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EPISODE 77

The Future of Retail: A Conversation with Intel Exec, Joe Jensen

With Joe Jensen, Vice President in the Internet of Things (IoT) Group and general manager of the Retail, Banking, Hospitality and Education Group at Intel Corporation

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Convenience is king. Everyone wants the easiest experience possible, but, they also expect that experience to be seamless and delightful at the same time. When it comes to shopping, ecommerce has been able to bring all those elements together better than in-store retailers. But even though brick and mortar retailers are facing an uphill battle, Joe Jensen believes that they aren’t going anywhere, and there are still massive innovations to be seen to make a more cohesive experience. 

Joe is a vice president in the Internet of Things Group and the general manager of the Retail, Banking, Hospitality and Education Group at Intel. He is helping brands across all industries and of all sizes become more nimble and data-centric. According to Joe, there are simple changes retailers can implement to solve big problems so long as you’re asking the right questions.. 

Like, what if you could solve all of your inventory issues with a simple technology that has already been in existence for years? And how can brands leverage in-store experiences as more of an enhancement to customers who typically enjoy online shopping but crave something more in-person?

On this episode of Up Next in Commerce, Joe answers those questions and more. Plus, he explains how and why traditional retailers should be utilizing more data just like their ecommerce competitors, and he gives a first look into the technologies that will be making an impact on the future of retail.

Main Takeaways:

  • Curation is the Cure: The role of retail is changing, and the retailers who lean into curated experiences will be able to better meet the new expectations of consumers. Rather than offering a little bit of everything, stores will want to give customers a deep dive into a specific brand experience, because that is what they crave when they are shopping offline.
  • Bring On The Data: When digitally-native businesses start to open brick-and-mortar locations, they insist on having as much data captured as possible about the customers who enter their stores. Traditional retailers don’t want or feel they need the data simply because they’ve never used it before. But the nimble retailers that use all the data at their disposal will be the ones to win even against their data-heavy, digitally-native competition.
  • Incoming Technology: From computer vision to full RFID implementation, technology is going to change the way shopping happens for both the customer and the business. But, don’t expect these changes too quickly. Despite the fact that using RFID technology would solve nearly all inventory issues, many brands are hesitant to implement that wholesale change. Why is that? And what will be the catalyst to finally change? Tune in to find out.

For an in-depth look at this episode, check out the full transcript below. Quotes have been edited for clarity and length.

Key Quotes:

“The IoT space for Intel is really where IT for an enterprise meets the real world.”

“We really believe that inventory inaccuracy is one of the underlying problems in physical retail. The problem we have is if a customer can’t find it in the store, it’s out of stock. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the backroom, doesn’t matter if it’s hidden behind some items on the shelf, it doesn’t matter if it’s misplaced. If the customer can’t find it, it’s out of stock.” 

“I do think that you’re going to find retail bifurcating into two types of retail. You’re going to see the hyper-convenient side, which is you just want to take all the friction out. How do I take all the hassle? How do I take all the friction out for the shopper?… Then on the other side, we’re calling hyper experience. With hyper experience, shopping is an enjoyment and a pastime for a lot of people. And during the pandemic, obviously you can’t go to the mall. You can’t go shopping like you used to, but that will come back, and that you want to go and get experiences.”

“I think that the role for retail is changing in terms of what experience means….Where we see real success is curation. So you go to a store that’s not a little bit of everything. It’s a store that dives deep into a lifestyle or deep into a fashion style or deep into a demographic, and you go there and you immerse yourself in that brand, and then you immerse yourself in what that brand is about. That’s the discovery.” 

“The right way to think of omni-channel is there used to be a really consistent funnel for how shoppers and the shopper journey went from just initial discovery all the way through purchase, and that funnel, I think, no longer exists. I think people find out about products all over the place. You might see it on a television show. You might hear about it from a friend, you might see it on social media, and your discovery happens in your life. Omni-channel today really means that shoppers ought to be able to engage with a brand or engage with a product wherever and however they want to.”

“There’s been too much of trying to use algorithms and online searches and data to try to target individuals with things that you think they might be interested in and not enough focus on helping people build a cart of things that you are interested in. So, for example, imagine if you turn it around for a minute and the brand for an item that you’re interested in has an ability for you to put something that you’re interested in, in a basket. And then when you pass a store that carries that item, that has it in stock, they flag you that this thing you’re interested in is in this store, and it’s almost turning it all the way around from the store or the brand pushing to having the brand help guide you to where you find things.” 

“Digital native retailers, when they come into the physical world, they expect access to the same kind of insights that they’ve been getting with their online entity. They want to understand how many shoppers are coming in and when? What’s the dwell? When people are picking things up and putting them down and not buying them, it’s like something in your cart that you took back out. And they come in with a long list of insights that they’d like to be able to get in the retail operation. The question in Intel is how can you help me find people that can bring these solutions or help me deploy these solutions? And when I go to more traditional brick and mortar retail, the conversation is trying to convince them they should have these insights.”

“Every time you have a better consumer experience on your mobile, better app experience, in the back of your mind, you wonder why every experience isn’t that good.” 

“I think that the thing that is most fundamental, and it’s still shocking that all retailers don’t do this, and that’s just counting your traffic. Not counting it daily, but knowing what’s happening with your traffic every minute.”

Mentions:

Bio:

Joe D. Jensen is Vice President in the Internet of Things (IoT) Group and general manager of the Retail, Banking, Hospitality and Education Group at Intel Corporation. Jensen has over 10 years of experience leading the team responsible for helping third-party brands and retailers use Intel’s technology to better serve consumers. Before assuming his current role, Jensen managed Intel’s low-power embedded processor division, where he led the development of purpose-built system-on-chip (SoC) devices for the embedded market segment. From 2003 to 2005, he managed Intel’s Digital Home Division, leading the team that developed a SoC product for digital set-top boxes. Earlier in his Intel career, he spent five years overseeing the company’s embedded Intel® architecture division, which supported a full range of embedded market segments with Intel products. A 35+ year veteran at Intel, Jensen joined the company in 1984 as a product engineer and rose through the ranks to lead many organizations in the embedded and digital home markets. In addition to leading Intel’s Retail organization, Jensen is well known across the retail industry, and is currently on the board of directors for the Retail Industry Leaders Association, advocating priorities and standards across the retail industry. Jensen earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from South Dakota State University and his MBA degree from Arizona State University. He holds a patent in the area of digital audio and has an additional patent pending in the field of sensing for digital signage.

