In this episode of The Support Automation Show, Justin Schmidt is joined by Shashank Shekhar, Founder, and CEO of InstaMortgage, one of the fastest-growing mortgage companies in America and the fastest-growing private company in Silicon Valley.
In September 2020, Shashank led his team to create Rachel, the world’s first digital human in the mortgage industry. Today, Shashank reveals the secret behind the company’s success and the implication of automation and technology in the process.
Justin Schmidt: Welcome to The Support Automation Show, a podcast by Capacity. Join us for conversations with leaders in customer or employee support who are using technology to answer questions, automate processes, and build innovative solutions to any business challenge. I’m your host, Justin Schmidt.
Shashank Shekhar, welcome to The Support Automation Show.
Shashank Shekhar: Thank you. Thanks for having me, Justin.
Justin: Absolutely. Where’s this podcast find you?
Shashank: I am in Silicon Valley. We are headquartered here in San Jose and we are recording it from my headquarters.
Justin: Love it. I spent some time in San Francisco in the mid-2000s, and absolutely love that part of the country. You’re the CEO and founder of InstaMortgage. Why don’t you give us a little bit of background about yourself and how you got to be the founder of InstaMortgage. I understand you guys also recently made an acquisition, which is awesome. I want you to tell us a little bit about yourself and InstaMortgage, and we’ll get started from there.
Shashank: Sure, of course. I graduated from one of the top business schools in India and majored in marketing. I worked with General Electric for their consumer finance division for a few years in India. Then, I was working for a startup in India that got me transferred here in Silicon Valley. I came here in about 2007, and then everything changed in 2008, as we know. I was new to the country. I had $1,900 in savings and I practically knew no one in the entire country and decided to open a mortgage company. You can see I’m not as smart as I look.
I think that I came from a business school, I used to tell my friends I’m doing MBAs because I want to start my own business someday. For some stupid reason, I thought that that was the perfect time to do it because I knew no one, I had no money, nobody was buying, selling. Mortgage was the dirtiest word on the planet, not just in the country. Then, I started InstaMortgage, which was called Arcus Lending before and we rebranded to InstaMortgage last year.
As all of us would guess, the entire audience, I’m sure, is already guessing that that was a really bad move. I realized that pretty quickly, that I wasn’t getting clients, I really just failed miserably at it for the first 12 months. Then things started changing because I brought my marketing mindset to the entire mortgage business and started doing things very differently than most people. I started blogging in 2009, when less than 10 people in the industry were blogging back then. Very new to the fact that it was looking at where the consumers were spending more time in terms of consuming news. That was blogs at that time. It was something that was coming up. I started working on that, worked on a lot of personal branding and content creation when it wasn’t even a thing.
If you think about 2009, 2010, those were not the hot keywords. When Gary Vaynerchuk stormed the scene, that’s when personal branding and content creation emerged on the web became a big deal in 2012, ’13, but I was doing that before that, which worked really well because building those education platform, building that content marketing eventually made me one of the top 10, 15 loan officers in the country.
Then, over the last three years is when we really focused on growing the company itself. In the last three years we have been in– Just last year, we were named to the Inc. 500 list of the 500 fastest-growing private companies in America. We were the only mortgage company on the Deloitte Fast Tech 2021 list where only the technology companies actually made that list. We ranked higher than Zoom and Pinterest in the square on that list. Then, Silicon Valley Business Journal named us the fastest-growing private company in Silicon Valley, number one on that list. It has been very exciting what we have done over the last three years with our growth and with our technology.
As you mentioned, Justin, recently, we also made an acquisition of another very large mortgage brokerage, not very far from where we are in Santa Cruz County. That’s an exciting start to 2022 for us. Yes, really, we feel that we are in a great spot this year and moving forward.
Justin: Yes, that’s awesome. You have done a lot of forward-thinking on content and providing value out to the market, we know, with mortgageblog.com. You’ve got a couple books you’ve written, and then, of course, your own podcasts as well. It’s really important in that business as in general to provide education resources to homebuyers, especially first-time homebuyers, or even people like myself who have lived in the same house for 10 years, when it comes time for a refinance, or whatever it is, there’s a lot of information that needs to be gathered to make smart decisions.
