May 10, 2024


Product Hunting

Hosted by

Jordan Gal Brian Casel
Product Hunting
Bootstrapped Web
Product Hunting

May 10 2024 | 00:56:43


Show Notes

No, we're not talking about Product Hunt (the website) today.  This one's about:

Hunting for new product ideas.  Categories in AI.  Finding a partner.  Divesting in audience.  Hobbies. Attention diets.  Mothers day.

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:17] Speaker A: Bootstrapped web. Jordan, what do we got this weekend? It's mother's Day this weekend. Are you. Are you prepared? [00:00:23] Speaker B: I put my flower order in. Shout out to someone that I follow on Twitter who wrote it, like, ten days ago. He just wrote a tweet, like, order the flowers now. Just do it now. [00:00:32] Speaker A: And I just. [00:00:33] Speaker B: I just looked at it and was like, I'm gonna forget I'm ordering the flowers, so I got that. [00:00:35] Speaker A: Smart move, smart man. Yep. [00:00:37] Speaker B: My wife generally does not want to go out on mother's Day. She's, like, too cool for that, you know? So we'll probably. We'll make breakfast for her, and the kids have a bunch of plans, and they like to make crafts and stuff, so I think we're in good shape. [00:00:52] Speaker A: It's funny, I'm kind of, like, the opposite here. Like, my wife is a big plant expert. Plant nerd. We've got all sorts. She collects like crazy. We've got plants all over the house. No way. Oh, yeah. Like, every room except for this is my room, but every other room is filled with plants. But it makes her. She likes flowers, but she's not, like a big flower person. So that's not on the menu. But we are going out. We're doing some wine tasting. We're going to meet up with my mom as well, and. And, yeah, should be a good time. Okay. [00:01:27] Speaker B: Very nice. [00:01:27] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:01:28] Speaker B: Fortunately, I have my younger brother, who's just kind of on top of everything, so he always orders for my mom. You know, for the three of us, we just send him money. So the irony is, like, my bit of comedy to start the podcast off was what I'm looking forward to most today is my indoor plant consultation that I have at the local nursery here, because I love plants. And we just got our house redone and the construction, and it's finally done. So now I'm like, get some plants in here. Let's do this. [00:01:59] Speaker A: Yes. [00:02:00] Speaker B: So my wife and I have, like, this ongoing thing. I always bring a plant. I'm always like, the, you know, really tie this room together, a couple plants. So I think your wife and I are on the same wavelength on the edition. [00:02:12] Speaker A: Oh. I mean, she's like, next level, you know? I mean, we have, like, hundreds of plants around here, and it's amazing. I mean, she's on YouTube. She orders them, like, from all over the world, and we go to plant shows and we travel. It's a whole thing. [00:02:24] Speaker B: I love it. I am looking for hobbies because so what my therapist says I have these paths that I follow very often. And right now I feel like I have a business path, and I have, like, a politics news path, and the politics news path makes me upset. I need, like, a new path to go down. I need, like, a hobby. I get into cooking sometimes, and I watch videos and I read stuff, so that helps. But I'm always on the lookout. I think it's great. [00:02:52] Speaker A: Yeah. Lately I've been finally picking back up on the music thing and making some music and writing some songs and stuff, which has been a lifelong passion of mine. And I kind of re put together my music studio upstairs. I'm kind of excited about that. I feel like sports, for me, has become a really big hobby obsession sort of thing, especially New York sports. Knicks and mets. Yeah, it's fun. [00:03:20] Speaker B: I think that's how most people use it. It fills a part of your life that's kind of fun. And you can get into it and you get educated on it. You become expert in it. You could talk to people about it. [00:03:33] Speaker A: Yeah. I have found that it has also replaced a lot of my news politics. I still have a steady flow of news and politics stuff. I always have. But I have definitely replaced a lot of, like, my podcasts and news reading with, like, instead of going to places, like, I don't know, like politico or axios or one of those, I'm going to, like, bleacher report or, you know, Metspod and things like that, you know? [00:04:00] Speaker B: Yeah, I can understand that. I think that's, that's good many ways. I don't seem to be able to get that into sports. I just don't think about it. So, you know, Sunday comes along in the fall. I don't actually remember that there's football on, you know, I just, it's disconnected for me. I watch. I watch. I sit down. I laugh about this with my kids. They'll, like, this is daddy's hour. [00:04:21] Speaker A: This is. [00:04:21] Speaker B: I get 1 hour per week to sit on the couch and do nothing. And that's. I watch the Premier League highlights. That's about it. [00:04:28] Speaker A: Nice. Nice. [00:04:29] Speaker B: Speaking of hobbies, what I'm holding up right now is things called neurogum. Clearly, I'm on the search for performance enhancing drugs. [00:04:39] Speaker A: Okay. [00:04:40] Speaker B: I'm one tiny step away from Zin. Just, like, straight nicotine packets. I think I'm gonna get there. This is my, this is my gateway neurogum. [00:04:49] Speaker A: And you don't even smoke. [00:04:50] Speaker B: Like, I don't smoke. [00:04:51] Speaker A: I don't. [00:04:52] Speaker B: I don't think that's the point of zin. It's just the nicotine. [00:04:54] Speaker A: I don't even know what that is. Yeah. [00:04:55] Speaker B: So, Zinn, is this really, you know, very, very big product. Very, very popular. But my understanding of it, I might be completely wrong. My understanding is that it separated out the nicotine from the tobacco. Whereas you smoke a cigarette, like, there are these weird benefits. Like, you're sharper. That comes from the nicotine. I really hope I'm not completely talking out of my ass, but I think I have this right. So if you separate it from tobacco and smoke and tar and all these toxins, you just get that straight. Nicotine, turns out that's, like a really strong, like, neuro drug. [00:05:29] Speaker A: So people that sort of make. Yeah, there's. Is there caffeine in that, too? Like, I'm not sure. [00:05:35] Speaker B: Gum, maybe? That's why I can barely catch my breath in between words. But there's definitely caffeine and l? Tianine in these. And I figured, hey, let me try this first before I wander over to a gas station, because you can't buy xenon on Amazon. [00:05:50] Speaker A: Yeah, I'm still. I'm just hardcore on the. On the espressos. I just had my second one. I'm good to go. I'm a little jittery at this point. Yeah, a little weird. Yeah. It's Friday afternoon. [00:06:01] Speaker B: At least you can take this directly to having a beer after work. [00:06:04] Speaker A: Exactly, exactly. I cut out beer at home, like, over a year ago. We just stopped buying it. But now that it's nice weather season, it's