Lidia Yan is the CEO and Co-Founder of NEXT which is the world’s first trucker-centric, tech-enabled marketplace that efficiently matches freight with available truck capacity- easing the logistics bottleneck. The company has raised to date $125 million from investors like China Equity Group, Sequoia, or Brookfield.
In this episode you will learn:
- The importance of empowering your team
- How to hire a passionate team of individuals
- How NEXT is empowering drivers and impacting their families
- The top question Lidia wants to hear you answer during an interview
- Who is on their interview panel
- Getting to $11 million in revenue without financing
- Choosing the right investors
For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.
Moreover, I also provided a commentary on a pitch deck from an Uber competitor that has raised over $400 million (see it here).
Remember to unlock for free the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.
ACCESS THE PITCH DECK TEMPLATE
About Lidia Yan:
Lidia Yan is changing the way shippers and carriers connect in order to meet today’s growing transportation demands. As the CEO and Co-Founder of NEXT, Lidia runs the world’s first trucker-centric, tech-enabled marketplace that efficiently matches freight with available truck capacity- easing the logistics bottleneck.
With smart matching and predictive load technologies, the NEXT platform provides enhanced supply chain visibility for shippers, as well as a better experience for truckers, with more control over their schedules, routes and rates.
Prior to founding NEXT Trucking in 2015, Lidia served as a marketing executive at top 10 e-commerce retailer, Newegg, where she managed a $22 million marketing budget while keeping the cost of overall sales under one percent.
Before Newegg, she founded 9luxe, a leading flash sale site in China.
Connect with Lidia Yan:
* * *
FULL TRANSCRIPTION OF THE INTERVIEW:
Alejandro: Alrighty. Hello everyone and welcome to the DealMakers show. I’m very, very excited today. Again, we have someone that I think we’re going to learn quite a bit. Really, really interesting background too, and I think without further ado here, Lidia Yan, welcome to the show today.
Lidia Yan: Thank you for having me.
Alejandro: How was life being born and raised in Shanghai?
Lidia Yan: As an immigrant, it’s a little bit different for sure. English is not my first language, and I was born in Shanghai, China, so I speak those Mandarin Chinese and Shanghainese, and a little bit Cantonese. I came to the U.S. after I finished my college, and then I stayed here.
Alejandro: You came here for your Master’s Degree in Communication Management. Is that right?
Lidia Yan: That’s right. I went to USC, and I got a Master’s Degree in Communication Management.
Alejandro: Why the U.S., Lidia?
Lidia Yan: I remember when I was in high school, I went to a school college, a foreign language school. We had an American teacher, and she was great. I really, really liked her. She was talking about how American education is different because we really enjoyed her class because she encouraged–we could raise our hands to ask any questions. Very different from the traditional Chinese education. Your teacher’s always right. So, I think we kind of got influenced by her, and I really wanted to go to the U.S. to pursue higher education. So, after graduating from college in China, I applied for a couple of colleges, grad school, in the U.S. I got accepted by the University of Virginia first. Actually, my first stop was UVA. I was pursuing a Master’s Degree in Italian literature because I did minor in Italian when I was in college, and also got a teaching assistantship. So, my tuition was covered.
Lidia Yan: It’s great for me, as a student. When I came over to the UVA, it was a great one year. Then I realized that this isn’t something I really wanted to pursue. I didn’t really want to be a professor. So, I applied for other schools. I got accepted by both NYU and USC for both communications programs. I chose USC because it has higher ranking. Actually, Annenberg is the #1 communication school in the nation. So, I transferred to the West Coast.
Alejandro: What did you do right after graduating?
Lidia Yan: I worked in different companies, mostly in marketing advertising agency, e-commerce company. Prior to NEXT, I worked at an e-commerce company called Newegg. It’s a 2-million-dollar private company focusing on electronics. I was their Marketing Executive and Mobile Marketing Manager. I managed a 20-million-dollars yearly marketing budget. It’s a little bit different from typical Silicon Valley startups. It’s a company with 20 years of history and focus more on profitability. In that company, marketing was actually the driving force for sales. So, we actually managed to keep the cost of sale under 1%. It’s actually very, very efficient.
