Founders discuss coding and success

In this podcast transcript, two founders, Damien and the host, discuss coding and success. Damien shares his background, mentioning that he has been coding since he was 15 years old. He talks about his parents’ attempts to brainwash him into going to school, but his passion for programming led him to pursue it independently. They discuss how programming is a field that doesn’t require formal education and how self-taught individuals often excel in it.

The conversation then moves on to the host’s co-founder, Max, who is also a self-taught engineer. They highlight the fact that being a founder in the tech industry allows for more flexibility and fewer rules compared to traditional careers. Damien shares his journey from starting a web development agency to eventually building their own products. They discuss the challenges of transitioning from an agency to a product-based company, but also the success they achieved with their video CMS product, MediaCore.

The conversation touches on their experience of selling MediaCore to Workday, which marked their first significant exit in 2015. They reflect on the lessons they learned about SaaS and the effectiveness of outbound emailing during that time. They mention the lack of tools like Apollo and Instantly that automate outbound emailing and follow-ups, making it a more effective marketing strategy.

Overall, this podcast transcript provides insights into the experiences and perspectives of founders in the tech industry. It highlights the importance of coding skills, the value of self-taught individuals, and the potential for success in building and selling tech products.

## Targeted emails drive high engagement.
One key takeaway from this podcast is the effectiveness of targeted emails in driving high engagement. The speaker shares their experience of achieving a 50% reply rate across a three-email chain by using a super targeted product for universities. They identified a problem that universities were facing – having lectures stored in inaccessible locations – and offered a solution specifically tailored to their needs.

To ensure the emails were personalized and relevant, the speaker used existing customers who were similar in size and ranking to the universities they were targeting. They also included customer case studies that showcased the success of their product, highlighting competitors and geographical proximity for social proof.

The results were impressive, with professors responding to the emails after the second follow-up, apologizing for the delay and expressing interest in discussing the solution. The speaker emphasizes that the success of these targeted emails lies in the alignment between the product, the customer’s needs, and the personalized approach.

The speaker draws a parallel between their experience with targeted emails and podcast emails. They note that people perceive podcast emails as a service rather than cold outreach. They highlight the open rates of 30% and click-through rates of 5% as evidence of the effectiveness of targeted emails.

The speaker also mentions other strategies they employed to enhance engagement, such as including case study links in the emails and using retargeting. They specifically mention the success of using the YouTube retargeting pixel to track website visitors and then showcasing well-produced customer case studies as YouTube pre-rolls. This approach created a loop where potential customers would see the case studies repeatedly, reinforcing the value and impact of the product.

The podcast transcript demonstrates the power of targeted emails in driving engagement and generating interest in a product or service. By understanding the customer’s pain points, tailoring the messaging, and providing social proof, companies can increase their chances of success in reaching their target audience and eliciting a response.

In conclusion, targeted emails have proven to be an effective tool for driving high engagement. The podcast transcript provides valuable insights into the importance of alignment between the product, customer needs, and personalized messaging. It also highlights the potential of utilizing additional strategies such as retargeting and showcasing customer case studies to further enhance engagement. By leveraging targeted emails, companies can increase their chances of success in capturing the attention and interest of their target audience.

## Focus and expertise drive success.
Focus and expertise are key drivers of success in any industry or field. This is evident in the podcast transcript where the speaker discusses their experiences with building and selling two different products – one of which became a major success.

The speaker mentions their first product, which was sold quickly and almost by accident. This suggests that while luck can play a role in success, it is not the sole determining factor. The speaker then goes on to talk about their other product, Pusher, which experienced significant growth and success. This success can be attributed to the focus and expertise that the speaker and their team had in developing and marketing this product.

Pusher, a real-time messaging API, was used by millions of developers and had a wide range of applications, from news websites to crypto exchanges. The speaker’s deep understanding of the needs and preferences of developers allowed them to create a product that was highly sought after in the market. This expertise also enabled them to secure funding from reputable venture capitalists and eventually sell the product in 2022.

The speaker’s experience with their agency further emphasizes the importance of focus and expertise. By specializing in Ruby on Rails development, they were able to establish themselves as the go-to agency for this particular technology. This specialization allowed them to build a strong reputation and attract clients who specifically sought their expertise. The agency’s success eventually led to a merger with a larger agency, further solidifying their position in the market.

The importance of focus and expertise can also be seen in the speaker’s foray into building electric motorcycles. While this venture may not have been as financially successful, it demonstrates the speaker’s ability to leverage their expertise in software development to explore other industries. Even in a completely different field, the speaker’s technical knowledge and problem-solving skills were valuable assets.

