Every Business, is looking for that secret sauce to grow their business. Little do many know converting their business data into true analytics can help them see their business in a much, much deeper way. This data can be sliced and diced, and sorted to give you the best opportunity to learn, understand and apply a data driven approach to your day in day out operational decision making. It has been shown that using big data can be critical for many companies to outperform their competitors. We meet up with Aaron Trahan to chat about how data and analytics can help businesses make the most informed data driven decisions to enable long term success.
Harry Brelsford 0:06
Hey 420MSP Harry here with Aaron of Headset, an analytics firm something near and dear to my heart love analytics done often very good at it. But Aaron, welcome to being a Marijuana Venture magazine for 420MSP Cannatech influencers. So congratulations.
Aaron Trahan 0:44
Thank you, Harry, appreciate you having me today.
Harry Brelsford 0:46
All right. Well, first, let’s start with you. What’s to give us one or two examples of your tech background? I know we both did a tour of duty in Seattle. And the irony of this we both find ourselves recently moving to Austin, Texas, but what what have you done with your career that got you to Headset in analytics?
Aaron Trahan 1:02
Yeah, yeah, sure. I’ll kind of start back prior to that. And you know, I have a background in retail, um, you know, kind of starting really on the retail management, merchandising, you know, side of the business and really helping retailers grow from small regional retailers into you know, power regionals and kind of semi national retailers. And so, you know, with my retail background, and especially being on the merchandising, supply chain, you know, vendor side of things, inventory management, you know, data and analytics was just a key part of that you you lived and breathed data analytics, and you always wanted more than you then you had, you’re always wanting more, you’re always wanting to see things from a different angle, a different perspective. And so, as I kind of was growing my career, I kept seeing and hearing about this, you know, burgeoning cannabis industry that was being formed. And, you know, going back to when Washington and Colorado voted to legalize, I said, you know, it’s, and because me being in retail, I saw the way it was unfolding, it really started with a, just a pure brick and mortar, physical retail, connecting to consumers, educating consumers on this emerging product category. So I became very interested in initially started as a passive investor. And just wanted to learn more and was using the the fund that I was invested through as a great launching pad to get just gain exposure, learn how the industry operated, understand the different nuances and fragmentation of kind of a state by state model. And then, you know, as anyone, or most people in retail, at some point in time, gets connected to Amazon, the big 800 pound gorilla of the industry. And so that’s what initially took me to Seattle. And, you know, it just kept that the itch to get more involved within the cannabis industry just continued to grow. Finally, to the point where I just said to myself, if I don’t jump in, headfirst to the industry and use some of the operational experience that I’ve had to dedicate myself more full time to the industry, without question, it’s going to, I’m going to wake up 25 years from now with regret, of not playing a more active role in what I’m, what I kind of view is a generational opportunity to be a part of this growing industry. And so was connected to headset. And from day one of seeing the platform that the Co-founding team built and how especially retailers had this type of visualization and analytics and dashboards that really helped bring their data to life, things that running a $1.5 billion business I didn’t have at my fingertips. I fell in love with the product and the business from day one. So three and a half years later, still still here. And you know, what, kind of what brought me to Austin is now in a post COVID type of environment we like many others have went to a remote first environment. So it’s afforded me the opportunity to get a little bit closer to to some family. That’s that’s here in Texas. What. So that’s what now has me based in Austin.
Harry Brelsford 4:31
Now that’s great. And we’ll have again, we’ll have that talk on analytics. But I want to talk about analytics a little bit because when I did my tour of duty and I was down on the lower Queen and by the Space Needle since you know Seattle, and it was it was wonderful vestedand existed. But I quickly learned to say big data as we call it at my generation in analytics. It’s like health care. There’s all these specialties right and I was way over here serving online higher ed institutions? What what’s the elevator pitch on headset? What area? You kind of alluded to it. But what’s the what’s your elevator pitch?
Aaron Trahan 5:10
Yeah. So when you look at headset, the easiest way to think about the company is we we really serve as a system of intelligence for for cannabis operators. So within head, the headset ecosystem, it’s comprised of three key product components that kind of make up the ecosystem. First and foremost, where the business starts, is on the retailer side. So we’ve created you know, a cannabis retail business intelligence platform where we’re able to integrate with essentially all of the leading point of sale companies in the cannabis space that really takes over from where the point of sale reporting stops. And kind of the product that I mentioned that I first saw and fell in love with, it allows retailers an opportunity to go much, much deeper with all the transactional data, they’re accumulating on a day in day out basis, and really helping bring that data to life, not just in static reports, or a static bullet point around an inventory level or yesterday sells. But really converting that into true analytics and helping them see their business in a much, much deeper way. And then allowing them to slice and dice sort and view the data really, however, they want to, to kind of give them the best opportunity to learn, understand and apply a data driven approach to their day in day out operational decision making. So that’s kind of the first component says is the retailer side of the business, for retailers that are opted opted in and using that platform, they also have access to then share data back to their vendors, which then goes to our second product pillar, which is what’s called bridge. So as, as you could imagine retailers and the brands that they’re working with, there’s so many things happening. And so it’s very important as brands look to optimize their own supply chain, helping their retailer partners, not have too much inventory, not run out of inventory. You know, we provide that infrastructure that can connect the two so retailers using our platform can share data back to their vendors to really drive a much more collaborative working relationship with their vendor partners. Now that vendor can see in near real time, their inventory levels at the store their sales velocity by the store, and really take a working just a much deeper collaborative working relationship with that retailer. So that way they can plan whether it’s for promotions, or major seasonal holiday events or vendor demo days, whatever it may be, to always ensure that the right inventory is in the right spot at the right time. And then third, is really kind of our flagship product, and that is insights. That’s where we’re able to aggregate all of the retail data that we’re collecting, aggregated together, anonymize it and once we reach a statistically significant share of a given market, we’re then able to convert that into a market intelligence product then to give anyone who’s really interested operators and even non operators the ability to understand and have a pulse of what’s happening in a given market from top line trends and total market projections to category mix down to product skew details, pricing analysis, new brands entering the market. Really anybody looking for a pulse of what’s happening with it within a given market, we then supply kind of that market insights read for them so when you take all that together as well we kind of call the entire ecosystem is that that system of intelligence it goes much much beyond just data per se and really converts that into business and market intelligence for for operators but even on the insight side, even non operators as well.
