Software Social

Colleen's in go mode for Refine.

Show Notes

Colleen's in go mode for Refine. 

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Creators & Guests

Colleen Schnettler
Co-Founder of Refine, Founder of Simple File Upload
Michele Hansen
Co-Founder of Geocodio & Author of Deploy Empathy
Cory Stine
Audio Editor
Meghan Coleman

What is Software Social?

Two indie SaaS founders—one just getting off the ground, and one with an established profitable business—invite you to join their weekly chats.

Colleen Schnettler 0:00
Good morning, Michelle. Hi, Colleen. How are you?

Michele Hansen 0:03
I'm good. How are you?

Colleen Schnettler 0:05
Good. So my husband got me this present and it looks like a tennis racket, but it's actually metal where you would have the strings and you turn it on and you zap bugs with it. And they like, burst into flames. It's so much fun.

Michele Hansen 0:20
We have one of those. Our dog is terrified of it. I think for good reason. Really.

Colleen Schnettler 0:23
I had never seen anything like it. I was like, What is this? And we've had a lot of flies recently. And I'm like Walter White and breaking bad with the flies. Like they drive me nuts. And so yeah, now I can I can zap them. It's great.

Michele Hansen 0:37
I'm just picturing you out there. Like, you know, one of the Williams sisters just flies and swatting the flies. Do they have one of those in their house? I wonder? I wonder.

Colleen Schnettler 0:53
So we've got a lot going on business wise.

Michele Hansen 0:57
What is the fly tennis record have to do with anything but

Colleen Schnettler 1:00
I just wanted to share that personal story with you because I got to kill a fly this morning. And they like it's when you first do it. It's really scary. Because they like zap. It's really loud. And I just killed a fly in this very room. So you know, achieving end

Michele Hansen 1:13
of the week. Goal for next week kill two flies.

Colleen Schnettler 1:18
Oh, it's wonderful. I like anyway.

Michele Hansen 1:23
Okay, great. Now that we have established your fly killing abilities?

Colleen Schnettler 1:29
Heck, yeah. Man work so good. I am in such a good place. I'm so excited to check in with you and tell you about everything that is happening. Let's do it. Yeah. So first things first, I had kind of I think like, almost a month or two months ago, I had talked about hiring a contractor. And I was dragging my feet on it one because it's hard. But also, I think part of the reason I was dragging my feet on it would be because this this person is essentially replacing me. And so it's a huge risk, a personal risk for me to hire someone to replace me because then I don't have consulting revenue. And so I did it anyway. Yeah, you found someone. I found someone who already started. He started yesterday. Oh, nice. Yeah. So I did it. I hired someone. And you know, you never know how it's gonna work out. But it seems all signs are promising. And I'm trying I'm really, really trying to get him up to speed as quickly as possible. I haven't managed anyone in years. And so a mistake I think I made with my other contractors, I didn't give him enough onboarding documentation. So I think that was a little frustrating for him. And so I am trying very hard with this new person to like, I spent a whole day like making videos and building out onboarding documentation. It's not spectacular, but it's way better than I did last time. So hopefully he can get up to speed really quickly.

Michele Hansen 2:59
Nice. I'm, I'm happy for you. I remember you saying how hard it is to to hire people right now.

Colleen Schnettler 3:06
Yeah. So we'll see if it works out. He actually found me through the podcast, he reached out to me, I guess. So yay, for the podcast.

Michele Hansen 3:15
So do you have like a goal in mind of when, like, it sounds like you're basically sort of he you're ramping down? He's wrapping up? Like your goal for when he's on it? 100%?

Colleen Schnettler 3:28
No, I think it's, we're just gonna have to feel it out. I would like to, I mean, with the the oversight and like I am the main touch point with them. So I'm not going to be doing no consulting. But I would like to significantly scale back. I think I told you last week or the week before that. They have a big deadline they're trying to hit so I have just been working for them, essentially full time. And so I just want to really aggressively scale that back as he ramps up. But there's no specific like, amount or date. I mean, we're just feeling it out. We're really small team. Yeah. So I'm pretty excited about that.

Michele Hansen 4:03
Yeah, that's, that's a big development. Yeah, what else is going?

Colleen Schnettler 4:07
Well, so we, you and I talked, positioning a little bit last week. And there's, there's been a lot of like, big, nebulous discussions I've been having with people about the best business model for Hammerstone. And these are all really good discussions. But Eric and I were talking and we need to, I think I might have said this last week, but this is I have the sticky note on my computer now. So I see it every day. We need to fail faster. Right. We need to find out if people want this faster.

Michele Hansen 4:39
Yeah, I think there's there's something to be said for sitting around talking about business models. And then there's something also to be said for just going out there and trying them and seeing what resonates with people and what they're actually willing to pay for.

Colleen Schnettler 4:54
Exactly. So I think, you know, I don't want to be in this Same position in a year where we were selling licenses, like it's great, we actually someone else bought it without talking to us. So that's always exciting when. So that is happening, but it's happening very slowly. And we could very easily just stay on the path that we're on. And kind of talk big picture and give Hammerstone time when we have time and be, you know, wherever we are 10k Arr, next year, at this time, if we don't change something that we're doing, that's my belief. And so, we are going to lean into for the for the next sprint. I mean, we don't really do Sprint's I just made that up. But you know what I mean, for this next marketing thing we're going to lean into, we're going to lean into Laravel Nova, we really haven't taken that seriously. And that product is completely finished.

Michele Hansen 5:49
Yeah, we actually are, are running it. So yeah, sweet works. So

Colleen Schnettler 5:53
I, we have and I think some of the hang ups with like selling this and really doing, we have a list a mile long of marketing ideas. But I think part of the hang up with why we haven't done it is because there's still a lot of rough edges in the product specifically on the front end. And so it's slowing us down, but we have this integration, that works, you don't need to customize your front end, because apparently Nova just looks the way it looks. And so we're gonna lean into that. So I'm kind of excited about that we're going to take a lot of our marketing effort and really push on the Nova side while continuing to do everything we're trying to do for, you know, the other products, the rails product, obviously, I work on that full time and the Laravel product,

Michele Hansen 6:37
these rough edges, you mentioned for the front end, are those cosmetic things, or are they things that impact the core functionality or usability of the tool?

