FounderQuest

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Summary

This week The Founders discuss topics for inciting a developer holy war, getting listed on AppSumo's marketplace, and what the general consensus is on microservices. They also brainstorm direct mail marketing campaigns and shipping Honeybadger in a box with a serial number just like old times!

Show Notes

Show notes:
Links:

Exceptional Creatures
TradingView
Duke Cannon - Thick Beer
Ruben Gamez
MicroConf
AppSumo Community Marketplace

Full transcript:
Ben:
You know, today is April second, as we record this. And I am so excited because I survived April Fools' Day without falling for anything online. All the dumb stuff that happens on April Fools' Day.

Josh:
I'm a little worried, because I didn't notice any April Fools' lies. Now, granted, I kind of checked out yesterday and I went for a super long walk in Portland, just because it was sunny and I wanted to get outside, so-

Starr:
That sounds really nice.

Josh:
It was awesome. So I'm hoping that that's the reason I don't... Because otherwise, I've been duped left and right, and my whole world is false at this point.

Starr:
I mean, last year there was that whole thing where people were just like, "April Fools' is canceled. No April Fools'." And so, maybe that just came up-

Josh:
We skipped a year.

Starr:
I don't know. Maybe people are still sort of hesitant to do that.

Josh:
Yeah, well it sounds like Ben avoided falling for some, so did you see any good ones, Ben?

Ben:
No, I never see any good ones because there are never any good ones. I dislike the whole notion of April Fools' Day, so I only saw three or four. And they were all pretty obvious. I started reading a press release or something, I'm like, oh, that's ridiculous. It's April Fools' Day. Moving on. So, yeah, nothing particularly clever or great, so-

Starr:
I kind of like the obvious ones. It's like, they're not actually trying to trick anybody, they're just being silly. You know?

Josh:
Right. Right.

Starr:
I really like it when companies do April Fools' product announcements, where it's like, they're announcing something that would be amazing, but also it's obviously impossible because it's just too amazing to exist in the world.

Ben:
Well, not quite April Fools', but Duke Cannon is a company that sells soaps and things like that, personal care items. And they typically do funny kinds of fake things, like... So they have this body wash that's really thick, the consistency is really thick because they think runny body washes are for wimps. And they're all about manly stuff, right?

Starr:
Oh, yeah.

Ben:
The lumberjack in the woods with his soap, you know?

Starr:
That's real healthy.

Ben:
And so, they put out this set of posters, these fake posters of thick... And a video, actually, I should link to the show notes... For thick beer. And it's like these old-school 70s beer commercials, and these guys are drinking these beers that are just super, super thick. And it's just ridiculous.

Josh:
Oh, that sounds terrible.

Starr:
Like oatmeal.

Ben:
So you can go to Duke Cannon all year long to get that kind of funny stuff. But this year, they actualy did one of those joke things, but then they actually did it. And it was some sort of Irish... I think it was Irish body wash. Anyway, it was very green and minty, and they did it for St. Patrick's Day. But it was an actual, real product. And so, I'm like, "Yeah, they really did it this time." And we bought some, because hey, we thought, "Check that out." And it's great. So-

Josh:
Nice.

Ben:
You can't get it now, because it was just a one-time kind of thing, but keep an eye on Duke Cannon throughout the year for fun, crazy stuff like that, and-

Starr:
Oh, that's funny. I like that it pokes fun at itself at least, because let's be honest, I don't think the effectiveness of soap has anything to do with its thickness. And also, I mean, I've had thick shampoo and stuff, and honest... You put it in your hand, and then it gets hit by a little water and it just slides right off of your hand, just like a solid object, and down the drain. So it's like, is that really better? I don't know. I'm not the target demographic.

Josh:
But have you had thick beer?

Starr:
No, no. But I always wanted to try Pulque, which is a traditional Mexican beverage that... I mean, it's made out of corn. But it sounds like it's in the spirit of thick beer.

Ben:
Well, if you want my personal recommendation for a Duke Cannon product to try, try the Smells Like Productivity soap.

Starr:
Okay.

Ben:
It is awesome.

