Show cover of FounderQuest


Three developers building a software business on our own terms.


Talking SaaS With Garrett Dimon
Show notes:Links:Garrett DimonMinitest HeatHeat Map Reporter for MinitestReviewStarting & SustainingSifter AppAutomated transcript (only about 70% accurate)Ben  Welcome to FounderQuest, this has been Today, I'm interviewing Garrett Diamond Star and josh are taking the day off and I get a chat with Garrett, who's a longtime friend of mine and fantastic entrepreneur and all around great person in the world, so I'm excited to have you here. Gary, Thanks, Garrett  thanks for having me. Ben  It's always fun catching up with you. I think the last time we chatted was business of software a few years ago, wasn't it? Garrett  Yeah, not frequently enough, Ben  so that was, yeah, definitely not frequent enough. One thing I most remember about that business of software was that was when the hurricane was coming through and so I was standing out there in boston with all the wind and the Garrett  right, having grown Ben  up in the south, that was kind of ironic that I was there in the northeast and getting a hurricane. Mhm. So have you been Garrett  three, so just uh probably about the same as everybody else man, you know, just kinda one day at a time and keeping it going um and yeah, I just kind of dabbling and exploring and for once the last year just kind of let myself be undirected and just kind of followed what was interesting and pulled on threads and uh a little unnerving but also kind of nice and refreshing, I don't know, you know, so kind of bouncing around like a ping pong ball. Ben  Well, that's, that sounds pretty cool. Well, let's talk about that in a minute. I want to catch people up so I'm sure most people know you, but just for those who don't. So Garrett again, it's been a long time entrepreneur I think. I think I first bumped into you with doing sifter, your, your, your app from a few years ago, you built that from scratch solo entrepreneur and then you sold that. Then you're, you're at post uh, postmark for awhile for that. Right. Garrett  Well, wild bit at large, but primarily on postmark. Yeah. Ben  Okay. Right. Right. So you're a while, but for a while and then I guess it was a couple of years ago now that you've left wild. Garrett  Yeah, it's been about . years, I guess. No. Okay. Ben  Yeah. And so I guess also during that time you kind of did the starting and sustaining books slash video series slash thing. That was cool. Garrett  Yeah, I've been dabbling in all that, trying to share my battle wounds so that other people can maybe avoid them or less than them. Ben  Yeah, that's awesome. I remember, I remember buying that. It's good, good stuff. So also linked in the show notes. Maybe we'll get a sailor to uh, you spoke, you spoke at Microsoft a few times or at least once that I can remember Garrett  I can't even keep track now. Microsoft spoke once attended a couple of times. Yeah. Ben  And so now you're doing some, some interesting stuff. So I remember, remember when you left a wild bit, you were, you're really interested in getting started on helping amputees have a community and so you started adapted, right? So, we're gonna talk about that for a second, and then we can talk about, you know, how that plan kind of changed for you with the passage? Garrett  Um, I mean, so I'm a left below knee amputee. And when I was trying to make that decision, I couldn't find any information on what life is really like as an amputee, um, let alone specific information about, can I play basketball still, if so, how does that work? Or what other activities can I do? And there's just not a lot of detailed information, and with disability, even just within amputees, the range is incredible, like above me and bologna makes a complete difference in how you function and your body mechanics, and so I just couldn't find this information out there. And so that kind of planted the seed that obviously it's not out there and, you know, it's woefully under informed, which at first was kind of scary, it's like, oh, I guess nobody does any of this stuff Garrett  and for me, the whole, ironically, the whole point of amputating was so that I could get back to doing things because of my ankle fusion was horrible and all that, it's just hurt and was miserable and through the whole thing, I was blogging about it, and what would happen is people would email me because they'd go on google and search for amputation, ankle fusion, that kind of thing, and then they'd ask me like, I'm, because I was the only person that came up and I would get these emails, you know, it kind of varies and go ebbs and flows, you know, to a month, once a week, you know, so frequently enough. Um, and uh, one uh, young woman that reached out to me, she actually amputated and then just won a couple of gold medals in the paralympics and like, Garrett  it just blew my mind is like, how do you find the answers to this stuff? And uh, after being an amputee now about five years and trying stuff and just kind of figuring it out. Uh, my hope was originally, I was like, well, I'm a software developer, I'll build a platform so people can share that information, um, you know, and I figured I was really optimistic about that specifically, because, well I built sifter and rails has gotten way better and I learned a ton from sifters, it'll be way easier this time around, but I didn't really account for was now I've got a family and I'm  years older, uh and so it's been more challenging at the end of the day, I'm just tapped on software because I'm doing that all day and my brain is fried. Garrett  Um, but I've been doing videos kind of explaining this stuff to people about how legs work and the logistics of like how they change your body mechanics and um, how to do things like go to the beach and deal with sand in your foot and that kind of stuff. Uh, and I did that more is like an exploratory whimsical thing because that was the kind of content I hope people would create and put on the platform. So then you could filter and say, here's my disability, here's the activity I want to do. Give me all the information about that specific thing. Um, but I did it and it just kind of left it for a year, but it just kept going and then more people have been contacting me and so now what I'm doing is kind of Garrett  stepping back from the software side of it and I'm just gonna keep recording videos for the next short term, um, and having them produced and that kind of stuff and hopefully increasing the quality and the depth and then doing interviews with other amputees and really kind of getting into more stuff, um, and then eventually circling back to building a platform to help people find the right things that meet their needs and that kind of thing. Um, so, you know, it's, it's, it's been tough. I think the toughest thing is realizing that nonprofit side projects are the hardest thing to make time for, um because it's never going to offset my income or anything. And so like Garrett  now I've kind of been thinking, I guess I need to build a business again. So I've got more ironically more free time um, just because Sassen recurring revenue all that's so great that it would give me the flexibility to do that and to spend more time helping people and building um software and all that. So kind of just juggling things and figuring it out. And that's kind of where a lot of the exploration has come in. I haven't really prescribed where I'm taking things and uh um spending a lot of time dabbling and ruby and getting kind of deeper into it than I ever have previously. And uh exploring video and trying to help people with that stuff. So just kind of playing around and tinkering and trying to make ends meet at the same time and I'll figure it out, I guess Ben  that's cool. There's a whole lot to unpack in there. So let's, let's talk about some of that. So, Some of the, some of the themes, well, at first, I guess I should say I can totally relate to you with the whole, you know,  years later and now, there's. yeah, there's more demands on your time. There's less energy in the body and there's, you know, less energy in the brain probably is more importantly. Um, I've had that, that same thing I recently started picking up some side projects, you know, and like, yeah, they're just, you have fewer hours in the day that you really feel like being really into that kind of mode, you know, that your brain stuff and, Ben  and I've noticed that uh I can tell like when my blood sugar is getting low and now we're like, I've I've used up too many brain cells, I gotta go back and recharge, you Garrett  know? Uh Ben  So it's interesting that dynamics, like, I don't quite have the appetite that I used to have to just dive in and, and, you know, slog away at the keyboard for hours. And then Garrett  for me, it's also been awareness, like, I recognize it more now when I, when I was younger I would push through and be like, oh, grind and hustle and you know, and now I'm like, ok, I need to stop, this isn't, you know, if I don't stop, I'm going to be a complete mess tomorrow and not want to work and not be able to think. And so I catch it earlier and I just stopped and I hate it because I still, like, interested in whatever problem is in my head is still tugging on it and, you know, it's trying to and it's really hard to just turn it off and walk away. Um but I've gotten better at that a little, Ben  One of the things that I've noticed as, as I've gotten older in this tech world. So I guess I've been doing it  years or  years or so, is that, um, uh, so that that energy for doing all the things is not there? Like it used to be, but it seems like the deep thinking is more refined is more home. So like you said, like you're going to be, you know, you're just not going to have the energy, you're not going to be wasted the next day. And I think I've seen that too. And I think it's not just from like the energy of working, it's from the energy of thinking deeply about what's the right solution here, right? Ben  It's not so much like just powering through it. Okay, I'm gonna build this stuff and I'm gonna backtrack and I'm gonna redo and backtrack and redo now. It's like, oh, I'm gonna think about this and I'm going to get it right right? And then you apply that precision cut I guess. Garrett  And for me, the struggle is having the wisdom to recognize they should stop, but I can't turn off the excitement or the interest, right? And so I do still want to work on it. I just know better. And it's hard when those two don't align. Yeah, that's, that's been a struggle. Ben  Yeah, I've seen saying the same thing, but I think my living experience so far has been like the, the eventual outcome is better, even even when I have that, you know, I want to do more, but I don't know, I don't have the energy to more, But having that time to reflect more when I do sit down next time and have that  minutes an hour or whatever, like that time is much better spent coming up with the right solution rather than Garrett  just uh just the other day. I was and I mean, I think we've all had this happen a million times, but this just happened. I don't know, friday, I think banging my head on the desk for an hour and a half on this thing. That just makes no sense. There's a ruby thing like this doesn't make sense. What am I missing here? Like is there some really quirky ruby behavior I don't understand. Um And hour and a half and finally was like, I've got to give up, I've got to stop, this isn't getting anywhere. And it was only like , right? So I still was like, I had time in the day, I was like, I just got to stop The next morning. I sat down with in  minutes, Garrett  like solve cold, right? Like there's no, that was from the time I sat at my desk at the time, I solve the problem and it was just, you've got to step away and clear your head or you know, it just doesn't go well, Ben  yeah, yeah, I've had that same experience so many times and uh I think a lot of times you hear people say yeah just take a break, go for a walk whenever you're like yeah what everyone's gonna power through it but it actually does work Garrett  well for me. Walking doesn't cause then I'll just fix it on it too much and like I need to let go like my brain has to let it go. Um And so for me usually it's more getting a getting a night of sleep um is what kind of resets it for me at least from what I've found. But I've probably every three or four months. It's one of those where like This is going poorly and the next morning less than  minutes it's solved. Uh Ben  Yeah I have that too, like a good night. So definitely goes to reset. The one. The one problem I've had with that though is that then I will wake up at four a.m. I have the solution in my head, I'm like I got to go do it, Garrett  I do that too and for better or worse I don't even fight the sleep anymore, I just get up and go start working. Um And then if I need a nap later or something I just Ben  so be Garrett  it. Uh But like that's so much of that like We're so indoctrinated that like  is when people work. And that's been a really hard thing to let go of two and not feel that way every day and to basically, it's not about like working when you feel like it, but it's not like pushing back when the urge to get something done strikes, like go do it and then circle back, yeah, you know, and get some either for rest or whatever. Um you know, take a long lunch or whatever it is. Uh and that's uh I've found that to be helpful to just to try and not forced to work, but do it when it's fresh in my head and just go, Ben  yeah, yeah, I love having that flexibility as a, as an entrepreneur or business owner and being able to work when it's most effective. So You know, if it's  and then I take a break and maybe come back in a couple hours in the afternoon and then I'm done for the day, that's, it's cool. Right? So I wanted to hit on one other thing from, you're talking about there about with adaptable and you know, I love what you're saying about there's a, there's a software solution here, let me go build that, right? And then over time. Like uh maybe not. And I can totally relate to that because I feel the same way. It's like, oh if there's something missing in the world, there's, there's obviously assad's there that can satisfy that need, but Ben  but in reality like salad, you don't have to go all the way to says, right, you can uh, you can start with, you know, youtube videos or uh, maybe even just a reddit, right? Maybe maybe you're hanging out in the community and on offering back and building up that stuff that you want to see in the world. Garrett  Uh, so there's definitely still an element of that with what I want to do and uh, a lot of it is like, right now I'm focused on videos and more mechanics and uh, you know, here's things to think about if you want to get into mountain biking as an amputee or things to think about with snowboarding or, you know, whatever it is. Um, but there's this whole other facet or many facets really, um, of like limb care and recovery and you know, when you beat your leg up doing something active in a carbon fiber socket all day Garrett  and then you get home and it's destroyed, uh, you know, you got to take care of it. And so there's things like that and there's a financial aspect that like insurance only helped so much with prosthetics and they help with basic, like daily kind of day to day prosthetics, but they don't help if you need more advanced prosthetics, um, for certain activities. And so for that, you're either on your own or you need to find financial assistance and there's a ton of great organizations out there that help with that, but they're all non profits and their websites are less than stellar and less than informative. Um, Garrett  and in a lot of ways it's difficult to find the one that is right for you that will cover the type of equipment you need based on, you know, just your disability fall into the disabilities that they cover. Um, and so there's all these different requirements and details and it's difficult or you forget right, like life happens and some organization has an annual grant cycle and it's in october and then october blows by and you're like, oh crap, I totally forgot to apply for that grant and now you got to wait till next year. And so, you know, my thinking is that it's not just a tool to like educate people and help people find the information. They need something to proactively help reduce friction and remove the barriers that stop people with disabilities from being active. Garrett  Um, and that could be everything from pain to financial stuff to simply, you know, needing somebody to talk to who's done it. Um, and there's just, there's so many solutions and everybody, even within a category of disability is unique, even if they're not unique from the disability perspective, the activity they want to pursue might be more unique. Um, and so it's just really difficult to make it all work and to find answers and you kind of just gotta go try and you know, from experience the first couple of times I try new activity is miserable because I'm just figuring it out and that takes a lot of the fun out of it. And a lot of people like this isn't for me and you know, until you learn Garrett  kind of about that learning curve and how it exists and how it's a lot steeper than it is without a prosthetic or what have you. Um it's tough and it's easy to give up because it hurts and it's inconvenient and you know, there's just you're worried about your prosthetic, right? You've got this $, prosthetic that you need to survive day to day and you're like, oh I'm going to go paddleboarding, so what if it gets wet, can it get wet? I don't know, and there's just so many questions and so many easy reasons to give up or be intimidated and Garrett  you know, it doesn't need to be that way because more more importantly, like once you're in that situation is more important than ever to be active and to stay active and to not let it just lock you down on the couch or something. Um but it's not easy, you know, it's way harder than before and I don't think it needs to be, it doesn't need to be as hard as it is. So yeah, I'm hoping could help people get answers and you know, do their thing, whatever it is that moves them figuratively and literally Ben  yeah, yeah, that sounds like a tagline for the website Garrett  actually. Right. Ben  Right. Garrett  Yeah. Ben  Yeah. I I have uh so we have in our in our family some some experience with a kind of obscure medical issues like uh which is kind of similar to, you know, go into a prosthetic situation, right? Where all of a sudden you're into this community where you have to, you can get the speed really quickly on what does life look like now. And how do I do the things that I want to do and where do I go to find that information? And so often it seems that in our in our experience is that the only people who really know much of anything are the doctors that you're working with or the therapists or the nurses, right? And and they can connect with resources. But like if you just happen to have the wrong, you know, chemistry, Ben  you know, with with someone or you don't just happen to the right person, you can just feel pretty isolated. And uh so I thank you for having having resources for, for that is is so helpful because I've told my wife a number of times like you could write a book on on all the things that you've learned, you know, through this experience. And and then my my my brother's family there was a significant motorcycle accident that left someone with, you know, just a lot of parallelization from the waist down basically and his his, you know, going through all the things that he went through two surgeries and the rehab. And so to get back to a point where he could walk, you know, uh, which was, which was assisted so much by the great people that he had around him. Ben  But fortunately he had them right for those that don't, it's got to be a much, much harder rodeo Garrett  and it's just all over the board. Um, amputations really interesting is what most most frequently right into with people is there surgeon doesn't want them to amputate and is constantly trying to talk them out of it. But after you go through it, I saw my surgeon, I mean, my surgeon, I had to switch surgeons. Um, but he saw me twice after my amputation. He's never seen me with a prosthetic. He has no idea what I'm doing now. And so these people are asking their surgeons about amputation. The truth is the surgeons, unless they're actively helping. Um, you know, in other contexts and volunteering. Uh, they have no clue what life is like after amputation. They might read some stuff, Garrett  right. And you know, there's plenty of paralympians that are amazing. But then you wonder those people edge cases or you know, can anybody run and do that stuff again? Maybe not at that level. Um, and the, your surgeon just doesn't know. And so people are asking the surgeon because that's supposed to be the expert and then the surgeons giving them, I don't want to say bad information but incomplete information. And so it's tough for people because you can't get those answers, you know, and again, every disability so different how it affects people and how your doctor, what their background is in terms of how they understand like being active or you know, doing more than just day to day functioning. All right. Yeah. There's so many layers to it all. Mhm. Ben  So, one thing I wanted to go back to was talking about, you know, the time that you spend on that, obviously it's it's tough when you've got a family, you're the breadwinner. You know, you're trying to build a nonprofit thing. And at some point it sounds like you realize, you know what, I just gotta I gotta do some work. I got to bring the money in the door, right? I can't spend all my time focusing on this this nonprofit platform. So it sounds like you're doing that in your spare time and that you're you're paying the bills of freelancing doing a bunch of bunch of rail stuff. But as you've been doing that, you've actually built some tools that I want to talk about. So it sounds it sounds like Ben  you've been doing this work and this work has prompted you to build the review thing you've been working on. And also the heat map thing for many tests, let's talk about that a little bit. Garrett  Uh Yeah. So the nice thing, the one the only intentional thing I've done the last . years is to try and make sure that whatever I'm doing at all kind of syncs up somehow um and for the most part that was always leading back to ruby and or rails um and you know, so a lot of my client work is helping with legacy apps that are profitable now, but they built the app quickly and there's some, you know, legacy pain that needs to be fixed, re factoring that kind of thing. Um And then there was adaptable where I was starting with a Greenfield fresh modern rails app um and one of them was fun and the other one wasn't and I'll let you guess. Mhm. And so a lot of what I started thinking more about was like how does an app that Garrett  has all this legacy craft get from there to a point where it's not miserable to work on and you know, there's a lot of ways, there's a lot of paths, there's a lot of great books on re factoring um and a lot of that kind of stuff, uh what I started getting more interested in was how we've got all these great letters and static analysis tools for um security for syntax for just cleaning up code, right? And a lot of little auto correct and format stuff for you. Uh and the more I I dabbled with the tools previously but they were always so difficult to use because they're all command line um you know and they all have different syntax, different names for the same flags that do the same thing like Summer Garrett  auto, correct, some are right, some are, you know, and so like you gotta then remember the quirks, they're using the wrong flags with the wrong tools and it just gets tedious, right or like you know, you want to use a dozen tools, but if you run them all at once, like it's going to take  minutes to run through your whole project when really all you want is like just look at the files, I'm about to commit or uh you know look at the files, I just committed and let's do a pass it like with Robocop or whatever, clean them up and then I'll commit a separate one that's just pure clean up, you know, all these kind of things and but it was so tedious, I love these tools but I just wouldn't use them because there was too much friction. Garrett  Uh and so with adaptable and like when I start a Greenfield project, I was like I've got to use these tools from the beginning to make sure that never gets into a bad state because once that ship sails it's too much effort to go back and too much risk to like make those kind of wholesale changes and uh so it started with just that it's like how can I make it easier to use these tools and remove the friction so that they're enjoyable to use and kind of in the back of my mind was because like Guard does a lot of this, right, if you're running guard constantly. Uh But Guard also drove me nuts because it would my fans would spin up and make so much noise and I couldn't concentrate. Um Garrett  and so kind of and I still like guard, but my thinking was what if the tool could be so convenient that you didn't feel like you needed to use guard to watch files as you changed them and that you could do more than just have your automated test front, right? So like what if and I mean there's there's integrations for like Robocop and stuff, but like what if you change five files and you could just run a tool that will automatically run all of the relevant things you have against those files that you updated and potentially auto correct them if you want or um you know, this is all theory and it's it's come together and I'm using it on itself but it's not ready to like use in other projects yet. Um that's kind of the next step. Uh Garrett  But yeah and that's what I just I wanted that I want to be able to take it on a project that's raw and has a ton of craft and then every time I commit basically start cleaning up there and just make sure it doesn't regress, right it only gets better, you know and basically it makes it easier to or hopefully it will make it easier to just make constant steady improvement, right? It's not you run it and then it's like you know the tool just throws up its hands, it's like this code base is a mess, Ben  don't even Garrett  use this tool. Um Instead I want it to be you know what okay make some progress, let's start there and eventually, you know, over the course of a year, two years you're gonna touch so much of the code and eventually it's gonna get cleaner and it's gonna get better right? And it's not just formatting but like you've got things like brake man and things that are for scanning for security issues and all this stuff and there's so much bundler audit right and all these things to make sure that your dependencies and you know there's a lot of great tools out there like code, climate for reporting. But what drives me nuts is when I commit and then it gets to see I Garrett  and then the ci finds the mistake because the tool you don't run it locally like okay well now I've got to fix it and I gotta wait for ci again and like I want all these tools to be so frictionless to use, it never even makes it to see i like CS board because it never has anything to complain about because by the time it gets there it's already perfect. Um So yeah, so that's kind of the that's a reviewer um and it'll hopefully be more like the end of the year. Um And then I've also been obsessed with many tests lately because I used to use ours back and I just it never messed with me. It was too, I don't know, it's Garrett  the way I've always described, feels like it's the only thing in ruby that I feel like is simultaneously very ruby and very un ruby and it's just never worked with my head. Um And all the I'm very dependency averse from years of you know dependency breaks or has a security issue and the chain reaction of things that need to be updated and can't be updated because and so I'm very dependency averse. Um and uh so that's another reason I've gone with many tests because it's just there there's fewer dependencies, it's simpler. Um But many tests output even with all the formatting options out there just always, I felt like I was doing way more work than I should have to to figure out what failed what went wrong and how to fix it Garrett  and so what I've done is really over engineered to test reporter for many tests to uh when a test fails, it kind of catalogs what file was in the stack trace what line number in that file. Um and so what it's doing is in the background, it's kind of building up a heat map of everything that triggered a problem. And it's also differentiating between like failures and exceptions because if your test fails, okay, that's interesting. You want to start with the assertion, what was the assertion that failed? But if there is an exception, then the assertions kind of irrelevant. You want to go dig into the exception. But what if the exception came out of the test, Garrett  then you don't want to waste your time and source code just fix the test. Otherwise you're not. And so it differentiates between failures, a broken test and an exception. And it presents the output differently to kind of guide you in the right direction based on those. And if you've got anything that's failing or broken, it's not going to harass you about skipped tests or slow tests, right? It suppresses those until everything's fixed. And it's like, hey, by the way, you've got four tests here that you've skipped, you need to go right? Those, uh, and actually won't bother you about slow tests until all your skip tests are fixed, Right? Garrett  Uh, and so it kind of lets you focus on what's important at the time without reminding you of the fact that you've got a lot going on that is pending and problematic or whatever it is. Um, you know, so there's a lot of little things like that and like when you make that one change that breaks  things across your whole project, you're renaming a class or whatever it is. Uh And then it's just you will go from like a perfect test suite  failing tests like crap. Okay. Where do I even start? Uh And so the heat map will show you like look all of these problems come back to this one file, you know, whatever it is so you can get to the heart of the matter instead of having to like Garrett  visually scanned through  failures and try to find and recognize a pattern. Uh So it's kind of uh a proactive pattern matching reporter. Um you know with a few other tweaks to just help uh nudge and simplify kind of the output so that you can my hope be, you know, you see a test failure and you know exactly what you need to do to fix it before you even go back to your text editor because you've got enough context. Um And obviously that's not always possible, but more often than not and definitely more often than with just the generic reporter. Uh That's been the case and has been really helpful and saves me a ton of time fishing for what needs to be fixed and what what's worth fixing first and that kind of thing. So I have to think a lot less. Garrett  I just have to go fix it. Ah And so both of those combined are going to kind of I'm hoping work in a way that you know you type R. V. W. And it's just smart and it says here's all your problems. You're like oh my gosh, everything's perfect. But you could stand to improve your documentation here in this file, you're like okay I can do that real quick. Um You know so it kind of nudges you in the right direction without like wearing you out about how horrible your code is. Um Because when you're one of those tools just raw, that's basically what it feels like. It's like oh my gosh I'm horrible. I have no idea, I have no business writing code. Uh Garrett  And that's not a good feeling but if it's like hey you can fix this, here's how okay I can do that. Um You know there's a lot of really interesting ideas. There are like you know you ever run your test suite and it fails and you run it again and it passes. They're like oh crap what was the seed that it used when it failed? And uh so what reviewer does too in the background, it's recording a bunch of history. Um And so it will remember that last failed seed and so you can you be able to type our VW rerun and it would rerun just the failure and let you zero in on that and focus on fixing that. Um So there's a lot of little things like that that Garrett  I just want to make it easier. I mean there's bisect and some great tools out there. Um, but sometimes they're overkill and slow and they take you out of the zone and I want to make it easier to stay in the zone and get things done and get back on track. Ben  That sounds sounds really cool. Yeah, we um, remember having done some a few major rails version upgrades with the honey badger card base, you know, go from  to  or  or whatever it is. And like all of a sudden half your tests, you got thousands of tests and like thousands of them. It's the Garrett  most defeating feeling. You're just like, oh, okay, I quit for today. Ben  Yeah. And then, and then, you know, you dive through all those things like, okay, these all look the same. It's all the same. It's all the same and go and try this thing here and that thing there and oh, I made this one change and now half of those failing tests are now passing okay. Now, you know? So yeah, having the heat map I think is uh, it sounds like a great idea. And then of course, you know, you mentioned, uh, if it's an exception, you know exactly where to go, like it sounds like honey badger, right? You get the context that you need to know what to fix, right, yep. Yeah. Although I must say I'm, I'm an I respect fan Ben  have been for a long time and I've tried, you know, going back to many tests because I'll start your rails app like this, this new side project, I started a few a few months ago, like it's a new rails happen to me, you know, let me try any test again because that's the default and so I'll get in there for a bit. But then like one of the things I've come to realize is that I, what I love about our spec is despite how, you know, I can feel you about the dependency aversion, but at the same time our spec is kind of like a batteries included kind of thing. Like Ben  you've got the mocking right? Not the stubbing, you don't have to worry about what I do. I do, I do many test mock or do I do mocha, you know, like all that's kind of rails itself, right? It's kind of kind of its own duck and it has everything included. So you don't think about, you Garrett  know, and don't get me wrong, I don't dislike our spec, it just doesn't work with my head and like, I just get overwhelmed with how much it has. And so for me with many tests, like you're like, oh, which marked thing to use neither. Like if I feel like I need to mock something, I need to re factor it so it's more easy to test efficiently and directly. Um, because like marks, I mean that has all has its own issues, right? Like uh and so for me uh and and it was very much a mental thing. Like I just fully embraced accepted many tests limitations and now I use that as kind of a nudge to be like, all right, if this is really difficult to do, Garrett  then it's not that I need better testing tools. It's that I need my code to be organized in a way that lets me test this appropriately And efficiently without getting to set up  unrelated models so that it won't fall over. Uh And so that's kind of been more of a philosophical thing for me because previously when I drive many tests, that's exactly how to drive me nuts. I'm like, how the hell do I do any of this? Because my brain what little I did understand of our respect. I had learned to think that way about things. And so then I found myself doing all this like how do you mock in many tests and how do you, And it's like you don't, you know, use mocha or you know what have Ben  you. Garrett  Uh and so kind of accepting that and just saying, you know what, When it, when many test pushes back, I'm going to listen and I'll just re factor. Um and at first was a little painful. But now it actually has been really, really nice. Uh But I will say to a lot of that goes hand in hand with like I've been doing a lot of like deeper deeper reading on ruby and thus kind of understanding patterns, you know being able to see more patterns to re factor like oh this is why this is hard to test really. Just need to re factor using this pattern and take this approach instead or whatever. Um And so that's helped because otherwise I feel like I know I need to change this but I don't even know where to start. Um Garrett  So you know, that's definitely been a philosophical thing I had to accept. Ben  Yeah, that makes sense. So you mentioned code climate and I know, you know in the early days when kokonas started like it was basically a wrapper on top of flay and flaw right and eventually break man and stuff. Right? They assembled all these open source tools and put a nice ui on top of it, which is fine, you know, but you could just run off tools yourself, right? Um But review sounds pretty cool because you're basically giving that code climate kind of experience, but it's on your own right, in your own cli and you could I mean conceivably you could even use it like with left hook or something to do get pre commit kind of thing which might have its own problems but still it's an option. Garrett  It's definitely on the radar, there's a lot of get integration that I'm planning on. So you can do like our VW staged and it'll just look at the staged files or R. V. W untracked, it'll just looked at your file that you haven't staged, That kind of thing. Ben  Super handy. So do you do you see a path where review because there's some sort of commercial component to review or do you think it could always be pure, Garrett  there's, I've got a bunch of ideas that I think could um I mean the core one is just gonna be an open source jim. Um if I do follow any model um you know, it's probably going to be something more like sidekick where there's the core thing that is helpful and useful and free for eternity. Um and then there would be more advanced, either team functionality or kind of sharing of configuration files. Um There's a whole ton of tools that I've thought about building to to um things like if you have an existing app, it kind of auto detect and suggest, hey you might want to use these gems, these tools um obviously it's built in ruby but the idea is that it has to be ruby centric. It's really at the end of the day, it's just a wrapper for command line tools Garrett  that gives you some kind of either pass fail or score output. Um and so like if you've got  tools set up, like one reviewer, I've just gone overboard. Like I'll use everything because I want to kind of test it, you know, and dog food it um And so like if one fails it doesn't bother running the rest of them. And so the idea is if you can figure in the order of priority, like start with bundler audit right? Because if you've got a gym that's out of whack, then you need to fix that because that'll ripple And so it'll just stop there, so you have to wait  minutes for a whole suite to run on a huge project, it just fails immediately, insist fix this and then you fix that and then it runs Garrett  um and then two and this is all theoretical at this point because I haven't played with it, but I've got some, I'm really excited about the idea potentially. Um and I hate to make it ruby three only, but playing with tractors and some some threading and stuff so that you can have Robocop running in parallel with, you know, especially with multi core processors picking up and all this kind of stuff, I feel like there's a lot of potential Like what if you could run  tools in parallel and have the whole thing run in seconds instead of minutes and that could be really cool, There's other challenges there, but um you know that reporting obviously um like code climate, I feel like that's one of code climates really big things, Garrett  but for me the reporting is gonna be more an afterthought, I wanted to be a local thing that you can use friction free and then if people like it, which I hope they will, I mean I'm really excited about, I love using it to build itself, it's been wildly helpful. Um you know, then yeah, I'd start thinking about, you know, what other options are there for, how it could be better um and do even more cool stuff for teams or people who are just really serious about using it or you know, what have you? Ben  Mhm Yeah, I think, I mean I love, I love the sidekick model uh you know, give that great open source core that has great functionality and then build on top of that, you know, things that are useful to people who are going to use it more intensely and I think, I think the psychic definitely has that sweet spot, if it's it's an operations kind of thing where you're gonna be, you're gonna be running this forever in your production environment. So you want to pay that licensing fee, you know, every month, every year or whatever. And then there's also like the ASCII corp model, right? Where they have very, very good open source tools, you know, you can use Packer or Terror Form or whatever, Ben  you know, never paying them a dime but they also have great team collaboration tools if you want to move to their platform, you know, and coordinate your Terror Form running or you know, your console, you know, or your vault or whatever, right? They have a pro or enterprise offering for every one of those that can do additional stuff enhancing it, you know? So yeah, some great options there, Garrett  yeah, you know, I will say to a lot of my Garrett  thinking since selling sifter has been, I don't really want to run a sas app again, uh and I'm sure you can guess all the reasons uh at the end of the day, the simplest thing um and I mean I knew it when I was running sifter but I didn't fully appreciate it was the degree to which I let it change me to notifications and alerts of problems and a never ending fear that as soon as I went camping or hiking out of cell service was the day it was going to fall over in a bad way and uh like it wasn't this like huge thing, but it was just in this like ever present anxiety and after I didn't have that anymore, it was just such a like epiphany Garrett  that was like, I don't really want to go back there and if I build a SAS up, it needs to be something that can be designed in such a way that it's resilient and I know that, you know, if it goes into a certain state and it's like that for six hours or something, nobody's gonna be too upset. Um and I couldn't think of anything and uh so yeah, so then I just started building these gyms and I was like, I'm just gonna build the gyms and see where that takes me. I mean really, I feel like I'm just kind of pulling on a thread right now based on my personal curiosity and then just trying to also keep in mind like let's make sure this would also be useful for other people at some point, wherever that is. Ben  Yeah, I'm of course totally with you on the whole like it's tough to run this as because yeah, it is and yeah, I think about this the other day as this, this side project, I'm working on it, like, well it's it's actually right now just for fun, but of course it's like well how would I how to make money on this if I wanted to? And I could run a sad and this is a sad thing, it integrates with GIT hub. And uh so it's it's definitely a web based kind of stuff you do. Um Ben  but you know, if it went down for a few hours, people wouldn't be screaming like screaming about honey badger going down for a few hours. So like that's like that's okay. And then on the other hand, it's like, well it's it is very tightly integrated to get hub. So I could do a self hosted, here's a doctor image kind of thing, you go run this and it talks to your get up enterprise installation behind your firewall. Right? Ben  So I think, yeah, it's really good for entrepreneurs today who are so low to be thinking about that because there are a lot of options. There's the, you know, there's a psychic model. We just give one some someone some code, right? They license it, they run it and it's it's all them right. Or maybe you build a SAAS app that is also a docker image that they can deploy themselves. Maybe the codes available, you know, as maybe it's an open source thing, even like a matter most right, you can they have a hosted option, they have an open source options, have a self host adoption. Um Yeah, I think really good to be thinking about these things as you're, you know, deciding what you're doing day to day because it does, does affect quality of life. Like Ben  my first thought was, and I was when I think about this says I was like this side project, as I says, I was like, well then I got to have the laptop in the night time because Garrett  I'm like, I think I would much rather have an imac, but like as long as I'm involved in anything that can go offline, I don't think I can survive with just an imac, I've got to have a laptop and like yeah, I don't like that, feel like, I don't know, I mean, I don't think anybody but uh Yeah, Ben  Yeah, well that's, and I sometimes I think about a kind of metal level like oh that's a problem to solve, like how do you help? So the entrepreneurs run saAS operations without having to be, you know, always on like yeah, that's an unsolved problem. If someone solves that, that will be I think worth some. I mean Hiroko has done a pretty good job solving that problem, but it's not % solved yet. Garrett  So Well there's Ben  for me, Garrett  like I built a job board for our community here in the valley um because tourism based economies like the turnover and stuff is high and ah and so like for me I was staying with that and I haven't done this because it's just not critical enough. Um but the only thing I thought it would be like with a job board, if you could have it fall into read only mode where it's basically heavily cached on the front end and that's something that could work. But most apps where you're interacting with them because posting jobs, it's not like you constantly post jobs, you post a job and if you can't post a job right now you can come back in six hours and that's fine. It's not the end of the day, you know, into the world. Garrett  Uh but that's the only thing I've been able to come up with that has felt like it wouldn't be a huge issue as long as you designed and built it, right, so that I could do that. But everything else I'm like, nope, that won't work, That won't work. Like, I think that's why haven't start another business yet is because I've become really picky, like after selling stuff to, I'm like, what do I really want to do and not do again? And so much of the sad stuff while it's great. Um it was just like, it took a toll. Like, it made me not want to do so many things that now I love doing, like camping and hiking and like getting out of cell service. Um, and so I don't want to give that up anymore. Ben  So I guess the moral of the story is do all that kind of stuff when you're in your twenties have plenty of energy, right? You don't hate it yet, right? And then try to come up with something different by the time you're in your s, Garrett  use the experience to uh more wisely choose your battles. Ben  Yeah. Right. Yeah. Yeah. Cool. Well, this has been total fun. Yeah. Yeah. Garrett  Glad, Glad to catch up. Ben  Is there anything that we should have talked about that we didn't? Garrett  Oh, probably a ton of stuff. Uh, no, I mean, I wish this stuff was all in a better state. Many test heat is good to use now, I need to add a little bit more exception handling because now every now and then something goes wrong with many test heat and like you can't see your own test failures because it fell over. Uh so that's kind of my next step is to add some resiliency to that so that if it breaks, it says, hey many test heat fell over on this, but your things fine and have some like simple output. So you at least can see something because every now and then I have to go disable it and switch back to the regular reporter so I can actually see the the failure. Um but uh you know, it's ready to use, I'm using it Garrett  every day on all my projects now. Um and it's been pretty, pretty fine. Today was the first time in like a week that I've seen any kind of issue that didn't work so that people can use it. It definitely needs some tidying up and improvements, but that's forthcoming, then reviewer will hopefully be the end of the year will kind of see how, how things shake out with the holidays and all that, how much work I'm able to get done, but um I'm optimistic because I want it, I want to use it on other projects, like every time I go work on reviewer, I'm like, I really wish I had this for my other projects where I've just got dumb scripts that just run the same commands in order and you know, it's close, but it's not the same. Um Garrett  you know, I'm really excited about how much I know it's going to help my day to day work flow and I'm hopeful anybody else that's using rubio find those same benefits. Um And hopefully other languages too. I don't know. I haven't really tried, I mean in theory, javascript and a lot of that stuff will work like with the rails app. Um and like er be learning and and what night. Um So hopefully, but I haven't tried anything wholly outside of a ruby project to see if it could be useful there, but it should be, it's just a wrapper around command line, right? Strings. So hopefully Ben  and then next step V. S. Code plug in right where it's all just running all the time Garrett  code, right? Ben  Yeah, maybe that's your thing you sell. I don't know. Garrett  Yeah. You know, I haven't thought about that too much because most of them you can plug in on their own. Uh But then that gets overwhelming when you're trying to edit your file and it's like just yelling at you about everything. Like just let me think first, then yell at me after the fact after I've like figured it out. Yeah, I'm excited about it. It's kind of the most fun I've had programming in a long time. Um So we'll see. Ben  I love it. Well, scratching your niche is always fun and if you can make some money while you're at it. Hey, even funny Garrett  right? Well and so like that's the thing, like just kind of circle back and wrap it up, like part of it is in order for me to really pursue adaptable, I've got to have some kind of automatic income and like with sifter that would've been perfect, you know, it's recurring revenues, Great. And uh so a lot of it too is like, I'm really gonna unlock adaptable potential. I need to not be, you know, have an income tied to hourly rates. It's got to be divorced from how much time I'm actually sitting at my computer and uh so that's kind of been a driver too, but again, more just wandering and figuring it out, hoping it all comes together somehow. Ben  That's, we're all in the same boat. Garrett  Right, Ben  well, we will definitely link up uh the heat map and review and uh definitely get some people check it out if you're ruby ist and we'll link up your twitter so people can follow you and keep track of what you're doing. Uh Thanks again, yeah, hanging out with, Garrett  thanks. Great to catch up Ben  and thanks everybody for listening Again, you've been listening to found request from the founders of honey badger. We're excited to continue to bring you exciting episodes on podcast and a fantastic product, honey badger of course. So check us out on the bed, radio and you know, as star always says, review as if you like and don't review us, if you don't like, have a great one. 
47:11 10/29/2021
Tales From The Good/Bad Old Days Of Freelance Gigs
Show notes:Links:Sweaty StartupHook RelaySpider seasonWrite for HoneybadgerAutomated transcript (only about 75% accurate)Ben  So I've been, I've been using Hook Relay over the past week and I got to say, there's nothing as useful as using your own product to make you see places where the product can be improved. So I've, I've opened a couple of issues. Yeah, yeah. And uh, I mean, they're not, they're not major things, but it's like, oh, it would be nice if this was different, would be nice if that was, you know, different. And it's been, it's been good. So I'm, I'm looking forward to having those things done making the product better. And we, uh, you know, we talked about spending some more time, uh, development time on really the other couple next coming weeks and months because I've had some, some customer requests coming in. So Ben  it's always a good feeling like when people are actually using it and saying, oh yeah, I like it, but couldn't do this like, Oh yeah, I could do that. It's fun. I love it. I love being developer and just building stuff. So much fun. Yeah. Josh  Yeah. Looking at our, our dashboard, we've got uh, got a few New year's is coming in. Got some a little bit more revenue than last time I looked at this, so that's cool. Starr  Yeah, that's good stuff. You know, it's the season for it. The, the pacific Northwest summer is long gone and we're just into the dark, wet now. We've gone through a spider season. Yeah, I mean, right, you've got um, yeah, you've got the summer, you've got spider season, you've got dark with it. Josh  Is that from that like list of pacific Northwest Seasons or whatever, that's like . Starr  You can, you can call me out on that. I was hoping to um, I was hoping to plagiarize. Josh  We should, we should put that in the show notes if we can find it though. That's a pretty good one. Starr  Yeah, that's a good one. Josh  I don't remember them all, but Ben  I'm definitely, definitely more productive in the winter time because like, I'm not outside playing, I'm inside hunkering down from the rain, the cold, so I'm like, I might as well do some code. Josh  Yeah, Starr  I mean, personally, I kind of um like I kind of stopped going on my morning walks in the summer because there's too many amateurs out. Yeah. And I started again once the fall comes, once it starts getting dark and drizzly and those are my favorite morning walks. Josh  Nice even in the rain. Starr  Yeah, especially in the rain, get out. Yeah, that's why you have a nice like Gortex raincoats and my scoots. Yeah, it's all about the gear. Yeah, it's uh, I don't know, this is very pleasant. I like it. The, yeah, the summer here, like it's nice, but after a while, the sun just, just starts getting to me. It's just like, I can't escape it. It's just boring into my eyeballs. Ben  It is truly a thing around here when the sun has been out too long has been to many is people do get a little so crazy. Like I need some wet and so the first rainy day comes, you can just feel the relief. It's just, it's just, I don't know how to describe it. It's just a sense of community, like relieved that things are back to normal. There's, there's precipitation again. Starr  Yeah, I came up with a theory and I have no idea how valid the series, so I'm just going to throw it out there because it's unfounded and I'm wondering, so like I realize this, this winter, this, yeah, this fall as I'm going out. It's like, okay, like the reason I, like this is because like everything is more muted, right? And I get over stimulated very easily. So, you know, noise and late and all that just kind of does it to me. Starr  And but when it's like dark and gray, like for like, I don't know, this may just be my, my perception, but like the water vapor like mutes the sound a little bit or something. It's not quite everything. Like all the edges are more round and pleasant, nothing is quite as sharp and stab. E And so yeah, and Seattle Seattle is like the pacific northwest in general. It's just like, it draws in like all the computer nerds, all the, all the people who just like it here and like that kind of environment. So it's like, oh do we all just, you know, we all have like sensory issues. I don't know. Josh  That's why all the tech companies are in Seattle. Yeah, probably. I think I need to get an office still because I think like, I think, I think Ben's right, like I I also would be more productive in the winter, but like working from home in the winter with with uh like Kindergartners is a a different experience than working at home in the dark by yourself. It's a bit of a challenge. So yeah, Starr  when you turn on the lights while you're working, you don't just leave them off. Josh  Yeah, sometimes I leave them off. Oh yeah, Starr  that's because you're a real hacker, I've been doing more marketing stuff lately. So I turn the lights on. I use light mode. Josh  I mean you probably forgot how to touch type, you know, and use them with you shut up, Starr  shut up. Shut up, you shut up. I get to say that. Not you. Josh  So you have to have the lights on. I'm sorry. Starr  Yeah, I don't have one of those keyboard with a blank key caps. Josh  Like truth be told. I've been um doing a lot less programming than I used to as well. And it's, it started to bother me a little bit lately. So I've been trying to find ways to get back into it because I'm like, if I'm gonna like forget how to build a rails app if I don't, if I don't like, you know, do some do some work. Ben  We do have like  items in our backlog for Honey badgers. It's true. She can find something to do. Yeah. Josh  I don't know, it's just weird like having like a legacy rails out for so long um Like even when you are working, like even when you do work in it, it's still like, I don't know, like your, it's, you know, I'm like not utilizing a lot of the knowledge that I built up like, like we we all built up working on client projects, like where you're constantly solving new problems and like building things out. Like a lot of those decisions are already have long been made in a honey badger app. So it's like, yeah, it's, it's weird. It's a little bit different. Ben  That's been nice about having the side project because like starting a new rails app and making new decisions and trying the new things and new toys like hotwire and you know, stimulus reflex, all kind of stuff. Like it's, it's been, it's been fun. But hey, you know, maybe uh you know, talking about client work like, hey, take on some client work, right? It could uh do something completely different and take on Josh  an option for sure. Yeah, I thought that could be fun. Ben  Good old days Josh  build a green field, a green field ap Yeah, Josh  this I mean, I think we're talking about like the problem of like what to do with your time when you're, you're like app is like nine years old and stable and, and you have all this time on your hands and you know, want to still build new things, right? Starr  Yeah, I've got a question like for, I mean, y'all probably don't know because you haven't been freelancing for a while. But to all the freelancers out there, do do people still um do people still higher developers to build like, you know, facebook for x. Like it's like, I just remember working on so many like facebook for so and so um facebook for um nurses, facebook for, you know, whoever and it turned out the facebook for all those groups with facebook, Josh  right? Was that before facebook groups. Starr  I think so. Yeah. Yeah I think so it was. Yeah. It's just weird Josh  because it's like I was our era I mean like for sure like our era freelancing was the facebook for ex Yeah Starr  because like the social media like the social network had just come out that movie about facebook and so I really wanted to be the next facebook by copying facebook for some vertical. Ben  I was just I was thinking back to the are kind of projects that we built you know, talking about the facebook for X stuff and uh I think I was like what was my favorite project and the one that I can remember maybe so I guess it's probably my favorite because when I remember the most and remember the most kindly is the Montessori project that we did. That was a lot of fun. Yeah. Remember started a lot of work on Josh  that project. Still around you know. Ben  Yeah, it's like still making bank. Mhm. It's gonna be like  years older now by now or something. Yeah. That's awesome. I wonder if it's still on rails too. Josh  Yeah Caitlin was doing some shopping for the kids last night and she was looking at Baden kids brand. There are many many Baden and I don't know if that name rings a bell with you Ben but it doesn't because they were one of the they were one of the affiliate shops with today shop flashbacks man. I'm much. Yeah I have all these like I've had all these like kids kids clothing brands like just like programmed into my brain for the last  years now. And now that I actually have kids like they're all resurfacing. So Starr  that's where that was like another that was like another um era which was the um it wasn't the facebook for X. It was the product aggregator. Like we're gonna make we're gonna make a website that aggregates lots of products across you know for different companies and we're just gonna be like an affiliate. We're gonna be really good. S. E. O. Josh  Yeah it was like the um and and that trend was like kind of I mean amazon was definitely around then but it was like I think these days like amazon is now where everything is pretty much aggregated like that. So this was like I don't know it seems like pre pre amazon like at least in their current scale. Starr  Yeah I mean amazon missed out on that. Sweet sweet. A sai Buri affiliate money though. Uh huh. Or it's like you got I don't know what it was like  or  bucks if he was an affiliate could like sign somebody up first. The scam a sai buri like subscription service. Well what it was just affiliates but it was a scan because it was recurring charge and people weren't familiar with getting recurring charges. Yeah so um well you don't Josh  want to boost your health just once. Oh no. And then lose out on all those benefits. So you're really I mean that's like in the that's in the interest of the customer star. Starr  Exactly. One of my friends worked um back then worked at a ah the call center for a bank and like half of her calls or just people like what the hell? Like why am I keep getting charged for this? Josh  Like all of your support requests or start with what the hell you work in a bank. Ben  Yeah. There's a lot of fun things to do when the projects are new and it's all green field. But then, you know, there's also fun things to do when the projects are nine years old. You know, like I was pleasantly surprised on monday morning to find that our database server had failed on sunday morning. You know, it's like, Oh really? That that happened. But our our high availability set up actually worked and the fail over happened and it's just like nothing, nothing happened. I mean these days of course you? Re wild, you would not even set that up, right? You just use already s or you would, you know, there's there's like a gazillion post graze as a service services out there now. But you know, back in my day, you know, we had to push the bits uphill both ways. Right. Mhm. Josh  So yeah. Imagine if the database server failed in like year two. Yeah, back on, back on snickers. Starr  Yeah. Yeah. Well our servers were named after candy bars. Candy bars were Josh  still I love that. We're still on first name first name basis with all of our old servers. Ben  Uh My favorite tricks though, Josh  tricks. Yeah, Starr  I mean it makes sense why that whole hosting platform didn't really work out for us because Trix are for kids been. Ben  I know, I know, but then my kids were young enough then it made sense. Josh  Yeah, these drinks, we should build a we should we should do a client project just for fun. I mean and obviously Starr  obviously right, Ben  your friends but of course is gonna be for money. Yeah. Josh  The great thing about client projects is like you get to build them and then and then you get to like, never see them again. Ben  It's like, it's like, it's like being grandparents right where you can send the kids back to the parents like oh we'll have some fun, will spoil the kid and then send them back to be the parents so you can grow this little rails app and you can have some fun with it and then send it off, you know? And Josh  yeah, yeah. And then you're like, you're like, oh I wonder what happened to deteriorate. Starr  Like a couple of years later, you were like, oh, I wonder what happened to little timmy and see a google him and he's dead. Uh huh. Josh  Yeah. Four little timmy. Mhm. Yeah, there's um I unfortunately I think a lot of my old client projects are in that category, but I think that's just kind of the way it goes. Ben  But you know, I remember the primary struggle that we had the with the ones that didn't, one that weren't reported means I was like, what do we do with it now? Because we like to building new things, but we didn't really like running them, you know, we didn't wanna be on the hook. And so it was like, it's great, you have this new app go enjoy, right? And they're like, yeah, but you know what about something breaks? It's like, oh, well, good luck, you know? Yeah, I Josh  was thinking about that recently, like, like does that still fly? Like what do people do these days? Like, I don't know. Ben  I would like to know Josh  if you have a non technical, like, I don't like, to be honest, um you had a knack for like finding those people that seem to been because like, you find these people that are just like nontechnical. They they just have an idea like, you know, they're like, like Star said, like the whatever facebook facebook for X people, but like, they just have you just build it for them? And then yeah, they would kind of just be like, now I'm I'm like, I'm a tech founder now, Starr  can I tell a funny story about um So I used to live in Tulsa Oklahoma is where I went to college and live there for a little while after and one day I was at like a local coffee shop and there was this guy who actually, I saw a couple times at the coffee shop who just um was chatting up the brief, such adding up everybody around him about this app idea. He had um called the love button, which is just, oh my God, like that, that name, but it's called the Love button. And uh basically it's not, it's not a dating app though, which is like, you know, you're winning when you have to explain that your product name isn't what people think it is originally at first glance, it's not a dating app. It's a uh Starr  it's about like you can put in like what do I love to do? I love carpentry so I can press the love, but you have to press it, it's important. And then it um he didn't say this, but I was sort of imagine like a slot machine type, you know, spinning type thing, like whirling and then it pops up the people nearby you who also love that thing so you can stalk them. Uh huh Ben  uh huh. I was with you right up to that Stockport. Starr  I mean, well, I mean that's I had at that part, but I mean, it's like we've seen what happens to the internet, we've seen having to go, Josh  it just like has their contact information. Like it's a Starr  yeah, it's just, it's like, it's a way for, yeah, it's a way for people to have uncomfortable interactions. So it's like, Ben  it's like chatroulette but in real life, Starr  in real life. Yeah, I'm just sitting there like why the hell would anybody ever consent to that ever? But maybe I wasn't the target market, you know, Ben  mm maybe, maybe not just trying to think. You definitely want to involve a map of nearby welded locations for people to meet up. Josh  Maybe you just don't love anything enough to press the button. Yeah, maybe you like really have to be into something Starr  and then it just shames you. It's like, hey, what's the matter? Josh  I mean like to be fair like craigslist exists and like people, people do like respond to all kinds of things on craigslist and I'm sure are not in well lit locations. So you know, maybe this, maybe this love button app has like a, you know, has like a pivot or something. Starr  Yes, I mean, I don't know, maybe he was going to pivot it to grinder, who knows? Ben  Yeah, Well, you know, another option to just building apps would be buying apps right? We could hang out on micro require and, or flipper or someplace and uh, you know, for these for these developers who built the thing and don't want to run it. You can just buy it and then we can run, Josh  no, I think there's, I think there's probably something there potentially for us because we, we have some of the experience now that maybe they don't, they didn't um, you know the people that someone that just build something to a certain point. So, and we have a marketing engine so we could potentially like acquire something and then plug it in to our existing systems. So that could be fun. Like, you know, I mean like this is like instead of, you know, like, like I got a friend in construction and him and his dad like flip houses, you know, like that's the, the thing they do but are, are flipping houses is like flipping flipping SAs apps I think because you know, that's like our, maybe someday you'll be um flipping saps with your, with your boys. But Ben  mm hmm. Uh huh. We'll have a show on tv about that, you know, let's take it to the next level. Instead of just buying zaps and flipping it. Let's, let's get investors. Let's get some, some, some of the partners up in here and we can use their money to go buy the apps and then we'll run them for a while. Then maybe sell them. Then we can be like those cool kids that are out there like buying all these as apps and doing the investment thing, right? Josh  Yeah, I like it. These are good ideas Starr  are private and private equity firms. The cool kids. Yeah. Yeah. I guess I guess you're right for some value of cool, right? Ben  If you ask the private equity firms, they will say yes, they are the cool kids. Starr  Yeah. Josh  There's a lot of new types of private equity these days. It seems Josh  okay. Yeah. We need to take stuff. Ben  Yeah exactly. Take advantage of this new micro pipeline like you know, tiny seed and calm fund, right? We need to, we need a pipeline like okay, those are the feeding into the pipeline and then we do some magic somewhere along the process, right? And then outcomes bigger companies and we make money somehow. It's kind of funny but I think we can make it happen Starr  if you just took all those platforms up to each other in a circle, you get uh infinite motion machine, right? Oh. Mhm. It just keeps getting bigger and bigger until somebody goes to jail. Josh  I thought you got like an R. Burrows. So I hear you pronounce that the snake eating its own tail. Starr  Yeah. Ben  Or we could go in a completely different direction. I saw a tweet from Patio  this morning where he was uh he was referencing a tweet from sweaty startup and if you don't, if not familiar sweaty startup, you really got to go check that out because that's, that's some cool stuff. Like he hangs out and read it, his cool beans. We'll put some links in the show notes if you can check it out. But somebody started up dude uh he bought like a storage company, self storage company and like applied software to the process because like they were still like, you know, pushing paper around or whatever. It was old school and then really like juice that business and made it pretty cool investment and so Ben  thinking, yeah, we could, we could do that, we could go, we could go old school and get all these old school businesses that are not online and apply our our marketing juice and Josh  tear it up. I'm down to buy like a brick and mortar. Yeah or something. Um Just first of all though, you can't introduce what the startup guy as sweaty startup guy. He's the tomato guy right? Like this is the guy that was like trying to sell like it was like bragging about how he could like whatever like like grow a tomato farm to like a billion dollars. But he Ben  was sweating startup guy before he was tomato guy. Josh  Well because that was, you don't start that was an epic troll. Did you did you catch that at the end? Like it's it's pretty amazing like. Yeah, it turns out that guy really like that. Really not like he knows his shit apparently. And I mean like probably also know like I'm like having like followed him a little bit like seen some of the things he said like I might be inclined to like listen to him on the tomato thing, Josh  Maybe I can make a fortune of tomatoes, you know. Mhm. Ben  Mhm. As long as you don't live in Seattle where it rains nine months out of you. Ben  Yeah, no sweat. He started like I've been following him on Reddit for the longest time and I just love, obviously not every idea is genius, right? But I do love his approach. Like get in there, do the work, do the work that other people aren't willing to do or that people are just haven't really caught on to yet. Like one of his, one of his classic things is like just go start a pressure washing company right? Go knock on your neighbor's doors and see if they want their driveway pressure washed and then and then pressure wash it right? And then you do that and you get some gaming experience and you provide a quality service and lo and behold now you've got a business, right? So I think I just like his his ethos of just go in there, Ben  do the work and try to make it happen as opposed to right, You know. Mhm. Sit back and complain or whatever. You know, it's just kind of like the I just like that I would Josh  I would hire that person by the way um because I could use some pressure washing like the moss around my house is just out of control Ben  really. Again pacific northwest Yeah, Josh  you know that's pretty cool. Um And I like the just the thought of like I mean they're so it feels like there's so many um little I mean there's so many business problems out there that are in the real world that will they need a software solution and um will eventually happen. Um It just like it seems like in order to solve those problems you have to have some sort of like actual like proximity to the problem. So like maybe the way to like get into those problems is just to go out and start doing more stuff in the real world and see where you know like see where the pain points are. Ben  So you're saying if you want to build software for dentist you've got to become a dentist. Josh  Yeah. I don't know like at least like yeah work it in reception or something or have a lot of cavities just go like do stuff for oh yeah, just be a repeat customer for this. Ben  Yeah. Yeah. I just I just love how there's so many ways to make money on the internet. It's amazing. Starr  Yeah but the sai buri opportunities are long gone. That started a long time ago unfortunately. Josh  I think we'll see more. We'll definitely see more internet scams in the future though. So hope is not lost. Ben  You mean like thank goodness. Josh  Oh shots fired. Josh  I like I really want to see just like a like a smart contract. MLM. I mean like I think there might be something out there, but like, I want to see one. I just want to see one succeed, you know? Um Ben  Okay. You have to, you have to be the change that you want to see in the world job. Uh huh. That means you have to do it yourself. Josh  I know. I don't know if I can, I just don't understand that world. Like, I don't know. Like, I'm sure I could go like build, yeah, like comprehend the technology. But I just, I don't know. I'm just not motivated to at all. Like I've kind of tried a little bit, but Ben  yeah. Yeah. I'm still the old guy shaking fist at cloud stage of N. F. T. S. I'm like, I don't get it. Get off my lawn. Yeah. Josh  Well, there will be something there. I'm sure the FTS necessarily just in, in the, in the technology in the future. Ben  But my one of my sons who's really into tech and keeps on top of these things every time I say N. F. T. He's like money laundering. I think that's a really Matic response. It's like, well, okay, I'll trust you Josh  get that kid. A twitter account. Ben  Yeah. That's, that's interesting. Things like my kids not into facebook, not into twitter, you know, there's not Starr  social network for old. Tiktok Ben  absolutely hate Tiktok. Yeah, It's like, it's the opiate of the masses. It's like, well, okay, that's technically. True. Starr  Yeah. I don't know. I really like to talk. It really depends on like, where um like what like you follow and all that. It's, you know, it's just like twitter and that really? Josh  Yeah, yeah, I, I signed up for a Tiktok account recently just to check it out and see like what, where the rabbit holes go and um kind of scared me a little bit, but I mean maybe that's because I was like trying to see how bad it was versus how good it was. So maybe I should do a different experiment where like, I only Starr  like the trick is to take on cat videos or whatever trick is to like follow the things that you like and then you'll get more of those and all the things you don't like, you'll get more of those, Ben  yep. So you said it was scary was more or less scary than kid Youtube. Josh  Uh I haven't really, I don't know like, I mean just the whole idea of Kid Youtube is scary, so it might be just different kind of different things, but just like the algorithm, like the algorithmic bubble that Tic Tac seems to create. Like, I mean, all of these, all of those services have that, but like maybe it's because like the videos are so short and there's so many like strangers that you can end up following or whatever, but it just seems like you could like someone who doesn't understand how that works, could easily end up in some sort of like alternative universe. Uh you know, Yeah, yeah, again, I have Starr  used as um I don't know, it's interesting to me because it's like much more than other, much more than other services. You can really see the algorithm at work. Like be like, okay, you're, you're like testing me to see if I like this um carpentry videos where people take these very expensive, expensive looking hand planes and then like play like take minute lee thin shavings of very expensive looking wood. Um So you watch the whole video, so I'm gonna give you like three more of those. We're gonna see how you do on those. And um and then like sometimes it gives you things that you're just like, nope. So it's like, I just don't want the algorithm just just see that I'm watching this, so I'm just not even gonna try. Josh  Yeah. You have to like, you have to tend to tend your algorithm. Yeah. But in order to do that, you have to understand that that's what you're doing. I think we're in a good position to do that. Yeah, Starr  But also just like the tactic, the tactic, What am I saying? The content on Tiktok? I think it's in my brain, it's I'm just nothing I say is like everything I say is it's going to become some variant of Tiktok um the content I found it's like, I don't know, like, I I and much happier, like looking at Tiktok because it's like you know, I don't know, I guess I'm just looking at happy or content. The Josh  content is so like the whole like the niche aspect of the content, like you said, like the narrowest type of video, like, like a hobby but where people are like, you know like whatever creating very thin strips of wood and there's some sort of like, you know, just like they can feed you very specific types of videos to see like and then you can get into that like specific like subset of like whatever woodworking video. It's not you're not even into woodworking at that point. You just ended this like very like Misha part of it. Starr  Yeah. I don't know. That's well, see I'm sure I'll get bored bored with it eventually. Josh  I don't think you will. Starr  You know, it's ever renewing stream of just Josh  delicious content. I trust trust algorithm, you trust, Starr  I trust in the algorithm to josh to Josh  keep you to keep you engaged. Yeah. Yeah. Starr  Okay um you all have been listening to another episode of founder quest if you want to um review us on apple podcast or whatever it's called these days, go for it. Um You want to write for our blog and we've got to write first page on there at honey badger to I  slash blog um scan for the right for us link, that's your first assignment. Um Until yeah. Until then. Um See you later. 
29:12 10/22/2021
Hook Relay Launched! Was it Fireworks or Crickets?
