Mental Models, Highway Care, and Retailers Battling Tight Markets with Grace Sharkey
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In this episode of Everything is Logistics, host Blythe Brumleve and guest Grace Sharkey of FreightWave discuss mental models, an interstate healthcare network for truck drivers, import reports, and how retailers are coping with a tightening market and a wacky economy. They also briefly discuss the drama surrounding Meghan Markle and the royal family. Tune in to hear their insights on all these topics.



[00:01:55] Mental models for problem-solving.

[00:03:58] Decision-making and Hicks Law.

[00:09:16] Goldilocks Zone.

[00:13:00] Perfect customer experience.

[00:17:23] Roko’s Basilisk thought experiment.

[00:19:48] The dangers of AI.

[00:24:15] The Bullshit Asymmetry Principle.

[00:29:33] Highway Care Network.

[00:30:33] Telehealth clinics for truckers.

[00:34:35] Trucker health services.

[00:39:39] High inventory levels and low sales.

[00:42:14] Student loans and consumer spending.

[00:46:37] The end of globalization.

[00:49:30] Royal drama and coronation.

[00:54:23] The disappointment with Megan Markle.

[00:57:09] SEO and self-promotion.



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Show Transcript

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Blythe Brumleve: 0:10

Welcome to another episode of everything is logistics a podcast for the thinkers in freight. I'm your host Blythe Brumleve. And today we got another fantastic appearances by Miss Grace Sharkey of freightwaves, fame, Sirius Radio, all of the things that that she is involved in, and she's on back on her monthly appearance on the podcast, and we got a bunch of stories that we want to hit. So we've already spent the first 20 minutes of this conversation discussing a variety of things such as import records and the growth of, I don't know the growth of like overseas shipping coming to the United States. And then Megan Markel, so we might hit that topic later on the show. But the main topics that we were going to be hitting on just kind of give you a roadmap is mental models, we're going to dive into what exactly is a mental model, which ones are your favorite, and why then we're going to break down an interstate health actually breaking ground on a highway Care Network, which is super important for the overall health of truck drivers. And then we're going to be talking about those import reports that we mentioned and how retailers are battling, you know, sort of the tightening market and this, you know, kind of wacky economy, so we're gonna hit on those. And then if we have a little time we're gonna hit on Megan Markel on the royal family drama, which is a, which if we kept talking about it, while we were not recording, we were going to mess up the entire recording of this podcast. So we stopped ourselves. And now here we are so great. So welcome it.

Grace Sharkey: 1:39

Yeah, it's been here for 25 minutes already, but still happy to be here. Yeah.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:45

All right. So let's, let's kind of jump into that first topic, mental models. Now I asked Chet GPU what a mental model was, and I lost it already. But basically, basically, a mental model is a framework for how you can think about the world. Is that a safe definition? Or a safe assumption of that definition? Yeah, it's,

Grace Sharkey: 2:06

there are various ways to go about solving problems, or I think the thing is about mental models, and for everyone out there reason that we're talking about this is because I'm actually doing segments on these now during the radio show. And it's because I want to help, maybe, especially our listeners, who a large portion of our drivers think, at a I don't wanna say higher level, because that makes it think they're thinking lower, but thinking different ways to maybe understand why tech companies are building certain things or how they could go about solving problems within their businesses through a different framework. And I think that's what's interesting is, a lot of times mental models, sometimes people with higher education in particular might say, Well, no, Duh, of course, that's how I would, I would think through this, but it's important to, I think, have a different way of looking at a problem and solving a problem. And realizing maybe these different formulas for thinking that have led to very successful businesses. So not only in the show, do I talk about the mental models, but I also give examples of companies who have used them to make really great decisions. And at the end, showcase, Hey, okay, if you're a carrier, this is what you could do tomorrow to put that mental model into action.

Blythe Brumleve: 3:22

Cool. So I guess, what are some of those, the ones that you are really sort of drawn to, and maybe the truckers have had, you know, a really strong reaction to.

Grace Sharkey: 3:32

So I will say, I think the first one that I went over is one of my favorites, because especially in an industry that is so focused on problem solving, it's one of the best I think, to kind of take that problem solving that you're doing throughout a day, these big complex problems, and just kind of like breathing through it and taking steps forward to to execute a decision. And that one is called Hicks law. And overall, the it's a principle that states that was taking this definition directly, that the time it takes for a person to make decisions, increases as the number of choices or alternatives increase as well. So basically, number of options available for someone to choose from, the longer it's going to take for them to make a decision. And I especially like this one, because, well, I think first of all, I'd like you might say, Okay, well, Duff, I have more decisions to take me time. Yes, but I think it's important that if, for example, people always say like, like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, they will all start their day off with one outfit, right? Like they all wore the same things because the black shirt and jeans like every day, yes, because that was one decision. They knew that they would was done. There's no other alternative choices. I get that done. I move on and I move forward and I don't waste time and I Think, in particular, when especially if you're talking like drivers and technology right. And I get on trucking companies a lot for this is I can't tell you how many times, especially in brokerages you get drivers to call in and say, Well, what do you have? What? What's available, right? Just this open ended questions like, well, what lanes? Do you run? Where are you trying to go? What states? Do you even have authority or insurance to run through? What type of trailer do you have right to just like, and realizing how long it's going to take to make the decision of what load you're going to be put on, just based off that, right. So if you as a carrier can call into an broker and say, Hey, I've got trucks in this, this city, this city, this city, I only want to go to on these lanes, this lane and this lane, I can guarantee that you're gonna get off that phone call faster, you're gonna put more time into your business allow for more, make better decisions and other low key parts of your business as well. And it also gives you maybe a better understanding of why when you log into maybe a marketplace convoy, Uber freight etc, load smart, why they tell you suggested lanes, because they know that those are likely the lanes and they understand that if they can make that choice, smaller right for you and give you a smaller amount of choices to choose from, that you're likely going to be in and out of their app faster, making it more quicker for the shippers and everyone involved in the transaction. So that's, that's why I really love kind of looking at, like the problems in this industry, from these different mental models, because I think it allows a little bit more empathy, or understanding of where sometimes this technology is coming from or trying to help you help you solve in your day to day