Colleen Schnettler 6:51
So they're more cosmetic things, but they're big, we're finding? Well, we're not really finding yet. I don't know, on the rails side, I think, on the Laravel side, people really want I mean, you want your UI to match your application, right. And so yeah, you can throw some CSS classes on there and get the colors the same, or the texts the same. But what I believe Aaron is finding on the Laravel side is people want like the actual way it looks to be different. And we have this like whole view flavoring system, which enables you to kind of plug in your own view components to customize it. But it's still complicated. And it's still like a lot of my understanding of that. And I'm not a view developer. But my understanding of that is it's still very, very hands on from Aaron's perspective in terms of like supporting, like how that works. So he's really trying to get a demo site up, and really good documentation around that. And the railside. You really I mean, it's tailwind, but you can't. So again, you can, you know, put your own classes on it. But you can't change like the fundamental layout unless you extract the views and extracting the views is not insignificant. Because of the way we're using turbo frames and hotwire. So I'm super excited. Like I'm like a week, two weeks away from getting it in people's apps. So I'm super excited for that to see, you know, if if the view thing is really as big of a deal as we think it might be.

Michele Hansen 8:25
Got it. So it sounds like when people do buy it, Aaron is having to spend all this time basically doing like a custom integration for people.

Colleen Schnettler 8:32
Yeah, kind of is that want it to look different?

Michele Hansen 8:35
Is that and that's sort of as support and he's not, you're not charging people for that? That's correct. And so he's spending that time on helping them customize it in a very janky way a little bit. And he would rather spend that time making the tool itself more flexible so that people can do that themselves more easily. Correct. And people have definitively told you that this lack of customization is why they haven't bought it.

Colleen Schnettler 9:04
On the Laravel. Side. Yes. Okay, so, so what I'm, and I think it's been a little demoralizing to have been worth I mean, Aaron's been working on this for years, I've been working on it for a year and a half. He's been working on it for what like four, four years, five years. So I think it's been hard to have come so far and feel like you're not there yet. So I think both from a psychological perspective, and because we need to see we need to fail faster. We're gonna lean into selling Nova, like really figure out the pricing because you know, the pricing is bad for Nova, figured out the pricing, that's going to be a big thing and just lean into that hard the next couple months, while we continue to sell individual licenses and customize that for people and continue to learn right, we're still in the cycle, but I think that's going to be our play while we finish the other products to a point where they're off the shelf ready for you. What indications

Michele Hansen 9:58
Do you have that, like Laravel NOVA is the one you should be going after right now. And that that's where the people with the highest propensity to pay are versus other versions of it. I'm curious how you came to that decision,

Colleen Schnettler 10:12
because people are already paying for Nova. And so you already have a customer base that has shown that they will pay to solve a problem. And it seems like and Aaron could speak to this better than I can, like novas is the admin panel. So you have like a set of customer base that has shown they'll pay for things, and a lot of people are using it.

Michele Hansen 10:37
So it seems like there's some potential there. Yeah.

Colleen Schnettler 10:41
I mean, if you think about pricing, right now, if you can buy Nova for 299. So us trying to sell an add on for $1,000 is nuts. Like, that doesn't make sense. And so I think I mean, we don't know what the price is going to be, but it's going to be at or below, just for the Nova integration, you don't get the rest of it, but like at or below Nova. So I think it's huge drop in price. So Aaron, and I actually had two sales calls this week, which was fun. And so our, our funnel, funnel is still working, I just think it's such a funny word. Like, I never knew what that meant. You realize, if

Michele Hansen 11:12
you're enjoying your funnel is a funnel. When it's really working, are you going to sell funnel cakes.

Colleen Schnettler 11:22
So we had two sales calls this week, and one guy wanted Nova. And you know, we talked quite a bit with him about that, like the pricing. He was like, I cannot sell this to my boss, when Nova is $300. And your thing is $1,000. Like that, literally, he didn't say he was nicer than that. But essentially, he was like, that literally doesn't make sense. And we're like we know.

Michele Hansen 11:42
But then the thing is, like, if you sell it for, I don't know, 49 or 99, right? Like I think, yeah, there's probably reasonable somewhere, somewhere in there. Maybe even more, but like you're selling this by having phone calls with people, you can't sell a product for $49 or $99. And have a phone call with every single customer that doesn't work like at that price point, you're really going for volume at that point. And volume only works when people are coming to you and you don't have to talk to them before they buy. And you don't have to talk to them. Ideally, after they buy either like it should be, they should be able to just buy it and run with it.

Colleen Schnettler 12:23
Yeah, well, that's why we're going to do it with Nova. Because Nova should be Nova so tightly integrated, it'll be just buy it and run with it. Because you don't have these front end issues that you have. And we don't have anything right the integration is so tight that you don't have like it's, again, I'm not a nova user, but it's obvious how to put it in and set it up with the documentation.

Michele Hansen 12:43
So basically, the idea is that you can price this at some point that basically makes it a very easy sell no brainer for people who are already paying for Nova. They buy it without talking to you, they use it without talking to you, you know, there will be support issues, but not like every single integration like Aaron is having to do correct elsewhere. And then basically, that you can get to a certain volume that that will effectively fund you fixing it in these other places and selling it in the full version in a more high touch higher price point. way. Exactly.

Colleen Schnettler 13:18
That is exactly the strategy. So basically, you're kind of double tracking it. Yep. That's the strategy.

Michele Hansen 13:24
So have you started talking about distribution strategy and how you get to that point of? Yep, people finding it without talking or whatnot?