Show notes:Links:Hook RelaySSL Server TestSecond brand marketing tips Twitter thread XhtmlchopHook Relay Twitter announcementHook Relay blog announcementDerrick Reimer & Corey Haines Product Hunt launch Startup Director List Indie Hackers launch repeatedly Not very accurate auto-generated transcript:Ben - you know, last week I recorded a quick little message talking about why we weren't recording our podcast. That was in the middle of the let's encrypt ssl certificate fiasco that swept across the internet and you know, at the time it really didn't feel like a huge problem. Uh like from our perspective there wasn't much of an impact, but there was some impact, but then later on that day and the next day I was reading some articles and like apparently it was a pretty big deal for a lot of people. So uh yeah, wasn't wasn't just us, it's one Josh - of those things like I could just kept seeing it more and more like just pop up in random places though to like, not, not necessarily in our world, but it was just like affected all kinds of different things. Ben - Yeah, yeah, so shout out to ssL labs for their ssl testing tool to put a link to that in the show notes. Whenever you have a question about your ssl you should check that first because it does tell you when, when things are bad. Josh - Yeah, I hadn't used that tool before and it was very very helpful on customer support. Especially like sending to people and we needed to like prove that we were, we were not at fault like you know, it gave us like a smoking gun that we could. Yeah. Yeah. Really great. Starr - That's always a weird thing to do in customer services and it's like um it's like no, actually like I found the line in the library you mentioned. That's actually the problem. It does everything to do with this. Yeah. Yeah. And then um and then facebook goes down so I'm thinking I'm thinking we are like, like spooky Tober is starting up like things are starting to get witchy. Josh - I kind of like I I was like checked out the day facebook went down so I like missed most of like the fun on whatever online and I guess on what the other social networks that didn't go down, twitter mostly. But yeah, that's kind of wild. The story that I at least what I picked up. Yeah, I'm not on facebook. So Starr - my favorite part is how they house since everything was tied together, they couldn't get access to the building. They have the servers to do the like you know, manual physical reset then you had to do Josh - because of that security. Starr - Yeah. Like that's like I don't know that. It seems like it's out of some sort of movie or something. Yeah. It's just like a comedy. Josh - They like accidentally deleted their private keys to the building or something. Starr - Yeah. Or maybe like in oceans  type movie where um like they like the crew does that like the cruise like well if we mess with their DNS records and they'll be locked out of the hotel for six hours, let's give us time to like airlift the loot out. Josh - Yeah. Or what about like just like mission impossible. But with nerds. Uh huh. You know like trying to break into the building. Starr - I mean that's what we are here at found requests aren't right. Mission impossible with. Starr - Okay. Um So in addition to all that um just terrible stuff happening, there was um some good stuff happened. We had our, you know we have the hook relay, we did a little launch to our user base or honey badger user base. Um Do you wanna talk about that a little bit? Ben - Yeah that was that was the day before the ssl problem. So Josh - that was it. Yeah that's maybe that's why I was like the details. I was like trying to like remember what I did last week or whatever and I was like I could and then I remembered I'm like how did I forget about the hook really launch. But yeah, maybe that's I spent the next day, like on support. Ben - Yeah, yeah. Unfortunately, who really was impacted by the ssl thing. And so like, the day after our launch day, we had to deal with the on fire kind of situation. But you know, props to kevin very quickly finding that issue and fixing it. And uh, it's nice to have, you know, the service, uh, deployment that we have, pushing it out was quick. That was that was nice. But yeah, we, we were able Josh - to help some people on twitter because we, uh, we did some crowd sourced troubleshooting and yeah, we're able to share our fix with a few friends. So that was heroes. Hopefully we Starr - were, hopefully we think people like you for everyone. Ben - Yeah, but I think think the launch went well. We had an email out to our, to leveling up mailing list and got a pretty good response right on that. We had put a banner up and on the, on the website and put a banner up on the app. And those had some pretty good click throughs as well. I'm just looking at the stats from Fathom this morning and yeah, it's a good good share of traffic from those sources. So it's nice to see that people care enough to click through and zero working on that was pretty cool. Josh - Yeah, because I think, I think like the, uh, it was, I felt pretty encouraged by just the, you know, the level of engagement that we got from, from everything, like it seems like, I mean the worst that could happen is like you put out the, you know, you put out everything that's just crickets, like, you know, and so yeah, I mean people signed up, we got some sign ups and we started, I mean like we've our support and feature request throughput has increased for sure on like from almost zero to something. So, you know, we got, we got some feature requests coming in, that's that's all good. Starr - Alright. I suppose we should mention what hook really is and why people should be interested in it. Um since, yeah, that's some people might want to know, Ben - are you gonna tell the star what it is? Oh, I, I mean, I'm trying to find out Starr - your, well, uh, I'm on the edge of my Ben - seat over here. Starr - There you go. I don't know. Hook relay is an enterprise level Blockchain analysis tool. It's not love it, look really uh, lets you have um, web hooks that are, you know, as high quality of stripes. Web looks like very high quality, very fully featured and just like a couple of minutes without much code or work. And um yeah, and honey badger. We have a lot of, you know, web hooks that go out and stuff and we use that for all of ours, I think right now for some of them at least. And yeah, so so that's what it is. Ben - Yeah, great for debugging and in the past week I've been doing a little side project that has inbound web books and so uh since I don't have it's launched yet, it's been handling my inbound web books for me and just storing them so I can go back and you play the we play the payloads against my uh my test instance. And uh there's a there's a button in hickory. They that I think I think kevin added, which I'm totally in love with now it's the copy as curl button. And so I can just click that button and dropping my terminal and boom, now I have a curl payload that I can send to my my dove, you know, server great. Starr - So you can be so so the the thing you're working on the like you can just like go do other things and will collect your inbound web hooks like just like your Jeffrey Bezos or something like you could be on the beach um doing whatever you want and then just um yeah, then just copy the curl Ben - you got it. Yeah. And then and then even better once I do launch, I would just add my production U. R. L. As the hook relay in point and then we'll actually start delivering them. So I want to change anything with that web provider that's sitting in the stuff right? Josh - Doesn't have as replay to right, Like if you if you have a bunch, can we do we do that add or? Yeah there Ben - is a re send button so you can okay you can send it again. Josh - So like for local development you could also like pointed out like an end rock like to your local host or something and replacing my books or something if you wanted to do if you wanted to do it in real time. Right? Yeah, Starr - that's cool. Yeah, pretty heavy. Josh - Maybe we should make like a like a hook relay native End Rock. They just like, you know, you can spin up your hook directly to your local host or something. That would be kind of cool. Ben - I had the same thought this morning. Yeah like stripe provides you a cli tool that will listen to their web hooks and then relate it to your local instance while you're developing. I'm like oh yeah, we should have the same thing really. So they can just listen to your endpoint and suck it down and replay it for you with it on the feature list. Josh - Yeah I do. Starr - I mean what's there? There is a danger here though that like if you make it too easy for people like they might not feel like they're being productive or like they really bring much value. Like if you make it also turnkey for developers and so easy. Like the developer just might be like what what am I even here for What's my job? Josh - You wouldn't feel like a hacker anymore. Starr - No, no, like that's something we've got to watch out for as we move forward boldly. Josh - Well how do you like write some like assembly code for a capture or something? Mhm. Josh - So yeah, we got a lot of the ideas for the uh hook relay uh launched a honey badger customers through a tweet that I had sent out a few weeks before just asking like like what's the best way to um launch for, you know, for what company with one product to launch another product and let their existing customers. No, and ah asking twitter is always, I mean it's usually helpful at least in our indie hacker space, everyone's always got ideas so we got a lot of good ideas from people there um including I think one of, one of the ideas was like depending how far along we are, like, you know, do you make a separate brand or like how do you like, like how does it change the, like the parent company, you know, if you're moving from, Josh - You know, a one product company to multiple products. That's all, that's all interesting. We opted just, you know, we're kind of like honey badger is the company and then it's hook relay by honey badger, I think it's kind of our our approach there but there's a lot of different ways you can do it. Ben - Yeah the one the one snag on that has been the other day. I was poking around in stripe and I was looking at the email setting options. They have, you can, you know, have stripes and emails when a payment fails for example and then it points them back to a payment collection page. I was like, yeah, we should have that, it's like click the button to turn it on and I preview the email and the, it's based on the business name. So uh it says oh honey badger industries LLC, you know, payment page or whatever. And I was like, well people who are hungry customers aren't really going to recognize that name necessarily. Uh so I Ben - can't have that. And so I went dug around the stripe settings and it's like, well you can't really do anything but the actual business name on that particular page, even though on the end of stripe settings you can set the credit card like, you know, that shows up on the actual payment thing, you can change that and uh so that's set in our case to hook dot gov but you can't change the the email header from to be something different from the business name and well we haven't registered cookery they as a business name because it's like yeah, it's just a, it's just a product, right? So I didn't feel comfortable changing that in stripe because like, well it's really not our business name so I think what can you Josh - do like a D. B. A. Or something? Yeah. Ben - Yeah that's what I thought it's like, well I guess perhaps it's time to register that? D be a for every day so I can actually change the business name and blah blah. Josh - Yeah. It's kind of exciting though, like all the all these, you know, new problems come up, but it's because we have this new product that has to become more official. So um we're like we were also talking about like like now that we actually have some people using it, we're gonna need a way to like notify them of changes to the product or improvements or you know, all the all the little infrastructure things that we have for honey badger that we haven't quite gotten around to yet on hook relay. Mm Ben - Yeah, these are nice, nice things to deal with as opposed to like crickets. Josh - Yeah. Ben - So glad that somebody showed up to actually use the app. Nice. Josh - So next up for hook relay is this quarter, we've decided to do some uh spend some additional time on product development and implement some of those feature requests. I think that should be uh should be a good time. Ben - Yeah, I think I think we have a backlog of like  or so items and in good health, so I think we have plenty of stuff that we could keep us busy for the next few months on a greeting. It's cool. Starr - Yeah and you were talking about taking a, um, and sort of multi lunch approach, right? We just got out of always been watching. Yeah, always be launching. So we're going to just have from now on every episode of this podcast, we're just gonna launch really, I'm gonna make people explain what it is. Uh, Josh - next week is show hacker news. Starr - Yeah. Yeah. So I guess at some point like you have to just call these things campaigns and instead of launches, but it feels very dynamic to call them launches. Josh - Yeah. Well you got to call him a launch. Like for the sake of the whatever platform you're your campaign is speaking to because you know, you got to make them feel special first. It's the launch for them. It's, you know, it's, it's for them. It's, it's a, you know, it's the first launch ever. I've never heard of us before, I'm sure. Starr - Oh, that makes sense. It's like you're launching the campaign, Josh - right? Yes, you're launching the campaign. So I think we'll probably be doing, I will do a show H N. And we'll do a, we'll probably do something with indie hackers at some point. I imagine. Um, there's a list, I, I saw a list somewhere, I'll take it if I can find it, but just a list of like all those little, like all those, like a big list of platforms basically like that that you can, you know, forearms basically. But Ben - yeah, you know, we should go, we should go old school and we should do regional launches. Like I used to work for a company where it was very much local and so like every, every few months would be a new city. We're gonna send the crew, we're gonna set up stuff and we're gonna launch in this city. So we should totally do that. Like we should start and of course here in the Seattle area and then branch out to California and then you move across the country and you're saying Josh - we're gonna do a national tour. Starr - Does that mean you like, can we get a bus, you lock access based on geo location? A very p Ben - it's like, yeah, sorry, we're not in your area yet. Please check Josh - back. Mhm. Ben - Please sign up to be notified when we're in your area. Starr - Nice. Josh - Well if we do regional launches, we might have to have regional managers. Oh, you know, I gotta think about your chart. Mhm. Josh - Yeah. So I think like the launch, you know, there's a lot of small places you can kind of launch to. Um, I think the big one that is on our um, on our radar is product cut. But I think we're quite, you know, based on the advice, we've heard about doing an effective like initial product launch. It sounds like maybe it would be better to polish polish the product hops and feedback feedback about it. Maybe like be a little bit more established or something. Um it just seems like the, the products lately that have been really had really successful product launches have been, have had like um they put were like a lot of work into the actual like launch campaign Josh - before products like had a video and some of them almost seem like Kickstarter quality type campaigns or something, I don't know how over the top we're going to go, but I think that the current plan is to uh you know, kind of do some of the smaller things and implement some feedback and start to, you know, we might we're planning on doing like a redesign of the website eventually um with what we learn, so um then you have a designer in progress I think Ben - Yeah, three years. Yeah, yeah, first I guess it's the first time we've had an external designer working on one of our products, so we have a we have Josh - someone do, we had someone do the honey badger website at one point started, I think you did yeah, yeah, way back, I thought that was all star Starr - um now I built it, I built the html but I built it based off of uh like pds or something. Ben - Yeah, well this time it's being built so it's even more hands off, that's nice uh someone reached out to me on twitter and uh we mentioned a few episodes ago that we were getting this design done and I didn't know at the time what kind of built was option we had, whether it's going to be a tailwind, which is what our new hotness these days that we love or is going to be something else and it's going to be something else going to bootstrap, but even bootstraps as long as as long as we can modify it, that's that's my thing. Like, I remember back and way, way back in the day before a bootstrap when we were doing, you know, freelancing for people, we would get those designs from the designers and it would be a PSD Ben - right? And then I had no, no way to really deal with that. And so I would send it off to this chop chop shot. Yeah. X. Html shop I think was the name of the business, I think they're still around even and and they would they would take the PSD and convert it into html and CSS, which was, you know, of questionable quality I guess. I mean it worked, but it's like, oh, it's ugly, like just like I don't ever want to touch that and uh and being able to actually have like a designer give you html CSS and it's actually going to be, you know, structured like in the same way because it's based on a framework like Duceppe like that's that's awesome. That's much as Josh - an alternate, like tabs and spaces. Mhm Ben - Yeah, the good old days Starr - they just wanted to keep you on your toes josh. Josh - I remember, yeah, I used to do why I didn't do, I wasn't a chop shop, but I used to, you know, implement my own Photoshop, um, yeah, designs and html and stuff and yeah, that was, that was fun. Like getting all the pixel dimensions and the, you know, in your overall Photoshop layout, piecing it all together. Kind of like, it's kind of like a puzzle. Like you're putting a puzzle together. Starr - Yeah. I mean they called it a chop shop because like it was, they made a lot of, they made big use of the slice tool in Photoshop. Josh - Yeah. Starr - Where you basically, you basically went in and you know, you couldn't do CSS borders or drop shadows or anything like that. I mean, I guess you could do borders but not like nice. They didn't have rounded corners. They didn't drop shadows, anything like that. And so, um, you basically had to go and like tell Photoshop like, okay, like, like you could you tell it to split up the image in these parts and then like, you know, leave make this middle sort of a place for you to put some html so you can put stuff in the middle of your box and then, I don't know, it was just, it was not the best and so a lot of that bad. Html and CSS was, I mean, I imagine a lot of it was auto generated. Yeah. Josh - Yeah. Yeah. There were even some, some tools just to like that, you know, you kind of like dry your borders and stuff and fill out, I don't know, like fill out some stuff in the app and then it just like generates the html page for you. And that was always like the worst, like the absolute worst thing you could go with. But you know, it, I guess the people's standards weren't as high in those days either. So you could get away with a lot, Starr - I guess not. Josh - But yeah, we'll, uh, we'll get to product hunt eventually. And uh, yeah, I guess if if you as a listener have a tip for us on how to get a good product launch, go and let us know. Um, and also we will hopefully involve, um, we're gonna want to like bring in our networks to this, I think eventually. So, uh, yeah, I hope that all of our listeners will, um, will help us when the time comes to, uh, to have a good product launch with lots of up votes and, you know, telling your friends and whatnot. Ben - And, and maybe we could even get one of our listeners who might be interested in a half a particular talent for doing a product promotion. Like we could even just hand out to someone and say, hey, go go do that for us. Josh - Yeah, that would be, that would be nice too. Because then we wouldn't have to do it ourselves. Yeah, like a product consultant. Ben - Exactly, there's gotta be some out there, I mean product has been around long enough now, there's got to be specialists. Right? Josh - Yeah. Well isn't that kind of uh Cory Haynes helped derek with for the cow? Right. Yeah. Yeah, Ben - I'm sure Corey is really busy, so if someone wants to be like Corey do that for us, that would be totally awesome. Josh - We just need a we just need a guru. Ben - I was surprised on the day I signed up for the uh product hunt rss feed, I put that in my news reader and I was I mean I've seen you know probably things on twitter from time to time and I click through and I look at stuff but I never really followed closely, I was surprised how many launches there are products on every day, There's a lot there, so I think you really got to stand out in some way to be able to mix them, get some head space because there's just a lot of competition for things on the products on, Josh - I gotta say like just the Indy hacker space, like not indie hackers dot com but like just the overall in the hacker community is just like wild lately, like I don't know about you but I feel like a total just like dinosaur. Um Like I feel like I've like like I'm becoming out of touch so I need to like I need to I probably need to pay a little more attention to like, you know what the what the new uh what the latest is? Starr - I think it's inevitable that you get out of touch, right? I mean that's that's why Josh - Yeah, but like people I don't I don't think there yet, like I don't I don't want to be there yet, I'm not ready for it start. Josh - Uh huh Ben - Yeah geriatric highly valued developers there we are Josh - now we're we're you know, we're getting back out there. We did our we did our Emma or any hackers Emma. Starr - Uh that's right Josh - yeah, we'll have to do it, we'll have to do some Amas for uh for relay to like all that sort of stuff. I just like that. I love that. Like it just think it seems like the ecosystem is just much, it's so much more developed than when we launched honey badger. There's so many more places to go, especially if you have a tool that appeals to like the, you know, developer, you know, I guess just developers and yeah Ben - and it feels like there's so many people in the community now who are, you know, identify in that group. Uh you know like there were three micro conferences in the past three weeks or four weeks right? There was to locals and then one in europe. So Uh that's just one indicator that there are a lot of people out there like us, you know definitely more than there were  years ago who are enjoying this life of building things and sell them to people. It's nice Josh - love. It's awesome. We should talk about um the Q one  marketing campaign that we have in the works for Hook really? Because I thought that was an interesting idea. The I guess I'll just say it the the idea, I think this was been your idea uh to basically we want we want to like try some marketing like you know, putting some dollars behind Hook really and see if we can actually generate some, you know new customers that way. And um we already have like a marketing budget and um like a bunch of you know ongoing relationships and campaigns and stuff that we run for honey badger. So the idea was to basically just like have a swap. Josh - Not I think we're gonna go with a quarter, not a month, like just basically try swapping out some of our advertisements for honey badger which are typically like um more like just kind of general awareness brand style. I'm like, you know, keep us top of mind sort of advertisements. Um you know like we do a lot of podcast ads and that sort of thing, newsletter sponsorships. So swap them out for a little while and just replace them with hook relay and uh you know, see how that goes um at this, you know, I guess a side benefit of that approach is that we we get to see what happens when we stop putting money into the honey badger advertising, which is always, I mean like that's a good experiment in its own like, Josh - you know, so I'm interested to see how that how that turns out both on both sides. Like you know, do we, do we lose any momentum with honey badger? Do we gain a lot of, you know, how much momentum do we gain with hook? Really? Ben - It feels like kind of like the pricing experiments that you're always nervous about doing because you don't know if you're going to like royally hose your business, you know, you won't and in our case you don't know for a while you have to let it play for a few months before you find out. Right. And so uh yeah, so switching the marketing like that feels like one of those experiments like well this could be really bad or it could be like there's no impact. And so it's like, oh well then maybe it's we re evaluate how we spend our marketing dollars for honey badger at that point, you know? So yeah, I'm pretty exciting, nervous and excited about trying that. Experiment Josh - my prediction. I'll make a prediction is that I don't I don't really think it's I don't I don't imagine it's going to uh have a huge impact on honey badger, like conversions and sign ups and all that at least not if we do, if we do like a quarter, I would all kind of be surprised if we see any difference if we, you know, as long as we resume at some point. Um Just because like a lot of our advertising and we just we really don't have like clear, you know, like clear objectives necessarily. It's more just like brand advertising. Like and we see we do see a lot of sign ups like Josh - of people coming to us because they heard us heard about us on a podcast, or they saw us in a newsletter, but it's not like click click through, it's not like a like pay per click or something or like click through this and you're gonna convert and we're going to track that. So I think like the it would be bad if we stopped advertising entirely for like a year or two because people forget about you. Like I think that's why we do advertising for the most part at this point, it's just like so people remember that we're here. Um and so that's my prediction is that I don't think we'll see a huge impact on honey badger. Um but I think that because no one knows about hook relay, it could potentially have a big impact for hook relay Starr - uh side now. Um you know, just all of it, all of our listeners, you all should really um you know, enable tracking on your browser's disable your ad blocks and that will make life a lot easier for us because we will be able to um, you know, track funnels a lot easier. So Josh - we can do, we can do marketing, do real marketing on the internet. Um we are using uh, we're using fathom on hook relay and they're like the privacy, whatever privacy first um analytics tool that a lot of people use these days and they're also indie hackers and I don't know, maybe twitter friends for some of us, but they're pretty cool. And uh, they have a feature that um, you can set up like a custom, like domain that like hosts, they're tracking scripts like, because it's all like GDR and like privacy compliant like by default. But even so like if they're added to like a ad blocker, you know, like tracking prevention thing, um you can't host on your own domain so that, you know, it's, it's, you're guaranteed to have accurate accurate results Ben - except for those people who are still using links as their browser, Josh - right? If they're using or Yeah, they're like if they're browsing from their terminal that or if they have javascript disabled. Um Yeah. You know, I mean, I guess if you're, if your audience, your Starr - richard Stallman, if your Josh - if your audience is Lennox, it's like arch Linux users, you're, you're kind of out a lot. Like no matter no matter what. Ben - Just, just put ads on on slash dot and call it a day. Yeah Starr - slash hot. That's that's a tragedy in that they really went downhill. Ben - They're still around though. Like one of the cockroaches of the internet last time is still there. I don't know. I haven't looked at it for years, but you know, but back when I was posting my code to source forge, I was reading slash out everyday Josh - source forage Starr - source for it for ages Josh - still there, isn't it? It's Starr - really hard to use. Ben - It's probably still there. I don't even know. Yeah. Josh - And that was two cows Ben - subversion instead of get we're just this this is the way back episode. We're going back to P. S. D. S. And S. V. N. And slash talk. Josh - Every episode is kind of the way back episode. I mean, yeah, we're way back founders. So Ben - I mean our our company name is now a vintage meme. So it's gotta be a way back. Yeah. Josh - All right, okay. I just got like we had a marketing meeting earlier and Ben Finley, our marketing manager was like looking at R. S. E. O. Performance. He's like, Like we we could improve our website if we if we like if we optimize the three MB Jeff on the home page. I'm like wait we have like a three, we have like a chip on the home page and I remembered I had like this easter egg that if you click like the resolve button in the, in like the screenshot of our, of honey badger on honey badger. Yo it well you can go and do it and you can see what happens. Um We'll make sure we leave it in even if we optimize it. But yeah, that's how we roll is like, we just like kill our search engine optimization. Because Josh - we had to have uh like, yeah, for the walls, we had to have this easter egg. Starr - That's awesome. Ben - Uh The the main thing reminded me that I have an interview being published tomorrow. I believe in Saas Mag at a link that in the show notes but had a great chat. Uh And it was funny because I was like, we were talking about humor and that's like one of our core values of the honey badger our business. And I was like, well, yeah, because like, I mean, we named our company after me, right? So like, you got to have fun in that kind of business, right? Josh - For sure. We should, we should like send out a leveling up email that just is designed to rick roll our customers. I don't know if they'd appreciate that. Starr - We should rename hook related berries and cream. Josh - Uh huh. Yeah, that's a that's creative. You can do that. I mean hook really is kind of like, very like business business formal descriptive. So we could, we could definitely get weirder Ben - for sure. Yeah, that was, that was not one of my more creative days when I picked that name. Josh - I mean the other, you know the upside is that it actually tells people what it does. It's instead of, it is not just named after a, after an animal joke on the internet. Ben - Yeah. Josh - Yeah. Um also it has a proper casing. Ben - Yeah, yeah, yeah, that's you know, one of the things that's funny, I have this I now for whenever we write anything, like we're doing any kind of copy or a blog post or whatever and if we ever reference get hub without the capital agent. And I always catch it now because because of how many people miss capitalized honey badger, like so I knowing how much that like I catch that. I was like, I bet they get how people really appreciate what people actually capitalize their name properly. So yeah, it's like six out to me all the time. Starr - Just for the listeners. The proper capitalization is one capital at the front because it's one word. It's not two words Ben - and go, Josh - yep. For honey badger. Starr - Yeah, yeah, sorry, not get up Josh - as uh two capital letters to capitals. Get lab. But I also now notice the companies that are like us where they have just, they have opted for the lower case in the second word as well. There's a few of those out there. I'm not remembering them off the top of my head, but they always stick out. I mean, I usually remember those now too if I'm familiar with them or I I know that I need to go check and I always go and like check when I'm writing their name at least usually. Starr - And then if you just want to, oh I'm sorry. And then just like if you just want to like just set the world on fire, you can be stripe and have your logo, your name of the logo, low, all lower case. But then in your body text capitalize it. Like they just want to watch the world burn. Uh huh. Ben - Oh, Ben - they're probably trying to punk the new york times editors, you know? Starr - Yeah, probably. Starr - Well, um we're getting a little quiet. Are we reaching the end? Ben - I think we are Josh - depends how far you want to go because I mean like we've got a whole list of topics here, but we are already into this episode of ways. And uh I think like this has been a pretty good episode, you know, it's it's for once. We've actually like managed to stay on topic for the most part. Like this has been mostly a hook really episode. So I think we should probably quit while we're ahead. All right now. And you better you better wrap this up quick start because I'm like, I'm ready to like Starr - dive in the rest of this. So you're about to explain this episode of founder class has been brought to you by hook relay a striped quality web hooks in minutes. That's awesome. Thank you. Uh, if you want to give us a review on Apple podcast, whatever they call it now, I don't know itunes, music to itunes. Um, please do that. If you want to. If you're just in writing for our blog, we are, you know, currently looking for um, ruby python, PHP writers. Um, go to our blog, honey badger to I.  slash blog and look for the request page. And yeah. All right. So I will talk to you guys next week. 
31:29 10/15/2021
The Internet Broke; Why There's No Episode This Week
Show's a picture of a Honeybadger sleeping on our 404 page. He's definitely sleeping.Transcription:*Note, transcription is paraphrased with 1.3% accuracyBen "Expired certificates, yada yada yada, internet episode. Bada-boom-bada-bing, have a good weekend."
00:34 10/08/2021
Everyone Says It’s a Bad Idea; Should You Do It Anyway?
Show notes:Links:Felix LivniSchedulistaTranscript:*This is an unedited, automated transcript, with only about 80% accuracy*BenAll right, so, uh welcome the founder quest today, you have me, Ben, because Star and josh are taking the day off and we have Felix of me who is with us or with me chatting about uh founder related stuff. It's just one of our uh, intermittent founder interview kind of episodes where we're just going to have a great chat, talk about some stuff, so welcome Felix. Thanks. So, Felix was telling you tell me right before we got started about the differences of having an actual conversation versus a podcast conversation and you had a great great tip about email. So, if you don't mind, could you like, hit me with that again? Because I thought that's pretty cool. Felix  Yeah, what I've noticed is if I write an email knowing that a lot of people are going to read this email, maybe it's an onboarding email that's going to be sent out to uh you know, many, many people, I don't seem to be able to write it in the same way as the emails I write to just that one person and I often feel that if I could just if I was just trying to sell to one person, I could probably do a pretty good job and I think the better attitude for me has always been to then trying to do that and then try and automate that and it turns out very differently than when I'm trying to to do the thing that is going to be automated right away. Ben  So yeah, I like that, I've had the same kind of experience where it's like, well you spend a lot of time crafting, crafting, crafting and then it feels crafted right? It doesn't, it doesn't feel like a real email. So do you like uh Try to like email individuals for like  times  times first and before you get the final copy that you want to send everybody? Felix  Yeah, exactly. And I think really not thinking about tools at all is really the right way to go about it um where all you try and do is think what is the best thing for this one customer and you do that for a couple of different customers and then you look for patterns and I would say when you do it a lot and this is the advantage you have with podcast is once you do it a lot, you kind of see some patterns as well, some sort of meta patterns of like how, how do the things that sound unnatural look versus the things that sound natural and I'll just tell you one that I've noticed, I don't know if this is something you've noticed, but when I write an email to a single person, it usually has one sentence in it, maybe two. Felix  Uh but when I write something that I think is, let's say, an onboarding email of some sort uh it's not gonna be that short. Uh so that's definitely a pattern I've noticed. I think we we noticed that as consumers or business owners, when we see inbound email, we automatically filter emails that have just one sentence very differently than we filter ones that are multiple paragraphs. Ben  Yeah, I never really noticed that. That's true. Yeah, because most of my personal emails are just like a couple of sentences, man, I was thinking back to the initial like set of onboarding or just stock emails that we had for honey badger, like, you know, you're building has failed or thanks for being a subscriber or whatever. And I was thinking back and like I wrote them and they're all like one or two sentences. I'm like, yeah, that's that's true. It's like versus this big long book, right? Yeah, Felix  yeah. In general, I think I'm a big fan of looking at software, automating things that people already do. I think sometimes that's the best software and as opposed to sort of rethinking everything, because I think a lot of the time when you rethink everything, most things people can do just less maybe less quickly than it would be if it were automated. And so I think when you rethink everything a lot of the time, it doesn't fit as well as it seems like it might have back in the lab. Ben  Yeah, true, we'll get back to that. I want to talk more about that, but I want to uh introduce you more fully since everyone might be thinking, hey we just dropped to the middle of conversations like yeah, you did just kind of jump in both conversation because Felix and I are old friends, we've been uh we've been hanging out and chatting about business for years now uh and Felix is an entrepreneur who is running a business called Schedule Ista, So Felix want to give us a quick rundown of what schedule list is. Felix  Yeah, well before Schedule East it was scheduled to, it was sort of an idea of, hey I want to start a company that is a B two B sas company. And one of the very first conversations I had about that Was with Ben, I don't know if you remember, I was looking back through my email  Ben  yeah, Felix  our mutual friend paul introduced us and the topic of conversation was marketing and BtB Sas um something admittedly I still struggle with, I kind of had it on in my mind is oh this is something I'm going to be bad at and I don't know how to get customers. Um maybe maybe I need to reach out and figure out how that happens. Um and I don't, I don't know if this is okay to bring up here, but I'm curious to know, I mean, tell me if my characterization of our conversation is correct, but that conversation way back then I think you were pretty pessimistic and or at least I think as a friend you were looking or as a new friend, you were looking out for me and you were saying kind of don't do this crazy thing. Um Felix  Was that the advice you gave me and then if you were to meet someone like me today, would you, would you give different advice? Ben  Yeah, my my memory of that conversation was not that I wanted you to not do it, but it was like, I I saw some concerns, some red flags and I wanted to save you some pain just in case you hadn't, you know, like considered like, because as I recall trying to, you know, rewind back to  years ago, what that conversation was like, you're sitting across table from me and you're saying I want to build this business that's gonna require a lot of sales effort because I'm gonna be selling to some people that, you know, I can't really reach well online and here I was thinking, okay, so Felix is going to be like walking down the street, knocking on doors, trying to get people to buy his says and I'm like, Ben  okay, sure, but are you sure you want to sign up for that? That's kind of but I remember is that is that kind of Felix  remember, I think that's accurate and that's basically exactly what I did. And we even did some, some things like send out postcards. I might have mentioned that as an idea that I've had, I said, you know, I think uh well used to do that kind of thing and then it fell out of fashion, maybe there's maybe there's some wisdom there and I think um you realized how crazy I really was and how little I knew and there was nothing but love I felt coming from you, which made it even like harder to hear, I think. Felix  Um so I believed you and the irony too is I think I would probably, so I don't you didn't tell me yet how your answer would change, but I would I tell people, I meet people all the time who say they want to start a bootstrapped company and my first inclination sort of out of love is to say, you know, that can be tough, it can be uh you know, I've seen lots of them fail. And is this are you sure this is something that you want to do? Yeah, Ben  I'm totally with you on that. And uh funny, the funny thing is like, the postcard thing is stuck with me for  years, like I still want to do a postcard mailing thing myself and I just never got around to doing it. Felix  So we we did it um and it worked. It worked and then we never did it again. Uh I would say there's a pattern, everything that we have done has sparked actually just not that well. And I actually, this is one of the ways that I think about marketing is uh in a sense, it's stochastic or at least one way to view it is stochastic. So if you make a cold call, there's some chance that that the person on the other end is going to buy what you're selling, even if it's even if most people don't want it. Um Felix  but it may not pencil, right? You may have to make so many calls that it just doesn't pencil. So in a sense everything works. The question is just how well does it work? And what we've found is almost everything does better than break even, but not by much and uh, you know, for probably for a variety of reasons, but we sent out, I think it was  postcards. We scraped yelp. We looked at businesses that had five stars. They were only massage therapists. Uh and they were only in I think three cities and we sent, we didn't license the photography very right. All really. So I would, I would probably, it's hard to find Felix  good photographs of you can license, but anyway, the photograph we sent out was this awesome black and white photograph that just looks so hardcore has joseph Pilates on it. So the guy who founded Pilates and he's in this weird machine that he built at home and it's so gritty and it would really resonate with the people that we were sending it to and so we sent out these  postcards and we got one customer Felix  that we knew of. The only way we would know about it is because if they were to type this long you're well that was on the postcard. If they just went to our site we would have no way to track it. So we have one. We got one customer, they're one of our biggest customers, we still have them today and it cost us  bucks to send those  postcards and get them printed and post digital that and yeah we you know had penciled I don't know if that proves anything but and I have had another conversation you know about a year after we sent the postcard. I talked to someone on the phone that was in Malta and this person Felix  friend had sent them someone we've never heard of had actually emailed them a photograph of this postcard because she loved it so much and she had had it on her wall and she decided to give us a call. So I know that it had some you know impact and yeah there's been a lot of things like we've done like that that it's that we just never really try to scale but it does seem like it's got a lot of problems. Ben  I love that. I wanted to answer your question. Uh, yeah. I think my answer today would be pretty much the same because it was like you said motivated from this place of love. Like hey, I just want to make sure, you know what you're getting into. Like sounds cool. But you know, and I love talking to entrepreneurs who have ideas and they want to run it by me and I always try to look for, you know, look for the good. Like, hey, yeah, that could really work. And also like bring some realism to the things like, hey, have you, have you thought about this because it might be something you want to watch out for, you know, Ben  but it's never, I never want to say that out of like, oh, I shouldn't do that because like I don't know right? It's not my business. But uh, hopefully that's, that's taken well. Like, like, like you took it well. Apparently Felix  I took it well. And I think the reason I didn't listen to you and I think it's the right reason was not because I thought you were wrong. It wasn't rational. I actually think there isn't a great rational reason to do these kinds of businesses a lot of the time. Um, just because I think we live in the world of tech, uh, it's pretty nice to go and work at a big tech company. It's extremely comfortable you get financially compensated great. I think what a lot of people overlook is the marginal value of any additional money that you might make is essentially zero. So doing financially better is just sort of not even interesting. So it has to be something that has to do with meaning in your own life. And Felix  it's the kind of thing when you add up all the negative reasons to not do it, that you're gonna do it anyway. So I feel, I feel like that's another reason that I tell people, I don't tell them don't do it, but I essentially say, uh, you know, a bunch of things that are going to be really tough and I hope that they'll ignore me because I know that if they ignore me, they'll be doing it for all the right reasons, in a sense, at least in my opinion. Ben  Yeah, totally. Uh, it's, it's so much, uh, I don't know if passion is the right word, but there's definitely passion in it. That's probably not all inclusive, but the, the idea that, um, once you hit a certain baseline of, of money in your life, like you're fine, like what's where's the fulfillment gonna come from? It's probably not going to come from other more money, it's probably gonna come from doing something that you really want to do. For whatever reason, maybe Ben  like me, you're very independent minded and you don't like having a boss, right? Or you just, you see this need in the world and you can't let it go or it doesn't let go of you. Like when an idea keeps hitting me and hitting me and I know I'm like, oh, that's probably something I should spend some time thinking about. You know, I think this, this, this kind of selection process, not everyone is born to be an entrepreneur, but when, when you get that bug, it's kind of hard to shake it loose. Felix  Absolutely all of those things you said resonate with me, I might add as well, being able to choose the people that you work with really carefully and also protect people. I think this this this makes sense. The kind of technology that you work with, it's no small thing to be able to say, I want to work on this cool new tech, just because I think it's cool. Which you seldom get to do that at a big company. Ben  Yeah. Being all that self determination is huge for sure. So you picked a business so schedule, it's, it is a, is a scheduling widget that sits on websites that, you know, hair stylist or massage person can use to help, you know, schedule appointments online for their customers. How did you decide that was the thing you wanted to do? Because when you came to me, those  years ago, like you pretty much already decided, I think you had some other ideas, but this was like at the top of the list for you, Felix  how did Ben  you get to that point where you're like, that's that's the thing I want to do. Felix  Yeah. So uh I knew I knew a couple of things and I started this company with a friend of mine, Lowell manners, we were best friends, we work together. And so really everything I say here, we decided together, uh we saw the world pretty similarly, but we also built a lot of our theories about what kind of business we wanted to start. We built that together. Um and what we knew initially, I kind of was trying to remember exactly when you and I have that conversation and where in the timeline, I didn't know yet that we were going to do scheduling, but that's that's a good point that we had probably already decided that by then yeah, I knew that we wanted to do BB rather than a consumer product. I knew what we wanted it to be software and we wanted it to Felix  be a bootstrapped company right from right from the initial uh, starting point. We knew that we wanted it to be bootstrapped. So we were we were intentionally bootstrapped. And so one of the core things we try to do is think about what is a bootstrap company, what makes a bootstrap company successful? How is it different from some other kind of company? And we came up with a a theory about her and the theory, I think is contrarian, But I also think that there's a lot of truth to it. So the theory was almost everything that is good about a venture backed company is the, if you take the opposite of that, it's good for a bootstrap company. So Felix  I'll give you some example. I'm trying to find our original, I have my, because I was doing a little bit of research for this chat, I found our original slide that we made for ourselves and what we thought was good for VC backed companies was that there was a strong network effect, uh, that they had an idea that there was kind of a winner takes all when, when there was a product that there could be a winner takes all. That would be good. It would allow you to create a moat. Uh, and this would typically be in the form of a new idea because if there was an old idea that had a network effect, there was probably, there was too big of a mode to enter that Felix  or it was, you could be a second mover, but you had something in your formula where you'd be able to kill the competition. So there's a, there's, there's this first mover benefit or the ability to kill the competition and then a lot of the time investors will ask how many competitors you have and they'll get worried if there's lots of competitors. So what we thought was good for bootstrap company was that they would be low network effects, that there'd be lots of winners, that there'd be no moat. That it was an old idea that was proven to work, that there were many late movers that did very well and that there were lots of competitors. Felix  So if you pitch that to an investor, uh, you know, they'll, they'll, they'll be like, okay, you, you, you, you hit everything wrong here. Um, so we, we, that was, that was one of our sort of initial ideas and then we created a fitness function to evaluate a couple of things and I'm trying to remember what they were, but it was essentially how big of a network effect does this have. We were looking for a company that was for a product that was established, but not super mature. So it was right at that point where there were examples and we were specifically looking for examples of other boots trappers because we thought that other successful bootstrap, because we thought that that would be a good sign that we could do it too. So we were like opening up a coffee shop in Seattle Felix  versus opening up a coffee shop where they've never tasted coffee. Those are very, very different. And there's difficulties for both. But at least when you open up a coffee shop in Seattle, you know, hey, there's gonna be people that are gonna enjoy coffee and you can look around and you can try and see what things work and etcetera. So that was kind of, you know, because we were bootstrapped and self funded, we thought that seems a lot less risky and that seems like an environment that we kind of have believed in. We like the idea that there could be lots of coffee shops and that they were in competition with each other, but not in a way that an independent coffee shop sort of desires that no other coffee shop exists. Ben  Yeah, I like that contrary and take agree investor probably kick you out of the office for coming up with that. But I mean what you're describing is like there's a healthy market already, right? There are people who are already looking for this product, like you don't have to convince someone that hey, you want to drink coffee. So kind of my coffee shop, right? Ah and if there are a number of businesses already doing that, you know that Felix  it's viable, Ben  right? Uh people spending money in that marketplace because there's other people currently receiving that money. So yeah, I think that's some pretty awesome criteria there. Felix  Yeah. So we, we wanted to come up with  businesses and then evaluate each of these  and then choose the one that we thought would be best for us and it wasn't completely scientific, but we did use uh, uh, you know, some numbers next to them and we had some kind of internal calculus that we did and I'll give you some examples like e commerce is an example that fits a lot of what what I mentioned, but it's too mature and so we thought okay e commerce uh there are, you know, since we started actually there's been some companies that are in the e commerce space that have done extremely well. Felix  I'm not sure when Shopify started maybe a little bit before us, but around that time. Yeah, but around that time and there's other examples that didn't do, you know, aren't as well known as Shopify but still did very well and I think it's because they have all of those criteria that the investors would not be so excited about, but they don't have strong network effects. So I think this kind of contrarian idea does, does hold some does hold some water, Felix  but so for us, e commerce was too mature then we thought of a bunch of ideas that they might have been like one or two examples of, but we thought it was too knew that it was just not yet proven and was a little unclear exactly where this was going to lead. So there were a lot a lot of ideas that we had around doing kind of online ordering from your phone that kind of dovetailed with how businesses already did business. So you can imagine you're sitting in like a T. G. I Fridays and you can order right from the menu from your phone or you could order from a from the waitress or you could be in a bar, you could maybe order some drinks at the counter and then at your table you can order, Felix  you know, additional drinks. So we're looking at lots of things that kind of intertwined with how the real world does things, but automated some aspect of it. But we thought we can see a little of this, this was before a lot of the online ordering that we have today because this is back in . But I think it would be much more viable to do to do those things today as a bootstrap company. But a lot of these ideas I think are more would be more interesting as a venture backed company. So those ideas were lowered down on our list. I did think of an idea actually um called, I think it was tell the manager or ask the manager or notify the manager or something like that. And I pitched it Felix  at a probably the only start up of the local and I ever went to was like it's night in Redmond and we went to this event and I pitched it and about six months later I was contacted by someone who said it looks like you never did that, do you mind if I do it? Uh and the person did it and did did well, so it's a funny story. So there might have been other ideas on the list that, that are still interesting. But yeah, so online scheduling really hit that sweet spot. It's very similar to e commerce in a lot of ways. I think in ways that maybe people don't really realize actually, but it's a lot less immature even now,  years later. Yeah. So yeah, that's, that's, it seemed good to us and we were like, let's do it. Ben  Yeah, I love it. And I like, I like the, I love the contrariness that's right up my alley. So you started this with bowl, You worked together, built the business at some point. I mean I've known you all this time and I know now that you're not working with low anymore on the business on a regular basis. So what, what happened like just in general, like what was that transition like and you know, what are some lessons learned from the co founder experience and now that co founder is no longer with you? Felix  Sure. Um Felix  yeah, let me, I don't know the best way. There's so many different ways to tell the story. I would say. One way to tell. It is to tell about how we founded the company. So we founded the company in my backyard, we had a conversation one summer day and we were drinking some beers and one of us said we should really just start a company and uh, I think I must have said that and Lowell said I'll quit, I'll quit tomorrow, let's do it. And uh you know, I knew he was joking, but as he left, I was like, okay, don't quit. Um Let's think about this, I'm really excited, but let's think about this. And the next day he, he texted me and he said I quit, have you quit yet? So Felix  I then, you know, took about another two days and and quit. Uh Ben  that's that's jumping on both feet right there. Felix  Yeah, and I think sometimes, you know, the biggest decisions that I've made, I've made sort of the easiest and maybe Lowell doubly so ah and I would say that's that's kind of how we separated too. Um It was really, really, really, really good until one day it was um and I think, you know, when you start out on, you know, definitely when we started out and I think this was maybe more true for Lowell, who is significantly younger than me, I think if I had said, okay. Yeah, but there's one rule, we've got to do it for four years, he would have been like, what? Hey, wait a second, I need to think about this a bit more. So it was unclear like Felix  we we thought, I mean, to be honest, we thought our first few ideas would fail and we were looking forward to that because we were thinking we would learn a ton, we were really aiming where the direction that we thought that we would get the most learning and there was no sort of long term commitment other than we just, we we thought we were gonna have a lot of fun. We did have a lot of fun. And I think that there was a point where there were some other things in that local realized that he wanted to do and when he, when he realized like, Felix  oh there might be some more long term commitment involved in this, uh it didn't seem so great anymore and it kind of happened at a time that was extremely destabilizing for both of us. We, we had entertained an idea of selling the business and that would have come with kind of some golden handcuffs which kind of explicitly put into uh, you know, black and white, this kind of long longer term commitment. So I think it's a bit more complicated than that. But it wasn't, it wasn't something that built up for for years and years and years and just, you know, kind of deteriorated. It went pretty rapidly from uh this is amazing too. Let's not do this anymore. Ben  Yeah, I would like to see that. Yeah, that makes sense. If if your expectation is to just, you know, do whatever and then all of a sudden is like, oh, you want me to commit to the next five years, whatever. That yeah, that could definitely put some cold water on it. Felix  Yeah, absolutely. And it felt very different after he left, but it has a business wise, the company has done, has done great. I would say as far as how it feels today, I enjoyed it more working with him to be totally honest. Ben  Yeah, it's nice. It's, I mean there's so many benefits to having a co founder, having the accountability is one that people often think about, but you know, just having the camaraderie, right, you're, you're doing the same thing, you're in it together. You know, it's uh, Felix  yeah, to me, I think it's a lot harder Ben  even even as as independent as I am and as self directors, I want to be, I do feel it's harder to do something so completely, so low because you just have to have all that motivation yourself and there's no one happening out. Felix  Yeah, absolutely. I agree totally. I would never have been able to do schedule is to, without having role as a co founder, it is much easier to run a company that's already in place than it is to start something from scratch and there's just no way that I, that I could have done it and it's not from, hey, it's not so much that we complemented each other's skill wise or anything like that. It's just the, there are a lot of things that are psychologically difficult and doing that with someone else makes it possible, in my opinion. Ben  Yeah. Yeah. I feel the same about honey badger. Like there's no way it could have been done with the three of us working together, there was just, I mean, first there's a lot of work, but also, yeah, getting through those times where it's just a struggle is Yeah, I think I would probably throw in the towel if it hadn't been to have two good co founders who helped me out. Felix  Yeah, absolutely. Ben  So I know from our conversations that we have from time to time, that you spend some time mentoring people who are looking to start businesses or who are just, you know, in the beginning end of this, this entrepreneur adventure. So what, what are the two or three kinds of themes that you see coming up time and again, people coming to you and you're like, uh you know, maybe maybe look at this, you know, so if someone today is thinking about something like, well, and they sat down with you, what are the kind of things that you would poke at their ideas and say, have you considered this or have you thought about that? Felix  Yes, most of the people I talk with are looking to raise money. Uh and I actually have found out that there's another definition of bootstrapping that I wasn't aware of until I started mentoring. So to me, bootstrapping meant a company that doesn't raise money and is structured in such a way that will make profits and poor those profits back into growing the company. So there's a, there's enough that's not how the kids today are using the term bootstrapping at least the ones that are looking for venture capital to them. Bootstrapping is what you do until you raise money. So you're structured is a typical venture backed company, but you just haven't raised money yet either on purpose because you want to build, you know, a prototype or Felix  or something else that an investor might see and you'd get a better deal or you just haven't managed to to put it all into place to raise the money. So most of what I do, actually, it's like, I love venture backed company, it's kind of funny that, you know, I'm so much of a bootstrap er but I don't know if I've told you this before, but one of my heroes is Craig Newmark and I don't know if you know that crate that craigslist started as a list of startup parties Felix  because he loved the startup scene and here he, he loves everything about startups and raising money and all of this stuff and then he starts this company that's like completely counter to that. Um and I feel like he is a hero of mine in many ways, but I feel similar in personality in a sense that I love the start up world and I love working with these people and who knows maybe I'll do a venture backed company one day, but uh everything that I do in my business life is about bootstrapping, but all my mentoring is pretty much about venture companies. So I think a lot of what I do is I try and you know, tell them all of the things that are opposite of what I did with schedule is to, uh, and uh, I really problem in the other direction and Felix  uh, it's, I guess everyone's different, I think I just try and help out where I can based on what I've seen. One of the things I love the best actually is working with other mentors, I love working with a founder with multiple mentors and so I feel I try to not do harm, you know, the Hippocratic oath of mentoring, but I think it's easier to kind of say what's on your mind when it's balanced out with other mentors. So I don't know, I'm struggling to think like if there is a single pattern or thing that I see that I would help people with, maybe I'm going to think about that for a second, We can come back to it. Ben  Sure, well maybe maybe maybe this is a different way to look at it. Like if you could go back  years and mentor yourself, right? You you come to you with your idea for schedule is to, what kind of things would you say to yourself with the experience now that you have, Felix  okay, a couple of things popping in my head, I don't know if these are pop things, but one of the things I tell Felix  new founders is about linkedin, how wonderful linkedin is. It's the only social network that I understand, but I think that I, which says a lot about me, but I think I understand it pretty well and I tell them you can reach out to people on linkedin who can help you. And it's not sort of like, hey, look for another mentor or look for people to give you advice about X, y and z. But let's say you're starting a business in the analytic space. And let's say that it's very similar to maybe some of these three other businesses, maybe these folks would be competitors, of course, I would say reach out to those people, which is so counter to what a lot of people are comfortable doing. But, Felix  and I have a formula for, they think that they'll never hear back from people. I have a formula for how to reach out and link, which is you craft an email that there is only one person in the world that can answer that email and that's the person you're sending it to. So if you ask someone a general question, like, you know, hey, how should I market this business or something? They'll think to themselves and I'm not gonna answer this, anyone can answer this. But if you ask them a question that only they would know and you make that connection in a way that hey, you are facing something that only they have seen, they will respond. So that's my sort of, that's one of the tips that I share is Felix  make those connections with other people in the industry that you're going to be in, ask them a lot of the time, you know, they'll have some plan And one of the things they want to do is understand each step of the plan. They call it the risking that's like the $ word. So I think one of the best ways to sort of the risk a plan is to find out other people who follow that same path and succeeded and try and map that path on to some other path that a business has followed and then talk to those people and and run what you're going to do by them and ask them if it's going to work. Ben  I love it. That's great. Felix  So I can say also another thing that I that I offered that I believe, and I don't know if you agree with this, but I think that there are far a few different business types out their business structures out there than people think because we're in tech. We often, and let's say we're a venture backed company, we're doing something that the world has never seen before. It's going to take, It's gonna be the next unicorn. It's by sort of definition, nothing like anything else out there. But we extend that to the business structure and what I mean by that is how customers are required. What metrics that you should measure, how growth will happen, how marketing will operate, how you'll get your first customer, your th customer, your th customer and what your channels are those kinds of things. And Felix  I don't think there is that many different patterns out there. I think that there's just a handful of patterns and there are businesses sometimes that introduce brand new patterns, but they're very rare. So a lot of the time, what I encourage people to do is to figure out exactly what they think their business structure or pattern is and then map it onto another business that was successful. That has the exact same pattern and maybe find three or four of them And then figure out how did they acquire their first customer? How did they acquire their th customers? And sometimes that you can find that out by looking for interviews and things like that. But reaching out to people as well that I just mentioned can be very, very powerful. So innovate where it matters. But you know, don't innovate everywhere. Ben  Yeah, that, that lines up with uh, you know, the technology world, we have this idea that you should use boring technology because like you only have so much innovation, you can do in your business. Just use a plain old database, right, Don't, don't go crazy with the newfangled hotness. Right? And yeah, I think I totally agree with you actually like use those well worn paths, Use those channels that everyone has done  times before because it's, you don't need to innovate there. Felix  Yeah, you can find so much depth in anything that I think there's sort of a fear that at least I have this fear I always want to orient myself towards whatever I think is going to be the most interesting life. And so, but I think if, if everything is interesting, that doesn't necessarily add up to more interesting, I think that sometimes, you know, a lot of things can be boring, like you can be steve jobs and wear the same black turtleneck shirt every day. He's not innovating in his wardrobe, but that doesn't mean that he's not innovating, He's not maximizing innovation. So I try and remind myself of that. I think it's an easy fall to fall into and really being intentional. I would say here's an advice that I would give myself that I thought of and that's kind of aligned with, with, Felix  with, with what I've been saying so far, which is uh huh A lot of thing I kind of think separate sort of opportunities into inbound and outbound, so inbound opportunities or opportunities that come to you, they arrive in your email box. They, you know, there's a phone call, a friend tells you something over lunch. You see a cool movie that inspires you. And then there's outbound an outbound happens because of some mental model that you have about the world and you intentionally decided to go and do something. And I think all the time you get bombarded with inbound stuff and most of it is not that interesting. And then sometimes something interesting comes along and you think, okay, I'm going to follow up on that. I actually think if someone ignores Felix  and I think it's more subtle than ignore, but if someone does not respond to all inbound, they're way ahead of the game. If you just sort of erase every inbound email and never read it, you're way ahead of the game. And if you do things that are that are only outbound for, for your life and for your business? I think that that is very, very powerful and by ignore, I don't mean like let's say you see a movie and it's about, uh, some people that move to Argentina and reinvented themselves and that really inspires you and you think, okay, I could move to Argentina and you do and it's great. That kind of stuff happens all the time. And, but I don't think it's optimal. Felix  I think you should watch that movie and be inspired, but then you should figure out what is it about that's inspiring? Is it living abroad? Is there something about Argentinian culture that's really cool. And then you should come up with some kind of a fitness function and you should also think what is the opportunity, cost of doing this versus everything else. And then you should as an outbound effort figure out. Okay. So I'm really gonna do this abroad thing. That's going to have the following characteristics. Where's the best place to be? And I bet you don't end up in Argentina. Felix  I love it. That's, that's Ben  awesome. And, and this is why  years later, like I still find every conversation with you secret productive and sometimes inspirational to Felix  write on. Ben  It's great. It's great job with Felix as always. Um, I think that's a great place to wrap it. Uh, do you have any parting thoughts? Felix  Um, yeah. How different did this conversation feel from a conversation that you and I might just have, Ben  you know, it's pretty close. Yeah. Obviously like we've got, we've got the world listening with us and so it's a little different. It's not quite as intimate as usual. And of course we haven't talked about any numbers and things like that that we usually get down in the weeds with you and I, Felix  but yeah, pretty close to our usual Ben  cars. What do you think? Felix  Um, closer than I thought? But I don't know, I might listen to this back and just be like, I'm not going to send bend the wave file. Ben  Well, my pro tip is, I never listen to the recording. So I mean that's, Felix  that's, that's the way I do it. Okay, good. Good. That's actually I should do that too. Ben  It's easier that way. He really is. Well, thanks, thanks so much for you. Thanks for taking the time. I appreciate you uh doing this for me and uh hanging out. I know that I've learned some things and I hope that people who listen to podcasts, I've also learned some things. If someone wants to reach out to you, where's the best place twitter maybe? Felix  I don't know how to use twitter with twitter. You have to show me the ropes. Um I would say just you can send me an email. Uh you can find me on linkedin. How about Lincoln? There you go. Find me on linkedin and asked me a question that only I know how to answer Ben  a lot. All right, Felix. Thanks again so much. So like Star usually does our outro is but I will I will try to fill in for Star as best I can and I will say you should, you know, go and review us somewhere. Give us those five stars on those podcast listening things that you do. And uh as always let us know if we can answering particular questions for you or talk about anything that you find interesting. Thanks so much for joining us and hope you have a great week. Felix  Thanks Ben was awesome. Ben  All right. So, you can stop the quicktime. We can stop 
38:26 10/01/2021
Our Outbound Sales Autopsy
Show notes:Links:SaaslerKoombeaHook RelayTranscript:*note - this is an unedited, automatically generated, transcript with only about 80% accuracy*Ben  So I say we we just had a new customer signed up just like minutes ago and said that the reason they signed up was our podcast. So awesome. Good stuff. Good stuff. So pro tip for you says operators out there, put a little box and your on boarding, asking people how they heard about you or whatever. It's very, very informative. Starr  Yeah, it does. And then do a podcast and wait  episodes. Ben  Those steps are optional. I really do like they're having like those, those uh onboarding introductions is what we call them. We have a channel in slack for them and having those show up periodically is like a little little endorphin rush. Like I love seeing those show up in our slack channel and you know, we also have a cancellations channel has the same thing with cancellation messages and that's not quite as fun. But thankfully we see if you are those messages that we do the onboarding messages, but I just, I really like having those things in slack. It's nice to see that throughout the day. Starr  Yeah, definitely. So imagine this is gonna be a little bit of a shorter one because we just recorded um last week's podcast, like on monday in today's thursday. So I don't know if there's, there's not as much time that's passed to let um I don't know to let the hot takes regenerate themselves. Mhm Ben  Right, well, I have a hot date for you and it's the grape, I guess most hot takes are great Josh  what we're best at. Ben  Uh so I'm working on an update to the Roku integration. So, you know, we haven't a clue add on and Uh we started to add on like, I don't know, back early, early days, it must have been like , or so. A long time ago. Well in , apparently Hiroki released an updated version of their API for partners like us and uh it has a new provisioning thing and you can actually call back to their API and get some information about like supervision to add on and stuff like that. Which is great. Uh We haven't ever really gotten around to changing our particular add on because it works just fine. So why bother? Ben  But I've been looking at synchronizing the Heroku pricing with our current pricing because we've done a number of pricing variations since we launched the Heroku. And so now the two sets of pricing are pretty out of sync. So as I started to get into that I was like well you know well I'm here, how about I just you know update the A. P. I write classic classic rabbit hole. Right? And and and so I spent some time doing that and found you know some interesting quirks and so on about our integration and anyway it's all good like I got the work done and I did a pr and and josh and kevin like giving the thumbs up and I'm ready to deploy except Ben  I have two questions for the Heroku people about about the migration because the migration you gotta be careful right? Because like the V one A P. I. Is not compatible with the V three Api And so you have to store different sets of data and the I. D. S in particular are different like they used to pass what they call a ready and now they pass an add on I. D. And you gotta you know handle the transition carefully or else someone you know maybe they can't add on the thing. Maybe they can't start being customer, maybe they can't remove the adult which would be a problem because you know or maybe they can't log in that would also again yeah prop trading right? Josh  And so because they still get the emails Ben  so so my questions for harajuku around this migration revolve around this idea and like handling sso and making sure that we can still provisions and provisions properly anyway. So I put two questions to them and support two days ago and that's my gripe because that's the holdup. That's the holdup I can't deploy it because I can't get answers to these questions apparently. So I'm just like oh okay I understand like people are busy and stuff but uh I would like an answer some time you know and there's no like there's no auto responder there's no we'll get back to you in X. Amount of time. No it's just like off into the void and I'm just waiting Starr  did you maybe did you maybe use the legacy um support page Instead of the current ? Ben  No no use the current one. Okay good question though. Good like that Josh  this is just another example of like coding being the easy part. Uh huh. Ben  Yeah and also a good example of like rd party integrations causing you know uh technical maintenance burden like like um oh for example like clubhouse that recently renamed themselves the shortcut. Right? And so we had to, you know, do a little bit of work there and renamed stuff inside of our app wasn't a whole lot of work but it was some work but you you add, you multiply that kind of work by the number of integrations you support and all of a sudden like this is ongoing maintenance work that doesn't, it's just you're just treading water trying to keep up with what everybody else in the world is doing. Right? Josh  Yeah. And as new as new integration, you know, his new apps come onto the market and everyone wants to integrate with them, you just gradually expand until you, I mean you still have to support the old ones. Yeah, I think we're definitely getting to the point where every new little thing we add is like yeah, yeah, we're starting to feel it, we are starting to feel it. Yeah. And like the the depth of the integration is also I've noticed is like a big, big thing because like there's a few integrations that we like go a lot deeper with like get hub, you know, heroic. Who obviously is like a good example of that. We have a lot of issues with vera I've I've seen but who doesn't Ben  um Josh  but it does seem like the like I don't know, the more standardized something can be. Um and yeah, just I don't know when you're like integrating with a lots and lots of custom API's and stuff like that. They're going to switch it out on you at some point. Josh  Yeah. Support. It Ben  would be, it would be nice if there was like a happier plus plus, like a next level happier right? Where uh it just, it just abstracts away all these differences and you can just, you know, it's like a universal kind of thing and it's like, yeah, possibly be impossible. But Josh  are almost like the pitch I get to the pitch there being almost like an LTs, like like an LTs contract for for integration API is like, you gotta, you gotta contract. This API isn't going to change for like  years. Um and they'll just, you know, they'll do the and we'll do the internal migrations to keep the ap the same for you. Ben  Yeah, there you go. That's that's an interesting idea. I wonder how that kind of service would cost. Josh  I don't know, I know there's been a few um someone a micro, someone, a Microsoft had like a service that built like manage the integration side for you. Um was that Jonathan? Um Yeah, yeah, I don't know if that was like similar. I know it wasn't quite, that wasn't quite the idea, but like it was the idea that like, you know, they like give you  integrations, you know, for free or whatever, like much easier to integrate with them. Ben  Yeah, you just plug in and all of a sudden you Josh  have immigration. Ben  Yeah. Yeah. But the link in the show notes or see if it still exists. I haven't, I haven't Josh  talked to Jon tester. I can't Ben  yeah, sounds familiar. Josh  I don't know. I remember like having their like sticker in front of me at the table microscopes. Ben  Yeah. I haven't uh you know, having, having not gone a micro comp or business software or anything else for a couple of years now it's like it's going to keep track of what people are doing and because usually that's where I see Jonathan, Josh  you know, there was a Microsoft Microsoft local happened in Portland yesterday. I was kind of, I was kind of, I didn't go but in hindsight I kind of wished I had. But yeah, I saw, I saw a little bit of activity on twitter Ben  yeah look like they were having a fun time and I had the same kind of feeling. I was like, yeah I wasn't really thinking about going but then after seeing some of the tweets and like actually would've been fun to me, you know, Josh  wow I'm in the middle of like my kids are home from school this week because there was a covid case at the school and uh, so it's got yeah got that that's fine and in the school like was not as equipped as we hoped to like handle like the, you know right, just all the um coordination and stuff like the communication, I don't know, just they're still getting it together, it seems so it could be better. Ben  Did you sit there and think there should really be an app for managing this kind of communication between that would be family. That Josh  would be, yeah, that would be uh that would be something because yeah, it's like, like, yeah, not everyone seems to know how to use email. Uh huh Ben  That could be problematic. Starr  I've never gotten so many emails about like a specific thing is, you know, recently now that my daughter is going to school. Yeah, and they're not bad. They're just like, there's just so many of them about all these different aspects of things. Josh  Do they do they put urgent everywhere because like I've got a whole inbox of urgent emails. Starr  Oh no. Uh huh Like they seem to be pretty on top of it. Like they're kind of um like the whole covid stuff puts a whole another layer on top. Like, I'm sure opening school is already like a lot of work, but you know, they're scrambling around and like erecting tents in the, on the blacktop so the kids can eat lunch outside and you know, all this stuff. Starr  Okay. So they've created an official, an official channel for parents to raised their safety concerns with the school because I think they were just getting bombarded. Bye Everyone. Josh  Yeah, I think that's where we are and I'm hoping that's they come up with something like that like some sort of process for raising concerns. Ben  Yeah. I wonder if you start seeing like a a school board or maybe a school level position right? Like pandemic coordinator, right? And that's your point. I Josh  I really hope I hope it doesn't last long enough to like bake the position into society. But like I guess like yeah some sort of health coordinator. I could see that being a thing for sure. And I guess yeah I mean I could probably do other things when there's not a pandemic happening I imagine. Mhm. Still be useful. Ben  Wouldn't be a full time job is what you're saying. Josh  Yeah. Well Starr  I was like I was surprised at like um the school does offer like free um like flu vaccine drive through clinics and like they do a lot of stuff, it's just not just directly school and that was a little bit surprising. I mean it's awesome but Josh  maybe I need to move to Seattle. Starr  Um Yeah. Ben  Yes. Well um yeah Ben  we'll help you find a house. Starr  Yeah it'll only cost you like a million dollars Josh  on the low end right for a starter house. Yeah man. Well um we could talk about one of the things that I've that we were discussing this week um was the you know the hook relay launch. And I thought one interesting conversation we had was because we've we're making a few improvements to the sales site um before we sent out this email and um like published a blog post and do some basic like you know launch to our customers um sort of thing. Um And Ben you had you've been working with like a contractor or you found a contractor Josh  to do some website, like some redesign stuff because the website we put it together kind of like I don't know what is it, It's a tail end tail insight. Um Just like what like telling you I um fairly boilerplate and uh not really very polished. So we thought it would be cool to uh you know kind of polish it up and rethink some of the content and make sure like everything flows together in terms of like called call to actions and things like that. Um But we're at the we have a decision to make like do we do we kind of just like do a little bit of work to make it you know, launch Hubble and then launch or should we like go for this full redesign that the designer of course is trying to pitch us on. And Josh  I'm thinking that like ship it is the way to go. You know make make it make it ship herbal and then uh come back and and we'll we'll do the big the big overhaul. Ben  Yeah I I've heard smart people say that if if you're not embarrassed by what you ship then you waited too long. So Josh  yeah so we're probably making a mistake by not just uh shipping it as is, huh? Ben  So the current, like if you look at the, I mean there's only like four pages right? Of the sounds like uh and of those four pages, like the best looking one I think is the one that kevin did. That's the documentation page. Uh put a lot of good work into that. And then the second best I would say it's probably the guide that you wrote. So that's Josh  that's job because because I copied kevin Ben  copy, Josh  kevin's work. Ben  And then I would say the next the next in series is the pricing page. I think it looks okay, but that's like straight from tailwind ui Uh basically copy based, like we paid, you know what, $ for the components and then worth every penny, right? Uh And then I would say the worst of all the pages is the homepage. And that's the page. That's all me. Like I I put that together. So uh I think it's pretty clear who needs to stay away from design at honey badger. It's been. Josh  But in your defense, like you put that together, like when the product was like, like barely even alpha and we were like, we should just like, we should really like buy a domain for this. And so you like wrote a little letter and put it on there. Um And we haven't revisited since, so that's kind of what we're talking about is just revisiting um you know, making a few small changes and then then we'll get around to hopefully making something more um professional or I don't know. Ben  Yeah, but it's funny that, as I was, as I was working with that designer that we found to help us, as we were like, scoping out the project, it was, I felt a bit of deja vu but from the other side, because I remember as a freelancer, like, I was always, you know, pitching people on the project and I would give them the grand vision and, you know, and here's the price tag, Ben  and they'd be like, oh, out, could you, could you cut, you know, x, y and z could get the price down to whatever, you know? And uh it wasn't about the price, in this case, it was about time we wanted to get that homepage done faster so they could get this launch done sooner rather than doing a whole redesign, but I still felt kind of guilty going back to design and say, okay, that's that's great, but could we, you know, cut like all those pages and just do this one, it's not Josh  the it's not the price timeframe, so are they going to be able to you think they'll be able to do a quick ish turn around, like um so that we'll get to get to ship this thing. Ben  Yeah, I think so, I didn't made the mistake of not actually setting a deadline. So I'm I realized that after I agreed and paid the deposit and all this kind of so like I don't actually know when he's going to deliver stuff. That could be a problem, but I figured I'd just wait a few days because you know, I'm thinking it should only take a few days. What do I know I'm not a designer obviously, but I figured after a few days if I see nothing, I hear nothing then I'll be like, okay, so what's the timeline? And hopefully it'll be something like, you know, next week, but Josh  this project is just like is he is he already like is you just have access to the like get a repository or is he like working something up? Like some sort of prototype or Ben  or something like that? Yeah, you should be doing a prototype. So st, st thing is he asked us do we want how do we want to get the design part? Uh So like the choices were a PSD or stigma. So I chose stigma because we use stigma. Uh and then the second part would be okay. And there also was a question and the on boarding was okay, you want me to build this out in html CSS And of course, yes, like yes, I want you to do more work for me, thank you very much. So, so the first version is just a design and stigma and oh, actually three. So he gave us the option of just doing one, like I'll do a design and you accept it or not? Or doing three designs. Ben  I went for the three designs because I mean I'm a client now so I get to like, you know, be deciding and stuff. So that was that was slow us down a little bit obviously because there's gonna be three designs, that one, but we'll get those three designs. That's Josh  for that's for like the big project. Right? Or or is he doing three for the initial bill? Ben  Well, I think that I think for the further homepage Okay. I think that's basically, I think what I was trying to communicate, I think I communicated was we want to do is basically to stage project, like we want to do the whole design, but we want the first stage to be, Let's get the homepage set. So what I'm thinking is like the design that he goes with for the homepage will then carry through to the rest of the project. The rest of the pages. Gotcha. That's mine. That's my hope. Josh  I don't do you know, I it sounds like he's more like he's going to be coding if he's coding this up in html and CSS like I wonder he's probably not using like uh is he using anything to start with? Like could he use could he do this in tailwind for instance because that might be useful in the future if we want to like, you know, take over if we want to like do some, you know, of our own design in the future, which, you know what we're capable of is basically tailender bootstrap. Ben  Yeah, I didn't specify to use tailwind. I didn't really care at the moment. I just wanted whatever was fastest. Uh Right. And I figure if we decide to revisit and do some structural stuff, we can always adapted the tailwind ourselves, like that kind of thing I can do, you know, I can take an existing design and I can, I can rework it, you know? Uh so I figured just get it out the door, get it done as quickly as possible. I don't, I don't care what you do and then we can, we can revisit if we need to. Josh  Cool. Well the, I mean, once we get the whole thing redone that, that'll be nice. I don't know. We've never really done that. We've on our current on, on honey badger. Io we've never like, we've always just done it ourselves. Ben  That's new news. Something a new venture for us to try try this sort of thing. It's great. I like experiments. So we had, speaking of experiments, we had an experiment that did not work out and I suppose we should talk about that. Uh we, we decided that the sales, the outbound sales effort is not working out for us. So uh worked with Harris at interest there and we talked about this on the podcast before. Uh, and Harris is great interest. Um, it's great, % recommend Harris and his team. If you're thinking about doing some sales stuff and you want some training, some coaching or you want someone to help you do it. All those things are great. But after having done sales work with Harris, I just realized it's Ben  probably not gonna work for us. Maybe it's maybe it's me, maybe it's our business, maybe it's our customer segment, maybe it's a combination of all those things, but you know, Harris and I, so I told Harrison and it's just not working out, we need to, we need to turn this down and turn it off. And, and Harris was like, yeah, I was getting the feeling based on the response rate, like which is zero, uh, just wasn't working. And so, and we also like on Tuesday, I had a great call with Harris and we just did a post mortem basically the whole project and like why why didn't it work? Like we were hoping it would work and Ben  uh, and it was, it was a blameless postmortem, like I don't think there was a particular fault. I think there are factors like, uh, we sell primarily to developers and developers, primary that usually don't want to be talked to right, They don't want to talk to a sales person, they don't really want to get unsolicited stuff. Uh, And so that's a factor, I think also like the nature of our product, like you don't really need a salesperson to explain to you exception monitoring, right? Like it's, you know, it's like if you go to the car dealership Ben  and you're looking for an accord, you don't really need to spend a lot of time with a salesperson as he explains to you what an accord does, like, you know what an accord does, right? It's a car. Like if I know I want an accord versus camera, like I don't need any help, right? Just just tell me the car and I think it's kind of some kind of thing here is like we're not selling something that's really complicated or that needs a lot of education or it needs a lot of configuration or whatever. Like it's not a solution based sales, which I think would be a better fit for that kind of sales process. So, and, and there are other factors. Um but yeah, so that's an experiment that I think is just, uh, does it work out? Josh  It seems like we're really positioned to sell to the developers and it's not that we couldn't, I mean, we could try to sell ourselves too because it seems like, like depending on the size of team that's using a tool like this, like you get people in the organization higher up that get involved, like managers or product managers or uh, like engineering leads and stuff that are trying to do more of the like management and coordination um stuff and those are the people that like the dashboards and the samel and like all the more enterprise features, but we don't typically like lead, like that's not that's not how our um product is positioned to, we're not like we haven't positioned ourselves to sell to that level really, it seems. Um and Josh  yeah, I don't know, that's that's kind of interesting because, you know, you wonder at some point like if the developers are deciding what tool to buy, do they buy the same tool as like their bosses and we're trying to give the developers what they want, it may be more than we're trying to give their bosses what they want, and you know, and then we try to build those features too so that we can keep everyone happy, but like um it does, there's like yeah, it's kind of a different, like you could see like trying to take the same approach with like, you know, someone up the higher up the ladder or whatever, I could see that not being as interesting. Yeah, Ben  one of the things and there are other factors, like one of the things that Harris taught me about sales is uh he said the money is in the follow up basically like you need to keep reaching out to the same people basically until they tell you to go away and that's not what I'm about and I don't really want to do that to people. Like we email sequence and uh inherited like, well we need to do an email sequence like this and it's like in emails long and I'm like um how about two? We send one and then we send one more and that's it. And Harris was like uh so I think in many ways like I was tying his hands because I didn't want to do the kind of sales process that a lot of people do. Right? Josh  Well I imagine like putting your face on those emails probably like you don't, you don't want like to make a bunch of enemies of developers that you might have to work with in the future. But like what if you like, did you consider just like making a completely fictional sales? Just like salesperson persona? And it could have just been like, you know, we could have put them on the, on the sales page and everything. It's just like this fictional person that takes all the heat for sales. Ben  I never thought of that. That's a great idea. Name, bobby bobby, the badger. Josh  Yeah, um maybe that's like a side like, you know, kind of an Upsell offering that Harris can can add to to his product eyes thing. Like, you know, if you don't want to take the heat, like we can create something for you Starr  that's a Ben  that's an awesome idea should afford that on. Yeah. Yeah. So the and another factor is like uh you know, because there are there are companies, we have competitors that are selling into the enterprise and do that sort of thing and um, I think I think you hit on a point there. It's like are we, are we selling to me selling the typical enterprise solution where the buyer has to be happy or are we selling something where the user has to be happy? Right. And and sometimes that they're both happy but and often times it isn't and in our case we're focusing on that and user and it doesn't make that user happy if we're pestering them with emails or you know, getting in their way of actually just trying the product. And so anyway, I think for now at least we are Ben  Better served as a % inbound kind of company and maybe spend those resources on customer success or engagement or something like that. Yeah, Josh  it's interesting but it Ben  was fun while it lasted. Josh  Well, I'm glad, I'm glad it wasn't a complete drag. You got to, you got to learn a little bit about sales. Yeah. Yeah. Imagine. Yeah. Cool. Yeah, I think like uh like competition, just like the, we're in such a like a competitive space and most of our competitive, our competitors also go for those like enterprise segments. Um so it could actually be, you know, it could be good for us to stay, you focused on the on the smaller, like, you know, the smaller, the smaller end of the market in a way because they're probably somewhat underserved at this point, Josh  yep. Starr  All right. So um when is the hook really lunch Starr  or is this and how to fix fixed? Okay. So we don't know what to tell people Josh  we're meeting, we're meeting next next week to kind of finalize it. But I'm imagining like we're going to push it out the door as soon as we have, you know, some I think we're going to wait for a few updates to the homepage, but otherwise we're going to ship it. And who knows? Like if if this project ends up kind of dragging on at all or anything like we could just decide to, you know, kind of just go what we have. It's not, you know, it's not it's it's workable. So maybe we should just like stop procrastinating, right? But we'll we'll decide next week at our um hook really marketing meeting. Ben  Yeah, the good news is we already have customers who are using it who are paying us money to use it. So that's that's nice. Like it's not just burning cash with a bunch of a rack of servers doing nothing. You know, Josh  So I would say it's in the next couple weeks. Starr  Awesome. I'm sure when that happens we'll um be blowing horns and making all sorts of noise on this show and directing people to the right place. Uh huh. All right. Was there anything else you guys want to talk about? Should we should wrap it up? Josh  We can wrap it. We can wrap it. Starr  All right. Well, you all have been listening to um found request. If you want to go read us on apple podcasts or whatever the kids are calling it these days, go for it. Um And yeah, we'll catch you next week. Thank you. Josh  Yeah, No. 
