Ep 343 – Here’s What Cannabis Consumers Are Purchasing in 2021…

cy scott headset

The products being purchased in cannabis retail stores are changing, and this leaves cannabis companies with two options: adapt and look ahead…or get left behind. Here to help us stay on the right side of that equation is Cy Scott of Headset.

Learn more at https://www.headset.io 

Key Takeaways:

[00:55] An inside look at Headset, the leading cannabis data analytics company

[1:34] Cy’s background as a co-founder of Leafly and how that led him to start Headset

[3:43] The fast-evolving cannabis beverage market

[11:16] Cross-category attachment rates for cannabis drinks and the product categories that sell most frequently with beverages

[14:59] Why the California vapor pen market is becoming more and more popular among younger generations

[20:24] How new celebrity-led cannabis brands could influence the industry

[25:44] Cy’s advice to new brands trying to get shelf space in an increasingly competitive market

[30:26] How Headset helps businesses leverage real-time cannabis market data to grow and stay ahead of the curve

Click Here to Read Full Transcript

Matthew Kind: Hi, I'm Matthew Kind Every Monday, Look for a fresh new episode where I'll take you behind the scenes and interview the insiders that are shaping the rapidly evolving cannabis industry. Learn more at cannainsider.com. That's C-A-N-N-A insider dot com.

Now, here's your program. The products that are being purchased in cannabis retail stores are changing. The most successful cannabis companies will adapt and look ahead or be left behind. To help ensure we stand the right side of this equation. I've invited on Cy Scott co-founder of Headset to give us a briefing on what is selling in cannabis dispensaries right now. Cy, welcome back to CannaInsider.

Cy Scott: It's great to be back.

Matthew: Give us a sense of geography. Where are you sitting today?

Cy: I am in Sunny Seattle today. Actually, we've had three days of sunshine, which is pretty rare for this part of the world.

Matthew: Oh, that's great. For new listeners, can you tell us what Headset is on a high level?

Cy: Sure. We're a data and analytics company focused on the cannabis industry, primarily retail-derived data. We work with retailers and dispensaries all over the US and Canada to score and sort data. We normalize it and provide it in an aggregate format to deliver market intelligence to customers so that they can make informed decisions around the cannabis category, whether that's really understanding the opportunity in the space, finding what the competitive landscape looks like, or their brand position. If they're in the market with a brand, they can really measure how they're performing and make sure they maintain that spot that they have.

Matthew: You have a really interesting background as originally a co-founder of Leafly and now co-founder of Headset. How have you seen the industry change since you co-founded Leafly?

Cy: Well, it's certainly night and day. Just to give you a sense of time, we're here in 2021. We started Leafly back in 2010, down in California. It was medical at the time and really saw this proliferation of dispensaries popping up and different strains being available and not a lot of good information out there for consumers to really understand the differences between the variety of strains.

We created that platform to help demystify cannabis for more of a mainstream audience. That was 10 years ago, 11 years ago soon. It was certainly very different. Just the fact that it was a medical-only market and there were no adult-use markets is probably the most notable change at the time. Now, we've got a large number of adult use as well as more medical markets. You've got more sophisticated operators, you've got more investment capital that's coming to the category than ever before. You've got smarter and smarter people coming in. It certainly is just very, very different than when we started.

Matthew: Now, there was probably still a stigma back then a little bit. Was there stigma in 2010?

Cy: Yes, certainly. When we would talk about Leafly, myself, and my co-founders, we would say, "We're in the cannabis industry, but we're not doing any plant-touching work." A lot of that was because of the stigma. We'd really emphasize we're a technology company that just so happened to be targeting this category of products, but not, again producing any--

Matthew: Qualify it.

Cy: Always qualifying, exactly.

Matthew: I'm on the squeaky clean end of the spectrum.

Cy: That's right and a lot of the feedback was that's interesting. Now, I can see why that might be something you're thinking about. Then you fast forward to today when I mention the cannabis industry, there's no qualification needed, and people want to know how to get involved.