It’s one thing for lenders to have that content, it’s another thing for lenders to have that content available. It’s another thing for lenders to use technology to bring that content, bringing some of that expertise to those lenders. To get started with the meat of our conversation here, I’m going to ask you the same question I asked everybody when we first started the interview, and that is, when you hear the words support automation, what does that mean to you?
Shashank: Efficiency, productivity, and speed. Those are the three words that come to my mind.
Justin: Efficiency, productivity, and speed, definitely three things that technology can help elucidate for businesses. In terms of how you guys embrace automation at InstaMortgage, tell me a little bit about what that is. I know you have a digital human, Rachel. I was conversing with her yesterday in preparation for the interview. That’s a pretty future forward point of view to not only get an AI with a chatbot, or more tech space point of input but to get into the virtual human/metaverse route. I’m curious, how do you guys embrace automation in InstaMortgage, and maybe take us to the journey that led to instituting a digital human in the process there?
Shashank: Sure, of course. I can handle both. In fact, I just interviewed Danny Tomsett, who is the CEO of UneeQ on my podcast, talking about digital human and metaverse because I think UneeQ as a company is doing some amazing job in that space. Really, for us, as you said, it’s the future pinking on the entire technology piece, but conversational AI has become mainstream since Siri and Alexa came onboard. Now, people have no problem talking to them. Now, people have no problem asking them to do their chores and work and do a lot of online tasks. Of course, we have chatbots, which is very, very prevalent on a website kind of a platform, and then you have Siri and Alexa.
The way I see it is that people are already very used to conversational AI platforms. Chatbot in itself is technically a conversational AI if you’ve done it well. Then, of course, Siri and Alexa is an upgrade on that if you want to use your audio format kind of thing because if you have a phone or a handheld device then an audio format works better than typing. Where I saw the opportunity for digital humans was, maybe take that one step forward because as humans, of course, we like to chat with humans. Even though Rachel, what we call a digital human is digital at the end of the day, she still looks and feels like a human, she behaves like a human, she has emotions, at least she shows emotions like a human. That makes the experience and the conversation more engaging, more sticky, and that’s what we were going for.
It wasn’t so much an automation project because we were not trying to automate a ton of things, but we were trying to give a better experience than, say, you mentioned mortgageblog.com, that the blog that I write on, but when you go to mortgageblog.com, you’re reading the answers to the question versus you can ask Rachel, “Hey, what’s the difference between 30-year fixed and 7-year arm,” for example? Rachel will tell you what the answer is. The answer still stays the same. It’s not as you can either read it, or Rachel can tell you, it’s just that one experience is a little bit more sticky than the other.
The second reason why we thought it was a good move, especially after some of the things that have happened since we implemented the digital human is the entire push into metaverse. Maybe we’re not mainstream yet, maybe we are not going there yet, but then in a few months, maybe we’ll be there. If you’re already ahead of the curve, if you have built the first digital human in the world within the mobile space, then that gives you a serious leg-up, serious first-mover advantage into potentially being the first, even in the metaverse space. That’s where we want to be when we see that there is an opportunity to do that.
From a purely support automation that you mentioned, Justin, or kind of automations, one thing that we are focused really big on is automation is really the entire consumer experience. If you’ll see the ability to get your rates online, where you can go and enter some information, you get your rates. Ability to jump from there and download our app and complete your application, or for us to partner up with Finicity, a Mastercard company to automate verification of assets, income employment. All of that is automation, right? All of that tends to take a human to do all of that stuff before. Then, when it comes to our back end, I think that’s a huge amount of automation that we are working on. The way I see it is that the point of sale system is day 1 of a 30 day mortgage process because people come and complete the application and upload the documents. It’s what happens after that, until the time you fund the loan that actually drives the consumer experience for them. For us, automation is everything that touches a consumer is automation, or the need for automation is that, and that’s where we are working on both the front-end and the back-end of it. That’s what’s on our roadmap for the next few months.
