Riding Unicorns

S4E3 - Rania Lamprou, Co-Founder & CEO @ Simpler

May 18, 2022 Season 4 Episode 3
Riding Unicorns
S4E3 - Rania Lamprou, Co-Founder & CEO @ Simpler
Show Notes Transcript

Rania Lamprou is the co-founder and CEO of Simpler - 1-click checkout for online shopping. Prior to launching Simpler Rania worked in several industries from marketing, business development, sales and product management. In 2020, Rania decided to launch Simpler with the aim of revolutionising the online checkout experience for both shoppers and sellers alike. The company has recently exited stealth mode and is now looking to grow its offering in the coming months. 

Riding Unicorns invited Rania on the show to get a better understanding of why she decided to become a founder, what leadership skills she picked up in her previous roles and what she is trying to achieve with Simpler. During the episode we also dive deeper into the goings on at Fast, which recently announced that it was ceasing operations. James, Hector and Rania reflect on how the company got to that point and what lessons Simpler can take from their story. The episode also covers operational processes, tips on attracting the best talent and how to build a great culture. 

Make sure to like and subscribe to the Riding Unicorns podcast to never miss an episode. Also don't forget to give Riding Unicorns a follow on Twitter and LinkedIn to keep on top of the latest developments.

[00:00:00] James: Hello. Welcome to the riding unicorns podcast. This is the podcast all about growth startups on James Pringle. I'm a technology entrepreneur and investor and founder of Pringle capital. My co-host is Hector Mason. Hector is a partner at B2B investor episode one ventures. This podcast is all about uncovering what it takes to build a unicorn business.

[00:00:36] We speak to some of the best founders and investors. Many from unicorn companies, and ask them about that journey, operational insight, tips, lessons, stories, and the thing that can help uncover what it takes to build a high growth business.

[00:00:52] Today's episode is with Rania Lamprou, co-founder and CEO at simpler. Simpler's mission is to make online shopping simpler, and they are a leader in one-click checkout in Europe. In the context of the boom and bust failure of fast. A high-profile one-click checkout company in the U S this is a really interesting episode, but we also cover product management, hiring, and much more.

[00:01:13] Let's get started.

[00:01:14] James: Hi, Rania. Welcome to riding unicorns.

[00:01:20] Rania: Thank you for having me.

[00:01:21] James: I'd love to start by just getting a quick description from you about what simpler is for any of our audience that don't know. And then maybe you could also share what made you want to be a founder in the first.

[00:01:35] Rania: Oh, that's an interesting one. so yeah, starting from simpler, simpler is, um, in one click checkout solution for only in shopping, at least this is how we started for online shopping. This has kind of evolved a little bit right now. We're taking it to the outside world with the concept of headless. But overall as a high level description of what we do is that we make shopping easier.

[00:01:59] So we make it easy for shoppers to checkout so that we will eventually increase the revenues and the conversion rates for the merchant. uh, what made me want to become a, an entrepreneur? I've always been a problem solver and, uh, and then opportunity seeker. so right after the master's or during my master's, I realized that I wanted to go that way.

[00:02:20] I started exploring, other bots, like consulting, et cetera, but I thought that entrepreneurship was the right path for me, but then immediately after university, I didn't feel I was ready to go after it. So my idea back then on how to do that was to join. Early stage startups and learn from the inside on, what to do, what not to do.

[00:02:42] Uh, you know, what makes up a good leader, how important culture is so gaining all this experience without actually being a founder Experience is all about minimizing mistakes along the way. So, yeah, it's about identifying, like seeing something that you have done in the past and you have seen what the outcome of an action is going to be.

[00:03:00] So this is something that I gained from my previous startups and, I'm trying to apply it to that simpler now.

[00:03:07] Hector: Yeah, cause it's been an interesting career leading, to, simpler with, roles in marketing roles, in product. And you talk about, learning from experience and how to be a good leader. And I wonder if there are anecdotes or things that you can talk about, where you feel actually your, your experience really did, teach you ultimately how, to be a founder.