Harry Brelsford 9:09
Do you do last question do you use this data a lot like you know, you’re listening to all things considered in the morning I think or Morning Edition on National Public Radio and about this time, the beginning of the month, they’ll reference a big HR firm challenger gray and Christmas just came out with the the July jobs report writing intends to be a real macro. You know, the, you know, the jobs were disappointing 200,000 less added than expected. Are you in that business? Are you in the MPR talking head monthly report business yet?
Aaron Trahan 9:46
You know, it’sour platform offers a pretty deep, deep dive into the data and so it you know, it can be used for a number of different items. Whether it’s You know, as a brand producer, looking to find the whitespace, to see if you know, from a product development standpoint, whether it’s other brands and retailers trying to understand their market share in a given market and who they may be winning or losing to. But we do, we do have a lot of resources that that is really free to people that are wanting to kind of understand and kind of get, get a trend of some of the data that we’re collecting. So we’re always publishing monthly industry and white paper reports. And then our marketing and analytics team does a good job of publishing a monthly cannabis market overview. That’s where at the end of each month, just like you said, we kind of provide that recap of what happened last month with all the different markets that we cover, which I think now totals to 13 different unique markets across North America. So incorporating both the US and Canada, I see. Yeah, so you’re able to easily pinpoint through our cannabis market overview, how much volume did the market do last month? How fast was that market growth or, in some cases, if it didn’t grow on a year, over year, month, over month basis, what was the basket size in that market, and then a couple of call outs on notable changes and trends with maybe a particular brand or, or something else that’s happening in that market. So we’re trying to kind of give back some of that insight as much as we can. And it really speaks to the the mission of the company and, you know, headset was founded on the vision that we wanted, you know, the industry to be successful. And for the industry to be successful, the operators within the industry must also be successful. So we wanted to provide the data and analytics that help them make the most informed data driven decisions as possible that enable that long term success. And so it’s kind of part of our way of, of taking some of the data and insights that we have, and giving that back to the market to be able to use if nothing else, just to stay more informed around what’s happening.
Harry Brelsford 12:11
No, absolutely. Hey, before I let you go name, one or two events you like to go to in the cannabis space, maybe one or two journals, or blogs he liked to read, always like to find out where can I find these influencers? Right, where they go?
Aaron Trahan 12:25
Yeah. So go for it. Yeah, so from an event standpoint, that, you know, to be quite honest with you, I’m just glad we’re even able to talk about events now after the past year and a half. But, you know, I, I’m really excited to to attend the upcoming MJ biz conference, I think over the over the past couple years, I know it’s not exactly earth shattering, or something people didn’t see, you know, coming in Jay Bez at the largest conference in the in the industry. But, you know, after really starting as an investor in the space in 2016, to now see how big the conference has been, you know, dating back in 2019, before COVID, it’s just remarkable, of all the different operators that, that show up from every single element of the supply chain within the industry. And sometimes you just have to kind of walk in, stop, take a look and be like, Wow, it really is a great reflection point of where the industry has come. And, you know, there’s depending on the markets, there’s some there’s some great local market activities, I would recommend, definitely following some of the local market associations, because almost on a state by state basis, there’s some just some great events that are there. Then to answer your other question, I, you know, I think not, you know, not to talk about our own shop here too much. But I, our CEO, sigh Scott has been very involved with kind of creating some content and sharing some of sharing some of the insight that that he’s seeing. And so he has a couple podcasts that that he does one really focused on kind of the product and the branding side of things that speaks to how the industry is really starting to move towards a consumer packaged goods industry. So it’s called cannabis packaged goods, and is the podcast and in his second one is called high rise. And that’s where Emily paksa from Poseidon joins him and they always have a number of different guests that just talk about just the relevant events that happened in the industry over the past week, whether it’s MSO, news, legalization news, just all the things going to going on. I think it’s so informative that I would be it shame on me if I didn’t mention those. It’s just great resources for people to tune into to kind of learn About the industry and hear more about what we’re doing it headset as well.
Harry Brelsford 15:04
All right, my friends. All right, well congratulations and we’ll see at those events make them All right. Thank you.
Aaron Trahan 15:12