May 24, 2024


Launch and learn

Hosted by

Jordan Gal Brian Casel
Launch and learn
Bootstrapped Web
Launch and learn

May 24 2024 | 00:56:09


Show Notes

Shady domain brokers.  Cooling off on product ideas.  Pricing questions.  High vs. low volume funnels.  Launch and learn.  Conflicting realities.  Deadlifts.  Summer travel.

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:16] Speaker A: Hey, it's bootstrapped web. It is Friday, and we are just in time for the landscaper who's driving right by my window right now. So hopefully that's not. Hopefully this audio will be usable. Perfect. [00:00:28] Speaker B: Sup, Rob? [00:00:29] Speaker A: How you doing, man? [00:00:31] Speaker B: Good. You know, coming up on Memorial Day weekend, and I will be on the sidelines of a soccer tournament about an hour away from here. [00:00:40] Speaker A: Beautiful. [00:00:41] Speaker B: So, yeah, that's fine. But we'll have a good time. [00:00:44] Speaker A: Yeah, that'll be fun. Get outside. [00:00:47] Speaker B: That's right. It does force you to just hang out outside. Yeah, we're, like, almost done with school here. The kids have like, single digits. [00:00:54] Speaker A: Yeah, we're like. We're like two weeks away or something from the end. Yeah, they've got the long weekend this weekend. I'm sure we'll do a lot of time spent outside, hopefully kind of relaxing. Cause my back has been all screwed up. But, uh. [00:01:07] Speaker B: Oh, yeah, I've had some weird health things. Next week I'm going to get a ct scan, a calcium ct scan, which looks like the calcium buildup in your arteries. I was convinced by. Oh, what's his name? Brad. Brad Gallanter. No, he's one of the besties friends, you know, from the all in podcast. One of their friends, Brad, he just talks about it a lot on Twitter about, like, you know, relatively young men getting this scan and then kind of being shocked that they have issues. So I've definitely been warned that it can create some false stress and lead you down a path. So I'm entering it carefully, but, you know, $150. I feel like that's good. I just did my physical, got my blood drawn this morning. [00:01:50] Speaker A: Just trying to get it all checked out. Right? [00:01:52] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:01:53] Speaker A: Yeah, man. I mean, this year, it's so weird, like getting old sometimes. Part of it is just getting old, and part of it is just the stress that we put ourselves through, at least for me. But, yeah, this year has been weird. It seems like one health, physical health issue after another for me, and that is just not normal. And even right now with my back, it's like an ongoing. It's been over a month of back pain that I'm. I usually have little muscle strains and things that go away after two days or so, but this one has just stuck around. Now I'm doing like, physical therapy twice a week and getting this hammered out. And it's just annoying. [00:02:34] Speaker B: It's tricky because as soon as something goes wrong, you then have to stop your regular exercise routine. Yeah, that's maintaining your. [00:02:44] Speaker A: Exactly. I was in great shape. Last year, I was doing workouts every day for over a year. And then in the last six weeks, my. My back has. Has gotten to a point where I just can't do strength training. The only thing that I'm doing now is walking. I walk about 2 miles a day. That's a bit. Yeah, yeah. [00:03:05] Speaker B: Tricky. I still am keeping up with my twice a week, but I had what felt like a possible, like, hernia type of a thing, and then all of a sudden, you should become very aware, like, how careful to be with weights and how much strain. Like, I don't like deadlifting. I know people are super into it, but every time I don't like it either. I feel, like, on the verge of injury, and I don't understand why it would make. There are other things to do that keep up. [00:03:31] Speaker A: I never liked it either. I enjoy the other movements in strength training, like the squats and bench press and things like that. And I was doing a circuit thing, and I would get around to doing deadlifts. Cause I just feel like it should be part of the program, but I always hate it. I just don't enjoy that movement. [00:03:48] Speaker B: Yeah. I think it's a matter of technique also, when I've done it with my brain brother who's, like, super physical fitness man who owns crunch gyms, and he knows the exact right way to do things. [00:03:58] Speaker A: Yeah. And I know you get like, that, like, what do they call it? Like, the octagon deadlift bar instead of straight. That's what I used to. Yeah. Anyway, that's our lifting podcast today. [00:04:09] Speaker B: Yeah. There you go. No, but one thing that I do have on my mind in terms of, like, some fun stuff outside of business is end of school means the beginning of summer means my kids are going away to camp. [00:04:24] Speaker A: Oh, are they doing, like, sleepaway or. [00:04:26] Speaker B: They're doing sleep away again last year. [00:04:27] Speaker A: Oh, there you go. [00:04:28] Speaker B: Sleep away. And that meant two weeks of just wifey and I hanging out and going to Charleston, South Carolina. [00:04:34] Speaker A: Nice. [00:04:34] Speaker B: And this year, we're going to Mexico City. [00:04:36] Speaker A: Beautiful. [00:04:37] Speaker B: So to stay up late and look around for travel for a trip that is not obligatory. Like, I got to go see my family because this event is happening. This is just, like, just for fun. [00:04:49] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:04:49] Speaker B: And it's got. It's got me very excited. Looking forward to it. I hear great things about Mexico City. We've got ourselves a nice, fancy hotel, like. [00:04:56] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:04:56] Speaker B: Just so pumped. [00:04:57] Speaker A: Yeah. I mean, you know, we're all about planning the travel. We actually have our summer trip booked now, so we're going to be coming to your neck of the woods. We're flying into Chicago in July. Got an Airbnb in downtown Chicago for a couple days, and then we're renting a car and driving around the lake up to the upper peninsula of Michigan. Okay. [00:05:17] Speaker B: Are you going, you're going to the Michigan side all the way up? [00:05:21] Speaker A: Yeah, we're driving east. [00:05:22] Speaker B: Okay. Because you can also get to the up to go the Wisconsin side. [00:05:26] Speaker A: Yeah. What I read like, you want to go the Michigan side. [00:05:29] Speaker B: Michigan in July, that stretch of. [00:05:32] Speaker A: So we're doing that whole coastline up the east side of the Michigan Lake. Lake Michigan. And then, you know, up to the. To the up. We got like a really nice, like new construction Airbnb on the lake up there. In up. It's a trip up there. Looks super fun. [00:05:47] Speaker B: That's. [00:05:49] Speaker A: I've never been to that part of the. I've been to Chicago. I used to live in Chicago