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About The Guest
Stormy Simon is a glass-ceiling shattering e-commerce pioneer, corporate renegade, cannabis activist, and public speaker who went from being hired as a temporary employee and worked her way up to President of a $2B company (Overstock.com) with worldwide recognition.
A sought-after speaker and panelist, Stormy delivered the keynote address at the Aspen YPO Conference in 2019 and debuted an inspirational TedTalk in 2018. An unconventional leader who went straight into the workforce, bypassing college and business school, she has been featured throughout the media landscape in outlets including Inc., The Washington Post, Forbes, SF Chronicle, MSN, Cheddar, Yahoo!, Entrepreneur, PopSugar, CNBC, and Fox Business.
- 00:00 — Intro
- 03:27 — Stormy Simon’s origin story
- 06:16 — Effect of early-life responsibilities on Stormy’s personality
- 08:30 — Stormy’s entry point into her career
- 13:17 — Realizing you can bet on yourself
- 15:08 — Stormy’s drive behind working at her new job
- 17:15 — How to stay grounded after getting success
- 26:56 — What made Stormy want to leave her job?
- 35:48 — The one lever Stormy pulled at Overstock that she’s really proud of
- 39:30 — The impact of the employees’ behavior on the growth of an organization
- 44:19 — Stormy’s experience during and after leaving Overstock
- 1:01:12 — What is Stormy doing now in her career?
- 1:05:15 — Are we moving towards a more ethical, socially conscious version of capitalism?
- 1:07:31 — Are there any competitors creating similar alternatives for small businesses like Amazon?
- 1:11:30 — What is Stormy building from scratch?
- 1:13:47 — Starting from zero
- 1:19:29 — Stormy’s work routine
- 1:21:28 — Advice for amateur entrepreneurs
- 1:29:20 — Where can people connect with Stormy Simon?
- 1:29:46 — What keeps Stormy up at night?
- 1:31:06 — The biggest challenge Stormy Simon ever faced in her life
- 1:33:16 — The most impactful person in Stormy Simon’s life
- 1:35:23 — Stormy Simon’s book or podcast recommendation
- 1:37:34 — What would Stormy Simon tell her 20-year-old self?
- 1:38:49 — What does success mean to Stormy Simon?
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What is the Success Story Podcast?
On this podcast, you’ll find interviews, Q&A, keynote presentations & conversations on sales, marketing, business, startups, and entrepreneurship.
The podcast is hosted by entrepreneur, business executive, author, educator & speaker, Scott D. Clary.
Scott will discuss some of the lessons he’s learned over his own career, as well as have candid interviews with execs, celebrities, notable figures, and politicians. All who have achieved success through both wins and losses, to learn more about their life, their ideas, and insights.
He sits down with leaders and mentors and unpacks their stories to help pass those lessons on to others through both experiences and tactical strategies for business professionals, entrepreneurs, and everyone in between.
Host of the Success Story Podcast: https://www.successstorypodcast.com
CEO/Founder of OnMi Patch: https://newsletter.scottdclary.com/
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Machine Generated Transcript
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Stormy Simon, Scott D Clary
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Scott D Clary 00:29
Welcome to success story the most useful podcasts in the world. I’m your host Scott D. Clary. The success story podcast is brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network, the audio destination for business professionals. The HubSpot Podcast Network has other amazing podcasts like no straight path hosted by Ashley Menzies, Bob attune day now by shedding light on the stories behind the shiny resumes, social media highlights and job titles. No straight path aims to humanize success. From the millennial perspective featuring guests from all walks of life. No straight path aims to inspire conversations around the nuanced perspectives of success. Now some of these topics at home you’re gonna love this show. Success is all about maximizing happiness. An interview with Esther bhaji about finding your voice success is communal with your horn doc Aswad. Now if these topics are interesting to you, make sure to check out no straight path wherever you listen to your podcasts. Today, my guest is Stormy Simon. She was the president of overstock.com. She entered the company as a temp employee in 2001. When revenue was less than $20 million per year, they were under 100 employees. She quickly merged and grew in the company. She created their iconic discover the secret of the big O campaign which drove the online retailer from 250 million to $500 million in revenue and made the company a household name. She went on to develop many departments, including developing the PR in house, the books, music and movie store ran the warehouse and many other processes, positions and departments. She won numerous awards for her efforts in marketing and customer care. She drove overstock to become a top 25 e retailer by traffic and during her 15 years with the company she went from being one of 100 employees to overseeing 1600 employees grew the company’s revenue from 20 million to 2 billion and increased the female seats at the executive table to 33%. Since then, she has become an advocate in the cannabis industry. She has started her own company, she sat on numerous boards. And she ultimately speaks on a variety of topics, from EComm, to passion to mindset to cannabis. She walks through her story, she walks she speaks about women in the workplace, she speaks about leaning in, she speaks about hiring diversity and the benefits of diversity speaks about culture, we just did about probably closer to an hour and 45 two hour podcast on all these things. And we just pulled out all the lessons that she’s learned from all the different points in her career. She’s an incredible person. She’s accomplished incredible things. And ultimately after achieving success, running a $2 billion company, being CEO of High Times, advocating sitting on boards of various companies advocating for cannabis, regulatory, regulatory improvements. She is now starting another company from scratch. So she’s been the executive at the big company. She’s been the board, she’s been the investors has been the advisor, and now she’s an entrepreneur. So this is Stormy Simon, president of overstock.com.
Stormy Simon 03:58
Oh my gosh, while your parents, your parents are the first like whatever you get, there is going to be a huge piece like your main thread, the one that holds your full sweater together is going to come home, whatever your parents teach you, my parents did hard work. And that was it. It was all gonna be about what you did what you brought to the day. It didn’t have to be rocket science. It just had to be contribution or like something that you did in the day so I can remember when I was in junior high school or whatnot, when you’re sitting in front of the mirror and the girl you know you’re trying to get ready and it’s so you get so angry for some reason. You’re like my hair, this curling iron, you know, you slammed the curling iron. And you know, my mom would be like get out. If you’re not going to sit in front of a mirror. You don’t get to sit in front of a mirror. You don’t get to have these moments of frustration with yourself like get up and do something productive and That’s how life was, you know, they were both blue collar workers and straw about getting it done. I was pretty rebellious as the baby. For some reason, I don’t know, really why it was just a little different than everyone else and really exploratory and those things, which is probably why I got pregnant at 17. You know, very pivotal, the one pivotal life in your moment in your life, no matter when you have it as your children, right, like, they’re always number one on your list of what you love the most or what motivates you. But mine happened early, right before I turned 18 led me right to marriage, two children, two sons, by the time I was 21, and divorced. And that was kind of the, you know, the hard work. And then the idea that, you know, I think back now to my young adulthood, and I really didn’t have it, I just was a parent. And that, you know, pulling in responsibility, and still being rebellious, and just bid against the system all the time, I think is what, you know, lit the fire in my pants to continue to just try harder and get more done. You know, when you’re getting when you’re working towards something, there’s never enough hours in the day. And so that, you know, having my focus, I think really stemmed from that young parenthood and the feeling of almost panic, that all of a sudden, you’re standing there were two kids, you’re in the game, and you know, you’re not even old enough to really know what’s going on yet.
Scott D Clary 06:47
No, it’s that’s that’s stressful. But But you you persevere nonetheless. So when you’re when you have this young family. And and you went through divorce? Young, I’m assuming as well. Right? Yeah. Yeah. So you, you are forced to be very responsible, you’re forced to figure out how to architect your life or everything will get away from you. So. So do you think that some of that some of that very early on forest responsibility has helped you out? Do you think that sort of like carved some of the personality or the habits that helped you to where you’re at now?
Stormy Simon 07:26
Yes, I think that it taught me early on that I can, like, I heard a lot of you can’t, you know, like, Oh, this is going to be so hard. You’ve given up your life, you’re gonna ruin your life, you’re not going to have be able to do all the things. And maybe I didn’t, you know, I don’t know what all the things were that I missed. But I do know, I never felt like they slowed me down. My children, I felt like, you know, I took them with me, we went on the ride together. I don’t know that I was the most disciplinary parent, but I know that I was not. I was not the most disciplinary parent, we grew up together. And I didn’t have my freedom moment where you move out of mom and dad’s and you go to college, or you go get your apartment with your friends. You always lived with my kids. And so we we grew up together, rambunctious Lee, you know, imperfectly on welfare at times. And it was a motivation. You know, I had these two little dudes looking at me going, we’re hungry. You know, we want shoes, we need things. And that was decisions I made. Even if I were young, I was young. And that was just something the I can’t want to be so bad to prove that I could, and I can and it wasn’t going to be this devastation of giving up a young life. None of that. None of that. You know,
Scott D Clary 09:00
but where did you Where did you when you had these two kids, these two mouths to feed? Where did you want to focus your time? How did you how did you sort of progress yourself so that you could operate at a very high level you manage the energy going into all these different jobs and you’re still able to kill it at the things that you did? So what was like the entry point into your career? What was it did you go to school did you did you start in a entry level role while sort of managing obviously the family dynamics What was your like entry point into into your professional life?