Justin: You had mentioned when we were going back and forth in preparation for this conversation, that one of the things you wanted to talk about was how back-end operations automation powers front-end consumer experience.
Shashank: It does.
Justin: It’s absolutely true. What’s the specific example of how that is done in the mortgage industry that you find impactful?
Shashank: If you’ll see the history of technology in the mortgage space, the last five years have been huge. We went from faxing and emailing and handing over the documents and all of that, to being able to, most companies have figured out the point of sale solution. Most companies where they’re sold will have an app or a consumer portal or something or the other, where you can go and complete your application at 11:00 PM in the night and upload your documents at 4:00 AM in the morning. If you want to do that, you really don’t need a loan officer to do that, but where the entire industry has struggled is the entire back-end automation.
What I mean by that is, if you look at the average closing time within the mortgage space, it has stayed the same over the last decade. It has barely moved, even with technological advancements that we have seen within the industry. The reason it has not moved is our entire focus has been how do we automate application and uploading the documents, which, yes, makes their life easier because they don’t have to fax and/or come to a branch and hand over the documents, but the problem is that that rarely moves the needle on the entire closing time is because, as I was saying before, what the borrower does on day one and just day one, there is still 29 days to go, for example, to close the mortgage. If that 29 days still stays the way it was 10 years back, then nothing moves.
Overall, you have changed very little consumer experience through automation. We have done what we have been doing for decades. That’s where I see the biggest opportunity lies for mortgage companies moving forward is that not just looking at the more glamorous and more sexy point of sale but really looking at the boring things that we do right now, setting up and sending disclosures and processing, and underwriting and closing and funding. If we are able to automate a significant portion of that, that will actually radically improve the consumer experience because we will throw in more predictability. You will throw in a much faster closing time. You will throw in less errors. You will throw in less redos. That’s really what will be the next generation of consumer experience change.
Justin: I like the way you’re thinking about this because in, say, a 30-day process and you’ve got day one automated, the other piece of quick math here 96.5% or whatever of that process, it’s still right for automation, right? At Capacity, we actually have a decent handful of our customers in the mortgage space and one of the things that comes up a lot that I didn’t really think about until I was involved even in an ancillary way of just running the marketing operations over here. When it comes to buying a house, the experience that I had with my mortgage, it’s you do the application, you go, you sign a bunch of things, and then I direct deposit or from my bank account every month, my mortgage payment just gets taken away from me, and I try not to think about it because I don’t want to think about how much money I owe. Shout out to the Central Bank of St. Louis here.
The point I’m trying to make is, is there is a ton of work that the loan officer has to do to get me through that process checking with the underwriting and the service and scenario desk and then, God forbid, something happened and the servicing of my loan becomes tricky and I have to default or I refund, whatever it is, there’s tons and tons and tons of stuff going. The more you can free up the people in your organization who deal with the borrowers everyday and give them that experience, that’s how InstaMortgage is going to stand out from Quicken or whatever. That’s the way you’re going to win businesses is giving your team the tools and the opportunity to be their best selves and have that ultimate experience with the borrower and create those experiences.
Shashank: I just wanted to dive just a little deeper on that.
Justin: Yes, sure.
Shashank: First of all, I’m a huge fan of Capacity. When we are actually talking of building something which will, again, be one of its kind if we are able to pull it through. We are trying to have Capacity’s brain and Rachel’s front-end combined into one single product, which will be revolutionary, to say the least. Great work, and not because I’m on this podcast, but I’ll say that on any platform just wanted to clarify that. You’re right. One of the things that, when we think about automation, you’ve hit on a very, very important point because that’s some of the things that I hear when I’m speaking at different conferences is that when you say automation, are you trying to get people out of business? Are you trying to fire people or lay off people? When I say automation, I do not mean that.
When I say automation, I mean let people do the most high-impact jobs they can. What you just mentioned is that if I want to know what my monthly payment is, hopefully, I don’t have to email my processor or loan officer because that’s not the most high-impact job or processor will do or loan officer will do. A sixth grader can do that. A second grader can do that. All you’re doing is you’re checking your loan origination system and putting them in email and sending it to someone.