Alejandro: How do you land there because your background was not specifically in marketing. You did some PR and so forth. How all of the sudden you see yourself managing this really big budget in marketing?
Lidia Yan: Yeah. I was really wanted. When I graduated from USC, I wanted to be a journalist because I’m an immigrant, and my English is not so great. So, I wanted to pivot to some area that is close to journalism, so I went to APR Agency. But where’s the growth of e-commerce companies? I realized this is the future. So, I chose a company that is close to my home which is an e-commerce company, and which is Newegg. Actually, I learned a lot there. It’s different from a lot of typical startups. It’s very frugal. It’s scrappy, and they focus on making money. It’s very different from large e-commerce companies out there. I was their marketing executive. I also build their mobile app. So, I got really interesting technology, and I wanted to pursue a career in this direction.
Alejandro: You were there for close to two years. Is that right?
Lidia Yan: That’s right.
Alejandro: What were some of your biggest takeaways. Here you are in the U.S., so obviously completely different dynamics and culture to China. By the way, I’ve lived this as well, being Spanish, and I can relate when you talk about language because sometimes, I feel like I’m speaking Spanglish. But I know the drill. For you, what were some of the biggest takeaways from working at Newegg?
Lidia Yan: I think the biggest takeaway is learning how to make the company profitable. It is very important because at the end of the day, no matter how much money you raised for your company, you end up making a business if you want to view it as a sustainable business. So, this is the biggest takeaway I learned from Newegg. Even though Newegg is really not the superstar e-commerce company, and a lot of people from Silicon Valley have never heard of them, it’s a true business. That’s actually very valuable experience that I’ve learned is really to be scrappy and learning how to make money and how to make the company profitable.
Alejandro: How does the incubation of the idea of NEXT Trucking happen because, at one point, you’ve started to get that idea in the back of your head. Walk us through what happened. What was that transition for you?
Lidia Yan: My family has been logistics for over a decade. My husband runs a 3PL company. The other day I went to his office, and instead of industry, it’s chaotic. People were fighting, and we have a dispatcher. Literally, we spent two hours trying to cover one load. It’s very, very inefficient. Traditionally, drivers rely on brokers to find them loads via phone calls or text messages. Sometimes, even emails or a FAX, and a lot of back-and-forth negotiations. A load can take hours to be covered. That’s what my experience was about trucking industry. It’s male-driven. It’s chaotic. There’s no technology. So, that’s why I was never interested in it. But that day made me determined that I wanted to do something for this industry and why it is so inefficient. By looking at the software that my family company was using, it looks like something that was used 20 years ago. It’s FTP-based, and it’s blah, kind of grey. It looks like a DOS system. So, I said, “Wow, there’s nobody that really cares about the trucking industry.” It’s an 800-billion-dollar industry. It’s really the core of our economy. There are 3.5 million truck drivers out there. If people don’t have any technologies, it’s primarily phone calls. I remember another story, a driver from one of the largest trucking companies came to our warehouse to pick up a load. He literally gave us a piece of paper with his scribbled numbers on it. So, the warehouse actually spent three hours trying to locate that load. They couldn’t find it. At the end of the day, they realized that a driver had the wrong number on that piece of paper. It’s a multi-billion-dollar trucking company. I was like, “This is ridiculous. We have to do something to the industry.” So, we actually talked to tons of drivers and came up with a marketplace idea. How we can efficiently connect shippers with couriers. I remember when we came up with this idea, and we shared it with several drivers. Some drivers even wanted to take a picture with us. They were like, “If you can really do this, it would change our lives. You’re going to be famous.” I remember two drivers snapped a picture with us. That was October 2015.
Alejandro: Nice. At what point were you like, “Okay. We’re going to pull the trigger. Let’s make it happen.”