25:37 09/24/2021
There Ain't No Business Like No Business
Show notes:Links:Bold Badgers NFTMantis scooterRidwellWrite for HoneybadgerTranscript:*note - this is an unedited automatically generated transcript with about 80% accuracy*Josh: So we really are we doing this, uh, super quick. Do we need to like speed up our voices? ArtificiallyBen: The chipmonk episode.Starr: There you go. No, we should just, we should slow them down. So it'll um, we can just record  a  minute episode and then we'll take  minutes to listen to it.Josh: Yeah, yeah. That's right. That's what we've been doing all along. That's our life hack is it takes us  minutes to record these episodes and you listened to them in  minutes.Starr: Yeah. So that's the, um, so I'll fill in our listeners. We, um, we miss our normal recording day on Friday, and so we're making it up on a Monday, which means like we're jam packed in with a bunch of other stuff. Um, so this may be a little  shorter than usual and I'm sorry. I know you just have to have all of us all the time and we're just giving it all we can right now.Josh: Yeah, it'll be just as off topic though. So, um,Starr: I would thank God.Ben: Yeah. Speaking, speaking of off topic, I have, I have a public service announcement to make. As, as you know, I've been getting more into the electric vehicles scene, uh, personal mobility, micro mobility, all that kind of fun stuff. And I, you know, a few months ago bought an electric scooter.  It's a mantis for those who are curious, who are in the know, uh, and I've been really enjoying that, like riding back and forth to work and goofing off and that sort of thing. But the thing that's, the public service announcement is, uh, wear a helmet. If you're going to ride one of these pillars. I just, this past week saw two different people riding on scooters, similar to mine, like higher powered scooters, mixing it up with traffic, like on  mile per hour roads and not wearing a helmet. And I just thought that is insane.  Like, I don't know. Maybe, maybe, yeah, you should definitely wear a helmet if you're going to ride electric scooter at  miles an hour, just saying that's my PSA.Josh: I did go for, I went for a, my first ride on an EBI bike, um, last week and I must confess I did not wear a helmet. And, uh, I have to say it was, you know, it was kind of fun. Like, you know, little dangerous,  there was no traffic. Like there was very little traffic, so in my defense.Ben: Okay. That's a plus. Do you remember what kind of bike your Rover's like a super ? Like one of those modelsJosh: I have, I have a very bad memory for names of things and I was told, but, uh, no, I don't know, but actually I was, it was with, uh, it was the bike of, uh, Mike Perrin, who is a friend of the show and creator of sidekick. So I'm  sure he will, uh, hopefully listen to this and, and let us know. And then we can fill everyone in the next week. MaybeBen: I think, I think he has a super . It's a, and that's a pretty sweet,Josh: It's like the super it's like one of the fastest ones on the market, he said, yeah, cool. Or something like that.Ben: I'm going to have to get down to Mike's house and borrow some of his bikes. AndJosh: It was a lot of fun. I'd never, I'd never done that before. And I, I get the appeal now.Ben: Yeah. So when, when I got my scooter, Mike was like, I don't  know, scooters. They're kind of, uh, I don't exactly what he tweeted, but he's like, yeah, they're kind of sketchy because they're not very stable and stuff and he's right. They are integrated stable compared to the bikes, but it's still a lot of fun. So I just wear a full face helmet to counteract the wobbliness. Yeah.Starr: Did y'all know I have a, an electric bike? No, it's called a Peloton.Josh: You were so smug with that one.Starr: It's the perfect bike for me because it doesn't move. Um, it's like all the, got all the nice things about the bike, like the workout, but you don't go anywhere. You don't have to Dodge any traffic. Uh, don't have to wear a helmet screen.Josh: Yeah. Those sound, those do sound seriously though. Those, those, uh, look pretty, pretty nice.Ben: Yeah. I have, I have a low-tech Peloton. It's just a trainer. I brought my bike on.Josh: Is your bike on it? Yeah. Yeah. But I like, I don't know the what, from what I've heard of the Peloton  , uh, those they've got all the bells and whistles right star.Starr: Oh yeah. Yeah. I mean, really it's um, it's not so much about the actual bike for me. It is, as it is about having some like super enthusiastic person, like, um, playing really good music and just being like, you've got this, you were born for greatness and just like saying stuff like that at me. Um, while I'm like trying to, you know, read them a little bit,Josh: You say that, but like, you know, like I, I try to, you know, give that experience  to Katelyn, for instance, my wife and she just like, she hates like, she's like get, get out of here.Starr: I think, I think it's easier. I think it's a little easier when there's not like an actual person there, you know, Just hire a social exerciseBen: That started out live, get, you know, the, uh, the motivational speaker guy lives in a, down by the river. I'm just, I'm just thinking about Chris Farley,  like standing by your exercise bike. You can do it. You've got this.Josh: If we could get a, yeah. If we could get that, um, on the Peloton, I would subscribe like if he was one of the trainers, I mean, like, you know,Ben: So just bring him back from the dead, have him record some such the Peloton and then, yeah, that'd be awesome. I miss Chris Farley.Starr: So Ida likes to ride the Peloton too, that she's not big enough for it. Um, but she  is a, her, her feet can touch the pedals. Um, but they can't reach all the way down. So she's kinda like kicks the pedal down and then catches it on the way back up. And so she asked me to put on a little video so she can do it to the music too. Yeah. Oh, I need to give an update about my, um, about the printing press. I know everybody's like waited, waiting the press breath about thatJosh: Date. I thought, yeah. I didn't know. There was news so, well, IStarr: Mean, the news  is I have given up on it. I went down to Tacoma. I went down to see it and it worked and everything, and I just really got a sense for like how big and heavy it was going to be. And, um, then I started, I measured it and I started actually trying to figure out how I would get it into my building. Um, because like, it's just, my, my office is  in the backyard. It's, uh, it's, we're having our backyard redone soon, but right now it's just all bumpy and lumpy. And so it's like trying to like roll this thing. I would have to construct like a, a path out of plywood. I'd have to build a ramp up to my, um, the doorway, um, then to actually get it into the location where it's going to be. I would have to completely like dismantle all my shelving and, um, then like re assemble it once I had put the thing in place.  And so if I ever wanted to move it again, I'd have to like completely take down all my shelving. I was just like, this is too much. Like, this is, um, like I can't, I can't justify this on it. Like I'm, I'm waking up early in the morning and not being able to get back to sleep. Cause I'm like, how the hell am I going to like move this thing? It's like, no, that's not a good hobby for me right now.Ben: That's too bad. Have you looked into typewriters?Starr: I mean, quite the same thingJosh: I would get into typewriters  though. Just like aside,Starr: I am looking into smaller, into a smaller press. They have smaller like desktop ones that are a couple of hundred pounds. Um, not, not like a thousand and looking into that sad,Ben: sad to hear it didn't work out, but I let's get pictures of that in any one. If you get a small one, that'd be kind of fun.Starr: Yeah. I just have to, I, uh, I almost saw him this weekend, but somebody swooped in before me. And so now I'm just going to have to wait like six  months until another one pops up. Cause like it's, they're not very, there's not a very liquid market. It's not like in a, I guess, I guess there is a liquid market, I guess, I guess they just kind of get snapped, snatched up and then like, there's just not any of them. Yeah.Josh: Do you still get to like, do you have to do like type setting and stuff?Starr: Yeah. You do like, um, there's a couple ways to do it. Like you can do it the old school way where you have like the lead type and you like, um, you know, put it letter by letter and do like a composing  stick and do all that. Um, I probably wouldn't do that just because I'm not sure I have the time and patience. Um, so there's a, an updated way to do it where, um, you can, um, you know, send a PDF off and they'll make a, uh, a plate for you and it's plastic and then you just use that. So, um, yeah. And you can make them yourself too. It's just, you know, takes more equipment and more, you know, you know how I'm work and stuff.Josh: Maybe you could get like a specialized, d printer to like printer plates for you.Starr: Cool. Do you use like, uh, um, people to use like a, a Glowforge like a laser cutter cool. Or laser engraver?Josh: That's a, that's a fun hobby. That sounds, that sounds like fun.Starr: Oh yeah. Oh, I went down the rabbit hole of reading all about laser engravers too. Like there's like this cheap one from China that you can get for like  bucks. And then like,  it's apparently got good internals, but like, you really have to soup it up. And so like that's some people's whole personality is they just do that.Josh: Nice before we get off the topic of a paper and things that interface with paper. Um, I like ordered something off of Amazon that I was like, I don't know why I was like this excited about it arriving. Like maybe I'm just like extreme, like my, you know, I'm extremely  bored and needed something to look forward to. But like Amazon basics, paper, shreds, shredder, sharpening, and lubricate, lubricant sheets. And I get all, I'm not going to say that again. I hope you like got that. Um, I did not know that this existed though. Cause like I have like a paper shredder. It's like a cheap, you know, a cheap one, but like I never, like, I never oil it cause don't like just, I don't know how, okay. Like just the thought of like getting a, like a bottle  of oil or something and like trying to like dump it.Josh: Like I just, I don't know. So I like was like trying to figure out like, how do you oil these things? And it turns out they make sheets of paper that had the oil like in them and you just run them through the shredder. I didn't know. Like maybe everyone knows this. I did not know this was a thing. And uh, I mean it's like the perfect, it's like the perfect, uh, lubricant solution for your shredder because, um, you just, you know, it's like shredding a piece of paper, which is fun in and of itself.  Like who doesn't like shredding paper. So pro tip, you don't needStarr: Waiting. How do they work? Um,Josh: My shredder might be too far gone from the lack of oiling, but I'm going to like, wait and see. Oh no, we'll wait and see. Luckily I did get the cheap one. So now that I'm like an expert on shredder maintenance, um, my next shredder maybe I'll even upgrade or something.Starr: I actually, um, I bought an Amazon basic shredder. That  is, uh, it's a, it's a fairly big one, um, for home use, but it's, it's uh, Amazon basics and it's actually really good.Ben: That is a cross cut. Cause that's the key feature right there.Starr: I, I think the cross cuts. Yeah. SeeBen: Mine. Mine's a cheapo one that just does stripsJosh: And that's, I mean that's the strips. Yeah.Ben: Gotta have the crossover.Starr: Yeah. They can always go in the strips back together.Josh: Yeah.Ben: I was a little disturbed to find out  though. My, my local trash and recycling facility, uh, our city requests that you not put shredded paper in the recycle, uh, I don't know why they can't handle the recycle shredded paper, but yeah. So if, if all the stuff that I shred, it has to go in the trash, which seems kind of wrong, you know, it's like it's paper cause then recycle. Right. ButJosh: That's because I'm pretty sure recycling is a big scam and none of it actually works. Like you think it does because like Kaylin, like  Katelyn knows all about recycling and I am constantly trying to like be a good person and recycle things and she's like, no, that's not recyclable. Like you can't like, that's going to actually like, that's going to like make the recycling people mad because like they have to sort through this and like, you know, take it out before they can actually like repurpose. So yeah, it seems like there's very, uh, relatively little that is actually recyclable. At least in my experience. So farStarr: We subscribed to an additional recycling service,  um, read well. And uh, yeah. So they like, you can't recycle, um, just a normal city was like, when you can't put like plastic bags or any sort of like plastic film stuff. Right. So like they take that and um, like they'll take, uh, like fabric stuff, like clothes, um, and like batteries and light. And then they have like a rotating category where um, like once every three months or whatever, it's like, you can put your old  electronic devices in there and they'll like, you know, have those recycled and whatever. Yeah. Yeah. It's pretty nice.Josh: Yeah. Cause I'm everything I hear lately about like just normal recycling, just as depressing. Like it's like, I don't know. I hear like, you know, half the recycling isn't even like being taken care of taken,Starr: You know, like they're like shippingJosh: It to other countries or burying it in landfills anyways. It just it's like, yeah, it's kind of sad. It doesn't make me want to recycle.Ben: Cool.  Let's see. Maybe, maybe my municipality then is forward-looking because they know there's going to put in the landfill. So there's just saving a step, right? Yeah. Just put it in the trash. Cause we're going to put out the trash anyway. Right?Josh: Yeah. And thenBen: They actually did that for a styrofoam. We used to have a regular styrofoam collection event. Like every month you could go down to city hall and you could dump your old styrofoam and they would take care of it. And then like, you know what, we just can't even cost effectively handle styrofoam anymore. So don't even, it's not even worth driving down to the city  hall to drop it off. Just put it in your trash. It's like, oh, that's so sad.Starr: Well, the, the rebel also does styrofoam. Like it's um, that's cool. It's it's not included in the base like price, but they give you a big bag and they're like, okay, whenever you're done with filling up this giant bag, like it'll cost, I don't know, five or $ to recycle it.Josh: Okay. Well we got to remember put it in the show notes cause I'm going to look at it too. Okay. Sure. I mean, it does seem like I'd rather the city, like if the city like  legitimately can't handle it and they're just like secretly like just trashing it anyway. It's like, it's better just to acknowledge the problem so that a real solution, hopefully it can, you know, like maybe like something like this, like people can start to, you know, pay extra for it or, or whatever. But like, it just seems like ignore, like just pretending, like just, just so everyone can feel good. Like, you know, just keep the people, you know, let them feel like they're recycling when they're not, does  not seem like a solution that's going to like solve any problems.Ben: But you know, what's, what's free to recycle the bits that you send to Honeybadger. We recycle those things all day long. You send us those, those API bits and they get efficiently recycled right away.Starr: I thought y'all were going to recycle those into NFTs.Josh: Oh yes. We don't. Don't uh, can'tBen: Spill the beans yet. Yeah. LikeJosh: Tell everyone our new business strategy. I think already I put that on Twitter already that we're pivoting into crypto and Airtraq and it's going to be a side business. Yes.Starr: It might confuse people. There's already like a Honeybadger coin or something out there.Josh: Yeah. And there's also like multiple Badger NFTs by the way. SoBen: Yeah, just a little delight.Josh: That was like a brave badgers. Brave badgers on Salada. I think there's one.Ben: Yeah. Put that in the show notes. Make sure people check it out.  Not officially endorsed by Honeybadger, but still cool. IStarr: Think we should put out our own line of pugs.Josh: Yes. Yeah. I mean like I'm surprised pugs. Aren't like, so someone's rolling an NFT for pugs, to be honest.Starr: I wasn't making it come back. I hear.Ben: Yeah. If we're going to, if we're going to go retro, like let's go all the way. Retro let's skip the whole collectible cards and stuff and go straight to playing cards. Right. I'll play for the two cards with  different batteries on them. Yeah.Starr: I thought you were going to say to me,  light bulbs or something.Josh: Absolutely. I've been, I'm curious. Have you learned anything about, uh, crypto or NFTs lately?Ben: You know, no, I haven't really, I I've been, I've been watching people in my Twitter feed and it's, it's funny, there's this, there's this arc that I see, like their first tweet is like, what is this crypto stuff? And then their next tweet is like, this crypto stuff is crazy. And then a little bit later, there's another tweet. It's like, I'm going to look into this crypto set because I want to understand it. And then a little bit later there's like,  Hey, check out this NFC I just bought. And then a little bit later, their final tweet is like, here, come join this, this core community and get into my mint.Josh: And, and they have a new Twitter avatar that has like laser eyes.Ben: Yeah. It's kinda, it's crazy. So, so I've like, I've seen this again and again and again, I'm like, okay, I'm not, I'm afraid. I don't wanna investigate the Nazis becauseStarr: So R oh, I'm going to get, I'm going to get, I'm going to get so much hate over this, but our, um, our  NFTs just like, um, MLM for like tech rose.Ben: Yes, totally. They areJosh: Essentially,Starr: That's like, I've got, I've like, I'll just tell my I'm essentially. I've got my sensory over here. My essential oils.Josh: Yeah. Well spring as well. I mean like, technically I think you probably could code a MLM on Ethereum, so I'm sure it's already been done, but maybe that, you know, maybe, maybe we should just go for it. Just go full a  full billing. There you go.Starr: That's it. Everybody you heard it. We're going full villain now.Josh: Crypto villain. Yeah. I I've checked it out as well. A little bit. Um, I bought a, uh, an FTE on Solano just to see. And, um, actually I did not follow the pattern that you, uh, that you described Ben:, but I also did not let myself do this publicly, which I think is a big key. Like you people know,  like you can create anonymous identities on the internet. Um, it's still possible. And then you can go explore, you know, like NFTs or whatever, and you don't have to like have laser eyes on your main Twitter profile. Um, but you know, I went and looked at it and uh, I'm still, I'm like still learning. I'm like, you know, I'm trying to update my, you have the whole crypto scene is a little bit, you know, a little bit dated. Like I  checked it out, like after Bitcoin got, you know, it was starting to get popular and stuff, read some white papers, but I think it's, I mean, it's, you know, it's not going away regardless, so it's good to keep your view current at least. But, um, I am not, uh, you know, bought into, I have an eight in as the kids say,Ben: Well, I mean, back to the two lips, I think I'll just wait until the crash happens. Right. And then I'll have a bias of nice to have thoseJosh: Do that. Yeah. That's the, that's the cycle. I mean, you know, it's going to happen. That happens like in every, every, it seems like every new application of blockchain that, you know, comes out that goes through the same, like boom and bust cycle, um, and then levels out to, uh, you know, fairly regular boom and bust cycle.Ben: I mean, you know, confessional here, but I'm actually a laggard when it comes to tech stuff.  Like I'm pretty late on the adoption curve for a lot of things. Like, you know, my car is pretty old, my TV's kind of old, you know, I'm not really sure. Yeah. Yeah. That's just kinda, it's kinda weird. I'm in the tech world, but like, I don't really jump in on things like that. I'll just wait,Starr: That's pretty normal. Right. There's like, um, I don't know. There's I saw some, I forget where I saw somebody say it was like, there's two types of tech people. One has the newest of everything all the time. And the other one is like still working on like a,  a   PC.Josh: Yeah. Whatever.Starr: Yeah. I don't know about y'all, but like, I don't really know a lot of like tech people who have like, um, like voice assistance in their home.Josh: Yeah. I like that as much as like the consumer more than just regular consumers. Yeah.Ben: That's because we know it's like I write software. I know how bad it is.Josh: Yeah.  Yeah. That's why I don't like having them. So I don't trust, I don't trust software, but I don't know, like the block, the whole blockchain thing. Like, I, I, you know, I kind of get the, like the future application argument, like there's something here. Like I think it is like that idea of having like very easy, like making contracts easier, for instance, or giving software,  the ability, like making it easier to write applications that are built on like contracts or, or even like financial applications. Like the whole idea of like, like code being able to hold its own its own actual currency or money. Um, because it's like, you know, it's just bits. Like that is interesting. Like, I don't know, you know, I'm not enough of a futurist to be able to like see the future where, you know, that's like ubiquitous, but like it is, I can see that aspect of it. It's interesting. But like the whole, like, yeah.  I'm not like collecting a bunch of, uh, NFTs in the meantime.Ben: Yeah. I think smart contracts. The idea is interesting. I think, you know, the stuff that's being loosely called web three, I think that's kind of stuff is interesting, but the, but the whole I'm going to buy a smart contract thing that represents a JPEG and then I'm gonna hold on to it and it's going to be worth a million bucks. That part of it doesn't really appeal to me. Like, yeah, I guess I'm just not yet.Josh: Well, you're also not  an art. You're not like an art collector either. I would assume that's true. I don't think you have a house full of priceless art. I would, that would be my guess. I mean, I don't want to like, yeah, like over assume, but I mean, like, I think that's the kind of person that this would, this definitely like appeals more to like the collector and, uh, I'm, I'm also not a collector. So, um,Ben: Um, I do have one, I do have one piece of art in my house, so I'm not a complete,  you know, Rube, but, uh, but yeah, I am not, I'm not a collector. Yeah.Starr: I think the big, um, like, like I'm thinking about how like Bitcoin and stuff has been around and, you know, blockchain has been around for over a decade at this point. Right. Um, and like still now, like, you know, it looks a lot, I don't know, to me, just from the outside, it looks very similar to what it did back then.  It's like, it's like, um, a bunch of people, very excited about it and what it means, and this kind of like vague way, um, that like seems like, you know, it'll pan out in the future, but we're not quite sure how yet. And like, I'm wondering if the big, um, I'm wondering if the thing that like blockchain is actually successful at is in, um, being very like evocative to  a certain type of person, um, making a certain type of, you know, developer or a tech person, like feel a certain way. Like I wonder if that's the main success of blockchain, because that seems to be like, mostly what I'm seeing is like a bunch of people, you know, excited a bunch of people. Um, I don't know, like, like wanting to discuss the future of things and you know, being smart about it. And it's like, I wonder if that, um, that process is the whole reason that it stuck around. I don't  know.Ben: It's good, good point.Josh: There's definitely some interesting stuff out there. Um, and some very, I mean, like, I think it's undeniable that there are some very people that have thought all this stuff up, like yeah. But yeah, I don't know. You're right. It's, it's been around a lot. Like the, it seems like the adoption curve as much longer on this one. If, if it is going to be the, you know, the next big thing, I don't know. It does. I don't know. It'll be interesting.  But I figured in the meantime, like keeping, keeping an eye on, let's just try to learn more about it. But, um, I'm not really the, I try to avoid situations where I just like dive in and become a like true believer. So I'm, I'm learning from afar.Ben: I'll just go buy some GME. That'll go to fix.Starr: I dunno. I'm just going to go for  AMC, myself. Like the movies, like the movies have been around forever.Ben: Well, confession time I actually bought some AMC. Oh yeah. When the whole GME thing was going crazy and AMC got part of it. I went and bought some AMC. Cause I'm like, you know what, thinking about it. It's like, I wasn't really interested in the main stock thing, but I was thinking, okay, pandemics going to go away some point, right. People are gonna get back out and they're going to go to movies again. Right. It's going to be, and I'm actually, I think I'm doing pretty good on the whole AMC purchase.  We'll see how it goes. Pandemic didn't end yet, but I can still close the fingers.Josh: I mean, as a futurist, I do expect more things to become MIMA fide. So if you can like predict those trends, then go, you know, get in early because, uh, everything's going to be a meme on the blockchain. Eventually.Ben: That's a good thing. Our business is based on a meme now. We're, we're, we're totally with it.Josh: Yeah. All right. We're finally with it on the whole meme thing.Starr: Well, as the present test, I think you should just enjoy it while you can.Josh: You mean all the mains or I don'tStarr: Really know. I just want to get, it seemed like a pithy thing to sayBen: It's apropos. Yeah. Yeah.Josh: Well, we discussed like, no, like I think we, I think we actually discussed like nothing  related to the business this time and that is, you know, that's moving forward.Ben: This is our Seinfeld episode, the episode aboutJosh: Speed. Oh, speaking of Seinfeld, we finished the last, the final episode of Seinfeld, um, that like a couple nights ago. And it like, cause we've been like Kayla and I have been like going through it, like for like years at this point, like just slowly, like, cause it's not every night you want to watch Seinfeld.  Like it's, it's gotta be like a Seinfeld night. So we finally, like, we didn't realize we were like at the end. Um, and it was kind of a, it was a little bittersweet moment kind of likeStarr: At the end of real Seinfeld when it aired. So, and you just heard that green day song starts swelling. It's something I'm predictive of your life. I know. So enjoy it while you can enjoy it while you can.Starr: You've been listening to founder quest. If you want to give us a review, go to wherever you do that and do that. I don't know. I've never been given a podcast or review, to be honest. I don't know how you do it. Um, so I may just be sending you out to nowhere. Um, and yeah, if you're interested in writing for us, we are usually looking for authors and stuff for a blog. Um, check out forward slash blog and look for the right press link and learn all about, you know, all about that. And we will see you next week. See ya. See ya. Bye.
26:49 09/17/2021
Hook Relay Is Livin' That FULL Duplex Lyfe!
Show notesLinks:Hey Dumpster FireGoatse.cxFull transcript:*This is an unedited automated transcript which is only about 80% accurate*Starr  Yeah, well, sad news. Um I did not see my printing press last weekend because I I came down with a cold, it wasn't it wasn't covid, so don't worry, it's okay. Um But we're waiting for the test to come back. So you know the difference between now and the before times is now when you get a cold life shuts down and you can't really do anything until your results come back. Josh  Well and you know the other thing about like during the pandemic, everyone's home like just the printing press market is just going wild right now, so like, there's going to be gone, I'm sure it'll be gone long gone by the time you're feeling better. Starr  Exactly, everybody's going to print their manifestos, Josh  right? Yeah, Ben  well, you know, since my kid is able to take care of his own school needs and I didn't have to like sideline myself for that, like, like star, I actually got some stuff done this week, but uh but not going to tell you me. So I've been really get into this groove on having other people do things, so Starr  it's not definite, Ben  it's so nice, so nice. So shall I was able to deliver a feature that we want in Hungary there for a long time and that is being able to deliver to multiple your ills. So we give you a hook address that you post to and then you can say, okay, up to three different Charles will then get that delivery that post. So Josh  that's pretty cool, Starr  wow, Broadcasting broadcasting Ben  your publisher, this is something that one of our customers asked for and something we've wanted for a while and, and uh I apologize, I think to shop because I kind of dropped the ball on, you know, helping this get this, get this feature over the goal, you know, he uh he had done some work a few months ago and I just was distracted and didn't really uh follow up on it, like, I should have, and then and then once I did follow up like I should have, then it's like, you know what, I don't think we want to go with this round, I think I want to go a different round. So we ended up re implementing the whole thing in a different way, but so I appreciate his patients but got that launch, That's feeling pretty good. Starr  That's awesome. So um so hook really is a product that we're uh you know, we've lost, you can just go sign up for right now, right? Yeah. Ok. Yeah, so it's uh it's like magic for your wife hooks, so if you if you want to um if you want to send a web hook, you just send it to our service and then we make sure that it gets deliver, that's super reliable, that I don't know, there's just a lot of details that you have to implement around doing web hooks, right? And we do this for you. And so now it sounds like you can have that sort of broadcast to multiple points Josh  also works for inbound web hooks. So no matter what the flaky services that is sending you sending you web hooks, I think what we're doing right now is broadcasting, by the way, um but yeah, no matter what the flaky service that you have to integrate with, you know, to send to receive data from them if your app goes or maybe your app is flaky, if if your app is going down, um you can just be sure that when you get back online, hook relay will be there to relay all the web hooks that you missed. Starr  Well, I've got I've got a term for it, you can feel free to use this in your marketing. So that means that um since it does both outbound and inbound, that means you're full duplex Josh  well, Duplex. I like it, I like it going to write it down, You know, like that would be an awesome, like if we did kind of like, you know, like, like I don't know, like s marketing theme, like with me on colors and stuff and we're like full duplex. Just that going well together. Ben  Do you remember speaking of the eighties, remember back and when you connect with your modem and it would be the wrong duplex setting. And so everything you typed would be double right? You get every care, it could be a double f. You know? And they're like, oh man, full duplex. I gotta reconnect at half duplex. Yeah, Josh  we should we should do like a, like a marketing, like, like a Youtube video, you know, like this little sketch or something of you trying to connect to your modem. Yeah, Ben  awesome. Josh  Yeah. So Ben  yeah, in fact, I used, I used to create this morning for doing an inbound hooks setting up. So we're working on the broadcast emails, that's the task, that's another task has been on our to do this for a long time. Uh I was working on that this morning and uh we use postmark for our email delivery and when one of the things uh they did recently a few months ago they had this new feature and their product called announced broadcasts, announcements, broadcast exactly what it's called. But basically before this feature, post Margaret, just about transactional email, like it could only send things that were triggered by a user, right? Like a password reset email or you know, in our case we send a lot of notifications for errors, you know, to individual users, Ben  but then they launched this new broadcast feature which allows you to use their infrastructure for, you know, kind of marketing, like emails like maybe announcements about your, you know, new products or your new features or maybe have new terms of service or whatever. So more and more of a broadcast email rather than an individual email. And uh one of the features that they have and the reason why I was using the web book is they can they have, we'll add an unsubscribe link for you at the bottom of the emails that go out. And so of course the person may click the unsubscribe if they don't want to hear from us anymore, which would be, you know, totes sad, but it happens Ben  and then it goes to postmark and then postmark records that unsubscribe intent and then sends it can optionally send a web hook to you. And so uh yeah, so I set up a cookery, they target for that postmark web hook so that even if our app goes down, which of course it never does, but if it did then we would have all those, you know, web hooks from postmark happily saved in Hungary. They uh getting along of it to see is nice. I wonder Josh  like the go ahead. Sorry, Starr  I was just going to say. So you can um the inbound web hooked payloads get saved and then you can just pull them down whatever you want. That's convenience. Like I want I want that inbound with a hook data, but I don't want to build a web hook right now, I don't want to build like something to like get that right now. I just want I just want to know that the data someplace and get it later. Josh  Yeah. Yeah. I wondered like the utility of that feature might be pretty, pretty huge depending on like what people are doing with web hooks these days, you know like I don't know like receiving, you know, recording payments or um activated subscriptions. Yeah, Ben  or you know if you're if you're building a feature that's gonna accept the web hook but you don't it is not launched yet or you don't know exactly what you're going to get because you know sometimes your provider might say, well this is what we're gonna send you but you actually really be sure. Right. So you can, you can set up the cookery. They link first start getting some real web hooks from them. See what they're like before. Well yeah actually we Josh  don't have an option. Yeah, we have an option to like to not just receive but not forward. Right. Right. Yeah. So he's a sort of as like a interim development. Starr  Can we have an option? Um do we have an option to receive and just immediately discard just for you know, just when you're just fed up with that website provider? Ben  Yes. I think we actually do have that. So we have like this. Yeah forget this. We have a disabled button so the link still works like I can still post to it but it won't, nothing will happen with the payload is just goes into it either devon all Josh  you can set up like that. The dumpster fire thing like like a base camp did well back where we, you know, we have someone just burn it for you. I mean it's probably like, it's like yeah environmentally responsible to Starr  like get sense to like it gets sent to a, did you see that star? We just take the exact yeah I didn't see it. No. Josh  Okay so it was pretty awesome. Like they yeah, I forget like what was the, what were the emails like it was, you would give you like they had an address that you could um, email at? Hey, right. Hey dot com. And like they had someone actually like with a printer set up in a webcam and everything. Like they were just like, like they would print out your email I think and like just burn it like in front of the camera or something like that, Wasn't it? Something like that. Yeah, Starr  That would be a weird job. Josh  Yeah. Well, it was, yeah, it was definitely start. Yeah. Ben  Yeah. We should definitely something that I don't know. Maybe every time you get a look at it, tickles a honey badger. I don't know. I can think of something. Starr  Yeah, that's an even weirder job. I don't think I want to do that. Good. Ben  Yeah. So I got, I got a tweet dM today um, from someone uh, asking about something from a previous founder quest episode in which we talked about. Yeah, it's pretty awesome. That was cool. So, you know, everyone's always welcome to do that because that's fun for us. The uh, the message was a question about, were we talked in the previous episode about the automation, the automated monitoring that I added for our sake too, compliance stuff. And the question was like, you know, did we go with a particular provider? And yes, yes, we did. We went withdraw to, so we looked at van to and looked at secure secure frame and we looked at Dorada and uh, they're, they're pretty comparable all three of them. But are we, it came down to, we really liked draw to just a bit more than secure frame, Ben  which would be perfectly fine solution I think to you, we almost went with him and then an advantage was kind of like in this kind of distant third like they're okay. But what I really like drought and secure frame. So I don't know why. I didn't say who he selected before but there it is in case anyone is curious and didn't feel like actually asking uh there you go, Starr  awesome. And remember the, the answer to the first security question is all of the above. Mhm. Oh my God, they're gonna drop us as a customer now. I just violated the terms of service haven't giving Josh  out the answers. Starr  Maybe it's none of the above. Hopefully they switch out the questions. Ben  Uh speaking of questions, we got a we got a vendor questionnaire, security questionnaire the other day and I was looking at the answer. I was going through and answering the questions and there was this whole section about card data. And I thought to myself, oh how quaint like back in the day when we had to actually worry about securely storing credit card data. You know, these days, you know, we use stripe and we don't care. We never touched a car or data. And so I was able to, you know, Mark in a to all those things. But I just, it's kind of a blast from the past to see questions about, you know, do you, do you ever send credit card details via email? No, no, we do not. Our whole Josh  payment system, man. Yeah. Starr  Business card data though. We just like have those in a box in the closet. Ben  Yeah, we secure this to our Starr  business cards. Josh  Well, they're apparently there are vendors that are still doing it that way. Yeah. Ben  Yeah. Which is kind of scary when you think about it. Starr  You know, it's funny like with the compliance, I've been um there's been a couple of times where um, well, I've got to explain my setup. So I've got a little office in my backyard. I'm the only one here. Um and there's been a couple of times where I'm about to like go into the house or whatever my computer's on and normally like I'm just going to leave it running and stuff. And then I was like, nope. I, and the compliance says I've got to lock it before I leave my office from which I uh and it's like, okay, it's like, should I leave the door open the office? No, I gotta lock it, compliance says I've got to have, you know, adequate physical security measures Josh  like you want, like one of the squirrels getting in there. Okay, finding it unlocked? Ben  Well, I appreciate your diligence star. That's, that's going above and beyond right there. Starr  Oh, thank you. Thank you. It's, it's ridiculous. But yeah. Ben  Well on that note, one of the things that has annoyed me about the compliance requirements is that they prefer that you have um your screen saver lock Within, you know, x minutes,  minutes or whatever it is. Right? And they actually check that we have an agent that runs on each computer to make sure that we actually have that enabled and I surveillance. I never had that enabled because you know, like you like who's who's here? Like it's just me, like I'm the only person here, right? But now I have to have this screen saver that locks and Starr  sometimes you want to read things so that takes a little while or like watch a video or something. Mhm. Ben  So, but you know, it serves the greater good. So Josh  I already had my screen saver set because I have perfect operational security. Starr  What's that outside that window, josh behind you? Is that Massad? I think it's Massad, Starr  but they can't get in. They can't get in. Okay. Good. Just banging against the door. Josh  I got the dog patrolling the perimeter right now. Josh  Yeah, well I learned to keep my screen lock at a small time window when I shared an office with my brother because we would like actually, I don't know, I don't know if you ever actually got me, I think I like one time I like installed a Cron job, like a random crime job on his computer that like remember that it played like uh like read out like a random random spot quote I think with, you know with the with the speech to text, text to speech thing in backup in Mac. Os. Yeah, I remember after that I was like he is going to retaliate and I need to, I need to like up my security game. So Starr  that would be one way to like um to harden an office. It's just like encouraged employees to prank one another. Josh  Well that's where I think it started. Like I think we're kind of like doing that a little bit and yeah, it is a I don't know if I should if it's recommended but it is hilarious. Ben  That sounds, that sounds perfect for like an internal security team at a large enterprise. Like they should give prizes for the best pranks, you know, that actually expose security weaknesses like that, you know because you know they do these things like they will send an email to everyone in the company and like click on this link and then someone does and they're like, oh gotcha, you weren't supposed to Starr  click on that. It's fishing Ben  and everyone's like, oh you suck. You know? But if they made a crowdsource it. Josh  Yeah, get everyone involved. Ben  Yeah, totally. Starr  It's like whoever the best rick roller is gets a bonus Josh  a hackathon where everyone's a target. Ben  Maybe maybe you have to maybe have to put some parameters around it like maybe it's only the week around april fool's right. And so you know, people can be on a higher guard. I don't know Starr  how it makes sense. Otherwise you'd have foster a climate of like continual mistrust. Yeah, it's like, just just see that important business document I sent you bob. It's like good try Jeff, try Ben  not falling for it. Starr  That's fallen for it. You got one of those word, macro viruses in there. I know it. Josh  Do you see like someone on twitter posted like this Apparently rick Astley got rick rolled on Reddit like a few years ago. Obviously that like you just Yeah, the person, the person that did it got like, I think like, like, like a century of Reddit gold or something like that. Like you just you just win the internet totally like Yeah, that's yeah, that is winning the internet right? Like that's the ultimate prize. Yeah. Starr  Are giant Zoomer fan bases. Like what? What's rick rolling? Mhm. Ben  Even my kids, You know what rick rolling is Oh, they do. Okay. Josh  It's just one of the ones that just never goes, Yeah. People are just never going to give up. Ben  It's going to persist through the generations of time until the sun has the heat death. Josh  That's that's that's heavy. Starr  Yeah, I guess it could be worse. It's not go to see Josh  Oh man. Yeah, Josh  that was, I don't know like there was like there's that thing goes around like always like, like date yourself by like the earliest mean, you remember or whatever and I think goats, he was one of the earlier once. I won't forget it. So Starr  there was a time before they called the means like maybe that, I don't know. Ben  Yes. Ben  Well do either of you have any last hurrahs for our lovely summer season before the weather turns cold and gray and rainy in any plans to do something fun? Don't Josh  know why we have kids in school now. And so our plans are to drive them back and forth Ben  repetitive lee. Starr  I'm just trying to survive. That's basically it and it's trying to get through, Josh  I mean, and get, yeah, we'll probably like, I've been like, the weather has been nicer outside lately. So I've been trying to enjoy the yard while I can because like, yeah, it's just the weird like pacific northwest thing now where like most of years rainy and what used to be the thing that made it worthwhile was the wonderful summers is now like half of the summer is also now cloud covered in smoke and, And like °. So, um, like right now everything is like picture perfect pacific northwest and I've been really enjoying that. Starr  Yeah, last in the past. It's pretty nice. I'm, I'm looking forward to the drizzle coming back because there's just too many people out on walks, you know, like I like, I like, I like to be solitary on my walks and these amateurs only come out when it's nice outside. Um you know, so yeah, I can't, I can't wait for a little bit of drizzle where I got my raincoat and I can go and you know, walk through my neighborhood and be alone Josh  is we are kind of at the point where like you start, you start to like, uh like not dread fall or so much. Like I'm kind of looking forward to it again and like, you know, seasons, seasons are nice, but then like you halfway halfway through the winter, I'll be like ready for summer and summer will be a long ways off. But I'm looking forward to fall right now. Ben  It's kind of kind of funny like there's definitely this uh there's a sense of angst when there is too much, when there's too much sun for too long. You know, when people like, I, I need I need some grey, I need some rain and then, and then the grain grey comes and the rain comes and you can just feel this, this uh you know, things are back to, back to where it should be. You know, it's just kind of fun and of course, yeah, february comes around like, oh, it's a son, Josh  you know, and see, I just want, I just want all of this on like a light switch, so I can just change it depending on the mood that I'm in. Um Ben  you know, Yeah, we really need some weather management technology. Starr  Uh We just need to get in with the movers and shakers that control the weather. Josh  Yeah, I think, I think it's the folks over at DARPA from what, from what I hear from the internet, you know, Ben  or you just, you know, take a vacation. I mean the old fashioned way you just go to some place, warm Josh  vacations, Starr  vacations, That's Josh  so that's so pre that's so pre . We we stay in one place and control the weather now. Yeah. Mhm. Ben  Yeah. It sounds like a lot more fun actually Josh  and it does. Josh  Yeah. Well I don't know, I've done stuff this week but I don't remember. Me neither and what not. So Starr  yeah, sure you make this a short one. I guess we should. Okay, well you have always been. Sorry, let me do that again. Um You have just now, just in this very moment finished listening to found request. If you want to right to serve you go do that. Um If you're interested in writing for us, you know, check out our blog honey badger dot I.  slash blog and look for the writers page. Well the right for us link I mean and just yeah, stay safe and we will catch you next week. Ben  Have a good one. Thank you 
19:57 09/10/2021
Our Ops Are Smooth Like A Jar Of Skippy
Show Notes:Links:MicromortNoblesse obligeJosh's dotfilesGitHub Code SpacesFull Transcript:Ben:Yeah. I've been holding out for the new MacBook Pros. The M1 is pretty tempting, but I want whatever comes next. I want the 16-inch new hotness that's apparently supposed to be launching in November, but I've been waiting for it so patiently for so long now.Josh:Will they have the M2?Ben:Yeah, either or that or M1X. People are kind of unsure what the odds are.Starr:Why do they do that? Why did they make an M1 if they can't make an M2? Why do they have to keep... You just started, people. You can just have a normal naming scheme that just increments. Why not?Josh:M1.1?Ben:That would be awesome.Starr:Oh, Lord.Josh:Yeah, it would.Ben:M1A, Beachfront Avenue.Starr:So last week we did an Ask Me Anything on Indie Hackers, and that was a lot of fun.Josh:It was a lot of fun.Starr:I don't know. One of the most interesting questions on there was some guy was just like, "Are you rich?" I started thinking about it. I was like, "I literally have no idea." It reminded me of when I used to live in New York briefly in the '90s or, no, the early '00s. There was a Village Voice article in which they found... They started out with somebody not making very much money, and they're like, "Hey, what is rich to you?" Then that person described that. Then they went and found a person who had that level of income and stuff and they asked them, and it just kept going up long past the point where... Basically, nobody ever was like, "Yeah, I'm rich."Josh:Yeah. At the end, they're like, "Jeff Bezos, what is rich? What is rich to you?"Starr:Yeah.Josh:He's like, "Own your own star system."Starr:So, yeah, I don't know. I feel like I'm doing pretty good for myself because I went to fill up my car with gas the other day and I just didn't even look at the price. The other day, I wanted to snack, so I just got a whole bag of cashews, and I was just chowing down on those. I didn't need to save that. I could always get another bag of cashews.Ben:Cashews are my arch nemesis, man. I can't pass up the cashews. As far as the nut kingdom, man, they are my weakness.Starr:I know. It's the subtle sweetness.Ben:It's so good. The buttery goodness.Starr:Yeah, the smoothness of the texture, the subtle sweetness, it's all there.Ben:That and pistachios. I could die eating cashews and pistachios.Josh:There you go. I like pistachios.Ben:Speaking of being rich, did you see Patrick McKenzie's tweet about noblesse oblige?Josh:No. Tell me.Ben:Yeah, we'll have to link it up in the show notes. But, basically, the idea is when you reach a certain level of richness, I guess, when you feel kind of rich, you should be super generous, right? So noblesse oblige is the notion that nobility should act nobly. If you have been entrusted with this respect of the community and you're a noble, then you ought to act a certain way. You got to act like a noble, right? You should be respectful and et cetera. So Patio was applying this to modern day, and he's like, "Well, we should bring this back," like if you're a well-paid software developer living in the United States of America, you go and you purchase something, let's say a coffee, that has basically zero impact on your budget, right? You don't notice that $10 or whatever that you're spending. Then just normalize giving a 100% tip because you will hardly feel it, but the person you're giving it to, that'll just make their day, right? So doing things like that. I was like, "Oh, that's"-Josh:Being generous.Ben:Yeah, it's being generous. Yeah. So I like that idea.Josh:That's cool.Ben:So-Starr:So it's okay to be rich as long as you're not a rich asshole.Ben:Exactly. Exactly. That's a good way to bring it forward there, Starr.Starr:There you go. I don't know. Yeah. I think there's some historical... I don't know. The phrase noblesse oblige kind of grates at me a little bit in a way that I can't quite articulate in this moment, but I'll think about that, and I will get back with you.Josh:Wait. Are you saying you don't identify as part of the nobility?Starr:No.Ben:I mean, I think there's a lot of things from the regency period that we should bring back, like governesses, because who wants to send your child to school in the middle of a COVID pandemic? So just bring the teacher home, right?Starr:Yeah. That's pretty sexist. Why does it have to be gendered? Anyway.Ben:Okay, it could be a governor, but you might get a little misunderstanding. All of a sudden, you've got Jay Inslee showing up on your doorstep, "I heard you wanted me to come teach your kids."Josh:I don't know. I'll just take an algorithm in the home to teach my kids, just entrust them to it.Starr:Yeah. Oh, speaking of bringing things back, I told y'all, but I'll tell our podcast listeners. On Sunday, I'm driving to Tacoma to go to somebody's basement and look at a 100-year old printing press to possibly transport to Seattle and put in my office for no good reason that I can think of. It just seems to be something that I'm doing.Josh:Do you like that none of us actually asked you what you were intending to do with it? I was like, "Yeah, just let me know when you need to move it. I'm there." I just assumed you were going to do something cool with it, but ... Yeah.Starr:I appreciate that. I appreciate the support. I'm going to make little zines or something. I don't know.Josh:Yeah. If I get a lifetime subscription to your zine-Starr:Okay, awesome.Josh:... that would be payment.Starr:Done. Done.Josh:Cool.Ben:Yeah, sign me up, too. I'll be there.Starr:Well, I appreciate that.Ben:I mean, who could resist that invitation, right, because you get to... If you get to help with moving that thing, you get to see it, you get to touch it and play with it, but you don't have to keep it. It's somebody else's problem when you're done with the day, so sounds great to me.Starr:There you go. Well, I mean, if you read the forums about these things, this is one of the smaller ones, so people are just like, "Ah, no big deal. No big deal. It's okay." But I was happy to hear that there's no stairs involved.Ben:That is the deal-breaker. Yeah.Josh:Yeah. But it-Ben:If you ever get the friend helping you to move their piano, you always ask, "Okay, how many flights of steps," right?Starr:Yeah. Oh, I just thought of something I could do with it. I could make us all nice business card to hand out to nobody.Ben:Because we're not going anywhere.Josh:I just think of my last six attempts at having business cards. They're all still sitting in my closet, all six boxes of-Starr:I know. People look at you like, "What, really, a business card? What?"Josh:Yeah, like all six generations.Starr:Yeah.Ben:I hand out one or two per year. Yeah, just random people and like, "Hey, here's my phone number." It's an easy way to give it to somebody.Josh:Just people on the street?Ben:Exactly. Like a decent fellow, "Here you go." Thank you.Josh:Yeah.Starr:It's like, "I've got 1000 of these. I got to justify the cost somehow."Josh:We got to move these.Starr:We could start invoicing our customers by snail mail. I could print a really nice letterhead.Ben:I think we have a few customers who would be delighted to receive a paper invoice from us because then they would have an excuse to not pay us for 90 days.Starr:Yeah.Josh:Isn't owning a printing press like owning a truck, though? Once people know you have it, everyone wants to borrow it.Starr:It's going to be pretty hard to borrow for a 1000-pound piece of iron.Josh:Well, they're going to want to come over and hang out in your basement and do their printing. This is the Pacific Northwest, like-Starr:It's their manifestos.Josh:Yeah. They got to print their manifestos, lists of demands.Starr:They don't want the establishment at Kinko's to be able to see.Josh:Right.Ben:I don't know. It's got to put you on a special kind of watch list, though, if you have a printing press in your home, right? All of a sudden, some people are really interested in what you're up to.Josh:It's like a legacy watch list.Ben:I'm just flashing back to, yeah, in the 1800s when cities, towns would get all-Starr:There you go.Josh:Well, yeah, because they're like-Ben:The mob would come out and burn down the printing press building and stuff.Josh:If you wanted to be a propagandist back then, you had to buy a printing press and then you get put on a watch list. That just never went away. They're still looking for those people. They just don't find as many of them these days.Starr:Yeah. It's so inefficient. It's not the super efficient way of getting the word out, though, I hear, unless you want to be one of those people handing out leaflets on the side of the road.Josh:Well, you could paper windshields in parking lots.Starr:Oh, there you go. Yeah.Josh:Yeah, that's how they used to do it.Starr:No, look at my beautifully hand-crafted leaflet that you're going to throw in the gutter.Josh:Mm-hmm (affirmative).Ben:I think you just settled on what your next adventure's going to be after Honeybadger. You're ready to put this business aside and focus on printing up flyers for your local missing cat.Starr:There you go. There you go. Band flyers, that's big business.Josh:But you could get into fancy paper. That's a whole thing up here. It's pretty cool, actually.Starr:Yeah. I don't know. Really, I was like, "Oh, it'd be cool to have a big thing to tinker with." I'm learning about myself that I like having just a big physical project going on, and I'm pretty... Like, I built this backyard office, and that took up two years of my time. Ever since then, I don't have a big physical thing to work on, so I'm thinking this might fill that niche, that niche, sorry. I read a thing that's like don't say niche, Americans. Niche.Ben:I don't know, Starr. Maybe you should think of the children and then think about 50 years from now when you're dead and Ida's cleaning out the house and she's all like, "Why is there this printing press?"Starr:Oh, there you go.Josh:Have to move it.Starr:They'll just sell it with the house.Ben:There you go.Starr:Yeah. I mean, the funny thing is, is that it is wider than the doorway, so I would either have to dissemble it partially or take out the door. I put the door in, so I know how to take it out, so there is a good chance the door's coming out because I have less chance of messing something up if I do that one. But we'll see.Ben:Echo that.Starr:Well, thank you.Josh:You should've put one of those roll-up doors in there.Starr:I should've, yeah.Josh:Those are cool.Starr:What was I thinking?Josh:You really did not plan ahead for this.Starr:Yeah. I mean, walls are really only a couple of thin pieces of plywood, and you can just saw through it.Josh:Just a small refactor.Starr:Yeah.Josh:Yeah.Starr:And that would-Josh:Did y'all see that someone listened to every episode of this podcast in a row?Starr:I know. I feel so bad. I feel so bad for them.Josh:Speaking of-Starr:We're sorry. We're so sorry.Ben:I was feeling admiration. I'm like, "Wow, that's impressive," like the endurance of it.Starr:I just think we would've made different decisions.Ben:I don't know. But not-Josh:Maybe it's pretty good. I haven't gone back and gone through it all and never will, but-Ben:Well, I mean, not only did they say they listened to every episode, but then they were eager for more. They were like, "When are you getting done with your break?" So I guess-Starr:There you go.Ben:... that net it was positive, but-Josh:We must not be too repetitive.Ben:Must not.Starr:Stockholm syndrome.Josh:We're sorry.Ben:Well...Starr:I'm sorry. I don't have anything informative to add, so I'm just going to be shit-posting this whole episode.Ben:Well, I've had an amazing week since we last chatted. I kept reflecting on how I couldn't remember anything that I did over the past whatever months. Well, this past week, I can remember a whole bunch of things that I did. I've been crazy busy and getting a bunch of little things knocked out. But today, today was the capstone of the week because I rolled over our main Redis cluster that we use for all of our jobs, all of the incoming notices and whatevers. Yeah, rolled over to a new Redis cluster with zero downtime, no dropped data, nobody even noticed. It was just smooth as-Starr:Oh my God.Josh:I saw that.Starr:Awesome.Ben:It's going pretty good.Starr:Just like butter?Ben:Just like butter.Starr:They slid right out of that old Redis instance and just into this new... Is it an AWS-managed type thing?Ben:Yeah, both of them were. They all went on the new one, but... Yeah.Josh:It's, what, ElastiCache?Ben:Yep. Smooth like a new jar of Skippy.Josh:I saw that you put that in our ops channel or something.Ben:Yeah. Yeah, that's the topic in our ops channel.Josh:So it's the subject or the topic, yeah. We're making ops run, yeah, like a jar of Skippy.Starr:Why isn't that our tagline for our whole business?Ben:I mean, we can change it.Starr:I don't know why that's making me crack up so much, but it is.Josh:Skippy's good stuff.Starr:Oh my gosh.Josh:Although we-Ben:Actually-Josh:... usually go for the Costco natural brand these days.Ben:Well, we go for the Trader Joe's all-natural brand that you have to actually mix every time you use it. I prefer crunchy over creamy, so, actually, my peanut butter's not that smooth, but... You know.Josh:Yeah.Ben:It's okay. But, yeah, I love our natural peanut butter, except for the whole churning thing, but you can live with that.Starr:We're more of a Nutella family.Ben:Ooh, I do love a Nutella.Josh:Ooh, Nutella.Ben:Mm-hmm (affirmative), that's good stuff.Josh:We made pancakes the other day, and I was putting Nutella on pancakes. I did this thing, like I made this... We have one of those griddles, like an electric griddle, and so I made this super long rectangular pancake, and then I spread Nutella on the entire thing, and then I rolled it so that you have this-Starr:You know what it's called, Josh.Josh:What is it called?Starr:That's called a crepe.Josh:So it's a crepe, but it's made out of a pancake.Starr:It's a Texas crepe.Ben:Texas crepe.Josh:Yeah, a Texas-Starr:A Texas crepe.Ben:Yes.Josh:Is it really a Texas crepe because that's... Yeah, so, I-Starr:Oh, no, I just made that up.Ben:That sounds perfect, yeah.Josh:Well, it is now.Ben:Yeah, it is now.Josh:It is now, and I highly recommend it. It's pretty amazing.Ben:Throw some Skippy on there and, man, now it's a... That's awesome.Josh:Peanut butter's also good on pancakes.Starr:That's why people listen to us, for our insights about business.Ben:Yeah, there was this one time, speaking of pancakes and peanut butter...Josh:How did we get on pancakes? Like, oh, yeah, ops.Ben:This one time, I went over to dinner at some person's house, and I didn't know what dinner was going to be, but we got there and it was breakfast for dinner, which I personally love. That's one of my favorites.Starr:I knew that about you.Ben:So they're like, "Oh, I'm sorry. Hope you don't think it's weird, but we're having breakfast for dinner." I'm like, "No, no, I love it." So eggs and bacon and waffles, and so I'm getting my waffle and I'm like, "Do you have some peanut butter," and they're like, "Oh my goodness, we thought you would think that was way too weird, and so we didn't have the peanut butter." They whipped it out from in the counter. It's like, "Oh, shew, now we can have our peanut butter, too." I'm like, "Oh, yeah, peanut butter on waffles, yeah."Josh:Everyone had their hidden peanut butter.Ben:Mm-hmm (affirmative).Josh:Yeah.Starr:And that's how you level up a friendship.Ben:There you go. So, yeah, the week was good. The week was good. Bugs got fixed, things got deployed, and, yeah, just a whole-Josh:Yeah, you had a bunch of PRs and stuff for little things, too, which-Ben:Yeah. And got some practice with the whole delegating thing, got Shava doing some stuff, too. So, yeah, just all-around super productive week.Josh:Nice. I got Java to run in a Docker container, so my week's going pretty good.Ben:And that took you all week?Starr:What do those words mean? I don't...Josh:Yeah.Starr:Was your audio cutting out? I don't know. I just heard a bunch of things I don't understand.Josh:Well, for your own sake, don't ask me to explain it.Starr:Yeah, it's like better not looked at.Josh:Yeah.Ben:Why would you subject yourself to that sort of torture, Josh?Josh:Oh, well, because running Java on an M1 Mac is even worse.Starr:Oh my Lord.Josh:Well, actually, running it, period. But, yeah, like just our Java package. I mean, I've spent half this podcast ranting about our packaging, so I don't need to get too deep into it. But every time I release this thing, it's like it just doesn't work because I've forgotten my... I've changed my system, and Java and Maven package repository are just like that. So I figure if I can make some sort of reproduceable development environment using Docker, then in two years everything will just be smooth as a jar of Skippy.Ben:Skippy. Yeah, yeah.Starr:Well, I had a chance to-Josh:I reckon.Starr:I had a chance to dig into some numbers, which is one of my favorite things to do, and so... I don't know. There was this question that was just bothering me, which was... Well, let me just back up. So we've had some success, as you guys know, in the past year. We've almost doubled our rate of new user sign-ups, not new user sign-ups, like conversion to paid users. We've doubled our paid user conversion numbers, rate, whatever you call it. And so, obviously, revenue from users has gone up as well, but since we are a... Our plans are basically broken down by error rates, right? So what happens when people upgrade is they get too many errors for their plan. It says, "Hey, you should upgrade if you want to keep sending us errors," and they do.Starr:I had this weird situation where it's like I wasn't sure... In our system, revenue from users was coming just from whatever plan they picked when they signed up, and so I was wondering, "Well, what if they sign up, and then a week later they upgrade? That's going to be counted under upgrade revenue instead of new user revenue," which, really, it really kind of should be. So I got to digging, and I found that it doesn't really make that big of a difference. Some people do upgrade pretty quickly after converting, but they don't... It's not really enough to really change things.Josh:Yeah.Starr:Then, also, just sort of offhand, I took a little sneak peek. I've been running this experiment to see if lowering our error quota for our basic, our free plan, it would increase conversions. So I took a little sneak peek at the data. It's too soon to know for sure, but so far the conversion rate, I think, is going to end up being higher, which is what I would expect, so that's good, and-Josh:Nice.Starr:Yeah. And when we're done, I'm going to look at sign-ups just to make sure that they are still in line.Ben:Yeah. Anecdotally, I've seen a smaller window from trial to paid conversion. Well, not trial, but freemium to paid conversion. I've seen people who are signing up, getting on the basic plan, and then within some short time period they're actually going to a team plan.Josh:Oh, that's good to know.Ben:That's happening more often than it was, so... Yeah. So that's-Josh:Cool.Ben:I'm just saying the same thing Starr said but without real data.Josh:Yeah.Starr:Yeah, it's awesome. Yeah, we need a little bit more time to see how things pan out, too, because it's... One thing I figured out that I will share with our readers, our readers, I'm used to doing the blog posts, I'll share with our listeners that I figured out that you really have to pay attention to, on free plans especially, is comparing conversion rates between time periods. So if you make a change and then you wait for a month of data to come in and you're like, "Okay, let's look at the conversion rate for the past month after the change with the conversion rate for the time period before the change," that is really an apples to oranges comparison because on the one hand you've had people who have maybe had a year to upgrade versus people who've had a month to upgrade. So you have to be really careful to make it apples to apples, right, where you only compare... If you have a month worth of users on one side, you compare it to a month worth of users on the other side, and you only count the conversions that happened in that time period.Josh:Makes sense.Starr:Yeah. So, anyway, that's just my little freebie data analysis thing for our listeners.Josh:We should have Starr's weekly data science tip.Starr:Starr's data corner.Josh:Yeah.Ben:Love it.Josh:Yeah. We could move the podcast to segments. We've never done segments. We could introduce segments if we need to spice things up on FounderQuest.Ben:Yeah. Totally. Well, speaking of spicing things up, I had a brilliant idea this morning.Starr:Oh, I want to hear it.Ben:Yeah. So one of the things that I keep an eye on is how much we spend on hosting because that's a good chunk of our expenses. We always want to make more money, and one way to make more money is to have fewer expenses. So I had this brilliant idea on how to cut expenses. We can chop our AWS bill in half by just not running everything redundant.Starr:There you go.Josh:Brilliant.Starr:Would you say the AWS is the sixth Honeybadger employee?Ben:Yeah, pretty much.Josh:Yes. That's a good way to put it, actually.Starr:Yeah.Josh:Yeah.Ben:Well, in the early days, before we were paying ourselves a full salary, I remember we budgeted 25% for Starr, 25% for Ben, 25% for Josh, and 25% for hosting.Josh:Yeah.Ben:Yeah, I don't think we ever exceeded the 25%, which is good. That would be a bit high. So, yeah, AWS is like our sixth employee.Starr:Yeah, it's funny because do we even have other expenses?Josh:No.Ben:I mean, salaries is definitely the biggest one, and our health insurance is not cheap either.Starr:Yeah.Ben:Advertising.Starr:I was thinking like marketing, advertising. Yeah.Ben:Yeah. Advertising and marketing, that's the next one.Starr:That's the next 25%.Josh:Can we make AWS our seventh and eighth employee, too?Ben:Eventually may. Yeah, I did some... Oh. Oh. So I told you my great success that I had this morning. Well, your comment just now about AWS made me think about the one failure, just amazingly huge failure that I had also this week, migrating a bunch of data from Redis to DynomoDB. So we have this situation where it's one of those seemed like a good idea at the time kind of thing where we're doing a bunch of counting of people and individuals that hit errors, and we're counting that in Redis. I'm like, "Okay, great," because Redis has this INCRBY and it's easy and it's atomic and, boom, you're done, and I just never paid much attention to it until a few weeks ago, and I was like, "Yo, you know what? That's actually a lot of data in there, and we're keeping that forever, and so it's probably better to put it someplace that's not Redis." So I'm like, "Ah, I know. I'll do DynamoDB because it has an increment thing and...Josh:Yeah.Ben:So I put a table together, and I wrote a migration script, and I migrated a bunch of data. It took two days. It's great. Everything is beautiful. Had buckets of data inside DynomiteDB, and then I went to go query it, and I'm like, "Oh, I can't query it that way because I don't have the right index." Well, that sucks. All right. So you can't create a local index on DynomiteDB without recreating the table. I'm like, "Okay, well, that sucks. I just lost two days worth of data migration but oh well." So dump the table, recreated it with the index, and started redoing the data migration, and I'm like, "Yeah, it might take two days, no problem." So I check on it every half-day or so, and it's not going to be getting done after two days. Three days go by, and I'm checking the work backlog, and I was like, "It's just flat."Ben:Turns out because of that local index, now Dynamo can't really write fast enough because the way they do the partition throttling and stuff because we have some customers who have huge chunks of data. So their partitions are too big for Dynamo to write very quickly. Hot partition keys is the problem. So I just gave up. I'm like, "All right, fine." Drop the table again, recreated it, and now we're just double writing so that, eventually, given six months from now or so, it'll be there and I can replace that thing in Redis.Josh:Nice.Ben:So this is my life, the ups and the downs. So, yeah.Josh:And just waiting six months.Ben:And just waiting six months.Josh:Yeah. That's funny, but that is kind of a pattern in the business. In some cases, we need to just wait for the data to populate itself, and we just have to basically wait our retention period because data tends to turnover and then we can drop the old database or whatever.Ben:Yeah. Yep. But, luckily, nobody noticed my big fail, so it's all good. It didn't impact the customers.Josh:I didn't notice.Ben:So, yeah, busy weekend.Starr:I noticed, but I didn't say anything because I wanted to be nice.Ben:Thank you, Starr. Appreciate that.Starr:Yeah, I [inaudible].Josh:Starr was over there just quietly shaking her head.Ben:Just judging. Just judge-Starr:No, sorry.Ben:So, Josh, I'm going to get back to this Java thing because I'm curious. I remember, I don't know, a year ago or something, we're kind of like, "Maybe we should just not when it comes to Java anymore." So I'm curious what prompted this renewed activity to do a new release.Josh:Well, I don't know. I figured... I don't know. Didn't we say we were just not going to do any releases?Ben:Yeah, it just-Josh:It's not high on my list of development. We're not spending a bunch adding stuff to it, but there are dependency updates that have been getting merged in. I merged the Dependabot PRs and stuff. There's something else. There might be some small PR or something that someone submitted that was sitting there on release, and I just can't handle just unreleased code sitting on the pane. So it's just one of those things that's been sitting on my backlog halfway down the list just gnawing at me every week, so I figured I'd dive in and at least get some sort of quick release, relatively quick release process down so we can just continue to release dependency updates and stuff, like if there's a security update or something, so...Ben:Yeah.Josh:Some people still do use it, so I want to make sure they're secure.Ben:Make sure they're happy. Yeah.Josh:Yeah. But, yeah, that's a good point. We are not treating all platforms as equal because we just don't have the resource, so we need to focus on the stuff that actually is making us money.Ben:Yeah. Yeah, it's tough when very few of our customers are actually using that for it to get a whole lot of priority.Josh:That said, we have already put a lot into it, so as far as I know, it works well for the people that have used it.Starr:So are y'all encouraging our customers to do more Java?Josh:Yes, switch to Java. Then switch to SentryBen:Ride a wave.Josh:... or something.Ben:So I've been contemplating this new laptop showing up, right, whenever Apple finally releases it and I get to get my hot little hands on it. I've been thinking, well, the one big downside to getting a new laptop is getting back to a place where you can actually work again, right, getting all your things set up. Some people are smart, like Josh, that have this DOT file, this repo, on GitHub, and they can just clone that, and they're off to the races. I'm not that smart. I always have to hand-craft my config every time I get a new machine. But I'm thinking-Josh:Oh. Take the time.Ben:So, yeah, I'm not looking forward to that part, but GitHub has released Codespaces, and so now I'm thinking, "Ooh, I wonder if I could get all our repos updated so that I could just work totally in the cloud and just not even have a development set-up on my machine." Probably not, but it's a fun little fantasy.Josh:Well, then you could have any little... You could work on your iPad.Ben:Yeah.Josh:Yeah.Ben:Yeah, I don't even need a laptop. Then I could save the company money. That's brilliant, Josh.Josh:Yeah. You could work at the library.Starr:Yeah. It's like, "So your main ops guy, I see he's primarily working from a five-year-old iPad."Ben:At a library.Starr:In a library.Josh:An iMac.Starr:When he gets paged, he has to run to the nearest Starbucks and get that wifi.Josh:Yeah. I got to say, having your DOT files all ready to go and all that is pretty good. Also, I've got my Brewfile, too, so all of my Homebrew stuff is automated in that.Ben:Well, that's clever. I never even thought of that.Josh:It does make it very quick to bootstrap a new machine.Ben:Yeah. Maybe I should take this as initiative to actually put my stuff into DOT files repo and get to that point.Josh:Careful, though, because you might... I've had four computers between your current one and now, so you might end up switching more often because it's easier to do it.Ben:Appreciate that warning. That's good.Josh:Yeah. Speaking of the M1s, I love the M1 MacBook Air that I have. But the battery has been... I don't know what happened, but the battery was fantastic, I don't know, first few months. Ever since then, it's been kind of like it hasn't been lasting. I've been surprised at how fast it's draining, and I go and look at, whatever, the battery health stuff, and it says that health is down to 86% and the condition says it's fair, which does not make me feel warm and fuzzy.Josh:It has 50 cycles, so I think it might be defective, and that sucks because otherwise this machine is maybe one of the best Macs I've had. I guess... Yeah. I've had a few compatibility issues with the architecture, but it's not too bad. I mean, I'm not a Java developer at least, so...Ben:Yeah, I think you need to take that in for a service because that is way soon for that kind of degradation.Josh:Yeah. I might need to do something.Ben:That's a bummer.Josh:Yeah. I don't know. I might have to ship it in because I think our local Portland Apple Store is shuttered currently.Ben:All those protests?Josh:Yeah. It's got eight fences around it and stuff. Downtown Portland's a little rough these days.Starr:Yeah.Ben:Well, I mean, you can always take the trip out to Seattle.Josh:Yeah. Oh, yeah. Or there's other... I forget. There's an Apple Store that's not too far outside of Portland. It's where I bought this, so I could take it down there.Starr:Yeah. I'm sad now because I bought my second MacBook from that store in Portland.Josh:Yeah? It's a good store.Ben:Speaking of you coming out to Seattle, I was thinking the other day that maybe we should do a company-wide get-together sometime soon. Be fun to see everybody again in-person.Josh:It would be. Now that we're all vaxxed, we're all super vaxxed. I don't know that Starr is even down for that, though. I'm just looking at Starr.Starr:I don't know. Like, I-Josh:You don't look like you're too stoked on that idea.Starr:I don't know. I'm just-Josh:What with Delta lurking.Starr:The problem is, Josh, is that you have not been reading nursing Twitter.Josh:Uh-huh (affirmative).Starr:So I don't know. Yeah, it's doable. Currently, I think the CDC just released a thing that said vaccine efficiency of preventing COVID infections... It's very good still at preventing bad, I don't know, disease, health problems, whatever, keeping people out of the hospital. It's very good at that. With Delta, it's about 65% effective at preventing infections, and so if you get infected, you can transmit it to other people.Josh:Right.Starr:Yeah. So it's not impossible. It's just like we're just back to this fricking calculus where every possible social interaction you just have to run it through your spreadsheet and your risk analysis and... Ugh.Josh:Yeah.Ben:It's like, "Are you worthy of the hassle? No. Sorry, can't make it."Starr:Yeah. Yeah. It's like, "Okay, so what's the probability that meeting with you is going to send my child to the hospital? Okay, that's low enough. Sure."Josh:Yeah.Starr:It's just such a weird world.Josh:Wouldn't it be funny if when you get into your car in the morning, it reads out the probability of you dying in a car accident?Starr:Oh, yeah. Do you know about millimorts?Josh:No.Starr:Oh, you should go Google millimorts. A millimort is a one in a million chance that you will die, and so there's tables and stuff that you can find online that have different activities and what the number of millimorts is about them. So you can compare, and you can be like, "Okay, so going skydiving has this many millimorts as driving so many miles in a motorcycle."Josh:That's awesome. Okay, we have to link this in the show notes because I want to remember to look this up-Starr:Okay. I'll go find it.Josh:... so that I can depress people.Starr:I think there was a New York Times article, too.Ben:Yeah, I totally have to see this because I just signed up for a motorcycle training course and I'm going to get my endorsements so that I know exactly what kind of risks... Though that's probably part of the course, where they try to scare you out of actually getting your endorsement. They probably...Josh:By the way, I'm really glad my morbid humor or my morbid joke landed because for a minute there-Starr:Oh, I'm sorry, it's a micromort.Josh:Oh, a micromort. Okay.Starr:I was like, "Isn't milli 1000?"Josh:Minimort, like-Starr:Milli is 1000.Josh:Yeah.Starr:Yeah, that grated at me. I know. My old chemistry teachers are just giving me an F right now.Ben:Yeah, I got to see that.Josh:Well, I'm sure you'll be all right, Ben. I mean, the risk of a motorcycle is much higher than a car, but you just can't think about that all the time because the fun... I'm sure the fun is much...Ben:[inaudible].Josh:It's worth it.Ben:It's worth every hazard. Yeah.Josh:Yeah. The risk is worth the reward.Ben:Yesterday, I just hit 250 miles on the odometer on my scooter, so loving that. It's a lot of fun.Josh:That's cool.Starr:That's a lot of miles for a scooter.Josh:Mm-hmm (affirmative).Starr:I guess you just love to scoot.Ben:I love to scoot. Well, there you go, Starr. There's our happy ending after that slight dip there.Starr:That slight delay into reality.Josh:I like the dark humor. I don't know. It's always a gamble, though, with depending on... Yeah. But I think, Starr, you're always down to get dark.Starr:Oh, yeah. I'm down with the darkness. All right. Well, should we wrap it up?Ben:Let's wrap it.Starr:Okay. This has been a very witchy episode of FounderQuest, so if you liked it, go give us a review and... Yeah, if not, just keep listening to us. Make it a hate listen. You got to have a couple of those in your line-up. 