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Transcript:

Stephanie:

Hey everyone and welcome back to Up Next in Commerce. This is your host, Stephanie Postles, co-founder at Mission.org. Today on the show we have Joe Jensen, vice president and general manager of Retail Banking, Hospitality and Education Business at Intel. Joe, how’s it going?

Joe:

Oh, fantastic. Beautiful day here in Phoenix.

Stephanie:

Good. Yeah, I’m glad to hear it. That is a mouth full title, but I feel like you deserve it when you’ve been somewhere for 36 years, I saw?

Joe:

Isn’t that scary. I didn’t even think I’m 36 years old, so it’s weird.

Stephanie:

That’s amazing, actually. I want to just start there. Tell me how did your journey begin at Intel and what are you doing today? What’s your day to day look like now versus 36 years ago?

Joe:

Well, I started as a product development engineer at Intel, and I worked in a bunch of different product disciplines as an engineer. My original life plan was really to leave Intel at about year 10 and go to a startup, but by year 10, Intel stock options were so attractive that I ended up being so that fully handcuffed into the company.

Stephanie:

Yeah. As with most tech companies, I was this close to staying at Google for the same reason. I’m like, “Oh, it’s hard to leave. I see my options vesting in year three and five and seven,” and you can just extrapolate it out and it’ll keep you there. But it’s good-

Joe:

I shifted from engineering to the business side in about year seven, and I’ve done a ton of different business startups in the company. I think one of the things I’m most proud of, I’ve started three businesses that were at zero and have hit over 500 million a year.

Stephanie:

Oh, wow. So what are the businesses that you’ve worked on?

Joe:

Two different ones in an embedded space, and then now the Retail Banking, Hospitality. Education is added into that, but that business started, gosh, it started at single digit millions and we grew it to, well, we’re the largest business within the IoT space in Intel I can say.

Stephanie:

That’s cool. So tell me a bit about when you’re saying IoT, and then retail banking, now education, how do I imagine what you guys are doing for your partners? What are you providing them? What does that look like?

Joe:

In our space, the IoT space for Intel is really where IT for an enterprise meets the real world. So in the case of retail, it could be digital signs, point of sales systems, inventory management, building management, time clocks, any system that might be connecting into IT. If you go into the manufacturing side, which is in my space, the manufacturing units, it’s where equipment data flows in off of manufacturing side flows into the enterprise.

Stephanie:

And how many opportunities are being missed right now by not implementing? I would say data analytics like you’re talking about. When it comes to inventory I know that Walmart for a while was trying to figure out how to track out of stock issues and it was really hard even when they had the cameras going around the lanes because they couldn’t see behind what was in front of it. I don’t know if they figured it out yet, maybe you know better than me, but what opportunities are being missed by not having this implemented into retail stores?

Joe:

As an engineer, I really think about root cause and what’s the underlying problem, and we really believe that inventory inaccuracy is one of the underlying problems in physical retail. The problem we have is if customer can’t find it in the store, it’s out of stock. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the backroom, doesn’t matter if it’s hidden behind some items on the shelf, it doesn’t matter if it’s misplaced. If the customer can’t find it, it’s out of stock. We have data and research that shows that 1% of customers who experience an out of stock will go through the whole journey of they search on the shelf for it, they go track down a staff person to go find it, they dig through the rack or they don’t find it. They say, “Hey, hold on. Let me go check in the back.” They go look in the back and then come out and then maybe they go to the POS and they look to see if another store has it, or they’ll ship it to your house. 1% of the shoppers are that patient.

Stephanie:

That’s me. I’m that 1%. I did that the other day at Pottery Barn. But then I was very upset at the end because I was like, just like what you said, let me look in the back. Not there. Let me look at our partner stores. Not there. Let me look online. Ooh, it’s not the size you want. And at the end I’m like, “Ugh. Okay, goodbye. I never want to come back again.” I love Pottery Barn, but.

Joe:

Talk about a study that showed that if a customer experiences that out of stock frustration five times in a store, they stopped going.

Stephanie:

Yeah, I can see that. So how do you go about solving something like that to get all your systems on top?

Joe:

It’s really tough. I still think RFID is going to play a key role. Japan has a huge labor shortage problem. They just said because of the aging of their population, they don’t have enough labor, and the government decided four or five years ago to put a big push on RFID, and they’re mandating by 2025, all consumer goods that are sold in China have to come from the manufacturer RFID tagged. They’ve also funded a kind of research-

Stephanie:

And that essentially keeps everything inventoried, right? Then you don’t have staff to work.

Joe:

Yes. What happens is you don’t even need staff to check out now because consumers will put their items in a basket, step the basket on the checkouts, and it’ll read all the tags and then we’ll just pay and go.

Stephanie:

So it’s like the Amazon Go store where they’re experimenting with, but I don’t know whatever actually happened to that. I went into one in Seattle maybe two years ago, but are they still around? What happened with the Amazon stores like that?

Joe:

They’re still running. They do a tremendous amount of business. I don’t know how much of it’s because of convenience and how much of it is the novelty. I suspect that they’re augmenting a lot of that with human capital behind the scenes. I do think that you’re going to find retail bifurcating into two types of retail. You’re going to see the hyper-convenient side, which is you just want to take all the friction out. How do I take all the hassle? How do I take all the friction out for the shopper? And I think for staples day to day things, you want to go pick up fast food, fast food should be fast. I won’t throw the chain under the bus, but there’s a new location near our house, and I swear there’s a three-hour wait all day, every day.

Stephanie:

Oh my gosh.

Joe:

Fast food just isn’t that good for me. I’m not going to wait in line for three hours to get my fast food. And so I think on the hyper-convenient side, that’s a big part of retail. Then on the other side, we’re calling hyper experience. With hyper experience, shopping is an enjoyment and a pastime for a lot of people. And during the pandemic, obviously you can’t go to the mall. You can’t go shopping like you used to, but that will come back, and that you want to go and get experiences. You don’t want to go to department store A and then walk down the mall to the department store B. And if you close your eyes when you walked in, you wouldn’t know which store you’re in.

Joe:

Now, if they all have the same assortment, they all have the same brands, they all have the same brand micro stores inside their department store, what’s the experience that you’re delivering to the consumer? If you go try to find a piece of clothing and it’s out of stock, how’s that experience? That’s not a very good experience. So yeah, it’s funny. I had one of my engineers in China explaining how he really has everything delivered. All his groceries, all his food. China is just hyper convenient from that perspective. It’s cool and I love it.

Stephanie:

But they’re used to it. They grew up like that, though. I feel like here, if you try and introduce some of those conveniences, it’d be like everything should be done this way. I don’t know. I think Americans are a little bit more like, “Oh, that’s weird,” because we just know we have to do like this.

