Open Threads

Brian Casel

Brian Casel (@casjam) hosts conversations with founder friends. We talk about startups, products, software, entrepreneurship, but also what's happening in our lives away from our screens and revenue graphs.

Marketing: More Questions Than Answers with Tyler King (LessAnnoyingCRM)
5d ago
Marketing: More Questions Than Answers with Tyler King (LessAnnoyingCRM)
“It's exactly the problem you just said, it's like, we put effort into it. We tried to make it good, but we were doing what we wanted. We haven't given anyone anything they wanted" - Tyler KingWatch this episode on YouTubeTyler King:Tyler's company, Less Annoying CRMTyler on Twitter: @TylerMKingBrian Casel:Brian’s company, ZipMessageBrian on Twitter: @casjamThanks to ZipMessageZipMessage (today’s sponsor) is the video messaging tool that replaces live calls with asynchronous conversations.  Use it free or tune into the episode for an exclusive coupon for Open Threads listeners.Quotes from this episode:Quote 01:Brian Casel: When it comes to hiring people to work on marketing stuff. What's been your approach to that? Like, are were you or are you ever like like you're going to be hands-on in it or I'm going to hire like a head of marketing to figure it out and run with it or outsource to an agency. What are your thoughts on this?Tyler King: That kind of. Yeah, I'm happy to share. But let me preface this by saying, like, I'm this is my greatest weakness or like the thing that we've probably done worse the like just a terrible job in the early days. Like, For I did most of the marketing for a long time myself. My brother, who's the other co-founder, did some as well. We kind of like. So one of my weaknesses is outsourcing. I'm just like terrible at quick transactional relationships. So I've basically never effectively hired anyone that's not a full-time employee, which is I think, the opposite of most people in our space. The good side of this is like I think we've got a really good culture and all this, but the bad side is like it's not. I've never been in a situation where it's like, Oh, we need some quick copywriting. Let me pay someone for $20 to do some copyright I just would do it myself and I'm okay at it. But I'm not an expert on any of this stuff. We didn't have a real marketing person until two years ago.Brian Casel: So like, no, the person who was working on any sort of marketing.Tyler King: I mean, me, me. And then so our customer, the biggest team of the company is CRM coaches. Which is basically customer service. They get 20% time, so one day a week they can do other stuff. So we've had a lot of CRM coaches like enjoying writing is a common characteristic of people who like customer service. So a lot of them have chosen to write help articles, write blog posts, to create content like that, but not necessarily.Brian Casel: that model of content marketing essentially. Right. Like having your, your, your subject matter experts, you know?Tyler King: Yeah.Brian Casel: Some kind of.Tyler King: The problem is we're not subject matter experts like, you know, close the CRM where that's "stellies". Yeah. So "stellies" is like this Uber sales guy, right? He knows everything about sales. And that's why CRM"s are consumed by salespeople. I look at his content, and I'm like, wow, I wish anyone at LessAnnoyingCRM had that kind of understanding of how like we have no salespeople, none of us have ever done sales before. We're selling to salespeople. We're experts on how to build software and how to provide customer service, which is not what our customers want to know.Brian Casel: Hmm.Tyler King: So I agree with you. That would be a great model, but this is one of our great struggles, is the thing like we can write interesting content, but it is interesting to people who would never use LessAnnoyingCRM.Quote 02:Tyler King: I feel like most marketing attempts in my experience have failed, like, at the end of the day, you could look back on it and it's exactly the problem you just said. It's like we put effort into it. We try to make it good, but we were doing what we wanted. We weren't giving anyone anything they wanted.And it really sucks when you have to market your marketing, like you make an e-book and then you're like, Okay, now I have to okay. How does anyone hear about this e-book? And it's like, if they're not already looking for it, like, this is just in Jackson Hole thing about like writing an existing wave, right? You're putting something out there even if it's good.But if nobody wants it now, you've got a second marketing challenge of getting people to the top of your main marketing funnel.Quote 03:Brian Casel: You're over ten years in now in this business.  Tyler King: Mm hmm. Mm-hmm.  Brian Casel: We talked about how you have the "LessAnnoyingCRM" brands. Well, like, have you thought about just firing up a new product?Tyler King: Yes, we have had a few misadventures in this in the past.Brian Casel: Like, less annoying invoicing and less annoying Yeah.Tyler King: So our name as a company is actually "LessAnnoying Software LLC" because this has been kind of the idea. Like, no one grows up and dreams of starting a CRM company. Like, it's a pretty boring thing to make. But the idea was like, let's, like, what is the core thing that everything else would build off of? And so, yeah, that has been the plan. And we've every once in a while, we start going down that path. And then coincidentally, the main business, like, starts doing better And we're like, it's hard to justify putting resources into this side thing when, you know, you could put the same resources into like you've just got a lot more leverage focusing, I think. But I'm conflicted about that.Brian Casel: One argument to make for it, I think, is that you already have a huge customer base and an even larger audience like an email list. Right. Or at least people who have tried it in the past maybe didn't fully convert. But then you still have all these paying customers. Right. So you instantly have an audience to, you know, like like whatever new product you launch, as long as it's in the same set of needs, you know, you can instantly launch two over 10k MMR, right?Tyler King: Like yeah, I think you're absolute.Brian Casel: Right of launching it, you know, and that like you're at a huge head start against every other new SaaS startup, you know.Tyler King: Yeah. So how do you decide whether to build it as a new product versus build it into the existing one? Is one question. I've struggled with What you're saying makes absolute sense from like our revenue. Like, if we build it into our existing product and it's like providing value to people and it gets a lot of usages, but you don't make any money off of it.Brian Casel: Yeah, sort of depends on what kind of product it is, I would think. Yeah, the breakdown there would be it goes in and we're about to build a bunch of new features, which maybe should be their own product, but I don't, I don't know it, but the breakdown I would think is like if it's still in CRM land, but just bigger, more powerful CRM land or maybe like a super automated CRM, like that, 's like a new, more expensive plan on the existing product. But if it's an adjacent product, that some customers might find valuable and useful and other customers might not be interested at all, you know, then spin off a separate product. But I really do think that, like, you also have the branding advantage to like, you know, you could literally call your line of products like less annoying this, less annoying that, you know.Tyler King: Yeah, I think it's a good idea.
Let’s find Kalen Jordan’s next business idea
Sep 12 2022
Let’s find Kalen Jordan’s next business idea
“If you made somebody laugh, then you have a spark of what it takes and you just have to work at it.” - Kalen JordanWatch this episode on YouTubeKalen Jordan:Kalen's company, Commercehero.ioKalen on Twitter: @kalenjordanBrian Casel:Brian’s company, ZipMessageBrian on Twitter: @casjamThanks to ZipMessageZipMessage (today’s sponsor) is the video messaging tool that replaces live calls with asynchronous conversations.  Use it free or tune into the episode for an exclusive coupon for Open Threads listeners.Quotes from this episode:Quote 01:Brian Casel: I'm really curious about this concept of moving from one business that you spend multiple years on to the next, right? Like Is there any set of criteria or big concepts like, oh, like it's got to check these boxes, whatever the idea ends up being like, it's got to be this and it definitely can't be that like?  Kalen Jordan: Yeah, that's, that's a great question. So I'm sick of recruiting, even though I felt like I did it in a way that I was happy with the way I did it. I just I'm just tired of it. Like it's tired of it. Also, the building model for Commerce Hero, I think, was kind of innovative for a recruiting thing, which was monthly. So you pay 12% on a monthly basis for up to 12 months.Most of them just charge you upfront for like the whole year of salary or whatever. And so but it would end after 12 months. So after 12 months, they're there, they're done. And if they hire somebody else, then, you know, they pay But I wanted something that is recurring. I was one of the criteria.I wanted them, the payments to not end And beyond that, I think really beyond that, like, I feel like I've been in like a slow-moving mid-life crisis for like five years or so. And I've just been trying to figure out what I really want to do, what I'm excited about. I, you know. And so basically the criteria is like, what's something I'm interested in?What's something I'm really excited about? And it's it can be challenging when your interests can change from day to day, month to month, whatever but I think I have a tendency to take an idea and run with it. And then, you know, a year later, you go, do I even want to be doing this? But you got to keep doing it kind of a thing.Quote 02:Brian Casel: A big value to a company with their people. Are there network effects? Right. Especially people in like sales and biz dev and things like that like how much can they leverage their network to bring opportunities to the business? And yeah, a company buying this for their employees is almost like buying a network for that. Yeah.A company makes its employees more networked.Kalen Jordan: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Community. Yeah. It's a similar, I think, value prop to when you send an employee to a conference, they're going to learn, they're going to you, they're going to learn from the top from formal talks. They're going to learn from networking with people. They're going to be pumped that you sent them to a conference. So it's a kind of a, you know, a simplified version of that.Quote 03:Brian Casel: And I've heard that before from other communities like they were just active in the community and then they became a moderator and then. Kalen Jordan: Right. Right. I think that I think could be part of it. Although I've kind of embraced the idea. I'm just going to work solo. I get weird about equity. I get weird about partnership percentages.But the thing that I'm excited about is not having a product that I have to build. It's just slack and so then it's really all going to be about the network, the people vetting the people, and this, you know, selling it right Like doing the outreach around it. And as I think about that, I go, you know, maybe that's more my sweet spot is like not trying to build the product itself.Brian Casel: Yeah.