Matthew: It is a huge change. Cannabis beverages have been talked about for a long time, but now, it seems like they might be having their breakout moment. Where are we? What's changed there?

Cy: Cannabis beverages are a relatively small category when you look at your total dollar sales in the cannabis industry, but it is growing. I think its start is that it's a very complicated product to produce. When you think about the cannabis categories, you've got things like flower and pre-rolls that people are very familiar with. You just tried flower, you purchase it in a certain weight for a certain strain. It doesn't take a lot of production. It is a packaged good, but it's not a package good in the sense of something like a beverage. I think it's harder for brands to come to market with a beverage.

Edibles, people are pretty familiar with edibles. Then beverages are similar to edibles in the sense that that's a familiar format. There weren't very many beverage companies really playing in the category in the different markets. I think that's partly why the sales are relatively a small percentage of the total dollar spent. Now, it is changing. You're getting a lot of interesting things happening, whether that's perhaps Blue Ribbon branding a cannabis-infused seltzer in markets like California. You've got Lagunitas branded Hi-Fi Hops. Just to name a couple commonly associated with the beer industry coming into the cannabis category.

You also have other cannabis first brands that are really taking a unique look at the category. I think it is bringing some people in to cannabis that might have not come in because the things like flower, pre-rolls might not resonate with a new consumer. When they see a beverage that looks like something like a seltzer, like a White Claw or a Truly that they're used to seeing and purchasing at the grocery store, that's a more gentle entry into the cannabis space than maybe something like a pre-roll or a vapor pen, or even an edible.

With some of the stigma, everyone has this story of eating a brownie that's too potent. Having beverages is a nice way to bring people into the category. I think the people that are already in the category, already purchasing cannabis, I think having more options in different types of beverages is really driving some of the growth that we're seeing.

Matthew: You talked about a tonic there or a seltzer. I'm thinking of Cann, the brand Cann, C-A-N-N and we've had the founder, Luke Anderson on the show. Really popular cannabis beverage in California. I think there's two milligrams per can. Gwyneth Paltrow just made an investment in them and now the multi-state operator or MSO GTI, Green Thumb Industries has made an investment in Cann. What do you think about a big MSO making an investment in a brand like this?

Cy: I think it's very interesting and pretty clever. GTI in particular didn't have a beverage in their brand portfolios. They work closely with other types of product manufacturers, whether it's edibles or vapor pen companies. This was their first play into beverages. Cann was an excellent choice I think for them. The two milligram per drink approach, Cann has really positioned as something like a lifestyle consumption where you can maybe have one, two, or three even, and really socially enjoy this versus maybe 100-milligram beverage, which can be quite intense for a lot of people.

100 milligrams beverages sometimes in the past, even came with things like a medicine topper where it's like a medicine cap. You could pour out just the right amount of dosage. That's not really a social experience if you think about it compared to something like Cann. I think it's very clever for GTI to make that arrangement. Now, another challenge in the cannabis industry is the state-by-state fragmentation and GTI, as a multi-state operator, has a footprint in a large number of states with production capabilities, retail capabilities, and so on.

Cann is able to leverage that network and really get in front of a lot of consumers in a relatively straightforward way. If they were to do it on their own, they'd have to find different license holders in those markets that have the production capability and the consistency. You see companies do that with different operators in different markets and they're licensed to different players. The nice thing for Cann is that GTI is one operator and has one footprint. You can get that consistency and you can also get that exposure.

I think a lot about the companies that are going to be around for the decades to come. The brands that everybody is familiar with and Cann could very well be that brand because of the access that all of a sudden you can have [inaudible [00:08:42].

Matthew: I lost you, Cy. You still there?

Cy: Oh, no, I'm here.

Matthew: Keep going, sorry about that I'll edit it out.

Cy: If you think about asking a consumer at any different markets about what brand do you think about when you think about alcohol or seltzer? You'll probably hear White Claw, you'll probably hear Truly, and that's because it's available everywhere. Now, if White Claw wasn't available, if it was only available in one state and you have someone outside of that state, they wouldn't know that brand. I think Cann has a real opportunity to become synonymous with the cannabis beverage category, through a partnership like GTI and GTI gets access to a brand that is really doing very well in its own state of California and is well-positioned for a broad consumer audience.

