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Mister Beacon Episode #114

The Internet of Expensive Things - IoT in Luxury Retail

December 01, 2020

You’ve heard about the Amazon Go Store and all the big box retailers implementing technology to transform the way we shop, but are we seeing the same advancements in the luxury sector? This week we talk to Inspify, a technology company that is ‘reinventing the art of retail in luxury boutiques’.

Thorsten Walther, CEO of Inspify, sits down with us to talk about their product: a customer experience platform as a service. Currently, their focus is creating custom experiences for luxury brands in the boutique and online for jewelry and watches. Tune in this week to catch a glimpse of Inspify’s exceptional work turning the offline to online with the creation of virtual boutiques, equipped with the ultimate live chat feature with a sales representative. Coming full circle, we learn about how Inspify are using beacons on time pieces to engage with customers as a tool to enable social sharing and immerse them into product storytelling.


  • Narration 00:07

    The Mr. beacon podcast is sponsored by Wiliot, scaling IoT with battery-free Bluetooth.

    Steve Statler 00:16

    Welcome to the Mr. beacon podcast. I hope everyone is doing well, in these challenging times, looks like things are gonna get better, which is great. And I am really looking forward to this next conversation with Thorsten Walther, who's CEO of Inspify. Inspify specialize on IoT in the luxury retail segment, which is a fascinating area. It's a it's a, it's a different beast to many of the other retail categories that we we talk about. So Torsten. Thanks very much for joining us.

    Thorsten Walther 00:54

    Thanks, Steve. It's a great pleasure to be here with you. It's I really looking forward to to have this chat and absolutely right. Yeah, IoT for luxury. It's a very interesting topic.

    Steve Statler 01:06

    So tell us a bit about it's fine. What do you do? ,

    Thorsten Walther 01:11

    Inspify is a customer experience platform as a service. So we are a Singapore based tech company that is specialized in luxury retail. And what we are doing we build custom experiences for the luxury brands in the in the boutique, and also online virtually. So our key businesses is really telling the stories of the brand and the products of the brands in the most easy way, seamless and most emotional way to a customer

    Steve Statler 01:46

    and what kind of products to your customers sell in this luxury segment?

    Thorsten Walther 01:52

    Okay. Currently, we are very, very strong and luxury watches so we work with a lot of luck. Watch brands, like Pasha, Jaeger-LeCoultre, the IWC, Chopard. So, our current focuses and the jewelry and watch business right. We have also on the fashion side with with maxmara. So, but most of our customer come really from the jewelry watch business.

    Steve Statler 02:21

    And I am interested in how you join the online with the in store I assume a lot of your customers businesses now online given the COVID situation.

    Thorsten Walther 02:31

    Yeah, it's very interesting, right? The initial start from Inspify was really empowering the salesperson in the boutique through technology because if you see the last 2025 years, the evolution of luxury boutiques have not been a great step forward in technology maybe they have a static screen in the boutique. But they all the power was to the salesperson on the shop floor because the luxury brands think the sales process itself has enough skills to advise the customer for the right products and explain the products in the most emotional way right. So, this has to do with COVID-19 is very interesting. It has changed dramatically because our complete tool suite was not only retail was also we build virtually would take so what we are doing the replicate physical boot takes the virtual model from this and customer can now walk through the virtual boutique like they are in the in the shop floor. Plus a salesperson can connect life with a customer online in the virtual boutique. And both can now make a selling or shopping experience as they were physical. And this was very interesting when COVID came. We had a lot of a lot of lockdowns, right in Singapore, UK and around the world. And this was one element where luxury brands could provide the personal service to customer. Like in a boutique. It's not like a website. If you go to the website, maybe you have a chat or text chat. But luxury is all about putting product in the right context, right. And the right context with this environment is looks like a boutique with elements that you can really walk through the boutique. You can zoom into the products the client advisor can live you see him You can see his emotion, you can talk with him can explain about the specification of a watch the movement, how it is manufactured. You show videos about the manufacturing process. So you could have a really boutique experience online at the sofa of the customer's home. And this was very interesting if you see the future of retail, the physical would take will stay for the future. 100% sure right. Because nothing is more interesting to go to a boutique. But I believe between the physical boutique in the e commerce site where luxury boutiques going or luxury brands going also more and more than you in this business, but they're going more live in element which is called I call it virtual Selling right? It's really a place where you can meet the customer, you can see him you can show him the products and have a high quality client conversation on the client healing and this is something which comes new and fits exactly in the new way of retail.

