Big Break Software Podcast

Geordie Wardman

Welcome to the Big Break Software Podcast, the show where we discuss the ins and outs of building software companies. Listen in as we have conversations with industry leaders, and experts, about what it takes to build a software company.

How Tammy Developed a Security Application that Adults and Teenagers can use to Seek Assistance in an Emergency
16-03-2022
How Tammy Developed a Security Application that Adults and Teenagers can use to Seek Assistance in an Emergency
Tammy Haldeman, CEO of Your Shield, talks about coming up with the idea, developing it, their pricing plan, and why the application is ideal for adults and teenagers. You Shield is a safety application that users install on their phones. Tammy Haldeman, the developer, tells Geordie about it.  What You’ll Learn How Tammy came up with the ideaLessons Tammy learned along the wayChallenges Tammy and her team faced during the development process In This Episode Tammy Haldeman believes the You Shield app can protect users from sexual harassment, sex trafficking, kidnapping, bullying, and domestic violence. After activating it, users need to program a secret word they can remember easily, which comes in handy in an emergency. If you ever experience an attack, your attackers will never know about the app. All you need to pre-program your secret word on the app is shout your preferred term. The app will notify everybody you have programmed, begin tracking your location, and record audio. Tammy gives out an example in the podcast to better understand how the app works. Tammy describes, coming up with the idea as a gift. She narrates how a bullying incident where the victim, a 10-year-old girl, committed suicide affected her. Suddenly the thought of a security application hit her brain. She says aspects of designing and improving her idea kept flooding her mind, and that’s when she decided to actualize it. Investing in application development can be a costly practice. However, Tammy mentions that her heart was ready to go over and above to catch attackers or prevent them from violating other people’s rights. With zero experience in software, Tammy admits that venturing into the industry was intimidating. She struggled with finding the right people to trust with her idea and reputable professionals she could work with. Tammy narrates how she met Geordie, with whom they had an easy conversation. She says Geordie made her comfortable even though she was not conversant with software-related terms. Find out how Tammy and Geordie’s development team collaborated to build the app.  Geordie highlights how they struggled with finding the ideal sequence because they needed to configure the iOS operating system. At some point, they encountered particular regulations that barred changes on iOS. How did Tammy navigate that phase? She remembers one specific week when accessing her account on App Store was impossible for two weeks. However, despite the challenges, Tammy says everything worked satisfactorily because it allowed their developers to focus on the complexities of the application. That phase gave them sufficient time to prepare the app for launch.  Every entrepreneur struggles with the fear of the unknown, and Tammy was not an exception. Sometimes she feared that the app would never go live. However, she was certain she could keep pushing until her dreams actualized. Tammy quickly mentions that developing an application is a long, tedious, and time-consuming process. When it comes to app development, a celebration of the last day never comes because you are always thinking about what to improve to enhance the user experience. What’s more, customers keep demanding new features. Still, Tammy describes two moments when her persistence seemed to be bearing fruits. Listen to the podcast to learn about it. When Tammy started developing the You Shield idea, she had not emphasized sexual harassment. However, her niece was recently harassed sexually at school, which made her regret for not activating her niece’s Shield activated. In today’s world, where insecurity is rising exponentially, every teenager can benefit from using the You Shield app. Do you have privacy concerns regarding this app? Tammy says only app users can playback recordings from their devices. Further, they don’t collect the user’s information. Such data is only necessary for activating the app. She also discussed their payment plans in the podcast. If you are interested in the app, do not miss this podcast section.  This app is meant for both teenagers and adults as well. Tammy says you can never predict when something happens to you and insists that having the app can rescue you from risky situations. One of the most interesting features of this application is that victims can call out for help without their attackers knowing.  If you are an aspiring app developer, Tammy says documenting your dreams about the project is crucial. She says potential app developers should create recordings, draw their plans, and write down their expectations. Collaborating with trustworthy people with whom you can easily communicate is also crucial during the development process.  Your Shield app is only available on iOS, but Tammy says they are working on availing it for Android users soon.  Resources Tammy Haldeman TammyYour Shield AppYour Shield website
How Eric Frankel of AdGreets Navigated Challenges to hit 400,000 MRR and Beyond
09-03-2022
How Eric Frankel of AdGreets Navigated Challenges to hit 400,000 MRR and Beyond
Eric Frankel, CEO, and founder of AdGreets, talks about coming up with his MVP, funding it, and gaining his first customers to find product-market fit. Listen in for the insights. AdGreetz is a leading video personalization technology platform that helps brands build robust customer relationships. It also increases engagement between five and seven times by generating and deploying thousands of smart ads by machine learning and Artificial intelligence in real-time. He talks to Geordie about his journey.  What You’ll Learn Why did Eric choose to work with younger peopleWhat strategy do Eric and his team use to retain clients?Lessons Eric learned during his search for clients In this Episode Traditional advertising involves creating a generic message or ad for everybody even though people are different. Eric and his team are committed to changing that narrative by making hundreds, thousands, and even millions of advertisement versions customized to speak to and meet individual customers’ needs. He says they leverage data to create multiple versions of messages and ads on different advertising platforms across the globe.  Eric’s passion for advertising started when he was President of Warner Brothers. While there, he spent years trying to make the world understand that television did not have to be about appointments. He believed that the on-demand approach was the idea of the future. Listen to the podcast for more details about Eric’s idea. Unfortunately, some people dismissed it as the worst in the industry, but still, he did not give up. With time, people started embracing his idea. Eric decided to transform the 100 billion dollar worth of advertising business and left Warner at some point. He collaborated with a group of colleagues to focus on AdGreets, a company he has been running for the last decade. Today, the world is fast catching up with the streaming concept.  Eric did not leave Warner without a plan. He took his time to strategize and consider various things he wanted to do before settling for one. He would later develop a business plan before approaching investors. He says convincing the investors was easier because he already had money to kickstart his project. He explains how he hired a team of professionals to work with and the number of errors he made along the way.  Building a platform that works and meets customer demands is an ongoing process. Eric says they spent more than a year in the development process, and they bore fruits. Still, they learned from each client and kept improving the platform. One of the core problems that Eric faced was how to make the platform user-friendly. Listen to the podcast to find out the strategy they used. Eric also gives comprehensive details of how their system works and got his first customers. You don’t want to miss this informational part of the podcast. As the business grew and the cost of running it became unbearable, Eric had to make a tough decision to let people go. He says that was one of the hardest times he has ever had to go through during his entrepreneurship journey. Find out why from the podcast. For Eric, becoming cash positive happened by chance. He says while the investors he spoke to loved his idea, he stopped asking them for money. The business continued running smoothly even during a bad week or month when clients had delayed payment. Today, Eric has not written a check in months and doesn’t see the need to do so, which is a sign that he is breaking even.  The company has evolved tremendously, and investors are reaching out to Eric and his team seeking collaborations. In Eric’s sentiments, what you own is not as crucial as winning in the end. He says he is becoming smarter and believes that having more people on board will make the company better. He looks forward to getting more people to help him push his dream to actualization.  In every business, there are numerous competitors to deal with. How does AdGreets set itself apart from competitors? Eric says they do so by being an effective omnichannel solution. He mentions that they devised unique selling propositions, which they highlight when conducting presentations or comparing themselves with their competitors.  If Eric were to turn the hands of time, he would raise more money initially. He explains his reasons in the podcast. He also mentions that having your own money helps you attract investors.  Resources AdGreetzEric Frankel LinkedIn
