FounderQuest

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We're back! The Founders recap their respective Hot Vax Summers. They also provide some updates on automating the SOC 2 process, their outbound sales efforts, and the blog. Also, what if you could trade-up your small business to a larger one, similar to trading up from a starter home? Listen hungry, there's lots of food for thought!

Show Notes

Show notes:
Links:

Snohomish Centennial trail
Indie Hackers AMA
Intro CRM

Full transcript:
Starr:
All right. Welcome back. Welcome back, everybody. So we took a little break. We're going to have her hot vax summer, but that-

Josh:
Hot vax summer.

Starr:
It turns out that was the mirage. It turns out that was a mirage.

Josh:
Well, it did reach 112 degrees in Portland. So it was hot.

Starr:
There you go. Yeah. The summer never existed. It was just an illusion caused by our overwhelming thirst for lots of things.

Josh:
Mirage.

Ben:
Well, there were a couple of weeks there that I thought, "Yeah. This is going to work out. And then Delta.

Starr:
Yeah. It was a couple of nice weeks, wouldn't it?

Ben:
Yeah. It was. It was.

Starr:
Except for the panic about, "Oh, crap. I need to learn how to deal with people again."

Josh:
Wouldn't it be wonderful when we can just look back on those two weeks and just remember those last good two weeks?

Ben:
Yeah. Went 112 in Portland. That's pretty bad. It got to 116 in my garage.

Starr:
Yeah.

Ben:
It's pretty warm.

Josh:
Yeah. That's like melt some things if you're not careful.

Ben:
I did not know this until well, at the beginning of the pandemic, that there was actually a special class of freezer called the garage freezer because at the beginning of the pandemic I wanted to have a freezer in my garage. I'm like, "Okay. I'm just going to go to Home Depot and buy a freezer." Oh, no, no, no, no. You can't just buy a freezer to put in your garage. You have to have a garage freezer to put it in your garage. So we have a garage freezer and even with 116 in the garage, the stuff stayed frozen. So I guess it actually works.

Josh:
Nice. Yeah. My freezer survived as well.

Starr:
I mean, not having a garage freezer in your garage is almost as bad as wearing white after labor day, or is it before labor day? I forget.

Josh:
I don't know. I never wear white.

Starr:
I just don't wear white.

Josh:
Yeah.

Starr:
Yeah.

Starr:
Stains too easily.

Josh:
I just always dress like I'm going to a funeral.

Starr:
All right. So today's going to be a little bit of a short episode. So we should probably get to the content.

Ben:
I thought we were already in the content.

Starr:
I know our reader.

Josh:
Yeah. It might be short. I don't know.

Starr:
Oh, we are?

Josh:
Our podcasts tend to have a mind of their own.

Ben:
That's true.

Starr:
Well, that's true. But we've got this Ask Me Anything schedule.

Josh:
Oh, yeah.

Starr:
20 minutes from now.

Josh:
Well, the great thing about asynchronous ask me anything is that they're asynchronous so you can post them even while you're on a podcast and answer the questions whenever you want.

Starr:
Yeah. Maybe you can, but my brain does not work that way.

Josh:
Oh, I've got it all queued up.

Starr:
I've got a one track mind.

Josh:
It's just a button press. We're locked and loaded.

Starr:
Oh, you're like Kramer. You've got the button.

Josh:
No. I'm ready to go.

Starr:
Sell sell sell!

Josh:
So yeah. At 10:30, we're recording this podcast. It's 10:08 right now. Pacific. And we're going to be doing an ask me anything AMA on the indie hackers forums.

Starr:
Yes. And it's a last minute affair as of 20 minutes ago. I didn't have an indie hackers invite code. We're running around scrambling.

Josh:
Yeah.

Starr:
Yeah. Ben wanted to try a new podcast recording software, and I'm just like, "No. I can't handle this amount of change in my life right now."

Josh:
We need to title this episode, live from the indie hackers backstage, by the way.

Josh:
[crosstalk]

Starr:
Oh, yeah. I don't know if you like a live album.

Josh:
Yeah.

Starr:
Okay.

Josh:
We're doing it live.