Matthew: I think about Cann specifically in that they're priced pretty high, like a luxury good, but they have a low THC concentration. I'm like, "Is this accessible to everybody, or is it more like an iPhone where the iPhone represents a tiny sliver compared to Google Android, and the whole world, but they make almost all the profit." They're a minority of the market share, but they make almost over 80% of the profit compared to Google what they make on handsets. Do you think that's what's happening here? They have maybe not the biggest market share, but they have the biggest profit margin. What do you think about that?

Cy: Yes, I think Cann is quite an expensive product on a per milligram of THC basis. A lot of that has to do with when you look at equivalized pricing which is just a per-milligram price point for cannabis, Cann because they're two milligrams per can, you have to have the can. There's the cost of all the liquid and the ingredients that go into it where you get a similar beverage that might come in 100 milligram, but it's one can or one bottle. Price is just inevitably cheaper.

Now, with someone like GTI, they can probably get economies of scale and drive that price down. I don't know how competitive some of those GTI markets that they're in are. California is a very competitive market, a lot of retailers, a lot of brands, but some of the markets that GTI is in are relatively limited license and not competitive. An Apple model where they are premium priced might make a lot of sense.

Matthew: Now, let's talk about, I'm on a drink fixation here, Cy, you'll have to bear with me. Now, when someone does buy a cannabis drink at a retailer, what other things are in their basket?

Cy: Yes, it's a great question. I mentioned cannabis beverage sales are about 1% of total sales. Now, when you look at, actually, total percentage of customers, about 6% going on 7% of customers have purchased a cannabis beverage. That's close to 1 out of 10 people have purchased a beverage. Now, they might not be purchasing it very frequently. They might be purchasing other products with more frequency, so it's a great question when you think about the basket, what does the basket look like? It's a great way to think about you're at the grocery store and you're purchasing your milk and your eggs, and maybe you throw in a Coke at the checkout or a pack of gum, what have you.

We find that beverages is very similar to that, so when we look at what's called cross-category attachment rates. That's a fancy way of saying what else do people purchase when they purchased those beverages? When they purchase beverages in that basket, one out of five baskets are beverage only. That means about 20% are only purchasing a beverage. Now, when you look at other categories, the product category that sells the most frequently with beverages is edibles.

Out of every basket that has a beverage, about a third of those baskets have an edible product, which makes sense. They're very similar formats, a very much a consumer package good format, a drink and a candy, it could be a chocolate, it could be a gummy type edible product. After that, you get flower in about 25%, 26% of baskets that have a beverage include flower. It's not surprising, flower does 40%, 50% of all cannabis sales and so it's the most popular format.

I can imagine a scenario where someone is driven into the category for flower and as they're at the checkout, the beverage could be a throw-in. They might want to try something because they see a Lagunita, so they see a [unintelligible [00:13:29] or a Cann beverage on the shelf and they say, "Why don't I try that?" That's the common frequency. Every category is in these baskets in some capacity, but really most often, beverages are sold with edibles, flower, and pre-rolls usually when people purchase those beverages.

Matthew: It's a good impulse purchase. You have it right there, maybe buy cans and refrigerators as you're checking out or even not in a refrigerator. I guess you probably have them in the fridge, but what else is an impulse buy? Do you think of anything else like a Dogwalker? You can't really have those out. I'm trying to think what else are impulse purchases.

Cy: I think the Dogwalker is a good example like a low-price pre-roll. Single pack pre-rolls are often the most frequently purchased by a younger consumer and that's really because of price pressure, so when I think about throw-ins, usually it's not a big decision. It's a few dollars here or there, so I could see something like that being a throw-in to your purchase, where beverages are less of a throw-in, they're a bit more expensive, but it's something that people might want to try, especially with these new brands like Cann coming to market.

You can see that being may be less of a financial reason to try, "It's cheap and I don't have to think about it," but more of a, "Hey, this is an emerging category within cannabis, let's see how this is and what that's like, so I'll throw in a beverage."