but never been to upper peninsula, so should be cool. [00:05:55] Speaker B: Okay, well, we, we've got some things to talk about outside of the podcast on. My best friend from college lives in Traverse City. [00:06:03] Speaker A: Yeah. So we're going to be passing through there. Yep. I want to get your tips. [00:06:07] Speaker B: That's one of those stops that's, that's worth spending a night or two. I don't know what your plans are, but that, the food, the wine, the vibe there. [00:06:15] Speaker A: Yeah, I know. There's some wine tasting and there's that, like, you know what? Sand dunes State park. [00:06:21] Speaker B: Yes. [00:06:21] Speaker A: Or National park. [00:06:22] Speaker B: Sleeping bear. [00:06:22] Speaker A: Sleeping bear. Yep. [00:06:23] Speaker B: Yep. All right. Awesome. See? Summer. [00:06:28] Speaker A: Hell yeah. [00:06:30] Speaker B: All right, let's talk some biz. All right, let's talk some biz. Let me just start off just a little quick story for me. The domain drama. We're getting a good ending. [00:06:42] Speaker A: Okay. [00:06:43] Speaker B: Yes. We're getting the domain that we wanted. [00:06:46] Speaker A: Oh, the original one. [00:06:47] Speaker B: The original one. It came back. So I spent more money on domains than I meant to. Okay. Because I bought the one I wanted. Then two weeks into the process, we hear back that, oh, sorry, domain's actually not available. We're very sorry. This happens when it's actually sold, but marketplaces haven't taken them. Taken it down. To me, I think the owners know what they're doing and we're super shady. And then we got upset because that was the domain we wanted. So we went and bought two alternative domains that were similar, spent another, you know, few thousand bucks there. And then we said, okay, I guess we'll settle for these. That's good enough. And then the original domain owners came back to us and said, we want one hundred k. I was like, g f. Why? [00:07:31] Speaker A: You know, I've heard only super shady stories about people who do domaining as a living like that scammiest, like most shadiest corner of Internet business there is. [00:07:45] Speaker B: I think it's because aside from, you. [00:07:47] Speaker A: Know, like porn, right. [00:07:50] Speaker B: I think it's just inherent in the, it's not the, it's not so much the people, it's just the position that they're put in. You just are better off. The incentives are toward being shady and obfuscating and negotiating. So that's just like the deal. Yeah, so they can product there. [00:08:07] Speaker A: It's just like shading, negotiation. That's their whole game. [00:08:11] Speaker B: This is, look, it's exactly what happened. We bought it for, let's just call it x. And then they came back and wanted $100,000 and I said, absolutely not. And I basically went back to X plus $5,000. And then they said, okay, we'll take that, plus a minority interest rate. And then I said, no. And then a few days they came back and said, okay, just, just the dollar amount. We're good. [00:08:37] Speaker A: It was worth a try, right? Oh my God. [00:08:39] Speaker B: We've already bought other domains for thousands of dollars. Yeah, but we want this one. So we came back, we said, fine, just do it already. And then we came across what a disaster of an experience. [00:08:55] Speaker A: I saw some tweets from you about that. [00:08:57] Speaker B: Oh my God. I rarely tweet about, like, bad service or something I'm complaining about, but this was like, it's still not done. The only reason I feel able to talk about it is because now at least I know the domain is now with, so it's been transferred over. But this is what you do for a living. Every touch. [00:09:15] Speaker A: Yeah, it's like you had one job. dot one job. [00:09:17] Speaker B: What's this? Every bit of their communication leaves room for interpretation. Nothing is clear, even when it's like, we're awaiting your payment. Here is the payment information. And I'm like, is it a wire or is it an ach? Guys, I don't know. [00:09:33] Speaker A: Stuff like that drives me up the wall. [00:09:35] Speaker B: It drove me nuts. You're Citibank. You're in the US, obviously. Ach. Why would I wire you? That's what I do internationally. So I set up an ach. I let them know. Sorry, we actually don't accept ach. You'll have to wait until your bank bounces it back to you. Like, God damn it. I had to wait another few business days. Finally, it got canceled. I still don't have the money back. I sent them a wire. It's, like, unreal. [00:09:58] Speaker A: You know, I hate being that guy who has to put out the angry tweet to complain to some large company about something that's going wrong. I did it a couple weeks ago with eBay. [00:10:09] Speaker B: It's lame. [00:10:10] Speaker A: It's lame. It's annoying. But I hate when that's the only way to make this right with the service, whatever you're doing. I sold an old apple watch on eBay a couple weeks back. Um, and I think the buyer was trying to scan, like, he. He received, like, ups shows it was delivered. Showed me a photo of the thing delivered on the guy's doorstep. [00:10:31] Speaker B: Right? Clearly received. [00:10:32] Speaker A: Clearly received. He's like, I. You know, you sent a box that was empty. And so he's filing, like, complaints with eBay. They're putting my funds on hold. They're putting my whole 20 year history of eBay. They're putting that in jeopardy. [00:10:46] Speaker B: Oh, my. [00:10:47] Speaker A: I'm like, guys, this is ridiculous. And then I'm going, like. Like, I'm trying to avoid the public shaming thing, and I do the customer service thing, like, time after time, and it just keeps cycling back to my funds are on hold and all this bullshit. And then I did a tweet at eBay, and I guess this is the end of my 20 year history of being an eBay customer. And that's what sent it up to flag pole, and they took care of it. [00:11:10] Speaker B: Sir, please dm us privately. [00:11:12] Speaker A: Yeah, I did that. And then finally they took care of it, and it was like, oh, my God. [00:11:17] Speaker B: God. Really frustrating. [00:11:20] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:11:21] Speaker B: All right, so sorry for my tangent there, but we're hours away from securing this domain. And then it's. It's funny starting a new business. How much the domain you needed for everything you needed for your G suite account. Then you can start opening up new accounts. Then you can create a go to, you know, what's it called? Google tag manager, Google Analytics. All the things that you need to actually, like, get into the process of launching the site and what you need for it. [00:11:46] Speaker A: Yeah, all that fun stuff. [00:11:48] Speaker B: All that fun stuff. [00:11:51] Speaker A: Let's see. So I think last week, here's the funny thing about this podcast. We are. [00:12:00] Speaker B: Okay, tell me. [00:12:02] Speaker A: We are. For all intents and purposes, we're