#8 Following the Data- Getting real with the data-collecting “ghost” of cannabis retailers

 
Cannalaw Connections
 
Complete Transcription

Chris: Good evening everyone and welcome to another episode of Cannalaw Connections. Once again, I'm your host Chris Hoo, I'm an attorney and I'm the founder of Evergreen Law which is a law firm specializing in cannabis specifically testing labs and manufacturing. Once again, we're here in Hollywood recording at my home office. I love it, I love being home with my team and I love being here recording in Hollywood our Cannalaw Connections episode. And once again, we have our associate Nicholas Romary with us tonight co-hosting, welcome Nicholas.

 

Nicholas: Thanks Chris. Hi, Nicholas Romary here an associate with Evergreen law specializing in our manufacturing clients. Today we've got Rico Tarver the California marketing manager for Baker Technologies. Rico, thanks for joining us.

 

Rico: Thanks for having me.

 

Chris: So, Rico- I actually met Rico on one of my first events in the Cannabis industry and that was about two years ago.

Rico, can you tell us a little bit about what you do and who you work for and what your role is?

Rico: Yeah, I'm the California market manager for Baker Technologies. I'm kind of like the field general here. I lead a team of five now, I was the first boost in the ground for the company January 2017 when I started at about four dispensaries. We have a hundred and thirty-eight that are allotted, we have a bunch more that are assigned, and we're here to stay, yeah. It's fine we help people make money and we help people build their brands all through data.

 

Chris: All through data, wow, very well put. I'm going to ask a little bit more about that later. But Rico before we get into your life as an adult,

where did you grow up? And what kind of things were you doing as a kid? And what were your aspirations when you were a kid for your career?

 

Rico: Yeah, so I was kind of all over the place. I was born in Fort Belvoir, Virginia outside of D.C. Grivendale City. My mom married my step father in '87, we moved to Germany, we were in Germany for five years, he was in the military. Then we moved back to a place called Fluvanna County, Virginia, so it's thirty minutes outside of Charlottesville. And there, yeah, through high school and college at Northwestern University in Chicago.

 

Chris: Very good, and then back to your childhood and all over the place, what were you thinking when you were growing up, and what did you want to be when you grew up?

 

Rico: I wanted to be an NBA star.

 

Chris: You wanted to be an NBA star?

 

Rico: Yeah.

 

Chris: Nice.

 

Rico: It's crazy because when I got older and I met my biological father's family, I found out that he was in the NBA, he played in NBA.

 

Chris: Wow, wow, okay.

Any other sports that you're involved in besides basketball?

 

Rico: Yeah, I've played everything when I was young, track I was a two-time state champion in hurdles, one tens and three hundreds. Played baseball, played soccer my senior year just to spite my track coach because I hated track, I won states and then I was like **** that I'm going to retire, and I did. What else? Baseball I was really good at, but I hated the coach, so I played one year of baseball, but I was really good at football. So, where I'm from in the country in Virginia there's really nothing to do, so you either like sell drugs, or you played sports, so I was one of the guys that played sports.

 

Chris: Cool.

Could you tell us a little bit about your first time participating in advocacy?

 

Rico: Yeah, so I've always been one to want to give back to the community wherever I was. I really got, it was the first time I ever did advocacy was when I was in college. I was playing football. So, I used to go speak to kids in the southside of Chicago, and I was being a good role-model, talk to them about little things like listen to your parents, don't believe everything you see on TV, just like little stuff like that. I just really loved talking to kids because I never really had a good, you know, father figure when I was younger. So, I've always wanted to like help kids and make sure kids that are in a similar situation have somebody to look up to. So, I've done that. And then the next time was big was when I was in the financial industry actually would go teach parents of kids in the ghetto financial literacy. So, and I got into it deeper when I go into cannabis though, so.

 

Chris: Yes, and then like I said I met Rico at one of my first events going out. And Rico is definitely a public figure in the cannabis industry, especially in public speaking. He's very powerful in the way he speaks and advocates in public. Can you tell us a little bit about that Rico how you got into that? And about your first public speaking engagement?

 

Rico: Oh yeah, my first public speaking of all time? Or in the industry? [Chuckle]

 

Chris: Of all time.

 

Rico: Of all time? Oh, there's been a hand- I had to get on stage, I was in show choir when I was in high school two-time state champions.

 

[Chuckling]

 

Rico: Believe it or not. I'm an Onion, be careful what you ask. I guess it had to be sometime in high school, I've never been one that's afraid to get in front of people and speak, you know? I like big crowds and stuff, I feed off the energy of people, I like rallying folks. So, I'd say if you were probably like pep rally or some **** like that in high school I was an underclass man I was trying to impress the girls or something you know.

 

Nicholas: So, Rico at the California Cannabis Awards your statement was really powerful siting the historical impact on cannabis in communities that have been generationally misfortunate.

 

Rico: Yes.

 

Nicholas: What efforts and beliefs do you wish to share with individuals and organizations that want to get involved in social equity?

 

Rico: [Sigh] It's really tough. I wish the state would really push the programs more. It's not so much about what you need to tell the people, it's about them believing you, right? You know, and you have very, very few advocates going out into the neighborhoods for people who can actually use these programs and reaching out to them directly. There are so many people that want to get in, but they don't believe that this is real. So, it would be really helpful if you had a huge push from the state to talk about it, and the communities to talk about it. So, it's not just, you know, us cannabis thing about it like hey brother, you know this program going on? Like oh, people don't believe that ****, you know? I really feel like yeah, we should use a lot more tax dollars to for outreach, for professional outreach because that's a struggle. People just don't know about the social equity program, so they don't really apply on that level. See, a lot of people still making money on the illicit market because of that, you know? And it's tough, you know? It's really tough.

 

Chris: Absolutely, Rico. And that's definitely an issue that's near and dear to our heart, the social equity program. We're an L.A. based firm. We had a social equity program last week at our monthly meet up, and we as a firm put our money where our mouth is, and we had been offering fifty pro bono hours to any qualifying social equity applicant, but that's not enough. All of us who were involved in the industry have to give back and have to be dedicated to the social equity program because that's one of the reasons why prop sixty-four even passed. It was supposed to be about trying to right the wrong from the war on drugs.

 

Rico: And what happened?

 

Chris: It's an ongoing thing. The war on drugs is already going to be still going on.

 

Rico: Of course, like Afghanistan.

 

Chris: Absolutely.

 

Rico: It's never going to stop.

 

Chris: In terms of your involvement with social equity and Bakers, can you tell us a little bit about how you've been injecting yourself and making sure you're relevant in helping out if the government, like you said, is not dedicating tax dollars yet, it has to be us.

 

Rico: Yeah, so Baker wants to be more involved, that's why we brought Rodger out as well, our CTO Rodger O'Bando. He's helping me out with a lot of projects, he's helping out with endica with buying non-profit. He's also trying to open the conversation with [Leno 00:09:02] and the city so we can have like a blanket deal to make sure that social applicants have access to the same tools, you know, that the native roots of the world, the harbor side of the world that we also work with to have access to the same information and the same tools to succeed, you know, so we're actually working on that. We'll probably be able to do a lot more of that stuff after the merger this summer we'll have a lot more revenue, but it is a lot of stuff in the pipeline for us and always do try to show the platform to social equity applicants as well, so they can get ahead of the curb. Like Bakers really helped a lot of small business compete against large ones across the country and it's like stop guessing, you know? When the information is there, use it.