When you automate stuff, you’re actually making your employee’s life better and easier and having them do more productive stuff and have them better quality of work. This is what, what I’m after. My thinking about automation is not typical Silicon Valley CEO, even though I am a Silicon Valley CEO, it is not about, say, creating an Uber and letting a million taxi drivers die kind of thing. My thing about automation is that you automate it so that they’re actually doing a much better job, a much higher quality job, which actually makes them more fulfilled. That’s the entire goal of automation. That is what you just mentioned. A lot of things that you do during the mortgage process really does not require a processor with 15 years of experience or a loan officer with 20 years of experience to answer.
Justin: Exactly. Your processor with 10 years of experience and your loan officer has been doing it for 17 years, those people have mental cycles that are far more valuable spent on creative thinking or coming up with novel ways to generate more business or make the process faster or whatever it is, not simply looking up rates, right?
Justin: When you bring in technology to your company– You touched on this a little bit, but I want to dive in a little deeper. One of the things that comes up on this show from time to time is some of the skepticism and rejection of bringing automation into the workforce. A lot of times when people think, “Let’s automate work,” the first thing that comes to mind is the robots in a Tesla factory, and what’s really happening now is there’s also knowledge work or white collar to use up somewhat an outdated phrase, but the knowledge work that we all do also has opportunity for automation, whether that’s RPA or whatever it is. Some of the trepidation to bring that into the organization exists with knowledge workers just like it did the factory workers 20 years ago. What are some ways that you have found to get buy-in and adoption of these technologies that you didn’t maybe know when you first started or that would maybe help someone who’s looking to bring automation into their workforce today?
Shashank: Buy in is huge when it comes to any kind of technology implementation, automation or not, is first of all, change is hard. We can scream from the rooftops that change is what is constant and nothing else is, but we also know that, and that’s just human evolution through hundreds and thousands of years. We didn’t like change because mostly change meant that we were going to die. If there was no change, everything was comfortable, then that means that everything is fine, and then we will continue to live. We used to pay the ultimate price for change in the past, and that’s how our brains are configured is that we want– That’s why we stick in the comfort zone that we are. Bringing any kind of technology to the organization, the first thing that somebody else hears is that, “Oh my God, something is going to change, and Oh my God, it’s probably not for the better. I might lose my job. I don’t know what’s what.”
I think this is clarifying, and that’s why I keep saying the fact is that you need to show the value proposition of your automation. That’s where, I think, most executives struggle is the fact that they know that they’re doing something, but they can’t drive– The benefit that they see in their head is something they are not able to communicate to their team. There’s a huge communication gap that happens from the time, say, a CEO thinks or the head of the department thinks to what they’re able to convey.
I have been very upfront with my team, even if we were, say, six, nine months out into technology. Even if something I was just thinking about saying. I’m thinking if we could automate this, then what happens. First, you bring in your team very early in the conversation. You make them part of the conversation versus part of a director. “Hey, I’m the CEO, and we are implementing this, and I don’t care what you think about it.”
Having the conversation very, very early in the process, just even your thought process, we are thinking around this. What are your thoughts on something like this? This really helps. Second, be very, very clear on your value proposition on what you’re driving. Three, be persistent if you really think that this will work. There are things that I have talked about for 12 months straight. We’re implementing this. This is what will happen. We are implementing this. This is what will happen.
Things take a lot of time to be understood in some cases and clarified in the other, so be ready for the long haul on this. Then, when you get small wins, share it. If you automated something, for example, you were talking about robotic process automation, and we implemented robotic process automation in our servicing team. We don’t service loans, but we sometimes make first payments or whatever.
What used to be one email at a time, we were able to use robotic process automation to do bulk uploads and send multiple emails at a time. That saves 50% of the work of the servicing team now, which they can now use. I did not say let them go after that. It wasn’t, again, a project on laying off people and replacing that with the bots, but it was about now they have 50% more time which they can now devote to doing something else.
