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Episode 16: From Casual Coder to Business Owner: Reed Loustalot and LOSTFR8’s Journey

Brent – 00:00:01:

Welcome to Freight Nation: A Trucking Podcast where we explore the fascinating world of trucking and freight management. We dive deep into the freight industry and uncover why the trucking industry is more crucial to our country now than ever before. Stay tuned to uncover the driving forces behind successful trucking businesses and hear from the hardworking truckers and leaders who keep the world moving. Let’s hit the road. Hi, welcome to Freight Nation. Podcast by Truckstop. And it’s all about freight. It’s all about all the connectivity of freight. Everything goes on in and around the United States and the freight, I guess, the world as well, because everywhere is connected when it comes to freight these days. That’s why we called it Freight Nation. The United States is the largest mover of freight in the world. I’m probably not a surprise to most people. And we’d like to have on interesting people here on Freight Nation to kind of talk about what’s going on in the greater body of freight and things happening and try to maybe tell a few stories about their lives and about how they’re creating success and creating opportunity for trucking and really what makes them tick. And so we have a really, really fun episode today. One of the most compelling people I’ve met in the last couple of years, the guy that has done a lot inside this marketplace, worked for a couple of very large brokerage companies, EFCO and Armstrong, that also started to create his own company. And then on top of that, created something that nobody will ever forget, this feedback loop that he’s created, this internet sensation called Please Advise. So I’m happy to have on the show today, Mr. Reed Loustalot. Hello, and for those that know how to pronounce his last name correctly, there’s a lot of ways people pronounce it, but I’ll probably say it 10 times on here because I like saying it. But Reed, thanks for coming on today and thanks for joining us on Freight Nation.

Reed – 00:01:40:

Happy to be here. Appreciate you having me on. I love recording this stuff. I love what you guys are doing. Fan of truck stops. So yeah, here I am. Let’s do it.

Brent – 00:01:48:

Well, thank you so much. Yeah, I love it. I did actually practice your name to make sure I got it right. I worked in the Japanese market for six years and getting people’s names, especially the name, is a high honor. So I want to make sure that you know that it’s a high honor of how I respect you and want to make sure I get your last name right. Mr. Loustalot right? That’s how he’s lost a lot. Is that how it goes?

Reed – 00:02:09:

Depends who you ask, honestly. If you ask part of my family, that’s right. That’s another acceptable pronunciation. So you can use them interchangeably. How about that?

Brent – 00:02:17:

All right, well, let’s get started. One of the reasons why I wanted to have you on today was because you started this really cool thing, but we’re going to talk about this last, okay? We’re going to talk about Please Advise last because this is what I know you as, okay? I know you as this, but the marketplace knows you as other things. I mean, you in your short years on this planet, and it’s interesting, the last guest I had on is not even 30 yet. I’m going to guess, are you 30 yet?

Reed – 00:02:42:

I turned 30 in June.

Brent – 00:02:44:

Well, 30 is a big year for everybody because 30 is that year where everybody starts getting, for some reason, we all start getting serious about our lives. And for you, I’m going to guess for you, the same thing kind of happened for me, which was I got married a little bit before 30. My wife and I got pregnant. I had a little girl, which I know you have a little girl. And all of a sudden you kind of go, I got to start making something out of this.

Reed – 00:03:05:

Yeah, in some respects it does. I like to say that I’m serious when I need to be. And these days I need to be a little more serious more frequently. Although you’ll never catch me being serious all the time. No, I hope not. So just a little bit more.

Brent – 00:03:18:

I think one of the things that makes you super creative and really makes you who you are is the fact that you are lighthearted. And I’ll tell you the one thing about life, and I’m 26 years older than you, is that one thing about getting older is most people when they get older, they just get more cynical. They shouldn’t. They should get more hopeful. And you know, when you’re lighthearted, you can stay hopeful.

