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Indie Hackers

#219 – How to Make Your Business Model a Win-Win-Win - with Dan Shipper and Nathan Baschez of Every

Jul 28th — My guests today have a really exciting business model and strategy that I want to dig into. Dan Shipper (@danshipper) and Nathan Baschez (@nbashaw) are the founders of Every, a bundle of business focused newsletters. By structuring Every as a "collective," the writers are happier, the readers are getting better content, and Every is profitable. I want to find out how they get readers, how they get writers, and how "bundling" can be strategic for indie hackers. Subscribe to Every: https://every.to/ Follow Nathan on Twitter: https://twitter.com/nbashaw Follow Dan on Twitter: https://twitter.com/danshipper

Software Social

It's Happening!

Jul 27th — Buy Michele's book! Paperback and Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/173744660X (or search Deploy Empathy on Amazon) PDF/ePub: deployempathy.com/pdf Michele Hansen 0:00 This episode of Software Social is sponsored by Orbit . Orbit is mission control for your community, grow and measure your community across any platform with Orbit . Find out more at orbit.love . Colleen Schnettler 0:14 Good morning, Michele. Hey, Michele Hansen 0:17 Hey, how are you? Colleen Schnettler 0:19 Great. So I hear that you have some new book updates. Michele Hansen 0:24 Yeah. So we finalized the cover this week. And I just saw, like just today just submitted it to Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing and Ingram Spark, which is another self publishing print on demand platform and filed for the copyright. So things are happening. Colleen Schnettler 0:47 That's exciting. Michele Hansen 0:51 Yeah, you know, I was thinking about our conversation last week, and how you were talking about how you felt like you weren't getting anything getting anything done? And I was like, man, I feel the same way. Colleen Schnettler 1:03 Really? Has it just felt like for weeks, Michele Hansen 1:07 yeah, like, I feel it? Well, you know, it's kind of it's like this weird in between liminal space where like, the copy has basically been final for a month now. And it's just sort of been kind of waiting on other things. And, and then there's also the, there's sort of the fact that it's summer here. And like summer camps aren't really as much of a thing here as they are in the US. Which, you know, I guess if like, most people who work for other people get four weeks of vacation, and they have kids, it's not really a big deal. But if you're self employed, it kind of is sure. Um, and so I, you know, I'm just sort of working at night and whatever. Or maybe I wake up early and get a couple hours in and like, man, I don't I don't know how parents in Europe who are self employed, do it. Like, I really, I really don't know. And like, just for weeks now I've been I mean, like, yeah, like, today's the day, I'm going to start recording the audio book, private podcast, I'm super excited about doing that. Now that the copy is finalized, I'm, like, ready to go. And it just like that time just keeps not happening. And I feel like I'm not making any progress. Um, but this morning, I did submit it and then not now it has to be reviewed. And I wanted to get a proof copy. But I think I might have done something wrong when I configured that option. And it just says your book might be published in 72 hours. Colleen Schnettler 2:44 That's fast. Okay. Michele Hansen 2:45 I haven't even like I wanted to, like, look at it and make sure the, you know, the cover looked right. And like, you know, the pages aren't upside down and whatnot. So okay, so I'm alone? I don't know. So maybe if you search on Amazon next week, you'll actually find it even though I'm not gonna tell anybody. Colleen Schnettler 3:01 But it won't be a physical copy yet. That's just Michele Hansen 3:04 so that'll be that the physical copy? Yeah, who would be a physical copy on Amazon, Amazon printed like, book to Amazon. I know, they could upload a book to Amazon. And then they print it whenever somebody buys it. Really? I know I was going, I was like, they let just anybody do this, like this? Wait, this is so Colleen Schnettler 3:25 easy. This is crazy. I had no idea. So so you submit to them your cover art and your book. And then when someone buys it, they print it on demand? Michele Hansen 3:34 There's some other stuff that happens. But basically, yes, that's cool. So I don't have to like go out and you know, buy, like, basically pay for a printer to print 500 copies or whatever, then mail them out myself, which I think is what you had to do before. Things like kind of KDP or Kindle on demand or Kindle on it was what they call it? Or, you know, sort of like Do you remember like cafe press in the 90s? Like, yes, people could make t shirts and then printed it whenever you bought one. It's basically like that for books. And then there's also in Ingram Spark, which is also print on demand. But I guess there's a lot of countries that Amazon doesn't serve. And also, I guess bookstores are more willing to work with Ingram spark than they are with Amazon because they can return books to Ingram spark because Ingram spark distributes a lot of non self published books to I'm learning all about this. So So yeah, so I uploaded it to them, and then they have to review it and like, I guess, make sure it looks good. Before it'll actually, I don't know, I don't know what's gonna happen next. So we're just, we're all going to find out together. I didn't really publish the ebook. I like, you know, Barnes and Noble and whatnot, like ebook platforms. I don't know. We will find out. Colleen Schnettler 4:58 That's exciting. So you are telling me in a matter of maybe five days, maybe less people will be able to purchase a physical copy of your book. I don't know, theoretically, probably, maybe we're gonna find out cheaper than this before. So Michele Hansen 5:15 I, originally I was like trying to give people estimates. And I was like, Yeah, it looks to me, like end of June. And then I just realized, I have no idea what I'm doing. Well, I knew that all along. But I realized that I have no idea what I'm doing. And therefore I should not try to predict what is going to happen next. Because that is just an exercise in folly to try to predict a process that I have no past experience with. Colleen Schnettler 5:41 Sure. So does that mean from you will come out when it comes out? Does that mean from your perspective that it's finished? Like you're done? Unknown Speaker 5:51 Ah, Michele Hansen 5:52 I mean, yeah, like, like yesterday Mateus looks at me, he goes, you know, this is just the beginning. Right? What does that mean? It's like Kunkle in his I Colleen Schnettler 6:01 started, Michele Hansen 6:02 because, I mean, after the book is like officially out, then there's there's the, the audio book to record, right. Like, I'm super excited about doing that as a podcast and recording it myself. You know, because then I can really make sure that the, the tone of voice is coming through and everything. And I just, you know, right. Yeah. Colleen Schnettler 6:25 Can I just say I'm super disappointed when authors don't read their own books. Unknown Speaker 6:30 Yeah, Colleen Schnettler 6:30 yeah. Like, that makes me sad. Like, there's a prominent bootstrapping book, which was great. But it was not read by the author. And I was sad. I don't know why. Like, I understand why people don't want to read their own books. Maybe they don't like to talk that much. Maybe they have an accent. And then yeah, me with it. I don't know. Michele Hansen 6:45 Yeah, exactly. I think people have different reasons for not recording their own book. But I am personally really excited to do it. And to do it as a podcast, too. Because, again, I feel like I never would have gotten the book out had I not written it as a newsletter, because for me, writing an email is a lot lower pressure and stress and just mentally, like cognitively easier than like sitting down staring at a blank cursor or thinking about writing a book. And I feel the same way about recording a podcast. Like it's like, oh, it's just a podcast. And actually, I don't even have to come up with anything to say I just read something like, great, versus the idea of sitting down to record an audio book for a 320 page book that feels daunting. But yeah, a bunch of podcast episodes for each chapter that feels easy. Feels written. They just have to be concatenated. Colleen Schnettler 7:35 Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So how is this been for you? You've been working on this four to six months. Michele Hansen 7:42 Since end of February, middle, middle end of February is when I started the new Okay, Colleen Schnettler 7:47 so four months. So how do you feel to me? Yeah, right. You just knock out a book and four months? Can I just say how ridiculous that is? By the way. That's not normal. Michele Hansen 7:59 I feel like it was all in my head already. I don't really do any original research. Colleen Schnettler 8:04 It's just funny because I feel like the arc of our podcast, like your story, and the arc of our podcast is we're chatting, we're chatting. I'm like, you should write a book. Unknown Speaker 8:12 You're like, Man, Colleen Schnettler 8:13 I'm like, you should write a book. You're like, yeah, and then you wrote it. And it's done. like four months later. It's like, wait, what happens? Michele Hansen 8:21 When I commit to doing something, I do it. And usually very quickly, so but it might take me a while to actually get around to doing it. Colleen Schnettler 8:31 How is this? Ben? Are you excited to have some time back? Do you feel like I mean, has it been quite stressful these past four to five months trying to work your full time job and write this book has been overwhelming. Michele Hansen 8:45 No, it's been fun Colleen Schnettler 8:46 because you love it. You love the material? Fine. Michele Hansen 8:48 Like it's a little it's a little side project. And I need a little side projects. It's, you know, it's, I mean, I guess this podcast started out as a side project. And then this podcast kind of spawned the book. So like, you know, just side projects beget side projects. But no, I mean, it's been good. It's been a really good outlet for me, like most of that newsletter, writing time was actually at night, like, you know, after, put our daughter to bed and just kind of sitting in bed with my laptop and just sort of enjoying writing things out. And as I said, sort of mentally cleaning out my closet and just hauling out all of these things that mentally felt like old pieces of furniture from my head that were collecting dust or, you know, where were things I was referencing often, but didn't really have a good place to send people to. So it was it was a relief in a way to write it. And then I had so much fun interviewing people who read the early drafts. I think a really pivotal moment was when I got it into a draft and then I put it on health this book, which is Rob Fitzpatrick, the author of the mom test his new platform for launching books, and he also wrote a book that sort of goes with the the platform called write helpful books. That is, I think it's coming out now. But I was given a link to that on his help this book. Page. And that helped, that was hugely helpful for me. And then, and then, but actually getting the draft in front of people and then, and then talking to them about how they're using it and, and what kinds of books they find useful. And like, you know, it was just, it was, it was so fun. Like, I love talking to people about talking to people. And that was really fun. And then it was a little frustrating, I think, towards the end, like, I felt like I did a read like a major whole book rewrite of the book every week, in May in June, like, just like, that was probably when I did the most work. Like I was probably like, 7525 book versus giuoco do which was not super great. Um, but that was kind of what what I needed at the time. But yeah, I think I guess from like, now going forward, it's going to be lower lift things, like, promoting it. And yeah, we're podcast podcast. Yeah, the audio book and whatnot. Colleen Schnettler 11:15 Well, that's super exciting. Congratulations. Michele Hansen 11:19 It's not out yet. So I'm not gonna like, Colleen Schnettler 11:21 have you have you sent it out? Or they hatch? I think your chickens have hatched? Yeah, whatever Michele Hansen 11:27 it's for, it's getting reviewed. It's it's things are happening, things are moving, you know. Colleen Schnettler 11:33 So very exciting. Yeah, Michele Hansen 11:35 I think you're a lot more excited than I, Colleen Schnettler 11:38 I'm just really impressed. And to your point, you had this stuff in your head already. So it wasn't like you had to spawn content for the book, you had all the content. But you turned out a book fast like you, when you started doing those newsletters. I mean, you were sending a lot of newsletters. This is a lot of information. Michele Hansen 12:01 When I get really into something I like I go all in to the point where it can be a bit of a firehose, you know, like, so yeah, Marie Marie poulan. and I were talking about this a couple of weeks ago, where like, we sink our teeth into something, and then we just don't give up until we're done. Even if we wanted to. Um, I definitely I definitely feel like this has been an exercise Unknown Speaker 12:34 in that. Colleen Schnettler 12:35 Yeah. Well, I think it's really cool. I think you should be really proud of yourself for all the work you've put in, especially during the summer, that's hard. And you're working, you know, your normal job. And you wrote a book, super cool. Michele Hansen 12:48 You're so supportive, Colleen. Colleen Schnettler 12:51 That's what I'm here for. Michele Hansen 12:53 I need you in my voice. You know, that voice in my head being like, you should be proud of this. You've come a long way, when I'm like, sort of knee deep and like filing copyright applications and stuff like that, and sort of not really able to see over the wall. Colleen Schnettler 13:07 Yeah. Yeah. Michele Hansen 13:10 Should I do a little numbers updates? Well, I don't think I've done one and Colleen Schnettler 13:15 we haven't done one in a while. Go ahead. Michele Hansen 13:18 So as of right now, I have sold 93 copies for the pre order nice. Which by the way, people can pre order the it's the you get the PDF, the notion and Google Drive script templates and access to the private forthcoming private podcast with the audiobook, the boy empathy.com. So 93 people have pre ordered it right now I know a bunch of people have said they want the print copy and like I'm there with you. I don't really buy a lot of ebooks, especially for something I might want to reference later. And I don't seem to be able to do a pre order for the print book. So Oh, but anyway, so 93 people have ordered and so just looking at sort of the overall revenue for that not including expenses or you know, processing fees or whatever. That is $2,697 and I added it up with expenses a couple days ago. And I believe that puts me around sort of 12 $100 in net revenue from that so my Sunday expenses Colleen Schnettler 14:32 that's great for a book you can't that's not even available yet. I mean, I know it's available yeah order but that's pretty impressive considering it's not on Amazon yet. Michele Hansen 14:43 It's kind of I mean, so I've like you know, I've heard about building in public for a long time and of course you know, I'm a big advocate of including your your customers in the in the process, but I've never really like built from scratch in public. And like just kind of outlined every step of what I was doing, you know, the, the highs and the lows. Yeah. And the massive amount of confusion in between. And so it's been a really, really interesting, like, I don't think I would have gotten to this point had I not started it as a newsletter and had that level of just motivation, you know, even from the, you know, the first five people who subscribed and would reply and say, Hey, this was great. Thank you for writing that, like that kept me going. In a way that, that I just would not have, like, actually, I think I started the book, right around the time of when, when that container ship was stuck in the Suez. Colleen Schnettler 15:45 Yes, I remember, Michele Hansen 15:47 little, that little part that nobody had on their 2021 bingo card. Unknown Speaker 15:53 And I was reading a book. Michele Hansen 15:56 Or there's a book I picked up off my shelf that I had been meant to read for years, I finally did, because of that called the box, which is a history of container shipping, which is a really interesting book, by the way. Hey, Peter shipping, revolutionize the world. And it's pretty new to like, since the 60s anyway, okay. Not what this podcast is about. So, but so I opened that book, and like the beginning of the book is The acknowledgments from the author. And it like starts out with the author talking about how lonely the process for writing a book is, and especially on a very niche topic. Yeah. And I think I had had some little like Inklings in my head of like, whether I should write a book at that point. And I remember reading that and being like, Oh, God, like that sounds really awful. Like, and I felt really bad for the author as I was reading this, because you've I've heard writers talk about how lonely of a process it is. And I like, and I think that turned me off from it for such a long time. But then it kind of like, occurred to me later that like, I can write a book, but I can do it my way. I don't have to do it the lonely way. Right. Like I could write it in public, I could include readers in the process and make it a social process from the beginning. So I didn't feel like I was just, you know, closed off in a windowless room for six months, because I think that's why I really never wrote a book before, like I was wanted to, but I was like, I don't think I could deal with that amount of loneliness that writers talk about. So yeah, it's been good. Colleen Schnettler 17:37 That's awesome. Michele Hansen 17:38 How are you doing? Colleen Schnettler 17:39 I'm good. I'm good. Yeah. So in the spirit of our podcast last week, I'm, I took some notes, and I think I'm gonna break it up every week into like, what I did this week, what I'm struggling with and what I want to do next week, to keep myself focused and keep myself moving forward. Okay, my tangent is I listen to a podcast with Angela Duckworth. Do you know who she is? She's okay. So for those who don't know who she is, she's the MacArthur Genius Grant winner. She liked her coined the term grit. So I have this podcast I really like with her. And it's her and Stephen Dubner. And it's called no stupid questions. Anyway, this week, they were talking about the difference between urgency and importance. And they were talking about how, basically, that the summation was people don't do things that they don't consider urgent. So you can have these things on your to do list, like go to the gym, which is important. We all know, that's important. But without a sense of urgency. Like, I have to be at the gym at 6pm for my weightlifting class. Instead of instead of that, instead of being like, I'll go whenever I want. There's no urgency to it. So people just don't go, oh, that explains Michele Hansen 18:55 so much. Colleen Schnettler 18:56 It's so good. Like, I'm gonna send you this episode. It was so good. But yeah, so it was this concept. So I started thinking about it. In terms of my business, because I have all these things that I feel are really important. But I have no urgency behind them, right. There's no timeline for me, I can just sit here and this thing makes me money. And yeah, the ones setting the deadlines, right. And they're fake. I mean, and I'm not really even setting up. I'm like, oh, if I get to it if it's convenient for me today. So I just really liked this whole concept of something being urgent versus important, and how will we'll even do the less important things if we feel that they are urgent. And I say that because I'm now every week until I get to a place that I'm pretty happy with. I'm going to share with you kind of my goals. And so to make them feel a little more urgent, so I feel like I actually will do that. Michele Hansen 19:48 So I like that. Colleen Schnettler 19:51 Yeah, let's try it. It was really good. So one of the things I'm really excited about is this week, I finally got my app on rails 6.1. That's improved. To me, because I was patching in all of the CDN stuff for images because rails 6.0 didn't include that. So basically what happened is I had my app on 6.0, all the stuff was pushed on the rails master to handle CDN. And so I cherry picked it off of rails master onto my stuff, but I incorporated it as a patch to my app, which doesn't make me very happy, because it just feels brittle. So I got up to rails 6.1. So that's like a huge deal. And all of the things I have been telling you, I wanted to do, I wanted to do this first. Like, I feel like this is now going to set the stage for me to actually move forward to do other useful things. So I Michele Hansen 20:42 feel good about that. It sounds like it's gonna help your development velocity, Colleen Schnettler 20:46 it will. And I feel like some of these development blockers are really frustrating for me, like there's a really simple one, which won't take that long to do API access, but I didn't want to, I could have added new features, and then gone back and got it on 6.1. But it's smarter, in my opinion, since I have the time to get it on 6.1 before, you know, adding all the API stuff. So I feel like now that that's done, development stuff will go faster. So I'm pumped about that. And that was something that's like really kind of boring to do. I don't know if boring is the right word. But you know, like, upgrading is always kind of like Michele Hansen 21:26 it's not shiny, right? Like developer happiness and infrastructure stuff. And, like, security kind of falls in this category to have like, stuff that's like really important. But it's not shiny, there's no, you know, revenue number, like floating over your head if you do it, right. It's more of a like, it's more of like a cost thing. It's like last time, you know, lost energy, like, it could be lost revenue, if it's security issues. Like, I think when we went full time actually, like the first thing we prioritized was like, What can we do for infrastructure and developer happiness stuff so that when we are working on stuff, it's more enjoyable to work on, more resilient, less brittle? Colleen Schnettler 22:10 That's exactly that's exactly how I feel about it. So I said, it's transparent to my customers. But it feels really good to me. For exactly those reasons. My development time now going forward will go faster. I won't have to worry about writing something I'm later gonna have to rip out when I upgrade. It's good. So I was pumped about that. Something I'm struggling with this week. This is kind of funny. So you remember like a month ago, I told you, I hired my sister to help me do marketing. That's just been kind of an interesting challenge for us, because neither of us know what to do. And so I'm like trying to do my development stuff. She's asking me questions. I'm like, I don't know. So we're both kind of spinning around. Not quite sure what to do. Hmm. So what we did is we ended up having a call with one of our mutual friends who has his own podcast, his name is Josh Oh, and his podcast is searching for SAS. And he helped us lay out a SEO content, Google Search their Google Search Console strategy. Oh, yeah. So we are kind of excited to go down that path. What I originally had asked her to do was more traditional sales Safari. And it wasn't working. Hmm. Remember how Shawn came on the podcast? And he told us he spent 80 hours like doing sales Safari? Michele Hansen 23:44 Yeah, Colleen Schnettler 23:45 yes. So my sister was trying to do that for my product. And we just weren't really, we just weren't really getting anywhere. It felt like we just weren't getting any useful information. So we are going to starting this week try to tackle this more from a content SEO perspective. Michele Hansen 24:03 Hmm. You feel like the sales Safari kind of approach was? Colleen Schnettler 24:10 I don't know I guess you you kind of already built something that's that's what Josh said. He was like, you're already you're already paying for it. Michele Hansen 24:17 So it seems like you know, I mean, Salesforce is useful at many different stages. But it sounds like you need to get eyebrow eyeballs in front of this thing. And because there are people are willing to pay for it. There's clear there's a need a huge competitors went into the space, which tells you all the more that there's need for this. You just need to tell people you exist. Colleen Schnettler 24:40 Yeah, that was his point as well. And I think that's a better use of our time is to kind of lay out a content strategy. So we're gonna try to do that I'm such a bottleneck in this process, though. It's hard to find developers to write content technical. Here's a business idea. technical content rating is really hard. I have a mutual friend who has a business way more successful than mine. And he hired a technical content agency to write some articles. They're not very good. So I'm just saying, I think that this is like a real bottleneck is like really good technical content. I'm gonna go on a limb here and say, technical content for developers has to be written by developers Michele Hansen 25:27 or by technical writers, I know that we have at least two technical writers who listen to this podcast, okay, reading my book, and like they focus on writing documentation and for develop them to do the whole job. Yeah, to dm Colleen. Colleen. And actually, I mean, they get, you know, a lot of the work, they were telling me that they get frustrated, because, like, in big companies, they get really insulated from the customers, which inhibits their ability to write dry, good documentation. Yeah. Right. Because, you know, as you're talking about the challenges with getting your sister up to speed, like, it makes me wonder, like, has she gotten to sit in on any interviews with customers? Has she gotten to do any? Like? Has she got to hear from the customers directly about what you're solving and why it's important to them? Colleen Schnettler 26:26 No, we haven't done any new customer interviews yet. Michele Hansen 26:30 Get her in those? Yeah, I think that'll really help. And you might still be the person who's kind of guiding, you know, API documentation and whatnot. But if there's a difference between hearing about what something does, from somebody who built it, and hearing about what it does, from somebody who bought it, and is excited about it, Colleen Schnettler 26:53 yeah, those are Michele Hansen 26:54 two really different things. And for marketing, what she needs to communicate is, why you should buy it and why you should be excited about it. And the technical documentation is part of that. But she needs to be able to speak to what will get someone excited about it. Yes. And who better to hear that from than someone who is excited about that themselves, ie, a customer of yours? Colleen Schnettler 27:19 Yeah, we have a whole bunch of new customers. So I think in a couple, probably starting next week, once my life's a little more organized. We're going to start trying to do more customer interviews and get back on that bandwagon because I haven't done any since I did them with you, almost three months ago. So that is definitely a priority to get that to get that going. Yes, so content is challenging, because I would love to just churn out some content. But I am struggling to find the time myself or find people that are making the kind of content that I need. So that is challenging, but I did I don't know if I told you so Drew, who we interviewed together, who was a simple file upload customer is a developer and so I paid him to write a piece for me. Oh, no. I need Yeah, do this. I was like, Drew knows how this works. Maybe he will do? Yeah, so that's it's not Yeah, Michele Hansen 28:18 dude. Like hiring your own customers is really smart. Like, I think we talked about Chris from from webflow, our mutual friend we didn't realize was a mutual friend, a couple months ago. And his first support hire is one of his customers. And it worked out like amazingly well because like the person already understands the product. Yes, he knows how it works. He knows where it might go wrong. Like, that's like that is been in the back of my mind of you know, when we need to hire for something even just you know, for something on a contract. Like, who in our customer base could do that for us? Colleen Schnettler 28:58 Yeah, I thought like, I was so pumped. So I threw you know, he said he could do it. I was like, Yes. I mean, that's the best. That's the best of both worlds. Someone who knows what they're doing as a writer. And as technical it was, it was great. So I haven't actually published it yet. Because see all these other things I've been trying to do with my life. But it's it's a guide on how to use simple file upload with react. And that has been on my to do list for four months. So let me tell you how great it felt to give it to someone who could do it better than me. It felt great. And he just got it done in like three to four days. I was like, Oh, you're you're amazing. So that was really yeah, it felt really good because you know all those things you're supposed to do. They they kind of like weigh on you and your subconscious like the things you haven't done and that is literally been on my list for four months only I have to kind of learn react before I can write about how like I kind of sorta know react but this this partnership I feel worked out really well. So that really He inspired me, it went so well with Drew, it inspired me to hire more people to write for me. But I'm definitely having a bottleneck, like finding the right kind of people, especially for the rail stuff, because I feel like I can do that better than most people. So it's a trade off. Michele Hansen 30:18 Well, so. So first, I wonder if you could create some sort of pipeline where you create one piece of content, and it can be recycled in many different ways. And I wonder if even just that one piece of content from drew like if your sister can take that and with some understanding of what the customers are trying to solve, and where they're coming from and what the product does, and recycle that into many other pieces of content? What does that mean, risk can be used in other places to further improve your SEO? Colleen Schnettler 30:49 I literally don't know what you mean. Like you mean, put it on? Like, like, yeah, so like, he Michele Hansen 30:55 wrote up this, like, long guide? Yeah. Right. Yeah. So but then you can also have landing pages that are how to do this with react. And it's like taking like bits and pieces out of that. Like if she can read that and understand it, and then be like, Oh, we can use it in these other places. You can put bits and pieces of that on your homepage on other pages like, right and use that. You're probably trying to do this, like, Look, read that article, and then look at everything in Google Search Console and say, Okay, what are the similarities in terms here? What is the actual term that people are using per Google Search Console? What is the word we're using in this piece of content? Let's change that to the word that people are typing in? Are there five variations of it? Let's make sure in this article, we have headlines that use each one of those five different variations, like, use that on other parts of our site, like, so on and so forth. Colleen Schnettler 31:44 This is the stuff we don't understand. Like I hear the words coming out of your mouth. Okay, but I'm a little confused. I mean, like, okay, so I set up okay, Search Console. So go me, I get that. So you've got keywords, right? Yeah, yes. Yes, it did. Keywords? Michele Hansen 32:04 Yes. Okay. That is the most useful part about that for me, okay. Like before, until we started using h refs, that was what I used all the time. Okay. And so that tells you all of the different keywords that are leading people to your site, okay. It's very, it's very basic, but it's like, it's, it's enough. And I think you can sort it by volume, and you know, the number of clicks and stuff that you're getting right. And then basically taking that and so so in, like in that long article that drew wrote. So I was just, you know, publishing that as a web page, not as a PDF or anything. And then search engines pick up on the headlines. So if someone is typing in, you know how to do image upload, or file upload with react, for example, then your headlines need to be like step one, like, determine which files you want people to be able to upload with react, like with your react app, like step two, like do this thing with your react app, if you want to be able to have them, you know, import files, or like what like, use different variations of that. But like, use it in the headline. So like, we have a million of these things on our website. It actually if you go to geocoded I o. And then like in the Help menu, there's one that says tutorials, we've all these step by step guides, that are all in this format, which I actually learned from another friend of ours, who is a total SEO, like genius. And then each one is like bullet points of step one, determine which addresses you want to find the congressional district for step two, take the list of addresses that you want the congressional district for, and upload them to geocode, do step three, you know, like, and it's just using those same words over and over and over again, it's kind of like, you know, in the 90s, when you saw like, a huge block of like, tiny font text at the bottom of a web sites, Colleen Schnettler 33:55 yes, Michele Hansen 33:56 that is basically how this is done now, but use different versions of that of that text to because people might be typing in different things. Like we saw, for example, we'll see that people type in lat long to Congressional District, which is something I would not type in personally, like I think of address to congressional district. So we make sure that it says address to congressional district, it also says lat lon to congressional district to GPS coordinates to congressional district, like all of those, many permutations of it, and then having as many things in headlines as possible. So that that is what the you know, search engine picks up on. Colleen Schnettler 34:36 Okay. Okay, cool. Yeah, we can work in that direction. And you're right. I didn't think about that. We already have this piece of content. So Michele Hansen 34:43 yeah, and then just use it in many other places. Colleen Schnettler 34:46 Okay, great. Awesome. Cool. That's exciting. Yes. That's something to to focus on a little bit. I mean, I think that's what's been challenging for us is we're just what do you do next? I have no idea. I mean, I told her I was like, we're both learning here, right? This is part of the fun. This is why we're doing it like this is part of the fun of the process. But it's definitely can be a little intimidating or confusing, and to what you said about Michele Hansen 35:12 important versus urgent. I feel like important projects that are nebulous, get shoved to them. Colleen Schnettler 35:19 Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah, for sure. Like, totally. So we, that's great. We'll work on that. And then what I really want to do this week, is get a test sandbox environment set up on my website. You and I actually talked about this ages ago. And then when I talked to Derek Rhymer a couple weeks ago, he said it again. And I was like, I should really do this. But all this rail 6.1 stuff was the reason I hadn't done it yet. So I'm hoping I'll be able to get something like that up in a week. And basically, that would be kind of test sandbox. Yeah. So you know, if you go on to upload Cara cloudinary website, there's a big button that says try it now. And you can literally just try and like that, you can see exactly what it does before you sign up for an account, and all of that stuff. So that is something I want to go. Okay. Yeah. And I think that would be great. Because that's going to give me higher quality leads. And I think it'll encourage more people to use the service because I think my service offers some things that these other these other services don't offer. So Michele Hansen 36:21 show them what it does. Colleen Schnettler 36:22 Yeah, exactly. I mean, that's I try I have the video, which shows them what it does. But people like to, especially developers, like at least I do, I like to put my hands on thing, like you make it look easy. Is it actually that easy? So I feel like I think that's a pretty common feeling. Yeah. Michele Hansen 36:37 Don't tell me that it's easy. Let me experience how easy it exactly Colleen Schnettler 36:41 like I want to actually do it. So that's my goal for this week. That's a little ambitious, because there's a lot of moving parts in that. But once I get that set up, I think that's going to be great for marketing, and potential customers and stuff. So Michele Hansen 36:54 yeah, what are some of those moving parts? Because maybe if there's five steps involved, if you get three out of five, by next week, that's still pretty good. Colleen Schnettler 37:02 Yeah. So the thing I have to do to do this, my plan, at least, first of all, if I have an open file uploader open to the world, I have to be really careful with security. And so I want to write a script that automatically deletes these uploaded files, like every 10 minutes. I don't know how to do that. I mean, I'm sure I can figure it out. But like, I've never done that before. So I have no idea. I don't just know how to do that. I, again, theoretically, it's easy, but I don't know. So I want to do that. And I guess I don't need a script, I can just do it in my app, but whatever. I also want to make sure those files go to a completely separate domain, like completely separate domain, then the files I'm serving for our production customers. Because if someone says it's open to the world, if someone were to upload an inappropriate file that could be that can be bad, right? Michele Hansen 37:58 I mean, it's files. I'm vaguely remember remembering somebody's like, warning you about like that. Yeah, it was like I think on Hacker News or something like this. It happened to somebody it happened to someone else app. And yeah, Colleen Schnettler 38:10 so there was, yeah, someone sent it to me on Twitter. And it was a there's this big Hacker News thread about it. Someone else who has a similar product didn't separate his domain. So he had everyone on the same domain. And so his whole site got blacklisted. Like he didn't even separate. I'm not saying he did, he didn't know. But he didn't even separate his app from his serving domain, like mine are already separate. So that's already good. But he had literally everything on the same domain. So when his site got blacklisted by Google, like, everything went down. Oh, yeah. And he said it. You know, the interesting thing, I read the Hacker News thread, and they didn't have problems for years. I mean, they had their file uploader open to the world for like, I think was like three years. And they didn't have any issues. And then one day, bam, everything, everything was shut down. So I've already taken many security steps. I have a wireless firewall, I have separate domains for my app and my serving domain. But if I'm going to open this to the world, I want a third domain for test files. So that's I already have that. I'm actually deleting the files. Michele Hansen 39:14 Yeah. is smart, too. I don't know if that other person did that. But that disincentivizes people from using it for malicious? Colleen Schnettler 39:21 Yeah, file. I mean, one of the good things is he wrote a really detailed what I learned I could just take all of that he's and that was one of the things is he was deleting the files, I think every 36 hours and he's like, that's not enough. Like you need to be deleting the files like every 20 minutes. Okay, Michele Hansen 39:38 that's a great he's got like a step by step, Colleen Schnettler 39:40 step by step. So what not to do, so. I want to make sure I hit all of those wickets before I open this up on my website. Absolutely. Yeah, but that would be a huge I'm really excited about that. Because I really think once I get that I really think I can I can push a little more and I really think that's going to help with my Yeah, so that's my goal for next week. Michele Hansen 40:06 Alright, so next week we will check in on whether the sandbox is live on your site and maybe possibly my book will be ready. Who knows? Stay tuned. Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Startup to Last

Home runs vs. consistency

Jul 26th — Topics from this episode: Tyler hit 2,000 Twitter followers, and we discuss how Twitter is a hits-based business which doesn't suit Tyler's strengths. Rick gives an update on his personal website and newsletter optimization efforts. Rick reached the first page on an important search term. Less Annoying CRM is tweaking the format of help articles to appeal more the the easily distractible internet user. Rick has finished his javascript course. Tyler discusses the LACRM product roadmap.