Joe:

It’s really cultural differences, but I love this quote from him. And he said, “If I’m going to bother to put pants on and leave my apartment, it’d better be worth it.”

Stephanie:

That’s pretty great, and true. I feel that.

Joe:

It’s like if I need batteries, do I want to get in the car and drive and go buy batteries? Well, if I do that and go to the store and they don’t have that special battery, then it’s really disappointing because now I spent 20, 30 minutes going out of my house to go get something because I wanted it right now and then they don’t have it. This is why consumers do it a few times, they just start ordering online.

Stephanie:

Yeah. And I think the product, like you said, has to be worth it. How are you guys thinking about the experiences piece? Because we’ve had quite a few guests come on the show who’ve talked about their retail locations and turning them more into an experiential place, where you go there and you’ve got the certain music, and the vibes, and maybe you’ve got a yoga class going on over here and you’re going there, not just to maybe pick up your product that you did order online during this time period, but you’re also going there to maybe experience something that you wouldn’t get elsewhere.

Stephanie:

A lot of people are saying retail’s dead and I definitely do not see that happening. I’m like there is pent up demand to go in person and to go into stores, but I do think now there’s going to be a new level of expectations of the consumers, not just going to want to go and shop around, they’re going to want something else. How do you do that?

Joe:

I think that the role for retail is changing in terms of what experience means. If you go back 30 years ago, 40 years ago, shoppers didn’t know what the new fashions were until they went to their favorite store and they saw what the new fashions were. So you went to your favorite store whether you’re a Neiman Marcus shopper or Macy’s shopper or a Target shopper, you went to the store to see what’s available, what’s in now. And there was that discovery and learning and value proposition that that store was giving you by bringing you things that fit your demographic. Today people know what’s current as the store learns what’s current. It’s what the celebrities are wearing between social media and how quick things are in internet time. There is really no discovery value proposition for mass merchandise things.

Joe:

Where we see real success is curation. So you go to a store that’s not a little bit of everything. It’s a store that dives deep into a lifestyle or deep into a fashion style or deep into a demographic, and you go there and you immerse yourself in that brand, and then you immerse yourself in what that brand is about. That’s the discovery. If you’re someone who likes West Elm, and the style that West Elm delivers, you go to West Elm to see things that would be hard to find on your own elsewhere. If you wanted to go find your own curation, it would take you months of time on the internet trying to go discover all that stuff. But you can go to a store where their buyers have pulled that look together for you.

Joe:

If you’re a Pottery Barn shopper, same kind of thing. You go to Pottery Barn and they’ve curated a set of things that fit a certain demographic and the lifestyle that they’re looking for. So I think you’re going to see a lot more of that curation. We did tour in New York City a couple of years ago, and the stores that were really doing amazing well were really deep into that curation idea.

Stephanie:

Yeah. I love that. I completely agree. I’m thinking right now about going into a Crate and Barrel or something like that, and I’m looking to find new things of a similar style, instead of going somewhere that’s exactly the same that I can just find online. That’s a really interesting take. How are you viewing the omni-channel experience of making sure that’s frictionless when someone’s looking online and then going into the store and having a good experience online and offline?

Joe:

I think a few retailers are starting to really get it right. I think in the beginning, omni-channel was a poor band-aid for I’m out of stock in the store, and I think most customers didn’t see that as a good solution. I think the right way to think of omni-channel is there used to be a really consistent funnel for how shoppers and the shopper journey went from just initial discovery all the way through purchase, and that funnel, I think, no longer exists. I think people find out about products all over the place. You might see it on a television show. You might hear about it from a friend, you might see it on social media, and your discovery happens in your life. Omni-channel really ought to enable you to easily find something you’re interested in whenever you see it, or whenever you want to. There was an old Burger King commercial Have It Your Way, I think 30 years ago.

Stephanie:

I remember that.

Joe:

I think the omni-channel today really means that shoppers ought to be able to engage with a brand or engage with a product wherever and however they want to.

Stephanie:

And I like the idea too of picking up where you left off. Like if I’m shopping online and then I enter the store or get near it, a subtle reminder of, “Oh, hey. You were looking at this and it’s actually here on aisle seven,” or whatever it is, directing me to complete the consumer journey. But I don’t feel like it’s there yet. I know we’ve got beacons and ability to see when people are entering your store and track that, but it seems like not a lot of retailers have fully leaned into that method to make sure that the full experience is cohesive.

Joe:

Yeah. I think that we’re coming from the early days of that. One of my favorite stories years ago, we were shopping for a Tiffany lamp years ago, a couple of years ago, Tiffany lamp. And I searched online one night, looked at some options. We went to a store and we bought a Tiffany lamp. And for the next two months, every banner ad I had on the internet was for Tiffany lamps.

Stephanie:

Yeah. It’s like I’m past Tiffany now. I’m onto the next kind of lamp.

Joe:

I think that what’s happened is there’s been too much of trying to use algorithms and online searches and data to try to target individuals with things that you think they might be interested in and not enough focus on helping people build a cart of things that you are interested in. So, for example, imagine if you turn it around for a minute and the brand for an item that you’re interested in has an ability for you to put something that you’re interested in, in a basket. And then when you pass a store that carries that item, that has it in stock, they flag you that this thing you’re interested is in this store, and it’s almost turning it all the way around from the store or the brand pushing to having the brand help guide you to where you find things.

Stephanie:

Yeah, that’s really good. That’s the kind of world I would like to live in where it actually is helpful and not annoying. I was just speaking with another guest about text messages and how certain retail locations will be like, “Come on in for 20% off,” and I’m like, it’s not helpful when I’m sitting on my couch, watching The Bachelor. It’s helpful when I’m walking into the store and they’re like, “Hey, you better make sure you buy that rug from World Market because here’s a coupon now. So make sure you finish the journey and you don’t just walk in and out.” But yeah-

Joe:

You’re reaching to the point that’s one of the things I think the retailers especially are missing, and I don’t know what a good analogy is, but I think that discounts and sales and coupons are an overused tool and they influence a lot of people, but not everybody. I think that for some people being first is more important than getting it on sale. For other people something scarce and having access to it before it runs out. So I think there’s a lot of opportunity, even just convenience. Take a grocery store, nearly every grocery store I’ve ever been in, they put all the staples in the back, and they run with 19th century’s retail logic of, oh, if I make people walk all the way through the store, they might buy some more stuff.

Stephanie:

Not me, I got blinders on. I’m like I need my milk and goodbye.

Joe:

It turns out that the convenience stores like 7-Eleven sell a ton of milk. I don’t know if you’ve ever bought a gallon of milk at 7-Eleven.