Starr:
That's exactly the soap I would imagine you would have.

Josh:
It's just-

Starr:
That's your secret-

Josh:
It's marketed... Ben is their audience.

Starr:
Oh my God. Okay.

Josh:
Ben wakes up every morning. He wakes up every morning at 3:30, jumps in the shower with his Smells Like Productivity.

Starr:
Oh. That's so funny. Oh, I made a mistake. I said Pulque is made out of corn. It's not, I was thinking of a different thing. Pulque is made out of the fermented sap of the maguey plant. I don't know. Anyway. Oh, it's made out of the same stuff they make tequila out of, maybe? Anyway.

Josh:
I was totally going to call you on that.

Starr:
Yeah. Yeah, well I mean, somebody knows that in our audience, I'm sure.

Josh:
Yeah, I'm sure. I did want to mention, just in case you probably have been hearing it, if you hear pounding on walls in the background of this podcast, it's because I have people working on my house, directly behind my office, and there's no way around it. So rather than cancel the podcast, I figured we'd just deal with it.

Starr:
That makes a lot of sense. So this week is kind of exciting. After the podcast, I'm going to go and get the final instructions to the first of our authors to be doing our new experimental Honeybadger intelligence reports.

Ben:
Nice.

Josh:
HIBINT.

Starr:
HIBINT. Yeah, yeah. I really love the branding we've come up... For this. Just internally, it's fun. So yeah, if you missed our last mention of that, basically we have a hard time keeping up with all the different platforms that we support. I mean, not actually supporting them, but keeping up with the news and events, and what's the cultural zeitgeist of Python Land right now. That stuff changes enough when you only do one language, right? So, imagine having to keep up with... I don't know. How many libraries do we have? Like eight, or 10, or six? I don't know.

Josh:
Yeah, something-

Ben:
A lot. Yeah.

Starr:
A lot.

Josh:
Something like that.

Starr:
Yeah. There is more than I have fingers on one hand. Yeah, so we're actually going to be hiring authors who are experts in those fields, to make us little quarterly reports about what's going on. And we might share them with the public, depending on how it goes, but I'm excited. It makes me realize that with any new sort of endeavor like this, especially when you're trying to get other people to do stuff for you, working with other people, there's just... I don't know, it's just like it always takes more time than you think, right? Because last week, I was just like, "Okay, I'm just going to reach out to these people." And then I got a good number of replies, I was like, "I'll figure out what to do with them next week."

Starr:
So I replied to everybody being like, "I'll get back to you next week with details." Thinking I'd get back to them on Monday, and then Monday comes around, I've got all these meetings, so I didn't get to it. And I'm realizing slowly, it's like, I've got to figure out what to do with these people. What to tell them. So I was going to do it yesterday too, but then I started on it yesterday and I ended up actually writing stuff out, and I was like, okay. I've got to make changes to all these peoples' repositories, because I'm going to do this as issues on their... I've got to make sure that it has the right file structure. And so, just building these systems for people to work inside, it always takes more work than I expect it to.

Josh:
I'm sure this research engine that you're building will be very useful to us, though.

Starr:
Oh, yeah.

Josh:
I think, yeah. I could see it being handy for, I guess, the number of languages we support, or as many as we can handle. And right now, we're reaching a point where we're like, it's hard to juggle them and keep them all high quality. And so, I could see this going into new markets, or finding... There's something new we want to do, I could see pointing your researchers at it and tell us to come back with a bunch of intel about how to design it, what are best practices, where do they hang out, what are their conferences, what are their meetups. That sort of stuff.

Starr:
Yeah. Yeah, that seems pretty reasonable. And I'm also starting to realize that this would be really useful for our own blog, because if there's some... I don't know, if there's some topic blowing up in Laravel land, I'm not going to know about it, really. But if we get it mentioned in these reports, then maybe we can publish some content on it ourselves. And just, yeah, follow those trends.

Josh:
Yeah, we'll always just be one quarter late.

Starr:
I mean, we are named after a dead meme, so-

Josh:
It's our style.

