May 17, 2024


AI Products

Hosted by

Jordan Gal Brian Casel
AI Products
Bootstrapped Web
AI Products

May 17 2024 | 00:58:40


Show Notes

GPT-4o.  Sleepless nights.  Product idea excitement.  Self-serve funnels.  Keeping calm before the storm.  Selling to small business.  Knicks in 6?

The David Park Tweet that Jordan referenced.

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:17] Speaker A: Welcome back, everybody. Another episode of Bootstrap Web. I'm Jordan. Brian, how are you? [00:00:23] Speaker B: Doing? Good. Doing good. We're back at it. It's Friday. It is Friday. Tonight is game six of the Knicks and pacers. Let's see if they can. See if they can close it out in Indianapolis. [00:00:34] Speaker A: This is top priority in the podcast. [00:00:36] Speaker B: That's all I'm thinking about today, getting the competitive juices flowing. But no, I was thinking just earlier today, it used to be, depending on the phase of our businesses, when we would record these podcasts, you know, in back to back weeks, and we'd really get on a roll. I feel like we would struggle, or at least I would struggle to have new things to talk about because it's only been seven days since we last recorded. Yeah. But right now, since I am in, like, new product mode and so are you, I feel like so much happens in a seven day period. [00:01:11] Speaker A: Yes. [00:01:11] Speaker B: It's like, so, so chaotic, you know? [00:01:14] Speaker A: Yes. I like it. I have. I have been enjoying this. This face. [00:01:18] Speaker B: Me, too. [00:01:19] Speaker A: It's fun. [00:01:20] Speaker B: I was thinking the other night in, you know, the other thing that happens when this happens, when a new idea is. Is in the striking phase. Like, it's just. It's just coming into. There's this excitement. And I was literally up most of the night last night or two nights ago thinking about it, and. And I was thinking, and this is a new idea. Unfortunately for listeners, I'm not going to share what it is that I'm getting very excited about. [00:01:44] Speaker A: But I really like another seventies. [00:01:47] Speaker B: Yeah. But I was like, this is the most excited I'm ever going to be about this thing because it's in that phase where it checks my boxes for so many reasons and I have not yet shown it to basically anyone except for a few people privately. [00:02:04] Speaker A: Okay. Okay. [00:02:05] Speaker B: It's like, even before I start to put it out there for feedback and start to see market signals and start to gauge this and that and poke holes in it, why this is wrong or that is wrong before all that. Right now I'm just super excited about it. So this is like the most excited I'm going to be about it. [00:02:22] Speaker A: We talked about this cycle that happens, and it is. It can be counterproductive. Counterproductive to share too early. [00:02:31] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:02:31] Speaker A: You're, like, not. You're not even sure. Like, you know, it's just emotional excitement. You're not even sure how you really feel about it yet. You're, like, infatuated. I had to tell. Well, rock and Jess specifically that I need room to be wrong and silly. I need to. I need to be. I don't want to be embarrassed about sharing an idea. And so I'm just going to share. It's almost like, don't take it too seriously because this is. I'm going to be sharing when I'm in peak excitement. That's why we're just going to share it at the leadership level. Because if we shared it at the entire company level, people would think I was a lunatic and would lose confidence in me. But I do need a space to be able to just share without repercussions. [00:03:11] Speaker B: Throw stuff out there. [00:03:12] Speaker A: Yes. Yes. [00:03:13] Speaker B: I love it. [00:03:14] Speaker A: Now, I'll tell you, when I did share, like, the email idea and then I talked to people, it did help me go through the cycle and conclude that it wasn't right for me. [00:03:25] Speaker B: Right. [00:03:26] Speaker A: There is value to sharing and almost being forced to articulate and, like, seeing how you feel and try to. Almost trying to defend the idea. [00:03:35] Speaker B: Yep. Yeah. Yeah, you're right. I feel like you did a really good job of that because you, you went even further down the path of, like, oh, this idea, this idea, this idea. Wait, wait, wait, wait. No, like that. I thought that was pretty impressive when you were on that email idea where you. There were a few weeks there where I thought you were just gonna do it and then you just changed course, you know? [00:03:58] Speaker A: Yeah, I think it was two weeks, maybe it was like a week, and then some planning, and then I had that one week of maybe twelve or 15 calls with people. And by day two of that five day week, I was already convinced that it was wrong. [00:04:14] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:04:15] Speaker A: And then I kind of went through the motions and many of those were like friends. We just kind of caught up. But I was already, like, you know, convinced that it was wrong. [00:04:24] Speaker B: Yeah, I'm working on a thing. Like, the idea that I'm working through right now is something that I've been thinking about for a very long time. And I sort of assumed that I would maybe get to it at some point. And I've been evaluating a lot of ideas, but this one checks a lot of boxes for me. What happened in the last seven days? The project that I'm working on right now is writing the landing page for this idea. Okay. And that is the. Is the thing, the exercise that is getting me really, really excited. Like, like, it took my excitement level from a three to an eight. Like, um. Cause I've. I've noticed that, like, when I'm starting up something new, um, if. If I have a hard time writing a sales pitch for the thing, it's just not clear enough. It's not. I'm having a hard time grasping what the value is and who it's for and how it solves problems. But this thing, it's like I had an initial concept for it, and then I started fleshing out what the headline copy should be and the key benefits and the problems that it's solving and laying out. It's like this, but it's different for these reasons. It's a little bit better in these reasons. All that just started to flow out over a two day period, and it's like, oh, man, I'm even more excited about this than I thought I was. [00:05:46] Speaker A: Okay, that's interesting. I think you have gone through that process and are better at it. I am writing the copy for our website now, and it's pretty difficult because I'm writing about a product that doesn't exist. It's like in my imagination. So I can't help but need some foundation to touch on. And that ends up being a collection of competitors and kind of pulling different ideas and identifying. Well, this feature, do we care to talk about that feature? This one we don't want to build yet, but it's really important. So we're going to put coming soon on this set of features. But it's not easy. [00:06:28] Speaker B: Yeah. When I was writing the copy for my consultancy site,, it's now in its third iteration of