Indie Bites

Bootstrapping Transistor.fm to 13,000+ podcasts - Justin Jackson, Transistor.fm

Jul 25th — Justin Jackson is the co-founder of Transistor.fm , a successful bootstrapped podcast hosting company. The journey building Transistor were documented on the Build Your SaaS podcast, which is a must listen. Justin is the founder of the MegaMaker community which he started in 2013, so if you're part of the maker sphere - you'll probably have heard of him. In this episode we cover: What is Transistor and why did they start it Why work in podcast hosting? Was it not already a solved problem? How did they get the first few customers? What's next for Transistor? What's it like having "made it" as an indie hacker? What challenges does Justin run into? Should you just get a job at a tech company or run your bootstrapped co? Why bootstrapping is not a level playing field When you should quit your job Addressing mental health as an entreprenuer Recommendations Book: Life Profitability Podcast: Software Social Indie Hacker: Derek Sivers Follow Justin Twitter Blog Follow Me Twitter Indie Bites Twitter Personal Website Buy A Wallet Sponsor Thank you to Dan Rowden for sponsoring this episode with his product, ilo which helps you easily see which kind of tweets get more impressions, likes, profile clicks and more so you can get grow your Twitter audience. Use the code "INDIEBITES27" for 25% off your plan for life. Sign up here.

Run With It

Create a Marketplace for Business Acquirers and Operators with Michael Bereslavsky

Jul 22nd — If you like the show, please leave a review on Apple Podcasts ! Nuggets: Many investors who buy a business trip up over simple operational details (e.g. forgetting to renew a domain name). Michael has seen this happen time and again. Action Steps: Generate your opportunity to break into the space: Start a podcast Host an event Connect with recruiters who can source talented business managers Buy an existing business with the audience you want to serve If you’ve connected with a recruiter you can understand their fee structure, add a profit margin and use this information to sell this service to your first Investor clients You can begin charging a commission as soon as your make your first connection, probably 5-10%, or you can just get a testimonial and case study from the deal Once your more established in the space your can start to build out your platform for connecting Business Investors and Talented Operators You might reduce your commission slightly once the business requires less manpower and runs more on automation One way to build your client base is to buy an existing business that has a similar audience. Links: https://www.domainmagnate.com/ https://domainmagnatecapital.com/ The Domain Magnate Show The White Coat Investor <em>Michael Bereslavsky is the Founder and CEO of Domain Magnate, a micro private equity firm that acquires and operates online businesses.</em> Love a part of the show? Did we get something completely wrong? Let us know at [email protected]

Past Month

Indie Hackers

#218 – Making Money and Being Happy with Sam Parr and Shaan Puri of My First Million

Jul 21st — Sam Parr (@theSamParr) and Shaan Puri (@ShaanVP) have both sold their businesses and are currently hosting one of the best business podcasts out there. In this episode, we talk about what it's like to be in their position now and what kind of businesses they would start if they were doing it all over today. Listen to My First Million: https://thehustle.co/my-first-million-podcast/ Follow Sam on Twitter: https://twitter.com/theSamParr Follow Shaan on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ShaanVP

Startup to Last

Throwing things at the wall to see what sticks

Jul 20th — Topics this week: Tyler had fun with a once-per-year football bet, and Rick had to put in a full day of dad duty. Tyler is considering taking the ShiftNudge design course to get better at design. He also purchased a license to Tailwind UI so he can copy from better designers. LACRM is tweaking it's policy that everyone at the company must do an hour or support each week. Rick reflects on the value he gets from both writing and reading personal newsletters. LACRM is tweaking it's policy around employee conversation, partially based on a conversation we had on this podcast a couple weeks ago. Tyler's Mixergy interview is live. Now that Rick has a sense of what is and isn't working at his business, he wants to simplify which will mean cutting some current complexity away.

Software Social

When Is It Time to Move On?

Jul 20th — Michele Hansen 0:00 This episode of Software Social is sponsored by Orbit. Orbit is mission control for your community, grow and measure your community across any platform with Orbit. Find out more at Orbit.love . Michele Hansen Hey, Colleen. Colleen Schnettler 0:15 Hey, Michele. Good morning. Michele Hansen 0:18 It's been a while. Colleen Schnettler 0:19 Oh, I know. I've missed your face. Michele Hansen 0:22 I've missed your face and your voice too. Colleen Schnettler 0:26 Yeah, I think we haven't recorded in almost a month now. Michele Hansen 0:29 Yeah. Colleen Schnettler 0:31 Crazy. Michele Hansen 0:32 It's been it's an every year in California now. Colleen Schnettler 0:35 Yes. Michele Hansen 0:37 And I guess we should catch people up. So the other day we were emailing about what time we should be recording since there is now a nine hour time difference between us. And it occurred to me as we were sort of trying to figure out scheduling and whatnot. I had this sort of thought for a moment of You know what, we've done this for almost a year. That's a really solid run. Like apparently, like, I think most 90% of podcasts only make it to like, what, three episodes or something like that. Maybe, maybe we've maybe we're done. Maybe we did what we did what we set out to do, and maybe we should walk out on a high note. Colleen Schnettler 1:21 Yeah. Michele Hansen 1:23 And then I said that to Mateus. And he was like, No, you can't stop the podcast, it's your thing. Colleen Schnettler 1:29 By the way, thank you. saving the day. It's funny, you should mention that, Michelle, because a lot has changed in my life in the past month. And I had a similar thought, but not because of the time zones more because I'm like, sick of hearing my voice. I feel like I've been, I feel like I get on this podcast every week. And I just complain about how hard it is to start a business. And I'm not actually doing anything. Like, I feel like I've lost my bias to action. Like you aren't doing things, I guess I don't know, I just like colleagues, just do the thing. Stop talking about doing the thing and just do the thing. Michele Hansen 2:08 It's so interesting that you listen back to it and you hear that you're not doing anything. When I feel like if you were to you know, I like I imagine you listen to some audio books on your long road trip from Virginia to I did California rather than listening through our entire catalogue. Colleen Schnettler 2:30 That would have been funny, though. Michele Hansen 2:32 Yeah, I imagine you celebrate our entire catalog. But I feel like I hear you did not have a side project going last summer. Like you spent the late summer in fall. And I guess it wasn't really until the fall you like decided to go all in on this. And then by December, right, you had something launchable. And you got it out there. You got into the training wheels phase of the Heroku marketplace. And then you were finally led out into the world in February. And last we spoke you were at like right, right around 1000. Mr. That sounds like a lot to me. Colleen Schnettler 3:19 When you say it like that sounds really great. Go me. I just feel like for the past couple months. And to be fair, I have been single parenting three kids separated from my spouse, right in a pandemic. So it's been a little crazy. But for the past three months, I feel like I've just gotten on, and we've been recording, and I'm just like, Oh, I want to do this thing. And you'll say something brilliant. And I'm like, Yeah, I should totally do that. And then it takes me like, a month to do something. Michele Hansen 3:47 But I think so make sense, given all of that. And maybe we should clarify that you were away from your spouse not separated. Like, Oh, right. That utilitarians? Yeah, Colleen Schnettler 3:56 totally separate. Yeah. Michele Hansen 3:57 But like you I feel like you have gotten so much done. But also I think what you're saying of kind of, you know, when you're working on a product, especially in the early days, I feel like it's very normal to kind of look at everything that has to be done and be like, Oh, my God, there is so much to be done. This product sucks. Why is anyone paying for it? I have so much to do. Is this ever going to be like a real business Never mind something that I'm proud of? How am I possibly going to get all of the time to do all of these things and like beating yourself up for not having all of that time because you are a human being that not only needs to sleep and eat but has other other real life commitments like child rearing. Like I think what you're saying is totally normal. Colleen Schnettler 4:50 Okay. Like I've been doing a lot of whining, like, Oh, it's hard to do these things or just shut up and do the Michele Hansen 4:59 way like, you know, People ever do acquire us and then and then people like you, and then you can go start a business, another business and I'm like, Yeah, dude, that's hard. Like I have one that works. Like, I don't want to do that again. It is hard. Colleen Schnettler 5:13 Oh, it's good to hear you say that. I just feel like I'm moving slowly. I think that's a better way to put it. I feel like I'm moving at glacial speed here. And it's a little frustrating. Michele Hansen 5:23 Yeah, of course it is. Colleen Schnettler 5:25 So speaking of having calls with people who want to acquire you, someone reached out to me, a small company that acquire small sasses. And we had a call. Oh. So that was very flattering, I guess is the right word. Hmm. I mean, I know that happens to you all the time. But it does not happen to me all the time. And he did not find out. He did not find out about me from the podcast, or any of the heat, even though I had a podcast, which is always funny when someone is like, Oh, I didn't even know that. He's like, what made you want to start the business? I was like, Oh, well, if you have 52 hours, you can go listen to my podcast. I didn't say it like that I was much more professional. Michele Hansen 6:09 So you could put it on to x, and it would be half of that. But Colleen Schnettler 6:15 I was pretty cool. To have someone reached out about buying the business. And just to kind of start the dialogue. We had a very casual, we did not talk valuation. We didn't talk specifics, but we did have a very casual chat. So that was kind of cool, I guess. Michele Hansen 6:32 But you're you're, you didn't leave that like committing to sell it to them? Like, are you gonna go there call with them? Colleen Schnettler 6:39 Yeah, so the plan is, I mean, I'm not commit, I didn't commit to anything. Okay. I feel like I should say that. We kind of did the get to know the situation chat. And let's have another call if you're interested in a couple months deal. Michele Hansen 6:56 And a couple months. Okay. But it's not like right now. Colleen Schnettler 7:00 No, there it was. It was no pressure. Like we were just, we were just you know, he flattered me, of course, like you were saying he's like, Oh, you know, you started this thing. I'm sure you're gonna start a lot of things. And I thought of you when he said that. Michele Hansen 7:16 And you'd be like, No, actually, I am a one trick pony. Colleen Schnettler 7:21 Yeah, I think it was a good call. But yeah, I think well, it was kind of a Hey, let's talk again in a couple months if if you're interested. So Michele Hansen 7:30 I don't I mean, you know, investors are playing the long game, right? Like, Colleen Schnettler 7:33 yeah, Michele Hansen 7:34 I know. There's some investors who've been trying to court me for a while, you know, God, oh, for years, like, and I mean, so yeah, they'll wait a couple months. And have you ever isn't, there's a book about was it like, built? Built to Sell? Right, like, Colleen Schnettler 7:51 yeah, I listened to that in the car. I didn't listen to all of it, because it's very long, but I listened. I got started on it in the car. Michele Hansen 7:57 Yeah. Did you also listen to never split the difference? Colleen Schnettler 8:00 No, I listened to April Dunford book. Oh, about positioning. Obviously. Awesome. Michele Hansen 8:08 Yes. Yeah. The one. Was it? Awesome. Colleen Schnettler 8:11 Yeah. I mean, I think you know, her book is aimed at a wider range. It's not specifically focused on single person sasses. But I really think the thing I drew out of her book and Harvard's book, what I forget what it's called, that's embarrassing. But um, it's like building to sell or something was zero to sold, thank you zero to sold was the importance of niching down. And so my focus, what I took from both of those books was I need to niche down, I need to position myself properly. And to do that. I'm going to focus on the Heroku marketplace. Michele Hansen 8:45 Mm hmm. Colleen Schnettler 8:47 So yeah, I enjoyed both of it. Yeah. I enjoyed them both. Michele Hansen 8:50 It was good. Maybe I feel like we've probably unfairly built up some suspense at this point. So first of all, we are continuing with the podcast times. Oh, yeah. Colleen feelings about not getting enough. Done. aside. We are continuing. So if you have been sitting there worried that this is the last one, you're not. We are continuing. And Colleen, Colleen says has not been acquired yet. Right? Colleen Schnettler 9:15 did sell it? Do you get asked? Do we have any other news Michele Hansen 9:19 updates that we should bring people here? Colleen Schnettler 9:22 While I'm up ending everything in my life. I do have some other things to say. Oh, so the reason, obviously, during this podcast I love and I love talking to you every week, as we've discussed before, even if no one listened. But the other thing is when we started this podcast, when I was trying to get this ass off the ground and I just was hitting every roadblock imaginable. This podcast kept me accountable. So since I'm kind of feeling that, like, I'm not progressing, I'm going to start kind of using this podcast to keep me accountable again, like this week, I'm going to do this thing. So that's something I want to kind of be more actionable on what I'm trying to do to keep Moving this business forward. Oh, yeah. So, so I did other thing. So I took a full time job. Oh, that's right. That's a big, it's a big update, which is so counterintuitive for like, indie hackers, because usually hear people like their goal is to get out of their full time job and get into consulting. So they'll have more time to work on their side projects, I found for myself, that was different, because I was getting really high value clients, and they're wonderful, but they're intense. So what I was finding was the intensity of the mental energy and space I needed to fulfill my client's needs was not leaving me with a lot of extra brain space for simple file upload. So the job I took is actually a company I've worked for before as a contractor a couple years ago, and I negotiated Fridays off, so I have a full time job, but I only work four days a week. So I'm hoping I can use those Fridays, to work on simple file, upload and be able to kind of give that my full brain space on Fridays. Michele Hansen 11:18 That makes sense. That's nice that you got Friday's off. Colleen Schnettler 11:21 Yeah, it's weird being in a W two. I know everyone's not in the US. I shouldn't say w two. It's weird to be back in a full time job, though. Like It Is it? It's just weird. It feels so because I haven't done it in cash, like 10 years, no, eight years. So it feels weird. But I know that I know the team. I know the guys, I know the product. So it's not it's not like that starting a new job stress. It's more just like slotting myself in and, you know, adjusting to the way they work and things like that. But yeah, it's still kind of weird, because I haven't done it in a long time. Michele Hansen 11:57 Do you feel like you're gonna, like now have more of that, like mental space for those Fridays? Colleen Schnettler 12:05 I think so Michelle, and I think so because the work isn't the work at my full time job is interesting. But it's not super high intensity, if that makes sense. So I think it's going to be just the right level of work to kind of, you know, give me some spare cycles, like spare brain cycles to work on my own stuff. And I found that just I know, the dream of some people, like I told a few people, and they were like, Oh, my gosh, why would you do that? Because I know the dream for most people is to quit their full time job and go into a more of a consulting contract role. But for me, I found like I said that it was just the clients I were getting, I was getting, we're just real high intensity. So it wasn't like, Oh, I'm just gonna work 30 hours a week, like that wasn't, they weren't real on board with that. And so although you know, you make more money, as an independent developer, I think the pace of this job is going to align better with my life goals. Michele Hansen 13:07 And, you know, I found that when I was working full time, like, or, I mean, I work full time now. But like, when I was working for other people, I don't know how to, like, say that, like, you know, when you're working in another company, inevitably, you have a lane. And maybe if you're in a really small company, you have multiple lanes, but like, you don't have the whole pool in the same way that you would as a as an entrepreneur. And I found for that, like those first couple of years, the fact that I was constrained to only, you know, a couple of different areas in my full time job was like, frustrating, but I could channel it into geocode do because all of the other stuff that I basically wasn't allowed to do at work and like, I would have ideas about things and would be like, well, that's this entire other department. And it would be like, like, you can't do anything about that. Like, I could channel that into geocode do and, and it like almost becoming this way of professionally expressing myself. Yeah, well, to get to do things that I couldn't do at work. And like that was exciting and motivating in its own right of like being able to feel like I was bringing everything I possibly could to the table. Like I had an outlet for that. Colleen Schnettler 14:28 Yep, that's exactly how I hope this falls out. Michele Hansen 14:32 We'll see it took the pressure off of the business to to be that like full time income. Colleen Schnettler 14:37 Yeah, and that's kind of nice, too. I think. Like I said, you know, you do make more as when you're independent, but the constant context switching, you know, a new client every six months to a year. It's kind of exhausting. Yeah. So yeah, so lots going on here. So hopefully, I have now arranged my life in a way that I will have some energy back to work on simple file upload, your, I Michele Hansen 15:09 think we've talked in the past about how people, like, I think I saw somebody made some graphic ones of like, this sort of hierarchy of, of work or products or whatever, you know, that starts at, like, the very bottom is, you know, working for another company as if, like, you know, having a tech job is like this terrible bottom of the barrel. And then and then you go become a consultant, and then you have an info product, and then you have a SaaS product, and then you have, I don't know, like, something with cryptokey, like, whatever they feel like is the is the, you know, this sort of golden shining, like, point at the top of this of this hierarchy. And I reject that, you know, you know, like, I have gone from SAS like to infoproducts now, but I think there is like a value judgment that happens for people who go from having their own indie products back to full time, or who skipped steps to like, right, like, we never did the info product, quote, unquote, phase like, it's fake, like, that's not actually a process that people have to follow. And if your life necessitates that, like right now, having a like a part time, SAS, and a full time job is like where you want to be, and that consulting isn't fitting in that, and you're going to just zigzag on down and go your own path. That's totally fine. Like, you don't have to follow the same path that you know, someone on Twitter follows, like, make your own path. It's okay, if you need to, you know, hop around a bit and make it work. Colleen Schnettler 16:56 Yeah, I totally agree. And it's interesting you say that, because I definitely struggled with some of those decisions. Like Wait, I'm not supposed to go back to full time work After establishing myself as an independent developer. And then I was like, Oh, wait, I can do whatever I want. Michele Hansen 17:12 Sweet. Yeah, you're an adult, you can do what you want, you can make the decisions that are the right for you. And it's, there's, yeah, there's like this, it's almost like people should be ashamed of having to go get a full time job as if it's sort of like admitting defeat. When, and I just, I just reject that. Like, I don't think that's true. Like you're making the best decision for you, you have, you know, it's It's for your own mental health, for your professional health, for that of your family, who you're providing for, like, all of those things are important considerations. And it doesn't matter what people on Twitter think, like, yeah, Colleen Schnettler 17:56 that I feel like I'm in a really good spot now. So I'm, I'm now geographically co located with my spouse, which sounds ridiculous, but that just means we're together again. Yeah, you know, so I got my husband back. I got my co parent back. I live in sunny San Diego, and I took this job. So it's a lot of change. Feeling like, so good. Michelle, and I'm so feeling like, like, I'm ready to kick some ass. Can I just say, I think you are. Yeah, so I'm super pumped about that. It's almost you know, and the other thing about this whole experience, success begets success, right? Like, it's like, as I've been building and public, and as I've been getting traction, things start to compound, like, I get this guy reaching out, and he wants to buy my SAS, like, I get random people on the internet sending me like really nice. Twitter DMS, just like that are like encouraging and telling me what a great man. I love that. Like, thanks, man. That's so nice. So I feel like this whole process compounds, but I think being visible, you know, I was talking to some people before I went on this call, because I didn't with the investor because I didn't know what to expect. And one person was like, Well, you know, you know, maybe you shouldn't tell him this. Or maybe you shouldn't tell him that. And I was like, I have a podcast, like everything about this company is like, public knowledge. And I know there's risks inherent in that, right. But I really think the benefit I have seen, especially as a social person has greatly greatly outshined the risks associated with that. Michele Hansen 19:40 I mean, I would say the same for writing the book too, like it never would have gotten to be a book had I not done the newsletter and been getting feedback and encouragement and comments and stories from people in that very early stage and even just now like literally just before we were recording, I was on a call with someone Whose company is in earnest capital, and they're starting to do their first customer interviews and they wanted some feedback on the scripts that they had made based on the ones and deploy empathy my book. And it was so like, it was so exciting talking to them about it. And and yeah. And then we ended up having this really great conversation about using customer interviews as a way to basically like fuel content generation, and SEO, which is basically is our marketing tactic. But yeah, I think being open about about it can be really, really inspiring in a way that like we, like, you know, we got feedback from people when we launched your codea. But they were like developer friends of ours. Like it wasn't, like, during that whole developing phase, like we actually really didn't we didn't kind of have this like community element, but I think I mean, I feel like we both definitely have now but for very different different reasons. Colleen Schnettler 21:06 Yeah. Speaking of the book, yeah, it's July How's it going? Um, Michele Hansen 21:16 um, so, so I finalized the copy like, two weeks ago, which was was just really good moment. Like I actually like I genuinely have not touched the copy in about two weeks. And but had some like really good progress on it, like I ended up sort of at the last minute getting to interview a product manager at stripe, about their customer research process. And so I like to include a ton of examples in the book from stripe, which was pretty awesome because their their process or how you might see it in a team because different teams might run it differently. was so validating because like they, they also very much take this sort of customer first perspective and have from the very beginning like the calls and brothers were doing support in the very beginning. And that's just continued throughout the company, and I think really explains why they're such a fantastic company to work with. But so I was able to include a ton of different examples from stripe in the book, but then I had to get it approved by stripe coms before it was published. Interesting. Yes, like that took some time. I mean, it's totally worth it. Like that took some time. And then I basically took a week off. And then now I've just kind of been working on the cover getting some reviews. Um, and then but I think the cover is basically done at this point. And now I just need to like upload the whole thing to Amazon and get a proof copy. And then after we do the proof copy, then we'll open it up. Wow, that's an aside, I think I don't think we talked about this, I did decide to do a private podcast as a presale for the audio book. Colleen Schnettler 23:14 No, we didn't talk about this. Um, Michele Hansen 23:16 yeah, I'm kind of I'm kind of excited about that. Um, I love podcasting, As you have noticed. Um, and again like the the idea of sitting down to record an entire audio book feels like slightly overwhelming but doing it as a podcast where I release a couple of chapters per week and there's a small group of people who are following along and you know, can give feedback or encouragement or whatnot is kind of exciting to me it is summer so that sort of makes it hard to get that like truly quiet time to record. And I don't have like I want to have a booth eventually. But and when we were eventually able to build a headquarters but we don't have shed said headquarters at the moment so apparently I can surround my desk and pillows. I was gonna try that out for a future episode and is everybody Colleen Schnettler 24:13 knows acoustic wall things too. Michele Hansen 24:15 Yeah, there are there's also like some like cage thing you can get for a microphone to help with it. But because mine is on a boom and not like mounted on the desk. It doesn't work as well, apparently. So I might do the pillow for it approach really like NPR reporters will do if they're in a hotel room. And yeah, but yeah, so I'm going to do a private podcast and I decided to give everyone who has done the presale By the way, like so far access to that private podcast as well. Okay, so yeah, so So everyone who has done the presale of the the PDF, ebook copy of the book, they get that and then all of the notion and Google Drive templates and then also the private podcast which you know, well costing more if you buy it after the pre sale closes, so I guess we help people when that ends. Colleen Schnettler 25:06 Yeah. Can you explain that I didn't follow. I didn't follow the pricing structure for that. So if you buy the book now on pre sale, yeah, you will get access to the private podcast. Michele Hansen 25:16 Well, so you I mean, you get the PDF of the book, or or, you know, there's other ebook versions. There's also actually an online version, too. It's not really written for that. But there Yeah, there's an online version as well. And then there's, there's Google Drive and notion templates, basically, to make it easy to like, copy the script and then, and then make your own version of it based on that. And then also give them access to the private podcast. That will be basically the presale of the audio book. So eventually, that will all all of those podcasts will get wrapped up into an audio book. Colleen Schnettler 25:57 Got it. Cool. Michele Hansen 25:59 Yeah, I think I guess I might do like a separate presale for that once this main presale ends. Like I feel like such an imposter using all these words, because like we don't do any of this was a little bit like, yeah, this Colleen Schnettler 26:15 isn't really my wheelhouse. Michele Hansen 26:16 But I yeah, I Oh, yeah, I Colleen Schnettler 26:18 buy. I often buy physical books and audio books. So I you know, I would buy things like April dumpers book, I have a physical copy. And I have the audio book. I do that a lot with a lot of books. And Michele Hansen 26:32 so what is the physical book do for you? Well, like how would you use them differently? Colleen Schnettler 26:37 I'm on Team physical book. Like, I always I hate I mean, I don't want to use hate. That's a strong word. I don't like books, I have to read on a tablet or on the computer. I want physical books. But I switched between them, which is a little weird. But like with with obviously awesome. I bought I bought the book, I started the book. And then I had the road trip. So I was like, Oh, well, I'll just listen to the rest of the book. And then I have both and it makes me happy. So you can like reference the physical book, write that for me, especially for business books for me. I've done the reverse to especially for your book, like I would probably be someone who would listen to your book, and then buy it. Because I like physical books for reference. But I like podcasts and audiobooks for what I'm trying to do other things. Michele Hansen 27:27 Sort of building the like general base of the knowledge and then once you know that, there's like something specific that was interesting, then you can go find it in the book. Colleen Schnettler 27:37 Exactly, exactly. So yeah, I do that frequently. I don't Michele Hansen 27:41 listen to audiobooks myself, because I find that I don't retain information as well. And I only read books on Kindle, if it's a book that I would never want to reference. So it's been like, it's been really interesting for me. Actually, when I when I interviewed the 30 odd early readers, this was one of the questions I asked them was like, so how does it like what did those two different things do for you, like walk me through the context when we when you would use them? Colleen Schnettler 28:12 Yeah. And of course you did. Good for you. So meta. Michele Hansen 28:19 Always. Colleen Schnettler 28:20 I did. I did try to use your customer interview techniques on the guy who was inquiring about my company? Yeah, yeah, yeah, I was just trying to kind of understand where he was coming from. So I think I did relatively well, Michele Hansen 28:33 Chris Voss and never split the difference talks about using empathy as a negotiation tactic. Like I referenced his book a ton in my book, because, you know, fundamentally, you want to understand where someone is coming from and why. So you understand, like, what, like, what they're trying to do. Yeah. And especially with an investor calls, like, you know, sometimes it could be someone who genuinely wants to invest in you, but like, you never know, if they're doing, you know, their own research for a company that they've already invested in, or they're doing right due diligence on a company they might invest in, and they're trying to talk to all the competitors, and get some sort of inside information. And so I mean, as you said, you, you didn't say anything that you hadn't already said in the podcast, which I think is really smart. And to get it, it's Oh, it's just smart to get them talking as much as possible and say, as little yourself as you can, even if this, you know, could end up being a hugely beneficial thing. And they could, you know, you could be totally aligned on interests like, but my I mean, my first step in any sort of negotiation, which this would be or is at this point, is to get them to talk as much as possible. Colleen Schnettler 29:48 Yeah, okay. Can we play one game before we get off this podcast? Sure. Let's say I want to sell my company someday for $3 million because Okay, I want to house in California. Okay, ridiculous. What? And I know, there's like a million things that go into valuation. But spitball? What kind of revenue? Do you need to even be in that ballpark? Michele Hansen 30:15 So it really depends, right? Like, I think the general multiples I've seen, which, you know, I like I'm not an expert in this at all. So I think I run into times revenue. There's probably somebody listening out there who actually like knows these numbers better than I do. But I think one and a half, two times revenue is pretty annual, maybe maybe up to an annual revenue of two times maybe for a small SAS like this. I did not plan to talk about that today. So I probably would have looked at those numbers first. But, um, but I think that's about the range. And no more than 5x, probably, annual revenue, and it really matters whether this is a like, is this a person who is acquiring the company to run it themselves? Is it a company that has a portfolio of small classes that they're running together? Or is it a strategic acquire, ie someone who is consolidating their market share, a strategic acquire will pay much more than the other two types of buyers? God? Colleen Schnettler 31:27 Okay, we'll talk in a couple years. My revenues ever $1.5 million, then you can advise me on that. Michele Hansen 31:38 Actually, you should just really hire somebody who advises people, right? If I can help you with negotiation strategies, but like, you know, SAS, you know, m&amp;a is not my whole area of expertise. hire somebody who knows what they're doing. Colleen Schnettler 31:55 All right. I'll check back in five years. We'll see. See him there. Michele Hansen 32:00 Oh, it's been good chatting with you again. Colleen Schnettler 32:02 Oh, so good to be back. Michele Hansen 32:04 I missed this. I did, too. Alrighty. Well, I'll talk to you next week. All right. Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Run With It

Automated Book Writing with Kenny Gould

Jul 16th — If you like the show, please leave a review on Apple Podcasts ! Nuggets: The next wave in creative domains is often defined by those who master the tech that disrupt what’s already being done Action Steps: Start by offering AI services that assist writers in tweaking their content (e.g. “overcome writer’s block!”) Then offer a contract to some of the best writers for a publishing contract Optimize not only the writing but also the marketing using AI resources Eventually transition to offering some content that is entirely AI generated. Links: www.kennygould.com https://www.instagram.com/hopcultureken The Brewing Cloud: A Book of Short Stories https://www.hopculture.com/ https://openai.com/ Opinion | Did a Human or a Computer Write This? https://booksby.ai/ https://nextglass.co/ <em>Kenny Gould is currently the Creative Director at Next Glass the company that bought his beer-loving culture brand, Hop Culture. He’s currently working on the Untappd Beer Festival at the Padres stadium in San Diego, which will be happening in October 2021.</em> Love a part of the show? Did we get something completely wrong? Let us know at [email protected]

Indie Hackers

#217 – How a Near-Death Experience Turned a VC-Backed Founder into a Bootstrapper with Kyle Gawly of Gravity

Jul 14th — Kyle Gawley (@kylegawley) was running a high-growth, venture-backed company when he ended up in the hospital partially due to all the pressure he was under. That experience led to some introspection, which I'll ask him about in this episode. We'll also talk about his new company, which he decided to build with a completely different approach to growth. Follow Kyle on Twitter: https://twitter.com/kylegawley Save three months by trying Gravity's SaaS boilerplates: https://usegravity.app/

Startup to Last

The thing about utopias is that they're not real

Jul 13th — Topics this week: Rick launched LegUpBenefits.com . We discuss Rick's new no-code tool: Outseta. Less Annoying CRM has a new developer starting next month. Tyler has refined his approach to writing internal documentation, and Rick makes a fantastic analogy. Tyler's co-founder/brother will be in town next week. Rick wants to keep practicing coding so his skills don't deteriorate. Rick is taking a break from podcasts. Tyler wants Rick's help to teach the coding fellows about no-code use cases. We discuss Rick's notes on Anything You Want which leads to a conversation about whether startup utopias are real.