Twitter in 2022 with Dan Rowden (@dr)
Sep 5 2022
Twitter in 2022 with Dan Rowden (@dr)
“If you share stuff, show your learnings or just kind of be softer with the approach of what you write about on Twitter, you can grow a big audience and get people engaged.” - Dan RowdenWatch this episode on YouTubeDan RowdenDan's company, ilo.soDan on Twitter: @drBrian Casel:Brian’s company, ZipMessageBrian on Twitter: @casjamThanks to ZipMessageZipMessage (today’s sponsor) is the video messaging tool that replaces live calls with asynchronous conversations.  Use it free or tune into the episode for an exclusive coupon for Open Threads listeners.Quotes from this episode:Quote 01:Brian Casel: There are so many times where I feel like I'm painfully addicted to the Twitter feed. And I want to take a break and then don't - for whatever reasons.Dan Rowden: Yeah.Brian Casel: I want to ask about the growth in the following. I think it sounds like you would agree that, like, you know, the tactics and you know what really starts to annoy me today are all the growth hacks and tactics that we see on the Twitter feed. And this was not there in the earlier years. of Twitter, but it's definitely something that's come about in the last year or two years where it's like threads are very formulaic and basically like list posts.But in Twitter, you know, tweet form. And there's also a lot more negativity, but people still are able to grow. High-quality followers and audience count by being authentic, constructive, being positive. Can you talk a bit about that? Like, what do you think actually worked really well for you? Because that's what I see from you in following you on Twitter. And you are one of these people who've been able to grow a really large audience while keeping it kind of quality and positive. So, like, what do you think sort of clicked for you in terms of audience growth?Dan Rowden: Yes. I didn't have a goal to grow the audience this big. So it's kind of a bit of a shock to me that it's got this large and yeah, I didn't have any tricks or like I wasn't planning to do anything. I was just sharing what I was building and interacting with people, doing the same thing, basically. And this just kind of snowballed. Once I hit 10,000 followers, it the rate of new followers is kind of very steady and constant. It seems to be there's a certain point in most accounts that once you hit a certain level maybe you're shown to more users or you get like, I don't know like pushed by Twitter in front of more people because I can get 60 followers on a day that I don't even tweet.Like, where do those people come from? Like, what are they seeing that makes them follow me? Yeah. Like, tactics-wise, I think today you could summarize like growth on Twitter just to write more threads. Like if you write more threads, you'll get more followers, which is a bit cynical and a bit kind of depressing, but that seems to be if you had to do one growth hack, that's the one to do.And Threads isn't something that I've personally done or, or like aimed to do. I'm more about sharing my work and all the cool things I've seen on the Internet.Quote 02:Brian Casel: I still want to try to understand that the growth that you've had, I mean, can you point to any points in the from like 2020, 2021, where there are sort of events or spikes or milestones that seem to like accelerate.Dan Rowden: Yeah. So in like April-May time in 2020 was when I launched Cove. And then I launched Gloat and then I launched a theme business. And then by the end of July, I was launching "ILO"(ilo.so) So like there was a very condensed path for a few months.Brian Casel: Launching a lot of products.Dan Rowden: Yeah.Brian Casel: That's like a lot of activity.Dan Rowden: Yes. When I came to launch, I'd already amassed maybe a thousand extra followers and they were like highly engaged in the tech, in the stuff that I'd been building. So then I launched "ILO," and I think I got a lot of traction. And then that kind of kick-started a bit, and then I hit 10,000 followers, I think maybe in January.So all that time I was still building and sharing and people were finding me. And then I had a viral tweet, I think in March 2021. And I think it's still my like best ever tweet for impressions, which is it was just saying that my side project revenue is higher than my salary, basically. And for some reason that took off and got huge reception and that kick-started then from then it's been very steady and like the new followers that come every day is like incredibly steady.If you look at my charts. And then in the summer, I quit my job. So that was another kind of moment where I got a lot of retweets and a lot of impressions on my tweets announcing I was leaving my job for my side projects and kind of making that transition. But other than that, I don't think there's been like three kinds of major things I remember.And yeah, the rest of it is just showing up every day and just sharing while I'm working on commenting on other things.Quote 03:Brian Casel: Another thing that's been on my mind, like an open question, is whether or not to use scheduling tools on Twitter. And I used to and then I stopped three years ago because like you, I like to just do it live when I'm actually active. And a lot of times I just I really care about the tweet that I push out has to reflect my current mood like or like I have to be ready to either field replies or be able to, like, back up this stance that I'm tweeting about whatever it might be.And I remember in the past, I would schedule things in advance maybe five, six, or seven days before it actually goes out. And I'm in a totally different state of mind by the And that. And then, you know, there's also like the risk of like, I don't know, some big world event happening. And then you have a scheduled tweet, right?Dan Rowden: Yeah.Brian Casel: Maybe not the right tone moment. Right. But like, at the same time, like now I'm questioning that again because I'm so busy doing work every day. I check Twitter a lot throughout the day, but I don't have as much creative energy to really think about ideas that I think are worth tweeting about. I'd rather spend that time working on my product, so it would be nice to like batch and spend a few hours on mundane lineups and tweets for the week or something like that. But I'm kind of on the fence about that. I don't know.Dan Rowden: Yeah, well, I can say from my experience, it's just that when. Yeah. I mean, I have the same thing when you schedule things, you're likely to kind of mess up at some point because you're not in control of it. Like it. It was past me. Who posted that today? Like, Today's Me might not want that to go out And yeah, I think it's a good idea to sit down and write tweets.And it's a good idea to like it throughout the week, if you have an idea for a tweet, capture it and maybe not post it straight away, but just capture it. And then eventually you'll grow a list of like drafts, right? You can maybe rewrite a draft a few times before you post it. Or maybe you can expand one draft into three or four different tweets.That's the way I typically do.Brian Casel: I like that.Dan Rowden: I have found that it works best for me sometimes I write a tweet and I'll just send it straight away. But yeah, like I like sitting on tweets as well, especially if it's like one of those like thought tweets or kind of not necessarily what I'm doing, but like how I've realized something I'll capture like the first way that I thought about it.But then maybe in two days' time, I'll be like, Oh, and then I have a slightly different way of thinking about it, and I'll rewrite the tweet. Maybe it expands it to more than one, but I think saving drafts a lot and then just manually posting them is maybe the best combination of kind of storing ideas as well as being like in control of the posting.And that's how I've built the right to tool entirely. It kind of matches that workflow is very quick to capture things and it stores them all. And then you can kind of expand it later.