    Steve Statler 05:19

    This is amazing. Fascinating So, so you're not having to pop off onto some irritating Skype or zoom, or whatever call it's it's all built it. Presumably This is part of a web experience.

    Thorsten Walther 05:33

    The nice thing is you don't have to install anything, everything is web based. It can be easily integrated in social media like Instagram, your so mega Instagram campaign, that you promote the product, the cost per user clicks and Instagram on the product, he comes to the virtual boutique like in the physical boutique in front of a lounge, he can then say I want to decide by myself, I want to go alone, he can click a button and then life comes a salesperson connects the life with him. Everything back paste, I have but we have done we have merged soon, with remote selling capabilities. And the virtual experience which is is the is a new way of remote selling from a from a brand perspective. And from a service perspective from a customer. I don't have to go to the boutique, because maybe I'm a little bit worried about COVID. Maybe it's raining or maybe I'm busy. But if this I can have a service that is on par with the free super tickets. The nice thing about this virtual experience that we do together with our luxury brand partners.

    Steve Statler 06:39

    What stage Have you got to with engineering this and deploying it? Is it live now?

    Thorsten Walther 06:45

    Yeah, we are live already with IWC, EPR Shay, Jaeger-LeCoultre in Australia, China, Singapore, Dubai. So we are around the world already, we have deployed around the world. And you know, one of the biggest problems with two meetings in Skype is the quality when you share product informational videos on the other side is very bad, because make remote desktop sharing. Our technology is built up like online video game. So everybody who is part of the sessions, it will see the assets in perfect quality. And the nice thing is, if I'm applying advice on my laptop, and my custom sits in a taxi with a mobile phone, the whole experience virtual experience is tailored to his phone. Also, if the sales advisors with his desktop, and this makes a difference in luxury, it's all about quality, right? If I share now a video about the manufacturing process of a case of a $50,000 watch, it must be in a perfect quality, because why I want to transfer transport the emotions of this product, right? The craftsmanship, their high quality, right. And if I have on the other side, a lacking video, or any other things, the emotion get disconnected, right. So our technology helps the luxury brands to connect with a customer that is at home in a high quality and in a personalized way.

    Steve Statler 08:06

    This is very challenging, you're bringing it's a bit like it's a bit like your past career, when you're a goalie, you know, you playing in professional football, people have to listen to the segment at the end to get this context. But basically, if anything goes wrong, then you kind of get the blame and you're having to, you're having to pull together many, many different things, some of the things you don't really control, like, you know, bandwidth and connectivity and all these technical components. So that's super challenging. You know, how did you do this? Are you do you have a big development staff? Or do you outsource it? Tell us a bit about how you created what you've created, because it sounds very difficult.

    Thorsten Walther 08:56

    So I was part or I was working for us as a global Swiss bank. And we have stopped building a digital private banking platform, right. And one of the the components of the private banking platform was collaboration, right? How I can talk with my customer that is about the customer around the world, and have a personal relationship. So me my co founder, my co founder, my head of front end development, and I, we have part of it. So we got a lot of experience, what we do how we do it. And this was fast, very important that we build up our our remote selling tool, because we could bring in the experience from videoconferencing, the experience from bringing CRM data in this cockpit and bringing the experience of shopping because we come from luxury retailers. So we combine video conferencing this life CRM data, this shopping experience in one cockpit that is very easy to use, because it's web based. Nobody has to install something. The customer do not have to install something you do. Don't have to type in, he gets a link, you can do it on WhatsApp beat set or whatever. It's very easy, very simple. And the experience is is amazing.