[00:03:25] And are there lessons from that experience you think back to today, while leading your country.

[00:03:29] Rania: basically it's building that. What we call is the T-shaped skillset. Uh, I think that's what a founder need to the beginning. so I passed through many positions, as you said, it's marketing. sales business development, then fundraising as well or two product, a little bit of coding as well.

[00:03:46] So I actively tried to fastest from as many positions as possible gain, both hard skills and soft skills. I mean also on the practical stuff about processes and hiring, letting people go the process of liquidation of the company with things in the don't go well and also an acquisition. This is something that I need as well.

[00:04:04] So. I tried to gather all these experiences and put them in practice. I have to say, what is the most important thing that I, I learned from the previous startups that I was in I think is how important the culture is, in a company like how it can make or break a good company and how much the team is the most valuable asset that an early stage company.

[00:04:27] James: Yeah, that's pretty interesting. I'm sure we'll come back to culture because it's a big topic that we cover on this podcast, and we'd love to learn more about that. but you came out of stealth earlier this year. Maybe you could explain what were you doing behind the scenes and maybe where is the company now today in terms of employees and customers and things like.

[00:04:47] Rania: Yeah. So we, uh, passed the first, uh, year or so, uh, like a little bit less than a year building the product, building the team we had just raised the pre-seed round. So we were actively working. Bottled testing, the MVP that we had launched with a few customers, make sure that it works end to end because eventually we're handling payments.

[00:05:09] So it's not like you can go with, go fast and break things mentality. You have to perfect it to make sure that it's actually delivering value. So we did that behind the scenes. We tested with a few small Americans that was the time when we publicly launched and we started actively selling it and talking to larger midterms.

[00:05:28] So at the moment we are at that stage. So we are kind of passing to the next stage of growth. now we have been so far to, from the zero to one. Now we're going to one to 10, the growth and the scaling a stage, a very interesting one. What do we have some, signals of, early product market feeds, which for us.

[00:05:49] demand and revenue growing, getting excellent feedback from clients, from stakeholders having 100% retention so far, which is super exciting word of mouth, the spend spreading as well. So all these kinds of signals for product market fit. And now that the product is ready for prime time and putting it out there and selling it across Europe, which is our target.

[00:06:11] Hector: I'm kind of always curious why companies, go in stealth mode I'm a VCC loads and loads of companies. and I honestly don't know why they do it and I'm sure there's good reasons. I wonder why, why you chose to kind of remain in stealth mode, even, post.

[00:06:25] Rania: Yeah, it's not something that we actively did to be in sales. It's just like we didn't go building public. Like most of our competitors have done. And that's mostly because I think that building in public can have major, positive outcomes from that. But at the same time, it's very distracting.

[00:06:42] So that was. Just that, that we, we prefer to keep building inside the company was, that was pretty much about it. Nothing more.

[00:06:50] James: What are you hiring in that period? And Those being installed deliberately or not deliberately, does that help or hinder? How do you go about hiring a company that isn't, publicly in the sort of stratosphere.

[00:07:04] Rania: let me begin by saying that we are a company that is registered and incorporate it in the UK. And we have our offices in London and we have two people in London, but the majority of the team is being built in essence, a week officially, um, week, uh, myself and also the founders, the rest of the founders are agreed.

[00:07:20] So we had already. This network of exceptional, team members, like people we have worked with in the past, through our previous experiences. So it was easier for us to get this network of talented engineers at the beginning. this is what we did. And, um, in the community of Greece, it was known that there was this company building that.

[00:07:39] So it's also, transmitting this passion and this vision that we have is. To build the product that we had in mind and that idea, which was, innovative and, very, exciting for the people that we went about to hire as well. So we presented ourselves as a company that is building now the product and the product is super exciting and it's going to be a, not this extremely big market needs.

