Be more meticulous, and surround yourself with people who are empowered to deal with situations that you are not as meticulous in.

 

Eran Eyal is the founder and co-CEO of Shopin, where he looks to revolutionize the customer shopping experience by putting individuals in control of their own data.

Eyal is an investor, advisor, and award-winning entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in the crowdsourcing, e-commerce and retail markets. A four-time founder with three exits, Eran Eyal and his endeavors have earned a number of achievements, including the United Nations World Summit Award for Innovation. Shopin also won best ICO at the North American Bitcoin Conference (where Ethereum launched and won) and CoinAgenda. Previously, Eyal has founded companies like iDea, evly.com, and Springleap.

At Shopin, Eran Eyal and his team have developed a personalized shopping platform using next-gen artificial intelligence and blockchain technology. Shopin uses customer purchase data to personalize the shopping experience, all while keeping that data securely encrypted on the blockchain, out of the hands of hackers. With Shopin, retailers and brands improve sales conversions while customers receive better shopping recommendations and maintain full control of their own data.

Eran Eyal has been an advisor for display.io, an investor and advisor for VaultML, and has engaged with Glassbox Digital and is a member of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC). He is also a distinguished presenter, delivering hundreds of compelling pitches in his career. His winning prominent pitches at TechStars, MentorCamp and AlleyNYC have raised over $50MM for companies he has founded at nine figure valuations.

Outside of Shopin, Eran Eyal is a passionate martial artist and tai chi instructor with over 20 years of experience. He attributes many of the leadership lessons he has learned over the years to this passion. Eyal frequently gives back to his community through volunteer teaching of martial arts and other physical activities. He is actively involved in charitable giving, and donates earnings from his advising and consulting site, StartupHat, to non-profit organization “charity: water,” which brings clean drinking water to developing countries.

Where did the idea for your company come from?

The original idea arose as a result of common frustrations that I am sure many of us feel when we hear about our information being stolen, or are constantly harassed by irrelevant ads and spam calls.

Do I know what is being done with my data? Why can’t I control this in any way? Why am I not getting any value from this despite all the technological approaches and benefits that are out there these days? And if I control my data, how is it made valuable?

As we asked these questions, they triggered further inquiry such as: to whom is this data valuable and why? What do they do to get their hands on it?

The deeper we dove into this spirit of inquiry, the clearer the need for a concept like Shopin became. Eventually, a need and shape of a solution emerged which became the concept of Shopin.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

When I wake up, I do morning Kabbalistic prayers, often with my girlfriend. It’s a special bond we share to set intention and bring loving kindness for our lives and the lives of others.

I feed and spend some time bonding with my new puppy, shoot down to the gym and train for about an hour to an hour and a half, usually finishing with Tai Chi for a meditative experience.

I spend the next hour or so answering emails, and round the experience by strolling over to one of my favorite coffee shops down the road before heading into the office or connecting remotely for our daily standup call at 9:30.

At Shopin, we have daily standup four mornings of each week. This is a half-hour session where core owners of different divisions report back on their current goals and request assistance or discuss dependencies and blockers. We all help each other stay on track and resolve hurdles or achieve our goals. This typical routine sets up our day for better productivity and alignment on what’s important to the business.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I’m a massive fan of shower thoughts. Check Reddit if you don’t know what those are 😉

To bring ideas to life I feel it’s necessary to constantly delve deep into them and chase them down the rabbit hole with a spirit of enthusiasm and discovery.

You have to be somewhat predatorial — the greatest predators don’t just chase everything, they study, stalk and understand their “prey” before deciding to pursue it.

Hone mechanisms to filter and weed out the bad ideas… but you can’t tell what’s good or bad unless you chase and socialize them initially.

Speak about your ideas with friends, advisors, mentors, even if it’s in a joking way, to see how people react. This is a good way to test ideas and put some rigor behind them.

Enjoy the experience, perhaps sometimes making it a fun exercise, like hanging around a fire and swapping stories.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Self-sovereignty. At the heart of it, there are many industries that can flourish and make self-sovereignty rise. I’m a huge fan of the concept.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I am constantly cultivating and performing exercises that enhance my ability to observe and be more aware of the world and people around me.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Be more meticulous, and surround yourself with people who are empowered to deal with situations that you are not as meticulous in.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

I think that people will reach a point where they actually care to have true self-sovereignty over their data.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Reinvent myself.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Sell a vision, not a product.

Tim Cook and Steve Jobs didn’t sell computers or mobile phones. Elon Musk doesn’t sell cars or batteries. Jeff Bezos doesn’t sell hand washing liquids, batteries computers, and books. Richard Branson doesn’t sell travel.

They sell a vision of a better way to live. On that path, many products arise, evolve, die and resurrect. A vision is bigger than a product. Products by themselves have a shelf life the moment they are conceived. A true vision lasts and ever unfolds.

You can see it with every company that loses its way and believes they’re all about a product. All they attract is consumers who eventually run out of interest, money or get lured away by a newer product or enticing aspirational vision.

Visions are aspirational and inspire true believers, not just consumers.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I tend to have a ton of focus on a particular goal at any given point. I build up momentum and start to snowball.

As a result, I begin to ignore essential process-based steps because I am often so focused on the vision and putting things in place to achieve that vision, yet not paying enough attention to the important operational foundations that will support, protect and stabilize it.

I am working on overcoming this by recognizing, and surrounding myself with people who can take over those parts so I can focus on the things I am great at.

While empowering other people, it is important to not remove yourself from them. You have to be present and work with them to truly allow them to support you and vice-versa.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

“Tradesy” for pets. Tradesy is basically a site for selling your hand-me-downs that you never wear or use yet are in great condition, ready to be enjoyed and loved by someone else.

Think about how big the pet market is, how people will frequently buy clothes and other accessories for their puppies, but they outgrow them super fast and that stuff becomes junk. This way, people wouldn’t have to throw away their pet’s old things, they can sell or give them to another owner. I think it’s a massive addressable market with tons of revenue opportunities as well as a reduction in waste of labor and resources.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Being an expat of South Africa who has only lived in America for four years, $100 means something very different to me. $100 USD is worth about 1300 South African Rands (ZAR). 1300 ZAR is more than enough to take a flight to have meetings in different parts of the country or even several meals with your team… but $100 does not have that power on US soil… not even close. It doesn’t equate. There’s not a lot of return you can get on $100. So I’m not really going to answer the question, because I think of $100 in a different way from the average American.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

I love Edison Mail. I use it every single day. The mail app on my iPhone and laptop is very restrictive.

Edison Mail, like Gmail, allows me to do things like delay sending an email or stop an email from being sent if I made a mistake, or even let me know when someone has opened my emails.

This is tremendously useful on a daily basis, several times a day. It’s not the web service I derive the greatest pleasure from, but I use Edison Mail frequently and it helps me be the most productive.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It’s about rebirth and about finding the meaning of true love in many different ways. Mostly it’s a universal tale of what you do or don’t sacrifice on the path of discovering and realizing your destiny.

What is your favorite quote?

My favorite quote is from the Robert Frost poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”: “The woods are lovely, dark and deep, / But I have promises to keep, / And miles to go before I sleep, / And miles to go before I sleep.”

Key Learnings:

  • Find great guides and mentors, and reduce your judgment because they can come from anywhere – often when and where you expect them the least.
  • Increase your empathy. Observe and become more aware.
  • Be open to reinventing yourself and trying new things. Challenge the limitations of your own desires.

Connect:

http://eraneyal.com
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https://www.linkedin.com/in/eraneyal
https://medium.com/@eraneyal