Inside LaunchStreet business podcast innovation podcast Matt ScanlanInside LaunchStreet business podcast innovation podcast Matt Scanlan


Disrupt Business with a Relative, Fluid Opinion

Have you ever wondered why some businesses are so complex? And if they even need to be? I mean, is that complexity even necessary? Me too. And so did Matt Scanlan, CEO, and co-founder of Naadam. They make cashmere sweaters and apparel. He took an amazing journey to Mongolia’s Gobi Desert and purchasing 40 tons of cashmere with $3 million cash packed in plastic bags. His company pulls out the complexity or as he’d say the unnecessary fat. He didn’t create a disruptive product, he created a disrupted business. As you listen to this one I want you to think about where in your business or industry you can do what Matt did in cashmere. It’s incredible.


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Key Takeaways:

[1:56] You might be surprised to know that Matt is a through-and-through natural homebody. He doesn’t like traveling.

[3:25] Listen in to find out how Matt and his co-founder, Diederik Rijsemus, withdrew $3 million in plastic bags to buy 40 tons of cashmere.

[6:46] What inspired Matt to go on this amazing journey to buy cashmere?

Why did they end up staying in the Gobi Desert for a month with the sheepherders?

[12:34] Matt and Diederik felt like the herders were being taken advantage of. They were not making the profit they deserved. Matt and Diederik disrupted the market by buying all of the product. They were then able to control their pricing on material and in turn, increase the price others were paying for the cashmere.

[13:41] Matt started cutting out the middleman and went straight to the sheepherders. He offered them a fairer price for the cashmere that resulted in an unparalleled degree of transparency. This allows him to continue to improve the quality of the product.

[15:36] Matt explains how transparency leads to a better product. He monitors the product through the entire process.

[20:03] Naadam is a Mongolian festival that celebrates the people. We are here as a company to celebrate people and places.

[20:31] You might be shocked to learn that the biggest resistance Matt has faced in disrupting the industry is convincing people that he is driven by a real passion and sense for what makes him happy.

[22:18] What did you do to get customers to get over the hurdle? Matt says they are still trying to get over it. We are always testing ways to communicate with the customers. Building that trust takes time.

[23:56] Real trust is never earned overnight. If I ever lack consistency in my message, people start to lose faith in the message.

[24:41] Matt talks about why you don’t need to take everyone with you on the journey. He shares who it is you must take with you.

[26:47] The early adopters are susceptible believers. Matt knows that you have to align the price first. The younger generations are more adaptable to this type of thinking.

[29:16] Tamara reminds listeners that it takes profit to make a change. She reminds listeners that money does matter.

[30:10] How did you figure out your milestones and benchmarks? What predictors did you follow?

[33:24] It’s important in today’s economy to have a purpose and cause. Technology has allowed people to access large amounts of information. It shows them what the right way should look like. A purpose and cause is a predictor of value.

[35:20] Matt took the IQE assessment and his innovator archetype is instinctual fluid. Instinctual thinkers see and create patterns. The fluid thinkers create innovation in ambiguity and fog. They are good at creating all-new paths. He feels like his success is less about connecting the big points but more about connecting the things that really matter. He really values and relies on his team. Tamara reminds listeners of the importance of listening to others’ opinions.

[42:05] Matt believes that having an opinion is really relative. It’s a really fluid thing. His humbleness comes, in part, from being in special classes in school.

[44:30] Connect with Matt at

[45:05] Matt’s final piece of advice to Launchstreeter’s is to allow other people’s perspectives to develop your own. Be humble enough to listen rather than talk all day.

[45:47] Tamara challenges listeners to think about how the industry you work in is built. How would you take the complexity out of it?



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Mentioned In This Episode:

Naadams Homepage