Blythe Brumleve: 6:54

work. And I think to it, it almost sounds like a developing that elevator pitch for a driver. And that way you get the best outcome as possible. And then the person on the other end of the phone can get to what that best outcome is possible for you because they want to make that decision much more quickly. And so it kind of sounds like it's almost a business or an elevator pitch for a driver

Grace Sharkey: 7:18

1,000%. I mean, there's other areas that we touched on too in the episode, I mean, one just streamline streamlining your processes in general reducing how many forms need to be filled out, when you're getting a driver, how many steps are in that process of onboarding a new driver, right, that goes into a lot of driver onboarding, technology, reducing distractions, I mean, that's obvious, as a driver, you don't want to be looking around, you don't want to have them on 10 different devices, just one easy to use ELD device is better than the rest. Of course, clear instructions, I think is a huge one. And that goes to any business who's looking to really focus on for me, that's just screams development. Do you have clear, concise guidelines for your employees? So they aren't asking questions right throughout the day and, and having to make more choices, or choose from more choices than they should have? So I think it's, it's really interesting to see like how you can kind of go throughout your day and say, Hey, is this really like, this process? Right now that's given me a headache is it is it because I have just so many choices. And let's simplify those choices before I even have to make an overall decision.

Blythe Brumleve: 8:37

That's super interesting, because I used to coming from like the website where I've been building websites since like 2008. And it used to just be a place where I would put all of my articles and I still kind of think of it that way. But I am consciously now making the decision to simplify my site. So then that way it I'm putting less of that decision making on the end user and making that clear path to conversion. So it's interesting that that model can be attributed to a variety of different careers and just aspects of your life. And so what's the next one that you think is really powerful?

Grace Sharkey: 9:13

So another one that I did is, this was the I think, actually this last week I went over this one is Goldilocks zone. And this one was actually when I wasn't too familiar with, I wanted to choose one that I kind of had to learn a little bit more about as well. And actually, this one comes from astronomy and biology and has been like almost turned into an economics or business model as well. So to give you a little bit of background clearly, for everyone, it's after Goldilocks and the Three Bears, so right Goldilocks chooses porridge and chairs in the bed, right that are all the right fit, not too hot, not too cold, not too hard, not too soft, not too big, not too small. And it basically is a way of figuring out an area or a point sent in, like I said, it started in astronomy, where conditions are just perfect for a particular phenomenon to occur. So when it originally came up, it was focused on honestly trying to find, how do we find habitable zones in our galaxy? So basically, how do we find planets that could we could possibly go and live on at some point in time. And over time, it most of it, right, it's been space related, trying to find an Earth sized planet for us. And basically figuring out the science behind finding a star that would make for that perfect or size fit. Now in business, it's the same thing, finding the optimal level of performance or an operation for a company or, or an organization. So this could go into your productivity levels, revenue, growth, risk management, etc. And I think for looking at, like from a carrier Business Standard, this could be an employee workload, right? And trying to find that right balance between workload and productivity. You see this right now with a lot of companies? I would say, We're gonna push against Quiet, quiet, quitting. Yeah, I always the new one that's out there now is a quiet promoting where you fire people and then you give those job standards or job related goals to another person without any pay increase? Right? Oh, it's no problem. We'll just push it underneath what you're doing as well. That's great. Well, what you're finding is you're burning out employees. And they're actually it's kind of like the Master of None situation, I have so much, so much underneath my plate, that I'm actually performing poorly and all of them and working to find that perfect spot, that perfect zone, where the employee still feels challenged and rewarded, but is engaged and productive at the same time. For our industry, in particular, shout out to sonar on this one, product pricing. So for us, like, what is that perfect price that's going to win that shipper over that's going to win that carryover? And how are you going about finding that actual price? Expansion? Right. I think carriers right now are trying to figure out okay, if I am growing my business, what point in the market flip? Do I start looking at more assets or looking to expand into different markets? Like I said, risk management as well, at what point? Are you sure? Are you starting to see operational failures because of maybe the number of employees that you have, or other internal factors within your business? To actually point out a few of them? I'll let's do let's do, I think this is a good one Starbucks. So they came in and they achieved success by focusing on their perfect point of customer experience. And, of course, provide this high quality coffee, comfortable seating, the welcoming atmosphere, who doesn't love going to Starbucks, right. And then from there, they were able to start expanding on once they've got that perfect customer experience, expanding its menu into more food items, and non coffee beverages that would appeal even to a wider range of customers without losing that perfect customer experience. So like carriers out there, honestly, even three PLS, brokers, etc. Easy areas to look at Route Optimization, that perfect way of making sure that you're generating enough revenue to cover your cost, capacity, utilization, customer service are all really big areas that you can leave and say, Okay, what is our perfect customer experience? Do our customers unsatisfied dissatisfied because of how our operation is moving? What do we need to do? And it's the one thing I found interesting looking at a Goldilocks model, or Goldilocks zone is that a lot of times I think people just think, oh, we'll take the average, right? Take the average amount of time that our employees are working and let's let's say that's what we make their daily routine around. It's not always that number. Sometimes it's more sometimes it's less so takes a look back to when you were seeing a really great growth. And what were you doing during that time? That could have been like the perfect scenario, and then expand on that through all of your other operations as well.