the copy on that site over the past five months. And every time I still had a hard time writing it. I don't know who I'm writing to, what the value proposition is, is here. And I, you know, that's one that just hasn't come. I have a better idea of the type of consulting and work that I do with SaaS companies now, but, like. But that's not even really reflected on the site anymore. So, anyway, like, for you, I want to hear, because, you know, this, this week was the OpenAI announcement. I thought it was a super impressive evolution of their product and an absolutely terrible name like GPT four O, the. [00:07:20] Speaker A: Letter o just can't help it's a zero or no. So it's so dumb. Very strange. [00:07:25] Speaker B: But what do you think of this? How does this impact where you're headed with your product? [00:07:31] Speaker A: So this week was a taste of what it's like to be inside of the AI zeitgeist tornado. There's so much focus on it, so many eyeballs, so much talk about it, so much hype. So there are like these like reactions, there are, there's a lot of money being spent on press, there's interviews, there's press attention. It's just intense. You know, the fire's pretty, pretty hot. And of course, the timing, I'm gonna call it good timing. This update was a lot of it was around voice. So OpenAI voice and the demos and that little session of them on the couch, that was all about voice. And it was really impressive. The latency, the responses, the language elements. It was pretty damn cool. So two things. Let's talk about what it does for the space in general, which is kind of on track with my set of assumptions and hopes. And the other one, which was a test of our hypothesis on which layer in the stack to build. [00:08:41] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:08:41] Speaker A: So generally speaking, I felt pretty good about like, okay, everything in the middle is in trouble. You're either the foundation and you're OpenAI, or you're at the very, very end of the app layer talking to end customers. And then everything in between feels like it's in danger. [00:08:58] Speaker B: Meaning like if you have an app that is like, the value prop is like, I don't know, I can't think of it. [00:09:05] Speaker A: I can describe specifically, there are services that we are looking at to use that combine multiple tools to give a company like us the end service to build what we want to build. So they'll combine the LLM and allow you to choose which model. They'll combine the voices and they'll integrate with eleven labs and play HT so you can choose which voices you want in your app. And then they have the transponder, transcriber, transcriber through Deepgram, these other services, and they put all that together and bundle it. And what that does is it takes these three disparate elements that are coming from multiple companies, put them all together in API, and then we can build more easily. [00:09:50] Speaker B: But now OpenAI is just giving you all that. [00:09:53] Speaker A: OpenAI comes along and it's in one model, it does the speech to text and the model response, and then the speech, the text back on one model. [00:10:05] Speaker B: See that the other thing that may be related to that. So I think you're talking about like, the companies in the middle are still technically like API companies. Like, they're still, they're sort of like technical middlemen between OpenAI and then like SaaS products. Like yours. Yes. But I guess what I'm also wondering is, like, which products just aren't going to have a long lifetime, because soon enough regular mainstream people are going to just use OpenAI directly to do certain things that the job to be done. That's the thing that I would be more worried about. [00:10:47] Speaker A: Yes. That's why I said generally I feel good about it, but it felt a little warm flying close to the sun that way. Yeah, because so there's a lot of assumptions being made by companies like this. [00:11:00] Speaker B: Right. [00:11:00] Speaker A: It's not just the companies that I'm talking. I'm kind of, you know, walking around their names because I don't want to put them in out there. But even the individual parts, the deep grams, the transcribers, the voice that like OpenAI might offer that also. So everyone along the stack is worried. And we talk to those people. They're in our slack now because we're, you know, doing pilots with their products and they're stressed and they're being honest about it. And like, this is where we're going to focus this where we're going to add value. This is what we think. The general consensus seems to be that people think OpenAI is going to go toward consumer. So you and I, and like the AI assistant that you and I are going to use and blockbuster partnerships. Right, Apple. [00:11:43] Speaker B: Right. [00:11:43] Speaker A: So if there's an AI assistant in my iPhone, it's a partnership between OpenAI and Apple. And then a lot of these individual use cases and talking to small and medium sized businesses, that feels less likely for OpenAI to get into because that's a service game compared to their very, very, very scalable approach that they're taking. Yeah, that's where the comfort is around a lot of these products and ourselves included. But it definitely pushes you and forces you to look in the mirror and say, where are you really going to add value beyond just the capability of this speech to text and subscribe. Like, where else are you going to add value? [00:12:29] Speaker B: Yeah, I try to think about a lot of these parallels, like selling to small businesses. Even still today, there are still so many small businesses and small doesn't need to be super small. They could still be businesses with 20, 30, 50 employees who still even struggle to do things like getting a website up. We think that using WordPress or using webflow or using whatever is so ubiquitously easy, so easy. But there are still plenty of businesses that do millions a year that still rely on hiring contractors or hiring high priced agencies to do a basic, simple website for them. [00:13:07] Speaker A: Right. Or just put things together or just be knowledgeable on what the tools are and then apply them for their. [00:13:11] Speaker B: So that, so like, what I'm saying is, like, even if it ends up being, like, easy enough for basically anyone, even a small business owner, to just go straight to chat GPT and, like, set it up for their business to communicate with their customers, like, that's. It's. There's still a long way off from that being, like, an easy thing for most people to do. [00:13:30] Speaker A: Very long way off. So, like, if you're building an app for iPhones and you're gonna do something that these models are capable of, like, that's a scary spot to be in. So now, the second part of that, the attention, this is my search volume hypothesis that this stuff will break into the mainstream in a similar way as AI content writing broke through. And with that, the search volume will explode as press mainstream stories, funny stories, things that reporters like to write about, things that SNL