Stormy Simon 09:34
Every time I took a new job, it was a new career. It wasn’t you know, you can take the skills that you have with you or the talent that you gain from each experience that you choose and your professional life. But you never leave it but you know, you don’t leave it behind. So I was had some really unique opportunities but like a morning show producer and promotion director for a country radio station, then went on the air with the morning show did really well, like it was really fun. Did a couple of different teams of morning shows there and then got fired and decided radio wasn’t my thing. I didn’t know that serious was going to happen. All right, Sirius Radio was coming in. It’s like, oh my gosh, if I didn’t know that I might have tried to stick with it. But you know, it was like you want to move to New Mexico or Grand Junction, Colorado. And I realized that these DJs a morning show folks are just moving around.
Scott D Clary 10:35
Where is it? Where is where so what is this whole thing you’re on? I want to even just understand what what you’re doing now. And then we can we can talk shop. There’s a lot of shop to talk. But I mean, the fact that you’re in a little trailer in the middle of the desert, what is this what’s going on?
Stormy Simon 10:50
I my son’s grandparents lived out here. And so we spent a lot of time here and it started developing. So I bought this little acre during COVID. Because we’re like an hour outside of Vegas, six miles from this little town and Seino town. And it turns out and COVID Casino towns were the best, all the elderly because everybody’s retired, right? Everybody’s in Moscow, everything’s clean and open. So I brought a little trailer and rented it and came down here. And then I was like, I love it here. So I bought a trailer, redid it like an old trailer, redid it with these two hands and then moved it down here. And now I’ve since then I bought two more acres. My son, put a little modular home on one. And then I’m moving to another and this one’s commercial. So it’s just
Scott D Clary 11:43
a built. Can you build on your land there in the desert?
Stormy Simon 11:49
Yeah, this is like a little town. It’s called scenic, scenic, Arizona. It’s right up against BLM land and all the like the North Rim of the Grand Canyon on my UTV, you can get there in an hour. It’s badass, it’s a place yesterday. best, best fast spots like unbelievable. War taxes.
Scott D Clary 12:13
So you, you did different jobs, you you didn’t really, I’m assuming you had no idea what you wanted to do. Right?
Stormy Simon 12:22
I didn’t. So because I was a mom and my wife was enrolling the way it was, I didn’t have really in my mind a choice of what I wanted to do. Like it wasn’t a thought of I want to be it was I have to feed I have to support, I have to make a life for these kids. Like, I’ve taken on a big chunk of responsibility. So I wasn’t self directing the careers I chose, but I was self directing.
Scott D Clary 12:59
Were for your family.
Stormy Simon 13:01
Yeah, like, I like these people, I think radio would be fun, you know, I had taken these steps and networks pretty well to where, you know, the skills that I had been had the opportunity to develop, were leading me to better and better opportunities, and I wouldn’t be afraid to take them. I would quit a job often. Not often, but about every three years and take something new for maybe the same amount of money or even a little less money because I knew that if I just walked in and bet on myself, that every single time I would get promoted, and I would you know, the hard work would pay off you would get noticed and you would you know get promoted. So I believed in that 100%
Scott D Clary 13:48
That’s a very When did you when did you? When did you understand that you could bet on yourself? Because that is something that I think is is a very important point. And if that’s the reason why people don’t leave jobs, and people don’t push themselves into things that are slightly uncomfortable. When did you realize that was it because you had figured everything out? And you were just again repeatedly successful? Like what was the thing that allowed you to feel comfortable jumping into that new thing that you didn’t know?
Stormy Simon 14:18
I knew I had to after I had the kids and you know decided I was gonna do it as a single parent there was no one else to bet on. You know, there just wasn’t any one where I could go oh, I’m gonna you know I need you to do this for me or there just wasn’t anyone to bet on it was me or nobody. And it’s not a sad story because I had support of my parents but you know, they weren’t wealthy we were they were blue collar and so I had their support their love their undying, like they thought I was awesome but When it came down to making it happen, that was just me. And I think I’ve always felt like that to some degree, you know, you have that feeling of, I don’t know if the whole world does, but kind of being alone. But knowing that you’re amongst this amazing universe, but yeah, you got to pull your own weight. That’s the thing. And you can pull as much or as little as you want, and there’s no judgement or measure of success, right? Like, people measure success by money. And that’s a pretty shallow measure.
Scott D Clary 15:38
What what pushed you to move? What was the thing that you saw in the new job that that made you say, I want to I want to prove out myself there. This is like the next step.
Stormy Simon 15:50
Um, you know, there could be a piece of often it was I would look at what my next step would be at that job. Like, I completely loved being the assistant to the president. That was my favorite thing, because I would learn something every single day. And I think as I’m a chronic autodidact, I just the knowledge and curiosity of what I don’t know, like, and we get one life. So how much can you learn or experience in one day, every day, and not have too much on repeat? You know, it’s the repeat that would scare me. So once I hit a repeat of, oh, God, I don’t want to do this today. I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t. It’s like, I don’t want to do this today. That’s it. And then you get up and do it again and again, and how I don’t want to wake up,
Scott D Clary 16:51
do that their entire life?
Stormy Simon 16:56
Feels like, right? Uh, you know, that’s where money is money, the success, you know, the measure of success. You for me, you know, and I always think it’s easier. Oh, yeah. Once you get a little bit of money, you can say all the things you’re going to do to change the world and how to live. And, you know, I’ll always identify as the welfare mom, I know what it’s like to be totally afraid to have your lights shut off with children. It’s terrifying. And so many people live like that every day, we have to find a new measure of success. That doesn’t include, you know,
Scott D Clary 17:35
just money, more money, putting
Stormy Simon 17:37
yourself up against someone with a jet or, you know, the Kardashians or anything like that, like it’s just life.
Scott D Clary 17:45
You’ve been, you’re obviously super, super grounded. And I think that’s important. But I think the interesting thing that I want to try and eventually figure out, maybe, maybe you’re cognizant of it. You’ve had extreme success, like you’ve had, you’ve operated at a level like far beyond what most people have ever operated at with the companies that you’ve run. How did you stay grounded through all this, where now you have been successful? And now you still know that? What’s happiness and success for you? And it’s freedom. It’s living in a trailer in the middle of the desert. Like, that’s not obviously not always where you are. But still, you enjoy it, you enjoy this part of your life. And when people start to get success, I feel like everybody starts off a little bit grounded and a little bit, I don’t feel like money is everything, but then you start to get it. And then people change. Or maybe they don’t change, maybe just it just brings out what was always in them. But how did you stay grounded as you grew through? As you can as you got more and more successful over your career?
Stormy Simon 18:47
Um, well, I wouldn’t say stayed grounded the whole time. I’m more grounded. Now. You know, I walked in pretty grounded with a lot of just the spiritual way that I lead my life. When I first came to Overstock, you know, which was the big one, right? Everything I did lead up to these skill sets that I was able to apply at overstock and just had amazing, you know, success in the ideas I had or things we executed. But the groundedness because that was I went through 10 careers, they’re like legitimate p&l is building a business to 100 million doing crazy things like that, like, and then I mean, just an apartment to 100 million, we grew the business to 2 billion and along the way, holding so many different responsibilities, building them and taking them with me along the way. There were moments I wasn’t grounded, like we there weren’t these mentors that I could go to and be like, you know, what should I do next? The founder and CEO was very, was a mentor of course, but I would I would say his He had in a very aggressive, like, his mentorship, very successful great, but probably something, you know, when I look back now I wouldn’t adopt Now I wouldn’t be in the cycle, but as a female and in Utah, and you know, man, this, the CEO and founder of the company were such great friends, unapologetically, and unashamed shamelessly it’s not a word,
Scott D Clary 20:27
it is now let’s go with it. Love that word.
Stormy Simon 20:31
But that is, you know, with that brings a lot of baggage as a woman. You know, there was a lot of accusations or rumors, and it becomes a really hard place to know, what’s worth fighting and what’s not. I was never a victim, but it would be crazy at my age to say, oh, no, I just skated through everything. As a female with none of that on my hands. Nobody ever hashtag me tutor is, of course, we all went through it. But you know, there’s a lot that you navigate to do that as a female, and there are people that root against you, at least at the time. And I think that, you know, it’s easier sometimes for people to say, for a woman for some reason that maybe, you know, she must have suffered the boss, it’s got something else to do with it. And, you know, you step out of it, and look back at your life and all the amazing things, you know, and there’s not just one place that that happens that, you know, as a female when you get success and hard work works. People still want to put that on him. I don’t get it. But they do. And as I’ve stepped out of the whole arena, right, where it’s just like Who? The truth is, it would have been way easier to sleep your way to the top. I mean, honestly, what’s that 15 minutes a day, I was spending 15 hours. As a female, I mean, and these are the things we have to talk about, because there was never a moment in my career where I was a victim. Because any time there was that type of situation, I got through it, not as a conqueror or I confront her but as a navigator, because it wasn’t worth my time to. It wasn’t worth my time to fight certain fights, you know, at work with something like overstocks expecially, there was so much greatness to be done so many things that were exciting at every turn, that anything that was not about that company. And the functions of it, to me was a distraction. And so my focus, I don’t even remember what your question was.