Blythe Brumleve: 14:46

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Grace Sharkey: 16:01

well, and to even take that into Hicks laws, well, a lot of people are attracted to those type of pricing models, because you only give me three options to choose from. So that I don't feel like I'm being high swear on the show, like dicked around or anything like that, you know, it's like, okay, this, this is the options I have in front of me, this will make this decision of choosing you as a provider much easier.

Blythe Brumleve: 16:22

Hmm. And so I so those are the two ones that are I guess three with the Goldilocks, the Hicks and first one

Grace Sharkey: 16:30

I do have I have some fun ones, though, because you know, we've been talking a lot about AI. And I recognize you I'm actually rewatching Silicon Valley right now, which is a fun time for especially what Silicon Valley and bank and all that jazz is going through. And I figured there is a fun, experimental thought model that I thought of before doing the show because I knew we're gonna talk about this stuff that I figured I would share with you too if we let's hear it. Okay, cool. So if you've seen the show, you've probably seen a character called Guilfoyle. It's in the later seasons bring this up, as they're actually looking to invest in or start partnering with an AI company. And it's called Rocos about Vassilis, like the snake, you know from Harry Potter. Oh, okay. Okay. Yeah, so it is an internet meme. It's a thought experiment as well that originated from for online forum in 2010. And it concept was actually first introduced by a user named Roco, who suggested a hypothetical artificial intelligence theory, or that the artificial intelligence or AI would punish anyone who knew of its potential existence, but did not work to bring it into existence. So the idea behind it is based on the concept of friendly AI, which is an AI that's actually programmed to prioritize the well being of humanity, kind of, honestly, the AI I think that most people are fearful of right. And the thought experiment proposes that in the future, if an AI may come into existence, that does have the potential to improve our well being of humanity, it would have the even the ability to extend to go is far greater than any human could clearly ever could. That's the whole point of it. However, in order for the AI to come into existence, it would need to be programmed by humans. Now it proposes that the AI would then have the ability to retro actively punish those who knew of its potential existence, but did not work to bring it into existence. And this punishment could take form of like simulated torture or other forms of suffering. And the idea is that basically knowing the potential of AI, so anyone out there who's like AI is fake, it's never gonna become big. We're not working with it to bring into existence, those individuals are effectively prioritizing their own short term self interest over the potential long term benefit to humanity. So it turned into like a huge debate on this like forum, if that could happen. And if you see the show, it's the gilfer character ends up green to work with the AI because this fear of it taking over and destroying him as a human was so it's so for everyone who listened to our AI episode and left there thinking like, you know, I just am not on on board with the AI. Well, this thought experiment says you better get on board, or this thing is going to take you it's gonna remember and it's gonna know you're on board. By the time it comes smart enough. So I thought that one was fun. And that

Blythe Brumleve: 19:42

I as you were talking, I could not help but think of I keep going back to this example. But Will Smith and iRobot Yes, Sonny with a good robot and he's tried to save humanity. And he's given these extra, I guess perspective and nuance into humanity, and he's really the only one that can help the humans that were thinking that's all conspiracy theory to kill Lucy, who was like the main computer who says that humans have to be saved from themselves.

Grace Sharkey: 20:09

Yeah, exactly. Yeah, well not just spoil it. That's what the AI system they are in Silicon Valley, they end up investing in as, like basically killing itself because humans are like the worst part of existence in life anyway. So there's basically like, I need to get word away from you guys.

Blythe Brumleve: 20:31

But it's in the interest of self preservation, it kills itself.

Grace Sharkey: 20:33

Exactly. No. 100%. So, yeah, either. Basically just hop on board, because worst case, it'll just end up killing itself anyway, so you have to worry about it. So there you go.

Blythe Brumleve: 20:45

Over all rosy and sunshine over here with a Yeah, so we have one episode talking about all the all of the advancements and the helpfulness of it. Now we have the other side. So we can't say that we're not the

Grace Sharkey: 20:57

last episode was a friendly invite to AI. And this one was just handcuffed you right to the AI situation. So this is more serious for everyone else.

