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Saurabh Chauhan on The Future of Retail, Scaling E-Commerce in Frontier Markets & Startup Turnarounds

· Podcast Transcripts

"The fact that we can just apply investment models in the East, that age is over. It is now more about identifying parts in a specific market. What are the pain points that exist? What are some of the unique ways in which we can solve those pain points, given those realities that exist in those markets?"

- Saurabh Chauhan

Jeremy Au: [00:00:00] Welcome to Brave Dynamics. This is your host, Jeremy Au. Leadership is harder than it looks. As a proven founder and Harvard MBA, I interview courageous entrepreneurs, executives and investors every week. I also share my frontline experiences, coaching insights and own professional development journey. If you're stepping up as a new leader, founding a startup, or venturing into the great unknown, this is the podcast for you.

Saurabh Chauhan is a Rocket Internet veteran who has led two of the portfolio ventures in Asia. As Managing Director, he built and launched Daraz Sri Lanka from zero to over sixty employees and achieved 3X growth in gross merchandise value every year in this frontier market in partnership with strategic brands, such as Unilever and Hutch.

Daraz Group was one of the fastest growing e-commerce marketplaces across five countries in APAC and was acquired by Alibaba in 2018 for an estimated $200 million. More recently, Saurabh led a turnaround for Rocket Internet's Vaniday, a beauty services platform where he successfully raised a seven-digit bridge funding from leading European investors and pivoted the business towards a SaaS enabled marketplace. Prior to Rocket Internet, he worked in management consulting at McKinsey & Company across India, U.S, Australia and Dubai.

He is also a mentor at Iterative VC - a YC- Combinator style accelerator focused exclusively on Southeast Asia, where he advises startups on international expansion and scaling marketplace commercials and operations.

Saurabh completed his Bachelor's in Business from S.S College of Business Studies, Delhi University and cleared level II of the Chartered Financial Analyst program. His hobbies are trekking, reading and gaming. You can connect with him at Linkedin in our shownotes at linkedin.com/in/saurabh-chauhan

So good to have you Saurabh. It's a pleasure to hear your story out here.

Saurabh Chauhan: [00:02:05] It's great to be here, Jeremy.

Jeremy Au: [00:02:07] One of the most interesting things is that you have such a long history, not just as a consultant, but also with Rocket Internet, which is all in the business of globalizing and localizing businesses. You've had a tremendous set of experiences as a general manager and as a leader and in the turnaround. I personally can't wait to hear your insights.

Saurabh Chauhan: [00:02:31] Yeah, I'd love to share them as well.

Jeremy Au: [00:02:33] Yeah. For the viewers and for the listeners out there, what's your journey?

Saurabh Chauhan: [00:02:38] Sure. So I had a slightly uncontemporary background, wherein I was slated to jump into engineering early on in my career. That's the path I ended up not choosing much to the disappointment of my parents. I ended up pursuing my bachelor's in business from one of the best undergrad colleges in India. I started off my career, did a bit of social enterprise building while I was in university, but effectively started off my full-time career with McKinsey. It was a great sort of path to set myself on. I mean, I still remember when I was in university, it was one of the dream jobs to go to. My EST started at 7:30 AM in the morning and my final offer letter came after five rounds of interviews at 9:30 in the night on the same day, and I could never forget that experience.

 

But yeah, once I started at McKinsey, I was part of this super empowering environment and I ended up doing engagements that took me to the proverbial ends of the world, from Alaska to Australia. Through my network at McKinsey, I got to know about Rocket Internet and the cool stuff that they were doing back in 2015, building e-commerce marketplaces in frontier markets in South Asia. I effectively leapt at that opportunity and decided that, on one flight when I was coming back the U.S. back to Delhi, I realized, and this was when I was working for an e-commerce landing agent. I looked at their projections, I looked at the massive upside that these guys were projecting over the next 10, 20 years, and the growth that they were eyeing. Seemed super logical to me that a similar opportunity would exist in a market like Sri Lanka and it was something that I really wanted to be a part of.

This country was coming out of two and a half decades of civil war, it had all the right social literacy rate, they had mobile penetration rate, everything was great. I wanted to be part of the team that sets up the Flipkart or the Amazon of Sri Lanka. I completely just jumped into that opportunity. I guess since then, there wasn't any looking back. I relocated my entire life to Colombo in Sri Lanka and built a team from five people all the way to 60 over two years. We were subsequently acquired by Alibaba. I even sort of missed one of your previous guests on your podcast, Chia, because I literally left a month before he actually came to the Sri Lankan market to do his internship. I ended up moving to Singapore then and doing another piece for us, which was the turnaround piece for the Rocket Internet portfolio venture called Vaniday for about a little over two years. Now I'm basically, since April, exploring new ideas, spending quite some time mentoring startup founders who are looking to build B2B, B2C marketplaces and emerging markets or in Singapore.