    Steve Statler 10:11

    Very cool. And so do you outsource your development,

    Thorsten Walther 10:15

    we have a concept of our key people are part of, of the injury fighting, right. But we have very, very strong contractors around the world where we work long together, it has a reason because you know, with all virtual experience, we need sometimes ethics guys that make special effects inside a virtual space, then we have people from Hollywood make movies, then we have special people that can make the 360 renderings they render virtual worlds, right. So we have specialists around the world that they used and based on the project, because every brand is individual has our own brand identity. So we must tailor the experience to them. But the core is at the end, I have an amazing co founder, right? He is the master of DevOps automation. And but we I'm a friend of a small Navy SEAL team, strong sim people that are able to make a difference, and then augment exactly this team with the right resources, the right contract two teams to really make it amazing the experience.

    Steve Statler 11:20

    That is really interesting. So one of the things I was wondering, when I was thinking about our conversation beforehand is how retailers in this space differ from? How should I say it? You know, if you look at some of the largest retailers in the world that they deal in the grocery business, the margins are razor thin. And so they're very challenging to work with because they part of their value add is squeezing every last penny out of their suppliers. Is that also true in the luxury segment? I'm sure no one's sort of throwing money at you. But I'm assuming that are they willing to spend money on achieving these experiences? It's not just doors on trestle tables and driving down to the last penny.

    Thorsten Walther 12:12

    And I think it's it's also challenging, right? Also, also my Brand Partners must make profit, right? You not sell every day 1000 watches, right? This is not like this. And if you see their physical boutique space is very expensive, right? So the technology part, as I say was in the past secondary. But now it's because of COVID because they have to transform it a new way of retail. And there are no changes in the whole strategy where investments are there right but it's not like this that you get know a bunch of money and you don't have to think about this is also is you know, I was in banking, I wasn't stealing I was save Black Hawk I have different industry. I've seen different industry and it's it's it's everywhere is the same, right? It's the most important is that you are fast to deliver good quality, and the Brand Partners respect that you are fast and deliver good quality and it has it cost money because you have a team you have technology. You have Joba services. And but it's not like that you get now huge, huge, huge money for for for small world, right? I think luxury businesses more like professional football playing right? You You, you must be really exceptional to get the attraction. Because there's high expectation No, no failure, right? The the quality must be very, very high. Because they have a brand built over hundreds of yours. Right? If something goes wrong, it's a it's a brand equity, which has potentially then issues so there's a lot of expectation on you. And this is something you must manage. Right.

    Steve Statler 14:09

    Well, and so you mentioned steel and I should clarify you meant US Steel as opposed to

    Thorsten Walther 14:16

    kiss Yeah, I add add some touch point with us do this was was a very amazing experience. I'm still impressed right to learn how steel is made lighter photo for the skyscraper, right? And from a technology is light on all tech computers and all this stuff. So it was for me was always important than transforming organization from the old world in a new one right from deck to the right web technologies. And so this was a sprint was was was very interesting. But it's

    Steve Statler 14:48

    so what is your right sorry to interrupt you. So what's your pricing model just to finish off the kind of the commercial side then I'd like to get to talk about the in store expense. But I pricing is a really challenging thing I'm fascinated to hear how you've approached it.

    Thorsten Walther 15:09

    So, we have a monthly subscription model right where we invoice the brand based on the service we offer right if virtual boutique cost amount x then in store experience because the monthly another amount. So we go with this, we try to help the brand with very low setup costs, right because in this time investments are very difficult to, to get and we want to have as soon as possible value for the brand. So, we are in a subscription, we are software as a service model with a monthly subscription fee based on the products our customer decides to use.

    Steve Statler 15:48

    Okay, very good. Um, let's talk a bit about the in store experience. So, what's been happening given that people aren't going into stores? Has that been good or bad for the work that you do in reimagining the in store experience?