grilling season. I was talking to my wife. I was like, we got to get some beers back in here. I can't grill and not have a beer in my hand. It just doesn't feel right. [00:06:21] Speaker B: Yeah, I hear you. I keep a little beer. I do the high noons. It's so slight. It's like. It's like half a drink, and then I do these ranch waters. It's basically like high noon, but tequila. And it's like tequila. [00:06:39] Speaker A: Oh, nice. [00:06:39] Speaker B: Tequila and soda water. Again, like, not very strong. And I don't like wine very much. [00:06:45] Speaker A: But, yeah, but that's, like, all we have in the house now is just wine. And I'm not a big wine fan. [00:06:50] Speaker B: The only way I really enjoy it is red wine chilled, I just find delicious. [00:06:56] Speaker A: Yep. [00:06:57] Speaker B: So I just keep all red wine in the fridge, and that's actually delicious. Like, I don't know what it does to it or, you know, maybe it's psychosomatic or whatever it is, but that. [00:07:06] Speaker A: That's why I usually just drink, like, white wine, because that's what's chilled, you know? [00:07:11] Speaker B: Try the red chilled. [00:07:12] Speaker A: Interesting. Yes. Yeah. [00:07:13] Speaker B: Well, my father in law, his whole career was in the liquor business, but he had this way of just brushing away any of the stupid formality about wine and how snobby it is. He just like. He was like, that's all. [00:07:29] Speaker A: Not. [00:07:30] Speaker B: It's all marketing. [00:07:30] Speaker A: Literally. [00:07:31] Speaker B: It's what we do. [00:07:31] Speaker A: Oh, of course. [00:07:32] Speaker B: The whole thing is marketing. [00:07:34] Speaker A: Yep. [00:07:34] Speaker B: So he was very good at it. [00:07:36] Speaker A: They just say, don't pick a bottle based on the label. I totally pick it based on what label looks cool. [00:07:41] Speaker B: Everyone does. It's normal. And the price, you're like, this is dollar 18. It must be better than this thing. That's dollar twelve. So, yes, all of us are guilty of that. But he was very good about, like, basically giving people permission of, like, this nonsense. This, like, $20 bottle is unbelievably good. You don't need to go beyond this. [00:07:56] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:07:56] Speaker B: And one of those things was, I was like, john, I like red wine chilled. Is that, like, not supposed to be like that? He goes, who gives a shit what anyone thinks? [00:08:03] Speaker A: Yes. [00:08:04] Speaker B: And now I go to restaurants like, what red wine do you have chilled? And it's always none. [00:08:08] Speaker A: Yeah. All right, brother. [00:08:11] Speaker B: We're gonna talk some biz. [00:08:12] Speaker A: Yeah, we got. I don't know about you. I have. I feel like this week I changed my mind on a bunch of things and refocusing. Okay. [00:08:23] Speaker B: Speaking of no rules, doing whatever you want. [00:08:25] Speaker A: Yes. What do you got, con? I've got two updates. We can unpack them whenever you want on this episode. The first one is, I'm done caring about growing my audience and the whole YouTube investment of my time and energy. I think I'm just gonna take that suitcase and set it down and take that time and energy and invest it in other places. That's number one. Number two is, I'm looking for a new product to start in the near future. So that whole story is starting again. [00:08:58] Speaker B: Okay, so the second one feels like it's relatively connected to last week's conversation about you're dividing your time. It looks like you wanna devote some of your time instead of audience building toward product building. [00:09:13] Speaker A: Yes, exactly. Last time, I think I was talking about, I have this pie chart. That is my time. That is my week. Roughly 20% of my time goes to clarity flow. I would say that continues to decrease now that cat is more and more comfortable and in command of the customer support inbox that's been really great to see. And also my developer just keeps knocking through her queue and I'm just, every day I check in on the tasks and I delegate some new tasks and I'll check in on things, but I'm, it's just, it's about 20%, but I, it feels like it's decreasing every week. And the MRR continues to just, you know, inch up very slowly. But that, that's gonna do what it's gonna do then. The other big chunk of my week now is consulting. And then, you know, I do some like, ui ux work for some SaaS companies. And then the third chunk has been a lot of YouTube work, a lot of content work, a lot of trying to grow my audience again, but I have reversed course on the whole decision to even invest in that. [00:10:18] Speaker B: Can we start pulling that thread a little bit? Yeah, I think what's the reasoning. [00:10:25] Speaker A: Earlier this year, around the turn of the year, is when I made the decision that I'm no longer going to be focused full time on one single SaaS product. And part of it was also like, I need to get back to a time when things were working well for me, especially on the income side and the opportunity side. And a few years back, I had a growing audience and that sort of worked for me. I had the productized course, I had audience ops and I had different opportunities coming my way. The thinking, and I realize now that this is kind of flawed for me, but the thinking a few months ago was, let me re, because like, let me get back into the business of growing my audience. Sure. And if I can make that work, then eventually good things will happen. And that's basically as far as I. Right. [00:11:18] Speaker B: It could lead to product, it could. [00:11:20] Speaker A: Lead to opportunities, it could lead to products. Mainly it's like, let's focus on growing an audience so that I have a distribution channel to eventually do more products. And I also decided along with that that the best way to grow an audience in 2024 is through YouTube. So I went deep on video production and YouTube content and learning a lot about that, which I'm glad I did. But it started to occur to me, like, you know what, I don't know why I'm really doing that, especially the audience that I was trying to grow, like through my YouTube channel and whatnot. The only content that I really feel comfortable as an authentic creator is around products and entrepreneurship and bootstrapping and design and development and things like that. And I don't know that that's the right audience for me. Yeah, it could result in leads coming to my consultancy. And it does do that, but I don't need that many leads for the consultancy. I'm already booked out through the summer. I only work with about one or two clients at any given time, so I don't need a high volume of that. I've got an okay network that works just fine for that. [00:12:33] Speaker B: Yeah, the word of mouth channel might do it. [00:12:35] Speaker A: Yeah. And you know, the other thing that I'm starting to really be more aware of for myself at this stage is it's just not healthy for me to be thinking so much about audience. I'm not changing my mind in terms of the value of having an audience. Those who have a large audience, all