 

Chris: Absolutely. I mean, that's why you're here. That's why Baker exist, it's the data, absolutely use it. So, I know I've seen you multiple times at BCC meetings and other public hearings, how many times have you actually shared in public? It must have been over ten, twenty times.

 

Rico: I lost count. Every time they come out I see them, it doesn't matter where they are. If I can fit it in my schedule, so I have a really crazy schedule, but if I can fit it in I'll try and get into the comments section at least. I can tell [Loretta Jackson 00:10:33] about themselves. [Chuckle] What they should be doing and not doing, what they're supposed to be. I think it's really important that you have that platform to communicate with people because it's democracy, you know? It's part of what makes America, America.

 

Chris: Totally, and I'm sure you've seen other states, have you compared notes about the law making and regulations making in other states, it's nowhere near as open and democratic as we're experiencing here. It's unheard of.

 

Rico: It will be interesting in New York. I was out there a couple of weeks ago, the really cool thing about New York, you know, legalization has passed here and we're still trying to fit, you know, to get social equity actually activated, right? So, New York they're already talking about social equity and nothing is really transpired yet. So, I would say the cannabis industry in California is in its infancy, the legal cannabis industry, but New York is still kicking in the womb. It's really, really cool to see it at that level, you know, everybody is just so like positive and I think they have a lot more unity than California has. I think they might really, really do the social equity program right on a large stage there. So, watch out for New York, you got some real players out there.

 

Chris: That's really exciting then, that's good, that means that they can learn from us, and we can learn from them.

 

Rico: Yeah, exactly.

 

Chris: Great.

 

Nicholas: Awesome. So, Rico, do you think that social equity is one of the biggest challenges in the industry? Or what do you perceive as being the biggest one right now-

 

Chris: Yes.

 

Nicholas: -maybe in California?

 

Rico: Yes. Yeah, they really need to bridge the two gaps, education gap and the economic gap. If you have let's say at least three generations of black and brown men who have been put in jail for life, has lost their lives, you know, for growing and selling this plant and then all of a sudden, you know, the industry is white. You know, it's making so much money now and where are all the brothers in essays, they are in jail, they're dead. And you know, the biggest joke is Compton, right? Compton, long story, Compton [with Dr. Dre 00:12:48] you know, it's one of the few cities with like- Eleven cities that didn't pass cannabis legislation. You know what the most **** up thing is? Ninety-eight thousand residents in Compton, only like twenty-seven hundred voted on it.

 

Chris: Wow.

 

Rico: Nobody knows.

 

Chris: Out of ninety-eight thousand only twenty-seven hundred voted? Wow.

 

Rico: Yeah, it's about that, yeah.

 

Chris: Wow.

 

Rico: And so-

 

Chris: It was a non-issue there.

 

Rico: The thing- Yeah.

 

Chris: A non-issue.

 

Rico: Like people didn't know, nobody knows to vote. That's what I'm saying, like people don't get the word out, I think that's the toughest hurdle to cross, you know, is educating the people and getting them to believe you because the black and brown communities have had the rug swept out from under them so many **** times, like **** that, you know? I'll keep on doing what I'm doing to maintain. I've seen people like try and sell us dreams before.

 

Chris: It's true, and then that was actually one of the issues that came up at our social equity meeting, meet-up last week. It was with Yvonne McColl. She is an attorney and she was talking to exactly what you were saying. She said that why wouldn't they start trusting the government now? Why are they going to come out and out themselves as convicted criminals, or having an arrest history? I mean, even with- I know from personal experience us offering the fifty hours to pro bono to social equity applicants fifty hours pro bono, us offering the fifty pro bono hours to social equity applicants, that's also been hard to draw them out as well. I mean, and I understand what you are saying. A lawyer and a law firm coming around and saying, "Hey, we'll do free work for you, come in and work with us."

 

Rico: We have hundreds of years of trauma embedded into our DNA, you know, by lighter skinned people. [Chuckle] So, it's kind of [chuckle] so it's like, "I don't know bro." [Laugh]

 

Chris: I'm a little bit brown, I'm yellow. Okay, yes, I understand that.

 

Rico: A nice bronze color. [Laugh]

 

Nicholas: I've got a similar question.

 

Rico: Yeah.

 

Nicholas: So, just kind of on that topic without getting too deep into it, do you think everything that people are seeing now with the government being in the news all the time and couple that with cannabis. You know, people are watching basically somebody become a millionaire with not a lot of effort doing what they've been doing the whole time.

Is that going to be enough to get people out there to raise their hand and say, you know, I want to be a part of this let's make a change?

 

Rico: Maybe, I don't know. In black and brown neighborhoods, they are still unfairly targeted. Like we said the war on drugs is not stopped, it never will stop. You're still going to have police profiling on top of that. So, I mean, even if it is legal, if there's rules and parameters around it that they're still going to be higher amounts of arrest with blacks and Hispanics. Racism is not going to stop from that, you know? But I don't know.

 

Nicholas: Hopefully it will get them out to vote though.

 

Rico: What's that?

 

Nicholas: Hopefully it will get them out to vote.

 

Rico: Yeah, hopefully.

 

Nicholas: It's a first step.

 

Rico: I mean, you just got to show them. A lot of people, you've got to bring them along with you, you know? Find out- Something that I found, you know, through my activism over the last couple of years I've actually incorporated Baker in a lot of what I do. So, every meet-up that we have we pulled data from people and we re-unite them from different neighborhoods. So, you can gather people around common goals, right? So, let's just say you go to a neighborhood in Watts, right? And you ask people what matters to you most? You know, licensure, is it activism, is it wellness, right? And so, you have this three data points, let's just say it's three data points. You ask everybody that, right? In Watts. And then you go to east L.A. Boyle Heights, and then you go to- I don't know, to the valley. And then you go to downtown, you compile all this data, you can put everybody in data silos, right? And then you can have one event on activism. So, you're not even trying to put people in the pit where they're talking about things that they don't even want to talk about. You can actually put them together and so they all have one common goal. Like that's the cool thing that you can do with data. That's the cool thing I've been doing with Baker, Indica, our events is we crowdsource them. So, we have people that would normally not even get along, like oh why am I at this meeting? But you can actually have it pointed, and you can have people at the right place at the right time, does that make sense?

 

Chris: It absolutely makes sense.

 

Rico: But like I want to incorporate more of that and I think you can do more of that on a broad scale to help people get them together. You just have to really make yourself wantable as well. So, you guys are having trouble getting people to come and sign up, or come and take those pro bono hours, you just got to put yourself in their situation and empathize a little harder and bring them along with you. It's not about- You don't want to seem like the great white savior, so they're like, "Oh, what matters to you?" You know, ask them what matters to them. It's the easiest way to disarm somebody, you know, ask them what matters most to you. Like maybe they don't need that pro boner- Pro boner. I am pro boner. [Laugh]

 

Chris: Aren't we all.

 

Rico: They don't need those pro bono hours. [Chuckle] You know? Maybe they need help with a business plan, you know?

 

Chris: Absolutely. That's some great advice. I know exactly what I'm going to be doing to pursue these people who will not take our free pro bono hours.

 

Rico: Anti-boner hours. [Laugh]

 

Chris: Anti-bono hours, put myself in their shoes. Great advice, thanks so much Rico.

 

Rico: Yeah.

 

Chris: And obviously we can talk about social equity all night, and that's definitely another program for us to really delve into.

 

Rico: And come back.

 

Chris: Yeah, absolutely. But going along with the data and you're able to crowdsource-

 

Rico: Yeah.

