we call them, because that’s, that’s how I think successful company operates, right? 

I mean if we would not address and take care of our employees, wherever they are around the world, when crisis happens, we wouldn’t have a company. Because if we failed them, we can’t count on them to be there for us later. I think that’s just the nature of, of how we operate. 

We we spend hours on top of hours working with these people that we call our family or team and when they need us we are there for them. That’s how we were raised. That’s how we will operate. And that’s what we hope that we will get from other people when they when we need some help, right? 

So just taking this not only in a business context, these are people that we care about. And as a company, that’s how we prioritize. And we always say this internally, our customers come first, but right there, that number one position is our employees, because that’s the two things that make us successful is our customers and our employees. And without one of them, there’s no company, right? So thank you for noticing it. Daphna. 

Jary Carter: it’s so interesting that you have talks about this idea of family, and I make I’m gonna go off script because I just Yoav’s comments triggered this for me, but I read this whole LinkedIn post. And it was the whole post was , Look, your work isn’t your family. You don’t spend holidays with your work people etc. And I actually,I spent a lot of holidays with Oro people. And actually, Yoav and I and part of the Oro team celebrated his birthday a few months ago, we were all together. 

Yoav really talks about this idea that you spend every day with these people. You develop these bonds and these relationships, and that’s the really special thing about Oro is just there’s just a personal care.

I remember, there were so many times in our early days, it was stressful. We were going month to month, we were trying to build the business. And I remember everything was so fast paced. And I still remember I would type in I don’t even know we didn’t use Slack back then it was Skype or something I would type in Skype or something to Yoav or Dima, and I just have a question “hey, this for this customer?” And Yoav’s response and Dima’s response back to me in the early days was, Oh, hey, how are you doing? How was your weekend? I was , Oh, God, I need to slow down a little bit and actually be a human. 

But I mean, that’s just how the DNA of the company comes down from the top. There’s a lot of care. That was something I really learned within Oro. Because I was the fast paced transactional guy. And I think I learned a lot from both. And I’ll let Dima talk after this. But I learned so much from Dima and Yoav about how to be caring leaders and how to really care for people beyond the work day so that when Thanksgiving comes or New Years, or whatever it is, you actually want to spend time together. I mean, I’ve done a lot of holidays in a lot of different locations with a lot of different world people. And it’s one of the things about my life that I treasure the most because look the companies come and go, but the relationships and the people is really what matters the most. And I’ll let Dima jump in on that.

Dima Soroka: Yes, sure. And I think you guys exact point, right? So it’s not a team, it’s family and that’s how we are approaching it. And I mean, if you look how much time you spend with your family at Oro and your family at home. It’s not even comparable. So it’s our life and because our team company cannot survive, so the only way to establish a good team is to build transparency and friendship based relationship. And that’s what we’re trying to do.

Daphna Andrews: Thank you guys for those very honest responses. And I can say it’s my second week here. I am the newcomer, and everybody listened to me, people were paying attention, nobody was sitting on their laptops. I mean, I’ve never experienced that before ever, in a company where everybody truly cares about what everyone else is saying, and is respectful and it was absolutely from the heart.

Yoav Kutner: Reminding you that when we were screaming, we were not fighting, we were arguing.

Jary Carter: That’s still happens. I remember in one of those meetings, I think Jack came out my son, he was  14 and 15. And, and he came out to LA and we were doing meetings in the office. And, and, and we were in the conference room, and we were debating something and it’s always passionate when we debate something because everybody cares. Everybody has an opinion. Everything feels consequential that I remember Jack, at the end of the day was , man, was everything okay? Were you guys mad at each other? It was, no, everybody just cares about making it successful. And we’re all really passionate. And sometimes we disagree. And that’s super healthy. So that being even modeled, as  lowering the risk of conflict was something I also really, really learned it at Oro because that’s how you progress. That’s how you see eye to eye. That’s how you align and commit on stuff. you’ve got the conflict is actually where the goodness happens.

Daphna Andrews: It’s a healthy tension. Absolutely. That actually leads to another question I have is, you guys are all such visionaries. How do you sort of see the role of your peers, your coworker, everyone? I mean, there’s so much vision happening at this company, that it’s so unique, do you think that’s part of the fact that you trust each other and you have these healthy relationships to sort of riff and sort of build upon. I really want to hear how that that mind process works.

Yoav Kutner: Yeah, I think when somebody has an idea here, first of all, we have a platform where that anybody can voice anything they want. And, and it doesn’t mean we all accept it. But we do look for a consensus. So we got the the way we evolve is, anybody can talk, anybody can bring up an idea that they have, and then we  start working on it and then processing it, then maybe we don’t even make a decision, necessarily, un startups that have to make decisions so fast and move. So some decisions, we actually can take longer to make everybody aligned and I like to use the term we agree to disagree.