    Thorsten Walther 16:07

    Very interesting because we offer for virtual and in store experience, but if you look to China, for example, the China luxury business is like it was before right? The boutiques are fool the Chinese consumer is traveling around in China right? Most have no mask anymore. So the interesting part is in China, the luxury businesses back to nearly normal and helps also my luxury brand partners to cover a little bit the losses that they have in the other side of the world. And this is a good thing also for me whereby the diamond Singapore's I'm very near to China, I see the Chinese consumer very tech savvy, very advanced, is used to if he goes to a boutique, very digitized boutique experiences. And there we have currently very nice products running where with all beacons or is defined durables, where Chinese consumer can interact now digitally with the products in the boutique, and get all the latest about the information and the storytelling, right because one of our key business Steve is you have tech company, but what we are doing the curate and research product stories for Brand Partners. And then with all pool of stories, we present to the customer in the right moment to the right channel into the right person this story so if I'm looking now for the black Sega tanium watch, I have to specification Yeah, but I get this everywhere but now we start infusing all the stories to exactly this word. So I have teams in China, Philippines and Indonesia. They do the whole day nothing else and research from stories. So there's the research the stories, they tell the stories of the right product, they watch all the videos, identify the products, give me that data and then we are able at the end to show the right product in the right moment. And this is something that especially for China, if you think about these guys right, they have always the phone in their hand they always share they go to a boutique they cannot virtually explore the book the physical boutique, stand in front of the watch, take the watch on their WeChat shared with three friends three friends share with six friends and then the snowball is going on and so you as a brand have not no a complete new marketing channel that you not have before. So we you give the brand a marketing channel India boutique to communicate the brand the product stores directly to the consumer with IoT technology.

    Steve Statler 18:27

    So, in the luxury segment, I can dial in, I can have this connection and then I can include my friends in the conversation. Is that what you're saying?

    Steve Statler 18:38

    So you have kind of influencer marketing. I was sort of influencer marketing is teenage girls on Instagram, but it's actually rich, rich execs. Looking at expensive watches is

    Thorsten Walther 18:53

    a good example is finger bodies. 45 year old Chinese person goes to a luxury boutique can be Sherpa IWC eaglet. Cujo, he likes this watch and what we do normally. I want to ask my friend what you think right? How you do it before you go they make a picture, you send a picture to a friend right today with its Wi Fi. You only take a WeChat and stand nearby this watch automatically the watch comes on your phone, and I can easily share this watch. But on top of only the sharing the watch the really the information of the watch. I see the story about the rock who has maybe this watch on his wrist last week on the red carpet event right? So I can share this story to my friend too and say, hey, I want this watch. Take a look The Rock has last week on this this watch right? What do you think? And the friend then the conversation starts from one boutique visits, I started communication with somebody else outside the boutique. And then maybe two other friends join this conversation on the VHF channel for example. And this is something where we make offline to online right so we bring the experience from a physical boutique experience. From the watch to the online world very easy, seamless, the customer do not has to do anything seamless sharing conversations with friends and coming back. And maybe the friend is buying them online with for WeChat. Exactly this watch in the boutique, right? And this is where the unified experience comes more and more right online offline. People talk about Omni omni channel is a mono channel, right? This is one phone, I'm in the boutique, I'm at home, I made a sofa at my friend. It's mono channel.

    Steve Statler 20:31

    So talk to me a bit more about the technology that you deploy in the store. So my son was asking me about selling and he wants to start his own business. And he was kind of trying to pick my brains about how do you sell? And I was trying to think about it. I'm like, Well, a lot of it's about storytelling. You know, you need to capture people's imagination, and they need to learn a story that they can then tell their friends or their boss to justify the decision. And I guess that's part of what you're doing. How do you feed these stories to the consultants the way you call them shop assistance, but the people that are working in the in the stores.