Matthew: Now, let's turn to another super popular category, vapor pens, and specifically in California, it seems like it's a huge business, but it's not equally represented by all generations or age cohorts. Can you just talk about that a little bit?

Cy: Yes, the category of cannabis that is vapor pens in California actually do really well. I think they're the number two selling category. First, you have flower and then you have vapor pen. It's pretty interesting. In other markets, I think generally the number two category is pre-roll. Vapor pens aren't that far behind, but they seem very popular in California and I think that's driven by a couple of factors. One, it's a newer market, a newer adult-use market than maybe some of the more mature adult-use markets like Colorado and Washington.

When California legalized, you had a situation where brands, the vapor pen companies had a good head start looking at Washington and Colorado and they came to market right away, wherein a market like Washington State, where I'm at here in Seattle, the vapor pen category is pretty small when the stores started opening up. It took a while for them to start appearing. It's still a growing category. With California, it was day one great representation of vapor pens. That's one, I think reason. Another is generation. I think you mentioned not all vapor pens consumers are the same.

I think vapor pens really seem to resonate with a younger audience, particularly millennials and younger, so millennials and Generation Z, although millennials aren't as young as they used to be. I think the oldest millennials are turning 40 this year, which is crazy to think about, but they do seem to resonate with that category a bit more than some of the older generations, like Generation X and baby boomers, and so on. I think the Generation Z, in particular, seems to really resonate.

Now, the problem with that is that vapor pen cartridges may be a bit more expensive than other categories. For Generation Z that are so, as I say, wallet-conscious, just have so much they can spend on cannabis, vapor pen may be a luxury item for them now. That's changing in California. Actually, relatively recently just last week, the parent company which you may be familiar that was a recent publicly listed company. One of these cannabis SPACs that came to market with Jay-Z's involvement introduced a new $25, a single gram cartridge, which is extremely inexpensive when you think about single gram cartridges for vapor pens.

Normally, single-gram cartridges go between $45 and $60. To come to market with a $25 product, I think is going to be really interesting. You may see even more growth in that younger category in a market like California, where products like that are being introduced. Expect to see these numbers change and it'd be great to look back if we do a conversation like this a year from now, what the landscape looks like at that point.

Matthew: Now, how about 4/20 this year? What are you expecting? Anything different from previous years?

Cy: Yes, I think 4/20, being the biggest sales day of the year for the cannabis category will be, again, pretty unique this year. I think we'll see a lot of the same patterns that we saw last year, particularly around it being spread out over a number of days. I think at this time last year, we were worried that the stores, whether adult-use cannabis retailers or medical dispensaries were even going to be allowed to operate. They were deemed essential businesses in all markets, which is fantastic. Certain markets like Nevada really had a slowdown because of tourism impact and all that, but just the fact they were able to stay open was huge, especially the pandemic was really just ramping at this time.

This is the biggest sales day for a lot of these retailers. What we ended up seeing last year is I think what we're going to see a lot of this year, which is spreading out the 4/20 sales day across an entire week. A lot of that has to do with social distancing and making sure that you don't over-exceed capacity at these retailers. No one wants to be in a big crowd these days especially in maybe a small retailer store or waiting in line. They have been spreading these deals out quite a bit. I think we're going to see the same thing. When you look at the total sales data, every year it continues to grow.

Last year I think was a little lighter than the year prior, but some of that was due to some of the pandemic purchasing patterns that happened in the beginning when we weren't sure if the stores were going to be open, a lot of people rush to the cannabis retailers and purchased a significant amount of products to make sure that they had enough supplies, should everything gets shut down, so people probably had a lot rolling into the April 20th holiday.

This year may be a bit different. I think if they spread it out over a number of days like they did last year, I think you're going to see just increased sales. Market over market, every market that has the legal cannabis framework, we saw growth in 2020, and I expect no different in 2021, even while we're still in the midst of this unfortunate pandemic.

Matthew: You mentioned Jay-Z and I know actor Seth Rogen has created a brand called Houseplant. How much do you think these celebrity-led brands actually boost sales? Is that a thing?