How David Perry, CEO of GetCarro.com, Build a Video Game Streaming Technology that Won Two Guinness Book of World Records Before Transitioning into the eCommerce World
02-03-2022
How David Perry, CEO of GetCarro.com, Build a Video Game Streaming Technology that Won Two Guinness Book of World Records Before Transitioning into the eCommerce World
David Perry, CEO, and co-founder of GetCarro.com, talks about developing successful games and transitioning into the eCommerce world. Listen in for more Insights.  GetCarro.com is a platform that collaborates with other companies to help brands increase their visibility. Brands can reach more customers, increase sales, and gain attention by offering innovative solutions. David Perry, the CEO, talks to Geordie about his journey.  What You’ll Learn Impact of influencers on brandsHow David and his team countered competitorsWhy David moved to eCommerceComponents you need to make a video game work and what they meanImportance of a verification system In this Episode David believes that attention is one of the most critical needs for a company, so much so that some brands are buying Google clicks to get more attention. According to David, that is a costly strategy. As a result, he started thinking about a better way of helping brands get more attention by associating with famous people on social media. David came to this realization at a point when he had sold his company. To keep himself busy, he started building a fantastic man cave that he describes as ridiculous. Among the things he had was a photo studio, and he noticed that people only cared about his pictures when he photographed social media influencers.  At some point, he engaged some of the influencers who had a wide following on social media to determine how life as an influencer was. David was confident that the influencers enjoyed all the attention from the answers he received. However, they would have been comfortable working with their preferred brands instead of being harassed by random brands from various parts of the world. David made up his mind to help the influencers accomplish their dreams. He thought of determining a strategy to match influencers to brands they liked. Together with his team, David developed a technology that figures out available influencers, identifies their preferred brands, and pairs them to the brand. David says the response they received for the idea was overwhelming. They would later develop a technique to circulate their products to the relevant influencers. In this case, influencers would shop free of charge. David says they have developed more than 8,000 homepages to manage that process and ensure influencers request products for free. He explains how brands benefit from that technique in the podcast. He also talks about how they integrated different eCommerce platforms and facilitated cross-selling to help them increase sales.  David discusses how he ventured into the world of streaming video games, and you cannot afford to miss this part of the podcast. He later sold his video streaming company to venture into the eCommerce world. According to David, the actual cost of eCommerce is how much it costs to get customers to walk in your store and how much they spend on average. He notes that the average order value is a critical metric because it determines your survival rate and position in the market.   Suppose the average order size is high, an entrepreneur can invest more in their marketing strategy to acquire customers. What constitutes the average order value? David says many brands restrict themselves to selling only one product instead of diversifying based on their niche. If you are an entrepreneur, listen to this part of the podcast for comprehensive details on this subject. You will understand why adopting a transformational way of thinking about your brand helps you increase your average order value.  David says they had to work hard to prove their worth and get special placement on Shopify. Together with his team, they focused on eliminating all hurdles along the way to convince Shopify of their competence. They also did the same with Facebook, and you can learn about it from the podcast.  While some businesses struggle to raise money, David says doing so is easy, especially when engaging in innovative activities. He mentions that they achieved product-market fit multiple times because their platform comprises numerous solutions. What strategy can platform owners use to charge subscribers? According to David, the most effective method is allowing them to pay what they can afford. He explains their price points in this podcast. Shopify store owners willing to connect with David can click on getcarro.com, install the Shopify application and email the team at hello@getcarro.com. David promises you excellent treatment and attention if you mention that you listened to this podcast.  Resources David Perry LinkedInCarro
How Bob Miles of Salad.com Navigated Challenges in the Crypto Industry to Come up with a New Incentive Model and Build a Successful Cloud Computing Firm
23-02-2022
How Bob Miles of Salad.com Navigated Challenges in the Crypto Industry to Come up with a New Incentive Model and Build a Successful Cloud Computing Firm
Bob Miles, CEO, and founder of Salad Technologies, talks about venturing into the SaaS and web three world, funding his MVP, and gaining the first customers to navigate from zero to product fit. Listen in for more insights. Salad Technologies is a firm that collaborates with numerous computer gamers in their inactive PC resources to develop distributed cloud computing infrastructure. Bob Miles, the CEO, tells Geordie about his journey.  What You Will Learn How Bob stumbled on his company's idea Who does Salad Technologies target?What makes cryptocurrency a trustless monetization system?What are the Folding@home and Seti@home concepts?How the Salad Technologies reward program worksWhy some people are frowning upon the proof of work conceptHow will the proof of stake model affect Salad Technologies operations?Challenges Bob and his team experienced before launching their MVPWhy influencers are crucial for pushing your marketing strategy and building trust In This Episode: Bob says Salad Technologies is committed to solving the rising demand for computing resources. Based on their findings, up to 90% of resources remain idle even though they are connected to the internet. Salad Technologies introduces a concept that encourages people to share their computer resources whenever they are not using them. In return, the individuals will receive gift card subscriptions, games, and various digital purchases. Listen to the podcast to understand their plan for their infrastructure.  Salad Technologies is introducing a new incentive model that fixes the human challenges of distributed computing that resonates with numerous individuals. While their model is not unique, Bob says they recognized the opportunity in collaboration with his old boss. He explains this opportunity, and you can find all the details in the podcast. At some point, Bob mentions the sudden rise in crypto prices which occurred in 2017. How did the increase affect the gaming industry? They would later identify the massive latent resources and the increasing demand for the same in terms of proof of work mining. They also identified a disconnect where a significant percentage of gamers were not mining crypto. Bob says three core hypotheses formed around their findings were instrumental in forming the company and developing the initial product. He explains this concept in detail. One of Bob and his team's challenges was the two-sided market issue, which crypto fixed. However, they struggled with fraud, forcing the team to work harder into introducing a loophole-free model.  In a bid to test the three hypotheses, Bob and his team compiled their MVP as fast as they could and released it in the market regardless of a few popular loopholes. They intended to receive feedback from the users, which they would then use to improve it to meet customer needs. Bob explains how fraudsters invaded their system. Bob spent eight months fundraising for his MVP, where he raised enough capital to hire a few developers to help launch the MVP in the market and test it. Bob and his team found the MVP when the crypto market was crumbling. He admits that it has taken a miracle for the firm to survive those turbulent times. Still, he was optimistic that better times were coming. Bob mentions that theirs is a reward program and explains how it works. Get the details from the podcast. Even then, Bob is quick to say that theirs is not a cryptocurrency firm but a cloud computing organization. He explains this concept extensively in the podcast.  Introducing a difficult value proposition in the market is one of the critical challenges the Salad Technologies team has struggled with. Bob gives an example of the Airbnb and Uber concept, saying that nobody would have thought they were achievable years ago. Today, however, those approaches are some of the most popular worldwide. Bob mentions the different marketing strategies they tried in vain at the beginning. They would later leverage Discord to market their product. Find out how they actualized the deal.  Bob envisions a future where the web becomes peak centralization, and their online interactions vary from what they are today. The emergence of advanced technologies like web three and peer to peer communication protocols introduces a different incentive model. As a result, Salad Technologies will change its relationship with the web. The team sees a future where many people will be willing to surrender their computers and servers to web three's varying ecosystems and protocols. The emergence of an interconnected digital world is one thing that Bob is scared about. Find out why from the podcast.  Resources Salad TechnologyBob Miles LinkedIn