We listen to everybody. But once we agree to continue with one path, we all fall in line, and we all move as one. 

And I think that’s something that we have from again, 15-20, some of us 20 years of working together, right? So it’s something that we brought with usit’s okay to disagree, and it’s okay to hear other people’s opinion. But that’s how we evolved, right? Because everybody’s exposed in their set of the business. But when we bring it all together, it makes a whole picture of what we’re building, right? So we’re not just listening to one side of the business. For one person, we really bring all the opinions together. Everybody can voice them. We actually challenge our employees to voice concerns and things that they think is wrong. Because that’s what we want to listen to right.

We say it all the time both from our past to present our employees, that’s what we’re doing wrong, not what we’re doing right? What we’re doing right doesn’t matter at this point, right, but we’re doing wrong is what we need to improve and change. And once we build this culture, that’s what  volves the company and moves us forward.

Because we keep fixing what we’re doing wrong we learning from the people in the trenches what they need, right, and you’re not just sitting on our high chairs and thinking, Oh, our vision is the one we’re going to end up with, that’s wrong, right? We need to learn to change. And as new information comes to us, or feedback that we’re getting from the ground, we need to apply it and use it to everything we , we learned and, and change your vision. 

And  I said, I think you said it best, Daphna is we have to check our egos out the door, right. It’s not about our ego, or our vision, or my vision or Dima’s vision, majority’s vision, it is about a company vision. And it’s about moving forward, and adapting and adopting this vision to what’s going on in the market right now.

Dima Soroka: Also letting people do what they like to do, right? When people doing, what they like to do the result will be totally different from the one when you force them to do that. And that’s also part of our culture. So we always talk to people, we ask them what they want to do, what they like to do, and helping them find the right place in the company.

Jary Carter: Yeah, I think it’s interesting, because Google talks about this concept of psychological safety, which is really just this concept that people feel very low risk, they feel very safe to express concerns and things that they want to improve. And I’ve never seen a place that has higher psychological safety, really, than Oro, because of there is just this comfort to say, Hey, I’m not comfortable anywhere from anywhere within the organization anybody can call yo up called Dima and say, hey, look I’m not comfortable with this, or I’m concerned about this, or I’m this feature has some issues that I really think we need to work through. 

And that you’ll always find the safety to say, hey, look, I’m glad you brought this up. Let’s talk through it, let’s make it work. There’s a lot of safety and comfort in the debate. So and then, y’all talked about, there’s this idea that look, you can disagree, and still commit. But you do feel heard and feel valued.

And just because you have an opinion that’s different than the CEO, doesn’t mean that your job is on the line. You can still have a strong opinion, and move forward with it. 

It’s one of those things that’s been in the DNA of Oro. Since the very beginning, and everyone we’ve hired, we hired really smart, interesting, successful, brilliant people. And so we want to hear what they have to say, we want to have our minds changed of what different direction should we go?

Yoav Kutner: Yeah, and I think people heared the warning to new employees Don’t challenge the CEO, unless you are willing to become the new CEO, right. Something we’re actually saying is we didn’t start where we ended. I started as a developer and ended up as the co founder and CEO and the company. Dima started as one of my developers and ended up as the chief architect and our CTO and co founder here. We love to see how people grow. So the more they challenge us, the more they’re actually advancing the company. 

If you look back at our history, it’s not the other way around. Right? And once people join us and see  this person started the disposition but now he’s a manager now he’s a different role, whatever. I’m thinking and processing this is something that made us very successful because we allow people to grow by not making them afraid to voice their opinions.

The more you voice and the more you challenge us, the more we see that you understand us. As long as the ideas are in the right direction and aligned with the company, you’re just going to become more of an asset to the company. And that’s what we love, we love people to come here and start figuring it out and learning and then starting to criticize or put points that we need to improve. As long as it’s constructive, as long as they’re willing to change. That’s what we try to encourage in the people in our company, and people that are good in this environment just grow with us.

Daphna Andrews: Thank you for that and adding to your comment about not being afraid a lot of people may be listening to this thinking, Well, why or how does this relate to my business? Why how does this relate to purchasing OroCommerce, or the Oro platform. 