Blythe Brumleve: 21:09

Yeah, I mean, I just had one of my articles on on AI, the one that we were talking about on that specific show, I shared it on on LinkedIn, and as part of the LinkedIn podcast Academy, so sometimes they will share some of your content with a wider audience. And that article got shared. And now it's like people from all over the world commenting on it. And there's this one guy who was like, this will lead to the doom of humanity. And I'm like, oh, that's kind of what they said about, you know, farm equipment and the industrial revolution, and the printing press and computers in general. I don't think that this is any different yet. I think once we get to sort of a point of like AGI, I think that that is one that. Yeah, we definitely have to have more of a discussion around before it's just open to the public for AGI and I don't even know like it. When I say open to the public. I don't even I don't even know that people from behind the scenes, such as government officials, and people like that should even be trusted with this. So I almost like lean more towards like, get it out in the public. So we can have this public debate. Because if foreign governments or even our own government is going to try to pursue this, which they probably are already

Grace Sharkey: 22:19

so far behind. Yeah, we shouldn't be so fair enough. China's AI system, back to the tick tock. Everybody going on it. All right, I

Blythe Brumleve: 22:34

did want to bring up um, because I watched this great discussion with this YouTuber, and I'm sorry, I'm blanking on his name right now. Let me see if I can pull it up really quick. But he, he has did like an interview with going through all of like, 10 different mental models. And those are completely different from I asked Chet GPT, to list out 10 different mental models. And all of those have been different from what you've said so far. And so I think it's really interesting that we have so many different ways of processing information. And so what was the name of his Oh, Chris Williamson. So he's kind of like one of those, I guess, famous YouTubers that has these really great long in depth discussions with a variety of different people. And so one of them was a negativity bias and how we share, basically, you know why Twitter makes everyone crazy, is because when we're sharing stories, we're sharing stories, because that they are new and unexpected for us. And so when we share that we're not sharing normal stories on social media. And so when you are just bombarded with all of these stories all day are kind of like monkey brains cannot candle it. And so we fall into this trap of becoming more tribal, more, I guess, enthusiastic about the things that we think and why we think and so then it creates this almost like a circle jerk where you are sharing those same stories with that same audience in order to, you know, get higher hierarchy in the tribe that you now feel like you belong to. So I thought that that was interesting. And then there's also one, I don't know if you heard of this brand, brand, brand knee Lee's law, aka the bullshit asymmetry principle. And it takes a lot essentially, the the thought process is that it takes a lot more energy to refute bullshit than it is to produce it. Hence why the world is full of relentless bullshit, especially on social media. And that that the thought process is that the people who are very careful with what they say, speak less, and the people who do not care, speak way more, which is, I think, also a hint to why you know, going back to Twitter for an example, 90% of all tweets are created by less than 10% of the people that are on Twitter. This was a stat that's been kind of thrown around for the last handful of years. I imagine that it's, it's much more significant, probably closer to 95% of all tweets are created by a very small fraction on Twitter.

Grace Sharkey: 25:00

It's funny you say that because I took a screenshot of it literally last night, there was a Instagram because, you know, I'm not gonna be on Tik Tok, but I'll really all day long. Dunning, the Dunning Kruger effect was kind of the same thing, where it's like, those people that you talk to who say like, I'm the expert, I know everything about this, like the big headed type of individuals often tend to know less, that's almost like a mask that they're putting on, where the ones that make seem actually a little bit more closed or maybe less confident in what they know, actually tend to know more about their field. And there's a, like a happy medium in between that you can, you know, clearly is still kind of like that Socrates model where it's like, I don't know everything, but I want to learn as much as possible. There's a happy medium, right? Where you can say, I am an expert, but I'm still know that I have a lifetime of knowledge to to still fulfill. So yeah, I think it's cool. I think it's, like I said, sometimes I think people will listen to it, and probably those big heads that I'm talking about. It's like, Well, duh, who doesn't know that? Well? Listen, a lot of the work that I do a lot of education is like, because I know that a vast majority of the people in this industry, especially when we're talking with drivers don't have a four year college degree. There's a lot of people even in the industry in brokerage and high up that don't have, I don't I've never learned this stuff like and I right, vastly interesting, and it's gonna help me make better decisions in my life. So guess what, we're going to learn it and I think it's cool at the end of the day,

Blythe Brumleve: 26:35

I love that approach. Because it's not we don't check ourselves Yeah, more. Or we need to check ourselves more often than what we do. And I find myself getting trapped in that know if I feel like I, every time every week that that screen report comes up on my phone, I dive a little bit more inside because I'm like, wow, I've spent this much time on these different social media apps, I need to check myself and I need to continuously check my own biases. And you know why I think a certain way and then sort of snap out of, you know, getting too tribal about too many things. And I think that that is where, you know, there's also in that in that same Chris Williamson show, he was talking about how you know, because the fact that we are so much more tribal. Now, that's also a direct correlation. I guess correlation doesn't equal causation. But you could definitely point to the rise of depression, anxiety is directly correlated to the advantageous action of social media and the smartphone and when they were mass adopted, I don't think that I think that there's a little bit of, you know, greater awareness around these symptoms, and these different, you know, sort of mental illnesses, which causes more people to be diagnosed. But I also think that there is a big cause of all of these things that we just discussed, affecting us on social media, where we spend most of our time every single day.

Grace Sharkey: 27:58

Now it takes some I mean, think about it, like kicks law, right? Like, back in the day when people were farming and like, I was just reading my grandmother's biology autobiography The other day, as she wrote, and like, her choices after school were, go home, help pick strawberries, or do homework, you know, it's so it's like, her ex law, like her decisions were so small to begin with. And now, it's like, Hey, I could go buy food, I could go order food, I can have food delivered for dinner. I could, like how, how long does it take? Some of us even choose what we're eating for dinner these days, let alone like anything and the Netflix right, like, limiting our decisions, like, and so we have. So like you said, the smartphone, I think really opened it up. Like, we have so many choices, and then that leads to anxiety. And then for absolutely no reasons.