Impact before profits with multi-million ARR employee hiring SaaS Eightfold.ai CEO Ashutosh Garg
15-02-2022
Impact before profits with multi-million ARR employee hiring SaaS Eightfold.ai CEO Ashutosh Garg
Ashutosh Garg, CEO, and co-founder of Eightfold.ai, talks about building his team, developing  the MVP,  and finding product-market fit to hit seven-figure MRR. Listen to the podcast and learn.  Eightfold.ai is committed to enabling the ideal career for everybody across the world. The platform facilitates inclusion and diversity, eliminating bias from hiring and assisting American citizens in returning to work via the department of labor in the US. Ashutosh Garg, the CEO, and co-founder talks to Geordie about his journey.   What You'll Learn  Why finding the right job or skilled talent is becoming harder every dayWhy the company has its focus on the USWhy hiring should be based on a candidate's potential instead of what they have doneLessons Ashutosh learned from attending an interview at GoogleHow did Ashutosh convince his co-founder to join him?How Ashutosh and his team executed the pitching processWhy Ashutosh and his team are particular about building matches  In This Episode  Finding a job can be a daunting task, as Ashutosh learned during his time as an employee. Ashutosh realized that people were struggling to get the right job while employers had difficulty finding the right talent.   As technology advances and the world evolve, skills also change and become outdated very fast. Any skill you have today will be phased out in the next few years, explaining why there is a significant supply and demand mismatch in today's job market. Ashutosh says that employees should upskill themselves constantly to stay relevant to their client's needs and remain competitive. The supply and demand issue is triggering challenges in society, which drove Ashutosh and his team to establish Eightfold.ai. Organizations must stand out in today's highly competitive world to thrive. How was Ashutosh's AI hiring platform different from others? He explains in this podcast. At some point, Ashutosh talks about an interesting scenario when he had attended an interview. Listen to the podcast to find out what happened then, and the lessons both employers and employees can learn from the same.   Working at Google was an eye-opener for Ashutosh. He says some of the things he learned while there were that; companies are losing out on good candidates due to the lack of knowledge. He also realized that a company's success is highly dependent on hiring the right talent.   Those lessons were instrumental to Ashutosh when he embarked on launching his company. His core goal was to determine what he could do to help people grow. While he started the business independently, his talented co-founder would later join him, and they both collaborated to form a robust platform. Ashutosh speaks fondly about his co-founder, and you can get all the details from the podcast.   One thing Ashutosh has realized about the job market is the emphasis on long interviews, which he is against. At Eightfold.ai, they have adopted a different strategy based on three factors. First, they analyze a candidate's career, assess their journey, and use their findings to determine what the candidate can learn fast, and the roles they can thrive in. Ashutosh talks about the other two factors, and you can learn about then from the podcast. If Ashutok had a chance to re-execute his pitching process, he would do it differently. Listen to the podcast to find out why.   Having worked at Facebook and Google, Ashutosh and his co-founder were conversant with crawling the web. They leveraged any data they could obtain and developed models based on it. They also involved their potential customers from the first day, which saw some of them investing. They later collaborated with a large corporate company from India, their flagship customer today.   In identifying their target niche, Ashutosh says they realized that different companies would be hiring for various roles. Further, each position would change based on the industry, with some firms having more professionals than others. Together with his team, Ashutosh embarked on a research process to identify patterns and learn from data regardless of the language or role, a strategy that worked for them. Listen to the podcast for comprehensive details on this strategy.  Eightfold.ai has evolved and today has customers in different niches, including mining, logistics, insurance, financial institutions, and tech firms. Ashutosh is unaware of when they found product-market fit, but he gives some examples in the podcast. He says they strive to work with organizations with 2,000 or more employees, even though the market often drives their decision. Ashutosh's plan for the future is to continue building and defining excellence. They are committed to offering better services every day.    Resources  ai
After years of trying to find product market fit this founder talks about getting through the lean years with 37k MRR clowdwork.com CEO Alexandra Gamarra
08-02-2022
After years of trying to find product market fit this founder talks about getting through the lean years with 37k MRR clowdwork.com CEO Alexandra Gamarra
Alexandra Gamarra, co-founder, and CEO of Clowd Work, talks about building the MVP, finding their first customers, and navigating their product-market fit to achieve growth. Listen in for more insights.  Cloud Work is a fully automatic time tracking system for organizations that need to track, manage, and report time. Through this system, users can keep their projects on track and budget. It comes with an automatic employee time tracking software and various features like reporting timesheets and screenshots. Alexandra Gamarra, the CEO, talks to Geordie about her story.  What You’ll Learn Why did Alexandra choose to work with a remote team?Why Alexandra and her team were keen to find out what their employees were up toHow Alexandra and her team improved their product to make it saleable to other companiesWhy did Alexandra sell her eCommerce business?How much did Alexandra sell the eCommerce for, and how much did they invest in the software development venture?Why Alexandra and her team redeveloped their softwareChallenges Alexandra faced during the MVP’s beta testing phase Importance of determination and patience in entrepreneurship  In this Episode  Alexandra kicks off the podcast by narrating her story to let listeners understand why she founded the platform with the help of her co-founder. If you are an aspiring entrepreneur, this section will help you understand how much effort you should invest in building a successful entity.   Alexandra could not afford employees in the UK as a startup, which pushed her to hire a remote team from Colombia, paying lower salaries. She was convinced that the team would make her competitive, but that did not happen. Instead, Alexandra struggled with productivity issues, with the team unable to finish tasks on time. Alexandra mentions how she could not figure out why the team was not delivering while her competitors were more productive even though their workforce was costly. At some point, she thought about doing away with the remote team and hiring someone in the UK before her husband intervened. Listen to the podcast to find out how her husband reacted to the idea.   Even after investigating the team, Alexandra and her husband could not identify the problem. Her husband decided to hire a software developer to develop a system to help them understand what was going on. Alexandra says that was the initial version of Clowd Work. The software could be installed in an employee’s computer regardless of location. They could then rely on it to track what their employees were up to. Was the software effective? Alexandra says the software helped them solve a huge problem. Listen to the podcast to understand their findings.   Alexandra later informed her team about the software, which became the wake-up call she had wished for. The team became so competitive that the company could not stop growing. According to Alexandra, the company surpassed the $ 1 million daily turnovers in less than one year.   From their software’s success, Alexandra and her team felt that other companies with remote employees would gain major benefits. However, they were overly busy at the eCommerce business to think about expanding. At the suggestion of Alexandra’s husband, they decided to travel the world and see if they could run the business on the go. They did, and it turned out to be successful.   Alexandra talks about how they sold their eCommerce business to focus on software development. They would later work with a renowned global accelerator, who played a major role in the business growth. Alexandra and her team had to redevelop their software to make it saleable to other companies. Listen to her extensive explanation on why they invested in software, and the features they added to improve its performance. If you are thinking about venturing into the software industry, you cannot afford to miss this insightful section. Covid-19 was a blessing in disguise to Alexandra and her team because that is when they found product-market fit after a long time of struggling. She discusses the challenges they went through in the podcast. What lesson has Alexandra learned along the way? She says, had she heard her users more, they would not have spent lots of time and money developing features that users were not asking for. Alexandra also mentions that free demos are not valued everywhere, and sometimes they can be a time-wasting approach that bears no fruit.  Resources  Clowd WorkAlexandra Gamarra LinkedIn
Starting and Selling SaaS with incubator startup Todd Larsen.
02-02-2022
Starting and Selling SaaS with incubator startup Todd Larsen.