The business of community with Matt Gartland, CEO of SPI with Pat Flynn
Aug 29 2022
The business of community with Matt Gartland, CEO of SPI with Pat Flynn
“If you're not innovating, not keeping the quality higher, not doing something different and if get complacent or if you let your bar drop on quality then you've probably put yourself at more of a risk to get unsubscribed.” -  Matt GartlandWatch this episode on YouTube Matt Gartland:Matt's Company, Flynndustries, LLCMatt on Twitter: @MattGartlandBrian Casel:Brian’s company, ZipMessageBrian on Twitter: @casjamThanks to ZipMessageZipMessage (today’s sponsor) is the video messaging tool that replaces live calls with asynchronous conversations.  Use it free or tune into the episode for an exclusive coupon for Open Threads listeners.Quotes from this episode:Quote 01:Matt Gartland: Oh the SPI, again back in its heyday or its starting point. It was so much of it was SEO base, it's an organic search was like putting out great content, having really in-depth articles, which we still put out good articles. But to play the SEO game now in 202 is a very different thing than it was back in 2010. So that form of like if you want to talk like sort of an MBA language, right, like that, that competitive advantage is not as strong as it used to be because there are how many tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of millions of new bloggers, writers, brands online. So you know, continuing to rank in the way that you used to rank and continue to use that as your primary strategy to get traffic to then get passive income through affiliate sales like it's there. Those methods can still work but are that the game we want to be playing and how, how effective is that going forward? You know, these are the big business questions that we've been wrestling with for a while.Brian Casel: Totally. And it seems like it's like you say look like SEO is increasingly competitive and difficult to rank because there's just so much content out there now. But I think it's also more competition for attention and like. Yeah. And like stickiness. If somebody Googles for something and they land on a website like, yeah, they might get their answer. They might get the answer to that question right now, but are they necessarily going to come back again and again? And I think it's interesting with podcasting, I've always felt like podcasts are difficult to win over a first-time listener. But once you've won them over their loyal right, like there must be how many hundreds of thousands or millions of listeners to Patt who tune into every episode right You know, that just must be a more powerful thing over time.Would you like to have that?Matt Gartland: I think so. Now I have a strong bias toward podcasts. I love them. So just being like the consumer, that's one of my favorite mediums for sure. As I know you are too, right? It does seem to have a better retention factor so that you can think about things like software in our community, which maybe would come back around to, you know, it's a concept around community building, but you know, churn matters. So you want retention. You want to keep your churn as low as possible. And I do believe I don't have the best data set to point to validate it but to win someone over through an audio medium. In podcasting, you have a much better chance to retain that person or the lifetime value like the LTV of that audience. Member listening to you through a podcast is going to be much better than just someone that's like reading your blog.Quote 02:Matt Gartland: You hit on one of the bigger themes? You know, in effect, I think a lot of us that are entrepreneurs and I'm guessing probably most folks listening is, is that retention factor issue, you know? And it plays across mediums, podcasting, email, and newsletters. People just have less time. It feels like the world is just more fragmented than ever.Matt Gartland: I'm not like the genius that had that inside. There's more and more conversation about that, even national press and really smart publications. So why and even I as a consumer also like, yeah, I love podcasting, but I don't listen to 30(minutes). I think I actively listen to probably less than five. Right. Yeah, exactly. So that's why I think it's so difficult to even for podcast junkies, like, like myself to write, like there are only a handful of shows that I listen to, like almost every episode.Brian Casel: And, and when I think of like the act of tuning in versus the act of reading an article or reading an email, an article or an email or a quick Google search is, is quick I mean, the middle of the day, I'm trying to get through something. It's but a podcast. I'm going to put it on and go walk the dog or go for a drive. Right. Like I'm it's much more like I'm much more consumed in listening to and then, you know, as a podcaster, I meet people all the time who listen to, who've listened to my shows for years, and I'm meeting them for the first time. And it's like, you know, I, I know so much about you. Like, I know your whole story and like, I'm just meeting them for the first time, and it's always an awkward one-way thing, but yeah.Matt Gartland: So, like, it's, of course, function and quality, at least as I see it. So look, if, if people are more discerning about what email newsletters they're saying, subscribe to you and what podcasts, they're also saying Subscribe to you. Like, if you're not innovating if you're not keeping the quality high, if not doing something different, not just for the sake of doing something different, but like genuinely trying to listen and kind of keep up with what's interesting in terms of format, in terms of guests, in terms of just talking points, right? If you get complacent or if you let your bar drop on quality or something, right, then you probably put yourself at more of a risk than ever to get unsubscribed form.Quote 03:Matt Gartland: To start from? Maybe. What? What doesn't work out, like, what maybe they shouldn't do is just more content creation. So with community players, these aren't just like, hey, join this and get more content, exclusive content, bonus content. Like, you could see that in there a little bit. But in terms of express demand and I do have data actually to validate this list on our side of the fence.When we launched the first version of our community over two years ago, we surveyed and then new invalid data released my thesis that people wanted connection like networking and shared experiences more than just more content. And I have data sets that prove it. We're continuing to collect that data. So then the job description at least. So I have a director and then I have two community managers that are a little three-person team and the director of something that is developing strategy with me around like what future programming can we do for our members?So programming is maybe the magic word. It's almost like a teacher, like a curriculum design, right? That's not content. It's like an experience. What are you trying to lead them through? What sort of journey are you trying to construct within your safe space that is your community? And then you kind of have to stir the pot or fan the basketball spinning and your fingers kind of pick your metaphor to keep that engagement and those cycles going.So the director or just anyone that can do strategy is kind of working with at least in this case like me. And certainly Pat brings some ideas to the table too, but then really like build out a method and a roadmap of like, okay, these sorts of experiences, these new, these new experiences we just tested a new experience using a new piece of software called Butter, Butter.us it's like Zoom, but a lot more fun. And you can do more interactive things like with folks that show up on a live event. So we did, at least for this experience, it was our two-year anniversary with our, with our community, and we had a lot of people show up lives and we had different programming, elements built in.So that's just one quick example. But we bring in knowledge experts, we do challenges, we do like pitch competitions, if you will, you know, with our members, you know, in the entrepreneurial space of our community, we we curate masterminds internally to our community so we don't facilitate them. But we kind of play matchmaker, right? To help, like, oh, this person, you should know this person. So playing that.Brian CaselI used to do that was my way to do that with my productized group, which I no longer run our own, but the. Yeah, like the mastermind matching people love that. It's. Yes, you know, because it actually really is difficult to join a mastermind group if you're not easily networked and you might be able to meet some people, but they're not necessarily going after the same goal as you are. But by joining our community, you all are and then getting matched up, it really helps.Matt Gartland: Yeah.
Transitioning Away From WordPress with Chris Lema
Aug 22 2022
Transitioning Away From WordPress with Chris Lema
“Contrary to Apple's belief that bravery is taking a headphone port away. My belief of bravery, my definition is the ability to leave something that is safe and step into something that is unknown.” - Chris LemaWatch this episode on YouTubeChris Lema:Chris's Website: chrislema.comChris on Twitter: @chrislemaBrian Casel:Brian’s company, ZipMessageBrian on Twitter: @casjamThanks to ZipMessageZipMessage (today’s sponsor) is the video messaging tool that replaces live calls with asynchronous conversations.  Use it free or tune into the episode for an exclusive coupon for Open Threads listeners.Quotes from this episode:Quote 01:Chris Lema: The single most important thing that you need to learn how to do is to make money. You have to figure out, you know if you have nothing if you know how to make money. Craft an e-book, build an online course, create a membership site, seller reports, provide some coaching, and do some consulting, if you know how to make money, then you're never locked into the situation that you're in.Chris Lema: And and you know, contrary to Apple's belief that bravery is taking a headphone port away. My belief in bravery. Right. My definition is the ability to leave something that is safe and step into something that is unknown.Quote 02:Brian Casel: I think it's so interesting like your transitions that I want to talk about your recent one in 2022 but even just going back to those early days you were you were CTO at some other sort like non WordPress, some other software and you actively started blogging and becoming well-known in the WordPress space and it was almost like building the bridge for you to go cross over into the WordPress space.Chris Lema: Yeah, it's.Brian Casel: Like, like 2008 or 09?Chris Lema: It's a desire. Yeah. It's a desire to continually create opportunities. Right. So years and years ago, a long, long time ago, I wrote a patent and the patent I wrote was with one of the top five decision scientists on the planet, Dr. Ralph Keeney, and Ralph was the chair of Decision Science at Duke, which is the Decision Science School.He had been a professor of Decision Science at USC, another well-known school. This guy is the God of Decisions, and he's written several books on decision value-based frameworks and all the stuff in his point. Right, which I internalized and learned was most people are really, really bad at decision-making. And the reason they're bad at decision-making is that they let other people put them in decision moments.Quote 03:Brian Casel: Yeah. I mean, I could see how like when you're at a point where you're feeling kind of burnt out, you've been doing this thing for multiple years and, you know, and it's like a new, totally fresh problems that an opportunity just kind of lands on your lap.Chris Lema: And it's and here's, here's the crazy thing. In the last three in the last three months, I'm involved in buying a company which I've done 40 times already. I'm involved in investing in a company which I've done 30 times already. I'm involved in starting a new startup, which I've done seven times already. And I'm launching a product which I've done probably a hundred plus times already.Right. I literally don't have to prep to walk into any meeting. I walk into the meeting and I'm like, I have a framework for that. I have a strategy for that. I've done that before. Here are the questions I would ask these lawyers how to use this is how we do it. I would do this tranche and then do this flip and then do this convertible note and then do the benefit of having done a whole lot of work for a lot of years is that you know, if you get the opportunity to work in a job where you're like, I've never worked harder, but I've also never it's never been easier because it's leveraging all the things that I've done before.Brian Casel: A lot of business fundamentals just don't really change no matter which space you're in. And you can apply what happened on that deal over here, right? Yeah. Very cool.
