Q&A: Brian Lange and Phillip Jackson talk FutureCommerce
October 5, 2017
During the day, Phillip Jackson is an eCommerce Evangelist at Something Digital, and Brian Lange, is the West Coast Director at Something Digital. At night they lead not-so-secret double lives as the presenters of the popular podcast, FutureCommerce. As a double act, they’ve broadcasted over 42 podcasts on artificial intelligence, virtual reality, body data, passive commerce, and more. This week, Brian and Phillip told Magento how their podcast magic is made.
Q: How did you get started doing podcasts?
Phillip: Myself and Kalen Jordan started a podcast called MageTalk three years ago. We had this amazing conversation about why SI’s [solution integrators] and merchants, very distinct groups of people in the Magento space, weren’t talking together. We thought, the two of us bridge [this gap], so let’s make a podcast. Brian and I started having the same types of conversations, but around merchants and retailers. I said, “why isn’t someone podcasting about retail future stuff?”
Brian is an incredible connector. And that’s really what our differentiator is. He networks and understands how to get to other people and how to make connections with other people progressively. He created a plan: He said, “If we start with only people we know and the end goal is Jeff Bezos, how do we get there?” He just started connecting with the right people.
Brian: When you have interesting things to talk about, it’s easier to talk to people who are interesting. Our first interview was Tom Robertshaw, who was great. The second interview we had was Scott Emmons from Neiman Marcus Innovation Lab. I bumped into him at ShopTalk and laid out my vision for the future and he’s like, “This is cool, let’s talk.”
The key is, if you have interesting things to say, and you keep your content original and fresh, then it’s a lot easier to go up to somebody that is an authority in the space and say, “I have an interesting idea.”
Q: Aside from Jeff Bezos, who else is on your dream guest list?
Brian: We’d like to have Mark Cuban on.
Phillip: That sets us up for all these other opportunities. There are some other people in that space that are more in the angel and VC [venture capitalist] crowd, too.
It’s more about strategic growth of the podcast audience. If we can play a little bit in each of these sandboxes–angel, VC, and startup–not just retail, we can get people who have tangential businesses that have nice overlap. Our podcast is the Venn diagram of that, where we find the intersection of all these industries.
Q: What have been your most popular topics?
Brian: For a long time, body data was a large driver of listenership.
Phillip: We’ve had amazing guests on, like Body Labs, who are making great use of this technology. They can do realistic three-dimensional imaging and modeling from a two-dimensional photograph.
Q: What are some of the most popular speakers you’ve had?
Brian: Nick Vu from Adidas. He was the Head of Direct-to-Consumer in North America at Adidas and did a lot of really cool stuff. Nick was instrumental in bringing down their cost per square foot in the retail space and did a lot of experiential commerce.
We also did a cross podcast collaboration with Jason and Scot which was really popular as well.
Phillip: Robert Scoble. He was part of a podcast network called TWiT. He’s from the Walt Mossberg era of tech journalism.
Brian: He was one of the original tech bloggers.
Phillip: He was on the show, and that was great. He has a massive audience. Also, this great guy named Peter Sheldon, you may have heard of him. [Editor’s note: Peter Sheldon is the VP of Strategy at Magento Commerce.]
Q: How do you find time to make podcasts on top of your day jobs?
Brian: Sometimes I’ll get up at five. Phillip will stay up until three. Dedication and commitment–we want to be doing it.
Phillip: Here is the key: It is so hard to be consistent. It’s just about consistency. It’s frequency of content and maintaining it over a long period of time.
Check out the FutureCommerce podcast here.