live here. We're recording right now at 11:30 a.m. on a Friday I'm going to publish this thing probably by 12 30 01:00 today. Like, we don't do any editing. Like, it's just. And we don't do any planning either. It's just like, off the cuff. Like, whatever's, whatever happens to be on our mind today, whatever on any given Friday. That's what you're hearing on this podcast. [00:12:26] Speaker B: Snapshot. Snapshot in the roller coaster. Literally, you know, those Disney like photos of you just like, with your tongue out in the middle of the roller coaster. That's what this podcast is. [00:12:35] Speaker A: It looks super fun on the photo, but they don't show, like, the waiting in line for 2 hours to get on that thing. Right. So I think last Friday I was like, pretty. I probably sounded pretty excited about this new product idea. Yeah. A few days went by. I'm kind of cooled off from it now. [00:12:53] Speaker B: It's the cycle, baby. It's the emotional cycle of a new idea. Encountering it and then sobering up and then looking at it more soberly. [00:13:01] Speaker A: Yeah. Yeah. It's still an idea that I think I might do at some point in some form. But, you know, what I did was I put together a landing page for it. I passed it around to a few friends, and I think across the board, it sort of confirmed that at least the way that I was messaging it or focusing it, it just didn't hit the mark across the board. And I think even I felt that by the time I was finished with it and started passing it around, and so there was that, it didn't feel like it was solving enough of a pain for it to be like, oh, that's interesting. I want to hear more. It also wasn't really niched down, but I think it also led to a little bit of me pulling back on the whole idea of getting into a new idea. I still think I am open to new ideas, but I felt myself starting to go a little bit too hard, like, heating, like, overheating on a new idea very quickly. And again, just trying to, like, get back to a more balanced, calm approach to what I'm doing in general in my work. Okay. And I just, yeah, just a lot more patient, just going a lot slower in general. And the other thing is, I am still running clarity flow, and I think a few things came up that have me a little bit more energized on clarity flow to work on some growth projects there. By no means. I'm not going back to being all in, all the time on that. I think the thing is this week where my headspace is at today, this Friday, which it changes week to week, but today it's a recognition of. Look, I have a couple conflicting realities that I'm constantly dealing with. And reality number one is that I have clarity flow. That's a SaaS product that has certain aspects of it are working, and it has been working and has been kind of ticking up in the right direction, and I'm still working on it. That's reality number one is I still spend a significant part of my week working on clarity flow, whether it's product work support stuff, or planning out some changes in our marketing and positioning and messaging. That's one. And then the other one is I'm consulting this year, I brought that back into my mix. So right there, that makes my time have some context switching, which isn't always great, but it's sort of a reality. And it brings a benefit of, like, I'm in a much more slower and more sustainable model now than I was in the last few years. In the last few years, I was on this Runway model where I'm all in full time, 100% on this one SaaS idea until it hits a profitability mark, and then we can be. Now I'm just back to bootstrapper consulting and working on a product kind of thing. And then just the third reality is I've been working on that one SaaS product for multiple years now, and it hasn't gotten there. So I am convinced that I have to be open to new ideas. And that doesn't even mean looking for the next idea to replace the first idea. And I'm not trying to be all in on anything. I'm just trying to have a balance of things. And that also doesn't mean, like I said, I'm pulling back on going too hard on that one idea. I think I was thinking about that idea as if it could be a new, fully formed startup company. And that's, I think, for me, the wrong way to think about new ideas. I'm thinking about new ideas now as much smaller little side project ideas that I could throw out there as, like, little seeds of something that could become something later. [00:17:29] Speaker B: Okay, I've seen more of this on Twitter. I look at someone's profile after I find a post of theirs interesting, and they will list out three or four products with the MRR of each one. [00:17:43] Speaker A: Yeah, right. [00:17:43] Speaker B: These like building public bootstrappers. Yes. It's like this thing's at one k, this thing's at 4k. This thing's at 40k. [00:17:50] Speaker A: Exactly. [00:17:50] Speaker B: And very often they don't have an explanation for why this one worked. This one just worked. And they openly say, I just kept trying different things and then all of a sudden this one worked. What I find interesting is that one key characteristic of the ones that worked is the speed. [00:18:12] Speaker A: So the best idea is something that I've noticed. [00:18:15] Speaker B: Yes. That do work within three months. They are overtaking things that, that they spent months on. [00:18:21] Speaker A: Yes. So it hits a nerve. It hits something. [00:18:24] Speaker B: It's a nerve. Right. It's this, it's this market fit thing that you cannot see and feel from the outside. It requires putting the seed out there, throwing it out into the wind to see if it catches. That is at least is the interpretation from the outside that I'm getting. [00:18:40] Speaker A: Yes, I see the same thing. And the other thing that I'm thinking a lot about right now, I just wrote up a little thing. I'm sending it to my newsletter this weekend, is what I'm thinking about is idea magnets. I think of every small new idea as it's a magnet that will attract the feedback that I need to ultimately get to the right version of this idea. Clarity flow started as zip message, and even zipmessage started as a very different concept than what zip message was like. I started like the original kernel of the idea for Zipmessage was I want a link. It was for customer support purposes. Like, I wanted a link that I could send to customers so that they can record their screen and send me back what they're seeing. And I sort of put out the idea as that. And then I started to learn that. Like, it's sort of interesting for that, but it's more interesting for the asynchronous conversation back and forth. And so then zipmessage became that. And then I learned even more that, like, of all the different customer groups that resonate with this, it's coaches that resonate the most and that have the most long term potential. So let's really zero in on them. None of that would have happened if I didn't just ship the earliest version of that product. So