Jeremy Au: [00:05:21] That's awesome. You have such an experience on the frontier markets and e-commerce, how did you personally get started on your tech journey?

Saurabh Chauhan: [00:05:30] Sure. I was working on e-commerce plan engagement at McKinsey. I realized that there was this massive upside that this domain presented and the same trends that were true for India were on a different scale, probably a smaller scale, also held true for Sri Lanka. So, I made the decision that instead of spending another few years or another few months at McKinsey, let's just jump into the startup world.

I had a chat with my parents who thought I was batshit crazy for taking such a risky path. In order to placate them, I decided to de-risk this decision as far as I could by sort of getting a deferred admission into a consulting feeder business school. But once I had de-risked that, I basically packed up my bags and relocated to Colombo. This was in October of 2015, as a 23-year-old, I basically started my journey of having zero experience in leadership and having zero experience in managing a team.

I started building my team. I started understanding the ins and out of marketplace going to the local market and meeting vendors over there, onboarding them, understanding how it was to do real work on the ground, rather than just making fancy slides and pages and decks that I was used to making at McKinsey. In the beginning, I honestly felt that I had bitten off more than I could chew. I was honestly struggling with really wrapping my head around how to grow my team and how to achieve the KPIs were set by the group CEO for my market.

Over those two years, we were super lucky in building a very strong initial team and together we grew from zero to over a million in monthly sales and are, now today, one of the biggest eCommerce companies in Sri Lanka. I viewed the time I spent there as an incredibly great learning experience. We created value for small and medium enterprise vendors that we onboarded onto our platform and really help those entrepreneurs to harness the power of technology and approach a wider marketplace.

Jeremy Au: [00:07:39] Why is leadership so important in frontier markets?

Saurabh Chauhan: [00:07:44] I think this holds true for almost any market, not necessarily frontier markets, but when I was an MD at Rocket, I saw this for myself. That a marketplace business model has a lot of moving elements. There's this commercial aspect where you have to do a vendor acquisition, vendor management. There are operations on the logistics and customer service side. There are marketing product related things. Without a common mission uniting the organization, it's impossible to get anywhere.

So, when I flew in on an economy flight to Sri Lanka, I was basically asked to manage a team of six people. I knew that I wouldn't be able to rally people behind something without making sure that everybody was united under a common vision, simply because I think my core competency was in breaking down problems and approaching things analytically. This was something that I felt that I would sort of learn along the way.

I was super inspired to make sure that I come across as a good leader, who not just was able to paint the big picture for my people, but also to really understand what were the unique motivations that I could understand and their unique backgrounds that I could understand in order to make sure that I had a buy from them.

Jeremy Au: [00:08:53] Could you share what hurdles you personally faced and how you overcame them?

Saurabh Chauhan: [00:08:57] So as a 23-year-old, I was being called to become a managing director for an e-commerce marketplace in Sri Lanka. Like I mentioned, I was adept at approaching things from the analytical perspective, but that was not necessarily the best way or the only way of approaching such a big objective or such a big task. When I basically decided to take a step back and think why wasn't this as effective as I had personally thought it should have been, I realized I was effectively missing out the entire human aspect to it.

I said, "Okay, fine. What is the most honest motivation that I had to come here?" It was that I need to build, or I need to be behind the team that builds the Flipkart or the Amazon of Sri Lanka. I think that's the core vision that I then ran with and tried to share with my team. I've tried to get their buy in on this common goal and then after sharing this in a town hall with the team, I think things became a lot easier in terms of how much the team was engaged in sort of building out this shared vision. They actually were excited to imagine that in a few years we could be potentially the biggest e-commerce marketplace in Sri Lanka, and we could be creating impact at scale.

I guess subsequently when Alibaba did end up acquiring Daraz, I think to some great extent our efforts were validated and our hard work was validated.

Jeremy Au: [00:10:27] Who are your role models in real life?