Coaching as a Profession with Chris Lema
Aug 15 2022
Coaching as a Profession with Chris Lema
“Selling any kind of knowledge or expertise is completely different than selling a shoe. When you sell a shoe, use a physical object, you're talking about the attributes of the object, is it the right size, the right color? Does it have the right fit, and you're judging the shoe. And even if you don't like this one shoe by Nike, you don't hate Nike, you just don't like this shoe, right? So it is abstracted already. When you sell knowledge and expertise, it feels very, very close to who you are right? And when someone rejects you,  it can feel like they're rejecting you, not your offering.” - Chris LemaWatch this episode on YouTubeChris Lema:Chris's Website: chrislema.comChris on Twitter: @chrislemaBrian Casel:Brian’s company, ZipMessageBrian on Twitter: @casjamThanks to ZipMessageZipMessage (today’s sponsor) is the video messaging tool that replaces live calls with asynchronous conversations.  Use it free or tune into the episode for an exclusive coupon for Open Threads listeners.Quotes from this episode:Quote 01:Chris Lema:Any kind of knowledge or expertise is completely different than selling a shoe when you sell a shoe. You sell a physical object. You're talking about the attributes of the object the right size the right color, and does it have the right fit? And you're judging the shoe. And even if you don't like this one shoe by Nike, you don't hate Nike.You just don't like this shoe, right? So it is abstracted already. When you sell knowledge and expertise it feels very, very close to who you are, right? And when someone rejects you, it can feel like they're rejecting you, not your offering. And that can be painful. It's also difficult to know how you sell, right?How do you close the deal when it's abstract and there's nothing to show? Like you don't have the physical shoe. Right. And my answer to that is forever, right? Has been you needed to use a story or narrative? You need to be able to tell, you know, rapid versions of case studies. Here's what here's where they were and here's what happened at the end you need to be able to tell prediction stories.Here's what you're about to experience, whatever, because that makes you feel like a magician. But the most important part of that is you're not going to close those deals on email. You're not going to close those deals on the phone. You're going to need to get on video because people are buying someone they can trust. They're buying someone that they feel good working with if it's like their movie product is the communication, is the relationship, right?Yep. And they may there be 100 coaches and the bottom line is they got to be comfortable with you, right? They got to feel like I would like you on my team. I want you on my team.Quote 02:Chris Lema: Product strategy isn't just let's go build stuff. It's about what you say yes to and what you say no to. More often than not, saying no is what's really critical because saying no allows you the freedom to have the time to go say yes to something valuable. And then and then you go, Okay, let's go from here. What I will tell you as a coach is right now all of my frameworks. So files are Dropbox links, right? And you can imagine if you're a coach wanting to be able to load up, which makes Zipmessage stickier. If I say, oh, I've loaded all my frameworks in here so that I can share a ZM link, but that also means, oh gosh, I don't want to leave that message because it has all my stuff already preset.Brian: Yeah, right. Chris Lema: And so things that make it stickier, having that file archive that allows me to share in my frameworks easily becomes interesting.Quote 03:Chris Lema: Different clients function differently. Some will come and say, I want to grow in this way or I want to drive this specific change and then we'll go, okay, so let's break out how we do that. And I will tell you, okay, you need to do A before being B, before C and C before D. And so that's what we're going to cover over the three months.Others will come in saying, listen, I've talked to these other people. They say that you're the most indispensable part of their team. I want you on my team. What things can you cover? I rattle off 20 things we can cover. They go, Are these three feel important right now? So we go into those three for a period of time, and then they're like, Hey, let's talk about this other one now, and then let's talk about this other one.And we just keep moving, right? But it's because what I promised them upfront is that they're not going to go through a coaching program. So I am not against other people. There are other people that have very specific models. Right. And that model maybe I have a coaching program at 16 weeks and each week we're going to talk about something.
News diets with Ian Landsman
Aug 8 2022
News diets with Ian Landsman
“There's always magazines or whatever, where people could get stronger opinions. And that's fine. But you could kind of operate off a core set of facts, whereas like, without the core set of facts, it's just a frickin free for all and just like a different set. Like, yes, we might disagree, on certain part on like, whatever tax policy or foreign policy, but like, that's just our, our opinions on that. It's not like life and death, the way that it seems like it is today, anyway.” - Ian LandsmanWatch this episode on YouTubeIan Landsman:Ian's Company: HelpspotIan on Twitter: @ianlandsmanBrian Casel:Brian’s company, ZipMessageBrian on Twitter: @casjamThanks to ZipMessageZipMessage (today’s sponsor) is the video messaging tool that replaces live calls with asynchronous conversations.  Use it free or tune into the episode for an exclusive coupon for Open Threads listeners.Quotes from this episode:Quote 01:Ian Landsman: The main draw is the times. Actually, my wife loves to read the physical paper on the weekends, so we get the Sunday Times Brian Casel: Getting the hands dirty Ian Landsman: She like is in there reading the paper in old school style, but it obviously lets you, like, read online or whatever. Like, I don't ever really go to the home page of NewYorkTimes.com or anything like that or even The Washington Post. I mean, I think the two main ongoing sources would be just Twitter people. I follow. I mean, I follow enough political people and news people. I feel like, yeah, I mean, Twitter is still like the fastest way to get news. Yeah. I feel like there's nothing like Twitter and then I actually really like and this is like, you know, I don't know, but I'm sure people have strong feelings on this possibly. But I really like Google News. Like I actually think Google News does a pretty good job of like so it's like...  Brian Casel: You're in curating different feeds.   Ian Landsman: Yeah. Like if you go to News.Google.com, I think it is like they just curate and, you know, they're tracking your butt all over the place. So like they know what you're eating and everything, but then they're feeding you like I, I think they do a good job of like showing other types of things.Like they're definitely showing you the stuff you know, you're interested in. But I do think you get like here is... often like on a big story, there's like the main one, but then there's like multiple other sub links to different news outlets and things. And then there are topics which I would never have searched out, which it shows like usually farther down.So like I thought about getting it to scroll through.Quote 02:Brian Casel: I'm sure many people on the right or conservative would disagree with this, but I find them to be pretty close to center down the middle. Like just the facts just give me the news, you know? And that's what really turns me off. And that's where I become. Ian Landsman: People don't want that, right? Like the people, these people don't want that.Brian Casel: I mean, yeah, it's true that that that's unfortunate. It's like the reality as I do in terms of reading the New York Times, I spend most of my time there reading opinions Right? Right. But then that's where I feel like I'm missing the real big picture on all the major stuff going on, like other ones that I'm interested in and now are like, I'm reading the morning brew more than I used to the newsletter, which I'm sure just they just curate from all the major news. But like that too, feels like a little bit down the middle Yeah.Ian Landsman: Bloomberg actually really like it.Brian Casel: Bloomberg was the other one that I thought, I don't.Ian Landsman: But that's pretty good. So I want to be a paying.Brian Casel: Member. I'm not a paying member on there. And that's the one that I was looking at actually this week. Like, if I'm going to pick up a new subscription, like Bloomberg might be the one where it's like it sort of gives me like a different balance of what I'm getting from New York Times. You know.Ian Landsman: The Bloomberg newsletter, that's like a morning and evening newsletter. I think we do like is super good, like because it's like just a paragraph on like three paragraphs with like the which ones like the top story, you know, a top story type thing and then other stuff in there and does a really good job too. I really like that a lot.Quote 03:Brian Casel: There are some television shows that I think still do a good job of, just like I do tune in to Real Time with Bill Maher. Like almost if you.Ian Landsman: We're going to say that. Brian Casel: And you know, there's going to be people who are like, oh, I hate that that guy right there or that show or whatever, but I feel like that is one of the few shows where he actively invites opposing opinions to a table to legitimate like debate a topic. You know, I feel like there's just kind of crazy to me how little of that there is on television and podcasts and whatever else.Ian Landsman: That's like they're not going to even have debates at the presidential election time.Brian Casel: Level. That's insane to me, you know, and even like.Ian Landsman: It's we're not having any debates anymore. I just hash it out.Brian Casel: It's it's just insane. Like like just if you believe in an opinion, as everyone obviously does, why don't you go fight it out? You know, and try to win the argument? I don't I don't know why that is not a more popular thing, you know.Ian Landsman: Because it's all about like it's not about like collaborating to the best solution, which ultimately even the debate is sort of theoretically about, right? It's just about like you have your talking points that are known to work and against the targets, your targets, which are you, your constituency. And you don't want anything to risk being off message. Right?Ian Landsman: Your message is obviously Trump had very specific messages, right, about who's bad and what they're doing wrong and all that stuff. And like, what's the point of opening that up and letting even those people hear another perspective like you want to just keep them in the echo chamber?