sketches, things that seep into the pop culture. And this week was very helpful for that because it put voice front and center in everyone's conversation. [00:14:17] Speaker B: It is funny thinking about SEO. It's something that's coming up again for clarity flow. Actually, currently, I was looking at Ahrefs the other day and a bit of keyword research, and I was just glancing through some of the stuff that we look at on clarity flow. For the first time in a few months, the terms with the word AI in it are showing up with volume. That these were not in the list just a few months ago. It's also interesting that we get a lot of feedback from customers and we still don't yet have feature requests for AI in clarity flow. People are not asking for it, but there is search volume there. So it's just like an interesting development. [00:15:01] Speaker A: Yeah. I have been looking at a lot of competitor websites and it's really hard to tell if the use of AI on the marketing front is smart or stupid because you think, oh, the end customer doesn't care about the tech, doesn't care that it's AI, unless they're specifically looking for something. With AI, then you do want to put it front and center. So I think a little bit of a balance. Generally speaking, what we've seen is a lot of our competitors are too heavily pointing at the tech and how cool it is. So something in between feels right. [00:15:36] Speaker B: Yep. [00:15:36] Speaker A: We'll see. [00:15:37] Speaker B: Yep. Yep. [00:15:40] Speaker A: You want to hear about my domain drama? [00:15:43] Speaker B: Yeah. What can you share there? You told me a bit earlier, I didn't know you could talk about it here. [00:15:47] Speaker A: Yeah, I don't know anything about domains. I don't even. I don't know how the Internet works. It's all magic to me, I don't care. You know, rock does it. And he says, we're all wired up when I say amen. But we bought a domain for a decent amount of money. Nothing crazy, you know, five figures low. Five figures, which I think is like the appropriate amount for us to spend. Looking back with rally, I think we underspent. And so my thinking on that has generally changed on how much to spend on a domain. In our situation when it's, when you have millions of dollars in the bank that isn't yours, buying a property feels more appropriate. So we found what we really liked, we paid for it. And then it was like 14 business days to get to us because it's from another registrar. It's got to make its way over to where we keep things. I think namecheap or something. So we buy it. We start building yesterday, we get an email in the morning saying, sorry, the domain's no longer available. This happens sometimes when it's still up on marketplaces even though it's been sold. I was like, what? I did not know that was possible. [00:16:54] Speaker B: I think, did someone make a higher offer? [00:16:56] Speaker A: I don't think, I mean, this is one of those cases where these things should be like NFTs and you buy them and you know where the ownership is and then you own them and now it's yours. Evidently this is possible. I was shocked. We paid for it. The money went through like we were just waiting for it to hit our account. And I think the people were being shady. I think they like lied and said it no longer available because then I had someone that I got introduced to through a friend as like a domain broker. He reached out to the owners and they were like, no, we want 100 grand. I was like, what? So then of course rock and I get mad. We go look for other domains, we spend another, whatever. [00:17:41] Speaker B: You got the money back. [00:17:42] Speaker A: We got the money back. But we started falling in love with the domain. So we went out and found two others that are similar, not as good but similar and bought both because it was cheaper to buy both than the original one. So it was fine. And then this morning we hear back from them and they're like, basically, how much do you want to pay? And we were like, so we named a number. They came back, they said, we're okay with that number plus a minority stake in your business. [00:18:11] Speaker B: Get out of here. [00:18:12] Speaker A: Like, dude, I was like, I want you to tell them to Gfy, but just in case a year from now we're gonna come back to them and want it anyway. I was, I was polite about it, but man, I had never been kind of, you know. [00:18:26] Speaker B: Yeah. Wait, so you're, so you're going with one of these newer domains? [00:18:31] Speaker A: Yes, unless they come back and accept I just said no. That's the amount of money and no freaking ownership. Are you out of your mind? [00:18:38] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:18:38] Speaker A: Yeah. That's frustrating. I didn't know that was, that was possible. [00:18:43] Speaker B: That's crazy. Yeah. Yeah, it's crazy. That does sound pretty shady, right? [00:18:47] Speaker A: Shady. [00:18:48] Speaker B: I mean, at least it's not like they're, they're locking up your, your payment or some, some stupid shit like that. [00:18:53] Speaker A: Right. Um, but it's frustrating because now if we move forward, once they see a website on the Internet and they can look who we are and see how much funding we got, then their price is going to go up back to 4k. So if we want that domain a year from today, it's going to be much more expensive. It's just super shady. [00:19:11] Speaker B: Yeah, yeah, I mean, at the end of the day it's like go. I do think that a lot of people say, oh, the domain or the name doesn't really matter all that much. I really do think it matters and it really is super hard to, to rebrand later. So I think it's worth spending some time and if it's needed, like spend some money on a domain early on if you can. This week I registered a domain as well, a couple domains and they were all available. Just I couldn't believe like some of these. There's one that I'm not going to share it, but it is pretty good. It's pretty short, it's relevant to what I'm doing. I think it sounds good. And I thought about it in the shower. I got out and I was like looked, there's no way this is available. And it turns out it was and I grabbed it. [00:19:59] Speaker A: There are moments in an entrepreneur's life that we remember, you know, looking up a domain and having it just be available for $14.99. [00:20:08] Speaker B: It's unbelievable. Yeah, it's really a high like clarity, flow and zip. Message and process kit were all domains that I, that were not available. I spent a few thousand on each of those. But yeah, this one I think is probably going to be it. I've registered a few domains that are like, this is it. And then tomorrow it's like, no, this is it. Yeah, my list is growing again, but I wanted to talk so I could talk a bit more about. I'm not going to share the idea yet. But I have some notes on why I'm getting excited about it. Like, the boxes that it's starting to check for me. Maybe before I get into that, I just wanted to talk a little bit. I don't know how interesting this is to people, but I just feel like it's significant, at least for me, sort of the mental