 

Chris: -things based on data and that's amazing, that's so 2018. But-

 

Rico: Not two-thousand lateteen. [Laugh]

 

Chris: So, speaking of the end of 2018, we're going to see state wide implementation of the track and trace system through a system called Metric-

 

Rico: That's right.

 

Chris: -in December of 2018. And that's another thing I- That's another thing, exactly. That's another thing I've seen you speak passionately about is Metric.

So, what do you foresee in 2019 and the years to come with the statewide implementation?

 

Rico: People need to take it seriously. I feel like a lot of people really aren't taking it as seriously as they should be. There's still a lot of turnover on the management end at a lot of dispensaries. **** is real. We deal with Metric in every state, I think it's in like eleven, ten and D.C. So, we deal with dispensaries in every state so we're pretty familiar with the process and we see a lot of people fail. It's a glitchy system. People just don't understand, you need your smartest people. You need to hire somebody that's really, really accountable to take care of that because that's your business, right? You can get sanctioned, or you can get like in trouble with the state if you're not tracking **** properly. That's the biggest thing people think is not going to be that big of a deal. And Metric is the system, it's software you know? So, software is imperfect, so it's going to be a process and then getting all these people who have never been on a platform has to use a system like that, getting them to implement that process, you're going to have some hiccups. So, I really think that you should have mandatory training classes, I think that would be great for the BCC to do. You know, mandatory training classes for all of these Cannabis business that they sponsor, you know, you want them to use a system, you know, because that's going to scare a lot of people away as well. You know, now you have to follow the system, now you have all these people tracking everything that you do, it's just more work for me and it's taking more of their profit, so it's kind of squeezing people out, you know.

 

Chris: Another hurdle.

 

Rico: It's a necessary evil though, you want legalization, with legalization comes regulation. It's a controlled substance so they have to know where it's coming from and where it's going. So, unfortunately it is what it is.

 

Nicholas: I don't really have any other Metric questions, I've never seen it myself, but just generally in the software sense, you know, you either have good easy to use software that anyone can pick up and just run with it if they know basically the framework, and you've got bad software that's maybe not bad, but it's hard to use.

 

Rico: Tedious.

 

Nicholas: You know, it can be complicated and if you don't know how things are working it can be a person problem and not a software problem. Where on the spectrum of that do you think Metric falls? Is it more a software that can be made easier? Or is it strictly just training people how to use what's already out there?

 

Rico: It's a little bit of both, I mean, it's still early, you know? These guys are wanting state contracts, so once you get one it's like a domino effect like okay, they do it this date. So, like bio track one another's state. I mean, it is what it is. The industry overall is in its infancy, of course somebody is coming out with a better product. Will I get to market? That's politics, you know? But I would put them on a scale of one to ten, put them somewhere in the middle. It's hard to tell, you don't really have that much variation to see a better track and trace software, you know?

 

Chris: Sure.

 

Rico: It is just one of those things it is what it is. I think block chain would help a lot better, you know?

 

Nicholas: Does Baker play a role in helping encourage compliance with Metric? Like do you guys have a layer that could feed data into that, or at least supplement what Metric is doing to make it easier for dispensaries?

 

Rico: Not currently. Possibly with the merger we can be able to help with stuff like that in the future, I know the sky is the limit with what we can do in the future. But no, currently Baker we focus on three things e-commerce, digital loyalty, and targeted text messaging. So, that's our razor-sharp focus there, but in the future,  we have a lot of stuff that we can open up to, it's pretty cool. Okay.

 

Nicholas: Can we talk about Baker now?

 

Chris: Let's move onto professional goals.

 

Nicholas: Okay. So, Rico, can you share some of your professional goals, or you know, aspirations over the next short-term, three to five years?

 

Rico: Okay.

 

Chris: And while you are at it, can you share Baker's too?

 

Rico: Yeah, so-

 

Chris: They may not be the same.

 

Rico: -a wise man once told me, I can't say his name because I'm not sure he would want me to tell you, but somebody close to me at the company told me you should never really look further if you are going to start up, really look further than two years out because you're going to want your company to be so successful that it's either nowhere near the same culture, or you want to get bought out by somebody. So, that's start-up life. So, you really shouldn't have a three to five-year game plan for start, you should know where you want to be in two years and then take it every two years at a time. But since you asked, three to five years I mean Tilt will be one of the largest companies in the space, if not the largest. Baker itself is going to be controlling the technological arm of Tilt Holdings, so I feel like we're going to be the, you know a large company helping people do lots of different things in the dispensary, helping all your systems talk to each other, we're going to be the glue that binds your retail experience together. So, that's what we want to be working with everybody no matter who you are.

 

Nicholas: Where do you see yourself fitting in with that picture?

 

Rico: I want to stay on the ride for a long time until it becomes too corporate. [Chuckle] You see corporate, I don't know, because I came from the corporate world and I didn't want to be back in the corporate, super corporate world. But I don't know, we have a really fun atmosphere, it's not like that. And so, I can see myself with Baker for the long, long run. It's very exciting the stuff that we do. They allow me, they give me a lot of flexibility to help create the Baker culture here on the west coast, and I don't know, it's awesome people. So, hopefully I'll be with them for the long, long, long-term, but if not, I'll be an entertainer.

 

Chris: Absolutely. I don't know which one I'd put my chips on, which one is more likely. And with that we're going to take a break and hear from our operations and entrepreneurship manager Veronica Steel.

 

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Chris: Alright, so we get it. Snap, submit and get cash back. Thanks Veronica.

 

Rico: You got to snap, submit, and get cash back, alright, alright.

 

Chris: Nice, thank you Rico. And we're back. We're back talking about your history with Baker and Baker's history. So, just getting right back into it.

How did- Can you tell us a little bit about how Baker got the funding to start? And how long did it take for Baker to start really taking off and being profitable?

 

Rico: I believe it was family funding. It just started off with things like Joel and David's parents and family, close family members started to contribute first. So, asking close friends and then they started to raise, they had their first real raise when I first started with the company was like a three million dollar raise, and that's a big deal, you know? And the second one was like eight million, so series A. And then it got to the point where, you know, go for series B, or do what we did and end up joining a merger. So, it's fun stuff. So, it started off small, it grew a lot faster than I think anybody anticipated. I think there was at one point I believe we went eighteen straight months of twenty percent revenue increase. So, it was like crazy. When I started with two hundred and thirteen dispensaries. And then it just took off. And over eleven hundred dispensaries nationwide, and now over twenty-six states, three countries, it's been awesome, it's been a fun ride.

 

Chris: Are there any other providers that offer similar products to Baker? Like do you have any big competition? Or anybody else that's out in the field that impacts the direction that you guys are going and influences what you are trying to do?

 

Rico: Oh yeah, we get inspired by a lot of people, but there's no direct competition. Nobody does exactly what we do. I think the easiest way to think of what Baker is and what we do, who we are and what we do is like the exact opposite of Weedmaps and not in the negative way. Weedmaps is acquisition, we're retention, they are a marketplace. You know, we never want to be a marketplace ever. You know, our job is to send traffic to your websites and traffic to your store. So, we're essentially a ghost, right? So, other things that we're opposite of Weedmaps, Weedmaps, you know, you pay different prices for your placement on the map and stuff like that, that's for a subscription service. What else? You own your data with us, like a lot of other companies they own that data, with us you own that data, extract it at any time. We believe that that's your property. Yeah, so it's the easiest way.