Media Brand as a Business with Alexis Grant (TheyGotAcquired)
Aug 1 2022
Media Brand as a Business with Alexis Grant (TheyGotAcquired)
“As a product company, it's about how you do it. And if you can do it in a way that elicits trust, it won't matter. They just want good information. People pay less attention to where it comes from, which is probably not a good thing. But they just want good information.” - Alexis GrantWatch this episode on YouTubeAlexis Grant:Alexis's Company, TheygotacquiredAlexis on Twitter: @alexisgrantBrian Casel:Brian’s company, ZipMessageBrian on Twitter: @casjamThanks to ZipMessageZipMessage (today’s sponsor) is the video messaging tool that replaces live calls with asynchronous conversations.  Use it free or tune into the episode for an exclusive coupon for Open Threads listeners.Quotes from this episode:Quote 01:Brian Casel: How do you think about what you're building with a media company? What's it modeled around?Alexis Grant: So for any media company, the value is really in the audience and the people that you're bringing together Which is why? Well, one thing that I think really is really cool about media companies is you can partner with the SaaS or layer that is on top and you have something to sell. And like, it's interesting as you watch people specialize in different types of businesses.Often media operators, especially if it's their first time, won't have a great way to monetize the business. Whereas like if you look at a SaaS operator who's doing it the first time, they might be more technical. They don't have a way to bring the audience to the product. So it's like two sides, very important parts of a business.Brian Casel: You know, it's so funny to hear you describe that. That's literally what interested me in inviting you on this show is exactly that, right? Like as someone who runs a SaaS, I've always really had, I felt like it's an uphill battle to just grow traffic and, and, you know, relevant audience for my product. And then I've been also interested in this idea and we're starting to become like a trend now with like SaaS companies trying to become media companies.Brian Casel: As like a marketing play.Quote 02:Brian Casel: You also talked about how with they got acquired, you're building up a database of information. Like how does that sort of play into it?Alexis Grant: Yeah. So one of the reasons I wanted to build this business is because I haven't monetized the database before and I get to do that now. So I'm excited about learning it. So yeah, long term, our primary mode of monetization is going to be through the database Initially, like we're actually we're getting close to being able to release our first reports.So we're the first slice that we're taking is content companies. Actually, it's going to be something like 20 content companies that have sold in the last couple of years four, six, seven, or eight figures. And we share all the metrics that we have for all those acquisitions as well as the stories behind them. Like we put them into context and write a story about it.So you could buy that slice from us so that that's like the first iteration. And the way I think of that is you know, from a founder perspective or a seller perspective, it's similar to like if you were selling your house, you'd want to be able to look around the neighborhood and see what are the other houses selling for?You want to see those comps. And for much bigger companies, that data is out there. But for smaller companies, like we're the first ones to aggregate it and put it pull it together.Quote 03:Brian Casel: How do you think your audience like it? Are there different personas? Right. Like, so I would imagine you have people who are interested in potentially selling their own business sometime soon. Yeah. Do you get acquirers like people searching to buy a business?Alexis Grant: My goal is to serve both audiences, but we're really just at the moment because I want to be niche-like as we start, and then we can broaden as we gain trust with our audience. So at the moment, we are really focusing on founders or sellers, people who have a business that they want to sell and maybe just growing a business that they want to position it to sell five years from now.That's a big piece of our audience, too. But I'm thinking that we also have a lot of value for the support professionals in this space. So whether it's like a broker or an advisor, especially in our database, I think there's more value there for those types of people.Brian Casel: Yeah. Yeah, for sure. What are some like the quick wins or maybe wins that you've seen so far with what they got acquired? Um, whether it's traffic growth or, you know, first revenue coming through, like, yeah, what do you look for there?Alexis Grant: Well, right after our launch, we got featured in the New York Times, which is a pretty big get really. They dedicated the entire tech column and wrote to what we were building. Wow. From the perspective of like, you know, you hear about all these big acquisitions and you don't hear about the little guys. Who are most it's most of us like most of us actually fall into this category?Alexis Grant: Like most of us aren't building unicorns and don't want to build a unicorn, you know? So shining a spotlight on people who want to build sustainable businesses.  Brian Casel: How did that come about? Alexis Grant: It really came about for me sharing what I was up to, like basically what people call now building in public but ahead of our launch, I was I had a landing page up and I was trying to get set.Like we had about 1000 subscribers when we launched, which was my goal. We just barely got there. And so I was sharing what we were up to in the months leading up to that. And someone wrote about it and then somebody else pass it along to a friend to who you know, who wrote that column. And that's how it came about. So it wasn't me pitching her or anything at that.Brian Casel: That's awesome.
The role of music in our lives with Ben Orenstein
Jul 25 2022
The role of music in our lives with Ben Orenstein
“There are basically two things in my life that have held my interest for longer than anything else. One is music, and the other is programming. And I think they're actually kind of the same in an important way. And the thing that makes them the same is what I think keeps me interested in them, which is that they are both rigorously analytical and creative at the same time.” - Ben OrensteinWatch this episode on YouTubeBen Orenstein:Ben's Company, TupleBen on Twitter: @r00kBrian Casel:Brian’s company, ZipMessageBrian on Twitter: @casjamThanks to ZipMessageZipMessage (today’s sponsor) is the video messaging tool that replaces live calls with asynchronous conversations.  Use it free or tune into the episode for an exclusive coupon for Open Threads listeners.Quotes from this episode:Quote 1:Ben: He raised my mom and her sisters and like a household, there was a lot of singing, singing. It was a big part of them. And also they are there's a big chunk of my mom's family as Welsh and Wales have like a big singing culture to it as well. Hmm. So the end result was I grew up in a household where singing was just a common thing.Brian: Um, so the family is just like breaking out in song.Ben: Just kind of. Yeah, like we were just, yeah, my mom would sing stuff. She would sing songs to me. We would sing songs together. Like, we would sing a cappella Christmas carols at Christmas School. Um, there's like a lot of, a lot of singing going around. Um, and when I was pretty, I was probably like eight maybe. Maybe even younger.Brian: Um, my parents put me on piano lessons, so I was like, getting exposed to piano from a pretty early age, and I studied for that for maybe four or five years.Brian: You know, my mom forced me to, to start with piano lessons, and I, I was, I sort of had a good feel for it, but I also hated going to lessons, and I, and I wasn't really into learning classical stuff, but, like, looking back on it, like, as a foundational instrument, I feel like you can't do better than piano because you're like, literally looking at music theory, like on the keyboard, you know?Ben: Yeah.Brian: And now with my, my daughter is eight years old and she's getting into a piano, and like, I'm teaching her a thing or two on guitar, too, but like it, a lot of that doesn't make sense until you get a feel for a piano. I feel like, you know.Ben: Yeah.Brian: It's a great start.Ben: It's so yeah, it has, like, a nice visual element to it where it's like, you can kind of see the intervals in front of you, and they get wider and smaller and. Yeah, I still sort of thing, like, I think even when I'm a sight reading vocal stuff, I think I'm still kind of translating it to a piano in my head.Brian: Yeah, for sure.Quote 2:Brian: And you know, it's such a weird thing with music, how it runs in the family. Ben: Mm-hmm.  Brian: I mean, it's and it's so crazy, like, literally see it. I mean, my grandfather, you know, was he directed an orchestra, you know, and then and then my... mom and other grandfather played piano a little bit. I had a pretty natural feel for it from the beginning with both piano and guitar.Brian: And then now with my daughter. And she's only learning the very basics of, of like in terms of, like, lessons, but she's in there making up her own songs and just has such a natural ear and feel for it. Like, you could just see it from day one. And it's just incredible to see, you know, it's like literally in the genes, you know, I just like something about it.Ben: Go back and I go back and forth between how much of that is like inherent versus your exposure. Like, if you do think there's a lot to like about growing up in a household where you get piano lessons at a single-digit age. Yeah. And then lo and behold, you're 15. You're like, oh yeah, I have a knack for music.Ben: It's like, well, you know, you invested hundreds of hours before you're even a teenager. Like, I know there is no certainly is. You know, there's some of it, right? Like something if there's a natural ability on there, too.Brian: For sure. And I think the lessons and practicing go along. I also think that just listening like being exposed to hearing lots and lots of music on a daily basis, is yeah, is a huge, huge one. You know.Quote 3:Brian:With my work, I'm always thinking about the future or whatever it might be or worrying about this or that. With that, it's like, I mean, I'm in a zone and I've tuned out and I'm just playing. And just the sheer number of hours of being in that state makes you a better player, you know?Ben:Mhm. Yeah. I think it's, I think to do music well you have to be in the moment. So it is kind of meditative like that or like it has an effect on your brain. Like unless you'd, I'm just like hopelessly distracted by something really significant. If I am performing and singing or something like I am paying attention to what's going on because you have to keep paying attention to what's happening.To do it well at all. I think there's, so there are a few things that I get out of music. What is it that I really enjoy? I enjoy performing. I enjoy putting on a performance. Like, to me, being on stage is really gratifying. Making something impressive or interesting or moving to happen on a stage I find just, like, really enjoyable. I like giving the audience a cool experience that feels really fun to me. I like being proud of the thing I put out there. Um, but there's also this other thing that I've been kind of on for a while. Um, I noticed that there are basically two things in my life that have held my interest for longer than anything else.One is music and the other is programming. Yeah. And I think they're actually kind of the same in an important way. And the thing that makes them the same is that what I think keeps them keeps me interested in them, which is that they are both uh, rigorously analytical and creative at the same time. Brian: Yeah.100%.