Scott D Clary 23:04
No, it will the I didn’t even go into this, I think you just took it into a direction that I probably would have asked you about. But you’re a great storyteller. So I don’t need to I don’t need to ask all the questions. Because I think that the whole point of what I want to pull out, I want to pull out obviously, like you’ve done incredible things at overstock. And if like the numbers, it was like, from like, 20 million to 2 billion or something incredible, but ain’t the actual, the actual things that you’ve done. You’ve I know that you increased the female seats or women that were at the executive table to 33%. Like, there was a lot of and even when we first started speaking, I was saying, oh, there’s so much talent out of Utah, and you’re like, Oh, interesting, like, Have you spoken to women out of you know, other women, business leaders? And yes, a lot because I think that you did things at overstock based on unfortunately, probably your own negative experience that that allowed you to understand that like stuff has to be done with how we empower women in the workplace, how we help them support them in the workplace and how we get them into get them to where they should be without all the other shit that you dealt with. And I think that you probably experienced that because overstock was like pre I’m pretty sure that’s pre me too. That’s pre all of this, right? That’s pretty most everything wrapped
Stormy Simon 24:20
overstock in July of well, I left like officially right I was there a long time. It was a big position. You got to sign papers, but I left officially September 30. But when I literally, you know, quit, quit, that’s such a harsh word but quit. resigned. I guess it’s something
Scott D Clary 24:39
you resigned you you were like, I’m leaving now.
Stormy Simon 24:43
Yes. And by the time that was July, I’m thinking of the official day sometime in July. Oh, no, it was right before my birthday. And then I was on the board another three months. Right after that, like within weeks the All Fox story on me too, broke out. And I thought, How brave how brave of her? How brave, very immensely brave. And that was just a moment for me. It was a moment, and there was a wave happening. So the only way I can describe it because I, you know, when I left Overstock, it was for many reasons we talked about them, whenever I woke up and went, I have to go do this. I might do that in my life. I don’t want to wake up and ever be like, Oh, I gotta do this to a want to wake up and be like, during the day, no matter what it takes to get to where I’m doing the day. That’s the path I want. And so when I laughed, you know, I wasn’t thinking, well, nobody was thinking hashtag me too. But when you’re allowed to tell your story, when you’re allowed when you feel like it’s empowerment, and not a weapon, and not a grudge and not anything, but just your story. That’s the movement we need to get to. That’s the movement. And, you know, we were talking about mentors, and throughout my leadership, I have some horrific stories. I acted horrible at times. You know, there’s articles about leaders becoming sociopaths or psychopaths. A good executive or something as sociopathic. I can’t remember which one, but I read the article. And I thought, yes, it makes it there are some emotions, you simply have to turn off. You have to, because you’re not, you know, managing people, your responsibilities are, you know, columns on an Excel sheet, and all the people equaling a column. So I had to do horrific things in my time, that I would never I don’t I don’t even feel like fit me as a human or spirit. But I did, um, I did a while. And I was able to, to execute and succeed. But you don’t see it. When you’re in it. You see it when you’re out of it?
Scott D Clary 27:22
What was the thing? What was the thing that made you Was there one thing that made you want to leave? Or was it the combination?
Stormy Simon 27:33
It had to be the combination. It was many things, you know what the time,
Scott D Clary 27:40
go go into, that you’re comfortable telling tell stories, because it’s good, it’s good to show very both both things that you had to do that you weren’t happy with, or also things that happened to you. That also were not, not great that people will learn from, that’s really what I’m trying to pull out.
Stormy Simon 27:58
You know, it’s so interesting, because I’ve never really talked about them. And not because they’re, I mean, I don’t know, they’re just what they are. But it’s because I go forward. It’s like there’s almost no time, but looking back at them are super important. So I think about that time, you know, when the decision came, it was what is it? 2000 it was right now, April? No, it was January for me when I was in my mind making this decision was January 2016. And a lot had happened there. A lot, a lot of these little different things. And I remember the dates, you know, and I mean, I just have that kind of memory where it was just like oh my gosh, and then that became really heavy. And then I decided to leave in cannabis is happening. And I’m thinking like, I just went through a revolution of shopping like how people acquire things, how do we do it? How do we change the supply chain build ups into a global conglomerate, which is what happened with ecommerce and all the packages and all of the butterfly effect that ecommerce bring. And now we’ve got a new one. Cannabis, which I’m a proponent of and had been openly during my years if anywhere that came up. So there was a shiny object in which you know, it was really shiny to me, I couldn’t believe it was happening. So that had happened. I had that. But you know, there were so many small things like every good marriage can end in divorce after 15 and a half years. And that’s how I have to look at it. There were opportunities there to be CEO or do the next step and it just You know, there was one moment, and I should talk about this. There was one moment in October of 2015. Where, you know, I was president became president in 2013. And we were at the board meeting. And our, the executive team was so well, they worked so hard, like we’ve worked so hard to prepare, and they were innovative, and they were doing things and changing things. And it was just really a great team. And we went to the board meeting. And I’m Josh Lannon.
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Stormy Simon 31:16
So this was our fourth year in a row, third or fourth, that we had one mobile web web, or mobile shopping app across all four platforms. Like Bravo, that’s amazing. And so we were redoing the app, they had redesigned it, they were doing their presentation. So I say to everyone, okay, we’re gonna walk through this the new, amazing app. But so pull out your phones, and pull up the Overstock app. Now this time, it’s 2015, the board members had been on the board since 2001, was one lady, the other guy had been on the board since 2005. Maybe the other guy since 2005. And one new guy that had been on the board for maybe three months might have been Oh, there was another person in there too. Huge investor, biggest investment investor for the company. When I get out your phone, everybody told me phone, pull up your Overstock app, the newest guy, three months you’ve been there, pulls up his phone, he’s looks up, like he’s got the app, not a single other board member had downloaded the mobile app. That moment, when I, I had seen the work that this team had done to present to this board to ask for, you know, funding or whatever it was we were doing, I don’t really recall, but like looking for like, oh my gosh, good job, like, whatever you get whatever you’re preparing for to go to the board meeting, whatever that is, you know, 15 years later to think of these folks that are guiding us didn’t download the app. Like, that’s the least you can do. Before wasting my time, and the time of a team seriously. Like, it just felt like one of the biggest defeats, as they, you know, looked down their brow. And that’s how they behaved they would like look down their brow at the executive team. And it’s, I mean, I hope this, that story speaks for itself, because that was my hashtag moment where I just thought, you know, our CEO at the time, he’s done a lot. He’s done a lot, the founder and CEO of Overstock, but he, you know, the time talked about captured and at the time, I just remember thinking they don’t care. They, um, how can they care? What are they coming to guide us on? They saw the agenda? Did they have any idea? You know, and I asked them, Did you guys know that we have been awarded, like, now we’re gonna sit and take the time, it was horrible for every executive in the realm. So as a board member, you know, at least do the least amount, you know, they’ve been on the board for 15 years. It’s too long.
Scott D Clary 34:25
How do you think why do you think that they were Why do you think that? I don’t want to say that maybe the wrong board members. But is that a lesson when you’re looking for investors? When you’re looking for board members? How do you filter through the people that act like that?
Stormy Simon 34:41
Well, we never looked for board members. They were chosen by our CEO, the founder, Patrick Byrne. And he chose the board members and they were there the whole time. You know, it’s the same board member
Scott D Clary 34:55
were they I mean, like were they useless the whole time? Was that like a bad yeah,
Stormy Simon 34:59
yeah. Yeah. And you know, I don’t want this to be, I don’t have a grudge against these people I don’t happens
Scott D Clary 35:07
more often than you than you think that’s why I’m bringing it up. I hear this a lot, just at a smaller scale, it blows my mind that when you’re doing 2 billion in revenue, they wouldn’t give a shit about the company. It’s not like it’s a portfolio company that’s like,
Stormy Simon 35:22
I believe that they are, we’re each, you know, incentivized, there’s a reason that they were there for so long and not like, I don’t remember any of them. That had been there the whole time. I don’t remember any of them, like bringing being a resource, hey, let me help you, here is something I can do for you. You know, it wasn’t at all like that me only female on the board is now the chairman. But she was really just brutal. And, you know, not that short hairs bad. But it’s, she had cut her hair, really, her hair was always really short. And she always, you know, wanted to be one of the guys. And that’s what she tried to be all the time. So it was it was an interesting perspective. But all of this here I am sitting in the room, I was born outside, you know, Southside Chicago, on the Indiana side, across the street from like, the projects, literally. And we didn’t have, you know, the idea that I would be sitting in the boardroom, like, that is not something I was ever prepared for. So the eyes in which I looked at it through, you know, there were no rules of Oh, yeah. And then when you go in you present like this, and you do certain things, you know, it was more, you know, pushing out information really practical and simple and delivery and stuff in my mind. There was no, you know, working for Wall Street or anything like that it was just getting the company to grow.
