From VP Of Twitter To CEO Of Pistil Data

"To be part of the transformation of making cannabis more widely available to people is something I find very fulfilling."

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The cannabis industry is set to experience enormous changes in the next few years. 

From a legislative standpoint, we will see an abundance of change occur as other nations around the 🌎 legalize cannabis, to major supply chain changes as cultured cannabinoids become an essential part of the cannabis supply chain. 

In order to keep up with all of these changes, I spend a great deal of time researching promising cannabis companies to better understand which ones will likely be defining the future of this industry. 

One company that recently popped up on my radar is Pistil Data. 

Co-founded by Jeffrey Graham, a former Director of Google, VP of Twitter, and the Managing Director of one of the largest investment firms in the world.

For today's edition of Four PM, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Jeffrey to better understand both his background and the epiphany that led him to build Pistil Data.  

Jeffrey Graham is a former Director of Google and BlackRock, VP of Twitter and NorCal Cannabis and is currently the Co-founder and CEO of Pistil Data.

What motivated you to join the cannabis industry?

I really wanted to be involved in the cannabis business because it’s transformational in so many different ways. Cannabis is a culture, it's a way of life and it's a product that’s been in the shadows for so long. It's such an exciting moment as it becomes more integrated into mainstream culture and mainstream business. 

Like a lot of people in the cannabis industry, I have seen the benefits of using cannabis. On the other side, you have the criminalization of cannabis and the enormous amount of resources that go into it, and the lives damaged as a result. To be part of the transformation of making cannabis more widely available to people is something I find very fulfilling. 

I joined NorCal Cannabis in California as Head of Business Intelligence and that started my journey of understanding some of the pain points and the need for data within cannabis.

What was the insight that led you to build Pistil Data?

When I worked at NorCal Cannabis I worked very closely with their sales team and I saw them really struggling with some of the basic fundamentals. They didn’t have access to the information which they needed - information that is widely available in any other industry. 

I saw salespeople just drowning under homegrown spreadsheets and conflicting information, and wasting too much time trying to get the information they needed. 

I founded Pistil Data to help sales teams grow and save time by providing them with the information and insights they need at their fingertips. 

As cannabis becomes more of a CPG like industry, are there any particular trends that you're keeping a close eye on? 

I am carefully watching the cannabis technology space. Technologies that are used in other sectors, like eCommerce systems, need to be adapted in order to comply with regulations, and meet the specific needs of the cannabis consumer. This is spurring a lot of really interesting innovation. 

And while I think technology will continue to transform the way that cannabis is bought and sold, I hope that the industry holds on to what makes it special. Local cultivators, craft brands, and the OGs who built what we have today are some of the things that make this industry unique.

Cannabis is not just another CPG product and we should never forget that. 

As the cannabis industry becomes increasingly digitized, are there any emerging trends that you're watching?

When I founded the company back in January there was still a question around whether people wanted to order cannabis online or order in store. The answer is that consumers want both of those things. 

With budtenders, the retail experience will always be an important part of the cannabis industry. What Covid really accelerated was an inevitable digital transformation as we saw the widespread adoption of services that are commonly available in every other industry. 

Consumers are now very used to being able to shop online and pick up products in-store, however, it’s also important to note that we have seen 6-10 years of growth of e-commerce across all industries in the last 6 months, so this trend is not just limited to cannabis.

As you look to the future of the cannabis industry, what has you most excited to be part of this new industry?

Cannabis legalization is really exciting as fewer and fewer people are being punished for using a product that has such important benefits. 

We are just scratching the surface of how cannabis can help people. I'm really inspired by the stories of people getting emotional and physical comfort from the plant.

From a business standpoint, it's just amazing to work in an industry with so many problems to solve, and such an amazing tailwind behind us.

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