Life in America vs. life in the UK with Laura Roeder
Jul 18 2022
Life in America vs. life in the UK with Laura Roeder
“Being able to immigrate to another country ever. It's very hard. And it's very complicated. And, as an American, I think we just often don't have any concept of it.” - Laura Roeder Watch this episode on YouTubeIn this conversation:Laura Roeder:Laura's Company: PaperbellLaura on Twitter: @lkrBrian Casel:Brian’s company, ZipMessageBrian on Twitter: @casjamThanks to ZipMessageZipMessage (today’s sponsor) is the video messaging tool that replaces live calls with asynchronous conversations.  Use it free or tune into the episode for an exclusive coupon for Open Threads listeners.Quotes from this episode:Quote 1:Laura: Yeah. It's like once we got here, we just loved it. You know, sometimes a place clicks and you're like, okay, this is. This is the place for us. I mean, I love not living in America.And, you know, Brighton was just an hour south of London. So you can still go to London for events and theater and stuff like that. But Brighton is pretty small, like when you. What I love is if I meet someone in Brighton, I can walk to their house. It's just like it's dense. It's not that big. It's on the seafront, but it's big enough that there's still tons of, like, shops and restaurants and stuff like that.It's known as a kind of, like, creative place Yeah.Brian: Yeah. Super cool. We did, like, around the country, Airbnb thing. We had our first, uh, our second. We were pregnant, like, on our way back. We were like, All right, now we have No. Two. Looks like took it back to Connecticut, but we were sort of like, toying with the idea of, like, settling somewhere else. Maybe Austin and maybe Colorado.We just came back here because, my parents are here and having, like, the local babysitter is so huge.Laura: Oh, yeah. Yeah. You know what I mean, what once you have kids, you understand why everyone just, like, moves back to their parents?Brian: Yeah, exactly.Quote 2:Brian: I was going to ask about the... This might be super boring but I like the process of moving abroad. I mean, I guess your husband is... is a citizen. Yeah.Laura: Yeah.Brian: And like, getting the visa and everything was like, I probably not. I mean, you don't need a visa.Laura: But. Oh, you are so wrong. It is so hard. So, yeah, I had no idea. I had no idea about this before. A lot of people think that you just, like, marry someone from another country, and then you can just go to their country. That is 0% of how it works. That's not how it works at all. I thought that, too.So one I mean, so you can so if you marry someone from the UK, you can apply to be a British citizen. It's an extremely expensive process. It's an extremely long process. You're not... The way it's designed is actually to have you living in separate countries like we ended up traveling, so we didn't have to do that. But it's like, what?Like, so it's designed that one person has to be there already because the person who's the sponsor has to prove that they can provide an income for the other person, which is also crazy. So like if one of you were a stay-at-home parent, like women often are, right? Like, so if the mom was the British one and you had a baby and the, you know, the guy was the income earner, that wouldn't work, they'd be like, Nope, too bad for you.Like Mom's mum's going to get a job and has to show the W-2 earnings. And that's if you're from like a quote-unquote good country that they like. There are lots of countries, so they're just like, no, we don't like the likes of you. We're not going to let you come or like, God forbid, you have some sort of criminal history.Like if you sold marijuana when you were 20, good luck being able to immigrate to another country ever. It's very hard and it isn't very easy. And yeah, as an American, I think we just often don't have any concept of it.Quote 3:Laura: In America. Schools have started starting really early in the morning. Does your kid's school do that?Brian: They're in kindergarten and then second grade, and they're going to school around the bus, picking them up at like 7:40 a.m.Laura: Yeah, that's so, so 7:40. So, so many kids in America just don't get enough sleep. It's just like literally impossible. The math doesn't work out. I mean, maybe when they're little, they can, but not if they're older and they have to be off the bus, you know, at seven 40. Like, if you get up at seven, it's like a mad dash.Brian: I would imagine it. It's crazy sleeping, though. I mean, they're like sleeping by like 8:30 p.m. So they're getting like 11 almost twice sleep sometimes. But like crazy. I mean, what else about like kids? Well, I guess they're really like growing that have a UK accent. So like they, they, I was going to ask about like being like a foreigner in a country as a, as a child, right?Like I had a friend who had moved to France but like the kids were you know, they grew up part of their lives in America. Anything like that sort of like come into play with was like growing up and.Laura: Well, my kids are not foreigners. I am. Yeah. You know, but they don't really have any kind of identity like that, especially of course with the language being the same. So they're not, of course, having to learn a new language or speak a new language. I did realize the other day that they'll have British accents as adults, which kind of blew my mind like I'm used to it now.Then I was imagining my daughter being like, 25, but I'm like, Oh, she's just going to be like a full-blown English person, which does seem a little bit funny to me. But I mean, the language thing makes it so much easier. It's and this is another thing Americans just don't realize, like, learning another language to the level where you can have friends in that language is literally like a ten-year process.There's a huge difference between being able to go to a shop and having friends that you're like making jokes and cultural references. I mean, even here a lot of things are called different things. And just little things like especially at school, they're like, oh, we're having a tombola, what is a tombola? And then they said, Oh, you bring a bottle.And I was like, Of alcohol, like, I actually I'm still not sure because you bring a bottle of something and it's I think it can be like shower gel or something. And then you like when a bottle. But I'm like, can it be alcohol or is that in poor taste? I don't know. But there's, yeah, there's just a lot of little things like that that like, I'll have to text someone and be like, explain to me how this works.
Where is web3 going? Ian Landsman explains
Jul 11 2022
Where is web3 going? Ian Landsman explains
"Last year is when NFT started taking off and more of that aspect of things, that's the part that actually really drew me in because that to me from a technologist perspective, from a software developer perspective, that is where it connects to our world. And I can see the value in digital ownership and things like that."- Ian Landsman Watch this episode on YouTubeIan Landsman:Ian's Company: HelpspotIan on Twitter: @ianlandsmanBrian Casel:Brian’s company, ZipMessageBrian on Twitter: @casjamThanks to ZipMessageZipMessage (today’s sponsor) is the video messaging tool that replaces live calls with asynchronous conversations.  Use it free or tune into the episode for an exclusive coupon for Open Threads listeners.Quotes from this episode:Quote 1:Brian: I'm still learning and I'm still trying to figure out what I think about all that. I do think that there seems to be an opportunity in what people are calling Web3 and like "tokenization" and...  Ian: Right.  Brian: And and it does like there are like to me, there are like glimpses of, of potential possibilities of what this stuff could mean, like, you know, in terms of like smart contracts and how something can, like, grow in value. I like to think back to like an artist, especially like a musician. But I guess this can go for any kind of art where the original creator can be paid as their art continues to be bought and sold over time, which is like fundamentally not possible with like physical paintings. Right, right, right. That seems interesting.And then I'm then I wonder how that can make you adapt to other use cases.Ian: You know, I sort of see I mean, the three main areas I'm interested in and there are lots of other edge cases and people have all kinds of things they're attempting to do. Right. But the three main ones are I guess you have like the what is the most visible aspect is like the art, right? And you know, you have the one side that loves that.You have other many people who make fun of it like you monkeys and dragons and whatever, right? Like digital art. And you have people who are very mainstream, but he's making still pretty weird art, Elon Musk naked and whatever. All kinds of stuff that he does not.Brian: Even know about. These people are probably the most famous.Ian: Right, right. Yeah. He's done he does one every day. And anyway, so it's like the pure there's the pure art aspect of like artists doing one of art. There are artists doing these collections like bored apes and things like that that people are probably heard of. And yet so what you're referencing there is and when you resell this art, the royalty a percentage of the sale goes just automatically to the.And there are some details around that, whatever. But ultimately a percentage of that goes to the artist. So that's not just like when the artist is dead, maybe it becomes worth something or like whatever. Or they're forced to keep creating stuff because that's the only way to live. Like you could create a couple of things that are huge hits and make a lot of money, you know, ongoing because people are reselling them.Quote 2:Brian: If a software startup is going to become like Web3 enabled or whatever like associated with Web3, it means that they are at some point going to offer a token like from their brand.Ian: Potentially.Brian: And users of their tool. Like the more they use it or the more they help grow the tool and its user base, they gain ownership of this token. And I guess externally the token could be bought and sold just like any other token. A Bitcoin or Etherium or Solana. Mm-hmm. And that's the idea is like you're building it's almost like like the only parallel I can think of is like a publicly-traded company. Right? Like. Right. Like, I use an Apple Computer, but I could also own Apple stock. And but I guess the idea for this...Is that you're it's more intertwined where, like, the more you use it, the more stock you gain in this equity that you gain.Ian: Right, earning it for it. And like, it. Yeah, exactly.Brian: So it's which in turn, like raises the value of that coin or that. Right?Ian: Right. So I think there's this example of like you, you know, the way it works now is you go and get investment from rich people, but you're literally limited to people who make more than $200,000 a year or $3,000 a year. We can invest in private companies essentially as like an angel or things like that or VC. And so you get a handful of those you raise some money, then you start your software business and your customers have nothing to do with any of it.They don't your first customers get none out of it other than being the first customers. Which is great. If they like your product, that's fine. But we all know that the first customers are actually super important. Like they giving you the most important feedback. They're taking the biggest risk because you're probably going to go out of business is the reality.So like they're taking the risk, putting their time and effort into participating in your software product at very early stages. So they're not, you know, compensate for any of this. They can't even buy shares in your company because you are not a publicly-traded company. Yes, with Apple, I could buy shares but I can't buy shares in your early startup.It's literally impossible. Right. And so like against the law, like you can't even offer its not offer-able. So I think that's where it's interesting because, with the coins, you do have this at least potential. I think there are not a lot of places that have realized that potentially it's still super early. But the potential idea of like both raising money for more people and then also rewarding early customers in tokens so that it's almost like growth participation.Brian:Yes, I think it's like a user activation play, marketing play for on the user side and then on the company side, it's like financing.Quote 3:Brian: What about getting back to basics of like you have to solve a problem that people actually care about? How does tokenization even help solve that problem or make it easier or, you know, aside from just giving users equity or giving them more of a stake in the early part of a company by using the product?Is there anything else like functionally that a token could potentially do, you know? Ian: Well, some yeah, there is like and so like in the horse racing game, I'm involved in. The token is going to be like how you buy and sell things in the game. There are two tokens actually, and one of them is the transactional token. So it allows things like super low-cost transactions like there's no 3% stripe involved there. Now all the in-game transactions are basically free, even though there's real money moving back and forth between them. So like that would be like one example of like in the application, there's some benefit. So yeah. Oh, I don't think in this way always has to.To me, like it's still interesting just in the like, is this a way to do equity that's better, which is where what I was saying before like I think you could just as they could just change the laws and make it so I could just issue stock to all my early customers like that could be a thing, right? Like it's not a thing.I can't actually do that. But it could be a thing if we change the laws to make it a thing and then that would be a thing. And I think that would be you know, it's not a path for everybody. Just like this Web3 stuff wouldn't be a path for everybody, but it might be a path for certain kinds of businesses to raise money.
