Colleen chats with Zach Goldie, positioning consultant, about how to better pitch her product, Simple File Upload.
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Colleen: Welcome back to Software Social.
I'm super excited to have a
special guest today, Zach Goldie.
Zach is a positioning consultant.
Zach, can you please tell us
what a positioning consultant.
I, so positioning consultant
is partly a term I made up for
myself because it sounded fun.
Um, which is so all of my work is
with so B2B tech companies, and it's
a lot about helping them refine the
pitch so that it's like clear how
it helps, like decide who it's for.
They are up to what they've tried already,
what the product is, how that fits into
that kind of their stories so far and
building the pitch for the company.
So kind of much more than writing
nice words or pretty pitch, just
like, okay, how do we pitch this?
What's the positioning of the product.
And that is what I do for.
So I asked you on today because you've
actually done some work for hammer
stone, one of my startups, and we're
in the midst of working on that.
And I also wanted to get your take
on simple file upload because I feel
I've pushed out a ton of product
features and I feel a little.
I dunno, lost, I guess in clarifying
my message in terms of what I do.
I feel like I'm all over the place.
I'm kind of scatterbrained.
And so I'd love to get your take on that.
That sounds like pretty much every
startup entrepreneur where like you
build all of these things and you're
like, but there's so many things that
are cool about, then you kind of get
lost in trying to say any of them.
You're like, oh, now I'm
not saying any of them.
That becomes a little bit like, yeah.
That's exactly where I am right now.
Zach: So the things and how do I
summarize them all in one pithy sentence?
So my thought, oh, I have a couple
of thoughts of how to approach this
and I want to talk to you about this.
So this is predominantly a Heroku add-on.
And so my thought was we obviously
don't have hours and hours.
We have a period of time
today to work on this.
My thought was to focus on
the Heroku entry points.
Since most people find me through.
Zach: Yes, that sounds sensible to me.
And I imagine so I don't know, probably
main sessions that people either
searching upload or S3 something
Colleen: along those lines.
That's my guess is people come in here.
So this is, this was upload, but they
come in here to this, you know, main
all elements page and they search.
I dunno what they search, but I
assume they're searching file uploads
or storage or S3 or something.
Zach: Yes, it might be worth it.
Honestly, our listeners would like
to admit that we have talked through
this a little bit and I've done some
amounts of poking around and research.
So I'm not just coming
into this completely cold.
Colleen: That's true.
We did do a little pre pre podcast chat.
Work out what this product is.
Um, so yeah, so.
I think part of the challenges,
partly that you're not the
only one, which is fine.
It's kind of a good position to be
in because if you're the only one
doing something, it's like, why am
I the only one day this is this.
Cause now once it all, so
like competition is good.
And would it be scared of that?
So I tried three as a search term.
And if to that, like you can
see quite a lot, a bunch of
other files uploading to S3.
Cause if I'm not mistaken,
news is based around that
Colleen: as well.
And I noticed mine does
actually not come up.
But I think I might've
been in a different window.
Zach: I think I was searching
specifically, the ad-ons not
the all elements or something.
Colleen: So, yeah,
yeah, yeah, there we go.
There we go.
But in this list, I think then
the only one that doesn't mention
S3 in the little title, right?
Colleen: Wait, this is data stores.
And then my.
As in data store utilities.
So here's the deal you have to pick.
If I recall correctly, I had to pick one,
like you can, I'll double check that, but
I don't think I can be in both of these
categories when I submit the add on, I
had to pick just one category to be in.
So I went data store utilities,
although mine is technically
a data store and a data store.
Zach: Why say, can you explain
the difference quickly?
Colleen: So I believe when they're
saying data stores are just
showing you like this, this bucket
here, that's just an S3 bucket.
This add on just spins up
buckets for you and provides
you with your IAM credentials.
And I think a lot of these are
in that space where they're.
Storage and an interface to storage.
Whereas I consider mine a data store
utility because I provide the data
store, but I also provide all of the
architecture around using the data store.
I don't just dump you some IAS.
You know, credentials, I
give you the whole widget.
I serve the files.
Zach: for my sake, since I work a lot of
dev tools, but I'm not a developer myself.
So I ended up asking all the questions.
I'm like, oh yeah, that
is a good question.
So if someone were to set up
one of those, just kind of S3
buckets, what work would you see?
What would be the kind of a typical
workflow that comes after that?
Could you tell me about that?
Colleen: So for the S3 only.
Um, I've used this one.
So that's why I'm going to
speak to this one specifically.
You just provision this, add on,
and then it literally gives you
credentials to access an S3 bucket.