Blythe Brumleve: 28:50

It's all it's all we're just trying to get better a little bit each day. And I think some of these mental models that that you're talking about, definitely help fact check even yourself and sort of check your own biases. The challenges, I think, is doing it regularly and catching yourself getting caught up in a particular emotion and then trying to ask yourself, why do you feel emotion around this particular issue. And if you do feel emotion around that particular issue is probably by design of whoever, you know, whatever platform or story that you're interacting with. And speaking of stories, I kind of wanted to dive into we have, you know, about 10 more minutes to talk at you and hit on these couple stories that you've been working on. And one of these is the interstate health, which is a company that is breaking ground on the highway Care Network, which is super important for the overall health of the nation's drivers. And there was a first initiative to this that failed, but you think that this one's going to work? Tell us why.

Grace Sharkey: 29:46

Yeah, so for everyone out there, basically what they're creating is a health system that is centered around the highway in particular for drivers, right? You're a driver you get a cold and you think oh man, I really left to go to urgent care like strep throat situation, something like that? Well, I can tell you right now that urgent cares around me, means I'm gonna have to go down some residential roads. I'm definitely getting off the highway, where am I parking, I have no idea what's already a problem to begin with. So a lot of times what happens is drivers then just keep on going. And whenever you delay health problems, that becomes an issue itself. So they're working on building out these clinics as close as possible to basically truck stops, right so that you can park your truck, just walk across the street or walk next door and get your yourself checked out there. Now, this actually was a program that I people have tried before the name of I want to say TCS or something like that, how the name of the company is surpassing me right now. But it failed. And a big reason it failed is because if you think about it, you're only really you're building a system for a small percent of the health community, right? So your target market or your market cap honestly, is only so big. So it's harder to sustain the model, especially drivers. I think part of the problem right is that you might not feel like you need to go to the doctor to begin with, so you just don't go anyway. So that was part of the issue now, where there's multiple reasons I think this thing is going to surpass number one. I'm going to list off everyone who is an investor in this and I think that will kind of open up people's eyes. Rob Estes from Essex Express lines. CEO they're the CEO of Hersh Bock truck truck lines of a CEO and chairman of Melton truck lines. The CEO quality distribution Gemma Canlas project 44 CEO, the CEO of Reliance partners of my carrier afford air of custom companies, a bowl plan technologies, and even a few investor firms as well. This thing takes off likely what's going to happen is you're gonna see of course, all their drivers going to these locations. So they've created a really great investor pool of people who have 1000s of drivers underneath them that can easily start accessing this as soon as it is local in their area today. The second point and I mean, you know, this I just this last January, February, did that nice road trip from Michigan down to Florida. I can't tell you like if I you know, excellent cut myself or got sick on the road, like I don't know, where I would go off the highway to go get health, health or health checked. I don't know if you've ever traveled before. For instance, there's a time when I was a kid where we pulled off when a little little hike and I ended up finding I'm definitely allergic to poison ivy. But you know, we had to run to the nearest hospital to get help help for that. And that's usually what people do. If they're on the road, they go to the emergency room, and then you collect a nice little emergency bill that you really didn't need to if there was a clinic closer to a truckstop or a gas station, that's right off the end of the highway. So another part of this is they're looking for areas that almost have you know, there's food deserts like clinic or health deserts, right? areas that don't really have hospital systems around anyway. So for them, and I think the reason why this model will also work, bypassed the whole investor conglomerate as well, is they're also opening this up to just even the American population, and especially those who need the health care but just don't have access to it in those areas. So I don't know. Oh, yeah. So you're in Florida, you know, that patch from like, Atlanta down to Florida is like, just empty, right? So, putting a couple of very good clinics along those and on top of it, they're gonna everything's gonna be cloud based. So if you visited these, they're gonna have your records everywhere you go. That's they're looking at us. They have enough systems enough really, employees behind it, they would start doing telehealth calls and stuff like that. So I think the second go around is gonna I like the business strategy a lot more and I think what's gonna help it is it's also gonna be opened up to it's, it's truly its name, and then hey, interstate health system. And we really don't have that today. And I think hopefully what's uh, this will turn out to be something really great not just for our drivers who need that, that help finding health services, but for those who are on the road, and a lot of other areas that they're building. I mean, over there going to around like Tennessee down to Georgia, I mean, over. I think 80% of the population can is within like 500 mile I have a couple of these locations. So why not? Why not choose that. So I'm excited to see them grow, and they just opened up, they just broke ground on a one location they're building. And they also acquired a clinic who was already servicing drivers as well. So we got that, that help as well as that someone who knows the regular clinic member that they're looking to bring.

