Season 01 • Episode 05

Andrew Birnbryer, Startup Advisor & Mobile Consultant

Andrew Birnbryer, Startup Advisor & Mobile Consultant, brings his energy to the podcast room, and into your ears to espouse the massive sweetness of kisses from grandma as well as his Sneaker Head affinity for fancy and fun podiatric coverings. We’ll also discuss New York Pizza. For our tech talking segment, Andrew Talks Nerdy to us about the massive potential surrounding location-based targeting.

Episode Transcription:

Louis: We’re here right now today with Andrew Birnbryer. How are you doing, Andrew?

Andrew: I can’t complain. Pretty happy.

Louis: Awesome. So tell the amazing masses of audience, what you do briefly.

Andrew: Who I am and what I do?

Louis: Who are you?

Andrew: Who am I? Hi everyone. Andrew Birnbryer. I’m a growth and sales advisor for a number of different tech companies. I also consult for them as well, across the whole space, whether it’s on the supply side, the advertiser side, DSP tech side, as well as on the client side. So, the BBC title, I name a few of them.

Louis: So when you consult for many of them, is it essentially like they just pay you to entertain clients? Is that right?

Andrew: That has been a part of a couple of the contracts, yeah, which is certainly one of the perks of the job. But the majority of it is, go to market for a lot of the tech companies, more of the ad side, go to market, global expansion. “We have a product. We don’t really know who to pitch it to, or how to sell it, or who is our target audience? Do we go enterprise? Do we go small, mid-tier?” So I come in and help advise on a number of those tactics.

Andrew: Then on the consulting side, it could be anything from literally taking clients out and having some fun, to pushing deals forward, as well as helping train up sales teams and things like that. So advisory is more of a long term, poor working on a regular basis, whereas consulting, I prefer more projects.

Louis: So, Andrew, you just flew back in from Florida, you visited your lovely, amazing grandmother.

Andrew: Absolutely. Josephine is my favorite. Hey, Josephine. Definitely not going to be listening to this. I don’t think she even knows what a podcast is.

Louis: Hey, you never know, right?

Kali: A shout out is good.

Louis: Yeah, and Kali here’s our co-host for this one. Hello, Kali.

Kali: Hello everyone.

Louis: And this is Kali’s first time in New York.

Andrew: Oh, Bienvenidos.

Kali: It is. I want some pizza. That’s what I’ve heard. I need to get it.

Andrew: It’s really hard to miss.

Louis: Yes. And do not eat pizza with a fork here. Fork and knife.

Kali: Yeah. It sounds like a taco. You have to fold it. That’s kind of weird to me.

Andrew: Yeah. They just give you a plate or some napkins and you just eat it.

Kali: Yeah. I feel like messy when I do that.

Louis: You have to go with it.

Kali: How you do it in New York, I have to do it.

Andrew: Don’t be George Costanza and eat your Snickers with a fork and knife, okay.

Kali: I’ll eat it with my fingers.

Louis: Here, just take the slice, fold it in half and just eat it from there. If the grease is dripping down your arm, that’s the way it is.

Andrew: Means you’re doing it right.

Kali: Okay.

Louis: So there you go. We’ll go out for pizza after this, so you can have your first Window pizza.

Kali: I would love that.

Louis: That would be awesome. Do you like Window pizza, Andrew?

Andrew: Honestly, everyone always has their favorite pizza place in New York. It’s like, “Oh, I got to go to Joe’s Pizza in the Village,” stuff like that, but you can’t really beat a 99-cent slice from Two Bros or something like that. Honestly, the spectrum is huge, but the 99-cent cheese slices are pretty damn tasty.

Kali: I also just feel like, how can you mess up pizza?

Andrew: Oh, it’s very easy.

Kali: Really?

Andrew: And a lot of places do, yeah.

Louis: Put pineapple on it.

Kali: Well, yeah, but besides the toppings, it’s the same, you have the crust, and the sauce, and the cheese.

Andrew: There’s so much goes into that.

Kali: Okay, okay.