Scott D Clary 37:05
I want to I want to, I want to keep moving forward. Because, obviously, you’ve done a ton of different things at Overstock, but just to wrap up Overstock, what do you think, the one lever and there’s been a billion of them, but just so people have a little bit of an idea of the things that move the company forward the most? What was that one lever, that you were extremely proud of? That you pull that overstock that was the catalyst, the thing that pushed it to where it is,
Stormy Simon 37:34
it has to be more than one lever?
Scott D Clary 37:36
I know. So you could do like, two or three?
Stormy Simon 37:39
Yes, there are all so like, I’m so proud of the moments in so proud not just for, you know, my moment, but for the moment that we all experienced together as we’d like propel it, the first moment was 2003, discover the secret of the bago. You know, pitching that to the same damn board winning, you know, the the concept of being able to do the commercial, it took us from like 150 to 100 million to 500 million, started breaking all our systems, asked for change the name from customer service to customer care, another moment where the industry followed, like, we call it customer care now, as a world, and our our human resources became people care, and I changed the name of part or merchant services to partner care. So all of these, you know, the way we looked at our interactions with technical customers, and then won awards, excuse me in customer service for that, from 2006. Till 2002, I left it but won a lot of awards there. And then in marketing, we can skip those years in 2014. As President, we we came, we were named as one of the most top 100 most trustworthy companies in America by Forbes, without and that was just a measure of our actions and the way we conducted ourselves. But the most, you know, proud things I was able to do with the platform was help the Wounded Warrior Project, bring female leadership in Utah from 7% to 33%, literally at the executive table, having developers at a time early, you know, back in 2000, during the marketing years searching for female developers and being able to get like 25% of female developers and technical workers in the building. Those weren’t things that I talked about until after I left but part of the reason was when I left they fired all those women. They fired those women. And they you don’t I will never make sense to me why? But they did. it. And that was a lot of work, it was a lot of work to find the right people, because there’s no handouts because you’re a woman. So handouts for the color of your skin, you come in and you show up. And that’s what, you know, I had to look for people, minorities, women, people of color, you know, the purple hair and the nose piercings that had the skill set and the ability and the be the want to succeed, you know, that we required at the company to find them. And that wasn’t a quest that never ended. Because you were always just looking. And so those were my proudest moments.
Scott D Clary 40:46
You did know you were you were, you said a lot of you said a lot of trends like you were ahead of everyone else. It seems like you were ahead of everyone else. When you do these initiatives, when you focus on, on on trying to find people that are not the exact same as everybody else in the organization, what impact does that have on the culture on the on the growth on how the company functions?
Stormy Simon 41:15
Well, you know, there was never a moment, they could bring in a Harvard graduate or someone from Dartmouth, and then they be next to me. And they don’t wonder, you know, they feel more qualified they want to be, I get that they’ve put
Scott D Clary 41:39
that personality trait that’s a horrible personality trait, because that’s going to it’s like the entitlement, the ego that pretentiousness, it’s going to it’s going to fuck them up. They’re never going to actually be good. If they always think like that.
Stormy Simon 41:53
Well, you know, they’re, I don’t know, I don’t think of course, everyone’s not like that. But they are out there. 100%. You know, many of them want to call me sweetie. Okay, sweetie, okay. Yeah, I sat with guys from McKinsey and taught them about the internet, I got to be where I was like, we’re paying these guys to come and learn so they can go do their job later, they don’t have any idea what’s going on, just like nobody did. You know, and that was what was what made it so good. As I finally had my master’s degree, my, you know, 10,000 hours of internet e commerce, evolution, the marketing, the group shopping, the flock, shopping, the Facebook, and Twitter, and all of these things that happened and how we had to respond as a company. As a supply chain, as within state taxes, all of these things that happen to happen. Made me an expert in something, you know, there’s there’s many experts in the internet from that time. But the knowledge that you get of why it’s wired in certain ways for E commerce for consumers for protection for all of the layers that we experienced at Overstock, from hardwire to cloud, is a lot to learn a lot of knowledge.
Scott D Clary 43:21
I was actually what I wanted to what I wanted to understand and I because this is something that I believe in, because you touched on like you brought in diversity into the into the organization, what I was trying to pull out, and I just wanted to get your opinion on it is, in my opinion, when you pull diversity into an organization that improves every metric, every KPI, it forces people to think differently and force people to solve problems differently based on a variety of different world experiences. I think that you doing that purposefully actually helped all these different business metrics that allow you to be successful by bringing in this diverse talent. But I think that the grads from all the Top Tier Business Schools, EMB, like I’ve always said, like the worst thing you can do is hire an MBA, because they’re going to be cookie cutter. And they’re going to think exactly like all the other MBAs they’ve done their case studies, and they don’t know how to actually operate in a business. And they don’t know how to think differently. hiring somebody who has an MBA is the same thing as in a startup hiring somebody with 20 years experience in an industry who’s never worked in the startup, they can only see one direction, which actually screws the business. So I was just curious if you’ve ever experienced any of that. Any any of like, the benefits? And I think you did, because you were successful. But yeah,
Stormy Simon 44:36
we would. The founder wouldn’t hire MBAs in the beginning. Because he knew that he knew that they weren’t going to get outside of the box. We did get to a point that we for sure needed the MBAs the numbers were so big, you kind of needed them within to do all that systematic movement through you know, But I could see where that was choking us at times, you know, he, there would be someone who just got out of school and they would be so within what they just learned that their flexibility wasn’t there. Or I was gonna say we hired a lot of Six Sigma people. And that was, that was very helpful to get through, you know, the breakdown of not going to your jack Walsh book. But more, you know, going through how do you get this from four seconds to two seconds?
Scott D Clary 45:36
Okay, so let’s let’s move off of Overstock, let’s move into the world of CBD and cannabis. And you were obviously like, you were obviously into the industry, but never in a professional sense that you saw cannabis industry was growing, you saw that now there was an actual opportunity to like make impact in it. overstock was incredible. But you left and you and you wanted to wake up in the morning and do something that got you excited that you know that motivated you? Right? So what was what was after Overstock, what was the world? How was it leaving overstock? Was it like?
Stormy Simon 46:18
I can’t even the timing. So I remember, June 1, we were sending out the email that to the world, like a press release, it’s like hey, Stormies taking a break, taking her 30 days of absence. So I learned how all this is done to like you don’t just quit your job when you’re up. There is a process. And storm is leaving. So I that morning. I’m like, I’m crying because you’re like, is this the right decision? What am I my baby, like, my blood was in this company. It was so weird. Like part of my spirit was entangled. It wasn’t this walk away from your job. It was more like my third child. And so I was crying. And I remember, the press release goes out at like, two o’clock, and I’m crying at 159. And I’m like shaking. And then the press release. It went out. And I read it. And I didn’t cry another tear. It was the craziest thing. And so I knew at that moment, it was right. That was maybe it was July 1, I can’t remember. But at that moment, it was I was doing the right thing. By on September 8 of that year, I was still on the board of overstock. So I love that September 8 of that year, I started at a cannabis company and was working in a grow and in a dispensary with a crossover of actually being on the board of a public company in 2016. That was part of what I wanted to do was normalize. I’ve been a cannabis advocate, since I understood cannabis. And you know, jumping into it, understanding the supply chain, learning about growing and agriculture and medicine for from plants and these patients and the amazing world that this plant touches from every bureaucracy and systemic culture we have from racism to prisons to medicine and corruption was so much that I got pulled into the rabbit hole, like I didn’t know what I wanted to do within six months. I definitely didn’t take owner or equity in the company I was at I left and started interacting with Tracy Ryan and her daughter Sophie and learning about how she was utilizing cannabis. And in the past five years, what she’s done is heroic. Another mom, Mariah and her daughter dog. Yeah, same sort of story. You know, they’re working with hospitals, they’re working with UCLA, they’re working with St. Jude’s. And they are utilizing cannabis to try to save their daughters literally. And in that sense, you learn it’s kind of a crime what the government has done. You know, we shouldn’t have miracle plants, not a miracle for everyone but a miracle for one as a miracle enough miracle plants growing out of our Earth, and people telling us we don’t have the right to research them or adapt them to our to ourselves or our body or anything, to not even try. And so the cannabis movement and what it’s done, and these are people in hashtags, you know, there are their hashtags and people just simply saying, You know what, I’ve had enough I just had enough. And that just pulled me in it met a gentleman by the name of Weldon Angelos. And he was sentenced in 2003. Charged with 106 years, I believe, and sentenced to 55 years in federal prisons for his first offense of cannabis, and a non violent crime.
Scott D Clary 50:25
How does that I don’t get that I so I’m Canadian. None of that makes any sense to me. Like it’s just like, doesn’t I know, there’s like, like three strike laws in some states. And but still, that’s already an issue. How does that happen?