 

Chris: And sorry to chime in here, but that's huge in terms of like owning your data, and owning your intellectual property, and owning whatever you want to own especially in this budding- Pun intended, budding industry for cannabis that's really big because there's all these big ideas and all these, frankly, rich million-dollar ideas literally that aren't protected. And I've been dealing with that in terms of, I mean, this podcast and also some of the clients who have been taking for them hiring consultants and signing non-disclosure agreements or refusing to sign non-disclosure agreements simply because of ideas.

 

Rico: Intellectual property. Is that something that you guys take care of?

 

Chris: No, because we're not IP lawyers. You need to pass the patent bar, the IP bar in order to be a patent, or a trademark, or an intellectual property lawyer. Yes.

 

Nicholas: I think on that same topic, you know, we've been talking about Baker, you know, what you guys do, how you came to be, can you give just a real simple overview of what you guys provide so that way we know what we're talking about here.

 

Rico: Yeah, so Baker is the most powerful technology in the cannabis industry. I don't just say that tooting our own horn, but we really aim to, you know, help everybody in the industry, binding your systems together so it's less work, intensive for you and your staff so you can focus on making money, getting to know your clients better and getting them to come back more often and you have higher tickets, right? So, we are a CRM for the cannabis industry. And when we say that, we're not a traditional CRM like a sales force, or you know, Oracles have a couple of them, I can't remember- Sales logics was one of the ones that I use. But it's more of a dumbed down for a lack of a better word. So, it's like a dumbed down CRM. So, if you're stoned you can actually use our software and still execute, right? So, you're going to make money, right? No other platform in the industry is guaranteed to pay for itself within ten weeks, right? So, we stand by our product, we help people make money, we have two jobs, two jobs only. Help you build your brand and help you increase revenue, right? We're the only company in the industry with a money back guarantee. If we're not helping you make money, get your money back, right? So, we generally have like a thirty-day money back guarantee. Like you can extend that sometimes depending on the circumstance, but right after that free period is up, I want to know who your friends are because we don't advertise. That's the biggest difference between us and a lot of these other companies, we don't advertise, it's all word of mouth. So, we stand by our product our client stand by our product, they're with us like long-term and just know that we help people make money.

 

Nicholas: So, as a dispensary owner, you know, let's just start with the lifecycle.

 

Rico: Yeah.

 

Nicholas: You know, you guys come in and let's just say we got somebody new to the industry they just opened. They've got limited products.

You guys come in and then what happens from there? You know, you pitch it and they sign up?

 

Rico: Yeah, so they sign up and we launch them. So, first thing we want to do is get iPads out in their dispensaries, so they can start collecting data from their patients. So, transitioning from the medical market into the adult use market it's more of like a liquor store transaction. People come in there and they show their ID, make a transaction and they leave, right? So, a lot of the stuff your POS can't actually legally like record, we can as a loyalty program, right? So, we have a different rule set with loyalty programs, so we don't have to, we don't hold that information. We don't want to know your clients or your customers names, we don't ask for that. We ask for your phone number and preferences, that's it. So, if they bought us as a loyalty program, you can actually see their shopping behavior if they are tied into your ecommerce they can see your shopping behavior and they can see market directly to you, so they never ever have to spam you. So, that's the biggest thing of what we do, we have a ninety-seven percent retention rate when it comes to people on our texting platform because it's all data driven. We never ever bother you about stuff you don't want to be bothered about. And so, that's what really makes us different and then also TCPA compliance, it's really big and that's how some people have gotten sued. We can protect you from end to end on that.

 

Chris: The way you make it seem, you make it seem as if your clients actually like. And like they want to keep the relationship and they want to pursue you because you continually prove your value to them.

 

Rico: Yeah, that's the whole point. So, you have a minimal investment in what we do. And you have like a huge, huge payout from it and it's all data driven so we can show you exactly how more successful you were when you use our product. So, we're constantly feeding that data to our clients, so they can be more appointed and more targeted with their marketing efforts and take the guess work out of everything, right? So, you know, like a lot of people when you get into a new business, like you were saying like a brand-new business- Let's say in the main stream world, main stream world you don't just, you know, come into a windfall and you leave your regular job and just start opening some store and you never asked people, you know, advice on how to or you didn't read any books on it, right? So, the data is there. You can go online, and you can read stuff, whatever, we can feed you data and tell you exactly the blueprint on how to run a dispensary more efficiently. That's like the power of what we do. We have all this anonymous information aggregated from all these dispensaries. And we can be like, you the best dispensaries in the nation do A, B, and C and it makes them more successful. When they reach out to people they use these kind of messages at this time of the day. So, it reaches more people and you have more repeat customers. That's the kind of stuff we can help you with and that's why they love us because we show them hole in their business plan and where they can make more profit, you know, keep the lights on a little longer.

 

Chris: Right, and just kind of make a segue here, didn't- If I remember correctly, Baker did start an SF and then move to Denver?

 

Rico: Yeah.

 

Chris: What was the reason for that? Why did they go to Denver, was it just because it was the first one to legalize recreational use?

 

Rico: Yes, exactly. And that's where all of the action went, you know? So, Denver I mean long-term Los Angeles is definitely going to be the mecca, the Denver was the business data center of the cannabis industry, it was the first truly legal state, right? So, it's weird because they still don't have testing yet and they're ******* about having testing because, you know, they don't want to test their weed it's more expensive because they are very, very about their business there. So, we went out there and Joel and David they go out to a dispensary and they had a shitty experience. So, it's like you have about forty-five minutes to get in and it's like ten minutes to touch flower. Like you, wouldn't it be awesome if you come to these dispensaries during peak hours and order online, so you can skip the lines? Kind of like Chipotle express pick-up, and that's how it got started. So, that's the cool thing about this industry it's like stuff that we take for granted in the mainstream world, it's probably not being done in cannabis, you can probably make a shit ton of money. We were just the first ones to do express pick-up. [Chuckle]

 

Chris: I want to just highlight what you just said Rico. You said that a lot of the things that happen in the mainstream world that we take for granted, they're not happening in the cannabis industry, and there's a lot of money and opportunity being lost.

 

Rico: So much, so much.

 

Chris: Wow.

 

Rico: Yeah.

 

Chris: Those are some wise words, thanks for sharing.

 

Rico: Yeah, that's what I tell a lot of my friends because I played college football and a lot of my friends in the NFL tune in and are like what should I get into? And I'm like dude, don't touch flower tools all the way. You know, people need to tools, right? So, use something, if you're going to create something, create something that lots of people can use and just like look around you and stuff that we take for granted. Or if you want to get in from the outside world and your talent that you have in some legal firm can be applied to the cannabis universe. Your talents you had in some, you know, consulting firm can come in here, some arts, architects, chemist, they can do stuff in the cannabis industry and you have guaranteed, you know, higher demand for you because you have huge players coming in, you can make a lot of money. So, I tell people stay away from the plant, you know? You don't know what you're doing, don't do it. [Chuckle]

 

Chris: As a ghost in the industry, your advising people to not touch the actual plant?

 

Rico: Yeah, if you don't know what you're doing.


Chris: Yeah.

 

Rico: Yeah, because dude, we have like twenty-two years of "legal" you know? Actors and providers here in the state of California, you're going to get run over. You can't just come out here out of nowhere and be, "Okay, I'm going to start a dispensary." Maybe have somebody on your team that's already done it, you know, just don't- You're going to get run over. So, sorry, went to a dark place.

 

Chris: Thank you for sharing your dark place with us Rico.

 

Rico: [Laugh] So, what were we talking about again?

 

Chris: Speaking of other states Rico, does Baker have plans to open offices in other states?