state of heading into a new product again. This time around, I just want to, I'm more stating this for my own purpose, to like, uh, to just state it publicly, that, like, this time around, I'm trying to take an, like an intentionally more calm approach to starting a new product business. More, uh, or I should say less urgency, less riding on this than. Cause I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself. And, and, but the other, the other thing is, whenever I get super excited about a new product idea, like I am right now, it, it works against that, that notion of staying calm and staying measured. Right. The excitement fuels the need to just move fast, get this out there, get feedback. Like, do all the things. [00:21:54] Speaker A: Like, pressure builds next. [00:21:55] Speaker B: Yeah. And I get super optimistic. Cause I'm really excited about how this thing actually fits into the market, you know? So that starts to bring you, like, higher and higher up this mountain. Like, ooh, this is gonna work. This is gonna work. This is gonna work. But of course, there's always the reality of this is sas. You're going to get punched in the face a lot. [00:22:15] Speaker A: It's going to be longer. It's going to be harder. You didn't get this right. You have to make this adjustment. [00:22:20] Speaker B: Yes. So I just wanted to state for the record that I'm trying to take a calmer approach. What that actually means for me is I'm pretty much set on bootstrapping from here on out. I'm sort of done with taking any form of investment, and that means bootstrapped and profitable and sustainable. So what that logistically probably means for the foreseeable future is a mix of consulting and working on SaaS. And that's fine. I got a good thing going with the consulting, and I am happy to spend half my week doing that and half my week working on a SaaS. You know, like, that's a good living. And it's, you know, the other thing is I wrote down here, like, don't overheat on building the SaaS. And what that means is, like, I think it's, I think it's okay to keep building and keep making progress, but then pause, like, from time to time, just, just pause the train. Whether, whether it's because I feel like I'm working too hard on it or I'm getting too emotionally invested in it or I'm just putting in more hours than I should be. It's fine to pause it, work on other projects, and then unpause it. Whether that's a month, whether that's three months, I'm not saying I have no plans to stop working on any predictable schedule. I'm just saying the huge benefit that we have to remind ourselves when we are bootstrapped and sustainable and profitable and we have other income sources is we can go as slow as we want to be. I naturally want to move fast all the time. I'm always impatient, especially when I'm building and shipping stuff. But I have to remember that on this business and going forward, I don't have a Runway that I need to hit before some date in the future. I'm done with that game. So it's fine to just work on it, make progress, let it coast a little bit, pause, come back to it, work on it. And then the other thing is, and I learned this sort of the hard way with clarity flow is it can be successful early on pretty quickly. And that does not mean that to me, that is not an indication of it's time to go all in. Just some early wins, some early revenue, some early customers. Like, it's probably not a sign to just pause right now, but it's, but it still continue the balance of consulting and SaaS and just keep, because there's always going to be plateaus. There's going to be multiple plateaus at every stage. And it's also just fine if this thing totally flops and I can just let it go and kill it and move on to the next idea, you know, like no pressure. That's the game plan that I'm going to have to keep reminding myself of, which will be tough. [00:25:30] Speaker A: I think we should check in on this over time because it's like, I see what you're doing ahead of time and trying to get into the right mindset for a roller coaster, for a long term endeavor. It's not 30 days and it's a gangbusters home run. Then keep going, and if not, then drop it. You're almost like, like coaching yourself into the right mindset. [00:25:56] Speaker B: Yeah, exactly. [00:25:56] Speaker A: And the challenge is kind of staying there once, once you're, once you're off to the races, I think all of us at some point get into this form of like a mental game with ourselves on how to basically be happy and keep building and have the right balance so that you're not, like, at the mercy of these, like, big ups and downs. I have been enjoying the last few weeks. It feels a little bit like a calm before the storm. Like, I don't even have an email yet with this domain, right? So it feels like I always have this very familiar feeling when I start a new email with a new domain, and I look at a totally sparse, empty inbox, and I just think, nice and quiet. Now, at some point in the future, oh, yeah, this is gonna be a mess. A good mess. You're literally creating something from nothing. And people out in the world are gonna be replying, they're gonna be spamming you. They're gonna be, like, asking for things. [00:27:07] Speaker B: It does drive me crazy every time I open up one password or something and I see all the email addresses that. That I own. Like, there's Brian at restaurant engine, there's Brian at audience apps, Brian at process kid Brian. No, I mean, most of them are, like, shut down at this point, but, like, these. These, like, logins are still, like, in my list of things. And, like, yes. You know, the auto complete on all my devices. Like, still autocompletes. Like, Brian at audience apps, which doesn't work anymore. [00:27:33] Speaker A: You know, that part pisses me off. The Apple autocomplete. [00:27:36] Speaker B: Yeah, yeah. [00:27:38] Speaker A: It's been ten years, right? [00:27:41] Speaker B: Yeah, man. [00:27:43] Speaker A: Like, I have been finding myself working at a coffee shop recently. [00:27:48] Speaker B: Something. [00:27:49] Speaker A: Yeah, something about the warm weather, just being home for too long. I'm like, I feel the need to go get out, and then I've been productive when I go out there. So I've done it three times this week. I'm enjoying it. And that feels like part of that mental coaching of, like, settle in, you know, urgency. But don't put unnecessary, constant pressure on yourself. This sounds very much like a couple of guys in their forties talking right. [00:28:18] Speaker B: Now, because it is. [00:28:21] Speaker A: Yes. This may not be optimal for the absolute maximum potential, but every time I've tried to go for the absolute maximum of potential, you end up unhappy along the way. So this is some bounce inside of that. [00:28:37] Speaker B: Yeah, yeah. I mean, I've always been a big. Just for me personally, like, I really. Look, we're all in this to, like, make money and have. And have a good living and have a big outcome at the end of the thing, like that. Those. Those things, of course, motivate me, but I think equally, if not