Stormy Simon 50:39
Who, who knows why it is that happened, who within our world and system can’t look at that and say something’s drastically wrong. But it happened, federal, President Obama and President Obama started his freedom, Weldon’s freedom with a compassionate act, and Trump released him and then pardoned him. But these are the things still happening today. You know, when you start going down the path of prisons for profits, federal taxes, how many times you’re going to tax me for cannabis? When I buy it at the dispensary when I pay for the person that got in prison, because he didn’t have a dispensary? Whatever their convoluted laws are, you know, what they’re preventing us from as a progression of science and medicine. And what they’re protecting it for is big pharmaceuticals and bureaucracy, you know, so they’re looking at paperwork and saying this paperwork says, and I’m saying, Yeah, your paperwork was written a really long time ago. Since then, we’ve learned about plant medicine, and these plants say, we should go further. So having a federal government that is falling behind our states, was really a fascinating thing. You know, the prohibition in the United States is written and gone through and we were talking about the right to feel altered to get drunk. And now we’re talking about the right maybe feel altered, but find ways to heal easier. And this will be the gateway to many plant medicines that could truly overthrow pharmaceuticals. And bring us back to like, you know, whatever the the pagans were doing when they were planting, you know, whoever was planning, Machu Picchu folks or
Scott D Clary 52:29
I just want to take a second and thank the sponsor of today’s episode trends. Now looking to start a business but you’re not sure where to start trends can help. The trends community tells you the next big thing months before everyone else, sign up the trends get analyst vetted business ideas and market trend reports delivered straight to your inbox weekly. Plus, you’ll get instant access to online training events and an active community of over 16,000 business owners, investors and entrepreneurs backed by HubSpot and the hustle trends provides you with the tools to help build and grow your business. What are you waiting for, get a seven day trial of trends for only $1 at trends Dotco slash MFM I think it’s also a very North American thing. Because if you look outside of North America, a lot of cultures that still really focus on on on, like herbal remedies, medicines, like TCM is a growing industry. Obviously, TCM is huge, obviously, but it’s growing in North America, because people are looking for alternatives that are a little bit maybe less chemically engineered for certain things and and ultimately, I think it does more harm, it always does more harm than good. Because if there’s no research into it, then people will just read things on the internet and try and you know, self prescribed this this herb or this thing or cannabis for their ailment, but they don’t know the dosage, there’s no peer reviewed. So if you actually do the research on it, then you can actually understand, like the exact the exact dosing the exact, you know, a cadence of how to actually dose cannabis or whatnot that can actually help, whatever it is, and I’m sure there’s different impacts with different strains of cannabis. But if you leave it up to the judgement of the individual, they’re obviously not going to be operating at the same level as a fully funded research team that has understood the impacts and the effects of it. So people are still doing it regardless, there’s probably there’s probably zero negative to actually smoking cannabis, even recreationally compared to drinking and then on top of that, like there’s now you have a misalignment across federal and state laws which is like there’s so many reasons like there’s like easy reasons as to why this none of none of the US his stance on cannabis at a federal level makes sense. And I’m not even like I’m not even a huge like i don’t i don’t really smoke anything I don’t really bother like it’s not really a thing for me but like just from somebody who looks at it from like a like a very logical break it down and understand it none of it is logical. None of this stance is logical on it.
Stormy Simon 54:54
Yeah, we should always question civil rights. Like let’s not the history of cannabis go goes back 10,000 years and you know goes through every single continent 1000s of years ago, the first recorded history 10,000 years is finding how fabric 10,000 years old. That’s good fabric, by the way in our use and throw away world. Fast forward like 6000 years to an emperor and China first recorded on record as being like I use this for glaucoma, whatever you used it for in India, Asia, in Europe, there’s people writing it, I use it for this. I prescribe it for this 1000s of years. You fast forward to the 1900s 1800s. We have it in all of our countries as a tincture. We’re trading heroin, opium and cannabis cross the seas, with different countries to make Madison 1900s, HAMP Henry, Henry T. Ford, whatever his name is Ford makes a car with 10 or 15% plastic that have plastic in it because he wants to support farmers. Paper starts getting used with hemp. Hearst, the newspaper guy gets threatened with his lumber investments. The guys with Pfizer’s there’s a whole matrix of who was in the government and what was happening. And they decided that it would be illegal, they decided that’s what that’s pretty much how it happened. We’ll put a tax on it, you can’t prescribe it. We’ll make it very hard for doctors to prescribe. And then we’ll outlaw it. And that’s what happened at the time. The medical American or American Medical Association went in and said, Please don’t do this. Like there’s too much to be learned. This is proving to be beneficial. There’s zero reason for you to do this. They said Anslinger is like we’re done. It’s out. And that was the beginning. In 1970 71, when Richard Nixon decided it was a schedule one drug, put it in a category of heroin and cocaine. That’s nothing but stupidity. And we sometimes wake up and read things and say, Wow, yeah, Richard Nixon must have had a reason. He did not have a reason, a war on drugs. Those weren’t the drugs. And what ensued after that war on drugs was a, you know, a revolution for opiates. You know, come and get your pain medicine. We made them all. We spent billions and research and we have this now. And that’s what’s killing people. But yet still. You know, we’re wondering if plant medicine should be accepted into our culture. The only thing preventing us is big corporations. That’s the only thing I can see.
Scott D Clary 57:56
lobbyists, big corporations, people with lots of money. Yeah.
Stormy Simon 57:59
Yeah, there wasn’t something that happened. There was no scientific evidence. There wasn’t anything that happened except a Senate hearing. Nothing happened the history for cannabis as well written in about 1991 Dr. Shulam Michelle, I’m doing bad with names right now.
Scott D Clary 58:18
No, no, you’re actually exceptionally good with names and dates way better than me. So don’t don’t be too hard.
Stormy Simon 58:26
Discovered or named figured out our endocannabinoid system like this is very important because it’s called the endo cannabinoid system and it’s our body. So inside our body, the cannabinoid system plants been around 10,000 years. We know it’s cannabinoids, we know how the matrix works. What it’s doing is plant. We have nine points in our endocannabinoid system. These inter inflammatory our bellies, our central nervous system, all of these things, named endocannabinoid after the plant. Those are scientific. cannabinoids are a scientific meaning, right? They have their own little beans in the world. And if our body works that way, that should be our first clue of saying, I’m interested. You know, what is Lortab I don’t know. I don’t know if it has cannabinoids in my body. You know the same thing my body is doing. But that should be our first interest. You know, Basil has cannabinoids lemons has these terpenes like we can find
Scott D Clary 59:39
signs in nature.
Stormy Simon 59:41
Yes, medicine in nature. And that’s where, you know, our civil rights, our ability to learn and move our planet forward without the restriction of anyone. So the people that I’ve done the work, they’re out there, I believe this doctor that said this, so I started reading what they were doing in Israel. I believe his research, I don’t think research is, you know, restricted to your continent. Other people in the world do research and we should acknowledge it not spend, you know, another 2 billion to figure it out, or to do it our way or better.
Scott D Clary 1:00:23
It’s funny, you mentioned like you when you what drives you is waking up in the morning and always being excited about what you’re doing. And, like, you’re extremely passionate about this, like, you’re exceptionally passionate about this. And I think that that’s a You excelled in E comm. But I don’t know if you are passionate about ecom, compared to what you’re passionate about now.
Stormy Simon 1:00:49
I loved e comm in that same sense, like I live, I’m passionate about everything. I mean, I get passionate about my Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup if it’s been long enough. But with E commerce, it was all that discovery, the ability to do it, you know, to ship a million orders to sell a billion dollars worth, like that tea, I just laughed. Like how many Borders does it take. So there’s passion in the completion or creating that butterfly effect where you actually affected the world and the way something worked, I believe we cut costs out of retail. You know, we made it more efficient, we eventually led to easy, you know, we were the first people to ship a couch to your house. It’s crazy. With cannabis, there’s so much more to be done. And it led me into more activist role of it exposed a lot within our system, you know, combined with our hashtags of just being done with certain things. And COVID. You know, it’s time for us to to be a hashtag, it’s time for us to get it right. You know, and we didn’t get it right. We are very directionally right, like we’re amazing children for two years in, we are the best country in the world. But you know, there can’t be any more inequality just can’t be that way.
Scott D Clary 1:02:26
So what are you doing? What are you doing? What are you doing now, in your career? You said you’re an activist, but what does that actually translate into? Like, what’s your passion? Are you sitting on boards are you like, if I look on, like, if I look on your LinkedIn, you do a few different things. And I think there’s actually a new a new company that you’re involved in just recently, but what’s like, what’s your, what’s your main focus?