When you share your wins, even if those are your small wins, then people see what advantage is coming out of it, what benefit is coming out of it for them and for the team. I think all of that is really important. Also, at a very personal level, you need to be, first, very, very convinced that this is something which works. The problem within the mortgage industry that I see, Justin, is that there are tons of executives who have been in the business for decades. The change of their own mindset is a problem in the first case.
I was talking to someone and they were like, “What is to say that what you’re doing, not every mortgage company can do?” I said, “Nothing.” When they have as much money, if not more than I do, so there’s nothing that prevents them from doing what we’re doing. The problem is more the mindset and the culture than the fact about money because they don’t think it will do anything. All they think, even more importantly, they think that why fix it if it’s not broken, right?
We have been doing it the same way for decades, for years and nothing has happened. If anything, Justin, in the last two years has actually made executives even more complacent because they were doing the same thing. They started making a boatload of money over the last couple of years, and they thought, “Look, I told you we don’t need to do anything in this business differently, and you will still make a lot of money.”
I think it’s really important that, first, you convince yourself that this is something which is important for the future of your organization. Then, use those three core steps that I have been able to do because we have had great success in driving on new technology adoption.
Justin: Yes, It’s a good point that you bring up on understanding the importance of the small wins. That’s relevant whether you’re implementing the multimillion-dollar cost savings initiative driven by automation, or you’re simply getting a small project off the ground at a startup with less than a million dollars in ARR or something. You know what I mean? It’s wildly important just for people working together to celebrate small wins.
Another thing you touched on that I think is really important, and that comes up on this show from time to time but doesn’t come up enough. This is one of the things that I will proselytize for as long as I can to anybody looking to buy anything technology and software related for their company, and that is this. Sometimes you don’t have a technology gap problem, you have a simple job design business process problem. If you just map out the process you’re wanting to automate, look at the inputs, look at the outputs, look at the hands and teams that touch the process along the way, you might find you have some kinks in that process that no amount of software is going to solve for you. You simply just need to sit down with your best people and think about new ways to do this. You’re going to get the rapport of those people by celebrating the small wins, by keeping in mind what needs to change to your point earlier.
Then, it’s a much more bilateral conversation with you and your team so that when the time comes to bring that automation in, you’ve got that rapport and you’ve got that fine. I love the way you guys are thinking about this. In terms of the future of automation in the mortgage space– We talked a little bit about the metaverse and some metaversal horizons earlier. I want to come back to that and explore this a little bit. Where do you see the mortgage process, and maybe if you want to expand it to the home buying process more broadly, in the metaverse, there’s the obvious virtual house tours or whatever, but I’m curious how you’re thinking about the next– In 15 years, what’s this going to look like and what should originators like yourself be on the lookout for?
Shashank: Yes, I wouldn’t plan for 15 years. That’s something that I can’t predict. I can’t plan out. I don’t do that. For 15 years, I’m probably looking at something more predictable like demographic shift. Those are things that other than an error margin of plus minus 2%, you can predict how many households will form, what kind of people will be forming those households, what kind of age group, what kind of ethnicity, et cetera, et cetera. Those things are a little bit more predictable. When it comes to technology, I’m probably looking at three, five years down the road. That’s the kind of time horizon that I’ll be looking at.
Justin: Then let’s do that, the three or five years then.
Shashank: Yes, so the opportunities that I see with metaverse and, of course, I’m not even counting anything regulatory here because I don’t know what kind of because that’s always, especially in a business like mortgages, that will always play a role is what is allowed and what is not. Really, it’s an experience of what you have been able to do in terms of meeting, say, a loan officer in-person. What you have been able to do in terms of even doing a zoom call with that loan officer.
It’s an experience that you can– It’s about, you’re able to walk into, say, a mortgage café kind of a mortgage lobby, mortgage café, whatever. You sit down with Rachel, say, for example, in this case, get your questions answered, understand what your implications are and then move next door, which could be, as you said, now, take an open house tour. We just got prequalified for $400,000, why don’t you take a real life tour of this home that is available for that price?