Blythe Brumleve: 35:25

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Grace Sharkey: 38:54

Yeah, I will say it's not as funny of the data in our industry, because yeah, we almost have to throw out the last couple years. Plus, most of us haven't been collecting good data. until like, 2018. So you're left with

Blythe Brumleve: 39:10

2019 We got like

Grace Sharkey: 39:11

the end of the Trump era, like as we're dealing with tariffs already anyway, so shows you like whenever people are like back to normal, I'm like, What's normal guy? No, I'd, you know, it's interesting. I love Greg's article as well. And I think I yeah, I wanted to bring up even more so right before we're gonna start importing heavy volume in we got to get rid of our inventory. And so yesterday, we had the wholesalers inventory to sales figures come out, wholesalers inventory to sales ratios inch down to 1.37 and February after it was at 1.3. Really what to kind of showcase what this means to people is that if you don't want this number to be over one, you usually want to be right at one so basically means like for every sale that you're doing, you have, in this case, a an extra product on the shelves as well. Clearly, if you get up to two becomes really bad to kind of throw some maybe percentages your way to truly kind of understand this bulky durable goods saw inventories rise 15.4% on a year over year basis, while sales for bulky durable goods was only 1.6% year over year. So if we're seeing, of course, inventories continuing to creep up but not sales with it. There's stuff still on shelves or stuff still being moved around warehouse to warehouse, probably likely why you're seeing more and more shorter lanes as people are trying to figure out okay, where do I get this product in front of someone who actually wants to buy it. We just even had a had an intercom wonderful conversation with that, that funds VP of in logistics as well. And that's that's the big thing right now, right is trying to figure out where these new customers are. So that we can get rid of inventory and have a reason to start bringing in more imports into the US furniture particularly poor as well. 7.9% year over year sales, but point 4% year over year, or sorry, 7.9% year over year increase in inventories and sales was only point 4% increase. And that's a 1.84 inventory to sales ratio. So and even it gets worse metals are at 2.16 ratio hardwares at 2.47 machinery at 2.57. So basically your your sales would have to increase almost three times in order to give the amount of get rid of the amount of inventory on your shelves, right? And tell me where we have a consumer right now who's willing to spend or buy or purchase three times more than they're expecting, we don't have that that consumer doesn't exist right now. Thomas Watson said this perfectly the other day on the radio, I can't remember the term he made up for it on the spot. I was so clever. But I think people are also forgetting that this summer, we have over 4 million people in the United States who are waiting to see if they're gonna have to start paying their student loans back something they haven't done for three years now, with an average payment of like 500 or $600 a month. So you're telling me that we assume that there the average consumer is going to be able to pay an extra $600 bill a month on top of normal or better spending than we've seen in last year? I don't understand at all, we're where people see that happening. So unless there's some type of stimulus happening, I mean, we do it's gonna be interesting, right? I think in the next couple months, because we'll see maybe what people are spending their tax money on. But I wouldn't be surprised if those people are holding on to their tax bills as well for even down the line Christmas spending is back to school shopping. summer trips, right, which is not good. Those are services. So right now, I mean, a lot of people are pointing to the third quarter others the Morgan Stanley report that came out to I think, I want to say it was either Greg or John Kingston wrote about the other day, that's shows Yeah, I'm positive positivity near the end of the year, that third quarter Christmas time. I just I don't see that happening until inflationary pressures start to come down. And people feel like they can spend I mean, even when I look at myself, whenever I want to think of the consumer, I look at my own habits. And you know, I'm eating, definitely eating less out comparing prices while I'm at the grocery store, not using chips just to save even an extra whatever on delivery fees. So we're at an interesting time. And I think until I don't know any company given out huge raises right now either. So it's once we get a pass like this, I'd like to see what we do the student loans. But even if those are pushed off again,

Blythe Brumleve: 44:10

but the bill is going to come do so on the

Grace Sharkey: 44:13

consumer doesn't have $600 Still that they're looking to spend as well where car payments are the most delinquent than they've been Credit Card Utilization is at its highest right now. That's why the markets aren't doing I truly believe markets aren't doing great because all the retailers that were having a good old time buying up Tesla stock in the middle of a pandemic, right, they pulled that out and they've moved on so I'm not as optimistic as maybe some would like to say but we'll we'll see as this time turns around. But positive wise, if we're going to look at it this way as carriers unfortunately go bankrupt and leave the market that will help of course freight prices to rise. But it's unfortunate what has to happen first for that?

Blythe Brumleve: 45:06

Yeah, I mean, unfortunately, like, businesses will have to close their doors and nobody wants to see that. But I think the lessons and everything that you're you're referring to now is that consumers in general are slowing their spending dramatically. They're trying to prioritize different purchases, and it sounds like there may be prioritizing, you know, the necessities and then also experiences over goods, which is, you know, obviously not what retailers want to hear. But, you know, with just the overall market conditions, I think that, you know, inflation is going to be staying sticking around for a lot longer than what we would like, and for a lot longer than we would hope, especially with, you know, nearshoring and reshoring. And trying to diversify your manufacturers, you know, more closer to like Central, Central America, South America, and either, you know, Vietnam is still not still but becoming a great alternative to, you know, places like China, and I think it's still, it's still sorting, it's all, post COVID Life is still I think, will take probably five years to sort itself out until we have a quote unquote, new normal. And I still think that even what that new normal looks like, I kind of go back to a lot of like what Peters ion has said, you know, in his book, The end of the world is just the beginning, the end of globalization, and having, you know, one country that you rely on for a majority of your goods that's over. And we're probably going to experience high inflation in time or during that time until we have time to adjust. And but then from that perspective, you can also take a cue from a lot of these different businesses, where can you cut cost? Where can you streamline, where can you find those different process automation or optimization, that you can then figure out what your processes look like, so then you can figure out where you can save money, you probably don't need to buy five new software tools this year, you probably don't need to, I don't know, get the you know, the whatever kind of I guess, use case or whatever your overspending tends to be, you know, you're you're gonna have to make some tough choices. And maybe it kind of goes back to some of those mental models that we talked about earlier, you know, reduce the amount of decisions that you have to make and reduce the amount of, I guess, things that you are buying that cause, you know, I guess the decision fatigue to come into play?