Reed – 00:03:37:

It’s funny.I’m like basically the opposite, I think. I was very cynical as a teenager. I was militantly cynical. And I do my best to pull myself out of that. That you find yourself in when you’re too cynical. So…

Brent – 00:03:50:

Well, it means that you’re still working on yourself just like we all are, man. That’s a cool thing. And so freight gives you the opportunity to create whatever you want for yourself. And that’s really something I think is unique because you have a really fun story when it comes to how you got to your business endeavor now is Lost Freight. And that’s L-O-S-T-F-R, the number eight. All right. So Lost Fr8. So you got a really fun story because a lot of people think when people build something on the tech front, most of them probably weren’t even in trucking, but that’s not the case with you. You’ve been around logistics and freight for quite a while. And so I’d like for you to kind of start there. First off, tell everybody where you grew up, you know, that sort of thing. And then you went to Marquette and then out of Marquette, I’m sure you went, I’m going to be in the freight industry. You may not have, you may have, but so kind of start there.

Reed – 00:04:39:

Yeah, sure, sir. So I grew up in Phoenix, AZ, Arizona, went to Jesuit high school, prep, all boys, Jesuit school. Then like many of my classmates made the trip to Marquette. So graduated there in 2016. I was a philosophy major. I had no idea what I wanted to do. No clue. Not the slightest clue. Took school not seriously for probably three years. Had a lot of fun. Was the president of my fraternity. I basically spent all my time doing everything except studying. I don’t even regret it really, to be honest, because I had a lot of fun and I met a lot of good people and I did a lot of crazy stuff and it was a great time. So I graduated in 2016. Then I needed a job and I’d moved to Boston because my now wife, Megan, had moved to Boston a year prior to me graduating from college. And she was like, Hey, I’m in Boston. And I was like, okay, cool. And I had no idea what I wanted to do. No prospects. And I wanted to leave the Marquette in Milwaukee for those who don’t know. So I went to school in Milwaukee and then I was like, okay, well, I’ve done the Midwest a bit. Like maybe I’ll go to the East Coast. That sounds good. So I moved out there, needed a job and had a buddy who was a fraternity brother of mine who graduated a year prior to me. He was like, Echo’s got an office. He worked at Echo in Chicago. He’s like, Echo’s got an office in Boston. Why don’t you broker some freight? I was like, okay, I don’t know what that is, but I’ll go interview. So I interviewed and I only interviewed at two jobs. One was a, like a marketing company. That was just wanting me to cold call and sell SEO marketing services. And then I went and interviewed at Echo and they were like, well, you know, you get to talk to truck drivers and you get to look at maps all day. I love maps. And so I was like, I’ll take looking at maps all day over talking about SEO, which I don’t know anything about. So that’s literally what my thought process was. So that was July of 2016. And I ended up working in Boston at Echo for four and a half years or almost five years as a carrier sales rep the whole time. About September of 2019, I moved to Chicago where their headquarters was to see if there was any future prospects for me to do other stuff. And I honestly really just liked Chicago too, because a lot of my college classmates had moved there, a lot of my friends. So I had it in my head that I wanted to live there and then COVID happened and it just kind of all got screwed up and whatever. And I ended up moving back to Boston. And then my wife and I got married October night, 2021. And then we moved back to Arizona. I quit Echo. I started at Trimble. That’s where I went next. Trimble Cubics. Trimble had acquired Cubics. I think the year before I joined, I joined Cubics, which was then Trimble. That was January of 21 and was there for about a year and a month, got laid off. And then I moved to Arizona. And then I started all this crazy stuff I’m doing now. So that’s basically the story from college to career to the starting line of where I’m at now.

Brent – 00:07:54:

All right.So when you were working at Echo and they said, you’re going to call on truck drivers, carriers, and you’re going to play with maps. You said, I really like maps. Well, I really love maps too, by the way, Brent does. And so what was the funnest part of the job? And then what was the kind of hardest part of the job when you’re just dealing with the carrier end on that end? Because that’s a high pressure, fast moving job.