Stephanie:

I have, yeah. Hey, my two year old, desperate times desperate measures.

Joe:

And it’s about convenience. So if I were in a grocery chain, in fact, I talked to one about this big chain recently and said, “Why don’t you take your house brands of the staples and put them in a section in the front of the store where they’re super convenient and mark them up, make them the same price or maybe even a little bit more than the branded stuff.” And the answer was, “Well, we tried that and it didn’t work.” I’m like, “Oh, when did you do that?” “It was like 10 years ago.” I’m like, “People have changed a lot in 10 years.”

Stephanie:

Yeah. I’d rather pay more to get right to it. So what are some maybe interesting stories like that, where they have listened to your advice and they’ve seen good results? Or anything where you’re like, “Oh, I remember this one customer did this and they increased revenue a bunch because of this one subtle tweak in the store layout or how they did their products or inventory,” or whatever it may be.

Joe:

We’ll start a little bit maybe with I think that pretty much in every case when we’ve helped a retailer test or try a technology, the results always exceed the indicators that they put forward. And the very be wilderness thing to us is that even though these solutions look to deliver tremendous results and impact, they still don’t scale them.

Stephanie:

I don’t think.

Joe:

Years ago we had a partner that was putting cameras in the ceiling to measure shopper engagement, how long does it take for a staff to engage a customer? And they happen to have as an artifact of that, I won’t say the brand, but they had a brand of popular, very popular Cola was in the camera view on the shelf. And they observed that this diet version, this Cola was out of stock almost all the time. So they went to the head of all stores for this giant grocery chain and said, “Hey, I think that there’s an opportunity for you to…” Actually it was, I’m sorry, the brand, they went to the brand and said, “You got a not at stock problem in this grocery chain.” The guy they talked to said, “Oh, there’s no way. I was head of merchandising in Southern California. We have people in that store twice a day checking inventory. Its inventory are stocked twice a week. We are never out of product.”

Joe:

And I’m like, “Oh, really? Here’s some video of how much you’re out of stock.” And it turned out that within a half a day that they stocked, they would sell out and they would be out of stock all day, for two days. The problem we run into is you put process in place and you tell people to follow the process and it may or may not happen. So they look at this and they’re like, “Well, there’s tremendous value in having this product in stock. It’s a driver product for the store.” If they’re out of stock, and the store cares that they’re out of stock. The cost of deploying the solution was probably $30 a month per store, not a huge thing for one of their top 70 driver products, and yet it never scaled.

Stephanie:

Interesting.

Joe:

And you feel this thing. There was another one where the labor, they showed this 30% increase in tool sales in a major chain by tracking the staff and shopper engagement and improving that. It was really simple solution. Almost never scales. Now one that we have seen scale, Theatro makes a Voice over IP ear piece set up for staff. So if you go to, I think, well Bass Pro Shops, as an example, who’s the one that does jeans and apparel for teams? They all have an ear piece and a radio.

Stephanie:

Oh, Alister? Gap.

Joe:

Anyway, it doesn’t matter. A lot of retailers use radios, and there’s a cost in the radios, and for a parody, they can switch over to this Voice over IP, and this is one where we’re seeing people test it, and then in a matter of weeks completely changed all their devices over. The value in that if you look at it, if you’re on a radio network, everybody that has an ear piece in their ear hears all the chatter from everybody all day. With this new solution, you can address a message to an individual person. So only the person you want to talk to gets the message. Then there’s the ability to ask for stock and deliveries and things like that. So they’ve also built the ability, some of their customers, if somebody drives up to do a pickup, you order online, pick up at the curb, you don’t want there to be a high friction experience. You want to be able to pull up, very quickly have somebody bring your item and leave.

Stephanie:

So where do you think then the future of retail? What does it look like with all these new… Some of them feel like little tweaks, a radio where you just talk to who you want. To me, some of those things feel little. Are there not enough incentives for these retail stores to change? I know you had mentioned Wall Street maybe beating up on retailers a little bit when it comes to wanting to try new and innovative things. What do you think is holding back retail right now?

Joe:

I think a big part of it is Wall Street, again, back to that root cause problem. There’s a set of retailers that we think of as digital media, and these are brands that started as a purely online brand, and now they’re going to open up stores and they realize once they get to about a billion dollars or so in revenue to get to the next level, they’ve got to go physically open stores or expand their reach.

Stephanie:

Yeah, like Warby Parkers of the world.

Joe:

Yeah, exactly. And these digital native retailers, when they come into the physical world, they expect access to the same kind of insights that they’ve been getting with their online entity. They want to understand how many shoppers are coming in and when? What’s the dwell? When people are picking things up and putting them down and not buying them, it’s like something in your cart that you took back out. And they come in with a long list of insights that they’d like to be able to get in the retail operation. The question in Intel is how can you help me find people that can bring these solutions or help me deploy these solutions? And when I go to more traditional brick and mortar retail, the conversation is trying to convince them they should have these insights.

Joe:

So I think that a part of it is the digital natives come from a world of when you’re online only, the only insights you have into your shopper is through the data trail they leave behind them. I think if you go to brick and mortar, they’re not used to capitalizing and utilizing that data. Talked to one partner recently, they haven’t validated this, but they said that the amount of data that Walmart generates in a day would take 26 years to upload to the cloud, being given traditional techniques.

Stephanie:

Wow.

Joe:

So there’s a tremendous amount of data created in the enterprise of retail every day. And we think with IoT and the cost of compute coming down so much, and the ability to use AI to get insights, you can utilize a lot of this data at the edge without incurring the costs of moving it to the cloud and trying to process it there. I think that if you imagine that you’re moving petabytes of data to the cloud, and you’re trying to find the needles in the haystack, it’s a really big haystack. How about if I just try to sift through the insights real time as they’re occurring in the store?

Joe:

We talked to a major fast food chain who prides themselves on fresh product, and one of their major problems, I won’t say what the product is, but they were throwing away 40% of their product to maintain the freshness, and they wanted to have a short wait because they understood freshness was important, and freshness was important for the brand, but they were having a huge product waste problem, and they wanted to use predictive analytics to understand what’s happening in the parking lot? What’s happening in the drive through and what’s my queue look like in the store so they could predict when to put product in the cooker versus cooking it always, and then having it there just in case.

Stephanie:

Were you guys able to help with that?

Joe:

Absolutely. That kind of change drives tremendous business cost savings, but also ensures that your product is fresh and that your customers are satisfied in having to wait for product. So when done well, we think these insights deliver not only customer satisfaction, but also tremendous business impact.