    Thorsten Walther 21:17

    So we have two technologies to be rolled out in the boutiques, we have special iPads, they have on one side, access to the product catalog. And because we have all the stories created and ready. So he selects a product, he clicks on the product. And instantly we have all the stories related to this product accessible, right. And the nice thing is if you think of our inspy fi numerals, these are these kind of devices here we have, I think the smallest in the world that 22 millimeters, beacons, they are attached to the time pieces, right. So the sales associate or a sales advisor cannot walk with a customer fruit would take with his iPad in the hand. And where he spends automatically the time pieces are on his iPad, so you not have to search. So if he stands in front of these three watches, he has it on his iPad, he moves three meter to the left, he has the other two watches in front in the class vitrine or glasses play, he has it on the iPad, and then he can use exactly because we automatically find for him to product digitally on his iPad, we have two stories for the products now. Now we can exactly infuse executives emotional videos. If you go for example to a brand like watch TV. They have Pirelli watches where the strap is Formula One tire, you can then easily say customer Have a look, this strap of the watch here is a winning tire of a Formula One race, maybe Hamilton at Monaco has won this race and you can have it on your wrist. You know, this is a very, very strong emotional connection, right? This is different than you say, Oh, this is a watch. It costs X amount. And it looks nice. And this is what we are doing. We help sales advisor to have direct access to stories that they can use as part of the selling ceremony, right? As part of talking with the customer to create an emotional connection. Plus the customer can self discover in the boutique. All these stories, and this is what we are doing with our technology.

    Steve Statler 23:20

    And so you've created a Bluetooth speaker and a Bluetooth tag to go on all of these assets in the store. Yes, we did. And so we've actually bought it back to like two Bluetooth. That's That's excellent. Well, I we could talk about this all day. Unfortunately, we're running short on time, but any last components that you think we should cover in terms of the technology stack that enables this storytelling in the stores or have we we got the key things,

    Thorsten Walther 24:00

    no, the latest what we have now released in the boutiques is our digital interactive displays, right? Because if you know of course, you have these nice product showcases right and what we are now doing newly is we integrate in the active disk space small, long small disk space that are nicely seen as integrated in the boutique design. And now it's very interesting experience right I can have a watch in front of me I can see it I can feel it. And for example instantly I not get only information I can know this sign my watch in front of the real one. So different strap different battle. So the customization part and this is something which is very interesting because we go more in a personalized customization way. It takes a long time to remove the strap put a new strap in and now our customer has the access and what is very important is the customer can take his phone, scan the QR code and can continue No is experienced at home right he can maybe the customization he did in the boutique now with this special watch he's maybe he don't know because the use of churn is not simple I not go in and buy a watch right in the watch pisser jewelry business not like this. There are multiple touchpoints and in our cases I go to the boutique I customized watch, I take my phone, scan the QR code, I have no everything on my phone, I go home, I can order online or I can go again to the boutiques or the online offline experiences with incidents in sci fi scene as indicated right and Vivi always help the customer to come back to the brand and the brand him coming back to the to the customer.

    Steve Statler 25:39

    Excellent. toasted I'm so glad our paths crossed. This is really fascinating world that you live in. And my hope is that some of these innovations will trickle down from the luxury space to the other space. And so maybe the shopping experiences for all of us will improve a little bit as you innovate in this in this luxury space that you that you live in. So thanks very much for spending time with us.

    Thorsten Walther 26:11

    Thanks, Steve. It was a great pleasure. Always nice talking with you. Thank you so much.

    Steve Statler 26:23

    First, where are you at the moment

    Thorsten Walther 26:26

    I'm in a moment in Singapore I'm We are based in Singapore I just came back from Switzerland I have experienced the new time of COVID-19 right when you come back to Singapore from outside you have to stay two weeks into the hotel and it's a very interesting experience because you cannot go out right you you arrive at the airport you will be transferred to a hotel you don't know where you come you stay two weeks in a hotel you cannot leave the room you cannot open the window there's no balcony and it's it's a very interesting experience to go through this.

    Steve Statler 27:02

    So do they know that you're in quarantine? Or do you just check in and start ordering a lot of room service

    Thorsten Walther 27:10

    no Singapore government is made there and amazing process so everything is planned everything is structured you get three times a day food but I must say I more order the food from deliver when all the other brands every day. Because for me as a European in Singapore when you get the three times a day that Chinese food it's it's sometimes you want to have something special right? And the good thing in the current time, right? 20 years ago, we would have problems. Today you go online, you order and it will be delivered within 20 minutes.