[00:08:03] So that was, I think the reason why also, uh, the early people in the team design decided to do.

[00:08:09] Hector: Yeah. And Ronnie, as you say, you know, the market is, potentially absolutely enormous. And I think it's, quite interesting when, when we see ideas and companies start that are out. Such simple ideas, that makes so much sense and it makes things better than, than they were before.

[00:08:26] I mean, given the beautiful simplicity of, simpler, what's changed in the world to make, you know, building a business like fast or Bolt or any of the other ones, what made it possible for these companies to be built? why now, rather than five years,

[00:08:41] Rania: So there's one thing that is a hard requirement, that it's something that we could not be do before. And that was the patent by Amazon that expired in late 2017. So before that there was, uh, a wall for any company trying to do. And so when the doors open for that space, you get companies like Boulder, like fast trying to be that, or like us trying to, simplify, online shopping.

[00:09:07] what, when it comes to now, we are in the era of COVID and post COVID. So I think that era has boosted e-commerce innovation in general. E-commerce is booming and has done that during the last two years. So I think that, There are these, these wave of innovation. Uh, we continue in the future as well.

[00:09:26] So it's something that we are actively working on. And I think customer experience is going to be the at the core of every, startup touching upon e-commerce in the future.

[00:09:35] Hector: Interesting. I mean, do, do you think there's been a kind of inflection point over COVID where e-commerce sites retailers realized that anything they can do to improve conversion rates is, worth doing and therefore getting more resources directed to improving conversion rates? Has that been something you've kind of heard

[00:09:52] from.

[00:09:53] Rania: So the truth is that e-commerce businesses have and performance agencies working for e-commerce have always tried to find ways to increase conversion rates, but they have traditionally done it. Traditional ways like exiting then pop-ups or cart, abandonment, recovery emails, you know, all these things that are not really moving the needle.

[00:10:15] at the same time you, oh, you have all those companies throwing so much budget on the upper funnel, the user acquisition fondant. So focusing on the, not so much impactful part of the whole time. now realizing that you can have such a simple solution touching upon a specific part of the funnel.

[00:10:32] That's the final step of the whole journey can have such and such an immense impact. I mean, from, from our experience and we are still at the early stages and without having spent almost real budgets on customer facing marketing and user acquisition on the customer end, we see increases in conversion rate that are double digit sometimes more than 20%.

[00:10:52] So that's a. And it's basically what you said. It's a simple idea that, you know, it makes everything easier.

[00:10:59] Hector: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, we love those kinds of simpler days. Obviously Hoppin was kind of symbolized, simply shy. There is kind of one off since I was a question like why hasn't someone done this already? but they hadn't, and they're often the most exciting ideas which then go on to raise, the most venture funding and be the most successful.

[00:11:18] what have you found to be the hardest things about being a founder and about building of

[00:11:23] business?

[00:11:24] Rania: I always the hardest thing and the most important thing is to build the right team. I think it all starts from the things, the most valuable asset in the company. It's what drives the success in every successful. I mean, we, we have been lucky in the processing that, because just as I said, we had already built a network of engineers that we have work with in the past and we respected them.

[00:11:45] They respected us back. but it's the most important thing of putting an idea and what if into actually a reality and executing that. So it's the first part of know, putting together the resources and team is the most valuable resource in that.

[00:11:59] James: Yeah, it's really interesting. You mentioned culture earlier. So if Hatcher and I came and spent a day in the simpler offices, what would we notice about the simpler.

[00:12:09] Rania: you would notice that we're trying to build a place where we want to work at. We have all been, in corporate environments environments in the past. We have seen good cultures and bad cultures. Try to actively pick the good things from good cultures and skip the, bad ones, also, when we hire, there are three things mainly that we are actively looking at, and that is, over communication. The first one that when you think of the fact that we are all super laser focused on what we do every day and we are doing. Extremely high-speed. So it's very important to make sure that nothing is left behind or inside.