Starr:
Yeah, I mean, it's... So there's always a first wave, right? There's a wave that crests. Everybody's talking about how microservices are great, and all that. And then that wave crests. And then you have a little trough, a little time. And then we'll be set to ride that second wave up, where it's like, are microservices great? So we'll just be-

Josh:
Man. Where are we with microservices now? Because you saying that just strikes me about how long ago that was, that microservices were great, and it's like, time really flies. Because now I'm thinking about the whole... What was the monolith? What was the thing that DHH, the-

Ben:
The Majestic Monolith?

Josh:
The Majestic Monolith, yeah. And even that feels like it was forever ago.

Ben:
Yeah, I think we've probably got to the point with the microservices one. Where the pendulum swung one way, then the pendulum swung back the other way, and everyone's like, "No microservices. They all suck." And no we're back at the point where it's like, well, it might work for you in this situation-

Josh:
We're back to whatever.

Starr:
Yeah. Yeah, it's funny. It's like, despite all the vitriol spilled and everything, it always ends up just being like, "Just do what works for you. It's cool."

Josh:
Yeah. TDD is dead. No, TDD is the best thing in the world. Ten years later.

Ben:
Do it if you like it.

Starr:
Yeah. It's like, it's okay to write tests after you write the code or before. Whatever you want to do. The tests are still there at the end of the week. It doesn't matter.

Ben:
It is nice to have this pattern that we can at least count on in the tech industry, where things come into fashion, things go out of fashion. And then things come back to a point of stabilization, where it's like, just do what works for your team.

Josh:
Yeah.

Starr:
Yeah, that's true. So, I feel like we've got to start some of these though. If we're always just responding, we're never going to get that first mover advantage. So we got to start some religious wars, I think. That's a good idea.

Ben:
What could we use to start a religious war?

Starr:
Oh, I don't know. I don't know, it has to-

Josh:
It doesn't really matter.

Starr:
Yeah, it doesn't really matter. I think people do that over fonts, programming fonts, like Vim versus Emacs. Like, it's text editors.

Ben:
Yeah, there's editors. There's fonts.

Starr:
They're text editors, people.

Ben:
I mean, you can even argue about which terminal program is best on the Mac to use.

Starr:
Yeah.

Josh:
Yeah. Yeah, like-

Ben:
Do we want type safety or not? I mean-

Josh:
If you really want to go all-in, we could go all-in on a text editor that is not VSCode or Vim. We could say both of those suck.

Starr:
Oh, like Emacs?

Josh:
Well, Emacs, or yeah, what-

Ben:
Yeah, you could say TextMate is the one, true editor, right? And then-

Josh:
Yeah.

Starr:
There you go. Or just like, Notepad.

Josh:
There are still TextMate people out there, I think.

Ben:
I saw a funny tweet the other day, speaking of editors, that was someone talking about the editors they've used over the years, and they had this timeline. And so, it was like, 1995, VI. And then, whatever. And they switched to TextMate, and then they switched to Sublime. And then they switched to Atom, and then switched to... The current one was VSCode. And every two or three years or whatever, there was a different editor. And then someone replied to that tweet, and it was like, "BBEdit." The one line, like, "I used it for the past 25 years." I'm like, props to that dude.

Josh:
They're probably really productive with it. All that editor switching really... Yeah, I don't think it's the greatest idea, because you have to re-learn everything.

Starr:
I think people get restless, right? And so, you're always sort of searching for something that'll make a difference somewhere. But really, it's just... You don't really, maybe, care about the difference. You don't really care about being more efficient, just the process of learning about it makes you feel more efficient. Especially, maybe if the work you're doing isn't that much fun.

Josh:
Oh, man. I feel like I've lost the last 10 years.

Starr:
And then, also... I mean, not that I would ever do this, but if you're installing a new text editor, you can do that at work. And so, that's a little bit of self-

Josh:
It's like working on your car.

Starr:
It's a little self-care time at work that you get to do.

Ben:
I think if you want the full experience though, you have compile your own text editor. I mean, that's really where the craft is.

Starr:
Oh, I did that when I switched to Neovim, because-

Josh:
Yeah, I think I've done that too.