Stormy Simon 1:02:47
Well, the main focus is the new company. But as far as the cannabis activism or advocacy, it was really, you know, the working with Canna kids, the cannabis science conference, and Weldon, and learning about mission green and the wealth and Angelo’s project, or the Walden project, of truly getting people out of prison for nonviolent cannabis crimes, all the way through the system out of federal prison. That’s something that’s very unique skill that welding can do, because he’s been through it. That’s where I landed there. You know, I was became the CEO of High Times, I had a really hard time with the business model and where they were going versus using the megaphone to get these folks out of prison, get the money more balanced and what was happening, you know, our traditional farmers weren’t making it into the market. People with a crime on the record non violent for cannabis weren’t allowed in the market. So many things were wrong. And yet billions of dollars was going through our systems without any karmic retribution. None. It was all for the benefit of this same capitalism thing that we’re all doing. And to be honest, that’s my next project. It’s the most capitalistic thing I’ve done since I’ve left overstock. But we shouldn’t you know, capitalism is one thing, and it’s really nice to be in a free country. But I’m not sure if we need a winner. I don’t know if we need to really win when there’s so many people hungry. So question why there’s so many Yeah.
Scott D Clary 1:04:28
Why does capitalism need Why is capitalism associated with winner and not opportunity?
Stormy Simon 1:04:35
Well, I, I think it should be opportunity. That’s exactly it. You don’t like what’s the Win win, you can go. You see folks come to America and say from different countries, anywhere, let’s say Asia. They come in they are very grateful to come up and work and run their convenience store. Like happy I came to America, I took the opportunity to build this and I built this for my family. And this is my convenience store. And that’s kind of the win. That is there when that small chunk of opportunity, not the chain of seven elevens. Not they didn’t go, you know, build KFC, that was enough at its, you know, that was enough. And that’s when you look at America, that’s what people see the ability to be able to go start your own business and be in charge of it. And that in itself is a freedom. But we get used to it, we’re raised here, we think it’s bigger and bigger and bigger. You know, being at Overstock, showed me that capitalism. There’s an importance for it. But there’s an importance to give back. A big importance that work with the Wounded Warrior Project. We did a lot at overstock in very small unsung ways, but they’re not meant to be sung, they’re meant to equal the playing field. And that’s where, you know, the idea of someone having a trillion dollars. And then hungry people in tents. It’s like, something’s not working. And we’re not that far out of balance. America, again, is my favorite country, it’s the best. But it doesn’t mean you need, you shouldn’t adjust it every now and again, it doesn’t mean you know, it’s okay for people to fall through the cracks.
Scott D Clary 1:06:32
Do you think that because people are more focused on on voting, voting with their dollars and spending money on companies that are socially conscious and ethical companies? Do you feel like we’re moving capitalism towards a more ethical, socially conscious capitalism? Do you feel like we’re moving in that direction? Are we not there yet?
Stormy Simon 1:06:56
No, I think so. And I think the big companies are being forced to as well. So you know, what’s the easiest thing in the world to do order on Amazon, set home, wait for your thing. Amazon got their first in many ways on the consumer products and all the things they do really well, those small items. But it doesn’t mean other people can’t do it. It doesn’t mean they didn’t just create a system in which everyone can play. Everyone can get on the road, everyone can ship a package throughout those same modalities. Now Amazon, what they’re doing, they got a little hungry, little greedy. Little. That’s where I don’t understand, you know, where the win of the game is. Like, I was in the board room where 2 billion wasn’t enough. It was like, you only got to 1.8 9 million billion dollars. What went wrong? And I was thinking, gosh, it was $100 million dollars of growth. A lot went right. It’s the shift of, you know, the number keep moving up, which that’s the capitalism piece. And then you think at what expense? You know, should Amazon continue to grow if they’re closing small businesses, because they get their data, figure out what sells what color, what price, figure out where to source it, and then undercut that business. Based off their own data become smarter than the business based off their own data. They should not be able to do that. That is the internet has evolved in the world. It’s allowed but the laws need to be rewritten. This is not okay. A company is literally going on Amazon and putting themselves out of business.
Scott D Clary 1:08:48
Are there do you know if there’s any competitors to Amazon that are creating alternative marketplaces obviously not at the same scale but for for small businesses that give them exposure? Not like Shopify, but like they give them some organic reach with their products? Have you heard? I don’t I don’t know them. I thought man just curious.
Stormy Simon 1:09:06
Um, no, I mean, the Amazons, the Overstock the wayfarer for furniture the eBay is eBays for what they are though the old players Yeah, the real competitor is one click away. It’s you. It’s your link. It’s your way but you know people Amazon is big and their supply the way they move products can sustain but is that connection truly necessary? It is if you get on the crack pipe and you’re on the Amazon thing? Yes. I don’t even you know if you go on Amazon and be very hard to get off. By but you know, people have to think differently. I you know, I’m starting a new company. We’re like on Amazon. I don’t know yet. I’ll have to make the decision. Is there a right for the company when it happens? But yeah, there’s good and bad about it for sure.
Scott D Clary 1:10:05
I think I think as people, I think as people grew up being more socially conscious, I think they’re going to be in the executive positions that will eventually call the shots as to whether or not they’re going to be going on Amazon, if they support practices. And I draw a parallel between it was one, very large makeup, all makeup, I can’t remember if it’s a makeup brand. But basically cmo took them off social media. And the CMO was like, this is no longer like it was a big, big makeup brand. Like we can lose this revenue. It’s not worth it. Participating in X, social media platforms that damage people’s, you know, self image. I’m gonna look it up while you. But that’s that’s where we have to be.
Stormy Simon 1:10:42
It is true. And it’s like, in fact, I was just talking about this yesterday. It was, you know, it’s a give and take, because yes, you have to, but we’re still here. We’re still living busy lives. It’s still more expensive to find those alternatives.
Scott D Clary 1:11:00
Was lush and so much pulled off social media. Did they really? Yeah, completely. Yeah. Lush, quit social media. November 2021. Their cmo said it wasn’t worth. Like, he just I think I think it was a heat. If I’m not mistaken. I read the article a while back. But they were just thinking that it wasn’t. It wasn’t healthy for the audience to be on social. Just killed it.
Stormy Simon 1:11:26
I’ll read about that. But it’s a bold move, and it does. People we do all have to do things like that. But you can’t shame yourself. If you don’t, you know, I can’t shame myself. Every time I order Amazon. I’m busy. And they’re convenient. And there’s a balance. You know, we do have this amazing electronic world, and we should reap the benefits of it. 100%. But as a toll booth, a toll booth where Oh, now I need toilet paper. And I used to just be able to get it. But now I have to pay literally Amazon 20 cents to buy it from someone else. It’s a great business model. And then just like our cookies on Google are changing right now. Right? Do they really just get to own offer us something and own our data? It’s a tricky, tricky thing. But it’s our next thing to figure out as a government. You know, we can’t waste our time with like, Oh, should plants be available for medicine? Of course they should. Lots of cultures have plans for medicine, and they’re not all chaotic and crazy. And they’re just you know, we got bigger fish to fry with like internet and global warming and infrastructure. You know, world.
Scott D Clary 1:12:46
I want to i i just want to go into one last thing cuz I think it’s interesting because you were operating at such a high level. And I think that the fact that you’re starting from the ground up, so talk to me about what you’re starting. Because you can always ask somebody, like, if you had to start something from scratch, what would they do? And, you know, they can always, you know, they can think about it and they can give their best advice, but like you’re actually doing it now. So how are you doing?
Stormy Simon 1:13:12
So six, five and a half years away from Overstock, that consulting would start things and be like, Oh, I can’t do it. I can’t give that Tucker, Tucker get up. I can’t give what I need to give. Because I’m used to that addictive. It’s unhealthy when I work actually. Why? Because I don’t turn off I get like addicted to the movement and the knowledge and the pushing and when there’s obstacles I just can’t wait to figure out why and get through them. So there’s a piece of it that becomes a little unhealthy. But starting from something you have to find the passion so mine happened to come in the form of washable rocks. I had been looking for washable rugs I have all hardwood floors hadn’t found my thing since overstock just you know through the cannabis thing some blockchain stuff I love the whole blockchain world and but really didn’t find that hook for passion and sure enough, it comes in the form of product. This amazing design and made showcard Rugs everything about these are unique but the best part is they’re machine washable, yet. Still beautiful, you know, art, hand drawn where your rug really becomes your piece of art in your room. And then the designs are ridiculous. They can be anything that you just put on your floor to, you know, a rug, she took a picture and it’s me walking on the beach and you can literally tell that it’s me walking on a beach on this beautiful piece of fabric. So the rugs go anywhere from 200 for the kids line up to like 20,000 for your individual Beyonce type rug. How did you sound that? What’s that?
Scott D Clary 1:15:05
How did you start it? How did you start from zero from scratch like you? Did you? Did you hire? Because like I looked on on LinkedIn and there’s one employee. It’s just, it’s just you. So did you do a lot of the stuff yourself?