Cy: Maybe not so much. It maybe varies on the brand. When we look at the data for brands like Marley Natural or Willie's Reserve, they do fine, but it's not like they're outperforming a lot of the other brands. Often, they're not the number one best-selling brand in the markets that they're in. In that capacity, maybe not the biggest driver of sales. I think a good marketing exercise and a good way to differentiate, it is getting very crowded out there. There are a lot of brands being introduced every day. Having a celebrity behind your brand could be a way to cut through that noise a bit more, especially if the celebrity is really tied to the brand and passionate about the brand.

With Jay-Z and The Parent Company, Jay-Z is associated more or less with their monogram product line and the Fun Uncle brand, which was part of Caliva. It's a retail group in California that became part of The Parent Company in this merger of different brands, really runs Fun Uncle. I don't know how much impact Jay-Z has on that. Maybe had a lot, maybe didn't, but very different than the monogram positioning. In that sense, not totally sure, the jury's out. Now, I would say there are exceptions. Houseplant and Seth Rogen made a big splash a couple of weeks back. Houseplant's been available in Canada through Canopy Growth for some time.

Canada, for those that aren't in Canada, has very restrictive packaging restrictions or requirements I should say around the size of the logo, and how you can position it, and the amount of THC that can be in the different edibles, and so on. It did okay up there. Canopy Growth was really responsible for the flower quality and all that. Different people have different opinions on the brand now. Houseplant's coming to California. It's going to be a bit different.

That's for a couple of reasons. One, Seth Rogen and his group seem very involved in the rollout in California, even talking about going with a direct consumer model where in California there is delivery and you can order online and get it delivered, which is really great. Direct to consumer, when we think about just retail in general is becoming a bigger and bigger channel. People are purchasing brands that are sold direct to consumer. Houseplant being direct to consumer with a good delivery network is nice advantages there. Seth Rogen is particularly passionate about cannabis.

If you look at any of his Twitter posts around his Houseplant introduction, he says, "It's the greatest thing he's done in his life." He's a well-accomplished actor and producer and writer, and to come out and say that this is the thing he's most proud of is pretty incredible. I think some of the time, that passion comes through, hopefully, that comes through into the product and comes through into their success. I think that's a big reason why they'll be successful. Also, they're doing something interesting and they're introducing a house line of products, a house goods line of products. Things like lighters, things like ashtrays that they can sell anywhere. They're all very high-design, mid-century modern design.

Matthew: It's like restoration hardware meets cannabis accessories

Cy: Exactly, exactly. They even did some vinyl LP records that were for sale. When you think about brand building and you think about trying to create a mass-market brand in cannabis, it's hard because of the fragmentation and the availability. Houseplant is available in Canada and it's available in California, and that's it. A consumer in Colorado, a consumer in New York soon won't have access to Houseplant flower, but what they can do is buy all the Houseplant accessories. When the Houseplant team does go to New York and start selling their products, they have a customer base that already exists, that has just been waiting patiently for these products.

I think you're going to see a lot of success from that strategy. They're not the first one to do it. The Marley Natural did it long, long ago in California with different types of accessories that were very high-end, which was their play at the time. Marley Natural brand is positioned as a high-end brand. I don't know, the Bob Marley audience, if they're more of the high-end audience, I'm sure there are people that have more high-end tastes with these things. They're very expensive products. I think it did okay. Now, that's all part of The Parent Company, the Jay-Z Group that we're talking about.

Houseplant, I think the time is right. They're very motivated. They're very passionate about the category. They care about the strains. They care about the flower quality that they're bringing to market. This house good line, I think that's a great example of a celebrity brand that is going to do very well.

Matthew: You mentioned earlier about the market, there's a lot of competition. How hard is it for brands to get shelf space at a cannabis retailer? Do you hear complaints from a lot of brands, or do you hear interesting tactics or strategies?

