Tyler Carlson dives into stories with industry experts to discuss the intersection between retail and technology. Get podcast updates in your inbox:


Episode 010, January 14 2019

Jayson Siano, Sabre Real Estate

Talk Highlights
  • Lessons Jayson learned after landing the Starbucks account and bringing Chipotle to NYC
  • If you do not differentiate yourself, then you are out of business
  • Why Jayson considers the word “broker” a curse word
Speaker Bio

Jayson Siano is the co-founder of Sabre Real Estate Group, a retail real estate brokerage firm based in Long Island, New York. Jayson was born into a family of car dealers, where he learned how to detail cars and make sales. His humble beginnings have shaped the way he conducts business. He first joined Breslin Realty in 2001 at the age of 25, making him the youngest broker at the company. After five years, his dedication proved itself when he became the top producer, responsible for leading the company with a focus on business development, strategy, corporate finance, recruiting and corporate culture. By 2007, Jayson was pursued by CBRE to co-create the retail services group out of its Woodbury office. After four years, he decided to break out and start his own brokerage company. Sabre Real Estate Group currently represents some of the world’s most recognized brands and strives to help each client through achieving their short and long-term goals.

Show Notes

1:08 – Jayson’s transition from DJ to Director of Corporate Retail to Co-Founding Sabre
4:00 – Advice Jayson would give himself when he started as a young broker
7:30 – Lessons learned after landing the Starbucks account
10:53 – What was the latest and greatest technology when Jayson was becoming the top producer
13:33 – Most common mistakes commercial real estate brokers made in 2018
12:45 – Why Jayson considers “broker” a curse word
16:11 – Lightbulb moment when Jayson came up with the Real Sabre Vlog
17:50 – What’s in store for Real Sabre’s vlog
19:41 – Examples of those not moving with the evolution of retail
22:11 – Things Jayson pays attention to when visiting a retailer that others may not
26:00 – Why Jayson knew he was best suited to bring Chipotle to NYC
31:00 – Quickfire Questions


Episode 009, January 2 2019

Ryan Rao, Apex Franchise Development Group

Talk Highlights
  • Creating an experience so memorable they will tell people about it
  • Why franchise sales are completely different from other sales
  • The first question every franchisor needs to ask a potential franchisee
Speaker Bio

Ryan is a franchise development expert who has grown multiple franchise-based businesses into national and international brands. Ryan’s passion for franchising grew and developed from his entrepreneurial spirit. Ryan has vast experience in real estate, start-up financing, start-up franchising, franchise development, and the intricacies of growing and developing a brand. He is an avid franchise blogger with thousands of followers. He also serves as a franchise consultant and is a personal growth advocate.

Show Notes

1:18 – Evolution of Ryan’s career – from Junior PGA Championship to the Principle at Apex Franchise Development Group.

2:55 – Ryan’s father buys a franchise, Romeos Pizza.

4:00 – Lessons learned from his mentor Ryan Rose. Infrastructure for growth!

5:45 – With the importance of experience, any unique or remarkable recent experiences.

7:20 – Best form of marketing is word of mouth.

7:40 – Why not every salesperson can sell franchises.

8:41 – Go to questions in franchise development “interview”.

9:50 – Companies like Chick Fil A that limit the number of units per franchise. Opinions? Industry going multi-unit.

11:30 – What are millennial franchisees interested in that others are not?

13:22 – Summary of Ryan’s points.

13:52 – Scalability has never been easier


Episode 008, December 3 2018

Kevin Foreman, INRIX

Talk Highlights
  • Self Driving cars are coming whether you are ready or not.
  • Pick the industry that is winning and have more fun along the way.
  • Why does Amazon call it shipping instead of trucking?
Speaker Bio

Kevin Foreman lives with his family in Seattle, WA and serves as a VP at INRIX. INRIX is the global leader in connected cars and transportation intelligence. They provide information such as, which side of the road has more morning traffic?

Not only was Kevin one of the first 1,000 Facebook users and has an MBA from Harvard, but he also hosts legendary “fist bump Fridays” for his thousands of social media followers. Kevin is an excellent story teller and knows how to speak in a language that any audience can understand.

Show Notes

1:41 – Evolution of Kevin’s career. From word processing in the 80s to AI in 2018.

3:45 – 3 things we will never solve

5:23 – Advice from Kevin on picking industries that are WINNING.

8:15 – The “takeoff” of certain industries

11:53 – Shipping vs. Trucking. Speaking in terms that your audience understands.

14:02 – Pain is Opportunity. Why selling Advil is a lot easier than multi vitamins.

16:00 – Self-driving Cars – they are coming and coming soon.

18:30 – BMW i9. Was he able to park it without brake?

20:30 – Go Play to Win

22:45 – How to maximize a conference by getting organized.