Reed – 00:08:15:

Yeah. I mean, the best part of it was getting to over time meet and work with really and befriend, honestly, really good drivers, dispatchers, fleet owners. I still regularly communicate with a handful of guys who I met in that capacity. Many of them are still my customers now in my new endeavor. I just loved learning what people liked to do. Especially, I really liked working with owner ops because I basically just moved a couple exclusively. It was so much more pleasant experience in your day to day to work with the same people over and over again. And, you know, sometimes I’d sell them a load and we’d end up talking for 20 minutes about whatever. And they’d call me and tell me they’re at the shipper and we’d talk for 20 more minutes about whatever. It’s like, that’s what made the job powerful. Obviously money helps too. So I did decent. I was pretty good. I wasn’t the best, but I was. I would say upper percentile. The hard part is in that sort of role and in any sort of, especially broker middleman role, you’re constantly being blamed for things you cannot control. You know, we like to say, don’t shoot the messenger. Well, you’re the messenger and you’re being shot multiple times a day when you’re in that sort of role. So that can be very challenging and stressful to deal with. And there were certainly days. I mean, shoot, like. There were years where I was like, man, this stinks. Like, I do not like doing this. Like, I want to do something else. Grass is always greener. Like, and the only thing that really kept me through it was obviously good pay, you know, good commission and just working with friends basically. So, and my coworkers were great too, generally. And it was also the limiting factor was your ability to just connect dots, like connect freight with carriers. And so the limiting factor for your income was just how intelligently could you make this thing work? And. Frankly, that was a pretty exciting situation to be in. So yeah, it was a great first job for sure.

Brent – 00:10:13:

Without a doubt. I studied psychology for quite a while in school, loved it. And I’ll bring that into my sales approach. How did you bring your philosophical background into your relationship with your carriers?

Reed – 00:10:24:

I don’t know that I did explicitly. I think I just liked talking to people and asking them questions about their business and what they did. I mean, the most important part of a carrier sales route’s job in my, or at least for me, it was, was just always asking questions about, you know, a carrier’s business. Like what lanes you’re on? What kind of equipment do you have? Like, where do you like to go? Where do you not like to go? All of these questions. And I was very comfortable. I hinted earlier about being cynical and I was, it was definitely a bit nihilistic. And I was always asking questions for me. Like it was almost a bottomless pit of questions. And I guess I just like to ask questions. So I was asking questions all day to carriers. Maybe that’s a, I don’t know if that’s a good answer, but I’ll go with that.

Brent – 00:11:06:

Well, that’s cool. So you spent quite a bit of time at Echo. You spent some time at Armstrong, but your time at Armstrong was unique. So talk a little bit about your time at Armstrong. After Tremble, you went to Armstrong because I think this is where your story starts to take that. Yeah. That I like. And it all came around coding, didn’t it?

Reed – 00:11:31:

Yeah. So I’d always been interested in technology. I like computers. I’ve always been screwing around with computers. I started to teach myself to code right when I moved to Chicago in 2019. I was like, I want to learn how to code. I never really wanted to do it professionally. I just liked making, I wanted to make websites, frankly. I just liked the internet. And so I learned HTML. I learned CSS. I learned some basic JavaScript and built a website for myself called readislost.com. It still exists. It’s still up. It’s a treat. It’s a good website. And I did that for a while. I just kind of screwed around, had fun. I’d try to have an idea and I’d make little pet projects and send them to my friends and they’d all laugh for a second and everyone would forget about it forever, which is just what you do. And so I ended up getting laid off from Trimble. That was MARCH 2022. And I needed something to do. And a good friend of mine, Rob Bliss, shout out Rob, who I met at Echo. He was a coworker of mine at Echo. Also found out that he went to my high school, but he graduated like four years ahead of me. He had left Echo and had since joined MCG Logistics, which is the largest agent office of Armstrong. He was like, hey, do you want to come do 1099 sales over here? After I got laid off and I was like, I got nothing better to do, so let’s do it. And I called a couple of customers, got a little bit afraid and that was cool. But my heart wasn’t necessarily in it. Like I could pick up the phone, I could dial, but like, it’s so hard to like force yourself to do that activity, especially when you’re not super good at cold calling. Like I’m not a great cold caller, but I was out there in Chicago where he lives, where Rob lives and I was in his office. It was WeWork and this was late May, I say, I think of 2022 and he was like, hey, we need this thing, this tool. I know you know how to code. Can you do it? I was like, yeah, I can do it. In the back of my head, I was like, oh, I have no idea. I don’t know if I can do it, but I probably figured it out. And that next day, literally, I spent the whole day just trying to whip something up and code. Instead of picking up the phone and calling customers, I literally just started coding and ended up making, I probably can dig up the first, second version of this little thing I made for him. It’d be interesting to show people that because they would be like, oh my God, that looks terrible. But anyway yeah so I then spent probably two months the summer building out what they wanted ended up getting super fired up was like I’m gonna start turning this into a company got an LLC signed them as a customer was like I’m gonna sell this to the whole world I’m gonna sell this to a bunch of other brokers and called a couple and they were all just like who are you what are you talking about what is this thing you built like go away basically and I did start calling a loss freight then and whatever I built something and it worked it did what we wanted it to do and it was a very large learning experience and I also realized that I didn’t know what the heck I was doing when it came to writing code and building things and building a product that people actually used right that had actual users because there’s this thing in coding where you can build a website and build all this functionality and you press a button a thousand times and it works every time you press it but then as soon as you press it it doesn’t work and then you have to build a website and then as soon as another person presses it everything breaks and the whole thing goes up in flames that’s literally like true and so I really realized that I was over my skis and I needed help And that’s when I kind of brought in and I befriended a guy off Twitter named Jake, who’s now my business partner in Lost Rate. And he basically came in and rescued me and stitched together what I had built. And also at that time, that was like August. At that time, he was like, hey, what is this? And I kind of was like, well, you know, I built this for these guys. Nobody else really wants it. It’s kind of niche. It’s very specific. But I have this new idea and capacity kind of drawing on my experience as a carousel rep. And I think we should go do this. And so I basically sold Jake on the idea, which at that point was very raw. And he was like, sounds cool. He was working for Shopify at the time. He’s no freight experience, zero, but he’s a legit engineer. And so he was like, yeah, let’s do it. And that was in September. And yeah, so we started kind of in this new direction in September of that year in 2022. And where do you want to go from there? That was the start.

Brent – 00:15:58:

Well, the thing that’s cool about this, Reid, is that you’re not going to be able to do it. You weren’t born into a freight family. You don’t have diesel going through your veins. It’s like a lot of freight people like to say. But you got into an industry because it was almost a default. You thought that’d be interesting. You got into it. You realized, wait, it’s kind of more fun than I thought. And then you kind of morphed your way through a little bit here and there and thought you were going to be in one place. And they made that not work out for you. And they found another opportunity because of a relationship, because you kept these relationships going. Freight and transportation are very relational. Probably the most relational industry in the world. And then because of your passion for another thing, you started building something that you thought was interesting. You know, if you ask most innovators or technology or developer people, that’s the word they use all the time. Well, this is interesting. And then that took you into reaching out to somebody else, somebody else with another relationship and you getting a business partner and them helping you get sort of focused. On something that could be beneficial for others, for the carriers, which is where you started in freight. You know, so to me, that’s a phenomenal story. So before you talk about what Lost Fr8 does and what it is, tell them how you came to the name Lost Fr8, because I think that’s super cool.

Reed – 00:17:10:

Yeah, all my pet projects, like I alluded to, I would always, you know, whip up some silly thing that I had an idea for just to prove to myself that I could do it and learn some new coding concepts. I would always name it and I always make some silly logo. It was usually 8-bit because I like 8-bit, like kind of pixel art kind of stuff. And I would always include the word Lost in it because A, my last name is often pronounced Lost a lot. B, I was frequently kind of lost. I had no idea what the heck I was doing, like with my wife, just in general. So it was just kind of like layers to the name. And I had always used as a moniker online or a username on websites, read as Lost. That was always, that was my username. And so I just took… I took the word Freight because it was, you know, Freight related. And then I spelled it FR because the domain was cheaper. I think it was like a two grand domain to spell out Lost Fr8, but it was like 12 bucks or something like that to put the eight. So I just went with that. So yeah.

Brent – 00:18:15:

I love it. So you built Locked Freight. And by the way, at Truck Stop, we’re all about carriers, man. If you don’t have a truck, you can’t move freight. So you got to have a carrier. It’s super important. And the truck and the person driving the truck is the place you start, right? Because you got to have it. So you created this software that helps carriers represent themselves better, helps them market their business. Talk about that and why you landed there. What are some of the unique things about it?