36:27 09/03/2021
Live From The Indie Hackers' Backstage
Show notes:Links:Snohomish Centennial trailIndie Hackers AMAIntro CRMFull 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.
18:37 08/27/2021
FounderQuest Summer Break Annoucement
Show notes: Seriously, this is just an announcement to let ya'll know we are taking a summer break. We'll be back, pinky swear!
00:31 06/11/2021
Does Thinking Still Count As Working?
Show notes:Links:Write for usMaybeJosh Pigford Flu dataFull transcript:Ben:And today we don't have Starr, because Starr is on vacation this week, fireside chat.Josh:I will be on vacation next week, and the week after.Ben:Nice.Josh:I don't know if you saw, I extended my vacation.Ben:I didn't see this.Josh:Yeah. So, surprise!Ben:Two weeks back to back. That's a record.Josh:Yeah. I decided I'm feeling it and I don't think a week is going to be enough. So just thought I'd go for it.Ben:Yeah, I get that. I get that. It's funny, I was looking... We started this vacation calendar, recently, since we are looking at transitioning away from Basecamp, where our vacation calendar was, we are now putting a vacation calendar in Google calendar, because we use G Suite for all of our stuff. And I set up this vacation calendar, and I noticed that Starr put one on there, and then Josh put on a vacation and then Kevin put on a vacation. And then, Ben Findley, just week after week after week, it's like everybody's taking a vacation. I was like, all right, so I put myself on vacation.Josh:Yeah, you got to put yourself in there. Yeah.Ben:I did. Yeah. I added myself yesterday, for the week after Ben Findley's vacation.Josh:I don't know if you went and... I went in and just put a bunch of vacations for the rest of the year for-Ben:I saw that.Josh:... myself. Yeah.Ben:That's awesome.Josh:I mean, they might change, but I figured, if I at least put them in there, that'll force me to think about it and decide. Because that's been an ongoing problem, I always wait too long and then, finally, take the vacation when I just desperately need it, and I want to avoid that cycle, like we're supposed to be. This is supposed to be sustainable.Ben:This is a calm company. It means, lots of vacations.Josh:Yeah. We should be calm if we're running a calm company.Ben:I like that idea of putting on these dates tentatively and just planning on it. I might try that.Josh:Yeah. You should just plan them out. Also, yeah, I put our traditionally long winter vacation on there too, which I think is currently the last two weeks of December and the first week of January, which we can always move that around or sometimes we do the Hack week or whatever.Ben:Yeah. I've come to cherish that tradition. I like having that-Josh:It's nice.Ben:Knowing that's going to be downtime. You know?Josh:Yeah.Ben:I mean-Josh:I like the first week of the year off is kind of... there's something about that, where you don't have to go back to work the day after New Year's or whatever. That feels really nice.Ben:I mean, in reality, we're still on call. So if something broke, were going to work, but, yeah, it is nice not having that expectation of showing up and doing actual productive stuff.Josh:Yeah. Yeah. It's the low bandwidth mode.Ben:Yeah. It's also this past winter when we did that, I used that to just experiment with some stuff, work-related stuff like Elasticsearch and whatever, so that's kind of fun. It's a tinkering... even if we don't do an official Hack Week, it's still a good time to do some tinkering and get some of those creative juices going.Josh:Read some books on computer science or something like that, get excited about it again.Ben:Well, going through the SOC 2 compliance thing, the type two for the first time audit, one of the things that I came across that was new was this continuing education tracking thing. So the auditor wants evidence that we're actually doing continuing education for our employees. We always do conferences and stuff, but 2020 was a bad year for conferences, and we've never really tracked continuing education. We just like, "Yeah, let's do this conference," or whatever, and it's kind of ad hoc. And now it's like, "Oh, we need to track this, it's a good idea to plan something." So yeah, digging out those old computer science books or taking a course or doing a conference. Got to do it.Josh:Which is, well, you got to do it, but it's also, to me, that's one of my favorite things to do. I really like learning, so even in my spare time, that's what I like to do.Ben:Same.Josh:So I realized even with, yeah, my perfect workweek is a couple of hours maximum a day of doing the day-to-day things that you have to do, and then spend the rest of the day reading or learning something or working on improving your skills.Ben:Yep. Yeah. I to-Josh:That's what makes me happy.Ben:I don't try to do that every day, I like the idea, but I try to do that on Fridays. Friday to me is like the decompression day, I'm cruising into the weekend now. And so I try to put aside all the normal stuff and just something kind of interesting. Before we got on this morning, I was playing with some Docker stuff, not that we use Docker, but maybe we will someday, and just fiddling with it. You know?Josh:Mm-hmm (affirmative).Ben:I think it's kind of fun.Josh:Yeah. Yeah. I like that.Ben:Until we get one of those customer requests that come in, I'm like, "Oh, I have to do some actual work now." And so, love our customers, but sometimes they can be kind of inconvenient, legitimate complaints about things need to be fixed.Josh:Or when there's an ops emergency, and so I drop everything and fix it. You had some of that going on this week. I know.Ben:But with both you and Starr got to experience those ops emergencies. It was actually a funny, so Starr, is on vacation, but the Starr was still on call for part of that time.Josh:The first night. Yeah. Because she had scheduled me to take over, was it yesterday? Whatever day it was-Ben:But in the morning.Josh:... but it was the night before. Yeah. It was like-Ben:Yeah, so I imagine in the future she might schedule you to swap a bit earlier, but-Josh:Yeah. I feel bad, because she said that, I guess, they had to get up early for a road trip and it's like 2:00 AM or something, or actually it was like 4:00 AM, I think, by the time the alerts died down.Ben:Yeah. The bad part was that there wasn't really anything to do. There was this spike in memory usage on our Redis Cluster, but it resolved itself, but only after sending some alerts saying, "Hey, somebody better pay attention to this," because that's a critical part of our infrastructure.Josh:Well, I mean, that's happened to me a few times. I mean, that's usually my on-call experience to be honest, and if it's worse than that, there's a good chance I'm waking you up anyways. But I mean, that's part of... You have a system well-architected, at least to the point, where if there is something, it does usually resolve itself, but still you need someone to sit up with it and babysit it until it does, just to make sure. And I mean, it would be totally unfair that you're the one who builds the system and also has to babysit it all the time, so our on call schedule is like a babysitter rotation.Ben:Yeah. Yeah. It's funny that you mentioned that, because I was looking at this vacation schedule, it's like, "Oh, when should I take vacation?" So I went and looked at the PagerDuty rotation to try and schedule my vacation away from my rotation on PagerDuty, so I didn't have to swap. And PagerDuty has changed their UI a little bit since the last time I looked at it, and I logged in and it's like, "When are you on call next?" And it says, "You're always on call." Because I'm the-Josh:Because you're level one.Ben:I'm the backup schedule. Yeah.Josh:I know, and that's a problem. I've been thinking about that, so you're not the only one worried about that, but, yeah.Ben:It was just kind of funny. I mean, it hasn't been a quality of life issue for a long time, because we've had so few problems, but still I am that backup. If it goes, what is it, more than half an hour or something, then I get woken up. But it was just kind of funny to see, you're always on call.Josh:Yeah, right. Yeah. Well, I mean, I'd say that's the major downside of our business is just the nature of that. And also just the nature of expertise. I feel like when I leave, it's much harder on the team, solving a lot of the customer support issues that come up related to our libraries and things. And I mean, that's part of the reason we've wanted to bring more people in the business, but then you end up with more people in the business, and then you're tied to a management role that you can't leave too. So there's trade-offs there.Ben:Yes. It's the struggle of all the bootstrap SaaS operators that are small like us, how do I get time away when I'm the solo founder? Or maybe it just two co-founders, how do we take a break? Justin has talked about this with their customer support for Transistor. They felt like they were always just having to stay on top of that, and they could never take a break. And so, they hired someone to help out with that. And having Kevin around has really helped spread the rotation out, and he's taken up a lot of the ops stuff and gotten familiar with it. So-Josh:Yeah. He's taken an interest in it, which is good.Ben:Yeah. It's been great for me.Josh:Yeah.Ben:Yeah. It's a hard problem to solve, because, I mean, yeah, you could add people, but then you got to pay those people, and so your profitability takes a hit, so it's a balance.Josh:Yeah. And I mean, I think, I don't know about you, I prefer to stay small. I don't think... I've moved past the idea of I want to have a company with tons of employees or whatever. I think that actually would make... I wouldn't be as happy with that situation, probably, as with our current situation, with a few employees and small team. We probably spend a lot more time trying to solve these problems than larger companies do, because they just throw people at it. But yeah, I feel like-Ben:That just introduces a different set of problems, right?Josh:It does.Ben:You really just have to pick which set of problems you want. Do you want to be tied to the business? Or do you want to deal with the layers of management and the people problems that come with not being tied, personally, to the business?Josh:Yeah. So, yeah-Ben:Yeah.Josh:I don't know, over time though, I think I tend towards wanting to spend less time on the business or at least, when I say, on the business, I mean, less time on those things that I just have to be doing and don't want to be doing. I want to try to always be doing the things I want to be doing. And yeah. I mean, I know just general management stuff does not fall into that bucket of what I want to be doing.Ben:It's not your dream in life to be a manager.Josh:Nope. It's not even my dream in life to be traveling the world 200 days a year or something, and preaching the gospel or something.Ben:Yeah. I've thought about that recently too. Looking at companies that get really big, whether they take a bunch of money or not regardless, but they turn into tens and then hundreds of employees. And I think about what would that be to be a CEO of that kind of company? And I'm just like, I just don't know that I would really enjoy that. There would be a certain set of excitement, yes, no doubt, about having that kind of business.Ben:I can think of right now about Tobi at Shopify, because I remember when Tobi started at Shopify, and watch that grow. And just thinking about, it's got to be pretty fun and in some ways to be Tobi, to be on top of this organization and doing these cool things and seeing the impact that you're making. And they've gone public, there's a whole lot of cool stuff there, but there's also a lot of annoying stuff there. That come along with those cool things. And it's like, ah, I think I'm happy where I am. I don't think I need to be the CEO of Shopify or something that size to have that fulfillment in my career right now.Josh:Yeah. I mean, I'm sure that you find new ways to guard your time and it just becomes even more, that's why no one can reach the CEO, usually. But, I mean, it's all... Yeah. It just puts you in an even more critical position. The pressure and responsibility must still be pretty, it just must be massive. But-Ben:It must be.Josh:Yeah. I guess, I don't really know, because I've never been in that position. I'm just guessing.Ben:Right, right. And life phases might change somethings and maybe when the kids are grown and gone, maybe you'll feel like, ah, I want a new challenge, something bigger. I think you see that a lot with founders, like us, who build something, sell it. And they're like, "Huh, let me try a bigger swing. Let me try..." Like Josh is doing right now, he did it did Baremetrics, he sold that, and now he's building out Maybe, and I think he's definitely thinking bigger scope kind of stuff.Josh:It looks like it. Yeah.Ben:Or you can just go buy a ranch somewhere and just chill, right?Josh:Right. Well, I think it's kind of... I mean, yeah, those aren't unsimilar to me. I mean, I think the big point is or the major thing is, if you're financially set and you can, again, do whatever you want to do, then, yeah, go do it. But again, even, say, if we sold the business and didn't have to work another day in our lives, we could just go buy that ranch and just kick back on it. If I decided to go and start another company, I wouldn't want to start a company that is going to demand my time and involvement, like most companies do.Josh:I'd probably try to go start another Honeybadger or something, maybe, you could go larger scale, but something that solves for those problems. Yeah, and I don't know what that looks like, but I feel like some companies of the future are kind of like... The ones that GitLab, that take a more open source approach. I don't know exactly what being in charge of GitLab is like, but I'm sure it's not a walk in the park either, but experimenting with new ways to spread responsibility around. Yeah.Ben:Yeah. And maybe the answer is, that's a scenario where you do have to take a bunch of money, so you can get those employees to make that lift, right?Josh:Yeah.Ben:Yeah. I think if we sold Honeybadger and we did something new, I think it has to be different in some dimension or otherwise, why did you sell?Josh:Yeah. It would have to be.Ben:And so maybe it's a different audience. Maybe it's a different size. Maybe it's venture backed versus doing it from scratch. I think it would have to be different in some significant way for it to be interesting enough to actually do versus just spending the rest of my retirement tinkering or whatever.Josh:Yeah. Yeah. I guess, getting to that critical point with employees is the thing that's hard, going from what we have, which is kind of like where we're so small that we have things we have to still be here for, but we can just disconnect whenever we want to, for the most part, like take a week off if we want to, and just do customer support or be on call. But jumping from that to the point where, say, you have 50 employees or something and you're the CEO, and you can just be like, "Okay, everyone, I'm going to be gone for a week, carry on." Which I think you can do when you have other people managing people.Josh:But in between that, there's a very... it's like if you're growing out your hair, there's that weird, you know, the annoying stage where your hair, just like you hate it. And it's like, it just doesn't work. And you're... Yeah, it just seems like that exists when you're trying to grow a business where it's hard with 10 people, all 10 of those people are looking to you for leadership on a regular basis. And you're still connected to the major centers of the business.Ben:Yeah. Yeah. That's interesting. I hadn't really thought of it that way, and that makes total sense to me. There's those growing pains that you would get going from one phase to another.Josh:And I guess, I'm not sure, having been doing what we're doing as long as we have, I'm not convinced that I want to go through that pain that I know is there to get to that stage where I know that we probably would be in another... we'd be back in the position where we could probably have more freedom, or hire a CEO then to just run the business, which people do.Ben:Well, I mean, I wonder, so two thoughts that I have. I wonder, if you're a venture back startup, if you start from scratch with a bunch of money in the war chest, do you avoid some of those growing pains? Because you can just, right out of the gate, hire a bunch of people, right?Josh:Mm-hmm (affirmative).Ben:So I wonder that, and then the follow on-Josh:Good thought.Ben:Yeah, I have no idea. And the follow on thought is, well, like in our situation, we've been around for a long time, we have profitable business, we're great, what if we take on an investment now, and then that gives us that money to hire a bunch of people? To help you accelerate through that growing pain phase, right?Josh:Mm-hmm (affirmative).Ben:If you had one or two people here and there that's painful, but if you add 10 or 20 people, I don't know, maybe that's a different kind of pain, but maybe it's a better kind of pain. Because it's like ripping the band-aid off, because you did all done at once.Josh:Yeah. No, that's a good point. Yeah. That's something that I hadn't factored in, in that line of thinking. So, yeah, I think he could be right, that that is a common use of funding and capital investment and all that.Ben:Yeah. I would be open to that idea, if we had figured out the sales machine. If we could say, "Oh, we can deploy X amount of people, and we know that X amount of revenue would come in, because we'd be doing these Y activities."Josh:Totally.Ben:But we haven't quite got there yet. We have a really strong inbound, but we don't really have an outbound or we don't have a process even for dealing with inbound sales, because everything right now is hands-off, right?Josh:It's not scalable. Yeah. Yeah. So, we're doing this to ourselves, to some extent, just in our own lack of knowledge or experience in those areas, but that's part of the learning process. So-Ben:Yeah, you're right.Josh:... we are... I think it's smart though, to be focusing on those areas now, to open up those possibilities in the future. So that if we change our minds and realize that we could scale the business to a point where we can, again, have the same thing that we have now only potentially better because we don't have those, even the small responsibilities, that drag us back in, on a regular basis.Ben:Yeah, yeah. We're still choosing to grow slow and to keep it pretty calm, keep that calm company.Josh:Yeah. That's the point of calm-Ben:Right. If we take it big chunk of money, we could hire the VP of Marketing, the VP of sales, the VP of engineering, right? And then we could-Josh:Mm-hmm (affirmative).Ben:... presumably step back once we got these people set on the, here's the goal, now get it, right?Josh:Yeah.Ben:But, yeah, that would be a less calm company, for sure.Josh:Yeah.Ben:At least for a while.Josh:Yep. And even if that's to the extent that that's possible, yeah, I don't know, I mean, you still have to build the idea of the calm company into that business. Otherwise, you'll just end up with 30 to 50 people that are chaotic and-Ben:Right. Yeah.Josh:... calling you all the time or emailing you. Yeah. So I guess I'll revise my statement, it's like, I'm not willing to grind it out to get to the next level. If that's what it comes down to, I'm happy, let's just stay where we are for... I'm fine, we run the business as an asset and try to build the lifestyle aspect of it more than anything else. But if we can find a way to scale the business and then maybe invest in it so that we can accelerate the jump, or a hair faster, so to speak.Ben:I like that.Josh:I'm terrible at metaphors. I feel like this one might actually be working, but Starr's the metaphor person. So I feel like I'm really on... I'm going to risky position right now.Ben:Better stop while you're ahead, right?Josh:Yeah.Josh:No more metaphors for the rest of the day.Ben:I think that the hair growth thing works, just have to take care of not to offend all of our bald listeners, you know?Josh:Right. Yeah. So I went to a Starbucks this week and did some work inside of it-Ben:Whoa.Josh:... without a mask.Ben:Wow. That's brave.Josh:I still did the distancing stuff just because it seems smart. I wasn't hugging everyone, but, yeah, they've got it all posted, it's like, if you're vaccinated, the mask is optional. Plus I was drinking a beverage, so... But yeah, I had a Zoom session at the Starbucks, and it was a novel experience.Ben:Very nice. Yeah. I went to a Target this week for the first time in a long time, and yeah, I just put my mask on out of habit. It's like, get out of the car, put the mask on, go in the store, right?Josh:Yeah.Ben:And I'm walking around and I don't know, maybe a quarter of the people there didn't have masks, it's like, oh yeah, it's not required anymore, really. I'm vaccinated. I'm like, huh, cool. And I'll just get a long my way, but it's like, I have to get used to this new reality of not having to wear a mask.Josh:That not everyone... Yeah. Although I still suspect that a large portion of the people that are going to take them off or aren't going to wear them are the people that were always not wearing them.Ben:Yeah. Although I will say, if I were still doing mass transit every day, like I used to do, I would definitely be still wearing a mask, if it was any time cold or flu season-Josh:Oh yeah.Ben:I'm not going back to that prehistoric animal way of not covering myself during germy season.Josh:Well, there's that flu statistics that I guess have been coming in from the CDC, since the season is coming to an end 2020, 2021 or whatever, and it seems the whole social distancing. Masking situation, hand-washing really drastically improved that situation. I don't know, I forget what the numbers were, but it was ridiculous.Ben:Yeah, it's dropped like 99% or something crazy.Josh:Yeah.Ben:Yeah.Josh:Something like that.Ben:It's nuts.Josh:Which is-Ben:It's awesome.Josh:... wild. Give it a little time for the data to get worked out, I guess, because just seems prudent. But I mean, either way, it seems like it's a massive thing.Ben:Yeah. I would definitely need to normalize mask wearing during germs, no doubt.Josh:Yeah. Yep. I'm cool with never getting sick again.Ben:Totally. Well, and on that note, this fall kids will actually be going to school, and it'll be an exciting adventure. All those, snot nosed punks running around getting each other sick again.Josh:Yeah. That'll be the real test. That's just going to knock us out. Yeah. Yeah. My daughter's, Tatum's starting kindergarten in the fall.Ben:Wow.Josh:And that'll be her... We did preschool at home. So yeah, that's going to be wild.Ben:First school experience, huh?Josh:Yes.Ben:Yeah, that's-Josh:I'm entering a new stage. I feel like, a new phase.Ben:Yeah. It's bittersweet. You're like, oh, that's so exciting. And it's like, oh.Josh:Yeah.Ben:Yeah, yeah. I remember those days with fondness.Josh:What's also going to be weird, because it's going to force me to start interacting with other parents in the community, which I think that's my biggest thing right now is like, oh, no, I-Ben:You better watch out, next thing you know, you'll be the president of the PTSA. You'll be organizing bake sales, and-Josh:Yeah, we're definitely going to be the... I think we'll be the weird parents, in our area, anyway.Ben:It's funny. I've noticed this, this arc, your first kid goes into kindergarten and you're so into PTA and PTSA. You're like, "I'm going to take care of all the things. I'm going to volunteer in the classroom." And you're really engaged and involved and it's so good. And then over time you start to back off a bit. It's like, "Oh, I don't really need to do all the things, there are other people that help," you know?Josh:Mm-hmm (affirmative).Ben:And then by the time they get to the tail end and they get close to graduation from high school, you're just like, "I don't even care what they're doing anymore. Educate yourself, kid. You figure it out."Josh:Right. Yeah, yeah. I mean I had to basically educate myself, so you can.Ben:Yeah, yeah. Totally. It's funny seeing the new wave of parents come in every year to the PTA, and then all of a sudden they go out, again, as the new wave comes in.Josh:And you having been there for a while, that sounds kind of like, oh no metaphors. Like if you go to a gym regularly and every New Year's, like the first two weeks of January, that's what it sounds to me.Ben:Yep. Yeah. Totally. Yeah.Josh:Because everyone comes in and is just super dedicated, and then over the next couple of weeks, it's just, they all filter out again and you're back to the same 10 people in the afternoon or whatever.Ben:Right. Yeah. And all the regulars get annoyed because of it. They're like, "Oh, all these people crammed in one place."Josh:Yeah. All this exuberance is just... Yeah.Ben:Yeah. So gym, that's a open question for me right now. So I still have a gym membership. I haven't canceled it, but I haven't been since the beginning of the pandemic. And even though I'm a 100% vaccinated, and I'm feeling invincible, still, the gym is one place I'm like, I don't know. I still feel kind of uncomfortable at that. Still trying to decide whether or not I'm going to keep that membership, because I really enjoy going, but I don't know, I don't really want to wear a mask while I'm exercising, that just sucks.Josh:Yeah, that was mine too, I just didn't... Yeah.Ben:Yeah. And wiping down everything, I'm not a super sweaty person, so I'm not the kind of person that really needs to wipe down the equipment as soon as I'm done with it, because it's like, I just touch it. I didn't have a bath on it. And so I'm just... I don't know. I don't even know if they have a kitchen cleaning procedure that you have to do now, because, again, I haven't been to the gym, but I don't know. It's tough.Josh:I haven't been to the gym, because I got my home gym in 2019, the end of 2019, and so it's been that long. But I do sweat and I was used to just wiping down the equipment in between, it's not that bad. Especially if you... you can even carry a towel with you if you want, but most gyms have the whatever clothes-Ben:Yeah. Wipes.Josh:... and spray bottles and stuff. It's not the end of the world, but the mask thing, yeah, the idea of working out in a mask does not appeal to me. Even though it could be a plus for some people, like the people that are training for high altitudes and stuff. Some people wear the mask on the treadmills and I'm sure those people are like, "Sweet, that's just extra challenge."Ben:Right, yeah.Josh:Yeah.Ben:So I'm still doing the home stuff and it's just not as-Josh:You should-Ben:... awesome.Josh:... give it a try.Ben:Yeah. I guess I should. I should call them and say, "Hey, what's the deal down there?"Josh:I mean, I figure from what has been reported, the vaccines are very effective.Ben:Yeah, totally.Josh:And I mean, I understand the hesitancy, give it some time, obviously, that's prudent, the wait and see approach is completely valid. But after that, I mean, if you're immune, you're immune. So at some point you have to start-Ben:Living again.Josh:Yeah. Getting back out there, putting yourself back out there. But I mean, it's not a bad thing to be cautious, so I understand.Ben:Yeah. Just get back in the habit, I guess.Josh:Yeah. And I mean, to be fair, I'm also not at the gym with a bunch of people spitting in my face. So just to be clear, I'm giving this advice from my bunker.Ben:Yeah. You've got the sweet home gym set up. I'm jealous.Josh:Yeah. Actually, I've reduced my routine a little bit lately, and I've actually been doing more yoga and flexibility things, because I always go really hard with the weightlifting, and I'm not getting any younger. And so injuries are more frequent, and so I've been doing two days, two days a week right now just to keep up the major lifts and stuff, but kind of taking a little bit of a break.Ben:Have you done any of the Apple Fitness stuff?Josh:Yeah, I did one of the yoga sessions on it, when I was just... because I did yoga last year, when I had some injury stuff, and it was good, and I should have just kept doing it. And so, that's why I tried when I first started getting back into it this year, and it was really good. It was a little intense though for a beginner like me. So I've been doing this more beginner training, learning the actual postures and stuff. But then my plan is just to use the Apple Fitness stuff after that, because they seem like they have a lot of good just general-Ben:Yeah. I really like the Apple Fitness stuff. I've done some of the yoga. I didn't do the 30 minute stuff. I did the 10 minutes stuff, because I'm a super beginner, and so I did the really easy yoga, which was great for me. And I've done their high intensity stuff, which was pretty good. I'm not really an aerobics kind of person. I run and I ride, I figure I get enough aerobics that way. But when it was raining and cold and stuff, I just did the high intensity stuff, and that was pretty cool. I really liked that. And I've done their cycling, which is okay, but it's geared, at least the ones that I did, were geared towards being on a indoor cycling machine where you can adjust the intensity easily and stuff.Ben:I'm not, I'm on my own bike on a trainer, where the wheel is propped up and it's on that little roller. And so a lot of the instructions in the thing were, "Okay, let's dial up the resistance." And it's like, "Well, okay, I don't have that good of a setup here. I can't just dial up the resistance." So I had to alter it a bit, but it was still nice.Josh:You got to get your weighted boots on.Ben:I mean, but they do have trainers like mine that actually do have remote control, and so you can do that, but I don't have one. But anyway, I really enjoyed them. The fitness things are cool, and they're set into 30, 20, 10 minute intervals. And so you can like, "Oh, what kind of workout do I want today?" Yeah, I really like it.Josh:Yeah. I like the high intensity stuff for cardio a lot. And otherwise , yeah, I don't know, I could get into running, I think, but I really like walking, so I'll go for super long walks. But again, time is sometimes a factor that... sometimes I'll even just go for the afternoon and just start walking and end up back home at dinner time or something like that. I like that, but I've never been like going out too much. I've gone through a few running phases, but it never really stuck. So I like the high intensity stuff, because as far as I understand, it gives you some of the same benefits without having to run for an hour or something.Ben:Yeah, yeah.Josh:Yeah.Ben:I too love long walks.Josh:Yep. I think that's a great way to spend some of your just general workweek. That's the good alternative to sitting and grinding away at the desk-Ben:No doubt.Josh:... for eight hours a day or whatever. This morning I was wrestling with my kids and stuff. And I was picking them up individually and lifting them up and then throwing them on the bed. And then I was like, "Okay, now I have to go, I have to go back to work." And they're like, "No, no. We just, we want one more." So I was like, "Okay, I've got one more." So I picked them both up, one in each arm. And I do, basically, a lateral raise with them. And as I do this, I don't know what they weigh, but Tatum's over 50 pounds, and of course they're unbalanced, but my entire upper body, just like... I hadn't done any stretching or anything, so my entire upper body just cracks all over, and Caitlin, she's like, "Are you okay?" Apparently it was like, she was concerned for me. So, yeah, I realize, man, it's not the good old days anymore.Ben:You're getting up there in years.Josh:Not that out there, but at the age where you start to notice these things, right?Ben:Yeah.Josh:But I'm not past the point of trying.Ben:So did you do anything this week? I didn't do a whole lot actually. Well, I mean, I did responding to those urgent issues-Josh:Like working, you mean?Ben:Yeah.Josh:I did not get a whole lot of work done this week no. Yeah, no, you're good. I figure, yeah, I mean, again, yeah, I'm ready for a break, so I've been trying my best, but-Ben:You're coasting into that vacation.Josh:Yeah, it's been a struggle.Ben:That's awesome.Josh:But I mean, I think, we need to learn not to feel bad about that. Having a "unproductive" week. And I mean, if I'm... Yeah, honestly, I did things this week, it just wasn't as much work things. Dealt with things at home, read some books, that sort of stuff, that's still being productive, right?Ben:Totally. Yeah.Josh:Yeah.Ben:Yeah.I thought a lot about our project that we mentioned last week on the podcast about working together with Kevin on, I had spent a fair amount of time thinking about that. And that's one of the things that you can do on those long walks, it can still be working.Josh:Thinking.Ben:Thinking.Josh:Yeah, thinking is totally work.Ben:Thinking is totally work, so I did a lot of thinking this week, and responding to urgent stuff, but also, nearly, nearly done on the compliance thing. I think I have 11 out of 150 evidence requests left to complete. So-Josh:Wow.Ben:... yeah, it's almost there. Next week, I'll be actually talking to the auditors and-Josh:Awesome.Ben:Yeah. It's almost done. That's nice.Josh:And you've got ideas for making it easier next year.Ben:Yep. Yeah.Josh:Yeah.Ben:So, yeah, just plugging away.Josh:So I guess we're cruising.Ben:Yeah, no worries. Well, I guess we can wrap it.Josh:Yeah, wrap it.Ben:They're getting a good one. This has been FounderQuest. We're still coming at you mostly every week, and we really enjoy it. And if you enjoy it, hope you give us a review at iTunes or wherever you can review podcasts, because I never do that, so I have no idea. But if you're into that, please do, and, yeah, check out Honeybadger, of course, because we love having more customers. And I guess we'll see y'all next time.Josh:Catch you later.
36:35 06/04/2021
Will Working Together Ruin Our Anarchist Workflow?
Show notes:Links:TwistHook RelayBen Orenstein TupleWrite for HoneybadgerFull transcript:Starr:So Ben is joining us today from his car. It's bringing back fun memories. I recorded, I think the voiceover for our very first demo video in my car.Ben:Oh yeah? Nice. So as you may recall, I have a two story building that I lease one of the rooms, and the downstairs is a wine tasting room. Well with the pandemic, the company that had the wine tasting room, they closed shop. They stopped leasing, because who's going to go to a wine tasting room during a pandemic, right? Well they're leasing the space to a new tenant that's going to take that space. Apparently hey, we're getting back, things are reopening, let's taste wine again, but the new tenant wants to have a new door put in. So I got to the office today and they're like, "Yeah, we're putting in a new door." And then I'm like, "Cool." Didn't even think much of it. But then a few minutes later, there's all this drilling going on. I'm like, "Oh, I think probably the car is a better place to record today."Josh:Well at least you'll have some new friends soon.Ben:True, true.Starr:Yeah. Well I'm glad you made it, at least. And so what's up? I missed a week of the podcast and you guys invested our entire Honeybadger savings account into Bitcoin.Josh:Yeah.Starr:And I'm not sure that was the most prudent investment decision, y'all. I just wanted to say that.Ben:Yeah, the timing could have been better.Josh:Yeah, we really pulled a Roam Research on that one.Starr:Oh yeah. What do you mean by that?Josh:They invest in Bitcoin, apparently.Starr:Oh, they do? Okay.Ben:Of course they do.Starr:Of course. It's just a dip. You're supposed to buy the dips, Josh. It's just what, like a 30% dip? 40% dip?Josh:I wasn't watching it, but I read that it had recovered pretty quickly too.Starr:Oh. I have no idea. I didn't even follow it.Josh:As it does.Starr:I don't even follow it.Josh:Yeah. I just read random people's opinions.Starr:There you go.Josh:I forget where we left it last week, but I just wanted to state for record that I think I mentioned I made some accidental money in Bitcoin back when I was learning about block chain technology, but I have not bought any Bitcoin since, nor do I intend to, and I do not really view it as an investment asset.Starr:This is not investment advice.Josh:I just need to state my opinions for the future so I can look back on them with regret. If I don't say what I actually think, I'm never going to have anything to regret.Starr:There you go.Josh:I'm just going to commit.Starr:So you've decided to die on this no intrinsic value hill.Josh:Right. I'll let you know if I change my mind.Starr:Okay, that's fine. That's fine. Yeah, I don't really check. Last week y'all did the interview with Mike, right?Josh:Mm-hmm (affirmative).Josh:Yeah, it was a good conversation.Starr:Yeah. I don't really pay attention to it, except occasionally I'll look at the chart. It's the same with GameStop. Occasionally I'll look at the GameStop chart and then just see what wild stuff people are saying about it. Yeah.Ben:Yeah, GameStop was hovering at about 150 for a while, but now it's up to like 170-ish, 180. Something like that. Yeah. I peek at it every now... it's on my watch list when I log into my brokerage account, so I just see it. I'm like, "Oh, okay. Cool." And then I move on and check out my real actual stock portfolio.Starr:Oh yeah, yeah. I'm not going to buy it. It's like a TV show for me.Ben:Yeah, totally.Josh:Yeah. To be fair, I really don't have much of an opinion either way. I still don't understand it, so I don't know. I just feel like I probably shouldn't be buying it.Starr:That's really good advice. I don't understand anything though, so what am I supposed to do, Josh? Huh? Huh?Josh:Yeah.Ben:Just buy the index fund.Starr:Yeah. I don't even understand that.Josh:I don't understand that either though, if you really think about it.Ben:That's actually, there was a good thread or so on Twitter. I don't know if it was this week or last week, but basically the idea was if you feel really confident in your own ability, in your own business, given that, you're probably spending most of your time in that business, right? We spend most of our creative time in Honeybadger because that's where we feel the most potential is. So you're investing basically all of your personal capital in this one business. How do you diversify that risk? Or do you diversify the risk? Do you double down? Maybe do you take investment to diversify, and so you buy out? Let someone do a secondary and so you take some cash off the table? If you did that, then where would you put the money? Do you just go, "Okay, I'm going to go buy Bitcoin. I'm going to go buy an index fund," or whatever. And if you do that, is that a better use of your money than having just kept the equity and just plowing more time into your business? Right?Josh:Yeah.Ben:It's an interesting thought exercise. It's like, "Hm." The whole investment mindset of your business is interesting to me.Josh:Yeah. Yeah, that was interesting. I think I saw that conversation, or maybe I saw a similar conversation where they were talking about even just 401Ks and for founders who are already fairly... have at least made it in whatever sense that means. Is it the best financial move to keep maxing out your 401K versus investing in your ability to generate revenue in your business?Starr:So a little bit of real talk here. If you are a founder who's made it, maxing out your 401K isn't really a blip on your financial radar.Josh:It's not a big... yeah. That was kind of the same thought I had. It's not like you're putting 50% of your income into it.Starr:Yeah. What is it, like 20 grand? Something like that?Josh:Yeah.Starr:It's a good chunk of change, but still. It's not like...Josh:Yeah. I don't know.Starr:Yeah, that's interesting. I think I'm just going to go all in on Pogs. I think they're due for a comeback. I think that's going to be how I diversify.Josh:But I think it's probably a good move to invest in yourself if you have the ability to build businesses. That definitely seems like a good investment, in any case. Probably still have a 401K. I tend to do everything, except Bitcoin.Ben:A 401K is a nice backstop. Just keep stocking money away, and later it will be there, hopefully. But in the meantime, really, really spend your time and your energy on making your business even more profitable. Speaking of making your business more profitable, so this past week or two weeks, I've been working on our SOC 2 type two audit, so I'm doing the evidence collection.Starr:Oh yeah?Ben:So that in this case means I take a bunch of screenshots of settings, like the AWS console and G-suite console to show yeah, we have users, and yes, we have login restrictions, et cetera. All the 150 different things that you're supposed to check off the list when you do the audit. And as I've been going through this process taking all these screenshots, honestly it's getting a bit tedious, and it's surprisingly time consuming. And so I'm like, "You know, there are services for this sort of thing. Let me check them out." And so in the past three days, I've had conversations with Vanta, Secureframe, and Drata. These are three providers that what they do is they provide almost SOC 2 in a box. Basically they help you connect all of your systems and get the evidence that you need for an auditor in a more automated fashion. So for example, they'll plug into your AWS account and they'll pull out information about your security groups, your application firewall, your AIM, all the access permissions, all that kind of stuff, and pack that up into a nice little format that the auditor can then look at and like, "Yeah, they're good on all these different requirements." So you don't have to take screenshots of security groups.Ben:And I hadn't really looked at them before because I was like, "I don't know if I just want to spend that kind of money," but actually sitting back and looking at it, looking at the time that I'm spending on this and the amount of time I'm paying our auditors to audit all these screenshots that I'm taking, actually I think it would be cheaper to go with one of these services, because your audit is a bit more streamlined because the auditor knows how that data is going to come in and it's an easy format to digest, et cetera. But the thing is that after having gone through some of the sales pitches from these vendors, I'm thinking I really wish I would have started with these back the first time, because I think it would have been much easier just from the get go. So I think I've been doing the SOC compliance on hard mode, unfortunately, but lessons learned.Starr:With my experience, that just seems to be how projects are. You do it one time and you don't really know what you're doing, and you just push your way through it, and then eventually you figure out how to do it better and easier and all that. Because when something is new to you, you don't know what you can safely ignore. You know?Josh:Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. Well plus you're pumping up the value of FounderQuest.Starr:Oh, that's true. We got a lot of content out of that.Ben:That's true.Starr:At least $100 worth.Josh:That's useful knowledge. Yeah.Ben:Yeah, so I think the short version is if you are interested in doing SOC2 compliance and you have no idea what you're doing, talk to these vendors first and maybe just start with them. They will help you, because they have customer success people like SaaS does. They have people on staff who are there to help you have success with their product. And if you don't get compliant, then you're going to stop using their product, so they're going to help you try and get there. And it's still pricey. It's still going to be five figures a year, but it will definitely save you some time and maybe even save you some money.Josh:Nice.Ben:Yeah. So next year, our audit should just be smooth as silk.Starr:Just butter.Josh:Love it.Starr:So if we-Josh:What are you going to do with all that extra free time?Ben:I made an executive decision.Starr:Oh really? What's that?Ben:Yes. The executive decision is we're going to have more teamwork at Honeybadger.Starr:That's ironic.Josh:Instead of what? What we have now, which is anarchy?Ben:We pretty much do have anarchy, I think. We are coordinated, we do make our plans, and we do have things we want to get done, but yeah, we are very independent at Honeybadger. We work independently. You might even say we're kind of siloed. We go off in the corner and do our own thing for most of the time. And I was chatting with Kevin about this, and I think we're going to try an experiment. So I think we're going to try to actually work together.Starr:Kevin is our developer.Starr:Yeah, so you all are going to be developing features together. Are you going to pair program? Are you going to use Tuple?Ben:Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Slow down there.Starr:Are you going to mob program?Ben:Pair programming, that's maybe too advanced for us, I think. Maybe actually we'll chat in Slack a little bit here and there and maybe have a Zoom call.Josh:Yeah, so you're talking about you're both going to work on the same project at the same time.Ben:Right. Right.Josh:Mostly independently, but coordinating.Ben:Right. Yeah.Josh:Yeah. Yeah, I don't know. I think that still can fit into our anarchy model.Starr:Yeah. It still seems a little bit independent.Josh:It's more like mutual aid or something.Starr:There you go. We should make a conference talk about mutual aid development.Josh:Right.Starr:That would go over well.Ben:Using NATO as a model for your development process. Yeah, so we'll see how it goes. I'm looking forward to it. I think I've been feeling a little lonely. I don't know if it's the right word, but maybe just off doing my own thing. I was like, "Oh, I think it will be nice to have some collaboration, some coordination." Maybe we'll even get to a level of synergies.Starr:Synergies.Starr:That's a blast from the past.Josh:Yeah, I think it's a good idea.Ben:Yeah, so more to come on that. We'll keep you posted. It's a bigger project. May not have results for a couple months. Don't really want to spill the beans on what it is right now. Competitive information. Don't want to leak it to all of our competitors.Starr:I like that. I like that. It's going to keep people on the hook for the next episodes.Josh:Totally.Ben:But yeah. That was my week.Josh:Yeah. Well my week, I took some time off, had some family stuff going on, so I was not very productive this week, but what I did work on was I've been working on this little guide for Hook Relay. I'd love to get the marketing machine, the fly wheel going on that at least, so we can be moving that along with everything else. And so yeah, working on some content and such.Starr:What is Hook Relay?Josh:Well you tell us what Hook Relay is, Ben. It's your baby.Ben:It's my baby. Yeah. So Hook Relay is a tool for managing web hooks. So you can record web hooks as they go out. In our case, to Honeybadger, we send a lot of web hooks, and so we built Hook Relay to help track all that web hook action. So we logged as pay loads that can go and diagnose issues that are happening, or maybe replay them as necessary, and of course it also handles inbound web hooks. So if you were handling, let's say, a post pay load request from GitHub about some activity that happens in your GitHub account, you handle that web hook and we can give you a place to store that, and then you can replay that, send it, forward it onto somewhere if you want, or just store it.Josh:Yeah. I think one of my favorite things about Hook Relay is just the visibility that it gives us into what's happening with the hooks, because otherwise we never had a dashboard. I guess we could have built one internally to see what the activity was and what's failing, what's actually... what requests are... because you're connecting to thousands of different people's random domain URLs, basically. It's really nice even for debugging and things like troubleshooting to be able to see what's going on, in addition to all the other cool things that it gives you out of the box.Starr:So you might say it's even like turnkey reliability and visibility for web hooks. For all your web hook needs.Ben:Yeah. Yeah, we modeled it on Stripes web hooks because we loved-Starr:I'm holding up a box up. I'm holding the TurboLinks box up and gesturing at it with my hand.Ben:Vanna White style.Josh:We should do our own channel, do our own infomercials.Ben:Yeah, I really wanted experience of Stripe. If you set up web hooks in Stripe, you can go and you can see all the web hooks they've sent you. You can see the pay loads, you can see whether they were successfully delivered or not, and I wanted that experience for our own web hooks, and also I thought it would be cool if developers could just have that without having to build the infrastructure. And so if you're building an app that send a bunch of web hooks on behalf of your customers, well now you can give your customers visibility into that web hook activity without having to build that tracking yourself.Josh:Yeah. That's pretty cool. So basically this content guide I'm working on is how to build web hooks into your application, including all the reliability and stuff that Hook Relay gives you for free. And the idea is that if that's what you're doing and you just want to save some time, Hook Relay will be a large chunk of that. You've just got to sign up. So I think it will be useful to everyone, even if they don't become a customer. If you're going to build your own back end and handle all the retries, build dashboards, and all that. But if you want it all turnkey, then Hook Relay is a big chunk of that work just done of you.Starr:So is this live? So can people go and sign up now?Ben:Yeah.Josh:Hook Relay, yes. It In fact, we have enough customers now that it's actually paying for itself.Starr:What?Ben:Yes. So sweet.Josh:It's wild. That's wild.Starr:That's amazing.Ben:So Josh, is your guide going to have... are you going to dive deep into the architecture of here's how you build a whole web hook system, and so we're going to show you all the stuff behind the curtain so you can build your own? And then, "Oh, by the way, if you want it just done for you, here it is." Or are you going to just keep it more high level?Josh:I'm starting more high level. Yeah, I was planning on it being more high level. More like a high level architecture thing, or specification. Like these are the parts that you'll need to build, but you're going to have to solve some things, because it's not going to be specific to one system. It's not going to be like, "This is how you build web hooks for Ruby and Sidekick, or if you're going serverless." It will have suggestions on stacks or technologies to use for the back end, for instance, but yeah. I was thinking of leaving that to the user to figure out, but just showing the things you need to think about that a lot of people don't think about until they encounter the problems that might arise, like retrying and all the error handling that you add later, and validation for security reasons and things.Ben:Yeah. Yeah.Starr:This is giving me flashbacks to a whole two or three year process after we first launched.Josh:Yeah.Starr:It was just like, "Oh, crap. There's an edge case here that we didn't think of because we're not used to doing web hooks at this scale." And that just went on for like three years.Josh:Yeah. And it's nice having the two products because Hook Relay came out of Honeybadger and it's basically part of our web hook system. This is basically just documenting Honeybadger's web hook system for other people who might want to replicate that or whatever.Ben:Totally. I think that will be cool. A great piece of content, a great piece of SEO juice. And if you did decide to go deep into the technical side, like if you explain the entire infrastructure that we're building, that would actually be kind of cool too because you could maintain your technical documentation for the system internally and use it as a piece of content for marketing.Josh:That could be cool. Yeah. That's not a bad idea. Yeah, I was thinking just because I want to get something out there. I'm thinking it will help with both, having a resource for people who are already on the site to see this is basically how you will implement this. It's kind of like an implementation guide, really. But then also SEO. It should help get us in more search results.Ben:Yeah.Josh:And I also want to credit Ben Orenstein and and Tuple. They have a great pair programming guide which was an inspiration for this idea. I just really liked the format that they used, and I just think it's a great idea if you have a product that's highly targeted or focused on one specific thing and doing it really well. I think it's maybe even a great alternative to a blog, for instance. You can get some of the same benefits of having a blog, but without actually having to create a blog with a lot of different variety of topics and things.Ben:Speaking of the blog, I was talking to Harris, our sales guru, about our blog strategy, and I said, "Yeah, it's basically like a flypaper strategy. We want it to attract developers that come and see the content and they love it and they're like, 'Oh, let me check out this Honeybadger thing.'" Not particularly novel, but I like the flypaper idea.Starr:That's a good metaphor. And also for a long time, I poo-pooed SEO because in my mind, SEO was very scammy. I don't know. I learned about SEO in the days of link farming and all that, and I just didn't want to be involved in that. So I'm just like, "We're just going to put out good content and that will be enough." And it is, yes, but also I've looked at some metrics since then that make it clear that the majority of good things that happen because of our blog actually are people entering through search queries. That really outweighs people sharing articles and doing stuff like that, which I guess is obvious that it would be that way, but my own bias against search just made me not see that for a while. So maybe trying to pick some possible low hanging fruit. We've tried to make our site search engine friendly, but we having really done any explicit SEO type activities.Josh:Yeah. I went through recently through our documentation and just tweaked just small things on a bunch of pages, like headlines and some of the meta tags and stuff, but mostly headlines and content on page was what I was focusing on. And I wasn't using any particular tool to measure before and after results, but it does seem like it bumped us up in some of the results for people searching for more general terms like Ruby error tracking, for example, which are typically pretty competitive terms. But I think we rank pretty well for some of those terms these days. I think we've been around enough and we're one of the options that come up. So it does seem like if you already target the terms, it actually does what they say it does, which is good to know. You've just got to pay attention to it.Ben:So the moral of story is there is some value in SEO.Starr:I guess so.Josh:Yeah. Well and I think documentation sites. Your documentation, I think it's a great place to optimize SEO because a lot of times, especially for those... maybe not for the long tail searches. A blog is great for that, like what you were talking about with the flypaper, Ben. But for people who are actually searching for what you do, I think a lot of times documentation pops up first in a lot of cases when I'm searching for things, so don't overlook it like we did.Starr:Yeah. Well this week, I guess the main thing I did was I got our authors lined up for the next quarter of intelligence briefings. So if you haven't been playing along at home, we're having some intelligence briefings created. Basically everything that's going on in a certain language community for the quarter, and this grew out of Josh's need because he's basically in charge of our client libraries. And we have libraries in a variety of languages, so keeping up with those languages and what's going on is a real pain in the ass, so we were going to make these guides originally for him, but then also we were like, "This would be really great content to publish."Starr:And I've already got this system with authors who want to write about programming languages, and so let's see if we can make some authors make these summaries. And so far, yeah, I'm pretty happy. We had four or five of them created, and we're not publishing them because they were for a previous quarter, and this is just a trial run to see if the results are okay, and I think they were. I think the results were pretty good. We go some feedback from you two, and I updated my process and updated the template that all the authors are using, and so we should be getting round two done. I'm setting the deadline a week after the end of the quarter. My hope is if they get them to me then, then I'll have a week to get them up on our blog or wherever, and then they won't be too out of date by the time people see them.Josh:Yeah. That's cool. I'm excited to see the next batch. My favorite thing from the reports were the ones where they wrote some original content summarizing things or sections or whatever. That was super useful because there's a little bit of a story element to it that's specific to the quarter or whatever that you don't really get from just... if you just aggregate everything, all the weekly newsletters and what happened on Reddit and what happened on Twitter. If you just dump that all in a document, it's a bit of overload, so it's nice to have the summary the story of what the community was interested in.Starr:Oh yeah. Definitely.Josh:Here are some articles that they talked about.Starr:That's the whole idea, is to have somebody who knows the community explain to you what's going on, as opposed to... if I wanted a bunch of links, I could just write a little script to scrape links from places.Josh:Yeah.Starr:And it wouldn't be very useful. What's useful is having people who know the environment being like, "Hey, this is what's going on. This is why it's important." And yeah, so that's going to be something I guess I need to look for explicitly when I get this round of things of reports back.Josh:Start calling them secret agents or something instead of authors.Starr:Oh yeah.Josh:Or detectives.Starr:Operatives. Yeah. Assets.Josh:As our detective service investigators.Ben:I think having that analysis of why this news is important or why these things are important that they've collected is really handy, because the links are great. Like you said, I could just write a script to collect them, but having someone with that context in the community saying, "Okay, and it's important because, and this is why you should pay attention," I think that's really helpful to someone who's maybe not as deep into that every day.Starr:Oh yeah.Josh:Yeah. And also knowing what to surface, because there was one report that it really seemed to just dump every single link or article that was discussed or was in a newsletter or whatever, and I think it's more helpful if it's on a quarterly level, if you know what is actually the important things that you really want to know about.Starr:Yeah, that's true. I just made a note for myself to go back and explicitly just mention that to people, because I realized I didn't put it in the instructions anywhere. I put like, "Here's where a description of the content goes," but I didn't really put what I want inside that description, I realized.Josh:Yeah.Starr:So I'm going to do that.Ben:We're iterating in real time here.Starr:Oh yeah, yeah. This is where the work gets done.Josh:Yeah. Well and pretty soon, we'll have hopefully some good examples that we can show future authors, or detectives, or whatever we're calling them.Starr:Oh, definitely. Definitely. I'm going to call them authors because they're already in the blog system as authors and it just seems like-Josh:Agents?Starr:I don't know. I've got to be able to talk to these people with a straight face.Ben:You could call them research specialists, but then you might have to pay them more.Starr:There you go.Josh:Research. Yeah. Yeah.Starr:I don't know. I think I'm paying pretty well. Honestly, I think I'm paying pretty well for looking at... I don't know. How many weeks is a quarter? 12? 12 weeks of newsletters and just telling me what's going on. I think I'm paying pretty well.Josh:Yeah. You don't need to talk to them with a straight face though. You need to talk to them with sunglasses on, smoking a cigarette in a diner.Starr:Oh that's right. Yeah.Josh:Or a dive bar somewhere.Starr:Those people aren't smiling. Those people aren't smiling. Oh, that's right. I can do that. I just realized that it's two weeks since my second vaccine, so I'm ready to go out and recruit secret agents.Josh:Ready to party.Starr:Yeah. I'm very anxious talking with people in public now, but that's not a topic for this conversation.Josh:Yeah. We'll ease back into it.Starr:Oh yeah. Yeah, we're going to have dinner with my sister in law on Saturday, and I'm just like, "Okay Starr, you can do this. You can do this."Josh:Cool.Starr:Yeah, and I guess the other thing that we did this week is we are doing a trial run of Twist as a replacement for Basecamp messages, the message board on Basecamp. And yeah, so basically the long and short of it is the whole Basecamp BS just left a bad taste in my mouth in particular. I think you all's a little bit, or maybe you're neutral. I don't care. That sounded really harsh.Ben:You can be honest with us. We can take it.Starr:No, I didn't mean to sound that harsh. I just mean I'm not trying to put my opinions onto you, is what I'm saying. I just felt gross using Basecamp. Also if I'm being honest, I never really enjoyed Basecamp as a product. It's got a couple things that just really rubbed me the wrong way.Josh:We were having some vague conversations in the past. We have posed do we really want to keep this part of what we're using Basecamp for? And we were already using a subset of it, so yeah. It wasn't totally out of the blue.Starr:Yeah. And we were using maybe 20% of Basecamp, just the message boards feature.Josh:And the check ins, which apparently we all disliked.Starr:And the check ins, which nobody liked but we all kept using for some reason. Ben is like, "Can I turn off the check ins?" And I'm like, "I thought you were the only reason we were doing the check ins, it's because I thought you liked them."Ben:I think I was the only reason we were doing the check ins.Josh:It's because... yeah.Ben:Yeah, because I remember when I started it I was like, "Yeah, I really don't know what's going on," because back to that siloed, independent, off in the corner thing, I was like, "It would be nice to know what people are doing." But yeah, lately I've been like, "This is just a drag." So I'm like, "Would anybody be upset if this went away?" And everyone is like, "Please take it away."Josh:Everyone is just passively aggressively answering them.Ben:Everyone hated it.Josh:It wasn't that bad, but-Ben:I get it.Josh:Kevin used them too, but yeah.Ben:So I finally gave everyone permission to tell me that it was not okay, and now we no longer do it.Starr:There you go. And we're just like, "While we're at it, just ditch Basecamp." So yeah, so we've been trying a new system called Twist. Twist is, essential it's... I don't know, it's like threaded discussions. I figured this out on my own. I'm very proud of myself. So you have lots of threads, and you twist them together to make yarn or something or some sort of textile, so I bet you that's why it's called Twist.Josh:Beautiful sweater.Starr:Yeah. A beautiful sweater. The tapestry that is Honeybadger. And so far, I've really been enjoying it. I find the UI to be a lot better. There was one bug that we found that I reported, so hopefully that will get fixed. It doesn't really bother me that much. Yeah, it's amazing sometimes how the UI of an application can just be like, "Oh, ah. I'm having to parse less information just to do my task."Josh:It's much nicer.Starr:Yeah.Ben:It does feel like a lot less friction for our use case.Josh:Yeah. Well we talked about that, just the structure. The way that you structure conversation and organization things in a management tool like that makes a big difference. In Basecamp, we would create Basecamps for whatever. They call them Basecamps, right? They're the projects.Starr:They're like projects. I don't know.Josh:We'd create different ones, different projects for each project, but then there's five of us, so we'd basically just add everyone to every single project that is in there. But all the conversation is siloed off in each project, and with Twist, it's just much more of a fluid... it uses what, like channels? But yeah, it just seems like it's all together. It's kind of like a combination of Slack and a threaded message board or something, to me.Starr:Yeah, or like Slack and email or something.Josh:Slack and email. Yeah. It's a nice combo.Starr:Yeah. It has inbox, which I like, where it shows you any unread messages, and so you can just easily just go and scan through them, and it's all in the same page. It's a single page application, so you don't have to click out to a completely new page and then come back to the inbox and do all that. Basecamp had a similar feature, but it's like a timeline and it had a line down the middle of the screen and then branches coming off of either side of it. And for some reason, I started using the inbox in Twist and it was just like, "Oh, this is so much better." For some reason I think having things on different sides of the screen just doubled the amount of background processing my brain had to do to put it all together. And yeah, so I don't know. I do like it. Also, it's got mark down. It's got mark down.Josh:The mark down editor is so nice. It reminds me a lot of just using GitHub, the editor on GitHub, with the mark down mode and preview. And you can drag and drop images into the... I don't know if you knew that, into the mark down editor, like you can on GitHub, and it automatically inserts the image tag and uploads it for you.Starr:Yeah, it's all really slick. So I don't know. I imagine in maybe another... I've got vacation next week, so maybe after that we'll get together and compare notes. But I don't know, it seems like people like it so far.Josh:Yeah.Ben:Yeah, it's been good. It's interesting-Josh:If I had to decide today, it's a keeper for me.Ben:Yeah, I would go ahead and switch.Starr:Oh yeah, me too.Ben:It's interesting to me, you alluded to this, Starr, as you were talking about comparing it to your products and how they approach... it's interesting to me the UI, even if it's the same kind of functionality, how much different takes on the user experience can make a different experience for the user. How it just feels different. Like, "Oh yeah, it's basically doing the same thing, but it just feels better for whatever. My mentality or our business." Fill in the blank there, but I thought about that many times. Honeybadger versus competitors. It's like, "Yeah, they're doing basically the same thing, but we do have differences in how we approach the UI and different use patterns that we think are more emphasized by our UI versus the others." And sometimes it's just a matter of personal preference. It's like, "Oh, this just feels better to me." One night I tried Python before I tried Ruby, and Python is like, "Oh, that's interesting," but then Ruby really clicked my brain. It's like, "Oh, it just feels better." And I'm sure other people have the opposite experience, but I don't know. It's weird to me and fun to think about the human part of these products. Josh:Yeah. And it's surprising, the strong opinions that people pick up just based on those experience things when they're basically the same, if they're doing the same thing. Some people, they either love it or hate it based on that.Starr:Yeah, that's true. Maybe it all goes back to whatever business apps you used in childhood. It's just whatever your mom made you for lunch, you're always going to love that.Josh:Yeah. It's like a nurture thing, nature versus nurture. You were exposed to these apps when you were young, and so it's just what you're drawn to.Starr:Yeah. I remember putting my little friend's contact details into Lotus Notes.Josh:Right. I had to program Lotus Notes.Ben:I got my first dev job because I knew Lotus Notes.Starr:Oh, nice.Josh:Lotus Notes was an important precedent at the time, I think.Starr:Yeah.Ben:Yeah. Yeah. It was the bomb. You could do some pretty serious stuff.Starr:Yeah. I kept having these jobs that weren't technically dev jobs, but ended up being dev jobs just because I knew how to write V basic macros for Excel. I'm sure a lot of people had that experience.Josh:The thing I remember doing in Lotus Notes was setting it up to ingest email from the outside world into whatever, the system. And thinking about it now, that project I've done over and over and over since then.Starr:It's Basecamp.Josh:And I'm still doing that project.Starr:It's Basecamp all over again. Oh no.Ben:If only there was a service that took in emails for you, and then you could just bring them into your app data.Josh:Yeah. I bet in 20 years, we'll be writing programs to accept email.Ben:Process emails, yeah.Josh:Yeah.Starr:Yeah. When is this stuff going away? Technology changes all the time. When is email going away? They've been killing it for years. It's like fricking Rasputin. When is it going away?Ben:It's the cockroach of protocols.Starr:There you go.Josh:After the singularity, they'll still have to have a way to import it directly into your consciousness, and yeah, I don't know.Starr:Yeah. I hope the spam filtering is really good then.Starr:All right, well it was great talking with y'all.Ben:Likewise.Starr:Yeah. So this has been FounderQuest. Go to the Apple podcast and review us if you want. If you're interested in writing for us, we are always looking for fresh, new talent. Young authors looking to make their mark on the world of technical blog posts for SAS companies. And yeah, just go to our blog and look for the write for us page. I don't currently have any openings, but who knows? People flake out. So if you're interested in writing these reports for us too, get in touch. These quarterly intelligence briefings, if you want to be an agent for our intelligence service. All right, so I'll see y'all later.
