The FreightCaviar Podcast: From Recession Struggles to Freight Tech Success

Join us as Ryan Schreiber, Chief Growth Officer at Metafora, shares his journey from law school to opening his own company, and shares insights on AI in logistics.

The FreightCaviar Podcast: From Recession Struggles to Freight Tech Success

In this week’s episode, we sat down with Ryan Schreiber, Chief Growth Officer at Metafora, a technology consulting firm specializing in transportation. Ryan takes us through his journey of building a truckload freight brokerage from the ground up and shares valuable insights on being a good manager. He also shares his thoughts on the importance of listening to others and investing in your company’s future, while revealing the truth about developing AI-powered products.

Early Struggles and Law School Graduation

From starting his logistics journey at Echo Global Logistics to opening his own company at the age of 28, Ryan Schreiber has done it all. Initially, he didn’t plan on working in the industry, graduating from law school during the Great Recession. “I graduated in the top 15% of my class and I couldn't even get people to talk to me. I'd walk around, résumé and cover letter in hand, and walk into any law office I could find. Nobody would even talk to me. I couldn't get jobs waiting tables, bartending or working retail.” 

Breakthrough in the Logistics Industry 

One day, a friend from law school mentioned a cousin who worked at Echo Global Logistics. Ryan decided to try his luck in the industry, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Entrepreneurial Journey

Soon after, he began his entrepreneurial journey, opening Optimal Freight, and later Spartan Logistics Services, partnering up with the owner of a diversity consulting firm. It was during this time that Ryan learned the ropes of managing a business. “You're going to make bad decisions, but don't let that stop you from doing certain things. Sometimes people are like, ‘What if somebody asks you a question you don't know the answer to? What do you do?’ I'm like, ‘If I don't know the answer, somebody else is better at answering that question than me.’ I'm willing to admit I don't know something, but I'm also willing to be wrong.”

The Importance of Listening and Adapting

He emphasized the importance of listening to people around you and the advice you receive from them. “I would always hear what they were saying, but I wouldn't listen. I would say to anybody, if there's a reason something's not working for you or there's a reason that you're struggling to connect and manage people, just listen better and try and understand why things are the way that they are. And then be willing to make a mistake.”

Investing in the Future

Ryan also talked about the importance of investing in the future of your company and things that will make you successful. Whatever you do, you should be thinking of the future. “If you're going to hire people, train them. If you're going to have staff at all, continue to train them after new hire  training. If you're going to take a technology initiative on, be willing to make changes to your business that are going to make it successful.”

Building AI Products: Focus on Data

For those building a product based on AI, Ryan has one word: data. “If you're going to try and build this yourself, or any of the things you're trying to do with AI, you need a ton of data. Focus on capturing all of the information and the data you need. It might be as simple as just how many times the phone rang. It’s stuff like that you don't realize can be impactful in making a lot of these decisions.”

The Evolution of AI in the Industry

We also spoke about AI and the many ways it has revolutionized the industry throughout the years. “Voice is something that's even just now getting possible. But back then Google put out this AI assistant that called and scheduled a hair appointment. It was also around the time when Adobe had first demoed the application that allowed you to edit voice text. So now all those things are kind of out. But at the time it was very text based.”

Ryan Schreiber's journey from law graduate to successful entrepreneur in the logistics industry only highlights the power of resilience, adaptability, and continuous learning.

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