power to you. I mean, it's, there's a lot of people who say, like, oh, audience doesn't matter. That may or may not be true with SaaS, but I think it does give you a huge advantage, especially for early, like, launching new products. You have instant reach and distribution, and I thought that I could build up to something like that, sure. But, yeah, for me, it's just not a healthy use of my time and especially my attention. I just found myself constantly looking at, like, how many YouTube views did this get? Or how many subscribers do I have? [00:13:34] Speaker B: My unhealthy, like, focusing on the wrong things. [00:13:37] Speaker A: Yeah, it's just like an unhealthy use of my time and attention. I don't feel good when I'm focused on that kind of stuff. Okay. And also the content that I constantly found myself consuming. I mean, we were just talking about how sports and politics, but when it comes to work content, I found my feeds constantly filled with stuff about how to grow a YouTube channel or how to grow your audience, or how to grow your newsletter and how to build a creator business. I think these are great businesses, but I think for me, at this age, at this season of my career, that's not for me. I just decided, like, I don't need to be doing that. I think I somehow wrongly convinced myself a few months ago that, like, I could invest in audience and work on products and then use the audience to feed the products. But what I found was if I'm working on audience, I don't have any time or energy left to actually work on products. And what I really need to be doing, what I'm most interested in doing is products. I'm a product person, I'm a product builder, product designer. I need to be doing that like five or six days a week and not spend those extra days writing YouTube scripts, shooting editing videos. [00:15:01] Speaker B: If you really enjoyed it, I think you'd keep doing it. So, in many ways, in theory, something can look a certain way, and then when you start doing it, if it really doesn't make you happy, it might be that simple. If it makes you unhappy to just focus on it and deal with it. Like, are you really gonna just do it anyway for a year? [00:15:19] Speaker A: And, like, when it comes to YouTube, like, I don't think I was great at it, but I don't think I was very bad at it either. I think I had some chops. Like, I have a background in, like, music production, right. And I think I'm okay, like, on camera, and I could speak, and I think I'm a good writer when it comes to, like, writing content, writing scripts. Um, so I think I could keep honing that muscle and keep building that up, but. But I got to the point this week where I'm just like, I don't. I don't want, like, that's a means to an end, and I'm not interested in that end. I'm more interested in just getting to products. You know, you just. [00:15:57] Speaker B: You're just paying attention to yourself. Yeah, I see it. I feel it myself now, where I see what goes on in the e commerce shopify universe on Twitter and just am so happy to have nothing to do with it. It feels like, you know, this area that would make me happy to try to be out there and grow that audience and put on that front, it's just. It feels, like, exhausting. It works for the people, same as you. It's like, it doesn't mean it's a bad business model or strategy. You just got to be honest with yourself if you want to deal with anything. [00:16:33] Speaker A: Yeah. And, you know, I. And it's like, I feel like for the first time in years, it's a huge weight that I'm just setting down. I'm not interested in it anymore, obviously. I still very much want to keep doing this podcast, and I'm sure I will have things that I will write. Maybe I'll make a video here or there. Maybe I'll do tweets. But it's like, only when I have something to say about something, if I have an opinion that I think I need to get out or if I need to share some work, build in public, like, I'll just do that. But it's not, you know, I also found myself the last few months. Like, oh, every week, every Monday, I have to have a new video in production because I have to be publishing every week, because that's a train. That's. That's the, like, those are the reps that you have to put in if you want to grow an audience. Sure. Get better and grow. And I just don't like that feeling of urgency. I want to, like, if I. If I have something to say, if I'm, you know, if I'm fired up about something, then I'll share it, but that's it. [00:17:34] Speaker B: And, yeah, it's still a very valuable skill set. Just doesn't mean you have to spend 30% of your time doing it. [00:17:40] Speaker A: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And, and also just the frustration of, like, I don't have any. I feel like I. I'm ready to get back into products and there's a lot, and we can get into that. I want to hop over to your stuff, but there's just so much research and exploration that I need to be doing, and I feel like that's the better use of that. Third of my time is research and planning and get back into the game. [00:18:09] Speaker B: Yeah. It is a funny process of spying, researching, digging around, gauging your emotional reaction to the things you're coming across. What looks good but doesn't sound good, what, you know, all these different things to decide what you're going to work on for anywhere between six months and. [00:18:35] Speaker A: Could be a month, could be 510 years. Like, you don't know. But for me, it's always been course correcting every new product, every new business that I've ever started. It's always been what, what did I learn on the last few ones that, that didn't go so well? And what. What am I going to correct or change this time around? I've got a list of those things that we can get into, but. [00:18:56] Speaker B: Cool. [00:18:56] Speaker A: Well, what's, what's up with. [00:18:59] Speaker B: That's a good transition because what we've been talking about lately, internally is just how different this approach, this product is to, to the previous one to rally. And it's. It's course correction, but literally, like, on every single thing, it's like, you know, enterprise sales process versus self serve, like high ticket versus relative low. It's like very sophisticated audience to non technical audience. All these different things, and it's fun. I don't know which of them will be right, which corrections will be right, which corrections will be wrong, but it does feel like a very different experience. [00:19:35] Speaker A: Can you. Yeah. So, like, what's, like, the top of mind things that you've changed or course corrected most recently? [00:19:43] Speaker B: Let's see. Okay. A really big one. Is competition. So one of the things that's most exciting is there's just relatively very little competition in these AI categories. [00:20:01] Speaker A: Interesting. [00:20:02] Speaker B: Which is different. Right. Think about the web. Right now we assume, man, this competition, everywhere there are great companies, there are funded companies, they're enterprise companies. Every category you think of has a range of competition. But