39:09 05/28/2021
Understanding Bitcoin From a Developer's Perspective
Show notes:Links:Mike MondragonCRDTShip of TheseusExceptional CreaturesShiba Inu Full Transcript:Ben:I'm just gonna dive on in there. I'm so eager. I'm so excited. It's actually weird because Starr is the one that typically starts us off. Josh:Yeah. I thought we were just going to start with our just general banter, and then not introduce the guest until 30 minutes later.Ben:By the way.Josh:It is also our tradition.Ben:Yeah. Well we're getting better at this thing.Josh:Where we say, "Oh, by the way, if Starr doesn't sound like Starr..."Ben:Right, yes. Today Starr doesn't sound like Starr because today's star is Mike Mondragon instead. Welcome Mike.Josh:Hey Mike.Mike:Hey.Ben:Mike is a long time friend of the show, and friend of the founders. Actually, Mike, how long have we known each other? It's been at least 10, maybe 15 years?Mike:Probably 2007 Seattle RB.Ben:Okay.Josh:Yeah. I was going to say you two have known each other much longer than I've even known Ben.Ben:Yeah.Josh:So you go back.Ben:Way back.Mike:Yep.Josh:Yeah.Ben:Yeah.Josh:Because I think Ben and I met in 2009.Ben:Mm-hmm (affirmative).Josh:Or something.Mike:Okay.Ben:Yeah, Mike and I have been hanging out for a long time.Mike:Yeah.Ben:We've known each other through many, many different jobs, and contracts, and so on. It's been awesome.Josh:Yeah, Mike, I feel like I've heard your name since... Yeah, for the last, at least, 10 years just working with Ben. You've always been in the background. And we've realized this is the first time we've actually met face to face, which is crazy. But it's great to... Yeah.Mike:Yeah.Josh:... have a face to put with the little... What is it, a cat avatar? Is a cat in your avatar? You've had that avatar for a really long time I feel like.Mike:Yeah, that's Wallace.Josh:Okay.Mike:So I'm Mond on GitHub and Twitter, and that cat avatar is our tuxedo cat, Wallace. And he is geriatric now. Hopefully he'll live another year. And if you remember in that era of Ruby, all of the Japanese Rubyists had cat icons. And so that was... I don't know. That's why Wallace is my icon.Josh:Yeah. Nice.Ben:So, so do Wallace and Goripav know each other?Mike:No, no, they don't. They're like best friends, right? They had to have met at Seattle RB.Ben:Yeah. Internet friends.Mike:Internet friends, yeah.Ben:Yeah. So, Mike is old school Ruby, way back, way back, yeah. But the other funny thing about the old Rubyists, all those Japanese Rubyists, I remember from RubyConf Denver... Was that 2007? Somewhere around there. I remember going to that and there were mats and a bunch of friends were sitting up at the front, and they all had these miniature laptops. I've never seen laptops so small. I don't know what they were, nine inch screens or something crazy.Mike:Mm-hmm (affirmative).Ben:I was like, "How do you even type on that thing?" But it's a thing. So I guess... I don't know. I haven't been to Japan.Mike:There are laptops that you could only get in Japan and they flash them with some sort of Linux probably.Ben:Yeah. Yeah.Mike:Mm-hmm (affirmative).Josh:Okay. I wonder how long it took them to compile C on there.Mike:Yeah. So, about the orbit with the founders. So, I think I'd put it in my notes that I... And I consider myself a sliver of a Honeybadger in that I did have a conversation with Ben about joining the company. And then in 2017, I did do a little contracting with you guys, which is ironic in that... So we're probably going to talk about cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin. So the Bitcoin protocol is, essentially, on a four-year timer. And in 2017 was the last time that we were building up to, I guess, an explosive end to that cycle. And I had just been working at Salesforce at, And I left because of Bitcoin. And then this year, four years later, I, again, just left Salesforce, but I just left from Heroku. And I didn't leave so much because of Bitcoin, I just got a better opportunity, and I'm a principal engineer at Okta, and I'm in the developer experience working on SDKs, primarily, the Golang SDK.Mike:So I think one of the things that they were happy about was that I had experience carrying the pager, and knowing what that's like, and they wanted to have an experienced engineer that would have empathy for the engineers to main the SDK. So I'm really excited to be here, because I'm not going to be carrying the pager, and it is the fun programming. What I imagine, listening to the founders, about the kind of fun programming that you guys get to do, working with different languages and whatnot. So, obviously right now, I'm starting out with Golang. We don't have a Ruby SDK, because OmniAuth provider is the thing that most people use. But, there's also PHP, and some Java, so I'm just looking forward to being able to do a bunch of different languages.Josh:Yeah. That's awesome. Yeah. We don't know anything about SDK teams, Honeybadger. But yeah, it sounds like we have very similar jobs at the moment. So that's cool. We'll have to trade tips at some point. Yeah.Ben:Yeah, I'm excited that you're there, because I'm definitely going to hit you up on the SAML stuff, because SAML's a pain in the tuchus yeah, I'm sure you'll have some insights from your time there.Mike:Well, that was how I was even open-minded to talking to Okta, was the recruiter had contacted me and I think actually it was the recruiter... I don't know the structure of how this works, but a lot of companies have a prospecting recruiter. And I think that a veteran oriented prospecting recruiter contacted me. And so being a veteran, I'll usually entertain those cold calls. And so then when I was at Desk, I wrote... So Desk was a big Rails monolith. I wrote a microservice to break some of the SSO off of the monolith itself. And in writing the API documentation that was on, I actually used Okta as one of the examples as a SSO identity provider using SAML. So yeah, I have had a little bit of experience from the outside of Okta with SAML. And so maybe I'll have more experience here to answer your questions.Ben:Yeah. We'll have to have you back and we can just do a whole hour on that. It's a fun world.Josh:After we do an hour on SDKs.Ben:Yeah, and your code that you wrote for us still lives on in Honeybadger.Josh:Yeah. Was it the webpack? That was some of the work, right?Ben:Some of it, yeah.Mike:Yep.Josh:Yeah.Ben:And some GitHub integration work.Josh:And the integrations, yeah.Mike:Yeah, well if I remember correctly with the GitHub integration, I did do some GitHub integration, and it tickled your enthusiasm, Ben, and then I think you went in and like refactored that a little bit.Ben:Well, if you have a monolith like Redo that's been around for as long as ours has, things don't... It's like, what was that Theseus' ship, it's goes around the world but you replace things as it goes, and it's never the same app, right?Mike:Yeah, that's the thing, we had discussed this in the prelude around just software engineering in general and how hard it is to maintain a monolith, especially as a company grows and as developers come rolling into a project, you get all of these... Over time you get engineers with different goals, different techniques, different styles of touching your code base, to the point that it becomes very hard to maintain a project. And I think, I don't know if we're going to talk about Heroku at all, but I think that Heroku suffers from a little bit of that, where there's very few original Heroku that are involved in the runtime at least. And I just came from being on the runtime in the control plane. And, definitely, the code base there is... There's maybe one or two people that are still around that have touched that code base from the beginning.Ben:Yeah, let's dive into that, because that's fascinating to me. I know that there's been chatter on Twitter recently that people feel that Heroku is stagnated. That they haven't really brought a lot of innovative stuff to market recently. I remember, actually a funny story, I'm going to tell it myself. I can't remember what year this was, it were way... I don't know, I don't know, early 2000s. I was sitting as part of a focus group, and I can't reveal a lot of information because secrecy and stuff. But anyway, I was part of this focus group and I was asked as part of this group, what as a developer working on Ruby applications and Rails applications, what I thought about this new thing called Heroku. And had it explained to me, "Oh, you just get push", and "Blah, blah, blah", and I poo-pooed the idea. I was like, "Nah, I'm not interested", because I already know how to deploy stuff. I've got Mongrel, I got a DVS.Josh:Say Mongrel.Ben:I know how to use SEP, why do I need this? Like Math, never going to catch on. And so don't follow me for investing advice.Mike:Yeah, totally.Josh:I got my Linodes.Mike:Yeah. Or even back then, I wrote all of my own chef, so I got my own recipes I can-Ben:Right, exactly.Mike:... bare metal at will.Ben:Exactly. So, what do you think, you've been at Heroku, you've seen this process of people having to maintain this code base over a long period of time. What are some tips for people who might be a little earlier on the process? Looking down the road, what do you suggest people think about for having a more maintainable application?Mike:That's interesting. I really think that there is not one size fits all, and actually some of the things that are specific to Heroku, and actually to when I was there previously, that some of the issues actually stem from Salesforce culture and the way that Salesforce manages its businesses. And so, I guess the thing that I've always liked about Rails, specifically, is that the conventions that are used in Rails, you can drop an experienced Rails developer pretty much into any Rails app and they're going to know the basic conventions. And that saves you so much time to ramping up and bringing your experience into a project. Whereas when you get into bespoke software, then you run into well what were the architectural design patterns 10 years ago compared to now? How much drift has there been in libraries and the language, depending.Mike:And so that is... I don't... That's a very hard question to nail down in a specific way. I would just say in spit balling this, conventions are very important, I would say. So as long as you have a conventions using a framework, then I think that you'll get to go a long ways. However, if you start to use a framework, then you get the everything is a nail and I'm going to use my hammer framework on that. Which is its own thing that I've seen in Ruby, where if you start a project with Rails, I don't think everybody realizes this, but you are essentially going to be doing a type of software development that is in the mindset of Basecamp, right? And if you have an app that is not quite like Basecamp, and then you start to try to extending Rails to do something different, then you're going to start running into issues. And I think that... It makes me sad when I hear people talk poorly about Rails, because oftentimes people are just pushing it into a direction that it's not built to do. Whether they're, like in the old days, like monkey-patching libraries, or whatnot.Ben:Yeah, I think we saw that with the rise of Elixir and Phoenix, right? José just got frustrated with wanting to do some real time stuff. And that really wasn't the wheelhouse for Rails, right? And so he went and built Elixir and Phoenix, and built on top of that. And that became a better hammer for that particular nail than Rails, right? So now if you come into a new project and you're like, "Well, I'm going to do a lot of highly concurrent stuff", well, okay, maybe Rails isn't the best solution. Maybe you should go look at Elixir and Phoenix instead.Mike:Yeah. Yeah. So, with Heroku, I just want to say that it was so awesome to work at Heroku, and the day that I got a job offer to work there, it was like... I still, if I'm having a bad day, I still think about that, and the... I've never used hard drugs, but I would think that somebody that was cocaine high, that's probably what I was feeling when I got the offer from Heroku. I started using Heroku in 2009, and it has a story within our community, it's highly respected. And so I just want to say that I still think very highly of Heroku, and if I was to be doing just a throwaway project, and I just want to write some code and do git push main, or git push Heroku main, then I would definitely do that.Mike:And we were... And I'm not very experienced with the other kinds of competitors right now. I think, like you pointed him out, is it Vercel and Render?Ben:Render. Mm-hmm (affirmative).Mike:Yeah. So I can't really speak to them. I can really just speak to Heroku and some of the very specific things that go on there. I think one of the issues that Heroku suffers from is not the technology itself, but just the Salesforce environment. Because at Salesforce, everything eventually has to be blue, right? And so, Heroku, I don't think they ever could really figure out the right thing to do with Heroku. As well as, the other thing about enterprise software is that if I'm selling Salesforce service cloud or whatever, I'm selling, essentially, I'm selling seats of software licenses. And there's no big margin in selling Compute, because if I'm buying Compute, I expect to be using that.Mike:And so, as a salesperson, I'm not incented to sell Heroku that much because there's just not margins for me in the incentive structure that they have at sales within Salesforce. So I think that's the biggest thing that Heroku has going against it, is that it's living in a Salesforce environment. And as, I guess, a owner of Salesforce being that I have Salesforce stock, I would hope that they would maximize their profits and actually sell Heroku. Who knows, maybe a bunch of developers get together and actually buy the brand and spin that off. That would be the best thing, because I think that Salesforce would probably realize a lot more value out of Heroku just by doing that, even if there's some sort of profit sharing, and then not have to deal with all the other things.Ben:Yeah, that's really interesting. Yeah. The thing about billing, and then selling per user, versus the compute- That's definitely a different world. It's a totally different mindset. And I think Josh that we have now been given a directive step. We should acquire Heroku as part of Honeybadger.Josh:I was going to say, maybe we can acquire it with all of our Doge profits in five or 10 years from now.Mike:Well, yeah. Somebody spin a Heroku coin, a ERC20 token on Ethereum and get everybody to dump their Ethereum into this token.Josh:Mm-hmm (affirmative).Mike:Get that pot of money together. And then that is the Heroku Foundation. Yeah, exactly.Josh:Okay, yeah.Mike:The Heroku Foundation that buys the Heroku brand. I know that we're laughing about it, but actually this is what is possible today. And, I was telling Ben... Well, let me just say a couple of things about the FounderQuest and how it relates to me, is I've been listening to FounderQuest from the first episode, and I'm an only child, and I like to listen to podcasts. So I'll be on my afternoon walk, and I'll be hearing you guys talk, and I'm having this conversation along with you guys listening to the podcasts.Mike:And so, I think, in January, you guys were talking about, or maybe Ben was talking about, $30,000 Bitcoin, and you guys just had your yucks and laughs about it. And it actually made me think critically about this, because I've been involved with Bitcoin since about 2012, and it's like, "Do I have a tinfoil hat on?" Or what do I think? And so, I'm not joking about this, listening to you guys actually has helped me concretely come up with how I feel about this. And first off, I think, I'm bullish on technology. And this is the first epiphany that I had, is all of us have had a career close to Linux, close to Ruby, building backend services, close to virtualization and orchestration. Fortunately, that's been my interest, and fortunately that's been where our industry has gone. And so, when Bitcoin came out, as technologists, all you ever hear, if you don't know anything about Bitcoin, you just hear currency. And you're thinking internet money, you're not thinking about this as a technologist.Mike:And so that was the thing. I wish that Bitcoin had been talked about as a platform, or a framework.Josh:Mm-hmm (affirmative).Mike:And not even called it coin. Because that confuses the issue-Josh:The whole coin thing, just... Yeah.Mike:Yeah, totally. And mining the metaphors-Josh:That alone.Mike:... just totally throws everything off. Because we are talking, we're laughing about it, but this is really possible today. We could come up with a Foundation to buy Heroku with a cryptocurrency, and it would... Yeah. So that's one thing that Ben helped me realize in my thinking around Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. And I think I'm just bullish on technology. And so to me, again, across our career, there's been so much change. And why would we look at Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies any differently than any other kind of technology? Even a hundred dollar bill with all the holograms on it, that is a kind of financial technology. And so we're just talking about a digital technology, we're not talking about coins I guess.Josh:That's the appeal, a lot of the Altcoins, right? They give everyone a way to invest in those companies, whereas before you would have to... Whatever, be an accredited investor or something to be able to get involved. Is that part of the appeal? I'm probably showing what I know about crypto, which is very little, but I'm excited to... Yeah, maybe you can...Mike:Yeah. Yeah, so I feel like these projects are... I'm not a VC, and I'm not an insider, but from what I can see from afar, in Silicon Valley there's a close group of people that have access to all of these ideas. And there's Angel clubs, and VC clubs, and whatnot, that are funding these startups. And to me, I feel like these crypto projects are the same kind of thing, except for they're just available to the public. And so, I think if I was speaking to another technologist that was interested in cryptocurrencies, is you probably need to get your hands on some of the technology in order to get experience with it.Mike:And so if that means you figure out how to maybe mine some coin on your laptop, or whatever, or you actually pay for it, you should at least have some in your possession, and at least learn about the custodial part of it. Also, there's different software libraries now to actually do programming against it, and platforms, I believe. So that'd be another way to at least tickle your curiosity, is by actually touching the technology and not thinking about the value. So yeah.Ben:Yeah. That, to me, that's one of the most interesting things about the whole coin thing. My younger son is really interested in the crypto space, in the coin and in the other parts of a distributed ledger, and what does that mean, and how does that work? And before I heard about NFTs, he was talking about NFTs. And so it's really interesting to me to see this coming from him. Just yesterday, we had a conversation about CRDTs, right? Because we're talking about how do you merge transactions that are happening in distributed fashion? Right? I was like, "Oh yeah", and it's so weird to have my teenage sons' world colliding with my world in this way.Josh:Yeah.Ben:But it's a lot of fun. And I've got to say, Mike, I got to give you back some credit, talking about the whole coin thing. As you've heard, we're pretty coin skeptical here at Honeybadger, the Founders, but you made a comment in our pre-show conversation. And maybe you didn't make this explicitly, but maybe it's just a way that I heard it. But I think... Well what I heard was, and maybe you actually said this, was basically think about this like an index fund, right? You put dollar cost to averaging, right? You put some money into coin, you put a little bit, it's not going to be your whole portfolio, right? But you don't treat it like a gamble, and you just treat it like an investment, like you would other things that may appreciate in value. And of course you may not.Ben:And so, as a result, I decided, "Okay, I can do that. I can put a little bit of my portfolio into coins". So just this week, and this is the funny part, just this week-Josh:I'm just finding this out now, by the way.Ben:Yeah, yeah. Josh is like... I told my wife about this last night and she was like, "What's Josh going to say?" "Like, I don't know". So anyway, just this week I put a little bit of money into Bitcoin and Ethereum. And that was... When did Elon do his thing about Bitcoin? Was that Thursday morning?Josh:Oh yeah.Ben:I bought, two hours before Elon did his thing, and Bitcoin lost 15% of its value.Mike:That's awesome.Ben:I'm like, "It's okay. It's okay, I'm just putting-Josh:Yeah, you don't sell, it doesn't matter.Mike:What was your emotion? What was your emotion?Ben:Yeah, totally. Yeah. In fact, my first buy, I used Coinbase. And Coinbase was like, "Oh, do you want to do this periodically?" I'm like, "Yes, I do. Every month". Boom.Mike:Oh.Ben:I went ahead and set that up like so, yeah.Mike:Oh, I did not know you could do that.Ben:I'm in it to win it, man.Mike:You should get a hardware wallet. That's the next thing, is you need to learn how to handle your own custody, so-Josh:Right, yeah. You got to... Yeah.Mike:Not leave it on the exchange. Interesting.Josh:Get those hard drives.Mike:Yeah.Josh:Yeah. Ben's a veteran indexer though. So you can handle some dips. Some volatility.Ben:Yeah. Yeah.Josh:I actually, I did make some money off of Bitcoin back in the day, and probably if I would've just held onto it, I would've made a lot more, of course.Mike:Same.Josh:So I accidentally... Back, I don't know when this was, it was maybe five years ago or something, when Bitcoin was going through one of its first early hype cycles, and I was like, "I'll check it". I was learning about it, of course. And so I went and bought some and I think I ran a blockchain Elixir app that someone made, to see how the transactions work and stuff. Read some books on Bitcoin. But I bought some Bitcoin, I can't remember how much, but just left it. I think this was after Coinbase had launched, I'm pretty sure I bought it through Coinbase. But yeah, I just left it, and then that was when it was in the first huge push of Bitcoin where it went up to 20,000 or something. And I remembered that I had it, and I went and looked and oh yeah, I made five grand or something. I put hardly anything into it initially. So I forget what I actually bought with that money. I just sold it and it's like cool, free money.Mike:So you just sold it this year? Or you sold it...Josh:No, I sold it back-Mike:In 17?Josh:I think I sold it at 20... Yeah, this would have been at 17 that I actually sold it, probably.Mike:Did you report it on your taxes, your capital gains?Josh:I did, yes. Yeah, I did.Ben:That's the benefit of having an accountant, because your accountant reminds you, "You know what? You did have some Bitcoin transactions, you should probably look at those".Josh:Can I say on here that I actually put some of it through a Bitcoin tumbler though, just to see how those work?Mike:Yeah, I mean...Josh:And that was a very small amount of money, but I didn't actually report that on my taxes. Because I think I actually forgot where it was or something.Ben:You'll have to explain what a Bitcoin tumbler is.Josh:So a Bitcoin tumbler... Well, I'll try, and then maybe Mike might explain it better, but a Bitcoin tumbler is basically how you anonymize your Bitcoin transaction. If you have some Bitcoin and you want to buy some drugs on the dark web or something, you go and you send your Bitcoin to this tumbler, and then it distributes it to a bunch of random Bitcoin addresses that it gives you. And then you have those addresses, and they're anonymized, because they've been sent through a bunch of peoples' wallets, or something like that.Mike:Yep. That's basically it.Ben:So it's basically money laundering.Josh:Yeah, it's laundering.Mike:Yeah. But if your privacy... I mean, okay-Josh:Yeah, no, I get it. Yeah. I mean, yeah. Because part of the appeal of Bitcoin is some people are just like, "Oh yeah, good money, credit card transactions are so... The governments are recording them and stuff, the NSA probably has a database of them". So Bitcoin is anonymous, but it's not. It's not anonymous. And yeah. So that's why people do this, right?Mike:Yeah. Well that, to me, that's if you want to... So the value of Bitcoin, if you want to get bullish on the value of Bitcoin, the traditional outlook is yeah, the silk road was going on and there's all this illegal stuff going on. Therefore it must be bad. But actually, to me, that's the thing, you know it's good if there's illicit stuff going on, because what's the number one currency that's used right now for illicit transactions? It's dirty US dollar bills. And if you're a drug dealer in central South America, you are collecting, dollar bills United States. You're paying some sort of transport probably at 10, 15% cost to get those dollars back to wherever you're going to hold them. And so, if you're using Bitcoin, you're probably not going to pay that fee. So, to me, it's like okay, that actually proves, at least in my mind, that there is value. That it's being used, right?Josh:Yeah. And you also, you don't want to see... Some people are fanatics about cash going away, even just because as more people move to digital transactions, whether it's just through, whatever, traditional networks, or through crypto. People are using less and less cash. And I feel like, whatever... Like Richard Stallman, he pays for everything in cash though, because he thinks that cash is going to go away someday. And that's a problem for privacy, because you do want a way to pay for things in private in some cases.Mike:Yep. I agree.Josh:Yeah.Ben:My only real beef with Bitcoin, well, aside from the whole requiring power plants just to do a transaction, is that there is Badger coin. This company that is named Honeybadger, it's all about Bitcoin. And they have these ATM's in Canada, and we constantly get support requests from people.Mike:Oh really?Josh:Is this the reason that we've been so down on cryptocurrencies in the past?Ben:I think so.Josh:Because ever since the beginning, since people started making coins, Badger coin came out and then it's been our primary exposure to be honest.Ben:It has been, yeah.Josh:Throughout the past... I don't know how many years it's been. Has it been six-Ben:Yeah, six-Josh:... to eight years?Ben:Yeah, something like that. It's been nuts.Josh:I'd say.Mike:You should send them an invoice, and they actually-Ben:Yeah, so what happens is they had these kiosks where you can buy Bitcoin, right? You put your real money in, and you get your fake money out, right? And the name on the top of the kiosk is Honeybadger. So, someone puts in some money, real money, and they don't get their fake money, then all of a sudden they're upset, right?Mike:Yeah.Ben:And so they... For whatever reason, it doesn't go through, right, I don't know how this works, I've never bought Bitcoin at a kiosk. But so, they're like, "Okay, Honeybadger". And so they Google Honeybadger, and the first result for Honeybadger is us. And so they're like, "Oh, here's a phone number I can call". And they call us. And they're like, "Where's my Bitcoin?" That's like, "Uh, I really can't help you with that".Josh:They do.Ben:"You stole my Bitcoin". It's like, "No, that's not us".Josh:Something just occurred to me. I wonder how many of them are just confused over the fact that Bitcoin transactions can take a while to arrive now, right? It's not always instantaneous, where it used to be a lot faster, but now I know that it can take a while to clear. So I wonder how many of those people are emailing us in the span... Maybe that's why they eventually always go away and we don't hear from them again. Maybe it's not that they're getting help, but it's just that their Bitcoins are arriving. Yeah. I have a feeling that there's some sort of... I'm guessing these are mostly regular normies using, and interacting with this very highly technical product and experience, and even if you're walking up to a kiosk, but there's still a highly technical aspect of it that, like you said Mike, people are thinking coin, they're thinking... The way this maps to their brain is it's like dollar bills. So they're looking at it like an ATM. Yep.Mike:Yeah. When it comes to cryptocurrency and the technology, I don't want to have to think about custody, or any of that other kinds of stuff. It'll be successful when it just is happening, I'm not thinking about it. They're already... In some... I don't know all of the different mobile devices, but I do carry out an iPhone. And so, the wallet on iPhone is pretty seamless now, right? And so I'm not thinking about how that technology is working. I had to associate an Amex with it originally, right? But once I've done that, then all I do is click my button to pay. And there you go. And so I do think that the cryptocurrency technology has a long way to go towards that, because if normal people, the non nerds, have to think about it, then it's not going to be useful. Because in the end-Josh:Yeah.Mike:... humans use tools, right? And so, whatever the tool is, they're going to use it especially if it's easy and it makes their life easier.Ben:So what I really want to know, Mike, is what are your feelings about Dogecoin? Are you bullish on Doge?Mike:Well, I'll answer that, but I wanted to come back to the bit about the NFT, and just talking about the possibilities with technology. And I think that you guys could profit from this.Ben:I like where it's going.Mike:You'll have to do some more research. But I think what you could do... See, I love the origin story of Honeybadger. And maybe not everybody knows about the Honeybadger meme from what is... When was this, two thousand...Ben:2012? 2011?Mike:Yeah, okay. So not everybody... Yeah, bot everybody knows about the meme. I guess, just go Google-Ben:I can link it in the show notes.Josh:It's long dead. This meme is long dead.Mike:Is it? Well it's still awesome. I still love it.Josh:It is.Mike:So, there's so many facets of this that I love. The first one is that... Can I name names on competitors-Ben:Of course.Mike:... in the origins? Okay. So the first one was is that Airbrake, an exception reporting service, was doing a poor job with their customer service. And you guys were like, "We're working on this project, we need exception reporting. It's not working". It's like, "Well, can we just take their library, and build our own backend?" Right? And to me, that is beautiful. And in thinking about this episode, in Heroku, the same opportunity lies for an aspiring developer out there where you could just take the Heroku CLI and point it at your own false backend until you figure out all of the API calls that happen. And I don't know, you have that backed by Kubernetes, or whatever orchestration framework is...Mike:There is the possibility that you could do the same Honeybadger story with Airbrake SDK, as there is with the Heroku CLI. So that's the first thing I love about the Honeybadger story, and the fact the name goes along with the fact that Airbrake had poor customer support, and you guys just were like, "F it, we're going to build our own exception reporting service". Now, in the modern context with NFTs is... I have old man experience with the NFTs in that GIFs, or GIFs, and JPEGs, this is BS that people are gouging for profit. However, the technology of the NFT... This is the thing that I think is beautiful, is that... And I'm not sure which of the NFTs does this, but there is the possibility that you could be the originator of a digital object, and then you sell that digital object. And then as that digital object is traded, then you, as the, I guess, the original creator, you can get a percentage of the sales for the lifetime of that digital asset.Ben:Yeah.Mike:And, I'm not sure which of the NFTs allows that, but that is one of the things, that's one of the value propositions in NFT. So what I was thinking is if you guys did an NFT on the shaw of the original Honeybadger Ruby SDK check-in, that this could be the thing that you guys have an experiment with, is you have real skin in the game, you're playing with the technology and see if that works. And, let me know if you do that, because I might try to buy it. So, we'll see.Josh:Well, we've already got a buyer, why wouldn't we?Mike:Yeah, so..Ben:Indeed, yeah.Josh:See I was thinking maybe you could own various errors or something in Honeybadger.Mike:Yeah, I mean... Whatever digital signature you want to... Whatever you want to sign, and then assign value to.Josh:Yeah, we could NFT our Exceptional Creatures.Mike:Yeah.Josh:Have you seen that, Mike? Have you seen that project?Mike:Yep, yep.Josh:Okay.Mike:I'm well aware of that. Yep.Ben:Yeah. I'm thinking what about open source maintainers, right? Let's say you have this project and someone really wants a particular feature, right? Or they're really happy about a particular feature that you've already done, right? You can sell them that shaw, that commit, that put it into name, right?Mike:Yeah, totally.Ben:You are the proud owner of this feature. Thank you.Mike:Yeah, totally. Yeah, I was hoping that I would come with some ideas. I hope someday in the future that I run into somebody and it's like, "Oh, we heard that podcasts were where ideas were free ideas that were worth a lot of money were thrown about. And I did this project, and now I'm retired. Thank you, Mike". Honeybadgers.Josh:Wait, so Ben are you saying that, so as a committer, so say I commit something to Rails, submit a PR, so then I own that PR once it's merged and it would be like I could sell that then to someone? Is that along the lines of what you're saying?Ben:No, I'm thinking the owner of the project. So, if you commit something to Rails, and you're really excited about it, and you for some reason want to have a trophy of that commit-Josh:Right.Ben:... on a plaque on the wall, right? Then the Rails core group could sell you that token.Josh:Okay. Gotcha.Ben:That trophy, that certificate, like, "Yep. This is your thing. Commissioned by..." It's like naming a star, right?Josh:Yeah.Ben:You buy the rights to a star, and it's fake stuff, right? We're naming stars. But that's the same idea.Josh:Yeah. So you could use that same idea to incentivize open-source contribution. So if you make the PR to Rails and it gets merged, you get this NFT for the PR merge, which you could then actually profit for if it was... Say it was, I don't know, turbo links or something, whatever. Years later, when it's a huge thing and everyone in Rails is using it, maybe Mike's going to come along and be like, "Hey, I'll buy... I want to own the PR for turbo links".Ben:Right.Josh:Yeah. And of course then, you, as the owner, would also profit from any sale between parties later on too. You'd get that little percentage.Mike:Yeah. Well, so when somebody comes up with committer coin, just remember me, I want to airdrop of some committer coin.Josh:We have a name. We've got a name for it. Commit coin.Ben:I've got a new weekend project ahead of me.Mike:Yeah.Josh:Cool. Well, that helps me understand NFTs.Ben:Yeah, I really like the idea of being able to sell ownership rights to a digital asset. That I think a good idea. I don't know that the current implementation that we see on the news is a great implementation of that idea. Buying the rights for a copy of a JPEG, it feels kind of sketchy to me. But maybe there's some sort of, I don't know, PDF document that has some sort of value for some reason. And you can give that, sell that to someone. And to me, it's not so much about the profit, or the transaction, it's the ownership. You can say I am the owner of this thing. Yeah, there can be copies all over the place, but I'm the person that has the ownership, quote unquote, of this thing.Josh:Yeah, yeah. But then you've got to define value Ben. What is value? Okay, so, what makes a PDF more valuable than a JPEG?Mike:Yeah. Yeah. Bring this back to Dogecoin, and value propositions, and whatnot. What is valuable? When you're talking about the value of a JPEG, this reminded me of a conversation I was having with my son. He's 10 years old and he wanted some money to buy, I don't know what it was, and old man voice came out of me and it's like, "That's BS. I don't think that's valuable". And he looked at me and he was like, "It's valuable to me". And it's like, "Oh, you just put a dagger in my heart. I'm killing your dream". And one person's value may not be another person's value. So, on the Dogecoin, that's interesting. Dogecoin is very interesting to me, because I feel like I'm in a quantum state with a Dogecoin where it is a joke, but at the same time it apparently it has value.Mike:And I don't know where I stand on that threshold. I know how to trade Dogecoin. And I know the behavior of Dogecoin, and the behaviors, from a trading standpoint, has changed substantially in the last six months. Before it was a pump and dump kind of thing. Well, actually, you know what? When Dogecoin was first created, its purpose was highlighted by the community. People in podcast land don't realize this, but I'm wearing a 2017 Dogecoin shirt from when the Dogecoin community sponsored the number 98 NASCAR. And the thing of the community was like, "Oh, we have all this money, and we're just being altruistic and we're giving it away". And so they were exercising their belief with this currency, right?Mike:And from then, till now, there was a bit of a cycle to Dogecoin where you could, if you acquired Dogecoin for say under a hundred Satoshis, this is the Dogecoin BTC pair, that was actually a good buy. Just wait for the next pump when somebody does something, and Dogecoin goes over 200, or 300 Satoshis, and then you dump it. And that's basically what I did on this in the last six months. I had a small bag of Dogecoin waiting for the next pump and dump. And I actually did that, but it kept on getting pumped, and then it would stabilize. And then now we're at the point where apparently Elon Musk and Mark Cuban are saying that there's value to it.Mike:And to me, I actually put a lot of credence to that, because these are two public persons that they cannot... If they're pumping things in the public domain, then they have risk, right? And so you can't be those two people, and be pumping, and not run the risk of the FTC of the United States government coming in and saying, "Hey, why were you doing this?" So there's the, I guess for me, a small bit of a guarantee that maybe there is something to Dogecoin.Josh:Yeah. See, the way I think, when you first started you were saying it is a joke, but you're in this dual state, and my initial or immediate thought was it is a joke, but this is the internet, and the internet loves to make silly things real.Mike:Yeah, yeah.Josh:Especially these days.Ben:Yeah. It's pretty funny for all those people that made a bunch of money on GameStop, right? Yeah.Mike:Yeah. Well that's the thing, is in Dogecoin, Doge is, of itself, from a meme from the same time period as Honeybadger, right? The Iba Shinu doggie, right? So, the other thing I don't understand, or the thing that I understand but I don't know how to quantify it for myself, is that, to me... So there's no pre-mine on Dogecoin. There's no one person that owns a lot of Dogecoin from the beginning. Whereas if we're talking about Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, the founder, or one of the founders of Ethereum, they pre-mined Ethereum, and there's a ton of Ethereum that's owned by the founders. Whereas you compare that to, say, Litecoin, Charlie Lee cloned Bitcoin and created Litecoin. He sold all of his Litecoin. I believed in him when he said he's sold it all. He's a software engineer, just like us. He was Director of Engineering at Coinbase.Mike:He doesn't seem like he's wearing tinfoil hat out there, doing conspiracies. So when he says that he sold his coin in 2017, all of his Litecoin, I totally believe that. Yet today, he is the chairperson of the Litecoin foundation. And so, to me... I actually do have, I placed some value in the benevolence of Litecoin and Dogecoin, because there's not any one person that actually controls it. I guess Charlie Lee, he probably has a stronger voice than most. But he doesn't control the levers.Josh:Not financially.Mike:Yeah.Josh:Yeah.Mike:Yeah. And so then with Dogecoin... So Dogecoin, it'll be awesome if it gets above a dollar, but the structure of Dogecoin will be such as they cannot maintain that.Josh:Right.Mike:Because it's an inflation-Josh:There's no cap, right?Mike:Right.Josh:Yeah.Mike:It's inflation. And so, I don't know the number, I think it's a million Dogecoin are minted every day. So, 10 years from now, if Dogecoin is worth a dollar still, then that means Bitcoin will be worth a lot more than that. So I guess that'd be awesome if Dogecoin stays a dollar. However, the point I'm trying to make is actually there is value in having an inflationary currency, especially if we're talking about living in the structure of our current financial... The way that our current financial markets work, where there is an inflation.Mike:And so if I want to be transacting with a digital currency, I don't want to have to be, say, like having an Argentina kind of moment where my one Dogecoin is worth $5 American today, and then maybe only $3 American a week from now. So to me, I think there is value in Dogecoin in that it's inflationary, and that it will not be as susceptible to speculation bubbles as other currencies. And so, I don't know if that answers your questions on the value of Dogecoin, but those are a couple of reasons why I think that Dogecoin is valuable. Now, am I going to be holding a big bag of Dogecoin in 2022? Probably not. Just to be honest.Ben:We're all about honesty at Honeybadger. I love the episodes where we have to have a disclaimer, this is not financial advice. Please consult competent professionals before investing, et cetera, et cetera. Mike, it has been a delight to have you with us. We appreciate your counterbalance to our coin pessimism that we have amongst the Honeybadger fan base.Josh:Yeah, I think we needed this.Ben:Yeah.Josh:We really needed this.Ben:We really did.Josh:So thank you.Ben:It's been good.Mike:Yeah. Oh, I got one more idea out there. Hopefully, somebody can run with this, is I've been trying to get motivated to do some experimentation with the Bitcoin lightning network. We didn't really talk about these a layer two solutions for scaling, but I think that there is a lot of potential in coming up with an interesting project that lays within the Litecoin* network, it has its value in and of itself, but there's a secondary value of being a note on the Litecoin* network where if there's transactions going through your node, let's say, I don't know how you'd instrument this, but let's say that Honeybadger actually was... That you guys were taking your payments across your own lightning node, then all of the transactions that are going across the lightning network, you're getting a small fee, right? So I think that there's the possibility of a micropayments kind of play there, like for instance, paying by the exception. I mean, literally-*Editor's note from Mike - "in my excitement talking about the Lighting Network I slipped and said Litecoin a couple of times between Lightning Network. Lightning Network is a layer 2 protocol that is primarily intended for scaling Bitcoin and that was what I meant. However, Lightning can be implemented to run on top of Litecoin and Ethereum."Josh:That has come up that has come up in the past, I think at one point.Mike:You can't do micro payments on a credit card.Josh:Yeah.Mike:Right? But you can do micropayments on lightening network. And I'm not selling you guys on this, but I'm saying that there's going to be some nerd out there that it's like, "Oh my God micropayments are here, I can do micropayments on lighting network". And then they're going to do well on that product, but then they're also going to do well on the commission that they're earning on payments going through their node.Josh:This could be used for usage base software as a service billing model.Ben:Totally. And then you get the skim off the top, just like a good affiliate does.Mike:Yes.Ben:I love it.Mike:Yes.Ben:I love it. All right. All right, Mike, we're going to have to do some scheming together. Well, any final words, any parting words besides go by all the Dogecoin that you can?Mike:Yeah. Don't put all your money into the cryptocurrencies. Yeah.Josh:Seems like good advice.Ben:Be smart
50:53 05/21/2021
Kicking The Tires On Basecamp Alternatives
Show notes:Links:Threads.comBlueyVogmaskTwistIt’s a Southern ThingIf I had a front porchFull transcript:Josh:How y'all doing?Ben:I'm doing.Starr:Yeah, about the same.Ben:I've been riding my scooter to work all week.Starr:Oh, how's that?Ben:It's a lot of fun. Got a little electric kick scooter and top speed about 25 miles per hour. I was concerned about it being able to get up the hill that I have to go back up on my way home. It does drag a bit on that hill. I only got a single motor. Guess I should have gone with the dual motor. Otherwise it's fun. It's nice to be out in nature, I guess, air quotes, because you're still on the road and you're still a victim of cars and stuff. Being able to see the sun coming up over the hills and down to the valley and while you're just feeling the wind on your face, it's all good.Josh:It sounds nice.Ben:Yeah.Starr:Yeah, sounds awesome. I don't know. It seems terrifying to me, but I'm sure it's a lot of fun.Ben:It helped that I have done a lot of bike riding on roads for the past several years, so I'm already comfortable with the idea of mixing it up with cars and weaving in and out of traffic and realizing that people aren't going to see me and things like that. I think if I had just gone from driving a car straight to riding a scooter in the bike lane, that would be a little more terrifying.Starr:Yeah, that makes sense.Josh:Next you're going to have to upgrade to one of the electric skateboards or a Onewheel or something, just remove the handle bars.Ben:Right, right, right. Get one of those Onewheel things.Josh:This is leading up to-Ben:Totally.Starr:We're just working up to hoverboards. I mean I commute to my backyard office, so maybe I should get a zip-line or something from the main house.Ben:I like that, yeah.Starr:... then I could be extreme.Josh:We want a zip-line at our place out into the forest.Starr:That would be fun.Ben:You could do a zip-line from your deck to the sandbox, send the kids out to play.Josh:The kids would love it. Well, I was thinking more for myself though. Screw the kids. They don't need a zip-line.Starr:There you go. That's actually not a bad idea. We're going to get-Josh:That would be cool though.Starr:... a deck in the fall.Josh:Oh, nice.Starr:I had thought it would be fun to put a fireman pole on one side or something so kids could slide down it. It's raised up a little bit but not that much. It's like a kid's sliding size.Ben:That would be totally awesome. That would-Josh:We have been loving our new deck that we have had for a month and a half or something now. It's a new deck. If you have a really old, rickety deck, a new one is a big upgrade. Also ours is a little bit larger, too, so it's like a bigger house almost.Starr:Oh, that's great. We don't even have a deck it's just like a little stairway.Josh:I think you're going to like it, Starr.Starr:I think so, too. I know, deck life. It's going to be covered. I was just like-Josh:It's just the small things.Starr:I know. All I want is to be able to go out on a nice evening or something and sit and drink a cup of tea and be outside.Ben:And think about all-Josh:I was going to say, where do you drink the sweet tea in the summer if you don't have a front porch?Starr:Yeah, that's the main problem with houses up here in the Northwest is there's not real front porches. We have one that's like a weird nod at a front porch. It's like somebody maybe had seen a front porch once when they were... They were like, "Oh, maybe I'll try and do that from memory," without really knowing what it's supposed to be like.Josh:Some of the ones in Portland have them, but they're boxed in usually, and they're the older houses-Josh:... like the old Craftsmans or whatever.Starr:The stately grand dames.Josh:Mm-hmm (affirmative).Ben:Well, here in Kirkland we're destroying all those old houses and putting in-Starr:Thank God.Ben:... townhouses.Josh:Hell, yeah.Ben:I drove by one this morning. This morning was the first morning since I got my scooter that I actually didn't ride the scooter because it was raining and the ground was wet. I was like, "Ah, I don't want to deal with that this morning." So I just drove. I drove past this house that... Well, yesterday it was a house. Today, it's a pile of sticks because they sold the lot, and they're going to split it into probably, I don't know, four lots and put in some townhouses. It's always a sad thing, but people got to have a place to live.Starr:Yeah, it's a shame. They tore down a house on my block, too, except it was a condemned house. It looked like a gingerbread fairy house that you'd find on just a random stroll in the woods where you'd go inside and you'd find just a delicious meal laid out on the table just waiting for you. So I'm a little sad it's gone just for, I guess, the storytelling aspects, the mythology of it. I guess it's probably best not to just have a condemned structure hanging out.Josh:I still do feel like Ida's is missing out with your telling of that story. I feel a little sad for you all.Starr:I know. I know.Ben:You're totally missing the threat possibility there. Like, "Don't misbehave or I'll send you over to the gingerbread house."Starr:Oh my god, yeah. Yeah, lots of great ways to traumatize my child.Ben:Speaking of traumatizing children, I was going through Twitter the other day, and the Washington State Department of Health had a tweet. I don't remember what the tweet was, but they had a GIF embedded in it. It was Stimpy from Ren & Stimpy as a scene from the show. I was like, "That's from the Department of Health? My generation is now in charge."Starr:With the Twitter account at least.Ben:We're now putting in-Josh:Yeah, exactly.Ben:That was the weirdest... It's like, "I'm an adult." That was a weird, weird experience.Josh:It is kind of strange when the people in charge start looking more and more like you until you realize they're just like-Ben:They're just little kids, just like I am.Josh:Then you wonder why the hell they're in charge.Starr:I'm getting like Paul Ryan listening to a Rage Against the Machine vibe from this.Josh:That's what I'd be playing if I was in charge of the Department of Health's-Starr:There we go.Josh:... Twitter account.Starr:I think this week has all been a little bit... I don't know. We're all maybe a little bit having a hard time focusing. I know I have a little bit just. It seems like that happens every spring as soon as the weather gets nice and it stops being nice, then it gets nice and it stops being nice. You're waiting by the door with your kayak. You just got to get the jump on it before everybody else gets to the lake.Josh:Yeah, I think that's a big part of it. Also allergies have been kicking in lately.Starr:Oh my god, yeah.Josh:I was really on top of it this year, but then I ran out of my Zyrtec or whatever. It was on the list to replenish the supply or whatever, but I procrastinated and missed a few days. That's a huge mistake.Starr:Oh, yeah.Josh:That was this week. Now I switched to Claritin, so we'll see how... That's the big news of my week.Starr:Oh my gosh. I'm getting vaccinated later today, my second dose.Josh:Nice.Starr:Yeah.Josh:Congrats.Starr:I think I'm still going to keep wearing the KN95 respirators outside, though, just for the allergies.Josh:It's probably a good call.Ben:I was helping a neighbor with some yard work and doing a bunch of weeding and had the weed whacker out, and there's just dirt flying everywhere. I'm like, "Man, I should really wear a mask." Like, how ironic. I've got like, I don't know, a thousand masks in my house, and I'm not wearing one as I'm doing all this dusty stuff.Josh:That's a good thing to do.Starr:Oh, this is reminding me, I need to stock up before fire season.Ben:A few years ago when we had the really bad fire season, we got some Vogmasks. This was before the world knew that you were supposed to wear masks. Vogmasks are fantastic. They're a fabric mask that have the filtering stuff on the inside and highly recommend. I'll put a link in the show notes.Starr:Cool.Ben:Good stuff. When the pandemic hit, of course, they were out of stock immediately because everybody and their brother wanted one, but they've been back in stock. They're nice masks. They're really nice.Starr:Well, one thing that we have been doing is casually just checking out alternatives to Basecamp for our internal company's message board. I don't know. I feel like we're just perusing the alternatives. Honestly, it's been a little bit difficult finding just a system out there that's just a simple thread and message board without a million complex adjustments for running a forum that has thousands of people. Somebody on Twitter yesterday recommended Threads. I don't know. I think we're currently evaluating that one but no decisions yet.Josh:Is that like Twitter threads? You just-Starr:Oh, yeah, just Twitter threads.Josh:We do all of our communicating but just public threads.Starr:No, we're just going to use Twitter stories. We're just going to take some pics of ourselves in different-Josh:If we're trying to go to the opposite direction of Basecamp, we could just... Well, I guess this is like Basecamp, just do all of our communication via thought leadership.Starr:There you go.Ben:What if we did all of internal communication via TikTok?Starr:Okay, I'm getting this. I'm on board with this. We're just going to be influencers. Whoever's the most influential is going to-Josh:You know what? If our employees don't like it, too bad. You're getting a Twitter account, and it's getting verified.Starr:Yeah, they can interpret our really random TikTok video and try and figure out what it means. That's how they'll discover our disapproval.Ben:On the Basecamp thing, though, it was interesting as I was looking at it this week and realizing that the only thing that we use in Basecamp is messages along with the files. We sometimes attach files to our messages.Josh:Or email forwards.Ben:Yeah, occasionally we do an email forward. But we don't-Starr:Usually we do calendars, but we also have Google calendar.Ben:And Slack.Josh:And Notion.Ben:And notion. So we don't do to-dos. We don't do hill charts. We don't really use the project management side of the project management software that we're using. As I was looking at alternatives this week, I looked at and ClickUp and, I don't know, a few different ones. They're all these project management things. It's like, well, we don't really manage projects. We do that via chat or via a Zoom call every once in a while or via Notion. We don't use a project management tool for that. So it's like, yeah, all we really need are threads, conversations.Starr:It's the sort of thing where you could just do it in email, but it's nice having that archival ability, the ability to go back and check things out and not have it dependent on, "Oh, maybe I deleted that message by accident or whatever."Josh:Well, you could do it in Slack, but then you end up with the weird history aspect of it, and you'd have to have some sort of... You have to create a channel for it with the rules so it doesn't end up being just a chat. You have to say, "The rule of this channel is every message is a thread or a post or whatever."Starr:You kind of have to do it manually.Josh:Yeah.Ben:I did look at Twist. That was pretty cool, pretty close, but it also has chat. It's like, "well, I don't want a second chat since we already use Slack." We're not going to ditch Slack.Starr:Basecamp has chat, too.Ben:Right, and we don't use that. I guess you could use Twist. Twist is pretty nice.Starr:I think we need threaded messages, we need everything to be archived, and we need some way to see what people have been writing on lately, see what the latest activity is. That's basically it. I don't even use notifications. I get them, but I don't really... Usually by the time I see them... That's not my process. I don't look at my notifications and be like, "Oh, I'd better check this out." I check out the messages at a set set time basically.Ben:Then, like you said, the forum software, like the discourse, and it's just way, way too much. It's like, "Yeah, we get it." We just need a message board. We don't need all the dials and knobs. It's totally a dials and knobs application. I saw it in the settings, and I was like, "Whoa, okay. I'm just going to back away slowly."Starr:It could be fun, I don't know, if we want to be passive aggressive, we could shadow ban people. We could just do all sorts of fun things.Ben:But I suppose we don't have the hard requirements supporting BBCode.Starr:Isn't that a negative requirement? Supporting BBCode, I think that's a detriment. But we do have a chance to maybe, I don't know, maybe... One thing that I've always really... This really annoyed me about Basecamp is that it doesn't support Markdown, and everything we use supports Markdown, so everything I have is in Markdown. So if I write something in my personal notes, it's going to be in Markdown. If I want to transfer that to Basecamp, I got to manually format it, which is just like, "What am I? What is this? Who do you think I am?"Josh:That's my number one gripe with Basecamp, like the editor, is just a WYSIWYG editor that... I constantly... even just when I'm writing and I want to make a list and I just type a dash like I normally... in most things these days, and it just doesn't do anything in Basecamp. Then I remember, "Oh, I have to get my mouse and click on the bullet." It's a huge hassle.Ben:I can imagine your quality of life being dramatically affected by that.Josh:Yeah.Starr:You know we're developers when we're complaining about things like that.Josh:This is why I'm wearing wrist braces.Starr:Or dual wrist braces.Ben:I totally get what you're saying. I want to be able to type star, space, stuff, stuff, stuff and I get a list. Yeah, totally.Starr:It looks like, it does support Markdown, which is nice. I don't know. I haven't really played around with it a ton. Some aspects of its design, I'm not super happy. I wish the column widths were a little wider and stuff, but also I don't like certain aspects of Basecamp's design. So it's kind of a toss up for me.Ben:I did an export of our Basecamp content, and I got to say their export is fantastic. They give you an HTML page that links to a bunch of other pages per topic or project or team, whatever they call it, and the files are there. It's really well done. So I think if anyone's looking for inspiration on doing exports in their app, they should totally look at Basecamp. They nailed it. It's actually usable. You get this zip file. You open it up and bam, you can just browse through all your stuff.Starr:That's pretty great. I guess I should declare, I think maybe I started this casual looking for alternatives just because I've seen a lot of stuff online about people are angry at Basecamp. It's like, I'm not really angry at them. Well, this isn't really the point. I'm sad and disappointed in them. But also a lot of the reason why I think they have had our business and they had my business, I've stored personal stuff in a personal Basecamp account, it's just because they're trustworthy. That feeling of trustworthiness has gone down a few pegs for me.Starr:Also, I just kind of felt gross logging in there. If you haven't been keeping up with this, part of the deal is they were making fun of people's names and stuff. I don't know. Are they making fun of my name? I've got a weird name. Are they going through my stuff making fun of it? I know they have access to pretty much everything that I put into Basecamp. I don't know. Even if they're not doing that now, are they going to do that in the future? Because it seems like they're going in that direction. I don't know. It seems like they're shutting down people trying to hold them internally accountable for that sort of thing. I don't know. It's just like a gross feeling. I'm just sad about the whole thing.Josh:I personally I kind of doubt that that's like... I got the feeling that the list was more of an artifact from the past, and it had stuck around for too long. I didn't get the feeling that they're condoning that sort of activity really, but I get what you're saying. Also for me, a big factor of it, it's not even just that I'm mad at them or something, they did lose 30% of their company, and they're supporting two products now, one of which is a major infrastructure product but basically is like email. So they have operation overhead and stuff. They did just lose 30% of their company including their, what, head of strategy but basically head of product. So I just wonder, where is the product going from here? It was already, I felt, a little bit stagnating. I don't know. I think they've been working on the next version of it is what I heard. I don't know. It just seems like there are questions about just the stability from that nature, too.Ben:I'm probably in a third place from you two and I probably care the least. I'm like, "Eh, it's a message board. They can make fun of my name." Okay. I had that happen when I was 10. People do that. It's like, "Oh, get on." I have a hard time getting up the energy to care, I guess.Starr:Don't mistake me. I'm not like up in arms about it. This is more like a passive viewing. It's like, "Oh, I got to go on Basecamp and check my things. Uh, I just feel kind of crummy about it." This is-Ben:It's one of those friction things in your life you just don't need. Yeah, absolutely.Starr:Yeah, yeah.Josh:Absolutely.Starr:I'm like, this is a message board. Like, should I be having to deal with this just to go check some messages? It's ridiculous.Josh:I think all of us are really just talking these are passing thoughts we have using the product in light of the drama of the past few weeks.Starr:If we end up staying on it, I'm not going to be super upset. I'll probably get over it. I don't know. It just seems like it might be nice to try something different especially if we can get that sweet Markdown.Ben:I've been surprised that there are so few products that are just about this one use case of the simple messages. I expected there to be tons of things to try and no.Starr:Of course, in our company Notion, there's now a design document-Ben:Of course.Starr:... for a simple-Josh:Because we're going to build our own.Ben:We're going to build our own, of course. What does any good tech team do when they're frustrated with the 20 solutions on the market? They build solution number 21.Starr:Of course.Ben:Maybe we'll build that. The code name for that project is Budgie. I named it Budgie because I went to do the Google search, I'm like, "What's a communicative type of animal? What's a social animal?" I can't remember the search I did, but the first thing that got turned up was like, the most social birds. I don't know. So there's this list of birds, and budgie was the number one bird. So I'm like, "Okay, cool." Then I was like, "Well, what kind of domains are available?" Because of course when you start a project, you have to buy the domain. Before you do anything else, you got to buy that domain. Surprisingly, and perhaps not surprisingly in retrospect, every variant of budgie is taken, of course, but also and I'm like, "Wow. How many...?" And they're all for sale. None of them are actual products. They're all parked, and they're for sale. I'm like, so a bunch of people have had this idea about what's a social animal. I guess budgies are really popular for pets, and so they're looking for the ad opportunities with people looking for, "How do I take care of my budgie?" Anyway, just kind of a diversion.Starr:That's interesting. The first thing that pops into mind when I heard that... I like the name. It's a cute name. There's this really good Australian kids' cartoon called Bluey, and there's an episode where they find a little budgie that's injured, and it dies. So the kids have to come to terms with that. I don't know. It's just like, "Little budgie died."Josh:Bluey is one of the best cartoons ever, by the way.Starr:Yeah, Bluey. Oh, I'm glad you like it, too.Josh:It's so good.Starr:It's super good. It's super good. Basically the whole cartoon is just these kids... They're dogs but they're kids. They're just making up games to play with each other. How it works is the kids watching the show see it and that makes them want to play that game, too. So it's just not dumb TV. It gets them doing stuff outside of the TV, which is kind of nice.Josh:That's a really good analysis of the show. I hadn't thought about that aspect of it, but come to think of it, my kids totally imitate them.Starr:Oh, yeah.Josh:Climbing all over us.Starr:I now have to play every game in that show, and I've got to know them by name and what the rules are.Josh:One of the things we like about it is just they really got the sibling dynamic down. It is like our kids to a tee. It's pretty funny. Now that I think about it, maybe it's like our kids have now become the characters in the show.Ben:It's a good thing I watch the Simpsons.Josh:Oh, no. Actually we do watch the Simpsons.Starr:Is the Simpsons still on?Josh:It's on Disney+.Starr:Oh my gosh.Ben:Yeah, it is still a thing.Josh:They're still making it, too, right?Ben:Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah.Starr:Wow. I don't know. I don't even know about that.Josh:We don't watch much of the Simpsons with them yet, a three and four-year-old.Josh:I don't know if I'm quite ready for a couple little Bart and Lisas.Ben:You put that off as long as you can. Well, I actually did a little bit of work this week. I was working on something, I don't know what. I noticed one of the tests was running kind of long like it was just stuck. I don't usually watch tests. I don't usually run the tests actually. I just let our CICB run the tests. I don't even worry about it. But this morning for some reason, I don't know, I was working on something, and I happened to be running the tests. I noticed one of the tests was just stuck. Like, that's weird. So I did a little investigation.Ben:It turns out that a number of our tests do some domain name server resolution because, for webhooks, when someone puts in their webhook, we want to verify that the destination is not like a private thing. They're not trying to fetch our EC2 credentials and stuff like that. So it does some checks like, is this is a private IP address? Does this domain name actually resolve, blah, blah, blah? Also for our uptime checks. Obviously, people are putting in domains for that, too. It turns out that, I don't know, maybe it was my machine, maybe it was the internet being dumb, whatever, but the domain name resolution was what was holding up the test. This happens, as you can imagine, in a variety of ways in our tests. This one test that I was running, which was only, I don't know, seven or eight tests, it was taking a minute or two minutes to run. Then I fixed this so that it stopped doing the domain name resolution, and it took two seconds.Josh:Wow.Ben:So a slight improvement to our test suite there. A quality of life improvement.Josh:Did you benchmark overall? Because that's got to be a huge improvement if it's doing that everywhere.Ben:Well, it's not doing that everywhere. I did do a push, so I have to go and check and see what GitHub... see if it dropped that time.Josh:Well, it might have been whatever was wrong with your DNS resolution in the first place that was causing it to be extra slow. Would it be faster if DNS was fast?Ben:Yeah, it could have been. I actually did some tests on my laptop at the time. I'm like, "Is my DNS resolution slow?" No.Josh:So it's-Ben:The test... I don't know what the deal was.Josh:It was just resolving a bunch of actual URLs in the test.Ben:Mm-hmm (affirmative).Josh:Yeah, that's bad. So nice work. You reminded me that I did some work this week, too.Ben:OhJosh:Very important work, I must say. I added a yak to our Slack bot to where-Josh:... if you mention the word "yak" when you're interacting with the Slack bot now it will return... You should do it in Slack, just whatever Badger bot. Say Badger bot yak me, it-Starr:Okay, I'm doing it.Josh:Okay, do it.Starr:Oh, sorry. It was the wrong channel. Hold on.Josh:You got to do it in general, I think.Starr:Come on Badger bot. Oh my god. It's a little text space yak.Josh:Yeah.Starr:Awesome.Josh:This came about because earlier this week I was just passively mentioning in chat that I'm just yak shaving. My entire life is yak shaving. That just got us talking about, why don't we have some representation of that in our chat, in our Slack? Obviously, I had to stop everything I was doing and build that right away. Of course, there were some escaping issues that came up as a result of that, so obviously I had to deploy a few hot fixes.Ben:The whole episode amuses me. I love it. I would do exactly the same thing. But also what amuses me is that we already have, as part of Slack, GIPHY, and you could just dump a picture of a yak in there. But you're like, "No, that's good enough. I must have an ASCII yak.Josh:It's got to be an ASCII yak, yeah.Ben:This is great. I love technology.Josh:I kind of miss Hubot where it would just automatically... if you just mention it. Maybe I should change our Slack bot so that it does that. So if you say "yak," a wild yak appears. By the way, that's what the text at the bottom of the ASCII yak says, a wild yak appears. I just wish it would pop up if someone just mentions it in a chat, like if they're talking about it just because-Josh:It's listening to everything, right?Starr:That would be fine.Ben:We used to have Hubot, and every time you said "ship," it would show the ship-Josh:The ship, the squirrel. But I definitely would like... annoying at times, but overall I'd say it was worth it.Ben:Totally worth it.Starr:Yeah, definitely. I do remember sometimes where things were on fire, and it's just popping up funny GIFs, and it's like, "Not now. Not now Hubot, not now.Ben:Sit in the corner. Should have had that command. Like, "Go away for a while."Josh:Or just make it a separate... Maybe we should just make this a separate bot that you don't have to have any ops channel. Maybe this'll be our next product.Starr:Oh, there you go. It's like when you mention yak, it turns into an Oregon trail-type hunting scene, and you have to shoot the very slow pixel at it.Josh:Mm-hmm (affirmative). I do love this aspect of our business of being... I assume it's like a side effect of being small. I don't know. I'm sure large teams also do this, I didn't spend a day on this, but spend a day just doing something completely useless. I like that we can do that-Ben:Yes, it is.Josh:... and the total lack of responsibility, to be honest.Starr:Is there a total lack of responsibility? I don't know. I don't know.Ben:I think you could argue that there is a total lack of responsibility.Josh:Maybe relatively.Starr:Maybe.Josh:I think we're speaking relatively.Starr:Relatively? Well, there's responsibility to customers. I don't know. Do they count? Nah.Ben:Speaking of being a small company, just because of a recent acquisition of one of our competitors, I had gone to look at what some of our other competitors, what status they were, and I was just blown away with how many employees our competitors have. It's really amazing.Starr:What are they doing with all those people? Are they paying...? Do they have a professional volleyball team or something?Josh:Not in the past year.Starr:Well, they play over Zoom.Josh:It's a professional pong league now.Starr:There you go.Ben:We have five employees. The competitor that has the closest number of employees comes in at a hefty 71. Then the largest number that I found was 147 employees. That's impressive.Josh:With the competitor, the first one that you mentioned with the 70 something employees, and I assume over $100 million in funding, were they the ones that were recently bragging on Twitter about how much more usage they have than everyone else?Ben:I don't know because I don't remember seeing that bragging.Josh:They were. It was kind of funny. Yeah, you would probably be the major player.Starr:That's something I definitely learned throughout the course of running this business is that a company that has tens or, I don't know, hundreds of, did you say $100 million, that's a lot-Josh:It's a lot.Starr:... of funding can do more work than three people even if those three people are very, very good. It's-Ben:That's right.Starr:They can do more work, and that's all right. We're just going to have our little garden patch over here. It doesn't matter if ConAgra is a mile down the road. They can do their thing. We can do our thing.Ben:As long as they don't let their seeds blow into our farmland, right?Starr:Oh, yeah, definitely. Let me just ask you a question. When it comes to buying your strawberries for your traditional summer strawberry shortcake, are you going to go to that wonderfully, just delightful artisanal farm down the road, or are you just going to slide over to ConAgra and, I don't know, get some of their strawberry-shaped objects?Ben:I got to say, I love roadside fruit stands. Those are the best. When cherry season happens here in Washington, going and grabbing a whole mess of cherries from some random person that's propped on the side of a road, I mean it's awesome.Starr:My favorite ones are the ones have no... if you stop and think about it... I used to live in Arkansas. One time I was walking by and there was this roadside fruit stand just with oranges. It was like, "Hold up. Hold up. Oranges don't grow in Arkansas. What is this?" I don't know if he just went to Costco and just got a bunch of oranges or maybe he did the Cannonball Run from Florida straight up-Josh:Road trip.Starr:... and was selling oranges all the way up. There was some explaining to do.Ben:I didn't realize until I was saying it, but it really does sound ridiculous that you're going to go and get some fruit items from some random person on the side of the road. But I love roadside fruit stands. They're great.Starr:Oh, yeah.Josh:I don't know. In this day and age probably, yeah.Josh:Maybe things should be more like that. Maybe that would solve some problems.Ben:Well, coming back to the front porch thing, do you know that country song, If the World Had a Front Porch?"Starr:No, I don't.Ben:Definitely have to link it up in the show notes. It's all about if the world had a front porch like we did back then, then things would be different. People would be more friendly. We'd be chatting with our neighbors. Things would just be overall good.Starr:Yeah, totally.Josh:We'd all know each other.Starr:Is that true? Is that true?Ben:I got to say, I grew up in the Deep South. I did not have a front porch and none of my friends had a front porch because we all lived in the same neighborhood and all the houses were the same, but we were all still pretty friendly-Starr:Oh, there you go.Ben:... even though we didn't have front porches.Starr:Well, I had a front porch and people were assholes, so I think the correlation between front porches and nice people is weak.Ben:The song If I had a front porchJosh:.Isn't it more like a metaphor? I don't know.Starr:You could say the internet's the world's front porch and look how great that's worked out.Josh:If you just build a front porch-Starr:I'm sure it's a nice song. I don't mean to make fun of the song. I'm sure it's a good song.Josh:You build a front porch that the entire population of the world could fit on, just see how that goes. That's what we-Starr:It's like, "Oh, shit. We deforested the Amazon to get the wood for this."Ben:We should name our little message board product Front Porch.Starr:Front porch, ah, that's nice. You could have add-ons to that. Like for upgrades, you could get the rocking chair or the whittling knife.Ben:Yeah, and the sweet tea-Starr:The sweet tea, yeah.Ben:... or the mint julep.Starr:Can I ask you a question? Was sweet tea a thing when you were a kid?Ben:Yes.Starr:Do people refer to it as like, "Oo, sweet tea," as a saying?Ben:No.Starr:Okay, that-Ben:They'd just refer to is as tea.Starr:Okay, thank you.Ben:There was no other tea. It was just that.Josh:But it was sweet.Ben:Yeah, it was sweet, of course.Starr:Yeah, of course. It's-Ben:That's the only tea that existed. None of this Earl Grey hot business, no, no, no.Starr:I just noticed, I don't know, around 2007 everybody started talking about sweet tea. It's like, "What? What's this?" Ben:Yeah, totally. It's a Southern Thing, on YouTube, their channel, is pretty funny. They go into the sweet tea thing quite a bit. If you want some additional context, do some research on that whole aspect. You can go and watch that YouTube channel. I'll have to link it up in the show notes.Starr:Yeah, I'll check that out. Well, would you gentlemen like to wrap it up? I think I've got to start... I'm going to be Southern here. I'm fixing to get ready to think about going to my vaccine appointment.Ben:Jeet yet? You know that joke? Have you heard that?Starr:I haven't heard that joke. What?Ben:It's like, oh man, two southern guys, one's like, "Jeet yet?"Starr:Ah, did you eat yet? Okay, yeah.Ben:"No. Y'want to?"Starr:I haven't been back in a while.Josh:Did you eat yet?Starr:I haven't been back in a while.Ben:Oh, good times. Sometimes I miss the South but not during the summer.Starr:One of my favorite words, I think it might be a local Arkansas word, is tump. It's a verb, tump. It's the action of tipping something over and dumping out its contents. The perfect use case is a wheelbarrow. Like, you tump out the wheelbarrow. I'm sorry. Tump out the wheelbarrow.Ben:Totally.Josh:I am learning so much on this episode, by the way-Starr:There you go.Josh:... about the South.Josh:It's great. I'm learning more about-Josh:This is your second vaccine appointment, right?Starr:Yeah, it's the second one.Josh:Second and final. Well, for now.Starr:So I'm ready for it to hit me. I'm like, "Bring the storm.Josh:Yes, it hit me.Starr:Bring it on."Josh:Mine was like a 48-hour ordeal, but back to normal now. I feel great.Starr:That's good. You got your super powers.Josh:Yeah.Ben:Well, good luck with that.Starr:Thank you. Maybe one day we'll be able to have a conclave in person again, although I might need the support of a therapist or something because just like... I mean I like y'all, but I don't know if I'm over the droplets yet.Ben:You can still wear masks.Starr:Okay, that's good. Thank God, okay. All right, I will talk to y'all later.
38:23 05/14/2021
Rails Goes Off The Rails!