So you, as the developer
have to know how to use S3.
If you want to drop zone, like
what I provide, like a file drop.
You have to build all of that out with
of the server side stuff like this.
Literally just gives
you keys to access it.
I guess then there's a bit of an
awareness level of, so always think
about where a potential customer is in
terms of what they thought about so far.
How familiar are they with this?
If we a detour by a hammer stone
for a moment, because that'd be fun.
When I talked to your colleague, Sean,
about Hammerstone, one of my first
questions on here is like, so it's a
query builder like, building like great.
Would anyone know what a query builder is?
Because it's like, kind of,
they know what a query is.
I'm like, yeah.
But like, so there's, there's a great
book made to stick by Chip and Dan Heath.
Which is all about kind of
communicating big ideas.
And there's a great concept in there,
which I think they'd take them somewhere
else called the curse of knowledge, which
is when you know, a whole load about
a subject, you can say one phrase and
you know, all the implications of what
you mean by that phrase, you know, like
that you don't have to do any setup, you
know, all the different steps of setup
that someone doesn't have to do where
someone who's not familiar with that.
I don't have to do set up on the go.
They're set up in both.
I don't have to do, and that's about it.
So it's that kind of, even if you say,
oh, there's this as a bucket, does that
mean as much to them as it does to you?
And it's these kinds of questions that I
think trap a lot of founders where they
know what they mean by a short phrase,
whereas it's quite hard to like take the
step back and go, oh yeah, everyone knows.
They might know what I mean, but not
like fully appreciate, like with state.
One of my follow-up questions was
so what's the main alternative.
And Sean said they would kind of make a
DIY version and like, so then we had to
talk through like the fact that people
probably think it's a week project, but
actually it ends up turning into three
months and why it turns into a three
month project and having to spell it.
Why just buying something off
the shelf is a bad idea than DIY.
Cause he can say building, it was
a bad idea, but they don't know
exactly all the details of, you
know, about why it's a terrible
idea to build here in QueryBuilder.
So I do have, I think I'd
absolutely have that problem.
Having lived through, having lived through
building this and dealing with this.
Colleen: So what would you recommend?
Zach: So if we take a step back and
think about it from your prospect's
point of view, so it's someone I
know you said it's kind of fairly,
maybe new piece of software, small
business, and you're not looking at
massive enterprises at this point.
Is that about right.
So then there's a question of
how much would that develop her?
Would they be experienced?
Do you think they've tried
doing, setting up SV before?
Or is that not something
they've probably done?
I would think they had tried
to set up S3 before and.
Either succeeded, but realized how
painful it was or got frustrated or kind
of another thing you see is you see,
like they have, they don't have set it
up, but they do this thing where, what
they really want is a drop file box.
That'll resize their images,
but they get halfway there and
they end up just with a normal.
And they get frustrated
and don't finish that job.
I guess that might be an issue if
they've done it before, it might be
so long ago that they've forgotten
how good the pain that was to
I think the people who want
this, you know, they're the
people that want to move quickly.
So I think it's, like I said, I do see
a lot of like hobbyists and students,
but also people, you know, getting.
You know, with small, like small
businesses getting that off the ground,
they want to add file uploading, you know?
Um, but it's not as well,
Zach: which is always a good thing for
Like when I think about the people who are
using it now, I've got like a nail salon,
a real estate company, a form company,
couple of people using it for forms.
It's pretty popular for forms.
So those people, I think
they are developers.
They're trying to do a lot
with, with a small team.
And so doing things like setting up as
three, whether they've done it before and
they've forgotten how to do it, or they
just kinda know it's going to be a pain.
So I think that's kind of the people
based on my current customers.
Zach: So we can assume that there's that
kind of awareness level of that they know
that they probably need to use a fee,
but don't necessarily want to use a FICO.
It's a pain.
I feel like that is accurate.
So I guess.
There's like a couple of
ways of approaching it.
You can talk through.
The steps that they want to avoid.
Like you don't have to do
general setup, step a, B, and C.
You just get the finished results.
That'd be quite a nice
way of talking about it.
Or you can talk about just jumping
straight to the results of like it's a
pre-configured file upload the builder,
which already has set up file resizing,
something else and something else.
So my first, my first question would
be, I mean, both of those sound good.
I only get like one sentence here.
So this, we had kind of
pre talked about how many.
Fixing this, or making this more
descriptive would be, would be a
great win from this conversation.
Um, and then I could, I could
flush that out, but I, and I know.