more, motivates me. What motivates me is, like, loving the work every single day and really, you know, like being creative, getting the deep work in creating value, like just building things, just being a builder, like, just getting to do that every day is really, really important to me. I don't just go into things. I mean, and this is also, this also sort of plays into the last couple of weeks as I've been actively searching for what is going to be the next product that I work on. One thing that was interesting about this search has been like, for the first time, I think that I can remember this is the first time where it was truly wide open for me. Because if I think back to all the other products that I started, those were true shiny object ideas, meaning I was super active on a business. And then the idea for the next one came very quickly and I shifted very quickly to that one. I didn't do a strategic exploration of, I'm going to start a new business relatively soon, so let's evaluate all these different markets and then pick the one that's right. For me, it was more like, I really, really want to do this one idea, so I'm just going to go do that next. That that was the case for most of the previous business ideas and it might speak to why most, you know, that maybe they didn't all pan out the way that I'd hoped this time around. I feel like it took me several months to even get back in the game of thinking about a new product idea. [00:30:40] Speaker A: Yeah, you kind of have to walk away a little bit from it. [00:30:42] Speaker B: Yeah, I did. I was exploring other stuff, doing consulting, did YouTube, but yeah, this time it was like wide open. And then I started to think more about, like, what is the optimal way to find a new product or a new opportunity. So I thought, okay, maybe I'll just start with markets. Just think about verticals. I don't know, lawyers or accountants or doctors or medical field or SaaS or e commerce. Just think about those and then choose one that's very active and high volume and then start to zero in on what are the main functions in these businesses. There's sales, there's marketing, there's hiring. And then pick one of those sectors and then zero in on, all right, so if we attack hiring, then what are the products in that category and where can I fit in? So that was one path and I didn't really get very far down that path. And a lot of this is, I don't know, my own style of thinking and looking for things. Yeah. So there's that approach, then there's the category approach. Like, okay, we start with hiring or we start with sales, or we start with marketing tools, or we start with, I don't know, like, whatever else, think about those categories. Think about volume in those categories, and then think about, like, okay, which category is right? And then. And then zero in on a niche vertical within that category. And then there's always the option of, like, scratch my own itch. And that's. There's different versions of that. I think that there are, like, the idea that I ended up settling on, for now, at least, is probably a mix of starting with the category and scratching my own itch. But scratching my own itch is not so much about, like, I have a problem that is completely unsolved, and I'm looking to solve it. It's more like observing my own behavior in my businesses. Like, which tools am I currently paying for and why am I paying for them? And so this idea that I'm working on is one that I am definitely paying for, actually, multiple of this type of tool in this category already. And I've been subscribed for a very long time with no plans to cancel. [00:33:07] Speaker A: I think we've talked about this before. I definitely talked about this on podcasts before. The idea for Card Hook, the original one, the abandoned card app, came out of selling the ecommerce business and then looking at our accounting statements and looking at what apps we paid for. [00:33:24] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:33:24] Speaker A: And it was the exact same calculation. This app makes us. We pay $50 a month for. It makes us $3,000 every single month, and I would never cancel it. And we. We clone that. That's what Kartik was so very, very similar dynamic. [00:33:39] Speaker B: Yeah. And that. That's pretty much my thinking on. On this one. It's. It's something that I am paying for multi. I am paying for multiple tools and hundreds of dollars a month for these tools, and it's a problem that I have paid multiple thousands for to solve in my business several different times in Sev, across several businesses. So, you know, when doing any sort of customer research and validation early on and talking to customers and getting, like, the best approach, I think, is to position these conversations around. Not what would you pay for? Not what? Not what? Like, would you see this as a problem? It's like, what did you pay for? What are you paying for? Show me evidence that this is a problem that you have actively tried to solve. Like, I always try to focus those interviews on that way. And so for me, like, the meaning of scratch my own itch is like, turn those questions on myself. Like, what am I actually paying to solve this problem. And this one is definitely. Yes. You know, the other one, and I've talked about this a lot lately, is the set it and forget it factor. [00:34:53] Speaker A: Keeping that in mind. [00:34:55] Speaker B: And I thought for me that it was just a factor in the list. And as I started to look through ideas and evaluate and make a list of ideas that I might work on, I noticed myself throwing out a lot of ideas, just eliminating them, because they didn't have really any form of set it and forget it. And that made me realize that's actually a lot more important to me than I even realized it was. And this one does have, I think, a pretty strong element of set it and forget it. And not only that, I think that this one becomes even more valuable the longer you remain subscribed to it, which is also interesting to me, like set. [00:35:38] Speaker A: It and forget it plus. [00:35:39] Speaker B: Yeah, yeah. Okay. [00:35:42] Speaker A: There's something funny to the set it and forget it characteristic. But if we, like, dive a little deeper into it, you can see the reason behind that. It's a really high bar to create a piece of software that people log into and click every single day, all the time. [00:36:06] Speaker B: Yes. [00:36:07] Speaker A: That is no joke. You gotta be slack. And even then people complain. [00:36:12] Speaker B: Yeah. Even then people do it and they hate it. [00:36:14] Speaker A: Gmail. And still people complain. [00:36:17] Speaker B: Yes. Yeah, exactly. And again, just observing my own behavior, I pay for tools month after month for years on end. These are tools that I log into maybe twice a year, maybe three times a year. [00:36:32] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:36:33] Speaker B: That's trip. And I have no plans to cancel them. [00:36:36] Speaker A: Now that does. It is linked to a very delicate pricing like issue. Right. You know, can't be too