Monday, December 2, 2019 Threads

Did Flexport Make The 'World Better' - A Linkedin Discussion Threadpermalink

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RE: How Flexport is Transforming Shipping to Create a Better World / PODCAST
Thread Participants: Bill Paul  Cory Margand Imran Jafri

Bill Paul

“Creating a better world?” Flexport have made some outlandish claims along the way but this one tops the lot. They are just a Freight Forwarder for goodness sake. Freight Forwarders don’t make the world worse but they certainly don’t make it better. Who writes this stuff?

Imran Jafri

Bill, They have not only made the world better for their own customers, but also for everyone else too, as most of the traditional freight forwarders are now following their footsteps. They actually triggered a ‘digital’ revolution, that ultimately forced the traditional freight forwarders to move out of their comfort zone, and provide the better customer experience that everyone deserves, which is more or less the replica of their own portal.

Most FFs didn’t even know the word ‘visibility’ had existed in the dictionary, until they enlightened them. So as a whole, since now everyone is following their footsteps in digitalization, they did make the world better .. as they set the new standards, which took the customer service and experience to a whole new level in our industry.

Bill Paul

Imran, We will have to agree to disagree on this one, Imran. CHR, Expeditors, K + N, DSV, DBS and countless others had spent billions of dollars on tech solutions long before Flexport came into being. They have continued to spend billions since Flexport arrived on the scene but they just haven’t spent millions on the kind of marketing campaign that Flexport has been throwing VC and PE money at.

But the real issue here is that “creating a better world” bullshit. Are there less starving people; less homeless people; less pollution of the planet; cures for cancer; no more wars etc. etc. because of Flexport? The answer is a resounding no so they should refrain from spewing such hyperbole and stick to trying to compete with the traditional forwarwaders on whose collective asses they are still just an irritating pimple.

Imran Jafri

Bill, I am sure when they said ‘better world’ it meant in terms of global trade.. not about every problem faced by humanity, and it’s beyond the scope of a freight forwarder even a trillionaire to solve all of them … Yes I do agree the forwarders you named have had advanced tech, but still I guess, they had lacked the advanced customer facing web interface, anyhow how many those were 2-3-10 that you could easily count on your fingertips, now even medium sized FFs are focusing on digitalization and improving the customer service., based on the data and visibility and the credit must go to flexport for making it ‘mainstream’ though I don’t think it was their intended goal, because they inadvertently kicked off this revolution, and they are gonna face more competition because of this.

Bill Paul

Imran, I’m not so sure about that Imran. We are talking about a company who regularly blows everything out of all proportion.

Imran Jafri

Bill, But if you do look at the marketing campaigns then just about every company regardless of the industry, exaggerates the value they offer, it’s just not unique to freight forwarding. Look at Apple Inc for example, and I love it so much, and I own almost every product they made since 2007, but still i guess they bit exeggarate the value they offer. however fundamentally I still believe they are the best consumer electronics company.

Bill Paul

Imran, Don’t compare an Apple to a lemon. They didn’t kick off a revolution. They came along with their technology and claimed it was better than everyone else’s without knowing what everyone else was doing in that space.

Imran Jafri

Bill, and I am entitled to make a counter-claim that most people don’t know what they are doing (in 2019). And too bad I can’t even share the details due to the NDA limitation.

Cory Margand

Imran – C’mon man! Please for the love of Logistics stop with the outrageous comments. I only try to respond like this when I can’t let incorrect statements be made for the sake of those that are reading it. Flexport did not kick off a digital revolution. It’s completely inaccurate. In fact, their entire tech stack can be replicated in a month or so using SaaS offerings. What they did do is create a lot of investor interest in Logistics that’s for sure. You mentioned visibility…it wasn’t even their product and still isn’t completely post the Crux acquisition. They have access to the same data that every other Forwarder has. Why? Because it comes from the same limited data sources. Customer facing? Well, you can literally take our API(SimpliShip), Kontainers, Qwyk, etc etc and now you have a customer facing portal. Lastly, they set no standards whatsoever.

Those that made the industry better are the countless SaaS offerings that barely get accolades than what the digital forwarders get. Think about companies like Catapult.

Imran Jafri

Cory, hmm, pardon me, But I never saw the word ‘visibility’ in my entire 2 decades long career, until flexport came into existence. and why my comment was outrageous? it was merely a remark based on my judgement, without offending anyone?

Bill Paul

Imran, Don’t go there. We were talking about visibility decades ago when EDI came into the world of Freight Forwarding.

Cory Margand

Imran, I think this is just a language barrier. Lost in translation. It’s not offensive I dont think but its inaccurate. I’m not sure how you never heard the word visibility in 20 yrs though that’s mind boggling. The industry has been talking about visibility long before EDI came out.

Imran Jafri

Bill, EDI that friggin’ excel sheet to fill in the data? Yep it was great until 2010. whereas the rest of industries already had moved beyond that and had adopted web-based ‘digitalization’ long before than Freight Forwarding did?

Imran Jafri

Cory, I hope you are not comparing courier companies such as DHL to ‘freight forwarding’ companies?