Stormy Simon 1:15:18
Yeah, I found a distributor, I became a distributor exclusive for this particular product. That’s tuck brought it in, so exclusive distributor for North America. And then as that, you know, first I secured the product and partnered up to bring it here. And then second, I looked at it and was like, what is it that makes me happy about it? Like, what is it that out of everything I’ve touched and seen for five and a half years? What was this? And it was really the durability, the idea that I found it a solution. You know, there’s one thing you’ll never get out of me, it’s that product price thing. Like I’ve seen too many products, too many prices, I know the returns, I know what’s made well, I know what you should pay, I know who manufactures it, you know, so I have a whole thing about price and value. And I’m unwilling to go outside of those lines. And bees fitted perfectly. And they’re machine washable. So looking at them. Mother Rutgers, that was the name of the company has called it mother Rutgers, and created a brand around that. And the designer brand assignment children which are really customized beautiful, unique rugs for everyone. But it’s rugs you should be able to drink your wine on your coffee on, like, kids crawl on, you pick them up, and you wash them and they’re clean, and they’re still beautiful, like you live on them, instead of your nice rug being you know, untouchable. Because it’s so hard to clean. And that’s what started with the idea of starting a woman’s company with my sons and disrupting a little bit of how you know, now a manufacturer can play in the world.
Scott D Clary 1:17:05
And when you take these when you take a new product for this to market, what’s you know, you’ve built out one of the largest e commerce companies in the world? Where do you start? Is it like Shopify store? Do you go to like retail? Like, what’s your strategy? Yes,
Stormy Simon 1:17:23
it is a Shopify store, you know, there’s this whole thing that happens, like I can talk, big architectural, like E comm data where it goes all the stuff and I get that this new world. I’m like, why don’t you just do that. So exciting because overstock was wired in 1999. You got to think Amazon was wired and 95. eBay to at the bottom of that is something you can’t change. You simply can’t cloud wasn’t there. Nobody could even foresee what was happening. C Plus Plus was big. There was a lot of code that was not really do, you know, being used a lot today, but the cloud didn’t exist, these alternative nimble technologies just weren’t out there, even though they were coming. So yeah, you grab a Shopify, if that’s your best bet. You know, that is your best bet. You want to start small, it doesn’t matter who you are, you know, there’s never a moment where I would, it’s a lot to live up to. I’ll say that, but lucky for me, I don’t really think of it that way. It’s, you know, I’ll be selling my products on Wayfair. Like, that’s how much the world changes. It’s the right place for this brand. As it comes out. It’s it’s the right place. So the world changes for all kinds of reasons. So of course, Shopify, affordable technology, you can trust, they just did something else that I just ran out and talked about, I know enough about it, but they’re making good moves. They they have the right idea. And the best part of them is they’re not competing with you. Amazon competes with you. They don’t have to compete with you. They elect to compete with you. Amazon’s electing to take partners data manufacturers data, and leverage it in order to make another 10% or 15%. Not enough, you know, worthy for them to do it. But Shopify is not that Shopify is your service. So it’s very simple. You know, it’s safe to play there. You should never buy the big chunk. You don’t you know, you never know what you’re building or what’s going to happen next in technology. But I don’t kid myself and say I’m building a $2 billion company. You know, any founder? I’d be happy with 2 million I would do a dance it 2 million. Are you kidding me at 500,000 if I sold 500,000, and rugs I would be thrilled. Because yeah, it’s just me and my sons. And we have a showroom that the manufacturer puts together. And we show in Vegas, we were in North Carolina. So it’s a company that’s already in motion and have a container company coming, the warehouse is in place, and all of its come in through. But it is because of the knowledge that I have that I’m able to do these steps and the people that I know, I would not recommend it, you know, your Shopify store alone isn’t going to save the day, it’s not going to do anything, just having a Shopify store, there’s a lot of stuff that needs to be done. To get to that purpose.
Scott D Clary 1:20:45
What do you what do you optimize? Like, what do you optimize for in your life? Now? Are you still working at, you know, 80 hours a week plus? Or do you try and strike more of a balance,
Stormy Simon 1:20:57
more of a balance, it’s really, really, really important. When I left Overstock, I left a lot, I left a lot of money, oh, my gosh, I left more money on the table than I made, you know, they weren’t our founder wasn’t super generous for what we did at the time that we did it. You know, while other people were becoming multi multi multi millionaires. Our guy wasn’t like that. But we were collegiate players, you know, there’s still nothing wrong with any part of the story. But walking away from it really gave me that ownership of, I have to keep my balance. So honestly, I’m so busy with this, we went to the show, we got a ton of orders. Ron Wayfair will be in Nebraska Furniture, Mart huge wins. Like just that alone. I can’t even believe that I’m so excited. I didn’t use my contacts or my network, I let it happen naturally, and it still happened. So that was a really good feeling. But no matter all of that I just took two days off, because I was feeling overwhelmed. And like I said, I can get unhealthy when I’m working. That’s just can’t be part of the equation anymore. The only rash I’m up against is myself. And if I need a day off, you know, God bless COVID for showing us that you can take some time off, and it’ll still be okay. You know, is there stress because of it? Yes. But, you know, you’re there’s always stress, you have to learn to manage that. You know, stress doesn’t have to be bad, you have to manage it.
Scott D Clary 1:22:45
What would be your advice for somebody? Whether what would you recommend somebody either work their way up and accompany and operate, try and operate at the levels that you were operating at with overstock? Or would you recommend somebody start their own thing from scratch?
Stormy Simon 1:23:02
You know, I always said I was an intrapreneur, intrapreneur, I never wanted all the responsibility, I’ll go in with someone I can be best support system, make them the greatest CEO ever get, you know, just be really great with them. And I still think I’m an amazing entrepreneur. This time. As an entrepreneur, I’m doing the same things. I love getting my hands dirty. There’s never a book, a business book that I read, that exposed what I really did have to do. In building oversight, there was nothing that would have said and then do this. And there was never a moment that I looked up and said, I’m going to do this to 20 million. It was like, Oh, my gosh, I have to get this done in order for this to get done to get this done to get this done. And then that should equal 20 million. But it wasn’t. It wasn’t the end goal. It was always the steps between the I found enjoyable. So even this one employee, I’m writing my own skews. I never did that at overstock. 15 years, I never one time, wrote the copy and did the thing and all the things you have to do now. I did it 180 times. But I learned that like I didn’t know and I used to manage people that were that was building a technology to support these functions. And yeah, I never sat down and did it. And I just did. I, you know, found my own warehouse that used to just be a line on an Excel spreadsheet. What else did I do the technology for the CRM tool, like all these things that are available now? You know, would have been easy for me to say I’m going to step back and go get the people I know How to do this. But Shopify exists, the world is a little easier. And the barrier to entry is small. But once you get there, you have to compete. And I like doing it. I like doing what we know getting the knowledge in there early and developing it. So I always choose hands on first, no matter where you at, you just dig in and get those hands dirty.
Scott D Clary 1:25:30
You know, you like you’ve, I think I read somewhere that you like built like an in house, PR team at Overstock, which I thought was interesting.
Stormy Simon 1:25:39
Yeah, yeah, that was one of my first things. But you
Scott D Clary 1:25:42
know, that, you know, that, like resume doesn’t resonate with people like what resonates with people? Well, they know that the President of Overstock, and the person that sat on boards, and the person that was CEO at High Times now founder, CEO, Mr. Rogers, like, they know that that’s a real person. So it’s great to understand who that actual person is, because then it helps, it helps look at all this all the steps they took through a different lens, because your lens and your and your background and your experience, that all shapes how you operate in anything you do in life. And I think that when you provide a little bit of perspective as to who the person is, it starts to give a little bit more context as to how you did this, how you did that, why you did this, and then it just helps other people, because people look at the things that you’re doing, they’re like, Oh, I could never do that. Like, it seems like unattainable. But that’s so far from true, it’s always attainable. You have to understand that. Like yourself, you were welfare one time you dealt with issues with, with discrimination, and the one that you dealt with all the things that other people that are dealing with, and if you don’t go into that, and you sugarcoat it, then all of a sudden, the interview the information, the stuff that you’re teaching over has, it has no perceived value for the people that are listening, because they feel like it’s just I want
Stormy Simon 1:27:05
to hit on that thing. You said, I could never do it. Me either. I could never become the president of a $2 billion company kidding me. I could never, I dreamed of being the CEO of high times when I was in high school dreamed it. Who gets to do that? There was, you know, a time where I remember thinking, Oh, yes, but I could never. I could never run for office, I could never be a senator like who does that. So I forced myself to do it. And 2020 as a Democrat in the Trump County, you know, where I grew up where I wanted to talk about Black Lives Matter, I wanted to talk about cannabis. And those were super tricky. Subjects there. And it wasn’t because I ever the last thing I aspire to do every day, and we’ve talked about this as wake up and then slammed my head against a brick wall. That would be the Utah legislature. Like there’s no misconception that I would come into the legislature, which is, you know, 85% you know, staunch Republicans, conservatives, with weird things in their minds to somehow weird things in their minds. But, you know, I would not want to go up there and slammed my head against the wall. But it didn’t mean I needed to prove to myself that I could see myself as the leader, in our, in our country, in our county on my street, as someone whose voice matters, of course, you can run for office, every single one of us and the idea that they create a world that you think you can’t, when it’s your world is not, you know, we should be able to associate with our congressmen and our senators, immediately. There are people, you know, we should elect those like us, not those we can identify with. So the minute you tell yourself, you can’t is the minute you need to say in my in my comfort zone, because I got to step out of it. You know, when I left to Overstock, I had calls from really reputable, really, really, really good things. I wonder if I should have done companies, but it was ecommerce. And President it’s not that I didn’t want to it was that I was afraid I would never do anything else. And the minute that you think you can’t is the minute you’re too comfortable doing whatever you’re doing, and do it. Like Do It and Lose Do it. Do it be wrong, do it but we have to do it. It’s uncomfortable for me to to talk about half the thing I’ve talked about today, but we have to because we’re up against something and I don’t think anybody really knows what it is but we all feel it. It’s like no, we shouldn’t be fighting. There shouldn’t be a war in Ukraine. There shouldn’t be a war we shouldn’t To be hateful, we shouldn’t be greedy.