Todd Larsen, CEO of Tech Leaders, talks about growing SaaS businesses and how his coaching program helps founders better their products. Listen in for the insights. Tech Leaders is a company that helps technology startups enhance their products and become people leaders. Todd Larsen, the CEO tells Geordie about his journey. What You’ll Learn What makes a Micro SaaS plug and playable?How Todd’s model worksHow do Todd and his team execute the sales process?How much equity are companies willing to surrender to Todd and his team?How do Todd and his team assess startups before accepting them into the program?What is the 12-point assessment?Why do Todd and his team prefer real stack instead of no-code toolsChallenges Todd and his crew face in their line of work In This Episode Todd narrates how his stint at Groupon helped him understand how to do and maintain things at scale and achieve growth at a particular phase. He would later transition to the startup world to experience what it was like moving from nothing to something. Todd says he did a significant amount of his work remotely. Listen to the podcast to learn how he collaborated with his startup colleague, the CEO of digit.co, an early FinTech firm, and how they grew the team. He explains what the company was all about, and you can get the details from the podcast. Todd’s passion for small companies saw him leave digit.co at a point when the company had grown to nearly 100 employees. Todd says he derives joy from starting because doing so is exciting, and he wanted to experience it once again. How did Todd execute his exit at digit.co? He gives Geordie comprehensive details that you can learn about from the podcast.  After leaving digit.co, Todd took a sabbatical to figure out what he wanted to do before settling for a micro SaaS. He identified an already existing niche because he did not want to go through the hassle of building a market. Todd says he invested in reading lots of stuff on social media during his sabbatical. He spent a considerable amount of time on Twitter, where he would later identify his niche, which he calls money Twitter. At some point, Todd joined a course that one of the popular influencers on Twitter was offering to experience what was happening. While there, he realized that nearly everything was happening manually. He was surprised to see people discussing making money yet using an inefficient process.  Todd went ahead to develop a simple app around that niche. Before then, he built lots of trust in the community, which helped him understand their pain points extensively. He also befriended people who were prominent within the community. He would later use them as affiliates to help him promote the product, allowing him to achieve 1,000 MRR in the first two months after launching. Social media is a powerful tool that Todd and his team use to generate leads. They also leverage paid processes for market testing purposes. Cold email, Todd says, still works wonders. The team maintains complete control over the technical stack as the servant leaders during engagements with their customers. He reiterates that they strive to lead excellent decisions while defining what should happen. One thing that sets Todd and his team ahead of their competitors is that they are order writers and not order takers. Hiring the right people can be challenging, but Todd says they ensure employees have fun working with them on exciting projects. When it comes to the kind of equity companies are willing to surrender, Todd says it depends on how established they are. Listen to Todd as he explains how they use the 12 assessment factor when analyzing companies. So far, Todd has worked with various entrepreneurs in different niches. He narrates how he collaborated with a surgeon to develop a CRM platform for plastic surgeons. Listen to the podcast for more details. Todd concludes the podcast with some words of wisdom for anyone planning to start a SaaS. He says: Focus on distribution in the market. Understand the conversations in the market. What do customers need now and in the future?    Do not embark on building a program without a ready market. Developing a product and waiting for clients to come is not a suitable plan.    Obtaining feedback from the actual users will help you develop a product that meets customer demands.  Resources Sales and Software Todd Larsen
How Dawn Verbrigghe, CEO of Jottful, gave up a Lucrative CMO Startup Position to start SMB CMS
26-01-2022
How Dawn Verbrigghe, CEO of Jottful, gave up a Lucrative CMO Startup Position to start SMB CMS
Dawn Verbrigghe, CEO of Jottful, talks about coming up with the idea, funding the MVP, gaining first customers, and navigating the zero to product fit journey. Listen and learn.   Jottful is a SaaS company that allows small and medium-sized businesses to create and manage affordable, professional, and easy to navigate websites to eliminate the need to hire an agency. The company encourages small businesses to market themselves better online. Dawn Verbrigghe, the CEO, and founder, tells Geordie about her entrepreneurship journey.   What You’ll Learn How working in a family business inspired Dawn to build the MVPHow Dawn reached out to potential businessesWhy the Jottful niche is horizontal-basedWhy people were afraid of referring Jottful to their friendsHow a mentor can help you make the best decisionThe perks of being an entrepreneurHow early-stage business funding has evolved over the last few yearsWhy Dawn and her team don’t use their product on their websiteWhat is the difference between direct response and brand advertising?  In This Episode  Online marketing plays a core role in the success of businesses. With a robust online marketing strategy, small and medium-sized businesses can accelerate their growth, attract more customers, and increase revenue. Jottful understands the importance of marketing which is why they collaborate with small businesses to help them increase their presence online through their websites. Hiring an agency to build your website can be costly, especially if you are a small business entrepreneur. With technological advancements today and the availability of easy-to-use tools, small businesses can quickly build their websites. However, to leverage some of the available tools, you need technical skills that many small business entrepreneurs do not have. This is where Jottful comes in through their “do it together” initiative. The company gets content from their customers, creates, launches their websites, and helps them maintain the site on an ongoing basis. Listen to the podcast for extensive details on how the company works. Dawn also explains how their pricing model works.   While Dawn is a qualified graphic designer, a business background played a significant role in carving her entrepreneurship journey. She gained tremendous experience and insight from working in a family business. Listen to her story to understand how she came up with her MVP. Dawn signed up her first few customers in unlikely circumstances. She explains how a national bridal event paved the way for her to exhibit her website development skills. Get the details from the podcast.   Dawn says her core focus at the event was to determine whether or not her idea had a viable value proposition. After that, she would focus on building the MVP and ensuring that it worked before figuring out their initial target market. At first, Dawn and her team focused on bridal shops. They would later enroll in an accelerator program linked to the University of Michigan, which was accepted. Dawn says the University is among their most prominent investors. The accelerator program helped them realize that their niche is not industry-based but company size-based. She explains this concept in the podcast. How did Dawn fund her MVP? Even though she was in between jobs, she was looking forward to assuming a powerful CMO position in a full-time company that was planning to go public. She was torn between joining full-time employment and becoming an entrepreneur at some point. She shared her dilemma with her mentor, who advised her that entrepreneurship was her calling. Dawn has no regrets for giving up employment for entrepreneurship. Having a qualified engineer during the MVP development stage is critical. Dawn explains how she met, what she considered when hiring her engineer, and how they collaborated to build a powerful platform. She also talks about funding the MVP. According to Dawn, their product is easy to use, and customers can easily make necessary changes on their websites in record time.   Many entrepreneurs struggle with identifying and defining their niche. Dawn gives comprehensive details on how they went about the process. Listen to the podcast to understand how they struggled trying to get their product to their target audience. If you are a new entrepreneur or aspiring to become one, you cannot afford to miss this section of the podcast. Dawn concludes the podcast with some words of advice for aspiring SaaS entrepreneurs:  Start building an audience as early. Many entrepreneurs focus on product development before determining how to sell it, derailing their growth.   Social media channels can help you reach your target audience better than an email list. Dawn says LinkedIn is a great audience funnel. Resources  JottfulDawn Verbrigghe TwitterDawn Verbrigghe LinkedIn
How multi 7 figure ARR WPX.net became a leader in the crowded Wordpress hosting space with CEO & cofounder Terry Kyle
20-01-2022
How multi 7 figure ARR WPX.net became a leader in the crowded Wordpress hosting space with CEO & cofounder Terry Kyle