Cy: Yes, it is harder and harder. It's shelf space and it's share of sales and what's called skew rationalization. Really, that's the next phase of the battle here for these brands, these product manufacturers. It used to be, just a handful of years ago, you'd produce a new product, and you could get it on the shelf. You could get it carried by the retailer, and you'd have some success. It's very different now. The industry is maturing. It's getting more competitive out there and more challenging for brands to come in and get that shelf space. I think it's harder to create a new brand and come to market than it's ever been. It's still a great time.

I always joke, there's never been a better time to come into the cannabis industry. I still believe that. I think it's still wide open. We're talking about beverages and 1% to 2% of the category's sales that gets still wide open. When you look at a beverage like Cann, it over-indexes to female consumers and to millennial females. It's very much like a Gwyneth Paltrow brand. I think White Claw was very similar when it first started, very female attractive product. It's seltzer, it's not a beer. White Claw was very clever in some of their marketing. If you remember any of that, the no Laws When Drinking Claws ridiculous campaign, but it worked.

It shifted this perception of this drink is more of a feminine product to attract a female audience and this can be consumed by guys just as easily. A brand like Cann has an opportunity there. Certainly, males are purchasing Cann, but it definitely over-index female. When we talk about a new brand coming to market, I think there's room there for that to be more of a White Claw, more of a brand that is attractive to both and is a low dose, two milligram. You can have two or three of them at a party and so on. The book is still being written and I think there's still opportunity, but it is harder.

For brands that are in market now, what they're doing and what's really important for them to do is to go to new retailers. If they're trying to get more distribution or take their success from their current retail distribution and move into other retailers, really bring the data with them and say, "When I am at this store, this is how our brand performs." Working with your store, having a relationship with the stores that you're in to really understand that, and that's critical. They're already working with the stores with things like in-store promotion, where they'll go in and they'll set up and they'll educate consumers as they come through because marketing in cannabis is hard. These channels are limited.

Advertising is limited. So often, you have to meet the consumers where they are. Many of them have relationships with retailers, really understanding how your product is performing at those retailers and taking that data with you. Coming from a data and analytics business and working with a lot of retailers and a lot of brands, we see this happening now. It's powerful. If you walk into a retailer and you said, "When I'm at this store, their sales increased by X," and it was expansion revenue, not cannibalization of these other skews that you might carry. Then it makes it easy for the retailer to say, "Well, I will take a bet on this brand and I'll bring you in."

Then you measure that. You show them how it is performing and then you get more and more shelf space, and you create further relationships. That's something they can advantage, the brands that are in market might have versus brands that are just coming to market. That's a bit harder when you're just getting started. Even when you're just getting started, find those stores that are willing to carry your products and really start with how you position your new product and market and how it's different and how it's either priced differently or positioned differently, marketed differently. That may open some doors because there's still a lot of white space, plenty of white space.

Then once you open those doors, look at the data, look at the numbers, and look at how you're performing at retailers versus the overall category that you're in versus competitive brands. Then take that data to other stores and go get that shelf space.

Matthew: Yes, this is so fun because most of the things I talk about are subjective, but this is actually objective. We have data we can look at. We could say, "This is what's actually happening, boots on the ground in certain markets." This is probably a good time to talk about the benefits of using Headset because there might be some business owners out there or some investors that are saying, "Hey, if we're moving forward with this brand, we need to know where the puck is headed, what's going on? What the market share is, and what the competition's doing, and all those things." Why don't you just mention the primary benefits for brands, investors, whoever might use Headset to using it?

Cy: Yes, absolutely. We have a couple of different services split into our retail and dispensary services, and then our market intelligence services. For the retailers and dispensaries, in particular, we provide a lot of tools, primarily business intelligence and analytics around their own data. As well as market data in the context of benchmarking we do layer that in, but really to help with optimizing those stores to understanding the thing we were just talking about, like your skew assortment. Are you carrying the right products? When you carry 20% of your brands or driving 80% of your store sales? What brands should you divest from? What brand should you continue to invest in?

Tools around, marketing, so you can measure your marketing ROI. When you are spending marketing dollars out there, is it driving new customers? What are those customers look like? What's their lifetime value for those customers. Helping you with customer retention, being able to text consumers that might be your most loyal consumers that are going to churn out and move on. That's all tools that Headset provides based on the analytics that we have that can really help businesses like retailers and dispensaries, in particular, optimize and just be more successful by leveraging their data.