expensive. [00:36:51] Speaker B: Yeah, yeah. Right. [00:36:53] Speaker A: You can't do set and forget for $500 a month. It's like, you know, you. It's too hot. You pay attention to $500 a month. [00:37:01] Speaker B: I don't want to get too into the idea yet. [00:37:03] Speaker A: Right. [00:37:04] Speaker B: But I think that there is a case to be made that it could be something. There could be. There could be versions or tiers of this for certain segments of the market that could be like that. [00:37:12] Speaker A: Okay. That's some dream territory. Fantasy territory. I'm talking about, like, ideal. [00:37:19] Speaker B: Yeah. I think. What was I going to say? Another reason that I'm. I don't know what the final pricing model on this will be, but I think that there's a case to be made for, like, metered pricing, which lends itself to nice expansion revenue for this that needs a little bit more exploration. But another thing that I like about it is I think I was talking about it earlier. There's a good model where this works for both service and SaaS, or SaaS powered service, or linking the two, really. And that just works perfectly. With the desire to bootstrap and self fund this, how can we grow revenue as quickly as possible and have it sustain, you know, throughout, through the long, slow ramp of death? Like, I loved the story of Patrick Campbell with Profitwell, or it started as price intelligently, which was a high priced. [00:38:22] Speaker A: Service, and you built some software. [00:38:25] Speaker B: Built some software, and just any, I've always liked the matching of like, you know, what do they call it? Like tech powered services or software and. [00:38:34] Speaker A: Services, yeah, SAS enabled. [00:38:36] Speaker B: Now SAS enabled services like this. Really? I think that there are multiple ways that that could work too. Like different service ideas that pair well with this. So I'm getting, oh, and then there's the AI angle. [00:38:50] Speaker A: There we go. [00:38:51] Speaker B: All right, well, there's a few things I want to say about this. One is like, what was interesting about the set it and forget it criteria. For me, as I was looking through different ideas, I did find myself just eliminating a lot of AI centric ideas for that reason. Because. Because I just think that like, a lot of the AI product ideas do require, like, especially if you're thinking about generative AI tools that you use AI to generate. Like, let's say, like creating. Okay, yeah, like blog writing content, like blog writing tools or whatever. [00:39:27] Speaker A: Add creative. [00:39:27] Speaker B: Like you have to, you have to constantly be creating content for, for that to remain valuable and paying for it, or creating images or creating video, whatever you're going to use the AI to create. Like, if you're generating stuff, if that's the tool, then it's not. Said it and forget it to me, like, you got to keep using it. So that was just interesting. But on this idea, there is going to be an AI component to it. I think that's one of the key differentiators. I think there's a few differentiators and one of them is AI powered. And I like what it adds to the value prop for this product. But I also like that AI is not the centerpiece of this product. This product could totally exist without AI in the picture. [00:40:16] Speaker A: Just makes it better, easier. [00:40:18] Speaker B: But at the same time, it's not like we're just slapping on AI just to say we are. I think it really solves a compelling problem with it. And I also think that the way that I intend to use it is not something that would be at risk of just being eaten by the next OpenAI update. Because it is just very specific to the context of this product. I know I'm being a little cryptic here, but. [00:40:45] Speaker A: No, it's fine. There are some, one category is AI as a feature added to existing product categories. And that is, that's just gonna be everywhere. You know, all types of products, I mean, whether it's canva or whatever else, it can be useful. It can be useful in taking things and putting them into natural language, customer service, all this type of stuff. And then there are these other, these other types of product where AI is really like at the core and it wasn't really possible before, and now it's possible. So anything, if I were building anything that didn't have AI as its core proposition, you should definitely be thinking about what features would be valuable to add for both improving the product itself and let's be honest, the marketing value of adding it. Yeah, I mean, it definitely that you're talking about. [00:41:40] Speaker B: I mean, it definitely adds value. Like, like if I think about it, if I were to do this product years ago, before these AI capabilities existed, the part of the problem that I would solve this would require human. If we were going to offer the SaaS plus service, this would probably be a consulting option to go along with your SaaS subscriptions. Like you get a person to do this and that, or tell you this or that, whereas now we can actually solve that part of the problem using AI. [00:42:20] Speaker A: Cool. I have two things to talk about. [00:42:25] Speaker B: Let's hear it. [00:42:26] Speaker A: I have self serve as a mechanism and a point of view on this product. And then I have something related to that, which is a Twitter post by David park, who's the founder of Jenny AI. [00:42:45] Speaker B: So what is that again? [00:42:48] Speaker A: So Jenny AI is, it's content writing, but aimed at like research. Research, aka this thing writes your papers for you. [00:42:59] Speaker B: Right. [00:43:01] Speaker A: So let's talk about one and then the other because they kind of blend into one another. So a lot of what we've been thinking about internally is we want to go about this product differently. We don't want to build a big sales team. We don't want to do enterprise sales. We want it to be self serve. Maybe not the first month because you want to talk to people, blah, blah, blah. We want this thing to be self serve. We want it to be able to take on 100 new signups in a day. So if you kind of go in, right? And this is what I'm like saying to the product and engineering teams, we want to be able to take on 100 signups in a day. Take that in as gospel and start making decisions with that as one of your key factors. So think about the spectrum of powerful to simple. Where should the product live? Much more towards simple, like sophisticated versus basic. Like all these different spectrums. Like more features, fewer features, all these things. That kind of point of view of 100 signups in a day that tells you certain things. It's got to be self serve. We're not going to build the team to take on 100 signups in a day. What comes to mind? [00:44:13] Speaker B: Well, I'm curious to know because I think that there's something that if you're selling to businesses, especially small businesses, and if you're targeting a function that is like critical to them, like essential, like they will pay a lot to solve this problem in their business, that to me starts