It relates so much, I believe, and truly, from my experience, as a practitioner, that we operate in a very fearless environment, with seeing challenges that are as opportunities, as you just spoke, all three of you just spoke about how important it is, to be able to be heard. And I think that is an incredible, that’s in our DNA. And that’s a model for removing fear of transformation in our customers, right. And so seeing it in the product, you see it in actual technology, you see it in the way we support team helps our customers and our professional services.

As a customer and partner success I’m trying to help our customers adopt and transform their companies and give them strategies. So as we’re wrapping up here, just want to give a couple minutes to ask you guys about looking to the future and seeing what is the next big thing in our industry?

Yoav Kutner: As a company, our vision is to become the leading, even though we are probably by the analysts, but really leading the market, not only as the number one platform, but also as the visionaries for what B2B actually has to move into. And we’re starting to get into that. We’re starting to see that we’re talking about things that people are not even thinking that needs to be changed. If it’s payments or customer onboarding or user experience, both for your sales team and for your customers, we really want to be on the forefront of that. 

We want to continue to leading the pack and, and challenging the industry. I know it’s not an industry that necessarily needs to be challenged. But if we starting to see changes there, we starting to see that it’s a lot of times, they do die for them, and we want to help them stay in business, we want them to be able to shift to the new culture and new reality, which is technology in the world, right? 

We can’t ignore technology anymore. So we really want to be there on the forefront of that. And I think for our customers, I think  we said, they have to make a decision. But we also want them to start thinking for themselves and being creative about what they need. I think that’s something that we’re trying to work with a lot of our customers

As I said, we have strategy meetings with our customers, we tried to tell them what technology can do and have them tell us what they need in order to be successful or continue being successful in their industry. And then we present them how technology can help them. So I think we’re almost there, right? I think we’re on this tipping point of technology and B2B marrying together and really going to the next step. And that’s something that makes me excited. And I think a lot of our customers, we see that they’re mentally changing and really just getting technology into their business and making sure that it works for them.

Dima Soroka: Tomorrow could be another change and everybody should adjust and but I think a big part of our vision, so we don’t want to be just a vendor, right? So we would  like to be a partner to our customers and keep our relationship on the level that everybody stays happy. And what’s more important that services and products that we provide to our customers delivers big value for them.

Jary Carter: Excellent. Yeah, I think for me, the thing that I’ve been seeing in B2B eCommerce is this, there’s in B2B generally, a new sort of set of disruptors that is poised to come out of the next five to 10 years. 

There’s been so much of a toehold between distributors, wholesalers, their manufacturer relationships out to commercial and their distribution networks. And there’s been a lot of these embedded toeholds. And I think in terms of  how customer relationships are changing, and shifting, B2B eCommerce, digital transformation, this work that’s happening is going to create a whole new set of disruptors within the B2B world. 

And it’s exciting, because I think you see these companies. Steel manufacturer in Utah, has the opportunity to be the next big company to take massive market share to go from 0.001% market share up to 3, 5, 10% market share, because they’re creating a better customer experience. And they’re taking customers from their competitors. 

You all have talked about this idea of fueling growth in B2B companies and distributors, manufacturers, wholesalers, and that growth gets fueled by this disruption that’s happening through this digital transformation and a better customer experience. And it’s really cool to see I think, in the next five to 10 years are going to be really exciting. It’s a whole new world out there. And it’s going to continue to be really interesting to see how the landscape gets shaped up as, as companies create better customer experience and start to take market share from competition.

Daphna Andrews: Right. And I think that absolutely everyone’s input is spot on. And I think one thing that is very, very important to mention here is in digital transformation, and making sure that it’s not only something that you espouse to customers, say you’re a B2B company, and you want to transform your customers work. But it’s also the internal transformation. And I’ve mentioned before here, is that empowering the business users is huge, removing that hierarchy, or any sort of bureaucratic sort of stepping stones, things that make you more flexible and agile to respond to your customer needs, is really what’s going to disrupt the marketplace. And the only platform again, with over 20 years of experience in this space.

I can tell you, I’ve never seen a platform like OroCommerce and the whole suite with the CRM and empowering your sales, that really is going to be the game changer. And I think that when that’s part of the sort of a focal part of a digital transformation initiative for any enterprise, really, the sky’s the limit, because you’re optimizing your internal processes, you’re empowering your people, you’re delighting your customers, really, it’s touching on every point of transformation in order to make our customers successful. So I know we’re wrapping up here and we’re a couple minutes over time. Jary, I wanted to just thank you again for doing such an amazing job. Not only in your work in in Oro, but also just as the leader of this podcast. I’m not sure if I can fill your shoes I’m gonna try.

Jary Carter: You’re gonna be great. You’re gonna be amazing. So I’m excited to see you. You take over and thanks for having me. 

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