Terry Kyle, CEO, and Co-founder of WPX.net talks about starting the company, building his MVP, and how he sets himself apart from competitors. Listen and learn.   WPX.net is a WordPress hosting platform that specializes in providing excellent customer service and speedy services. Terry ventured into the hosting industry as an entrepreneur in 2013 even though he had already been using hosting companies for approximately 15 years. Terry Kyle, the CEO and co-founder, tells Geordie about his journey.  What You’ll Learn How Planet Hosting evolved to WPXHow WPX discovered its product-market fitWhy WordPress site owners should audit their pluginsWhy you should get rid of plugins you no longer useChallenges Terry and his team faced along their journeyWhy Terry started a non-profit organization  In This Episode:  After using hosting services for many years with little satisfaction, Terry decided to venture into the industry as an entrepreneur. He noticed that many things needed fixing in the entire hosting industry, and knew he could fix them and offer better services. In 2013, Terry collaborated with his business partner, and together they formed Planet Hosting. He explains why they chose that name and their vision at the time.   Many entrepreneurs and marketers often dread product launch days for fear that their websites will crash. Experiencing a website downtime during a critical event is one of the worst things an entrepreneur can experience. Apart from rendering you ineffective, it can demonstrate your incompetence, forcing potential customers to lose trust in your brand. Such unfortunate scenarios are what Terry and his team are trying to save marketers and entrepreneurs from by guaranteeing maximum website speed and reducing downtimes as much as possible. Listen to the podcast for comprehensive details about this concept.     Different businesses discover their product-market fit in various ways. For Terry, delivering excellent services marked their turning point. He talks about how his interaction with a particular SEO blogger bore fruit for his company. The blogger had a bad experience with another provider before engaging WPX, who fixed his website problem. He was happy and decided to write about WPX and its services. The blogger had a high following and out of that post, WPX gained lots of traction.  The pricing model you choose for your company can make or break it. Terry says they chose a cost-friendly and reasonable pricing model that nearly every potential customer could afford. He talks about their model comprehensively. You can get all the details from the podcast. At some point, Terry talks about WordPress plugins, saying they are both good and bad. How do these plugins affect the effectiveness of your website? Terry talks about it in the podcast.   Terry explains an anomaly that, according to him, was unique to the hosting industry, where firms hired non-technical staff. In this case, customers would have a rough time if their websites crashed because all they received were long technical articles that struggled to read and understand. He gives an illustration to demonstrate the complexity of such a scenario. Learn about it from the podcast. To overcome such occurrences, Terry and his team introduced the “Fixed for you guarantee” approach, where they would fix offline websites free of charge. Review websites can be instrumental for your business, and Terry seems to agree. He says Trustpilot, their core review portal has been an instrumental innovation in building their reputation. Terry recognizes the people who write reviews and those that create video testimonials for them as what sets WPX apart from its competitors. The team has overly invested in live chat so they can respond to inquiries or complaints fast.   Challenges in business are inevitable. Terry talks about a time in late 2021 when their website went offline for six hours in what he describes as Armageddon. Find out what triggered this problem and the consequences they suffered.   Every Dog Matters is an NGO that Terry and his team founded. WPX is a key sponsor. Their main goal is to rescue and give each homeless dog a spacious and comfortable shelter with sufficient food, water, proper healthcare, and freedom to socialize with people. Terry explains the strategies they are using to fix this problem in the podcast. In the future, Terry hopes to rescue horses and donkeys too. He concludes the podcast with various quotes that could benefit aspiring and established entrepreneurs.   Do whatever matters as long as you can but start as early as possibleThe most appropriate time to start is always nowTime flows unbelievably fast. Waiting should never be an optionBe ambitious and ask yourself how far you can push whatever it is you are doingNever give up. You can accomplish incredible results by knowing what you want and doing everything possible to achieve it.  Resources  WPXTerry Kyle LinkedInTerry Kyle WebsiteWPX InstagramEvery Dog Matters InstagramWPX Facebook
What is shiny object syndrome and how it helped Zip Message Founder Brian Casel
12-01-2022
What is shiny object syndrome and how it helped Zip Message Founder Brian Casel
Brian Casel, founder of ZipMessage discusses his transition from Audience Ops to a new venture and what he has learned along the way. Get more insights from the podcast.  ZipMessage is a video messaging tool that facilitates asynchronous conversations with remote teams and customers. Brian Casel recently sold his content marketing company to focus on ZipMessage. He talks to Geordie about his journey.   What You’ll Learn Why Brian sold Audience OpsThe difference between a productized service and an agencyHow did Brian conduct the Audience Ops sale process?What was Brian’s initial idea for ZipMessage?Why the asynchronous approach is ideal for teams working across time zonesWhy is ZipMessage viral?  In This Episode  Brian has sufficient experience in web and front-end development, and design. He has also spoken about productized services for many years. Over the years, Brian has created a course and developed audience applications. His interest in software, SaaS, and product design and the need to improve his full-stack skills with Ruby on Rails started in the last few years. Brian says he sold Audience Ops to focus on building ZipMessage.   Knowing what you can or cannot do is crucial when starting a business. Brian says he relied on a few rules for guidance during the beginning and running of Audience Ops. While he is a good writer, Brian did not want to complete writing tasks for his clients. Instead, he hired a team of professionals from the beginning, with whom they collaborated to grow the company into a five figures MRR. Apart from being sustainable and profitable, the company gave Brian lots of liberty to focus on SaaS ideas. Brian explains how Audience Ops operates and the tools they use. Get all the details in the podcast.   Brian also touches on his first SaaS idea, Process Kit, and highlights some of the challenges he experienced with onboarding new customers and convincing them to adopt a new tool. He says Process Kit is still operational and sustainable. However, when the ZipMessage idea came along, he focused all his energy on the new venture. At some point, he mentions shiny objects, saying they often solve many of the challenges he may have encountered in the previous project. Brian’s sentiments are enough to conclude that he suffers from the shiny object syndrome, where he gets distracted by new ideas easily, abandoning his current venture to focus all his attention on a new concept.   Audience Ops was already successful, but Brian says the idea of selling it had crossed his mind in the first four years of running it. He decided to delay the plans until 2021 came, and he could no longer continue running it. Brian explains what was running through his mind before he finally sold Audience Ops. He also provides comprehensive details of the sale process, picking the buyer, and why he did not use a broker. Listen to the podcast for the details.   Brians’s previous SaaS experience came in handy to help him build the initial ZipMessage prototype in less than a month. His developer would then come in to help him transform the prototype into a version one MVP, and within three months they had their first paying customers.   During the ZipMessage MVP development process, Brian watched the market closely for patterns and trends. He says he has worked remotely and been asynchronous throughout his career, an experience he leveraged when dbuilding ZipMessage. Brian explains how ZipMessage works in an extensive section that you do not want to miss. The ZipMessage solution is available in three plans which you can learn about in the podcast. ZipMessage features a viral aspect and Brian explains why in the podcast.  With the world adopting remote work, various agencies are using ZipMessage to cut down calendar calls, facilitate team and sales conversations, and offer customer support. Coaches are also using it for student conversations and coaching. Brian explains what the team is doing to market ZipMessage and get more partners on board. According to Brian, the shiny object syndrome has played a core role in his growth. He believes he would not have achieved tremendous success had he stuck with one business concept. Brian concludes the podcast by advising entrepreneurs to learn along their business journey, determine what worked and didn’t, and establish strategies to improve their upcoming products. He also believes that entrepreneurs do not just stumble on ideas. Instead, there is always some form of luck in everything they discover.  Resources  ZipMessageBrian Casel LinkedInBrian Casel TwitterBrian Casel Website
From failed Wordpress theme service to successful landing buying website & CRM SaaS with Jessey Kwong of Reiconversion.com