Starr:
Yeah.

Josh:
You're preaching to the choir here, Ben.

Starr:
You've compiled your own text editor. I don't recommend it, no.

Josh:
Wait, you haven't?

Starr:
I don't recommend it. That's why I use VSCode now. I don't really do a lot of heavy programming, but the thing is, it's like... VIM, I am much more efficient at text editing with, but then once a quarter, I have to spend five hours just troubleshooting some random bullshit about it. Or if I want to have it do some small, new thing, I've got to... It's just such a research project to dive into and get it configured, and then it's always changing out from underneath you, and VSCode just kind of works. I don't really know how it does it. It's running node crap in the background. It's running different languages. I don't know how it does it, but it just works, and-

Josh:
I'm pretty sure it runs on money.

Starr:
It runs on money. Yeah, probably.

Josh:
Yeah. It's pretty impressive, I have to say. But I don't know, I've still struggled to go all-in on... I switched to VSCode, I still find myself in Vim a lot, just because it's so ingrained.

Ben:
Yeah, these days I'm mostly in VSCode for code-writing purposes, but I have a Vim extension in VSCode. So I still use all the Vim keybindings as I'm editing, so I saw that command mode stuff. But I spend a lot of my time editing in Vim, that's not code, because I hopping on the servers, or doing random little scripts here and there, and so... Yeah, never-

Josh:
Doing all that yaml.

Ben:
Yeah, yeah. So even though I've done the TextMate thing, and I've done other-

Josh:
BBEdit?

Ben:
I dabbled BBEdit, and it never really stuck in my brain, so I didn't really go there. But I'll always use Vim. Always loved Vim, since I first started hopping onto Unix computers back in the day. Vim is always there. Or, VI is always there. And so, once you know that, you always got an editor handy.

Starr:
Yeah, unless you have your own super tweaked-out config file. At which point, you get used to none of the defaults.

Ben:
Yeah. Yeah, I've managed to avoid that little trap.

Starr:
So, I've got a question. This is off-topic, but-

Ben:
Off-topic.

Josh:
This is all off-topic.

Starr:
Oh, I know. I know. Actually, this is a little bit more on-topic for the overall podcast, it's just not about editors. So you guys did the sort of virtual MicroConf thing last week, and after that I noticed that we're moving towards, I think, getting listed on AppSumo? Is that right?

Starr:
I was just curious, what happened at MicroConf that prompted that interest?

Ben:
Well, it actually first came up before MicroConf, when Ben Findley did some research into the AppSumo marketplace. So, this was back a month ago, or so. And so, he suggested that we do it, and it seemed like a reasonable idea at the time. But I didn't really move on it until I saw that presentation from Ruben Gamez at MicroConf, where he talked about his AppSumo experience with Docsketch. So when he did that, I went back to look at Ben's post on Basecamp about AppSumo, I'm like, "Yeah." And now that I'm more focused on the growth side of the business, I'm like, "Oh yeah, that could be a good opportunity for us to grab some customers." So, that was the impetus.

Starr:
Okay, awesome. And that would be maybe included in a bundle of discounted things that people get, or is it like, we do our promo, or-

Ben:
No. So, it used to be that AppSumo just had this daily deal, so-

Josh:
That's the AppSumo that I know, and I know they've changed a lot since then, but I've never really quite grokked what they do now.

Starr:
Yeah, me too, so I'm not quite sure how they do it now.

Ben:
Yeah, so they still have that. And you can still be on their daily deal thing. I think, as far as I know, they still have the same process they've always had, of... They reach out to people that they think would be good placements on their site, and they will work with you with copyediting, and blah-blah-blah-blah. But the newer thing that they have that goes along with that is what they call their Marketplace. And so, you can list your product on their Marketplace and still, there's a deal feeling to it. They still want you to have a big discount or something to make it interesting to the kinds of people who are already part of the AppSumo universe. But this is an ongoing thing. It's not like a one-time deal, it's not a bundle deal, it's not a time-limited deal. It's an ongoing... A promotion for AppSumo customers, basically, is what it is.