 

Rico: I don't know, you know? It depends, that was really out of pitch. [Chuckle] It depends on what happens with Tilt to be honest because we're just going to be one of the four heads of this monster, so we don't know. If Tilt wants to- I can see us being global. That we're going from like evaluation of low thirty million to literally like one of the evaluations like two hundred million, one of them is like nine hundred million, like pretty much depending on what Trump says the day before or the day after. But we're going to have a lot more revenue to play with, we can do a lot of stuff. So, I can see us having offices in Hong Kong, offices in Prague, and Israel, you know, wherever there is large cannabis business, you know? We've shown ourselves successful to do certain things that can be replicated no matter the setting, you know? So, I could see a lot of offices under Tilt Holdings, I don't know about Baker, I don't know if Baker is going to stay state side, I don't know. We're already in, you know, Jamaica, so I don't see why we wouldn't one day open an office to, where is it going to be huge next? Oh, **** China, it's going to be ****** huge in China. You know, CBD the medical stuff. So.

 

Chris: So, talking about Tilt, I saw on the Baker Blog that's becoming a merger with you guys, and there's not a whole lot of info about that. What can you tell us?

 

Rico: So, we're merging with three other companies Sante Veritas, Sea Hunter and Bright Side. They all do various different things in the cannabis industry. And what can I tell you? We are going to be able to provide wholesale solutions to pretty much anybody across the cannabis universe. I can't talk too much about all our big projects or anything like that, but like I said before the whole campaign that we did this year, the future of cannabis retail that had a lot to do with what we're doing. We're trying to unite the entire industry work with pretty much everybody and integrate with everybody, so our clients can actually leap frog the rest of, you know, the people who want to hold back the legacy, old school, like yeah, I want to do everything by hand. No, dude, this is a serious industry now, there's so much money to be made, you need to stop acting like you're cannabis retail and start acting like you're retail, you know? Like just make that money, like there's so much interest in this plant, there's so much awesome reception to it. Your body like craves, your endocannabinoid receptors crave this ******* plant, right? There's a need, there's a biological need for it and if you know how to better serve then through data driven services, right? Like why not cut through all this shit and give people what they want at the right time, you know? That's the awesomeness that hopefully we can provide in the future with Tilt. And so, with all these companies that we're working on we just want to provide solutions all across the board and help a lot of folks one way or the other. So, that's what I can say. I can get passionate broadly without getting into the minor **** as well.

 

Chris: Excellent, thank you.

 

Rico: Yeah, I'm excited.

 

Chris: Rico, you were telling us earlier about Baker software and how it provides your clients value.

Can you tell us a little about how the customer usage varies from state to state?

 

Rico: Yeah, it's a lot of flower in California. Let's just talk about Colorado and California because those are the two easiest for me, right? So, our headquarters is in Colorado, I think we're in like some obscene amount like fifty-seven percent, something like the market that we work with in Colorado some differences. So, Colorado there is more dispensaries than McDonalds, Starbucks and 7/11 combined. They have like the liquor store model, I think it's like three hundred thousand or something like that. And three hundred thousand dollars in- Like a semi-clean record you can open a dispensary, right? They don't have a lot of brands, you can go to every single dispensary, it's like going to a convenient store you're going to see the same brands in there, there's just like slightly different prices depending on your market. So, the state made a **** ton of money, but it's like the industry lost its soul, there's like no soul there at all. And I always joke, they always get mad, all my boys in Colorado get ****** and they say like dude all the time. It's like, we're like social, you know, in California it's social smokers, you smoke blunts, smoke Js, and stuff like that. In Colorado they're dabbed the **** out. It's like they're on such a different level there and on such a higher level with their extract game than we are. It's like you sell that to some people here they get all ****** off. It's like nah, dude. Like you go up there and they're far superior, we have far superior flower, they're far superior with that. California we are more events, more brand driven, there are more brands then anything here, right? And then the last thing that makes California different than Colorado I always semi-joke about is the ******* ego, right? Like people here you can't tell them like, "Oh yeah, this is going to make your business better." Like no, I know my clients, I know my people. And they don't want to collaborate, you know?

 

Chris: Californians have a bigger ego.

 

Rico: [Chuckle] The biggest. So, it's just like they'll ask, I would be on panels last year, right? And then people will ask me like, "Oh, what's different about California?" It's the same exact thing that I just told you. Like number one the volume, right? There's more buyers and sellers here than anywhere else. Number two, it's just the brands, there's more brands, everybody wants a brand. Oh, that's my line, you know, I have a new line of products coming out.

 

Chris: Yeah, we're in Hollywood, right?

 

Rico: Everybody wants that, right? So, everybody has their own brand. And then number three it's the ego, that's it. It's like you can't tell Californians ****, you know? They have to fail before they actually adapt something. So...

 

Chris: As a native Californian I agree.

 

Rico: [Chuckle]

 

Nicholas: As a native Coloradoan I will also agree, but I'll throw out there I think the weather plays a big role. When you're stuck indoors your options are limited.

 

Rico: Okay, nice. I think, yeah Colorado is just more business minded. California is like- It's kind of weird you can split the state in half. Up north they are more business minded, and they appreciate data and stuff like that, they're a lot quicker to adapt to technology up there, but they really don't have the swag. You know, southern California has like the total different. You know, down here it's like the flash, you know, like the party, had his party the other ******* night, you know? You don't have that **** up north. Up north it's like hay rides and **** dude.

 

[Laughter]

 

Rico: I'm going, I'm going to the ******* hall of flowers, I'm going to the hall of flowers.

 

Chris: Did you really go on a hay ride?

 

Rico: Oh no, I was just talking ****. None of my boys are farmers up there.

 

Chris: Yeah, and I think if you think about just like the stereotypes about the different Northern California versus Southern California it kind of makes sense, right? Obviously with the mainstreaming of the industry the culture that comes with the local economy is also the metropolitan area is going to be reflectant of that.

 

Rico: Oh yeah.

 

Chris: So, speaking about the product again, about the Baker's technology, what is the foundational platform? Is it an ASP? Or Cloud service? Or is it a ploy on a customer's host?

 

Rico: Cloud- Repeat that last part.

 

Chris: Is it an ASP or cloud service? Or is it a ploy on a customer's host?

 

Rico: Oh, for Baker?

 

Chris: Yes.

 

Rico: Cloud, yeah, that's what saved us.

 

Chris: So now we're going to take a moment and give a shout out again to one of our newest sponsors, Cannopoly. Cannopoly is an app that allows you to local your nearest dispensaries, research brands and strains, and save money on the best deals for cannabis, and cannabis products. They have a special promotional program now going on for when you download their app and do your first in-store redemption you get five bucks back and so do we, Cannalaw Connections. Well, that's a no brainer, of course you should go to the Cannopoly app. I just downloaded it myself and I already used it at my favorite dispensary. Our referral code is CANNALAW, all caps, C-A-N-N-A-L-A-W.

 

Rico: Snap, submit, and get cashback, that's right. [Chuckle]

 

Chris: Exactly. Thank you, Rico, for reminding us to go to Cannopoly and to snap, submit, and get cashback.

 

Nicholas: So, Rico, I want to talk a little bit about the product and what the process is like rolling it out. I know we chatted just a moment ago about the initial setup. So, walk me through once you have a vendor, or dispensary you're working with. They've got it, they got their iPads, you know, they're up and running. What happens from there?

You have customers that come in you mentioned preferences. You know, is that the biggest data driver of you guys? And how can you describe how that interfaces with everything?