to move you away from self serve, because the more critical it is, the more they want to talk to somebody. Yes. [00:44:40] Speaker A: Someone make sure. [00:44:41] Speaker B: And then, and also the more critical it is. Like there's installation work that needs to be done. Yes. [00:44:47] Speaker A: So it's a challenge because a phone answering service is debatable. Whether or not that's super critical, you have to talk to someone versus not. So we're on the edge. It's relatively critical. Like it's interacting with your end customer, so you care a lot about it. So it puts up a bunch of question marks around, like, is that possible? What does it mean? Does that mean 100 people sign up in a day and 100 people launch on their own without talking to us? Or 100 people create accounts, get set up and then the 20, that makes sense, that have gone all the way through, then they get launched with us. It brings up a lot of questions. [00:45:23] Speaker B: But I'm curious, why the, why are you thinking so much about self serve? Like, why, why do you value that so highly? [00:45:30] Speaker A: Okay, man, look, you and I, we're good at this. That's the perfect transition to the Jenny AI host. So David park, so Jenny AI has been a phenomenon. They went from zero to 5 million ARR in like, I mean, what is this graph show? It's like, you know, two years, so super growth. And you can look at that and pretty easily convince yourself that, oh, it's the AI content. Boom, good for them. You read this post and realize that was not a mistake and it was not an accident. Our friend David park knows exactly what he's doing and he lays out how they've done their marketing in a very 2024 way, specifically around leveraging social platforms, social algorithms and short form video, and how to do that efficiently, how to recycle videos, how to make content, how to experiment, how to then leverage influencers, and how to do it very efficiently at scale. Very, very impressive stuff. Phenomenal post that we should post in the notes. And I think I retweeted it. Yeah, I may not have retweeted it because I didn't even want to show people it. When I read this post, beginning to end, I then shared with my team and I thought to myself, how do I hire someone to do this for us? Okay, now, how that relates to onboarding, when I saw this post and the way I brought it back to my team was, this is the right version of the dream. Software was always meant to be very high in leverage. Build it once, sell it a million times. That has been complicated because we sell B two B. And sometimes these things are critical, and sometimes you can never talk to customers, and sometimes you have to talk to every customer. It's just a blend. And we generally don't go into it saying, I refuse to talk to people. And that's how I'm building. Some people do that, you know, God bless them. I don't do that. I just think about what's the most valuable thing we can build. But in today's environment, with social platforms, with AI, with these, like, booming search volume in these. In these different sectors, I think what Jenny AI is doing in this very self serve zero dollar tier and $20 a month tier, I think that is the right version of the dream. So you ever seen blow the cocaine movie? [00:47:51] Speaker B: Oh, yeah. Great, great movie. [00:47:52] Speaker A: All right, so there's a scene. Is it Johnny Depp? Is that who's it? [00:47:55] Speaker B: Yeah, yeah. [00:47:57] Speaker A: Johnny Depp goes to jail, and he meets his cellmate, right? And Johnny Depp was a big shot, you know, pot dealer. And then his cellmate is a cocaine dealer, right? And he goes, Johnny, you just had the wrong dream. You sell the wrong thing, my man. [00:48:13] Speaker B: Oh, man. Now I gotta rewatch this movie. That was great movie. [00:48:15] Speaker A: Phenomenal movie. Penelope Cruz, right? Yeah, great movie. So I think this version of things we should insist on, because in today's environment, looking at where we're looking at, looking at the size of the market of small businesses and how ancient their phone systems are and the potential for this search volume boom, that's going to happen over the next two years, I insist we need to build in such a way that we can take on 100 new signups a day. If we're not doing that, we have the wrong dream. We're trying to sell the wrong thing in the market. And that's my approach to it. So this Genai AI post really help me in making that argument to myself and to the team. [00:49:06] Speaker B: I'd want to read the post for sure. I just still question the selling to consumers versus selling to businesses. Just looking at Jenny's website and the pricing and everything, it just seems like students. Yeah, it seems like I could totally see how this is going gangbusters with college students and just individuals who will pay $20 a month to write all their papers or get it for free. I see below that they've got like team pricing. Inquire below. So that's probably the pathway to talking to, you know, larger teams and charging more. But that's all self serve. That's inquire now. [00:49:46] Speaker A: Sure. [00:49:46] Speaker B: I assume. [00:49:47] Speaker A: Look, when, when a low, when a company that has 50 locations comes to us, they're going to want to talk to us. Fine. We're not above talking to people for money. Cool. [00:49:55] Speaker B: So you're saying like the one location super small shop should be able to google it, land on it, sign up, install it and start using it without talking to your team. [00:50:09] Speaker A: Yes. And focusing there for just a second, I think it's worth articulating this problem that we've encountered when we're thinking about that. The way I've been thinking about the experience of someone literally watching pest control influencer because those exist on TikTok, talking about our product, going to the landing page, signing up, and then getting them into the product. When I think about that experience from their point of view, what I'm starting to realize is when we sell to other business, when we sell to other highly technical businesses that understand software, understand accounts and understand the, this whole process, it feels okay to have this very large hurdle where on one side you're in the marketing experience, you're on the website, you're reading about the features, you're looking at the pricing, you're on one side of that hurdle. And then you decide, you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to jump to the other side. I'm going to go to the sign up page, I'm going to create an email and a login, and I'm going to hit password. I'm going to create my account. And now I'm on the other side. I go from before I have an account to after I have an account. It's a very, like, black and white experience. [00:51:21] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:51:22] Speaker A: And what I can't help but want to do is I want to drag the account creation process into the marketing yeah, yeah. [00:51:30] Speaker B: Get started. [00:51:30] Speaker A: So I want to say, like, claim your AI assistant, put your URL in. Hit go, we go read