Josh:
Oh, interesting. Okay. So the plan, if you sign up through AppSumo for Honeybadger, you get the AppSumo deal plan for as long as you're a customer.

Ben:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, and so, as far as I understand, the way it works for SaaS is they... An AppSumo customer will buy the deal at the AppSumo site, and you provide AppSumo a promotion code. That customer can then come to your site, and sign up using your signup flow, but entering that promotion code, so that they get a free or discounted period of service as a result of using that code. Right, so they buy it at AppSumo. They don't buy at your site initially, but if they... Let's say you give away a 30% off for a year. So they would buy the discounted thing, that year's worth minus 30%, at AppSumo, get a promotion code, come to your site, enter the promotion code and get that year's worth of service for no charge. And then at the end of that year, should they decide to continue being a customer, then you would take their payment information, and blah-blah-blah. Like normal.

Josh:
Yeah. Yeah.

Starr:
Okay.

Josh:
Okay, that sounds like it kind of works like... I think that's how they do the daily... Other services do that. Basically, when you sign up they just hand you a promo code that you use, or whatever. Yeah.

Ben:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Starr:
So I assume we're getting a split from the money that AppSumo collects. Or is it just-

Ben:
Yes.

Starr:
Okay. That's good. That seems a little bit more promising than-

Ben:
Yeah, so AppSumo has a payment term of net 60, because they allow for their customers to claim a refund up to 60 days after the purchase. So, a customer shows up at AppSumo, buys a thing for Honeybadger, and then could use that promotion code immediately, could maybe not use the promotion code right away. They don't necessarily have to sign up right away. And then 60 days later, AppSumo would then cut a check to Honeybadger for whatever that purchase price was, minus the percentage that AppSumo keeps.

Starr:
Okay. Yeah. That's reasonable.

Ben:
Yeah.

Starr:
The 60-day refund thing in my mind is conceptually similar to a free trial, right? And so, I was just wondering, what if we... We've had a two-week trial for the longest time, but what if we had a 30-day trial or something longer? Because that might appeal to people. I don't know.

Ben:
Well, tell you a little secret. While we-

Starr:
What's the secret?

Ben:
While we advertise a two-week trial, we actually have a four-week trial.

Starr:
Oh, because of all the collection, all the-

Ben:
Yeah. Yeah, because of the delays. And we re-try the billings so many times, so the actual invoice comes due, the first invoice comes due, two weeks after they sign up, that's the technical end of the trial. But we continue to re-try that invoice for however many days, and that gives them, effectively... And then we give them some grace period, even after the billing fails, we still give a grace period of a few days. So basically, it works out to... You can get about four weeks of free service if you really want to.

Starr:
That's still the... If they do sign up, it's all going to be back-dated, so that they're-

Ben:
True.

Starr:
They only got two weeks free.

Ben:
Right. Right.

Starr:
So we can't really advertise a four-week trial, because-

Ben:
Right.

Starr:
We wouldn't be giving that to people.

Ben:
And we still have people taking us up on our shirt offer, where if they enter their payment information before their trial ends, then they get an awesome T-shirt.

Starr:
Oh, my gosh. So I've been meaning to talk about this. I started using an app. So I've been trying to sort of learn about the stock market and everything, and I'm not really throwing gobs of money into it in any sort of way, but I've been trying to learn. And so, I signed up for a subscription for this app called TradingView, which is... It's a stock charts app, right? And it's very advanced and stuff. Anyways, so I'm a huge fan of this app. Having built apps, I know what a very good app looks like, a web app. And this is a extremely good web app. It takes so much... I had a dream the other night where I met the CEO of TradingView. And I cornered him, and I was like, "You need to pay your developers more, because you have no idea how good of a job they're doing for you." Yeah. It's like, occasionally you see a piece of work that is very, very good.

Starr:
So anyway, the reason I mention that is that I did sign up for a paid plan, and during the free trial though, they have... Up at the very top of the screen, and it's very well-designed, but also a very obvious spot, it's like, "You have so-many days left of your free trial. If you upgrade before your trial ends, you can get up to 60% off." And I've heard from some people, this didn't happen to me, but I've heard from some people that number would increase as your trial went along. And so, I don't know if that exact thing makes sense for us, but just... I think that we could definitely call out upgrade options, and benefits to upgrading and stuff like that for trial users, in a more obvious way.

