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Marc Lore on the Mets, Wonder and Building Startups | The Deal

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Marc Lore on the Mets, Wonder and Building Startups | The Deal

Introduction (00:00:00)

  • Alex introduces Marc Lore as his business partner, mentor, and friend.
  • Marc Lore is a successful entrepreneur who sold diapers.com to Amazon and jet.com to Walmart.
  • He is now the founder and CEO of Wonder Group, a company that has raised over a billion dollars and is valued at $3.5 billion.
  • Marc Lore has a unique mindset and approach to entrepreneurship that Alex finds fascinating.

How Alex and Marc met (00:02:18)

  • Alex and Marc met during the Covid pandemic through a mutual friend.
  • They hit it off immediately due to their shared New York roots, humble beginnings, and similar values.
  • They became partners in several businesses, including the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx.

Investing in sports (00:03:34)

  • Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez shared a passion for sports, particularly for underdogs.
  • They were inspired by the 30-year history of the Minnesota Twins and the city's support for the team.
  • They felt a drive to turn things around for the team and bring collective happiness to the city, fans, and players.
  • The financial aspect was secondary to the emotional connection and the story of the team.
  • Steve Cohen, the owner of the New York Mets, reached out to Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez to discuss a potential partnership.
  • Cohen was impressed by their passion for sports and their business acumen.
  • Lore and Rodriguez were excited about the opportunity to own a Major League Baseball team and to bring their vision to life.
  • They saw the Mets as a team with great potential and a strong fan base.
  • The deal to purchase the Mets was a complex process that involved negotiations, due diligence, and financing.
  • Lore and Rodriguez were committed to making the deal happen and were confident in their ability to turn the Mets into a successful team.

Inside Alex & Marc's business partnership (00:05:25)

  • Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez formed a close partnership based on trust and shared values, admiring each other's qualities and approaches.
  • They prioritize passion and positive impact over maximizing profits and often rely on handshakes instead of formal contracts when making deals.
  • Lore and Rodriguez maintain frequent communication to strengthen their partnership.
  • Lore's positive experience with Glen Taylor and Becky during the Minnesota Timberwolves negotiations led to a quick agreement without discussing revenues.
  • Lore emphasizes the significance of focusing on inputs, such as the right hires and investments, rather than solely on immediate revenue or profit, to achieve sustainable winning and long-term profitability.

How Marc became an entrepreneur (00:10:02)

  • Marc Lore had an entrepreneurial spirit from a young age and pursued various business ventures as a child.
  • He initially worked in financial risk management at banks but felt unfulfilled and decided to become an entrepreneur, inspired by the tech boom in the late nineties.
  • With a $50,000 investment from his former boss, Jerry Goldstein, he started his entrepreneurial journey at the age of 27.
  • He raised money from 65 angel investors with an average investment of $80,000 for his first business venture.

Losing to a bully (00:14:49)

  • Marc Lore shares a personal story from his childhood where he won a Reggie Jackson baseball card from a bully by flipping 10 heads in a row, but the bully then punched him and took the card.
  • This experience left a lasting impact on Marc, making him sensitive to bullies.
  • As an entrepreneur, Marc sees parallels between bullies and some of the biggest companies in the world that they compete against.
  • Marc Lore discusses his passion for the New York Mets baseball team and his vision for transforming the team into a world-class organization.
  • He emphasizes the importance of building a strong team culture, investing in player development, and creating a fan-friendly experience.
  • Marc also shares his thoughts on entrepreneurship and the importance of taking risks, learning from failures, and surrounding oneself with talented people.
  • He highlights the value of empathy and fairness in business and personal relationships.

Marc on finding resolutions (00:17:55)

  • Marc Lore has never sued or been sued despite his successful business career.
  • He attributes this to his ability to see others' perspectives and find resolutions through negotiation.
  • Lore believes that people are more likely to be vulnerable and cooperative when you are vulnerable and open to negotiation.
  • Marc Lore discusses his involvement with the New York Mets baseball team and his vision for creating a "Wonder" experience for fans.
  • He emphasizes the importance of building a strong team and culture, as well as creating a sense of community and excitement around the team.
  • Lore also shares his insights on building successful startups, including the importance of having a clear vision, being passionate about your product, and surrounding yourself with talented people.

Diapers.com (00:19:30)

  • The idea behind Diapers.com was to sell diapers online at Walmart and Target prices.
  • At the time, diapers were more expensive online than in stores.
  • Diapers were a loss leader for brick-and-mortar stores because they drove people into the store to buy other things.
  • Lore thought that diapers could also be a loss leader online if they offered overnight delivery and built a relationship with parents.
  • The success of a business idea depends on execution, not just the idea itself.
  • People with bad ideas can succeed, and people with good ideas can fail.