Stephanie:

I mean, that also makes sense for why a lot of the more Legacy Retailers are scooping up all these DTC brands and keeping them separate and learning from them to see like, oh, what are you guys doing over there? And then starting to integrate them into the org to maybe be brought up to speed a bit with how maybe retail should operate from a digital perspective and what are the expectations coming in from someone who’s used to that? And how can it get implemented into the org? We had someone on from Kellogg’s who said just that. They would acquire different DTC brands, but then keep them off on their own so they didn’t get too mixed into the Kellogg’s culture because they wanted the DTC brands to stay as their own brand. So they didn’t, I guess, turn too corporate if it happens. I don’t know.

Joe:

Maybe not say corporate. I think you don’t want to turn them old school.

Stephanie:

Yeah, exactly.

Joe:

[crosstalk] We see that same thing, and you mentioned the expectations. One of the ways we explained this consumer expectations, every time you have a better consumer experience on your mobile, better app experience, in the back of your mind, you wonder why every experience isn’t that good. I’m old enough that I used to travel where you had to go to the ticket counter to get your boarding passes before you could print it at home, and then they went to kiosk where you could print them at the airport and it was an amazing improvement, and then they went to actually really pretty good apps. So airline apps, you can see if there’s a meal on the plane, you can pick your seat. You can do quite a few things, check the status of the incoming flight, et cetera. Airline apps are really pretty good, and I travel a ton and I stay in hotels all the time. Why are the hotel apps worse than the airline apps? Why can’t I pick my room?

Stephanie:

That’s true. Why? I’m sure you probably asked them before.

Joe:

Well, and actually it’s interesting. It turns out that the most hotel chains are using a third party service to assign and block rooms.

Stephanie:

Got it.

Joe:

So they don’t actually have control over that, which is kind of crazy.

Joe:

And so I think what happens is anytime you have this better experience as a consumer, then it raises the bar on your expectations for every other experience. Cabs were, I’ve never enjoyed a cab ride. Not once in my life, I think.

Stephanie:

No, never.

Joe:

Uber realized early that there was a huge amount of friction in getting ride and people hated cabs. You’d call for a cab, all they would do is throw it on the radio network and maybe a cab responds, maybe not. You didn’t have any predictability. When you get to your location, the last thing you want to do is sit there in the cab on the street corner and spend two or three minutes paying the cab driver.

Stephanie:

Yeah, awkward.

Joe:

And they understood that there was this huge friction. Well, now that Uber has taken the friction out of getting a ride, consumers see friction elsewhere in their life, and like why do I have this friction? Why is this not as good as an Uber?

Stephanie:

So what areas do you think are the biggest friction points when it comes to retail locations right now? And what do you wish things were looking like maybe over the next couple of years? What are you guys planning for? Where are you hoping the world will be in like three to five years?

Joe:

Well, we think that you’re going to see a lot more delivery. I think that grocery delivery was very slowly ramping, pick up at the curb or delivery, and with the pandemic, a ton of people jumped in and tried it that probably wouldn’t have tried it for a long time. So the adoption curve for that took a real steep spike up, and we don’t think that that adoption is going to slow down. So I think that the grocery, and the grocery business is tough. They run really slim margins, and we talked to one major chain and they said, if you pick up at the curb, that they lose $5. And if they deliver, they lose 10 to 15. So the chains have to figure out how they’re going to deal with that. There are a bunch of startups that are building essentially dark store technology. So instead of having a retail location with a giant parking lot and a big square footage and employees, they’ll end up with a small industrial space with all the same inventory, but some robotics that will pull stuff off the shelf and pack totes.

Stephanie:

We actually just talked to a company called Wolseley who talked about how they see the future being… They’re B2B also for plumbing and HVAC and things like that, but they’re like, “I’m not so sure if retail for us anyways is the way to go anymore,” instead of just having a small guide shop out front, and then just having a micro fulfillment center or a warehouse in the back, and then they get your stuff and give it to you on the curb. But why do you need to come in for their business anyways and shop around when a lot of times these contractors already know what they want. They don’t need to walk around like they would at Home Depot.

Joe:

It’s funny, I was at a home improvement store recently, and I’m waiting in customer service to make a return, and they’re on the phone with a customer who very wisely placed an order for like 50 things, probably contractor, but he did an online pickup at the curb order. They were on hold with this guy and they’re talking to each other saying, “We don’t have the labor to have somebody spend an hour running around the store to pick all these stuff.” What a smart contractor? Why not have the home improvement staff eat that labor versus him send somebody? And he said, “Hey, can you please call me once it’s all picked?”

Stephanie:

That’s smart. I mean, how can-

Joe:

And of course they had to say, “Sure.” The manager’s like, “Yeah, absolutely.” So I think what’s going to happen is these expectations are going to keep rising from consumers, and the retailers are going to have to figure out how to adapt.

Stephanie:

Yeah. It seems it’s the pricing thing, though. Right now everyone is expecting a curbside delivery or something to be free because it’s new and that’s the expectation now, but I could see eventually being like, if you want someone to shop for you, just like you would with any of these grocery delivery shopping apps, you’re going to have to pay a little bit to have them go and-

Joe:

But look at it this way. We talked, again, one of these companies building these systems and we talked to a big chain that’s testing it. If you go to the normal financial model for a grocery store, big piece of real estate, prime location, huge parking lot, a lot of physical assets tied up. And if you go to a dark store, really cheap, industrial space real estate, so the real estate model’s completely different, the staffing model’s completely different, and the financials could be such that, and again, I don’t know, but it actually might be cheaper to deliver groceries that way. Now, it’s a new build add, it’s a new approach, but again it’s a huge change, but it doesn’t necessarily have to mean higher prices for consumers. And I think what’s going to happen is some will try to charge more and others will figure out how to go do it in a way that doesn’t cost more.

Stephanie:

That’s a good point. I like that. So how do you think about-

Joe:

It’s competitiveness, right?

Stephanie:

Yeah. Hey, that’s economics right there. Someone will figure it out and put the other one out of business possibly, or not. But how are you thinking about new technology right now? I know we were talking a bit about AI and how it’s impacting retail and retail workers. What are your thoughts around that or other technologies that are maybe going to disrupt retail?