 

Rico: So, there's a whole system there. So, you go in for the first time, let's say Sally from the valley comes in there, right? She sees a long line and the bar tender is like, "Okay, next time you don't have to wait in line if you join our loyalty program." Oh okay, let me join the loyalty program. Put her phone number in there, her preferences. So, let's say it's flower concentrate and edibles, right? Like she had a bad experience from edibles last month, you know, that's a trigger moment for her now, right? So, she says I want to be marketed about flower and concentrate. So, you're never ever going to bother her about edibles because that's going to have a trigger moment, that's what makes you no different from any other dispensary that does- We use the spray and pray method, you know, you can send the same message to absolutely everybody, and people just opt out, right? If you blacked out on some edible like three weekends ago at Rio Fest, and you know, you'd never want to hear about edibles in this **** dispensary text  you and is like, "Oh yeah, bars on sale." Like ah, **** that, no. Don't have moments with Baker.

 

Chris: Absolutely. And I think people in the same way that people are very loyal, they're also very, very loyalty to their one bad experience and like forever.

 

Rico: It takes seconds to ruin a brand.

 

Chris: Absolutely. And they'll talk. They'll talk you know what forever to all their friends and their family.

 

Rico: **** yeah.

 

Chris: Absolutely.

Can you talk a little bit more about on-boarding and who is all involved?

 

Rico: Yeah, so it's on-boarding process. So, generally when you sign with Baker, we get the invoice back, we get to building out the kitchen immediately, so we're nerds at Bakers, so Baker is the front end and the kitchen is the back end of it. So, you get trained on that, whoever your team is, whoever the manager is, or whoever is in charge of your marketing that's who we're training for this. They're in-charge of the SMS content when they're pushing out messages. They're going to be in charge of implementing the loyalty program. And now they're going to be in-charge of deploying it as well. So, we do on-going training with them. Usually on-boarding is about two one-hour sessions. And then they have monthly check-ins with their customer success manager. So, customer success manager is generally their data analyst on the back end. They can tell them their peaks and their valleys of the business, tell them what is going well, and what is going poorly. On their website we have a widget that we install on their website, so you can actually order online, or you can take the patient in-take forms you can do online with us as well. We have Kiosk mode, and some of the more robust dispensaries. They'll have like I call it in California in and out style. You know, when you guys get like real crowded. They'll have the workers go out there with the iPad, we can do that in our dispensaries as well and collect orders from people who are part of the loyalty program. So, we train them on all this stuff, check in with them once a month make sure their business is doing well and it's an on-going process. So, those customer success managers are highly compensated for keeping our clients happen. Like our job is to keep you happy so you can tell your friends about us and we can grow. Like I said, we don't advertise, so we really, really put emphasis on customer success and development on the back end as well. We have the best dev team in the industry brought on.

 

Nicholas: Are these success managers engaged throughout the time that you're working with the customers in the dispensaries?

 

Rico: Oh yeah, and so I'm trying to implement more touches with our dispensary clients because California is more of a- How can I say this nicely? They're more of a technologically rudimentary compared to the rest of the nation in the industry. So, they want to- I mean, they're just really slow. They haven't really had a lot of technology in the industry at all besides Weedmaps, right? So, it's kind of tough coming in here because like dude, you need to- No, no, I've been to this dispensary for twenty ******* years I don't need you. Like yes you do, it's new rules bro. [Chuckle] Right? You're not going against, you know, this asshole that you hated forever like two blocks away, you're going against like large entities like billion-dollar corporations are right around the corner once legalization comes, you need to prepare yourself. And how you do that, you start acting like these companies and using data driven platforms to know your clients, right? Stop guessing because chances are if some guy comes in your store, like oh yeah, where did you hear about us? They're going to tell you the first thing that came to their mind. You know, if you have the opportunity to see where they first saw you whether it's through an ad, or whether it's through okay, Facebook, I'm on Instagram, you know, you can send more ads there, do more marketing focus there and you increase your chance of having a more full dispensary on whatever day it is. You start to monitor these behaviors, that's what we really need to get into if we want the industry to survive as we know, and we love it. We want the culture to live on in California, they need to jump into this technology. So, it's like it's kind of frustrating because we have such a robust culture here and it's right around the corner industrialization. It's not like oh yeah, it's coming, it's here. And so, in order for us to not lose our souls in this industry we really need to embrace technology. So...

 

Nicholas: So, obviously partnering with dispensaries is very important, but I also know that partnering with others in the industry as well.

 

Rico: Yes.

 

Nicholas: And I saw on your website it mentions you integrate with various other third-party systems.

Can you describe those integrations and what they provide to your customer base?

 

Rico: Yeah, so we're doing our API project right now, open API. We're kind of pulling a test. The industry needs to catch up to the patents *******, you know, it's kind of like the same thing. We want everybody to succeed and we want to work with- Let's look at Amazon, right? Huge conglomerate, right? But you know, they're direct competitors with Netflix, but Netflix still uses their servers. We want to be like that, you know? Be able to bundle our services with pretty much anybody in the industry. It doesn't matter if you are a direct competitor, or not. It doesn't matter if you are a little guy, a small guy, we want to be able to have components that help your loyalty program to talk to your online menu. Your online menu talk to your POS, your POS talk to your seed sale tracking system. We kind of want to build like the abstract app store of the cannabis industry. We don't want to pick winners, we'll let the industry pick winners and losers. The product sucks, the product sucks, we're working with the good guys, we're working with the ****** guys, but if the market says the ****** guys suck, they're out, you know? That's what we want to be able to do, just create that universal platform kind of like a Google more, maybe like a Google in the industry.

 

Chris: I like that, Rico. I like those analogies.

But you're not able to integrate with everyone as of now, so what do you require of integration partners?

 

Rico: Holler at me, give me a call and I'll introduce you to our API team and you'll get on the list. We're already have alpha testing is almost complete, so we'll have beta testing next and then we'll deploy it. So, it's going to be pretty cool, have brackets on both sides. So, currently when we work with a lot of these companies, or POS systems, menu systems, stuff like that, you're using their API, you're using our API as to work. You know, sometimes just read only, sometimes just write only, and we want to make a bracket, so you can use anybody's API and connect it to ours. It can be push and pull, read and write. And so, we truly will be that glue, right? So, like right now let's say a POS only has like a certain amount of input exposed. Like okay, we can build all of the rest and you can have- Baker is kind of like a universal connector there. We're the Rosetta Stone of the cannabis industry. Yeah, I said it first. [Chuckle]

 

Nicholas: So, speaking of POS systems, what is the most popular POS system that you integrate with? And why do you think that is the case?

 

Rico: Trying to get me in trouble man. [Laugh] We are POS agonistic. [Laugh] We work with everybody. So, when people ask me that, when prospects would ask me that, I'd always tell them, you know, are you going to buy a test left if you don't have a charger in your home? Right? Like every dispensary is different, and you have different needs. And every POS system is different. Some focus more on compliance, some focus more on, you know, speed. You know, it just depends on what you're going for, it depends on how complex, or how basic your needs are as well. So, I can't really say one is more popular than the other, I can say like there's some that are just more robust than others, you know? Some of them are doing some really, really cool stuff but it breaks a lot, you know? The most important thing when shopping for a POS is just make sure that the support team is awesome, because I mean that is your business if it goes down. You know, I used to sell POS systems like I said, you know, just going to crash at some point, right? Something is going to have a glitch, or something like that, it's going to be a system outage. You have to be able to trust that they're going to get you back online as quickly as possible. You're going to be back connected with metric, or our tracking system you're using as quickly as possible. And they're going to make you feel comfort during that time because it's stressful, you know? You're dealing with a controlled substance and now your electronic systems go down and then you have people like, "Ah!" You're like going around, what do I do? So, it's really important that the support team is there and it's a system that your whole team feels comfortable with. So, that's what I can say. I'm not going to say anything leaning towards one or the other.