Software Social

Growing an Early Stage SaaS: A Conversation with SavvyCal Founder Derrick Reimer

Jul 13th — Follow Derrick on Twitter: https://twitter.com/derrickreimer Check out SavvyCal (which Michele uses and loves, btw): https://savvycal.com/ Colleen Schnettler 0:00 This episode of Software Social is sponsored by Orbit. Orbit is mission control for your community. Grow and measure your community across any platform with Orbit. Find out more at orbit.love . Hello everyone and welcome back to the Software Social Podcast. I'm your host today Colleen Schnettler. Today I'm very excited to host a special guest, Derrick Reimer. Derrick is a serial maker and has successfully built many products. He's now building SavvyCal. Hey, Derrick, thanks so much for being here. I'm really happy to have you on today. Derrick Reimer 0:34 Thanks for having me. Yeah, I've been a fan of your guys's podcast since it came out and have enjoyed following along with your respective journeys, and especially as you've been getting simple file upload off the ground. It's pretty exciting stuff. Colleen Schnettler 0:47 So in a little bit of a change of the traditional podcast guest format, I actually invited you here because I want to talk about me instead of your product. You know, I would really like to talk to you because you are a technical founder. And I feel like you've done this five times now. Derrick Reimer 1:12 Something like that. Yeah, Colleen Schnettler 1:13 something like that. Quite a few companies. So I just kind of wanted to get your opinion on, like my product and my growth trajectory. And if this thing is gonna work, and I have so many questions like when to bail, right? Yeah. Derrick Reimer 1:30 Yeah, no, it's, it's good. I'm happy to dive into this stuff. I love kind of strategizing. And, and, you know, talking shop with with other folks. So yeah, happy to have to dive in on some of those questions. Colleen Schnettler 1:41 Awesome. So one of the things when I started simple file upload is I kind of made a lot of the mistakes, I think traditional or first time founders make in that I just built something I wanted to build. And I just wanted to ship a product, right? Like my first goal was literally make something that people could buy. And so that was like a really exciting time just learning how to create a piece of software I could sell to more than one person. Derrick Reimer 2:08 Hmm, I think I remember when you were kind of just getting started on this and kind of talking about it. And, you know, Michelle would grill you a little bit on like, well, you talk to customers. But if I recall, like you do have, like some this intuition for the need for this came out of your own experience a bit, right, which is like, yes, that can be a dangerous place to start. But it's also I feel like one of the more like, it kind of sets you off on a good foot. In one sense, if you have a really good understanding of kind of the the problem like you've felt the problem deeply yourself. And so I feel like you were starting, maybe you didn't do all the customer interviews right out of the gate, but like you sort of had this intuitive sense, like as a as a consultant, and you've built this stuff many times before that, like, Oh, this is kind of I'm spending repeated effort on this problem. And I'm seeing other people doing that, too. Is that is that kind of characterize? Like, how the genesis of it came about? Colleen Schnettler 3:07 Yes, definitely. Yeah. That's Yeah, that's really why I built it. And there's a lot of excitement in the beginning, right, just like getting your first product to market. And I think I made a really good choice to put it in the Heroku marketplace. And it seems to be meeting a need, I think I kind of Accidentally on Purpose found a hole, right? Because Heroku has the ephemeral file storage. So this is a problem. Literally, everyone who uses her Roku has, right. I don't really know, though. I mean, it's just fancy file storage. I don't really know, if it's a product that can even replace my job. Like, I don't know, if the How do I like even determine if it can get there? Derrick Reimer 3:56 Mm hmm. Well, I think so part of that is, so you're kind of speaking to like market size, like how many, you know, how many dollars are flowing through this industry of people wanting to to solve this problem. And I did, I did a little bit of like, just scoping around before coming on here because I wanted to do do a little bit of my homework and it seems like there are quite a few, like, companies that there are kind of big name players like cloud Neri right that have sort of been around a while people use them for image storage like image manipulation or like optimization, right. But also like in looking at kind of their their marketing it seems like they're they've gone a little bit up market like they're they seem a little enterprise II to me from the looks of them, you know, like it's, I look at it as an as an independent software builder and I don't know if I'm perfectly in the target market for your product, but like when I look at Cloud Neri To me, it's like this looks a little long in the tooth like they like it's not something I would want to jump into putting into my stack because it looks a little bit too Little bit to enterprise. And like, like, I would want a fresher take on that. But it seems like it seems like there is there's a pretty decent sized market for, you know, file storage, image storage, image manipulation, CDN, like putting things on CD ends, and like making that whole side of things smoother. So I guess like my initial take is like, I think there is something here. Now the question is, which we can kind of talk through more like, is there? Is it something you're interested in? Like, really going after, you know, and like, and? Yeah, but I think there's, I think there is something there. Colleen Schnettler 5:40 So what do you mean? Is it something I'm interested in really going after? Derrick Reimer 5:45 I guess, like, it's gonna take, I think you're at that point right now where like, you've got some initial traction, you're in the Heroku marketplace. And actually, it's, it's really cool. I looked, I just searched upload in the marketplace. And you're like, ranked number one or number two, which is pretty amazing. Right? Yeah, that's a really good. That's a really good spot to be in. I was I was shocked that there was not more options there. Right? Yeah. Yeah, me too. And honestly, this is, this is a problem that I have, every time I build this app, I kind of go through this, this phase of like, relying on gravatar, only for avatars, because I don't want to build in the upload part. And then it's annoying. Yeah. And then like, gradually, I've gotten, I've actually pushed more and more towards just being on Heroku. And, like, I used to, like drip was on AWS and we just had like custom instances. So we already had s3 there. And it was sort of part of our tool chain already. But this time around, like I don't, I've been trying to stick to like a pure Heroku stack, keep things really simple. And it was definitely an awkward place when I needed to add this, like the ability for people to upload their own Avatar and like, Okay, so now I have to go like create an AWS account, like I ideally didn't want to do that. So I don't know. Yeah. all that to say like, it seems like there's a there's an interesting gap here. Now, it remains to be seen if there's a ton of people, you know, like me and like you who, who are like not wanting practically like not wanting to spin up a raw AWS account and start, like getting in there and manipulating buckets and doing all that kind of stuff. But I don't know, I think my intuitive sense is like, I think that there's, you know, and I mean, they're the risk is that, like, Heroku just steps in and solve this problem at some point. But I mean, they haven't been around a long time, and they still haven't done that. So I think, I think there's a, I think there's an opportunity. But I guess back to the original question, like what do I mean by Do you want to, like, really go deeper on this, I think it's like, it's gonna, it's gonna probably take figuring out some, like, we're experimenting with some, some repeatable, like, marketing channels and traction channels. And it's gonna require a bit of investment, and experimentation, and, and so it's gonna take time, potentially money, you can pull those different levers, you know, depending on, on which one you have more of, to play with, you know, but I think that's, that's kind of the point that a lot of a lot of like, first time founders, technical founders get to where it's like, you're really good at the, you know, building the the product. And so now it's like, applying energy towards the marketing side, and really trying to like, suss out what's going to work on that end. Because I think your product is is probably well poised to, to solve a real need. And it already is solving a need for 10s of customers. Hundreds of customers. 33. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Colleen Schnettler 8:47 Yeah, you know, and the thing about trying to learn marketing as a developer, it's like, I feel like I'm just throwing darts at a board. Like, maybe this'll work. Maybe this will work. I have no idea what I'm doing, which I guess is part of the process. Derrick Reimer 9:06 Right. Right. Right. I mean, that is, yeah, that is kind of what marketing is about. It's, it's a there's lots of channels. So I don't know if you're familiar with attraction, but I always bring this one up to founders. Have you have you? Okay, Colleen Schnettler 9:20 it's a client traction. Derrick Reimer 9:22 It's called traction by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Maris. It's been around a while, I think they've maybe revised it once or twice, but I have like a have an older copy sitting here. But it's basically like, Colleen Schnettler 9:32 it's literally on your desk. Yeah. Derrick Reimer 9:37 And because I this is one that I will just periodically revisit. And so because they start out with like, sort of running through this framework, they call it the bullseye framework. And it's sort of like it's just a little, a little exercise you can go through to sort of brainstorm each traction channel. They listen here and there's 19 different channels morality. PR and conventional PR search engine ads, social and display ads, SEO, content marketing. I won't list them all. But like, so they sort of start out the book with like, here's a brief description of each one, here's a framework for going through and brainstorming, you know, which ones do I think might work well for my product, and then, and then the rest of the book is sort of like going deeper on each one and how to think about like devising an experiment. So because like, I think I've done a little bit of, I just did a little bit of brainstorming ahead of this recording. And, you know, one idea I had was like, I feel like, there isn't like an SEO opportunity here. If people are, if people are really like me, and like you trying to like not go full in on like a manual setup with an s3 bucket for doing this. There might be some, there might be some some keywords that people are searching for typically, like, file uploads on Heroku, or something like that. And, you know, there's tooling you can use, like a traps or SEO, Moz, and a couple other ones that can give you some data on keywords like that. And so you can sort of, you know, you can, you can just do some research, some brainstorming, maybe make a spreadsheet, and then, and then kind of follow some of the advice in a book like this to kind of devise like, what's the minimal experiment, I could do produce maybe a couple pieces of content? And then see how see how that works? Without just saying like, yep, this is definitely what's going to work because you don't really know what's going to work until you actually experiment with it. Right? Colleen Schnettler 11:40 So I think I have a psychological block here. And I think my psychological block is I feel, I feel like it's my product is maybe not that great, because there's so much it doesn't do I mean, it does what it says it does, and it doesn't really well, right. But like, I don't know, if that's just like the developer in me, or like, no one has asked for these features. But like, there are certain features that it doesn't have, and it kind of like, makes me more a little bit uncomfortable almost trying to market it. When I can't offer those features. Is that weird? Derrick Reimer 12:19 That's a very common, I mean, that I've experienced that with every single product. I've had it talking to other founders. Yes. I mean, I think there's, I think the type of person who is likely to go on this journey, I think it's sort of a self selecting thing a little bit like there's, I think we tend to have this propensity to be be a little bit of a perfectionist about the products we make. And, and have a little bit of imposter syndrome to use the buzz word, you know, like feeling like, it's not, it's not as good as, as maybe we're making out to be I know, I've fallen in this trap. Many times of like, under marketing, or under selling what I've built. And when I've looked at other companies that are maybe founded by, like a non technical, like more sales type of person or something, they tend to, they tend to bias towards the opposite side, which is like, as soon as there's a little kernel of something built, it's like, let's sell, sell, sell. Yeah, and that's, that's not good, either. Like you want the product to truly match what you're selling. But I think I I'm hearing from you the same bias that I have, which is like, a natural tendency to, to undersell what you have, ultimately, like, it doesn't. Like, if it's solving a problem for people, then it is enough. It is enough, you know, and and so you have to be willing to, to push it and to market it. And believe me, if it's not, if it's not good enough for certain cases, you'll hear about it. Customers are very, very willing to to tell you when they think your stuff is not good. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Colleen Schnettler 14:04 Yeah. I think that has been like part of my problem is I'm just like, oh, but I should just and I know everyone does this, but it's still it's hard when it's your thing. Like, there's some personal I don't know, you know, wrapped up in that where you're like, oh, it doesn't do this thing. I literally was on a call with a guy the other day, and he was asking me about it. potential customer and like, I lead with that Derek. I was like, oh, but it doesn't resize. Oh, you can't sign it on the server. Like why did I do that? Derrick Reimer 14:33 Right? Yeah, I'm not funny. That's why I mean, I've found Same thing with with customer support. I don't know if you've experienced this at all. When people will write in, they'll ask, they'll ask about something that maybe we don't support right away. But there's like a, there's sort of a workaround, that's in my mind. It's like not in my engineering mind. It's like this is not a pure good solution. It's it's a hack. Right? Like Like you train a support person, because a lot of times I have struggled to like to be the one to tell, tell the person how to do the hack. Instead, I'm like, Nah, sorry, we can't support that. But we're working on it. And I remember this when we first unleashed like, we fully trained our, our support rep, or support rapid trip, and there were all kinds of things that people just needed to do workarounds for and he would just tell people like, yes, we can totally support this. Here's how you do it. And you know, it was a paragraph worth of like, you know, what I would consider to be a little bit of a hack, but really, it was just creative problem solving. And the customer was like, nine times out of 10. super thrilled. And they're like, yeah, thanks so much. This is awesome. So yeah, yeah. Colleen Schnettler 15:40 Okay. Okay. Yeah, I can see that. I am. Okay. So the product has been live for five months. And I'm at like, 1300 MRR, which it's hard to know where that falls in the world of good, bad, mediocre. It's growing, but it's growing slowly. And I just kind of feel like I don't know what to do next. Derrick Reimer 16:05 Sort of, it's growing right now off of primarily the Heroku marketplace. Is that right? Correct. Colleen Schnettler 16:11 Yeah, okay. Yeah. Okay. Derrick Reimer 16:14 Yeah. So, I mean, I don't know how much more it seems like you're like I had one one checklist on my on my bulleted list here about like to ask you about doing like kind of SEO specifically for the Heroku marketplace. Because this is this is sort of a thing like folks who have WordPress plugins, there are things you can do to to specifically, like optimize your, your plugin listing to increase the chances that someone will find you first. But then I like I searched upload and you came right up. So I think you're I feel like you're your SEO on this, like specific niche search engine, the Roku marketplace is actually really, really good. So I'm not sure yeah, I mean, it's it's it's someone else's platform. I don't off the top of my head, I don't know how much more you could really do. On that, besides potentially, like, you know, working on on messaging bear a little bit. Which is potentially something you could do I, I was curious. Just to hearing your words, like what do you feel like the primary pain point that you're solving for people is right now. And it was like, is it informed by your, your perception, from what you've heard from customers? A combination of both? Have you been surprised that other people have a different pain point than what you expected? I guess, kind of talk me through that a little bit. Colleen Schnettler 17:34 One of the interesting things here is, so to get on the Heroku marketplace, you have to make your app free, and you have to get 100 users. And so when I did that the people who were free would talk to me like they they had all kinds of stuff to say, now that I'm selling it. First of all, I can't get anyone to talk to me, which is super weird. But but so people who were talking to me more, it seems like it met that need of the storage, because if you have to set up a I mean, you know AWS Iam course, like so much involved because it's a direct upload, there's so much involved in setting up direct uploads in an application, so the people, I think it's doing what I intended it intended for to do, which is it extrapolates away, file, uploading to the cloud, and I am even backing it up, which I probably don't even need to do but but I like doing it makes me feel makes me sleep helps me sleep better. So I I'm actually saving your stuff on to two completely different storage providers. And that's such a problem on Heroku. Because of their file system, I don't think it's as big of a problem outside of Heroku. But one thing I did is I made it expensive. And I made it expensive because I figured like I looked at cloudberries pricing and I went like 75% below that. And so one thing I have thought of is to do like a cheaper model, because then people who just need avatars like you're not going to pay 35 bucks a month just for avatar storage, but maybe you'd pay 12 Derrick Reimer 19:20 I don't know. Yeah, I think it is pretty interesting. I mean, I think I would probably pay 30 What is it? What is your base price? 3535 35 Yeah, I would probably I don't know if that's too much, honestly. Especially Colleen Schnettler 19:42 successful people always tell me that they're like, it's not too much. Yeah, it's like a lot. Derrick Reimer 19:47 I mean, so potentially there's a it is interesting to think about kind of the the on ramp that people will have to to like kind of getting started Using your product, because I think like, for me, I'm running a SaaS application, I'm very, I'm very willing to just throw down $35 towards something that's a critical piece of, of hosting infrastructure. Like that's not a, that's not a big deal. But if I were, maybe if I were really early on and still, like vetting whether my product was actually going to work at all, I might be more hesitant. And this is something interesting, it's an interesting quality of your product in that, like, this decision is usually made decently far up front in the cycle of a product, right? Like, if someone's building something and, and at least uploading an avatar or some kind of some file of some kind from the user is like a key part of their application flow, then they have to make this decision pretty early on in the development cycle. And like now that, for example, now that I have my kind of avatar uploading thing sort of working, I say, sort of because I'm, I'm not doing because I'm technically channeling the bits through my Heroku instance, which is not ideal, like, if, if like someone, you know, if it's a big file, and it takes too long times out, it's like not, it's not very Colleen Schnettler 21:14 bullish. It's my judgment phase. steric, I'm just, ya Derrick Reimer 21:17 know, as you should. I, to me, this was like a, this was like, a quick and dirty, like, there's plenty of server side libraries that are built to to handle this. And so it was really easy, it was quick and easy. But I also know, like, it's not, you know, as soon as I let people upload, you know, bigger files, like a, like a big banner image, for instance, like, this is probably not going to work. And I'll have to revisit, like, making this even better, and perhaps pull your tool off the shelf. But I think, you know, if people, if people don't do what I did, and they do it the right way, from the get go the right way, meaning like something that will scale, then they're probably more likely to just to not, not pull that out and switch, like once, or twice a step. Colleen Schnettler 21:58 right about that. Yeah. Derrick Reimer 21:59 So the, the question becomes, like, how can you catch people earlier in the process, like, at the point where they're, their project is still nascent? I see, you have like, a seven day free trial. And I wonder if, I mean, just, here's, here's one idea, you know, is potentially, like, retooling this to be like a limited usage based trial instead, or like a, you know, free for development and you like, automap, you automatically delete the files after, you know, 36 hours or something like that. So that's a Colleen Schnettler 22:31 really good idea. Yeah, yeah. Derrick Reimer 22:34 I love that. It's like a sandbox environment where you can just, you're just paying for bandwidth, essentially, which is pretty cheap. And if it becomes a problem, Colleen Schnettler 22:42 you can always be a problem. Yeah, that's a great idea. Because then people, so the problem well, yeah, I'm gonna think about that. I like that idea. Like a sandbox mode omos, where everything, like you said, it's deleted every day or something. But then people could try it out and see if it was a good fit. Derrick Reimer 23:00 Yep. Yep. And then, and then potentially some kind. I mean, yeah. So the, you could have a cheaper tear. I'm still skeptical about this, because it's like, people just need to, I just believe people need to pay for critical pieces of their infrastructure. Like that shouldn't be a problem. But again, like since we sort of have to, you don't want that to become a something that prevents people from adopting your, your tool either. So so maybe it makes sense. I don't know if you've gotten any feedback from from customers so far, when you kind of were making that jump from like, the free to the requiring people to pay phase, but like, did you sense a lot of price sensitivity from people directly? Or is it more like in your own kind of? Colleen Schnettler 23:47 It's in my head? Yeah. I mean, I feel I have a couple people pay me $250 a month? Yeah. Yeah. Like that, like blew my mind. I wasn't even gonna make that tier because I was like, who's gonna pay that people are paying that? Derrick Reimer 23:59 So what what kind of customer is paying? What's their use case? Who's paying that on that tier? Are they individual product owners? Are they like a consultant? Who's doing a lot of projects? Or what is the the nature of their work look like? Colleen Schnettler 24:12 So I don't really know. Okay, that would be helpful information. Yeah, so I've got to get? Yeah, I don't really know. I'm still trying to set up some customer interviews with those folks to find out what their use cases. Derrick Reimer 24:28 Mm hmm. Even like, yeah, is it? Is it tough to see from there? I mean, if you just kind of look in your database, like, how many do they have a bunch of instance, a bunch of separate instances connected? Or like, do you have any kind of or is it just or literally on your end? Is it just like you're seeing buckets with files flowing into it? And it's kind of hard to tell what they're actually Yeah, Colleen Schnettler 24:48 I just have it set up. So what I can see is I can see the buckets with their files, okay, net, okay, which I actually haven't really even looked at, but that might, that might provide interesting information if I did that, yeah, at least. Yeah. Cuz. And so yeah, another question I sort of had is like is I think you've maybe talked about on here a little bit, but remind me like, are you? Are you primarily trying to market this towards, like consultants who are constantly starting new applications for clients? As opposed to like, individual operators? Yeah, that's it. So that's kind of part of part of where I am right now, too, right? Like, I'm trying to figure out who my ideal customer is. I thought it was people like me. And I have a couple consultants that I know that are using it. And it's cool, because they've signed up their clients, you know, on individual instances. So it's like, one person has given me several, you know, several accounts, right. But I don't like I thought that they would be my people, but I only have a couple of them. So there's a lot of people who are less experienced developers using it. And they're just trying to build something. It's not like no code, but like, kind of in a low code, but still using Heroku space. They're kind of trying to like, put pieces together to sell a product. So like, I've got like real estate companies and nail salons and people like that. And I actually have more of those people than I have consultants. So it seems like because it's setting up AWS is technically challenging. My supposition at this point is that I'm going for people who are who have a store or building a product, who don't want to spend the time or don't know how and don't care to spend, you know, three days learning how to use or setup AWS. Derrick Reimer 26:54 Mm hmm. That makes me think that like, I mean, no code is kind of a large, growing trend right now. Right? We're hearing this all the time. platforms like web flow. I don't know if webflow. I don't know much about them at all, unfortunately. But I know that they're super popular. And lots of people are using them to build things and sort of stitching together services. I don't know if that's, yeah, I wonder if your products, I feel like your product is in a is in a good spot for like, technical people who just want to who don't want to own the, the code that is responsible for doing the all the uploading and storage part, which I feel like that is a little bit different than people who are like, I literally don't write any code. Yeah, it's a different audience. You know, Colleen Schnettler 27:44 you're right. It is a different audience. And my people are developers, I've seen like, none of the people I have talked to don't write any code, like none of them are. Pure novotest. Yeah. Yeah, they have to have some kind of code knowledge. Right. Derrick Reimer 28:01 And so yeah, probably for that reason, I would probably put like, I would, I would maybe put a pin in the like, the no code piece. I think it would be hard to, to like market to both audiences at the same time, like, feels like a split focus a little bit. Colleen Schnettler 28:16 Yeah, no, you're right. And I have a job and a family. So like, I don't have, you know, stuff, right, I get stuff going on? Derrick Reimer 28:23 How much? How much time speaking of time, so like, How much time do you feel like you can, you're able to, to invest in, in this business on like a weekly basis. Colleen Schnettler 28:34 So that has been a roller coaster of adventure. But I am trying to, I'm working on arranging my schedule. So I have one full day a week to do simplify upload. Which still doesn't feel like a lot of time but like this last consulting client, I had, you know, consulting Did you consult before what did you do when you started drip? Were you full time were you? Derrick Reimer 29:00 Yeah, I actually haven't done a ton of consulting myself. I sort of hopped from like trying to start my own things to then working with Rob, my co founder of drip, like doing some like, part time contractor stuff with him. And then I kind of quickly moved into a full time with him. So I sort of skipped the consulting phase that a lot of a lot of us founders go through. Colleen Schnettler 29:20 But you had a full time job before that. I actually Derrick Reimer 29:23 was I was like, fresh out of college and living cheaply and nice, like competed in a startup competition and like 110 $1,000 one year that was like enough for my expenses. Yeah, basically, I was sort of just yeah, parlaying some savings and stuff like that. So it's sort of a funky little journey. Yeah. Colleen Schnettler 29:44 So you never had a full time job. Derrick Reimer 29:47 I didn't, I did. Actually, tail end of college. It was in a completely different industry. It was I was working for a small company that was selling landscape products to nurseries so It was like, it was a summer job. It was like a family friend, small business summer job turned into like a, I worked at it like full time tail end of college when I was thinking about getting an MBA. And it was actually some of the best work experience I had. Because, I mean, it's like, it's like brick and mortar business, like getting on the phone, calling truckers doing like handling, putting out fires, like in real time. It was pretty, it was pretty interesting, but not not in the tech industry. Colleen Schnettler 30:30 Wow. So you, so that so you've always been doing this as your career? building businesses? Derrick Reimer 30:38 Yeah, pretty much. But I started I mean, when I started out in when I was fresh out of college, and then trying to get stuff off the ground. I was, I was making all these classic mistakes. I was like, I was kind of a hobbyist developer, learning web development, started some things, never talked to a customer just like built a product and then was like, Oh, I need to actually think about marketing. So yes, I definitely like, like, went through school of hard knocks, learning those, learning those lessons the hard way until and I Colleen Schnettler 31:09 don't know if there's a different way to learn it. Right? Like, I don't know. I mean, we all okay, so like, I can use this example, this is my first product. And I had a million ideas before this, none of them got off the ground. And I don't know, sometimes, sometimes it feels like you just have to ship something like for your first product or the early days, like you just have to build something and ship something and then see what happens and then learn. learn this stuff as you go. Well, I Derrick Reimer 31:37 also think there's something to be said for like, especially in that early in those earlier days. For me, I was much younger, I had didn't have as many financial responsibilities. So it was a pretty low risk time for me, you know, but like, so yes, I didn't get a successful SAS app out of it. But I, what I did get was like a high degree of proficiency in Ruby on Rails, and learned a lot of like, what not to do more of what not to do than what to do camp in terms of like building a business. But that was still valuable experience that I took with me. And so even when, you know, I've built products that have not actually been commercially viable, like, yeah, building things, shipping things is still a valuable exercise. For sure. But I think I think that's not I don't think that's where you're at with this one. Honestly, I think this one is I mean, 1300 MRR, you you've proven it's, this is a, this is a business now, because you have customers, they're paying you. You've made it at least past that phase of like, Oh, no, did I build something that no one wants? So I think you're, yeah, I'm hearing in your voice that you're not sure if you've built something that like will actually that you could actually grow, I think you can grow this thing. I do think you can grow this thing. Colleen Schnettler 32:48 I mean that and for me, that's kind of like, what, that's what I'm really unsure about, like, you know, going from zero to 1000 makes it feel like a real business. But like 1000 to 10,000 is a whole different ballgame. Right? Like that's, that's a lot of money. I mean, so it Yeah, so that's kind of the like, man, can I grow this? Derrick Reimer 33:10 Well, the nice The beautiful thing about SAS though is it does compound right so so you have your you have a churn rate, we all have a churn rate. And but but they're definitely not churning out like, like, even if you stopped getting soft acquiring customers, he would still be kind of a slow progression down to zero, like these things, these things, that's why they have have this flywheel effect going. And so I mean, it kind of, you know, SAS fundamentals, you figure out where what your traffic channels are going to be, you go this is an oversimplification, but still like this is fundamentally what it is like you figure out what your traffic channels are going to be. And then you work on optimizing your conversion rate, top of the funnel to the next phase, all the way down to you know, trials, or what would have restructured all the way down to becoming a repeat paying customer. And provided you continue doing marketing activities that increase that top of funnel number of people coming to your website and trickling through like Plinko trickling through your funnel, you're gonna add customers, you know, each month, and before you know it, you know, you're gonna have 1000s of MRR 10s of 1000. Now, like that's kind of how these things grow, which is why I love SAS. Colleen Schnettler 34:21 Can we go back to something you said earlier that I didn't hone in on but I want to I want to revisit real quick. You said you don't think I could market to both the no code space and the Heroku space. So my reading between the end you're right like I only have one day a week and I'm still developing it's an act of development like their stuff it doesn't do yet that it needs to do. And and I read between the lines there but I just want to verbalize so I should focus on the Heroku people right because I own those keywords. Yeah, I Derrick Reimer 34:48 think so. I think okay, I would I would do is probably try to try to optimize the heck out of that and try to try to figure out now I know you're there. bummer. Is that like you get limited data from Heroku? I don't know. Yeah, Colleen Schnettler 35:03 that is really frustrating, by the way. Derrick Reimer 35:06 Yeah. I don't know if there's any, anything creative you could do to? Like, I would be curious how much traffic does your add on page get? Like? Do they share any kind of analytics like that? Colleen Schnettler 35:15 They do. So once a week, they they Oh, no, you know what? They allow me to add a Google snippet. Oh, Google Analytics snippet to the add ons page. So I do see the traffic I get there. Okay, so I don't see anything else. But like, I do see how many visitors I have? Derrick Reimer 35:33 Are you comfortable stating on air what the traffic number looks like? Colleen Schnettler 35:37 So I get, so I do weekly, weekly reports for myself for pageviews. So last week, I got 275 page views on the Heroku elements page. And I mean, I've no concept of that a lot. If that's a little like, I don't really know how you even valuate something like that? Well, Derrick Reimer 35:59 and it is. So it's, that's a small number, like in terms of like website traffic numbers, but but it is also like, presumably, it's pretty highly targeted, like these are people who they're searching in there specifically for a solution to this problem. So like, probably a view from Heroku is from the Heroku marketplace, like that is worth more, it's maybe worth I don't know, 10 times more than just a random like website visitor view, you know? Colleen Schnettler 36:26 Yeah. What does it tell you? If I'm getting 275 page of views a week, but I get on average, two new customers a week? What is that from that page? Does that right? What would you take from that information? Derrick Reimer 36:39 Um, so I, to me, that feels like potentially there's an opportunity to, to put some work into experiments experimenting with trying to optimize that a little bit. So it would be like, what's the kind of like, stuff you and Michelle talk about, you know, what's the? What's the language that's going to resonate the most with people? Can you you know, is there? I'm just kind of looking at your, your ad on page here. What does it do? Yes, some good images here. I like that file upload without maintaining infrastructure. That seems really good for what, for the hypothesis that we've discussed here on like, what people are really wanting, but I'd be curious, like, you know, if if, like, testing a different lead headline would potentially be a better hook? I don't know. Yeah. So I think there's some, I mean, it's, yeah, again, it's tricky, because you can't really do like a true A B test, the traffic is not traffic is not high enough, either, where you could do like a true like scientific split test. So it's gonna be a little bit more of like, just maybe a little bit of experimentation on on, kind of getting your tightening up positioning and all that kind of stuff. So I would maybe spend a little bit of time on, on playing with that. But, but aside from that, I'm not sure how much more you really have control over on this specific place. So then I would, I would probably start thinking about, I mean, still marketing to the same type of person who would be looking for this in the Heroku marketplace, but going outside of the Heroku marketplace. So right. You know, again, like I would I would kind of thumb through traction and see if see if anything jumps out as like, who I think I think that one might work for me. But like, I do think, you know, like, like, an example would be like, what if you wrote some guides on like, specifically targeting, like, keywords on uploading Heroku you know, like a guide called How to upload files in Heroku. And, and you could even funny that you could even, like, describe how to do it without using your product. And it would probably be like, it'd be a big old long article with a lot of details in it. That's, like, Oh, my gosh, is so terrible, then, like interspersed throughout you could be like, do you want to skip all this? Just click this button. You know, yeah. And, Colleen Schnettler 39:01 and, you know, I think as I I as a developer, like someone's content, like, we'll get me to buy their product, like I like the autoscaler I use I bought it because he had a such a great content piece on picking your dinos. I was like, Oh, this guy knows knows what's up, like, I'm gonna buy this. Yeah, so that's a great idea. Derrick Reimer 39:19 I like that. That makes that makes good sense. Um, have you this just came top of mind. Like, have you talked to anyone at Heroku By the way, like anyone in their sort of partnerships integrations? Colleen Schnettler 39:33 Yes. So they, they require you to talk to them in the beginning, but I don't have to talk to them anymore. Derrick Reimer 39:39 Okay. I'm curious if there's an opportunity to to potentially get featured somewhere like I don't know if they have a blog, a newsletter, kind of like a integrations highlight thing. I feel like you know, you're, you're one of the only people right now is actually filling this gap of like, uploads for their platform. So there might be an opportunity. I'm not sure what the name of this role would be just like somebody, somebody in the market on the marketing team or the content team or something, maybe go start with, like your kind of contacts that you initially had at at Heroku. But like, it seems like, I don't know, if you could get a newsletter feature from them. That would be Yeah, potentially really high value, or some kind of feature somewhere on their site. I'm not sure all the all the different ways they have to promote their integrations. But it's, I mean, it serves their their interest to, to, like promote this thing that's solving a problem that their customers have. So there might be like, a little co marketing opportunity there. Colleen Schnettler 40:42 Yeah. How do you decide how to split your time between your marketing efforts and your development efforts? Derrick Reimer 40:50 Yeah, that's a it's a tough problem. Because the context switching is, is it's pretty heavy. Like it's very different. Very different disciplines. I, I've experimented with sort of doing like, I don't know about I think everyone has their different like, way their brains work. For me. It's like I'm, I'm at my best in the morning. And then it's kind of all downhill from there. Colleen Schnettler 41:18 Like, I'm a morning morning work person. Yes, yeah. Derrick Reimer 41:20 So I used to, I used to do like, kind of slice the day up a little bit. And I would spend, and so naturally, I would spend my mornings on engineering stuff, and then kind of give the leftovers to marketing. And I found that was kind of hard to do. Like, for me, it didn't work that great. And usually, by the end of the day, I was sort of so burned out, like, if I was really good at my job in the morning, that just meant there was almost nothing left at the end of the day. So I struggled to make progress on that. So I've been a fan of, you know, trying to, like, use the Primetime for marketing on specific days, if I'm going to, if I'm really need to, like, do a heavy task, like write something or, or do like a lot of creative work on something some, some marketing tasks are just like, they're pretty rote. And you can just sort of slot them in wherever but other things, you know, require a lot of creative energy, right? And, yeah, coming up with with a plan or whatever. So I don't know, I I've, I've kind of liked doing sort of dedicating a day or two to that. But I think it kind of, I don't know, I've never I haven't come up with something very rigid for myself, like, like, Mondays are always gonna be marketing. It's just, there's, there's too many things changing all the time, too many dynamics and an early stage company that I haven't found, like for myself a rigid kind of cadence to work. But I do feel like trying to look at like, in the span of a week, how much did I invest into marketing and kind of have at least a gauge in my head on that, you know, if you go a week without investing anything into marketing, but then again, for you, you said one day a week, so maybe it's you might need to stretch that out and say, like, you know, one day on every other week, it's like, focus on marketing versus focus on product, like, that may be what you have to do. And that's perfectly fine. I Colleen Schnettler 43:17 tried to do so when I was trying, I was trying to do like marketing an hour every day. And like, I do it first thing when I was fresh, but like the context switching, oh my gosh, it was killing me because like, you get into a tat and then you know, job. So I'd like get into a task. And then it was like, oh, but now I have to stop mid in this task and like, do this other thing. It just yeah, it wasn't working. So I guess I'll just play around with that. But I like to maybe every other week or something because it takes me a while to like get into the marketing. mindset, ya know? Derrick Reimer 43:51 Yeah. Yeah. And honestly, like, the another area like I, I feel like your product is, is in a place where Obviously, these products are never done. There's always things to add, we all have roadmaps, but maybe I'll push you on this too, like you might need to spend like the next couple of weeks, for example, like really just thinking giving your best mental energy to kind of the marketing piece like, Alright, you're sort of at this place where like, I'm not sure what to do next. And that that might mean it's the time to, to, you know, set the product work aside for a little bit for a couple of weeks, even and kind of work through, you know, maybe working through this traction book or working through some other frameworks to kind of think about because yeah, it's it's hard to when you're just thinking about like, Okay, well, what should I What should I do to grow next, but you're only giving yourself like an hour or two. It's like, that's not enough time to really like, Alright, let's just we need you to like sit, sit back, open up your mind. Really just think for hours on this and it's hard to like, just sit sit down and like be like, I'm gonna think now for three hours straight. Like that doesn't work, obviously, but like giving yourself the room to just sort of Google around a bit and just kind of let your mind go free a little bit and sort of brainstorm and jot things down on a whiteboard or whatever works for you. And sort of think, like, marketing does require a fair amount of creativity, like just doing what works for other people blindly doesn't necessarily. It's not necessarily the most efficient path, like sometimes it requires like, like sitting back and trying to come up with those insights like, yeah, maybe a sandbox account or something like that, you know, like, yeah, and yeah, but you have to give yourself time to, to come up with those insights. Colleen Schnettler 45:41 Yeah, a little space, I see exactly what you mean, like you kind of have the space in your brain? Yeah. And so I do have one more question for you. So you've sold a few companies? How have you made the decision? And I know, there's gonna be a lot of like, personal goals, and etc, etc. But like, generally speaking, how do you identify when the right time to sell is for you? And for the business? Things like that? Derrick Reimer 46:07 Right. Yeah, so I've just talked through the things that I have sold like. So I started a product called code tree that I did kind of in tandem, when I was working at drip. And gradually, like, My role at drip sort of increased to the point where like, I became, like, I was fully invested fully in on this on this journey. So like, What started out as a side project, I was like, maybe this will be my next, my full time job. At some point, I'll kind of move on from drips like that, the dynamics of that relationship changed, I got more serious with my commitment to drip. So then I had like this product that was on the side that I wasn't really, that I didn't feel like I could really invest the time into. And I didn't have the motivation to like to work basically two jobs and like, do the nights and weekends thing. Like I was like, No, I'm not gonna do that. And so it was sort of just sitting on the side. And I determined like, I think, I think someone could grow this, I think this is still worth something. And since it was still growing a little bit, it hadn't, like, started to like, really contract and, and shrink. I was like, this is probably an optimal time for me to get it off my plate. Right. Okay. So that was one drip was obviously a much different situation. It was a fully scaled up applications. It was a strategic acquisition. And so that's sort of in a different in a different bucket. I feel like, Colleen Schnettler 47:30 Yeah, I think so. Derrick Reimer 47:32 I product that I started, kind of before savvy cow was called static kit. And it was like a tool, toolkit of products for static site builders, and I just never really never really got good traction with that. And so that one was like, Okay, I was sort of, out of ideas and motivation on how to grow it. And I was ready to move on to something else. And so I ended up selling that one, because it's like, well, if if I happen to have a competitor, and I felt like they were kind of moving in that similar direction, and maybe it would be worth something to them to, like, have a little a little jumpstart on some, some of this some of the code that I wrote. So that worked out. So it's sort of been like, yeah, the times I've sold things, it's like, it's either not a good fit with my, with my goals in my life anymore. Yeah, or I feel like it's, it's better to capture it, harvest the value now and like cash out now, as opposed to like, continuing to try to try to move it forward. Colleen Schnettler 48:34 I don't know if this was your intention, but like, I'm feeling super pumped right now. Like, this feels like part advice, podcast part, like pep talk. Yeah. Like, the fact that that, you know, I just think some of the things we talked about, like seeing a path forward is is really great, because I have found through this whole journey, if you will, a lot of it just seems to be like managing my own psychology. Like, Oh, can I do this? Is this gonna work? Like Yeah, but epic failure. There's just so much of this like, like cyclical, like, Oh my gosh, I'm brilliant. I came up with the most, you know, amazing thing ever to be like, no one wants this. It's terrible. So, you know, I've really, I've really found that to be interesting, very different from like, working a traditional job is like, there's a lot of, like, personal you know, you know, personal stuff wrapped up starting a business. Derrick Reimer 49:27 Yep. Yeah. No, totally. I mean, that's kind of the whole name of the game, honestly. And I don't have any great answers on how to manage that. Because it's, I mean, I feel like probably every founder is kind of in the same in the same boat on this one. And it's like, yeah, that's that's a tough one to solve. But having these kinds of conversations is good. I think, you know, like being, getting getting outside perspectives and talking stuff through doing your weekly podcast. That's all hopefully helpful in that Staying sane. Colleen Schnettler 50:02 That's amazing. Thank you so much, Derek for coming in today. I had a wonderful time talking to you. Obviously we ran a little bit long, but like this conversation was super valuable for me. So I really appreciate it. Derrick Reimer 50:15 You're welcome. I love talking through this stuff. So happy to happy to do it. Colleen Schnettler 50:19 So that's going to wrap up this week's episode of the software social podcast, you can check out Derek's product savvy cow and please let us know what you think we love it. If you enjoyed the show, if you would leave us an iTunes review Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Run With It