Joe:

Well, still really believe a lot in computer vision, and I think one of the things I’m really proud of for Intel is we’ve always been huge advocates and protectors of consumer privacy, personal privacy. So as a company, our core culture, our philosophy, our lobbying efforts are all around protecting privacy. Our point of view in using cameras in retail, and we’ve been helping people do this for many years, we only want to do it in a way that’s totally anonymous. So it’s not like I’m trying to detect Joe when Joe walks in the store. I want to look at the pattern of behavior that this shopper has anonymously, and what have people in the past that had that similar pattern of behavior been interested in, and how might I go send some staff over to do the right thing there. So take me, for example, if we go to the mall and I’m with my wife or daughters, I’m probably hanging out with him and I’m not really shopping. So I’m wandering in the store-

Stephanie:

You’re that personally couch just chilling.

Joe:

Yeah, or I might be wandering around in the men’s department, but I’m kind of killing time, but I’m probably open for somebody to come show me something, because I’m browsing and you could observe that, oh, this person is slowly walking around and looking at stuff. There’s other times when I need another white dress shirt for a business trip, and I know exactly which door to park at, that’s the shortest distance to the white dress shirts. And I’m walking in a direct line to a section. Computer vision and AI could detect that this shopper’s not browsing, don’t bother him. Don’t send them a discount coupon or don’t send him alert to some new item they might be interested in.

Stephanie:

Do you have retailers right now who are implementing that? Because that sounds awesome and a really good way to personalize to the shoppers coming in. Do you have anyone who’s trying anything out yet?

Joe:

There’ve been lots of things to experiment and test, a lot of partners building solutions like that. I think the world of privacy right now is way too fragmented. Too many different points of view, too many different state perspectives on it. You’ve got some places where cameras are banned. You can’t use a camera at all. And I think that the governments really need to get their act together and understand how is the data going to be used? How is the technologies? How can it be done in a way to protect privacy? In the implementations, we advocate no data ever leaves the edge, the system. The only thing that ever leaves the system it’s account. This kind of shopper did this kind of pattern of behavior. Everything’s fully anonymous. Back in the early days, we actually went and talked to governments across Europe where the privacy is even more simple, and every government entity we talked to was totally comfortable with the approach we were advocating.

Joe:

I think the computer vision that we think is really going to be profound, and it’ll be used for mundane things like trying to understand out of stocks or inventory situation. Years ago, I won’t say the name of the chain, but there was a study where they’re comparing Amazon to a giant big-box retailer. They went to 25 locations of the big-box retailer and bought these 40 items and then they priced it out on Amazon. The headline for the story was Amazon was more expensive than the physical retail location, which was big news at the time because everybody thought Amazon is just winning on price. But the subtitle of the article, the second message was, but 25% of the items on average were out of stock at the brick and mortar retailer.

Joe:

We happened to be meeting with the executives in that company about a week after that, story came out and their heads were exploding because they thought they had a 5% out of stock problem. And it turns out that they did in terms of it was in the store, but it had a huge congestion of stuff in the back room that wasn’t on the shelf yet. And as we dug into it further, we did a lot of work with them using computer vision and whatnot, this is years ago, and it turned out that one of the behaviors they had that they had to try to break is the people stocking the shelves would bring a box of say large size mint shampoo out and they needed to have the small and the large, but they didn’t have the small, so they just filled the shelf up in the large.

Joe:

So when somebody came to look for the small, it’s out of stock, and the shelf looked full because they would face it all out so that every front was full of product, but they didn’t have all the products on the shelf. It was really because the people stocking the shelves were not following the process and they’re being lazy, and that’s where we thought to-

Stephanie:

Use robots then. Robots aren’t lazy and they listen to whatever you tell them. So that must just be the way to fix things.

Joe:

Yeah, maybe. I guess as a tech company maybe that’s a good thing for us, but I think that, again, if it’s a staple, you just want it to be convenient, and convenient means the fastest, easiest way possible. To me it’s like when I run out a catch-up, wouldn’t it be amazing if it was just at my door automatically the moment I needed it? Well, we’re not there yet, but at some point, somebody’s going to figure out how to make my running out of ketchup something that won’t happen.

Stephanie:

Yeah. I thought there were brands or companies working on that to track what’s in your refrigerator and then reorder it if it’s out. Maybe that never came to fruition and that was more just that [inaudible 00:36:00].

Joe:

They’ve been a lot. We actually had some partners who were doing that years ago as well. The challenge ran into it I think is how do you know what’s in your fridge? Does the consumer scan all the barcodes? Do you have the discipline to scan a barcode when you run out. These problems certainly aren’t easy to solve. We mentioned earlier out of stock, so I’m working at that problem. We worked with probably, I don’t know, more than 20 big retailers on trying to see how RFID could help solve their inventory accuracy. Then we would always start with taking one of their stores and we would do a really deep physical inventory. We never found any retailer that had better than 65% of their skews correctly counted.

Stephanie:

Wow. That’s sad.

Joe:

Then if you want to be able to compete with an online-only retailer who gives free shipping, you probably have to give free shipping, but wouldn’t it be ideal if you could deliver all of your stuff from a local store so that you minimize the shipping time, you minimize the shipping cost. But if you don’t know what your inventory is, then you take an order assuming you’ve got really close delivery, but then it’s out of stock in the store. We talked to the department store who was really aggressively trying to do this fulfill from store, and they were spending on average 20 minutes per item to find it on the floor.

Stephanie:

Jeez, if they’re taking 20 minutes-

Joe:

That’s [crosstalk 00:37:26], right?

Stephanie:

Yeah, that’s wild.

Joe:

So they were looking at RFID to try to be able to help with that as well. With RFID, you would know where things are in the store. This is another one too. We talked to, gosh, I’m try to really keep people anonymous here, a head of stores executive who came from a large brand who had a lot of stores, and they deployed RFID in all their products in the branded stores, and they’ve got their sales go up like 60%.

Stephanie:

So why wouldn’t everyone do RFID? We’re talking about Japan’s doing it with all their stores now, brands who are implementing it, are taking off when it comes to sales. Why wouldn’t people? What’s the holdup? Why are more people-

Joe:

That’s the big mystery? So if you can figure this out through your interview, please share.

Stephanie:

I will have to start asking around. I’m like it seems like a no brainer. Is it hard to get your manufacturers to do it?

Joe:

I think there’s a lot of processes that get touched, is one of the problems. There’s your supply chain, there’s your distribution center, there’s all the staff in the distribution center, there’s process changes at the store. So there’s a lot of pieces of this that end up getting touched. We talked to one retailer, big retailer, who they made the change on the POS. It was a touchscreen checkout for the staff. They had to do a training class to train people on this change, and it was a two hour training class for like 170,000 employees. And they said it was all extra time. You couldn’t do it on the floor. So now you’ve got 340,000 extra hours of labor to make a simple change on a user interface.