Reed – 00:18:42:

Yeah, sure. Sure. So I basically drew on my experience as a carrier rep, right? And most of my day was spent calling carriers, asking them where their trucks were. That’s it. Like very little information about carriers, businesses is available online. You don’t know what lanes they run. It’s hard to figure out what kind of equipment they have. All these things that are necessary for me to offer a carrier relevant opportunities is basically impossible to fight. And so I was like, well, let’s just build a truck. And I was like, well, let’s just build a truck. And I was like, well, let’s just build a truck. And I was like, well, let’s just build a truck. And I was like, well, let’s just build for a carrier to answer all the questions that I was always asking them. And let’s give them ways to answer those questions proactively so that nobody even has to ask them. Because if they want relevant opportunities, they need to make this information as easy as possible for brokers and shippers to get their hands on. So we literally just built a tool for them to cleanly input on a webpage, what lanes they run, where they had capacity, what kind of equipment they had, how to get in touch with them, like what their story was, like their description or whatever. And every day, I would just go to the truck and I would say, hey, I want to know what you’re carrier gets a profile that they can share with whoever it’s public. You know, they can send it to whoever they want. Say, hey, Reed, you know, instead of carrier rep at ECA, instead of calling me 15 times a day to ask me where my trucks are, just go to this webpage. And then we realized that we shouldn’t always expect a carrier rep to remember the webpage or go to the webpage every day. So we built this little email tool for a carrier to input all their broker emails and just send a truck list out and dump it in their inbox whenever they want. So that’s literally what it is. Because it’s not cleanly lumped into an existing category. It’s kind of like a marketing tool. We’ve got some integrations into load boards and stuff like that. We’ve got some more that we’re thinking of doing. And it’s basically just a marketing tool. And the first thing I did when we launched it in January 2023, about a year ago now, was call up all of my old carriers from Echo and say, hey, can you please, please, please try this for me? It’s basically what it was like. And yeah, I mean, we still have most of those guys now.

Brent – 00:20:42:

All right.So you kind of paint a picture that sometimes things are harder than you think they are. Tell me, what was the biggest challenge around getting it to where the user accepted it? Because that’s hard.

Reed – 00:20:56:

Oh, man.We’re still struggling mightily with that, honestly, because the hardest part about especially software, like a software product, especially one that does not fit cleanly into an existing category, is there’s a lot of confusion about what it is. Hard. It drives me bananas, but that’s just the way it is. And it’s been a learning experience. It’s been great to have Jake who has professional product experience. He’s helped a lot with that. But even then, man, it’s just, it’s hard. Yeah.

Brent – 00:21:56:

What were some of the user feedback things that they said to you that you were a little surprised about?

Reed – 00:21:59:

Well, it’s funny. Our initial slogan was never send a truck list again, because a lot of carriers that I worked with sent email truck lists, which were great for me as a carrier rep in hindsight. Like, I don’t know why I was so anti truck list, but literally that was our first slogan. And then we’d launched and quickly realized that, Oh, Hey, like, People want to send truck lists. Brokers love to get them because it just makes their life easier because they’re in their email all day. And it’s honestly just a great way to stay engaged because a lot of carriers do a very poor job of staying engaged with all their brokers. You know, they’re set up with 100 of them and they talk to five of them. So this is just a simple way to do it. So within the first three weeks, I think, realized we needed to have that. And so we built that like very quickly after we launched.

Brent – 00:22:43:

So that was the major feedback was something you thought was a negative. Actually ended up being one of your positives.

Reed – 00:22:49:

Yeah.Yep. Exactly. Yeah.

Brent – 00:22:51:

Yeah. Now that you’re a tech magnet, what’s the thing that you realized about running a business that was surprising to you?