 

Chris: I'm glad you-

 

Nicholas: I was just going to say coming from the software industry I whole heartedly agree with that. I think support is crucial. You can have the best product, and if you have terrible support it doesn't even matter.

 

Rico: Yeah, exactly.

 

Chris: And Rico I was just going to piggyback on what you said about the downtown when the POS system is down. Time is money especially in cannabis, especially in the regulated marketing and silence. We just had a meetup today a lunch and learn about the compliance and regulatory notices to comply appeals process and disciplinary processes with the bureau of cannabis control. And there are requirements for you to be getting offline once your POS system goes down, when your track and trace system goes down you need to stop everything. So, again, literally time is money.

 

Rico: Yeah.

 

Chris: So, to piggyback on what I was talking about Rico about the future and using your position as a ghost to get in front of the client and the customer and in back of the client and the customer, it seems like Baker also wants to be ahead and in front of the industry.

So, you're doing that through blogs and webinars, how else are you really getting involved in the community and using your position as a ghost to steer the industry frankly?

 

Rico: Yeah, we have a lot of micro data. So, we've had check-ins, like individual check-ins from clients, or from customers all over the nation and in Canada and in Jamaica now, and Puerto Rico from individuals we don't know their names, right? So, we know more about the individual patient than pretty much anybody, right? We had so many people like, "Oh, this is my preference, I'm in this part of the country." "I'm in this part of the country, this is my preference." So, we can transform that data and feed it to people and be like, "Yo, this is how you make money." These people want this at this time in this place, right? So, we do a lot of projects, we team up with a lot of the macro shops as well like BDS and stuff like that because we can learn from each other, all of us can learn from each other. And as long as it's anonymized, like it's clean data, right? So, we don't want to know your name because then you get into the political, like are you targeting this person? Like no, we don't want that. We want straight numbers, right? We want to know how many people are buying vape pens in Compton before 11:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning. How cool would that be, right? You have that data and you can actually okay, this is the best time to send out a SMS message. Totally optimal time to send it at this point, you get the maximum return off of that campaign. How dope is that? That's the kind of stuff that we want to be able to do eventually. So...

 

Chris: Cool.

 

Rico: And into the future, yeah.

 

Chris: Into the future. We're a law firm, Rico, and one of the services that we provide to our clients is compliance.

So, what kind of compliance is Baker subject to? Same regulations that we study and teach about?

 

Rico: Yes and no. The biggest one is TCP compliance. So, that's with SMS texting. So, when you're doing targeted campaigns like we do, you have to stay within the compliance, within the boundaries of the law. Right, now [Ease 01:04:03] is going through this big lawsuit right now because of exactly that. So, when everybody uses our platform you have to opt-in, you have to have an opt-out as well. So, a lot of platforms that are not, that are sending messages out to people and never ask them explicitly can you market to them, you don't have proof of that, you can be on the hook. If that person is like, "I don't remember signing up for this." You are liable to show whatever entity it is that you had an opt-in, right? If it's not done electronically, then how do you have proof that it was actually that person? You don't. So, that's the biggest thing. So, a lot of people don't realize like how big our platform, our texting platform is. Like last month, we're a very, very large customer. I'm not sure what I'm allowed to say right here without giving away too much. But we do like millions upon millions of text messages every month. And through those text messages we have to stay compliant, or it could be a big mess. Like [Ease 01:05:13] I think is like a twenty-five-million-dollar lawsuit to [Ease 01:05:17] because they didn't have proof that they had these people's numbers, you know? Like you have to have proof of that stuff, you have to worry about. And other stuff is different from state to state because we do ecommerce, right? We have an ecommerce platform. Some states you can't show, you can't have colorful packages, some states you can't show the actual product online, just the description. So, we have to work with every state, the compliance offices from the state compliance regulators at the individual shops as well, we work with all of them to make sure that they have their compliance every step of the way. I kind of joke with people we don't have to go too deep into compliance because I tell people we sell guns, not bullets. [Chuckle] So, it's your POS's job to deal with compliance ******** [Chuckle] So yeah, like your POS is designed to count the money that Baker makes you. They are there for your compliance, they are there for your accounting issues. Like our job is to route you orders, feed money into your business and show you how to make more money. So, luckily, we don't have to deal with too much state to state compliance because we're just a vessel, right? So, we're just a gun, no bullets, no magazine. You know, it's your job. I'll leave it on the table, what are you going to do with it of course.

 

Chris: I'm not going to get bullets in the same location.

 

Rico: **** yeah.

 

Chris: And speaking about that, about compliance and bullets and making sure that it's not traceable.

 

Rico: [Laugh]

 

Chris: When you're giving out the information about your customers, how can you ensure that it's accurate?

 

Rico: About what information?

 

Chris: The information about the activities- Wait.

 

Rico: Oh. Oh, because you can see it in live time. You can see it happen as it's going on. I'll give you a demo another time, but I'll show you exactly how the system works. So, like when somebody comes in and they check in, they're redeeming an order that they had online. They come into the shop and say, "Ready for express pick-up." They check in and like, "Oh yeah, I want to redeem x product, x free product, or discounted produced because I earned it, I have enough points." They just tap it into the system and it automatically pops up on their POS and they can give it to them right there. You can also see how long it took people to get the text message for a promo, actually how long it took them to get that message, to open the message, to get online to actually search your menu and then they come into the store. And we have all of that data because there are different touch points every step of the way, and our job is to speed that process up for you, make it more efficient for you. And so, you know these people more and more every visit and you are encouraging them to come back time and time again and spend more with you.

 

Chris: Okay.

 

Nicholas: Excellent. How do you ensure that the products that are online match what is physically in the store?

 

Rico: That's a tough thing. So, what we do is we pull directly from your menu source. So, whether your menu source is Weedmaps, your POS's menu, so your truth in data lays with you and your staff, right? So, it's kind of you can build it within Baker. If you build it within Baker that's where your menu lays. So, it's up to you to make sure that you have the right products up there. Like I said, we're not track and trace software. We can connect to your track and trace software. And so, but then that software, you know, bullshit in and bullshit out as well. So, bucks stop with the humans there. We will, you know, we can move this product over here, but if you don't have it labeled correctly that's on you, that's not on us. We're just a vehicle, a vessel if you will.

 

Nicholas: I thought of another question and now I forgot it, I'm sorry.

 

Chris: Okay, and then just a couple of more questions to finish this up Rico. Thank you for hanging with us.

 

Rico: Yeah, it was a fun time.

 

Chris: What's the future for Baker? Is it still growing? And what's the biggest area of growth right now?