that's this idea of like, because I think that there's this more traditional startup advice that you hear, which is like, if you're going to do a new idea, you've got to have a fully formed, like, theory. Target customer niche use case problem dialed in, validated. Before you write any code, like founder. [00:20:29] Speaker B: Market Fit, you have to understand the problem you have to be building for yourself. You need to think of that the market's big enough, you can't lose a feature. It has to be a platform. There is a tornado and maybe a hurricane is a more accurate analogy of advice. And it is impossible to know what advice will work for you. There is very little connection other than universal truths. [00:20:51] Speaker A: Right, right. And the other thing, especially for bootstrapped businesses, and I agree with this, that the best form of a bootstrapped SaaS company is something in a niche vertical, right. Like something that solves a relatively unknown problem to most of the world. But if you are on the inside of this particular industry, then you know about the specific pain that this vertical has. And there are still opportunities to solve those pains with software. Right now, to someone like me, and I would imagine someone, a lot of people who are like me listening to this, who are just software designers, software developers, you're in the SaaS tech software industry. So this is like the most crowded, competitive, oversaturated space to be aware of problems to solve, like we talked about, like launching another, like email marketing. SaaS is just going to be an uphill battle. So how does somebody like me find a vertical that is foreign to me, right. And if I don't have a brother in law who works in some niche vertical that I can have, like an insider track on, or if I don't have a previous career in some other vertical, how do we do that? Like, okay, you can, you'll find it. Like, you go onto Reddit and you, and you scour the subreddits and you find people talking about pains where you cold call small businesses. And what pains can I solve for you with software? Yep. You're shooting in the dark. [00:22:30] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:22:30] Speaker A: For real. You know, like, and you could, you could spend forever driving yourself crazy, like looking for things that seem like maybe pain points, but you don't know if there's really a business here. [00:22:41] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:22:42] Speaker A: You know, to me, the more practical solution in 2024 is spend a month, build a small idea, put it out there. Maybe it's broad and it's not niched down yet. It's just, you're just going off of a hunch. Maybe it's a scratch your own itch or you're observing some pattern somewhere that makes you think there could be something here. Let me just build and ship something. And if you have a hypothesis on, like, maybe customer groups a, B or C might, might be good for this, let's put it in front of them. Then you can start to learn, like, you learn, number one, like who, like which customers actually resonate with it. And you learn what, like, okay. Of all the four or five features that I. That I think are important for this, it's actually just this one feature that people have come, are coming for. That to me is like, it's more of a, instead of, like, scouring and scrolling through these sites looking for pain points to solve, you just put something out there, and that's your magnet to attract the true believers who can, who can point you to what the final version of this thing should be. [00:23:45] Speaker B: And the feedback, I would say, that leans in to a specific strength of people who can build product. [00:23:53] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:23:53] Speaker B: Because what my process ends up being very much impacted by not being able to build myself, and so my process ends up being looking at different markets and actually starting off at the competitor landscape and looking at what other companies are doing. I get this sense of, like, it's almost like I'm trying to judge my own jealousy and envy. How envious am I of this other business? And when I get all those juices, like, oh, my God, this looks amazing because, because of the characteristics it has, because the market's really big and it's not that expensive, but it's not that cheap, and it's still self serve, and it's a new market and it looks easy to do. Like, whatever that thing is, that mixture that gets me to lean in and be envious of that product position. And that is where I end up starting my search on, are there other competitors doing this? Ooh, there's a, there's a, you know, a little group of people that have discovered this. Let me go listen to podcasts with the founders. Let me get a sense of their confidence and how much they boast, how confident are they about their prospects, about. [00:25:07] Speaker A: Their competitors, even that. Like, I found that, like, I didn't discover entire huge categories of software products and competitor groups until I started learning about coaches. And I wouldn't have learned about coaches unless I had a product that just a few coaches happened to find interesting, you know? And I wouldn't have had that happen unless I had shipped a suboptimal version of this product first. You know, like, it's like one thing leads to another, but, like, yeah, I've done the same thing of, like, looking for versions of my product based on what the competitors are doing. And that's a really good approach. But I, like, there's a lot if you just start from, like, ground zero, like, my idea, I'm open to anything. It's almost, like, just too wide. And I can only look to, like, the big known categories the CRMs, the whatever, the sales, things like that. But then once you get into having inroads with customers who seem to be interested in something, then you start to understand what's in your stack. What are you paying for? Oh, there's a whole category over here. [00:26:22] Speaker B: Yes. And then that means there's budget for it because people are using competitors or using alternatives or using something else. If we just go further down the conveyor belt of this process right now, let's say you threw something out there. Right. What we're about to do is, I mean, this is, you know, this is not like, hypothetical here. [00:26:41] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:26:42] Speaker B: Like, we're going into a space that we are not that familiar with. I don't have this, like, founder market fit thing from experience. So you launch, you put this thing out into the wind to see if it catches, if, you know, a market grabs it from there. I'm worried because the natural human instinct is to hope that it works the way it is. You hope that you're right. I showed you our website. I hope that that's right and that resonates. But the process of throwing it out there and then getting feedback and then