Grace Sharkey: 47:27

Oh, yeah, it's, I mean, this is like a perfect example of it, like carriers out there and maybe listening. Adam Wingfield even brought this up, like, start running your trucks at 62 miles an hour, like, you're not gonna like it and you're gonna hate it, but boy, when you see how much less fuel you are spending, you're gonna probably be a little bit happier and you're not going to be that much later than you were to begin with. So it's like it's that kind of stuff where you know, I like to cut the pizzas like cut the beers kids will buy their own beers, let them go home like if it's gonna save jobs here and there that are needed for your business and then let's do it.

Blythe Brumleve: 48:03

Ate the leftovers. Try to find a way to make them work. Don't be purposely wasteful. Did you want to trim your budget and you want

Grace Sharkey: 48:10

to remember when he came? Well, he's dead now. But like always, like what are these pizzas doing here? Just just Mike reheat them that that should make me laugh. I'm like that this guy should walk into a brokerage.

Blythe Brumleve: 48:24

So it's a pizza Friday every day or is there literally pizza Friday every day? Why would

Grace Sharkey: 48:28

pieces over and over again just reheat them

Blythe Brumleve: 48:33

and then that way your brokers don't have to leave the office and they could just stay there book for free you know why the pizzas are bought?

Grace Sharkey: 48:40

We all need a Logan Roy running our business or we're all gonna fail. That's what we should learn. How

Blythe Brumleve: 48:46

about that speech? He I mean, the last sort of fiery speech where he stands up on some paper boxes and gives that I was fired up. And I know he's a psychopath.

Grace Sharkey: 48:54

I love it. Because we've all been there where like that CEO comes into the room and you're like, This guy is gonna just piss off the wrong and they're just like secretly walking around him and he's like, Oh, you send an email. Good, good for you

Blythe Brumleve: 49:09

exert yourself. Yeah.

Grace Sharkey: 49:11

Sending one email. Just like a middle manager. You're like, oh God now how are we gonna get this job done because this kid's got to be fired by the day so

Blythe Brumleve: 49:21

we're definitely like a few minutes over but I did want to hit because we hinted to this earlier. I did want to hint to this. Because it we we were talking about it before the show and that is a new royal drama that has just dropped and that is Prince Harry has been invited to King Charles is coronation that is happening the first Saturday May also Kentucky Derby Day and big day for hats on that day. And But Megan Markel has not been invited and that is drowning out the social media and the red spears that I'm a part of and speaking of mental models, if you want to learn anything about what Prince Harry is going through Though I would say look up the second son mental model, and I probably can can come up with a good theory on on, I guess the second son and the identity crisis and you know, throughout history, titles and responsibilities are given to the first board but the second son, I mean, if you watch Game of Thrones, you know how sort of wacky all the Second Sons are in that show.

Grace Sharkey: 50:20

If I could say one thing about this, I'm going to quote Kourtney Kardashian on this and say, Kim, people are dying. So how do you feel? That's how I truly feel about all of it is like, hey, Maggie, and people are dying. In places, maybe like, I don't know, right outside of Buckingham Palace. So

Blythe Brumleve: 50:45

right, right in LA and her neck of the woods

Grace Sharkey: 50:48

to talk about helping the homeless, I'm telling you, I

Blythe Brumleve: 50:55

she is without a home too, because she got kicked out of Frogmore cottage in the UK,

Grace Sharkey: 50:59

I will say know how she feels because I used to have the biggest crush on principle and when I was little, and then we went to the Tower of London when I was 15 for my 16th birthday. And my mom calls me over, we're in this museum. She's like, come over here and like what was it just like, look at the sign. And it basically says, I think it's prince or king Henry the Eighth took over. If you're baptized Roman Catholic, you can't marry a royal and I said no. So I get it. I my 15 year old self understands Meghan Markel, the pain and suffering that you are going through and you know, like, you're just gonna have to keep those hats in those boxes, or go joined life probably at the Kentucky Derby. If you have no party, she's not

Blythe Brumleve: 51:50

invited. She's not invited to the coronation or our Derby party.

Grace Sharkey: 51:55

Dave Portnoy will be there and life probably will be there and no one else is invited. She reminds me of a friend that was like probably just like all the boys would be around with the most boring and you're like, Oh, God, I just to be so attractive but so awful at the same.

Blythe Brumleve: 52:14

Yeah, she is. She really is like a modern day like, Wicked Witch of the West. You said it? Yeah. I said it. Then like,

Grace Sharkey: 52:25

telling her earlier like this, we live in this world of like, not in many in our teeth. Like Kim has she probably gone through racist issues with the royal family yet? Yes. 100% I guarantee she has and that's awful.