We try and make it really easy. Really going beyond just kind of your top line sales and digging in and understanding how can you really make your brand perform. Our mission is to have cannabis be an ultimately successful category by empowering the operators to make more informed decisions and ultimately be more successful. This industry won't be successful if the retailers and dispensers aren't successful, or the brands aren't successful. We're very motivated to bring the tools to enable that success.

Cannabis operators and retailers and dispensaries are a spectrum, you have the mom-and-pop small businesses, and you have these MSOs like, GTI, and we work with all of them. That's a great thing. If you're a smaller store, our tools work just as well and are leveraged by some of these big multi-state operators. It really helps level the playing field a bit, as you're looking at the cannabis industry and what's ahead, and all this potential consolidation that may be coming as some of these bigger operators grow.

If you're a bigger operator trying to do a lot of this with your own teams, building out analytics teams is very costly. Our tools really streamline a lot of that, so you can spend your money on marketing, and driving more customers, opening more stores, less on having to analyze all your data because it is pretty time-consuming. That's on the retail side, the dispensary side. Then our market intelligence side, this is where we see the percentage of female consumers that are purchasing Cann. We provide a service called Headset Insights.

our customer base is really made up of cannabis operators, so the brands, product manufacturers, distributors that want to understand the competitive landscape, that want to find that opportunity if they're going to introduce a new beverage, how to position it by looking at the data. It's a very powerful tool for them there. We also have a lot of non-endemic clients as well. Clients that aren't license holders in the cannabis space, so financial services companies like hedge funds and banks that are making investments into the cannabis industry and really need to know what they're investing into. They leverage our market data for that.

Other types of companies like consumer-packaged goods, companies, beverage alcohol, or tobacco companies buy our data as well. It's a broad spectrum of types of companies that can get some great insights from our market intelligence data. That's how we look at it. A lot of the market intelligence data is freely available on our website. I encourage people to visit us at Headset.io. You can sign up for what we call Insights Pulse, which is a higher-level market data but you can get insights into most adult-use and medical markets in the US and Canada at no cost.

You can understand these category trends like how our beverage is performing in Canada versus the US, where they're actually selling a bit better in Canada, all at no cost. We've got great industry reports as well. About once a month, we publish something interesting. We actually recently did a beverage report that covers a lot of this on Cann and Lagunitas and others that goes into some depth, all freely available. I encourage all your listeners to go check us out at Headset.io.

Matthew: Great. Cy, just a few personal development questions before we wrap. What is one time waster that still goes on in business that you would love to stop doing?

Cy: I hope we don't have too many of them here at Headset. For me personally, when I think about a time waster, something that just seems to take a lot of time for something that's so simple is scheduling, sounds ridiculous, but it does. In this remote world that we're all in, just scheduling calls even internally and externally, and when you have to have multiple people from your team, it can be quite challenging to do the scheduling. That's something that is tough. There are tools out there that will help with that, where you can share calendars and people can block time.

There is also etiquette and there are some strong opinions around things like usage of tools, where it's like, "Drop something on my calendar." I do think it makes a lot of sense too. The amount of time I have to spend in a day just looking at my calendar, looking at other's calendars trying to find time is crazy. We're a 50-person company, growing quickly, and I don't have an admin. I don't think I need an admin, but sometimes with scheduling, I feel like I could use an admin. I know that's a lot of the pain and love with what admins help out with, but it does seem like it's a small enough problem, doesn't warrant it, so I continue to have this problem.

It's one of those things I'd love to stop doing, but I just don't think I should stop doing yet. I really wish the world would just embrace some of these software tools. It really is a funny etiquette thing. Just the etiquette thing, it's so ridiculous. Some people get really, really frustrated if you just send a link to a calendar and say put something on my calendar versus the back and forth, three emails with time frames and all the above. In the virtual world, you'd think we'd get there but still a ways to go. Kind of a goofy thing, but for sure one of those things I'd love to stop doing.