 

Rico: Baker? Yes, so we're currently at about thirty-one percent I believe. Thirty-one percent of the California market. California is me, so I'm pretty much like I said like the field general, field director here, sales marketing operations kind of like all under my umbrella here. I want to have- **** of course I want to have all of the market, we have tools that can help absolutely everybody. So, even if it's not one of our three pillars, you can use one of them. You know, we have the best text messaging platform, if nothing else you use the text messaging platform, you know? We do loyalty better than everybody. If you have a loyalty program that you love keep that, use us for texting, use us for online ordering. If you love your online menu already, use us for loyalty we can help you out there, you know. There's always a way we can help you out. We can help you out with your events. We can help you out if you have a brand. If you're trying to launch a brand, we have a brand platform we can use. So, I want to grow and continue to grow the product because I feel like we really don't have any direct competitors that do what we do on the level that we do it, you know? We've been around for five years, we've really earned our lumps early and we know exactly what it takes to build a replicable modular business, you know? So, I want to have like at least a fifty percent of the market in California, that would be dope, right? We just signed [BRealz 01:11:15] shop, Dr. Greenthumb, that's pretty ******* dope. We work with Connected Cannabis, when I closed them that was awesome we get to work with Burner and his team. That's cool ****, you know? Hopefully we'll be working with a couple other big ones, I can't say I don't want to jinx them. That's fun, you know? We're at the as I said the infancy of an awesome industry and an awesome market and we're just cooler than everybody, else, right? California is a cool *** ******* state. Like I've lived all over the world, like I don't want to move because it's ******* cool as **** here, we're cool people and we're so very diverse. We're ******* weird, you know? ******* weirdos, it's ******* dope, right? Like **** being normal. So, that's how I feel. I want to stay here, I want to help out as many people as possible, make them ******* money and party with them.

 

Chris: So, I think you just answered my last question, but is what motivates you each day to go into work at Baker?

 

Rico: So, me, already, so that's kind of a loaded question for me because I left the financial services realm, that's another podcast, yeah. But learning people's stories. I love, love, love people's stories. When I was in corporate finance- Are we still on? Alright. When I was in corporate finance for ten and a half years you hear the same ******* story every ******* day about everybody. They're terrible at trading, they're terrible at finance, you know, I'm here to help you, I'm selling you this bullshit product, you know? Getting money off the fees, I don't care how it performs. It's the same **** over and over and over again. In the Cannabis industry for the two years I've been in it, everybody I meet has a different ******* story, right? You have legacy farmers, you have people who are lawyers, you have actors leaving their, you know, whatever you have. You have architects like leaving their ten-year careers to come in here and do this. Like it's everybody is ******* different, everybody has a different story. Some people ******* suck, some people are awesome. That's what really motivates me, I love that ****, right? So, I didn't have cancer, but I had a cancer scare when I left corporate finance. And so, I cherish that, I love just like meeting new people, learning their story, what motivates them and how can I help you, right? It's not just about the Baker ****, it's like you, tell me about your life dude. Like I didn't have a chance to do that when I was in, you know, the rat race I was just all about getting money out of people. Like now it's just like how can I help you, I have this awesome ******* product at this dope *** price, you know? And guaranteed to make you ******* money. Like **** with me, you know? And if not, you're doing dope **** in the community, I want to help you with the community ****, you know? I just like love, love, love helping people, I love hearing their stories and love, you know, trying new **** something that life is all about.

 

Nicholas: So, I've got one more question, we might have to put it in a different order, but I thought of it. So, you mentioned growth and the adoption rates as far as dispensaries to sign up with you guys, do you have any way of measuring their customer's adoption rates and signing up? Like how many are actually putting in their text message, their phone numbers for text messages, how many are saying, you know, "No, I don't want that."? Is it the loyalty that drives it? And how do you know who does and doesn't sign up?

 

Rico: Yeah, it's the entire system. From the beginning to the end when you check in for the first time to when you make a purchase it's all along the way there. Sorry, what was the question?

 

Nicholas: The question is how do you know what you don't know? The people that are not signing up?

 

Rico: That are not signing up? So, we have about a thirty percent adaptation rate, you know? It's kind of weird you know because it's like across the board, right? It's almost ecstatic across the whole country. So, you can expect like if you have a thousand people come in each month, like three hundred people are going to adopt to this system, it's like a rolling number. But we can monitor those people and those people will become your biggest spenders because you're actually target marketing them. And you know what their tendencies are and that crop of people they are loyal to you now, right? You need to let them know what your deals are, let them know when you're out of product, let them know when you're back in stock and stuff like that. And then they begin to spend more and more with you. So, we can actually see those orders on the back end of the analytics page, see the people who are coming in, their tickets are getting bigger, they're getting bigger and they're coming in more often and we track all of that ****. And so, the goal is to get everybody to order more online, so we can see their habits even more. I think, I forget what the last time we did it, I think it's like twenty-three percent uptick in ticket size when they order online. People are more informed when they order online. Women as well, there's more women ordering online because women don't like going to the dispensaries, dispensaries are creepy, right? Not all of them, but for the most part it's kind of sketchy, you know? And women are more informed buyers and they like ordering online. So, you can increase your women, your female demographic if you offer more online tools. So, that's just the direction.

 

Chris: It sounds like what you are saying is that- To answer Nicholas's question is that you learn by deduction.

 

Rico: Yeah.

 

Chris: Like what you don't "know", does that make sense?

 

Rico: Yeah. So, we help you exploit the data that you already have on your people. So, like I said there's the whole point of the loyalty program, you want people to come back more often and spend more money with you and you want them happier as well. So, we check all those boxes with our platform, and we all do it through data, so you take the human error out of it, right? So, somebody is coming in, let's say Mr. Thompson comes in three time a week and he's buying pre-rolls, right? You can monitor that information, you can put them into a data silo in the back of our platform, like okay, all these people who love pre-rolls we're going to do this one special for them and we can target them and only hit them up because that's what they like and that's what they want to be marketed about. So, you don't have to like just throw out a **** ton of spam, you know? Like oh, I want to get people in here. Like no, send them a personalized message to the people because you know that's what they want, right? Or if you have like a cool filter on the back where it's like the top percentage of ticket price. So, you can get like literally your top twenty percent spenders in and have them in on the slowest day of the month. You know, say the third Wednesday of every month is always your slowest, you have this data, right? You can be like okay, we have a Dimond club there and the owner is going to come into the shop and you can talk to these people personally. These are people that are buying paraphernalia, merchandise, spending five hundred bucks every visit, right? Have them in, show them some love, you know, the biggest day all month of what used to be your slowest. It's the kind of stuff you can do with your data that we have, so it's pretty dope.

 

Chris: That is very dope. Alright, on that note I'm going to close us out. Thank you so much again Rico Tarver, Rico Tarver the California market manager of Baker Technologies for joining us. I had a great time talking to you. And thank you Nicholas Romary for our associate for joining us as well.

 

Nicholas: Yeah and thank you Chris and Rico as well.

 

Rico: Pleasure is all mine fellas. Remember the universe makes no mistakes, we often do.

 

Chris: That concludes another episode of Cannalaw Connections, I'm your host Chris Hoo with Evergreen Law, and recording here in Hollywood. And don't forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter at Evergreen_law and also our Facebook page Evergreen Law PC. Also, don't forget to attend our meetups also called Cannalaw Connections here in Hollywood and also in San Diego the first Tuesday of the month and the second Tuesday of the month. And Rico, I'm going to turn it over to you to now give us, tell us, how we can connect and learn more about Baker Technologies.

 

Rico: Yeah, so you can find Baker on Instagram. You can go to our website www.trybaker.com, find us on Instagram @try_baker. You can also follow me, @Bakerico. You can also follow my non-profit, the www.thendica.org, or @thendica18 on Instagram. Yeah, you can follow my adventures, me and my brands, me and my dispensaries, I go and do spot checks with all of them and we have a lot of fun out on the road, so holla at your boy.

Oh, and one more thing, snap, submit, and get cash back.

 

Chris: Snap, submit, and get cash back.

 

Rico: Whatcha doing now?

 

[Laughter]

 

Background person: Smoking.

 

Chris: Great you guys, thank you so much.