Saurabh Chauhan: [00:10:29] So my mom she's been my role model ever since I was super little. a very interesting background. She went on to pursue her bachelor's and master's in science. This is in an era wherein, if your gender is female, let alone pursuing higher education, you're not really welcome in the workforce to begin with. This is belonging to about 40 years back. She always narrated some of the challenges that she had to overcome to actually get an opportunity to get that education. Not just challenges from society in general, but even the challenges she had to face within her family, in terms of how conservative her family was and how hard she had to fight to actually pursue the education that she wanted, and to actually take up the job she wanted.

So, I think it was super inspiring to learn her journey and also, growing up, I would see her manage her professional life, manage her household chores that she would do, and then somehow magically find time to sit with me and help me with my homework. Just seeing that day in, day out consistently was super inspiring to me. Now that I'm older, I'm able to truly appreciate how much sacrifices she had to make to make sure that I was set in the right direction and I was moving in the right direction. in my own life.

Jeremy Au: [00:11:46] Awesome. You've been a mentor for so many startups over your career. What's a common misconception that you've encountered in eCommerce and marketplaces?

Saurabh Chauhan: [00:11:58] Sure. I think this is probably more in general for all startups or all startup founders. They believe that if they are able to build a hiring team or a top management team that is having very strong, either education pedigree, or a very strong consulting or investment banking background, they increase the probability of success greatly. Which I saw while I was on the ground, building a marketplace in Sri Lanka or in Singapore.

It does not necessarily hold true for people who are coming from very diverse backgrounds and have the right street smarts that are actually required to build out a successful eCommerce marketplace, whether it's on the commercial side or operational side. I think that was something that, coming from a background where I was associated with McKinsey, that wasn't something that was obviously true to me. I kind of held onto that bias for some time, until I actually saw the data points that effectively disproved it.

I think more specifically while you are building out a market base, and this holds true developing markets, you really struggle with the problems of working capital. Especially on the vendor side and the cycles of fulfillment, meaning as eCommerce marketplace, I used to think that, "Hey, we are getting new customers for you and that in itself is a great incentive for you to come to our platform." But we pretty quickly realized that there is a genuine working capital problem that small vendors, the long tail of any marketplace, faces and the cycles within which you can pay these vendors is super critical to them and those cycles cannot be super short unless your fulfillment times are very fast as well, because if you can't get the money from the customer, it's really hard to pay the vendor.

We realized that one of the biggest bottlenecks we were facing was actually logistics and not just vendor relations or vendor management. So, one often commonly held misconception that you just need to get the supply side going and, in a good marketplace, get the supply and demand chicken and egg thing without really understanding that logistics or rather the money cycle is probably the bigger impediments to scaling up a successful marketplace. Especially true in markets like Sri Lanka or any developing markets where cash on delivery is a more prominent form of payment.

Jeremy Au: [00:14:06] How have you seen successful logistics come into play?

Saurabh Chauhan: [00:14:09] I think it depends to on all the amazing leaps and movements that have happened in the eCommerce space over the last decade, thanks to Lazada in Southeast Asia, Daraz in South Asia, Jumia in Africa, there have been a lot of investments that have gone into creating robust logistics. So, there are unicorns now in Southeast Asia and they've been able to successfully create a very dense hub and spoke model that makes logistics a lot better. Back in 2015, and this is specific to Sri Lanka, we used to struggle with almost three weeks fulfilment times to deliver products in the Northern and the Eastern regions of the country. But now those same fulfilment times have fallen down drastically because of the increase in demand and volumes that is actually moving through such channels. It has created opportunities for a lot of logistics players to get into the market, make structural infrastructure investments and reduce the fulfilment times. It was a great time and probably still is for logistics players who are effectively selling the pickaxes and shovels for the eCommerce industry.

Jeremy Au: [00:15:12] We've really seen Rocket Internet be a successful player as part of that global spread of marketplaces and targeting and entry and growth within frontier markets. So, what's the magic secret sauce here?

Saurabh Chauhan: [00:15:28] Right. I think most often people think that the secret sauce is that they end up hiring a lot of McKinsey consultants in their management team or investment bankers and that is why they win. But that's honestly not. That's super far from the truth. I think Rocket, at least in the last decade, has been fairly smart about understanding what are the proven business models that have worked in let's say some of the investing markets and what are the high-risk markets where they can effectively apply the same proven business model.

Those markets are high risk because of different reasons. There could be a lack of certain supporting infrastructure like logistics there could be lack of payment support or payments system support, or it could just be that those countries are relatively less politically sound or have a less robust legal framework. Which are some of the aspects that investors that make big ticket investments they effectively look for. So, in a sense, they've been super courageous. It requires a high level of courage to invest in markets like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. All the way back in 2014, 2015, they were smart enough to make those bold decisions. When they did, they were able to get pretty handsome dividends from those decisions.