Starr:
Well, so Ben suggested, when you talk about one work thing and one vacation thing we did. And I guess, I'll start because I didn't actually have a vacation. I just got sick a lot, which I didn't get COVID, but there was some sort of bug that was going around and I got it and I was out for a couple of weeks. And so I guess that was my vacation. I don't know. I just played a lot of Diablo III.

Josh:
That's cool.

Starr:
Yeah.

Ben:
We got our worst vacations in Diablo III.

Josh:
Yeah. We got away for a few days. We went to this lake up north of Spokane in Washington and just five nights or something. But on the trip there, we're looking at our friends who were already up there, sent us the fire map of Washington. And we are traveling, literally our destination is in the middle of six fires.

Starr:
Oh no.

Josh:
We're like, "Should we be turning around?" I don't know. But it turned out all right. We breathe too much smoke the first couple of days, but it cleared up and-

Starr:
Yeah. After the first couple of days you hardly notice it.

Josh:
I only got a minor headache.

Starr:
Your nerves just die. The nerves in your lungs.

Josh:
Yeah.

Ben:
It's okay. We have good health insurance.

Josh:
I'm an ex smoker. So I'll just tack it on, it's just like adding a couple of days.

Ben:
It's like getting that upgrade package when you're buying a $30,000 car. And it's like, "What's another thousand dollars?

Josh:
Yeah. I've already got the risk.

Ben:
Yeah. I stayed closer to home. I read a bunch of books and I got out for a nice bike ride, went to the Snohomish Centennial trail. So it starts in Snohomish and it goes up through Arlington and it's rails to trail conversion. So there used to be railroad tracks there, but now it's a paved trail. And the thing that's neat though, they have a bunch of trail heads and a few of them have the recreations of the old train stations. So it's like, you can act like you're getting on board that train and actually getting on-

Josh:
Oh, that's nice. Really nice.

Ben:
Yeah.

Josh:
That's cool.

Ben:
That's a lot of fun. Let's see, a work thing that I did. It's a blur.

Josh:
Yeah.

Ben:
I probably migrated something somewhere at some point. And back-filled something-

Josh:
You were busy.

Ben:
Yeah.

Josh:
Yeah. You did a lot.

Ben:
Yeah. I can't remember what I did.

Starr:
Yeah. I mean, there's a lot of things, right? We're working with that sales consultancy, what is it? Intro CRM people?

Ben:
Yeah. Did do that.

Starr:
Have you done some outreach? You got some replies even?

Ben:
Yeah. Yeah. It's been kind of a mixed bag. So I've gotten some replies, but also the outbound stuff has not really been all that productive. So I'm questioning my life choices at this point.

Starr:
Have you had any overt hostility though?

Ben:
No overt hostility.

Starr:
Oh, you're not pushing hard enough then. You want your OH metric to be at least 10%. At least 10%, you want death threats.

Ben:
I will take that under advisement.

Starr:
Okay. That's how you know you're really-

Josh:
Really selling it.

Starr:
Yeah. I would say coffee's for closers, but you don't drink coffee. So there you go. Oh, cool. On my end, I don't know. We published our first batch of Honeybadger intelligence reports and I don't know. Loyal listeners might remember from last time, I mean, if you don't remember how loyal are you and how much should I even trust you, but yeah. You might remember that we were working on these things. Basically, they are quarterly reports for a certain programming language where if you kind of need to keep an eye on, I don't know. Front-end JavaScript, but you don't want to just inhale the feed of news that's constantly coming out, you can just look at this beautiful quarterly report. And we are publishing them quarterly now on our blog. And the first batch went out three weeks late, maybe a month late, I don't know. I didn't give myself enough time to get them ready for publication. And then I got sick for two weeks and just could barely crawl to the computer. So I'm sorry. I'll do better next time.

Josh:
If that's you're going to say, if you don't want to inhale the whatever weekly newsfeed, you can inhale it once a month or once a quarter. Just all.

Starr:
Well, no. We're not just collating everything together.

Starr:
[crosstalk].

Starr:
We're concatenating together.

Josh:
It's like a curation of curation.

Starr:
Yeah. We're not just a pending three months worth of Hacker News together. We're going in and applying some real intelligence to it. We have real domain experts.

Josh:
Editorial.

Starr:
Curating.

Josh:
Occasionally?

Starr:
Yes. Providing you the choicest morsels.

Josh:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Ben:
Hand crafted morsels of information.