    Steve Statler 27:43

    It's incredible, isn't it? So you travel around the world very much in keeping with your your luxury brand focus, you seem to have a jet setting lifecycle. But this this moving around the world is not new. You seem to have traveled a lot you've been in Scandinavia, you've been in the US you've been I think you did your MBA in Liverpool. What Why do you? What do you attribute this globe trotting to? Where did you actually grow up?

    Thorsten Walther 28:15

    Okay. I'm German. I'm native German, born in Stuttgart, right? In the south of Germany, where all the nice cars come from. Right. But it's, it's it's very interesting, right? My I'm since the last 20 years of living in Germany, right? I did a lot in Switzerland, in Singapore, in France in the States. And I came around so traveling around is one of my normal habits that I'm used to. I have also not a normal career path, right? So I grown up very young with all the products that I want technology company. So I started to building networks, mainframe computer coding different languages. And then I had a spike. I was a professional football player for some years, right. So I played then, in the German first league, and in the France first in second league. So I come from this side, but I always I'm a technology guy. I love to build things I love to create new things help help people through technology to make life easier. And so I came back then to shopping retail and luxury retail.

    Steve Statler 29:34

    I worked with a professional rugby player once years ago, and he was an excellent sales guy and he was an excellent manager. And I think why people love talking to him about his professional career. So that probably helped from the sales side. And then you know, you have these team dynamics when you're playing at the highest level that seemed to translate to the other contexts? Have you found the same thing for you?

    Thorsten Walther 30:04

    Yeah, it's a very interesting question. Because when I stopped playing, right, I started my first startup, right building SAP consulting services. And the first 10 years, I nearly not talked about my professional career as a football player, right? Because I was thinking it's may be blocking me or the other opposite. When I talk, they don't rotate, they think I want to shine what I did in professional, but if we, if we really slice it down to building a company, going through a different path, as an intrapreneur, the professional football in my case of professional sports is very helpful. Because you learn one thing, you have a target, you have a goal, you work very hard, you are focused, you must have a team, right? Because alone, you cannot do it. It's building a team, having different roles in the team. And, and working together to get the things done and to be successful. So and this this helped me very much in my, my, my face when I built the company, right?

    Steve Statler 31:09

    So when you look back on your career on the pitch and off the pitch, how do you compare the two? It must be? I mean, I'm sure. What position did you play? Were you afford? Or?

    Thorsten Walther 31:22

    No, I was a goalkeeper, right? I was I was a goalkeeper. It was very funny, right? I had two older brothers, right? seven and nine years older. So in my time in Germany, there was no PlayStation or anything else. So what do you do? If you have over school or weekends you go out and play football. So my older brothers, they took me always to play football. And I was the youngest. So I have to be in the goal, right. And because I always played with all the guys, so I get very good, very fast that this was very interesting. And but football was never my love. It's very important. There's a lot of people that want to be professional football player. For me, it was never my love it for some of my passion. I was good. It was it was a fun time, I learned a lot, I saw the world, right, I would travel to Tokyo and all this stuff. But this was also a very important element. I played into lose with tifosi. Firstly, France, we get demoted to the fifth league. And for me, it was very easy to step out of my professional career, which is a artificial bubble. And we must really say this, right? You have a lot of media, percent TV and all this stuff. It's not a real life. So for me was very easy to come out of this professional career. And going back to my technology background, and starting what I love for me is I love technology, right? As I say I love to build things, I love to see how to use it. And it was a nice phase in my life, I learned a lot, especially you know, I stopped playing football very young, where I get the characteristic to be successful to work hard, and nothing is giving you for free something, you must be the best and nobody is at the end looking for a second place. But then the step out was was also for me then good coming back to my technology background, building a company and helping them my customers to be successful.