adjusting, I am worried about, because it's very hard to tell when you should stick with your vision and when you should adjust. Yeah, very tough. Everyone gives you conflicting information. The worst thing that happens is the most common things that happen, which is. It kind of works. Some people are paying you. [00:27:34] Speaker A: Yeah, yeah, it kind of works. Yeah. I don't know. I mean, that's the toughest thing. I know that. I've started to direct all of our product roadmap decisions based on which features will help us grow. That means if there are features people are canceling because we don't have them, or features that pre sales people are asking a lot about. Clearly, it's a big check mark in their sales process that they need to check off. If we're not checking that box, we should be thinking about how we can check that box. That's how I'm thinking about it. [00:28:13] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:28:15] Speaker A: But there have definitely been, I've been mistaken or I've misinterpreted that multiple times where a lot of people are talking about a thing and then we build the thing, and that probably helped with sales, but then I find that, like, they're not actually using that thing very often as much as I thought they would, you know? Yeah. [00:28:34] Speaker B: Very, very interesting. My approach for the next, like, two, three months is to just be very will, very willing to basically waste money in an effort to learn yeah. So it is too early to run ads, but we're just gonna run some ads anyway. Just let's, like. Let's get. [00:28:55] Speaker A: I think ads is good to get some data. Some, like, some, like, baseline data on, like. All right. The first time we ran ads, we learned this. And then when you come back to, like, double down on it, you have something to build on. [00:29:06] Speaker B: Yes. And we'll do some outreach, and we'll just do a bunch of stuff to get eyeballs on it and get the feedback. Now, if we. If we want to get a little more concrete that this week has been categorized. So first, let me just say we chose a direction. Right. I think last week we talked about. I wasn't sure which direction to go in. If we should start cheap and higher quantity, and then move up as features expanded into higher price tiers, or if we should go down, if we should start with fewer people, more intimate relationship conversations with each potential customer, start relatively higher in price. And then as we worked out the bugs and understood the product and the market better, we then open up the lower tier. So that second one, that's the direction we're going to go in. So that was very helpful to make that decision, because then that helps make the decisions around your offer, your CTA, your. Your funnel. Like, what. What does this look like? [00:30:09] Speaker A: So more of, like, a high, like, high touch up front, and then make your way toward the lower touch. [00:30:15] Speaker B: I want to get to lower touch, but I think I'm acknowledging that we shouldn't rush it and we should kind of follow best practice advice in this scenario and actually say, no, be patient. You know, I looked the other day. It's a trip. [00:30:29] Speaker A: It's been 30 days forward on this new idea. [00:30:33] Speaker B: On this new idea. [00:30:34] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:30:35] Speaker B: And that. And that is ridiculous because, you know, that's so fast. So I'm trying to give myself a little bit of perspective, not the daily or weekly perspective, but if you just look at it in months, like, we're so. We're being so fast right now. So it's okay that we don't rush to self serve. Low touch. [00:30:54] Speaker A: Yeah. You gotta learn, like, the base, the basics of what it is, right? [00:30:58] Speaker B: Yes. And then, so myself and the product manager, Jordan, on our team. Jessica's out. Jessica's on maternity leave. Amazing opportunity for the product manager, Jordan, to step up, and they are. So we're having this very interesting real time with the heat turned all the way up to figure out our working relationship on how to make sure that she feels very able to, you know, express their opinions, to ping me when, when necessary, not feel like, like it's a bother for me to be able to be critical because my general style is to, is to let, let them do their thing. Yeah, but that can also be seen as, hey, we're not talking enough. So it's like very, very real time figuring this thing out. But those product decisions, specifically around who we're going after first unlocked all these other decisions around what the offer should be. And are we doing a wait list? No, we're doing a early access. So all these other things that were necessary in order to launch the website next week came out of the decision on who we're targeting first. [00:32:19] Speaker A: I think we were talking just offline before this, and it's something that I've been thinking about too, lately, the idea of like, how painful enough is this problem? You know, as I was evaluating that idea I was talking about last week, I started to realize, like, yeah, it checks off some of my boxes that I really like in a product idea, like the set it and forget it thing that I've talked about before. But on the pain scale, I started to realize, like, this is more of an additive. Like, it's not replacing another tool. And I think you might look at that like, well, that's good. You don't have to convince a customer of like, you don't have to leave these other tools. You can just buy this. If it's the choice between selling a tool that has low switching cost, meaning you don't have to switch off of another tool, you don't have to cancel another tool in order to use my tool, versus like, yeah, this is an alternative to that other tool that you are paying for. You're going to have to switch off of that to use mine. [00:33:28] Speaker B: Okay. [00:33:28] Speaker A: Yes, the switching cost is higher, but I think I like that better because. [00:33:33] Speaker B: There'S budget, there's in your head, you're. [00:33:34] Speaker A: Spending x and there's budget, there's already proof that you have been paying for it, and it's proof that it's a painful enough problem. Like it's essential enough. And so it's a harder lift on the sales and activation and onboarding side, but it's healthier. [00:33:52] Speaker B: Yeah, there's more of an existing market. We are on the other side of that risk. Right. We are saying the spend that we're looking at is that businesses are spending a lot of money on advertising. And that's really where the budget that we're targeting is. If you're spending $10,000 a month then are you motivated to spend another $100 a month to make it more effective or to basically get a better return on that? [00:34:21] Speaker A: Yeah, but I think that you are like, they already are doing that. They already are paying for. [00:34:28] Speaker B: True. [00:34:28] Speaker A: To like optimize their