Starr:
Yeah. Maybe I should be doing these outreach emails.

Ben:
Yeah. I think so.

Ben:
I've got the wrong person writing this stuff.

Starr:
Yeah. They'd be like, "Are these people even professionals?"

Josh:
Well, that should be obvious from our website.

Starr:
Yes.

Josh:
I'll let you decide which way that goes.

Ben:
Wow. I've been sitting here while you're talking, thinking, what did I do? I'm like, "This is not good. If I can't remember doing anything useful for the past three months, that's probably a sign that I'm doing the wrong things."

Starr:
I mean, it could just be, you did a lot, Ben. I can remember things you've done. Can we got set up in a new compliance automated thing?

Ben:
Oh, yeah. Then the compliance-

Starr:
Yeah. An automated compliance thing. So you don't have to juggle all that stuff manually.

Ben:
Yeah. We got our SOC 2 type two report done. So we're legit now. We're officially doing the things that we said we would do.

Starr:
We're enterprise.

Ben:
Yeah. Full on enterprise.

Josh:
That's amazing.

Ben:
Yeah. And it wasn't a particularly painful process. I mean, it wasn't pleasant, but yeah. We survived.

Starr:
My favorite part of that was that, so as part of this automated security, your automated SOC 2 compliance stuff, all of the employees I guess, have to do mandatory security training once a year now. And it's this automated quiz where you have to read something and then it asks you questions. So it was a really weird big business moment, where I just felt, okay. I'm watching this training video. It should have 50s music in the background of it. And I hate to admit that I got stuck on the first question for 10 minutes. For 10 minutes. Because it was an easy question, but it was one of those things where it's like, "What's the correct answer? Choose one or more." And the correct answer was all of them. But for some reason, I had selected them all with my keyboard and that wasn't good enough. I had to click on them to show I really meant it because hackers generally use keyboards. So they're not really trustworthy devices.

Starr:
Yeah.

Josh:
Starr it was like a JavaScript bug.

Starr:
So eventually, I literally tried every combination. Eventually, I was just like, "Okay. I'm just going to try the first one again," and it worked. So there you are. There you are.

Ben:
I can't believe you're giving away the answers to our security questions on the podcast. That's a breach of security.

Starr:
Yeah. I mean, I think our security questions have some security vulnerabilities if, you can manually brute force them. You have four binary options. That's what? Four factorial combinations? You can knock that out in an hour.

Ben:
Starr is hacking the mainframe.

Starr:
I am hacking the planet.

Josh:
That's how Starr passed the security test.

Starr:
Yeah. That's also how I got such a great score on the SAT, by the way. You just take it, I don't know. 128 factorial times and then you just brute force it.

Josh:
Nice. How long did that take you?

Starr:
I don't know. I still haven't graduated from high school.

Josh:
I sort of graduated from high school.

Starr:
Well, you can tell you've been away for a while. Because I just have all this bullshit that I've saved up for you all, and it's just all coming out now.

Ben:
So I was surprised to learn. I don't know why this surprised me, but it surprised me nonetheless, when we had our all hands meeting recently that we have three Honeybadger employees that have children starting kindergarten this year.

Starr:
Oh, my God. Yes.

Ben:
That's pretty wild.

Starr:
It's pretty terrifying. It's pretty terrifying. I'm glad that I live in Seattle. You guys don't. Josh and Kevin don't, but I mean, you all live in fairly reasonable places where governors aren't banning masks in school.

Josh:
Yeah.

Ben:
As they themselves are going to get advanced treatments for their COVID infections. Yeah.

Starr:
Oh, yeah. Yeah. It's okay. We love you Texas. We just don't love your governor.

Ben:
Speaking of Texas. So this random tidbit I saw the other day, Austin, Texas of course, you know the housing market has been crazy. As far as prices go over the past several months, people have been overbidding regularly on how to just be able to-

Josh:
Oh, I read that.

Josh:
A hundred grand?

Ben:
Yeah. So Austin, Texas.

Josh:
That's what I'm asking.

Ben:
A hundred grand over asking price. So you have a $400,000 list price, but you actually got to pay $500,000 to get the house. That's crazy.

Starr:
That is wild.

Josh:
Yeah.