24:45 – Rapid Fire Questions


Episode 007, November 19 2018

Adam Saxton, The Saxton Group

Talk Highlights
  • The mistake of rolling up your corporate identity to the brand you’re a franchise of rather than focusing on your company’s culture and what is under your control.
  • Having a mindset that you are a new neighbor when opening a restaurant in a new community.
  • The transition from focusing on site characteristics to focusing on the trade area when choosing new locations.
Speaker Bio

Adam Saxton has had restaurant and operations running through his veins ever since he can remember. As a fourth generation to continue the tradition of food service Adam and the rest of The Saxton Group carry on the tradition.

The Saxton Group. Founded in 1982 with just two Mazzio’s Pizza restaurants. In 2004, the Mazzio’s Pizza stores were sold, allowing The Saxton Group to fully focus on one objective: bringing the beloved McAlister’s Deli brand to Texas. Once The Saxton Group opened its first store in Longview, Texas the path of introducing the McAlister’s brand to Texans didn’t just grow, it took off. Today, The Saxton Group operates 75+ McAlister’s Deli locations across Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska. Over 25 of those locations are in the DFW metroplex.

Adam is an incredible leader who puts his employees and guests ahead of everything else. You can find him seeking out his customers on Twitter to get their feedback. Or promoting his team members from within to produce what is an unparallel company culture.

Show Notes

1:28 – Growing up in the family business
4:37 – What Adam observes when visiting restaurants and the thing he finds most important
7:10 – Major takeaways Adam got from a keynote with Jeff Bezos of Amazon
10:00 – When antidotes and data disagree – which story is probably right?
15:10 – Why Adam takes the time to acknowledge and interact with customers on his personal social media pages
17:56 – Why The Saxton Group promotes within the company
21:03 – The mistake that organizations make with employee retention
22:25 – Lessons learned from building the culture at The Saxton Group
25:21 – Changes in the process of site selection over the last 15 years
32:53 – Mobile data at The Saxton Group
33:26 – McAlister’s in the Houston area
36:20 – Tyler show Adam his location services activity
38:01 – Importance of giving back to nonprofit organizations and being a “good neighbor”


Episode 006, November 7 2018

Chris Ressa, DLC Management Corp

Talk Highlights
  • Best advice for those trying to find their way in commercial real estate or brick and mortar, as well as, the best strategies for effective networking.
  • The difference between good and great retailers.
  • What is happening with big box? Major headlines and what do they mean.
Speaker Bio

Chris Ressa joined DLC Management Corp. in 2007. As Senior Vice President of Leasing, Mr. Ressa oversees leasing operations. During his tenure at DLC, his leadership has led to the successful repositioning of assets. His most notable leasing transactions have included TJX, Ross Dress for Less, Burlington Coat Factory, Dick’s Sporting Goods, The Kroger Company, Best Buy, Toys “R” Us, and Planet Fitness. Mr. Ressa received a BA in Economics from Rutgers University in 2005. He received his CLS (Certified Leasing Specialist) in 2010 and, in December 2012, became a member of the ICSC CLS Committee. His career started at The Sherwin-Williams Company as a Real Estate Manager handling the real estate for district/regional offices. Where he handled existing store renewals and new stores. He also worked for Ashkenazy Acquisitions as a Regional Leasing Manager where he was responsible for all leases in a portfolio of approximately 3.5 million square feet.

Show Notes

0:00 – How Chris’ wrestling coach lead him to a position at Sherman Williams
1:16 – Tech at your disposal “The intersection of Tech and Mortar was just scratching the surface.”
4:12 – Advice Chris would give his younger self.
5:23 – How did he know that real estate was a passion of his?
7:09 – The greatest tool in the industry
10:32 – Tips and best strategies for networking
14:43 – Importance of speaking in terms that people will understand
17:43 – Chris’ advice to new brokers
20:31 – The difference between good and great retailers
22:42 – What fundamentals is tech having the biggest impact on today?
25:50 – Susceptible to embrace technology?
26:52 – Examples of tech changes in real estate
29:26 – What does Chris see happening with big box?
29:36 – Rapid Fire Questions


Episode 005, October 24 2018

Gregg Katz, The Shopping Center Group

Talk Highlights
  • How Gregg’s retail background lead him to where he is today, The Shopping Center Group
  • Why businesses should look at technology, mapping and general infrastructure when building the bridge between technologies and brokers
  • Headed into The Shopping Center Group with an open mind Gregg starts tackling the job bringing in a new mapping platform
  • Why is mobile and movement data so important in today’s day and age?
Speaker Bio

For twelve years Gregg Katz had worked hand-in-hand with an award-winning GIS & Analytics company, The Shopping Center Group. As the Director of Innovation and Technology there, he has developed a forward way of thinking. This allows him to create an infrastructure for data, analytics, GIS, mobile technology, marketing/branding, and research by leveraging information and tools. This ultimately aligns the company’s tactical plans for future growth with the needs of the company’s employees and consumers. Not only does Gregg manage his own team of 35 employees but he also does Tenant Representation and Consulting. He consults with national, regional and local companies – AT&T Mobility, The Children’s Place and Whole Foods. Utilizing his market expertise and relationships he helps locate, negotiate, and purchase the perfect location for his clients.