phone answering in some form, they have people answering it, right? Yeah, yeah. [00:34:39] Speaker B: That's interesting. That's true. There are alternatives that don't look like alternatives. Yeah, I had a very interesting conversation with someone. It's funny how you learn about these things, right? You like, you know, there are a lot of unknowns and then sometimes it's comical slash embarrassing to learn some things that seem so important. But that's what this podcast is for, not having any shame around that. So one of the things I learned recently was that the majority of businesses signing up for this type of a solution around AI voice are doing so because they don't like their outsourced third party answering service. So that can be, you know, dollar 500 to dollar 5000 a month and you're paying other people and it's really expensive and you don't find it effective. And that might actually be the ideal customer, not the net new. We don't have anything right now where someone internal is handling this and it's kind of fine. [00:35:44] Speaker A: Like without knowing anything about your space. Like that sounds right to me that, like, it's, to me it seems like a better sales proposition to say, like you're already allocating hundreds or thousands a month with weak results. What if we could cut that budget in half and give you better results? [00:36:05] Speaker B: Yeah, I mean, it's the beginning of process. You recall, one of the reasons I got really interested in AI is after going to the March capital like Montgomery summit event and seeing the movement of budget from human resources, labor, people to AI is the initial adoption. It is the elimination of budgets on people and going toward tech. So that is exactly what we're doing. Maybe that has been lost in the sauce for me over the last few weeks. But if you take a step back from a macro point of view and you don't care about what the business actually does, the most important thing is they're spending $5,000 a month now, and you're gonna come to them and say it's $250 a month and they're gonna say, hell yes, that is the way I'm thinking about all of my expenses. [00:36:56] Speaker A: Yeah, yeah. I think like coming, this probably applies to your thing and like new product ideas that I look at, but I've seen this with clarity too. Is that like, you know, those, like, out of all the ideas that you put out there, why does one start to really hit, or at least one that you can start to really learn useful learning after useful learning? And I just keep thinking about the fact that when you put out the first version or an earlier version, it's so far from optimal. It's so far from the right sales copy and the headline and the website and even the right mix of features. You don't have it all correct yet, but some target customers get through your funnel despite all that. First of all, they found you even though you're not speaking to them perfectly yet. Second of all, you have all these features that they don't even want, but they have one or two that you have one or two that they do want. So they're sifting their way through all those features, and they're using the one that they like. They found their way to you. I keep thinking a lot about that. What? You know, and, you know, we're, like, dialing in on customers for clarity flow, but also, like, customers for new ideas. It's like, what is. Yeah. Like, just like, noticing that there is that pattern with early adopters, you know? [00:38:24] Speaker B: Yeah. Okay. Okay. I want to sit on that for a second. Bring it back to the concept of throwing out new things and not knowing there is, I think that is directly related to a relatively experienced entrepreneur. They're in the arena. They know how to build a product. They know how to create a website. Like these full stack people that we love, the bootstrappers on Twitter that are doing stuff. There is an element to when you throw something out there, an idea that you are not sure if it's going to work, that the right ones, as long as you give them a little bit of sunlight, just enough exposure, just enough water, they just go, and you don't really understand why they're going. And that is a very similar process to what we're doing. We're taking our time. We're building a website, we're doing all this other stuff, and then we put it out there and then the market will grab it. Despite all the things that you do wrong. [00:39:30] Speaker A: Yep. [00:39:31] Speaker B: You didn't do this perfect launch and this pr thing, and you did, like, none of that matters other than exposure to the market. And they will see right through even bad copy, horrible marketing, ugly design. If it's painful enough and they want it enough, and then they'll go and they'll share it with you. [00:39:48] Speaker A: They're not satisfied with the alternatives, you know? [00:39:50] Speaker B: Yes, yes. So there really is this element of, like, what is the minimal amount of exposure that this solution needs to be grabbed onto by the people that want it most? [00:40:03] Speaker A: Yeah. And, like, just, just enough for you to learn what that is and who they are, you know? [00:40:08] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:40:09] Speaker A: And then, and then you can, you're off to the races. You can dial in from there. You know, it seems so simple when we just talk about it like that, but, like, it takes me, like, years to really figure out, like, even like, seeing those signals from, like, hundreds of customers to really finally, like, draw the line between them. Like, oh, everyone's pointing to this. I get it now. [00:40:25] Speaker B: You know what that makes me think of as I'm like, you know, writing out and designing a landing page is what elements give you the best chance of that exposure. Is it a video? Like, so we're creating a video. So a video for a voice product is kind of a weird thing. We found a few examples of competitors doing and we kind of grabbed the best highlights of each one. But it does feel very much like just put this thing in the hero section and let people click play and if it hits them the right way, they're gonna want it. [00:41:02] Speaker A: Yeah, that's where I'm getting, I'm in this mode now and I'm gonna be working on a bunch of stuff on clarity flow, really aimed at just simplifying everything and just, frankly, just getting rid of this is something I've been wanting to. I was working with a coach this week who really helped me see the value in this. Just like, just get rid of the bullshit. When it comes to marketing and messaging and positioning, don't make your customers jump through hoops. Don't try to trick them into landing on some long tail keyword page when really you just need them to be convinced on the homepage. Is it so important to capture the email address in front of the demo? Why don't you just let them press play on the demo and see the value? Bring them in. There's a whole line of things that I