In conclusion, the podcast transcript highlights the significance of focus and expertise in driving success. Whether it is in developing and selling products or running an agency, having a deep understanding of a particular niche or technology can set individuals and companies apart from their competitors. By honing their skills and focusing their efforts, individuals and companies can position themselves as experts in their field and attract customers or clients who value their specialized knowledge.

## Early adoption leads to advantage.
The podcast transcript emphasizes the importance of early adoption in gaining a competitive advantage. It suggests that aligning oneself with an emerging community or platform where there are no experts yet allows individuals to become the expert and scale with the customer base as the community grows. By being an early adopter, individuals have the opportunity to establish themselves as leaders in the field and build a foothold in the market.

The transcript also discusses the benefits of focusing on a single product or service in the early stages. By communicating a clear and concise message about what they offer, individuals and companies can easily establish their brand in the minds of potential customers. This focused approach makes it easier to own a specific niche and gain recognition for their expertise.

The podcast also touches on the role of geography in early adoption. While being in a major city like London may have provided certain advantages in the past, the internet has made it easier for individuals to connect and collaborate regardless of their location. The digital landscape has opened up opportunities for individuals to find like-minded founders and engage in conversations and collaborations that were previously limited to specific geographical areas.

Furthermore, the transcript highlights the role of the internet and social media in facilitating early adoption and knowledge sharing. Platforms like Twitter and Reddit have become valuable resources for individuals looking to connect with others in their niche and learn from their experiences. The internet has also made it easier to find documentation and case studies, allowing individuals to stay updated on the latest trends and strategies in their field.

In conclusion, the podcast transcript emphasizes the advantages of early adoption in achieving success. By aligning oneself with emerging communities or platforms, focusing on a specific product or service, and leveraging the power of the internet, individuals and companies can establish themselves as experts in their field and gain a competitive advantage. Early adoption allows individuals to position themselves as leaders, attract customers or clients, and build a strong foundation for future growth.

## Embrace new technology for success.
The podcast transcript highlights the importance of embracing new technology for success. Throughout the conversation, the speakers discuss how staying up-to-date with emerging technologies and platforms can lead to opportunities for growth and innovation.

One of the main points made in the podcast is the impact of algorithms on content distribution. The speakers note that algorithms have been favoring longer-form content and “how-to” tutorials. This shift incentivizes individuals to share their knowledge and expertise, which can lead to increased visibility and recognition. By embracing this trend and creating valuable content, individuals can position themselves as thought leaders and attract a larger audience.

The speakers also discuss their personal experiences with technology changes and how they have capitalized on them. They mention how they built successful businesses by recognizing the potential of new technologies. For example, they mention the release of web sockets in Chrome, which enabled real-time communication in browsers. This led to the creation of a profitable software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform.

The podcast transcript also highlights the importance of being open to learning and adapting. The speakers express their enthusiasm for programming and building new things. They emphasize the value of continuous learning and staying updated with the latest advancements in technology. By doing so, individuals can discover new possibilities, generate new ideas, and explore different business models.

Furthermore, the speakers discuss the benefits of leveraging specific platforms and technologies. They mention Cloudflare and its cost-effective solutions for data transfer and serverless computing. By utilizing these tools, individuals can access cheaper alternatives and explore new product ideas. The speakers also mention the importance of being aware of technological changes and actively seeking opportunities to leverage them.

The podcast transcript also touches on the differences between bootstrapping and venture capital (VC) funding. The speakers note that VC funding allows for more expensive mistakes and a faster pace of growth. However, they also highlight the discipline and long-term thinking that comes with bootstrapping. When it’s their own money on the line, individuals tend to make more careful decisions and think about the long-term sustainability of their business.

In conclusion, the podcast transcript emphasizes the advantages of embracing new technology for success. By staying updated with emerging technologies, individuals and companies can position themselves as leaders in their field, attract customers or clients, and build a strong foundation for future growth. The speakers’ experiences highlight the importance of being open to learning, exploring new ideas, and adapting to technological changes. Embracing new technology can lead to opportunities for innovation, profitability, and long-term success.

## Building products takes time.
The podcast transcript discusses the concept that building products takes time. The speakers emphasize the need for iterations, feedback, and learning curves in the process of creating successful products. They also touch on the role of funding and the challenges of scaling a business.

One of the main points made in the transcript is that throwing more money at a product does not necessarily speed up the feedback process or lead to faster results. The number of iterations required to achieve product-market fit remains the same, regardless of the amount of money invested. Instead, the speakers suggest that additional funding can help attract more users who can provide valuable feedback, thus potentially accelerating the feedback loop.