Show Notes

0:57 – How Gregg ended up at The Shopping Center Group
7:35 – Out of Hand Burrito Stand Location Deciding
10:15 – Emergence of new technologies
12:34 – Compare and contrast Orlando back in the day to here in 2018
16:01 – College Help: Broker Advice
18:18 – Broker Help: Broker Advice Continued
21:01 – First Initiatives
24:12 – House Renovation
25:29 – Advice to yourself six years ago
29:09 – Mobile and Movement Data
32:52 – Rapid Fire


Episode 004, October 10 2018

Jim Balis, Managing Director, Capital Spring

Talk Highlights
  • What sets apart a good franchisor from a great one?
  • Jim’s reaction to those who respond to the question “Why are you doing it that way?” with “Because that is the way we have always done it”.
  • The results of a company being resistant to technology.
Speaker Bio

Jim Balis leads CapitalSpring’s Strategic Operations Group, supporting due diligence, portfolio management, and industry knowledge building initiatives. He has several decades of management and turnaround experience in restaurant industry. Prior to joining Capital Spring, Jim was Founder and President of RMG a boutique advisory and turnaround firm serving the restaurant sector. He has directed numerous turnarounds and has acted as interim CEO or Chief Restructuring Officer for 15 restaurant companies. He began his food service career in high school, during which he held multiple management positions for local restaurants in New York. Jim holds a BA from Duke University.

Show Notes

1:13 – Jim’s story around founding the Restaurant Management Group
4:15 – Areas in need of improvement that are common among organizations
6:56 – Questions Jim initially asked when he began working with a business
7:55 – Why the traditional way of doing something isn’t always the RIGHT way of doing it
9:33 – Things that Jim pays attention to when visiting a restaurant that most people would not.
10:52 – The degree of attention to detail that speak to the level of leadership and culture of a company.
11:52 – Jim’s opinion on internal promotes versus external hires.
13:48 – Suggestions for finding new team members that will bring talent to a company and also fit the desired culture.
14:26 – The importance in developing your team members.
16:15 – What sets apart good franchisors and great franchisors?
18:43 – How technology changed the relationships between Franchisees and Franchisors.
20:41 – The transition from manual to automated work within restaurant management.
22:14 – Whether people were hesitant to embracing technology in the early days and how the reactions have changed.
25:45 – Rapid fire questions


Episode 003, September 19 2018

Larry Salinas, Business Development, Sales Engineer

Talk Highlights
  • The evolution of predictive modeling, from drawing maps to machine learning, from the perspective of an industry expert.
  • Data democratization.
  • Why mobile data is the new “true trade area.”
Speaker Bio

Larry Salinas has seen the market research industry evolve. From hiring internal Cartographers to leveraging the earliest of computers. Larry splits his time between New Jersey & Portland Maine. Larry built the market research team from scratch for a $7 Bn company. He is a rare combination of experience with a grasp of latest technology. Larry has worked with iconic brands such as Whole Foods, Toys R Us, and more.

Show Notes

1:00 – Larry describes the early stages of sales forecasting with Super Markets General
1:58 – How computers changed the forecasting process
3:18 – Larry’s manual process of analyzing a trade area with a stop watch and a map
4:38 – The introduction of the analog method
6:28 – Gravity modeling and how the industry changed because of it
7:53 – Limitations of an analog model
8:29 – Challenges with gravity modeling
8:59 – The gradual shift to regression modeling
10:23 – What Larry describes as multi-function modeling
12:09 – Larry discusses his experience in market research at Super Market General
14:11 – The timeline of transitioning between analog, gravity, and regression models
14:40 – The growth of Whole Foods
17:09 – The uses of segmentation data
18:05 – Larry’s search for the next leap in data
19:51 – Larry’s view on mobile data and how it will change market research
22:59 – The difference between an experienced and inexperienced analyst
26:20 – Rapid Fire Questions


Episode 002, August 29 2018

Lee Arnold, Colliers International Florida

Talk Highlights
  • Lessons Lee learned from starting the first commercial real estate dept in Pinellas county FL to the early days of site selection.
  • Commonalities of successful products particularly in the commercial real estate space, the drastic speed of technological evolution, and the reception of the industry.
  • The story of one of the most successful people in land of development, Herb Brown. As well as, his habits and behaviors that contributed to his success.
Speaker Bio

Founder, Chairman of the Board and CEO of the Arnold Companies consortium of private companies including: Colliers International – Florida Markets, L.A. Financial and Clearwater Bay Associates. Collectively these companies provide commercial and investment brokerage, property management, valuation, development, and capital market services.