Starr:
Yeah. I had to drop off my car at the mechanic to get its normal service and I was walking by, and this was this morning and there's this kind of older condo building. It's not great looking or anything. And it's two bedroom condo, 900 square feet is now selling for the same price that I bought my single-family house with big yard and everything three blocks away. And that was five or six years ago? Six years ago?

Ben:
Crazy stuff.

Starr:
It's bizarre. Totally. I don't know. It's the sort of thing like it feels kind of gross even. Just because I was able to scrape together a down payment for a house, suddenly I get, I don't know. A hundred grand a year extra just in appreciation.

Josh:
You just hit a jackpot.

Starr:
Yeah. But it's just like, okay. I literally did nothing to deserve that. And meanwhile, people who could use that or I mean, I could use it, but I'm not in dire straits. I don't know. It's just like, "Wow, this whole system is just kind of backwards and weird."

Ben:
Yeah. It's to the point I'm getting unsolicited offers to buy my house, right?

Starr:
Oh, me too.

Ben:
I'm getting these letters in the mail like, "Hi, I'm Bob and my wife is Alice and we'd like to buy your house." And I'm like looking at the letters, "Is this is really an automated thing or do they really write this by the hand?"

Starr:
I've had people call me on the phone, in person.

Ben:
They called you?

Starr:
Yeah. They called me. Three houses on my block have been demolished in the past two months, three older houses, one of them was just really messed up. But two of them were these small houses on big lots. And essentially what happened is a developer bought almost every house on the opposite side of the street from me and is now basically filling up the lots with as many units as they can. So I think they're going to end up with like 18 units out of these five or six houses, which is fine. I guess. I don't mind density and everything, but it's just so wild because it's like, "Oh, it finally caught up with us." Because for a long time we were just over the edge where things were nice, we were just one block over from the nice stuff. And it finally caught up with us. So we're going to have to move now because we're not fancy enough for the neighborhood anymore.

Josh:
Yeah. Just cash out.

Ben:
Yeah. Move to Kansas.

Starr:
Yeah. I mean, that's the problem though. It's like, "Okay. Great." I get all this appreciation, but if I ever want to get a new house, it's like, "Okay. I've got to pay those new prices."

Ben:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Josh:
Yeah. We've looked at that too, or you could sell and rent for a few years and see if anything happens. That would probably be a gamble.

Starr:
That would be a really bad gamble I think. I mean, I don't know.

Josh:
Yeah.

Starr:
Yeah.

Josh:
Considering no markets decline anymore.

Starr:
I mean, they, they could decline, but you're trying to time it.

Josh:
Time the housing the market?

Starr:
Yeah.

Starr:
Maybe it'll decline, but yeah.

Ben:
This got me thinking, real estate agents, they want you to trade up, right? You buy your starter house and then you buy your bigger house and then eventually you downsize again because hey, why not have another transaction that a real estate agent can take a commission on, right? And it just got me thinking, why don't we have that for businesses? Why can't you trade up your business, right?

Josh:
Like trade it?

Ben:
Yeah. It's like, "Honeybadger, that's a nice little business. Why don't you trade it on up to a bigger business?

Starr:
So we sell Honeybadger and then by a larger business.

Ben:
Right. Right. Like that. Rolled into a down payment for a bigger business, yeah.

Josh:
Yeah.

Starr:
I'm not sure if you're very good at that.

Josh:
I love it.

Starr:
I don't know.

Ben:
Maybe this is a new marketing thing we can try. We can figure out new business models.

Josh:
Because we're getting trade-in program like the private equity firms.

Ben:
You're slapping the top of your business. You can fit so many customers in here.

Josh:
Might be our best bit yet.

Ben:
Well, I guess, we better get ready for our ask me anything session. Got a crack the knuckles and get ready to type.

Starr:
Crack the old knuckles.

Josh:
Almost time.

Starr:
All right. Okay. I will sign us off. All right. So this has been FounderQuest back from hot vax summer, back from vacation or being sick or whatever we call it these days. If you want to give us a review on Apple podcasts, whatever they call it, go for it. If you want to look up this AMA we're about to do on Indie Hackers, we recommend that and yeah. Otherwise, just stay cool, stay safe, and we will see you next week.

Ben:
Catch you later.

Josh:
See you.

Starr:
Bye.


What is FounderQuest?

Three developers building a software business on our own terms.