The speakers also highlight the importance of time and patience in building products. They mention a Harvard Business Review paper that discusses the sales learning curve, which states that adding more salespeople to an underperforming team does not solve the problem if the product-market fit is not right. Instead, the focus should be on buying time to get the product-market fit right and ensuring that the existing sales process is working effectively before scaling up.

Communication with investors is also mentioned in the transcript. The speakers discuss the expectation of having more sales and being further along in the process than they actually are. However, they did not explicitly communicate the need for time to figure things out to their investors. This suggests that investors may have a similar mindset of wanting faster results and may not fully understand the time and iterations required for success.

The transcript also delves into the speakers’ personal experiences in building products. One of the speakers mentions their holding company, Rebase Ventures, which aims to build two or three products per year but focuses on getting one product right per year. They emphasize the importance of not rushing the process and ensuring that each product is a great one. The goal is to eventually build a portfolio of products by layering them up over time.

The types of products being built by the speakers are also discussed. They mention a developer tool for adding CSV import functionality and a chatbot trained on website content. Both products are self-serve and have been successful in attracting enterprise customers. However, they acknowledge that the adoption of these products is slow because customers only integrate them when they have a definite need.

In conclusion, the podcast transcript emphasizes the importance of understanding that building products takes time. It highlights the need for iterations, feedback, and learning curves in the process. The speakers also discuss the challenges of scaling a business and the role of funding in attracting users and accelerating the feedback loop. Overall, the transcript underscores the value of patience, learning, and embracing new technology in the pursuit of building successful products.

## Web scraper for ChatGPT.
The podcast transcript discusses the development of a web scraper for ChatGPT, a chatbot powered by AI. The speaker mentions that the CSV import feature in another product they built had been frustrating, which led them to develop a better solution. They also mention that scraping websites for data has always been a pain, and they experienced this firsthand while building the ChatGPT.

The speaker expresses their excitement about building a web scraper that is faster, cheaper, and easier to use with the help of CloudFlare. They believe that this tool will enable them to do some really cool things with ChatGPT. They mention that combining the power of an API-driven and technically advanced scraper with the ability to create scraping and automation through prompts will be useful in marketing, sales, and AI agents.

The conversation then shifts to the topic of AI agents and the speaker’s interest in exploring them further. They mention a demo they saw about agents working together in teams to complete tasks more efficiently. They highlight the potential of creating a team of agents for various roles in a social media marketing organization, where each agent has a specific task to accomplish. They imagine a scenario where agents can analyze content, make proposals, and publish to social media profiles autonomously.

The speaker acknowledges that these advancements are still in their early stages but finds them incredibly interesting. They see potential for startups to benefit from using AI agents to run their marketing departments, accomplishing defined goals more effectively. They mention the possibility of forming an agency around AI-powered marketing, offering services that are more efficient and cost-effective than traditional agencies.

In conclusion, the podcast transcript emphasizes the potential of developing a web scraper for ChatGPT and the opportunities it presents in the field of marketing. It highlights the need for automation and AI in streamlining processes and improving efficiency. The transcript also touches on the challenges of disrupting existing agencies and the importance of embracing new technology to stay competitive. Overall, the conversation showcases the excitement and curiosity surrounding the development of innovative tools and the potential they hold for transforming industries.

## AI is changing agency models.
AI is changing agency models in various ways, as discussed in the podcast transcript. One significant change is the automation and streamlining of processes through AI-powered tools. The conversation mentions the example of clip production for YouTube videos or podcasts, where agencies can offer unlimited clip production using AI. This not only reduces costs but also increases efficiency by eliminating the need for manual labor.

The transcript also highlights the potential of AI in content creation. It mentions the possibility of using AI to find viral clips and pull them out for clients, which can be entirely AI-powered. This demonstrates how AI can be used to generate content quickly and effectively, further enhancing the agency’s capabilities.

Moreover, the conversation delves into the role of agencies as trusted partners. While AI tools can perform tasks, the value of an agency lies in the trust and brand they offer. Clients often hire agencies because they lack knowledge or expertise in a particular field, such as video production. Agencies provide guidance and assurance, ensuring that the output meets the client’s needs and expectations. This human touch and expertise are essential, especially when dealing with AI-driven tools that may feel unfamiliar or intimidating to clients.

The podcast also touches on the changing dynamics of the agency market. With AI taking over tasks previously done by humans, there is the potential for increased profit margins. AI can lower costs and increase efficiency, allowing agencies to offer services at competitive prices while still maintaining profitability. However, this also means that there may be increased competition as more agencies adopt AI technologies. Legacy agencies may face challenges in adapting to this new landscape, while new agencies that embrace AI from the start may have a competitive advantage.