Lidia Yan: I think immediately after interviewing. I think we interviewed almost 100 drivers. We really felt their urgency to make this happen because it’s so big, it’s so chaotic, it’s so fragmented, and there’s no technology. Also, those drivers wanting to make it happen and understanding that it would eventually change their lives inspired us because we know what we were going to develop is not just an app. It’s going to be a life-changing product. It’s going to change the industry fundamentally.
Alejandro: I think that getting to product/market fit, it’s so important being close to your customers and asking the right question. For this process or for this phase where you were doing all these interviews, did you have a set of questions that were the same that you were asking people and then understanding what data you were getting from those? Or what was the process?
Lidia Yan: I think we’re very lucky because the family has been in the industry for a long time. We have access to a lot of drivers. The company is located in the Logistic zone, so we’re surrounded by warehouses, truck drivers. It’s very easy to access to them. You naturally hear complaints from the drivers why it is like this. So, we prepared a set of 20 questions, but actually, drivers give us more feedback than we needed, and to do something really for them. We called the first trucker-centric marketplace because we wanted to view a marketplace empowering truck drivers. We realized after talking to all the truck drivers, they have their own preferences. Some of the drivers prefer to stay local. Some of them wanted to go to certain states. Some of them do not want to work over the weekend. So, everyone has their own preferences in terms of destinations, their own availabilities. That’s why we came up with this idea, let’s connect drivers with the load that they wanted to haul so we can eliminate the back-and-forth negotiations. Drivers can be more efficient, they can haul more loads, and they can make more money.
Alejandro: Then once you were really clear on this, then it was time to really think about people. What was the founding team of NEXT Trucking?
Lidia Yan: Our founding team was really scrappy. I pulled a couple of co-workers from Newegg to join us. My husband and I and the two engineers, we started this. We literally worked day and night trying to push out the first prototype. It didn’t really work, actually, the first one because what we did was we asked the drivers to post their truck because we basically said, “Driver, if you know this is what you want, why don’t you let the marketplace know this is what you want.” We realized that drivers are more reactive. They wanted to see the available load. So, that’s how we evolved, and it is what we are today. We implemented predictive load offering capabilities. We studied drivers’ behaviors, their preferences, and we give the preferred loads to them up front, so they do not need to choose or select. We organize routes for them, so they are more efficient. Obviously, everything evolves throughout three years, and the first prototype wasn’t really what we thought it was. But I think we’re very happy with the progress that we’ve made. Obviously, the company grew rapidly, and we have a lot of happy users now.
Alejandro: It’s really funny, Lidia because we’re talking and it’s just reminding me of my story again because I built one of my businesses with my wife. So, I understand the dynamics. So, for the listeners that are listening that maybe they’re doing something with a family member or perhaps with their husband or wife, what piece of advice or what have you learned from doing this with your husband?
Lidia Yan: A lot of people say that you need to choose your business partner carefully because it’s like marriage. So, I guess working with your spouse is actually an advantage because you’re married already. I think my husband and I actually make great partners. He’s experienced in logistics, and my engineering is in marketing and product. It’s a great marriage of skill set. We’ve known each other for 12 years. We understand each other very well, our personalities, strengths, and weaknesses, so we are complementary to each other. Of course, we try to manage our own areas. For example, right now, I’m the CEO of the company, and he’s running the sales team. So, we do have our own area of expertise.
Alejandro: One of the things that I experienced was that you wake up with it, and you go to sleep with it because you can’t disconnect because your husband is right there. Were you guys able to find a way to find a balance?
Lidia Yan: Yeah. I think we actually agreed upon: we do not discuss work over the weekend. So, even though sometimes we still have work, we try not to talk to each other about work because running a rapid-growing company like this is really stressful. So, we wanted to give us some private time over the weekend. We go to movies. We bring our dog to Lazy Dog Restaurant. We go to the beach and try to relax. I actually downloaded app.calm, and I really like it. It’s a meditation.
Alejandro: I love it. I have it too.