Opening the Door to Enterprise Sales with Clint Lotz

Jul 8th — If you like the show, please leave a review on Apple Podcasts ! Nuggets: If you are entering an industry with long sales cycles, hiring a salesperson with experience and relationships in the industry can move you forward a lot quicker. You can leverage already approved cloud service agreements to short circuit the enterprise sales process Action Steps: You have a few avenues to pursue and each has its own first steps; Start creating your own pre-recorded training content and posting to YouTube Become a consultant (similar to what Zoom already offers) Start engaging with larger companies and be willing to endure a longer sales cycle (5-12 months) Regardless of your starting point, you’ll probably want to ultimately sell services to larger companies and work towards understanding and integrating more deeply with their needs. Once you are integrating with large companies, focus on beating their existing content. It will need to be less boring than competitors but also make sure that it’s boring enough to fit within company standards. Links: TrackStar.ai – Predictive Credit Technology A World Without Email: Reimagining Work in an Age of Communication Overload The State of Video Conferencing in 2020 [50 Statistics] Zoom Online Event Consulting Services Requests for Startups <em>Clint Lotz is the founder of TrackStar.ai which Provides Machine Learning Technology to Lenders that Uncovers Future Borrowing Patterns Within Their Existing Data leading them to untapped revenue opportunities.</em> Love a part of the show? Did we get something completely wrong? Let us know at [email protected]

Indie Hackers

#216 – The "Hardcore Year" Approach to $10k/Month in Revenue with Andrey Azimov of Sheet2Site

Jul 7th — In this episode I talk to Andrey Azimov (@andreyazimov) about moving to Bali with a $3K runway and launching his "Hardcore Year." I'll ask him about the projects he launched to reach $10K MRR. Follow Andrey's journey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andreyazimov Check out his personal site: https://www.andreyazimov.com/ Create a website from a spreadsheet: https://www.sheet2site.com/

Startup to Last

Sharing profit with employees

Jul 6th — Topics this week: Rick took some time off, but is wondering if he earned it. Tyler wrote five blog posts in one day, and wonders if this should be the new approach to blogging. Rick decided to wait for Memberstack updates before taking on a coding project he was planning. Rick is using Outseta for his next technical project to diversify away from Memberstack. He plans to have the done in the next week. Rick is still waiting to decide how to handle the API vendor that closed down his account. Tyler is diving into design and is interested in improving his skills. Tyler has found a couple promising use cases for his new iPad which he mostly hates. The big topic for this week: What are ways a company can fairly share profits with employees? Specifically, is it better to pay current employees more, or hire more people to spread the wealth around.

Software Social

Shutting Down and Opening Up: A Conversation with Marie Poulin, Creator of Notion Mastery

Jul 6th — Pre-order Michele's book on talking to customers! https://deployempathy.com/order Marie's course, Notion Mastery: https://notionmastery.com/ Marie's Twitter: https://twitter.com/mariepoulin Marie's YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKvnOhqTeEgdNt1aJB5mVng Marie's Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mariepoulin/ Michele Hansen 00:00 Welcome back to Software Social. This episode is sponsored by Approximated . If you need to connect custom user domains to your app, Approximated can help. It can route any domain or subdomain to any application, all easily managed with a simple API or web dashboard. You can have unlimited connected domains automatically secured with SSL certificates for one flat rate. Website builders, communities and marketplaces all happily use Approximated every day to manage thousands of custom domains for their users. And it was built by an indie founder just like you, so every support request is handled by a developer who will personally help you out. Head over to Approximated.app today and mention Software Social when you sign up to get an extra month for free. Michele Hansen Hey, welcome back to Software Social. We have another guest with us this week. I am so excited to have my friend, Marie Poulin, here today. She is the creator of Notion Mastery, which is this amazing Notion course that has over 1200 students, averaging $45,000 MRR. Pretty amazing business that she has built up. Welcome to Software Social, Marie. Marie Poulin 01:18 Thank you so much for having me. I'm excited to chat. Michele Hansen 01:21 So um, people listening may know you from all of your YouTube videos and courses with Notion, which have been crazy successful, and only, only, since October 2019, since you launched it, but I actually want to talk about something else. So you had another business, a course business called Doki, and actually, the last time I spoke, like, like, like, actually spoke with you like, internet friend is so funny. Like, I feel like I talk to you all the time, but actually, like talk to you, talk to you, was you and your husband, Ben, were thinking about what to do with Doki and whether you should sell it or shut it down. Marie Poulin 02:15 Yes, and you very kindly reached out with some suggestions on how we might handle that. And it, it sort of wasn't, I don't want to say it wasn't our passion anymore, but yeah, you know, Ben got offered a full time gig. So for anybody listening, my husband and I teamed up back in 2014 to, to run our company together. We built a software and we ran it for I mean, five-ish years or so, and I think neither one of us was, it was definitely our first software project. And it was that build a giant software project that does all of the things and, you know, kind of wishing that we had done something smaller when we learned about the whole software building all of the different pieces. And so when we first went to MicroCon, that was, it was just so eye opening how many things we had done wrong, and it was it was a really wonderful learning experience. But I think it kind of showed us that there were parts of that, that just, I don't know that either of us was super excited to go 100% all in on it. I liked the working with people side of online courses and actually shipping and working on their websites, and just all of, all the other pieces of it other than the software. And so the burden was really on Ben to build all the features and do customer support, and, you know, he was pretty much like the solo founder handling all of those parts of the software, and I was handling more of the consulting side of it. And it was a huge burden on him. It was huge. And so when he got offered a full time job, it was a chance for him to step into more of a leadership role, be challenged, be working with other people, and it just, he really flourished. And I think it was something he was missing. Like, when you're a solo founder, you're just, you know, you're wearing every single hat. You're making all the decisions. And if you're bumping up against stuff you've never seen, it's pretty tough. It's a tough life to be, to be solo founder. So I was really encouraging him to, to kind of explore this new venture, but it sort of meant that Doki got left in the dust a little bit. And so we kind of took our foot off the gas, and just in this year in January 2021 we decided what if we just kind of shut down signups and, and just kind of let it do its thing and just kind of keep supporting the clients that were still using it, more like our consulting clients and not really market at widely. And so we did and I was like, how do you feel about this? And he's like, oh, I feel I feel so relieved. And I think that was really important that it didn't feel sad. It didn't feel like oh no, we're shutting this thing down. Like he felt like no, this is a chapter of my life that was great. And now it's over. So it's been a journey. Michele Hansen 04:54 So, I mean on, you know, on this podcast, you know, we talk a lot about like, getting a SaaS off of the ground, or I guess, in my case now, like, getting an info product off the ground, and then also running those companies. But there's this other phase of it, which is exiting, and sometimes exiting means selling a company, or, you know, being acquihired by someone, or it means shutting it down. And I'm wondering if you can kind of talk through that a little bit about how you guys decided to sunset it, rather than sell it. Marie Poulin 05:37 Yeah, because we had gone through this conversation back and forth. And we even had, you know, several people who had made offers to buy, and it felt actually pretty close, like, that was something we were really seriously considering. And again, you're, it was just really, really valuable to get your, your insights on that, and to have somebody that, you know, not attached to it just kind of as an outsider giving us perspective on that. And so we, we had some meetings, and we definitely considered it, and I think the burden of what would have needed to happen to be able to make that handoff happen in a way, such that it could actually be successful for those who are taking it over, felt too big for Ben. I think it was, again, given that his attention was elsewhere, it there was just such a cognitive load associated with all of that cleanup work, and just, just kind of the whole process of that transition. And it's possible that it may not have actually been that much work. It's kind of hard to know, in hindsight, but I think the anticipation of that, and just, you know, when Ben does something, he wants to do it properly, and he wouldn't have felt good, I think to just kind of pass it off as is knowing how much legacy work needed to be rebuilt. And he, he just didn't feel comfortable with it. And I was like, you know, I don't know this stuff as well as you do. And if you feel really confident and happy to just kind of say, you know, what, we're totally cool to just, like, the, the amount just kind of doesn't match up with, with what it would be worth to do that work, and how much extra time it would have taken him outside of his full time job. It just, it didn't feel like it was quite worth it to do that investment of the work. So that was a decision I sort of felt it was kind of up to them to make as a burden was really on him, and I think he felt a huge relief, honestly, even just like taking the signup off of the site. And just realizing, like, our business has gone in such a different direction, and it's okay to say goodbye to this chapter, and so it felt good. And I think that was really important is can we stand behind this decision? Does it feel good? Does it release a certain, you know, energetic burden, and it really did, and so that we felt good at the end of the day, for us that, that was the right decision. Michele Hansen 07:44 I'm struck by how much respect I hear in that. You know, there's the respect that you have for Ben, that this was something that he knew really well and what like, had, you know, that, that, that transition work would have been on on him and your respect for that. And then his and also sort of both of your respect for your emotions, and recognizing those as valid and worth prioritizing, and, because I think some people say, oh, well, I'll, you know, get a lot of money from this. So you know, screw my feelings, like, you know, just have to suck it up, suck it up and do it. Like, I mean, the the market for even small SaaS companies like Doki, like, like, just for content, like, how much was Doki, like, making when you decided to shut it down? I mean, Ben would certainly have a better sense of the numbers at that point that we made the decision. I mean, certainly the pandemic did have a big impact. And we'd already kind of stopped doing any new feature development, even maybe the year before the pandemic hit. So I would say, you know, at its height, maybe $50,000 in a year. So we had some months that were like 4k, maybe 5k, and so by the time we shut it down, it was like 2500 to 2000. Like, nothing to sneeze at in terms of it was very low maintenance and, you know, covers our mortgage and expensive, like, that's awesome. But there is that mental load that's required there that you're kind of always thinking about that uptime, or you're thinking about how long, how long can we go not adding any features and not doing anything to really kind of improve or support or even do any marketing. So in some ways, it sort of felt like there was a time limit on how long we could get away with just, just letting it kind of simmer in the, in the background and not give it its full attention, and so it didn't feel good in that way that it it did have this sort of energetic burdensome feeling, and so respect is is absolutely huge. Like, you know, both Ben and I are incredibly autonomous. Like, we have always kind of worked almost like two separate founders under the same brand umbrella. So even when we partnered up, we still very much had our own projects, our own clients, and there's a lot of trust there with like, Ben and I are very different people, very different types of projects, very different things that light us up. And so, you know, Ben has higher anxiety than I do, and when we first launched Doki, I know the feeling of always being on and having to answer those customer support questions, and I think it takes a bigger toll on him than, than it might other people. And so that has to be factored in, like, what's the point of building these, like, software and these businesses that support our lives when it's just adding to our daily stress? Like, that's, that's not the point, right? So I think for both of us, it does really matter. Like, what kind of life are we building for ourselves? And if, are we building something that just feels like another job, but we just kind of built our own jail? Like, that's, that's not really fun. So I think we have a lot of understanding and respect for, yeah, what kind of life are we building, and ideally reducing stress and not adding to it so that, that was really important to me that he felt really good about that enclosure and didn't feel like oh, this was a failure, or, you know, it didn't go the way we wanted. For me, I'm like, holy crap, we learned an epic crap ton. You know, we just, it was just absolute, you know, entrepreneurship school on steroids. Like, you know, you just learned so many different parts from your customer research and the technical capacity and all the decisions that once you've done it once, and then it's almost too late, like, the wheels are in motion, and you've already, there's already, like, technical debt as soon as you started. It's a wonderful learning opportunity, and part of us wishes we'd tried it on something small, but my gosh, the learning has been incredible. So I don't, I don't regret any of it, and I don't think he does, either. It's the reason he has the job that he does now. It, he's, he's just like, both of us, I think are just highly skilled people that are going to adapt whatever happens like okay, cool. That was an awesome chapter. Next. What's next, you know. You guys are incredibly emotionally intelligent and atuned, and, I mean, yeah, I mean, that you take that kind of focus is really, I think, remarkable and really commendable. And, you know, so after we had we had talked last fall, I guess, you guys were still kind of, you were unclear on whether you were going to shut it down or you were going to sell it, and I just tweeted out if anybody was interested in buying a SaaS, I think I said it had like 2.4k MRR. And I got so many messages after that, but I actually just got another one last week, and I got one, like, three months ago, like, the market for really, like really tiny SaaS companies is just, just bonkers. And I think it's so amazing that you prioritized how, like, not just the money, but how you felt about it. Now, of course that the notion courses making 45,000 a month and Ben has a full time job, like, that sort of makes it a little bit easier to make decisions that are not just guided by the financials, I imagine. Marie Poulin 13:16 Definitely. That's true. Yeah. Yeah, I'm sure that, that was a part of it was just, okay, we're not we don't have to make a purely financial decision right now, so what's going to feel, yeah, what's gonna feel the best? And I guess, yeah, I guess they didn't realize that maybe not everybody is as driven that way, but I'm definitely a very feelings driven person, and I know, we've talked about this a little bit with, with the sort of, you know, likely being an ADD or ADHD founder, and just, I didn't realize before, I think, how much of my decision making around how I've shaped my business has been, like, I've talked about it in terms of alignment and, you know, values-driven and that sort of thing. But I think part of it is I cannot muster up the energy to do stuff I'm not super freakin' stoked about. So I do kind of factor that into all my decisions. Like, I'm never going to design services that I'm going to be resentful of as soon as I'm designing them. It's like, if I already know I'm going to be resentful doing all these calls, like, I just cannot make that, that service available. So I do think I've gotten pretty tuned into like, alright, what's the stuff that lights me up, and how do I craft my offers so that I can be totally shining and excited about them? Because that, that's just, I guess, how I move through the world. Michele Hansen 14:34 It seems like you combine this incredible self-awareness about what energizes you and prioritizing what energizes you with this huge sense of responsibility for the users of what you have created. Marie Poulin 14:54 Yeah, I'd like, I'd like to think so. I mean, you know, one of the things that happened when we first launched Doki, was that people were signing up for it, and then they weren't shipping. Right? It's like anything now, like the time that it takes to actually launch a course, and I know you've had, you know, episodes with Colleen about this of just what it really takes to really grow an online course and actually make it a sustainable living. And so people would, would sign up thinking the tech was gonna solve that for them, and they're all, like, ready to go, and they they pick the technology well before they have their content created. And it didn't feel good that there were people paying us a monthly thing and they had never shipped a course yet. So, the first thing I did was like, well, we need to get people shipping faster, how do I do this? And I ended up creating a course that was run your learning launch that was trying to get people to like, get the shitty first draft of your course out as soon as possible, right. Like, co-create it with people. I'm a huge, huge believer, in co-creating products with your people. They are going to tell you what they want, they tell you what they need, and then the words that they use in those sessions, in those live calls that you're doing with people, that's exactly what shapes your, your sales pages and stuff. So I, I'm just a big fan of working with people on this stuff, and not just, you know, working in secret for six months building a thing, and then you know, putting it out into the world. Like, we know that it just it just doesn't work that way. So yeah, I think I do carry a huge, huge respect for, for the users that are signing up for my thing. It is a responsibility I do not take lightly. And so even right now with, with the course, I've been working for six months on the new curriculum. It's like, where can I look at all the places that people are stumbling, and maybe we overwhelm new, new people that are coming in like going, oh, my gosh, this course is so big, and then they get scared, and they run away and then they don't complete the course. Like, it does matter to me not just that they complete it, but they actually do experience some kind of transformation through that process. So like, how can I improve the learning outcomes? How can I design this better? I can't help myself, like maybe that's partly a bit of perfectionism. But it's like, I want this to be a really epic experience for them and be really memorable. And, in a way, that's my marketing, right? It's like other people sharing with other people, their experience of the course. To me that feels way better, and way easier than like, chucking a bunch of money into ads and just like getting it in front of people. It's like, no, I want the users to be so excited about it, that they are shouting it from the rooftops and getting people in the door. So yeah, that matters for sure. Michele Hansen 17:20 It's so interesting, you're talking about like, building collaboratively with people, and, you know, I like I'm a huge advocate of talking to people and talking to customers, but I never really built in public, so to speak, until a couple of months ago, when I was writing my book. And you know, to what you said about, you know, getting early feedback from people and building it with them, that, that has been an incredibly, like, a transformative experience. And it's, it's really remarkable when you combine that combination of, as you said, something that you are super stoked about with other people who are stoked about it, like, you know, like to kind of, you know, talk a little bit about being like, you know, ADHD founder. So like, for so for, just to give us sort of a little bit of context. So like, I was diagnosed with ADD at 11, which I guess they don't diagnose people with anymore, because apparently, like, they were only diagnosing girls with it, or something. So now everything is all under ADHD. And you sort of are recently exploring, like, whether you're ADHD, and so but like, on this, this combination of, you know, working on something you're really passionate about, and then in the course of working on it in public, finding other people who are really passionate about it, who help you improve it, like, I feel like that puts my hyper focus in this insane overdrive. Marie Poulin 18:54 Yeah. How do you how do you control that? I'm so, I'm so curious kind of what your, Michele Hansen 18:58 I don't. I, yesterday, I was so annoyed that I had to stop working and make dinner. I was like, can't I just work for like, 48 hours straight, like, and, which is, like, not, like, I, like, my work life balance is a lot better than it used to be like, but I just like it's so, it's, like, painful when I'm really interested in something because it's like, yesterday, I was like, working on the book, like and it was just I was so, like, so fired up about what I was working on. And then I was like, okay, actually, like, we need to, we need to eat. Like, and I have you know, we have a family and like, my husband was mowing the lawn and like, you know, so I was like, okay, I need to like go to the grocery store like, I need to shift gears, but like, the whole time I was there like, you know, yes, I bought like lettuce and yogurt and whatever else we needed, but like, my brain was still like, writing. Marie Poulin 19:48 Somewhere else. Michele Hansen 19:49 Like, my brain like, was writing and I think, you know, to what you said about how you and Ben work very like, autonomously, like, Mathias and I work together for the most part, and I think this gets frustrating sometimes when I'm still thinking about something else, but I don't give any, like, outward signals of that. I'm just like, a little bit quiet. And like, he like, talks to me and like, I just don't know, Marie Poulin 20:12 You're nodding and say you're listening, but you're writing in your head. Yeah. Michele Hansen 20:14 Yeah. Like, I don't even acknowledge it or, like, I seem like I'm listening. And then he asked me 10 minutes later, like about what he had told me about, and I'm like, what, like, this is new, and he's like, seriously. Like, the hyper focus can be amazing, but also kind of detrimental at the same time because if I have to do anything else, I'm just cranky. Marie Poulin 20:40 I definitely, I definitely relate to this, and I think this was, this was one of the the signs like, I, I thought, well, I couldn't possibly have ADHD because like, I've been self-employed for 12 years, and I have a successful business and I get things done, and, you know, I sort of had a lot of misconceptions around what it meant to be or have ADHD because my sister has ADHD, too. And she is like, the poster child of what what you think of when you think of ADHD, and very hyperactive, super distracted, extremely extroverted, just like, a million thoughts, like, interrupting other thoughts. And, and I was like, okay, that's what ADHD looks like. It was very distinct. And so because I get things done, I sort of thought, I just had a different perception of it, and I realized that the hyper focus binges that I go on that were like, oh, that explains why like, it can be really hard to tear myself away from, from the screen, and it almost becomes borderline obsessive, and it can be really difficult to manage. So that is one of the signs I started to be like, oh. It always happens in these super inconsistent bursts, right? Very, very wildly inconsistent. And I always, yeah, like, frick, if you just have a dial, you could, you could, you could turn that on when you needed to, but oh my gosh, so I can relate to that. Just, it's inconvenient, and yeah, it's also the thing that helps us kind of push forward and get things done, and it's a wonderful thing when it's there, but it can happen at the detriment of other parts of our lives. So that's definitely something that I struggle with, for sure. Michele Hansen 22:13 You know, I, like, I relate so hard to that, because I can't possibly, you know, have ADHD because you get so much done. Like, when I was in college, I think there was like, a running joke about how many jobs and side projects I had at any given time. Like, I think it was like, I had, it was like, six. Like, I had a part time job, I had an internship, I had like, volunteering, I had, like, all of these like, side projects with my own going on, like, um, and, but when I, so when I was diagnosed as a kid, like it was very much presented as I had this deficit of focus. And then I had to overcome that deficit of focus, and then like, that was it. And like, I, so I was never like, really in therapy or any sort of treatment. Like I was taught how to manage that, like calendars, and like, planners became a huge part of my life. But when I was, this was when I was in elementary school. So when I was in middle school, I was supposed to have like, you know, a tutor, and like somebody who like worked with me on it, and like, a plan, they call it a 504 plan in the US, but I never actually had it because my grades were too high. And, Marie Poulin 23:21 People always think you need the support, right? Michele Hansen 23:22 Right. Because it was like, oh, like if you you know, if you have those, like if you have this deficiency, like, she's overcome the deficiency if she's getting A's and B's, so there's no problem here. And I didn't, really for me, it wasn't only until the last like six months or a year that I started understanding all of these other facets of it that, like, it's not just that sometimes I have trouble focusing on tasks I don't want to do. Like, there's all of these other things like, you, you know, that, there's the hyper focus you mentioned, there's the like, the perfectionism that you touched on earlier, you know, there are those kind of, you know, everyone's experience of it is different. But like, I, there's just so many things that like, I thought were me things that were just kidn of weird about me. And then it turns out, there's all these other people who are weird, like me, and, Marie Poulin 24:16 To read other people's descriptions, and you go, are you kidding me? Like, that's a, that's a thing? I'm not alone? Or like, I thought it was just a family quirk, and then you're like, oh, or is it that actually a good chunk of my family also, you know, like sister's diagnosed and when you look at the behaviors, you're like, oh, yeah, like, it would explain why our family kind of operates this way. And, you know, the more you start to meet people, you're like, oh, okay, there's, there's maybe a reason, too, that, and I don't know if you if you feel this too, but that for example, people with ADHD seem drawn to my work or drawn to my, my style, right? Because I think in some ways you get attracted to different people's communication styles, and I realized, like, in certain calls that I would I have with people that were very energizing, I didn't realize this at the time, it's almost like, you know, when you like, once you see it, you start to see it everywhere, of all the people that I connect with that had ADHD that I didn't know, I was like, oh my gosh, that explains why when we get on a call, neurons are firing, and we're all over the map, and we're just like changing gears, like, constantly, and it just feels like this creative spark is just like, going and going and it's incredible. It's a very different experience with someone whose brain doesn't work that way, and I, I started to clue in, I'm like, oh, maybe there's a reason. And then when you start to look at the behaviors, I'm like, okay, like, it would explain a lot. You know, and you start to kind of look backwards and be like, oh, yeah, all those behaviors start to kind of click into place. And you see, actually, things with a new lens. And when I look at past behaviors, and maybe ways I've really, really judged myself, and I was like, oh my gosh, like, I just, I didn't realize, you know, and I think for me, a big part of that is workaholism, in a way. Like I thought, I really judged myself for being like, oh, I'm like a workaholic, a workaholic. And I thought, yes, and like, it's not so black and white like that. I am very driven by the work that I do because I've so carefully crafted work that I don't hate, and so I've designed work that I love. I'm getting to connect with people and ideas get to form, and I'm always doing new things every day. So of course, like it's feeding that dopamine, I'm like, yeah, it's like, I love this. And so, it is really difficult to shut off work. And so I think I carried a lot of guilt that I work on weekends, but also take really long breaks in the middle of the day and go gardening. And so like, I have found my own ebb and flow, and I think I was really harsh on myself with some of that stuff. And then I was like, well, what if it's actually okay, that my brain is a little more activated than the average person or, or it just kind of feeds off information differently, and maybe I want to consume more courses at a time than the average person. And so it's just brought up a lot of interesting reflection that I'm seeing behaviors and maybe a different light, and that I actually find I'm being a little more compassionate with myself to be like, hey, is that Maria's personality is that ADHD? Is that me coping? Like, it's still very much learning for me. So I'm still kind of just keeping an open mind and just really trying to reflect and notice those behaviors now. Michele Hansen 27:20 You know, the, we are, you know, what's called sort of neurodivergent people living in a neurotypical world. And I think, from, you touched on sort of that, that guilt about not having sort of, quote, unquote, like, normal patterns for things and ways of thinking about things. And I think unpacking that shame that we don't fit the neurotypical box is so important, because, I think in, you know, education and kind of maybe, and like, when you're not working for yourself, like neurotypical is the standard, and people who don't meet that are kind of just outside of that. And so, like, there's like this, like, we blame ourselves for that. But if instead, you know, we can, like find ways to work on the things that we are passionate about, and that do energize us, then these, like, amazing things can be unlocked. And I think, like, I have noticed that I tend to find a lot of neurodivergent people in the kind of, like, indie SaaS courses like, internet biz world, and I wonder if that's because a lot of us have just felt like we didn't, yeah, like, we didn't really belong and like, but like, the way to, like really bring out like, what we are capable of, like, like, I remember when I worked, you know, in bigger companies, like I always, I would describe myself, like a pin and a pinball machine. Like, I just always felt like I was just like, bouncing around constantly trying to show like, what I was capable of, and like, what I was good at, and like, what I could do and what I could contribute, and that was always, like, way more and different than whatever the role I was in was supposed to be doing. And it was so frustrating. Like, it was like, deeply frustrating, you know, versus now, like, you know, I can focus on the things that, you know, sort of with, I guess, with a little bit of business knowledge, right? Because you can't just focus on things that don't lead to an income. Um, you know, like, yeah, the things that really energize, and like you've said, how this, like, managing your own brain in a way, it's kind of like, maybe what attracted you to notion in the first place, and then kind of prompted you to go on this path of making this amazingly, like, I'm so amazed by all the things you build with Notion, like this tool that, like, helps you not only steer your brain, but like express it in the way that it wants to be expressed that maybe is not really reflected and other tools. Marie Poulin 29:53 Yeah, it's a, it's a weird and wonderful thing, but it does feel like this bizarre culmination of all of my weird interests and strengths, and like even the fact that it's kind of like a No Code builder of sorts, right? It's like I have a web design background, and so I think naturally I'm inclined to build information architecture, but do it beautifully. Like, that's what I did for clients. And so, and then even like my design thinking background, and how I've studied systems, or how I've had to find these productivity systems for myself that worked. And the way certain tools, you know, are very opinionated, and they, they sort of force you into, like, like Asana, for example, everything is a task, like, it sort of forces you into one way of thinking, which is great, it's a great task manager. But I'm like, my strategic planning doesn't really fit in there, and how do I connect that to, to, and everything just kind of felt messy. And, you know, as someone with ADHD that already, already feels like I'm everywhere all the time, for me, Notion was this place where like, suddenly I could see everything that was on my plate in one place in a really easy way. So this ability to like, zoom out, zoom in very, very quickly and have it all integrated was just like, ah, everything like has come into place. And it just kind of clicked, and I think I was just so passionate, so excited about it, it felt like you know, I said life was a shit show before Notion. Like I had tried to get to, like you said, lean on calendars, we like find the systems to kind of lean on like a bit of a crutch. But there were still some systems pieces missing that Notion, in a way, forced me to build my own in a way that really worked for my brain. And I don't think it's a coincidence that just so many of the people that have joined the course or that seem really excited about it and get a lot out of it have also mentioned their own ADHD. Like, I literally just saw a message pop up in the forum, like 20 minutes ago that said how they think notion is just an ADHD friendly tool. I'm like, What an interesting thing that, again, it wasn't even on my radar a year ago or two years ago. I didn't even really think about it. I didn't, I certainly didn't even remotely suspect that I would have had it. And yet, now that I'm aware of it, and I'm seeing more conversations around neurodiversity, really just seeing how Notion gives neurodiverse folks a place to be themselves, as kind of cheesy as it sounds, like, the fact that you can just make it what you want it to be. It can be a personal growth engine, it can be a place where you organize your files, you know, daily journaling, like, you name it, whatever you want it to be, it can be a place that inspires you. And so I just, I love to show people like, well, here's how I'm using it for my garden tracking, I just love there's just endless possibilities with it. And I think if you only look at it as a productivity tool, you know, people kind of poopoo it or they're like, oh, procrastinate, procrastinating on building their setups, and let you know, people have all sorts of opinions about it. But I actually think it is, it's a tool for managing your emotions just as much it is as a tool for managing your information. So I find it quite fascinating from a tool for making you more mindful about how you work and what you need, and just noticing your energy. And I didn't, I didn't know all that stuff wasn't stuff that other people did. It's not till showing it to people, and they're like, holy crap, this is the most organized thing I've ever seen in my life. And I'm like, me, are you kidding me? Because like, I see the baseline the scenes, right? It's like, it's, it's funny to me the things that it's only once, you know, to bring it back to your conversation about sharing in public, working in public. When you make your thinking visible, and you share what you're doing out there, that's where I think you start to see what are those spiky points of view that you have? Or what are the interesting ways that you approach stuff that people are like, whoa, I didn't even think of it that way. So yeah, I'm curious, too, in you sharing your stuff publicly, and doing the writing publicly, like, has anything surprised you that you put out there and you're like, oh, wow, I didn't expect that to really land for people or, you know, what did you notice in your process of sharing your stuff publicly? Michele Hansen 33:53 Yeah, I mean, so something that actually has surprised me in the last, I've had two people in the last week, tell me how the introduction of my book made them completely rethink how they approach other people. And, Marie Poulin 34:11 Wow Michele Hansen 34:12 How they like, didn't even like, they didn't realize like, the extent of empathy and what it was and how they could use it and how it can help them be a better you know, coworker or person and, like, not just someone who's better at making landing pages or making product decisions. And I started out, like, I, so I, the the introduction, I actually originally didn't really have a very good introduction of the book. Like, I didn't define empathy very much or anything. And then one of my early readers was like, I think, I think you need to introduce this a little more. And so I did, and then like, it basically sounds like people are, some people like reading the first 10 pages and then being like, whoa, and then like, going on this other path. And then like, and then they're like, okay, well when I actually like, need to build something I'll come back here for the scripts. But like, having this, and, you know, like we've talked, like we've talked a lot about, like emotional intelligence here, and like, I've had my own journey with there and like, talking about, you know, workaholism, like, is that is that a trait? Or is that a trauma response? Like, it's kind of both, like, and like, so that has been a really important journey for me. By the way, if that resonates with anyone that's called the flight response, just Google that. And, and so that like, like, I have this kind of like, this, like, little dream that like, you know, like, people, nobody puts like, be more empathetic on their to daily to do list, maybe some, maybe you do. But like, nobody really doesn't. But they put like, you know, get more sales, like, write a new landing page, like, figure out which features I should build. Like, those are the things that come up on people's to do lists. And so I have this, like, kind of dream that like, in the process of helping people do those things they already want to do that they will become more empathetic in general and learn that this is a skill that they can apply not just to business, but to the rest of their life, because it's been such an important journey for me, because it's something that I really didn't really learn until my 20s. And, and, yeah, I mean, that's, I don't know. Yeah, it's been very, like, it's been very soul-nourishing for me. Marie Poulin 36:31 The process of writing and sharing? Michele Hansen 36:34 Yeah, I think like, in a very unexpected way, and, you know, kind of talking about ADHD, and so it sounds like what you're doing, like, you sound very much like a systems thinker. And you have built this sort of digital system that reflects your mental system, and in the process of doing so, you're helping people realize that, you know, they could build off of that to build something that reflects their mental system. And it's like, and you're helping them really like, blossom into, into expressing their thinking. And what I'm doing, like, I have, I have had feedback from people who have said, they are ADHD, or autistic, and they have said that, like, this is very, very different for them, for, I mean, for those two groups for very different reasons. But like, I've had people tell me, like, I don't think I'm capable of doing this because, you know, as you said, there's a kind of that stereotype of people who are ADHD that they, like, you know, talk over the people, like, can't stay on a topic, like, you know, just all of that, which, like, I mean, I think if we weren't doing a podcast right now, like, we would be excitedly talking over each other right now, like. Marie Poulin 37:53 I was wondering. Michele Hansen 37:54 I, like, am really holding back. Marie Poulin 37:57 Which is exhausting, right? It's like, it takes a lot of energy to, like, tone it down, be normal, like, Michele Hansen 38:04 Oh, I'm gonna go jump on the trampoline after this. But, like, for me, it's like this weird thing, because, because I didn't learn, like, this either wasn't built into me, or I didn't learn it as a kid, like, I've had to really focus on learning how to like, listen to people. Marie Poulin 38:23 You're so good at it. Michele Hansen 38:25 It became a hyper focus thing for me, like, so I feel like when I'm listening to people, like learning, like, I have to like, I think it's why people are like, oh, this made me realize these things about empathy I didn't even realize, because I had to, like learn empathy and listening at a level that most people don't have to. Like, I had to really understand it. Like, I had to really dive deep into it. Because I just didn't have that, like, I didn't, I was not born with that feature built in. So, and then, but like, I think it kind of became this thing that, like, I hyper focus on. And so like, when I'm talking to someone, like, I'm just like, I'm like, completely submerging myself into them, and like exploring their brain, and I think, you know, talking about like, systems thinkers, like, that's something I love is like, getting to understand the system of somebody else's head and like getting to, like, poke around and all the little corners and be like, oh, why is, what's going on here? Like, we're like, what do we got going on here? Like, Marie Poulin 39:29 I compare it to like, looking at their underwear drawer. You're just like, you get to see like, it's very personal, right? And people are often like embarrassed or they feel a lot of shame because, like, their their space is really messy. But I love that, right. Michele Hansen 39:42 I love mess. Marie Poulin 39:42 It's so beautiful. It's, and I will say, like, in the call that we had with you like, I was so struck by how intently it felt like you were listening. I was like, I, it was like almost disarming. Like when I got off, I was like, I can't think of the last time that someone actually was just there to listen. Like, there was no agenda there. Like, you were you were really just there to be a helpful ear, and it was just quite impressive, I have to say, I was just like, holy crap, Michele is an incredible listener. I was really blown away. And so I love that you got nerdy about listening. So nerdy. I love it. Michele Hansen 40:23 I mean, I grew up being, I think the thing, the number one thing I heard growing up was Michele, you never listened, like, you're not listening, you don't listen. Like and like, I have found complex, that I have found that the things that I'm really bad at, like, if I get over that, and then, like, I will, like intensely research it, and it will become a huge focus for me, like, I would like, so like in college, I studied international affairs and economics, and I remember in one of my first classes, one of the professors asked who knew what, like, Bretton Woods was, and, you know, I'm from New England, and I was like, I know, that's a ski resort, but like, I don't know anything else. And like, you know, it's it's the, the post-war monetary system that was set up after the war, basically, to prevent another war, economically. But I didn't like, know that, and I felt like really embarrassed. And I ended up like, really diving into the topic to the point where it was not only my thesis topic, but for like, two years, I wrote papers about related things in other classes, even when I wasn't required to. And now I have this, like, just all of this knowledge about, like, monetary relations in Europe, specifically focused on the US and Germany, like, between, like 1958, and like 1973, really intensely on the 71 to 73 period. And, like, I it's not particularly, like, for what I do, it's not really useful information, but like, kind of like, I feel like that's very similar to how I got into doing listening and interviews because, because I was so bad at it, because I didn't know what I was doing, because I was like, I felt embarrassed that I didn't know what was going on, or like, people had made me feel like I was deficient in that. Like, I think this is where that, like, that hyper focus comes in. It's like, once you like latch on to a topic, like, you can't get your teeth out of it, even if you, like, wanted to. Marie Poulin 42:28 Painfully relateable. I love that you brought this up to you because I think I've done this throughout my my career to where it's like, oh my gosh, like public speaking this is like, I'm terrible at this, I'm so afraid of it, it's like, must hire three different coaches and take five courses and like, read every book, you know. Like, just go down these crazy rabbit holes to go to such an extreme to work on a skill that you know, I was maybe like, not, not that great at it wasn't terrible, but just didn't feel like a strength. And I think I've often felt self conscious of is it a waste of time, when I should be like focusing on my real strengths. And so, I just think it's so funny. There's, there's obviously a trigger there around feeling incompetent, or like, I hate that feeling stupid or feeling like something I'm really bad at is preventing me from succeeding in business. And I, you know, I've shared before a little bit about, like, fear of being on video and fear of being on stage. And so these are all things I've obsessively worked on. And you know, I'll share like a super vulnerable moment from not, not that long ago, but there was ,there was someone who shared with me, they spoke with someone who had taken the course, and it was an older woman. I don't know when she took the course, but maybe she took it like, early on in the course building journey. It's definitely gone through a number of iterations. But she she was like, angry. She was like, oh my gosh, she goes so fast. She's all over the place. She needs to read about adult learning. Like, she's a terrible facilitator. And like, if I showed you my Notion goals page, it's like being a masterful facilitator is literally on my, my big visionary goals. And I was like, oh my God, am I, is this just like a skill I am, I am bad at? Like, it knocked me on my ass and I questioned everything. I was like, oh my god, what's going on? And in the same week, I literally had someone say that my sessions were the thing that they look forward to every week. And it was so weird to get this, like, the most negative criticism I've ever gotten, and the most positive, and it was in that same week that I had actually discovered, that I started to realize I probably had ADHD and I realized that my presentation style and my exploratory show you the possibilities, it's, it's quite different than say someone who might be a little more neurotypical, a little more instructional in style. I know that my vibe, it doesn't jive for everyone, but it really works well for people that have ADHD, and so that's where I was like, oh, crap. So, hiring a course coach, a curriculum designer, a learning advocate, like, I went all deep, and I was like, I'm going to learn about facilitation, I'm going to learn about teaching, I'm going to learn about learning design, like, how can I make this experience so good that, like, nobody could ever say anything like that? You know? And like, fair enough, if someone, like, it doesn't resonate with them, I totally get that. But it just, it just felt holy crap, like, is this is this like, a giant blind spot that I'm not seeing? And, you know, after talking to a number of students, a number of people, it was like, no, like, you know, this is someone who's not very comfortable with computers. This is someone that, like, it doesn't make sense for this type of person to be using Notion. Like, I don't think Notion is the right tool for everyone, and I don't think my instructional style is is for everyone, and I'm okay with that. I've made peace with that. And there's room to to improve that. So I definitely feel you on like, ooh, rabbit hole, here we go. Let's work on this scale. Because like, no one can criticize this again, like I would go all in, just watch me. Michele Hansen 46:04 Have you come across the term rejection sensitive dysphoria? Marie Poulin 46:08 I have. Michele Hansen 46:11 So it's this term for how, I don't, I don't have a good way of explaining it. But like, it's for how painful, like, that kind of criticism can be, and how it can either, like, prevent people from wanting something in the first place, or when you get that criticism, it i, Marie Poulin 46:30 Highly motivating. Michele Hansen 46:32 Yeah, but like, it's all-encompassing. Marie Poulin 46:35 Yeah. Michele Hansen 46:37 Like, it's, and then you said that somebody else that same week said how much they loved your course, yet, you're, You keep ruminating on the bad, right? Ruminating and obsess over and then hyper focus on that, and then go into this mode of, like, wanting to make sure that never ever happens again. And it's like this kind of extreme version of loss aversion, where, you know, we're so afraid of losing something, like, of losing that, in this case, like, that person's, you know, like, their positive feedback on the course or their, their positive experience with it, rather than focusing on the people who already had a positive experience and making it better for the people who is, because like, it's like, do you actively, like, frame your course, or some of your courses as being for ADHD people, or, like, neurodiverse people? Marie Poulin 47:33 I don't, again, part of this is I'm not officially diagnosed. And, and, you know, again, I'm still learning about this stuff. And so I partly feel like a little bit of imposter complex around this whole topic to know I want to be very careful, you know, like, just, just being mindful about how I talk about it. And, and, Michele Hansen 47:53 Everyone's experience is different of it, like, yeah. Marie Poulin 47:56 Totally, totally. And so I just want to be very careful about it, and it is something I've considered of like, maybe it would actually, like, the number of people that have watched the, I have a YouTube video where I'm teaching my sister who has ADHD how to use Notion, and the positive feedback, and the people being like, oh, my gosh, it was so nice to see normal people, like, normal people like me, you know, other people with ADHD, just, just going through this experience. And it did make me wonder like, well, hey, knowing that this is the case, and knowing that it seems to attract these people, should I go in that direction? So it's been on my mind to some, something to maybe mention, and even kind of tease out a little bit, like, in my welcome sequence. When I'm introducing myself, I'm starting to, like, try out using some of the language. And I will say, I've gotten an incredible response. Anytime I've talked about it, it's been really, really positive. So, I don't mention it, but it is something I'm like, maybe like, and should I get a diagnosis to be? Does it matter? I don't really know. I'm not really sure what the, what the protocol is there. But yeah. Michele Hansen 49:01 I mean, like, I have a diagnosis, but like, I, I feel like I don't really understand it very well, like, because I just kind of accepted it as this thing that was just wrong with me that I had to control. And then like, that was kind of it. Um, and I like so in my book, actually, in the original newsletters, like I talked about having ADHD and how, you know, focusing on people and listening and like, all that, like, were really difficult for me because of that, and I got so much positive feedback on it, but then I got it into the book, and I, like, one of my reviewers was like, you know, your experience of ADHD is not a universal one. And there's like, and they were saying there's kind of a difference between like writing it in a newsletter, where people know you and they start from a point of kind of the sort of familiarity, like, that they they trust that you come from a good place, but like writing it in a book, people won't know me people won't know like and even if I say this is only my experience of it, like, someone who has had a different experience of the diagnosis or, or like, doesn't, like, that they have the diagnosis doesn't let you know they have made been made to feel less than because of it, or worse. I think both of us kind of tend to view it as this, like, this thing that we could steer and bring out, like, bring out our true selves, so to speak. Like, so I ended up taking it out, but it also feels so relevant, like it, like it feels like this piece of information that people need to know that it's like, Yes, I was known for not being able to listen to anything, so then I focused on it to the point of it being like, this obsessive skill. Almost necessary base information. Marie Poulin 50:46 Part of the story. Michele Hansen 50:47 Yes. And the same way that like, and so I found a way to like, kind of tell that story that I had to listen, like learn how to do this, but like without using the diagnosis, but like, part of me, really. So like, maybe it's like something I can do in a talk or something like that, right? Like, there's not every, like, there's different forums for things. Marie Poulin 51:04 Not every medium needs to, yeah. Michele Hansen 51:05 And also where I can kind of explain, and if someone has like a question of like, well, that's not my experience of it, then we can talk about it afterwards. And they can know that I'm coming from a good, I don't, I don't know, I also feel conflicted, because I don't want to, like, I can only speak from my own experience. Like, I am, and again, maybe again this is maybe an ADHD thing, or it's like, I haven't hyper-focused on ADHD itself, so therefore I cannot speak about it. Marie Poulin 51:29 Totally. Oh, my gosh, the hyper-focusing of watching all the videos about ADHD and like, it's just, it's it's so funny looking at all the memes. I was so dismissive of ADHD, because I was like, oh, well, come on. That's all of us for every single meme. And at some point, I was like, wait a second, like, is that all of us? And yeah, it took some digging, and I was like, wait a second here. Michele Hansen 51:52 There's some tweets about this that I find myself referencing, and it was either people with ADHD need to stop being so relatable, or I need to go to the doctor. Marie Poulin 52:06 Exactly. Michele Hansen 52:07 I think, you know, my, so this is super fun talking and relating to you and like, realizing, you know, that we're both not weird. We're weird together. But my, the reason I really wanted to talk to you about this here is because I think people who are neurodivergent, who don't fit the box, like, tend to feel like we're not as capable of things as other people, or we have been made to feel that we're not as capable. And I hear from people that are like, I don't know if I could run a business, like, I can't, you know, like, if I can't focus on one set thing, like, and I'm all over the place, like, I can't possibly run a business. And I think what I like to show and, like, what you show, amazingly, is that not only can you run a business if you have ADHD or any other like, because I noticed all these, like, people in the indie community, like, they're people, like people who just don't fit the box. Like they have, they have disabilities, they have chronic health conditions, they are autistic, like, whatever those things are, like, they have been able to find a home in this place, and like, you can run a business if you're ADHD like, you, like, like, I present myself as evidence and I feel like you are evidence of that, too. Marie Poulin 53:35 Absolutely. I think a big part of it comes down to you have to know yourself really well. Like, you have to know your triggers. You have to know how you're incentivized, how you best operate, so that you can either get the support that you need, or again, you can design your products and services in a way that, even though, for example, I've been a generalist for a decade, and it's really only in the last year and a half, two years, that I was like, I'm going all in on Notion. Like, I see an opportunity here, like, let's, let's just try this, I'm going to see, like, what's the worst that could happen? I make, I make some money for for this chapter and I get known as the Notion person and then I can, like, flip the chapter and do the next thing. I've been in general so long, I was like, whatever, let's just give it a try. And what again, what I love about it is my days can be so freakin different. Like, I am not doing the same thing every day even though I'm doing one thing and so you know, it's about finding traction with that one thing but if you can design your business in such a way that you're still getting, you know that dopamine hit or whatever it is that you need, you got to know yourself well enough to know, hey, I really thrive with routine or I really thrive with days that look very different, and then getting someone to support you on your team, like, maybe you have a small team. For me hiring my direct my you know started with a virtual assistant, who is now my, mou know, Director of Operations and having her is no doubt a humongous part of why I've been able to do the kind of growth that I've done. Like, I would have been scrambling wearing all these different hats. So to have someone whose focus is entirely operations and all the nitty gritty, like, export of CSVs, any of the detail work, I'm like, let's just be honest, Marie is not the details person. I've accepted this. And now we have someone who is a details person who frickin loves that stuff. And the stuff that makes me cringe is the stuff that makes her day, and like, what better? Like, that's all you can ask for, I think. So, even if you're just getting support in a really, really tiny way, you know, again, there's just so many opportunities, I think, to get creative with the way you design your business, that it is supporting you. But you do have to, to know yourself really well, I think to know how to do that. Michele Hansen 55:51 And what I, you know, ADHD, the first two words of it, or attention deficit, and I find that you show is that it's not a, like, it doesn't have to be this thing that's deficient about you. Marie Poulin 56:06 It's just a little inconsistent, that's all. Michele Hansen 56:08 Like, it can be, if you sort of steer it and give it support, like, it can be this amazing thing that you bring to the world. Like, it's not a deficiency. Like, I feel like that's just kind of like, the message I can give to like 11 year old me, like, it's not a deficiency, like you just have to help it come out. Marie Poulin 56:28 Well, hyperactivity like that, like you've said before, like the phrase, it just, it doesn't carry a whole lot of positive connotations. And so, Michele Hansen 56:36 No, the whole thing sounds very negative. Marie Poulin 56:38 It does, yeah, we're we're off. Like, there's something broken with us, versus hunter gatherer brain, like different types of brains, I think evolved for different purposes. And, you know, we all, we have our own incredible use cases, like I know, you mentioned in other episodes, the ability to form connections between really disparate stuff very, very quickly. Oh, my gosh, in companies to have that kind of strategic person who can really see those connections, there's no doubt that each of us kind of can plug in somewhere and we can really shine in different ways. But it's, it's tricky, like you said, if we are neurodivergent, in a neurotypical world, it might mean that we might have to take the initiative on that and, and take charge in different ways and kind of carve our own path. Michele Hansen 57:25 But then when we do, like, other people seeing like, hey, like, it's not just me, like, you know, you mentioned the, like the Dani Donovan's ADHD comics. I don't know if you've seen those, like, I'm so appreciative that she's so open about it. Marie Poulin 57:37 Yeah. Michele Hansen 57:39 It just, I think, because we have been made to feel deficient or different, like we, you know, I know I tended to like hold this in, and I realized that even like, most of my best friends didn't know I had been diagnosed as a kid until a couple of years ago, because I just never talked about it. I just, like, accepted it, this thing that was wrong with me, and like, whatever, like, we don't need to talk about it. But then we talk about it, and it doesn't actually, yeah, it doesn't have to be. Like, it can really bring whatever our uniquenesses into the world. Marie Poulin 58:08 Yeah, I'm hoping it's sort of becoming a little bit more destigmatized, and on Twitter, and it just feels like I'm hearing more about it, and people maybe are getting a little more comfortable talking about it. And even it seems like things that therapists maybe wouldn't recognize before, like, it's starting to become a little bit more known. And so yeah, I'm hoping that, you know, by sharing some of my own honest insights that that it does help destigmatize it. I think the more people, you know, like you and I talking about it, I do think it just kind of opens up the doors a little bit. So, if we can be part of that then you know, yay. If it helps one other person even just kind of embrace their their inner weirdness a little bit, then we've done our, our duty. Michele Hansen 58:52 Yes. Exactly. Or embrace the weirdness of, you know, their loved ones, too. Marie Poulin 58:58 Find your weirdos. Yeah. Michele Hansen 58:59 Yeah, yeah. Well, I think that's probably a good note to end on today. It has been so fun talking to you, Marie. I feel like we've, we've gone on quite well, like, we normally run half an hour and we're quite over that, but I'm okay with it. I, this is so fun. I'm so grateful that you came on. And so, if people are curious about your courses, or about you, where can they find out more? Marie Poulin 59:26 You can check out my website is MariePoulin.com. You'll be able to find the course on there, too. That's NotionMastery.com, pretty active on Twitter. That's that's probably where do most of my chitchat about business and founder life and ADHD and all that sort of thing. So @MariePoulin on Twitter, and if you're curious about more of the, more personal behind the scenes stuff, and plants and gardening, you can check me out on Instagram, too, so. Michele Hansen 59:51 Awesome. Thank you so much, Marie. Marie Poulin 59:54 Yeah, thanks for having me. Really fun.