in some of these AI categories, the one we're looking at, voice. [00:20:23] Speaker A: It'S. [00:20:23] Speaker B: Not at zero, but it's at the early forming stages of category and an ecosystem. [00:20:31] Speaker A: How do you. I was actually just reading something yesterday about categories within AI. Like, how do you define what are the biggest buckets of AI categories? Because I know that there's AI technologies, but how do we think of those as product categories at this point, I don't know. [00:20:54] Speaker B: I cannot claim any expertise other than a few weeks of research and the beginnings of a worldview on it. But generally speaking, there seems to be a pretty big separation between the underlying foundational technology and the application layer of that technology. [00:21:15] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:21:16] Speaker B: So right now, we just have absolutely no interest, plans or ability to compete at the foundational level. [00:21:24] Speaker A: No, nobody does. [00:21:26] Speaker B: Effectively, no one does. Right. There's OpenAI, there's Facebook with Lama, there's anthropic, and there are a few more. [00:21:33] Speaker A: Google. Yeah. [00:21:34] Speaker B: Right. So that's like a handful of companies that can invest literally tens of billions of dollars over the next few years. And that, that's just a reality. Like, you. Yeah, you're not doing that. [00:21:46] Speaker A: Then off of that, I think that there are like, okay, so, like, there's a whole range. So there's some big categories, and then you break them up into more niche categories. So, like. Yeah, so I feel like one big one would be like. Like content creation. Like using AI to generate content. Like another one might be analyzing, summarizing content or pulling from existing content. [00:22:12] Speaker B: Yes. [00:22:14] Speaker A: And then is there a third that would be more AI based automation of. [00:22:22] Speaker B: Workflows. [00:22:23] Speaker A: Yeah. Processing lots of data that humans can't do. [00:22:27] Speaker B: That's right. So if we just, like, look at one of those. Right, so generative AI, like the creation of using a language model to generate new stuff, if you just think about that as a concept, and then you can start to break it up into an infinite number of individual categories and verticals. So one of the first things that the Internet did was, whoa, this thing can write words. Therefore SEO. So content creation, generative AI products began to proliferate, and now that is a more established category than it was two years ago. [00:23:01] Speaker A: And then you can break that up into there's like email writing and there's blog writing and there's, that's right. [00:23:06] Speaker B: So, so a tiny little subcategory that I came across this week was in the medical field. So if you're working with Medicare, you have to fill out forms before Medicare will pay you. Those forms often take an hour plus to fill out. But if the provider could talk into their phone and give the standard information and the language model can then populate the forms, all of a sudden you've taken something that takes an hour that you gotta go home and do after dinner that you don't get paid for to something you can do on your car when you're driving away from the appointment. So like, that's tiny random example and that can be applicable to like ten different industries. So those are all individual categories and individual industries and individual products and then an ecosystem of competitors inside of each one of those. So that's just starting to happen because it's technology that literally wasn't available. And now that it is available, you have a bunch of hungry, ambitious entrepreneurs saying, what can I do with this thing? Whose problem can I solve? [00:24:09] Speaker A: Yeah, see, that's the thing is I'm starting to, we'll get back into my stuff in a minute. But like, how? Like, I still, I still have trouble with the idea of like, okay, like, yeah, probably AI would be involved in whatever startup I'm doing, but it's not, I'm not just like looking for like, what can I do with AI? I still fundamentally first want to find like, what's the target customer? What's the problem that I'm solving? And then if there's an application for AI, great. [00:24:36] Speaker B: But like, I hear you. I maybe am a bit more cynical in that. I think there's a lot of advantage to actually looking at the tech first and saying, what can this new technology, which problem can this solve in such a way that would be unfair to the current solutions on the market? [00:24:55] Speaker A: Yeah, right. [00:24:56] Speaker B: So think about what we're doing with voice. We want to answer the phone for people. [00:25:01] Speaker A: But like, you know, you talk about it like technology verse, but you are still going to the problem first. Sure. You're saying like, you're identifying like, there are businesses that really care about inbound phone calls. That's, we're targeting that now. Now what can we do with AI on that? Like, yes, I'm still like a few steps even before you on that. Like, I'm wide open. Like what, what types of businesses? What types of, what are the best problems to be focused on and then figure out, like, what can we do with AI? [00:25:31] Speaker B: I hear you. They're kind of concurrent in some ways, but because the tech is new, it does introduce, it introduces a new, like, cost reality. If you're gonna go to the math right now, our ideal customers have two choices, their voicemail or a call center. Voicemail is very cheap, but performs very poorly. An awful conversion rate of phone call to lead. The alternative is a call center, and that performs better, but significantly higher on cost. So if you can come in and use tech to just disrupt that calculation entirely, that presents an interesting opportunity where your target customers have a totally new option that was not available to them. And in these individual categories, that's happening. It's happening all over the place. And the reason I think that's attractive to entrepreneurs, like, in our position, is that it gives you a shot at coming in really early into something, and it's not going to be early forever. And there will be competition because it's almost like self evident. Like, of course this is going to be a category. It performs better and it's cheaper. It doesn't mean call centers are going to go away entirely, but there will be a space for this type of a solution. You get a chance now to come in and establish your brand and your SEO and your name so that as that category grows, you benefit from that growth. [00:26:59] Speaker A: You know, the other thing that's on my mind, I think I understand how you think about it, which is like, go to market strategy. I feel like that's something that I want to, one of those things I want to correct from earlier businesses is like, have a concept of how I intend to get the first customers before I even get into building something. And it seems like you are like, you've identified, like, local businesses who take inbound calls. Those are targetable businesses that