Josh:
Do a little more, or even more frequently. Like-

Starr:
Yeah.

Josh:
They get the first shirt offer, and if it doesn't work we could just offer them two shirts, then three shirts, then a whole wardrobe.

Starr:
It'll just go up exponentially. If you wait out your whole trial, you'll get a kilobyte of shirts.

Ben:
Do you remember back in the shareware days, when you would try out... They had this one kind of shareware where it would delay in the application, before you have to do the thing. Like if it was a file directory listing thing, you would run the executable, and then there would be this modal. And it would be like, five seconds until you can actually use the thing.

Starr:
Oh, yeah. Yeah.

Ben:
But if you purchase, obviously that delay would go away. So we should totally do that, on the free trial. Like, the longer you get into your trial, when you go to view an error, we show a full-page modal. Like, "Oh, we'll let you see your error in three seconds." And then count down, right? And then as they get closer to the end of the trial, the timer goes up and up. It's like, "Oh, after tomorrow you're not going to be able to see this at all. But now you have to wait for 15 seconds."

Josh:
Yeah. Or if you really want to be evil, just put a spinner on it and don't tell them how long it is, but make it a randomly determined-

Starr:
Oh, yeah.

Ben:
That's evil.

Josh:
Just say, "You have to wait."

Ben:
And then, next level, you make a progress bar that actually goes the wrong way sometimes. It actually goes back, right?

Starr:
This is amazing. This is sounding like Undertale, this game that I love.

Josh:
Ideas like this remind me of the other day, my idea for our free plan was... Because we were talking about limits for free users that we could... If we were going to change it up to encourage more people to upgrade or whatever. And you always see things like features, but I was like, what if, if you're on the free plan, you just get a grayscale version of Honeybadger? It's just kind of bland. And then all of the upgrade messages, of course, would really pop. They'd be full-color. They'd have honey badgers on them, beautiful color-

Starr:
I might actually prefer grayscale, so you might need to make it a beige, kind of like pants were in the 90s. Just kind of khaki-

Josh:
Yeah. What's that 70s green that all the refrigerators were?

Starr:
There you go.

Josh:
Yeah. I don't know. You never know what's going to work.

Starr:
So, yeah. So I had the funniest realization yesterday, which was, you know how a long time ago, all the opensource people and all the... I don't know, all the small software people. Bill Gates was the enemy, they had Bill Gates photoshopped as the Borg, and Microsoft was the Devil and everything. And so, just for fun the other day, because I don't know, I just got it into my head, I was like, you know, I've got this old laptop. Maybe I'll install Windows on it. This old MacBook. And so, I went to do that. And so, now they let you download... You can just go to Microsoft and get an ISO of Windows, and you can just install it on the thing. And it'll just pop up a message. And I was just like, "Holy shit. Windows is shareware now." That's so wild. I mean-

Josh:
You didn't get it through Tucows?

Starr:
No, I didn't. I didn't. I got it straight from their site. But maybe, I guess, you're not supposed to share it. But it really felt like shareware. It's like, I'm just going to install this. I'm going to see if I like it for a while. Maybe if I actually use it, I'll pay for it eventually if I feel like it. But, yeah. I thought that was funny.

Ben:
I got to say, speaking of Windows, that's definitely one of the perks of living near Microsoft, is I have all these friends that work at Microsoft, and they have an annual allotment of money they can spend at the company store to buy things like Windows licenses. And they get, of course, employee discounts. And so, any time you want a new version of Windows, just go bug one of your Microsoft friends. They've probably got some extra budget in their account that they can use for you, and so you can get that employee discount, so that's nice.

Starr:
Oh, that's fun.

Josh:
That's funny. Yeah. That reminds me of... Around here, it's Nike. I have a friend whose dad works in the Nike accounting department. They have the same deal at the Nike store. They've taken us over there before and it's a annual thing.

Ben:
Nice.