So I want to tell you what it does,
even though you, you know, I mean, I
think I have the curse of knowledge
and I'm like, it does all these
things, but what it does, why it's.
That's better than the competing
alternatives, because it's easier.
It does browser size file resizing.
It does on-demand file resizing.
It allows you to limit the
type of files you accept.
It allows you to limit the size of it.
Does all of these things.
I'm like, I don't know how
to get that in one sentence.
My thing is better than.
Can that be my sentence, but, but when
I list the features, when I really
think about what it does and what you're
replacing, cause you were talking about,
you just said, I wrote a note, you know,
make a list of what you don't have to do.
If you use my thing.
It's a lot, it's like 10 things.
Zach: Could you abbreviate that
down to like three things of like
three big chunks of you don't have
to do configurations something.
I don't know enough about
S3 to come up with three
I think so.
If I had to pick three things that
are the most impressive or the most
annoying, the most annoying it would be.
And I'm just speaking, then this isn't
what we'd have them as, but like,
you don't have to set up a AWS and
you don't have to use AWS console.
You don't have to build out the client
and server, so you don't have to
build out the drop, like a file drop.
You don't have to build out the server.
You don't have to build out all of that.
That sounds like all of the
architecture around using AWS.
You don't have to build that out.
I already do that for you.
Then the last one would be,
and I do all the file resizing
and optimization for you.
Should you want it?
Zach: Yeah, I mean, so
there's a few ways of you.
There's two paths you could
do this, that I'm thinking of.
You can either go for like the end
you found uploading, or you could
double down on that resizing aspect.
That's quite a popular thing and
make that like a core part of
that tagline pre-configured setup.
Including file resizing
and hosting or something
I think that's a big thing.
I think I should double down on
images because like, I take all kinds
of files, but people are 80, 90%
of people use it just for images.
So I feel good about double down and
doubling down on the image aspects.
Zach: be good then that already makes
it a bit more like image optimized as,
Colleen: Ooh, that's a
nice, it's a nice word.
A nice phrase.
Zach: already too.
The space is a limit.
Do you know?
You've got most of the, I'm
just looking at the other like
line length of the other ones.
You don't get much more attendee
about 20 words or something like that.
Colleen: It's not a
Zach: lot, not a lot.
So one medium length sentence
is all we have to play.
Has anyone listening, FYI
really have a short sentence
that we're trying to squeeze.
Colleen: to turn all of that.
I just said into one sentence
that can't be too long.
I think narrowing it down to images.
If that's what people are mostly after,
like using it for could be a good tactic.
There's one of those things where
narrowing it down is always scary
because you feel like you're
alienating some potential customers.
If it's sacrificing the few for
the many of them, that's fine.
Like, if you're more, a little bit,
like if you're going to see if it will
make you that much more appealing to
the majority of your customers and isn't
that obviously good to like the 20%
that's like, it's only a small minority.
It's like, well, why not just double
down on being more appealing to
the majority of your customers.
Um, I'm comfortable with that.
Like I think I'm willing
to make that change.
That seems reasonable.
Zach: So then simple file.
Upload could be something
about pre-configured S3,
uploading, optimize the file.
I'm losing technical terms
There's a lot of words.
Um, I liked the pre-configured S
three because I should be showing up
for S three search results and okay.
You said pre-configured S3,
uploading, optimizing file resizing.
Pre-configured or like already
set up as quite a big part of it.
It's not just that it's
ready to go with the Roku.
It's already like that.
The S3 side of things is done.
Like you'll never have to touch S3.
Oh my gosh.
I'm going to add that on the other
That's pretty much your like
main statements of like, you
don't have to touch us three.
Colleen: That's amazing.
So let me, okay.
So I do want to, yeah, I'm
adding that on my main page.
That might be my bold tagline.
So yes, I agree.
You never have to touch S3
is a huge selling point.
The whole optimizing file
resizing is a huge selling point.
And like all of the stuff
around that is done.
I mean, cause if you look at this right
now, I have the fastest way to add
file uploads to your Heroku application
that doesn't tell you anything.
Zach: fastest is good, but you
know why it's the fastest to read.
So this is where that like curse
knowledge then comes from, like, why
is it the fastest to be more specific?
It's mostly that S3 side of things that
they don't have to deal with configuration
configurating this, that and the other.
Colleen: So I said
Zach: configurated which just brush
Colleen: past that positioning
consultants, do they.
Zach: be a thing.
Let's make it sound like, uh, writing now.
So what I have is pre-configured S3.
I like that.
I like that.
Pre-configure S3 for, let's see S
three for uploading uploading images
and resizing and resizing images.