Bill Paul

Imran, No my friend, I’m not. I’m talking about visibility solutions created and/or used by pretty much every traditional Freight Forwarder on the planet long before Flexport came into existence. The difference was that the traditional players didn’t use it as their best punch from a marketing perspective because they had way more substance than the new digital kids on the block. I’m talking about infrastructure, global footprint, facilities, employees, etc. etc

Cory Margand

Imran, no Imran I’m not and I’m not sure what made you think that. If you haven’t heard of visibility in the last 20 yrs I’m not sure what to say to you because it’s been nearly impossible to avoid that word since I started my career.

Imran Jafri

Bill, every traditional freight forwarder? you sir, keep making your judgment based on huge multi-billionaire FFs., which are just about the number of fingers on my hands. even so all I know as a consumer, they offered ‘ tracking ‘ of their own, which would often lag behind the airlines tracking data.

Imran Jafri

Cory, apparently you started your career in this industry since 2014 as per your linkedin profile. and I wasn’t wrong, as I said EDI or other solutions had existed and were good enough till the 2010… whereas I started my career in this industry in 1998 fyi.

Cory Margand

Imran, I started my career prior in industrial engineering but that is irrelevant. Your career experience has nothing to do with understanding the tech stack used in supply chain. But, yes your statements are incorrect and misleading. It’s more than ok to take accountability. Anyway I have to run its tday here but I enjoyed the conversation. Btw I bet flexport uses EDI…ironic.

Imran Jafri

Cory, funny, I was learning C, autocad, foxpro and had mastered Qbasic by the age of 14 fyi. few years earlier than I had joined FF as my career at 16/17 yo… And I did tell you that, they were an ‘ordinary’ digital FF few years ago in another discussion, and now they are the beast.

Cory Margand

Imran, please stop this is getting embarrassing. There’s nothing worse than someone not learning from their mistakes. You are again making comments that are inaccurate. If they are such a beast they are still using EDI in some shape or form. Please stop making comments that are substantiated. Comments like these and the above are what causes confusion in our industry. Believe me us SaaS providers spend a ton of time with bcos and forwarders trying to educate them on tech.

Imran Jafri

Cory, mistakes? and I guess you did mention your SaaS startup few times [1] … and I appreciate it. But it’s not gonna help you to make speculative statements based on your prejudice and bias.

[1] And btw, your SaaS startup has a very outdated UI/UX .. I guess you should take some time off the internet, and focus on improving its UI/UX it was so 2005., when I visited it last week, it’s a sincere advice no sarcasm intended.

Cory Margand

Imran, thanks for the advice! We are self funded so we put all of our resources into back end work mostly integration. We are an api company so UI right now is not our top priority. Functionality and tech is more important to us.

Imran Jafri

Cory, Ah right .. but as a marketer myself, I put as much attention on UI/UX as on the backend API work. you may scare away the potential customers with that UI/UX .. or website design… a sincere advice again.

Cory Margand

Imran, In case you don’t understand what I’m talking about our goal is for a customer to never even see our UI if possible.

Bill Paul

Imran, No my friend. Even the Mom and Pop’s and local heroes have the technology because it’s readily available off the shelf. All data is from the same sources.

Imran Jafri

Cory, as a marketer, i hate to tell you, people normally do judge the book by its cover.

Cory Margand

Imran, you sir are ignorant and arrogant. Learn to only speak up when you have an educated response. The majority of our customers never even see a ui or know it’s even simpliship providing the data or tech infrastructure. This is my last comment on this.

Imran Jafri

Cory, when you run out of rationality, one only can resort to personal attacks. However I didn’t expect it from you, since I guess, you were an ‘engineer’ and more qualified and intellect than most of us. And for the record, I never respond to personal attacks and tend not to engage with them any further.

Lastly, why and what do you even have a website for? And you are actually on boarding partners through a form on your website, that basically gave me the creeps ‘caz it was so outdated., and I offered you sincere advices, so you may not scare away the potential customers, partners etc.

Imran Jafri

Bill, gotcha! Yep no one is using typewriters these days .. everyone is using a software of some sort. But it’s not what we were talking about. We were talking about data, visibility and advanced customer facing web interface based upon it.

Imran Jafri

Cory, Since you kept making speculative claims and splitting hairs over EDI, I had to look up further. Anyhow see their API docs, beast? https://apidocs.flexport.com/ (v1.0)
https://apibeta.flexport.com/ (v2.0 beta)

Cory Margand

Imran, You have no concept of how they get the data. The concept of edi to api or any technology in general. . And further no understanding of how bcos connect with their supply chain partners. Please stop tagging me in these types of discussions.

Imran Jafri

Cory, I had NOT invited you to this discussion, instead you had jumped into it, with your ‘arrogant’ tone and a limited set of vocabulary, that you use as your basic technique to baffle or intimidate others. Also I have noticed a common trend in your posts, when trying to intimidate or baffle someone, the use of overly technical wording, and then asking others, you don’t know it.

Last time, you had asked me similarly … ‘You don’t know how VC funding Works’ and I have been an HN (Y Combinator) addict since the days of when I used to wear diapers.

I have a good understanding of API as a web developer myself, even though it’s not my profession. As for EDI, they may be getting the data through EDI from other ‘old-fashioned’ sources [1] … but anyhow they are offering RESTful API (modern standard) to their partners, vendors, customers.

[1] Though I highly doubt it. see below :
“Every step of the process is integrated into one supply chain with modern software like web apps and APIs instead of Excel, email, and antiquated EDI formats”
https://getputpost.co/how-the-flexport-api-enables-global-trade-92b9131d4bd4