It’s changing the experience of handling mortgaging. Mortgages, as a subject, I’ve always said this, and I believe it even though I’m one of the biggest content creators when it comes to mortgage. It’s just one of the most boring things that people want to consume. They don’t want to consume. In fact, remove the want to part because they don’t, that they need to consume it because they want to buy a home. They don’t want a mortgage. Nobody wants a mortgage. It’s a need that they have.
Justin: They want the house.
Shashank: They want the house. Everybody wants a house. I think this is our opportunity to actually make mortgage a little bit more sexier than what it is right now. It’s something which can be made cool if you’re really good about it. I see that as an opportunity, and that’s how I saw digital humans as an opportunity because this makes it more conversational but in a more fun kind of way.
For example, Rachel can tell jokes. If you ask her about the weather in San Francisco, she will tell you. You ask her about Newton’s first law of motion, she will tell you. She has all those capabilities. You don’t just need to ask boring mortgage questions. You can actually have a conversation with her. That’s the entire purpose of it is that, even in a metaverse, it’s just some upgraded experience but really have fun with the experience of it while getting your mortgage questions answered, while getting prequalified, while getting preapproved. That’s where I see a metaverse playing a role within the mortgage space, but we’ll say the side of the business will definitely have way more play with it. The ability to be able to give a 3D tour that you can only see on a computer right now through a metaverse kind of an experience, more touch and feel. Not to mention, from a mortgage executive perspective, the way I see it is that there could be huge opportunities in just the buying of properties on metaverse and then potentially doing the mortgage on it.
That will be a very different product that the industry will have to come up and design. That will be a huge pay. People are already buying lands in metaverse space. I pick up, I rent up a land by what Snoop Dogg or somebody had purchased it, selling for $150,000. It’s a virtual land. There’s not even real land, so to say, but you’re next-door neighbor to somebody who’s famous. Even though those assets are virtual, you need to finance them still. Those are the opportunities that I see that you can get with blockchain, that you can get with crypto, and those are the places where, I think, the mortgage industry can benefit from by being ahead of the curve.
Justin: Hadn’t until you said it thought about the idea of using the mechanism of a mortgage to pay for virtual space. Obviously, it makes sense. We use it for meatspace. Why not use it in the digital world? The other thing that you said there that caught my mind turning a little bit is this concept of the blockchain in general, being a store of information and the ledger that it affords us, also something that you could see deeds and titles and all that kind of thing potentially shifting over there eventually.
You’re right, whether we succeed today with what Second Life and Linden Lab failed to do 15 years ago or not, there are parts of this that absolutely will be part of the way we operate going forward. You’re exactly right, you might as well be on the vanguard of that. Shashank, this has been an incredible conversation. I could chat with you all day, but I want to be respectful of your time. Let’s wrap up here with my quick-fire round that I end in every interview with.
Shashank: Oh, wow.
Justin: I’m very excited for your answers to this because with all the time you’ve spent in content, with everything from being an abbot contributor to working with a bank right now to all the blogging and content you do. What’s the book that you most often recommend to people?
Shashank: Two books, but really the six principles of persuasion. Robert Cialdini has a book, I forget the exact name, it has its six principles of influence. That has been a game-changer for me. I actually went and met Robert Cialdini in Arizona, where he teaches. He’s a professor at Arizona State. That has been a game-changer for me. Influence as a subject, it’s something that I hadn’t really looked at before that. I had looked at it way more deeply. I became a student of psychology after that. That’s why I said two books, is because Thinking, Fast and Slow, is another book that I recommend.
Daniel Kahneman, he won the Nobel for economics. Those two books, because I really think that persuasion and influence is a topic that irrespective of what you do, whether you’re a student, you’re an executive, you’re a loan officer, you’re a founder, literally any field of life, personal and professional, those are the skills that can make you hugely successful, if you have other skills, of course, in place. Those two are probably my best books, when it comes to influence and persuasion.
Justin: Love it. You’re a busy guy. You’re a technologist. I’m interested to hear your answer to this, which is, when you think of all your productivity, tips, hacks, tricks, pick your way you want to frame it, what’s the practice or hack that you’ve brought into your daily routine that has made the most difference for you?