Jeremy Au: [00:16:39] You've worked across multiple frontier markets and you're familiar with that diffusion of technology and business model from developed economies to developing ones. How do you see that continuing to play out?

Saurabh Chauhan: [00:16:53] I think more recently, and probably this is true for China. And I completely agree that for the last decade, there were a lot of proven American business models that were effectively been copied as they were in Silicon Valley and being copied to let's say, Southeast Asian market or other developing markets. There are a lot of business models that have worked incredibly well in China and are proven in China but are not necessarily taking off in the West. I guess one example is Pinduoduo, a group buying social commerce app, that is phenomenally successful in China. I think the latest reports came out and they were one of the most valued companies in China.

Executing a similar group buying business model in the US is probably a lot harder or even to do so in Southeast Asia is fundamentally harder because we've not been able to build a very robust logistics infrastructure or a payment system that is required to actually execute such a model at scale. The fact that we can just apply investment models in the East, that age is over. I think it is now more about identifying parts in a specific market. What are the pain points that exist? And what are some of the unique ways in which we can solve those pain points, given those realities that exist in those markets?

Jeremy Au: [00:18:02] You've mentioned a lot of supporting infrastructure, logistics, payments. What are the other factors that people may take for granted as they consider country versus country? Region versus regional differences?

Saurabh Chauhan: [00:18:16] A robust distribution channel is something that people often end up taking for granted. Just coming outside of the logistics and payments infrastructure, people often also assume that there is going to be a strong ability to buy any brand in any market, but it's super, super hard to source some brands in markets where those bands have no presence whatsoever.

Sometimes marketplaces have to invest in becoming authorized distributors for virtually very big global brands, but with very little local presence, especially true for emerging markets. We remember we had to take a lot of inventory risks by sort of buying up some MOQs, minimum order quantities, for some very, very globally successful smartphone brands, which didn't necessarily have a very robust authorized distribution network in the Sri Lankan market.

We realized we were going to take very significant inventory risks, and I think going into the market, we were pretty confident that there would be some big authorized distributors that we could just step into, but that didn't seem to be the case. I think just having access to the right brands and the right inventory is also sometimes a challenge in this space.

Jeremy Au: [00:19:24] There are always people who are sourcing new ideas from other geographies in the past from the U S and bring that to Southeast Asia, and also now looking at China and other places and seeing if that can be localized to the local economy, for example, in Southeast Asia. What advice would you give to an entrepreneur like that?

Saurabh Chauhan: [00:19:44] I would say don't make the cardinal mistake of having a solution in search of a problem. Make sure that you work backwards. Study the local market. Study what the pain points are in reality. Then, if there are some globally proven business models that are a correct fit, then more power to you. that approach can absolutely work, but just because a trend has taken off in China, it doesn't necessarily mean that Southeast Asia must follow in his footsteps. There could be a lot of local factors that have led to that trend taking off in that market. Never sort of confuse a necessary reason for following each other's business models, I think that doesn't necessarily hold true. That is often a mistake that a lot of starry-eyed entrepreneurs make with their thinking of new ideas.

Jeremy Au: [00:20:31] Earlier, you talked about the long tail of e-commerce being an important aspect, and I can just imagine it interacts with distribution and you just discussed sourcing and even marketing. Talk to us about what that long tail looks like.

Saurabh Chauhan: [00:20:46] So I think an interesting statistic that I heard from someone who is working in the Southeast Asian e-commerce landscape is, almost 35% of all products that are actually being sold across Southeast Asia, across markets like Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, are from this specific long tail. So, these are effectively small retailers, resellers, maybe some wholesalers in the mix that are either selling unbranded inventory or effectively extremely local brands with no significant brand recall.

The fact that they've been able to get some revenue and get some sales is effectively because they're able to tap into this captive audience that is present on all these different marketplaces. So, in that sense, e-commerce has been a strong equalizer in terms of very small brands getting the same level of reach that these big brands have traditionally enjoyed over the last couple of decades. It has created some really unique opportunity to go and solve the pain points for this long tail, both in the sense of giving them alternate channels of distribution, such as via social commerce, or even sort of working with them and giving them cost effective digitization tools, which help them in better procurement, which again, this a service or this is something that the big brands have traditionally enjoyed just because of the large economies of scale that they have.