Podcast production workflows with Castos executive producer, Matt Medeiros
Jul 4 2022
Podcast production workflows with Castos executive producer, Matt Medeiros
“Everything can always get better,  and it's everything else you do around the podcast that makes a podcast successful. ”- Matt MedeirosWatch this episode on YouTubeMatt Medeiros:Matt's Company: CastosMatt on Twitter: @mattmedeirosBrian Casel:Brian’s company, ZipMessageBrian on Twitter: @casjamThanks to ZipMessageZipMessage (today’s sponsor) is the video messaging tool that replaces live calls with asynchronous conversations.  Use it for free or tune into the episode for an exclusive coupon for Open Threads listeners.Quotes from this episode:Quote 1:Matt: Where the heck are you going to go with this podcast? You know, a lot of people are just... it's so cliche to talk about goal setting and striving for that goal and having stuff written down. But let me tell you, once you get through the first ten episodes of your podcast, that's where you begin to hate it. So if you have if you don't have a North Star, anymore, that's when it becomes really difficult and that's when you start flip-flopping all over the place.And what I learned early on is trying to marry that goal, especially if you're a busy person, try to marry that goal with a season or a story arc and something that you can just put a little end chapter in. Yeah. Take a pause. Brian: Take a breather.Matt: Take a breather. 100%.Quote 2:Matt: Another key thing to my workflow is the pre-interview. So especially if I don't know the person who I'm talking to, 99.9% of the time, the person who's on my shows I'm reaching out to, very rarely do I ever allow anyone who pitches me because the pitches are all terrible. Yeah. So I'll hit somebody with, Hey, I love to chat with you about this topic I saw you talking about on Twitter.Matt: Is that interesting to you? They say yes or they'd like to learn more No problem. Here's my savvy call. It's just a 15-minute chat, and I'm just going to give you a brief technical overview. This is what it's like to be on a podcast. This is what I need from you. And then give me one or two things that you're amazing at talking about.Quote 3:Matt: This is why I like all the prep work is very smart. Like, if you're looking to really optimize your time, you have to prep first without, you know, going overboard, I guess. But you have to have an idea of who you're talking to. Pre-interview. What's that one thing? So that when you get on that call, you know what you're going to ask.Matt: If it's super open-ended, then that's where it becomes a real challenge to produce a great show. But then sometimes they say something like, Wow, like, where was that? Like, let's explore that. And that's what you would need to pay attention to.
Before being “known on the internet” with Ben Orenstein (Tuple)
Jun 27 2022
Before being “known on the internet” with Ben Orenstein (Tuple)
Ben Orenstein joins me to talk all about before being “known on the internet”"Being next to a person who cares a lot about the craft of programming was really what turns me into a software engineer like someone who can make it a happen for real" -  Ben OrensteinWatch this episode on YouTubeBen Orenstein:Ben's Company, TupleBen on Twitter: @r00kBrian Casel:Brian’s company, ZipMessageBrian on Twitter: @casjamThanks to ZipMessageZipMessage (today’s sponsor) is the video messaging tool that replaces live calls with asynchronous conversations.  Use it for free or tune into the episode for an exclusive coupon for Open Threads listeners.Quotes from this episode:Quote 01:Ben: My dad was also in sales in the high-tech industry. He worked for AMD the chip maker for most of his career. And so that was actually really nice because he was in the tech industry, I got into computers at a young age, like we had a computer at our house before. A lot of people did, I think.And yes, I discovered at a quite early age that I was obsessed with this particular thing and wanted to play with it all the time.Brian: That's cool. Yeah. I mean, my dad wasn't in the tech industry, but he was sort of like, you know, one of the like the early like early adopters of computers getting really excited about it. So, you know, like the old school, like Prodigy Service and.Ben: Oh, yeah, yeah. Prodigy, yeah. Yeah. I forget sometimes that, that was like - really that was lucky. I had a lucky break there was exposed to this thing early on.Quote 02:Ben: College is really fun. I think you should probably go. There are not a lot of times where you're going to get to do what you get to do in college, and it's an amazing life experience, so you should probably do it from that perspective. Try not to go into a ton of debt to do it because it's probably not worth that unless you're in a... I mean, if you're a major in computer science, you can probably pay off your loans to probably be successful there.But I think you should mostly like my opinion of college is like it's mostly a boondoggle financed by your parents slash the government. And so you should like go and have that incredible experience because it is really fun and like living by yourself for the first time, it's great. So I think there's a lot of lessons and like enjoyment to be had there, but if you're not that into that idea and you're just like, I want to know how to like make it make things like I would, I would say like a computer science degree is probably the slowest path to that And like a boot camp is going to be a much betterthe choice for you. Brian: Yeah, for sure. I agree with that.Quote 03:Ben: In terms of like workflows or skill sets that kind of unlocked super powers that lasted the rest of your career like that. Like, for me, that's one of them was like the ability to, figure out how to build something, you know? Hmm. It's hard to break it down I mean, I learned so many. I feel like I basically went from programming because it's like I touched on there really was not that much programming in my computer science degree.There was some, but not a lot Um, I was doing some programming at Meditech, but not like, not any sort of modern programming. And so when I joined this place, it's called Dana-Farber. It's a cancer research institute, but I joined Dana-Farber. I was actually writing Ruby-on-Rails app next to somebody kind of all day long, and we would like like a program like, like, I would plug a keyboard into his computer and we would sit next to each other, and we were like, tackle things together.And he would review all my play requests and gave me a ton of feedback and, um, being right next to a like person that cared a lot about the craft of programming and knew a lot about it was really what actually turned me into. Like a software engineer, like someone who could make something happen for real because there's like, there's, there's like 5000 things around programming that are involved to like, actually like get a product out the door.And so it's not just like, do you understand Ruby syntax? Do you know what the object hierarchy looks like? It's like, yeah, sure. That's part of it. But there's like a million other things along that goes with it. This is around when I started learning them, for example, which became a pretty core part of my toolkit.I'm still a VIM user today, like years later. More than a decade later.Brian: Yeah.
Daddin’ out & taking a hiatus with Joe Howard
Jun 20 2022
Daddin’ out & taking a hiatus with Joe Howard
Joe Howard joins me to talk all about Daddin’ out & taking a hiatus“The reason I like got into startups was like, I wanted control over my own time. I never liked this idea of this job you like work eight hours a day.” -  Joe HowardWatch this episode on YouTubeIn this conversation:Joe Howard:Joe's Company: Driftly AppJoe on Twitter: @JosephHHowardBrian Casel:Brian’s company, ZipMessageBrian on Twitter: @casjamThanks to ZipMessageZipMessage (today’s sponsor) is the video messaging tool that replaces live calls with asynchronous conversations.  Use it for free or tune into the episode for an exclusive coupon for Open Threads listeners.Quotes from this episode:Quote 01:Joe: A lot of people are nervous to travel with a kid that young especially today when he is not vaccinated yet. And, you know, there's still the risk of COVID.Well, what we did was we traveled places and stayed for long periods.Yeah, we weren't on like a flight every week. We weren't going backpacking through Southeast Asia. You know, we're going to places with good health care, with good, you know, Internet access and staying there for enough time to get a home base there so we could get a little help with child care so that we could form our lives in a safe in the safest way as possible. Obviously, like in Mexico, we're flying down to Mexico. So, mask up the distance in the airport trying to go in family bathrooms where there aren't like a million toilets flushing. You know, it's like there are thingsthat you can do to minimize your risk. And then once we got there, honestly, like living our lives as same as we did in D.C.and being as safe as possible.Brian: That's great.Quote 02:Joe: Everyone is going to develop at a different stage, right? Every kid. Yup. At two, he was starting to like chatter, and now he's like, pronounce certain things correctly. Like, like, like a full sentence, like sentences.Brian: I remember there's a phase in the twos where they start to verbalize but there's good like six months there were only the parents can understand what, what they're saying and everyone else thinks.Joe: It's like, yeah, before I was a parent, I was like, that's such bullshit. Like that. You don't know what they're saying. Like, you do. Yeah, come on.Brian: The parents know every word, like, six months before everyone else can hear it.Joe: That's right. Like, all the time you hear these repeated words Yeah. It's funny because my wife and I were both so there are a couple of things, and he says, we're like, What? What are you talking about? Like, what is that?Quote 03:Joe: That idea of like taking six months off was always really appealing to me because like the last generations as they worked for 30 or 40 years and they took retirement at the end. Brian: Yeah, Joe: And people have heard this before. Like, that's just not I'm not into that. Like, I want to enjoy like right now, like, I need, I want to enjoy part of our retirement right now.Joe: Like, why would you why would I wait? Unless I really enjoyed working on what I was doing. Like, I'm like you. I would, I would probably keep working if I was really enjoying it. But and now I've found that in Driftly, right? So, like, now I'm on this path again. I'm like, here we go. I forgot to shower today.I must really be looking, but I'm working on it now, so I totally get that day-to-day. People ask me this all the time because I, like, listen to the starts, the rest of it all the time. It's like most people don't want to like, you know, hang out and just sit on a beach after they're done with, you know, a semi-successful venture.I'm at the beach right now. I've been at the beach for six months, so I do enjoy the beach I don't think there's anything, anything to do with that. But I filled up my day, did a lot of reading, and did a lot of listening to podcasts. I did a lot of cooking. I spent a lot of time not just with my family but like working on my like role in my family.