Entrepreneurial mindset & VCP (00:21:55)

  • Marc Lore discusses the challenges of being an entrepreneur and the importance of perseverance.
  • He emphasizes the need for entrepreneurs to have a strong work ethic, be able to take risks, and be comfortable with uncertainty.
  • Lore also stresses the importance of creating a positive and supportive culture within a startup, focusing on the value system of the organization and treating people well.
  • He introduces his framework for startup success called VCP, which stands for Vision, Capital, and People.
  • Marc Lore discusses his journey as an entrepreneur, including his successes and failures.
  • He emphasizes the importance of learning from mistakes and being willing to take risks.
  • Lore also talks about the importance of having a vision and being able to execute on that vision.
  • Marc Lore discusses his recent purchase of the New York Mets baseball team.
  • He talks about his plans for the team and his vision for the future of baseball.
  • Lore also discusses his involvement with Wonder, a new social media platform that he is developing.

Wonder (00:23:56)

  • Wonder aims to create a super app for mealtime, offering various options such as hot food delivery, meal kits, oven-ready meals, grocery delivery with recipes, and restaurant reservations.
  • The app tracks health metrics and provides a health score and AI-based meal planning.
  • Wonder ensures fast and efficient delivery with its own delivery network, delivering food hot within six minutes in the Upper West Side.
  • The platform features renowned chefs like Jose Andreas, Bobby Flay, Marcus Samuelson, JJ Johnson, Mark Murphy, and Nancy Silverton, providing high-quality meals.
  • Entrepreneurs should recognize that the biggest risk for a startup is running out of money, and they should not overestimate the risk of change.
  • Marc Lore discusses his decision to pivot from a successful truck-based grocery delivery model to a brick-and-mortar model for increased scalability, profitability, and return on capital.
  • Despite the initial success of the truck-based model, Lore emphasizes the high failure rate of startups and the need to constantly seek opportunities to improve and increase the chances of success.

Putting the cart in front of the horse (00:29:48)

  • As an entrepreneur, it can be beneficial to put the cart in front of the horse, especially in the early stages when the risk of failure is high.
  • This approach allows for faster validation of ideas and strategies.
  • Example: Creating the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP) and its certification exam without prior establishment or recognition.
  • Starting with a simple website and exam details, they received checks from interested individuals, prompting them to develop the actual examination.
  • This technique can be applied within startups and large companies to quickly test and learn, influencing future strategies.

Selling Diapers.com to Amazon & starting Jet.com (00:32:33)

  • After selling diapers.com to Amazon, Marc Lore felt depressed due to the loss of his mission and dreams for the company.
  • Driven by regret, he founded Jet.com to fulfill his unfinished business in e-commerce.
  • Jet.com's success within 26 months was attributed to a great team and a strategy to change the perception of Walmart's e-commerce business.
  • Lore's decisions, such as inefficient marketing spending, collectively led to positive outcomes and aimed to drive top-line growth and transform Walmart's image as a tech company in e-commerce.
  • Despite having a clear vision and capital from Walmart, Lore recognized the crucial need for exceptional talent to drive the business transformation.
  • Lore acted as a catalyst, bringing in talented individuals who executed and grew the business.

Company culture (00:37:24)

  • Marc Lore discusses his experience at Walmart and the challenges of creating a successful strategy within a large organization.
  • He emphasizes the importance of prioritizing the company's interests over personal or team goals and describes the decision to merge Jet and Walmart into a single e-commerce site, despite emotional attachments to Jet.
  • Lore highlights his direct relationship with Walmart, without involving investment bankers, and their shared goal of competing with Amazon.
  • He reflects on his experience with Amazon and the lessons learned from the diapers.com and Jet acquisitions, emphasizing the significance of cultural consistency and hiring individuals who thrive within a specific culture.
  • Lore contrasts his preference for social cohesion and empathy with Amazon's direct and confrontational communication style, advocating for directness while respecting emotions and building trust.
  • He believes that trust, transparency, and fairness are essential for creating an empowering culture where people feel respected and motivated to drive the company forward.
  • Lore suggests starting from a position of trust and being transparent with information, including financials and compensation systems, to foster a safe and empowering work environment.

Marc's Advice (00:42:53)

  • Focus on learning as much as possible.
  • Find mentors and learn from their experiences.
  • Follow your passion and do what makes you happy.
  • Surround yourself with great people.
  • Give more than you take.
  • Magical things will happen if you follow these principles.

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