Lidia Yan: Yeah. I love it. My husband loves basketball, so he relaxes by watching games. We actually do have season tickets going to the Clippers game and Lakers games. It’s trying to find a way to balance ourselves.
Alejandro: Definitely, when I’m in LA, I’ll hit you guys up to see if I can squeeze in between those seats.
Lidia Yan: Absolutely.
Alejandro: Lidia, I see you guys actually raised capital quite early on. Could you walk us through what the process was of capitalizing the business?
Lidia Yan: Yeah. Prior to NEXT and adding Newegg, I had another startup called 9luxe, and it was in China. So, it’s very similar to Gilt. It’s a flash sale website. Because of my family background in logistics, actually was able to move merchandise from the U.S. to China, and the business was quickly profitable after a six-month launch of the website. I was able to export goods to China without too much difficulties. However, the competition was brutal in China, and I remember back then there were hundreds of flash sale websites coming out. We didn’t raise any money. Basically, I borrowed money from the family, and I started this website. Literally, after a year, we got squeezed out of the market because we realized that if you have a good business model, you will have competitors. Speed is the only competitive advantage. That’s how we knew before we even founded NEXT Trucking, I knew it was important to really partner ourselves with venture capitals because we know the trucking is a high cash-flow business. It requires a lot of capital and resources. When we came up with the idea, I actually started fundraising even though I didn’t know any VCs in the U.S. It was quite a tough process. I literally added people on LinkedIn and went to every single event in Southern California trying to put myself in front of all the entrepreneurs or VCs and tried to pitched them on spot. Made a lot of mistakes, and finally landed us the first seed round. We raised very, very little money for the first year and a half until we got Sequoia and Brookfield.
Alejandro: You raised I think it was 5 million, what you raised before you got Sequoia on the Series B.
Lidia Yan: You’re right. We raised some seed money, and literally when we started. I remember it was $120,000. I said, “It’s the happiest check on earth.” It really got us started. Then we raised a little bit over one-half million dollars in three months. We raised $5 million dollars at the end of the first year. That was a very difficult process for fundraising because nobody knew us. We are not the typical Silicon Valley startup founders because those of us that are not engineers, and we didn’t have engineering backgrounds or product backgrounds. So, it was a very tough process. It literally took me almost four months to close the round. We raised money from the China equity group CG Ventures. It’s an early stage fund actually headquartered in China. They have an office in Palo Alto as well. They got us to really continue to do the business because we actually grew rapidly. The first year we did 11 million dollars in revenue, and we were profitable.
Lidia Yan: I was very confident when I set out to do fundraising, but it was very, very tough.
Alejandro: Eleven million in the first year. Lidia, we’ve got to stop here just one second because for all the people listening are like, “Whoa!” How did you do 11 million in the first year, Lidia? What do you think clicked so well to get to that?
Lidia Yan: I think our family relationship in logistics really got us a kickstart because we actually know a lot of shippers ourselves, and we know a lot of drivers ourselves up front. This first group of shippers and couriers are our relationship. They actually became our great spokesperson. Later on, it’s a lot easier for us to open doors to new shippers and new couriers because it’s purely word-of-mouth. Shippers talk to each other, and the couriers talk to each other. We naturally got a lot of traction in the market. There wasn’t any product like this in the market. It’s so new, and it’s so fancy for the industry. It’s eye-opening for a lot of shippers when we did a demo. So, we instantly opened a lot of accounts when we launched the product. We grew really rapidly and very, very profitable the first year. We surprised ourselves how fast the business grew because it’s really something that the industry was really asking for. For the longest of time, nobody did something like that.
Alejandro: One thing that amazes me is that here you are, you have this really impressive metrics and incredible revenue traction, and you’re still finding trouble to really raise money.