Colleen Schnettler 13:35
For sure, yes. So we have a couple ideas actually have a list. I mean, the first thing will be to make a landing page specifically for Nova, which we don't have yet. So we're going to do get together and do that next week. Then we are going to I mean, we have all that we're going to ask there some newsletter. What is it? You probably know

Michele Hansen 13:54
Laravel news. It's not a newsletter, but like, but it's like the it's like the Laravel Well, Laravel news, because it's called Laravel news. There.

Colleen Schnettler 14:08
Yeah, so we're gonna try and get and Laravel news. Erin is speaking at a bunch of conferences this fall. So he mentioned his speaking gigs, we are going to see what we can do, we'll probably do a Product Hunt launch, like we're just going to try and start getting getting that all I have it lit like all of these things, like just get going on it because we haven't done anything in terms of SEO. Like we haven't done anything.

Michele Hansen 14:31
Well the thing is like I mean, I mean people I might be not be 100% on definitions here, but I feel like SEO is a marketing strategy and not distribution, if that makes sense. Like so I wonder if there are like is like you know, it's pretty often for platforms to have like an integrations page where you like scroll through and are like, Oh yeah, like, you know, I need this to go with my accounting software. So I will add this integration for it and like like Is there some sort of integration marketplace for Nova so that when people are installing it, they can be like, oh, yeah, we need filtering. And we need like this, that and this and we we basically like you can buy, or at least they're linked to from some central. Oh, I

Colleen Schnettler 15:15
see what you're saying. Yeah, well,

Michele Hansen 15:17
how do you know? Like, like, yeah, like there's up can like out do it? Like is that is that a thing for Nova?

Colleen Schnettler 15:23
But if it's not we should make it. I'm going to add that to my marketing list idea Hold on, because that would

Michele Hansen 15:28
be a distribution thing of like, the customers are already there. They're already looking for stuff to plug into Nova The thing about you having, like, yes, you need a landing page for it. And you need to talk about it, and you need to talk to people about it. But like that, that doesn't replace getting it, you know, like plugged into places, right? Like for us, like the fact that we're integrated into so many libraries, like we're part of, you know, the Ruby gem and whatever, like, that is important distribution for us. Because that makes it easy for people to find us because we're not interacting. There's no, there's nothing being done on our side to make them aware of us if that makes sense. Like, I guess that's how I would I guess that's how I would differentiate distribution versus marketing is like marketing, you're actually involved with it versus distribution, you're available somewhere. I'm not a marketer, though. So I might be screwing up those definitions. But that's kind of how I think about it. If that makes sense. So this is

Colleen Schnettler 16:18
an interesting idea. So I don't see anything. Like from the Nova page, they don't seem to have an integration page. I think we have a couple of options here. One, we could make an integration page. What is Scout, uh, Googling it? What is Laravel? Scout?

Michele Hansen 16:35
I mean, presumably, there's other people selling Nova integrations. Right. I'm curious, have you like researched what their marketing strategies are?

Colleen Schnettler 16:43
No, but I think that this is a good idea. And I think you're right, like there. I mean, we can we should make that page and we can own that keyword. That's what we should do.

Michele Hansen 16:52
I think you should take some time to figure out how, like, like, what other Nova integrations are? Are they're out there, like paid ones? And how are they getting customers? I love it. I think that's a great idea. Like it's kind of a competitor analysis, except they're not competitors. They're like, right, colleagues.

Colleen Schnettler 17:12
Let me write that down. Actually. Yeah, I like that idea. It's good. Yeah, yeah. So we're gonna lean into that, while willst while still working on our main products.

Michele Hansen 17:24
I like how you almost went British there for a second. And then like, while while

Colleen Schnettler 17:32
Yeah, I, you know, I think a huge win. You know, we're going to do this next week, start working on the page, and also a huge win on the rail side is I'm going to start getting the people who have paid for it, like getting it into their app this month. So I'm super pumped about that, because it just has felt like a long, long burn, slow burn, whatever, that phrase, slow me kind of Yeah, like the product is so cool. But it is a behemoth of a piece of software. Right. Like I think we talked about this last week. It's not like a file uploader. It is like a huge piece of software. So it will be so great to get this in people's apps and actually start like seeing it live and seeing it working and making them happy.

Michele Hansen 18:14
Yeah, I mean, I think that's important for you both in terms of motivation, but also, there's a little bit of a danger with adding more features to something that's already quite massive. And it's not running for a lot of people yet, like that starts to get Oh, for sure. A little bit concerning. I'm not there yet. But when you're like, oh, Aaron needs like spend more time on the front end. I was like really? Like, yeah, just like, it's okay. I mean, it does sound like he doesn't need to, but yeah, if it's already a big piece of software, and just Just be careful

Colleen Schnettler 18:43
with that. Yeah, no, I totally agree. Totally agree. I feel like I had something else. Oh, yeah. And I'm working on my talk for rail, SAS, which is going to be a Hammerstone demo, but I've got to like figure that out. So that's like, my big thing this week is to figure out what I want to talk about and what I want to demo.

Michele Hansen 19:00
That's awesome. I think it's gonna be a great conference. Oh, it's gonna be amazing. Yeah. And I want to say that because we're sponsoring and sending our employee Cory to it. You know, Cory sky. Yeah, he's gonna be there be nice. Yeah, no, I'm slowly expecting that all we are going to welcome him into the fold. Make sure he is taken care of that. He has people to talk to that he eats something, you know, like,

Colleen Schnettler 19:24
what is he 12? himself?

Michele Hansen 19:28
No, but I I don't I mean, I don't know if he's gone to like a SAS conference before Come to think of it.