Shashank: Control what you can, don’t worry about the rest. It’s not even a tool or an app or something, it’s a way of life. It’s something that, otherwise, especially in a business like mortgages, you could be burning out fires the entire day, be highly stressful, get burned out very quickly. I think that concept with which I lead, and my every single day, pretty much, is control what you can and don’t worry about the rest. If you have given your best, then be happy with what you’ve done, I think, has helped me become highly productive.
I actually have a guide called How to Get 2x Done in Half the Time, a class, which is very popular. The e-guide is very popular. Some of the people and audience can reach out to me, more than glad to share it. That’s an entire guide. Really, as a philosophy of productivity, if you start with that, that’s a great way to start somewhere on hacking your productivity.
Justin: I love it. It’s especially pertinent to your line of work as well because you could prepare all you want and then some black swan event causes mortgage rates to pop up way more than you would have expected them to. You might as well just worry about what you can control. There’s a lot of community around the mortgage industry and around business leaders and just how to bring technology and new ideas into your operations. When you think of all the different websites, Slack communities, blogs, LinkedIn groups, et cetera, for people in your position, what’s one that you recommend to people the most?
Shashank: I follow up a lot of things in Medium. That’s my go-to site. There are different groups that you can look at. Tim Ferriss is huge on productivity hacks, and all of that. I have followed him since 4-Hour Workweek, and he has had since then cooking and health and different other things still followed, something as simple as he has, I think, 5-Bullet Friday, that’s part of his email that he sends out.
Justin: That’s a great newsletter, 5-Bullet Friday. Highly recommend it.
Shashank: Takes about two minutes to read it. There are tons of other things, but I think Tim Ferriss is really up there when it comes to that, and somebody that I really respect for what he has done to himself to bring some of the hacks to us.
Justin: Love it. To close this out, if you could take any business leader out for either coffee or a cocktail, depending on the hour of the day, and just pick their brain for an hour, who would it be?
Shashank: Jeff Bezos?
Justin: Jeff comes up more often in that question than anybody else, and every single time someone rings him up, I’m reminded of how valuable an hour with him would be. The guy has taken over the world by starting to sell books. It’s not like he was at the very beginning of AI or desktop operating systems or battery-powered cars, whatever, it’s selling books. We’ve been selling books for a very long time, but he figured out how to change the world by doing it.
Shashank: I think there’s a couple of things on him. I know we’re running out of time. One is– The reason I said Jeff Bezos is because I want to clarify it. One is that his obsession for consumer experience is something that I share very, very deeply. Everything that we do when it comes to automation, when it comes to technology, is not for the sake of technology, it’s for the sake of the consumer and its experience. That’s something that I’ve learned from Jeff Bezos.
The second thing that is huge for me with Jeff Bezos is that he does not just talk about what will be the things that will be different in the future, but he keeps an eye on the things that won’t be different. One of things that he says is that the customers will always want faster and cheaper goods, always. Those are things that’s not going to change. That’s also very important for executives and people listening to this podcast that don’t always think about what’s going to change in the future. Always keep also your laser-focused eye on what will not change. No mortgage borrower will ever come and say, “Oh, I want a faster close. Give me 60 days close, 90, or 120.” That’ll never happen. Everybody wants things to be faster.
I think those are a couple of things. Of course, growing the company from everything that you said, from practically just a bookstore to being the first trillion dollar business in terms of market cap. All of that is really valuable, but a couple of philosophies of his with which he grew it and the way he ran Amazon is something that really– I find it very, very interesting.
Justin: Likewise. Shashank, this has been an amazing conversation. Thank you so much for taking time out of your afternoon to chat with us. If people want to find out more about you or InstaMortgage online, where can they go?
Shashank: instamortgage.com. That’s really our company website. Interested in reading my blogs, mortgageblog.com, or, as just mentioned at the beginning of the call, I have my own podcast, Shashank Redemption. Hopefully, you can listen to me there.
Justin: Love that name. Love that name.
Shashank: Thank you.
Justin: Shashank, thank you so much for coming on The Support Automation Show and you have a wonderful afternoon.
Shashank: You too. Thanks, Justin.
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