Show notes:Links:Write for HoneybadgerFluffy Arnold Schwarzenegger impressionChanges at BasecampCoinbase is a mission focused companyFakerFull transcript:I've been like texting with Zoomer person. And their emoji game is so deep and subtle that I just don't even know how to respond to these. I'm just like a thumbs up and they're just like emoji of falling leaves. How do I interpret that?Josh:Is that the difference between us and them? Is that they actually use all the emojis?Starr:I think so.Josh:We use six.Starr:I was just like, I can't just reply this with heart. So I just went and I was just like, emoji of panda bear. That seemed to be like an appropriate reaction to falling leaves. But I really don't know. I could have just completely been a jerk without realizing it.Ben:Yeah, I hadn't thought about it Josh but yeah, I think I can list the emojis that I actually use. There's thumbs up, there's troll face, there's pile of poop. Smiley face, heart. Yeah, that's pretty much it.Josh:You should get them tattooed on your arm. I think our other defining characteristic is that we're the generation that still use this text emoji and thinks it's cool.Starr:I don't think it's cool anymore. But sometimes it's just like, this is just what I'm doing. This is who I am. I'm just going with it.Josh:Yeah, we've accepted it now.Starr:Because if we keep at it long enough, it'll come back around. I've seen some people use text emojis ... They're emoticons, right? They're not emoji. But it's like ... The Zoomers with the super nuanced emoticon game. They're not typing these out, that's for sure. They've got like a clip file of these somewhere.Josh:It's like an additional vector of communication.Starr:Yeah, that's true.Josh:We'll never be fluent.Ben:I think emoticons are vastly superior to emoji, especially for this mighty face case, because it's always going to be the same representation no matter what platform you're on. But the emoji, they change. An apple emoji's differ from a Google emoji, etc. So if you send an emoticon, you what you're going to get.Starr:What if the person's using Wingdings as or fonts, though?Josh:Yeah, that's a good point.Ben:I guess I hadn't thought about that one.Starr:Comic Sans.Josh:I guess they had similar problems back when emoticons were all the rage, when they were first discovered. What happens if they're like ...Ben:I think emoticons are just going to be a symbol of the crusty old man syndrome. I also prefer text based email.Josh:That's a get off my lawn.Ben:Definitely. Shaking my fist at clouds.Josh:I was just going to say on text based email that reminded me of one thing I like about Front, which we recently switched for our support to Front. And they have a markdown mode. I like my email in markdown.Starr:So what is Front? Could you describe it?Josh:It's like a shared team inbox. Like a support tool ... I mean, we're using it as a support tool but I think it's more than that. It has a deep integration with Gmail. And basically lets a whole team share the same Gmail inbox, basically. But they have their own app and everything. And then it adds collaboration features to your email. So you can assign email, you can even add your personal email to it. So you could assign a personal email to someone on your team, and it would move it to their inbox which is handy for delegation.Starr:Yeah, that's pretty cool. I just started messing around with it and I really do like it. I really like this email centric focus of it. Where I guess you can use this as support but that's not really the only thing it's for.Josh:Yeah, it has a bunch of add-ons which we still need to explore a little bit and I know it also supports ... You can add custom paints to it like how Help Scout could ... Which we need to add for ... So that when someone emails us to our support address, it'll pull up their customer information from our proprietary admin tool.Ben:Yeah, I haven't done that yet. Because the way that Front does it is, of course different than the way that Help Scout did it. But I much prefer the way that Help Scout did it. They hit an HTML endpoint that you define, and then render the HTML inside the Help Scout UI. And then of course it to be simple, an Li or P or whatever. You couldn't do all kinds of crazy stuff because the space in which you would render is very limited. But at least it was straightforward. All I had to do is dump out some HTML, but with the Front, it's like, well, you got to create this single phase JavaScript app and talk to our API. I was like never mind.Josh:That's what I heard about it. That you can do more with it but it lacks that simplicity. And I agree with you that I personally would prefer the Help Scout approach, which is ... It's almost dumb but it's good in a good way.Ben:The only thing we link out to our admin tool anyways and display some text. Not even emoji, just want to display some emoticons. But Front is nice. I'm glad we switched. The one thing I wish that it did as well as Help Scout is having a widget on the page that's not a chat widget. So I really liked having the Help Scout widget because it just dumped ... Someone could use our app, open up the widget to contact support and they would send us a message rather than starting a chat, which we prefer. And Front doesn't really have that, they have a chat thing. And they do have support for a form submission which you would think would work but it's limited, it's like one URL. You have to specify what URL it is at. It's like, well, I mean, that doesn't work inside of our app because our users are all different URLs every time they talk to us.Ben:So really that feature from Front is really meant for a contact page on a website that's static. And that's not a good fit for us. That's frustrating. Now we don't have a widget, and I don't like that as much. Basically every support link now in the app is, well just email us at support. Which is fine but it's just not as nice as having that widget.Josh:Yeah, Help Scout definitely seems like it's a little bit more tailored specifically for our SaaS use case was. But overall, the collaboration flow in Front, it seems to be better. But yeah, Help Scout gets a lot right. And Front also doesn't do ... If you have documentation that you're also hosting with your support, Help Scout has a docs feature. And the thing that's nice about their widget is that if you use the docs feature, it also integrates with that. So you can send them to the docs first before they create a ticket. But we never used that so it wasn't a deal breaker for us.Starr:Yeah I don't really like it when I go to support and it's like, what's your problem? And I start typing and it's like, here's some links.Josh:How often do you click on ...Starr:I do click on it sometimes. It's like, this is not what I'm looking for. Thank you. That's why I'm looking for support, not going to your help question.Josh:That's a good point.Starr:I am going your help desk, I'm not going to go into your docs.Josh:Yeah. It depends on how competent or savvy your users are too. Because if you're the type of person that goes and looks in the docs, assumes that you're going to find ... Search for the answer first, which I usually do. If it's something simple that I know is going to be in the docs, I'll assume that they've got it there and I go look for it, which is why it annoys me when I go to ... I have something super specific and it's trying to suggest the simplest possible guess. I'm sure there's a lot of people ... Companies that have a high volume of of support, that get a lot of the same questions and stuff, I could see it being useful there.Ben:Yeah. To your point there, I was wondering if perhaps those systems are better from our general use case apps, depending on ... An audience that's not technical, like QuickBooks. If you're in QuickBooks and you need some help about, I don't know, your payroll and you start typing W2, there's a good chance that they have a help desk knowledge base article about W2s that will answer your question. But if you're a software developer using a very technical tool, as a developer you've probably done everything you possibly can not to contact support because you don't want to talk to people. And you've done all the research and there's nothing that's going to help you. So by the time you get to the point of saying, okay, please help me with, you really don't need a suggestion.Josh:Yeah, that's true. It is a last resort for me.Starr:Exactly. By the time I'm like, please help me, I've been in the desert for seven days and dying of thirst. I'm sunburned, vultures are circling above me.Josh:I've read like your entire site on the Wayback Machine.Ben:I've read your blog. I've listened to all your podcast episodes. I know you better than yourself. I followed you on Twitter. I've visited your ancestral home.Josh:Even an app like ConvertKit comes to mind as the ... Because they have a much broader audience ... Bloggers. Did you I guess Arnold Schwarzenegger is using ConvertKit now? He was interviewed talking about his newsletter I think with Jimmy Kimmel. And it was fun to watch.Starr:Did he name drop ConvertKit on Jimmy Kimmel?Josh:No. They were talking about his actual newsletter.Starr:I just want to hear him say ConvertKit. What's that celebrity hiring platform where you can hire celebrities? I just want to hear Arnold Schwarzenegger say Honeybadger.Starr:That would be amazing.Ben:That's be amazing.Starr:In a terminator voice.Josh:You could always tweet at him every day for a month and see if you could get his attention because he seems like the kind of guy if you just happen to have a little extra time, he'd throw it out there for you.Starr:There you go.Josh:Yeah, he seems like a nice guy.Starr:There you go. You got to link it to fitness. Like every day, I'm going to exercise more until you get back to me.Josh:You could just record a little video between reps.Ben:Speaking of Arnold, there's a funny bit by Fluffy, the comedian about meeting Arnold. So you should go check it out. I'll see if I can find a link and send it to you. It's funny. It's worth the five minutes or whatever to watch.Josh:Cool. Are we going to talk about Rails?Ben:Do we need to talk about Rails?Josh:Starr was just waiting for it.Starr:Oh yeah.Ben:So this week, there's been some news in the Rails community thanks to Basecamp. One of the co-founders of Basecamp is DHH, David Heinemeier Hansson. And he's also the creator of Rails. And he created Rails for Basecamp and since Basecamp was in the news this week in such a spectacular way, it has now spilled over to the Rails community. And I suppose we should talk about the Basecamp stuff first, and then we can talk about the Rails stuff.Starr:Oh, yeah. I know about the Basecamp stuff. I haven't been paying attention to Rails land in the past couple days.Josh:We have drama to report, Starr.Starr:Really? Oh, my God, this is the best ... Yes. The FounderQuest gossip sesh. It's going to be great.Ben:So on the Basecamp thing, so Jason Fried came out with his posts talking about some changes they're making at Basecamp. And one of the changes is, we're not going to have these political conversations anymore.Josh:About level of information.Ben:About that level of information. And I'm sure people internally knew the background. Of course no one on Tuesday outside of Basecamp knew the background. Over the week, there is some reporting done that exposed some of that background and then DHH came out with some more. After that, reporting him [inaudible 00:19:36] and it's juts this snowball. On Tuesday, when that first hit, I was actually chatting with someone about this and my first thought was ... Well, I had many thoughts. The first two thoughts were, this really seems like ... Then again, having no inside knowledge, it seems like this could have been communicated better internally before it was communicated externally. It seems like the initial impact that I saw on Twitter was a lot of employees at Basecamp being blindsided by this.Ben:And I thought, it seems like that could have been handled better. It seems they were feeling like they weren't heard or they didn't have a chance to have input onto that thing before it went public. And the second thought I had was, that was one item out of a list of items of changes they're making at Basecamp. And some of the other items were definitely worth talking about but they all got lost in the noise about that one item. Things like we're not going to do 360 degree reviews anymore. Things like we're not going to be paternalistic in the benefits we offer. I think each of those things were interesting and deserve their own conversation. But having them all be right there paired with the whole we're not going to talk politics anymore thing was ... I think to me was disappointing, because I thought there was great stuff that could have been great conversations, but just got lost in the in the fear.Josh:Yeah, I thought it was interesting that Ben Thompson at Stratechery pulled out ... The thing that he focused in on was actually the benefits thing in terms of the broader Basecamp business analysis that he's done in the industry. But he made some interesting points just about how that actually does fit with ... That's very Basecamp thing to do is they're trying to ... They've always been the anti Silicon Valley company. And that's taking the opposite position of the Googles and Facebooks and Apples that have a campus where they expect you to live your life and everything's included, and they're giving you perks or rewards for exercising and staying healthy and things like that. But yeah, that didn't get really discussed a whole lot. I saw a few people talk about it. Maybe after all this blows over, we can circle back to the actual business discussions. But yeah, I have the same thought.Josh:It seems like we and them, them being the Basecamp employees were reading this at the same time, which doesn't seem ... That just didn't seem right. Which really surprised me, and I have the same thought. They must have been discussing this internally before this came out or something must have happened, but they didn't really go into it at all. And they left a lot of I think questions on the table which is what some journalists then picked up on it and started digging to figure out what that story was. What was the backstory? Which turned out to be dumb in my opinion. Did you read the Verge article Starr?Starr:No. I've been cut off from the news this week.Josh:Well, obviously this was only one part of it, but it sounded like the thing that was the last straw that led to Jason and David making this blanket decision was that there had been this internal ... I guess their customer support team, long way back has started this list of funny customer names. Customer names that make them laugh.Starr:Yeah, it's a little shitty.Josh:It is shitty. It just seems like a dumb ... especially being who they are but even for us ... For a company like us where we've talked about our customers so much and customer support is everything to us and all that. You're keeping a list where you mock and laugh at your customers, it's backwards.Starr:Yeah, that's true.Josh:I don't know, it just seems like the kind of thing that I would immediately ... I'm not necessarily surprised that in a company with tens of employees or more, you can't necessarily keep tabs on everything, but they were aware of it. And it just seems like the kind of thing that you would be ... You just acknowledge it like he did at first but then just ... I don't know why it had to turn into an argument. It's like, yeah, that was bad. We're not going to do that. I don't know.Ben:The conversation that I had earlier this week, I came to it saying, well, I can see both sides of this issue. From a business owners perspective, I can see where David and Jason might have been frustrated with, let's just get work done. Can we just settle this? Can we move past it? Can we move on? And again, Tuesday, I didn't know what the context was but now that I know, okay, this funny names list ... Yes, that was mistake. We shouldn't do it again, let's move forward. And then do we need to spend all of our cycles at work talking about these kinds of issues when that's not what we're here for? We're here to build a product to serve our customers. So I can totally see that side of the issue. And I'm just guessing that's where David and Jason were coming from. It's like, let's just get to work. But on the other hand, I think a lot of employees that I saw on Twitter were frustrated feeling like, well, we feel silenced. We feel like we don't have a place to express our views about these issues which are important to us.Ben:And I can totally get that too. You spend a lot of your life at work. And, for a lot of people, they're socializing too. Especially in COVID days, when you're locked into your house. If you're 100% remote company like Basecamp or like we are and Basecamp has a lot of remote, I can totally relate to, hey, my Slack is where my friends hang out. I'm hanging out with Starr, I'm hanging out with Josh, and I like chatting with them and talking about the things that matter to me. I get how you can feel shut down. I can see both sides and I think it comes back to ... A lot of companies will say, "We're family." And even some companies that I admire have that as one of their core principles. And I can respect that approach but I totally disagree with it. My company is not my family. My family is my family. My company, we might be friends, that would be a good thing. But we might not be, but at least we can be kind to each other. At the very minimum, we can be accepting of everyone. We can be kind and tolerant of everyone and respect when we have differences of opinion or differences of lifestyle, or differences of approach or whatever.Ben:We all are going to have a diversity of things. And I think we all should come to work in whatever situation we're in with an appreciation for differences and acceptance of differences. But at the same time, we don't have to focus on that all the time. That doesn't have to be our thing. Yes, we're different. We also have a common goal in this business to serve customers, make money, etc. And I think just getting wrapped around that axle of well, if I can't talk about all my things all the time ... Yeah, you're going to be frustrated.Josh:There are limits. It seems just like a very delicate thing. I think potentially one of the mistakes or at least one of the issues with what their response was that they made a blanket decision that banned an entire category or categories of opinion and feedback at the company. Versus ... I think it would have been different if they had said in that specific instance ... The first part of David's response was, yeah, this was a systemic failure of Jason's and mine that this list existed for so long. Yes, we were vaguely aware of it or whatever. We let it continue. We didn't really focus on it and it's wrong, and we're shutting it down now. And then say, okay, now we've discussed this and this is the decision on this issue and we're moving on, let's get back to work. Instead of going into the second half of his response which proceeds to argue specific points of the discussion with the employees, which seems to further ... It furthers the debate or argument on the issue.Josh:If it had just been like, okay, this has gone far enough, this is getting a little out of hand even in my opinion ... This is the decision, this was bad, we're not going to do it anymore. I'm closing the thread or whatever. I don't think they would have had the same response I assume compared to going public and saying, "Okay, we're never going to have a conversation like this ever again." Which by the way was not just somewhat random political ... They weren't arguing in favor of a politician or a social issue even, it was about the company itself. So when you say you've worked here for 15 years and you're not allowed to raise concerns that you have about the place where you work anymore, I could see where ... That's not cool.Josh:I probably broadly lean towards their point of view like David and Jason in terms of ... And yours Ben in terms of I think a business should exist to have a very more specific mission. And it shouldn't be your entire life. I think people are served better by having different facets of their life and business is one of them. And hopefully you work at a company where you both have the same mission.Josh:But yeah, it doesn't seem like the kind of thing that you can just blanket say, we're not going to ever discuss political or social issues ever again. How do you do that? And especially considering David and Jason are two of the most political ... David is arguing political issues in front of Congress for crying out loud.Starr:I agree with you both a lot I think. One thing that is just true I think is that if you're in a group of people and you're trying to be good, and do whatever the right thing is ... Because in any group of people, people are going to sometimes mess up. And that will require a course correction, and everything and that's going to be uncomfortable. And it just seems like being able to exist in that discomfort is a really important skill to have when it comes to just getting along and leading a company. And the thing that struck me when I read this post at first is this has real big daddy's mad energy. It's like. "Daddy's mad. Oh, no!"Josh:And they mentioned the paternalistic benefits but I think the term paternalistic almost, fit the whole narrative better.Starr:IT does, yeah. Exactly.Josh:That was my thought too.Starr:It's like the kid's upset with something about their ice cream cone and so daddy just storms in and be like, "Nobody eats anything ever again." That's the energy it has to me. And the fact that it was not ... This was not discussed with people, this was just handed down in a dictatorial way furthers that. And it's also interesting because Basecamp has held itself up as this model of how to be a small business and stuff. And I feel like this letter is a very clear consolidation of power. Maybe power had gotten a little bit too dispersed among employees and stuff. So it's consolidation of power back into the ... I know that Jason and David are equals, I don't really understand how that relationship works. But whatever it is, I got that feel from it.Josh:Yeah, it sounded like they're just moving power back into the hands of upper management. Because it talked about the committees ... Because they disbanded a couple of few committees that had started and said that responsibility for those issues were moving back to the whatever head of whatever department that related to.Starr:I wonder if we're going to get a book from them about waterfall management now, like waterfall development. That's going to be the new hot take. If anybody could do it, DHH can.Ben:Starr, I think you made a great point there in that Jason and David as well put themselves forth as an example of this is how it should be done. They were very public about their very opinionated approach to business. And I think a number of people were just blindsided by seeing this thing coming from them. When they had bought into this idea that yes, Jason and David are into the progressive stuff. They're into the issues that I feel good about. And to have had this daddy's mad scenario ... I think you nailed it. I think really shocked and surprised them. I don't know if you noticed the Rework podcast for this week-Josh:That was brutal.Ben:That was brutal. The two hosts ... Okay, so they're employed by Basecamp. And the whole point of the podcast is talking about a better way to work. And they started their podcast episode, they're like, "No we just can't do this." So Basecamp is a way to work.Josh:And it's very like trouble in paradise type.Ben:The title of the podcast was going dark. I'm like, well, that's in more ways than one. They're basically saying, yeah, we're going off the air because we just can't do this with good conscience right now.Starr:I would have a very hard time doing that too.Josh:Yeah, how do you talk about anything? Ben and I were talking before this podcast. We were like, how do you not talk about this if you do a podcast? Now that it's an issue, you have to address it. So being a podcaster at the company, I can only imagine, there's no way you can continue.Ben:I've been thinking this week about what lessons to be learned from this, for Honeybadger or how do we change anything at Honeybadger if we do. We're not 55 employees, we're just five employees. And so that makes a difference. But as I was thinking about that, I was thinking back to when we hired Ben Findley, I remember Starr saying to the three of us privately, "Maybe we need to not be dropping our political views into our general channel in Slack." Because we always make jokes about political figures or things because the three of us have fairly similar political outlooks and belief systems and that sort of thing. And so we agree to most of the stuff that we share. And I think I had shared something and I was making fun of some politician, I don't know what it was. But Starr was like, "Maybe we shouldn't do that in general anymore. Because that might make our employees a little uncomfortable, feeling like they have to agree with us philosophically or politically." And I thought that was a great point.Ben:And so we moved that stuff out of our whole employee chat room into just the three co founder chat room, so we could still be amused of that stuff and not feel like we're imposing. But I think that a lot of people felt betrayed. We thought we were in this together with Jason, David, we thought they were on our side. And now they come and say this, which is totally different from what we had expected. And we feel like we're not aligned. I think a lot of was that.Josh:It seemed like a very illiberal decision.Josh:You're silencing dissent basically is out of character with a company that has advocated for such the opposite, or at least it feels like they have. When at the same time, there's a valid point that you cannot have your whole company absorbed in politics, either. But again, it's not something that you can just have a single ... There's not a single line you can draw. Even going back to with us, we try to keep things fairly apolitical. But we've definitely had some political discussions since then with our employees and even in some cases, they've been the ones to say something. Or when there's a big event happening ... We haven't had any major society affecting events in politics recently.Starr:Of course not.Josh:But it's like, how do you not say something about that? How do you not mention that a Viking is in the capital?Ben:Exactly. That was the first thing that came to mind when you said that is like January 6th. That was a bad day for us. And I remember we were just like, okay, I got to [crosstalk 00:39:41].Starr:I was like, I'm taking the day off. I need to figure out if I need to flee to Canada or something.Ben:And I totally think that kind of thing is fine. You got to have that space.Josh:We're all people.Ben:But at the same time, that conversation didn't go for weeks in our Slack. It wasn't like work stopped. We got back to it when we could. And I think there needs to be a balance there. I think people need to feel like they can express themselves about things that are they're concerned about. And to your point, I think this is probably a one on one conversation where the boss comes in says, "Okay, I appreciate you're having a hard time, maybe you need to take a vacation."Starr:Some management? Maybe this is the problem with non hierarchical type companies. There's no manager who can just take people aside and smooth out the tensions and all that.Josh:They have ahead of people ops, which is where some of the power got transferred in that post. And so does the CTO need to be the one that's stepping into squash ... They have managers that are supposedly their sole job is to deal with people too. The other thought I had about just political discussions arising at work is that if anything, I would say the leaders are the ones who should be not 24/7 just ranting about politics in their company chat. If anything, I think we made the right decision like, okay, let's not broadcast all of our political baggage and opinions in chat to make our employees feel like they have to agree with us or something. But we didn't say like, let's make sure they don't ever talk about politics. It's just like, let's not make them feel uncomfortable by broadcasting our politics.Josh:So I think you should almost give them more room to involve their opinions. And as far as the founders politics go, it's not that you shouldn't be political but I think that's where it comes down to where the company mission ... I think back during the whole Coinbase debacle, Ben Thompson had an interesting framework for dealing with political things in businesses. And I think part of it was the company can have a mission that has a society wide goal or whatever. And I think the founders moving ... If it's part of the company mission, that's where the founders ... That's where their politics should come through. You start a company like that is it to some extent, it's an extension of you. And I don't see a problem with wanting to change the world in the direction that you think it should go.Josh:But I think that's where founders should moderate themselves in at least in terms of the workplace to advocate for the mission of the company, and not be spewing all of their political red line bedrock issues as DHH called it.Starr:There's definitely this power dynamic and now it's something ... When we hired our first employee, I was super aware of that. That there was this power dynamic where I wielded really without wanting to, more power as a owner than an employee does. And so I just want to be very careful. That's why I suggested we move things to backroom because I just want to be very careful not to make people feel uncomfortable. And you talked about the mission of the company, there's different ways of looking at a company's mission. You can obviously look at a company and be like, the mission of this company is make as much money as possible. And yes, that's valid. But I mean that's just one side of things. Because the mission of somebody building a company with people in it is to create a system in which all of these people can work together to make money or do whatever in a way that is sustainable and scalable, and all of that.Starr:And part of those people is politics. For example, me personally, as a trans person, my existence is politicized in ways that I wish it weren't. But here we are. That's something that has to be taken into account. You can't just be like, okay, turn off all politics at work because that's basically asking somebody to deny some part of themselves. And I can't figure out how to make the system work with you in it. So I'm just going to ask you to pretend that you're somebody else to fit into this system that I made.Ben:Yeah. Some people tossed out the notion of they're canceling my existence. And I think that's a dangerous phrase on both sides, someone who does actually want to do that, and someone who's accusing another of doing that. Because we do bring a lot into the situations that we're in, we all have blind spots and it's easy to recognize someone else's blind spots without recognizing our own. It's much easier someone else's than our own. And no one should feel like they have to turn off a part of themselves or hide a part of themselves in order to be part of a community. I have strong feelings about this. We should be able to love each other enough to be able to accept whoever they are, wherever they are, whatever point they are. And be able to communicate that. And I keep coming back to this communication part. Because I think so much of this brouhaha is just communication. People being able to sit down and talk to each other and say, "This is how I feel. What you say and what you do makes me feel this way or that way." And responding to that rather than coming down with saying, "Well, this is how it's going to be."Josh:Yeah.Ben:I'm a pretty upfront in your face person with my communication style, and I'm sure I've offended more people than I could ever count. And I don't feel good about that. And I work on that or I try to be better about that. And I have my blind spots that are huge. And I'm sure I've rubbed a lot of people the wrong way and I still will. But not intentionally. I'm not out there to hurt people. And I think sometimes there are cases where people feel like, oh, he intentionally hurt me by doing X, Y, or Z. And it's like, well, no, they actually didn't. They didn't intentionally hurt you. Yeah, I can see where they did hurt you. The hurt is real. It happened. There's no question. But there's a difference between someone that hurt you inadvertently versus intentionally. And I think just offering some grace to people will help a lot in smoothing that out. I don't know, maybe that's idealistic.Josh:It seems like these issues Starr mentioned, these should not be politicized issues. And I think a lot of this is dealing with the fallout of the greater ... What's been done to society as a whole, making everything a political issue. And the polarization, it's bleeding into everything now.Starr:We're not allowed to talk about society in this podcast, Josh.Ben:Let's stay in our lane.Starr:It violates our policy.Josh:They shouldn't be political issues to begin with. People should be discussing things without assuming political positions, but it's almost impossible to do that anymore. And then I had mentioned I think before or maybe to you, Ben privately, we were talking before the podcast, just being professional ... Just treating people with respect. Obviously everyone is different and people have never agreed on everything. The tech industry especially is made a big point about being casual and dropping a lot of the trappings of business and empowering people, which is good. But then also, it just seems like there's a lack sometimes of just respect and professionalism between people. I can have my point of view, you can have your point of view but we can still work together because we agree on the bigger picture or whatever. I mean, I guess that's part of the point. There has to be some big picture that you agree on to. And I think that picture should be broad but it still has to have balance.Ben:Go ahead, Starr.Starr:Oh, sorry. I was just going to gently push back a little bit on the idea that things can be completely apolitical. And I'm not really talking about partisan politics. I'm just more talking in the more general sense. I think to some extent pretty much everything is political and wishing that things weren't political is ... That'd be great if there could be things that weren't political but I think just in reality, most things are. And I'm not saying that there's not a place for professionalism and all that. I think that's where the willingness to think that's ... The professionalism to me is where the willingness to endure some discomfort comes in. And that's I think what we're seeing in this statement by Jason is an unwillingness to endure discomfort. It's like, I'm uncomfortable, you guys have to be different so that I'm not uncomfortable anymore.Josh:I get what you're saying. I think I agree with you. In the grand scale, everything is political in the sense that if you're talking about power structures and things ... The people that have the power are the ones that are going to want to say that things aren't political, I think in most cases. And so if you are in a group that wants to see change, how can you not be political? So in that sense, everything. Is that what you're saying, Starr?Starr:Yeah, that's pretty much where I was going at. And But again, it's different from partisan politics. It's different from that kind of politics. It's a different thing.Ben:We all have our differences. We're all different people, everyone is unique. And I think we would be more accepting of differences and that makes the world better place. On that note, take on a weird segue, so we promised talking about the Rails effect.Josh:Yeah, let's talk about Rails.Starr:Yeah, we got to do that.Ben:Okay. So this is I feel, I guess, a little more emotion about this because it affects me a little more directly than the Basecamp thing does. Because as a company, we are invested very heavily in the Rails community. And as an individual having been involved in the Rails community since 2015 or so, it's a large part of my identity and my lived experience. So people are saying, "Well, we should fork Rails." Because-Josh:Well, first of all, let's talk about ... Some of the employees who are leaving Basecamp over this are Rails core contributors, they've contributed to a lot of the open source ecosystem of Rails, and some of them have actually said, "I'm not just leaving Basecamp but I'm no longer going to be involved in any of these open source projects." That's going to put a lot of pressure on the open source community when your core contributors are leaving because the control structure or whatever.Ben:And I got to say, it pains me. It pains me to see someone ... Because I can empathize with the weight of that decision. Some of these individuals, it's a lot of their life has been invested in these projects that they've put out there. And it's a generous gift that they've given to the world and they feel like they have to step away from that because of this situation, which I think is super painful. And I can totally appreciate why someone would make that decision. And on the other hand, having been an author of open source stuff myself in some things that have gained some popularity, there are times when it can get to a point where it grows beyond you. I'm thinking right now about Faker. I started the Ruby Faker as a copy of Perl Faker and it was a fun little thing for me to have something that I wanted to see in the world and it took a life of its own. It got to a point where I wasn't interested in carrying it any further.Ben:And other people were. And so now they are. I'm still around, occasionally might do a little bit of work here and there. But it definitely has a life of its own. And I don't want to make a false like equivalency here. I'm not saying that my stuff is anywhere near as interesting or valuable as some of the projects that you're referencing, Josh. But that's just a way to say I can understand this feeling of one, this emotional investment and two, sometimes things just grow beyond the individual.Josh:Yeah. And if anything, I'd almost say maybe it's time for DHH to think about that. As you mentioned, and I interrupted you ... So sorry about that. But you were getting to the point that there have been already people talking about forking Rails. What do you think about that? I'm going to put you on the spot.Ben:I got to say, it makes me frustrated to think about people saying, well, this is the reason why we need to fork Rails. It's obviously that DHH is bad and we want to be good. And we want Rails to be good and so we have to divest ourselves of DHH. A lot of thoughts there. One is, okay, it's really hard to have a really successful project and have a good fork. There are a lot of things there. The resources, the energy, just a whole lot goes into that. But one of my thoughts is-Josh:There's a split in the community.Ben:It's really painful. Why shoot yourself in the foot like that? And I know a lot of people think that that's a bad thought. But the DHH thing is what really I think gets me. If you want to fork Rails, okay, we can talk about that. But if you want to fork Rails because of DHH's behavior and that was the impression that I got from what I read about this one person who was talking about it ... DHH hasn't changed. This isn't new. DHH has been DHH for a long, long time.Josh:It's a running joke.Ben:I'm trying to avoid the false equivalency thing but in 2015, I wrote a blog post about Rails. I was at that time looking at Rails, but I was still doing a lot of PHP and Perl stuff. And I wrote a blog post and I compared where Rails was, it was still almost brand new. It was pre-version of 1.0. And I compared it to what I was familiar with in the PHP world, some frameworks that I had used, some approaches that I'd taken, and I basically came to the conclusion like, well, Rails looks interesting but it's immature. It's got these problems. And DHH gave me the full bore DHH effect. He just came after me, guns blazing. And he's all like, well, blah, blah, blah. You're dumb, basically. And that was his M.O at the time.Josh:Did he cyberbully you? Was that one of the first cyber bullyings? You're talking about 2005?Ben:Yeah, 2005.Josh:I thought you said 2015.Starr:Yeah, I was like, I had no idea you were doing PHP in 2015.Ben:Wow, time flies anyway. But this was what DHH did. Anytime anyone criticized anything about Rails, he just lit into them. Whether it was a Java person or a Perl ... It didn't matter. He didn't care. That's what he used for marketing. Intentionally or not, that's what he did. And it was effective, it worked, people gave him attention. And DHH has been basically the same. He has very strong opinions. He is not shy about expressing them. So by saying, well, this just shows that DHH is a butt head and we need to fork Rails because of it, why did you ever participate in Rails in the first place?Josh:I think part of it ... Go ahead, Starr.Starr:Oh, I was just going to say it's not really a rational choice like that. They're just pissed off and they're just saying shit like people do when they're pissed off.Josh:There's definitely some of that going on. My first reaction is just, whoa, cool down. Let's wait. Let's not fork Rails this week or even this month. But I think it's probably a little bit more than just we want to punish DHH for what he did or his opinion, although that might be part of it. But I think part of it is that DHH has so much control over Rails that there really is no participating in Rails without DHH being your open source boss, basically. And so the people that don't want to work for DHH to the extent that they're giving up their 15 year career at his company, I imagine are thinking, how can I still exist in this open source community where DHH owns the trademarks for Ruby and Rails and asserts them and basically has the final say on everything that happens, and is very vocal about it. He's not your boss anymore but he would be if there's someone who has a say over how your project gets incorporated into the larger ecosystem or whatever.Starr:I imagine DHH is not nice to people he's pissed off at.Josh:That could be part of it too.Starr:I think that just seems obvious to me is ... If there is a project like Rails, it's been around for so long and is so central to so many things. It needs to be owned by a independent Rails Foundation, that's a nonprofit or whatever. And yeah, sure DHH would play a role in that but it would be an independent organization ... That just seems to be like the way that these big software projects, open source ones get handled and it seems to work okay. Every place has drama, but why does Rails have to be so tied to Basecamp except that DHH wants it to be his personal project?Josh:Yeah. But it is unique in the sense that ... The roadmap for Rails basically has come out of Basecamp. Basecamp has been the roadmap for Rails essentially. So it is so tied to it ... Most of what gets into Rails or a lot of what gets into Rails is directly code from Basecamp. Which I guess does make it an interesting control structure currently. But that is the other alternative I have heard someone mention in all of this so far is, there should be some larger body overseeing the project now. It shouldn't just be one company. And if I had to pick between the two, I'd much rather have a Rails foundation than whatever the new Rails is going to be. I was telling Ben, I don't know if I have the energy for a Rails fork at this point in my life. The other interesting thing to think about is how this impacts our business just because we are very dependent on Rails in a lot of different ways. And it's our market, too. So in any case, I think we're going to be involved in this whether we like it or not.Ben:Yeah. It's funny because we're the live and let live kind of people. We roll with it kind of stuff. And this kind of thing is not what we signed up for. We don't revel in drama. But I was joking with Josh before we got on the podcast about I need to add this scenario to our risk register, with our Soc2 compliance, we have to list down various risks to the business and I'd never conceptualize that this could be a business risk where I have to worry about what some random person at some other company thinks about , Rails or whatever. It's like, oh, great.Starr:Well, maybe it's time to brush up on those PHP skills.Josh:Yeah, there's always Elixir. I said the risk should be DHH in his damn mouth. That's what we should put on our risk register.Ben:DHH blows up our business.Josh:I appreciate a lot of things about DHH in fairness too and he's been nice to me. But that does not come as a surprise that he has opinions and asserts them on people.Ben:Yeah. Reading some of the tweets that I read this week, sometimes I thought you did sign up to go work for DHH. You knew what you're getting into. He is a very opinionated person. And the way they run the business is very top down like most businesses are. And sometimes, you're in a situation you just have to leave and that sucks. I think that sucks for everybody. I think that sucks for the person that has to leave and a number of people are leaving Basecamp. I know it sucks for them and it sucks for DHH and Jason. They are losing the opportunity to interact with these fine people and to have their world broadened by the experiences that these people bring into their lives. So it's sad. I think it's sad all around.Josh:I think they're risking a lot. I don't know what they're thinking right now. And I guess you could make the argument that this is still just in that phase where the dust hasn't settled yet and people haven't accepted, but that's pretty optimistic. I guess if things settle down and there is no ... People don't fork Rails. But if a Rails fork happens, how can that benefit more than hurt your business in the long run when you basically depend on ... That's a big part of their appeal and their business. I just don't see how that's good for Basecamp just from a purely business perspective. I don't see how any of that's ... I guess time will tell, but they do tend to try to take the long view where they're like, this is for the good of the industry and the world. This decision is how business should be done and one day you'll all agree with us.Starr:Oh god. Someone told me this is publicity tour for their next book.Josh:Well, someone did make the point.Starr:It's going to come out within a week. We've been played, this whole time.Josh:There was a good tweet ... I don't remember it verbatim but it was about how Basecamp is basically trying to communicate trust in the trappings of marketing ... As marketing or something like that. Their post was very ... It was marketing, almost. It was in the voice of these are our big ... We're making these big changes at the company because this is how we believe the industry should move forward. I think that's the gist. And it's always in terms of telling you how it should be. And it just feels like in some way, they're telling you how you should be.Starr:Yeah, that's true.Josh:I guess don't give your touchy company announcements to the marketing department or something.Starr:I don't know. Like most Americans, I love a good fall from grace, a good reversal of fortune story. So I'm just going to get my popcorn. And hopefully it doesn't affect us too bad.Ben:This is just yet another example of a good reason why you do not want to be a thought leader.Starr:Yeah, good point. We really dodged a bullet there.Ben:We sure did. I'm just going to go back to running my business, keep my head down and trying to make people happy.Josh:So, speaking of, do we have any critical advice for the Rails community in this moment? That they will listen to you next week after they've made their rash decisions.Starr:Our weekly hot takes.Josh:Our advice is, take some deep breaths and think. Just spend some time to think for a week or so. And if you do that, if you listen to us right now, you'll save the community.Starr:Oh, Josh, you just don't want to have a bigger CI suite.Josh:Oh my god. I did not think about that, Starr.Ben:My advice, I would just steal directly from Bill and Ted. And it is to be excellent to one another.Starr:Oh, I thought I was going to need a party on. That's strange advice, Ben for the moment but it was actually good advice.Josh:That's party on Wayne.Starr:Oh, you're right.Josh:They both work in all situations.Starr:All right, well, I don't know. Sometimes you eat the bar and sometimes the bar eats you. I don't know what that means but it's from The Big Lebowski.Josh:It's from The Big Lebowski and it's truth.Starr:Yeah. Have we said our peace?Josh:I think so.Starr:All right.Starr:All right, this has been FounderQuest. If you would like to go to review Apple podcasts, that's great. Please go do that. If you want to write for us, we are usually looking for writers for our blog and stuff, go to our blog, and look for the write for us page and get in touch. And I will see you all.Ben:And if you'd like to mimic Arnold Schwarzenegger saying Honeybadger, please do get in touch.Starr:Oh yeah, do that. Send us your WAV files.Josh:Please.Starr:All right. If you are Arnold Schwarzenegger listening to this, you know what to do. 
58:48 05/07/2021
SaaS Life Isn't All Sunshine And Rainbows
Show notes:Links:Lego space shuttleChallenger disasterChallenger: The Final FlightRoamxkcdFootage of Josh two weeks after final Pfizer shotThe Final CountdownThe Beach BoysFull transcript:Starr:All right. So now you're going to joke about how, since I've been vaccinated...Josh:Are you saying you are vacc'ed?Starr:In vacc'ed. I'm chipped. I like to say I'm chipped.Josh:Got your injection.Starr:People always act like being chipped is a bad thing, but now if I wander off, people will be able to return me to my family.Josh:Yeah. And I don't know what the big deal is, everyone loves new technology. I don't know anyone who's been bummed out that some new tech came out.Starr:That's true.Josh:I don't know what the... Yeah.Starr:I can't tell you the number of times I've been watching WWC and just being like, "why can't you just inject this into my vein?"Josh:Right.Starr:And now they are, and everybody's mad about it. Make up your minds, people.Ben:Let's see, so Starr you just got number one. Josh had two and I will have number two in a week and change.Josh:Yeah. I should have full immunity and well, I know on our next podcast in a week, it's been a week. Yeah.Ben:It feels good.Josh:So I'm not going to be here next week.Starr:Yeah. You get full immunity. Josh. You don't get diplomatic immunity, soJosh:Oh, okay. That's good to know.Starr:Cool it there, don't go off and rob any banks or anything.Ben:Did you see the new space shuttle, Lego kit?Ben:It's very cool.Ben:Yeah, it's the kit that is from the mission that launched the Hubble telescope. So it includes a little Hubble telescope as part of the kit. And you can mount it by itself, like display it on the stand itself or put it in the shuttle bay, the cargo bay of the shuttle.Josh:That's awesome.Starr:Oh, that's really cool.Josh:Yeah. My, my kids aren't quite Lego age yet. As we were saying the other day, they... what is the other, what's the bigger version?Ben:Duplo.Josh:Yeah. With their Duplo age, but actually, they're getting. We'll be getting Legos soon.Ben:Yeah. It's fun for the whole family.Josh:Yeah. It's going to be fun.Starr:Yeah. Mine's not really into Legos, but she loves... We just have like this big box full of random craft supplies, and she'll just go dig in through that and start building stuff.Ben:Pretty great.Josh:That's fun. My kids are both really into Pokemon right now. So that's actually pretty fun, because Pokemon's fun to watch.Ben:Have you done Pokemon Go with them?Josh:No, I haven't done that yet.Ben:I don't even know if the game is still around. Like..Starr:Oh, it's around. I know several people who are super into Pokemon Go and yeah, it's around trust me. Especially with the pandemic lots of people just wanted something to get them out of the house. They've been walking around with that.Josh:I could see that.Ben:We had this thing. So I haven't done Pokemon Go in quite a while, but when I was doing it, we had this Discord group here around town. They would use that to coordinate the battles. You know, they're like, "oh, there's a new ray, let's all go over." And like, oh, wow. I wasn't that into it, but all of a sudden I just hear through the same spot. And they're coordinating the text and the scores. It's kind of fun. So I went to a couple of raids, but I just kind of lost interest before I really got that deep into it. So.Starr:I just can't really get into a game where I have to socialize with people to win. Maybe I'm just showing my age. I'm from the generation where you play games, to like get away from people.Josh:Is it really socializing? Because you're all just standing around in a park, staring at your phones. Aren't you? I mean, for us, that is socializing.Starr:Yeah. That's pretty much socializing. That's what we do at my family some nights.Josh:Oh yeah. We all went to the park today.Starr:Yeah. So it's beautiful in the Pacific Northwest now. I assume it's beautiful where you are Josh? It'sJosh:Oh yeah. It's going to be 80.Starr:Oh my gosh. It's the first real week of sun after just months and months and months of gray and we all at this point, know not to get our hopes up. It's going to go back to gray pretty soon, but you can enjoy it while you got it.Josh:Is this the false spring? Is that what we're in right now?Ben:Yep. I think today probably after we're done recording, I'm going to be wrapping up some things pretty quickly and then getting the old foldable kayak out of the trunk and hitting the water.Josh:Nice.Starr:Oh, that's awesome.Josh:Yeah. I was thinking I might go sit in the sun or something.Starr:Yeah. So do you have any businessy type tech stuff to talk about today or we're all just have senior-itis?Josh:Well, we sort of unofficially launched a React Native support yesterday. So to our listeners, if you have any React Native projects that you want to monitor errors and you should hit us up, because we're looking for beta testers and things.Starr:That's awesome. And is that the one that Andre has been working on?Josh:Yep.Ben:Yeah. Andre did a fantastic job in getting the native stuff going and, Josh wrapped it up on the server side and I was pleasantly surprised at just how little work we had to do to get that working on a server side.Josh:Yeah. Source maps... Because React Native is a... I'm not a React Native developer, so it's probably only half working, but from what I understand, it's a little bit tricky, because it's React on top of native code. And so I've heard that you can end up with stack traces that have JavaScript and native, like source locations in them and stuff. And it gets tricky. So what we have, you can generate source maps for your React code and upload that to Honeybadger. And it works just like a regular JavaScript application. So we have yet to implement support for translating the native lines in the stack traces. But that's that'll be up next, I think. At least when someone requests it, so go use it and request it and we'll build it.Ben:That's that just in time development, we're not going to build it. Someone asks for it.Josh:Yeah. And also we have to understand it before we build it.Starr:Yeah. That's a biggie. Like somebody needs to come out with a a paid service that just processes source maps and Java trigger phrases. I know we would be the only customer because nobody has to do this, but us, but it seems like way too much work for what it is. It seems like we should just be able to like buy something and fix it.Josh:Yeah. What we're talking about here, basically it would be another source maps, service because are other types of... What is it? Symbolicating?Starr:Symbolification? I don't know.Josh:I can't remember. I think it's symbolication. Yeah, they switch it up on, you know.Starr:That's not even a word.Josh:But that's how I remember it. I always remember, it's the one that's not the real word. So it's a different type of a...Starr:Wasn't that a Red Hot Chili Peppers song? Symbolification?Josh:Californication was.Starr:Ah okay. Sorry. I got that mixed up. I'm sorry, go on.Josh:Yeah. I don't know where I was going with that. It's basically like another type of source map, but for native. And so you will have to build that into our infrastructure at some pointBen:There was a bit of conversation on Twitter this week about podcasts, and blog posts, and tweets, I guess too, about when people are sharing progress on their business and how there's all this positive stuff and hustle culture and like, "Hey, we were awesome. And we're doing all these great things and, look at our revenue, through the roof, it's to the moon." And some people were saying the reality is, there are ups and there are downs. We never hear about the downs so much in the tweets and in the podcasts and et cetera, et cetera. And so I was looking at that, I'm like, "yeah, that's true. And I think about our podcast and we don't very often share downs, but then we don't very often have a lot of downs.Ben:So that kind of works out I guess, but I thought about all this because we did have a down this week since, since recording our last episode. In the last episode I did say that we had a new feature coming out, where I talked about Slack and how we're going to have this threaded support in Slack and how it was going to be so awesome. And I said, it would be launched by the time that episode drops. Well, that episode dropped this morning and that feature did not launch on time.Josh:Oh yeah.Ben:It's kind of sad.Josh:It hasn't launched. I don't know what the story is. So...Ben:The story is, the features almost there, but there are enough corner cases that we just didn't feel comfortable launching it to our customers. Kevin and I had... So Kevin is working on this hardcore, for a long time and he really wants to get it launched, but we had a launch date that we picked and getting up to that date, there were still, these little bugs that are popping up and Kevin was getting pretty nervous. And so, Kevin and I chatted 6:00 AM, the morning that we were going to launch this thing, and he had just committed some code that would fix a couple more bugs. I could tell he was kind of anxious, but I could also tell that he also was really done with this, just so ready to get this out of the door.Ben:And so we talked to those last few issues and I said, "Look, I'll go with what you want to do here, but if it were me, I would not launch this. I would just set it aside, go do something else for a while, let my brain clear, and see if inspiration strikes about really making it feel like this was done." We're kind of nervous about launching this. And I really wouldn't want to deal with an increased support load by deploying a buggy thing, as opposed to just waiting a while and fixing it. We talked about, "what if we never get comfortable with this feature? What if this is just weeks and months worth of development that was thrown out the window?"Starr:What if nobody ever loves us again, and we die poor in a gutter.Ben:So there's definitely that sunk cost thing where it's like, "oh, we put so much work into this. Let's just push it out there. Let's get it done." Right? But ultimately we decided that we did not want to launch it and that we didn't feel comfortable enough putting it in front of our customers. That's a bit of sad news from Honeybadger. So for all those people out there, there you go. There's a little bit of balance to all that.Josh:Yeah. I definitely feel for Kevin because I've totally been there. And I think your advice was good though, because you don't want to deal with the fallout from support requests like that. If you're already in that place of frazzled and kind of done.Starr:Yeah. It's like being on tilt when you're playing poker or something. It's like, you don't want to deploy on tilt. I wonder if you could say that there's two types of deadlines and they often get mixed up and you don't really know which one you have. There's deadlines, which are real, like the space shuttle is launching on a certain day and you got to be there so you can get in on time. And then there's deadlines for motivation, which are not a big deal. It's not a big deal, we don't launch this feature. Maybe some people will be annoyed that they have to wait, but being a parent to a young child, I've really gotten over being bothered by people being annoyed.Ben:Yeah. We never set a deadline, like a date per se. It's just, we felt that it was ready. And so we said, "okay, we'll launch this on this day because it's ready." And then we got to that day. And I was like, ah, we don't think it's ready so I think artificial deadlines suck. But this was a slightly different thing where we thought it was ready, but it's not. And we're so emotionally spent on this thing that we don't want to play on tilt. I like that.Starr:Yeah. Is there something fundamentally difficult about it, or is it just a lot of weird little details have to be wrapped up?Ben:Yeah. More of the latter. And it was the thing of going into the final countdown basically and still having those issues. Right. Back to the space shuttle thing, it's like, it's really cold that morning, these o-rings man, I don't know, should we go ahead launch. No, let's not launch, let's double check those o-rings, right?Josh:Yeah.Starr:That's funny. Non-sequitur the other day I was in this unrelated discord and somebody said something about the final countdown and I was really going to make it like that song. I wanted to find it and paste it in. And then I was like, "wait a second." I was like, wait a second. This person is like 20. They're not even going to understand what I'm doing. They're just going to be like, "oh, this is going to like my dad sending me a link to some Beach Boys song or something." It's just, Ugh.Ben:Yeah, totally. I guess we'll have to add a link to the space shuttle in the show notes so that the young ones can know what we're talking about.Starr:Oh, yeah.Ben:So we aren't going to be launching the Slack thing anytime soon. We may not launch that as envisioned, we may have to go back and rethink that. Some of the threading stuff is really cool, but I don't want to lose it. So Kevin and I are basically just kind of taking a break and we're going to get some head space around that.Josh:Maybe work on something else for a while?Ben:Yes. Kevin has already started working on something that customers have requested multiple times and I'm really excited about having, so that should be cool. And it's a much smaller project so we can get it out the door and it'll be nice.Josh:Yeah. Guess sometimes you just want to ship something and that's also a bad reason to ship something. Especially if it's something that's been bothering you or if it's been an involved project and you just want to get it out the door. That's not a good reason to ship it.Ben:Yeah.Josh:But sometimes you do.Ben:But sometimes you do, because you just got to.Josh:Yep.Ben:That was January 28th 1986, the space shuttle Challenger.Starr:Okay, challenger. Is this a model of Challenger itself? No, I don't think.Ben:No it's Discovery. Discovery is the one that launched the Hubble. That was for those of you here who remember of the space shuttle, Challenger disaster. I don't know.Ben:I remember exactly where I was when that happened. I wasn't watching it on TV. I was in elementary school and I was really into space. Everything space I ate up. So of course I was all over this shuttle and stuff, but it was the middle of the school day, and we didn't have the thing where, at least my class, we weren't watching it like a lot of classes did. And I remember very vividly sitting in the lunchroom and having lunch, and one of my friends came in. He was also really, into space, we were best friends, and he came in and he told me that the space shuttle had blown up.Ben:I just didn't believe him, because I thought that was impossible. I thought maybe a booster exploded or, there was some sort of failure and they had to... Whatever. But the whole thing? That just doesn't compute. And so I watched recently, in Netflix documentary, about the disaster and I was not the only person that felt that way. A lot of people that they were talking to were just like, it was inconceivable to them that something at that scale that magnitude could actually happen. That was a sad day.Starr:Yeah. That's rough. I wasn't paying that close of attention to it. This is a little bit of a different temperament. I'm surprised that all the space shuttles don't explode. It's just like strap some explosives to our butt and we're going to shoot ourselves into the sky. Like, how does that work at all?Ben:That is kind of U2 in a nutshell, Ben believes in all of them.Ben:That's pretty funny.Josh:Yeah. I was two in 1986, so I don't remember. But I do remember the space shuttle, just later. I had the models and was into it in the 90s.Ben:But we don't warrant Honeybadger for use in space shuttle programming.Starr:Oh God, no.Ben:Sorry. We don't have that kind of insurance.Starr:Yeah. I've had a pretty productive week. We're going on the Honeybadger intelligence projects, which I really like saying. At first, I was going to abbreviate at HBI, because that sounds kind of official, but I also like Josh's abbreviation of HBINT, because that sounds like it's some sort of intelligent service.Josh:HBINT.Starr:Yeah. Now I've got six authors working on different languages and everything. And I had a little bit of radio silence from some of them. So I was like, maybe they didn't quite understand what they're signing up for. And they got into it and it's like too much work. But no, it's just, if you give people a deadline, they're not just going to like keep talking to you. They'll just start working and then do it. So, that's good. They are actually working and that is excellent. And we got one report back. I don't know what you think about Josh, but I, was like, "okay, this is kind of what I imagined.Josh:I haven't looked at it yet, but it's up next actually. I've got it on my to do.Starr:Anyway, that's a fun thing. Just rolling along making progress.Ben:I have another update from last episode in which I said... I got almost no responses to my emails, to people who were,Starr:Oh yeah, you got that really good one.Ben:So I got off the podcast and I found in my inbox an email from someone responding to one of those emails. So that makes two, I've gotten two responses in total out of the ones that I've sent out. And yeah, that was a fantastic response telling us reasons why they think Sentry is a little better in this way or that way and things we can do to improve. That was awesome. I,Starr:They're wrong, but they're entitled to their opinion.Ben:Well. Turns out this individual is not in the U.S. And one of the things he called out was our date rendering, which we had actually put some effort into to, to make it localized and to make it really nice for people because, of course the U.S. is weird and how we display our dates and the rest of the world is not weird. And so, he was complaining about that when he logged in, he saw it in the U.S. format and I'm like, "oh, that's because you haven't configured it." And then I thought we're already detecting the time zone via JavaScript, we go and update timestamps and they're based on that. Why don't we use the person's locale to determine the format?Ben:So, that was like a two line code change. I deployed it out there within a few minutes and I just loved those kinds of little fixes. Right. That's that's great. Maybe nobody even noticed that thing, but it just feels good having that kind of polishing.Josh:I think the point is that they don't notice it in the future. I like those things like personalization.Ben:So now if you create an account, hopefully when you first sign in, if you're in the UK, you will see the day, month, year as it should be, as opposed to the U.S.s backwards way of month, day, year,Starr:The other lesson is that people aren't going to go hunting through configuration options.Ben:True. Very true.Josh:You should just like drop them into the settings page after they sign up.Ben:Wait, wait. Before you can use any Honeybadger. You have to have configured all the things.Starr:No, we'll have a file upload form and they can upload a yml file with all their configuration options.Ben:There you go. I like it.Josh:That's cool.Ben:Yeah, but my week was more the same. Actually I think I'm about ready for vacation. Because I'm feel like,Josh:I'm thinking the same.Ben:Yeah, because I'm feeling a little tapped out. And so this week I've actually taken kind of quasi vacation, I guess. I took my foot off the gas pedal this week. I've been working every day, but not as much as I usually do. And that's been nice. I've been spending some time on the bike, and in the garden, and things like that. SoJosh:Yeah. It's the three month mark. That's what it is for me because I started thinking about like the same thing last week or this week. I can't remember, I just started having those thoughts, like "oh yeah, vacation." I haven't taken time off in a while, so yeah.Starr:So you think it's three months? There's a sketch, I remember from Portlandia, where there's one patch of sunlight in the park and everybody, they move all the chairs to go sit in it and they're sprawling out and having a great time being all summery and then the sunlight moves to another part and then they have to run after it. I wonder if that's the thing, because it's like the sun comes out, it's like you've just to go outside for a little while.Josh:Yeah. That could be a part of it. I have noticed there's a cycle. Actually it's not three months, it's more like six weeks, is the sanity version where I should be taking a little bit of time at least. But three months is like, when I start to realize, I really need to take time off if I haven't already by then, that's when I start to notice that I'm starting to burn out a little bit. So that's usually like the critical point for me.Ben:I've wondered if we should have a mandatory vacation policy, where you have to take a week off every quarter.Ben:It seems like that would be hard to enforce. So that's why I haven't really like thought about it seriously, but as I speculated about other things, like vacation, because none of us take enough vacation time, in my opinion. I think at Honeybadger... We don't encourage people not to, I think we just like to work, and we like each other and we like what we're doing. And so we just ended up not taking a lot of vacation. And I was just trying to think of ways to fix that because vacation is good. It's useful. And so that was one idea. I was like, well, we could just say you have to take a week off. You're going to have to, but it's kind of hard to.Starr:...who's hoing keep up with that?Ben:Yeah, exactly.Josh:I'd like to bug people about it though. That's something we could do for each other.Starr:I don't really want people bugging me to take time off. That would kind of annoy me, but maybe we could have these periodic, like daily and weekly, reminders in base camp. I wonder if we could put a monthly one in there. There's like, "Hey, consider taking some time off," or something.Ben:Or we can build a SaaS that has a Slack bot that joins your Slack and nudges you. "Hey, have you taken a vacation yet?" And if you say no, then it goes away for a couple of weeks and then it comes back. And if you keep saying no, then it starts getting more frequent. Then it's every day it's like, "Hey vacation yet?"Starr:It'll overlay something on your screen where it just says vacation.Josh:I'm really beginning to dislike the automat, of the automated check-ins and things.Starr:They're not my favorite, to be honest. I do not process lots of like notifications coming at me very well. I have this time dedicated to figuring out what I've got to do today and I'll go to these places and I'll figure that out. And then yeah. If something comes at me in the middle of day, it was like, "Hey, you got to do this thing." I'm not like, "great, thanks for reminding me." I'm going to. Like shut up. I'll look at you tomorrow. I've already got my plan for today.Josh:Yeah.Ben:It's a nice world to live in.Josh:My friend, Joel has an interesting approach to what we use the automated check-ins and base camp for, like keeping up with what everyone's working on and stuff. They use a shared Roam Research daily because Roam Research is note taking tool that's collaborative, so you can like invite a bunch of people to it. It's like a Wiki. So you're all editing the same Wiki, but it centers around like a day page. So it's basically like a journal, it's the default view of it. So they have their entire team in a database that's basically like a team journal. So it's completely asynchronous. You just go to it and you could put anything you want in there that you feel might be interesting to other people or it could be what you're working on. I'd like it because that just becomes part of your workflow.Josh:And it's not like something that's constantly nagging you. Like, "Hey, what are you doing? What are you doing?" And also it opens up some flexibility for the types of things that you can share and the frequency, because it's a page of bullet items basically that's nested. So you can organize thoughts or things, but also, you're not forcing anyone to go read it. People can go and just browse it at their leisure.Starr:That's true. Yeah. That's interesting. That's kind of like what I do anyway.Josh:Same here.Starr:I would feel hesitant to do that in a shared format though, because I just like put everything for the day in there. Even if it's not work-related and that stuff is not really something I want to publish for everybody to see. It just feels weird,Josh:This wouldn't take the place of a personal work journal or something like that. I think it would be in addition, probably you might have your team and your personal one or something like that. At least that's how I'd approach it because I do the same thing with Roam actually, but just detailing what I'm working on or personal thoughts or whatever.Ben:Yeah. There is a personal note taking app for Mac and iOS that I saw recently that was built on markdown, but focused on a daily stuff. So kind of like the journal/notes app kind of hybrid. I thought that was neat. A good idea. And it sounds like the same kind of concept, every day, just dump your stuff in from the day and take notes that way.Josh:Hhhm-uuh (affirmative). I've been thinking maybe we'll try that at some point. I like to think about my experiments that disrupt people's existing workflows for a long time before I propose them, because we don't like to change things constantly. Maybe we'll try that at some point.Starr:Yeah. That makes sense. I think we're coming up on a conclave. I think it's about time.Josh:That's the reason I was really trying to get that React Native stuff shipped because that's been on every quarter for the last couple of quarters. This is not going to be on the next quarter.Starr:I should really go check my quarterly things. I think I've been doing them. I think I've been on track, butBen:Yeah. I like to go back to that conclave to do list every once in a while to remind me would I agreed that I was going to do and then I just go, " oh yeah. That thing. Totally forgot about that."Josh:The real question is, is this conclave going to be virtual or in person?Starr:Oh, I don't know. If it's going to be in the next month it's going to be virtual. Because I'm not going to do my second vaccine yet.Ben:Yeah. You haven't scheduled that.Josh:Yeah. Maybe we'll go for virtual this time and then shoot for the first in-person one later this year.Starr:Yeah.Ben:In Hawaii.Josh:Oh, that's a good idea. Yeah. I was, I went sort of attended a RailsConf. this week, which was online and it was great. It actually felt very RailsConf-y, even though it was different. I guess this is actually the second virtual RailsConf because the first one was canceled right at the start of the pandemic last year. But this one felt much more put together and definitely way more organized, obviously. They had a discord and a nice custom website with a hybrid prerecorded and live talks and things. Josh:They announced that RubyConf later this year is going to be in Denver. And so that was like the first event that I've heard recently, they're committing to some sort of in-person event. And that was kind of exciting because it's nice to look forward to traveling.Starr:Did they announce if next year's RailsConf is going to be, I assume it's going to be a person?Josh:Portland. It's back in Portland. So it's a do-over.Starr:They have unfinished business in Portland.Josh:Yes.Ben:That's awesome. I think the MicroConf Europe is scheduled to be in person.Josh:So, oh yeah. That was announced recently. Like last week or something.Ben:November or something. Yeah. So people being optimistic. It's good.Josh:Are we going to Europe?Ben:I'm not going to Europe but you're welcome to if you like. I have my passport,Josh:I don't know if I'm ready for that,Ben:But I'm not going to go to Europe. I'm not going to do non-essential travel for a while. Even vaccinated I'm just going to play it kind of close to home for a while and see how the summer goes.Starr:That's fair. And also I don't have a kid's vaccine yet. So I saw that maybe there's a chance it'll happen towards the end of the year. Who knows really?Josh:I might go to Hawaii or something.Starr:Yeah. It's just really weird because like I'm safe now, but now I've got this child who isn't. So how do I deal with that? We don't need to get into that. It's just the next level of this weird, crap parade that has been the past year and a half. Josh:Yeah. The risk to kids is not very high though. Right?Starr:They can still get it.Josh:I know they can get everything.Starr:There's a lot that's not known. Right. Kids have been largely sequestered. I think the risk of dying is low, but they can spread it to other people. Maybe, there's complications after they get it, but even though they are still alive, you know? So it's just...Josh:The long-term one is something that I'd like to know more about.Starr:Yeah. I'm kind of stressed out because our kid's scheduled to start school in the fall and it's just like, "ah! Like what?" Where's the information I need to make a sensible choiceJosh:Well I'm done stressing. I'm so I'm so over like worrying about everything. I never want to worry again. Okay. I'm just done worrying just period. I'm going to go stand on the edge of the grand canyon and lean out.Starr:You're just a dude. It's okay, I'll get you one of those nice Pendleton sweater.Josh:Nice. Let me go skydiving.Ben:Yeah. We got to check on that key person insurance for Honeybadger.Starr:Well, should we wrap it up so we can all start our vacations?Ben:Sounds good.Starr:All right it was great talking with you all and that this has been... What was the name of our podcast? It's not Honeybadger. It's FounderQuest. That's the name of our podcast. You've been listening to FounderQuest. Go review us and yeah, we will talk to you next week. Bye.