Colleen Schnettler 19:34
I'm always nice. And um, be nice

Michele Hansen 19:37
and hang out with him and like, you know, for sure you're going to dinner with people like in vitamin stuff. Awesome. Yeah, yeah, that's actually so real SAS is actually at the same time that full sack Europe is happening, which says I'm going to be at so I'm giving a workshop there on customer interviews. So excited to do that because it's also going to be we're going to it's not just about customers. It's I'm also going to be about clients and internal stakeholders, because, you know, I learned at the last conference that like a lot of developers don't have direct access to the customers, but they still need to use these skills. But it might be in a different context, like it might be, you know, in a client context or with the various stakeholders that they have, and just trying to like, understand what those people want. So they build the right thing. And that that, like that pain of revisions for them is really strong anyway. So I'm gonna be there doing a talk and a workshop. tickets are still available, by the way, and Antwerp. And Aaron, your co founder is also going to be there. So this is like the same. It's so funny week, like the first week of October, I feel like all the conferences are happening at the same time, because I was invited to another one in Copenhagen, and I can't go because it's literally the same way. Maybe it's a bad idea that like for both of our companies, we're all going to be tied up in conferences at the exact same time. And so like, our support is just going to be not very fast. Or it's going to be a busy week, though.

Colleen Schnettler 21:03
Oh, yeah. Yeah, yeah, I've got to, I've got to sort that out. So that's my goal for today. That's my win the week for this week is figure out what I want to talk about, like what I want to demo, I started building out a whole application. But I don't know if that was smart. Because the UI like isn't part of the demo. But the UI also has to look decent. Do you have a good demo? Well, I mean,

Michele Hansen 21:26
when you have these demos with people, what is the point where people get excited?

Colleen Schnettler 21:30
Yeah, that's funny, because someone else asked me that when I was talking about Jim about that, this morning, or Monday, people tend to like the developer interface very much how you just extend from our filter class, people seem very happy about that. They like the composability of it. I don't know if we've gotten anyone super excited. Yeah, you're telling me they like things, but you're not telling me they're like, don't feel like and this is what yeah, this is what we're trying to figure out. I don't feel like we've had an aha moment. I think the aha moment is going to be in like the tightly in a how, how tight. It integrates into your application, like task lists that are automatic based on filters, or the Zillow model where a user saves a filter, and they get an email every time a new property pops up that matches their filter. I think those kinds of things are gonna get people more excited. So I think that's you have that? Yeah. I mean, I haven't built it yet. But I've theoretically have that.

Michele Hansen 22:28
You know, like it exists in the app or like you haven't built like it exists in it exists by itself. But you haven't built it into your demo app.

Colleen Schnettler 22:37
Correct. It exists in refine itself. I haven't Okay, into my demo app.

Michele Hansen 22:42
Speaking of your tennis racket, there's a little flood see there's a bug. I need my tennis racket. Yeah. Yeah, that would be quite, you know, we don't have music or sound effects on this podcast, but maybe burning bugs. Oh, God, I'm so I'm sorry. To all of the the insect welfare people listening. Yeah, yeah, I think I mean, and if you can show one use case like your client, who was the real estate company was really excited to use this. Like, yeah, then maybe it's not the features they get excited about, like, but if they were really hoping to use it, then then yeah, maybe, maybe just do that. So you're going to are you going to use the real estate website? Actually,

Colleen Schnettler 23:19
I'm making a fake real estate website is my plan right now. Getting website, right? Yeah, I'm getting a little sucked into like, wasting time on things I shouldn't waste time on like building property cards that look nice. Because by the way, like, there's something about like Adam Latham's videos that are just so soothing. I love to like watch tailwind, how to build things videos at night and just build things.

Michele Hansen 23:42
What is that called? Like? ASMR something like now,

Colleen Schnettler 23:45
you're like, there's something about him, then I like he's like, and now we will make a property card. And I'm like, Yes, I want to make a property card. Anyway,

Michele Hansen 23:55
you just have Adam on repeat style stuff.

Colleen Schnettler 23:59
Okay, so I have to say this, I was thinking about you. And I was thinking about tailwind. And I was watching. Okay, so I'm making this fake real estate website, which is probably I probably have to discount that a little bit, because it's probably way too much. But I was like, okay, so I want my properties to look nice. Like I don't want to just like have a list. I want an image with like the, you know, the information. So here's this YouTube video on how to build literally how to build property cards, which I, which I've watched and copied. But I thought of you because I was thinking about I was like what tailwind really does. And what his marketing really does is, you think he's, he's like showing you how to design things. But it's really it's something you talked about almost years ago, I think when people buy something, there's a like emotional psychological component to it. And what he really does is he makes developers who look at a blank screen and I'm like, Hey, I don't know what to do feel powerful, because all of a sudden, it's like, I don't know how to build a property card. What should it look like? Where should the words be? Should they be bold? Should they not be bold? And like, he makes you feel so powerful, because he's like, if you just watch my 10 minute video, you too can build beautiful property cards.

Michele Hansen 25:10
I also I cannot claim credit for the idea that, you know, marketing and selling is as much emotional as it is functional. That is definitely not my invention. But yeah, absolutely. It's, you know, you make people feel something, and if you can take them. Oh, holy crap, there's a blank screen. I have no idea what to do to Hey, oh, wait, I just okay, I can do that. Oh, wait, it was all these things like, yeah,

Colleen Schnettler 25:39
because like he's making developers feel powerful in an area, they usually feel powerless, which is design.

Michele Hansen 25:45
So I have a question for you. So you're building a real estate app? We have a lot of customers that are real estate apps. Okay. Do you need address data for these fake places for sale? Don't you? I mean, theoretically, if you want in need they don't they need to like filter something like by like locations and schools? Yeah, I was just like, putting putting random stuff in. But you want me to send you a file? That's like, some addresses with some data attached to it that people can filter on? Yeah, that'd be great. Yeah. So we have like, sample what I said today images to know. So I mean, I don't think you should use real houses for sale. Also, that data is proprietary to the local, like listing services. And it's like a whole thing. Okay. But we have sampling lists, we have sample list that we use. So like I, we always use store locations for sample lists, because I don't want to use somebody's house. So like, and we use ones that are pretty well distributed across the country. So in the US we use Starbucks is our list. Or like our main sample list we have we have tons of tests and samples and stuff like that. But the main sample list is Starbucks in the US. Okay, guess what it is in Canada? Tim Hortons? Yes, yes. And then we have this like gas station in Mexico that I forget the name of, but it's like, everywhere. But yeah, I can send you the, I guess the Starbucks and the, because we don't have as much data in Canada that you might want for real estate. But like, Yeah, usually people want school districts with real estate data. So like, that might be something that they filter by, or? Yeah,

Colleen Schnettler 27:21
that'd be great. That'd be super helpful. Yeah, no, I'm just doing 123 Street.