Reed – 00:22:58:

It doesn’t matter how good your product is. But if nobody knows about it, they will never find it and they will never use it. So marketing and sales is really all that matters. And all the fun stuff, which is building cool stuff and watching people use it and like watching your thing you built work will never happen unless you know how to package it up and message it and get people to look at it and just sell. Now, frankly, that’s just what you have to spend your time doing. And even then, like marketing and sales is just really hard, really hard. So that’s what I’ve spent most of my time doing ever since. And there’s been a lot of interesting things that have happened as a result of me doing that, because frankly, I’m not a very focused person. And I’ve ended up doing a lot of other stuff as a byproduct of trying to sell carriers this lossrate.com software.

Brent – 00:23:52:

Well, in a sense, that’s interesting you say that. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Isn’t that one of the things that you’re trying to help the carrier solve? How to communicate themselves, how to market themselves, how to make themselves available. Interesting. Yeah. Interesting that the thing that you discovered was the thing that you’re actually trying to do for your customers.

Reed – 00:24:12:

Yeah. Marketing. It’s hard. You ask carriers how they market. A lot of them are just like, I don’t know what you’re talking about market. Like, what do you even mean?

Brent – 00:24:20:

It’s a foreign object to most carriers. It really, truly is. It’s a foreign object. And yet they’re still so far to go. So I imagine your platform is well received by those that are using it. So you talked about marketing and you talked about really connecting people, which has seemed to be that’s something that you’ve been really good at your whole life. I mean, I realize you felt like you may have been screwing around in college and not focused, but it sounds like you had some pretty great relationships that came out of that. Yeah. That my guests have been beneficial to you on one side or the other, no matter what. Because you’ve maintained them. And then you were the carrier rep for Echo in your days in Boston when you first met Megan. Did you go there? Did you meet Megan in Boston?

Reed – 00:25:06:

Megan and I, we went to elementary school together. Stop it. Yeah, we’ve been dating since the eighth grade. Well, you know what?

Brent – 00:25:12:

It’s about time.

Reed – 00:25:14:

I know. I know. You’re telling me, man. You’re telling me. I know.

Brent – 00:25:17:

Reed, congratulations for being patient with me. So you took those relationships that you’d established as a carrier rep and even with other tech people that you worked with, and that sort of brought you through to where you are today at 30 years old. And you’re now trying to build a company. You’re trying to build a product that people can use and get a benefit from. You’re trying to build a company around it. And you’re still leveraging those relationships. You’re leveraging what you, I think, probably may be the greatest currency that you experienced. Am I hitting some buttons here? Like, this is currency to you. Relationships are currency. Those are important to you. So they aren’t great currency to everybody. They are to somebody. All right. So you created Lost Freight. And so you’re building this thing. You’re trying to build some momentum around it. And you have some social media presence out there. I know I’m kind of going on with this, but I’m trying to set something up here. You’ve got this social media sort of like, I like communicating with people and keeping them in this circle, these circles of communication. And then something came up. You started this nice version of the hat that I’m wearing here. And that really, really vintage version you have on there.

Reed – 00:26:22:

Bespoke. Bespoke.

Brent – 00:26:24:

Bespoke.Yes.

Reed – 00:26:25:

Yeah.

Brent – 00:26:26:

That’s right above trash. Is that right above like trash level, dumpster level?

Reed – 00:26:29:

Yes. Yes. Yes.

Brent – 00:26:31:

So you used your ability to communicate to create something else, which created focus back on your product. Bring us through that one. Because that to me may be the greatest form of marketing you’ve started so far.

Reed – 00:26:45:

Yeah. Yeah. So when we launched LostFreight.com, we needed to market and we didn’t have any money. I like Twitter. I spent a lot of time on Twitter. And I was just started to get involved. I started to just basically post memes and just kind of screw around on Twitter. And. Just as time went on, started meeting more and more people and just engaging every day with more and more people. And that led me, well, I guess back up, Jake and I, my partner, had been communicating in a Discord Server Server server that we had made for ourselves. And for those who don’t know, Discord Server Server is basically just like a chat application and you can invite people to your server. And I basically, at first I was like, maybe we’ll invite some of our customers to it. And, Never did that really, but quickly just started inviting people from Twitter. And that was probably this time last year I started doing that and just had that going and just started talking more and more in there and memeing on Twitter and started on LinkedIn. And I always, like I said in the beginning, like doing these little projects that you can make really quickly. And as time goes on, as I started to engage more people, have more people following me, be able to like spread ideas quicker. I was like, now I have an audience for these little pet projects that I can make. And this was February of last year. That was when like ChatGPT was kind of blown up. And so we made this little AI excuse generator because I wanted to like kind of poke fun at all these people who like talk about AI and freight, which I just think is funny. And so we made pleaseadvise.ai because it was like an excuse for a truck driver. It’s like, why are you late? Please Advise. Like, why are you late to your delivery? And so that you can put in your warehouse name. And it’ll spit back a silly excuse. And I was like, well, I’m just going to put this online and see if anybody will go to it and see how many people, how much traffic we can drive and see if we can make it go kind of mini viral. So we did that. And we had, you know, a decent amount of people, like, I don’t know exactly, but it’s probably around a thousand people go in a day. And I was like, holy cow, this is crazy. And then I was like, okay, I’m just going to put it on a hat, I guess. I don’t even remember why I did this, but like, I just did it. And I just wrote it on a piece of paper and taped it to the hat. And started wearing it places. And then I was like, well, maybe I can sell some just for fun. Cause I also just want to have like a, I want to have like a clothing. I just like brand brands are sweet. Like I love brands. And so I was like, I want to have my own brand. So I just threw that on a hat and was like, Hey, does anyone want to buy one? And nobody said yes. But then I put a link up maybe a month later and 12 people bought them. And I did the first run and kind of the rest is history. And I don’t know how many we’ve sold, like almost 500 probably now.

Brent – 00:29:30:

But you caught the attention of a lot of people in the market. Notably to my good friends, one Craig Fuller of freight waves and the other Stephen W. Rupp heard of let’s truck. Those are two big players in the market. So tell me what happened with them.

Reed – 00:29:43:

I don’t honestly don’t even know the first time Craig and I talk because Craig, what Craig’s a Twitter guy. And so is Kevin Kevin’s a Twitter guy too. And so I met Craig on Twitter a while ago, probably about this time last year. And we just like started talking. I probably. I actually, you know what? I think the first time I ever talked to him was in this very kind of like formal setting where I was like, well, like this is what we’re doing with Lost Raid and like this is the business and stuff like that. But then we quickly realized that we were more just liked the same kind of meeting and jokes and just like Twitter. And so we just kind of became friends. And so we’ve been talking and him and I have a pretty good relationship and whatever. And he’s supported me. You know, he’s done a lot for me. He’s been helpful. So that’s cool. And he’s also got some hats and he’s pumped them a little bit, which has been cool. And Kevin, I met on Twitter. Kevin used to run a bunch of Twitter spaces and he’d get hundreds of drivers in there. And I go up on stage and he would give me a little bit of time to pump Lost Raid. And he would tell people that he thought it was a useful tool. And that was cool. So Kevin, yeah, both guys have been tremendously helpful to me. And that’s all just owing to the fact that I was online, putting myself out there, putting stuff out there. And they saw that. And that’s just how it works, I guess.

Brent – 00:31:00:

Talk a little bit about the power of social media, what it’s done for your brand. And now Please Advise us a brand as well. Because that’s a simple way for anyone to promote their brand out into a, what I call a very large pool.

Reed – 00:31:14:

Yeah. Well, honestly, it’s so simple. But the thing about simple things is like simple is not easy. Those are not the same thing. So it’s very simple, but it is hard. I don’t even have the words to explain it. It’s been very natural for me because I basically felt like I was just putting humor out there. I was making memes. And occasionally I’d mix in like, maybe carriers should be sending truck lists. Or like, hey, I’ve got these hats or whatever. And hey, join this Discord Server Server. And hey, go to pleaseadvise.ai and make up an excuse. And all of these things were just kind of swirling around. And I was always talking about it. And it’s just, it’s all possible because of social media, frankly. Like I’ve said this before in the past, like I know that in 25, 30, 50 years, I will look back and confidently say that I basically owe everything to Twitter. Like I met my business partner on Twitter. I’ve met a ton of customers. I’ve met a ton of investors on Twitter. Like I’ve met most of my friends. Like I’ve so many friends. I’ve got a thousand people in a Discord Server Server. I’ve sold 500 hats. I’ve had tens of thousands of people go to all these websites. And that’s all just been from Twitter. And now LinkedIn, I’m doing more on LinkedIn now, but it’s like social media in general. And so I used to be very cynical about social media. And I was like, oh man, like it’s a time sink. Like, you know, you compare yourself all the time. It’s so toxic. Like, and there’s just all this nonsense. It’s like, yeah, if that’s what you do, if all you do is consume, toxic nonsense, then yeah, it’s a waste of time. But if you put yourself out there and you think about contributing or producing more than you do consuming, and you try to find people who are either A, in the domain you’re trying to be in, or B, like end users of something you’re trying to sell. It’s just like, it’s unbelievably powerful. Unbelievably powerful and nobody or very very few people do exploit it to the extent that it’s possible to and that’s just because it’s really really hard and you have to spend a ton of time doing it before anything happens a ton of time you basically they call it screaming and like on twitter people say shout into the void like basically shout to nobody and nobody listens nobody cares nobody’s gonna read what you say and you just basically have to do that for a while and then maybe something will happen. But… I don’t know, man. Like there are still days now where I feel like, is anybody even going to read what I’m saying? Like, is anything going to happen as a result? But like, it does. It does work. This time last year, I had no people in a Discord Server Server. Now I’ve got a thousand. It’s crazy, frankly. And I have to remind myself, and honestly, doing stuff like this is great because it helps me kind of remember, oh man, like I literally didn’t have anybody. I had no users of Lost Raid. I had no people in a Discord Server Server. This hat didn’t exist a year ago. Like, freight con was not a thing. I went on the freight con yesterday. I got a leaderboard for people who ring it the most. There’s a bunch of people spamming it with robots. So they’ve got like millions of rings. But then like number 15 on the leaderboard is somebody who literally is trying to sell like a Chevy car. It’s like a car hat. It’s like $7,500. Use Chevy Bolt or something like that. You know, 66,000 miles. Like literally on the freight con, I’m like, what is this? Like, what have I created? It’s just. It’s crazy.

Brent – 00:34:32:

No, no, no. I think it just shows your creative ability. I’ve been having the pleasure of working with one of the greatest innovators in the industry, Scott Moskrip, the guy that started this company, this brand. And he’s an idea a minute, man. And just like you, you know, you keep coming up with these ideas and I know that you’ll find success. And I think the thing that really struck me and the thing that while I first knew about you was with Lost Freight, which was what is that? What’s it for? And I think that the reason why I wanted to have you on Freight Nation, Reed, was not just because you’re a fun guy to talk to, which you’re doing something meaningful for me. You’re doing something meaningful for carriers. You’re trying to help them create a better brand for themselves. And I’ll support that and Truckstop will support that anytime we possibly can. And in light of that, just really appreciate you coming on today and telling the story and talking about your story about how you can continue to morph and continue to do things about trying to find success. And I think critical success is not far. I think the next decade of Reed, Luce de Lowe, or Lost a Lot, is going to be the best ever the next 10 years because you’re going to keep putting yourself out there in this. Yeah. Yeah. No doubt about that. Well, man, look, thank you so much for coming on Freight Nation. Your story is really super compelling. Just thank you so much for being willing to tell your story to everybody else and provide an inspiration in it.

Reed – 00:35:41:

Yeah.Yeah. No, I appreciate you having me on. And this is honestly a very useful thing for me too. So I appreciate you having me on. I appreciate what you guys do. It’s great.

Brent – 00:35:50:

Amen to that. Amen to that. Well, thanks, Reed, for bringing your story. And Freight Nation, don’t forget, like we always like to say on Freight Nation, to work hard, be kind, and stay humble. Thanks a lot, Freight Nation. We’ll catch you the next time.

Brent – 00:35:50:

On behalf of the Truck Stop team, thanks for listening to this episode of Freight Nation. To find out more about the show, head to Truckstop/podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, make sure you hit subscribe so you don’t miss any future episodes. Until then, keep on trucking and exploring the open roads with Freight Nation, a trucking podcast.

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