[00:12:46] So we, encourage people to be super transparent. We are, everyone is superintends fine. And we actually include that with processes as well. So one-on-one meetings, the company meetings where we present everything, the good and the bad, what went wrong with, with what would do better. So we proactively promote over communication.

[00:13:05] The second one is that, everyone needs to have this go-getter mentality. even that we operate on limited resources. We all need to kind of act this generally. So. We need to get out of our comfort zone and take action. And we always say that any decision is better than no decision. So it's something that we, are working on.

[00:13:28] And also the third one of course is integrity, for the people this fact that if you have 100% trust that everybody in the company is acting on good intent. I think this approach it's a prerequisite to make sure that we all act on strong ethics this needs to be at the core of both every individual in the company and in the company as a, as a whole, the team.

[00:13:48] Hector: do these values. to your home or maybe how do they come into your hiring processes? Because I wonder whether, you can teach these values, you know, if you have a culture of transparency, do you look for that kind of trait in people when you're hiring them?

[00:14:04] Or do you think that actually you could, you know, come across someone who maybe you think isn't going to be that kind of match, but you, you feel strongly that you can coach them into, being a strong

[00:14:12] culture.

[00:14:13] Rania: Yeah. So when we hire, we have 3 pillars that we are actively looking at and then we, give numbers each one that is involved in the hiring process and the interview process, so that we measure the candidate against that, The first one is smart. The second one is getting things done, which is what I said, the go getter mentality and also has to do with hard skills as well.

[00:14:35] And also the third one that is cultural fit. And that involves the number one. And number three, as I said before. So the over-communication transparency and also the integrity and strong ethics for the person. These kind of core values that are part of the company are also actively looked for during the interview process.

[00:14:53] So that every member that gets into the team is, aligned with everything that we believe.

[00:14:58] James: Yeah, it's interesting there's been high profile, sort of failure in your space recently with false, reaching the end of its its runway. I just wanted to understand what your kind of feeling is around this store. And also get a perspective on whether you feel this helps or hinders simpler going forwards, but how do you guys view it as a business?

[00:15:21] How did you guys react when the news came out?

[00:15:24] Rania: yeah. I guess everyone has been following the story over the last few weeks. Indeed. Fast has been aware. High profile and loud company. my take on the whole story is that, okay. Let's start by saying that startups fail because of three reasons, right? So it's either you fail to reach for like market feet or you failed to assemble the right team or you run out of cash, which is basically it means running out of time.

[00:15:51] I think fast was that last category. As also dome said, eh, they scaled their burden much faster than they scaled the revenues. So they built this hiring machine. They grew very fast to almost 500 people to spending almost 10 million a month. And yeah, I'm not sure about that chain smoker story about the bond that they invited to that corporate event for $1 million.

[00:16:15] I'm not sure if it's true, but in any case there, Ben was indeed just hard to. also another factor is from what I know is that they initially focused on SMEs, which means much lower volume from medicines. And, but without actually having a, a proper self service product yet, unlike the Stripe success space.

[00:16:38] so this was not scalable at the beginning. And then they pivoted 20. But they didn't have much time. So that was, that was the whole story. And another factor of course, is that they raised on a super bullish market when everything was much, much easier. And this year when they had to go back fundraising, the market had also shot itself, kind of public market wobbles and inflationary uncertainty things have indeed changed now.

[00:17:04] I think that now becoming lean has become more of a necessity. And for funds, I mean, you are investors. So I would like to hear your thoughts as well, but I think that investors now focus much more on cash burn during their due diligence. unlike what has been the case for the last three or four years, especially in FinTech, where you have this mentality.

[00:17:23] grow at all costs. So it's not the case now. now when it comes to dome specifically, I think that he's a inspirational leader. So I think it's unfair that he's slammed by the media and that comes with, the bad things we're building in public. But overall, he's done an exceptional job hiring a very good team.