Andrew: This is a real New York pizza conversation. “I won’t have the fricking cheese…”

Kali: Coming from the West Coast, I guess it’s a little different in terms of the pizza standard.

Andrew: Well, how about this? Can you screw up a taco?

Kali: Yes.

Andrew: There you go.

Louis: Done.

Andrew: Argument’s invalidated.

Kali: Okay. Okay.

Louis: Yeah. It’s also the water, they say, just the water that they make the dough with and everything. You’ll see, when you have a New York slice of pizza, a slice of pie over there.

Kali: So TLDR, I’m going to get pizza for the first time in New York.

Louis: NYC pizza, number one, bro.

Andrew: This podcast brought to you by Joe’s Pizza, Greenwich Village, right?

Louis: Or Two Guys’ 99-cent pizza slice. There would definitely not be a big ROI on that.

Andrew: I don’t think so.

Louis: All right. So, you were coming back from visiting grandma and anything interesting happen on a trip on the way back?

Andrew: Yeah, I popped down there to go visit her. She hasn’t been doing so well. So I got on a plane for the weekend to go see her. And as we were leaving, she gave me one of those big grandma kisses on my cheek, which I cherish, I love, a lot of people know how close I am with my grandma. She’s the lock screen on my iPhone. I see her face every day. So she gave me a big old kiss on my cheek. I said, “Love you,” and took off.

Andrew: And I knew there’d be some lipstick there, but I was like, “I’m not going to wipe it off right away, it’s my grandma.” I drove an hour and a half to the airport. I went through security. I sat around, waited for my flight. And as I’m walking on the plane, about four hours later, I realized that I still had the big lipstick kiss on my cheek. And at that point I just said, “Okay, well, it’s a part of me now.” So I wore it for the rest of the flight until I got home and took a shower.

Kali: I think that’s adorable.

Louis: It is you who took grandma with you back to New York.

Andrew: A bunch of people probably thought I had a face tattoo or something like that.

Louis: It’s what they do nowadays. They probably thought you’re a rapper.

Andrew: They’re like, “Oh, cool. Okay. Got it.”

Kali: You start the trend, like Regina George did in Mean Girls, cut the shirt. Now you’re going to start the trend with the lipstick kiss.

Andrew: I’m not going to do such a thing, don’t worry.

Kali: Fashion’s not going to happen.

Louis: All right. So we’re going to ask you a few fun, interesting questions here, just to kick it off. Basically a little intro, just in case you first started listening. While other podcasts have very serious interviews throughout, we figured there’s enough those out there, right? So let’s have a more fun podcast. Let’s just take some industry vets like yourself, and people who are doing some amazing things, and let’s get to know them as well as what they do. And we will get to the more techie stuff in a few minutes, but first, let’s just ask some non-sequitur questions.

Kali: So, Andrew, question number one, what comforts you on bad days?

Andrew: Wow. That’s a heck of a question.

Louis: Looking at your lock screen?

Andrew: Yeah, exactly. What comforts me on bad days? Definitely going to the gym. I know it’s probably a bit cliché and I’ve got a few groans to listeners right now, but if I’m really stressed out or it’s been a really intense day, I just get super hype and go to the gym and sweat out all the anxiety and stuff like that to the point where you’re just too tired to really worry about much. That helps a lot. Also, I’m a big fan of walking meetings. So if it’s a really stressful day, like, “Hey, why don’t we just go out and walk around the block?” Something like that, spend a few minutes out. So pretty basic things that comfort me, but then also coming home, spending some time with the girlfriend, having laughs about absolute nonsense. I think that helps a lot. I’m pretty good at separating work and life. So, I guess, church and state. So when I get home, I like to just completely let go and goof around. I’m a very goofy person, as I think a few people know.

Louis: Yeah, that’s what everyone loves about you.

Kali: I love that. So, Andrew, next question. Do you have a favorite T-shirt? If so what’s on it, or what does it say?