Run With It

A Boutique Accessibility Hotel with Lillian Rafson

Jul 1st — If you like the show, please leave a review on Apple Podcasts ! Nuggets: The total addressable market for this idea is over 16 million individuals in the U.S. alone. Action Steps: Partner with member of the community Research applicable grants Links: https://www.packupgo.com/ https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/disabilityandhealth/infographic-disability-impacts-all.html https://skift.com/2017/11/16/airbnb-buys-accessible-travel-business-accomable-in-its-latest-acquihire/ https://www.freedomshowers.com/blog/small-business-funding-for-ada-accessibility-compliance/ <em>Lillian Rafson is the founder of </em> <em>Pack Up + Go</em> <em>, a surprise travel agency. </em> Love a part of the show? Did we get something completely wrong? Let us know at [email protected]

Indie Hackers

#215 – Why You Don't Have To Be "A Business Person" To Succeed - with Dan Cederholm of Dribbble

Jun 30th — Today I'm talking to Dan Cederholm (@simplebits) about his somewhat reluctant journey into growing Dribbble. He's a self-described "accidental entrepreneur. So, in this interview, we'll talk about how someone who identifies as a creator and a designer can fill the role of a founder. Follow Dan on Twitter: https://twitter.com/simplebits Check out Dribbble: https://dribbble.com/

Startup to Last

When platform risk goes wrong

Jun 29th — Topics in this episode: Tyler was interviewed to be on Mixergy, but didn't think he did a great job. Rick is adjusting his routine now that he has a kid to take care of. Rick enrolled in a new javascript course to hone his skills. Tyler's previous positive results converting website visitors to his newsletter have turned to failure. No one is signing up. Tyler attended Less Annoying CRM's first leadership team meeting. Tyler had his first person finish building a website based on his online course. Tyler (geez, enough with updates from Tyler, right?) is thinking through putting a limitation on LACRM. Tyler (seriously, stop) took a day to help his dad with a new project. Rick had a big coding win and finished two projects... ...just in time for one of his API vendors to close down his account, so the projects don't really work anymore. We discuss how Rick should respond.

Earlier

Software Social

Getting Started with Customer Interviews: A Conversation with Nicole Baldinu, Co-Founder and COO of WebinarNinja