Joe:

I think when it gets to doing these kinds of changes, what happens when there’s a return? What happens when there’s a return but the RFID tag is no longer in the item? So there’s a lot of things that have to change. I think what’s going to happen is we’re going to see branded retail do this first because they control the supply chain, and you’re going to see some really tremendous results. The example I gave you when they were head of brand and retail at one brand, and then went to another one, the challenge with the second one is they had a lot more suppliers, so they had to manage a lot of factories to supply their stores, even though they were all their own brand. It was still a supply chain challenge.

Stephanie:

Well, it seems like Whole Foods and Amazon are going to be the first ones that can do it. They’ve got the ability to, especially with Amazon’s operations and processes, and they’ve got the Whole Foods brand going on. They control all their supply chain.

Joe:

And the Amazon could decide to spend a gigantic amount of cash modernizing Whole Foods infrastructure and Wall Street wouldn’t blink an eye. Kroger could never do that because Wall Street wouldn’t let them.

Stephanie:

That’s sad, and also just shows how there’s, I don’t know. It makes you wonder about how a lot of companies right now aren’t going the IPO route, and I get it. I get it hearing and seeing the incentives like that, or lack of incentives of wanting to… They talk about destroy your business to make an even better one and how some of the best companies had to do that, whether it be the Netflix of the worlds. But yeah, it seems like a lot is held back.

Joe:

What do you mean? Private equity, we’re seeing more and more where private equity will come in and the leadership of the company will be in favor of a private equity takeover because it can pull themselves off the Wall Street treadmill for a bit to make these fundamental changes.

Stephanie:

But isn’t it usually a bad sign when PE comes in? Don’t most of those companies end up going bankrupt when this happens?

Joe:

I think there’s a couple kinds of private equity. Look at Dell. Not a retail case, but Dell they needed to retool Dell and they needed to not be under the scrutiny of Wall Street for a while, and Dell has done amazing things through the use of private equity. I think if the company is fundamentally unsound, private equity might be vulture capital, where they come in and strip things down to the bones and get rid of it. But I think fundamentally sound business that needs to make changes that aren’t really possible to Wall Street, I think this is going to be one of the areas where I think there’s going to be a lot of money made where private equity is going to go look at some of these really good retailers that fundamentally have to change. And if wall street doesn’t change the model P&L expectations, I think private equity will become a much bigger factor.

Stephanie:

That’s a hot take. I like that. That’s very interesting. So if there was some data right now that brands should be collecting at their retail locations, that’s not really hard to implement, but they should be doing from the start, what comes to mind? Where you’re like, “Right away, you should be collecting at least these five attributes on your customers as they come in and you don’t need computer vision. You don’t need beacons or RFID, but you should at least have this to be able to give a better experience to your consumer.” Anything come to mind?

Joe:

I think that the thing that is most fundamental, and it’s still shocking that all retailers don’t do this, and that’s just counting your traffic. Not counting it daily, but knowing what’s happening with your traffic every minute.

Joe:

But I think understanding your traffic, that’s the most important thing for an online business. What’s my traffic? Dwell. How long was this shopper in the store? How long was this shopper on my site? What things did the shopper browse? What was their click path for my online? What was their path in the store? For me, if I were going to leave tech and move into retail, I would start with how does an online retailer excel? And how would I try to get all those same insights for brick and mortar? One of the things to me that… There’s a tremendous amount of demand created real time in retail. So we saw one study that says 60% of purchases in stores in the US and Europe are for things people didn’t know they were going to buy when they went to the store. So a huge amount of real-time demand. You see something, you like it, and you decide you want to buy it. Well, how disappointing is it when you see something you like and then it’s out of stock in your size?

Stephanie:

That’s worse sometimes.

Joe:

That goes from being a point of excitement. You got a little bit of excitement to buy something and then you’re let down. What we would say is rather than having mannequins displaying items that the brand is paying you to show this week. We talked to retail after retailer after two or three days of something on the mannequin that sold out, but they’re paid to run it for a week. So they’re creating demand for something that’s sold out because the contract of the brand said you need to show this item for a week. It’s funny. If you talk to a giant apparel brand about this problem, honestly, one of the C-suite executive was like, “Oh my God, that’s why stuff’s always out of stock in the store.” I’m like, “Yeah, you have some flexibility and freedom to the staff to put what they have too much of.”

Joe:

We talked to one major department store chain that made that change a few years ago where they said, “Instead of getting paid to run things on the mannequins, we’re going to have our staff every evening look at inventory and whatever they have too much of, put that on the mannequin for the next day.” And it’s amazing how much they were able to sell through inventory before they had the market down. We would advocate that at the front of the store where you’ve got posters and prints, maybe it’s a department store and it’s prom dress season, so you’re showing prom dresses on the poster, that isn’t really relevant to most of your shoppers. Most girls are not prom dress age. Most moms are not at the age of having daughters that are prom dress age. Most dads don’t buy the prom dress.

Joe:

Put a more simple thing in it. Put a digital sign at the front of the store with a camera that will anonymously look at age and gender. And then if you’re really sophisticated, you could say, “Okay, well now I’m going try in inventory system and I have too many of something.” Phoenix it was a really dry winter. We have too many raincoats. I see a guy coming in and I’ve got too many men’s raincoats. Throw a men’s raincoat on the screen. And even the next step, we can estimate the size of the shopper. So I’ve got a really big guy coming in, but I’m out of extra large raincoats. Don’t show them a raincoat. These subtle things, and it’s not like every shopper is going to buy a raincoat, but suddenly putting something that’s possibly more relevant on the screen than a prom dress is a great way to use that valuable real estate. That’s the kind of thing that an online retailer will do. Like Zulily, they introduce thousands of new products every day.

Stephanie:

Zulily? Yeah.

Joe:

We met with them one day at one point, and they said in the morning, early in the morning, they have one landing page, and by 8:00 AM, they have 280 unique landing pages. Then they know what demographic, what bucket you fall in for them as a shopper. So when you go to their landing page at 10 in the morning, you’re going to see something that’s full of things likely to be relevant to you.

Stephanie:

We were talking with Lenovo way early on in the show and they were saying they have 85,000 different landing pages going on at any one point. I’m like, “Oh my gosh, how do you keep track of that?” But he’s like, “Oh yeah, that’s just how you test and know what people want.” So it’s just very interesting. But I think Zulily though, when they say how many landing pages they have, they are all about talking about being personalized and stuff, but I think a lot of times they just think having a new name isn’t being personalized and they count that towards a new landing page. That does not count just saying, “Hi, Stephanie,” or, “Hi, Joe.”

