Thursday, 10 November 2011 - I caught the fish, now what?

Published  below is an email I recently sent to my database to update everyone about all the latest happenings in my life at the moment. I had an overwhelming response, so good in fact that I thought I better put it out there. 
Mark - I caught the fish, now what?

I have been asked so many times recently what was it like working at Catch, what life is like after Catch/Scoopon, what are my plans etc.

So, let me answer a few of these questions and share my exciting journey with you.
For those of you that don’t know me that well; up until recently I was Chief Operating Officer at the Catchoftheday group of companies.  That’s a large reason why kind of slowed down in the past 18 months. I couldn’t fit enough into my 8 day weeks and something has gotta give, know what I mean? Anyhow that’s all changed and those of you following the website will notice that there are fresh articles and content popping up on the site rather regularly once again.

Anyhow, back to those questions..

What was it like working at Catch?
(Catch = and and other sites within the organisation) 
Well in short it was like a whirlwind! My eighteen months felt as complete and full as had the eight years at a previous organisation I worked at. My brief on joining the organisation was to bring about systems, control, rigour and process to the websites and businesses, and to prepare the business in the event an external investor showed any interest. I loved it intensely. So much so that I could easily have worked day and night, seven days a week. The passion of the team, the energy of the place and the pace at which goods turned over was staggering. When I joined there were 19 admin staff including Scoopon and 18 warehouse staff. It was truly a carefree youthful environment. Recently when I departed, there were around 150 admin staff across all the businesses and a transient amount of warehouse staff ever on the increase. That’s a crazy amount of growth.

Obviously there were challenges in the business such as finding good staff, and working hard on the systems to keep up with the growth of the business. Not an easy task with the unbelievably rapid growth that the businesses were undergoing. Change management was another challenge that we were dealing with right up to the day I left. Each week the businesses continued to evolve. We were also continuously faced with the challenge of finding more storage space as the operations continued to grow at breakneck speed. In December 2010 the Tiger Global/Packer consortium started the process of due diligence with the intention of investing in the group. From January through to April this year (2011) I moved into the accounting department and juggled the operational challenges of the business with the demands of our corporate advisers. It was to say the least a very exciting time filled with long hours, much data extraction and number crunching, and successfully at the end of all this, the consortium committed a sizable sum of money into the business for a 40% equity share. With additional funds to play with, a new level of management was brought in to bring about better controls, take possession of an additional warehouse and office space and start up  (and soon

What’s life like after Catch?
It’s been very exciting! I spent a whole afternoon on Monday 27 October by myself with a coffee down by the bay. It was awesome and something I don’t do enough of.   I also bought a new mountain bike and cleaned up my home office in preparation for the new me.  Since then I have seen more coffee shops in three weeks than I normally see in three years. I guess it could be said that I now have an office in over 2000 locations across Melbourne and surrounds, so if any of you want to meet me, give me a call there’s a local office nearby!

What are my plans, what was the reason for leaving Catch and such a lucrative role?
Catch and its other sites were well on their way, investment funds received and my job was done.
I come from an entrepreneurial background and I love start-ups. One of the main reasons I left Catch, was to offer my skills and experience to anyone from one man start ups to national retails chains, pure play online retailers, corporates and to assist suppliers. I have proven experience in helping businesses online, offline and multi-channel make money by improving processes, strategies in all areas of online business operations and management. I have also seen enough bad management decisions, bad website implementations and poor understanding of the online channel by Australia’s traditional bricks and mortar retailers to know that the industry is calling out for help, and they don’t even know it yet!
There have also been so many requests for advice and help in the last six months as well as the fact that my passion is online retail and this is what I wanted to stay focused on.
So, the seed was planted. Leave Catch, find a good team of strategic partners and start up an awesome eCommerce consulting and coaching business.

To show how fast this industry moves, in the last three weeks I have been asked to sit on advisory boards of a few new start ups, have taken on a few consulting engagements and have been exploring Melbourne’s best (and worst) coffee making cafés while meeting up with the most interesting people in the online space in Australia setting up strategic partnerships to create that awesome and friendly consultancy.  Have also had some very engaging and interesting meetings in this period, and am exploring a few eCommerce propositions, and a few jobs that could interest me.

So in summary I am rocking, loving this time and am more passionately focused on online retailing than ever.

Lets engage, I encourage and welcome conversations from all of you. There is much opportunity out there and I look forward to catching up with you for coffee, by phone, email or Skype to discuss ideas or answer questions.

Whether you are turning over $500 a year or $500 million a year get in touch, my details are below.


Mark Freidin

Email Me 
m: 0412 605 547 | t: 03 9008 0288 | skype: serrano1000
website |  blog |  twitter: internetretail

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