Jun 29th — Pre-order Michele's book! https://deployempathy.com/order Follow Nicole on Twitter: https://twitter.com/NicoleBaldinu Michele Hansen 00:00 Welcome back to Software Social. This episode is sponsored by Recut . If you make videos or screencasts, Recut could help you cut your editing time by half or more. Recut removes the awkward pauses, the gaps and the silent parts so you can stop spending hours slicing and dicing with the razor tool. Recut makes a cut list that you can import into your favorite Mac-based editor, like Adobe Premiere, DaVinci Resolve, Final Cut, or ScreenFlow. You can get 10% off with the code SoftwareSocial, or download the free trial at GetRecut.com . Michele Hansen Hey, welcome back to Software Social. I am so excited about what we have going on today. We have Nicole Baldinu, Co-Founder and COO of WebinarNinja joining us. Welcome, Nicole. Nicole Baldinu 00:51 Hey, Michele. Thank you. I'm excited to be here. Michele Hansen 00:54 I'm so excited to have you on. First of all, I mean, you guys have built such an incredible company. Just to give a little bit of background. So, WebinarNinja was founded in 2014. You also produce the $100 MBA Show, which won Best of iTunes in 2014. 23 full-time team members, 100% customer-funded, an amazing business. I am so excited that you're joining us today. Nicole Baldinu 01:24 Aw, thank you. That's, that's really nice. It's almost like sometimes you forget, you know, where you've been. You just keep going and charging forward. It's like, yeah, we've been around since 2014. Must be doing something right. Some days, it doesn't feel like you're doing anything right, you know. Michele Hansen 01:43 When in 2014 did you guys launch? Because we were also 2014. Nicole Baldinu 01:47 Oh, WebinarNinja, like, around April. Michele Hansen 01:51 Okay. Nicole Baldinu 01:52 It was around April, yeah. Michele Hansen 01:53 Wow. Nicole Baldinu 01:54 I know. It's crazy. Michele Hansen 01:56 It's kinda, so, we launched in January of 2014, and we are still just the two of us. And you guys have like, 23 people, and I mean, it's so interesting how many, like, different paths you can take. Nicole Baldinu 02:14 Yeah, and the number of iterations, I think, like, yeah, I don't even remember version one, you know. It feels so long ago. But that's true. Like, I don't think we in, like, even intentionally set out to just grow, grow, grow. You just kind of take one, one step forward, and you just keep moving. It's like, yeah, we need help, like, you know. You're answering all your customer support queries in the beginning, and then it's like, no, you need some help. And then you hire your first teammate, and then it just, just keeps growing. Michele Hansen 02:47 So, let's fast forward a little bit to, I guess, would be five years into it for both of us. We met at MicroCon in 2019 and were basically instant friends. Um, and I remember what, I think, I think you might have come up to me, and you were really interested in learning how to do customer interviews, which is, like, my jam. Nicole Baldinu 03:17 Yeah, I loved that conference so much. It was, it was such a, I think for me, that was the first time, it was kind of the first SaaS-focused conference. I think a lot of the conferences I'd been to before were very, I don't know about you, if you've attended like, other conferences outside the SaaS space, but a lot of podcasting conferences, you know, I remember the first, do you remember NMX? New Media Expo? Michele Hansen 03:45 The name sounds familiar, but I didn't, I've never been a huge conference attender, so I haven't been to a lot. Nicole Baldinu 03:52 That was my first conference, and that was January of 2013. And that was literally when I, you know, that was my first kind of foray into entrepreneurship, and so meeting bloggers and podcasters, and it was all just such a new unknown, like world. But I remember like, MicroCon being just really special because I just felt like, that it was, it was kind of like, I felt people were really honest and vulnerable and authentic when it came to talking about, you know, the pitfalls and the challenges of SaaS. businesses. And yeah, and I remember I loved your talk because I just felt like, you did, what was it like a chat, like it was a 10 minute tactic or something, or? Michele Hansen 04:41 Yeah, it was an attendee talk. Nicole Baldinu 04:43 Yeah. Michele Hansen 04:44 Yeah. Nicole Baldinu 04:45 And, and I still have your notes. I shared this with you last time we spoke. I still have your notes because I just thought it was so helpful, so practical, and the, the crazy thing is though, when was that? So that was MicroCon 2019, right? Michele Hansen 04:59 Yeah. Nicole Baldinu 05:00 That's the first time I heard, I think that's the kind of the first time I really thought, oh, you can do, like, you can talk to your customers. You can do, like, this kind of user research. And I've only done my very first customer user research this year, three years on, but I still have your notes. And it was, yeah, it was just super inspiring. I just thought it just seems like such a cool thing to do. And, yeah, so I finally, finally took the plunge. Michele Hansen 05:28 So, let's dive into that plunge a little bit because I think it's, I think it's totally normal that it would take you some time from from like having that moment of being oh wait, I can talk to customers, to then sort of, not just like, sort of working up the courage for it, but also the time and, like, fitting it into your schedule and thinking it really, really through and so, like, could you kind of take us back to earlier, I guess, earlier this year, when you really started to hit the ground on it? Nicole Baldinu 06:03 Yeah, and I mean, I should, I should also say that we had done user research and customer interviews, but it wasn't me that had done it. So Omar, who's my Co-Founder, the CEO, also my husband, business and partner in life and business, he had done the first user interviews, and kind of, because he's more customer has been always more customer-facing. He had done user interviews, but it was something that I never felt that I could do. Like, I'd kind of be behind the scenes and reading Intercom, like support, you know, conversations and seeing what, you know, customers were saying and replying. But it was all very much chat and email never like, let's get on a call and let's talk about it. So recently, we've kind of wanted to, the whole reason behind starting to do this is because we wanted to kind of refine part of our offering and also look at a potential MVP out of this, this offering. And so I just thought, I don't know, and all of a sudden, I just felt like I want to do it. I don't even know what, like, why I just woke up one morning and said I'm going to do these, which is, like, really unlike me. But um, but I just decided to, yeah, I think I made that decision, like, I'll do the interviews. And then as soon as I took that decision, I literally went for my notebook from the, to look for the notes that I took from MicroCon. I then went and looked at all your blog posts and everything that you had on, you know, on the topic, as much as I could like, digest in like, I had a week, I think, before I was like, I scheduled the first one. And, and then yeah, and then I was just like, okay, I have got my questions now, thanks to like, you know, I looked up some of the sources that you had, you know, referenced. So I went in, you know, okay, I've got my questions. Now I know what I want to do, I want to know what I want to ask. And then it was literally the mechanics of okay, get a Calendly up, send out the blast, like, the blast out on Intercom to actually invite people to, you know, to be interviewed. So then all those little pieces, too, that I think, like, I was kind of procrastinating on, they just all fell together really quickly. It's like, okay, you just got to invite people, people reply. You just got to have a, you know, a sequence to, you know, send them your Calendly then it all gets done, then you've got your questions. And then it just, then they just started. And then as soon as I did my first one, I was really upfront with the first. She was she was lovely, my first interviewee. And that was great, because I was very nervous and I just basically said, you're the first person I'm interviewing. And so that kind of just made me feel a bit more at ease. And, and she was just lovely, and just easy to talk to and just answered all my questions. And then I just realized, after that call I was like, this is so much fun. I love this. I think when we talked last time, I was like, totally geeking out on just how much fun it is and what a positive experience it actually ends up being talking to your customers. Michele Hansen 09:08 I think last time we talked, which was about a month ago, I remember you said that it had basically become your favorite part of your job. Nicole Baldinu 09:19 Did I say that? Yeah, it's true. It's weird. It's totally taken me by surprise. I was thinking a little bit more about that, though. Why? I feel like it's a very positive experience. Because initially, I thought oh, you know, there's the potential that you know, the conversation could just turn into like, this is one of the things I thought it would turn into. I thought it would turn into a let's, let's ask about, you know, support for WebinarNinja, like, show me how to do this or complain about something that's not working as expected. I thought it would go down that path, but it didn't. It just ended up being very much focused on the questions I was asking and, which was really focused on what they do, like how they deliver their content, and, and about their business, and about why, I mean, the, my favorite question, and this, I think comes from your blog post, and I think this is what kind of, I see them light up and kind of lights me up is when I asked them, what's the big picture? What are they trying to do? And that question is just, it's, it's just my favorite question on the interviews, because it just brings out, yeah, it just gives them an opportunity to really share, oh, this is why I'm doing what I'm doing. And they get to just, I don't know if I'm like rambling a little bit, but I don't know, would, have, you've asked that question before, right? Michele Hansen 10:55 Yeah, I'm curious, can you ask me that question as if you were interviewing me? Nicole Baldinu 11:02 Okay. So, Michele, what's the big picture of what you're trying to do? Michele Hansen 11:13 And that's it. Nicole Baldinu 11:14 That's it. Michele Hansen 11:15 Like, that's only a couple of words. They're not very big words. Like, it's a such a simple question, yet you have found that that just lights people up. Nicole Baldinu 11:28 There's only one person that kind of asked for clarification, and then when I had to reframe it, I just said, why are you doing what you're doing? Oh, my why? Oh, okay. But everyone, everyone else kind of, it was interesting, like, everyone else got it. And it all comes around to you know, they want to help, they want to share, they want to empower. It's just, it just brings out, yeah, it brings out their why, but without asking it in that way. Because I think if you say what's your why, I think if it's all, I don't know why that feels a bit more daunting than what's the big picture? Because the big picture, because sometimes I would actually expect from that answer that they would talk about what they're trying to achieve in their business. I actually didn't know originally where that question would go. That's kind of probably what surprised me. I thought it would be more focused on the business. Like they would tell me what they're trying to achieve maybe financially, or, you know, what their goals are. But it did kind of step back, for some reason it did actually generate the response of this is why I'm doing what I'm doing. That makes sense? Michele Hansen 12:38 No, it does. I've actually been, I was thinking about this a lot the past couple of days, because one of my, my subject matter editors for my book was, they made a note in the, in their edits, that I had a couple of why questions, and they reminded me that those need to be what questions, and I've been thinking about what's and why's all weekend, actually, so I'm so glad you brought this up. Because when we ask someone a why question, we're asking, in some ways we're asking for causality. We're asking why they do something, like, and asking them to sort of think through the reasons why they do something. But if you ask someone the same question, but you rephrase it as a what, it's a much easier question. Like, why are you here versus, what led you here? They're basically the same question, but if I asked you what led you here, you walk me through the different steps that you went through, and the causality can sort of come through the details of that. Versus if I said, why are you here, then you have to sit and be like, why, why am I here? And like, like, you get lost a little bit in the question. And so asking a what question instead is usually cognitively much easier to answer. And, you know, maybe, as you said, some people may, you know, they may appreciate being asked a why question after the initial what question. But for most people asking, you know, I mean, I do this with my daughter, too, right? Like, you know, instead, instead of saying, like, you know, you know, what, like, why aren't you down here for dinner yet? Like, being like, be like, so what's your plan? Like, dinner is on the table, what's your plan? And then that opens up to, oh, well, I'm actually getting this ready. Or like, you know, this weekend, she's like, oh, I'm making a card for daddy for Father's Day. Okay. Alright, cool. Like, you're not, this isn't an intentional thing. But so, rephrasing as a what I think gives it also, as you said, it gives people options to where to take that question. And I think, I think kind of as sort of both of us just had a moment of earlier on when we were talking of like, wow, I guess we have been doing this for a long time, and it's pretty awesome, and how cool is that? Like, we don't really step back and think about that very often, and I wonder if when you asked that question it like, it sounds like you are prompting that same kind of reflection in people, which, in turn, makes them really excited to talk to you because you're making them feel good about themselves and what they do. Nicole Baldinu 15:25 Yeah, I'm just blown away by that, just that little explanation about the difference between the what and the why, like, it just takes the whole process, the whole, asking those questions to another very sophisticated level, and just realize sometimes, like, I don't want to, I don't, sometimes I feel like I don't want to think too much about it, but I think it can be so sophisticated and so refined, the actual process of asking these questions and learning more about people. I guess this is my first run at it, and, yeah, like, even if it's, if it's not at that level, whatever I'm getting out of it, I feel is worthwhile. And I know that I can take it to another level because I love what you just explained, and I think it makes so much sense. But yeah, there's, there's so many layers to it. There's so many layers to it. And it's true, I do feel that it does, I do feel that sense of like, it's fun, like they don't mind, like the crazy thing is it's like, I don't know how long the tick, a typical interview should be, I should ask you that, but, you know, I said, you know, I don't want to take up too much of people's time. So I just said, okay, I'll just keep it to 20 minutes. They've all gone overtime. And there's not a sense of like, I need to get off this call. I have to initiate that let's get off this call, because they're very happy to continue talking because we're both actually having, I feel like it's an enjoyable experience on both sides, which is really cool. Michele Hansen 16:56 Yeah. Nicole Baldinu 16:57 That really surprised me but, Michele Hansen 16:59 So that that makes a lot of sense to me, because you are, like, you're hearing about how your product helps them and, which, you know, you mentioned you, you know, pop in on intercom support tickets and whatnot. Like, I think for, you know, us founders who do, like, talk to our customers a lot just by default, because you know, there's customer support their sales, like there's, there's all those other things. But interviewing someone is so, so different, because they tend to, like,, it's much more appreciative environment than, than like, hey, there's this bug or whatever. But then also for that person, like they get to talk about what they do, and they're actually, like, MRI studies they've done of people when they are, when they are talking about themselves or their experiences to another person, like, the parts of the brain related to motivation and enjoyment light up way more than they do, than if you were, than you were listening to someone else talk or you're talking about something that isn't directly related to your own experience. So it's, like, it is enjoyable for people to, to be asked these questions. I think as you kind of, as we were sort of talking about a little bit with the what's and the why questions like, there's, there's a lot of, like, levels here, but you don't necessarily need to know all of those levels in order to get started. You just need to be, I think, kind of like you did, to just sort of being willing to take the jump, which, you know, I think the first time feels a little bit like a polar bear dip and jumping in a freezing cold ocean, and you're like, okay, here we go. And then the next time you're just like, sprinting towards the ocean and excited for it. Nicole Baldinu 18:48 Have you ever been, this is just going sideways now, have you ever been stood up on one of these interviews? Michele Hansen 18:53 Yeah. Nicole Baldinu 18:54 Okay. Lots, or just? Michele Hansen 18:56 So I noticed that that, like, it used to happen a lot when I was a product manager working in a company. Um, and I think that so, but when I'm from recruiting as the founder, like, people tend to show up. Like, it seems like it's more important to them. Like, when I was working in a company, we had someone who was coordinating all of the interviews, and so we had never spoken to them before we got on the phone with them, even over email. And I think it's easier to blow off, like, an anonymous person, rather than the person they're going to talk to, nevermind somebody who has a title, whether that's Co-Founder, or like, I mean, sometimes we actually invented titles just for the purpose of interviews, like, Nicole Baldinu 19:42 That makes sense, though. Michele Hansen 19:43 Like, I think we had some, like, Head of Customer Experience, which wasn't even a title at the company. And actually, Cindy Alvarez in Lean Customer Development talks about doing this, too, that like, it's much easier to know show when, when you don't feel, like, an attachment to that person. Um, so I think these days, if someone doesn't show up, it's usually because like, something, like, something legitimately like came up. Nicole Baldinu 20:12 Yeah, no, I totally feel that because it's literally been just one person. And I do feel like there would be something that, you know, because I do recognize that sometimes I feel like there's an element of not intimidation, but like, oh, wow, I'm actually getting to talk to the Co-Founder, so it is a bit more special for them. And I do feel the first part of the interview might be a little bit stiff, but, yeah, maybe a little bit stiff until we kind of, you know, until I think a big picture question really breaks down the, let's forget that, you know, we're just literally two people talking. And then I think they do forget the interview setting. But yeah, I'd say like, you know, just one out of how many I've done, and it's not that many. I've done 13, so one out of 13. That's not bad. You can do the math. I haven't got a calculator, what ratio percentage that is. But, uh, yeah. Yeah, I definitely think, and the flip side of that, too, is the, the recognition at the end, which I get to feel really kind of special or feel so, it's so rewarding for me when they'll turn around at the end and say, you know, this is so good that you're doing this. Like, they really appreciate that a company would actually listen, take the time to talk to their customers. And they, you know, I've had people wish me the greatest success, and you're gonna do a great job, and this is gonna be amazing. And it's just, and you can, and I feel, I like, I genuinely feel like they're being authentic, because they felt like I've listened to them. I've, you know, taken the time to, you know, give them an opportunity to share what they need, what their pain points are, you know, learn a little bit more about themselves. And then I do feel there's that reciprocation of, like, I wish you well, and no, I wish you well. It's kind of cheesy, but it's kind of sweet at the same time. Michele Hansen 22:17 You know, I find that people who I do interviews with, even though it's really not intentional, like, they will offer to do a testimonial for us. They will offer to be a reference like, like, or I'll notice on Twitter, like six months later, like, they're the one who's like popping in on threads when, when people need what we do. Like, it really creates this, like, incredibly valuable connection. Nicole Baldinu 22:42 Yeah. Do you have any, like, do you do any follow up? Like, what's the next step? Because literally, I'm at like, stage one right now, where it's like, doing the interviews. And I've just hardly just, you know, started the analysis, and I haven't gotten very far. And then I'm thinking, well, what's the next step after that? Is there some other sort of, invite them to a focus group with, you know, and like, what's, what have you done? Michele Hansen 23:08 So I actually, I want, I'm going to come back to asking you about the analysis because I'm super interested to hear about that. Um, it depends really on what it is. So for example, if they like talked about something that, let's say that we ended up deciding in the future might be a new product, for example. Like, I might come back to them and be like, hey, you know, this thing we talked about, and it might have been, like, three years ago, like, we're exploring this now, like, can I talk to you specifically about this particular element again? Or maybe we have a prototype of something, asking them to run through it with us or, you know, if there was sort of something that was unclear, or we needed to follow up with them about. Um, but sometimes there is no follow up. Very often, actually, they will follow up with me and be like, hey, like, you know, like, you guys seem really open to feedback, and so we're, you know, we're working with this other piece of data, like, is there any chance you guys could support that or whatever? Like, they will come back to us very often. But there doesn't, you know, beyond a thank you note, really, there, there doesn't have to be, there can be as much follow up as you need, right? Like if you're doing something early, like it might make sense to, you know, to ask them hey, like, can I come back to you for further questions if our prototype or maybe to help us prioritize different things, like, to go back and do card sorting with them? It really kind of, like, it sounds like you're talking to people who have been customers for a long time. Do we actually talk about that targeting you did to decide who to talk to? Nicole Baldinu 24:40 I didn't, I just ran, no, they might not be customers for a long time. But they definitely are users and have an, I would say that the ones who've replied are all you know, they've had, they've used the product for some time, but it could be as little as like a month. It doesn't, Michele Hansen 24:59 Yeah. Nicole Baldinu 25:00 Not longer than that. And then yeah. Yeah, we've had, I've had some more longtime users, but generally it's, yeah, just people that, because the question was quite targeted and asked a very specific question when I did the call out, like, do you do this and this? I'd love to talk to you. Michele Hansen 25:19 Oh, yeah. What was, what was the exact question? Nicole Baldinu 25:22 The exact question was do you run live courses or live training? Michele Hansen 25:27 Oh. Nicole Baldinu 25:28 I want to talk to you. And then so, that was the, yeah, that's how I got them in. So I think that specific question helped as well. I want to know if it helped. Michele Hansen 25:45 You picked that question because you said you're exploring an MVP of something, and also sort of potentially repositioning or sort of tweaking your positioning towards that specific market? Nicole Baldinu 26:00 Yes, because its current usage, it's a current way that the customers are using, you know, WebinarNinja to deliver live training and live courses. So I wanted, I want to learn more about how they're using it, and where their pain points are, and, yeah, and what we could do better in that, in that kind of space. Michele Hansen 26:23 It sounds like it was a question most people would answer yes to. Nicole Baldinu 26:27 If they do it, yeah. Michele Hansen 26:28 Right. Yeah. Nicole Baldinu 26:29 But not all our users. So because I suppose you know, there's a lot of WebinarNinja users who are, you know, using webinar ninja for marketing. Michele Hansen 26:39 Right. Nicole Baldinu 26:40 And they're not necessarily delivering training. Michele Hansen 26:43 Right. Yeah. So the analysis, before we talk about what you do after the analysis. Nicole Baldinu 26:51 Oh, my God. Michele Hansen 26:53 Like, what are you doing? Like, like, what does this process look like for you right now, and it may not be sort of conceptualized as a process. Nicole Baldinu 27:04 Okay. So so far, it involves printing out the transcript. Step one. Step two is reading it with a highlighter. And, and so I guess where I'm struggling, or where I kind of want to refine the analysis is, what am I looking, because I'm looking for a few things, I suppose. I'm looking for, you know, words that they say or things that they actually do, actions they perform, things that are concrete. Then there's also the oh, I wish something that they don't do, but it's kind of aspirational. So. you know, how much weight can you put on, on, on on those kinds of, you know, it's like, oh, we should do this. But it's like, what, have you ever done that? You know, would, how likely are you, they don't know. They wouldn't know, right? If it's something just like, you know. And then it's also, yeah, looking at it through the filter of like a marketing message. How would I then communicate to resonate with people who are doing the same thing so that I could, you know, attract the same type of people as customers? So there's kind of like, three buckets, I suppose. And so yeah, and then so there's the highlighting. And then it's, because of there's these, kind of, three kind of areas, and I'm just kind of have columns, and I'm just writing out, you know, things that fit under those columns. Michele Hansen 28:45 Do you feel like you're getting out of that what you were hoping for? Nicole Baldinu 28:52 Um, well, I have to say so far from just the interviews themselves, I feel like I've gotten a lot out of it. But I want to see, I, I'm not sure. Yeah, I don't know. This is a little bit like, I don't know, early stages. Michele Hansen 29:08 Have you, have you tried diagramming the process for them, like, trying to sort of identify what, you know, what their big picture is, and then just all of the different pieces of that? Even if they're not, you know, sometimes we think of a process as like a bunch of linear steps, but sometimes it's also sort of an ecosystem of steps that kind of sometimes all sort of happen in a jumbly sort of order at the same time. And I'm curious if you've been able to sort of figure out what that looks like, for even, for each person. Nicole Baldinu 29:43 No, but you're obviously saying that I would do that diagrammatic kind of visual for each one, right? And then later, look at all the similarities. Michele Hansen 29:55 Yeah. So some, I mean, if you're looking at people who are going through the same Sort of overall goal, then it would make sense to, to split out all of the different steps per person. And then to break them out by, did we talk about the different dimensions of problems? Like, the functional, social, emotional dimensions? Nicole Baldinu 30:16 You, yes. But I was very, like, new to everything you were saying, so I was like, one process to everything. Michele Hansen 30:24 That's okay. So, um, so I find this helpful, especially for, like, pulling out relevant parts that can be used for marketing or like, you know, sort of, wouldn't, like, quote them exactly, but like, the can inform like copy and whatnot. So there's a functional dimension to a problem, which is, you know, they, they want to run a sales training because they need their salespeople to sell more, or something. Like, so they need a tool that allows them to connect with their sales people remotely, for example. There's a social element, which is they are running this training, and there may be 10 people that they are training, and those 10 people have different levels of technology experience, and some of them have been with the company for a very long time, some of them are very new. Like, what are the different social factors going on, and how might they express that? Like, I want my team to feel like they're on the same page, like, for example, might come through and a quote, and then you say, so you hear that word team? And you're like, okay, well, what do they mean by team? Who exactly is on that team? Like, what, what is the story of all of how all these people came to be working together? And there might be an emotional perspective, as well, of like, how, how do they feel about the tool they used before? Was it frustrating for them? Did they feel like they were, you know, banging their head against the keyboard trying to get it to work, or to get their team members to install it? Or did they feel great when they get off of these trainings? Like, does this, do they find the tool, you know, easy to use? Like, and like, those are like, those also can come out in the quotes, too. And so what I find helpful is to kind of diagram the different steps, and they may be they may be linear steps, they may be, you know, concurrent, like, and then, and then, but for each one of those pieces of it, breaking out the functional, social, emotional components of it. Nicole Baldinu 32:23 Okay. Okay, yeah. Wow. This is so cool because there's just, there's so much to unpack in, you know, in one person's experience. And then I suppose, as you see the commonalities, I guess, that's when you, you know, across more people saying, if they're saying the same thing, I guess that's when you get validation, that's when you get, yeah, the understanding that this is affecting, this could be affecting more people. So I suppose I've gone, you know, the experience of actually talking to one person becomes very, like, it's just you and that person, and it becomes very much restricted to that world. And then you've got to step back and go, okay, I've got all these people now, they've said all these things. Now I've got to make sense of it. So it's just, I feel like I'm still, I'm enjoying the first stage so much. Like, and I feel like I've gotten a lot out of that first stage. But now it's like, okay, now this data is so valuable. What do I do with it? And I want to make sure that, yeah, it's unpacked. And then obviously, I know this information, I'm going to be unpacking it, but then I've got to communicate it to the rest of the team, as well, so putting it in a way that's like, you know, I can share it with Omar and the product team and now CTO. So there's just so many levels to it, but it's you know, it's all doable. It's exciting. Michele Hansen 33:59 I think the more people you talk to, too, you're gonna start seeing those commonalities in in processes. So like, last episode, I was talking a little bit about activity-based design, which is basically the idea of going a step beyond human-centered design and thinking about the different processes that people are going through, and then you can start seeing the, the commonalities there. So for example, when I'm talking to someone, and it turns out that they're using us because they're doing, you know, US government Home Mortgage Lending compliance, like, their experiences of that are going to be very different than somebody who is you know, working with getting the timezone back from tractors that are in fields. And, but if I talk to somebody who's doing the compliance, like, generally like, like, as I when I hear that I'm like, okay, now I have a better idea of what this process is, from an overall perspective. How can I learn more about this person's, like, their company's specific functional elements, their specific social elements, like, their specific emotional pieces? Like, what do they think of the other options that they've tried compared to the other people I've heard and getting more and more depth each time. But there can be a huge breadth and, especially as I think you guys also are a horizontal SaaS, right? So you're, you're selling across many different industries, and, and I think this is where customer interviews are so fun, because I get to learn about so many industries and like, I'm like, I didn't even know that was a thing. Nicole Baldinu 35:45 I know, so varied. Michele Hansen 35:48 Versus, you know, someone who's selling horizontally, sorry, vertically within one industry, like they might not have that sent, you know, it might vary based on, you know, company size, or stage or whatnot. Um, I'm really curious, you mentioned bringing your team into it, which, you know, as a two-person team, we don't really do as much, but so like, how have you been able to bring other team members into this, or like, involve them in what you're learning? Nicole Baldinu 36:16 Well, so far, like, the first step I thought would be just okay, I'll put it, I'll make sure that I share the recording, the transcript, the details of the person I've used, you know, in like little folders on Basecamp. I've just basically organize it into little folders. And then as soon as I, you know, put up a new, a new interview, then I make sure that I share it with, so far right now, it's just me, oh my and our product, UX-UI designer, Maria, so I just share it, I say, hey, guys, there's a new interview. And I know they've been watching some of them. You know, I've highlighted a few that I thought, oh, this is super interesting. This person is definitely someone we'd go back to. So that's been just the extent of it so far. I feel like if I'm going to then, you know, share it, say, with our CTO, when it comes to more development time or, you know, when it starts to be a thing that's going to be fleshed out, or you know, if there's any development work, then I feel like there would have to be more, kind of, maybe a bit more of a traditional kind of a report where it's like, you know, X percent of people said this, or the majority are saying this, this is what, you know what I mean, it would have to kind of be backed up a little bit more by statistics. Michele Hansen 37:29 I think they're, you know, I like to use qualitative and quantitative data together. And, you know, I, thinking back to when I was working in a bigger company, you know, we would say, like, for example, we see, you know, you know, 35% of users drop off on this page, and, you know, and then having a sort of data that like, this is important to the business for, you know, x millions of dollars reason, right? Like, if fewer people did that, then hello, money. And, but then we have like, quotes from people like, oh, well, it turns out that, like, they find this really difficult because that x, or they're looking for this other piece of information that isn't there, so they click the back button. And then here's a quote from someone that says, I really didn't know where to go, like, and then, and it's like, okay, so like, here's the picture, like, and now here, okay, great. Like, here's a project, like, here's something that a team can work on of, like, you know, the bounce rate from here is 35%. Like, let's get it lower because we have the, you know, we understand why people are doing that. We also understand why it's important to the business. Like, statistics, I find will not really come out of interviews, but interviews, explain why the statistics are what they are. Like, a spreadsheet of data will tell us what is happening, but it will never tell you why. Only people can tell you why, but you need both. Like it's, it's, I think there's sometimes people sort of think about, like, that you only use, you know, quantitative data, or, you know, I talk about interviewing and I think you only do interviewing, and it's like, no, like, porque no los does, like do it all together. Nicole Baldinu 39:10 Porque no. Definitely los dos. Definitely. Well, yeah. It makes sense. And I think that's just, I think, why the process of actually, you know, literally doing a very manual printing out, highlighting actually gives you the opportunity to, to read because, you know, you're going to get one kind of experience when you're listening the first time and, you know, you're asking the follow up questions. But there's so much probably that's missed, even in on that call, until you actually go and read and, and highlight and just, yeah, analyze word for word, everything that was said. And there's a whole other layer there to unpack. Michele Hansen 39:15 Yeah, I wouldn't, have you asked Maria, your UI-UX designer, to also read through them and do her own highlights? Nicole Baldinu 39:42 No, not yet. But that, is that something you, Michele Hansen 40:00 That might be interesting. And, and there is research that says that when, like, multiple people are analyzing an interview, they pull out more of the problems. So the, the sort of like the paper on customer research was in the, is in the context of usability testing was called The Voice of the Customer. It's from 1993, or 1994, and they did all these different tests on how to pull out customer problems and analyze them. And they found that multiple people analyzing an interview tends to bring out many more of the user needs than just one person doing it. That makes so much sense. Yeah. Because then, like, the way I'm thinking, obviously, I'm trying to do this as fast as possible, too, right? Let's get to like, analysis and presentation of like, here it is. This is what we need to do. I am trying to, like, speed that process up. But yeah, the risk there is that it's really then just my interpretation. Nicole Baldinu 41:02 Right. Michele Hansen 41:03 Right. And some, they might just watch a video and, yeah, I remember that. But that deep level of analysis is, yeah, is going to be missed if we don't give that opportunity. So, yeah, that's a really good point. I mean, we did that, I believe, like, with the first user interviews. We gave those to our marketing teammate. So, that's how those were used, I feel. But I definitely think if it's, you know, we're starting, you know, if it's an MVP, then yeah, you're right, like someone else needs to go, I think this is actually the problem, or yeah, I agree, or no, I disagree. That's not the problem. And I think, you know, organizationally, giving somebody else the chance to discover something, too, like, they're not just being told what the learning is, but they have it, like, chance to discover it for themselves and maybe see something that somebody else missed. And one thing I love in Erica Hall's Just Enough Research is she talks about how powerful it is to bring other team members into the process because they're, you know, when we do interviews, and then bring them to other people and we're so excited about what we've learned, sometimes people can feel threatened or intimidated by that. Because all of a sudden, there's this new information coming in, and now it's on them to learn it rather than they didn't get to experience the joy of discovery themselves. And, Nicole Baldinu 42:29 Oh, my God, you're blowing my mind. Sorry. Michele Hansen 42:30 And so it's more, like, if you can allow them to be in on the discovery process, whether that's as, you know, a silent listener on the call, or as part of analyzing the transcripts, or even, you know, collating transcripts, which is when you find, you know, let's say you find five common quotes, and then you're putting them all together have different commonalities. like they're part of the process, they're part of what's being learned, and they feel more invested and aligned with like, like, I just remember when, what like, when we, when I worked in a bigger company and we started bringing in the developers into just sitting in on usability testing, and not even asking questions or anything, just just listening, like, the level of team motivation and alignment, like skyrocketed because all of a sudden, everybody was learning. Nicole Baldinu 43:23 So was, I just, yeah, I hear you. Like that, it makes so much sense, but I suppose it's one of those things that we just feel like, oh, we don't have time, you know, we got to move on. We got to keep, it's one of those things that does take time. But you're right, like, that excitement that I think is, like, this is so awesome. I'm having so much fun. This is so important. I'm learning so much. Just by sharing it, it literally is just my experience at that, at that point, unless somebody else gets to discover it for themselves now. Oh, man. How long, this whole process is gonna take three times as long. No, no, but it's good. It's good. It's so it's so valuable. But yeah. Michele Hansen 44:06 And also the, in, the process doesn't have to ever stop. You know, it sounds like you're sort of in an intense phase right now, where you've been, I mean, when did you start doing the interviews? Nicole Baldinu 44:20 Oh, my gosh. Would have been like, not that long. Probably just like, three, four weeks ago. Michele Hansen 44:29 Okay. And you've done 13 in the past month, basically. Nicole Baldinu 44:33 Yeah, less. Michele Hansen 44:34 Yeah. Nicole Baldinu 44:34 Is that a lot? Michele Hansen 44:35 That's, that's a lot. Like, that's a really good number, like, um, you know, I guess you are doing a specific like, project. So I mean, usually the, what I, like, the general guidance is to do five and then sort of stop and pause and analyze and see if you need to change your targeting. So, it sounds like you're consistently hearing different things from different people, so that warrants talking to more people. But also making research not just something that happens when you have a specific question, but just as a general sort of, I think, I tend to call it, like, maintenance research, like just sort of, on a general basis. But like, that's, that's really good, 13 in that amount of time. And so it makes sense that it would feel a little bit like, okay, now I have to analyze all of this, and this is going to be a lot of time and like, where am I going to find the time for this, in addition to everything else, but I think, I hope that eventually, you can find a place where you're just kind of doing like one or two a week, and maybe you're doing one and your UX person or a marketing person or somebody, a developer even, like, they're doing another interviews, and then you've got just like two a week, and then it's like, okay, like, what did we learn? Like, you know, does this does this match what we've heard in the past? How does it differ? Like, what new have we learned? Like, is there anything else we should kind of, you know, consider digging, digging on in the future? Nicole Baldinu 45:59 Hmm. I love that. I wish, I mean, frankly, like, the five would have been helpful if you'd told me that last time. Five? No, I'm just kidding. Michele Hansen 46:12 I mean, you also don't, you don't have to limit yourself to five, right? Like, it's just sort of, that's like, the kind of goal. And again, that's, that is also based on research, too, that you can surface in the context of usability studies, but like, surface 80% of customer needs with five interviews, but that assumes a pretty defined scope. And where you started with a broad scope, it makes sense that you would need more until you feel like you're starting to hear patterns. Nicole Baldinu 46:41 Yeah. And I love what you said, like, that it definitely, and I'm so passionate, I think the more I do this, and the more, like, I talk about this, and geek out on this, and just love this whole process, the more I realize how much it should be a part of just regular in processes within a company, like, Michele Hansen 46:57 Amen. Nicole Baldinu 46:58 Like you said. Yeah, I know, right? Like, I'm gonna spearhead the user research of the company. Well because it is, I mean, I don't know, like, like you said, we said at the beginning, it's like, it's one of those things, I think, as a company grows, you end up doing a lot more management, and, and that's great, because if you're working with great people, it's okay to you know, to do all those management duties. But this just becomes, you know, and then, you know, there's obviously always the putting out little fires here and there, whatever. But this, this has just been such a positive experience that I think, just really enjoyed it for that reason. So having this as an ongoing thing, I think is, would be great. Michele Hansen 47:44 It sounds like you are I, I can just, I feel like I can see how inspired you are by doing, like, by how motivating it is. I am, I'm so excited to continue hearing about how all this goes. Um, and I feel like, I feel like I could talk to you about this all day because, like, talking to people about talking to people is my favorite topic. Like, like for my book, I interviewed 30 people because I just, it's just so much fun. But if other people want to stay in touch with you, what, what is the best way for them to do that? Nicole Baldinu 48:26 Oh, like, to reach out? Just reach out, [email protected] There you go. You got my email. Michele Hansen 48:34 And you're on Twitter, too, right? Nicole Baldinu 48:36 On Twitter . I'm on Instagram as well. You know, they can contact our support team and ask them to call me. Yeah, I'm in there. I'm in there every day. Michele Hansen 48:49 Awesome. Nicole Baldinu 48:51 Yeah.Thank you so much. This has been so much fun. Like, like, like you said, I could talk about this for days, days on end. Michele Hansen 48:59 Alright, well, that's gonna wrap us up for this week. If you liked this week's episode, please leave us a review or tweet at Nicole and I. We would absolutely love to hear what has made you think about.

Run With It

Headspace Meets Peloton for Parental Well-Being with Dan Burcaw

Jun 24th — If you like the show, please leave a review on Apple Podcasts ! Nuggets: Parenting is a secure market! Over 3.5 million births in the US and 140 million worldwide will continue each year. Action Steps: This is a great business idea for an aspiring entrepreneur without an idea but that’s nervous about supporting a growing family. Start with a cohort of expectant parents and partner with a handful of high-profile child development, mindfulness and parenting specialists. Aim for a subscription service that provides one-step-ahead advice on mindfulness and activities to make parenting easier, less stressful and more fun. Consider a custom consulting add-on that matches parents with 1-on-1 professional consults on-demand. Links: https://www.nami.ml The Wonder Weeks - app that tells you the "stormy" periods Baby Care Products Market to Touch US$ 109.13Bn by 2026 <em>Dan Burcaw is currently Co-Founder &amp; CEO of Nami ML, a service that helps you launch, scale, and optimize your mobile app subscription business. He's been an entrepreneur at the forefront o tech since high school. But today he's bringing us an idea about.</em> Love a part of the show? Did we get something completely wrong? Let us know at [email protected]

Newsletter Crew

Writing about power in women's sports with Lindsay Gibbs

Jun 24th — Lindsay Gibbs is the author of Power Plays, “No BS newsletter about sexism in sports.” Gibbs writes about the cultural and political context behind women’s sports. She was an early writer for Substack Pro, and has been building her newsletter for over a year. Here, she shares her playbook for writing and growing a newsletter—while staying genuine, authentic, and marketing-free.