    Steve Statler 33:20

    I'm very tempted to just talk about your career as a as a goalie, but I don't I don't want to do that too much other than I should one last question. It's got to be super stressful, right? I mean, it's not like you can go and score five goals. You know, it seems like what you're trying to do is avoid failure. You're trying to stop negative things happening? Or is it? Or did you get a lot of credit when there was like an amazing shot against you and you caught it, then I guess you're the hero at that point, people recognize you did something hard.

    Thorsten Walther 33:56

    You know, the goalkeeper position is a very interesting position, because the game is 90 minutes, right? You can be the most amazing guy for 89 minutes, the last minute something happened. And you are the bad guy right? As a striker. You can not move the whole 90 minutes, the last minute you put your head in the ball, it's once a year you win the game. He's a hero, right? But as a goalkeeper, it's you are alone. You play in a team at the end, but you are alone, you're the last line of defense and you must fix the the issues the problems the NGO team has, right. And there's a lot of pressure mental pressure that I come because of you know, it's it's not easy to go in a stadium of 60,000 people arrive. So it was for me then also a point where I really fast come to meditation to handle this pressure right? Because you have 90 minutes potential you have 90% of the time, nothing to do but you must be mentally always sharp and ready to go into the situation and you cannot do something wrong, because if you do something wrong, it's a goal for the for the for the other side, right? So it's, it's mentally very energy consuming. And I'm really happy that I came very fast to the meditation that helps me also now in my business now because you know, if you build a company, and you have a lot of pressure to calm down and come to a point where you focus on results, right is a very, very important element, that you have this focus that you have this kindness in the biggest storm that you can. And I have learned this from my football career that ended them as a professional football player in different leagues in Europe.

    Steve Statler 35:41

    It's fascinating, I never really thought about it before, but in some ways, it's not really the center forward. It's really the goalie where the buck stops there. You know, if the team's dysfunctional, then that's where the implications are in your net. And very interesting. So this meditation thing, what, what approach Do you use because I actually use meditation as why I for the same reasons, I think it's so what approach do you use to meditation?

    Thorsten Walther 36:12

    So it's, it's a, it's a very good question, how can I translate this in English, it's out to gaining training, right? It's a methodology where you lay down you make your body heavy, you make your body warm, these you have different statements, the sentences that you go through, and then you have five blocks of other tech statements that you sell. It's like coding your brain for what you want to do or how you want to be right. And I do this at the end every day in the morning when I wake up before I go to the office, I do my sport and then I do my my 20 minutes meditation to really be kick start the day and be ready for the day.

    Steve Statler 36:54

    Yeah, because your mood really impacts your success but the moods like the iceberg isn't it most of its underwater you don't really know what's driving it you just have you can maybe push it along with the bit that's above the water and it's a fascinating thing. Very good. Last two last things I wanted to talk to you about so what you worked at Black Hawk right can you tell us who are black hawk I'm just interested because it seems like this This might be a useful way of learning more about retail and and so forth was what was your experience like there? Did you What did you learn there?

    Thorsten Walther 37:34

    Yeah, for for black hole guy did the following you know, this was a time where Model Driven architecture development was very, very hot right there you model your domain model out of automatic code generators, you then generate your code and your software application, right. And in this time, I was running my consulting company so I helped Blackhawk to to build different application This was then gift card and processing and such thing

    Steve Statler 38:05

    with this app ever biggest I think the biggest gift card or one of the biggest gift card companies right?