Michele Hansen 27:25
Okay, I'll send you some real address data with coordinates and stuff. So then you can actually like map it. And well, I mean, but then you're getting into like, let's just say, putting in leaflet and like, then it's like way out of scope. But at least it's like a real,

Colleen Schnettler 27:36
real, real real estate website. Yeah. Let's see if it if it works out. I think. I think the thing with this talk slash demo is, like you said, figuring out kind of like what the aha moments are. So filtering, I like the email things. I like the, you know, I have to think of like, almost like smart lists, people are really, people seem to get excited about the concept of a smart list. What is a smart list. So, for example, if let's continue with real estate, if I don't really know enough about real estate, but like, let's say someone uploads a new property for sale, it falls into the jurisdiction of agent, Sam, instead of a person having to contact agent Sam, agent, Sam can have a filter. Like in the app, I can build, like, Agent Sam owns this location. And so if the broker, okay, if I'm the broker, Colleen, I dump all the properties in, let's say, and they have to be assigned to agents based on the zip code. All of that can happen behind the scenes with filtering, and then I can even like change the filter. So if she, if Sam moves from jurisdiction a to Jurisdiction B, she I can just update her filter, and then she'll only get the properties in Jurisdiction B.

Michele Hansen 28:53
Oh, it's actually okay. That reminds me more of like, sales territory stuff.

Colleen Schnettler 28:58
Yeah. I don't know. I'm just making Yeah, no, yeah. No, I

Michele Hansen 29:01
made sure that, okay. Like a user, like, like a buyer facing real estate website, but you're actually this is more of something that's like internal to a brokerage, for example.

Colleen Schnettler 29:11
Yeah. So let me give you another example. So I was, you know, I was talking to Joe, who owns rails devs. And we were talking about, like, for example, one thing, it would be really useful in a job board when he has developer sign up. So he wants to kick off like all this stuff, what Wait, and I forget specifically what he wants to do. But he can basically set up smart lists. So when someone signs up, they're put in a certain pipeline in terms of like email sequence, or he is notified, you know, if, like, based on their level or he has people he has a two sided marketplace, right. So people come in the companies and they're looking for, you know, part time developers in the United States. When a new developer signs up. The company can be notified without Joe having to make the glue or Get involved. Okay, kinda makes sense. I really need to like if additional logic basically. Yeah, kind of I really need to think about it today. Let me let me get back to you next week, once I've sorted it out, but like this concept of managing state or managing tasks states not a good word to use, like managing tasks or managing like lists, because the list can change, right? Like, like broadcasts, email sequences is a big one. Those change based on who signed up and what you want, like managing all that stuff via filters, is very powerful. I just have to think of like, a way that makes sense to people that they can really wrap they're like, kind of be like, Oh, that's really cool. I want to do that.

Michele Hansen 30:40
Yeah. And I guess I mean, the nice thing about doing a real estate website is that most people have probably gone on Zillow, or what have you and looked for properties. So the like, that is a very good lockable use case.

Colleen Schnettler 30:56
That's why I went with it. I felt like I think it came, I had some, like bigger ideas that were more interesting. Honestly,

Michele Hansen 31:03
were like, for the like, alert thing. It could be like, I think, I mean, I think most of them do this, but like, you know, if you have a filter set for new houses in this zip code, in this price range, and then it sends you an email, right? And showing people Hey, like, you don't have to build all of that,

Colleen Schnettler 31:19
right? I mean, you just literally you'd let your user and that that is something I'm going to add, actually, I'm gonna write that down, because I'm gonna add that today, probably,

Michele Hansen 31:25
because I think that's the thing about refine that I feel like people don't get and those people include myself, which is, it's not just adding the ability to filter things on your website easily. It's also the actions that follow that filtering. So you don't have to build all of the duct work around that filtering, which is a really hard thing to explain. Right? But you're basically saying you could spend, you know, a week or two building this feature so that people can get an email when there's something new in the database that fits their criteria that they've saved. Or you could just use refine. And so if you can find those examples of that? Because, yeah, you need to find those those things where people like, oh, wait, this is gonna save me or my team a lot of time.

Colleen Schnettler 32:17
Yes. Agree. So that's, that's kind of what I'm trying to figure out this week. And what's reasonable in terms of like building it? So I don't get sucked into like, do I build a whole application? Should I build it inside? Like existing applications? Should I just show little pieces? That's kind of the scaffolding I have to figure out around what I want to do here.

Michele Hansen 32:38
I mean, it'd be cool if it's something that is just like a live demo that

Colleen Schnettler 32:42
people can play, right? I know. I mean, I bought a domain for it already, obviously,

Michele Hansen 32:46
I mean, but also, like, you know, that the danger of saying, Oh, it would be cool. If is like, oftentimes the things that you say it would be cool if actually end up taking a ton of time, right.

Colleen Schnettler 32:54
And so it's, it's really, and this is what I'm finding is like the time, you know, make sure I have to make sure I'm putting my time in the important things, the important things are showing what refund can do, the things that are nice to have is like a decent UI and a cool site. But I think they kind of also though, go hand in hand. So I'm trying I guess what I'm trying to say is like, I'm trying to not over scope it or be like I'm gonna build this entire real estate application today.

Michele Hansen 33:19
Well, I mean, if like, so you need to show the filtering on the page. Okay, have five examples of property cards that come up. But then if you're like, so that's cool, right? But then the really powerful thing is that I can save a filter and then get an email. And that's what I think all of this is done automatically. And, you know, me as the developer did not have to manually build out all of this. Yeah, for lack of a better way of putting it duct work.