04-01-2022
From failed Wordpress theme service to successful landing buying website & CRM SaaS with Jessey Kwong of Reiconversion.com
Jessey Kwong, CEO, and founder of REI Conversion talks about inventing the idea, building and funding the MVP, and bootstrapping from zero to 30,000 MRR. Listen in for more details. REI conversion is a SaaS company that helps users automate and systematize their land buying business. Jessey Kwong, the founder, and CEO started off as a vacant land investor before upgrading his operations. He tells Geordie about his journey.  What You’ll Learn Why did Jessey’s first WordPress theme flop?Why the current 50/50 equity split agreement between Jessey and his partner complicates planningLessons Jessey has learned from the 50/50 equity splitHow Covid affected the business In this Episode While being a vacant land investor paved the way for Jessey’s success in the land investing business, he no longer focuses on the venture. Instead, he is scaling REI conversion to meet growing customer demands. Jessey says his digital background came in handy to help him develop websites fast. At some point, he helped other people build their websites, and before long, he realized that more and more people wanted websites to market their properties. Launching his website played a core role in helping him scale and systemize fast.  After helping various people build their websites, Jessey and his team saw an opportunity to create a product. However, the process was not short of challenges. Jessey says their premier WordPress theme flopped, forcing them to go back to the drawing board, where they redesigned everything and focused on marketing. Jessey explains why their WordPress theme was unsuccessful in the podcast.  Jessey talks about meeting his fellow investor, who was already using a system he had developed for his land management operations. He explains how they partnered in improving the user experience and user interface for the whole system. The team faced various challenges along the journey but later launched the CRM part of the system in mid-2020.  REI conversion, Jessey says, has multiple products, like CRM and marketing websites that help investors systemize and streamline their businesses. Get detailed of how Jessey and his partner split the equity.  Launching a product can be exciting, but predicting how people receive it can be difficult. However, Jessey and his team were lucky to have an existing user base making it easy for them to tap into their audience who were already using their themes. In their first month after launching their MVP, Jessey says they had up to 20 new users coming through their email lists, a Facebook group, WordPress, and lots of feedback. That number grew over the months, and at the end of their first year, they had approximately 200 users. They are planning to double that number in eighteen months.  Taking up investment can open many doors for businesses, and Jessey and his partner are contemplating it. At this point, Geordie talks to Jessey about the cons of taking up investment and why opting for a business accelerator could be a better option. Are you bootstrapped but considering taking up an investment? You do not want to miss this insightful section of the podcast. It will open your mind, helping you to understand why bootstrapping is a good idea regardless of the challenges involved. Business can be challenging, and every entrepreneur can benefit from the mentorship that business accelerators offer.  Jessey says they have figured out that their CRM is incapable of doing everything. As a result, they are considering various integrations in the future to expand their business. For example, they want to venture into a different market like the housing sector. However, Jessey feels like they still have a lot to do in the land industry. Currently, they are focused on adding the most value to land investors.  Mastering the art of marketing takes time. What did Jessey and his team do differently to increase conversions? They partnered with a prominent influencer in the land investing space who guided them on land investing. They formed an affiliate relationship with the influencer, who had a massive email list, giving them a big running start. Jessey and his team leveraged the influencer’s authority to build their user base and an email list.  Content is also a powerful marketing component, and Jessey says they have benefited from running podcasts and webinars. If he had a chance to turn back the hands of time, Jessey would plan for the future, prepare for scale, have a planning structure, and define his standard operating procedures Resources Jessy Kwong LinkedIn Rei Conversion
From bootstrapping to 50m funding & 25m ARR in 24 months with Andrew Butt of Enable.com
28-12-2021
From bootstrapping to 50m funding & 25m ARR in 24 months with Andrew Butt of Enable.com
Andrew Butt, CEO, and co-founder of Enable, discusses how he gained interest in Enable, raising his initial funding, building the MVP, and navigating zero to product-market fit to hit 25 million ARR. Listen to the podcast for more insights.   Enable is a cloud-based collaboration platform for boosting the performance of B2B deals. It also improves operational efficiency and financial transparency. Enable was launched in 2015 and is used in various industries to evaluate, negotiate, and perform intricate trading agreements to push for profitable growth. Andrew, the CEO and co-founder talks to Geordie about his journey.   What You’ll Learn  How Andrew came up with the Enable ideaHow Andrew and his team transitioned from customized software to a genuine productWhat problem was Andrew attempting to solve from the beginning?Importance of pivoting to a SaaS model earlyAndrew’s experience of raising capital in the USWhile Andrew and his team decided to raise cashDifference between Enable’s series A and series B fundingWhy Silicon Valley is ideal for entrepreneurs seeking to grow their SaaS companies In This Episode:  Enable works with different companies along the supply chain who join efforts to deliver products to consumers. Andrew says their end customers are wholesalers, distributors, and eCommerce retailers. Enable also collaborates with manufacturers.   Having a robust software development background was instrumental in helping Andrew navigate the industry with ease. He has built and grown various software development companies that develop software for a wide range of companies. Everything Andrew does is an opportunity to learn different businesses and their requirements, and identifying existing gaps in the market. Listen to Andrew as he narrates how increasing customer demands pushed them into coming up with the Enable idea. At some point, they had to develop custom software to meet the growing customer demands. Their customers kept growing, and that is when they realized the need to build a genuine product instead of customizing software every time. Shifting from customized software to an authentic product can be a complex task. However, Andrew says they experienced fewer struggles. Find out why from the podcast. To fund the MVP development, Andrew says they used cash flow from their core business, an act he says helped them bootstrap for a while.   From the beginning, Andrew and his team were keen on solving business-to-business rebates problems. He explains this problem comprehensively in this podcast. Having numerous customers flowing your way in search of a robust solution is uncommon in many businesses. Andrew attributes this to the fact that he and his co-founder are in the distribution industry. Dennis, his co-founder, runs DCS group, the biggest distributor in the United Kingdom. The two collaborated to form their software development company, through which they met many prospects every day. Andrew says their first rebate management solution customer came from Dennis’s industry. He mentions how someone they knew referred them to a different sector. Find out what happened next from the podcast. Andrew also narrates their experience with their first customer and how they collaborated to build their solution. You will also learn how they finally pivoted along the way.   Transitioning from an agency to a SaaS was exciting and challenging because they were bootstrapping. As a result, focusing on their SaaS product entirely at that stage would have been impossible. Learn how they navigated that period from the podcast.   Marketing plays a significant role in business. Andrew says they had a small sales team whose work was to find customers through outbound marketing. They were also performing well on organic Google search, and potential customers were finding them under rebate management software. As their business grew, Andrew and his team decided to raise capital in the US instead of the UK. What challenges did they face during this phase? According to Andrew, raising funds in the US is different from the UK. He highlights some of these differences, and you can learn about them in the podcast. Businesses encounter numerous challenges, and Enable is no exception. Andrew talks about some of the challenges they faced along the way. One of the key challenges is ensuring that everyone is happy and that the team is positive and engaged. Andrew says. Finding excellent engineers and onboarding them can also be a daunting task. Andrew discusses their strategy of hiring and retaining a team of professional engineers. Andrew concludes the podcast by highlighting the importance of bootstrapping and finding product-market fit before investing colossal sums of money.   Resources  Andrew Butt LinkedIn Enable