Scott D Clary 1:30:02
What sauce for all this right talking about it? If you don’t talk about it if everybody just doesn’t talk about the things that are stressing them out, or the things that are our This shouldn’t be live real life. Yeah.
Stormy Simon 1:30:14
Yeah, this is life. You know, we got to deal with it. Even if it sucks. Or even it’s harder, even if you fail or even if you have success, it’s still like, yeah, to wake up every day and hopefully be I can’t wait to do this today. You know, then that’s the win for me.
Scott D Clary 1:30:36
Before before I go into the rapid fire stuff, drop all your socials website. Where do you want to send people?
Stormy Simon 1:30:44
I’m stormy Simon just about everywhere. Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Just stormy Simon at stormy Simon stormy got Simon there might be a dash somewhere but pretty much started Simon.
Scott D Clary 1:30:59
Alright, let’s do let’s do a couple. Let’s do a couple rapid fire. So what now at this stage in your life, you’ve had incredible success. What keeps you up at night?
Stormy Simon 1:31:10
Um What keeps me up at night, I’m not being motivated enough not doing enough. Or the right things not contributing to progression of people earth not picking up enough garbage? Like those kinds of things of not seeing enough or doing enough? Honestly, like, what kind of world are we leaving behind? And can we spread love and peace every step of the way? Like, it’s so hard to do. But you know, COVID and Ukraine and all of these things fighting for guns like in America, we just fight for our guns. And I think for what then what are we fighting for a weapons and, you know, there’s something out of balance. And just hoping that throughout my lifetime, I bring a little balance to whatever it is.
Scott D Clary 1:32:23
What was the you’ve had many challenges? What was the biggest challenge? In your mind that you’ve experienced over your career? How do you overcome it? What do you learn from it,
Stormy Simon 1:32:32
um, over the this career, it would really be leaving Overstock, you know, that was a difficult multi year decision. And it was multifaceted and so many things, figuring out what’s worth fighting for, what wasn’t worth fighting for, and then learning out in the end, that it just wasn’t worth the fight. You know, and all of those, like those moments that become so empowering. So like, it’s just so like settling in yourself. Not like, Oh, God even or That’s right, more like you’re settled with your decisions. You know, leaving oversight took me through a journey of those things. Like, how many times did I wonder if it was the right thing? How many times that I think, you know, should I have stayed? Could I have done better? Could we have, you know, many times and how many times did I have to let that go? Every single one of them. So the challenge went on, but the reward was letting it go, like making the decision, letting it go, filling that space with something else, and even letting that go and filling the space like the challenge of being promoted one day as appear and then you come in Monday and you’re their boss over and over and over again. You know, it was kind of a never balanced type of thing, because you always you know, somebody else always deserved the job and you know, constantly battling that. That challenge doesn’t go away even when you’re with yourself. If you’re constantly trying to get out of your comfort zone and do something that you’d never think you could
Scott D Clary 1:34:32
you had to choose one person obviously there’s been many but pick one person who’s had a major impact on your life. Who was it and what did they teach you?
Stormy Simon 1:34:41
And you can’t say your kids because they’re too easy.
Scott D Clary 1:34:43
Exactly. Someone else?
Stormy Simon 1:34:45
Say your mom because that’s easy. You know, I have to say Tucker, my dog that snores the, I guess it would have to be like Patrick Byrne. You know, no matter how I feel about him today, or part of the, you know, the things that happen, Patrick really introduced me to Tucker. That’s enough. Patrick introduced me to Warren Buffett and General Jack Vesey and you know, senators and presidents and all kinds of folks throughout his network, and I was able to view the world at a level I didn’t even know existed. And, and humanity that I didn’t know existed, like, I didn’t think that George Bush was, you know, I always thought, Oh, my God, the President’s just gonna be this amazing. No, it’s just some guy, some dude that raised his hand to lead our country, which is respectable, no matter who you are. So Patrick really brought me in, he taught me the best and the worst of business. Honestly, I couldn’t have gotten more diverse. Yeah, I was lucky, I was lucky to see what I saw, I was lucky to sit in the room with those that I sat in. But most importantly, I was lucky for the opportunity because the opportunity gave me the opportunity to perform having an option, let me step into a door being open. And that’s what I’m grateful for opening the door and letting me do it. Not slowing me down, not telling me. No, but more, you know, it’d be like, yeah, go run. That’s great. Go do it. And letting that happen, to where, you know, the success followed. And that’s, that’s a trust. You know, he trusted me I was given that trust.
Scott D Clary 1:36:38
What’s been the most impactful book podcasts something that you’ve consumed over your life that you’d recommend people go check out?
Stormy Simon 1:36:49
I guess I would say that hold on. Best book, you know? Why is that such a hard question. I mean, I guess for me, it’s not a book. It’s a path of curiosity. It’s every book. It’s the pieces that, you know, in this internet world, in this world of self guidance, you don’t have to read the whole book, you read the book that applies to you and you grab your information and move forward. But there wasn’t one book I could define myself to, you know, I read the prophet by Kahlil Gibran, I think, in my 20s, when I was doing a lot of spiritual growth, and journeys, and searching almost, you know, because of my religious background that my family didn’t give us, we were allowed to go explore whatever you wanted. And throughout those studies of like a little bit of Buddhism, a little bit of Taoist, a little bit of Native American, a little bit of grounding with the Earth, was the best thing that I found for me for guidance. You know, there’s one thing that you can consistently count on yourself, and your feet being planted on the earth, like more in the universe. And that’s where I get my guidance as cosmic as it might sound. Any book I’ve ever read that tells you to focus more on self and answers within that’s, those are the books I like the most.
Scott D Clary 1:38:52
If you could tell your 20 year old self one thing, what would it be?
Stormy Simon 1:38:58
You aren’t going to believe it when your child is 36 years old. My son just turned 36 this week. And it’s been a real, like, this week has been crazy, but this part of the week, like he’s 36 I can’t even get my head around it because I’m still 17 You know, I’m still a young mom. But I think I tell my 20 year old self like every step is worth it every time you’re too tired, even when you snap at the kids. It’s worth it. You know, luckily I didn’t give up but I would tell her Don’t give up. Play it just the way you played it. I could have been a better leader. And at times to women a better leader I could have done better made my own decisions versus you know, I thought someone else would act. But I would tell the 20 year old self like eyes wide open. You know, I don’t know what I missed, but I didn’t want to miss it. Thanks. So I tried to keep my eyes wide open the whole time. And it worked.
Scott D Clary 1:40:05
And then last question, what does success mean to you?
Stormy Simon 1:40:09
Happiness, you know, I’ve been the welfare Mom, I have been the corner office executive with a really big paycheck. The happiness was the same. In fact, there were times I was happier as the welfare mom, because the stress, I knew what I had up against me, I knew what was coming, I knew what was I was struggling with. And it was kind of easy. You know, the corner office executive came with a lot of stress, right, you’re carrying 2000 people’s jobs you are answering to, you know, a public company, you’re operating within these weird lines, and, you know, whatever kind of corporate environment that’s created around you, and that was really stressful. And through that, I lost track of happiness, I found passion and creating overstock of reward from every achievement that I personally had or that the company had. But at the end of the day, I kind of forgot my happy, like, I was allowing all that energy to go into something else, all of it to be sucked away from me, and not in a bad way, but I let that happen. And instead of you always have to keep enough in the reserve tank. Like you always have to be happy I’d go home so exhausted, I just, I wouldn’t even talk to my boyfriend at the time. I just be like, you know, treat it more like a house boy, like, can you get me some coffee, turn on the TV? And then how was your day? Terrible, you know, is and that’s just not a way to live. And I the measure of success is happiness. And, you know, what do we need? Would COVID Teach us food, shelter, and a few people we love. Those are the rules. You know, there’s not many other rules, universal laws, but you know how far we push that how big we go. Where we find passion. That’s just nobody’s business. And your measure of success. Is that are you doing what you like? Are you happy