34:11 04/23/2021
How To Improve Survey Response Rates With Extortion
Show notes:Links:TailscaleUbiquity hackFrontWrite for HoneybadgerFull transcript:Ben:The struggle is real when it comes to WiFi here. Because until two weeks ago you could've said, "Yeah, use Ubiquiti, it's all great." Now, there's this big disruption that they're having this attack that they didn't want to admit to.Josh:Yeah. I didn't hear about this.Ben:Yeah. So the thing that was terrible was that they said, "Oh, there was a leak at our third-party vendor." Well, the third party vendor is Amazon Web Services. If you're going to pin the blame on AWS for your lack in security, that's pretty ridiculous. So there was some whistleblower that came out and say, "No, they're really idiots. They're not logging access to the databases."Ben:Their press release was like, "Well, we don't have any evidence of access to your data." The whistleblower was like, "Well, they don't have any evidence of access to your data because they don't do any logging to their database." So they have no idea who's been querying what. It's like, oh, yeah, that's not great.Josh:That's cool. That's a good excuse.Ben:Sure, yeah. So the vagueness plus the misdirection stuff and it's just like, "Okay, my opinion of them just went through the floor."Josh:You never track it, you never know.Ben:That's right. Exactly.Starr:Yeah. It seems like the, I don't know, it seems like you just got to take the hit. Whenever something like that happens, you just got to suck it up and take the hit.Ben:Just like YOLO, "Yeah, well-"Starr:Yeah. YODO, you only die once.Ben:Well, you have to figure also my dad has probably been breached five or six different times from five or six different large companies. So it's like, who even cares anymore? I'll just spray my social security number and my birth date anywhere. I'll just put it on my billboard in my front yard. Yeah, have at it.Josh:Yeah. Publish it online.Ben:The dark web is like a light gray web now. There's just so much data out there. But it's Ubiquiti or do you buy, I have a really small house so I don't really need these mesh systems which promise this outrageous speed for outrageous amounts of money. So I don't need the great or whatever. And then if you don't go with those options, then all that's left really is TP-Link or NETGEAR. It's like, "Well, okay." But like, fine. It just doesn't seem like there's a really great quality product from a great quality company. I don't know. Maybe I'm just-Starr:Yeah. There was a couple of weeks ago.Ben:Yeah. They wisened up weeks ago.Josh:Yeah. I'd probably still just buy the Ubiquiti gear to be honest. Because they're all leaking your data.Ben:That's what I'm saying.Josh:Like, yeah, who's better?Starr:Yeah. That's why you use TLS.Ben:For real. Yeah, can you imagine we actually lived at a time when you would just not even use TLS to log into your websites or no WiFi?Starr:I know. I know.Ben:Can you remember those days?Starr:So unsafe.Ben:It's amazing. I had a friend who was all anti WiFi because, this is over 20 years ago, because he's like, "You just take all your secrets and throw them out the window so anybody can get at them." Yeah. It's remarkable to think that we lived that way. Speaking of security though, I was... I don't know why I was looking at this. But for some reason, this morning I looked at Tailscale again. I don't know if you're familiar with Tailscale.Josh:Yeah, what's that?Ben:It's a startup that they provide basically a smart VPN. It's like a vpn with some magic sprinkles on top. Basically they take a WireGuard which is a late generation VPN product. So you might be familiar with stuff like OpenVPN or even way back in the day Cisco stuff that was done on hardware. But WireGuard is the latest generation of VPN software which is actually not crazy to setup. It's actually reasonably easy to use.Ben:And then Tailscale took that to the next level with making it super easy to just connect to whatever. So basically you run their little agent and you can VPN into your network without even having to worry about the stuff. They do the authentication for example, through Google Login or through Octa or whatever. So you don't have to hop on a box and create keys and send out stuff to people one on one. It's basically all just magic.Ben:So I was playing with that this morning and it's really quite neat. I was like, "Okay." Well, I'm on my iPad reading about it and I'm like, "Well, just install this iOS." I'm like, "Great." So now I have a in thing. Then it gives you IP addresses for all your internal stuff. It's really cool. We already have VPN for our stuff but I thought that was, well, do a switch.Josh:Yeah. At this rate we wouldn't even need to pass our those OpenVPN files or whatever. That would be nice.Ben:Yeah. And they have ECLs and stuff. So you can say, "Oh well, the marketing person gets access to the internal dashboard but doesn't get access to SSH to these servers." And then of course there's audit trails and stuff.Josh:That's pretty cool.Starr:That's really cool.Ben:Yeah. It's pretty handy.Starr:Yeah. On their features it says magic DNS. I think we need a little more magic in our lives. So I'm going to... Yeah. But that would be useful even if you are... I don't know. I can imagine it being useful if you are traveling and you want to go on your home network even. That would be pretty nice.Ben:Yeah, I was thinking about replacing my laptop with a Mac Mini and just leaving it in my office and then using Tailscale to hop in if I ever needed it to do anything. Most of the stuff is getting whatever. It's like I just do it at home from a different machine. But I was just like, "Well, maybe there is that one thing that I'm going to have on my machine at work and I want to have at night." So I was like, "Oh, Tailscale." Put that on there and, yeah. Fun toys.Starr:Yeah. It's pretty neat. Ben:Not where they do security though. I have been spending all week on customer stuff like sales stuff, marketing stuff.Starr:How's that thing going?Ben:Well, I've been floundering a little bit. It's not my background and so everything is more difficult that it seems like it should be. There seems like there's a lot of friction there. Like for example, the early part of the week, we had some suggestions from Harris about some changes that we could make to the website. And-Starr:Yeah. Harris is a sales consultant guru guy. Okay.Ben:And then we had some other suggestions from another good friend of ours that we can make. So I was looking at the home page and it's like, "Man, copyrighting is hard." It's like getting into that mindset of, okay, what's your customer perspective? When they come to this page and you have a candidate here who's interested, what do they want to see? And then trying to get in that mindset and then come up with some copy that speaks to that mindset.Ben:I know that there's this notion of, you go get your customer's voice from reviews and things like that. But sometimes you just got to create stuff. I don't know. So I've been doing that and it's not a skill that I have worked on developing and so it feels very painful to try and come up with it. It's like, "Oh really, this stuff is taking a lot of energy and a lot of effort. I really don't want to do this. I'd rather go plug into some VPN or something."Starr:I remember, I think it may have been after a MicroConf or after... I don't think it was Bacon Biz but maybe even that first Bacon Biz we went to. We were having dinner with Reuben Gomez and talking about our homepage. He was like, "Well, what does your customer want when they come to this homepage? What are they looking for?" I was just like, "I don't know. I have no idea. This is so hard."Ben:Yeah. It's hard to ask too.Starr:Yeah. People don't even know. People can't tell you. People don't know what they want.Ben:Yeah, yeah. That was the whole point of that switch workshop that I did way back, several years ago, talking about jobs to be done and getting in the mind of your customer. Why are they showing up today? Why are they checking it out? I've also been emailing people, like we talked about before, emailing people who are signing up and seeing how they're doing getting engaged with the product. And crickets. Zero responses. I think I've gotten one response. I sent dozens of emails, each one hand crafted but zero, maybe one response. That's tough. That's real tough. When you do the work and you don't see any results, that's a challenge.Josh:Those emails, we've tried it. We've made a few attempts at eliciting a response from people that are signing up like that. If you think about the number of products that you sign up for that you get emails from the founders and the number of them that you respond to, I think people are just overwhelmed with that particular channel or whatever. I think it's programmed into your head like, "Oh I'm going to sign up for this, I'm probably going to get a flood of emails and I'm just going to ignore most of them because they're run of the mill onboarding or looking for feedback."Ben:Yeah. We actually had one person cancel recently who was in the trial period. They said, "Yeah, you send me too many emails." That's not why they canceled but that was part of their message when they left. I was like-Josh:I listen to those people.Ben:Yeah. Maybe I should just turn off all of our automated emails and just send the one from me.Starr:There you go.Ben:Try that for a few weeks and-Starr:There you go.Ben:Our emails, we put so much work into them. Those videos are awesome. I don't know.Josh:I think it's pretty well established that emails work pretty well for most people. I think you have a... There's always that vocal few that just hate emails. So you're going to hear from them much more than you're going to hear from people that actually read the emails I think.Starr:I wonder if it would be more successful to use something like a chat widget where it's like they're in the product, you're the only message happening there. They're not surrounded... Your message isn't buried in 50 other messages from 50 other companies.Josh:Yeah. But we get the responses from the... When you sign up the into introductions thing.Ben:Yeah, the onboarding.Josh:I was surprised with the number of people that actually filled that out. It's much higher than the response rate that we get on that kind of email that you send. Even if it's personal. I've never been able to see a difference between personally emailing someone versus having an auto respond. I think everyone just assumes they're automated. Personalization is so good these days that it's really, I think, it's really hard to tell from the user's perspective unless the entire email is literally about them.Starr:Yeah. I suspect a lot of people use email like they I do. Which is I just give it a quick scan and if it's not immediately applicable to me I just delete it. So, it could be a custom written email but I'm just like, "Oh, this is a company I didn't ask for. Okay, this is spam, just delete."Josh:Yeah, maybe just go get that Ubiquiti dump and put their social security number in the subject line or something.Starr:There you go.Josh:Just to show them that you care.Starr:There you go. That'd be awesome.Josh:Let's really personalize it. Your date of birth is-Ben:Then even some, those emails that you get, like, "I saw you on your webcam. Send me bitcoin or else I'll send this video out to the world."Starr:There you go.Josh:Are you saying we should extort responses?Ben:Exactly.Starr:Yeah. That's one thing that we've dealt with for a long time which is just a lot of the things that people say to do, we do and then it's just you don't hear anything. It's like, "Okay. Is it me? Do you just not like me?"Josh:Have you tried bribery though?Ben:No, I haven't tried bribery.Josh:Bribery might work. Offer a 50 or $100 gift card or something to someone and-Starr:Yeah. Or even a free t-shirt.Josh:Well, the free t-shirts work for our credit card thing. My feeling is that you'd want to go a little bit... You could try the free t-shirt thing for the email you're talking about, the feedback thing. But if you really want to sit down with someone, if your goal is to get them on a Zoom call or something and just pick their brain, give them something of real value. Because that's valuable. Think about what their time is worth. It should be at least comparable to their time and probably a little bit more just for the contact switching cost. So I can see it happening. You were talking about developers here.Ben:That's good. Yeah. So, "If you respond to this email, I'll give you a free t-shirt. If you get on a call with me, I'll give you a $50 gift card."Josh:There you go. Have some tiers.Ben:Choose your reward level. Then when you do an onsite thing once COVID travel is not a problem anymore, and then we could do time share presentation thing where they come in for four hours at a resort or something. Have you ever done one of those?Starr:No. Of course not.Josh:I know that that's a thing. People totally-Starr:My in laws do.Josh:They like to game the system.Starr:Yeah. We went and stayed at their timeshare in Mexico one time which was nice and they had to go to some seminars or some, I don't know, sales presentation, something like that.Ben:It's just either you pay in money or you pay in time. They figure, "Huh, I could pay in time. That's fine."Josh:Well, a lot of the Timeshare places, you can just stay at them like a hotel. But if you do, they still give you that offer of you get whatever, a $200 gift card. It's usually a fairly decent offer. But then you got to go spend whatever, an entire morning or more at their sales thing. But I know people that don't own Timeshares but they stay at Timeshares. They will go to those things just to get the prize and then they have no intent... They know what they're doing and they still go to them.Starr:Yeah. That's so funny. There's so many different kinds of people in the world. Because I would rather stay home.Josh:Yeah, same here. There's no amount you could pay me, there's no amount you could pay me to, yeah, sit through one of those.Starr:Yeah. The more complicated some system is for me to pay for something, the more I think I'm just getting ripped off. It's like, "Okay, it's a hotel room, it costs $200." Verus, "Well, it costs this much, but if you have three friends stay with you, you can activate the 20% bonus round where you get to shoot three basketball hoops." It's like somebody has done the stats on this and I'm going to lose.Ben:The LTD must be just insane for their customers. To be able to have X amount of employees at the facility for Y amount of hours and then whatever else they do for you while you're there, that's a fair amount of money you're putting into that marketing engine.Josh:Timeshares are not cheap.Starr:No, they're not. Yeah, so this week I've been looking a little bit into conversion of free users which is pretty interesting. At least conversion of basic users I would say. We've had different free plans over the years. The most recent one is basic. So yeah, I still need to... I'm going to do a little video I think and go through everything. But the gist of it is I think we're looking at around... If you consider all... We have this question.Starr:We want to possible alter the free quota, the free error quota, to try and get more people to upgrade. Because right now, very few people who are on the basic plan, actually use the quota number of errors. So I was like, "Okay, well, how do you decide what the actual quota is that you want?" So, as part of this discussion, Josh was like, "Well, can we actually see what our existing conversion rate is among people who go over quota who are on the basic plan?"Starr:That conversion rate is around 30% at least in the sample of data I looked at. If you look at people in North America, it gets up to I think around 55%. It's pretty high.Josh:Not bad.Starr:So that's just one more factor to be at play by. Honestly, I was really gratified to see when people need to upgrade, a lot of them do. I think that's a pretty good number. I don't know. It's just fun getting to mess with that stuff. I got to use JupyterLab which is this, I've talked about it before, it's this data science thing. I don't know. It's just fun.Ben:Now, did you also look at the overall free to paid conversion ratio? I know I did a quick query or two about that. But I was wondering if you dug into that any more.Starr:Yeah. So just to be clear, I only looked at... I basically only looked at accounts created this year and that were created with the basic plan. So, there'll be some people who get left out of that if you start with a paid account and then you downgrade to basic but then you go over quota. You're not counted in this, because that's just getting too complicated.Starr:So with that caveat, the total... If you just divide total people who upgrade from basic divided by total number of basic accounts, that is around two percent, which I think is roughly in like with what we saw before or what you were seeing. If you look at North America, it's about double that. Well, then the obvious question is, okay, well why is it so low?Starr:It's like, well, one reason is probably that... If you look at that same group and say, okay, "How many of these people went over their quota at least once?" Well, that's five percent, I think, if I'm remembering correctly. So five percent of all basic users ever went over quota. So the rest of them were just never in a situation where they needed to upgrade.Ben:Yeah. They're not going to upgrade just out of the generosity of their hearts just so they can pay us.Starr:Oh no. Who would do that?Ben:But two to four percent is a pretty... That's in the range of typical freemium conversion ratios I think if I'm up on my current stats. That's what I've heard on the internet anyway.Starr:Yeah, I don't know. At some point you have to wonder what's worth it. It's a pretty low number of absolute conversions. Right?Josh:Yes. We never had the free plan before.Starr:Yeah. We have 10 times the number of free sign ups, then yeah, maybe it would be a higher absolute value of users. So it's like-Ben:Yeah. We've had that plan in place for about a year now. I was looking at these stats with Harris actually. He was walking me through some of that stuff. I happened to look back and... We launched them in March of last year. I think the key is with a two to four percent conversion ratio, depending on North America versus not, I think that's fine if you say, "Well, the costs aren't that high both in processing, data storage, et cetera, and also in customer service."Ben:For us, that's been the case. We don't have an overwhelming wave of basic customers who are soaking all of our customers for a time. And of course we have the quotas in place to keep them from soaking up all of our real, hard costs. So I'd say overall it's been good. I think it's successful.Josh:Yeah. I think as long as it's, yeah, as long as it's not costing us much, the way I look at it is it's a way to spread potentially more word of mouth. Increase word of mouth basically. Because the more fans of Honeybadger there are in the world, the better it is for us in the long run I assume. The more people that are potentially going to mention us to their friends and to their companies or potentially use us when they actually need something for a larger project or whatever. If they're already using Honeybadger, they've been using it for years as a free user, then we might see a return on that in the future.Starr:Yeah. That's a good point. Still, though, if you could double the amount of new customers we get from free plan users without causing a significant harm, why not? It's just, I don't know. So much of business just seems to be about making these minor, little improvements that just get you... What did the people at Turn/River call it that you like so much Ben like blocking and tackling? Just these little bitty wins.Ben:They're additive. You keep on stacking them and over time it makes a bigger difference. One of our-Starr:Yeah, exactly.Ben:One of our competitors, the way they try and keep a lid on their freemium support costs is they don't offer support to freemium customers. It's one of their features on their feature grid. Email support, crossed out if you're on their freemium. Yeah, that seems, I don't know, that... If you're going to have a customer, even if they're a free customer, I think you should probably acknowledge their presence by answering their support emails. That's all I'm saying.Starr:Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah. That seems reasonable to me. At the same time it's like, "Well, these people are signing up for this free service, we're giving to them something. The fact that we have given them something doesn't obligate us to give them the same thing for the rest of their life." It's this weird thing where you feel reluctant to change anything but at the same time it's like you're literally just giving somebody something with the hope that it will make you money in the end.Starr:I don't know. I totally get the hesitation to make changes that people might not think are cool and we want to be cool and everything. But in the end it's like, "Oh no, I signed up for this free service with the understanding that this company is going to try and make money off of me. Oh no, they're trying to make money off of me, I'm offended." I don't know, it just seems like part of the deal.Starr:It's like you got to... We have these plans and we just have to tweak them, adjust them, try and increase growth here or there. I don't know. I think it may be possible to make free plans a more significant driver of growth-Ben:Well, that'd be cool.Starr:... than it currently is.Ben:If we can double that conversion ratio, I'd be pretty excited about that.Starr:Yeah. Another thing I'm working on, I've got a table and a chart. So, if you're a visual learner you can use the chart. But if you prefer a table you got that too. Where it's just different error quotas and then projected increase in number of new paid accounts per month. I'm just giving you all a menu to choose from. I'm just your waitress. I'm just-Josh:Yeah, I liked Jupyter in that it inlines the equations. Does it build equations later on in the, whatever, in the document, build on previous ones or something? Is that how it works or?Starr:Yeah, yeah. So they're not really equations it's just Python code. Imagine you've got an IRB session and in between the little blocks of code that you have in IRB, you can just add markdown to explain what that is. That's all it is.Josh:Yeah, I like that. And then it shows the code inline. Yeah.Starr:Yeah. So if you do a-Josh:That's pretty cool.Starr:... calculation up at the top and you assign it to a variable, it's a global variable. It's still down at the bottom.Josh:Yeah. It reminds me of a super advanced way to do napkin math which I'm a big fan of always.Starr:Exactly, yeah.Josh:But you could then convert that data into charts and pretty things like you were saying.Starr:Yeah. I like Jupyter. It includes the code with the output not only because it makes it easier to play around with but also it's... I don't know. Whenever I do analyses like these, I always worry that I'm not... It's like I'm just using some secret process over here. It turns out that I had a big problem with it and nobody's looking through my source file. So they don't know this. They just see the output which looks fine. But at least this way it's like there's a little bit of a sanity check. People can say, "Oh, that's actually wrong."Ben:Yeah, I know that feeling. I had a random thought about the free.Starr:Yeah, what's that?Ben:This random thought was first prompted a few weeks ago as I was working on setting up Front. So we recently switched from Help Scout to Front for our customer support and other shared inboxes. As I was working on setting up Front, for some reason I was logged in to one browser and then logged in again from another browser, I don't remember what I was doing, but as I did so, Front booted me out of my other browser. So I signed into browser A and then I signed in on browser B.Ben:When I signed in on browser B, I got kicked out on browser A. I was like, "Oh, I guess they're probably..." It might be a security thing. Or what it's more likely, is since they bill on number of users, they're probably detecting if a user tries to share their credentials and using multiple browsers then they're going to prevent that, right?Starr:Yeah.Ben:So that was my thought. So, a random thought for free is I wonder if some people are using basic more than they should by sharing a login. Because we do have a limit on the number of users.Starr:Naughty, naughty. Some people are blushing right now Ben, yeah, some people know we're onto them.Ben:So I was like, "Maybe we should have some session fixation and enforcement happening there to check that. But I don't know if it'd be worth writing the code to do that.Starr:I think for free users we should popup the little live stream video window in the corner that's just scowling at them. Just looking at them really harshly.Ben:We love our free customers.Starr:I know. It sounds like we hate... We don't hate people. It's just, yeah-Ben:We're just capitalists.Starr:It's just a matter of, "Well, should maybe more than five percent of our free users face a choice to upgrade or not?" That seems pretty low to me. I don't know.Ben:They can just think of it as we're encouraging them to exercise their capacity as human agents. To exercise their free will.Josh:We already give people three users on our free plan. So, at this point, maybe they don't need to share logins. I could see back when it was the one user plan, I imagine people were doing that. If we move back to it, like I would say, yeah, maybe we should think about that.Starr:Yeah. I don't know. There was all sorts of fun things that we're not going to do because they're just mean. Like Josh had thought of doing a black and white color scheme. I think we talked about this last show. It's just-Josh:Make it ugly.Starr:It's just us making up fun ways to annoy free users.Josh:No, but I think finding ways to make the paid version cooler is definitely- there's nothing wrong with that.Starr:Get an animated mascot.Ben:Speaking of, although this is going to apply to free as well, talking about making the product cooler, by the time this episode drops, we'll have a big feature released courtesy of Kevin, who spent the last little while working on an upgrade to our Slack integration. So now, you have the opportunity to... If you're a lover of threads and Slack, then you'll love this change because we're now using threads quite a bit between Slack and Honeybadger.Ben:For example, we'll get an alert and that'll create a message in Slack. If you reply to that message, then that will be added as a comment to the error in Honeybadger and back and forth. If you comment in Honeybadger, it'll show up in the Slack thread.Starr:Pretty cool.Ben:... also some interaction there. So yeah, looking forward to that. Kevin's really looking forward to it because he's tired of working on it. It's been baking for a while.Josh:It's a big effort.Ben:Yeah. And we've been using it internally for quite a while and it's great. Even me, as a person who does not love threads in Slack, I still love this feature. I think it's going to be great.Josh:Well, he made it an option for you so that you can turn the threading off if you want to. So if you don't like threads, they're not forced upon you. But I have to admit, this is a really cool workflow idea use case for Slack that I haven't seen... I don't think I've seen this anywhere. People might be doing this but I haven't seen it.Josh:Also, it has all the embedded actions too that you would have in the Honeybadger UI for managing errors. I think the ideas that it gives you, it's just another UI alternative to our web app. So for people who don't want to use the web application, or don't want to spend as much time on their browser, or maybe they just like Slack centric workflows, this gets you closer to just being able to use Slack as your interface to Honeybadger basically.Ben:Yeah. It's pretty cool. We had considered making this a feature that was not available to the free users. Maybe this could encourage people to upgrade. But in the end we thought, "Well, this is just so cool, let's just go ahead and give it to everybody." So I don't know if that was the right decision but that's the way we're going so far. I think people like. I hope people like it.Josh:Limiting Slack on the free plan would be potentially... That would be interesting though because it's such... So many people use it. I'd be tempted to upgrade for something like Slack if I didn't have it. But we have always taken the approach of giving those... Whatever the ones that everyone use like Slack and GitHub, those are the ones that we make available and then-Ben:Hold back on Jira. Yeah.Starr:The understanding I'm coming to about free users is that they tend not to upgrade for nice to have things. Maybe this is just users in general. So I have a hard time really imagining that many free users upgrading for a really cool threaded Slack back and forth type thing. But if they needed to access GitHub in slack and they couldn't do that on a free plan, that seems pretty like a need to have verus a want to have.Josh:Yeah. That's what I was talking about by the way. No GitHub in Slack basically.Starr:So free plans only get, they only get to send messages, to send errors to Atlassian products. It's the reverse of a lot of enterprising. It's like free users can only send things to the enterprise products that nobody wants to use.Ben:I like that line. I think-Josh:That's extra evil. Because if the free plan also has the error limit that would drive you insane if you're someone who's already using Jira because you're some enterprise sign up, so there's no way that you can use the product without upgrading.Ben:Yeah. We could do logins where you can't login with an email address, you have to use Octa.Starr:There you go.Ben:You have to use an SSO provider to be able to login.Starr:Since we're thinking outside the box, I've got a good one. So, instead of having an error quota for free users, we can have a number of errors. So it doesn't matter if you send us 100 errors. If your quota is 10,000, you're getting 10,000 error messages.Josh:We'll fill in the gaps.Starr:Yeah. We'll make ones up. We'll make some up.Ben:That's pretty good. I like it.Josh:They all come in at the end of the month like we have a window. It's like-Ben:Gotta meet your quota. Here they are.Starr:Yeah. It's a weird back and forth because I love our customers, I have every intention of being cool to them. I want us to be cool and for people to like us. At the same time it's like, "Well, it's our job to try and optimize the business and make money." I don't know. So it's like you don't want to go full on Intercom with it and just steal money out of people's pants when they're in the shower. But at the same time it's like, maybe we can, I don't know, make people happy to let us rifle through their pants while in the shower. I don't know.Ben:At the same time, our kids still got to eat. Got to put shoes on the kids' feet.Starr:I know. I know. Shoeless and starving.Starr:So you've been listening to FounderQuest. Go give us a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever. If you want to write for us, then check out our write for us page. Just go to, go to the blog, look at the write for us link, click on it, read through the whole thing and follow the instructions to a T. Yeah, when you do, a coded message will appear via carrier pigeon on your desk within two hours.Ben:That's service.Starr:It is. It is. We really believe in service with a smile.Ben:Will the pigeon be smiling?Starr:I think that's physically impossible. But I think they're always smiling inside.Ben:No doubt.
36:02 04/16/2021
Are We Starting A Text Editor Holy War?
Show notes:Links:Exceptional CreaturesTradingViewDuke Cannon - Thick BeerRuben GamezMicroConfAppSumo Community MarketplaceFull 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, 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 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.
38:29 04/09/2021
Monetizing Free Users And Recapping MicroConf
Show NotesLinks:GatherRoblox Vs. Second LifeDocsketchRuben GamezAppSumoIntro CRMFull Transcript:Ben:Yeah, the party doesn't start until you show up, Josh.Josh:I'm a party animal.Starr:Yeah, that's true. How's everybody doing?Josh:Good.Ben:I had a good last week. How are you, Starr?Starr:I'm doing pretty good. I got to dive a little bit into our sort of usage data for free users, and that's always fun when I get to do that. I got to use JupyterLab a little bit, brushing up on my Python skills, and yeah. So, I had been... whenever I do my sort of deep dives in the numbers and stuff, I would always just make a bunch of Ruby scripts, and use Ruby scripts to kind of process the data and make it understandable to me. But, it turns out there's a whole fricking ecosystem around this this and Python, and it's... yeah.Starr:There's a system called JupyterLabs. You can get it as part of this bigger distribution that's basically... it's called Conda, which is a Python distribution that just has all of the data science stuff built into it. And so, yeah. So, it's just this little web app you run, and then you can... it's really kind of awesome. It's like if you took an IRB shell or something and put it inside of a text editor and let you write markdown around it, and then also included a whole bunch of tools for doing really complicated stuff with tables of data, and doing that in one or two lines of code.Josh:That's cool.Starr:Yeah.Josh:That reminds me a little bit of what I've seen of org mode and Emacs. Isn't that the thing where you can embed code, and generate tables, and stuff like that, I think? It's super-Starr:I don't know, I've never used that.Josh:It's a pain in the ass.Starr:Well, this is surprisingly not a pain in the ass. It's actually pretty cool, so yeah. So, I've got some... I'm not done with it, but I'm going to have a little report to share at our marketing meeting, which I think is next week, and yeah, about how to squeeze more blood out of our free users. So, get ready, guys, because it's not going to be pretty. I'm just kidding.Josh:Well, we've been very generous to our free users, so there's a lot of potential there.Starr:Yeah.Ben:I have a suggestion for helping our free users, add value to us.Josh:Is this just our monetization model now? We just rant at our free users in this new podcast? It's just like, if you want to hear us stop bitching then sign up for our paid plan.Ben:We'll annoy you until you pay us. So, we had a free user upgrade just a little while ago, just this morning, and I went and looked at their account, and they've been a free user for a few months, and the trigger... what I was interested in was, why did they upgrade? And I was actually going to email them because I've been spending all morning emailing new signups and reaching out to people who have signed up recently.Ben:Anyway, so I was going to contact this person and say, "Hey, why did you sign up?" But I went and checked their account and it turns out they sent a whole lot of errors, like today or yesterday. And so, they reached the quota limit and so they had to upgrade so they could actually get their errors. And so, my idea is we just send every new signup a bottle of whiskey and tell them that they can only drink it while they're coding, right? And so then can go like, "Oh, a bunch of errors."Starr:Oh, there you go. So we sabotage their... yeah.Ben:Exactly, exactly. Exactly.Starr:We sabotage their code. Our discussion along these lines is really reminding me in a weird way of The Godfather or something. It's like, "Okay, free users: we've been very generous to you over the years. Have you doubted our generosity? No. So, now it's time for us to ask a little favor."Ben:I like it.Josh:I don't know if it works that way on the internet.Starr:No, I don't think so.Ben:We need to get a new illustration of the honey badger as the Godfather.Starr:Oh, there you go.Ben:I can just see him sitting behind the oak panel desk, in the overstuffed chair, smoking a cigar.Starr:Yeah, that would be something. I'm not sure people would immediately... we'd have to caption it.Ben:Yeah, yeah, that's true.Starr:Yeah, because otherwise he's just like an executive, right?Ben:Yeah.Ben:A fat-cat CEO boss, right?Starr:Yeah, exactly. We're not about that. We're the exception monitoring tool for the 99%.Josh:Is that why we're so cheap?Ben:Buy exceptions.Starr:Must be, must be.Ben:Yeah, I've been doing this outreach this week, getting started. We mentioned in the last episode that we're working with a sales team coach, concierge app combo, whatever you want to call it. I couldn't remember the name, unfortunately, last week, but this week I can remember the name because I've been doing it, working with them all week, and it's Harris from, and they are fantastic. We just started working with them on nurturing our inbound leads, because we do get people signing up all across the spectrum. We get a bunch of those free users, but we also get people signing up who are developers at very large organizations. And so, we're trying to develop a scheme where we optimize our time and reach out to people who... a little more personal approach to people who might be at those big orgs, who might end up being a bit bigger customer.Ben:So, this week I've basically just been reaching out to a whole bunch of people, regardless of their company size or whatever. I'm just trying to get into the groove of emailing people and saying, "Hey, what do you think about Honeybadger? Is there something I can do for you?" And then, over time, we'll refine that process and hopefully fill up the pipelines so I can even start doing demos or something crazy.Starr:Oh my god.Josh:Yeah.Ben:Yeah. So, it's been great working with them.Josh:You have to get out the old clip-on tie.Starr:Yeah. We're going to have to get you some Oxford shirts and a clip-on tie.Josh:Do they make some that are just like they just need to cover your shoulders, basically, and just halfway down you torso, just like-Starr:I'm sure they have those.Josh:It's what we see on Zoom, so.Starr:It's like a bib.Josh:Yeah, right.Starr:A child's bib.Josh:It's a sales bib.Starr:Or like when you go to eat ribs.Ben:Actually, I'm still tying a tie once a week, every week. Yeah, even though I'm still doing church online-Josh:On Sundays?Ben:Yeah, on Sundays. I'm still putting on the white shirt, putting on the tie, and yeah.Josh:I mean, it's got to be kind of comforting to keep some sort of weekly tradition like that during the past crazy... yeah. Groundhog Day.Ben:Exactly. I have switched out the suit pants for sweatpants, but other than that I'm still-Josh:Nice.Starr:Haven't we all?Josh:Well, one of the interesting things, that I thought was interesting with that, because we have a Slack Connect channel, now, with the introtoCRM folks, and so they've been giving us some, I guess, sales tips, and they're helping us identify those leads. And, Harris mentioned that a lot of times users, like employees at large orgs, will sign up with their personal email addresses sometimes, and so you can't just identify people based on their company email or something, right? I think that was something he mentioned.Ben:Yeah, that's very interesting.Josh:So, those Gmail addresses might not be so-Ben:Yeah, I think that's-Josh:They might not be hackers.Ben:Right. Yeah, we do get a lot of signups from security researchers who use the Joe Blow and random six-digit address at, and in some cases we're like, "Well, we don't really count them because they're just kicking the tires and trying to see if they can find some vulnerabilities in the site," or whatever, which is fine, but they're not really a lead. So, yeah, it's good to have some external validation, I guess, around, "Let's really see who these people are and maybe that is actually a CTO at-"Josh:Yeah. I'm trying to think why do you think that that would be... I don't know if it's a trend, like the thing you just mentioned. It can happen, but if it happens enough for a sales consultant to mention it, why is that a thing? Do you think they're trying to... Like, they don't want their bosses to know that they're trying tools outside the company?Starr:Maybe they don't want salespeople to contact them.Ben:Yeah. I could sort of see it.Josh:Is that it?Ben:They don't want the sales spam to their-Josh:Oh, the salespeople are onto them, though, because they're mentioning that as one of the first things to look for, so it's like.Starr:Yeah, it's-Josh:This is a rivalry, is what you're saying, right? A classic rivalry.Starr:Yeah. It's like War of the Roses. Since you're going through these by hand, I found that it was kind of obvious which free email addresses looked a little suspicious. Like, string of random characters at, probably not a legit developer signup. The people with the free, who were probably pen testers probably not real leads who were using the free email accounts, they looked programmatically generated, or they looked like somebody's grandma's email account that somebody hacked in 1996 and hasn't been recovered yet.Josh:Yeah. They should have used Faker.Ben:Right?Ben:Yeah, we need to build an AI for this, to automatically give us a thumbs-up or thumbs-down on someone that looks like they're a real, actual customer.Josh:There's probably something like that out there.Ben:Probably is.Josh:But yeah.Starr:It would probably be terrible.Josh:Yeah, you have to join a sales call for it.Starr:Probably end up being super racist or something, like all AIs are these days.Josh:Yeah.Ben:We don't have so many sign-ups that it's unworkable to actually manually go over them. We do have enough that I don't want to spend all day, every day doing deep dives into researching every person, but yeah. Scanning a list and seeing someone that looks like a, it's like, "Okay, we'll just pass over that one and go on to the next one."Josh:Yeah. So, how's the response so far? Are you getting any people replying?Ben:So, per what you would expect from developers, not a whole lot of responses. But yeah, some, some. And, the people that do respond, it's been nice. Like, the responses have been good. Like, "Oh yeah, thanks for checking," or, "I'm doing this," or stuff. So, yeah. It's been good.Josh:Cool.Ben:And it's fun checking out their websites. Like, I've been checking out some things. One was a land... you can check out who a plot of land was owned by, and the classification, zoning, stuff like that. So, one of our customers who signed up recently is running one of those things, and I just love that stuff. I'm a location nerd. I love shopping for houses and stuff, so that was just fun to play on their website for a few minutes.Josh:That's cool. Do you mention that stuff, like when you do that research? Do you mention like, "Oh, I think your product is really cool"?Ben:Yeah, totally.Josh:I did the same thing. Years back, I remember taking, just going through and emailing people, and I found that was helpful: mention something, show them that you actually did some research and you're not just like... So, I mean, a lot of people, they just assume that any email they get after they sign up for your product is an autoresponder.Starr:Yeah, that's a good tip. And also, if nothing else. It's going to be nice to have that kind of feedback about just our customers, and who they are, and what they're working on.Ben:Yeah, and I'm particularly focused in on... So, we have in our internal admin tools, we have a list of people who signed up recently, and on that list it shows ones that have not created a project, or not sent any error traffic. So, obviously they haven't really used the app, really, yet. And so, I'm really focused on those. If I see a zero in that column, then I try to make sure to reach out to them and say, "Hey, is there anything I can help you get your app going?" Get Honeybadger installed, because if they don't ever activate, then obviously they're not going to convert, and that's bad news for everybody, right?Josh:Yeah. I mean, it makes sense to have someone doing that on a regular basis, probably.Starr:That's true. I'm curious what you'll find, because I found that... I mean, obviously this was, when I looked at it, this was data from... It's historical data, right? But, I found that once you sort of filtered out people in free email addresses, once you limited it to the US, just to make things easier, we didn't have a ton of people who weren't onboarding themselves and sending errors to us.Ben:Yeah. Yeah, I think most people here are real people who are actually interested in a product actually do get through the whole process and do activate. So, yeah. But, anything. I'm trying everything to-Starr:Oh, yeah.Ben:... to activate those people, so we'll see what is it.Josh:If you really want to go the extra mile, you could do one of those little personalized screen-casts, like Harris sent you for the sales proposal, but just do a quick one. Be like, "Hey, so-and-so. I saw you signed up. I just wanted to show you we're real people over here," and something really short that's easy to produce if you created a system for it. But, I wonder if that would change the response rate at all.Ben:Yeah.Josh:Because it's kind of hard to... I mean, at least if you see it and realize what it is, it's kind of hard to brush that off as, "Oh, this is just a low-effort."Ben:Sure, sure.Starr:Yeah. The trick will be getting people to click on it, because I'm not going to click on any video sent to me unexpectedly.Josh:Yeah.Ben:Yeah.Starr:Maybe we should just send them a picture in front of their house.Josh:Upload it somewhere recognizable, like YouTube or Vimeo.Starr:Like, "I'm standing outside of your house right now, where you're probably working."Josh:It's like Street View of their office.Ben:Well, on the video note, actually one video that I'm thinking about, seriously thinking about making, is regarding our mission. I mean, I was talking to Harris. So, we had this intro, like this startup call. "Let's figure out what we're going to be doing for the first month," and things. And, it was just, I don't know, an hour or something on Zoom, and it was great because Harris is interviewing me, basically, to find out how they could best fit into our current situation and help us get to where we want to go.Ben:And, he asked about... I can't remember what the question was, but my answer was talking about why we do what we do, like why we built Honeybadger. And, as I was wrapping up talking about that I was like, "Man, I wish we had recorded this Zoom call, because if I took that snippet where I was talking about that and just published that, that would be a great video for our website." Basically, talking about how, one, we built Honeybadger because of our frustration with the tool that we had at the time, and how we felt like we deserve better and all developers deserve better.Ben:And so, we built something that we felt would be better and would help make the developers' lives better, at least when it comes with dealing with exceptions, right? And then, the next step, which I don't think we talk about enough, and I'm going back to the website copy to update this, and maybe this is why I'll make the video, too. So, we want to make developers' lives better, but also to make developers' customers' lives better.Ben:That's our goal, is to help developers know what's happening with their customers in their apps, and so they can fix those bugs quickly, they can respond to those customers quickly and let them know, "Hey, sorry you had a problem. Sorry about that, they fixed it." Just let people know that you care, that you're not just like, "Oh, whatever. We don't care about our customers because they can have all the problems and we're just going to on our merry way," right? So, yeah. So, I spent five or 10 minutes just delivering that spiel to Harris, and I was like, "Yeah, this would make a great video for our website." So, it's on my to-do list, if I can get up the nerve to actually see myself in a recorded video.Josh:Yeah. You can do it. Yeah, it might take a few takes. That was a lot harder than I realized, talking to a camera when you're not actually talking to anyone, when no one's there. You're just into the camera. It's weird. I think it gets a little bit more familiar the more you do it.Starr:You can just tape a picture of somebody you like below your webcam or something.Ben:Right? Maybe tape a picture of my ideal customer. Find that target customer, like MR. CTO, or Mrs. CIO, and be like, "Hi, Mrs. CIO. I'm Ben. I'm here to tell you why you've got Honeybadger."Josh:That would be a really funny product, like for AI and deepfakes and stuff. It could actually generate a person for you to talk to.Ben:Oh, there you go. I like that.Josh:For those types of things, that actually responds to what you're saying, so it's as if they're listening.Ben:Oh, I like that. That would be awesome.Josh:Yeah.Starr:I was going the other way. I was thinking you could just make paper cutouts and glue them to Popsicle sticks. You could have a little puppet show. That could be your video. People don't have to just watch you, you can do a little puppet show.Josh:You just do your two hands talking to each other.Starr:This is how serious we are. This is how businesslike we are.Ben:Sock puppets? Yeah. "I'm a developer."Josh:That would be unique. I have not seen that done recently.Starr:Yeah. I was just thinking of Sifl and Hoy the other day. I don't know if you'll remember that show, but it was pretty amazing. Nobody? Crickets. Okay. I guess that's why it got canceled. Anyway, funniest show. Funniest show from 1998, '99? I don't know.Ben:Speaking of funny shows of the 90s, so I got a trial of Paramount Plus because I wanted to watch a movie, and I was like, "Hey, they have it for free, so I can get a trial." And so, I watched the movie, and then I was cruising to see what else they had to watch. We don't watch a whole lot of TV in the Curtis household, so I was just scrolling through, and I saw Beavis and Butthead, and I'm like, my boys were in the room. They're 20 and 16. I'm like, "Hey." I mean, this is perfect, right? The three of us, Beavis and Butthead, what could get better? So I'm like, "Hey, you guys want to watch Beavis and Butthead?" And they're like, "No, not at all."Josh:Oh no.Starr:Oh no.Josh:It's not cool anymore.Starr:You should have said it was deep-fried.Josh:That's just got to suck.Starr:Call it a deep-fried meme or something, whatever they do.Josh:I know. It's all these things, all these shows and things that we love, that we grew up with, and there's so many more of them for us now, with all the media that's being produced, and it's just, the kids are just going to be like, "Yeah, I really want to watch I Love Lucy with my dad."Starr:Yeah, that's fine. So, my daughter, who's five, has this bit she does and I fall for it every time. She's like, "Hey, could you tell me about what things were like when you were a kid?" And I'm like, "Okay, yeah. This is something new, I like this," and so I start saying something. And then she lets me go for a second, and then she interrupts and then she says, "Were there dinosaurs?"Josh:That's awesome.Starr:"Did you have food back then?" And it's just like, every time I forget that I'm being set up. I fall for it every time. It's just, grr.Ben:That's great.Josh:Do you think she's trolling you intentionally?Starr:100%. She's 100% trolling me. Yeah, her whole job, it's her whole life now, is trolling me. Yeah, with her little shit-eating grin. It's like, I love her, but oh man she really trolls me.Ben:So, a number of us attended MicroConf Remote this week.Starr:Oh, how was that?Ben:It was good. What do you think about-Starr:Do you mean everybody but me?Ben:Yeah, basically.Starr:Okay.Josh:I liked Gather, the app. I attended a conference... it's Gather.Town, is the URL, and it's like a virtual event space that's eight-bit. It's like Zelda or something for conferences. I don't know. Or like Stardew Valley. It reminds me of kind of like that. But, you can basically... they had an event space where it was a virtual layout of whatever, a conference event, and they had breakout rooms and an auditorium, and I think I used this once before, like last year, right when everyone was scrambling to figure out virtual events, and it was a little like, I didn't really click as much then.Josh:I thought it was cool, but it didn't get utilized very much, but I think they recently added where they show the actual... Like, when you go to the auditorium is actually shows whoever's speaking at the time. It pops up their video and it's like, the event is actually happening inside of this little eight-bit world, which was kind of fun. So, we all... Ben, and Kevin, and I all sat together in the middle row, and Ben had an ops emergency, so we knew it was a real... It felt just like being at MicroConf.Ben:Yeah, yeah. Gather.Town was really good. I think that's the best virtual conference experience I've had so far. Business of Software was really good, and this was really good. I would make a couple changes, though. I know the eight-bit thing is all cool and stuff, but if you want to get really close to a real conference, it's better to have real faces. Part of the appeal for Gather.Town is you're wandering around in a physical space, and so you might come up to a group of people who are talking and then their audio fades in, and their video, if they have video on, you can see their faces, and so you can join a conversation like you would at a real conference: walk up and like, "Hey, I'm such-and-such," right?Ben:But, what you can't do with the way they had the eight-bit thing is... and you couldn't customize your avatar much... is you can't recognize somebody from far off. You can't say, "Oh, I know that person. I want to go and see what they're up to," or, "I remember seeing them last year," then we go. Because it's like, no one knew who Ben is. He's just an avatar. So, that was kind of frustrating, because there were people that I knew who were there, but I have none-Josh:You don't know who's, yeah. Unless they have a really unique name or something.Ben:Right? Yeah.Josh:Yeah. Yeah, I have a similar thought. I think if you could customize, personalize your avatar to the point where people would recognize you, that would be cool. Or use a headshot. But, I don't know. The eight-bit is kind of fun, too. It's, I don't know.Ben:Yeah. And then the other thing that goes along with that is a badge. So, at conferences you wear this badge on your lanyard. It has your name and it has your company name, maybe your Twitter handle, maybe whatever. And, those are actually useful, surprise, surprise, because you can walk up to a group of people and you can quickly look at badges and see people's names, so if you don't know someone but you know their name, "Oh, you're whomever. Oh, I should talk to you because of whatever, we have a shared interest," right?Ben:But that information wasn't available on Gather.Town either. You couldn't really broadcast that "My name is Ben Curtis," or, "I'm a co-founder of Honeybadger," which, all the time at conferences people would see the name tag, and they see the name, and they're like, "Oh, I know Honeybadger," and then they strike up a conversation. So, I think if you really want to replicate that experience you got to show that, somehow, on the screen. But, otherwise, Gather.Town was great. I loved it.Josh:Yeah.Starr:It seems like they need everybody's profile in there, and you can search and find where they are in the room or whatever they can.Josh:Yeah, they could definitely make some, like a roster.Starr:And as you get close to people it pops up dossiers on each of them.Josh:Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. Whatever happened to Second Life?Starr:I was just thinking this sounds very... it sounds like what people were doing in Second Life. It's still around.Ben:Yeah, 20 years ago.Starr:Yeah, it's still around. I saw a documentary.Josh:Yeah, it's still around and it hasn't changed. I mean, every time I've gone back and looked at it it's just the same. It's basically the same. But it just seems like... I'm surprised they just haven't exploded in the last year. This was their opportunity to... I mean, they're a virtual world that's got... They have all that stuff built in. You can play video in the world. It's one of the most virtual spaces, probably, that you could have. So, I'm surprised that they didn't pivot after however many years, and really-Starr:That would be pretty hard, though, to just... they would have to just be like, "Okay, drop everything. We're going to build a completely new platform that isn't old, that's going to entice people." By the time you get done with it, pandemic's over.Ben:So, I've never checked out Second Life, but one thing that was interesting about your idea about them pivoting, I think maybe it's just they support... it's too wide-open. Ben Thompson at Stratechery had a great bit about this recently, where he's comparing Second Life to Roblox, and talking about the success of Roblox, and he argues that one of the successful attributes of Roblox is the limited nature of the environment. It's very constrained. And so, that encourages creativity in other ways, that you don't get in a Second Life where "everything's possible". And so, it's a bit overwhelming, right?Starr:Yeah. I don't know. I think, having watched the documentary and not ever used it, it seems like there's a lot of creativity there. It's just-Josh:Well, there is, yeah, but then it's also... I mean, I imagine it would be hard for them to pivot, also, just because of the way they've built a functioning economy into the system. I'm assuming they would have popular uprisings, and there would be revolts if they pivoted to sell out to some sort of corporate event overlords or something. The people would rise up, because, there's people that still, they make their living in that economy.Starr:Yeah, that's true.Ben:Yeah. I just think having a more constrained environment would be better for a conference, like the Gather.Town thing.Starr:Oh yeah, for a conference.Ben:Yeah. You're located in this conference center, and you have the expo hall, and you have the library and things like that. I did love the expo hall in Gather.Town. I really did. Being able to go up and check out a vendor sponsor without having to chat with someone was fantastic.Starr:Oh, that's nice.Ben:Yeah. You could go up, you'd walk up to a booth, and there might be a person there or there might not, and there would be a computer there on the desk, and you could, if you check that out, you would actually see their web page that was specifically for the conference. Or you could, of course, chat to the booth person who might be manning the booth. That's the best expo hall experience of a conference so far. That was cool.Josh:I didn't go in there. I should have.Ben:Yeah.Josh:I never really do anything, to be honest.Ben:Yeah, I didn't do a lot of hanging out, either.Josh:Besides sit in the auditorium. But, that was cool.Ben:That was cool. So, props to MicroConf for using Gather.Town. That was a good experience.Josh:One of the things I liked about the MicroConf, the way they did it, was that it wasn't all day, which, some of the past virtual events I've done, like they kept the schedule of a traditional event, which is sessions in the morning, break for lunch, sessions in the afternoon. By the end of it, you've been sitting in front of your computer in a virtual meeting, basically, for eight hours or something, and it's just exhausting, and MicroConf only had... they did two talks, I think, per day or something. And then there was opportunity to go do... If you wanted to go check out the sponsors or chat, find people to chat with, you could. But, it felt less overwhelming.Starr:I would like it if regular conferences were like that. I mean, they're not because everybody's away from work and doesn't want to be away from home for a week, but two talks a day is about, honestly, my ideal situation. Even at-Josh:That's basically what we do at normal MicroConf.Starr:Yeah. At normal conferences, I just can't watch them all. By the end of the day, sure I can sit there, but I am just not comprehending anything that's going on.Josh:Yeah. Should we complain? Should we voice our opinion about missing Las Vegas, Ben? Or is that too controversial?Ben:Oh.Josh:Because we were some of the ones that were like, "I'm sick of coming to Las Vegas," but now the thought of not going... I just don't want to go to Minneapolis. I'd rather... I miss Las Vegas for some reason, and we haven't come to that, yet.Ben:Yeah. Well, we got to the point where we weren't staying at the Tropicana anymore because we had enough of the Tropicana, right?Josh:Maybe that's it. We complained about Las Vegas for several years and then we were like, "Let's just stay somewhere else." And then we started doing that, and all of a sudden it switched and they-Ben:Got better.Josh:... listened to us.Ben:Yeah, yeah. When you first said-Josh:We can afford to.Ben:When you posted that Street View of Coco's, that hit my right in the feels. I was like, "Oh, now I miss going to Vegas for MicroConf," because that was a great tradition that we had.Josh:Yeah. So, Ben and I, yeah. We always would go... and this was your tradition before, I think... I missed the first couple, at least, or... I don't know how many I missed, but Coco's is a diner right next to the Tropicana, or actually it's down the street, past the Hooters. And so, we would always walk down there in the mornings and get breakfast or whatever, just diner breakfast, and just because... I mean, Tropicana's probably not much better, and you get to go outside.Ben:Yeah, you get to walk.Josh:So, yeah. So, the first, or the second morning of virtual MicroConf. I got on Google Street View and I went to the Tropicana, and then I did the little, went, did our little street walk to Coco's and then sent Ben a screenshot.Ben:That was awesome, yeah.Josh:Trip down memory lane.Ben:Although, one point in favor of Minneapolis... and I agree with you. Given the choice between Las Vegas and Minneapolis, I would choose Las Vegas every time. But, one point in favor of Minneapolis is they have some fine eating establishments there around the convention center, so-Josh:That's true.Ben:When I travel, I love to kind of splurge on food, and I mean, obviously Vegas has some incredible food selections that you're just not going to beat. But, Minneapolis has some good eateries.Josh:It has some good stuff, yeah.Ben:So, yeah.Josh:Yeah, and I liked the indoor skyway or whatever.Ben:Yeah, the sky bridge.Josh:That was Minneapolis. The sky bridge was, yeah.Ben:Yeah, that was perfect.Josh:Yeah. But-Ben:Maybe we'll get to go to conference in person again, some time next year or something.Josh:Yeah. I mean, no matter where it is, it'll still be fun.Ben:Yeah. I actually realized that I do miss traveling a few times a year. I don't think I'd ever want to travel on a regular basis, but I think I had been averaging three or so times a year, prior to COVID.Josh:Makes a difference.Ben:Yeah, I miss it. I miss going to places.Starr:Yeah, it's nice.Josh:Actually, late last year I got the notification that my TSA pre-check is expiring in July or something this year, and when I first got the notification I was just like, it just bummed me out. I was like, "Man, do I even need this anymore? Will I ever travel again?" So, I'm starting to think that I will probably be renewing it pretty soon, here, because it'll expire right around the time I need it.Ben:They should totally give you a one-year extension on that.Josh:They should.Ben:I'm sure they're not equipped to do that.Josh:Yeah, they're not equipped for much.Starr:Yeah, it's really weird getting back into normal life, and travel, and stuff like that. We've been doing little road trips, and staying at Air BnBs and stuff, but that's not really the same.Ben:Yeah.Starr:What a wonderful, somber note.Josh:So, where are you going to go first? Where are you going to go first, Starr?Starr:Oh, me? I don't know. I don't know the grocery store? Actually go inside. Yeah. I don't know. Maybe to see the grandparents in California.Ben:Yeah, that's where I'd be going. To see the grandparents. It's tough.Josh:I mean, screw the grandparents, I'm going to Hawaii.Starr:Oh, there you go.Josh:Sorry, grandparents.Ben:Just tell the grandparents to go to Hawaii, meet them there.Josh:Yeah.Ben:So, one other thing that happened this week that is kind of fun, I just deployed a few minutes ago, actually, is we're now supporting promotion codes. So-Josh:Oh.Ben:Another kind of growth hack that we're going to try is partnering with some different groups, and what really prompted this, actually, was MicroConf. So, a few months ago Ben Finley posted about going to the App Sumo marketplace, and I thought, "Yeah, that's a good idea." But, didn't really think a whole lot of it, didn't really plan on doing much about it. Just like, "Yeah, we should do that someday, " and kind of set it aside.Ben:And then, like at MicroConf remote, they talked about Ruben Gamez's DocSketch, and how he did an App Sumo thing. And then they had a person from App Sumo talking about the marketplace, talk about how it works and things like that, and I thought, "Yeah, that sounds like a good idea." And I remembered Ben's Basecamp post, and I went and looked at that and I'm like, "Yes, let's do it." And so, during that talk I started to write code.Ben:Like, "All right, I have an idea of how to do this." And so, I guess that was a Wednesday, Wednesday/Thursday I wrote the code and put it up there last night for PR, and Josh approved it this morning. So, now we actually support promotion codes, so we can do that App Sumo marketplace testing. And, I have some other ideas of people we can reach out to that I think would be interested in handing out promotion codes for Honeybadger.Starr:That's awesome.Ben:If you're listening and you happen to be interested in doing a promotion with Honeybadger, feel free to reach out.Starr:How can they reach you? would be the best way to go.Starr:All right. You mentioned DocSketch briefly. I feel like I should say, we use the hell out of DocSketch. So, DocSketch is a thing that, it's an e-signature platform. It's very much like, what is it, DocuSign?Ben:Mm-hmm (affirmative).Starr:But, it is much, much, much more affordable, reasonably priced. It does everything we need and it's much more... I don't know. Also, it's just kind of friendlier, it's simpler.Josh:I like it, yeah.Starr:Yeah. Like, I wouldn't be surprised-Josh:It really is the best one I've used, I think.Ben:Yep.Starr:It is, it is. And we do at least one or two a week, because I use it for all my author agreements. So, we just-Josh:Yeah. I've been using it for the contractors, too. Yeah, for-Starr:Yeah, so I feel like we should plug that product, because, yeah, it's awesome, and Ruben's awesome, and yeah. So, everyone should go out and buy it, Josh:So, it really was like a classic MicroConf. You missed the first day due to Honeybadger, and then you spent the next couple days building out a feature based on your takeaways. We got a little trip to Coco's.Ben:Almost like the real thing.Starr:Wow, yeah.Josh:Couldn't have asked for more.Starr:You should have had me come over. I would spray you all with dirty water to simulate the time the fire extinguisher went off during the-Josh:Oh, that was fun. Yeah.Starr:During the talks.Ben:Yeah. No, I think we didn't get as like the sore feet from walking back and forth across half the Strip, yeah.Starr:Oh god, yeah. So much walking.Josh:Yeah. Well, you never know. Maybe there will be a return to Vegas one day, for old time's sake. Or we could just go to Vegas. If they keep doing the virtual MicroConfs, we could just go to Vegas and just stream it from the hotel.Starr:There you go. I mean, why are we even trying to pursue growth through customers? We can just put it all on red.Josh:Yeah.Starr:Just let it roll, let it ride. Whatever the people say.Josh:It's our annual growth trip. Yes.Starr:Okay. You have been listening to FounderQuest. If you want to review us on Apple Podcast, that's awesome. If you want to write for us, we're always looking for writers. Go to our blog at and see the Write For Us page. And, yeah. And, we're starting a new thing that I'm recruiting writers for, which is we're going to be doing some quarterly sort of reports showing all the sort of news and events and activity that's happened around various programming language communities, so if you're interested in that get in touch, too. All right, see you all later.
38:40 04/02/2021
Tracking The Elusive SaaS Sales Funnel
Show notes:Links:Intro CRMAhoyAndrew KaneFull transcript:Ben:So I am feeling great this morning.Starr:Oh Good. Why are you feeling great?Ben:So over the past couple weeks, I've been working on cleaning up the low level noise, errors that are happening, that aren't really severe and that get corrected because of retries and things like that. So stuff, that's not broken, broken, it's just annoying. And so I just, yesterday I think, finished off the last of those things. So, we had a few big things over the past several months, we had the account billing migration. We've had the Elasticsearch migration. We've had the payload storage migration. And now as of yesterday, we have no lingering, low level errors happening. It's just clean. The logs are quiet, everything is happy.Josh:Nice.Starr:That's amazing. Good job.Ben:Thanks.Starr:Would you say it's like butter?Josh:Thought it was kind of quiet around here.Ben:It's like butter.Starr:It's like butter.Ben:Yeah, it feels really good.Starr:Oh, good.Josh:I got through my to-do list items that were kind of along those lines this week, actually. So that does feel good. I'm onto having time for real work again now until I come in on Monday and I have a bunch of busy work again.Ben:Yeah.Starr:Well yesterday was my birthday, so I took it off so I'm a slacker this week.Josh:Happy birthday.Starr:Thank you.Ben:Happy birthday.Starr:Thank you. It's very nice, just like, I didn't actually really do anything special. I just went about sort of a normal day, but without any rush. I was just like, I'm going to kind of take my time and take as long as I want in whatever I'm doing. And it was very nice. It was very nice just having that off. And I mean, I didn't actually work, but I did just kind of read and stuff, so..Josh:Cool.Starr:So I was great and I-Josh:Sounds like the perfect birthday, to be honest.Starr:I know it was pretty great. Yeah. My kid was very enthusiastic until... She was super enthusiastic all week. She made all these decorations and everything and all these tiny little birthday present crafts that were just adorable. And then when my birthday dinner actually rolled around, they went to the restaurant to pick up the food and everything and they came back and she didn't like any of the food that we got. And so she just threw just a shit fit. And it's just like, ah, I was trying to have my nice dinner and you really pumped this up for me. And now you're just you're just like some sort of caveman or something.Josh:She definitely did it intentionally.Starr:Yeah.Josh:This was her plan all along.Starr:Yeah. They build you up just to tear you down. That's children for you. But other than that, I got a lot of, I mean, a lot of progress on this interesting project that we're doing, where we're going to be using our sort of blog author set up to generate some reports, to make things easier for us sort of internally, right? Because it's kind of hard for Josh and everybody who's involved with the libraries, the client libraries to keep tabs on 500 different languages at once.Starr:It's just like keeping tabs on one programming language is kind of hard because everything changes every six weeks. And so, yeah. So we're going to try and get some authors to sort of go in, maybe start on a quarterly basis and come up with sort of reports about what's going on in a specific community. And yeah. And if it turns out-Josh:I'm so excited.Starr:Yeah, if it turns out they're useful, we'll probably start sharing them by our blog or email or something. Whatever allows us to extract the maximum value from you people.Josh:This came around or it came about, because I was like Starr, I'm tired of reading 15 newsletters every week. And I just want to read one thing, once a quarter or something like that and know what's going on. And so Starr like, I can do that and now we're going to have it. It's going to be awesome.Ben:So in a recent episode, when we talked about the vendor that you're not going to name on air Starr-Starr:I'll say it. It's okay. It's love sack. I was just feeling weird about it at that time. It's a terrible name. I realized later though, that it's based on love seats. Its like love seat bean bag type thing. At first, I thought it was a pun on love shack, which seemed like a really weird way to, I mean, I guess who am I to talk like my product's in Honeybadger, but yeah.Josh:True.Starr:I'm sorry. What were you going to say, Ben?Ben:So I brought that up to say that we had asked, in our podcast episode where we discussed that, we had asked people to respond to us on Twitter if they had any recommendations. And we actually got a recommendation, which was great. And the person who responded, suggested that perhaps we could engage people via Twitter, more from our podcasts. And so with this report thing that you're talking that made me think, hey, if someone out there would be interested in receiving a report, like we just described, you should let us know on Twitter.Starr:Oh yeah. That's a good idea.Ben:And-Josh:Honeybadger intelligence report?Ben:Exactly. Exactly.Starr:I'm abbreviating it HBI. Your HBI briefing. That sounds very official. Doesn't it?Ben:It does. Yeah. Expect that to come out on the first Thursday of the quarter right after the payroll report or something.Starr:Exactly. People are going to just be like, let me just tell you, the markets are going to move when that thing drops.Josh:I think that there are people out there that could get benefit from this sort of thing. It's not maybe not everyone, but anyone who has to keep up with multiple, like different tech language communities as a part of their job, which is like me, I maintain all of our integrations and stuff across the entire internet. And so... Or the entire industry. And so there's a lot of news and releases and what are the trends that people are talking about on Twitter? If I tried to stay on top of all that 24/7 I'd just never leave my desk.Starr:Yeah. It's so much work. I honestly, I'm kind of in the same boat, even though I don't work on the client libraries. I consider myself a developer. That's not really most of my job lately, but yeah. I'm a Ruby developer and I would like to keep up with the Ruby community and everything. And, but like when you're doing a job that isn't quite... Just day in, day out Ruby development, it's kind of hard to do that, right? So I would love to have like a thing to come to me every few months. Just like I just need to spend 30 minutes reading this once a quarter and I will have a good handle on things. So if I go to a conference, I just don't sound stupid. When people come up and talk to me.Josh:Yeah. You'll be in the know. Starr, can we send this out? Like snail mail to people do you think? Like an old school newsletter?Starr:An old school newsletter.Josh:Like before the internet. People, anyone who had an opinion... We could even have like a section where we like prognosticate and you tell what the future trends are going to be.Starr:There you go.Josh:Do you ever see those newsletters where those guys would have like their stock tips or the economic trends that they foresee.Starr:And here's the thing with that though. We can't just print it out. We've got to type it on a typewriter and photocopy it.Josh:Photocopy it. Okay.Ben:And you have to put it in one of those clear covers that have the plastic binder thing going down the side. Like you did in school when you turn in your reports.Josh:Yeah. Ben has a photocopier right behind him in his office right now. Just saying.Starr:There you go.Josh:And it's a industrial one.Starr:Oh, this is just taking me back to my 90s roots.Ben:Speaking of 90s roots. So I saw a random tweet this morning. That was from, I guess, defense attorney. She said that her client was just released from prison after 30 years of being incarcerated. And as this individual was getting back to life, everyone kept saying, oh, well you can get that form at our website or we'll send you an email with that information whatever. And this person was like, what are they even talking about? 30 years, imagine 1991.Josh:No access?Ben:Yeah. Going away and coming back in 2021 and all that's changed. Can you imagine? That wow. That just made me think for a while. It's like, we've done a lot of stuff in the past 30 years.Josh:A lot of stuff.Ben:Yeah. It's crazy.Josh:I mean, I'm only 36, so that's like my entire life.Ben:Yeah. Guess that's a bit of a downer. Sorry. I just thought it was wild.Starr:Yeah. It's like the guy who woke up from the coma and he... I guess he went into a coma like right before coronavirus started and he woke up, he was just like-Josh:The entire world has changed.Starr:Yeah. But you know what, on a little bit of better news, I actually went and for my birthday treat, I went and drove to a coffee stand, which is something we have in Seattle, in the Pacific Northwest, which most places don't have, which are these little tiny shacks that you can just drive up to them and they give you coffee. And it's great. And I haven't done anything like that because of pandemic and it's... I just have been very tightly staying home. But I figured for my birthday, it's fine.Starr:So I just went through this little... This coffee shack and it was just like this little shining moment of almost normalcy. And I was just like, okay, I finally am feeling like this might come to an end one day and I can drive home. I can take my little coffee out of my cup holder in my car. I can walk back to my front door. I'm just not... I won't be like just in the house all day. Like I'll get to-Josh:It's definitely happening.Starr:Yeah.Josh:Yes. It's going.Ben:I have to ask though. These coffee stands that you mentioned, did you go to a chain coffee stand or was an independent coffee stand?Starr:It was in independent. I don't even know if they have chain coffees stands. They do?Ben:Yeah. Mercurys Coffee is a chain of them.Starr:The only ones I know are they're always very weird idiosyncratic thing. Some of them have ladies in bikinis who make your coffee. That's gross. I'm not going to go to those. Yeah. It's just a normal little... It's sort of yellow. It's got a picture of a rooster on it and it's by the freeway entrance.Josh:Nice.Ben:Yeah, just around the corner from my office, they just recently built one of those. And it's Mercurys, which is why that's top of mind for me, because I pass by it. But they just built it as in they started that after the pandemic and I was like, wow, that's pretty optimistic. You're going to build one of these places when they're just no new cars coming through, but-Josh:Really? Are there no cars? Around here, they're pretty popular still. The drive-thru has been one of the things that people still do a lot. So I think if anything they've become more popular just because you can't get coffee any other way.Ben:Yeah. I guess so.Starr:So do you mind if I ask? You were talking to a sales consultant person and so what's going on with that? I'm just curious.Ben:So that's going to be starting next week actually.Starr:Oh, that's awesome. So this is a guy who has... What's the name of his company?Ben:I can't remember.Starr:Oh my gosh. Okay.Ben:I'll have to link it in the show notes.Starr:Yeah. We'll link it to the show notes. Yeah. And his thing is he helps sort of software companies create sales systems and processes and everything. Kind of like what we needed. So we're all just like, yes. Go for it please.Ben:Exactly. Yeah. So he's really into sales. That's his background. And he's had a lot of experience in that realm and he's now started a productized service. So it's like, it's kind of like hybrid SaaS and professional services model where there is software involved. He has built some CRM software and also has a staff of people who help you use the software basically, and help you through the process of doing salesy stuff. So yeah, I'm pretty excited about that. Especially considering that just yesterday, I had a really bad experience with an outbound sales team from some company that we will not link in the show notes, but they email me like four times over the past three weeks. And of course all unsolicited. And I just ignore these things.Ben:Yeah. I just ignore these things. I just delete them. It's no big deal, but it became a big deal yesterday when we got a phone call to our main number and I typically-Starr:Oh, no, they didn't.Ben:Yes they did.Starr:They didn't call the 800 number, did they?Ben:They called the 800 number.Starr:We had to pay to get that call.Ben:I don't know what they were thinking, calling a number that's posted on our website, but they did. And they're all like, hey, this is what we do. And you should call us back and we'll talk to you. And the service that they sell is outbound sales.Josh:This is what we do. We hound you incessantly until you curse.Ben:So I just... as soon as I heard that message, I called them and I'm like, get me off your list. Do not call me, do not email me. And I don't know what they were thinking. Apparently they don't know how to market to developers because you don't spam email and call a developer and expect to have a good response and then-Josh:Well, they are trying to think.Starr:So I've got to say, we're just like, okay, we're going to get a sales consultant and do this stuff. And then we're just like, we hate sales people.Josh:Yeah, exactly.Starr:They are like what's going to break there. Yeah.Ben:Next week when we the record episode, I'll be like so calling people is awesome. Yeah. We're going to figure that out. I don't know how that's going to work out, how that's going to play out yet, but I'm hoping that our new consultant slash productized service person, is going to have the ability to help us thread that needle so that we can actually do some outreach without annoying them.Josh:He didn't seem the type of person that would annoy me like that in his video that I watched, for what it's worth,Ben:Yeah. He mentioned that. So he sent us a proposal with that nice little PDF, three to four pager thing talking about what he was going to do, but also sent a Loom video with the proposal and it kind of walked through it. And I was like, yeah, extra credit. Above and beyond.Starr:I like that.Josh:As a demonstration, an active demonstration of your sales techniques, I feel like that almost that already alleviates that concern for me a little bit. I mean, if he did that for our customers and in terms of this is what you get from Honeybadger, and by the way, I recorded this custom walkthrough for you of like how everything works, personalized. I mean, that kind of thing actually sells me versus like 15 phone calls and text messages.Ben:Totally.Starr:Yeah. I agree. It was a very nice cozy feeling that you don't get from all of these sales emails.Josh:The video was also not too long either. That was the second impressive part that he recorded a video and then it was brief, concise and had basically the information that I was looking for.Ben:Yeah. It's like, he knows what he's doing.Josh:Yeah. We'll see about that.Starr:Yeah. Just hoping.Ben:And in similar news, I've been playing around with various metrics, gathering tools this past week or two to try and get a real good handle on what our rates are. Our conversion rates, from visitor to trial and from trial to paid. And it's been somewhat challenging because we have users and we have accounts and the billing stuff is associate with account and not a user. And a lot of these analytics tools are like, got to user. It's all user based. And it's like, well, we have to do this transition period where a user creates an account and that's where the payment thing happens, right?Ben:And of course, we also have the challenge of developers are our customers and they turn off all the, Mix Panel and all the other tracking stuff. And so we were doing something in house. We're using Ahoy, which is some Ruby code built by Andrew Kane. And that person is just a machine. Tell you what, go browse through the repositories and GitHub for him. It's amazing. Anyway Ahoy is great. It puts a couple of tables in your database and you track all these events like page views and whatever custom events you want from the backend, all in these tables. And so you can just query them like normal like a regular database table. And just this morning I was putting together some stats. And so now we have new percentages on our internal admin dashboard.Josh:Oh, is it up it's up?Ben:It's up. It may be slightly inaccurate. There were some problems, I think. I noticed right before we started recording. But yes, we actually have some big fat numbers with percent signs behind them. It's pretty cool.Starr:Oh, Cool. Yeah.Josh:Awesome. I've been wanting to set up Ahoy for a long time on our app, so I'm excited that we finally have it and-Ben:Yeah. Why did we wait so long.Josh:I don't know.Starr:That's kind of, one of the sort of curses of Honeybadger has always been we can get information on trial to paid conversion and stuff, because all that stuff it's in our own database. But like the tracking conversions from like a visitor to signing up is just... Has always eluded us. And maybe there's a way to do it that we just don't know. But I don't know if it's just because developers block ads or what, but based on all the tracking software, you would think that nobody ever looked at our website before signing up, which probably isn't the case. But yeah.Ben:Well, one of the things was self-inflicted wounds because we refused to send events to Google analytics. And so-Starr:I mean, we tried though for a while.Ben:Yeah, we did. Oh yeah, always felt kind of icky about it and so we never really nailed it.Starr:Yeah. I mean, not recently, but when I set it up a long time ago, we tried and it's just, it was still-Josh:I think we did. Yeah. I remember we had Shane Rice configure the whole thing for us at one point. Like with all those events-Starr:Yeah. That was the second attempt.Josh:All the collection points. Yeah. And I mean and he did a good job. That guy knows Google Analytics, but I don't know. It seems like a tricky problem for a lot of SaaS companies too. Just getting that specific part the of the funnel. Visit to sign up. It's probably easier for info product type sales, because people are coming for a specific... It's like a specific conversion, like sales thing, but we've always had the problem of, if we're doing content marketing, like they're there for the content, not for a SaaS and they might come back at some point and because they were exposed to us through the content marketing, but how do you tie that event? It's just there's a bunch of interim steps that complicate things.Ben:Yeah. Speaking of that, I actually cheated a bit when I was putting the stats together because we have so much traffic to the blog that it kind of drowns out traffic of people who are actually intentionally coming to check out the product. So great job Starr. And so I thought, well, let me just ignore the blog traffic. So the query queries that I was working on, if I ignore views to blog pages and just track views to our main sales pages, then the, our conversion ratio is much better. So I decided to go with that approach. It's kind of funny how you can put your thumb on the scale on different places and make things look the way you want them to look.Josh:Exactly how you want them to.Starr:Yeah. I'm hoping that sort of a sales process might actually shed some light into that dark corner. Because if for example, we got people to sign up for, I don't know, say a intelligence report and give some information on that and we contacted them, we would be able to have stats about our ratios and everything from that, because there would be a physical person involved. It wouldn't just be trying to put a cookie on somebody's computer.Josh:Put a cookie on their desk and they're much more likely to buy Honeybadger.Starr:Oh, there you go. That's a good thing.Ben:Why did you put a honey badger on their desk and not so much?Josh:No.Ben:I have had my kids suggest that we do that.Josh:Send a honey badger?Ben:Mm-hmm (affirmative).Josh:Or a cookie? Because I mean, we've also talked about sending food. People do like food.Ben:Do you remember, this must have been six years ago or so, remember the time we actually did do cookies? For a conference?Josh:Yeah. That's right.Starr:Yeah. I remember that.Ben:Yeah. I think we actually borrowed that idea from Office Space. If I remember correctly. Because Suzie was really into doing the cookie thing. Well, that's when cookies were hot too. It's like the cupcake fad. Before the cupcake fad, there was a cookie fad.Starr:The great cupcake glut of 2011. Children were drowning in buttercream.Ben:Those were the good days. So yeah. It'll be interesting to see if we can make this tracking happen. And then my goal is to, once we have some good numbers actually find ways to make those numbers go up, right? But if you can't measure it, you can't improve it. And so hopefully the measuring is going to be in place now. So I'm pretty excited about that.Josh:Yeah. It'll be nice to have that if it works to have it on the dashboard. Yes. We've always been... We've been able to go like Starr, you've done deep dives into the numbers and stuff and that's been awesome, but like you have to go and do that whenever we want it and if we had a way to just track that stuff, it would be useful. It seems.Starr:Yeah. Definitely. One thing to keep in mind also is, it might be useful to have a view that filters out some of the less, less converting sources of traffic like we've got certain geographic regions that just have way lower conversion rates than anywhere else and account for a lot of signups though. So it might be useful to have a view that kind of filters those out so you can get a more, I don't know, level, a less chaotic view of the stats.Ben:Yeah, totally. Yeah. I was thinking about that. I haven't done that yet. So I def want to do this, but I was thinking about that based on your analysis, you did. I am however, already excluding all the Horoku signups since they are, their customers are so much different than our on-site customers. And I'm also excluding the GitHub student pack people.Starr:Oh that's good.Ben:Because they come through, they get the free year. They don't convert anywhere near as well as, people who are actually like doing this for a job kind of thing. So yeah. That makes the numbers much more realistic, I think. To ignore those two sets of customers.Starr:Oh yeah, totally. And yeah, I'm curious to see how this sales consulting thing works. Like yeah. You should let us know how it goes. Because I mean, all this is sort of tied into marketing and the stuff we're doing at our monthly marketing meetings and everything. So it'll be good to work as a team on that.Ben:Yeah.Josh:Yeah. Can't wait to see that hockey stick chart from the sales effort.Ben:Totally.Starr:H E double hockey sticks?Josh:It's going to look like a Bitcoin market chart.Ben:We are going to work out what my compensation schedule is, right? What's my quota? Going to be driving that Lambo pretty soon. All those sales commissions.Josh:You're the only one in the company with the Lambo. It'll be worth it.Starr:Well, it seems like we are reaching a natural plateau. So should we call it? Let's call it. All right, well-Josh:Wait, the company's plateaued?Ben:No man, to the moon. Diamond hands.Josh:Joking.Starr:Oh, not you too Ben. I went on my morning walk and I saw that somebody had written in... A truck went by me on the road and somebody written on the dust on the background. They're like GME to the moon and then like pictures of diamonds. And it's awesome. It's like, oh my God, this is too wild.Josh:Wait, what was the car this was on?Starr:It was just like a delivery truck or something.Josh:Nice.Starr:Somebody had written... had like walked by it or something. I don't think the truck's owner meant to do it. Because that's just, I don't know.Josh:Because if you're going to write that on your car, it better be a Lambo.Starr:Yeah. And it better not be written by somebody's finger in the dust on your car.Josh:Yeah.Starr:Yeah. Everything's just dust in the wind, I guess that's the message of that. All right. So you've been listening to FounderQuest. Please go review us on Apple podcasts or whatever. We're looking for authors. If you want to go to our blog, look at the write for us page. I'm going to be looking for people to help with these intelligence reports. So if you're interested in, I don't know, like doing deep dives into the current news of a specific programming language or platform, definitely get in touch. You can just go to that same write for us page. And I don't know, is there any final thoughts, any wisdom?Ben:So they got to tweet at us @founderquest.Starr:Oh yeah. FounderQuest. Tweet at us.Josh:Tell us your wisdom.Starr:Yes. That's a great way to engage.Ben:Tell us where you got coffee this morning.Starr:You can choose-Josh:I mean, we don't have any wisdom. That's obviously why we have a podcast.Starr:I just think all of our listeners should join the conversation. Engage the way you want to.Josh:We should do a call in show.Ben:On air?Josh:Yeah.Ben:Yeah. Tweet at us if you'd be interested in having a live call-in show with FounderQuest.Starr:This is just getting super retro. We got a call-in show. We're going to have like a typewritten newsletter that goes out.Josh:I really kind of want to start a snail mail newsletter now. All the people with Twitter newsletters, none of them are doing actual newsletters. And I feel like you definitely get people putting in the info for that.Starr:You're right. Honestly-Josh:I like I really kind of want to do it.Starr:Yeah. Now that you say that, it kind of was like a joke, but now that I'm thinking about it-Josh:That would be amazing.Starr:If I could just get like two physical pages about what's going on in a programming community or whatever that I'm interested in, like that-Josh:Put it on my coffee table.Starr:I can just look at it. I don't have to remember to pull it up.Josh:You can throw it in the trash. After you're done with it Starr.Starr:You can just recycling Josh. We live in the Pacific Northwest. You don't want them coming for you.Ben:Love it.Josh:Oh no. This is like retro, remember? We don't recycle.Starr:Oh, I got it. Okay.Ben:We just throw out the car window as we driving down the road.Starr:All right. Well, this has been FounderQuest. We love the environment. We love our mother earth and we love most of all, you our listeners. Okay. Bye.