Andrew: As you were asking that question, it already popped into my head what it was. There’s an old one, and a new favorite. The old favorite is, embarrassingly enough, a picture of Tiffani Amber Thiessen from Saved by the Bell, and she’s got a big smile on her face.

Kali: That is fantastic.

Andrew: And I would joke that she was my spirit animal. She was just the excitement and exuberance in the picture. And it’s bright colors, it’s a hideous shirt but amazing at the same time. My new favorite though is a T-shirt that was a gift, and it says “Leo rising” on the top over my chest. And that’s an inside joke with someone very close to me.

Kali:  All right. And word on the block. I heard you’re kind of a fashion guy, which is related to shirts.

Andrew: Wow.

Kali: So what about your shoe collection?

Andrew: Do we have enough time to talk about that here? I think a handful of people know I am a sneaker head. I collect sneakers. It’s something that… when I was a kid, we couldn’t really have, so once I started making it on my own, that became really important to me. And yeah, I have some good ones on right now.

Kali: Oh, yeah.

Andrew: I have on some ASIC white spider paint, but yeah, I think in terms of favorite pairs, it’s probably my Jordan 11 Concords, because that was a grail sneaker as a kid. If you ever liked sneakers, you know which ones, it’s the patent leather, white and black Jordans. I bought those for myself for Christmas last year. It was a really, really nice day.

Kali: I love it.

Louis: What are the most exclusive pairs you have? Or the rarest pair?

Andrew: Rarest pair, I have a pair of Bruce Lee crossovers, which you can’t really find anywhere. And I have a couple of more limited sneakers as well, but in terms of expensive sneakers, I have some that have gone up quite a bit in value, but, like a lot of the good sneaker heads, I try to get them on retail. You actually have to do the hunting and finding, the whole resale market takes out the excitement and the joy of sneaker hunting.

Louis: There’s a shoe store in LA called Undefeated. You ever go there?

Andrew: Very familiar, yeah.

Louis: So whenever there’s a new release, there’s a line down the street, of all the sneaker heads.

Andrew: There’s always a line down the street, especially nowadays. The market’s gone crazy in all the resale. So, unfortunately, a lot of those people that are there are more in it for the clout and the reselling opportunities, versus just appreciating having some really fire sneakers on.

Louis: And do you have those Balenciaga stock sneakers?

Andrew: I do not. I don’t really like many of the Balenciaga sneakers. They have a bunch of deconstructed sneakers and stuff like that, and I think it’s a little ridiculous to be buying sneakers, like the Golden Gooses, that are already super dirty and trashed up. That’s the antithesis of my approach to sneakers. So, no, I don’t have any of those. I purposely rebel against them, but I don’t have any affinity to any specific sneakers. It’s more of model within the brand.

Kali: Cool. And we’ll ask one more question. What is the best costume you’ve ever worn?

Andrew: Oh, wow. I’ve worn some good costumes. Well, my costume this year was a business spaceman, and I wore a suit, a space helmet, and some space gear. And a lot of people were like, “What the heck are you?” And I was like, “I’m a spaceman. What are you talking about? You don’t think people have to work in space? Come on.”

Andrew: So I do a lot of funny costumes like that, but what is my favorite costume? My favorite costume for one Bay to Breakers, a good friend of mine and I, it was a circus theme. We always do group costumes for Bay to Breakers, and the group had picked a circus theme. So he and I were trying to figure out what we wanted to do. And we decided to be conjoined twin acrobats. So we wore the unitards and all that sort of stuff. We put on a belt underneath the unitards and connected it with a carabiner. We spent the whole day literally attached at the hip with each other. That was probably the best one.

Louis: Now we’re going to do a segment called “Talk Nerdy to Me” and that’s where we get into the industry talk. So, Andrew, what is the most fun part of your job?

Andrew: Well, obviously doing this right here is certainly the highlight, the climax. I really enjoy speaking at conferences. I think quite a few people know that I enjoy being on stage and I like the jitters beforehand. I like feeling nervous beforehand. I always say that if you’re not a little bit nervous before doing something, then you’re probably not doing something worth the effort. So I like that feeling beforehand, and then getting up on stage and entertaining a room full of people. And then that applies to internal with companies as well, being the motivator, being the voice of reason, and excitement at the same time. People know that they can trust you, and they know that in the eye of the storm, you’re the one who’s calm and collected. So then you get to turn around and motivate everyone and get them excited. So I enjoy that quite a bit.