we can target with ads or outreach. I guess that makes sense. [00:27:34] Speaker B: And it's a big potential audience, which is really important in e commerce. I kind of felt very stuck if we weren't selling in Shopify. The universe of potential customers just felt, yeah, huge volume. [00:27:46] Speaker A: I've been starting to, like, look around and tool around with these tools for spotting trends, like tracking trends and market growth. And there are some tools that analyze Reddit for people who are voicing pain points for potential products and things like that. I'm starting to look at these, and they're these tools that claim to find search keywords that have high volume and low competition. And the more I click into these things, it's like nothing has low competition anymore. Everything is but, like. And also I question how real SEO is anymore. Yeah. [00:28:29] Speaker B: Interesting you say that because I'm convinced that we should be investing in SEO for this significantly more than for rally. [00:28:38] Speaker A: Yeah, I mean, I think that's right. And I think there's. I think that's still true for any new startup. So I'm kind of, like, circling around. Like, do I look for product ideas that have natural inbound demand that we can win with search and or products that, like, at least I can identify the target buyer so that we can target them with cold outreach or ads or both. And I think at the end of the day, you have to be okay with, like, choosing products and product categories where there is some competition. Yeah. In AI, there might be. It might be fewer than others, but, like, there is going to be ten plus other sass. [00:29:20] Speaker B: Absolutely. [00:29:21] Speaker A: Out there. You're not going to find something that, like, just hasn't been done before. [00:29:26] Speaker B: If you are, then the problem might not be as you want it to be. [00:29:31] Speaker A: Yeah, yeah, yeah. How are you doing with, with that, like outreach or, like, talking to potential first users because you're completely shifting your target customer, right? [00:29:42] Speaker B: Yeah, it's kind of a trip. It's a lot of fun because it feels. It feels exciting to learn about new problems and new people and new markets. It has not been difficult to find people to talk to, really. [00:29:58] Speaker A: So, like, potential actual customers? [00:30:01] Speaker B: Yeah, it's almost like one degree away from potential customers. Like, for example, this week I got introduced to the founder of a company that powers software for moving companies. So I'm talking to him about how he reaches moving companies. Do they have this problem? So it's once removed. What it has convinced me this is kind of an interesting experience. Okay, so I talked to this founder, and I talked to another founder in a similar space with, like, software for another vertical, and they both had the same reaction. They both had this very not envious greed, this like, very excited, like, yo, you're onto something. You know, it was almost like this, like, founder to founder. Like, ooh, I think, you know, you got something cooking here. [00:30:50] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:30:51] Speaker B: And what it made me feel was that it's very possible that that person in that position selling software to moving companies, they might be ahead of the curve on our type of a product than their customers. Our end customers are because they're in tech, they're software people. They see what's going on. They feel a sense of inevitability, much more so than their customer cares about. [00:31:15] Speaker A: That would be my biggest concern with almost any, like, that's the thing that I'm still currently, like, kind of hung up on as I'm starting to, I'm just starting to look around for potential ideas like what you were just describing, founder to founder, other founders getting excited about your potential idea. I've had that with every single one of the businesses that I've done before. Yeah, it's, I've had way too much, like, positive reinforcement from other founders. But then when I'm getting to direct customers, like, that's where it just becomes a lot more challenging. I want to see so much more proof or like, evidence that I can reach and then that there is like, active demand for the problem to be solved. That's what I'm sort of looking for and I'm trying to find the best, like, patterns or frameworks to think about these days. [00:32:07] Speaker B: Yeah, you know, I think there's a pretty significant difference in our approach to what will make sense for you because our beta is that the demand today is not strong, but it, in twelve months it will be very strong. And to make that kind of a bet, you basically just have to be willing to just eat shit, aka burn $2 million over the next year and just, yeah, I don't like to sound do that. Yeah, but we're taking the big swing bet. [00:32:37] Speaker A: And that's, I mean, like, but, but I mean, like, even so, like, if there's evidence of, like, small businesses are hiring solutions to handle sales and those solutions can be anything, they're, like, maybe they're hiring salespeople like crazy. Maybe they're hiring virtual chat or like, call centers like crazy. Like, that's still proven demand that, like, category that people are actively hiring solutions for. If you just insert yourself into that category, your solution might be a little bit better because it's AI driven, but the demand is already there. There's still transactions happening. [00:33:21] Speaker B: Yeah, yeah, it's tricky. It's tricky because a lot of problems have current solutions and you can see how you can convince yourself that you're going to be better than that solution. But that doesn't mean people are going to change their behavior and change what they've been doing for the past 20 years. Yeah, there's just risk there for sure. [00:33:40] Speaker A: Hmm. Yeah, man. Yeah. [00:33:45] Speaker B: For me, this next two weeks is entirely focused on get something up on the web. [00:33:52] Speaker A: All right. [00:33:52] Speaker B: So we're building a new website with new pages and copywriting. And it's kind of, I find that to be difficult. [00:34:00] Speaker A: Yeah. So where are you at in that process? Who are you working with, what's your step one? [00:34:06] Speaker B: So we have, so I have been debating step one. I think this is a bit of like a philosophical, you know, question on do you launch ugly or do you launch more polished? And I think I want something in between the two. I don't think launching super ugly makes sense. When I look around at our competitors, it feels very much technic, tech driven. So, you know, two people from MIT get money from Y combinator and launch a website and it looks like it feels like it's for technical people and we want to go right to the end customer and make it really easy for them to onboard. And that's like an opportunity for us to come out with a better looking brand, with better looking positioning and so on. So I don't want to launch ugly. I want to leapfrog when it comes to the positioning and the marketing. [00:34:57] Speaker