Starr:
That's so funny. Yeah. And I learned about a... I forget the name of it, but there's a site where you can basically buy license keys. It's legit. Somebody had a license, they sell it to this third-party distributor, or this third-party website, and then that website will sell it to you. So you can actually get a Windows license, an OEM Windows license for $30. Significantly less. And they have it for lots of different apps. I thought it was a cool concept.

Ben:
Yeah. I still remember buying the boxed version of MS-DOS 6. That was awesome.

Josh:
You should make a Honeybadger box. I mean, while we're doing physical... We're doing the zine, or whatever.

Ben:
Yeah, right.

Josh:
Which I totally want to do.

Starr:
Oh, we're doing a zine?

Josh:
I've been meaning to think about it.

Ben:
Yeah, right. We've talked about it on the podcast-

Josh:
Yeah, we did.

Ben:
And we got some great responses on Twitter.

Starr:
You've been meaning to talk about it, that's like fixing to get ready to do it.

Josh:
I've been fixing to think about brainstorming ideas for it. But yeah. I could see that going out with a Honeybadger software box, with your coupon code or whatever, serial number, in it, and then you can use that to sign up on the website.

Starr:
Oh wait, I did see an April Fools' thing yesterday. I didn't fall for it, but it was... Somebody came up with a special, limited edition physical boxed version of Zoom. And it includes all these promos, like golden sweatpants, and just a bunch of silly stuff.

Ben:
It reminds me of the internet in a box days.

Starr:
Yeah.

Ben:
Well, actually Josh, you've made me think. Talking about promotion codes. Because with that AppSumo work that I did, we now have the ability to support promotion codes. So we could actually-

Josh:
Oh yeah, where you generate a bunch of them and then you can-

Ben:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). We could actually print up a bunch of mailers and send them out to people with a promotion code on it that says, "Hey, sign up for Honeybadger and get whatever discount."

Josh:
Yeah.

Starr:
Well, there you go.

Ben:
I'll think about doing that. I've long wanted to do a direct mail experiment with Honeybadger, and just buy a directory of every software agency in the U.S.. I don't know if that's even available. And then just send them a little postcard, like, "Hey, check out Honeybadger." So, now that we have promotion codes, that'd be even better.

Starr:
Oh, here's an idea for conference swag. Fortune cookies. And you open up the fortune cookies, and there's a little promotion code in there for you.

Ben:
Nice.

Starr:
Just a little sweet treat from your friends at Honeybadger.

Ben:
So Josh, I want to help you out here. I want to give you a warm fuzzy. I was looking through our signups, because I'm doing that now. Every day I'm checking out the signups, and I'm emailing people. Which has been good, it's been educational. But we do track where people come from when they hit the site, and we store that. And you'll be happy to know that we got a signup this week whose initial landing page was Exceptional Creatures.

Josh:
Really?

Starr:
Oh, yay.

Josh:
Awesome.

Ben:
Yeah.

Starr:
That's great.

Josh:
That's really cool.

Starr:
Where are we storing that? What system is capturing that?

Ben:
So, we just have some JavaScript on the main sales site that just saves the refer to a cookie. And then, when they complete the sign-up process in the app, then that cookie value is saved to the database.

Starr:
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay. Yes. I know that exists. I've actually looked at that recently. Well, you've been signing up for these sales-y things, I thought maybe you had some sales app or something that was giving you all sorts of information.

Ben:
No, actually... So I tried PostHog, the free version, the self-hosted version. And it's not good for what we want. It's fine for what it is, but it's just not going to be great for us, so I went back to, yeah, I'm just using things that we already have in place, and now there's no more PostHog.

Starr:
Oh, well. We'll have some Post bacon in a couple weeks.

Josh:
Oh, boy. This is exciting though, because this means that Exceptional Creatures finally paid for itself.

Ben:
Well, it's probably not the first. I mean-

Josh:
No, I think it's probably not the first. All of our listeners probably don't know what we're talking about, because Exceptional Creatures was years back, it's just been around now.

Starr:
Oh God, it feels like yesterday though.