So, I think that the long tail or serving the long tail has emerged as a very big opportunity. I think especially now that this long tail has such high volumes sold thanks to all these eCommerce platforms. I think it's catered a lot of new opportunities for entrepreneurs who want to get into solving the long tail.

Jeremy Au: [00:22:21] This time being COVID and we've definitely seen the differing impact, right? Where places like Vietnam, which never went into a lockdown, not seeing a tremendous shift in the mix of retail between online and offline, to other countries that have had a much longer lockdown who was seeing a much more fundamental shift. When we look into 2021 and beyond, how do you think this event and the mix between offline and online retail, how do you see that shaping out?

Saurabh Chauhan: [00:22:50] I think the common thinking in this domain has been that as we progressed through the coming decades, the share of online to offline retail would keep on inching up. I don't necessarily disagree with that trend. I probably disagree at the pace with which that ratio is going to go up. I feel that offline retail is still going to be super strong, especially in emerging markets where there is a strong need to have a face to face relation with your local mom and pop shop. You've grown up in that community and that is the shop that you go to buy your products, whether it's local products or whether it's your fresh fruits and vegetables or your groceries. And I think that is still going to be a significant space for that to happen. I guess, what will change is a lot of the tools that help in creating more value in the supply chain by removing some of the points of friction would be more democratized and easily available to this long offline tail, so to speak. Just because of the fact that now those guys will get access to these tools, they will become more competitive vis a vis some of the online vendors that are selling exclusively online. I think that will actually make the trend of online to offline retail actually slow down after a few years once these tools are sort of widespread. Some really good examples of such technologies already doing the rounds are within the B2C community in India. For instance, this amazing, super intuitive tool for small vendors that are part of the long offline tail. You don't have a very easy ledger system with that customer, it helps them increase their collection rates, their retention rates, and you don't give them a very strong tool to sort of compete against the online vendors that are offering the same services or same products. So, I think those trends would accelerate in the coming future and you would see some sort of a point of equilibrium being established between online and offline retail.

Jeremy Au: [00:24:55] You're one of the few people who have done multiple general manager P&L roles in technology. What would you say differentiates a P&L general manager role from a more functional one?

Saurabh Chauhan: [00:25:08] I think trying to do a P&L role is trying to be the orchestra master. Wherein you need to take care of the bass and the drums and the violins and everything. Whereas, when you're just focusing on a function, let's say commercials, then you're just focusing on your violin and what the notes need to sound like, when you need to pause, and when you need to start again. Just the fact that there are so many things to focus on, sometimes make the P&L ownership component a bit more challenging. You have to make sure that everybody is adding value as a team and there's a lot of synergy in your team rather than just trying to optimize for your own specific function and your own OKRs and your own KPIs.

I think that aspect is one core point of differentiation. Obviously, the other thing is, when you have a lot of senior people that you're working with and they are really, really good at their own specific domain, whether it's commercials, operations, marketing, there's a lot of management of people's egos and their own personalities, which in a small function might not necessarily be a conflict because there's a very clear line of reporting so to speak. But when you're dealing with, let's say, someone who's the head of commercials and a head of operation and a head of marketing, and they might have different perceptions, which might be right based on their own thinking and their own experience. You have to figure out a very logical way of making sure that they align with the company's vision, which may or may not necessarily overlap with their own thinking or their own understanding. So just navigating that is sometimes a bit trickier when you're owning a P&L.

Jeremy Au: [00:26:46] You've also had opportunity to push turnarounds and fix things on a product and a market level. What advice would you give to a startup founder or executive or general manager who needs to turn around the business for whatever reason? COVID or business line or in the new economics, what would you think about?

 Saurabh Chauhan: [00:27:10] Sure. I think it's super important to figure out what are the drivers that were available and what actually led to this situation that the business needs to turn around to begin with. So, I think really going into the unit economics and understanding what has the lifetime value been like? We survey the customer acquisition costs. How can we optimize the CAC or increase the average revenue per user?

I think fundamentally understanding those levers and, again, the cost of benefit to play out each of those levels is super important. So, you can optimize your ARU by having a very long-term high investment project, which may or may not necessarily be fruitful in the short term but might yield dividends at a much higher risk than the long-term. So, it's also about managing what are some of the low hanging fruits that I can go after to get a quick flip in the beginning, but at the same time also plan for long term strategic investments so that this turnaround is not short lived but has future opportunity to grow.