How a conversation with one client about an insurance data problem lead to a 2m ARR pivot for Leo Bernstein of Line Slip Solutions
21-12-2021
How a conversation with one client about an insurance data problem lead to a 2m ARR pivot for Leo Bernstein of Line Slip Solutions
Leo Bernstein CEO and co-founder of LineSlip Solutions, talks about funding his MVP, acquiring the first customers, and moving from zero to product-market fit. Listen to the podcast for more details.   LineSlip Solutions leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to obtain and design insurance data to automate essential tasks and control data vital to corporate insurance companies and commercial insurance brokers. He talks to Geordie about his journey in the entrepreneurship world.   What You’ll Learn What is structured data?How Leo went about analyzing the market and building his MVPWhy many insurance businesses were unwilling to adopt technologyWhat’s the initial problem that Leo and his team were trying to solve?How Leo started the companyChallenges Leo faced while searching for a CTOWhy Leo decided to adopt full-time online operationsWhen did Leo realize product-market fit?Importance of marketing and creating brand awareness  In this Episode:  The creation of commercial insurance has been a manual process in many companies for many years. Leo says he made this discovery when he was a real estate investor responsible for acquiring commercial insurance for the company’s properties. Nothing could have prepared him for how manual the entire process was. He would later spend close to one year wondering and interacting with people in the insurance industry. During that time, Leo realized that many players in the insurance industry struggled with the manual operations problem. Commercial insurance companies dealt with structured data without treating it as structured data. Leo explains the meaning of structured data in this podcast.   Leo narrates the story of how he had attended an insurance renewal meeting and sought to review a few proposals from the carriers. During discussions with his broker, he (the broker) suggested a particular package and Leo sought to see the available alternatives. Unfortunately, the broker could not do so because he could not access the data. Leo found that strange, especially coming from a data-driven industry. Listen to the podcast for the discussion Leo had with the agent and how thought-provoking it turned out to be for him.  Leo would later spend lots of time talking to people in the insurance industry and trying to understand why the problem existed in the first place. He could not figure out why the data-driven sector could not access its data. Later on, Leo discovered the insurance industry had good reasons for that. He explains in the podcast. Leo would later understand why the problem existed, and he explains in the podcast.   While on his inquiry process, Leo met different people, one of whom he had known through a close friend. He ended up meeting another person who happened to be a senior call producer at Marsh McLennan who introduced him to someone at AIG. The team of three brainstormed the problem and tried to figure out whether technology could or could not fix some of these problems. Leo convinced his team that technology could help solve the issues. Apart from Leo, his colleagues were technically co-founders even though they did not join the company full time.   In 2018, Leo met Glen, someone he knew socially through his real estate partner. Through their interaction, Glen, an insurance guy, told Leo about a problem he was facing. It turned out that one of Glen’s largest customers wanted to see the entire commercial insurance data of their portfolio companies. Leo explains the problem comprehensively, and you cannot afford to miss this part of the podcast.  Leo knew he could help Glen, and he told him so. Listen to the podcast to understand how Leo helped Glen fulfill his customer’s demands and how he would later become one of his biggest customers. He also discusses industry lines of business. What are they? Get extensive details from the podcast. Leo talks about the initial idea the team had. This is a comprehensive section that requires your total concentration.   Leo and his team spend a long time trying to figure things out. If he was to do it all over again, Leo says he would have gone full-time from the beginning. His advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is not to spend lots of capital before realizing product-market fit. Leo reiterates the importance of focus for entrepreneurs looking to succeed in the business industry. Leo says recruiting experts from the industry is the best thing he has ever done.  Resources LineSlip Solutions Leo Bernstein LinkedIn LineSlip Solutions LinkedIn
Converting from Translation Agency to 1m ARR AI Translation SaaS with Marko Hozjan of Taia.io
14-12-2021
Converting from Translation Agency to 1m ARR AI Translation SaaS with Marko Hozjan of Taia.io
Marko Hozjan of Taia Translations talks about funding his MVP, finding the first customers, and navigating his zero-to-product fit journey to hit €1 million ARR. Listen to the podcast and learn. Taia is an artificial intelligence platform that gives clients fast translations with assistance from human services. Marco, the CEO, is passionate about business processes and leadership. He is also a serial entrepreneur who has founded and exited numerous companies. He talks to Geordie about building Taia Translations. What You’ll Learn How automation has helped Taia TranslateHow the Taia pricing worksHow does Taia guarantee accuracy?Why finding the first investment can be a daunting taskImportance of mindset for entrepreneursHow did Covid affect Taia? In this Episode: Taia targets medium-sized and big B2B companies to ensure they get excellent quality human translations executed by professional translators. Marco says companies have varying needs, and they (the Taia team) combine everything possible to deliver satisfactory services. For example, they have optimized the ordering of translations, allowing clients to drag and drop any form of document. The Taia Translate platform supports approximately 70 file types. Listen to the podcast to find out how the optimized process works.  Marco says they have developed a tool that enables their clients to execute translations on their own. He explains how the system works in the podcast. Taia’s unique selling proposition is formatting, simplicity, speed, file types, and security. While files are sent through emails, they are always available on the client’s cloud. Accuracy is a crucial factor when it comes to translations. Marco explains what Taia does to ensure clients get accurate translations. Get all the details from the podcast. Before Taia, Marco and his partner were running a language school in Slovenia. They then started receiving translation requests, which pushed them to begin a traditional translation agency. However, they quickly realized there were no unique selling benefits and that the market was outdated. Marco says over 80% of conventional translation agencies in the market today still run their companies in an old-fashioned manner. He supports his sentiments with an example, and you can learn about it from the podcast.  Once Marco and his partner realized that running a traditional agency was not what they wanted to do, they started considering other options. They wrote the entire process from receiving to returning a file. Then, they realized the core unique selling proposition they had to solve was speed and efficiency. The team deliberated on how to optimize and accelerate their translation process. Listen to the podcast for a detailed explanation on this concept. Marco and his partner founded the company in 2017 and hired a CEO to run it as they focused on other projects. Unfortunately, the company performed dismally, and in 2018 Marco took over, marking the conception of the MVP. The team received their 200,000 euro pre-seed funding during summer and launched the MVP in autumn. Their second pre-seed funding of 1.2 million came in October 2020, pushing their growth further. The company has since moved from a team of three to 34 full-time staff spread across various regions in Europe. The team plans to generate one million Euros in revenue in 2021 and 3.5 million in 2022. Every business goes through challenges, and Taia is not an exception. According to Marco, one of their biggest challenges happened when their first investment cash ran out, forcing them to bootstrap, which was difficult to deal with. He explains some of the difficulties they faced during that period. If you are currently struggling as an entrepreneur, this section will motivate you to keep pushing amid the challenges.  As an entrepreneur, having goals helps you define where the company will be in the future. Marco says they want to become the go-to platform for overall business translations. The team is currently working on various projects to make their dream a reality. Learn about these projects from the podcast.  If Marco could go back to 2017, he could be more persistent and develop winning habits. He would also focus on reading, and he recommends a few books such as The Never Split the Difference, The Power of Habit, and Atomic Habits. Reading is vital and a powerful habit. Marco reads 50 books annually. He prefers listening to their audio versions. He also says exercising is good for your health.  Resources TaiaMark Hozjan LinkedIn
How getting on live chat with your customers can give exponential SaaS growth with CMO Michael Epstein of multi 7 figure ARR PostPilot
08-12-2021
How getting on live chat with your customers can give exponential SaaS growth with CMO Michael Epstein of multi 7 figure ARR PostPilot