Louis: Cool. So you’re a jitter junkie.

Andrew: I guess so, yeah. I like nerves.

Louis: Next questions. How do you stay up to date with the latest industry trends?

Andrew: So many different sources of information nowadays, but I have a couple of different alerts set. I’m on Crunchbase pretty regularly and, things like that. There’s a Future Party. It’s a newsletter that comes out, they also do a lot of industry events and stuff like that. It’s a little broader than just mobile but very specific to advertising into mobile and to overall tech. So that’s a really interesting one, a different spin than what you would normally see. Then of course, you have the conferences and the interactions with people, that is a pretty good source of info, I’d say.

Louis: Or at least one conference is…

Andrew: At least one conference. Yeah. There’s a top conference, and then there are other places that maybe you show up.

Louis: What would that conference be?

Andrew: The name slips me right now. Oh, App Growth Summit. That’s right.

Louis: Oh yes, that’s right. Shameless plugs, shameful, but shameless at the same time.

Andrew: You got to do it.

Louis: It does not feel bad.

Kali: Another question, what’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever got?

Andrew: Career advice is interesting, right? Because sometimes you get really good advice that’s pertinent for that time, but it’s not necessarily applicable long term. And I think that that’s really important, when getting advice and when deciphering what you’re going to follow and what you’re not. But I think my best piece of advice that I ever received was following the 80-20 rule. We can spend so much time in the minutia and that’s not really going to be what’s delivering results. And it can really distract you from your main focal point. So I try to live as much as possible by the 80-20, you got to get it to the best possible place you can. And obviously, you don’t want to miss the specifics, but at the same time, you don’t want to give up the overall push and the overall product and stuff like that, just for the sake of some small minutia. And that that comes too, whether you’re doing a career search or within your own company, things like that.

Louis: Hey, Andrew, can you name one industry topic that you’re fired up about right now, and why you’re fired up about it?

Andrew: Sure. Most specifically, right now it’s around location-based targeting, hyper-local targeting, and what the potential is for it in the future. And also a lot of the restrictions and future regulations that are coming up around it. And I think what makes me most excited about it is, it gives real audience building and real connection with your target audience at the point of sale. It also allows for some really interesting start to finish advertising cycles. So I’ve talked quite a bit in different events around customer life cycle advertising, effectively bridging the gap between branding and performance-based advertising. I always found it interesting that brands is always considered diametrically opposite from performance, but for every brand campaign that happens, there’s still a KPI at play. So I’ve been trying to bridge this gap for quite a few years, and something like hyper local targeting is a very clear progression for that.

Andrew: You start from those first touches. You have to interact with a brand five, six, seven times, before you’re actually going to convert. So we start with tickle campaigns, you see it on, we see videos, things like that, that then leads to eventually a click. Then you continue targeting that person until they finally convert and keep following them on that path. So it’s combining CRM, performance, branding, advertising, all the way down to that final ultimate conversion, which is, for most brands, an actual purchase. And with hyper-local, you can track that person from the very first time they saw your ad, all the way to the point of sales in store. That’s a very awesome value chain. You’ll be able to see exactly what each piece of your advertising is providing value to, and how it’s causing changes in consumer behavior.

Andrew: But at the same time, no-one wants to be tracked. I have limited ad tracking on my phone, and I’m in the business. So I think what’s interesting now is how is regulation going to impact this? Because obviously no-one wants to be tracked to that level of minutia, but at the same time, people are always willing to give up data and give up that type of information about them if there is a really clear value proposition. I think that’s what’s been missing in the industry. There’s been a lot of surreptitious data gathering and usage without the end provider, which is ultimately me, you, everyone else with a phone, getting really anything out of it. So I think most people nowadays understand that they see ads to be able to use something for free, right? Like the very famous, asking Mark Zuckerberg, how does Facebook make money? We show ads.