Colleen Schnettler 33:44
Yeah. Yeah, I think so. I think that's, that's where I'm gonna start and I just got to, I just got to execute. What does that relentless execution,

Michele Hansen 33:52
execute? And when? Yes, execute and God are we becoming like a startup hustle podcast? Like

Colleen Schnettler 33:58
I'm here for it? I'm so like, I am in that mindset right now. Michelle, I'm like, ready to be so aggressive, like, Yeah, I'm here for it. Let's be a hustle pod. Let's be like those really annoying people that are just like, No, let's not. I mean, I'm not kidding. But yeah.

Michele Hansen 34:16
We will be a semi hustle pot. What is semi hustling we will be walking briskly, walking briskly, like, walking. I was I for some reason. I was watching a GIF of Olympic walking the other day, and it's like, wow, the craziest like looking at that. Like, I think it's a speed thing, is it?

Colleen Schnettler 34:33
I don't think I'm just saying how to, like, No, you have to because you have to make sure they have one foot on the ground at all time. That's a rule. Whoa, okay. You

Michele Hansen 34:40
have a judge in that sense. Not like you haven't figure skating. Yeah, no, like walking and running nachos. You're like a referee rather than

Colleen Schnettler 34:50
Yeah. Oh, man, I had such a good week. I could talk for another like 30 minutes, but I won't. I have so much else to tell you. Yeah. So that's, that's good. That is good. Yeah. Yeah,

Michele Hansen 35:04
I feel like I've kind of I kind of grilled you for like the first 20 minutes. I was like,

Colleen Schnettler 35:07
going, that's what we're here. Why are you doing that? I mean, that's like the whole point, I think, you know, Aaron and I were talking to is, we feel like we're just had an execution stage, like we have all of the pieces. And we have all the advice we need, and we just need to execute. And that's what we're doing. But also the reason we do this podcast and the reason we talk to people who have kind of been in the trenches, or are in the trenches with us, is because, you know, advice from people who have been there is good generally.

Michele Hansen 35:38
Yeah. Especially those similar to similar spot as you and yeah,

Colleen Schnettler 35:42
totally. So that's the whole point, I guess is it's good that you just grilled me because that's what that's what, that's what I'm here for.

Michele Hansen 35:50
I had a few things I wanted to tell you. Let's do it. So we've had a lot of chats recently, basically, about how stressed out I am. We have, it's true. So I feel like last week was actually better. So I even got to talk to a customer last week, which was yay, so nice. Had a wonderful conversation with a customer of ours. And, and it wasn't wonderful, because she said everything was amazing. There's actually a lot of places where she has need for a lot more features and, and whatnot from us. But it was just it was so good to get back to that because I keep feeling like I don't have time for that. So that was really good. And we're either, you know, I think I think I tend to what tends to sort of drag me down a little bit is when I have limited time to work. So I spend all of my work time doing operational stuff, which is something that I feel competent at. And I don't mind it, like my first job was as an operations manager. So like all of that stuff is, you know, feels like it's in my wheelhouse. But there is a reason why I was only in that job for a year. And then, you know, sort of elbowed my way into being a technical project manager instead, because I just can't do it all the time. Like, yeah, and so I tend to feel a bit way down when I'm only doing operational stuff, because I just don't, you know, like there's a sense of relief when it's done. Like today, we like finally filed our corporate tax returns for last year, we don't worry, we'd filed an extension. And I finally got our brokerage account funded and running and bought the shares today, which has been like a year long process to set up a corporate brokerage account, if you would believe it. So like I got those done. It's like, Yay, that's over. But I don't feel the same kind of sense of like, Accomplishment from it that I do about product improvements, or, like stuff that like touches customers, whether that's marketing or product stuff, or even sales stuff really like I just I just don't get that same sense of accomplishment when it comes to accounting and insurance and yeah, finance stuff and whatnot. So it's been really good for me to get a little bit of that time back and actually getting some time to work on the product. Talk to customers a little bit like I'm, hopefully soon I'm going to be starting my annual customer portfolio analysis project, which is kind of my favorite project

Colleen Schnettler 38:26
of the year. You love that. I love that. Yeah, your favorite thing. Yeah,

Michele Hansen 38:31
I did outsource some of it this year. So I do have my VA going through that. So basically, what I do is I think I've told you write, I take a list of our, the top 80% of our revenue, all of those customers, and then go through them one by one, figure out you know, what the company name is and what industry they're in, like, very high level, and then do that for every single customer. And then not only start analyzing that data and looking for trends within industries and company sizes and stuff like that, but then also talking to those customers who are either in, you know, very, at least, you know, checking in with with the people who are paying us the most or looking at segments where we want to expand to and making a point to talk to those people and stuff. And so it's just something that I really, really enjoy doing, and always gives me so many ideas and helps crystallize our informal roadmap that I guess it's probably getting more formal, but but yeah, I'm looking. I'm looking forward to that. So now I at least have something on the like the product business side that I have to look forward to. That's great. Yeah, I just I think that's been a really big realization for me that I just I just need that balance, right? Like I love being an entrepreneur because I wear so many different hats. And so if I get to a point where I'm only wearing one hat, then I get a little bit restless. That makes sense. Yeah. Yeah. But that I'll like that probably seems so like it I don't know up in the clouds to you when you're like, you're like fighting for survival at this point, right? Like, you're just trying to sell this thing like you don't like, you were like a lion hunting in the wilderness trying to find meat, right? You know, you're just like out there trying to, you know, see if the thing is going to work and in and get it out there and everything and yeah, the all the operations stuff probably seems very far off. But it does when you're eight and a half years in this is the kind of things yes, all you have to do.