So, I think it's really critical to understand what the market that you're playing in looks like not just today, but also three, five years down the line. What are some of the tools that you can build to better support both vendors and solve some of those pain points that your customers have.

Jeremy Au: [00:28:24] People who are coming to a turn around and let's just say they execute the business analysis and understanding and planning as you just described, how would they then think about the talent and morale of the workforce that they are taking over or having to push in a new direction? What advice would you give to them?

Saurabh Chauhan: [00:28:41] That's a very good question. That is one of the trickiest things, because typically companies that require turn around are suffering from incredibly low employee morale, simply because a lot of the staff has been laid off because I think that is the first button that people push that, "Oh, let's just lay off staff and let's just cut our costs and then it gives us more runway and then we can figure it out things."

I think that creates a very negative environment where it's effectively people against each other and they're basically thinking who should go, who should be fired. It's super hard when you take over such a cultural legacy and you try to completely reshape the conversation towards, "Okay, this is what the next two to five years for the company it looks like, and these are the short term, medium term and long term These are the skill sets or the talents that are absolutely essential to achieving this goal."

Having a very frank and open conversation with your staff and saying that, "Okay, these are the mistakes that have happened, but this is what we want to do going forward and we need your buy in. Otherwise, there's no way we're going to get to that." I think those one-to-one open conversations are super important, if you have any chance of turning around your staff morale and again, uniting people under a common banner.

Jeremy Au: [00:29:53] Many of our founder friends and tech executives are doing the business push and a team push and one of the things, they also talk about with us is how to manage their own psychology and equilibrium. What advice would you give to them?

Saurabh Chauhan: [00:30:09] I think it's super important to be very truthful and honest with yourself about why you're doing what you're doing. Always reminding yourself about that whenever you feel too bogged down or too de-motivated and you don't want to get out of bed, and you don't want to be the only advocate that is rallying with the war cry when everybody is not necessarily supportive of you. It's super important to write that down somewhere and be super honest with yourself and always open that piece of paper, or look at that white board again and again, and remind yourself why you've taken this harder path in life when you could have just found a cushy job at some consulting firm or an investment bank, or some Fortune 500 and why you actually took this spot. People could have different reasons.

Some people might be completely mission-oriented, and they want to transform society. Some people might be doing it out of more personal motivations. Some people just want to holiday post-35 and invest in smart founders and just have those interesting conversations. Again, everybody might have different motivations, but it's super important to keep going back to that and say, "This is why I'm doing this and whatever is happening to me right now has no bearing on my long-term aspirations that I see for myself." I think once you have those honest conversations, I think those give you the right support to then go back and face those challenging times, which will definitely happen.

 

Jeremy Au: [00:31:35] How do you personally unwind day to day?

Saurabh Chauhan: [00:31:38] So, I sort of function like a like a sine curve. I don't have a very good day to day unwinding mechanism. I often have my own phases where I would effectively not work for like two, three days, four days. I would just engage in like 16- or 18-hour gaming marathons. I would just pick out some strategy game or the RPG game and just mindlessly game and just completely blew off steam. Then, I would become amazingly productive for almost, you know, not just a few weeks, but a few months. That's how I, manage, which is very unusual and very impractical advice and I recognize that. It might be practical for some of your younger, unmarried, listeners, but yeah, my girlfriend hates that. So yeah, it comes with its own set of risks.

Jeremy Au: [00:32:27] One last question, you know, listeners have asked about how successful tech executives and founders balance, obviously, your hobbies and professional careers. And they've also asked about relationships. So, for the first time ever I'm asking of anyone on this show would be, what advice would you give for people to balance integrate their relationship into everything?

Saurabh Chauhan: [00:32:50] Oh, wow. That's a really hard question. I would take a step back and actually say make sure you have a partner that is an enabler, that understands your ambitions in life and what motivates you, accepts you for all your impractical ways of blowing off steam and then is somehow still able to appreciate the times when you're able to actually be there and not just be there give them your undivided attention.

So, I think it's really about being truthful and honest with your partner and saying, "This is who I am. This is how I function. This is what I want to do in life. Would you be my enabler? Would you be supportive?" I think as long as your partner is okay with that, I think it's a lot easier to have a work life balance, I guess when it comes to relationships. If you have a partner that doesn't fundamentally align with that, then it's just going to be a lot trickier.

Jeremy Au: [00:33:44] Awesome. Well, thank you so much Saurabh. It's a pleasure to have you on you on the show.

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