Zach: I mean, easily bit.
It's already implied by the
fact it's pre-configured
pre-K you're right.
And I don't have a lot of words.
So this is like a word count
thing pre-configured S3 for
uploading and resizing images.
With an upload widget provided
by an upload widget by a
customizable upload widget.
Is that too many buzzwords?
Zach: that, is that a big factor?
Do you think that widgets?
Colleen: think it is because I think
like you get a lot of, I don't know.
Zach: Let's dive into that then.
Like, what's good about having a
customizable workflow, which it sounds
like a silly question to you, but
Colleen: no, no, you don't
That's what's good about it.
That's what I should say.
Oh my gosh.
This is so fun.
Zach: I just said to my job
is asking the right questions.
Colleen: So how about pre-configured S3
for uploading and resizing images, period?
No, no, no.
Wait that doesn't tell
them what it is though.
Pre-configured S3 for
uploading and resize images.
With a customizable upload widget,
too many words let's do it.
And we can do it in real
time, which is fine.
Um, okay, so it's ad-ons next.
And then simple file upload
and then marketplace listing.
I think here it is.
So I can like do it in
real time, which is fun.
So this is what I had before
the fastest way to add files
to your Heroku application.
So let's riff on this pre configured.
Three for uploading and resizing
images with a, a snazzy.
I want to say snazzy.
That's not, I want to say, I don't
know why it came to me with a easy
to configure upload widget, no Java
script or server side code required.
Zach: Well, it let's see if it gives
the length error, maximum 80 characters.
Colleen: I have to move our video.
What did it say?
How many CA uh,
Zach: um, it's annoying.
It doesn't give you character
count underneath the road.
Come on, Heroku.
Colleen: This is great.
Zach: Yeah, you might want to
rearrange it a bit saying, um, image
uploading using pretty conservative.
I don't know if you want to open up
the image a bit and then say us three
Colleen: image uploading using pre config.
Zach: a pre-configured set up,
Colleen: but no, I like set up
Zach: say a pre-configured, but yes,
um, Is your easy to configure upload,
free upload widget is so easy to
pretty much saying the same thing.
So you could probably get
rid of one or the other.
Those are the main two selling points.
Colleen: Oh, I'm writing that down.
That's another one.
No S3, no Java.
So how do they configure
I mean, they have to add a script
tag, they add a script tag and
then they have to add a class of
simple file upload to wherever they
want the file drop zone to appear.
Zach: guess they do something on the front
end to change that into a button that
actually exists on the form or whatever.
Colleen: So what they do is they
actually do a hidden input and
then I hook into their hidden
input and provide them the dry.
So they don't even need to make a button.
They can, if they want it to be like
a modal, but most people actually,
almost all people are not doing that.
They're just putting a hidden input
and turning it right into a here
I'll show you on the homepage.
So like, this is what they're doing
and all they had to do to add this
would be the hidden input with
the class, a simple file upload.
Then I hook into that class, replace
their hidden input with this drug.
So could you almost, instead of saying
about a customizable widget, say with
one hidden inputs or something like
that, would that be synonymous like
So what I, what met my customizables,
I meant they could change the colors
and stuff, but I don't know if that's
a huge deal and that's pretty obvious,
I think once they get into it.
So I don't know if that needs
to be on this front page.
I don't think that's as big of a
selling point as this other stuff.
Image uploading use of
pre-configured S3 set.
Add one hidden.
I'm not going to have enough
characters to tell him what
Zach: to do.
I want to mention still
with the imagery sizing
Colleen: image, resizing and
serving included or image.
Zach: That sounds good
Colleen: sizing and serving included
Colleen: image uploading using a
preconfigured S3 setup, imagery,
sizing, and serving includes.
I need to say something about a widget,
because I feel like it's still kind
of unclear that there's a widget
Colleen: they do.
And you know, it'd be
interesting just for fun.
Let's see what the other big, like
the big enterprise level players
here are like Cloudinary and there
Zach: is a factor we don't have
to completely sell it with the
sentence really to give them a reason
to click through, into the main.
Which is easy
Colleen: to forget.
Right, right, right.
Everything doesn't need
to be in the sentence.
So for context, Cloudinary does the same
thing at an enterprise level there's
is manage, optimize and deliver high
performance image and video experiences.
So they don't talk about storage
and they don't talk about
their widget upload Karen.
Zach: it doesn't make it clear
how much work that requests me.
Colleen: Which file stack the
complete file infrastructure.
Now see these don't tell me anything.
I don't really like these other two.