Josh:
Yeah. Go to exceptionalcreatures.com, and you'll see what we're talking about. I don't know. We could explain what it is, or it could be a fun little surprise for you. If you're a Ruby-ist, you'll probably really dig it.

Starr:
Yeah. It's a little Easter egg.

Josh:
Yeah.

Ben:
Yeah, for-

Josh:
It's one of our Honeybadger passion projects.

Ben:
Yeah. And it's also one of those random marketing efforts, right? You put out a content site that's not directly about Honeybadger, but it's kind of funneling people to Honeybadger, so-

Josh:
Yeah. Yeah, I've thought about doing more creatures on it at some point. It would be kind of fun to keep it going.

Ben:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Josh:
Yeah.

Ben:
You totally should.

Starr:
Yeah, it would be. That's one of the hardest things about marketing, especially content marketing and things that aren't directly leading into a funnel. Hopefully, we'll have some high-powered sale process happening, so all we need to do is have people download some white papers and get them into a funnel, and then we'll have some... I would love nothing more than to have... I don't know. Have sort of a marketing approach, where we have these very concrete outcomes, and we can be like, "Okay, this worked. Let's do more of this." But yeah, with content marketing and stuff like that, it's like, you put something out there and you kind of get little hints over the years that it's working. And that's good, but it's not immediate feedback. I really would love some immediate feedback.

Josh:
I have a hunch that all of that plays a big part in our word-of-mouth, and the way that people... We always have people telling us, when we ask them why they signed up, that friends of theirs or people they worked with told them they loved Honeybadger, and they heard great things about it. But that could be that they were raving about the product, but it's also possible that they were also raving about just Honeybadger in general. It's not necessarily just the product, but maybe they love our blog posts, maybe they love our podcast, maybe they saw Exceptional Creatures and they love that we did that. I think it's the whole package that people love, so-

Starr:
So you're saying we're the total package.

Josh:
Yes.

Starr:
Okay.

Josh:
Exactly. We're the total package, SaaS.

Starr:
Yeah, that's why they should use us, because we're the total package.

Josh:
Yeah. And if you give us your mailing address, we'll mail you a collector edition box set.

Starr:
Oh, there you go.

Josh:
Honeybadger.

Starr:
I don't know. What would be a good collector's edition for people who have to deal with errors a lot?
 
Ben:
And we can send them some care package kind of thing, with Tylenol, and some facial tissues for all the crying that they do, and maybe a little back massager for having been hunched over a laptop while they're fixing their errors. Or maybe some aromatherapy oils to help relax after they get past-

Josh:
That's what I was thinking, yeah.

Starr:
Oh, there you go. Yeah.

Josh:
Some peppermint or something like that. Yeah.

Starr:
Some herbal tea, some chamomile.

Josh:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Ben:
And then maybe a sleep mask, so they can get back to sleep after-

Starr:
That sounds nice.

Ben:
they get up at 4 AM.

Starr:
Yeah, we should do a giveaway amongst our users for an all-inclusive spa package. Get some cucumbers, get a pedicure, get some aromatherapy, some warm... I don't know. I don't know, a massage or something.

Starr:
There you go. Yeah.

Ben:
I like it.

Starr:
All right. So yeah, this is how the sausage is made. This is exactly what goes on in our meetings.

Josh:
This is where we get all our ideas, to be honest.

Starr:
Yeah.

Josh:
Yeah.

Starr:
All right. You've been listening to FounderQuest. If you want to go give us a review at Apple Podcasts, that'd be awesome. If you want to write for us, potentially maybe work on these intelligence reports for us, we look for authors and we pay well. Go to our blog at honeybadger.io. Find the blog. That's your first assignment. That's your first test. Find the link at the top that says, "Write For Us," and it'll have instructions, so that's all. I will see you guys later. I hope you have a great weekend, and I hope you all find a lot of Easter eggs. And I hope they're the kind with candy inside and not the kind with eggs inside.

Josh:
Sounds good. You too.

Starr:
Okay.

Ben:
Happy Easter.

Starr:
Bye.

Josh:
Bye.



What is FounderQuest?

Three developers building a software business on our own terms.