Colleen Schnettler 40:30
I conceptually, totally get it like yesterday was the end of the month, so I had to do invoices, I hate doing invoices, because I gotta pay my contractors, I gotta, you know, and so it's not, you know, it's conceptually like the same, it's like, really important, you got to do it. But it also takes you out of what you love to do, which for me is like the development stuff. And for you is what you were just talking about, like product development as well. So I conceptually get it, I think you look like you're gonna say something, let's just say why don't you have a VA? I don't really want one. Not yet. But you want to spend all this time doing invoices? They don't take that question markup? It's a couple hours once a month, like it's just casually a couple hours when you can be. Yeah, building the product or selling it to people. Maybe? Yeah, okay. But I think what's interesting about what you just said about, like how we're in different stages, I almost think in some ways, it's easier for me, because my goal is very clear. Like I know exactly what I'm trying to do. Whereas I know, you know, I have other friends that are kind of in the position you are well, not quite where you are, but have had more success. And it's harder to what's your goal, like like what's I mean, you can think in a whole different way. Because my goal is very specific. You can think in a whole different way with where you are like, like literally like what is your life goal and in your business and your life? And it makes it maybe a little bit harder, because your purpose is a little more blurry.

Michele Hansen 41:57
I think it's a, oh, I've just forgotten the term for this. Now that I'm about to say it, what did they call like the luxury of choice problem? What is it? Like? Do you know what I'm talking about when you have, like, you have so many options, and pretty much all of them are good and a paradox of choice problem paradox of choice, right? Like almost spoiled by choice that, like, we have so many different options, and you're trying to find the best one. And then it's very easy to just fall into a state where you're hyper optimizing and trying to find the most optimal goal, or you're just like, you know, what is the meaning of life? What is the meaning of right, like, right, and it's like, and I think I have to, like pull myself back from that, too. And I think that's why, partly also why I really love the customer analysis project to be is because it makes it clear for me to see like, hey, like this segments performing really well. Okay, like, how could we be doing more for those customers? Like, you know, all of all the feature requests and ideas that we've had, like, which ones are have been requested by those like types of customers, or which would be helpful for them? You know, just, that really helps me pull things down to a tactical level of like, oh, we should have more marketing for people who are doing distance calculations. Great. Like, right, you know, like, it makes it really tangible for me like, and in a way, that's how we've gotten to doing sock two, as well, from seeing that. We have a lot of customers in banking, and insurance and financial services, who really love us, but we were spending a lot of time on onboarding them or or, you know, just kind of custom solutions and taking up a lot of time for everyone. Yeah, and that's something that we are executing on now is doing SOC two, that became a goal in 2020. Like, I think that was based on 2019 data, right? So now we're three years later. So these two, they like, goals and initiatives almost like end up taking a lot longer time, which I guess is something I'm getting used to is that it's okay, if something takes six months, or a year or a year and a half for us to do it. Because we're not a big company. But we are a we are a much I don't know, like I guess a much more stable company with so many more customers so that the ship is going to move a bit slower because it has to because there's so many edge cases for us to think about, there's so many little details for us to do. There's so many big things for us to think about. There's so many people and apps that it's going to impact. And so a lot of care is unnecessary. And actually I like that level of complexity and being getting to think at that level. But yeah, it's it's, I guess I find that to be a very grounding exercise, because sometimes you can be like, Oh, we could be doing that we could be doing this. And then I look at that and I talk to people and it's like, I think this is the this is where we're going. So because it's not just and I think this is something that people might misunderstand sometimes right is like, you know, customers are, they're never gonna tell you What to do, they're never going to tell you a strategy. And quite frankly, they shouldn't. And if they do, you shouldn't listen to them, right? Like, that's not their role. It's your role to digest all of that and turn it into a strategy. You don't just take what they say, like verbatim and then just do it, right. They're not a client for a reason. And so I really enjoy doing that, like intellectual exercise of Yeah, looking at all the data and talking to people doing some research and figuring out what what all of that means for us and what we should do. Yeah, that makes sense. My two, but again, am I too far up in the clouds here on like? No, I

Colleen Schnettler 45:33
just think it's your it's just interesting. Like I said, I just think it's, I totally understand what you mean, when you say it's a grounding exercise. But also, you could do none of it. And it would be a good, fine. And so that must be like, so I think, you know, Rob walling talks a lot about what he has like four things, but one of them is purpose. And he was just telling, I was listening to startups for the rest of us just the other day. And he was talking about when he first got started, he just wanted to build a lifestyle business. And then he built a lifestyle business. And then he got bored. So he changed what he wanted to do. And it's just interesting, because when you hit a certain level in your business, your purpose could diminish. Because when you're like, right now look at me, like my singular focus, is to build my businesses to a point where they sustain me, so I don't have to do any consulting. If I can build them to a like, I can immediately see how it's going to change my life. Like it's so very clear. Whereas you are just in a different position, right? You could build it to a $10 million business. You don't even know if you want to do that. You could just do what you're doing

Michele Hansen 46:37
it, but it's a weird thing where that's optional, right? Like,

Colleen Schnettler 46:40
yeah, yeah, right.

Michele Hansen 46:42
Yes, I am. I actually got to meet up with Peter zoom, you know, from out of beta and out of beta him and yeah, I met up with him the other day. And we spent a bunch of time talking about reform, because I think I think you guys are actually in a similar spot. Actually, I feel like we should do like a podcast swap at some point. And like, you and Peter should talk to each other. And then yeah, but I'm talking to Peter and and, you know, we're talking, you know, the whole afternoon about reformed stuff and, and he's like, Oh, I didn't even ask you about you, Cody. Like, like, How's it going with you guys? Like, you know, what's exciting that you're working on? And I was like, honestly, like, this is nothing like things are fine. Like, if there's stuff is exciting, or you like, you know, exciting in a way of like, how are we going to like, hit this goal? And how are we going to survive right out, there's almost like a bad kind of excite like it like I don't know how to just kind of exciting, like an like an anxious excitement, almost right, that you're in. Like, if, if you're in that state, and you're like in your eight and a half years in, you're doing something wrong, like it should be pretty boring, pretty, you know, calm and peaceful. Like, at this point, yeah, we should not be worried about paying ourselves or stuff like that at this point. Because especially for the kind of business that we've built, like we would just be, we would be doing something wrong if we were under that kind of like existential stress of like, what is our product? And how do we sell it?