    Thorsten Walther 38:09

    Was was for me a very amazing experience. I love to be in San Francisco right? This is always when I came from from Germany I arrived there go over the bake bridge and go to Pleasanton was was very very very creative for me and but yeah, this is was one of my my my my stations that I had. I also did in in Toronto and other locations. But Blackhawk was for me my first touch point to retail. really short we all know retail because we go or shopping. And if you see you know as a professional football player luxury, it's also very near right. So it I love always shopping especially in the in the 90s when I came first to the states right? The big malls and it was always very impressive right so in my holidays when I spend in Florida where my product lift right now he's in Texas. I loved always to go to the big shopping malls, go through the different stores and see what's there and and I'm always a person I look to optimize right this is some of my nature I see things and this is also a reason why I came down to to build in Spotify right was was really helping the the retail to to be better sales person will help further assess personal issues shop floor to know more about the products to highly personalized help the customer in the boutique and be a brand ambassador and product Ambassador right? This is what you want, right? Otherwise you go fully online. And you have nobody who can explain it right? I go to a boutique, a luxury boutique because there's somebody who can consult me who understand what I might need to understand what I want. What I'm looking for is a gift for my wife or is it something for me and these are Personal elements which I think is also for the future very very important right? The physical retail I think will not die because we are humans we like to talk with people we like to interact and to having a sales Pro professional sales advisor there who can walk with me through the boutique and show me the products understand me and show and help me to find what I'm looking for. It's it's a very very important element in the future of retail

    Steve Statler 40:31

    I gift cards used in luxury retail I was just trying to think what how directly relevant that was

    Thorsten Walther 40:38

    a gift. Yeah, gift cards will be used but you know $20 gift card if you buy a $50,000 watch it's it's not a big impact.

    Steve Statler 40:47

    I imagine maybe you give someone $1,000 gift card or something but I so they do you go into cartea and you can actually use gift cards or is it sort of these essentially using the credit card rails for

    Thorsten Walther 41:03

    a normally does? The wife is going with the husband and they use the black gift card right where the husband has to sign Okay.

    Steve Statler 41:10

    Got it. I got it. Well, very good. So I almost forgot to ask you about the music. So you you came up with a couple of songs not two not three But you came up with two songs you'd take on a trip to Mars

    Thorsten Walther 41:24

    yeah for me is killed Depeche Mode one on one life is one very very important. Music for me right it's why is the question all right. Yeah, it's you know, as I explained as a professional football player you go mostly with the bass to the stadium right? And then you for me was this music always I had this before the game to come into the right mood to be ready for the game and if you know, Depeche Mode I'm sure we are the same age right.

    Steve Statler 42:01

    I love Depeche Mode. Yeah, they I went to college when they just had their first hits and actually took my young son to a concert years ago he was he was too young really. He fell asleep in the hip. But everyone else is wearing like black leather and there's me with my Hawaiian shirt and I have this 10 year old he just loved it before he fell asleep but I thought it was so cool they just got admitted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame I think this week so

    Thorsten Walther 42:36

    yeah, this is I still get goosebumps If I hear the sounds right because you have to first 910 tracks right and this is the executive the time you see the the the feelings come up right this is one hour two hours before the game and then you have this music and if I listened today also to this music it's it's really transforming me back in this time right my emotions is so tight with the songs because you have a lot of emotions connected to there and I love it still and I cannot stop hear it and is for me one thing has to be with me

    Steve Statler 43:13

    it's a little bit sounds a bit like meditation it's kind of a way of helping to engineer your mental state to deal with what you got to deal with

    Thorsten Walther 43:24

    let's say this way you know it's the opposite of meant meditation right? meditation is for me was I did also meditation before the game right but the music was more you know in the game you must be sharp. You must have an expressiveness Why? Because and this music brought me in this shop addresses but not ego rights. This is so positive aggressiveness and the music you know, for juristic things and the different elements that have really transformed me in this state where I could be performed right.

    Steve Statler 44:00

    Very good. Okay, Depeche Mode. And what was your other choice?

    Thorsten Walther 44:05

    It's very interesting. It's a Bali spa and gamelan it's a you know, I love Bali, right? I'm in Singapore. Normally I go to three times a year to Bali, right? My wife comes from Indonesia, right? She She has been in Bali. And this music it's it's amazing, right? You You have this in the morning, it's plays it. I believe that music can can control your mood and can can bring you to the right level to to start the day, right. And this is something for me. very calming. Also, if it's fully a totally stressed situation, you listen to his music, you come down, and you come back to a state where it can focus and push a lot of pressure away and can be the normal person. Right.

    Steve Statler 44:49

    Wonderful. Very good. Well, that's awesome. Thanks so much for sharing this with us.