Zach: I assume the enterprise
marketing is any better than anyone.
Colleen: There's a quote.
I think that's going to be the quote
that the title of the oh, okay, cool.
So I don't know that they're I don't, I
don't really like there's image uploading.
So let's go back to this and you're right.
I just want them to click.
Zach: Yeah, you need to
give them a good reason.
I'm like, oh, this one sounds like a
good one to read the details about.
And I think that's yeah, the
That sounds like, oh,
that's that sounds easy.
It sounds easy without you saying
Colleen: it's easy.
I like that.
You're right now.
It sounds easy without
me saying it's easy.
Zach: It's a short enough
amount of characters.
If you delete our old.
I think it is.
Colleen: Oh my goodness.
I got wait now I really have to, okay.
I got to get a cash account.
I'm going to have to remember
how to get a character
And actually it depends how fast
through the process they are
thinking at the moment they might
have only been thinking about.
Yeah, three aside, the things not about
actually getting on their websites,
they might not be thinking as far
ahead as how do I implement this app?
This watch, that browsing
these listings, right?
In which case you'll possibly jump
in, like, would it be hurting, but you
if they're not thinking about it.
Colleen: Yeah, I guess I
see what you're saying.
I can't believe that's too long.
Zach: Uh, could do you need the
serving as well as uploading?
Could you say image uploading
and resizing using the
pre-configured specifi set setup.
Delete that middle sentence of
Image uploading and resizing
using a pre-configured S3 setup.
That's got a be to characters.
No, that can't be
I'm going to cancel it.
However, I mean, they're
like interface here.
So this might just be a, I can't be 80
Let me put this over in my pages
document and get a word count.
Okay, I'm back.
I check the word count.
It's 73 characters without spaces, 85.
This is 85 characters.
I can't believe they count spaces.
Um, image uploading and resizing using
Zach: a pre configured.
This a very long word.
Is there a shorter way
that we could do pre-built?
All right, let's go back to me.
It might take a minute for it to,
Should we summarize for our listeners?
What the heck?
What we've just been talking about?
So we were talking about personal edge.
When you say easy, no one else
knows what you mean by easier.
It's easy to say, actually,
it's more valuable to explain.
Often the steps that are
skipping, if you're all about
skipping a bunch of steps.
So in this case, it's mostly about pre the
fact that S3 is pre-configured and they
don't have to touch it, which is nice.
And then the other side of it is that
it's also easy because they don't need.
turning it into something on the world
website once they've done the backend.
And so my big takeaways today, Zach are,
and I think this is for a lot of our
listeners who are building businesses.
This is going to be really helpful.
Like my big takeaway is
we have so much context.
What did you call it?
The curse of knowledge.
Like we, as the person who
built the thing, we have so much
context on the thing that we
just forget to tell them about.
Zach: Well, you think you've told
them about the thing and you've
said like one summary statement
that actually make that sounds good.
What are the
Colleen: details, right?
I just want to see this.
I want to see this live.
It probably takes a minute to
actually propagate image uploading.
So what we started with to summarize,
I had the fastest way to add file
uploads to your Heroku application.
And you pointed out that that
doesn't really tell me much.
What'd you say that's accurate?
And so that's all right.
I'm here to learn.
I'm here to, uh, you
know, here to execute.
And so we just changed it to
image uploading and resizing
using a pre-built S3 setup.
Zach: so a upload it, ignoring everyone.
Who's not doing image uploading
cause that's most of your users.
And that's, uh, you know, like you said,
that's a tactical decision we made to
try and target those specific people.
Since most people are
using it that way anyway.
And they can always click into it
and see that it takes other files
And the prebuilt S3 infer the easy part.
Tell them how it's easy.
Zach: I can connect through
for the details of exactly
how that means it's easy,
Colleen: Right, so this is my first step
in a long step of I'm updating my copy, I
think, to teach them exactly what it does.
So Zach, thank you so
much for coming on today.
It was, it was really fun.
You know, something I'm
trying to get better at.
It's kind of outside my
sphere of, of expertise.
And so I really appreciate
having you here.
If people want to find you or learn
more about you, where can they find you?
Zach: They can find me at zachgoldie.com.
You will tell me off, uh, still
not particularly using Twitter.
There's only so many hours
of the day, but yeah.
So it was that zachgoldie.com is my
website and people can find me there.
Might be starting a podcast soon, but Ooh.
Yeah, that'll be great.
And let us know when you do that.
Cause we'll publish that in our feed.
Thank you so much, Zach.
Really appreciate your time.
Zach: Bye bye.