Indie Hackers

#214 – Getting A Big Exit By Being A Small Player In A Small Pond with Chris Bakke of Interviewed

Jun 23rd — Chris Bakke (@ChrisJBakke) came on my radar when he posted an AMA on Indie Hackers after selling his $2M ARR SaaS for $50,000,000. Like a lot of people in the Indie Hackers community, I have a lot of questions. In this episode, I'll find out how Chris came up with the idea and why he intentionally chose a tiny market. Follow Chris on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChrisJBakke Check out Chris's new startup: https://laskie.com/

Startup to Last

When churn and word of mouth cancel each other out

Jun 22nd — Topics this week: Tyler has a new iPad and doesn't know what it's good for. Rick has added a client through word of mouth, and we discuss how churn and word of mouth are constantly battling with one another. Rick has resolved a major issue one of his clients had with their dental insurance. Crisis averted. Tyler has been working on the wrong things, and is trying to correct that. We discuss Less Annoying CRM's new leadership team. Rick is applying his new javascript skills to his Airtable data. Tyler is writing blog posts in a new way: First write the tweet storm, then write the blog post. We discuss Earnest Capital's rebranding to Calm Company Fund .

Software Social

Holy Forking Sportsballs

Jun 22nd — Pre-order Michele's book on talking to customers! https://deployempathy.com/order Michele Hansen 00:00 Welcome back to Software Social. This episode is sponsored by Fathom Analytics . Fathom is trusted by thousands of businesses to power their privacy-first website analytics like GitHub, FastMail, Buffer, Tailwind, and so many amazing small businesses, too. For the longest time, website analytics offer was seriously bad. It was hard to understand, time consuming to use, and worse, and exploited visitor data for big tech to profit. Fathom is website analytics without compromise, easy to use, respectful of digital privacy, and fully compliant with GDPR. Plus, Fathom's script loads faster than Google Analytics, meaning it's better for SEO. With Fathom, you can see all of your visitors, not just half, because they've pioneered the method to bypass ad blockers without invading privacy. Fathom also doesn't chase venture capital or need investors. Like my company, Geocodio, they are customer-funded, and customers are the only folks they answer to. Try a free seven day trial or check out Fathom at UseFathom.com/ssp . Michele Hansen So, the other day, I totaled up how much I have made from my book so far, and all the expenses. Colleen Schnettler 01:19 Okay. Michele Hansen 01:20 So, as of that point, $1363 in presales, which is just, like, the number of copies times 29. That's not my actual payouts. It's just, like, the gross revenue. Colleen Schnettler 01:34 Okay. Michele Hansen 01:34 And then, so the expenses. So, first one, for the formatting, I have to use the software called Vellum, which is $250. I had to buy ISBNs, like, the little, like, numbers on the back of the book that identify it. Colleen Schnettler 01:49 Yeah. Michele Hansen 01:50 So, and I had to, you can either buy one, or like 10, and since I'm going to do an audio book, you need an ISBN for that, and like, a hardcover needs zone ISBN. And so anyway, that was $295. A barcode is $25. Proofreading $800, which is a lot of money, but I feel like that's the price of like, not being embarrassed that it's full of typos and you know, I feel like if I want to, like, have a book that, like, a manager could buy for their team, or like, people would recommend to their clients, like, it has to be professional. And so having, like, professional proofreading is the cost of that. Colleen Schnettler 02:24 Yeah. I didn't know that was something. I didn't know that was a thing. Michele Hansen 02:30 Yeah. Yeah, I spent, I think last week I mentioned how I was fighting with Grammarly a lot, and, Colleen Schnettler 02:35 Yeah. Michele Hansen 02:36 I just, I was like, I have spent like, two days fighting with Grammarly, just trying to get it to work, and like, and I was like, this is just, my time is more expensive than this. Colleen Schnettler 02:47 Yeah. Michele Hansen 02:47 So, I'm just gonna hire a proofreader. Colleen Schnettler 02:50 Good choice. Michele Hansen 02:50 And then, of course, you know, don't include hundreds of hours of my time over the last couple of months. But, so, the total for expenses so far is $1370. Colleen Schnettler 03:01 That's wonderful. Michele Hansen 03:02 So, when you deduct $1363 minus $1370. Colleen Schnettler 03:11 Oh. Michele Hansen 03:12 You get negative seven. Colleen Schnettler 03:16 Yeah, I see. I misunderstood what you were saying. Got it. So you're in the hole seven bucks and hundreds of hours of your time. Michele Hansen 03:25 Yes. Yeah. Colleen Schnettler 03:26 Alright. Well, good thing it;s a labor of love. Michele Hansen 03:28 So, I looked at that number, though, and I just had this moment where I was like, holy, forking shirtballs, like, I need to market this thing. Colleen Schnettler 03:39 Yeah. Michele Hansen 03:40 Umm, and actually, so like, I sold another two since then. So now, I am actually at positive $51. Colleen Schnettler 03:51 Whoo. Michele Hansen 03:52 Yeah, whoo. Umm, and of course, you know, we're only like, only in presale, and like, a ton of people have today said they want the hardcover or they want the audio book. So they haven't, they haven't purchased it yet, or they just simply want the finished version. Umm, But yeah, that was kind of a wake up call for me that, like, I've been, you know, we talked about with Sean like, I, like marketing a info product feels very different for me than marketing a SaaS. Colleen Schnettler 04:19 Yes. Michele Hansen 04:19 And also requires a lot more self-promotion, which I'm not comfortable with. Like, it makes me like, deeply uncomfortable to like, reach out to people and be like, hey, like, would you consider, like, you know, reviewing my book like, or, you know, can I be on your podcast and, like, talk, like, it makes me super uncomfortable. Umm so, so but I got to do it because like, negative $7, man, for like, four months worth of work is, you know, basically half of my time the last four months, certainly, last two months, has been on this book. And so I feel like I owe it to myself just for that, like, time to like, sell the gosh darn thing. Colleen Schnettler 05:07 Definitely. Michele Hansen 05:09 Yeah. So I like spent, you know, this week I was kind of working on, you know, like, I went through all of the newsletter issues and I, like, put in a link at the top to, like, buy the book because I've noticed that people are sharing the scripts around. Like, I can see the analytics that they're getting shared in people's Slack channels, or, you know, Trello, or Asana, which is a good sign that those maybe have some staying power. So, and just kind of thinking through a little bit more, a little bit more of the marketing and trying to arrange, you know, yeah, podcasts and stuff, but I gotta, I gotta market this thing. Colleen Schnettler 05:52 Yeah, didn't Alex, who promoted his book on our podcast, didn't he do, like, 20 or 30 podcasts? Michele Hansen 06:00 Yeah. Colleen Schnettler 06:01 And how many have you done? Michele Hansen 06:04 Um, I, well, Colleen Schnettler 06:07 I already know the answer. Michele Hansen 06:09 Well, I mean this one. I mean, I was on a couple recently where I talked about the newsletter. Like, I was on, I, yeah. Like, I was on the Get the Audience podcast, and I was on the Learn Neto podcast as well. But like, the book wasn't out yet. So those weren't really, Colleen Schnettler 06:37 Right, you didn't have anything to sell at that time. Michele Hansen 06:39 Yeah, it was just the newsletter. Yeah. Colleen Schnettler 06:40 A good goal for you would be to try to book 15, you know, and get yourself as a guest on 15 to 20 podcasts to promote your book, because you can sell it now. Right? Even though it's not completely done. Michele Hansen 06:52 Yeah. Yeah, I guess I guess. Yeah. I'm like scheduling one for the middle of July, like, so I'm currently, my goal is to publish it on July 2, but I like, I really hope that happens. But there may be like, you know, some people may need more time to, like, write reviews, and, like, making a cover and everything. So, it should be out by early July. Colleen Schnettler 07:20 You're, when you say, I don't know. You mean the book? Michele Hansen 07:22 Yeah. Colleen Schnettler 07:22 I am little confused about what you're saying. Michele Hansen 07:23 Yeah. So like, upload it to Amazon, and people can buy a physical copy. Colleen Schnettler 07:28 Yes. Michele Hansen 07:29 So I don't think I'm quite there yet. Like, exactly like, and I think there's some things that I'm just saying aren't going to happen for, like, this first version, like, a friend of mine, who is a UX research expert was reading it, and there's a couple places she's like, this would be a really great table. This would be great as a graphic. And I'm like, yes, it would be but I have zero faculty for visual communication, and that is not going to happen right now. Like, that can like happen when my brain has the space to like, think that through, but it is, it is not happening right now. But yeah, I guess I guess I should say, I guess that, I don't even know where to start. Colleen Schnettler 08:13 No no, Let's go like straight Nike style here. Michele Hansen 08:15 Nike style? Colleen Schnettler 08:16 What is it, just do it? Just do it. That's my challenge for you. I'm not going to talk to you for a couple weeks because I'm about to embark on my epic road trip. So, my challenge for you is to reach out to, find and reach out to 25 podcast hosts that you think, Michele Hansen 08:34 Good Lord. Colleen Schnettler 08:34 And they’re not all going to say yes, which is like, hey, man. I know. Michele Hansen 08:37 I'm sitting here being like, Colleen, and I really struggle with self promotion. And even, you know, one person was hard for me and you're like, go do it 25 more times. Colleen Schnettler 08:45 25 times. I love that idea. Michele Hansen 08:46 Coach Colleen says 25 more reps. So not fair. Colleen Schnettler 08:50 Yes. So, that's what my challenge for you is, is to reach out, Michele Hansen 08:54 How about five? Colleen Schnettler 08:57 Really? I'm not impressed with your five. Michele Hansen 09:00 I feel like everybody, I feel like everybody like, needs this person standing on their shoulder that's like, I will write one landing page this month. And you're just there. They're like, really? Colleen Schnettler 09:11 Really? That's the best you can do? Michele Hansen 09:13 That's, like, that's it, you know? Wait, like, why are you here? Colleen Schnettler 09:18 You should try and, I don't know, just ask, ask one of our prominent friends who is a book author, Alex comes to mind again, how many podcasts he went on? Michele Hansen 09:27 Yeah. Colleen Schnettler 09:28 And try to hit that number. I mean, it's game time girl. Like, you wrote the book. You did the hard work,nd now it's a whole new set of hard work that you have to do because you're right, like, this is a brilliant book. You don't want it to languish because, no one's ever heard of it. Michele Hansen 09:43 I didn't say it was brilliant. You said it was brilliant. Colleen Schnettler 09:46 Well, here you go. It's brilliant. it's needed. It's gonna be amazing. So, I think you need to like, get in gear. Michele Hansen 09:54 Yeah, I, yeah. Okay. I guess, I have to go, well, if you are listening and you want to promote me, then help me. Colleen Schnettler 10:06 Maybe what we can do is we can, I have an idea. Okay, plan. So, just put a tweet out and ask everyone for their favorite business podcast. I bet you'll get a list of at least 30. And then you can just, Michele Hansen 10:17 Yeah, I guess, yeah, like, but like it has to be for SaaS, for example, because like, Planet Money isn't gonna have me on. Colleen Schnettler 10:25 Right, right. I meant yeah, SaaS podcast. I mean, there's enough of them that do podcasts similar to ours. Michele Hansen 10:31 Make the internet do my research for me. Colleen Schnettler 10:34 Yes, there we go. Harness the power of the internet. Michele Hansen 10:41 So if you see a tweet from the Software Social Account soon about your favorite business SaaS podcast, now you know why. Colleen Schnettler 10:50 The secret's out. Michele Hansen 10:52 Yeah, the secret is out. Okay. Well, I will, I will try to book myself on some, some podcasts. I guess, I guess there's other ways I could promote it, too. Like, I could go on, like, Tiktok or, Colleen Schnettler 11:12 No. Michele Hansen 11:14 No, we will not do that. For those listening at home, I think Colleen just spit out her coffee. Yeah. Okay. Well, I have some marketing to do. Colleen Schnettler 11:34 Yes. Michele Hansen 11:36 Yeah. I think I have like, I've literally sent I think one email, maybe two. No, yeah, one email that mentioned that the presale was live, which basically goes against every best practice, like, some like, someone sent me some advice the other day, and they're like, send at least three emails a day on your like, launch days. I was like, okay, I've sent like, one in the last two weeks, and I sent out my newsletter the other day, and I actually forgot to include a link to the presale. So, I need to, like, Colleen Schnettler 12:06 You know what, suggestion. Michele Hansen 12:07 Yeah. Colleen Schnettler 12:07 This is really cool. So do you know the Wes Bos is? He's, like, a famous JavaScript instructor. I bought like, all of his courses. But what he does is, he does, when he has a new product to launch, he does send a lot of emails, but he actually segments his emails. And to be fair, his list is probably like 30,000 people. But he segments his email, so you can unsubscribe just from the product launch emails, which I love, because I'm like, oh, I don't care about this product launch, or I already bought that, and then I can still continue to get all the normal newsletter emails. I mean, don't stress yourself out. Michele Hansen 12:10 Yeah. Yeah. Colleen Schnettler 12:14 But it's an idea. It's an idea. Michele Hansen 12:20 Yeah, I'm only using review at this point for, so, I don't, like, I don't even have like, ConvertKit or anything. Colleen Schnettler 12:50 Okay, set up. Michele Hansen 12:51 Set up, so I, I don't, I probably should do that, but I haven't really, Colleen Schnettler 13:00 Okay, so I think podcast. I'm still in editing, like, get it out the door mode, because there's still other like, launch stuff. Like, I have to like register the ISBN and like, I need to go through the whole process with Amazon of like, making sure all that's like, setup. Michele Hansen 13:19 So, that feels like a July task. Colleen Schnettler 13:24 July task. That's fine. It's halfway to July. It's almost July. So, Michele Hansen 13:30 Yeah, so I, maybe I should, like, make a spreadsheet of all the different things and, like, have a goal for those. Colleen Schnettler 13:39 I'm, I'm a big fan of measurable goals, right? Like, so, so I'm team, you know, write it down, keep a spreadsheet, keep track of it. Not that I've executed so well on my goals, right? It's easy for me to sit here and tell you what to do. It's way harder when it's you telling me what to do. So, you know, Michele Hansen 13:57 Well isn't there, there's some business axiom about like, it's not like, like, like, achieving the exact goal is not important. It's the fact that you create one and then work towards it that matters. Like, there's somebody who has said something to that effect much more articulately than just said, but you know, it's like just you set the goal and then you go off on a journey to get there and you may end up somewhere else, but like, you have, you're at least doing something. Colleen Schnettler 14:23 Right? You're making forward progress. Michele Hansen 14:25 Yeah, and I should probably have a revenue goal, too. Like, Colleen Schnettler 14:29 So, okay. Michele Hansen 14:29 Even though I don't want one, I should, I guess. Colleen Schnettler 14:32 Okay, I'm gonna get off topic, and I don't want to get too far off topic. But, so I'm a really big fan of, like, famous sports coaches, like, Michele Hansen 14:42 Okay. Colleen Schnettler 14:43 Like, this is, like, a thing. Like, I love reading biographies of like John Wooden and all these other really successful sports coaches. And one of my favorite takeaways from all of this information that I've osmosed is you cannot control the outcome, right? You can only control your effort and your attitude, which is why revenue goals are not very actionable. Because a revenue goal, like, you actually can't control that. What you can control is your attitude, right? How you approach the problem, and your effort, and how hard you work, and by aligning all of these steps in terms of effort and attitude, the revenue will come. But to set a goal, like, like, in the, you know, the basketball metaphors, like when the NCAA championships, you can't actually control that. You can just control how prepared you are, and your mindset when you attack the problem. Michele Hansen 15:40 Oh, that makes sense. Colleen Schnettler 15:43 I know that's, like, totally off topic, but I just read about it. And I'm like, Michele Hansen 15:48 Yeah, so it's, so to what you were saying, like your goal of 25 podcast episodes. And, and rather than having a goal of say, you know, I don't know, like, $5,000, for example. Instead having it be like, be on 25 podcasts over the next six months to a year, about it, not including this one, because if we include all the episodes of this show then I'm like, totally hitting that, but I assume we're not. Um, and, you know, so like, being on a specific number of podcasts, or something else. I don't know, guest talks or something. Um, yeah, like picking like, specific actions that I can do that's like your equivalent. Like, it's like, write a landing page, right? Like, like, all these, like, things that are actions that I know are accretive towards, Colleen Schnettler 16:51 Right. That's the idea. Michele Hansen 16:52 Good outcomes, but like, I fundamentally don't have that much control over how much I actually sell. Like, I can keep my ears out for things that might sell like, you know, for example, I'm gonna sell templates, too, for $19 that are like, Notion templates of all the scripts and it occurred to me earlier, like the, the How to Talk So People Will Talk section like, people seem to really love that. And I was like, that could maybe be its own, like, mini book for like, $10. It's like, just like, so you want, like, you know, you, you want to get information out of people, and you want them to think you're like, trustworthy and you want to, you know, learn how to, like listen actively, then, a mini book or something, like there's other stuff I could do. Colleen Schnettler 17:36 Right, I guess all of my points, all of that that you just described, that's effort, right? Those are things you do. You ultimately can't control your revenue, but it'll get there if you put the effort in. That's the idea. Michele Hansen 17:46 But like, I if I set the goal of like, be the, I don't know, New York Times number one bestseller or whatever, like, I have zero control over that. It's also not realistic. And it's not it, in some ways it's like, de-motivating there have a goal that is not clearly achievable. Colleen Schnettler 18:07 Exactly. Michele Hansen 18:07 But being on 25 podcast is not like, like, that's like, those are very nebulous goals, because it's unclear what will lead to that. Colleen Schnettler 18:17 Yeah. Exactly. Michele Hansen 18:17 But being on 20 Live podcast in six months is concrete. And I ostensibly have control over that. Colleen Schnettler 18:26 Yes. Nice. Michele Hansen 18:28 Wow. So, it sounds like you are doing like a lot of like, business reading lately. Colleen Schnettler 18:38 Yeah, um, not a ton. So I do have a couple audio books queued up for my drive that I'm excited about, business ebooks, Obviously Awesome is one that I've been wanting to listen to and I have purchased but I have not yet. This one I just really liked. This one was about, like I said, some of the famous coaches. First of all, I'm a sucker for sports movies, but, but I really liked that idea that ultimately you, you can't control, like, if you're going to win, but you can control all of the aspects of your journey, like how much time you put in, how much effort you put in, like, what your mindset is, you could, those are all things that you know, you can control. And as you know, for like, it feels like for a couple months now I've been struggling to move the product forward. Like, the product is doing well. I hit $1300 MRR. Michele Hansen 19:28 Nice. Colleen Schnettler 19:28 Which is, yeah, I mean, it's great. Michele Hansen 19:30 Yeah. Colleen Schnettler 19:30 I'm really happy with it. But it, I feel a little bit stuck. I feel, and I don't know if it's, I feel stuck because I haven't had the time, or if I feel stuck because I'm actually stuck. Like, I can't figure out if I feel stuck because if I, if I, let's say I gave myself a week and I just worked every day on it if I would get myself out of that kind of rut, or if there's really no rut to get out of and this is just the nature of the product. That it's just a slow burn, which is fine. I mean, it's going well, like I'm not complaining, I know some people can't, you know, haven't hit this milestone, especially not as quickly as I did. But, um, so there's that. So, I think what I want to do is I want to make a bigger push on content. Because I really haven't, I really don't have any content out there. So that's something I'm going to try and spend some time on, and like, there's just some things about the product that I want to keep iterating on, and I want to make better. Michele Hansen 20:36 I mean, we were just talking about goals and the, sort of how difficult it is to have a monetary goal because you don't have control over it. And it's, it's awesome, first of all that, I mean, to have $1300 MRR means that, I mean, a month or two ago, we're talking about how you're hitting 1000. That means that like, that's, the thing, the thing about revenue for a subscription business is that revenue happens every month, like, this revenue that I have from the book, that happened once, and that's not going to happen again. But yours, people are paying you. So it's not just that you have made $1300 like, you, that is compounding and adding on top of each other. But I am sort of curious, like, there has to be some number or range in your head where you're like, I can stop consulting now. Or I can, you know, somebody offers me a full time job and I can just like, turn it down without even thinking about. Like, there has to be some number for you. Colleen Schnettler 21:38 Absolutely. And I think like, and, and, absolutely. And I mean, I'm in this for the money. Like, just to be clear, that makes some people really uncomfortable. I don't know if they're not used to women saying that or what, but like, when I tell people that they get a little uncomfortable. Michele Hansen 21:53 It’s like, your job, like, Colleen Schnettler 21:55 Yeah, like, I want to make more money. Michele Hansen 21:56 Like, of course everybody is in their job for the money. Like, yes, I'm doing this book as like, a passion project and like, which leads me to make all sorts of decisions that are confusing to people who prioritize money, like, but like you, understandably, are prioritizing money, because this is your job. And if this doesn't work out, then you know, Colleen Schnettler 22:17 I gotta go get a real one. Michele Hansen 22:18 I mean tons more consulting, or like, getting, getting a paycheck job is what you have to do. Like, this is not, Colleen Schnettler 22:25 Yeah, so. Michele Hansen 22:27 Yeah. Colleen Schnettler 22:28 I mean, the thing I love about owning your own business is the possibilities are infinite, right? Like, I mean, I, from a personal perspective, you know, if I could get to 10k, that would be like, Oh, my gosh, I cannot, that would be, I'd be over the moon, right? Michele Hansen 22:45 So that's the number. Colleen Schnettler 22:47 The number would be 10k. But, you know, why can't I have a couple million dollars a year in revenue? Like, I want a business. Michele Hansen 22:53 Why can't you have a million dollars? Colleen Schnettler 22:56 I mean, I want a business. Like, if I hit 10k and stay there forever, like, I probably would be a little frustrated. Like, to me, the whole point of having your own business is the possibilities are, in, you know, infinite. And like, one of the things I've been able to do with my modest income, is I've been able to hire two people to help write content for me. And yeah, hired someone else. Michele Hansen 23:23 Oh, you're, wait. Colleen Schnettler 23:25 And, yeah, man, I'm crazy over here. I'm just, dollar bills. Michele Hansen 23:28 Dude, and I'm like, 7 years into this and I like, just hired, like, a part time VA, like, three months ago. Colleen Schnettler 23:34 Yeah, yeah. I feel like you're doing it wrong. But that's a different issue. Michele Hansen 23:37 Probably. I'm doing it my way, okay. Colleen Schnettler 23:40 That's right. So, and the thing I love about that is, I, with, with the people that I'm paying, I've been able to, you know, people who are kind of writing anyway, now I can pay them to write, it seems like such a win-win. Like, I feel like I'm, it's good for them and it's good for me. And it's something I really love. So like, ultimately, I would love to build this into, like, you know, a really successful business and hire a person and, and, and be able to have created this environment where I can work with who I want and buy my beach house and all that. I mean, I'm big on the beach house if I haven't mentioned that a few times already. Michele Hansen 24:25 So the first, like, the first big goal, which I think it'll be fun to reevaluate this a year from now, is like 10k basically. Colleen Schnettler 24:36 Yeah. I mean, Michele Hansen 24:36 To get you to 10k revenue and then to like, the big, big goal is buy Colleen a beach house. Colleen Schnettler 24:43 Buy Colleen a beach house. Yeah. But to me 10k, and I don't know if I have, and I'm still, I feel like I'm in that messy middle phase. Like, I hit 1k, which makes it feel like it's a real thing. Like it's, it's legit, but I don't know if I'm in, I feel like there's a, going from zero to 1k is different than going from 1k to 10k. Right? It's a factor of 10 more. Like it's a big, you feel like going from zero to 1k is one milestone and one to 10 is your next milestone. But one to 10 is way more than zero to one, right? So, I honestly don't know if I'm positioned correctly with this product to get there. Michele Hansen 25:26 Which is why you’re reading Obviously Awesome. Colleen Schnettler 25:28 Which is why I'm reading Obviously, Obviously Awesome. I just, I just don't know, if I'm in the right space, there's so much opportunity. I was talking to a founder recently and he talked about how he pivoted his company and moved into a totally different space, and they started growing, like they were kind of stagnant for a while, and then they kind of made this pivot, moved into a new space and their growth exploded. So, I definitely think there's a spot for me, I just don't know what it is, and I just don't know, it feels like a lot. Like the other thing that, that I wanted to just kind of bring up is when people talk about how to grow in your business. They talk about, like, building the product, as if it's this static thing that takes you like two weeks, and like writing good software is hard. And, it's a constantly evolving process. So it's something that constantly needs my you know, my attention, and that's not bad. I just feel like, you know, it's hard to balance, as most people who listen to this who are working and building a product know, it's just hard to balance all of those competing desires. So I just don't know if I have a, I guess the truth is, I don't know if I have a product that's going to get me to 10k. Like, I don't know, I don't know where it is right now. It's that product. Michele Hansen 26:52 I mean, thinking back to where we were like I don't, I don't have our numbers in front of me, so I don't remember them exactly. But like, the thing that really made our revenue jump was not adding any one particular feature or one particular marketing thing. It was a pricing change, because we like, so we started out, I think we were like $31 our first month. And then I don't know, like, maybe maybe $100 the next month, and then like $400 the next month, and then in May of 2014, we had someone who needed, like, a crazy volume of usage every single day. And the only way we could make that work was basically to give them their own server. And we looked around and see what, you know, big companies were charging for these sort of really high volume, like, plans and we're, and I think we we figured out like, the cheapest one was like 10,000 a year, for, that was still like rate limited, I think to 100,000 a day, but we're like, okay, we can do like basically Unlimited, up to like 5 million a day for you for $750 a month, which worked out to 9000 a year. And adding that plan, which was like, slightly different feature-wise, but like it wasn't it wasn't like adding a feature to the API, but it was like a pricing feature, and a new plan, adding that one plan and then, like, we didn't think anyone else would ever take it, and then people started taking it. Like, that is what caused our revenue to really grow. And so I wonder if there's some space for like, you know, pricing evolution here. And like maybe there's some other way of packaging your products with the existing features in a way that's at a higher price point. But I don't like, I don't know why that is. Colleen Schnettler 28:44 So I do. Michele Hansen 28:44 It's your business, like, so. Colleen Schnettler 28:46 Yeah. Michele Hansen 28:46 But like, I think it's worth thinking about, like, the pricing aspects of, of this. Colleen Schnettler 28:50 Yeah, well, and one of the things I do is my app has a lot more power that I'm exposing at the moment. So, I think the answer for example, like, I think I limit your file size to 50MBs, there's no reason I have to do that, like I don't, you know, there's there's a couple things someone reached out to me and told me that his company has a setup now where their customers upload files, like up to a gig(GB) through Upload Care, and then they, but they move them off the Upload Care servers, because it's so expensive, or it's a whole thing. I'm talking to him, I'm gonna, you know, have I have an interview scheduled with him to better understand Michele Hansen 29:26 Whoo. Colleen Schnettler 29:26 I know. Michele Hansen 29:27 Music to my ears. Colleen Schnettler 29:30 But I, you know, so my point is, there's the two things that I'm not doing, I think I've might have mentioned this last week, is multiple file uploads, which I can do. I'm doing it for one client, special, and large files. So it might just be that I'm not quite positioned properly yet. Michele Hansen 29:46 Yeah. Colleen Schnettler 29:46 In terms of I've really kept, I've kept a lot of that functionality close to the chest for no particular reason, just because I didn't want to like, release all the features at once and overwhelm everyone like, oh my goodness, but since I can't do those things, it seems like re, kind of revisiting, revisiting some of those options would probably be a good move for me. Michele Hansen 30:09 Yeah, I think it's really smart that you're, like you're doing a big road trip. So you're, and you're going to be listening to this book in the car, right? Colleen Schnettler 30:19 Yes, ma'am. Michele Hansen 30:20 Like, I find that we do our best like, business thinking on road trips, like, I, maybe it's because, you know, you like, you, you can't be doing anything else, like, you are literally stuck there. Colleen Schnettler 30:34 Right. You’re stuck. Michele Hansen 30:34 And like, and I can't be looking at my phone in the car, otherwise, I'm going to get carsick. And, of course, it's the two of us and like, like, our go to for road trips is like, how I built this. So we end up like, really like, coming up with stuff on on, like, you know, I have, like, emailed myself of, like, conversations we've had on road trips. And so of course, it'll only be you. But, you know, those times when, like, the kids are sleeping in the back or whatever, and you can't have the audio book on and thinking all these things through, like, I think it'll be really good thinking time for yourself. And but remember to like, take notes every day on what it is that you think about. Colleen Schnettler 31:17 Oh. That's a good point. I should bring a notebook. That's a really good point. Michele Hansen 31:20 Like, a notebook or even just like, record a voice memo for yourself or whatever, if that's easier, just like, something so you don't, like, because there are times when when we've had like, an amazing conversation on a road trip, and then I didn't write it down. And then like, you know, a week later, we're back and we're like, oh, my God, like, what was that like, an amazing thing. And like I had this whole, like, like pre COVID, we were on a road trip. And I had this whole idea of like, our content strategy built around, like really unique address data. Like, for example, in South Carolina, there's three, there's like four towns called Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland, all right next to each other, like, I was gonna, like, write about all of these, like, odd location, address things, and I came up with this great name for it on the road trip, and then I like, I still cannot remember what that name was, so take notes. Colleen Schnettler 32:09 Yeah, I totally, I totally hear you. I know exactly what you're saying. I think that's a great idea. I think I have a lot of thinking to do. You know, I kind of feel like it was really exciting in the beginning when I was trying to launch the product. And then it's really exciting. And then everything is very, very exciting. And then you hit your first milestone, and then it's kind of like, oh, but now there's another milestone, okay, so I never really win. Michele Hansen 32:32 Right. The goalpost just moves. Colleen Schnettler 32:34 The goalpost continuously moves. So it's interesting to me, I mean, I have a lot to think about is like, is this a product that can get me to 10k? How do I, and how do I get there? Right? Like, what is what do I need to do to get there? As I just said, when I was giving you my little pep talk, like it's putting in the work, I mean, you know, it's not going to sell itself. So yeah, I'm ready to really, really give it some time to think about it on my epic journey. Michele Hansen 33:01 Alright, well, on, on that note, I guess we should just sort of make a quick programming note that Colleen will be away for the next two weeks. And so we will, we will be leading on that social side of Software Social and have some guests coming up that I'm super excited about. And then I will be away the following week, so Colleen is gonna have a guest on, and then we will both be like, basically a month from now. Colleen Schnettler 33:34 Oh my gosh. I won’t talk to you for a month. Michele Hansen 33:35 Wow. That feels so weird. Colleen Schnettler 33:37 Oh, gracious. That's sad. Michele Hansen 33:45 I mean, you'll text me roadtrip updates. Colleen Schnettler 33:45 Obviously. Michele Hansen 33:46 Yeah. Colleen Schnettler 33:46 Obviously, I’m so excited to see, like, cactuses, by the way. Michele Hansen 33:52 Yeah? Colleen Schnettler 33:52 In Arizona. Yeah. I'm so excited to see the great American West. Michele Hansen 33:55 I've heard Arizona is, like, gorgeous. Colleen Schnettler 33:57 Yeah, I'm super pumped to see a big cactus. Anyway. Michele Hansen 34:00 Oh, I've been there. I was okay, whatever. We're gonna stop here for today. Colleen Schnettler 34:07 Wrap it up. Michele Hansen 34:11 I'll talk to you next week.

Indie Hackers

#213 – An Indie Hacker's Process to Reach $10K MRR

Jun 18th — Molly Wolchansky is the founder of The Agent Nest (@theagentnest), an application that manages social media posts and marketing materials for real estate agents. In this episode, we'll find out why she chose this niche and how seven years of manual agency work led to a breaking point. Follow Molly on Twitter: https://twitter.com/theagentnest Check out Molly's App: https://www.theagentnest.com/

Run With It

A Social Media Analytics Tool with Dave Chesson

Jun 17th — If you like the show, please leave a review on Apple Podcasts ! Action Steps: 1. Look at user feedback from poorly reviewed competitors in the app store 2. Spend only a few hundred to a few thousand dollars developing a Chrome extension 3. Collect user feedback 4. Expand to other channels like LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter

Startup to Last

What we've learned about podcasting after 100 episodes

Jun 15th — Tyler has a new mic. Tyler is in the middle of the final round of interviews for his new dev hire, and he's starting to plan onboarding. We discuss whether to put a new LACRM content project on the main lessannoyingcrm.com domain, or a separate mini-site. Rick finished taking his javascript course. Rick's dad is in town, and he's taking a bit of time off work. We discuss a trick for getting people to complete online courses. We reflect on what we've learned after recording 100 episodes of this podcast.