Colleen Schnettler 48:08
Right. Right. So how is this working with like language school? And is this giving you energy getting to do this product work? And you're feeling or

Michele Hansen 48:18
a little bit? Yeah, I think I think because it is stressful to only have like, three solid work days, and then the rest of the days just kind of be patching things together. Yeah, I have resolved that I don't want to be miserable. From stress. The next few months, I still don't know quite how much I'm going to achieve that. I am still doing the little journaling thing, but only actually I've noticed only on the days that are really hard are the days that I need it when I feel particularly tired. Oh, so Mateus was like, You know what, you have so much going on. But you really need to find time for yourself. Like I was like, yeah, probably like, and he was like, You should sign up for gymnastics again. And I was like, no, like, I don't have time. And I you know, I haven't had any time to work out. So I'm out of shape. And like, he was like, No, you should just like sign up for it. You need that for yourself. And I was like, fine, whatever I'll do it like, which is like such a point of like, wow, I have to be like dragged kicking and screaming to my favorite activity. And I actually went on Tuesday, and it was okay. Yeah, I think that the concern I had was that it's late at night because it's you know, after all of the kids have their gymnastics practice, so it doesn't even start till 8pm And it's a half hour drive away. So it's so it ends up being a long night because then I have to shower after work. So I'm not embedded to like, yeah. Oh, yeah. So it's hard when you know, you've got a kid and you're up at 6am Every day no matter what. But yeah, yeah, I'm so glad I went I'm so glad I made the time for it. It's it's important to try to carve out that time. Awesome. Good. So that was good. So I feel like things are slowly finding a rhythm and I'm just going to be exhausted for the next few months and and that's how it is. So okay, but I can at least be mentally better about it. I did make it I'll download to like when my exams are like, then I will be crossing it off every single time. Yeah, I mean, it just just got to do it right though, actually, so So you know, of dee h h. You remember him? Yeah. He actually had an article in Danish, and basically the Danish version of The Wall Street Journal. Okay, talking about how difficult Denmark has made it for spouses of Danes to live in Denmark with all of the requirements. Yes. So like, yes, yeah, Peter told me about this. And I was like, oh, yeah, this is this is spot on. So it's, I think it was really helpful for me to read that. Because it's like a, okay. It's like, not just me that has difficulty with all of these requirements. And also, people are talking about it. And, you know, if I say something about it, like, I'm nobody, nobody cares, right. I'm also in the system. So I am, I have no vote. Right? Right. But if someone like DHH is talking about it, like he is so good at kicking a business, like yes, and sometimes that's good, and sometimes not. And we're not going to get into that here. But he is very good at stirring up a business. And so I'm like, if he makes this his personal cause, like, that would be amazing. Yeah. And the whole nother topic, but that actually, I think that really gave me some like, I think it was just helpful to read is like, okay, it's not just me that struggling with this, which I think quite frankly, I still feel like at the end of the day, the primary purpose of our podcast, in addition to us talking to each other, is to make people have that feeling of it's not just me that struggling with this. It's not just me, that's that's having trouble figuring it out. Right. Like, I feel like that's a very powerful and like reassuring feeling, because I find it's easy to like get stuck in a loop of like, is it just me that's like, can't can't do this. Right. So, so yeah, I'm feeling more hopeful than I have and getting to do more of that work. I enjoy. So things are trending upwards.

Colleen Schnettler 52:06
Okay. Well, I'm sure it will be like, you know, signed up, not sinusoidal. But up and down over the next couple of months. Oh, yeah. But it's good to hear that this. Yeah. Good week.

Michele Hansen 52:16
Yeah. I mean, we're like, I'm going to a retreat in November, like, a week before my first part of the exams.

Colleen Schnettler 52:26
I probably bring the Delilah.

Michele Hansen 52:29
Towards the end of that. I'm probably gonna like the beginning. I'm gonna be like, whatever, no responsibilities. I don't care. And then the end of it. I'm going to be like, Oh, my God. Like, if you find me like shaking, you know, crying in a closet. I'm just telling you now you know why? Like hopefully it wasn't like that.

Colleen Schnettler 52:49
But you know, no, it will not like that. Sure. All right.

Michele Hansen 52:55
Well, on that disappointing note, to pull Jeremy Clarkson. Do you want to thank our listeners?

Colleen Schnettler 53:03
Yeah. Huge thanks to all of our listeners who've become software socialites and support our show. You can become a supporter for $10 A month or $100 a year at software social dot dev backslash supporters. Chris from chipper CI. The daringly handsome Kevin Griffin and Mike from gently use domains who has a nice personality. Day from recut max of online or not, Stefan from talk to Stefan. Brendan Andrade of bright bits team tuple. Alex Hillman from the tiny MBA, Rami from Jane and Benedict from user list. Kendall Borgen. Ruben gammas. have signed Well, Cory Haynes have swiped Well, Mike Wade of crowds, crowds century sorry, Mike. Nate Ritter of room steals and a massive subscribe sense. Jeff Roberts from out setup Justin Jackson mega maker, Jack Ellis and Paul Jarvis from Fathom analytics, Matthew from appointment reminder. Andrew culvert bullet train John Koster. Alex, of course. Oh systems. Richard from stunning. Josh, the annoyingly pragmatic founder, Ben from consent kid John from credo and editor ninja cam Sloane, Michael Kapur of new see proposals. Chris from URL box, Callie of Taslan. Greg Park from trait lab. Adam from Rails auto scale lot on Alex from recap, see Joe mez allottee of rails proud mama from Opal net, LLC. Anna from cradle Moncef from Ruby on Mac. Steve of be inclusive. Simon Bennett of snaps shooter backups Josh Smith of key Arvid call James sours from Nathan of develop your UX Jessica Melnik Damian, more of audio audit podcast checker Eldon from nodal studios Mitchell Davis from recruit kit.

Michele Hansen 54:48
Thank you so much, everyone. Thank you for listening. Bye. Talk to you next week going

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