[00:17:43] I truly respect him for the job that he's done at fast, even though the ending was not kind of a happy one. to be honest, yes. At the beginning it was a shock for us as well. I was kind of trying to figure out what is going to happen. You know, there was this during the last weeks is he's going to raise, come let us be.

[00:17:59] So you're going to raise. So it was a shock for us as well. We didn't expect that outcome, even though we realized that they were scaling very good. for senior, this is an opportunity, first of all, to learn from the mistakes that they made. So give us some speed and minimize mistakes, that they have done in the past and even work out.

[00:18:19] And also the fact that kind of selfishly. And not been road in Europe, where I assumed that if they had raised another 100, 200 million, at some point, they will look for that market as well. So overall, I think it's an opportunity for simpler,

[00:18:36] Hector: I think that's totally right. And in a way, it's one of those fortunate events for you guys, someone kind of went out. Kind of stepped into the unknown, before you and created a huge splash that everyone heard about. And so, and, you know, ton of potential customers of yours will have been unaware that there are one click checkout type providers would have come across fast and thought shit, they've gone bust I'll know that's awful.

[00:19:00] Well, we need to find another one and hopefully they'll come to simpler. I suppose it could be a kind of defining moment for you guys, but I just love all the stories that have been flying around about the whole debacle. And one of the ones that I've I've liked the most is, apparently they had a two hour meeting with, I think it was index.

[00:19:16] And they like posted the investment memo on their website saying that after two hours we just had to add to invest. And then obviously this all happened and they just removed the.

[00:19:27] Rania: Yeah, they moved it and that's true.

[00:19:31] Hector: And you can't, you can't blame them for it, but it's just funny. And, and, you know, I'd never hold that against index either. There probably been other examples where they've made a decision on that, quick timeframe. And we're just super bullish about it, where it's worked out incredibly well, but not this time.

[00:19:45] And that is partly investors jobs, right. It's, we're investing in people who are, as you say, inspirational leaders. and so yeah, these things happen, but it was just absolutely spreading.

[00:19:56] Rania: Yeah. I mean, in the end investors fund into burnish, right? Not, not ideas, both the idea, but it was, I think Don was the one that took that on himself and, persuaded those, high-profile funds to, fund. yeah, it didn't come out as they were expecting in the end, but in the end, it's the same person that is gonna, go after a new adventure and probably maybe the same people with funding as well.

[00:20:21] I don't know.

[00:20:23] Hector: I mean, what, what I find quite interesting about it though, and you've probably got thoughts on this. You know, foster was a company that had raised a ton of money over a hundred million dollars of VC money. You had hired really well, you know, who built a good brand and yet just didn't have the sales traction that they needed.

[00:20:39] So I wonder, does that cause you any concern that they had everything and yet couldn't get customers and revenue, have you found that it's hard to get people to integrate one-click checkout or, what does that part of the story make you think?

[00:20:54] Rania: I've done sales in the past and I said, I can see that. Part of the job is in this product. It's one of the easiest sales that you, that you can do. It's something that sells itself and they have nothing to lose. So on that part of the story, it's not, there's not an issue convincing people to, to try it now when it comes to fast.

[00:21:12] I think it was. if you could go back in time, I think they would just not have, hired so many people. So Eddie and this doesn't have to do with salespeople, only, but also engineering people. I'm not sure they needed so many people in, so. Hi, paying people. So a, so they had to take it one step at a time, and this is not something they did.

[00:21:33] So they jumped really fast on the, on the hiring front and the headcount and while revenues eventually are lagging behind, they would have it in a few months from now, from now, but they didn't have the time. If I'm not mistaken, they had, um, signed very large medicines that are whereabouts being debated in the next year. So if they have more runway like 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 months more, then a, the story would be different.

[00:21:59] James: Every company kind of measures different KPIs and everything. What's your north star metric. What are you optimizing towards? What does success look like? Firstly.