want to just get rid of the nonsense and just go straight to the value because I know that we have customers that feel that value and just trying to get rid of the bloat. And I think that especially when it comes to SEO and content and pages and websites, it's easy for us to overcomplicate all of that. And it's also very easy for a lot of SEO agencies to convince us that it needs to be overcomplicated. I think in SaaS it does not have to be overcomplicated. Yeah. If you're solving the problem and you. And if you know the things that your customers are looking for, show them that you have it and invite them in. [00:42:45] Speaker B: What gets in the way of just doing the basics? Is it like this guilt thing that we think we're supposed to be doing something or there's a way that it should be done? [00:42:56] Speaker A: And I think there's drive ourselves toward that. I think that there's still this overhanging mindset, and I'm definitely guilty of it, that, like, we still have to hack Google, we still have to play tricks in order to convince Google of this or that. And same thing with how we treat customers, frankly, we have to convince them to opt into some email address so that we can send them a five day sequence and then convince them to come on a webinar and then jump through these hoops and then get to our product. Most people just want to find your website and buy the thing. Just let them do that, you know? And frankly, that just feels better to do anyway. [00:43:37] Speaker B: But isn't it? It's funny. Let me take a step back. One form of content that really bothers me is this like the immaculate breakdown of everything that went right. You're like, we're gonna talk to the head of growth at Uber, and they're going to tell us how they took over the country, city by city. [00:44:00] Speaker A: Yeah, that's always, like, the highlight reel, and they're leaving out everything. [00:44:04] Speaker B: Right. And oftentimes there's this great content and they're, you know, they do cool stuff and there's clever stuff, but. But I think that is part of what convinced us that you have to do a lot of stuff, but the stories that we end up liking the most are the ones with that are. It's the most straightforward version of success. Like, I did this and then I did this more, you know, and it kind of. It's almost like this base camp, like, all the way down to the fundamentals thing. And those are the stories we end up admiring the most, you know? [00:44:33] Speaker A: And, yeah, I also hear all these stories of, like, how'd you grow your SaaS? And the answer that I see time and time again in these interviews is like, you know, customers just kept asking for these features, and we built those features, and then we grew and, you know, you want to hate that answer because it's like, there has to be more to it. You have to be doing some sort of marketing or have some distribution advantage. And maybe. I'm sure there is some of that right? But at the end of the day, like, even if you're a good marketer, your customers are not going to stick around if you're not, if you're not solving the problem the right way. You know, like I, what I mean is like, as much as I hate reading those interviews and those answers, I believe them. Like, I believe that, like, actually once they built X, Y and Z features, they had some baseline of organic users coming through and I'm sure they optimized certain things in the funnel. But at the end of the day, the reason why customers stay and don't cancel is because they built the things that they all want. [00:45:40] Speaker B: Yeah, you just solved the problem. Yep, I like that. And I'm thinking a lot about pricing. I don't know what you've been thinking lately in terms of like how you want to go out building the actual business model. Like the money making function of whatever you build. It is a problem. When I move out of the conceptual and I put it into a calculator, it is a low pricing is a problem. When you stare at the numbers, you're like, I need 5000 customers or I need 500 customers. Which was more likely, which sounds like more enjoyable business to run. What sounds like more doable. Where are you going to spend more time and energy on the right things? And it is really, really tough to go into anything with the low price. Sounds awful. Yeah, but I keep doing this, I keep doing this thing in my head where I'm like, well, conceptually I think the right thing to do strategically in the market is lower price, self serve, low friction, because we need this thing to spread as quickly as possible before it gets launched as a feature in these other platforms. Cool. Theoretically. Very cool. Then I do the math and I'm like, yeah, but if I charge 250 or $500 a month on average, we'll have just a lot fewer people to deal with. We won't spread like wildfire and take over the market. But it sounds like a much better business to run. [00:47:02] Speaker A: I think this for you, this comes back to what we were talking about a few weeks ago. It's like, why is the high volume self serve so valuable? It can be, you can do a little bit of touch and charge more and make it easy, right? Quote unquote easy. But there's always the charge more option. [00:47:27] Speaker B: Yeah. You know, I guess maybe this is part of the like, response I'm having from the previous experience with checkout. [00:47:39] Speaker A: Right, right. [00:47:40] Speaker B: There's, there's, there's a lot of that at play here. There's a lot of whatever we did there. I want to try doing different. [00:47:48] Speaker A: Yeah. And pricing is so hard to. When I'm looking at new product ideas, I do look for ones now. Like the one I was looking at last week. I like what I liked about it was that there's probably a low priced SaaS thing there, but I also saw opportunity for services that we can charge thousands for attached to this, a tech enabled service type of model. That seemed interesting to me. Again, I've cooled off on that whole concept. But in clarity flow, I think we successfully changed our pricing because back when we were doing zip message, we were free and then 19 and $39. So, like ARPU of somewhere around 26, 30. And now we're priced as of today, like 49, 99, 199. So our ARPU is much higher. Most people where I sort of struggled now, I sort of like where the general ARPU is now compared to where we were. Okay. But I still don't have a good solution for how to get them into the very highest tier. We have a very small percentage of people on the highest tier, and I haven't yet found the solution for, like, what's the most compelling thing to put into the highest tier. That is like, that solves an expensive enough problem for, like. And there might be some sort of ceiling with this market with coaches that, like, our middle tier is just generally where they're going to be. But that's something that I. It's not necessarily a problem that I'm working on right now, but it's something that I'm thinking