Lidia Yan: Yeah. I think the Silicon Valley mentality is if a company started by super-talented engineers or product folks can really nail it. So, even though we have some revenue tractions, it’s not very sexy to a lot of venture capitalists. For Series B, we were actually approached by several investors because the company was growing rapidly, we doubled our revenue, and there was very little capital that we raised. We were profitable because, at the same time, several other tech startups in trucking space failed in the very short amount of time. So, investors suddenly realized that trucking is actually more complicated than people thought it was. It has hurdles. It has barriers. It does require some experience and knowledge of the industry to really kick this off. That’s how we got Sequoia on the belt after two years.
Alejandro: Nice. Sequoia. You went from having trouble to getting the absolute best investor that any startup can think of. Sequoia is really incredible. How much capital have you guys raised to date?
Lidia Yan: We raised a total of 125 million dollars. Our Series B was led by Sequoia Capital, and our Series C was led by Brookfield Ventures. We’re very lucky to have the best investors that we can possibly ask for. Everybody knows Sequoia, and we really like our partner Oma. He was the founder of AdMob. The reason why we picked Sequoia is really because all Sequoia partners have hands-on experiences as an entrepreneur. They’re either in product operations. Omar gives us a lot of great valuable advice. Actually, the whole Sequoia team has been nothing but supportive from talent, acquisition, to legal advice, from product operations all the way to business development. For Series C, we were actually approached by more VCs. I remember when we were raising, we were approached by VCs every other week. People would just come to our office.
Alejandro: They would just show up?
Lidia Yan: Yeah, they would just show up. We had a lot of VCs come in because the company continued to grow, and we sort of made a name for ourselves. Brookfield actually found us because they saw our trucks. We put some stickers on our trailers. They saw our trucks in terminals. Brookfield is one of the largest asset companies in the world. They manage 450 billion dollars’ worth of assets, including terminals and warehouses. Our partner, Josh, and his associate, Nick, have deep knowledge in logistics. That’s also the reason why we chose to partner with Brookfield this round because we have the best of venture capital with us. We were looking for people and partners who have knowledge in logistics because most traditional VCs don’t have much knowledge about logistics. It’s so new to the VC world. Brookfield has deep knowledge, and they actually provided us valuable resources traditional VCs don’t have. I’d say we’re very, very fortunate to have the best investors.
Alejandro: That’s amazing. It’s funny because many VCs, they’re like, “Oh, we have value. We have value.” But at the end of the day, there’s just a small bunch that are able to really add value, and I think what you’re pointing to, for example, what Sequoia has been able to do in terms of support from legal, from marketing, from HR. I think that’s really how folks can really contribute by being there with you as an investor. So, glad you touched on that. Then in terms of the business itself, how big is NEXT Trucking today?
Lidia Yan: We have a total 130 employees in LA. We also have a small team in China. We’re looking to hire another 150 employees by the end of the year. So, our goal is really to grow as much as possible in the LA market. We primarily focus on Southern California at this point. [27:21], Texas, Nevada. We’re very big with Drayage is really calling Ocean content from the port to a local warehouse. So, that’s also why we found group-filled partnerships super interesting is because they own terminals. We do have some leverages in relationships in LA and Long Beach terminals who can really help us build up our business. Drayage also is more complicated than over-the-road trucking. We really wanted to resolve this problem because it’s been there for so long, and no company really focused on it. So, we wanted to be the first one, and a great company that can eventually resolve Drayage problems and terminal congestions.
Alejandro: It seems that Lidia, you guys were in a spot that many entrepreneurs would love to be at when you were literally at your Series B. People knocking on your door to be able to invest, and people showing up at your office, which is really funny. What were some of the traits, and this goes for the founders out there who are tuning in, what were some of the traits that you were thinking were an absolute must for you to let them invest?