A: Yeah, I don't think anything has to be. I think making it not ugly is sort of easy. [00:35:03] Speaker B: I agree, I agree. So we have two designers that we work with. So that's the plan. Right now I have a Google Doc and it's literally hero section. Right? Headline, sub headline, CTA Image is going to be a video of us showing off the product. We got some phone numbers now, so I can call and play around and see different implementations. [00:35:24] Speaker A: Oh, that's cool. [00:35:25] Speaker B: Yeah, it's fun. It's fun. We're doing like a bake off between two infrastructure providers. I don't know what you want to call them, but like the main tech that we're going to build on. [00:35:36] Speaker A: You mean like two developers are working on like two versions of the thing, see which one works better. [00:35:42] Speaker B: We have two services that we're using and we signed like a one month pilot with both. And we're doing everything side by side with all the same settings, with all the same voices, with the same language models, with the same transcriber. [00:35:55] Speaker A: Oh, interesting. [00:35:55] Speaker B: And then being able to compare because we've had a big debate internally. This is what I think I talked about last week that rock and I were fighting because I want us to go in very unbiased, which is very difficult because you just, everyone comes in with their own bias. So the next month on the tech side is a bake off, almost like let's see which one wins and really not which one wins, which ones our developers think is better. [00:36:23] Speaker A: Yes. [00:36:23] Speaker B: All these different things, the support, the responsiveness, is it open source versus hosted? Like all these different questions to understand what's right for us. I like that and on the marketing side, it's all right, get something up on the web and then start the SEO. And then I don't know if you saw me on Twitter. [00:36:42] Speaker A: Customers. Yeah. [00:36:45] Speaker B: Profit. [00:36:46] Speaker A: No. [00:36:46] Speaker B: What I did, I'm going to do two things at the same time. And what's in my mind is that we're searching for one channel, and so we're just gonna experiment with a few channels, and then as soon as one shows promise, I'm gonna drop the other channels. [00:37:01] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:37:01] Speaker B: SEO feels like a relatively passive channel. Right. That's basically just send someone money every month and they get you backlinks. Cool. The direct outbound. What I did is I went to Twitter and I said, how do I get lists of local businesses like this? And then someone who listens to the pod or one of my followers, someone basically raised their hand and was like, I scrape sites for a living, and I have a list of Angie's list, and I have 285,000 businesses for you. And I was like, done. Tell me where to send the money. [00:37:29] Speaker A: That's something that I've been thinking a lot about, too, because I spent so much time developing that playbook for clarity flow. We do that, we scrape and we send emails. And so now we have that down as a playbook. And I'm like, what other industries can I apply that to? Yes. [00:37:46] Speaker B: So that's one direction, the direct outbound. And I think partners are going to be the thing for us. That same dynamic that we talked about where the guy from the moving company software is more aware of technology and of what's available. Having that company introduce our product to their end customers is basically top down. And so even if those end customers are not aware, if we try to make them aware, that's one version that's basically the outbound. Let's see if that works. The other version is, what if their service provider, the person that they're running their business on, introduces them to this new tech? Do they view it differently? Are they more likely to do it? Should we do a reseller agreement? Is there an affiliate component with a rev share? Is it white labeled? Like, I don't know what that is, but those are, like, the different forms of the channel that I'm looking for. [00:38:42] Speaker A: Nice. I feel like that's always been your strength when it comes to go to market, is like, these integrations, these partnerships, I've never made that work for whatever reason. I just feel like there's too many moving parts and it's too much of relying on other people to sell and they have their own interests, which aren't always aligned with mine, and I can't just depend on them to sell the product. But I feel like that's a limitation of mine that I've. That I wish I didn't have. But that's been my reality. [00:39:14] Speaker B: It might be situational because I think generally speaking, it doesn't work very well for early stage companies. It worked really well for us at card hook. I think maybe it works well for me because I am good at understanding the other person's incentive. [00:39:28] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:39:29] Speaker B: How to position it. Maybe I'm so selfish and self interested that I can be aware of the other person's self interest and I understand their point of view because I just assume everyone is extremely self interested and selfish. [00:39:43] Speaker A: I mean, it's true. [00:39:44] Speaker B: I think maybe that's how I go into it. So I'm like, mister moving company software. This is how it's going to help you. And maybe it's got to be a win win. I hope it'll work. In general, this thing, one of the things about AI is it is a bit of a non technical founders dream because the tech is magical and matters less. Yeah, it matters less. [00:40:10] Speaker A: Like, when you're approaching a company that is not tech heavy, not tech focused, and you're like, yeah, you're coming in with sort of a magic solution that can superpower their thing. Yes. Yeah, for sure. [00:40:22] Speaker B: Cool. All right, we got to talk about number two on your side. [00:40:26] Speaker A: We talked about this a few weeks ago, like, the criteria that you went through, which boxes does a new product idea need to check? And I'm just starting to revisit that for myself. And again, a lot of this is like learning from my past mistakes or past challenges that I've had with other businesses. I've got the beginnings of this list here. And the way that I start to think about key criteria is mapping them to metrics. Right? So, okay, so, like, for a SaaS to work really well, you've got to be able to prevent churn, and it's got to, like, inherently have that, like, churn prevention thing going on. And we talked about the idea of, like, set it and forget it. Like a tool that. That you can sell. Plug in. And they're getting value today and they're getting value long term. Even during the times where they're not actively touching the tool or using it, it's actually really costly for them to stop using the tool. I feel like that's a big. It doesn't have to be completely set it and forget it. Like, you never look at the tool, although that's like the dream, but there are different degrees of this, right? [00:41:49] Speaker B: Product management tool. People logging