Greg Price co-founded Shipwell in 2016 with Jason Traff to apply his engineering and machine learning background to the shipping and transportation market and bring automation, visibility, and artificial intelligence to the supply chain space. While a consultant at McKinsey & Co, Greg leveraged advanced analytics and machine learning to solve crucial challenges facing Fortune 100 supply chains across CPG, Retail, Oil & Gas, and Manufacturing, resulting in $500M+ in realized savings and earnings. Previously, he spent seven years working at MIT’s Lincoln Labs creating hardware, software, and algorithms for the US Department of Defense and holds Masters degrees in Engineering and Business from MIT.
Where did the idea for Shipwell come from?
I’ve always been a dreamer and a builder. As an Electrical Engineer at MIT, I was exposed to great entrepreneurs and a community of folks working on very difficult problems and building exciting technology. I also had the benefit of starting a wearables startup in 2010 with some other MIT people. After working on that startup for a few years, I went to MIT to get my Masters in Engineering and in Business as part of the Leaders for Global Operations (LGO) program. The LGO program focuses on operations, supply chain and logistics, and leadership, among other topics. This was my first introduction to the world of supply chain and the challenges facing the industry.
After MIT, I went to work for McKinsey & Company, where I leveraged advanced analytics and machine learning to solve crucial challenges facing Fortune 100 supply chains across CPG, Retail, Oil & Gas, and Manufacturing. I kept seeing the same challenges over and over again, where companies with supply chains—where shipping and transportation is a top expense—were not using technology, visibility, connectivity, and ML to make smart decisions. Additionally, there were so many manual processes and disconnected systems with limited capabilities, with supply chains built to minimize cost versus improving end customer experience. Meanwhile, companies like Amazon, which have been investing in operations and supply chain as a competitive advantage, could do advanced things like use OnStar to put something in the back of your car to improve and customize the end customer’s delivery experience. So there was a huge capability gap that needed to be filled. So I left McKinsey to start Shipwell to bring this connectivity, ML, and technology to these and many other companies.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Well, there was pre-COVID and post-COVID, as that changed my typical day, so I will focus on post-COVID. On a typical day, I am up at 7 am, hit the gym for an hour, breakfast with the family, and ready for my first meetings/work at 8:30 am. I’m most productive in the morning and try to focus my attention on short bursts of impact and decisions. Shipwell is 100% remote, so my office is in my home, and I am typically there from 8:30-6 pm. I try to take as many walks as possible and spend time reflecting on Shipwell, my leadership, and other areas of focus. I typically am answering email and slacks throughout the day to help my team, talking with customers, partners, and investors. After work, I spend dinner with the family, play guitar, games, and train our family’s new puppy. After hours, I try to spend time with my wife and then destress by playing online games with friends. I need downtime and rest to make the best possible decisions.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I used to run quite frequently, and now I spend that time swimming or biking. In these periods of labored breathing and motion, I think about what could be, or how things should work, or asking why a product or service doesn’t exist yet or, in reality, why previous attempts did not result in that product or service to have widespread success. That gives me the idea, and then I set on a path of research, interviews, and web searching to learn more. I will typically talk to folks in the industry that I am thinking about and validate my thoughts. I will usually discuss with my team and get buy-in as this will help with execution.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Working from home 100% of the time and building a sustainable life where you can maximize the impact of your career while improving your quality of life by removing commuting and unnecessary distractions.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
To-do list every day and aggressive calendar management.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t marathon train, start your company faster, and relationships and connections are some of the most important things you can focus on in life.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
At one point, the cost of goods will be so cheap and resources abundant that we will focus on nothing but discovery and the betterment of humankind. It will be interesting to see the implications of universal basic income and if people will spend their time finding ways to better their environment, improve productivity, add to discovery, and make humankind better.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Get the best possible people you can get to work for you and match their talent to the value they can create in your company. It is people that have the ability to change the trajectory of your company, not the product or service but the folks that operate the business day in and day out.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Perseverance and a focus on the customer. There will be many challenges that will come your way that will test your true meddle as an entrepreneur. It is important that you recognize this and set your expectations appropriately. Strategy, tactics, and the day-to-day will be quite a bit easier with the right mindset. A relentless focus on the customer is also needed and you will be searching for the right ones as you get started. There is no substitute for living and thinking about your customer’s jobs to be done and how your product or service will make them incredible missionaries of your company. You have to live a day in the life of and truly capture that viewpoint to create value.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I have so many failures to choose from. One that stands out, that many folks might experience, is losing an early founder and pivoting the business. Early on, my co-founder had a life change and needed to exit the first iteration of Shipwell, which was called OtterLogic. This is one of the biggest things that can cause a startup to fail. I had a great core team of engineers, and I knew that we had a great idea in a massive market. So like many other entrepreneurs, I just didn’t quit and, in fact, found a co-founder in Jason Traff that changed the trajectory of Shipwell forever.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Change retail to focus on the needs of the individual and family, and create a curated experience based on their present and future needs. Instead of going to Walmart, Amazon, Target, etc., separately to build a cart, learn and predict purchasing habits for families and moms and make suggestions that maximize utility and make recurring purchases. So mix Netflix and Wish together with the cost of a Walmart.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Well, it wasn’t $100, but I recently purchased EERO pro-wifi 6 that changed the game for working from home. I was able to cover my entire house with very fast wifi while working from home. With many devices on the network from my wife and daughters, plus all the connected devices in my home, it wasn’t easy to have video calls. EERO made this process simple. From setup to optimization, it is a great product. Before, you needed to know how to place, configure, and connect multiple routers. You had to know if you were operating in bridge mode or not, and how to set up security. With EERO you take it out of the box, download an app, and simply connect the devices. It was incredibly simple and a great way to simplify the process for the customer. In many ways, Shipwell and supply chains are similar to EERO. It is a complicated orchestration of centralizing, connecting, and automating the decisions in your network with the right visibility to make the correct decisions.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
There was a tool called assistant.to that made scheduling with my team and third parties easy and seamless. It was purchased by https://www.cirrusinsight.com/ for business scheduling, and they dropped support for Gmail, but it has been my all-time favorite tool for scheduling and made me so much more effective in scheduling and setting up meetings.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Righteous Mind is a fantastic book that speaks to how people’s beliefs come from primarily their intuitions and rational thought comes after to justify initial beliefs. It is great to understand how people think and how ideas and situations may be perceived. You can then use these in your day to day life to think about your own moral judgments and biases.
What is your favorite quote?
“If I have seen further, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants”—Isaac Newton.
- Get the best possible people to work for your company. True power and outsized returns come from when you’ve matched the best possible performance for the value that they can create.
- Read “The Righteous Mind”—it will help you understand the bias and intuition on why people think the way that they do.
- Understand that success is the visible aspect that people will see. Being an entrepreneur, you will need to deal with risks, failure, criticism, sacrifice, rejection, self-doubt, hard work, and perseverance to really achieve success.
- Find time to destress and focus on the most impactful pieces of your business.
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.