Michael Epstein of PostPilot talks about building their MVP, gaining first customesr, and navigating their zero-30,000 MRR journey. Get more insights from the podcast.  We live in a digital overload world, where cost-per-click (CPC) is fast overtaking email and email engagement. Today, customers are looking forward to getting real and tangible interactions with brands. PostPilot makes these expectations a reality via direct automated mail drives. Through PostPilot, customers can send handwritten and personalized postcards as conveniently as email campaigns. This technique generates excellent ROI (return on investment) and engagement. Michael Epstein shares critical details with Geordie in this podcast.   What You’ll Learn  What problem does PostPilot solve for customers?How much equity should companies set aside for potential employees?How did Michael and his team get their initial customers?Why entrepreneurs should strive to engage with their customers and understand the problems they face one on oneChallenges Michael and his team faced when building their MVPWhat requirements do Michael and his team look for in customers before onboarding them?At what point did Michael and his team find product-market fit?Why companies should have an ideal customer  In this Episode:  Michael has been in the eCommerce industry for more than two decades, during which he started a company, grew it to millions in sales, and departed to join the private equity world. Having interacted with numerous companies and used direct mail to develop their eCommerce presence, Michael understands how challenging the process can be. Together with his business partner, they figured there had to be an easier and trackable way of sending direct mail drives. They would later meet their third co-founder, who was already building an MVP to solve this problem. Michael and his co-founder invested in their third co-founder, and they all became partners. Together, they developed the product, launched it, and started growing it.   In today’s overly competitive digital world, companies need to go the extra mile to offer unique services and stay ahead of their competitors. One thing Michael and his team did differently was their ability to do granular segmentation, offer individual personalization and track elements that enabled them to determine groups of customers that were responding best. The team also focused on helping their customers track performance and improve their campaigns like they would with any digital-based marketing drive. Michael explains this concept extensively. He also talks about meeting Matt, the third co-founder, and convincing him to come on board.    Michael talks about how the team worked together to ensure the MVP met their standards. What changes and initial investments did they make to prepare the MVP for the Shopify app store? Listen to the podcast to find out. According to Michael, their messaging addresses problems that customers face. It is not an attempt to engage in postcard marketing. The team strives to help their clients reach customers who don’t read emails and those not on their email list. How do Michael and his team get their messaging right?   Michael says Andrew (co-founder) and himself are the target customers. Apart from understanding customer pain points, the team also meets regularly with other CEOs and founders, where they listen to the same pain points.  Together with his team, Michael uses a wide range of strategies to understand the problems their target customers are facing. Engaging customers one on one is a key strategy that entrepreneurs should adopt. It helps them understand customer problems from a personal point of view. Find out more details from the podcast. Every business faces challenges along the way and PostPilot were not an exception. One of the main challenges that Michael and his team faced during the MVP’s initial stages was teaching people about their products. Convincing potential customers to try their product was also a daunting task.  Michael talks about the two pivotal moments the company had. These, he says, did not happen until after some years. The first one was implementing a concierge-level free trial service, and the second was getting the design right. Apart from the free plan, Michael says they have other paid plans and discusses them in detail. Do not miss this part of the podcast if you want to try this service. Are you are a beginner in the SaaS industry? Michael has some tips to help you determine what your target market wants. Listen to the podcast for the details. If he had a chance to do things differently, Michael says he would have made some crucial decisions earlier. Resources PostPilotMichael Epstein LinkedInMichael Epstein Twitter
How Aran Khanna of Archera.ai solved cloud pricing problems worth 6 figures per client
01-12-2021
How Aran Khanna of Archera.ai solved cloud pricing problems worth 6 figures per client
Aran Khanna, the cofounder of Archera talks about inventing his MVP, growing it from zero to 30,000 MRR, and the problem they solve for customers. Listen and learn. Archera leverages machine learning to enable companies automate and eliminate risks on their cloud strategies. The company focuses on giving business leaders and developers sufficient control to use their preferred resources to reduce their expenses. Aaron, the cofounder, talks to Geordie about his journey.  What You’ll Learn How Aran discovered the need for his MVPWhy Aran left AWS to focus on his projectHow did Aran transition from employment into entrepreneurship?How Aran prospected for customersWhy many organizations today are investing in cloud-based solutionsWhen did Aran discover the potential of his company? In this Episode: Aran believes he was born in the cloud. He secured his first job at Microsoft Azure, where he familiarized himself with how customers were purchasing servers and moving them from one model to the other. After leaving Microsoft, Aran joined AWS, where he launched various services. Listen to the podcast to learn about them. During his time at Microsoft and AWS, Aran realized that every project needed various cloud resources, and in those resources laid various long-term contracts. Aran knew that assisting customers choose the ideal contract would help them manage different functions within their businesses. Listen to Aran as he explains and breaks down this approach in the podcast.  Together with his team, Aran strives to automate how customers manage organizational functions from management, engineering, and finance teams in Excel spreadsheets to understand the operational cost. With that knowledge, they will predict and optimize costs to facilitate automation and complete tasks promptly. Through automation, customers can get visibility and tag the management team out of the box. They will also get components like budget plans and forecasts automatically. Aran says the team uses resources to meet their goals and ensure that things are not getting over-provisioned.   Archera also helps customers compile their operational enablement data, which they can use to create commitment plans automatically. The customers can then leverage those plans to cut down costs without requiring engineering or resource changes.  Aran talks about automating financial engineering and how customers are benefiting. Listen to the podcast for comprehensive details. While he had a great time at AWS, Aran noticed that customers were struggling to use their services, especially those that required the use of overly expensive GPUs.  At some point, Aran realized that the services were not solving customers’ problems and mentions how organizations today are adopting multi-service and multi-cloud practices. How does this new phenomenon affect your database? Aran gives a detailed explanation in this podcast. Upon noticing that there were natural limitations, he collaborated with a team of salespeople from AWS with whom he shared his idea. He sought permission to engage some of their small customers in testing his new concept, and that is how he started discovering what was sensible to build. From his little study, Aran knew AWS would not be willing to develop the solutions customers wanted. That’s when he started working towards making his idea a reality. Aran gives a summary of the problem his company solves in this podcast. He also talks about contract and pricing complexity, and the sophistication of matching usage to contracts. Find out from the podcast why you should transition from using Excel spreadsheet to automated solutions.  In many small companies, Aran says, the engineering team executes most of the computation tasks, resulting in inefficiencies due to inexperience. Aran says they decided to take a different approach from what competitors were doing to solve their customer’s financial engineering problems. They chose to price their product based on the amount of data they were processing and consuming for their customers. Aran talks about the customer onboarding process, and how they introduced their solutions to customers and guided them to ensure they were comfortable with the automation. Their customers became conversant with the solution within two months, according to Aran. Together with the team, they help customers segment and label data within their accounts and assist  them with forecasts for each segment to determine usage. Based on their findings, they allow their algorithm to build commitment baskets. The process is gradual. Aran concludes the podcast with a story of how he realized the company’s potential. Get more insights from the podcast. Resources  Aran Khanna LinkedInAran Khanna TwitterAran Khanna Website