Lidia Yan: I think you have to deliver. At the end of the day, investors want great business. Want to build billion-dollar companies. We’re lucky that we’re in a very good space. It’s just such a ginormous space. Trucking alone, it’s 800 billion dollars. Drayage is 60 billion dollars. So, it’s a ginormous industry that is screaming for help. So, we’re doing the right thing at the right time, and our product is the perfect market fit. So, timing is very important. Product/market fit is very important, and execution is really the key component to success. Initially when we were small, and we didn’t have a lot of capital, we worked even like me and my partners. Everyone working multiple functions. So, we worked many hours because we didn’t have resources to hire a lot of people. When the company grew, now we focus on building a great, fantastic team and focusing on how we can allow all the rock stars to work together, and to roll forward as a team. At different stages, we focus on different things. At the end of the day, we have to deliver, and we have to keep our promise. It’s the promise to the shareholders, to venture capitalists, to investors, and also to our employees.
Alejandro: Were there certain qualities that you requested, or let’s say you knew with your leadership team that we’re going to be a must if you would let an investor make an investment in your business?
Lidia Yan: First of all, I like people who are truly passionate about what we’re doing, not really because NEXT is going to be a multi-million-dollar company or we’re doing something that is in a huge space is truly interested in solving a problem and thinking about the users. That’s very different because the venture space is so hot and there are a lot of lures out there. If the person is only money or cash-driven, then I wouldn’t want this person to be on my executive team. They have to be genuinely interested and passionate about what we’re doing, understand, and share our vision of the company because those people would truly care about the company and build the company with us.
Alejandro: So, entrepreneurship and building a business. You had the experience in the past as well where things didn’t work as well as you would have hoped. But here you have a rocket ship. Also, in rocket ships, you have highs, and you also have lows. In your case, Lidia, what was one moment that was very dark for you that was a tough moment, and how did you overcome that moment. What was the breakthrough?
Lidia Yan: We have a lot of ups and downs. Almost every other month we have things that we have to overcome. I think as a founder it is very important to keep calm and try to really resolve the problems instead of fighting the symptoms. Actually, we made mistakes before too. We’re trying to get ourselves into the weeds, trying to resolve the problems ourselves, and we didn’t really empower the team. So, I think with the growth of the company I think one thing is very important which is to trust the team that everything is in good hands. It’s actually one of our company values. Also, our company mission is really to empower the drivers to work the way they want, when they want. This is really rooted in the spines of our team because we’re almost obsessive when it comes to obsessed with driver focus. We wanted to make sure that everything we do is pro-truck drivers, and is really helping them to have a better life. Actually, the fact is we are changing the drivers lives. I remember there’s one driver came into our office for a focus group, and he broke down. He actually cried when we were doing the focus group. He said how much he appreciated NEXT Trucking because we changed his life.
Lidia Yan: In the past, he was going to terminals and stuck there for seven hours, barely making any money. Now with us, he can go home whenever he wants to, spend time with his wife and kids, and also, he makes a lot more money because he does work very hard. In the past, no matter how hard he worked, he was limited by inefficiency. Now, his routes are more efficient. We organize more routes for him, and also, he doesn’t really spend time [34:11], it’s like driving the miles that don’t really generate any profit. Also, he’s more flexible. He’s actually trying to get more trucks because, in the past, he was his own operator. He has his own truck and is driving himself. Now, he’s trying to get multiple trucks and form his own small business, a small fleet. That’s exactly what inspired us and our team because it’s not an app. It’s changing people’s lives.
Alejandro: For sure, and I’m sure that at the end of the day, that’s what makes you really think twice when you have a down day, you just keep reminding yourself why you started in first place. So, it’s nothing like the customers. As long as they continue click and they continue to have their lives changed, everything makes sense. Lidia, one thing that comes to mind here is as you’re thinking about, for example, being in a rocket ship like this because there are only a handful of companies that have this type of tremendous growth on a yearly basis that are startups. What are the typical challenges of a company that grows so fast? What keeps you up at night?
Lidia Yan: I think one is talent acquisition and one is talent retention. So, hiring the right people is very, very important to us, and we make mistakes too. I think that’s why right now, we do a lot of interviews, not just the once or twice. We have a very sophisticated interview and moving process, especially for leaderships. So, we wanted to make sure we put the right people in the right chair, and also empower them and allow them to really manage their team. Also, we wanted to make sure everyone aligns with our vision and company culture. That is very important to us as well.