Lee’s forty years of real estate experience have centered around his specialization in large, one-of-a-kind marketing assignments with an emphasis on problem properties. Lee’s development and investment activities have been conducted under various partnerships and corporations. Development projects have ranged from a 2,300 acre Development of Regional Impact (DRI) in New Tampa to five star mobile home parks, office buildings, shopping centers, self-storage facilities, free standing retail developments, multi-family projects, and industrial/office parks.

Show Notes

1:07 – Lee Arnold’s experience with aviation
2:00 – How Lee Arnold transitioned from being a pilot to a businessman
3:15 – The creation of Lee Arnold Associates
4:52 – Real Base and its functions
6:23 – Why were people hesitant to adapt to technology in the past and why has that changed?
9:05 – What was the tech must have for Lee Arnold?
12:50 – What Lee Arnold learned from Herb Brown about conflict
14:12 – Lee Arnold discusses Herb Brown’s risky decision that lead to great success
16:20 – The real estate industry’s speed of adapting to technology change
20:47 – Rapid fire questions
24:40 – Lee Arnold reacts to Boston Dynamics’ new robots


Episode 001, July 10 2018

Don Fertman, Subway®

Talk Highlights
  • The early years of subway and Don’s introduction to the company
  • Don’s personal experience on how anyone can become successful no matter their current situation
  • Don’s firsthand experience of the evolution of site selection
Speaker Bio

Working in the Franchise industry for over 35 years, Don has participated in Global Development, Strategic Planning, Brand Transformation and Field Performance Management for the Subway brand. As a person in long-term recovery, Don has been public about his early struggles with addiction and his 34 years of sobriety. Both experiences came to light when Subway was twice featured featured on the CBS Reality Show Undercover Boss. https://vimeo.com/72549988

Season 2, Episode 9:
“Don Fertman, chief development officer of Subway, America’s largest food franchise, goes undercover as an unemployed counselor seeking a new career”.

Season 4, Episode 17:
“Some of the most intriguing bosses from the show’s four seasons are featured as the fourth season ends. The hour examines how the “Undercover Boss” experience impacted their lives and reveals where they are now.”

Show Notes

1:35Fred DeLuca’s “people philosophy”
3:23 – Fred DeLuca’s first goal for Subway

First Subway on his mission to be the largest sub shop in the world
Fred’s thoughts as they crossed 1000 store count
Cool article that shows the original locations for 30 iconic restaurant chains

4:40 – Don Fertman’s rock n roll band
4:58 – How did Don Fertman become involved with Subway?
5:28 – More on Don Fertman’s band

The Crayons Subway Jingle from the 1970s

8:10 – Don’s guitar collection

6 string Alvarez

8:41 – What is Don Fertman’s donut story?
13:26 – Don speaks about two individuals who helped him along the way

Fred DeLuca – gave him a second chance. Important lesson – if you see potential in someone give them a chance

Fred F – sponsor in recovery; taught Don a program for recovery; helped him turn his life around

Someone who would answer the question as Don F

15:42 – What does Don Fertman pay attention to when visiting Subways?

Episode 1 of Undercover Boss

Episode 2 of Undercover Boss

17:35 – Don talks about his favorite unique restaurant style

Brazilian Steakhouse

18:40 – Don talks about what gives restaurants the best potential for success
19:41 – What did site selection look like in the 80’s?

Earliest car phone ~1960’s

21:42 – How technology has evolved site selection

Today, solutions like SiteZeus can answer things like:

What revenue potential does a location have?

Once in a location, what are remodeling affects?

Will opening a new location impact existing locations?

23:01 – Don’s advice for emerging franchisors
23:43 – Don defines the difference between a good and great franchisee
26:29 – Rapid Fire Questions

Self-driving car pulls up, do you get in? No, not yet.

Something you believe that others think is crazy? One day we will have 100,000 locations and if everyone practiced 12 step program we would have world peace

Advice for yourself when you walked into subway? Do not drink and go to meetings

Last thing purchased online? CDs on phone through Amazon

Do you have an Amazon Alexa? Yes I do, except my daughter kind of stole her…

Daily habit? Coffee (a bit of cream and a little sweetener)

Piece of technology that has made the biggest impact professionally? “My iPhone! I cannot live without it”

If you could wake up anywhere and do anything what would it be? Would be in his backyard, spending time with his family and a little time on laptop, a little bit of time on the guitar, and some time in a hot tub looking at trees and listening to the birds. Enjoying life, because life is good.

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