Blythe Brumleve: 52:41

But, but she's monetizing the hell out of me right now.

Grace Sharkey: 52:44

Who's raking in the Netflix dollars? She's. Yeah, and also jell O will be Oh, Beyonce. Beyonce texted me. Oh, wow. Oh my God, what did she say shout out Prince Harry.

Blythe Brumleve: 52:58

Who is also an idiot. I, I really thought that the two of like William and Harry were like the best of friends. And it was just such a good story, you know, post the death of their mother. And then now just to see how much of a psychopath that Harry is that he keeps like, I think his mother's old face lotion in order to repair ah, issues on private parts of his body. I'm not gonna go into it, but he just sort of eviscerated his entire family for money. And that to me is like completely unforgivable. And I'm, I'm pretty surprised that he ended up getting the invite to the coronation. But I kind of understand it from like a father son perspective, you want your son there, but it's just the two of them are just so completely awful. I think you know, Southpark really hit the nail on the head with the worldwide privacy tour episodes. Watch that go check it out.

Grace Sharkey: 53:51

It's so good. And I'm honestly at the end of the day, the saddest thing about all of this is like none of our the likelihood let's see how it even lasts within England, but divorce

Blythe Brumleve: 54:03

watches already on according to the st Megan Markel subreddit, right? The likelihood

Grace Sharkey: 54:07

of us ever having to say like her majesty, again is so low and that's kind of sad. No for women's rights. Women's Well, I

Blythe Brumleve: 54:15

will say it was also sad too, is you know, she was given this as she kind of marketed herself as like this, you know, Diana 2.0. And she is just far from it. If she's not going to a charity organization or a charity benefit without getting paid for that's just who she is. Or maybe who she always has been. And I think that for someone like her who came in with so much, I guess, you know, sort of hope from like the fan perspective of being able to see an American princess and, you know, being able to have this extraordinary opportunity at it historical life, to just piss it all away for a contract from Netflix and you know, a book deal where you were, the way you're getting your money is by throwing your entire family under the bus, I just I think that's reprehensible. And I think that there's other things that she's done that's completely reprehensible that are coming to light now such as, you know, her showing up with Netflix camera crews right after the school shooting and Uvalde and wanting to go inside the school is completely reprehensible to me and unforgivable in that regard. And it kind of just that was my my first hint that she was more about what can I do for attention and not for what can I do for the benefit of others? And that's kind of what the the modern royal family is, all they essentially do is they don't really have that much power as far as like decision making and things like that are concerned. They're kissing babies and cutting ribbons and trying to bring as many tourists to the UK as possible. That's their primary role is how can we show off the country and bring tourists to our country in order to spend money and be the the representatives of the country and I think that she just just has squandered it all away. And she probably won't have anything to show for it in a few years except for a title from a family that she thinks is inherently racist.

Grace Sharkey: 56:09

Well, and she wasn't suits to the show that everybody watched Yeah, no one watched that channel for students. We all watched it for the detective show. Like guy who could like see things from like miles away. I can't remember the title

Blythe Brumleve: 56:23

was so great.

Grace Sharkey: 56:25

Because it's the worst channel of all time. What does it it's like any right or something?

Blythe Brumleve: 56:29

And you're USA Today? Yes, USA.

Grace Sharkey: 56:32

We only watch USA on Sundays when SVU is replaying all day long. No one's watching suits. Kim people are dying.

Blythe Brumleve: 56:42

begging people are dying. Look it up so good. All right, second son syndrome. I think it's really fascinating to watch and I think it ties in nicely with those mental models that that you graciously broke down for us loving from from grace. Hey. Alright, Grace, where can folks follow more of your work? We'll link to it in the show notes of course, but for folks who are who are just listening what where can they find more of your work?

Grace Sharkey: 57:07

Yeah, you can go to LinkedIn type in gray Sharkey. I'll pop up right there. I really hate saying this. But honestly just go to Google and type in gray, Sharky, freightwaves. I will pop up right there at the top. That's SEO that's not my ego or anything. I got that to go in. And you'll see you'll see my link tree links on LinkedIn as well. I'll show it to apply for that one. That'll get you to everything I'm doing to our Sirius XM channel 146 Checking out there every Monday through Friday, from five to seven 2pm I am you think about that. And finally I'm stoked on y'all.

Blythe Brumleve: 57:44

Great, awesome conversation per the usual thank you again for coming on the show. I hope you enjoyed this episode of everything is logistics, a podcast for the thinkers in freight, telling the stories behind how your favorite stuff and people get from point A to B. If you liked this episode, do me a favor and sign up for our newsletter. I know what you're probably thinking, oh God, another newsletter. But it's the easiest way to stay updated when new episodes are released. Plus, we dropped a lot of gems in that email to help the one person marketing team and folks like yourself who are probably wearing a lot of hats at work in order to help you navigate this digital world a little bit easier. You could find that email signup link along with our socials in past episodes. Over at everything is And until next time, I'm Blythe and go Jags

About the Author

Blythe Brumleve
Blythe Brumleve
Creative entrepreneur in freight. Founder of Digital Dispatch and host of Everything is Logistics. Co-Founder at Jax Podcasters Unite. Board member of Transportation Marketing and Sales Association. Freightwaves on-air personality. Annoying Jaguars fan. test

To read more about Blythe, check out her full bio here.