[00:22:09] Rania: Yeah, that's a very good question. And back to comparing the two brands, there's also in our core DNA, the fact that we want to be lean. So we have done that and we, we keep doing that as much as we can. And now in terms of a north star metrics, something that we realized that the very beginning is that we should.

[00:22:30] Look at absolute number of medicines onboarded, because that would mean that also salespeople will be actively looking for on boarding medicines that would eventually mean not moving the needle for the company. So now we shifted towards looking exclusively on DMV on volumes. So either that means bringing a large.

[00:22:49] Or if you have, a self-serve product that you can easily scale for the SMEs for the long tail, then do that as well. We are not at that point yet. So in terms of sales and efforts, marketing and sales efforts, we are focusing on the large enterprises, which will take more time, but eventually one lead one deal can make the difference because integrations take time in any case.

[00:23:10] So if any, if you have to onboard a small turn, so you have to go there integration. And, uh, the adjustments that it, you know, all these e-commerce custom configurations, uh, entail. While if you do the ones for a large medicine, you will have a much better outcome. So volumes is for us is DMV. so eventually we're trying to align also the product initiatives towards building a self-serve product for the SME, because if you crack that, I think that's very powerful.

[00:23:39] But in terms of actual effort, in terms of sales, we do that focused on the, on the large enterprises.

[00:23:46] Hector: you told that. How much of the team is in Greece and building a remote and distributed team is, helpful in this market. But the market really is crazy like the hiring market. And so many early stage companies are saying to me that it's just actually really, really hard to get good people.

[00:24:04] Price that isn't crazy. because there's always going to be a fast or someone like that who has really deep pockets and is willing to pay more. so-so I mean, do you have any kind of hacks or tips for attracting and hiring the

[00:24:18] best?

[00:24:19] Rania: Yeah, indeed is a, it's a hard market to compete with the remote. You have. people from, you know, my companies from Silicon valley attracting people from markets like we saw, you know, uh, where the Greek markets cannot compete against those, the salaries that they can offer. One very strong, card that, uh, an early stage startup has.

[00:24:43] The culture, as I said before, I think it's very important. The vision that you have as a company, what you're trying to achieve. And also this translates to, the equity that you can give to the to employees. I think it's very important to have everyone motivated and all incentives aligned towards the success of the company.

[00:25:00] And this is something that large organizations cannot, do at that, at that time. It's the is hard. And, uh, I think at the very beginning of a camp of a startup, most, uh, employees will join the company because of the vision of the calendars and believing in what you're going to build. So I would say like, if you are at that stage, focus on that and, Being a place where people want to work at, and this is very important.

[00:25:29] Hector: For investors. I mean, I, I look at it and think is this a winner takes all market because it's better for everyone.

[00:25:35] If it is, what's better for everyone apart from the company that isn't the winner, but, um, it's better for the consumer. If it's one company that, plays out and wins because you only have sign up with one provider. I would imagine the investors were pretty concerned about the competition, which was really well-funded, we've talked plenty about fast, but bolt has raised far more than false.

[00:25:56] I mean, bolts raised hundreds of millions of dollars. um, so I mean they've raised a huge amount of money. yeah. Or a bigger company than you guys. So, so what, what do you say to those investors who, um, who say, well, how can you possibly win when you're second in a market of really

[00:26:12] well-funded.

[00:26:13] Rania: yeah, we're not obsessed over competition. We are obsessed over our customers and their needs and weeding product that they want to use and gives value to both shoppers and sellers. And when it comes to. Perfect. And of course this is our north star. This is what we want to achieve at the end.

[00:26:30] So putting it literally when you already have made a purchase through simpler, then your second experience without this one click checkout, this is where the true value of the product takes in, in order to get that. And before we get there, because it takes time, we are focusing also on the first time, whereas experience.