Additionally, the conversation explores the consumer-driven nature of AI adoption. While businesses may express interest in using AI, there are often barriers to implementation, such as authorization or integration into existing products. On the other hand, consumers are actively engaging with AI-driven tools and platforms. The success of ChatGPT and character AI, as mentioned in the transcript, demonstrates the popularity and demand for AI-powered interactions. This consumer-driven phenomenon indicates the potential for agencies to tap into this market and offer AI-driven services that cater to consumer preferences.

In conclusion, the podcast transcript highlights the transformative impact of AI on agency models. AI is enabling automation, streamlining processes, and improving efficiency. It offers opportunities for agencies to provide innovative services, such as content creation and personalized interactions. However, agencies must also navigate the challenges of disruption and competition in an evolving market. Embracing AI technology and leveraging its capabilities can help agencies stay competitive and meet the changing needs of clients and consumers.

## Character AI for HR counseling.
The podcast transcript discusses the concept of “Character AI for HR counseling” as a potential solution for organizations to navigate internal situations and provide support to employees. The idea is to create a virtual HR agent that employees can interact with and have conversations to help them navigate various situations within the organization. This virtual agent would act as a counselor, providing guidance and support to employees.

The podcast hosts express their excitement about this concept, highlighting its potential benefits for different departments within an organization. They mention the idea of having similar virtual characters for customer service departments, acting as a North Star goal for organizations to provide personalized interactions and support to customers.

The hosts acknowledge that this concept is still in its early stages and that there is a long way to go before it becomes widely adopted within companies. However, they express their optimism about the potential growth and opportunities in the field of character AI.

They also discuss the challenges and barriers that businesses face when adopting AI technologies. They mention open source models and platforms like Cloudflare that make it easier to run open source models, potentially removing barriers for businesses to use hosted centralized AIs. They anticipate the emergence of exciting B2B companies that provide AI solutions, as businesses become more comfortable with buying AI technologies.

The hosts also discuss the importance of turning character AI into a reliable and valuable tool. They acknowledge the work and attention to detail required to ensure that the virtual agent functions effectively and addresses all possible scenarios and edge cases.

The conversation then shifts to the topic of chatbots and their potential integration with knowledge bases. They mention Intercom’s launch of a chatbot feature that offers a high-quality experience and discuss the potential for reaching out to companies using similar chatbot features on their websites and offering an alternative solution.

The hosts also touch upon the challenges of determining whether AI technologies should be considered as features within existing products or as completely new products. They mention the potential risk and reluctance of existing HR companies to offer character AI for HR counseling, as it may be seen as too risky or scary. They suggest that startups may have an advantage in taking on such risks and exploring innovative solutions.

In conclusion, the podcast transcript highlights the potential of character AI for HR counseling and its transformative impact on organizations. It emphasizes the need for businesses to embrace AI technologies and leverage their capabilities to stay competitive and meet the changing needs of clients and employees. While there are challenges and barriers to overcome, the hosts express their optimism about the future growth and opportunities in the field of character AI.

## Customer-first approach is important.
The podcast transcript provides insights into the importance of a customer-first approach in building products and marketing strategies. The speakers discuss their experiences and observations in working with different customers and industries.

One key point made in the podcast is that building products for customers that you genuinely want to serve and enjoy working with is crucial. This means understanding the specific problems and needs of your target customers and tailoring your products and services to address those issues. By focusing on serving a specific customer base, businesses can create products that resonate with their target audience and generate positive feedback.

The speakers also highlight the importance of choosing the right customer first. They mention that working with customers in stressful industries or those that require constant uphill battles can be challenging and may not yield the desired results. On the other hand, working with customers who align with your values and enjoy the experience of using your products can lead to better outcomes.

In terms of marketing and distribution, the speakers acknowledge the difficulties in finding strategies that work consistently across different products. They emphasize the need to try different approaches and adapt to the specific needs and preferences of each customer base. The speakers also mention the importance of finding unconventional and underutilized marketing channels to stand out from the competition.

One specific tactic mentioned is uploading customer lists as targeted audiences on platforms like Meta and Twitter. This allows businesses to spend their marketing budget more effectively by reaching potential customers who are more likely to convert. While this approach may require some effort in terms of data cleaning and management, it can result in a higher return on investment compared to targeting random audiences.

Overall, the podcast transcript highlights the importance of prioritizing the needs and preferences of customers in product development and marketing. By understanding and serving a specific customer base, businesses can create products that resonate with their target audience and generate positive feedback. Additionally, finding unconventional marketing channels and strategies can help businesses stand out and reach potential customers more effectively.






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