Indie Hackers

#212 – Actionable Steps for Building the Right Business with Arvid Kahl

Jun 15th — Today's guest recently sold his company, FeedbackPanda, but instead of disappearing to an island, I've seen him all over Twitter, all over his blog, all over Indie Hackers <em>helping</em> people. In this episode, I talk to Arvid Kahl (@arvidkahl) about how involuntary reciprocity built his audience and how Indie Hackers can do the same. We'll dig into his new book, <em>The Embedded Entrepreneur, </em>to break down how he co-developed and grew his businesses through audience engagement. Check out The Bootstrapped Founder: https://thebootstrappedfounder.com/ Follow Arvid on Twitter: https://twitter.com/arvidkahl Arvid's new book: https://embeddedentrepreneur.com

Software Social

Sympathy, Empathy, and Solving Problems

Jun 15th — Pre-order Michele's book! deployempathy.com/order/ Michele Hansen 00:00 Welcome back to Software Social. This episode is sponsored by the website monitoring tool, Oh Dear . Oh Dear does everything they can to help you avoid downtime like scheduled task monitoring, SSL certificate expiration notifications and more. But downtime happens. When it does, it's how you communicate in times of crisis that make the difference. Oh Dear makes it easy to keep your customers up to date during critical times. You can sign up for a 10 day free trial with no credit card required at OhDear.app . Colleen Schnettler 00:35 So Michele, do you have a, Michele Hansen 00:38 Hey, Colleen Schnettler 00:38 Good morning. Do you have a numbers update for us on your book? Michele Hansen 00:43 I do. So my presale went live about a week and a half ago, when our episode with Sean went live. That was my deadline. And, I've sold 43 copies right now. Yeah, it's kind of exciting. Um, it's not all people I know, which is exciting. Colleen Schnettler 01:06 That's very exciting. Michele Hansen 01:08 I love how supportive people have been. And it also, it makes me, it's just reassuring that people I don't know are buying it. But yeah, so that puts it right now, just, and this is just the raw, you know, number of times $29, which is $1,247. Colleen Schnettler 01:30 That's amazing. Congratulations. Michele Hansen 01:33 Yeah. Thank you. And I got my first payout yesterday, which after, like, taxes, and everything else, was $912. Colleen Schnettler 01:41 Wow. Michele Hansen 01:42 Which was kind of exciting, and gives me a little bit of budget to work with, with, like, you know, hiring a proofreader, and using some, like, layout tools, but, you know, so I was pulling these numbers, and because, you know, everybody loves numbers and whatnot. And I was thinking about it. So, so I got this, this message from someone yesterday, who had started reading the book, and it was actually someone I don't know. And if I can just kind of read what they, what they said. Colleen Schnettler 02:25 Yes, please. Michele Hansen 02:26 And so I had a personal aha moment reading distinction between sympathetic, empathetic and solution based responses. My sympathetic conclusion based responses are leaving no space for empathetic, something I need to address. I'm an engineer and an architect by trade, and I'm looking to do a better job interviewing the humans attached to our work. But I'm also thinking about your book from the sense that a better balance of empathy will help me be a better teammate as well. And, like, getting that was so moving for me because it made me think about how, you know, I'm not writing this book for the money. Like, yes, the book needs to make money, because I've been working on it for four months now and have, you know, there's a lot of time I haven't spent working on Geocodio. Oh, like, I've been a pretty bad Geocodio employee the past couple of months, like, full honesty, right? So like, I have to, like, it has to have been, you know, worth my time. But like, I am not, I'm not motivated by that, like, I am motivated by this, by like, you know, like, I have this like, secret dream goal. Well, I mean, it's not a secret cuz I've, like, tweeted about it, but like, whatever. You know, Mathias sometimes says to me, he's like, I know you were thinking about something because you tweeted about it. And I’m like, oh, I forgot to, like, verbalize that. Anyway, um, I have this dream that through the process of learning this for interviewing, and, like, product development and marketing reasons, people will understand how to be more empathetic and use that in their daily lives. Like, everyone has a capacity for empathy. Everybody can learn it, not everybody is taught it or shown it so they don't really learn it. But everyone has a capacity for it. And, but also, like, very few people, you know, put like, be more empathetic, like, learn how to learn how to use empathy, like on their to do list every day. But they put write a landing page, get more customers, build a feature, like, reply to all of those customers and intercom like, those are the things that end up on a to do list. And so I have this like, kind of, I don't know, like, naive dream that like people will read this and apply these skills to the things they're already doing, but in doing so, learn how to be more empathetic in their daily life or you know, as a as a team member or whatnot. And just getting this message really, it was so motivating, but also so soul-nourishing because it really made me feel like, like the book has done what I wanted it to do. Like, this is what I set out to achieve and, like, this message makes me feel like the book is a success, regardless of how many copies it sells. Like, so it was just like, it was kind of a, it was kind of a, like a moment, like it was, it also sort of like if you're having this effect, like you can, like, stop rearranging it, like, you know, I feel like I've done a rewrite every week for, like, the past eight weeks. Yeah, time to time to ship the gosh darn thing. Colleen Schnettler 05:57 That is wonderful. So what I just heard you say is, this book is secretly teaching us how to be better humans, wrapped up in a book about customer interviews. Michele Hansen 06:09 Yes, wrapped up in a book about which features you should prioritize, and how to, you know, pick a pricing model based on what people's usage patterns are, and, like, how to understand what people want and write better landing pages. All that stuff they're already trying to do. But then yeah, there's, there's this kind of bigger message. Like, I feel like so much of good UX practice is good human being practice. Colleen Schnettler 06:35 Yeah. Michele Hansen 06:36 Um, and, I mean, I, I really learned about empathy by doing interviews myself. So this, I mean, it's, it's, it's very personal for me in a way that, like, the book is, I don't know, it is very, very personal for me. And it's not just about showing empathy to other people. It's also about showing empathy to yourself, too, which is just as important. Colleen Schnettler 07:06 So I have not read the book yet, unfortunately. Can you tell me briefly, what the difference is between empathy and sympathy that that writer wrote into you? Because we talk about it a lot, but we've never defined it, really. Michele Hansen 07:22 Yeah, that's true. So empathy is when you, basically when you, when you try to understand the other person's context without judgment, and it doesn't mean that you agree with what they're saying. You're just trying to find the context behind what they're saying or what they're doing. Because, sort of, most of us, basically, we assume that our, there's this assumption that our actions make sense from our perspective. That is to say you wouldn't go out and do something if it didn't make sense to you, like, maybe very few people might, but like, for the most part, we have this underlying assumption that, that the things that we do make sense to us. And so you're basically trying to find that internal context for why somebody does something, and then you reflect it back for them. So for example, if you came to me and started telling me about how, like, I don't, I don't know something you were struggling with, like, let's say, you felt like you were banging your head up against the keyboard all week on some, like, coding problem and it was really frustrating for you. An empathetic response to that would be man, that sounds really hard and like you were working really hard on it and it was super frustrating for you. A sympathetic response would be, oh, I'm sorry you went through that. So a sympathetic response creates distance between the person who is speaking and the person who has aired something, and that might not be a complaint or a frustration. It could be like something positive, but it creates distance. And sometimes it's called fake empathy. Like, I feel like this is what you see in a lot of, like, really bad public figures, celebrity apologies. It's like, I'm sorry, that offended you. It's like, no, that's wrong. Like, like, that's not, that's not actually apologizing. And then there's also kind of this other element that I feel like is this sort of, like, solution-based responses, which comes from a place of caring, and I think us as product builders, I know me, like, we really fall into this, is someone, like, if you came to me with some, some problem. If I just said, oh, well, have you tried this? Which, I'm trying to solve your problem, I'm showing care, right? Like, I wouldn't propose a solution to your problem if I didn't care about you and making that solution better. The problem is, is that it doesn't validate your experience and it doesn't acknowledge your experience. So, while it comes from a good place, it's not empathetic because it doesn't say, wow, like, that was really hard for you. Like it doesn't, it doesn't fake make you feel seen or heard. And it could end up being, through the course of a conversation, you end up explicitly asking me like, do you have any advice for how I could do this? Like, what should I try? I feel like I've tried all these other things. But an empathetic response starts with acknowledging what the other person has gone through. Colleen Schnettler 10:25 Okay. Okay Michele Hansen 10:26 And then also checking in with them, like, do you, do you want me to listen to you about this? Or do you want me to help you brainstorm ideas? Colleen Schnettler 10:33 Okay. Michele Hansen 10:33 Like, so but I think that's, that's like one of those that really, like, it took me a while to wrap my head around that because the other thing about a solution response, especially in the context of a customer interview, or whatnot, is that you need all the context behind, behind why someone does something and why they went through something in order to really build something that solves the problem for them in a way that they understand and they're capable of grokking. Right? Because we need all of the context behind it, not just the functional context, but also sort of the emotional and social context of things in order to build a product that someone feels like is speaking to their experience and the problem they have. Does that make sense? Colleen Schnettler 11:18 Yeah, it, it does. It's, it feels like a subtle difference, though. Like, when I try to understand your problem in your context, in your context, the sympathy for versus the empathy, like, it feels very subtle to me. Michele Hansen 11:34 It is subtle, but like, um, I mean, it's, it's subtle. You know, it's the difference between, I'm sorry, that was hard for you and that was hard for you. Like, those are a subtle difference between them, but there is a huge difference between that and what someone would receive. Colleen Schnettler 11:53 Yeah, I can see that. Michele Hansen 11:55 And because when you say, I'm sorry, that happened to you, it emphasizes that it didn't happen to me. Colleen Schnettler 12:01 Right, okay. Michele Hansen 12:01 It actually, like, Brené Brown talks about this a lot. I'm sorry, that happened to you. It, it makes the other person feel more alone because it emphasizes that they are the only one who experienced that, and it makes them feel isolated. Colleen Schnettler 12:18 Okay. Michele Hansen 12:19 And she has a great way of responding, I'm sorry, of phrasing this, and I don't know if I'm doing it justice. But basically it creates that distance, and feeling alone and feeling like you're the only person who went through something is a really, really hard feeling, especially when you have just gone through something frustrating, and it doesn't have to be a big thing. It could just be, you know, the fact that I spent my week fighting with Grammarly, like, like that could be the problem we're discussing. And, but if you said oh, I'm sorry, you went through that, like, it reminds me that you didn't go through that. Colleen Schnettler 12:55 Hmm. Okay. Michele Hansen 12:57 And it was like, oh, yeah, that was like, maybe it was just me, like, maybe I was doing something wrong, like, am I using it wrong? Like is like, like, you know, it creates all of that doubt and feeling of sort of loneliness in it. Colleen Schnettler 13:11 And so tell me the empathetic response again. Michele Hansen 13:14 That sounds really hard. Colleen Schnettler 13:15 That sounds really hard. Okay, right. So you're not, you're trying not to create that distance where they're an individual isolated, Michele Hansen 13:23 Right. Colleen Schnettler 13:24 And you're over here. Michele Hansen 13:25 And it doesn’t start out with I, right? Like, the sympathetic response to start with, you know, like, I'm sorry, that offended you. Colleen Schnettler 13:33 Okay. Michele Hansen 13:34 Versus the difference between like, that offended you. Because when you say it that way, you're sort of asking for elaboration. Colleen Schnettler 13:41 Right. Right. Michele Hansen 13:42 Versus I'm sorry, I offended you just shuts it off. Colleen Schnettler 13:46 Wow, I say that all the time. I'm sorry, XYZ happened to you. Michele Hansen 13:50 I said it all the time, too, then I started learning about this stuff. And I was like, I’m accidentally like, a jerk, and I didn't even realize it. But so many of us speak this way. And we learn the way we speak from the people around us. And if the people around you, when you were learning to speak, didn't speak empathetically, even if they're otherwise nice people. like, then it would make sense why you think this way and don't realize it. Colleen Schnettler 14:15 Interesting. Michele Hansen 14:16 Like, it's totally normal to not realize that what you have been saying is actually not empathetic. Like, like, it is a, it is a learned skill for many people. I mean, the people who have it built in are the people whose, you know, parents really made it a focus when they, when they had their kid. Like, but for most of us, it's kind of oh, I guess I should stop saying that. Like, I remember how at one point, like, when I was in my early 20s, I was at a job and somebody was like, you know, you really shouldn't say well, actually. Like, I don't know if you realize how you are coming across. Like, I know you don't mean anything by it, but like, it's, it's kind of like, and I was like, oh, crap, I do that all the time. Okay, like, mental note, like, mental dictionary update: stop. Like, so it doesn't, you know, it doesn't mean that you're not a nice person or that you're not an empathetic person or that you’re not, you don't have a capability for empathy, it simply means that you haven't learned it and all of the various implications of it and we can call learn. Colleen Schnettler 15:15 Okay. Yeah. Well, thank you for, for telling me about that. Like, that's really interesting. I didn't know that. I find that like, this whole thing, empathy and psychology, as I'm trying to, as I'm talking to people and trying to sell my product, I have found that it really, and I already knew this, but like, now I'm seeing it, it really makes a difference. Can I just tell you about this one issue, which I find so interesting? Michele Hansen 15:42 Yes. Colleen Schnettler 15:43 Okay. So the way my product works is you upload files to the cloud, and then I provide you a dashboard where you can see all of those files. I have gotten several requests now from people to allow them to tag the files. Michele Hansen 16:02 Oh, yeah, like Drew asked for that. Right? Colleen Schnettler 16:04 Yeah. So I've been trying to figure out why people want to tag the files. He's not the only one who asked for it. Some other people have asked for it. The reason these people want to tag the files is because they want to be able to mass delete all of the files they've uploaded in a development environment. Why did they want to do that? From what I'm understanding, they want to do that so those files, like, because those aren't production files, they're not, like, cluttering up their dashboard. So when those people have asked me about this, I said, well, look, if you exceed your storage, because I don't have a mass delete function right now, and I don't have that, I'll just give you more storage. But nobody likes that answer. It's like, and so I think it's like a mental psychological thing where they want, like, a nice, clean dashboard. I don't know, I just find this really interesting, because I'm like, storage is cheap. I'll give you more storage until I implement this. But, but it's like, it's, like, as human beings, they really want, like, to segment stuff. I don't know, it's like mental. That's kind of the way I've been, I've been thinking about it. Like, as human beings, they don't want files that they don't need on their dashboard, even if they don't have to pay for them. But I'm like, I don't know. So, so that's just kind of been an interesting one for me. I'm like, but you literally like, I'm not gonna make you pay for those files. It's fine. They can just be there in outer space. But no one, yeah, that's an interesting one that keeps coming up. Michele Hansen 17:25 Yeah, it sounds like they, like, that clutter is creating a certain like, Colleen Schnettler 17:33 Mental clutter or something psychological clutter. Michele Hansen 17:36 Nervousness, or something. And then there's also this element of wanting to, like, mentally, like to mentally separate things like, I'm sort of, I'm reminded of one of my favorite economics papers called Mental Accounting by Richard Thaler, which is basically on how people like, they create different jobs for different bank accounts and investment accounts, and like, you know, for example, people might have one brokerage account that's just for, like, they have like fun money versus they have their serious 401k. Or like, some people have many different bank accounts for, you know, for different purposes. And it, there's, there's probably a broader term for this, but since I come from an econ background, that's, but like, people wanting to create these different mental categories, and basically, like, it's almost like they want to go, sort of, it's like mentally going to IKEA and buying one of those room divider shelves with all the different boxes you can slide boxes in and, like, being able to look at it and see that everything is in all of its little different categories and is in its place. And they know like, you know which things are in which box, and it looks all nice and organized from the outside. Colleen Schnettler 18:51 Yeah, I am going to do it because I have found I use my own product for my clients, and I have found I desire the same thing. But I think you're absolutely right. Like, from a purely practical perspective, it doesn't matter. But from, like, a human organizational mental box perspective, like, it seems to make people happy. Michele Hansen 19:11 Yeah, like, there's that functional perspective of it. But then there's the emotional perspective of feeling like everything is organized. And then I also wonder if there's a social element where like, maybe they're afraid one of their coworkers will use a file that was only for development, or because there's so many files and they're all in one list, someone will use the wrong file or, like, I wonder if there's any, any sort of elements around that going on? Colleen Schnettler 19:41 Yeah. Could be. I didn't ask that. That's, Michele Hansen 19:47 So when someone asks you for that, what did you say back to them, exactly? Colleen Schnettler 19:52 Well, the first time someone asked me, I said, that's a great idea. I'm totally gonna do that. Michele Hansen 19:58 Okay. That’s an understandable response. Colleen Schnettler 19:59 I know you're over there thinking, like, have I taught you nothing, Colleen? You have taught me. That was before we were doing a podcast. Michele Hansen 20:06 No, that was a starting point, and that's a perfectly understandable reaction to that. What did you start saying after that? Colleen Schnettler 20:15 So the second request I got was via email. So I didn't really have the back and forth that I would have had when I'm talking to someone on the phone or on Slack. And, so this person, I asked them kind of what their use case was, and I also told them in the email that they, you know, I wasn't going to charge them for development files. So if storage became a problem, we could work something out until I had the, you know, a bulk delete API set up. And this person was looking to segment files so they could do a mass delete of the development files. And they also brought up they thought it would be great to be able to segment files, like via model. So you could have, here's all my avatar files over here, here's all my resumes over here, which would be really cool. I mean, that I can totally see the value because and then you're then in your admin, yeah, then in your admin dashboard, you could easily filter based on, you know, what your tag was. And it's really not hard to do, I just haven't done it. But I do like, I do like that idea. And that, to me, makes a lot of sense because I think people really like, like we just talked about, like, you like to have your stuff in the appropriate boxes. Michele Hansen 21:34 I think it's hard sometimes when somebody proposes an idea that we get the value of because we would use it ourselves. It can be really hard to say, can you walk me through how you would use that? Colleen Schnettler 21:46 Yeah it is. Michele Hansen 21:47 Like, because their reasons may be different. And we really, we need all of those reasons because the reasons I would do something might be different than the reasons why somebody else would do something. But when we understand something, it feels very unnatural to ask for clarification, even when we don't need it. But it's so reasonable. Colleen Schnettler 22:08 That's exactly what it is. It feels so weird, because I'm like, yeah, totally. That's a great freaking idea. Yeah, it is odd. Michele Hansen 22:16 I sometimes feel like it's, I wonder if this comes from, like, conditioning in school where, like, I feel like the kid who asks a lot of questions is, you know, sort of branded as annoying. I was definitely that kid in math class. Like, I just always seemed to understand it two weeks after the test. And I wonder if it's like that fear that like, oh, God, like, am I going to be the person who asks questions. And then we have this like, sense that being the person who asks questions, even one that might be sort of a quote, unquote, like dumb question that's clarifying something. Get you like, like, I wonder if there's kind of this built in social conditioning around that, that makes us not want to ask those clarification questions. And we're like, okay, I think I can guess what they want, so I'm just not gonna ask further about that. But, but when we're building a product, you need to be able to, like, look in all the different nooks and crannies of how they're thinking. Colleen Schnettler 23:08 Yeah, definitely. That definitely is valuable. To your point, you might use it one way, and they might want it for something totally different. So I really do think, like, throughout the course of this podcast, and since we've been spending a lot of time talking about customer interviews over the past several months, that I've gotten way better at it, because it's, it's my instinct, just to say, yeah, I totally agree, because I do totally agree. So why, I think for me, it's not like, I'm not I don't I'm not scared of asking clarifying questions. I think it's more like, I don't want to waste any more time. Like, I'm like, okay, cool. Let's not waste anyone's time, and let's just go do it. So I have, I do really think I've grown a lot in that, in that kind of sphere of pausing, slow down Colleen, because not really good at slowing down. And, you know, kind of dive into what they want and why they want it. So I think that's been good. Michele Hansen 24:02 It can be kind of tough as like, I feel like we're both pretty enthusiastic and kind of like, like, have you ever been called bubbly? Colleen Schnettler 24:11 Yeah, of course. Michele Hansen 24:11 Yeah, I have been called bubbly, too. Yeah. So like, I like feel like enthusiastic people want to be like, yeah, that sounds awesome. Like, it's so, it's so counter,to like how I would interact with someone socially. Colleen Schnettler 24:25 Yeah, I agree. So, so anyway, that was something, I was thinking about that when you were talking all about, you know, empathy and sympathy and psychology, is how much these kinds of factors play into product building. Michele Hansen 24:41 Yeah and building an intuitive product that, that makes sense to people. Like it's, it's really hard to build something that's intuitive because it requires understanding the user’s mental model of how something works, and you can't understand their mental model unless you have, you know, really, you know, poked through every nook and cranny of how they think about it. And also seeing what are the similarities at scale across many different customers. You can't just build it for one particular person, right? Like this, I think this is like, do we want to do we want to do more definitions? Because now I'm excited to get into definitions between Human Centered Design versus activities under design. But if we are, we are feeling good on definition today, then, Colleen Schnettler 25:29 I don't know what those are. Yeah, go ahead. Michele Hansen 25:32 So like, you probably hear people talk about human-centered design, right? Colleen Schnettler 25:37 I mean, no, but okay, I believe you, so not me. Michele Hansen 25:40 So like humans, I feel like this kind of came really into it, like, especially in, in tech in the past, like, I don't know, 10,10-15 years, like, you like, think about the human behind it. And like, this is where a lot of like, agile stories come from, is like, as an administrator, I would like to be able to update the billing page, whenever we get a new credit card, like, like, those kinds of stories that if you've worked in the corporate world, you have seen the ads of so and so like, those kind of stories. And like, creating personas, and maybe there's like a picture of a person, and there's their age, and there's like, you know, like, all of those kinds of things that's very, like human-centered designs, and you're designing for people and understanding what those people need. Then there's activity-centered design, which is designing for things that people might be trying to accomplish, but not for specific people, if that makes sense. So it's like, so if you're thinking, I just used an example of like, a billing administrator. The human-centered design approach with a persona might be you know, this is Susan, and she lives in Iowa, she has been working in insurance for 20 years, she has a dog named Charlie, like she prefers to use her iPad on the weekends, but during the week, she uses Windows like, it's like that kind of stuff. Activity-centered design would be like, when billing administrators are going through this process, they want to be able to, you know, these are the different kinds of things they're thinking about, these are the different functions that they need to be able to do. Here are the different things they might be feeling. Like, do they want to be updating a credit card? Like, how does that make them feel, like, is that, is that enjoyable for them? Is that frustrating? Like, are there other people they're working with on this? Do they need to go get a p-card from someone else? Like, what is this entire process they're going through that is independent of them as a specific person and independent of the product? And then how does the product help them get through that entire activity, either easier, faster, or cheaper. I feel like I just dropped like, Colleen Schnettler 27:54 There's a lot. Michele Hansen 27:54 A lot. Colleen Schnettler 27:55 I'm gonna have to re-listen to that one. Michele Hansen 27:56 But basically, Colleen Schnettler 27:57 So what's the, Michele Hansen 27:58 Activity-centered is kind of the approach that I take. And that's the, the approach in the book is designing a process that exists regardless of the person and regardless of the process. Colleen Schnettler 28:10 Okay. Michele Hansen 28:10 The product, I think I messed that up. Colleen Schnettler 28:13 Okay, so which one is better? Do you have all the answers, Michele? Tell us. Michele Hansen 28:18 I am not going to throw bombs in the design world here. I mean, you know, there's, there's value in designing for specific people, right, and, and specific types of people, especially when you're talking about accessibility and whatnot. But fundamentally, you know, like, activity center design is okay, what it, what is the thing that someone's trying to accomplish? For example, 500 years ago, you may have solved, you know, entertain me at home, when I'm alone on a Saturday night with cards or dice, right. And now you might solve it with Netflix. But that fundamental process that you're going through to not be bored when you're in your house on the weekend, like, that process and that desire is relatively constant, which is the thing about activity-centered design approaches is that you're looking at a process that is consistent over time, because you're speaking to sort of broader, underlying goals. And this types of products, someone might use the different functional and social and emotional things that might be important to them are different, but the overall process is the same. And so this is what I think about a lot when we're like thinking about the process that someone is going through and designing something that's intuitive for them and building that mental model is understanding, okay, why do they need to be able to tag things and why do they need to be able to mass delete these things, and what is this overall thing they're trying to do? And it sounds like it's sort of, to feel like all of their files are organized and they can find things when they want to, and that desire to be organized is a relatively consistent desire. Colleen Schnettler 30:03 Yeah, I think one of the things, one of the phrases we use at work is to surprise and delight the user. And I feel like this falls into the surprise and delight category. Like it's not necessary, but it's delightful. Michele Hansen 30:19 You just used the phrase ‘at work’. Does that mean when you are working? Or? Colleen Schnettler 30:26 Oh, just when I'm, just this company that I've been contracting for for a while likes to use that phrase. Michele Hansen 30:31 Okay, gotcha. Colleen Schnettler 30:32 So this to me feels, Michele Hansen 30:34 I didn't know if you’d suddenly gone off and gotten a full time job without telling me. Colleen Schnettler 30:39 Well, I'll tell you if I do that. I may be considering that. That's like a whole ‘nother podcast episode. I feel like we don't have enough time to dive into that. Michele Hansen 30:50 We'll do that in a future episode. Colleen Schnettler 30:52 Colleen's life decisions. But yeah, so, this feature, I feel like, is delightful. And when we talk about like design, you know, in the context, you were just saying, I think it does fit into the, the latter category. Michele Hansen 31:10 Yeah. And I can, I can understand how someone, or you might even, or probably, I feel like if we had talked about this, like, six months or a year ago, the reaction kind of would be like, this feels like we're really splitting hairs over something that's super obvious, and why don't I just go build it? Colleen Schnettler 31:29 Well, yeah, Michele Hansen 31:30 Which, I think it's a very understandable reaction. Colleen Schnettler 31:34 Yeah, I mean, I think the problem I'm having, and I know everyone in my position has this problem. It's just, there's just not enough time to do all these things. Like, one part of me wants to take like six months and just do all the things, right? And then the other part of me wants to balance my life with building this business, and is trying to be patient with, with my constraints as a human. So I know, you know, everyone has those, that struggle, everyone who's working and trying to do this. But yeah, I'd love to add all these things. Like, I want to do all the things of course I do. Michele Hansen 32:10 Speaking of which, building the business, we started this episode with my numbers update. Do you want to give us a little numbers update before we go? Colleen Schnettler 32:31 So I do want to tell a little story about this. Storytime. So, someone who's kind of a prominent bootstrapper had a tweet the other day about how for his SaaS, he just implemented file uploading using some JavaScript library, and it took him like, I don't know, like a day. So not an insignificant amount of time, but not a huge amount of time. It's a long time if you're a developer to take all day. But I saw, so, like, I saw his tweet, and I was like, oh, like, why didn't he use Simple File Upload? Like, clearly my product is crap. Okay, so this happened at like 9am. So then, like, later in the day, this just happened a couple days ago, I went to see if I had any new signups. And as you know, like, I've been pretty flat for like two or three weeks now, signups have been pretty flat. So, in one day, I got $325 boost in my MRR. One day. Michele Hansen 33:19 What? Colleen Schnettler 33:20 That has never happened in the history of my product, like ever. I was like, whoa. Michele Hansen 33:25 So did someone Tweet it, like, add it to that thread, or, like what happened? Colleen Schnettler 33:29 No, no one added it to the thread. And I didn't add it to the thread because he was clearly looking for a non-paid solution. So it seems like it wasn't that he hated my product or it was bad, he just wasn't looking for this kind of solution I was offering. I don't really know what happened. But a whole bunch of people signed up. Michele Hansen 33:50 These two things happened on the same day, and you don't have any conclusively linking them, but it feels suspicious that they wouldn't be linked. Colleen Schnettler 34:00 It's super weird, right? Michele Hansen 34:01 Yeah. Colleen Schnettler 34:02 Um, so I am trying to like, I'm just really starting to try and get into, like, Google Analytics and understand that. Anyway, so that was, my point of that story is like, you know, this is, we're never bored. I'm never bored, right? Like one day, I'm like, this thing is miserable. The next day, I'm like, I'm the most brilliant person in the world. Like, it's never, it's never boring. I guess my point of that story was it's all over the place. I'm all over the place with, with this product. And some days I feel like it's just not, not as good as it should be. Some days I feel like I'm charging too much. And then other days I have, like I realized I have, there's all this power in this thing I built that no one is utilizing. So that's something I really want to spend some time getting some content going out there and spend some time, like, showing people why it's more powerful than, than, you know, other solutions they've been using. Michele Hansen 34:58 You seem really fired up. Colleen Schnettler 35:00 I am. I, I've just had like, a, it's been, like, a really good week. I mean, from a work perspective. And although I didn't get to spend the time, you know, I got, okay. I don't have a lot of time to spend on the product the next month or so, so I'm just taking it in little bits, right. And so this week, it's a tiny thing, but someone pointed out to me, and I think this also plays into psychology. Okay, so my marketing site is built in Tailwind UI. My application site is built off of Bootstrap. Bootstrap and Tailwind are not friends. I can't just throw Tailwind into my Bootstrap site. Michele Hansen 35:37 If it makes you feel better, the Geocodio dashboard was on Bootstrap, and the Geocodio marketing website was on Railwind for, like, a really long time, like, like, you, like, we were on the like, 2013 version of Bootstrap for, like, a very long time. And it wasn't until like maybe six months or a year ago that we actually got them both on Tailwind. So you're not the only one. Okay, so back to yours. Colleen Schnettler 36:06 So this. Okay, so if you are on my marketing site, and you click through to sign up to get the free trial, here's the thing that happens. The nav bars are different. Michele Hansen 36:17 Mmm. Colleen Schnettler 36:18 Yeah, it's not good, and someone pointed it out to me. They were like, oh, I had to click back and forth a few times to make sure it was still the same application. And I was like, oh, my goodness. And so I can't, but it was like, it was, so it's just this visual thing. But this he pointed out, he was like, you know, that's, that made me think I was at the wrong place, it might make me close the window. Michele Hansen 36:40 Yeah it might make them think something was wrong, or, like, they accidentally got led off to another site that wasn't the right one. And like, maybe it's, like, phishing or something, like. Colleen Schnettler 36:50 Exactly, that's exactly what this guy said. And I was like, oh, my gosh. And so, so my, my Simple File Upload technical accomplishment this week, was basically like, and because I can't, my application is pretty complicated. I can't just pull out Bootstrap and drop in Tailwind. That's gonna take me forever. So I actually, like, just stole, stole is the wrong word. I grabbed some of the Tailwind styles and just over, you know, and overrode my Bootstrap styles just for the navbar. So anyway, the point is, now the nav bars look the same. And it's like, it sounds like a small thing. But like, I think the mental block for, if you sign up and I drop you to a totally different site, you're like, wait, what? Michele Hansen 37:29 Like, yeah, it's like, something is, like, the brain is a little bit like, danger, something is different. Colleen Schnettler 37:34 Yeah, exactly. So, so another, so it was another big CSS week for me, which is not my forte, but I got it. Michele Hansen 37:41 I wrote JavaScript this week, which is not my forte. Colleen Schnettler 37:46 Oh, jack of all trades. Michele Hansen 37:48 Well, we wrote stuff that, that's not our forte, and you're going back and forth between feeling like it's amazing and you've built something super powerful. And then, also feeling like it's, really has a long way to go, and is it ever going to get there, which, honestly, is how I feel, like, I feel the exact same way about my book. Like, every day, it's like, oh, my God, this is a hot mess. And then I'm like, actually, this is amazing and I should just publish it now. Like, I think that's, I think that's just like part of building something, whether it's a book or you know, software. I mean, yeah. Colleen Schnettler 38:31 And honestly, I think it's part of the fun. Like, I honestly do, like I, it makes it interesting. Like, I've worked jobs that are really boring, and they're really boring. Like, this is way more exciting. Michele Hansen 38:52 I think that’s the thing I love about being an entrepreneur is that it's always different. And sometimes it's different in ways that are super boring and require a lot of paperwork. And sometimes it's different in ways that are like, super awesome, and exciting. But the fact that it is so different all the time is, is what makes it fun and makes me feel like I get to, like, feel lucky that I get to do this as my job. On that note, perhaps we should sign off for this week. Thank you so much for listening. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a review on iTunes or tweet at us. We love hearing what you think about it. Have a good one.