[00:26:49] The value we bring. And th the increasing conversion rates that I mentioned earlier basically comes from first-timers for us. So we focused on that, cracking the first time it was experienced, make it mobile optimized, making it super easy also for the first timer, until we get to that point where we have reached this network effect that we come much later.

[00:27:07] Well, that's what it does. And mostly in the us, that's a different market, different needs, more competition there, other things that they have to keep in mind and, uh, you know, uh, go after for us, it's a different value proposition because it's not only, returning customers experience that we're focusing on, but we, as a, as a experience that we bring holistically,

[00:27:27] Hector: it's interesting. so, so just. Slightly I think you've known your co-founders since university, so, for a fair while. So So how did you choose to go into business with them and how do you manage that, friendship?

[00:27:41] How do you make sure that the friendship remains intact while working.

[00:27:44] Rania: Yeah. So we've all known each other since the university years. Indeed. Uh, we were at different departments. but we met there and we kept friends of close throughout the journey with one of the two with Speedos who is the CTO and, uh, the third co-founder. And we also worked together during the last company that as I mentioned in the article, And so we've been working together for three and a half years, so that checkbox was sick and the, with Alex, with the COO and the second co-founder he ha he has been, uh, in the investment banking for the last nine years, computer scientists and then background, but, involved with all these corporate environments with these suitcases and ties and everything.

[00:28:24] But. Discussing how we're going to do something together. So we, we are more of a friends back then and always trying to find an opportunity and when is the right time? So then it was up to me to come with something like a holistic approach and a very specific idea to present to him. And when he heard about that, he was like, yes, this is it.

[00:28:47] Let's go 100%. And then she dropped all the corporate stuff and, uh, joined Lisa rollercoaster.

[00:28:55] Hector: That's brilliant. I think that's an enviable position to a lot of people who listen to this show who probably want to be founders, but actually we have a lot of founders on the show who have a really hard time finding co-founders and people aren't always in that position where they've known kind of who they want to found a business with.

[00:29:09] So, Good for you identifying someone or people. So early on in, in the day,

[00:29:13] Rania: he took many years. I can say, I can tell you that. I've always, it's been 10 years since I wanted to do something on my own. And. I was always feeling, not ready about it. So that was the right time. Right idea, the right people that I managed to bring on board. So yeah, it took a while, but it was.

[00:29:32] James: Well, thank you so much for coming on and telling us your writing unicorn story. as you know, we like to wrap things up by asking you to tell us which three people you'd have dinner with. So who would they be for you?

[00:29:45] Rania: Yeah, I love this question. I wish I had this superpower. the first person I would invite is my great grandmother. I know it sounds weird. She was a refugee from Asia, minor in Turkey. And during that population exchange in the 1920s, she had to leave here, house and family, everything behind and moved to Greece and start a new life from zero practically, zero at a very young age, all by herself.

[00:30:13] That will be very interesting. I have so many questions for her and I know she was a very strong woman. so I, I truly respect and admire her. I admire her for what she managed to build. So that was the first person I would invite. The second one, interestingly is dumb. I think, as I said, I think he's a very charismatic person.

[00:30:32] So even, yeah. They had a sad ending. I think he's done an amazing job over the last two years. So I'd love to have a deep conversation outside of the media and cameras and, ask him about the good, the bad and the ugly of it. And the third one is Michael McIntyre. Uh, the comedian, I absolutely love him.

[00:30:53] I think he's the funniest person there. And I think it would have a really great time with. Lots of loss.

[00:31:01] James: Three great answers. Thank you so much from here

[00:31:03] Rania: thank you so much as well. Thank you, James. Thank detector a the day.

[00:31:07] Hector: Thanks

[00:31:08] James: That's it for this week. Thanks very much for listening. To stay up to date with the latest episodes, please follow or subscribe on your favorite podcast platform. We also have a newsletter called reading unicorns, which is another great way to get every episode direct to your inbox. Please tell your friends about it and engage with us on social media And we'll see you on the next episode.