Matthew: What's one song that makes you sing out loud when it comes on the radio or whatever on Spotify?

Cy: All right, radio, that's funny. I'm not one to belt out singing. Good question. I think sometimes, a good old David Bowie classic. I find myself singing along maybe someone like The Clash, same thing I can't think about a singular song. Some of the probably notable hits, I might find myself doing that. It's kind of top of mind. Somehow, within Spotify, I ended up down this rabbit hole of the '70s Road Trip playlist somehow. I really have been enjoying that. I don't know where it comes from. I didn't grow up in the '70s, was born in the very end of the '70s. For whatever reason, that's top of mind some of the David Bowie stuff. I might catch myself singing into some of those classics like Ziggy Stardust.

Matthew: Yes, mine, any Lionel Richie song that comes on, instances. Not only do I sing it but then it's stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

Cy: That's a good one, Lionel Richie, maybe Hall & Oates. There's probably some '80s ones too that are good. Maybe, that's my next, '80s Road Trip playlist. I need to look up on Spotify as I go through the decades.

Matthew: There you go. Final question here, Cy. If you could construct a day of just fun activities that have no constructive, or educational, or business value whatsoever, just for fun. What would that day look like?

Cy: Yes, those days are a dream.

Matthew: Your mind can't even wrap around answering a hypothetical about it, it's so far from reality.

Cy: I know. I know. It's all balance. You got to make time for that stuff. I think probably right now maybe with the pandemic and everything, just going to museums. Here in Seattle, we've got a great assortment of museums, whether it's the Seattle Art Museum or the Museum of Flight, really cool stuff. I just love spending a day, an afternoon wandering around, looking at the exhibits, gives you something to focus on and takes your mind off other things.

Frankly, I didn't do it enough in pre-pandemic times. Now, that it's just not available. Although, they are starting to open up on a limited scheduling, so might have to go do that. I think something like that would certainly be what I would like to do, good way to spend the day, no business value, maybe constructive educationally, but yes, just a nice day. I'll have to look into that.

Matthew: Cy, you mentioned Headset.io is your website, you also are writing on Medium now. Where do we find you on Medium?

Cy: Yes, that's a new thing for me. I've been writing essays on Medium at medium.com/cannabis-packaged-goods. You might be able to search my name and cannabis packaged goods. It's planned consumer packaged goods. I do think there's a lot of interesting stories, like the Cann GTI story, the Houseplant story. These are the things that I've written about recently. I think it's a really, really interesting thing that we're seeing develop, this emerging cannabis category and particularly the CPG overlap or the consumer-packaged goods overlap.

Now, it's turning into, very similar to an alcohol-type industry or grocery-type industry. If you ever go to a Total Wine or a Beverages and More, BevMo!, that's what cannabis will be in the not too distant future. Writing about that on Medium, it's really been fun. I like to think that I'm documenting the emergence of brands that we will be talking about decades from now, like if this was the '20s and I was writing about Anheuser-Busch and Budweiser. Really cool and really cool to see how they're leveraging the playbook, for value creation for consumer-packaged goods, and how that can be utilized in cannabis.

At the same time, CPG industry is really struggling with some growth challenges, the traditional CPG industry. A lot of that's due to different reasons, like Generation Z having a different mindset around the brands that they choose. They're not looking for the tried and true brands, a little more disruptive. I think some of these disruptions that are happening in CPG are actually accelerants for cannabis.

I'm covering that on a weekly basis. Check it out there, take a look. I always welcome any feedback, leveraging Headset data and some insights into the CPG world and marrying those two things together. You'll find me there on Medium, cannabis packaged goods, and also, Headset.io where you can get access to a lot of our market intelligence that we talked about in this conversation.

Matthew: Cy, thanks so much for coming on. Please make time to go to the museum next year when we have you on the show. We'll do a scorecard, see how you did with your 4/20 estimations and celebrity estimations and see if you went to the museum and had a fun day. Thanks for coming on the show, thanks for educating us, and good luck with the rest of 2021.

Cy: Thanks for having me.


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