Alejandro: What you say as a sophisticated process, what is that process? What does the process look like?
Lidia Yan: We have a set of questions we ask. It’s not like meet-and-greet. For executives, we also do a lot of back-channel references to the personnel. On top of that, we ask a set of questions that are related to our culture. One of our culture committee people will be on the interview panel, and a multiple of us will be on it. You have to vote to make sure that the person is aligned and everyone likes this person because at the end of the day, as you said, the important thing is like marriage. We want to have a great marriage, and we want to bring the best of people. Not only the most talented people, but the talented people who can work as a group.
Alejandro: When you’re asking those questions, I’m sure there’s one question that you’re waiting to hear the answer. What is that question?
Lidia Yan: Question to who? I’m sorry.
Alejandro: To the people that you’re interviewing you said that there’s a set of questions. I’m sure there’s one question that you’re like, “I really want to hear what he’s going to say on the answer.”
Lidia Yan: Oh, okay. I always ask the people about their own weaknesses because I want to hear genuine feedback because nobody’s perfect no matter how talented you are. I always will ask this question like, “What do you think is your biggest flaw in terms of management?” I like to hear genuine because it’s very important. I think for a lot of successful entrepreneurs or leaders, self-awareness is important. I think it’s a common characteristic for most successful entrepreneurs is they’re aware of their own weaknesses. So, that’s why I always ask this question, and this is one of the set of questions I always ask, especially to my direct report is I want them to tell me their weaknesses and how they want to work with their weaknesses and to really show that they’re aware of it.
Alejandro: Really, really interesting. Lidia, in a world where the vision of NEXT Trucking has been fully realized, what does that world look like?
Lidia Yan: We want to see a very, very automated terminal, and we want to see continuous flowing out of terminal without any delays, and the content is coming back to the terminals without any congestion. That’s the world that I want to see. And, obviously, I want to see all the trucks with our little stickers on them.
Alejandro: I love it. Lidia, one question that I always ask the guests that we have on the show is—you’ve been at it. This is your second rodeo and an incredible journey. If you had the opportunity to sit down with your younger self and give that younger self one piece of business advice, what would that be and why?
Lidia Yan: I made a lot of mistakes through this journey, and I think I would tell myself—in the past, I like to do things myself because I consider myself a quick learner, and a quick doer. But I think it’s important to bear this word trust in mind all the time. It’s really to bring the right people and to trust in them, and trust that they’re in good hands. That’s also the reason why we embedded this in our company values.
Alejandro: As you’re thinking about mistakes, for example, how do you reflect on them so you can really learn and get the most lessons out of those failures?
Lidia Yan: You’re talking about the mistakes?
Alejandro: When we’re thinking about mistakes because, at the end of the day, you either succeed or you learn. That’s the way it works. So, when you learn, when you haven’t achieved the success and initiative, how do you reflect to get the most value from the lessons’ perspectives?
Lidia Yan: How do I really get the values from perspectives? I think one of the qualities I have is I do have self-awareness, and I do really look into my weaknesses. Also, I’m in the process of hiring an executive coach because the company grows so fast, and I’m trying to be an executive that I adapt into different stages very, very fast from a very small company to a good-sized company, to hopefully to a significantly sized company in a short amount of time. It does take some effort to adapt and change. I think the valuable lesson I have is be a good listener and learn and adapt quickly. Learn from your peers. Learn from your investors. Learn from your users. Be a great listener, and empower your team.
Alejandro: That’s it. Being a great listener. That’s why we have one mouth and two ears. I love it. So, Lidia, for the folks that are listening, what is the best way for them to reach out and say hi?
Lidia Yan: We on www.nexttrucking.com and the phone number is listed online. Feel free to call us anytime. We have a very supportive team to connect with you and answer any questions that you may have. You can also download our app, NEXT Trucking from app stores.
Alejandro: Amazing. Lidia, thank you so much for being on the DealMakers show today.
Lidia Yan: Thank you so much for having me.