Joe:

The way they were explaining to us is if you shop for baby clothes, you often are buying baby clothes, your landing page would have baby clothes on it. If you don’t buy baby clothes, your landing page would not have baby clothes.

Stephanie:

Yeah. That’s more personalized. I like that. Very cool.

Joe:

The key thing here is that this is a journey. I don’t think anybody’s going to go make all these changes overnight, but there’s the ability to start using this information. I think one starting, know your shoppers. It’s amazing how many retailers when we talk to them about what are your shopper’s pain points? What are your shoppers not happy with? They don’t have a good answer, which is really surprising. For me, when we’re out trying to define solutions for the market, the first thing we look for is what’s a business problem. And if I go into education, what is the problem that educators are having right now that they’re worried about? We go into hospitality, what problem do they need help solving? I often tell people at Intel, we have 3,200 PhDs. If we understand your problem, we can figure out how to solve it. And it’s amazing how many retailers don’t spend time really understanding what friction or what pain points do their shoppers have.

Stephanie:

Yeah. I think they’re going to have to now. I think now with everything that’s happened and you had the acceleration of ecommerce, there will be, like you said, new expectations. And yeah, I think the theme is now there’s also all these new technology to use and utilize, and maybe implement if it’s allowed, but then putting that extra level of human curation on top of it when needed is going to be the way of the future. So use the tech, but also have it curated and have the human feel to it that people are going to miss over this next year, especially with how much we’ve been at home all by ourselves.

Joe:

And after people have really radically modified their behavior for a year. A few months it was one thing, but we’re coming up on a year where people have had to change pretty fundamentally how they shop and live. How much of that’s going to stick permanently? Like I said, I think grocery, and some of those things are going to way more people will be doing that post pandemic than did pre pandemic and they’ll stick with it. What else is going to fundamentally change?

Stephanie:

Yeah, I agree. All right. Well, I know we’re running up on time, so I want to shift over to the lightning round brought to you by our friends at Salesforce Commerce Cloud. This is where I’m going to ask you a question and you have a minute or less to answer. Are you ready, Joe?

Joe:

I am ready.

Stephanie:

All right. What’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for you?

Joe:

Oh my gosh. Our twin daughters were born three months premature, and the amount of help and leaning in that we had as relatively young and new to Arizona couple was just staggering. Probably 80 families leaned in to help us, which is amazing,

Stephanie:

Man, I’m going to come to Arizona. That sounds like a nice spot to be. How old are your twins?

Joe:

They’re 30 today. That was a long time ago.

Stephanie:

Nice. I also have twin boys, and I’m a twin.

Joe:

That’s awesome.

Stephanie:

What’s up next on your reading list?

Joe:

I’m really actually studying more around AI and frameworks and trying to get a bit smarter around the nerdy geek stuff. So I don’t have any grade to casual reading. For me it’s more about the tech.

Stephanie:

Hey, that’s good. Well, I was just going to ask you what one thing do you not understand today that you wish you did? Is it AI, or are there other things that you wish you understood?

Joe:

I grew up as a silicon engineer and so I’m a hardware person and I’m not a software developer, I never have been. And so I’m really trying to understand the worldview of a software developer more than a hardware person. At least I think I know I don’t know everything. So it’s almost like the first step of the 12 step program, acknowledging that I don’t know everything, I’m there.

Stephanie:

Well then maybe you want to check out the book I’m just starting to read. I think it’s called Ask your Developer by the Twilio CEO. I just started reading it.

Joe:

That sounds good.

Stephanie:

Yeah, there you go. If you were to have a podcast, what would it be about? And who would your first guest be?

Joe:

My podcast would be on how technology is going to fundamentally transform shoppers’ lives.

Stephanie:

I love that. Who would your first guest be?

Joe:

And my first guest, I would actually like to have Bezos.

Stephanie:

As do I. Let’s go get him. Jeff, where are you at?

Joe:

See if he can help you with that.

Stephanie:

Yeah, I know. Is Moore’s law dead?

Joe:

Moore’s law, if you think about it purely as Silicon, which is when Gordon created that, it was really a silicon construct. We’re no longer on that same track, but at a system level in terms of what a system does for you, we’re on a similar curve. One of my favorite ways to explain this is, if you hold up your smartphone, the amount of compute in your smartphone 10 years ago was 100X the volume and the same thing’s going to be true. So if you look at this amount of compute today is going to be one-100th the size in 10 years. Or you could say, “Hey, what would 100X?” It’d be a giant server room could be in your phone. And so if you think about it, it’s not a matter of if I have enough compute to do something, it’s a matter of when I have enough compute to do something.

Stephanie:

Got it.

Joe:

And I think that’s probably to me the magic of Moore’s law and some people really get it, and they really understand that it’s just a matter of a few years until the compute is cheap enough to do what you want. We’re talking about AI for a minute, if we go back 10 years ago at Intel, we had $100,000 computer workstation on every one of our factory tools and these are $50 million tools. Workstation and a huge number of engineers creating algorithms to optimize our manufacturing. So we were doing AI that was very expensive 10 years ago. Very few manufacturing processes can afford that. You jump forward to today and it’s simple and cheap and easy to have that amount of compute, and the maturity of this AI computer environment is so much improved that anybody can really deploy what took an army of engineers and very expensive compute 10 years ago.

Stephanie:

Oh, I love that. I forget what show podcast I was listening to where they were talking about AI and saying a lot of the stuff that we have today, we had access to 10 years ago. We just didn’t have the compute power and the ability to do it, but people knew it was coming. And I’d always be interested to hear from those people who could see the vision and be like, “I just need another five or 10 years of acceleration and then my product will work.” It’s very interesting.

Joe:

If you imagine the amount of compute that you can afford, whatever that number is, $1000, $100, whatever, but the amount of compute you can afford is going to double in performance every 18 months. Okay, double, you can imagine that, but you don’t realize it’s 10X in five years and 10X is really hard to comprehend.

Stephanie:

Yeah, it’s hard to extrapolate things like that. Well, I appreciate you answering that question. I was like, “Hmm, I know Joe will have a good answer for this one, even though it’s very maybe off of ecommerce.” But Joe, thank you so much for coming on the show. Where can people find out more about you and your work?

Joe:

Well, I work for Intel, obviously. We do have a retail landing page at Intel. We actually don’t sell anything to retailers. All of our work is done enabling suppliers to retail to build better solutions, and I try to spend all my time, if possible, talking to retailers to better understand the business problems they have so I can help guide my partners in building better solutions.

Stephanie:

Cool. Sounds good. Well, people will go and find you if they have any questions I’m sure then. Thanks so much.

Joe:

Thanks, Stephanie.

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