about long term. We're going to have to figure out how to increase it even more. [00:49:42] Speaker B: Yeah. I'm going to try to decrease friction and see how it goes. Right. Instead of. Instead of figuring out that very highest tier, I want to challenge us to see if we can build effectively a self serve version of this product. You know what I said last week about having the right dream around that Jenny AI. [00:50:04] Speaker A: That was, by the way, I read that tweet that you talked about last week. What a. I mean, there are some. Some tweets out there. This is one of the most epic, like, long form tweets I've seen in a while. [00:50:17] Speaker B: Yeah. Because it's detailed but not too much detail, but not fuzzy on anything. [00:50:22] Speaker A: No, it was straightforward. Like it was. [00:50:23] Speaker B: I do appreciate it. [00:50:25] Speaker A: Yeah. Like, really, like, insightful approaches to some of this stuff that I haven't seen. Influencer marketing and. Yeah, like spinning up multiple social media. [00:50:36] Speaker B: Accounts and reusing the same video, but with the different 30 seconds at the beginning. [00:50:41] Speaker A: Right. Yeah. [00:50:42] Speaker B: And then once something works, making copies of that same thing. I agree. And I. One of the things I came away with is I loved getting the appreciation for the fact that their success is not an accident, that you got to respect it. It's not like, oh, they got lucky. No, man, not lucky. Really smart and hardworking, and that's beautiful for sure. So that look, that is a certain type of product, and you can see how you can get scale in terms of being able to manage support for 100,000 users. But. But I like that. I like thinking that way in that challenge. Right. It's. This is not a consumer product for freemium and $20 a month, what we're doing. It's not that, but I want to see how close to that is is correct. [00:51:30] Speaker A: Yeah. Yeah. It's still. It's it, to me, it's. It's hard, theoretically, to, like, start with that, to say, this is a totally new idea in a totally new space for me. How do I go high volume early on? It seems like something to build up to. I like what you said earlier, the progression of, we start with more of a higher touch. We get the basics right and then we kind of make our way down to the higher volume. [00:52:01] Speaker B: I think that's going to be a really big challenge because the. The instinct is to build out features for the higher end of the market, and then the challenge is to take that and what we've learned and what's valuable and then almost like, eliminate the unnecessary parts before we go further down market. It's not the same product with a different onboarding is kind of the mindset I have going in. It's not build out the features, get everything right, identify the actual needs compared to the wants from the customer that's paying $250 a month and then better onboarding and go toward the lower end of the market. It's not that. Right. This is, this was part of the conversation that I had with the product manager with Jordan. And the challenge there is going to be don't offer the same product. It's make it much simpler. [00:52:58] Speaker A: Yeah. Make them much more like bare bones. Just like dead simple. [00:53:03] Speaker B: Yes. And that is taking the work that you've done that you know is valuable and removing it and that, I think, is going to be really, really difficult to stay with that. And I hope we are successful. [00:53:15] Speaker A: Yeah. And you're also operating in, like, a cutting edge, like, with AI and, like, technology things. So, like, at first, it's. It's just going to be a little bit more complex by its nature, and then it's going to be like a chipping away at the complexity, making, making the simpler and more accessible and easier for lower tech savvy people to do themselves. [00:53:33] Speaker B: You know, that's the whole ballgame, is how. How much can you translate the technology and strip away complexity to hand it over to people who don't care about the complexity, they just want the solution. [00:53:46] Speaker A: Yep. [00:53:46] Speaker B: Yeah. So we'll see. It's going to be. Gonna be a fun, fun few months. [00:53:49] Speaker A: After launching, for sure, man. [00:53:51] Speaker B: And normally I would say by the time this gets published, the website will be up, but that's not true because this is gonna be published in ten minutes. [00:53:57] Speaker A: About 15 minutes. Yep, yep. [00:54:00] Speaker B: So I'm aiming at like Tuesday, Wednesday. [00:54:01] Speaker A: Of next year site today, though. It looked pretty good to me. A couple of placeholder images, swap those out, and then you're good to go. [00:54:07] Speaker B: It's close. It's getting close. It's getting close. [00:54:09] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:54:10] Speaker B: Cool. I definitely stole a lot from the clarity Flow website, which is great. And I can just talk about that very openly and I can ping you and I say, is this different enough? [00:54:18] Speaker A: Rom? [00:54:18] Speaker B: Sorry. [00:54:18] Speaker A: No, it looks good. Looks good. [00:54:21] Speaker B: Look, I looked at a lot of different sites and clarity flow. We didn't want this super techie, impressive site. [00:54:28] Speaker A: I don't think it even ends up looking like clarity flow much, but we. [00:54:32] Speaker B: Still borrowed a lot from it because we, given the audience. You don't want super fancy linear type design. You don't. [00:54:41] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:54:42] Speaker B: But you do want dark mode. Yes. But you want it to be impressive. And I think clarity Flow has this very nice spot that it sits in where it's very clear and it's still very good looking, but it doesn't go over the top on trying to be fancy. [00:54:56] Speaker A: I mean, our boy Mike McAllister did a fantastic job on the look and feel and the brand for clarity flow. He's awesome. Cool. Really credit, especially early on in that process when he suggested the color palette and everything, and it wasn't one that I would have come up with myself. And I loved it right out of the gate. Cool. [00:55:18] Speaker B: Yeah, I follow him. I befriended him after you introduced me, and now I follow him on Twitter. He's doing some cool stuff. [00:55:24] Speaker A: Yeah, yeah, for sure. He's big in the WordPress space, and he's doing a new thing called Ali, which is just really cool. It's like a new take on a builder in WordPress. [00:55:33] Speaker B: Cool. All right, folks, long time. [00:55:37] Speaker A: Enjoy the weekend. Well, it's a long weekend for my girls. I'm sure I'll be working on Monday, but you know how it is. [00:55:43] Speaker B: Yeah, but still, long weekend. It's good. Remember, no one cares what the national court of justice says. Go, Israel. [00:55:51] Speaker A: See ya. There you go. Later, folks.

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