your website. We scrape all the information that we need for our model. You have not created an account yet. You come in, you put your, like maybe your yelp listing, then you can listen to our agent with an amazing voice. You can call them and interact with them as if it's your business, and then you create an account. It's like, it's like I want to smooth out that hurdle of an experience. [00:52:02] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:52:02] Speaker A: So that the product and the onboarding is much closer to, like, to the marketing. [00:52:07] Speaker B: I love it, man. I mean, I think it's technically possible to do that. There's plenty of design and UI and onboarding choices and tech that you can put in place to make a super smooth onboarding experience. And I still just struggle with the concept of a small business owner, but it's totally possible that I'm just out of touch with the modern day 2024 small business owner. I think probably the reality is business owners today are actually more technical, you know, more tech savvy than we give them credit for, to be honest. Yeah. Like, I just think that they're like, if I think of today, 24 compared to 2012, which was when I was selling to restaurants with restaurant engineers entirely, I mean, completely different universe. Like online ordering systems and even just like pos stuff was just coming into existence back then. I remember with restaurant engine, there was a new competitor that popped up. It was some big company. It might have been even a thing from Google, if I remember correctly. But it was something huge that popped up. It was specifically aimed at restaurants and it was like, put in your Yelp listing and we will generate a website for you and it's free. And obviously it wasn't AI back then, but it was just like scraping your Yelp thing and turning it into a nicely designed website. And I was like, this thing is going to kill us. But it didn't. And there were still plenty of restaurant owners who wanted to sign up. But the thing that I learned was every one of them wanted to get on a phone call. So then I just hired somebody to do the phone calls. But I think what you're talking about, there could still be a middle ground. Like, I love the idea of shift to the front of the funnel, the account sign up, super high volume on that front. I love the idea of claim your AI calling assistant or claim your AI receptionist. [00:54:17] Speaker A: Right. Not create an account, claim that. [00:54:22] Speaker B: But I still think that there's my guess would be. There's going to be a lot of farming of those leads who are already in your system. Now we have a lot of emails in our database. Let's see which ones are the most likely to actually use it if they were to receive a call from us or from our AI. That's interesting. [00:54:44] Speaker A: Yeah, we'll see how that goes. The real thing I told asked of the tech team is to make sure we have a lot of flexibility in the onboarding, account creation and billing. [00:54:57] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:54:57] Speaker A: Cause I have definitely been in a position before where I wanna experiment with something on the front end and it is more complicated than it's worth. So because of where the stripe thing comes in and what needs to happen before this other thing, it's not worth changing everything around for the account creation. And I want maximum flexibility on that part. [00:55:15] Speaker B: Yeah. Are you, so there are competitors doing this, right? Like the AI driven. So can you see how they're doing, how they're handling their funnels? [00:55:24] Speaker A: Yes. Yes. I don't like how they're handling their funnels. I don't like how they are. We have, I have not come across a competitor yet that I have. You know, all those, all those bad feelings about, oh, man, they're so much better. They're so good. How are we gonna catch. I just have not really come across one competitor I think is doing a good job. And then almost everyone else is either enterprise and one of them seems to be doing really well. They just raised a $50 million series c, but they're enterprise. And then the other ones that are aimed at a similar part of the market, they are just obsessed with the tech. And you get into their product and it's like, which LLM do you want to choose? And in my opinion, what's an LLM? Yeah, exactly. What. What are you talking about here? Yeah, so that, that definitely makes us really excited to get to market because we feel like people are not positioned. [00:56:20] Speaker B: Yeah, yeah, I like that. That sounds good. Yeah. [00:56:24] Speaker A: So that's it. Jenny, AI highly recommend that post. And we gotta get that linked and wants to run that playbook for us. Please get in touch. Not joking at all. [00:56:36] Speaker B: Nice. [00:56:37] Speaker A: How many thousands of dollars do I need to pay someone to just run this playbook for us? [00:56:41] Speaker B: Yeah, I ask that every day for all the shit that I don't want to do. [00:56:45] Speaker A: Right. [00:56:46] Speaker B: And it's so rare that, like, I could find someone to just like, throw money at a problem and it truly gets done or effective. But yes, that's the dream. My goal for this weekend is to not do anything super taxing on my back, because I've been trying to. Trying to get rid of these back issues. Like, last weekend, I was cutting down a tree and moving it out of my backyard, and then there was, like, a road trip. Like, I just need to chill. That's. That's my goal for this weekend. [00:57:17] Speaker A: Okay. Similar on my end. Well, it's not gonna be that chill, but I. My goal is to take a little break from Twitter. It's been very difficult the last few days, emotionally, with all the stuff happening around hostages in Israel. And I'm going to what's called adventure guides, which is a daddy daughter camp off at a YMCA that we do twice a year with, like, the local school. [00:57:44] Speaker B: Oh, okay. [00:57:45] Speaker A: It's like, in Wisconsin, it's like an hour and a half away, and it's like a YMCA camp. So it's like these, like, bunks, you know, like, fugly, very basic. [00:57:53] Speaker B: Oh, that's fun. [00:57:54] Speaker A: So it's just a bunch of dads and all of their girls. And my girls are old enough now that they would basically get there, and they, like, give me a high five, and I see them, like, 6 hours later. [00:58:02] Speaker B: Yeah. Hang out with the other fellows. [00:58:04] Speaker A: I see them for, like, the s'mores ceremony with, like, this, like, dad daughter ceremony thing, and then I don't see them again. Oh, that's fun. [00:58:09] Speaker B: Actually, this Sunday is our daddy daughter dance for the girls. So I'm going with my. With my two dates. [00:58:17] Speaker A: Cool. [00:58:17] Speaker B: We're all getting dressed up. It's gonna be a good time. I'm pretty psyched. [00:58:20] Speaker A: That's the best. [00:58:21] Speaker B: Yep, yep. [00:58:22] Speaker A: All right. Thanks, everyone. [00:58:23] Speaker B: See you. All right, later.

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