in every day, moving things around, checking off boxes, adding things, different level of very, very active dashboard once a week. [00:41:57] Speaker A: Like, you have to be actively using it otherwise. And once you stop actively using it, it's like, why am I paying for this? Easy to drop, too easy to churn. And I look back at some of my past products and going all the way back, like, restaurant engine, I think was probably one of the best ones that I've had in that category because it was hosted, we were hosting their website and we had low, I feel like hosting providers of any form, whether it's website hosting or podcast hosting or things like that, you right out of the gate, you have that advantage. Because if you like, even right now I pay for two different podcast hosting platforms because I have a couple of podcasts and I'm not even actively posting to them, but I don't want them to go offline. So I'm gonna keep paying. [00:42:43] Speaker B: When you go out of business, when you quit, that's it. Then you turn off. [00:42:47] Speaker A: Yeah. So that's one that I have in mind. Like, I don't know what form that's going to take. Like, even looking back on restaurant engine, I was selling the website hosting and the website design. We were providing their whole website. And then eventually restaurants started to ask for online ordering. Right? And what I did back then, looking back on this, I think this was a missed opportunity. I just partnered with an online ordering company and I resold their online ordering solution to my customers. And just so that I can check that really big box for my customers, but I didn't make a lot of money on it, and it was somebody else's SaaS. What I should have done was I should have built one of the early online ordering services or some solution for that. That was back in 2012, and that was when online ordering was just beginning. I'm not going after restaurants this time. Definitely not. But that sort of thing. Maybe one angle at this, I don't. This is just an idea, I don't know. But as an example, maybe the angle is website hosting and something else that gets close to the dollar, whether it's how they make sales or how they do invoicing or some other tool come for the website, stay for the really high value thing. That's just one mental model to think about going down the list of criteria, the next thing, and this is a big one that I haven't thought so much about in previous tools. I'm thinking a lot about it now. And that is the path to activation. There has to be just one way to use the tool. Buy the tool set. Like on board. Like step one, click this button. Step two, do that. Step three, go. You're good to go. I want to eliminate the situation which I've had with almost all my businesses, which is like, oh, this customer has these needs so you can use our product this way. Oh, and that customer has those needs so you can use our product in a different way. And we've got these features that are good for some customers, but these features are good for other customers. Like, no, none of this. If this, then that stuff, just simple. Like, does one solves one problem and you only use it to solve one problem and there's only way that you can possibly use it. You use it this way, you follow our guides or you click our one, two, three and you're in. That is the path to activation. I think converting, if the first one was about preventing churn, the next one is about conversion, taking trial users and converting them because the path to activation is so clear, you know? [00:45:34] Speaker B: Okay, so I thought at first that you were talking about, like, onboarding risk. [00:45:39] Speaker A: Yeah, that is sort of what I'm talking about. Right. [00:45:41] Speaker B: In some ways. But it sounded like you went more into positioning of the product and what it. What problem it solves and for. [00:45:50] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:45:50] Speaker B: So that, that whole line of thinking of, you have this problem, you want to solve it in this way. You come online, you come on board and it. [00:45:58] Speaker A: Yeah. But even, like, even clarity flow has niched down to the point where we're selling to coaches and we're selling to coaches who really care about embracing asynchronous. Right. So, yes, that's focused, but once they're in, there's still a lot of, there's still a lot of branching of use cases. Right. Like, we have a lot of coaches who really care about our courses features, but then a lot of coaches who don't care about that at all, and they just care about the one to one async stuff. And then we have other coaches who care about selling products through our commerce thing, but other coaches who don't. So it's like, we can't just drive you down one path when you're on board. Yeah. So making that just, you're funneling through one path. I think that's an important one. Another one that I have here. And this goes to what you were talking about with your website. Whatever the thing ends up starting with a really compelling h one headline. As I'm evaluating different product ideas and different product categories to go after, I want to be thinking from day zero, ultimately, what's the h one going to be? It has to be a super compelling and super simple all that is valuable. [00:47:20] Speaker B: You want to be able to just nail exactly, like the benefit that you're. [00:47:26] Speaker A: Yeah, like, I don't have to have the exact words down from day one, but if the h one is going to be like, cut your hiring cost by 60%. [00:47:36] Speaker B: Yeah, like, ours is never miss another sales call. [00:47:39] Speaker A: Yeah, exactly. Like start with something like that. Like, I don't know, like, like double your conversion rate or reduce churn by 200% because. [00:47:50] Speaker B: And how does that help you? Is it just like clarity of what the problem is, what the solution is, what the promise you want to make. [00:47:57] Speaker A: Is clarity and the problem is so painful. Or like, it would be so valuable if this problem was, if this metric was improved in some way. I don't know if it's like literally like a numeric like percentage. Like we will double this or half that or whatever it is, but like something that's just so clear, you know, it can't just be like, this is a nicer way to do stuff. Or like, okay, you could do this or you can do that. Or for different use cases, we're going to have different h one s. Like, no, like just one h one. Everyone. [00:48:33] Speaker B: You need to run your coaching business is a difficult thing to get across and nail and bring people in with. [00:48:40] Speaker A: Yeah, it sort of works with the thing I was talking about earlier. It's like you use it to solve one problem in one way and you're sold on that from the h one, from day one. Again, I'm going into this. I'm wide open. I have no idea what product it's going to be, but I feel like it has to have all these things, or most of them, I guess the last one that I have right now. There's going to be more as I think more about this. But you were just talking about it too. Something with high volume, a category, a