A marketer in search of a technical co-founder with Corey Haines
Jun 13 2022
A marketer in search of a technical co-founder with Corey Haines
Corey Haines joins me to talk all about a marketer in search of a technical co-founder“You need to have usage before revenue because no one's going to pay for something that isn't actually being used that they are not finding utility out of and in making you.” - Corey HainesWatch this episode on YouTubeIn this conversation:Corey Haines:Corey's company, Swipe FilesCorey on Twitter: @coreyhainescoCorey's personal siteBrian Casel:Brian’s company, ZipMessageBrian on Twitter: @casjamThanks to ZipMessageZipMessage (today’s sponsor) is the video messaging tool that replaces live calls with asynchronous conversations.  Use it for free or tune into the episode for an exclusive coupon for Open Threads listeners.Quotes from this episode:Clip 1Corey:From my perspective as a marketer, I think that the marketing across each one of the products is relatively the same. It's not really like harder or easier for any one of them. I think the product is kind of the crux there. I love the example of Daniel Vassallo on Twitter. He's a really good thinker. And creator and maker.He shares openly. He is like all his revenue from the products that he creates. The vast majority of his income comes from info products ebooks and courses and things like that. And then he does some consulting for Gumroad and like I think actually one of his first projects. But the tiniest amount of revenue, I think only does like $1,000 a month is his sass called Userbase.I think one because it's just inherently harder to find product-market fit with software you can kind of like get lucky and strike gold and like build something that's like very new and needed and just people are clamoring for most of the time. You kind of has to like feel your way around and make a couple of changes and pivots and get up to feature parity in order to start competing with an incumbent or start being attractive for people to you.Brian:It's true. It's so hard because it literally has to be solving a problem that people are ready to buy and get their problem solved. Whereas with a course, I found that like, yes, it really, really benefits a lot of people who buy it and watch every lesson and implement it and use it to grow their business. And that's great.But then there's always other a lot of other buyers, you know, they don't necessarily go through it all. They don't necessarily implement it all, but it's sort of exploratory. Like they'll buy they'll make the purchase just to go down that rabbit hole for a little bit to see what it's like. And maybe they'll learn like, you know what, that's not for me. And in that case, it's still sort of they still got value out of learning that path is not for me. Right.Clip 2Corey:The tension there is that -  what am I working on today? Am I working on a product or am I working on marketing? And I have to do both. You know, and it usually involves. But like I'm either answering emails that are marketing-related or I'm in between GitHub issues. Yeah. And it's I mean, one of the.Brian:One of the best pieces of advice I've seen a lot of actors give to each other is to do a week on week off for a product or marketing is to spend one weekCorey:on the product. When I come to like whatever they are you're moving half as fast. That's true. You are moving definitely half as fast. I do a lot of that too, but it's never that clean. It's never like you know, literally Monday to Friday product time and then next Monday to Friday, it's marketing time. I mean, it's never that clean, you know, because opportunities are going to come into your inbox at any time.And that's when I have to just like flip into marketing mode and go do this podcast, you know.
Competitive product design with Jane Portman (Userlist)
May 16 2022
Competitive product design with Jane Portman (Userlist)
“What matters for people is the brand and the word of mouth. Nobody honestly understands what's inside until they have had a chance to deeply explore the product, which is good, could be a demo, but ideally, like actually using it for one of their projects, that's the only way to really closely know it and understand the benefits.” - Jane PortmanJane Portman emphasizes the importance of designing the core of your product around features such as storing properties and the ability to identify people within a company, within the product, such as Userlist, so that you can follow the data to improve decision-making and messaging. Its email automation tools enable you to track and deliver targeted messages to your customers throughout the marketing process. Tune in to this episode and level-up your marketing through email automation by not only getting more leads but by also engaging with your customers and serving them for longer years!Watch this episode on YouTubeIn this conversation:Jane Portman:Jane's Company: UserlistJane on Twitter: @uibreakfastBrian Casel:Brian’s company, ZipMessageBrian on Twitter: @casjamThanks to ZipMessageZipMessage (today’s sponsor) is the video messaging tool that replaces live calls with asynchronous conversations.  Use it for free or tune into the episode for an exclusive coupon for Open Threads listeners.Quotes:“In this industry can't really go out with a half-baked MVP, people are going to be sending emails to their customers, not behalf it's got to be polished in some way. So it was small, but it was definitely well-shaped like rather polished, and rather nice looking, and rather reliable.”“This makes us different from another email provider, because you can send your messages via email or in-app notification, and you can orchestrate those within campaigns to achieve the result you want.”“We help you mirror your internal data in our tool, meaning we can combine user accounts into company counts and show you a company profile. And you can also store data on the company level instead of having to duplicate it on each individual user. And the reason why it's life-changing is because if you deal with a team account, individual user activity doesn't make any sense.”“People definitely need automation tools, SaaS definitely needs good automation tools. So we never had doubts whether the product is useful. That's helping because like, if you're inventing a new niche or something if you're trying to educate and build awareness, that's a double challenge.”“I'm not saying sales is unethical, but aligned with your nature, what feels right and later, you can improve by hiring people who complement your skills, not expand your skills.”“In terms of automation, in the user list, you can send, you can see when something happens on the company level, and then you decide who's receiving information based on that. This is it's very simple in the UI, but it's very empowering.”
Year 1 of marketing a new SaaS with Joe Howard (Driftly)
May 9 2022
Year 1 of marketing a new SaaS with Joe Howard (Driftly)
“Everybody wants a million customers, right? I'm sure, like, I'd love a million customers, but, but the reality is, when you start, like, how are you gonna get your first 10 customers, it's gonna take a little bit of like, work. And that's just like the reality of it, the end. And the easy way to get your first 10 is to just like personally do is reach out.” Joe HowardYou won't be able to acquire hundreds or even thousands of customers in just a snap. It will take a lot of time, effort, and the right marketing methods to reach out to potential customers.Joe Howard of Driftly App joins us on today's episode. He'll talk about how he's hacking through marketing to get through the first year of a new SaaS.Tune in to this episode and learn more on how you can market a new SaaS and get more potential customers!Watch this episode on YouTubeIn this conversation:Joe Howard:Joe's Company: Driftly AppJoe on Twitter: @JosephHHowardBrian Casel:Brian’s company, ZipMessageBrian on Twitter: @casjamThanks to ZipMessageZipMessage (today’s sponsor) is the video messaging tool that replaces live calls with asynchronous conversations.  Use it for free or tune into the episode for an exclusive coupon for Open Threads listeners.Quotes:“I have my developers who helped push on features. But the thing like, like onboarding, requires some dev work, but like, I'm able to build it. That's sort of like a luxury that I have that a lot of teams don't have, you know, because like a lot of teams need to be pushing on the bigger features. But they don't want to spend their developers' hours on these like onboarding tweaks or this or that. Yeah, so I could work on these like tiny technical marketing stuff.”“The things I'm focused on much more this time is that like, really, really high quality of content, all-encompassing, but also, like, concise, you know, not long for length sake, but just like as comprehensive as possible, but getting directly as possible too.”“Everybody wants a million customers, right? I'm sure, like, I'd love a million customers, but, but the reality is, when you start, like, how are you gonna get your first 10 customers, it's gonna take a little bit of like, work. And that's just like the reality of it, the end. And the easy way to get your first 10 is to just like personally do is reach out.”“If you're not going to create a message, then you're not going to share it with someone and then you're not going to get the value of having your first async conversation.”