Andrew: I think most people understand that it’s how we watch TV, stuff like that… well, how we used to watch TV, hi, Cord-cutters. But if people understand that, “I get this in exchange for my data, I’m going to happily do it.” I actually spoke about this at the Tune PostBack Conference, in, I think, 2015 with the chief data privacy officer of Macy’s, and we chatted about that. Because if you clearly know, “Hey, this is going to happen, and if you let me do this, I’m going to give you X, Y, and Z,” a lot of people will still say yes. When you have that full opt-in, there is no real worries about regulation. So I think that’s the portion of it that needs to be fixed. And once it’s addressed, and it becomes part of a cleaner ecosystem, the growth potential for both mobile advertisers and traditional advertisers moving into mobile is huge.

Louis: Do you think that that might become even more difficult or potentially go away with things like regulations, like the California Consumer Privacy Act, or CCPA, GDPR?

Andrew: GDPR’s been around for a while…

Louis: Has that changed the way that you guys would market in Europe?

Andrew: You saw a lot of companies in this space, if they weren’t already based in Germany, or in Europe, actually pulled themselves out of Europe, because it just became too difficult to work around. And you saw some companies completely deprive Europe, only focus on the US. And now it’s “Oh, we have only CCPA.” So I think you have to be aware of it. You need to take the steps accordingly. But again, instead of just getting every single person’s data right upfront because you have slipped it into your T&C somewhere, and they don’t really know if you are able to get that opt-in, you have free access to use that data and you should. Are the available user profiles going to be much lower? Sure. But again, the company that finds that value prop, and is able to make that clear to someone is the one who’s going to succeed.

Andrew: So again, the example I used when I was on stage a few years ago was, if Macy’s shows me ads for cooking items, I’m probably not going to be that excited about it. But if they say, “Hey, if you let us track your data, every time you go into a store, I’m going to give you 15 to 20% off your sneaker purchase.” That’s a pretty worthwhile value proposition.

Louis: Andrew says yes.

Andrew: Right. We have all this data on people. Why not find a way to combine that customer profile with also a value prop for them to, in exchange, give you the data. I think that you’ve had GDPR around for a while. Mobile advertising still exists, even though it was supposed to be the death knell, still exists in Europe. It’s the same things rolling out now in the US, it’s still going to exist. I think the simple fact of the matter is, advertising is not going anywhere. So there will be ways to work around it. It’s, what do you have available? Maybe you need to do more extrapolation; maybe you only have 10% of the available profiles, so you need to do some extrapolation around that to create better audiences for yourself to target. But I don’t see it just shutting down everything that’s going on. People are just going to have to get more creative.

Louis: So, Andrew, thank you very much for taking the time to be here with us on, The Appy Hour. But since it is The Appy Hour, let’s just ask you one final question. What, at the end of the day, is your go-to drink?

Andrew: That depends very much on a day. If it’s a very positive day, then I’m going to go Paloma. I’m a huge Paloma fan. It’s a nice tequila, good grapefruit, hopefully fresh grapefruit, some sparkling water, lime. And if you can, salt the rim, but at least throw a dash of salt in there because salt in the grapefruit. Yes. I’ll pay that up. It really brings out the flavor of the grapefruit, with the salt. So that’s on a really good day. On the little tougher days, it’ll be a nice Anejo tequila on the rocks, all by itself, slow sipper, and just enjoy the flavors.

Louis: All right. If you see Andrew with a drink in his hand, you know what kind of day he’s having.

Andrew: If it’s colorful, come to say, “Hey.” If it’s not…

Kali: Salt or no salt. You’ll just know.

Louis: All right, Andrew, thank you very much. And where can people get in touch with you if they want to learn more about your sneaker collection?

Andrew: You want to learn more about sneakers or anything about me, just go to my LinkedIn.

Louis: Thank you very much.

Andrew: Thank you for having me, guys.

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