market, an industry vertical where it's just so huge that we can even find like sub niches to get into. It does need to be niched down. Yeah, but easy to target, easy to reach, knowing exactly who the customer is. Like I said, we have a playbook for scraping. Lots of contacts off of the Internet, off of LinkedIn, off of websites. And if I can find a market where I can clearly point to lots and thousands and thousands of contacts that I know that we can scrape, and those are the people who would buy this type of solution then. That's an interesting thing to me. [00:49:53] Speaker B: I like that. I remember feeling very frustrated that the people we needed to reach, to sell to, you know, an e commerce checkout, they were hidden behind multiple layers. They were. You could find them on LinkedIn, but you weren't sure if they were the right person or someone else in the organization was the right person. They were so inundated that they wouldn't respond to anything. And if you try too hard, then you would fall out of favor. It was like this game of like, how do I get these people to respond? How do they, how do I find them to begin with? And then how do I call them out of their, basically out of their bubble of, like, responsibility, like, they've already got a bunch of stuff to do. Yeah, I'm really hoping that this, the nature of the right, the linkage between you literally want your phone number published as much as possible because you want phone calls and the solution is directly connected to that. I'm hoping that that makes it easier to reach people and deliver the message. [00:50:55] Speaker A: Yeah, I like that, that you could target that. Like, that smoke signal of, like, these are targetable people. [00:51:01] Speaker B: Right. There is like an obvious, it's like kind of begging for us to just call them with our AI. [00:51:09] Speaker A: Like, if you could have the salesperson be AI. Yeah, yeah. [00:51:12] Speaker B: I don't know if we'll do that. [00:51:13] Speaker A: But you should do that. I want to throw out here again, I've been open to it for years, throughout my career, but I've been a solo founder for everything. I just want to throw out. I am open to the idea of partnering with someone. I'm operating under the assumption that I'll just continue to be solo because I just haven't had a good opportunity to partner with someone. But if I were to partner with someone, it would be great if I had someone who was focused on the marketing and distribution side of things so that I can focus on the product side of things. I like talking to customers and doing the customer research and development and jobs to be done and tying that back into product. But the distribution and marketing and top of funnel and growth has always been my weak side of the startup stack and the product side, the full stack design development job to be done. That's where I want to be when I come into this office and sit at this desk. That's what I want to be working on every single day. And if I had someone who, and like a partner, who would be. I have no idea who this would be, if I would ever find someone like that. But like, it's the ideal is like someone who is already well connected to some industry or like has an inroad or has an audience or has a distribution channel and is looking for a next thing to invest in. I mean, that's the ideal. I'm assuming that I am going to be solo on this, so I'll have to do it all just like I usually do. But it would be great if that came along. [00:53:03] Speaker B: I have someone in mind that would need to take offline. [00:53:06] Speaker A: Oh, okay. Well, there we go. Yeah. [00:53:10] Speaker B: There's one of the things. One of the channels that we want to explore is BPO business process outsourcing. Basically resellers. [00:53:23] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:53:24] Speaker B: So that is almost like a marketing co founder in some ways. It's financial in nature and not equity and ownership in nature, but it's pretty similar. [00:53:36] Speaker A: Interesting. Yeah. I remember being in touch with a bunch of people like that when I was doing process kit. There were quite a few of these like BPO consultants who were interested in using process kit with their clients. [00:53:49] Speaker B: Yeah. I have felt a surprising level of interest around AI products because they want to introduce new things to their base and they, you know, they're not going to touch that tech, they're not going to go build an AI product regardless of how difficult it is or not. They see it as this impossible magic thing. There's no way a BPO is going to go off and build their own AI product, but they want introduced. So there's a bit of demand there. [00:54:20] Speaker A: Yeah. I'm also going into this so wide open and doing it on new terms this time. Really low urgency. I've got my income and work covered with consulting and stuff, so I could take as long as I want with this. But I'm also just looking back through the list of products that I worked on in the past and with a fresh set of eyes, how would I do this differently? Or how would I do that same idea again, but a little bit differently. Like I said, even going all the way back to restaurant engine, some sort of hosting solution. But there have been other SaaS attempts. I wouldn't do process kit again in its form, but I did a thing called Sunrise KPI. I've been thinking about a new iteration of that, different ideas. I don't want to just jump into an idea because I liked it. I still want to do this market research and hit that criteria that I was talking about first, but, yeah, I'm just fun and scary at the same time. [00:55:26] Speaker B: To be wide open to whatever, it's a crazy moment. Over the next few weeks, I'm sure you'll start to willow it down into certain things that you are genuinely interested, but it makes sense to start wide. I mean, I remember I literally went to, like, product hunt. [00:55:41] Speaker A: You know, I'm doing a lot of that right now. I'm doing these, like, product sites. I'm also just, like, looking at these, like, little tools for tracking trends. And, like, there are all these, like, I don't know, like, business idea finder tools and, like, 99% crap. But it's like, oh, that's a concept I hadn't thought about before. [00:55:58] Speaker B: Every once in a while. [00:55:59] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:56:01] Speaker B: Cool. [00:56:02] Speaker A: All right, man. [00:56:02] Speaker B: Well, it's Friday. It's sunny here. Cool. [00:56:06] Speaker A: I don't know what I got going. [00:56:07] Speaker B: On this weekend, but not too much. [00:56:09] Speaker A: Yeah, I've got some chilling and then some wine tasting. Should be fun. [00:56:13] Speaker B: Oh, that sounds nice. Well, right now I gotta get to my plant consultation, so. Very serious. [00:56:18] Speaker A: I've got a game three of the next Patriot series tonight, so the intensity is starting to build. Just a few more hours tonight. [00:56:25] Speaker B: All right, thanks for listening. [00:56:27] Speaker A: Later, folks.

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