28:58 03/26/2021
Do Developers Actually Pay Money For Things?
Show notes:Links:Sidekiq-cron   TextExpanderAlfredSondors MetacycleFull transcript:Ben:So, you may not be surprised to hear this, but I've been doing a lot of shopping for electric vehicles this past week.Starr:Oh yeah?Josh:Oh.Ben:And there are some new electric motorcycles and scooters coming out that are very, very tempting. There's one in particular, the Sondors model, which is going to be first released near the end of the year and it's only $5000 and it had a top of speed of 80 miles per hour. The battery is not really rated for doing 80 miles per hour very long. You're not going to commute for 20 miles at that speed, but it's nice to have that in case you just need to hop on the freeway to get someplace really quick.Starr:Wow. That's only like $60 per mile per hour.Ben:But I really got my eye on it. And my wife's not a big fan of the whole motorcycle idea, but it's been there in the back of my mind for years and this year might be the year that I actually get my two wheel endorsement and do the training course and all that.Josh:Yeah, that would be fun.Ben:I just didn't want another combustion powered vehicle and so I've been holding off on the whole motorcycle thing until they got electric motorcycles that were not crazy expensive but also not just useless because it only has a batter for five miles worth of range. And I think 2021 is the year that is actually-Josh:Is this going to be your big 2021 post-pandemic life change?Ben:Exactly, yeah.Josh:Nice.Ben:Maybe this is my midlife crisis where I actually buy that motorcycle.Josh:You should get a hog, though. Be like a-Ben:The LiveWire is really nice. That's Harley Davidson's electric, but it's like $30,000 and I just, I have qualms about spending as much on a motorcycle as I would spend on a car.Josh:Yeah.Ben:Maybe that's not the right way to look at it, but it's just, I have problems with that.Josh:I'm seeing you with some of the... the trike handlebars or whatever.Starr:Oh, like a Chopper?Josh:Yeah.Ben:Yeah.Starr:I'm wondering if the electrics have the same cache. Because I'm trying to figure out if all the Bruce Springsteen songs still apply to the electric motorcycles. Like would you call an electric motorcycle a Suicide Machine? It seems a little bit too environmentally friendly for that. I'm not really sure.Josh:Ben totally needs an electric Chopper. It'd be the first.Starr:I go on walks... I'm sorry. I go on walks in the morning and occasionally an electric car will pass by me because it's Seattle and there's a couple of them. And it always feels so sneaky. It feels like they're just sneaking up on me because I just hear this low whine and next thing I know it's right behind me. It just feels like they're sneaking up on me.Ben:Yeah, I think they are.Starr:I don't trust that Elon Musk fellow. I don't trust him.Josh:Eventually you'll be just hearing that whining throughout your entire walk, just constantly.Starr:Yeah.Ben:Yeah, like the state of Washington, I think they recently passed a law that prevents any new combustion based cars from being sold after 2035. I think that's what it is. So yeah, the clock is ticking man.Josh:Pretty wild.Ben:Yeah. But for-Josh:Are consumers going to go for it?Ben:I think so. I think so.Josh:I think they will.Ben:But for those who don't know, the reason why it's kind of an inside joke is I've been interested in electric powered vehicles for a very long time and Starr and Josh are well aware of having-Starr:As long as I've known you. As long as Honeybadger's been a company.Josh:Yeah. Honeybadger was actually going to be a electric vehicle company initially, then we pivoted.Starr:Yeah, we really chose wrong with that one. That was a really bad decision.Josh:Yeah.Ben:It might have required a little more capital than we put into our initial business, though.Starr:Yeah, that's true. Well-Ben:So that's my week. I've been shopping for electric bikes all week.Starr:Well that's good.Josh:This has been another one of those weeks where I don't remember where it all went, what I did, but I know I did a lot.Starr:That's sort of the pandemic life, isn't it? I mean, you've been doing all the contracting stuff, right?Josh:Yeah. Yeah, I've actually been-Ben:Yeah, you've been doing the PHP. The library's really had some improvement this week. That's been really cool to see.Josh:Yeah, we're almost to zero issues.Ben:Yeah, that's pretty awesome.Josh:Including enhancements and features. Although I've got a few that I'm going to be creating, so now we can get on to the fun stuff like adding new things.Ben:Oh, speaking of enhancements, we had a really awesome customer just last night, this morning, who sent us a request for new functionality in the Ruby gem to be able to notify the API of deployments. We didn't have that code in the gem for a Ruby app to use as a consumer. We had a command line task for that, but it wasn't exposed as code. So I wrote back to the customer, I'm like, "No, we don't have that but I'll create an issue in GitHub and if you want to open a PR, wink, wink, go right ahead." I woke up this morning and there's the PR. I'm like, "Wow, all right."Josh:Yeah, isn't that great?Ben:Yeah. And he tested it in his app. I'm like, well that's pretty awesome. We have the best customers. We really do.Josh:Yeah.Starr:That's awesome. So why are we paying people again? Let's just make it all community maintained.Ben:This was a related thread and a couple of tweets going back and forth this week on Twitter and people talking about, "Well, you know, developers are a terrible market. They don't buy anything." And a number of entrepreneurs are like, "Oh, I beg to differ, they actually do buy things."Starr:Yeah. But they don't buy things, but their employers buy lots of things.Ben:Right. Right. And they definitely are interested in not spending their time on things if they can realize that there's a way to get something that's a quality product. And they are the best customers because when they file those bug reports, it's so easy to fix them. It's great.Josh:Yeah, I never get that argument. We buy a lot of things.Ben:We do buy a lot of things.Josh:We buy things all the time.Starr:Yeah, we do buy a lot. So I wonder if it has to do with the age of the developer. Like if you're around 20-something developers, early 20 developers who don't have jobs then, yeah, they're not going to buy muchJosh:That's just age. 20-somethings don't buy anything.Starr:I know because you don't have money.Josh:Period. I mean, they buy Netflix and iPhones.Starr:Yeah, but as soon as they get one of those sweet startup gigs, they're buying fricking $200 fidget spinners.Ben:Don't they have company issued fidget spinners if they're working for that sweet startup?Starr:I mean, probably. Probably, yeah.Josh:Is that the new retirement gift? The gold fidget spinner? Like the gold watch.Starr:Yeah, they give it to you when you're 30.Ben:But one thing I actually did do... I guess I got a little bit of work done this week. I spent some time working on moving our stack so that we can more easily have Docker containers running it. So we currently use VMs for everything, but we really want to have an on-prem version. And we're most of the way there, but one of the things is we want to make it easy for people to deploy and so we think that doing so with Docker images is the way to go versus giving a customer, "Here's a bunch of Terraform that you can run and spin up a bunch of VMs. I think people will be happier with Docker images.Ben:So I've been moving a lot of our cron jobs from just cron on the box to Sidekiq cron, which an extension to Sidekiq that inserts another puller. So, Sidekiq has puller, it's running your background jobs and it's pulling, I don't know, every whatever seconds to see their new things to do and to spinoff and stuff like that. So Sidekiq cron is a gem that adds another puller that looks for cron jobs that you've defined in a particular configuration, then runs Sidekiq jobs for those things. So, I've been converting a bunch of rake tasks to Sidekiq jobs and it's pretty nice. I like it.Ben:It does avoid the problem of having multiple boxes running the same cron job at the same time. It does have that ability, which is the prime thing that we need since we have clusters of VMs running. We were using console to coordinate that before, but yeah, we needed a solution for inside of a Docker container and this seems to do the job.Josh:That's good, yeah.Ben:Yeah. Happy. Do recommend.Josh:I wonder what else Sidekiq can do for us.Ben:I know. Have to get it to wash the dishes. That'd be pretty cool.Starr:It already does a lot doesn't it? That's kind of the center of everything.Ben:Yeah. Oh, for sure. Yeah we use Sidekiq Batch for the export jobs because export jobs do a lot of work. So we split that into a bunch of little jobs and combine them all with Sidekiq Batch. That's been pretty cool.Josh:That's cool.Ben:Yeah. Periodic jobs, exclusive jobs. Yeah, it's all good.Starr:Well, let's see, I guess this has been a pretty boring week. I've been working on just writing a bunch of article descriptions, which is very... it's not very fun to talk about. It's kind of boring work, which is why I put it off for so long for so many of these articles.Josh:For the rest of the podcast, why don't we just have you read them?Starr:We'll just read them. Oh, I'll share my one.Josh:You could just go down the listStarr:I'll share my one lyfe hack that I figured out. My lyfe hacks are spelled with a Y. The thing about publishing... So, we pay people to do these articles, they give them to me, they're done basically but they're not ready to go on our blog because our blog uses a static site generator and so I've got to add front matter to them, I've got to write descriptions, I've got to make sure they actually render okay in our particular version of Markdown that we accept and all that stuff. There's like a million steps to this. One of the things that made me procrastinate on this is because it would just stress me out that I would... I always felt like I was forgetting a step in this or even if I wasn't forgetting a step, I was worried that I was forgetting a step.Starr:So what I eventually did is I made a checklist of about 10 items or whatever and I put that checklist in TextExpander. So now when I want to publish an article, I just do my TextExpander snippet. With TextExpander, you type in a little keyword into whatever app you're using and it just pastes in a predefined snippet. So I can just do my little keyword and it pastes in this list of 10 things into my to do list and then I just check them off as I go through it. It's so much less stressful doing it.Starr:And also, the other thing that I found is really useful about this is that before I had this system in place, when I had to start working on one of these article descriptions, because... I don't know, it just seemed overwhelming because I would start and be like, "Okay, I've got to read this article. I've got to figure out what it's about." Because I have a lot of articles in progress, so I forget the details about individual ones until I'm looking at them. They just seemed overwhelming but now with this process in place it's like, okay, all I have to do now is run my image optimization script in that directory. So, I could do that. That's a mechanical thing, it's not big deal. And it's like, "Okay, all I need to do now is I need to go fix Markdownlint errors in VS code or whatever. It just makes it so much easier to get into it, and by the time I've done all these mechanical tasks it's like, "Oh, I remember what the article's about and now I can actually write the description." So it kind of is like boot strapping into this task, which I find kind of useful.Josh:That's cool.Ben:That is cool. Have you considered using GitHub Actions for things like doing the image squishing and stuff like that?Starr:Yes. I would definitely like to set up Markdownlint to run as a GitHub action just because some of this stuff should really be caught at the time that the author pushes it, not by me. But for the image stuff, I don't know... Yes, but also, I'm just like, "Well, I don't know, do I..." I just don't know if I want that run every time. It just seems like there would be some sort of complication there, so it's just kind of scared me off from it. Maybe it wouldn't be that big of a deal. But yeah, so the thing I'm getting at is like, okay, if I... Yeah, would I be interfering with the author if I just... If they committed an image and they were just working on it and suddenly it's like, "We compressed this for you and changed the dimensions of it." I don't know, it seemed like it might get in the way a little bit.Ben:Yeah. Yeah. You can do actions just on a pull request, though. So while the author is working, they're committing and nothing happens. And then when they open the PR, then that action does the squishing.Starr:Yeah, that's a good point. That's a good point, I'll think about it. I mean, image squishing is relatively easy, but-Ben:Yeah, it's like five seconds of your job, yeah.Josh:Or you could just use some sort of image squishing CDN. Those exist out there.Starr:You know, I'd rather just run my little image squisher in the terminal because I know that shit works and I know that it's not just going to suddenly stop working randomly on a Wednesday.Ben:And then you have hand-crafted squished images. I mean, what's... premium, right?Josh:You know, Netlify actually has that built into it. I think you might need to use their file storage service. It's built on top of a... I think it's called... It's a Git feature. Git Large File Storage, I think. But basically it's a feature of Git that your platform, your Git provider, can support. And GitHub supports it. So it's like a way of basically pushing... Like managing large files inside of a Git repository. Because otherwise, I don't know if you've ever tried to commit super large files, say like videos or something, to just a regular Git repo, it becomes very hard to manage. And it turns out Git actually has a feature that's specifically for that. But Netlify supports that through... I think if you manage your media through that, then you can actually use their... they just have like an end point that you can use for your images that has parameters where it automatically does the resizing and cropping and compression and everything. Kind of like that thing you built at one point, Ben, upload... What was it called?Ben:Upload Juicer.Josh:Juicer. Yeah.Ben:Yeah.Josh:Same idea.Starr:Yeah. That's really cool maybe for a more intensive use case, that would be good. I kind of like that I can just preview the post with the changed images and it's like I just don't have to worry about it working, it's just, it's very obvious if it worked, didn't work, or whatever.Josh:Yeah. Yeah, I looked into it at one point and it was a little bit involved to set up, which is why we don't currently have it.Starr:Yeah. Yeah. If the rest of this whole process could be as easy as the image squishing, I would be in heaven. Netlify needs to have a service that reads the article and writes a marketing description.Josh:Yeah, you push your just general, your title, to it and it spits out the rest of the article.Starr:Yeah, they could just make it, make the whole article.Josh:The Markdown TextExpander process you mentioned, that would be a useful process in Notion. I've seen people do similar things with their Roam notes or personal knowledge system. But yeah, anything that supports Markdown that will automatically convert it into task lists or something.Starr:Yeah. You want to know something cool?Josh:What?Starr:This is actually very cool. I just recently discovered it. TextExpander can also paste in rich text. So if you want to... Like if you use Apple Notes or something and you wanted to do the same process and have it paste in things with actual check boxes and all that stuff, you can just copy that stuff out of Apple Notes and paste it into the TextExpander thing and then tell it to paste in rich text and it'll do it.Josh:That's cool.Starr:So it doesn't just have to be Markdown. I happen to use Markdown for my daily to-do list, so that's what I use but it's actually pretty sweet.Josh:Yeah, Ben and I use Alfred. You use the snippet manager in Alfred don't you Ben?Ben:You know, these days more often than not I use the built in keyword expansion in Apple.Josh:Oh, do you?Ben:macOS, yeah.Josh:Oh, okay.Ben:Because my needs are pretty simple typically so, yeah.Josh:Yeah. I prefer the one in Alfred because actually I really don't like the text expansion and Alfred actually has... You can do a keyword search. So you can search for just a quick fuzzy find on the snippet you're looking for. So you can have your snippet library in there. And it does support text expansion. Like you can give it a keyword and say, "Expand this," but it gives you the option not to. Yeah, I don't like when I'm typing and I accidentally type the wrong... Make a typo and all of a sudden my text expanded. Or sometimes I don't want to expand it.Ben:All my keyword triggers in macOS have a semicolon as the prefixJosh:Okay, yeah.Ben:So I can't have any accidental unless I'm typing a random semicolon for some reason, but yeah.Josh:Yeah. That makes sense. Yeah. But at the same time then I'm like, well that's basically my Alfred workflow where I do whatever command space for the launcher and then I just find it. So, yeah it's just a couple extra keystrokes.Starr:I'm conservative, so I have two semicolons as my-Josh:It's like a path-Starr:I might be writing some JavaScript or something but I'm never going to have two of them right next to-Josh:It's two semicolons and a password that you change every couple months.Starr:Yeah.Ben:You have to plug in your security key.Starr:Exactly. It's two semicolons followed by the ND5 and the current date.Ben:The thing that's really cool about TextExpander, I used to use it and I loved it-Josh:Yeah, me too.Ben:... was it's not just plain text. You can do fields and stuff. It's pretty advanced. So you can have it like you expand the text but it has placeholders for you to go in and fill in some stuff. So you can put in like a name or it can dynamically insert the date. It can do all kind of crazy cool stuff.Josh:Yeah.Starr:Yeah. I used to use it but then I ditched it when they moved to their subscription model because it's just like, this is a utility, I don't want to have to pay yearly for this. Which I still think is kind of a valid thing, but I tried a couple of the alternatives and then I tried this and I was just like, "This is clearly better and it's really not that much per year," so it's like, "Eh, maybe, yeah, I'll give it a shot." I haven't actually upgraded yet, but I'm thinking I might.Josh:What, you might pay for something?Starr:I pay for lots of things.Josh:Completely out of character.Starr:I pay for lots of things.Ben:Developers don't buy anything, come on.Josh:I have a lot of paid software on my Mac, come to think of it. I almost prefer to pay for it these days.Starr:Oh, me too. I prefer to pay for it.Josh:Weird. It's like-Starr:I know how they're making money that way.Josh:Yeah. You know how they're making money. You feel like there might be some actual... like they actually care about proactive support and maintenance and stuff. Not that just regular open source software can't have good support, but financial incentive does help.Ben:Yeah, reminds me of that tweet from DHH when they were launching Hey and someone tweeted like, "Well how are they going to monetize it? His response was, "Money. We're going to charge money."Josh:What? Yeah. Love it. DHH is such a radical.Starr:You know, I do admit also one thing I kind of like about TextExpander is because it's such a hokey thing that they seem to have built into some weird enterprise business, I don't even understand it. But I kind of have a little fondness in my heart because it just seems like... I don't know, it seems like a chipmunk somehow entered the Wimbledon and is winning or something. It just makes no sense to me, but I kind of am glad that it's happening.Josh:The story with that was that after you downloaded it and they had your email, they sent you some enterprise sales like, "Let's hop on a call" type email, right? Is that what happened?Starr:Oh, yeah. Yeah, yeah, they were like, "Oh, I see somebody else in the Honeybadger domain also has an account with us, so let's see about how we can make this work better for y'all's teams so you're not just doing individual stuff." It wasn't sleazy or anything. It was a little bit weird and unexpected but I didn't feel dirty by it. I was just like, "I'm sorry, I'm just using this by myself so you're not going to sell this to my team." And they were like, "Okay, bye."Josh:It's interesting, though. Yeah.Ben:I added that email to my swipe file for when I start doing that for Honeybadger customers, yeah.Josh:Yeah, it seems like something along the lines of what we could do. I think it's interesting that they're... I had forgot that they had pointed out that someone else at the team had it. So if you look for flags basically to figure out who you actually should reach out to and who you shouldn't.Ben:Yeah, that's much better than just scraping the email addresses out of our documentation site and spamming us.Josh:Yeah.Ben:They're actually ethically emailing people for sales leads, I think.Josh:Mm-hmm (affirmative).Ben:Speaking of that though, I had a great conversation with a mentor this week talking about sales and growth and things to do. He gave me a bunch of great advice, but on the one hand, I was kind of embarrassed because he was sharing some things that are pretty basic. Kind of like table stakes for SaaS. I'm like, "Yeah, yeah, we could do better at that." Like, "Oh, we don't have all of our ducks in a row." But on the other hand, going over the numbers, the business is great as far as our revenues and our RPU and our LTV and all those things that you want to measure. All those numbers are good for us. So it's like, well, you've done really well so far. If you continue to do what you've been doing and you add these other things that can improve on, well then, great. It'll be even better.Josh:Yeah, that's what I've been thinking. Yeah.Ben:So I left that conversation much more hopeful and enthused and excited than going into it, so that was a good time. So I guess the moral of the story is find a mentor and talk to that person every now and then.Josh:Yeah, I was thinking earlier this week that if there is a risk in us... because we all tend to get impatient from time to time and be like... One of us will... It happens pretty... Seems like it's kind of predictable. Every so often one of us gets the bug. It's like, "Okay, I got to just go and just burn out on this." And I think that it's good to get inspired and want to go and try new things and try to move the needle, but if there is a risk to that besides the obvious just you don't want to burn out, is that if you get distracted form the things that are actually working and stop doing something just so you can go and try to do some big... Look for some big growth event or outcome, I think we want to make sure we don't stop doing what is working. We want to be consistent and systematic with that. And look for new things to try that we haven't done before.Ben:Yeah. Which is a great argument for building those systems like we've been doing. Because-Josh:Yeah. Things are running themselves.Ben:Yeah. Once you have that content system running like Starr has, then you don't have to put a lot of effort in that. Then you can go and look at those other things that you also want to do without dropping the ball-Josh:Yeah, without worrying. Yeah, that's it.Ben:Yeah.Josh:It's like, how do you juggle? How do you keep adding balls to juggle?Ben:Right.Starr:Yeah, that was the reason for doing the third party blog stuff in the first place is just because one of us would start blogging, or I would start blogging, and then it's like, "Oh, I have to go do something else. Okay, no new blog posts for a couple months."Josh:Yeah.Starr:And then it's like, I feel all guilty about that. But you know, it's like, I think there's this temptation to be like, "Well, I can do everything myself as well as a team of full time people working somewhere else could do." I mean, I know I feel that temptation. So I have to remind myself that it's like, no, I actually do have limits to the amount of time and energy I have.Ben:Yeah. I think the other temptation is to just hire someone to do it. Like, "Oh, this thing needs to be done. I don't have time to do it, so I'm going to hire someone to do it." And then all of a sudden you turn around, you've got 100 people working for you.Josh:Well you can do everything that a team of 20 people in a normal company could do.Starr:Yeah. But you can't do it as fast.Josh:You can only do everything one at a time.Starr:Yeah. Yeah, you can do it like 20 times slower.Josh:Right.Starr:Probably not as well because your expertise is spread pretty thin at that point.Josh:Yeah.Ben:That's the slow growth approach to business. It's ecologically sound because it's maintainable.Starr:Oh my god. Talking about growth, this is-Josh:Because it's self defeating.Starr:I've got a funny story. So with regard to the stock market and all this, basically all my life I've been a perma-bear. I've just been like, "Things are too wild. Things are getting too crazy." And it just keeps rising. So recently in the past month or so, I was just like, "You know, I did not jump on the whole GameStop bandwagon. I'm not going to throw my money at that because that just seems like a disaster waiting to happen." But it did kind of pique my interest and be like, "I would like to actually understand how all this stuff works." So I've been just kind of reading books. Because up until now I've just been a very, "I'm just going to put all my money in an index fund, just forget about it."Starr:I read a thing about value investing a couple years ago and I tried to look at companies like K10s or 10Ks or whatever they're called, and eventually I was just like, "This is just an insane amount of work and also how am I going to get better at this because I don't know if I'm right," for like, five years. So I just kind of gave that up. Anyways, so I was like, "Okay." So the past month or so I've just been kind of keeping an eye on things daily and being like, "Oh, okay, as I learn stuff, maybe I'll start trying some individual stock investments." And then it's the moment I do that the market just crashes. So I am, I think, the most accurate contrarian indicator in existence. So I'll let y'all know-Josh:When Starr starts investing it's time to get out.Starr:I'll let y'all know when I lose interest and then you'll know things are about to just take off.Josh:Cool. Nice.Ben:You should keep us apprised on that.Josh:Yup.Ben:Yeah, well, you're reading books and not just asking your random Twitter followers, though, for investing advice? That sounds like a pretty dangerous strategy. I don't know.Starr:Yeah, I mean honestly, I've talked before about how I just love looking at charts and stuff and I don't know why I didn't figure this out before, but the stock market is just full of all the charts you could ever look at.Josh:You just get to look at charts. That's your job. That's literally the job.Starr:Yeah. It's just looking at charts and be like, "Oh, I wonder what's happening here?" And then just kind of... I don't even... I mean, yes, I would like to be able to retire one day, but that's... the motivating factor here is just, "Oh, this is kind of interesting."Josh:No. No, no. The best reason about retiring on stocks is that you get to retire to your charts just to look at them all day. That's what you do in retirement.Starr:Oh my God. That sounds like heaven, Josh.Josh:Yeah. And imagine, you could have the eight monitor array eventually at your desk for-Starr:Oh, like the Bloomberg terminal?Josh:... monitoring different exchanges. Yeah.Starr:No, I think I'd go the other way. I'm going to be one of those people with the graph paper who takes the price every day out of the newspaper and writes it into the cell of their graph paper.Josh:Nice.Starr:But it's been pretty interesting. I've been reading some books about... I've been reading one book by this really famous trader in the 20s, 30s and he's describing his system for identifying pivot points and stuff in the market. Nowadays most people just use a chart because it's the easiest way but this way is actually writing down numbers and keeping track of them and stuff. And I was like, oh my God, this is a state machine. This guy's describing a state machine in very... very clumsily and very... if we were writing this out as a program, it would be terrible code. But he's actually describing a state machine. So it's pretty neat. So it's like, yeah, if you have today's prize, you have yesterday's prize. If this condition is true, then the state changes from upturn to downturn. Or ordinary correction. I mean, he had this list of, I think, eight states or something.Ben:That's really cool.Ben:It'd be fun if you actually made that into a program and then wrote a blog post about it. That'd be pretty... I'd read that.Starr:Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it seems like there's much easier ways to go about things these days, but-Ben:Well sure, but it'd be fun.Starr:Yeah, it'd be fun. It's called, I think, The Livermore Market Key. I think people actually have written blog posts about it. But they did it overlaying it onto charts or something, so it's not quite the same.Ben:Yeah, I want to see it in Ruby.Starr:Yeah.Ben:But first you have to make a DSL for doing stock market based state machines. Then you can write your-Starr:Oh, that's the Ruby way. That's the Ruby way. There you go. I mean, to be honest, I actually, I started to translate it into pseudo code Ruby and then I was just like, "This is just so spaghetti. It's really hard for me to follow." So I was like, "I'm not even sure I just want to go there." It's describing a pretty simple thing, but it's got so many... it describes it in, like, 28 steps and each of them has like five sub-steps and they're all spread out. So it's really hard to make sure that you've got all the different conditions in place.Josh:So did you try to use a state machine library? Because that sounds like the best-Starr:Oh, that was my problem. That was my problem, yeah.Josh:That's the use case.Starr:That was my problem.Ben:I forgot there's a gem for that. Or more than one, actually.Josh:Yeah.Starr:I was trying to roll my own.Josh:Doesn't the financial industry... Isn't Python or... Is that the more popular... What do they use for... What's the popular language in finance, like fintech?Starr:Probably Python for analysis.Josh:Or C-Starr:Probably like-Josh:Probably not C, but-Starr:C++ for-Josh:Maybe they're moving to Rust.Starr:All the weird-Josh:What do the high frequency traders use?Starr:... high frequency... Oh, they probably use C++.Josh:You think? Yeah.Starr:Or Rust or something. Yeah.Josh:Because you got to... yeah. Well, I think it would be a fun project to go back to the beginning of the stock market and take every single person's... person who wrote a book that had their own theory of investing and code a trading algorithm from it and then run them all in parallel and see which one wins.Starr:Oh, yeah. But the thing is they're not giving necessarily mechanical things. They're like, "Here's..." They're like, "This feature should alert you and then you should look at these other factors and make a decision." It's not just like-Josh:Okay, so yeah. So just get artificial intelligence machine learning thing and just have it read the books-Starr:Oh, I'll just do that. Yeah.Josh:... let' those do the trading-Starr:I'll use the AWS one.Josh:... and we'll see what happens. Because isn't that basically what high frequency trading is these days?Josh:I mean, I'm pretty sure high frequency trading is that, essentially. Do they know what's going on anymore?Starr:Yeah, I don't know. Well there is a... I forget what it's called, but there's... it's not trading view, that's just a... Anyway, there is an actual place where you can go and sign up and you can develop your own trading algorithms. And it's basically your code will be hosted on this company's servers and will be fed in the data as it comes in. And you can actually trade algorithmically. And then if your algorithm actually produces profits and can do that in a scalable way, then they will actually license it as a black box to hedge funds and people who have actual money. I don't know how much these people pay for these algorithms, but I don't know, it's pretty interesting. It's a little bit more intense than I am personally up for. I think I'm more like a daily or weekly chart type of person. I'm not really a give me second by second stuff to feed into my AI that I developed.Josh:They really love their black boxes in fintech it seems and dark exchanges.Starr:Oh, yeah.Josh:They just want it all to be completely opaque.Starr:Well no, I mean that's just because... Well that's for the author's Benefit. Because you don't want to actually tell the people your algorithm because then they'll just use it. They'll steal it from you.Josh:That's true.Starr:But, I don't know. It'd be an interesting hobby.Josh:This is why there's not open source trading algorithms.Starr:Anyway, it seems like we're about tapped out for topics. Maybe we should wrap it.Ben:Sounds good.Starr:All right, this has been FounderQuest. If you want, go and write us a review and we will talk to you next week. 
35:58 03/12/2021
Is It Better To Be At Amazon's Mercy Or Your Own?
Show notes:Links:LoomTelestreamRecutLovesacComfy SacksFlipperFull transcript:Ben:You know how we had that recent episode with John Nunemaker about Flipper and feature flags and that sort of thing.Starr:Oh, a podcast episode.Ben:Yeah. Yeah.Starr:I thought you meant a dramatic episode.Josh:It's just another episode with John.Starr:Oh my God. That guy.Josh:That was awesome. Yeah. That was a good conversation.Ben:We talked in that conversation about using Flipper at Honeybadger, because we've been using Rollout for our feature flags, which, if you didn't listen to that episode, you don't know what a feature flag is. It's a branch in your code that conditionally runs some feature. You can limit it when you deploy it to people and you don't have to deploy a new thing to all your customers at the same time. You can test it live.Josh:I'm not sure if we actually explained it in that episode.Ben:Maybe we did, maybe we didn't.Josh:This will be good background.Starr:I wasn't there. I'm usually the driving force behind backing up and explaining things.Josh:Yeah, Starr is good. Always, yeah, you've been pretty good about that. Yeah.Ben:Yeah. I went ahead and did that. I put a Flipper in Honeybadger and tested a new feature. We are switching from Postgres to DynamoDB for our notice storage. That's every occurrence of every error. It's a lot of data and we cut over a few weeks ago to be reading from that data in Dynamo because now it's fully populated with the past month's of data and it's being updated. We're basically writing this to two places and now it's time to read from the new place.Ben:I tested that with Flipper and I'm so glad that I used Flipper for that feature because it saved my bacon this week. I deployed the reading from Dynamo. Oh, actually. We've been doing reading for a while and what I deployed this week was not writing to Postgres anymore, so stopping the dual rights. I put that behind a feature flag and I turned it on just for my projects. I'm so glad I did because I found a bug that really, really would have caused issues for all of our customers if I had deployed that just willy nilly. Yay for feature flags. Yay for Flipper. Go use it. It's a great thing.Starr:That's awesome.Josh:It's willy nilly. Is that a Ruby joke?Starr:How much money do you think that was worth avoiding that mistake? How much would you pay to do that? A thousand dollars? $10,000.Ben:Yeah, it's got to be a more than a thousand dollars, for sure.Starr:Okay. We're trying to help John with his pricing here.Ben:Yeah, totally.Starr:I'm sure that Flipper costs a lot less than a thousand dollars. It does.Ben:It's worth every penny.Starr:Oh, look at that. Real product placement. We're growing up. Look at this podcast we're doing. We just slid that right in.Ben:Yeah. In other infrastructure news, I got to say that having your primary search cluster die is not a fun experience, especially when it happens at 4:30 in the morning.Josh:Yeah.Ben:But I will say this. Amazon, props, Amazon, because we host our Elasticsearch cluster with Amazon. Yay for not having to figure out how to be an expert at running Elasticsearch myself and having to repair things when they went sideways. Also, the tech support was great. They zeroed in on what the issue was. It's our fault apparently, or kind of. What the real explanation is, everything was looking fine to me. All the stats were green. I had monitored six different things based on the documentation that Amazon provided. All those things were fine. There were no alarms. It just died. I'm like, "What the heck's going on?" That's why I opened a ticket.Ben:It took them a while to find out what was going on. It took them, oh, I don't know, two or three hours because they were a little perplexed because everything looked fine. Really what it came down to was the CPU spikes that we had. We had some CPU spikes that went over 90% and this was not in their documentation, but apparently that's a really bad thing. We had enough of those spikes that it just gave up the ghost finally. They encouraged us to upgrade the cluster, which I did. Once that was all done and deployed, then everything was fine. I made a suggestion that they might update their documentation for monitoring that particular metric. They appreciated that suggestion.Ben:After things were all good yesterday and I had gone and I was decompressing and things were back to normal. I had done the backfill. I was feeling pretty good about where we were. It wasn't a hair on fire situation, right? The app has been architected so that even if we lost our search cluster, it's okay. The whole app doesn't die, right? You can still use Honeybadger. We're still processing errors. We're still sending alerts. People are still using the UI. The way that we decided to ingest the data into the search cluster was delayed or put in a separate queue so that we could still be processing data and we could replay that data when the cluster came back when I was ready for indexing.Ben:I had just spent several hours on building some pretty awesome, in my opinion, backfill scripts using SQS and Lambda. All I had to do was queue up all those things that didn't get processed and they got processed. They got back-filled, so yesterday afternoon, I was looking out my kitchen window and I was feeling pretty happy. I was like, "That went really, really well for having such a really bad thing happen."Josh:That's awesome. Yeah. Yeah. I noticed yesterday, the outages we have been having lately seem to not usually even be our fault. It's when Amazon has an issue, which I guess, the way you look at it, on one hand, we're at Amazon's mercy now. I think that's the other side of the story, but it is nice that we're not dealing with the actual failures that you get if you're running your own box or something that you're responsible for every little, like network failures, for instance. When we used to have DNS go out or something, or those types of things, it's nice not having those types of issues. I'd much rather be at Amazon's mercy, I think, than be at the mercy of myself.Ben:Right. Yeah.Starr:I don't know, this has a little bit of a nostalgic flavor to it, right? Just a random, oh, if your CPU usage goes over X amount, your cluster just dies. That's the Elasticsearch I know and love from back in the day. It was nice. It's nice to stay in touch with our roots every now and again.Josh:It seems that would be the kind of thing that they could at least have a default notification for. If they know that that's a terrible situation, why don't they just have an email that automatically, it sends you and, "Oh, we noticed you're not monitoring those sorts of things." I could see why you wouldn't want to, but it just seems like it would be a nice touch.Ben:Yeah. That's not the way Amazon does things.Josh:That's not Amazon. I know.Ben:Yeah. They're really a sharp knives kind of company. It's like, "Here is all the tools and we'll give you some good guidance, but you have to go and look for that guidance." I mean, literally, we have eight alarms CloudWatch alarms set up for our Elasticsearch cluster. All of them came from the documentation where Amazon says, "Here, you should monitor this metric and it should not go over this threshold for this long." I'm like, "Okay," plug those numbers in and I've got my alarms but they're not going to force you to do it. Yeah, I guess a more curated experience would be, they would say, "Here. Here's all the pre-configured alarms based on our recommendations and then you can turn them off if you don't want them, but we really think you should have them."Josh:Yeah.Ben:Yeah. Maybe it's a suggestion I should make to them.Josh:I'm pretty sure they'll just laugh at you.Ben:They assume you know what you're doing.Starr:They're like, "Sure, we'll just go tell Jeff that right away." I guess he's not even in charge anymore.Josh:Maybe he'll work on that now that he's not CEO.Starr:There you go. I've got to ask, circling back to the first thing about the Dynamo. Are we storing notices now in Dynamo or did we back off of that because of the bug?Ben:Yeah. We've been storing notices in Dynamo for a long time now, weeks or months.Starr:Did we turn off the Postgres?Ben:No. Postgres is still going.Starr:Okay.Ben:Yeah, that was the bug where, when I stopped it for a few projects, those projects started having some intermittent problems.Josh:You fixed that this morning.Ben:I fixed that this morning.Josh:Yeah.Starr:I bet Postgres is going to feel so good. Those database servers are going to feel so good when that gets turned off.Josh:Imagine.Starr:They're just going to be like, "Oh, finally. Finally I get to relax."Ben:Are they going to feel a little lonely and be, "Hey, what happened? Where did all the traffic go?"Josh:"Why aren't you talking to me anymore?"Starr:We're still sending them stuff. We're still sending all our users to them. They actually get to interact with all the people.Ben:"Don't you love me anymore? What did I do?"Starr:This is why I'm not running ops.Josh:We've been talking about this for a long time.Ben:Yeah. Yeah. We have been talking about it for a long time.Josh:We're getting there.Ben:It's just part of the trend of offloading more and more stuff to Amazon so that we can sip drinks on the beach in Hawaii.Josh:Yeah. Does this mean that we can move Postgres to RDS or something like it?Ben:That's the direction we're headed. Yeah.Josh:Nice.Ben:Yeah.Starr:Oh my gosh. Are we going to have anything? Are we just going to be running app servers eventually?Ben:It's just going to be a totally virtual company. We're just going to sit back, just cash the checks.Josh:It keeps getting better and better.Ben:Yeah.Josh:Yeah.Ben:Speaking of loving this life, so I have a bit of an experience. I'm not going to name names because it's kind of negative experience, but I will say that for the past several years, we've run Honeybadger and from time to time, I have daydreamed. The grass is always greener, right? I have daydreamed "What would it be like to go back to a real job where I'm not in charge of everything and I'm just in charge of my little thing and I can turn off the pager and stuff," so I have that kind of wishful thinking.Josh:Where I could go on vacations.Ben:Right, right. That sort of thing. I think about that every now and then. Recently, I had an experience where I was interacting with some developers that were working on a project that didn't have a level of coordination that I'd been used to. I was not in control of the situation. I was not the boss. It was not my project. It was just chaotic, I think is the best way that I can describe this particular project. I was interested in participating, but I just, I couldn't. I was like, "No, I can't do that. My life is crazy enough. I don't need more crazy," but as I thought about it, I thought, "You know what? There are some organizations that are like that. There are some, probably many companies that are like that where the development team is just all over the place and maybe they don't have a great architecture or whatever."Ben:I had that experience and just made me renew my gratitude for the nice architecture that we have, for all the care that we've put into our systems so that it's, in my opinion, well designed and reliable and it's orderly and things make sense. I'm just loving Honeybadger this week.Josh:Nice. Yeah. Then things, yeah. Things are making more sense over time, it seems.Ben:Shout out to all those people who feel like they're overwhelmed by the chaos at their employer. I feel for you.Josh:A hair on fire company. Everyone's running around.Ben:Right.Starr:You all were talking about being able to go on vacation. I don't know if you all have heard about jobs lately, but it seems like when I hear my friends talking about their childhoods, it doesn't really seem like they get much real vacation where they're not having to be glued to a computer anyway. They're not having to be on call.Josh:I wonder if since so many companies have been switching to remote the past year because of the pandemic, but they don't really, they haven't figured it out. I wonder if people are really especially struggling with being glued to Slack or being just stuck on the internet. That's easy to fall into, even if you know what you're doing. I could see that, where you can't go on vacation without having Slack on your phone and checking in or whatever.Ben:Yeah. It's definitely a skill that you have to build up, both individually and as an organization, right? You have to set expectations. I saw this cool thing. I don't remember where I saw it, but I think it was a signature in an email or something. Basically, the idea was, this person said something along the lines of, "Your work hours may not be my work hours, so please do not feel obligated to respond to this during your non-work hours." Right? The idea being, I might be up at 4:00 AM and sending this email, but doesn't mean you have to be up at 4:00 AM to respond to this email. You can get to it whenever, right? I like the idea of just being upfront with people. It's okay to just be calm and not have to feel like everything's urgent, sort of thing.Josh:Yeah.Ben:Yeah. I'm loving the calm company lifestyle.Josh:Yeah. I was worried about that this week as I've been interacting with our awesome contracting team.Starr:How's that going?Josh:It's going really well. We've been getting a lot of work done and I've been using this, I've pretty much been centralizing everything around GitHub. I've spent the week pretty much living in the GitHub notifications tab. I did some work last week to tune my GitHub notifications so that they're not quite as overwhelming as they used to be, just unsubscribed from projects that I'm not directly responsible for or need to monitor. I can now basically keep, whatever, inbox zero in my notifications tab. I can be sure that anything that needs my attention is in there.Josh:I've been so excited about all the progress we've been making. I've been really on top of reviewing everything as immediately as possible. I was like, "Oh, no. What if people get used to this?" I just live here now. I now exist within the GitHub notifications tab. If I add 10 people to this process, that's going to be my full-time life. It made me just think, it is important to build the asynchronous expectation, manage that expectation, even if at the moment, you can be responding instantly.Starr:I've done that a bit with my blog contractors. Yeah, when I first set everything up, I was just like you are now. I was just constantly monitoring my project management and getting back to everybody super quickly and everything. Eventually, it's just like, I can't do anything else if I'm doing this. This has to be my full-time job forever if I just keep doing this. What I did is I essentially made Monday blog day and sometimes, I mean, it's still spilling over into other things, but eventually, I want most of the blog stuff to happen on Monday. What I mean by that is, so Ben Findley is going in and he's doing, if people open a ticket or they ask a question for us, and it's not something super easy to answer, it's something that requires a decision, he'll just be like, "Okay, we will get back to you after our meeting on Monday."Starr:Every Monday, we have a blog meeting where we just go over all the proposals, go over questions that people have, look at what drafts need to be reviewed, et cetera. We just knock them all out. Then, we get done with our meeting and I go off and do the stuff that it doesn't make sense to have Ben Findley do because it's of more of a technical nature and yeah, so basically, everything gets concentrated around Mondays. I find that this is much more sane, much more tolerable. I'm not quite at the point where the rest of my week is free for other things, but I can see it. I can see it on the horizon. I'm so close to it.Starr:One of the other main things that was holding me back from that was that I was scheduling, when authors get in touch with us and want to write for us, I usually talk to them, have a brief Zoom call. I was doing this throughout the day, I'm sorry, throughout the week. That was really messing with me. It was breaking up my day in a weird way. I was like, "Okay, all of those go on Monday too." Yeah. I'm really hoping that this, I don't know. In terms of setting expectations where you're definitely doing that in terms of just, I tell people, I'm like, "If you are working on an article for us and you're actively working on it, it will probably take a month from start to finish. You're not going to do four articles a month for us, because it just takes time, right? This isn't the only thing that we are doing."Josh:Yeah. What it sounds like is that we're finally, it only took us 10 years, but we're finally getting around to implementing that four hour work week book.Ben:Right. Right. Yeah. On that note, I decided, I made a, for me was a dramatic decision this week.Josh:What's this?Ben:I think it was Tuesday or Wednesday. I don't remember when, but I had this email from Postmark and they said, "We're getting rid of TLS version one." TLS is the SSL protocols that web servers use when you talk to them and version one is old and busted and we need to get rid of it. They said, "It looks your app is still talking to our API on that protocol. You need to upgrade that before we turn it off. That's going to happen in April," blah, blah, blah, blah. Okay.Ben:Normally I would put that off. I'd be like, "April, I'll get around to that. No problem," but for some reason, I don't know why, I was like, "You know what? I should just go ahead and take care of that." I knew exactly what I needed to do. I just needed to upgrade Ruby. I figured, "While I'm at it, I'll upgrade the Ubuntu version that we're using," because we're on an older, it's still LTS, so we're still covered, but there's a newer one since then. I'm like, "You know what? I'll just make some new images and we'll have a new Ruby. We'll have a new OS. Everything will be fresh and sparkly clean and it'll be great. It will last another couple of years and I won't have to think about it again."Ben:Here's where the decision came in. Normally in this situation, I would just go do the thing, right? I would make a new image, beat it up, blah, blah, blah. This time I said, "You know what? I am never going to do another thing like this again in Honeybadger without documenting it, step-by-step, every thing that has to be done, every command that gets typed in, every action that I take is going to be documented so that the next time this happens, someone else can do it without me." Yay. I know you've been wanting this for a very long time, Starr and Josh. I've made efforts to document along the way, but this is the first time that I'm like, "You know what? Everything I do is going to get documented so that I don't have to be anywhere near the thing the next time this process has to happen."Ben:It took me probably at least twice as long to get the task done because it was like, "Oh yeah. There's that thing. Oh, there's that thing." I had to type it in the document as I was going, but now, there's a document and now, anybody can do it and it's great. I'm loving it.Josh:Yeah. Yeah. I read the document and the process makes sense to me now. It's very demystified. I'm not volunteering to do it, by the way, but it's definitely the sort of thing that you could just take that piece now and plug that into our system of work and have a contractor or an employee or whatever do it. Yeah. As long as they're familiar with Amazon, I mean, it's all very straightforward. It was more straightforward than I imagined. I think in a lot of cases, all you got to do is write it down and it starts to make sense.Ben:Yeah. I'm pulling back the curtain. You can see how the sausage is made now.Josh:Yeah. Now the key to the success with this strategy is, maintaining that document has to be part of, that should be a step in the document because then you have whoever does it next time needs to prepare the way for the person that does it after them. As long as everyone keeps that documentation up to date from that point on, then the torch gets passed, basically, because processes do evolve and I'm sure it won't be exactly the same next time potentially.Ben:Right. Right. Yeah. You can follow that principle of, leave it better than you found it, kind of thing.Josh:Yeah, yeah. That's a good ...Ben:I'm going to go add a note to document right now, right at the end saying, "If you got this far and there are any changes, go back and document those changes."Josh:Nice. Yeah, that's good.Ben:Yeah, so I'm feeling pretty good about that. We'll see if I really stick to this resolution. It's going to be tough, but I'm feeling pretty committed because I do want to get to a point. I guess I'm getting jealous of Starr's infrastructure and Josh's budding new infrastructure. I want my own infrastructure like that where I can just have everything like that.Josh:Yeah. I see this as, this is an agency, this ability to outsource work within Honeybadger. I want to add more to it over time. We've got authors now, writing is outsourced and then we've got specific pieces of work, development work within the company currently, we're able to outsource and the more we can plug into that system, the less we have to be responsible for. I really like the idea of thinking of it like we're building our own little software agency inside of Honeybadger where Honeybadger is the sole client and we can basically can just funnel work to it.Starr:Yeah. I think of it, the stuff I've been doing, I've been thinking of it almost like an engineering project. I'm building a machine that creates blog posts, right, or creates some sort of content because you can point the machine and whatever, and yeah, the downside of that is it takes a lot longer than just making a blog post, right? It takes a lot of time to do that, but, eventually it gets going and it's nice. One thing I just wanted to throw out there with regards to documenting things, and I'm not sure if is the right choice for the stuff you're doing, Ben, or not. That's up to you to decide. One thing I found useful and I might actually do more is just a video for recording. How do you do a thing on a website and then what series of steps do you do, just taking a screen cast of yourself doing it. When I remember to do it, I'm like, "Oh yeah, this is way easier than if I was trying to explain it to somebody."Ben:Yeah. I love that idea. I hate the idea of recording myself, but I love the idea of having that recording. Yeah. I think that provides a lot of context and I think there's value. It reminds me of the DHH's video when he introduced Rails, his, build a blog in 15 minutes thing, and there are parts in there he's like, "Oops," where he made a mistake, right? I think even in the mistakes of those kinds of videos, there's a lot of valuable info. It's like, "Oh, I was going to do this.," or, "Oh, I forgot about that," and stuff that just doesn't really come up in a document like they do when you're watching someone do that thing.Starr:Yeah. Totally. If those really bug you, we can get an editor. We have got a podcast editor and they can just edit out all the oopsies. You're just in the matrix. You're Neo.Josh:We can have it transcribed too. We would get the actual guide from it as well.Starr:That's true.Josh:It could just be our internal. Yeah.Ben:Yeah. Then you have to, and then you should record your Team X session or whatever so you can have all those commands recorded for you and you just copy and paste them in.Josh:Yeah.Ben:Yeah. It sounds great.Josh:We'll call it Ben Curtis University or Honeybadger university.Ben:Well, that's the other thing, I guess, aside from being recorded is, it feels like the most boring thing in the world to have someone watch this, right? Upgrading Ruby, compiling Ruby, and updating our Ansible scripts. All those things to me just seem exceedingly, so crushingly boring to watch. I'm like, "Why would I inflict this upon anyone?"Starr:Not if you're me who is trying to figure out how the hell to do it. That would be exactly the video I wanted to see most.Josh:Yeah. Yeah. For sure. I think there are some newer screen recording, screen casting software. I think there's some software out there, the newer things that people have been building that make it a lot easier too. I don't know. I forgot. I've seen a few. I don't remember their names, but it seems like if it was just easier to record and maybe do some quick editing along the way or pause it while the compile is happening and then resume. Okay, it's finished now and now we're back. Little things like that make it a lot easier to do that on a regular basis.Ben:I'm going to have to, I'll think about that. I think I've seen Loom referenced for that.Josh:Yeah, Loom, that was one. Yeah. Loom scared me because I tried it. Did I tell about this?Starr:No.Josh:Loom, I did a trial of Loom and I had left it installed on my computer and the app had had some glitchy behavior that happened a couple of times and I didn't think about it, but then one day, it was, I forget exactly what it was doing, but I noticed it. I was investigating basically, I think how to quit it or something. It opens up the Loom website and there an eight hour video of my screen because it streams to their service and that's not cool.Ben:That's not cool at all.Josh:No, it's not at all. It's not cool. I literally panicked and I mean, deleted that, deleted my account and I have never used Loom again. I'm a little bit skittish on Loom now. Yeah.Starr:There is also, you just quick time record and then Dropbox or Google Drive or whatever.Josh:Yeah, yeah, but then, you lose a lot of the nice features I was talking about. I think Loom is one of the ones that does have, the ease of use of being able to just quickly do a screencast and it puts your little, your face down in the bottom and it has some of those, I don't know, editing or screen casting features.Ben:I have ScreenFlow, which is a Mac software that allows you to do recordings pretty easily.Josh:The classic one, huh?Ben:Yeah. It's awesome. It's great, and I got it specifically to do, back in their freelancing days, actually, when I was showing clients stuff, like, "Hey, here's how this works," and I would just walk them through something and, yeah, it's fantastic. I haven't used it in awhile. I can't remember if it has the watch your face and do the screen at the same time thing. It probably does by now.Josh:Yeah.Starr:I mean, really, we don't really need to see your face, Ben. You're upgrading Ubuntu. Your face is fine, nothing against it, but I mean ...Ben:You don't want to see the pensive, or the utterly bored stuff like that? I just saw, I have to look this up because I can't remember the name of it, but I just saw on Twitter, I think it was Alex Hillman. I think he was talking about this video editing thing that came out. Maybe he's on product hunt. I don't know. Basically, it takes out all of the pauses. It just automatically cuts out all the silence for you. Apparently, it does all that annoying stuff. I'll have to check that out. Maybe that would also be something that we can help make that a nicer experience rather than just sitting there and watching me blink.Josh:Yeah.Ben:Yeah. The one snag is I typically do this stuff, again at 4:00 AM, 5:00 AM and the rest of the family is not awake. Having me giving the monologue about what I'm doing.Josh:It's okay. You can whisper.Ben:I can whisper, yes.Starr:That would be amazing, actually. That would be be amazing.Ben:Don't forget to use Sudo. That's a whisper. That's so awesome. I'm going to have a YouTube channel.Starr:Well, the big thing in my life this week has been, there's a company whose name I'm really embarrassed to say, so I'm going to try to avoid it. It makes giant beanbags. As you'll know, I recently finished building a sort of backyard office and it's a little bit larger than just a desk. My desk and stuff takes up about, I don't know, a third of it. The rest of the space, I really wanted to be a nice reading nook type thing where I could, basically where anybody in the family could be like, "Okay, I want to be in a quiet place and not be surrounded by clutter," because we got a small kid, so of course, everything in the main house is just a disaster.Starr:I got this gigantic beanbag. It's six foot diameter and it's amazing. It's amazing. I love it. I also got a matching ottoman. I got a rug to put under it and it's covered in this white stuff that looks, if you've ever seen raw cotton or something, it's kind of furry, it's kind of swirly. It's really nice. That's my ...Josh:Cozy.Starr:That's my fun thing. Yeah. I can go, I can finish, I don't know, working on some Honeybadger stuff. I want to take a five minute break and I can just go plop down and this gigantic thing. It's glorious.Josh:Yeah. The way I'm picturing this is, your desk takes up a quarter of the office and then the other three quarters is the bean bag. Is that-Starr:Pretty much. I mean, the bean bag takes up about a quarter of it.Josh:Oh, okay.Starr:Yeah. I've got a room divider, so I can't actually see the beanbag from my desk. It's actually turning out very nice, the setup. I'm usually terrible at interior design or whatever, but this is actually turning out really, really great.Ben:Does, does it have a freshmen dorm room kind of vibe going?Starr:Oh no, no, no. We're much classier than that.Ben:Okay.Starr:No, no. It's kind of a, I don't know, a hippie lady vibe going.Ben:Okay. Yeah.Starr:I'll take a picture.Ben:Cool. I love interior design stuff, so I'm all about seeing pictures of people's places.Starr:Cool.Josh:I'm considering a giant bean bag now.Ben:Yeah. I've thought about doing that. Our couch needs to be replaced in our living room. We seriously thought about, get rid of the couch, just get one of the huge beanbags or maybe two, right? We haven't pulled the trigger on that yet.Starr:Yeah. The thing about the thing about this is you wouldn't want to sit on it with somebody who you're not comfortable snuggling up to, because even if you're sitting separately, you're still very close. It pushes you together.Josh:I'm sure your kids will love it, Ben, having a single bean bag.Ben:Exactly. They're playing smash. I'm sure they're going to love that.Josh:Turn into literal smash.Starr:Oh my God. Yeah. That's been great. I'm really loving it.Josh:Nice.Ben:That's cool. Now, you can grab the book when you need a break and just relax.Starr:Totally. Oh, the other thing I've noticed, I hope none of my authors are listening to this right now because I realized I can be like, "Well, let's make this an audio call," on my author calls and I can just go sit in my giant beanbag during these calls.Ben:Real nice. Yeah. I've done a lot of calls this week, more than usual because I'm ramping up the whole sales thing and figuring that out. I'm getting a lot of advice and talking to people and one of the calls, I was arranging the meeting and I said, "Should we just leave it as a phone call? I don't know about you, but I've had enough Zoom," and the person's like, "Yes, totally. We should totally just make it a phone call." It was nice just to be able to stand by the window, look out the window and look at the trees while I was talking as opposed to having to stare at the screen. It was nice.Josh:That's cool.Ben:Good change of pace.Starr:Yeah. That's very nice. That's very nice. Should we wrap it up or do you have anything else you want to talk about?Ben:Hey, let's get people to recommend their favorite beanbag chairs to us if they have them.Starr:Oh yeah.Ben:I'm in the market.Starr:Okay. Yeah. Recommend your favorite beanbag chairs. I can also go offline and tell you which one I got.Josh:Can we put it in the show notes? Is it that embarrassing or can we put it in the show notes?Starr:Oh, it's fine. Yeah, we can put it in show notes.Josh:Awesome.Starr:All right. Well, you have been listening to Founder Quest. I got it right. I got it right this week. I didn't say Honeybadger. If you like us, go and leave us a review on Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and we will see you later.
35:32 03/05/2021
When Is The Convenience Of Outsourcing Not Worth The Price?
Show notes:Links:PrintfectionSwag.comFull transcript:Josh:How's it going?Ben:I'm working on this Printfection migration and I've been thinking about what to do here. So we got this outreach from Printfection about our pricing going up, in our case, dramatically. We decided we just don't want to pay that much for what we're getting. So I'm going through all of our inventory looking at our Printfection items that we have, shirts and stickers and so on, and thinking, where... So I've got to send it somewhere. Well, I guess I have to send it to myself. I'm like, do I really want to get a box of 800 shirts? It's like, no, I really don't but I don't see there's much of a choice.Josh:Well, we could just pay Printfection.Ben:Well, I guess. Yeah, that is the other option.Starr:Yeah.Josh:Yeah, personally I'm on the fence about it because yes, it is a dramatic price increase but the value that they provide us is fairly dramatic from my perspective. So I'm not quite sure what price I attach to that, but I definitely attach more than $75 a month which is what we were paying them. Which just seems insane to me. I see why they would raise our prices, in their defense.Starr:How much is it raised by? I forget. I looked at it originally, but I forget.Josh:$500.Ben:I think it's in the narrative of $500 a month.Josh:Yeah.Starr:Okay.Josh:Now to be fair, we should explain they raised their prices I think a couple years ago, because I remember when they went up and I was like, "Man, I'm really glad that we got this sweetheart deal that they let all their past customers keep." But apparently they went through the same progression as everyone ever, same logic as us, over time... We're probably taking them for everything they're worth.Starr:I should probably back up and explain in case this makes it into the actual podcast. Printfection is a company that we have used to... They're an inventory company. They keep our shirts and all of our swag. When we want to mail it to people, we just give them the address, or they have forms that people can fill in themselves and magically shirts and stuff get mailed out to them.Josh:When we want to give someone a shirt, what we do is we mention our badger bot in Slack to a shirt meme and it gives us a shirt link that we then send to someone. It's like a magical shirt bog. Like a swag bot. Which is pretty cool.Starr:Yeah. I have a couple thoughts on this. The first one is, we were paying $75 a month plus shipping fees and handling and all that. We paid a certain amount to have things shipped out.Josh:Yeah.Starr:The second is that, as the person who was previously kind of in charge of mailing out shirts, it is a huge, huge time suck and a giant pain in the ass.Josh:I've got a closet full of shirts still that is just warehoused at this point.Starr:Yes.Josh:I don't want to go back to that.Starr:It is such a pain in the ass. So while it's like, yeah, $500 a month is a lot, it seems like a lot, if Ben Curtis ended up sending out the shirts, I am 100% sure that you would spend more than $500 a month in your time doing it.Josh:Yeah. We're going to pay someone like $300 an hour to ship shirts.Starr:Yeah. So let me-Ben:So what you're saying is, since I'm the only person that hasn't actually done the shirt shipping, that I'm not a good person to judge the value of this service.Josh:Oh, Ben, you don't know what you're getting into.Starr:Yeah, when I found Printfection, I was seriously... I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I was just like, please take this off of my plate.Ben:So why are you even letting me have an opinion on this? You should be like, "Ben, shut up. We know what we're doing. We're paying the $500 a month, just deal with it."Starr:Well everybody gets to have an opinion. Yeah, so I guess there's a couple reasons why this is just hard. So first of all... Since most of our readers probably haven't dealt with swag much, I'll just go through and explain why it's such a pain in the neck and you don't actually want to do it yourself. So, essentially when you order t-shirts from the printer, usually they come in a big box that's just full of shirts. They're not nicely individually wrapped or anything like that. And maybe some printers offer that as a service, but when I got them they tended to be just giant boxes of shirts.Starr:So that means if you want to, say, go to a conference and put them on display, you have to fold them up or roll them up in some way. If you want to mail them out, you've got to fold them up into a dimension that will fit flat and be nice in the little mailer. You've got to make sure you've got the right size of mailers at all times. You've got to basically have a little postage setup where you're always going to or whatever and buying your stamps.Starr:Then here's a little something that I didn't really expect, but we often would have people want shirts who are not inside the United States, at which time you have to fill out customs forms. You have to drive to the Post Office and drop things off. It's just a huge, huge pain in the neck. It was... Yeah. It was-Josh:You're bringing back memories with the folding shirts before conferences. Because there were multiple and I just remember entire evenings the night before my flight, me and Kaylin just folding shirts for my suitcase.Starr:And not only that, but do you remember how we had to get the shirts to the conferences? They weren't just delivered nicely folded to the conference organizers. We checked them. We checked bags of shirts.Josh:Listen, one time I checked a bag of... Or, I checked a whole box. This 25 pound box of shirts. I think it was to Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh's, the airport there, is a 45 minute drive in rush hour traffic to the hotel. We were five minutes away from the hotel when I realized the box was still at checking. I hadn't picked it up at the baggage claim.Starr:No!Josh:So an hour and a half... yeah.Starr:Well, I had... So these boxes of shirts are big. They're like two and a half feet cubed and they weigh, it seemed like more than 20 or 30 pounds. It seemed like 40 or 50 pounds.Josh:Might have been 50. Let's go with 50.Starr:50, yeah. Shirts are heavy. So I was at a conference in Denver and I'd never been there before and the cab driver dropped me off in the wrong location. So I was humping a giant box of t-shirts around downtown Denver looking for the right place. It was-Josh:Sweat dripping down your face.Starr:Yeah, it was miserable. And when I got there, I just kind of... I found my table. The shirts weren't folded or anything because I had timelines, and I just sort of... I made a pile as best I could. The other thing is that if they're not individually wrapped and labeled and stuff, people have to dig through them to find their size because the size is written on the label inside the shirt. So if you don't have everything nicely, neatly organized beforehand, five minutes in you will just have-Josh:And they will.Starr:... a big pile of shirts. There will be no organization anymore, it'll just all be-Josh:Just, it's mayhem.Starr:Yeah, it is mayhem. It's Fight Club in there because developers love their shirts.Ben:This is awesome. I can see myself right now going back to Kyle at Printfection and saying, "You know what? We're happy to pay that $500, please. Please don't raise the price ever again."Josh:I hope they don't listen to this podcast or they're going to come back to you with a higher price.Ben:Like, "Well, our rates are now triple." Things that are cool about Printfection, as I was going through here... Because you can do the one off things. Like Josh described, we have that badger bot which can send a link to somebody and then they just go in fill in their info and they get their one shirt. But Printfection also does a drop ship option, so you can go in and you can do a bulk order. That's what I was arranging just now, a bulk order to myself.Ben:But one of the things that you can do that I think is pretty cool... All your stories of folding and rolling and labeling stuff. So Printfection has this option where if you do a drop ship to a conference, you can have them do the individual rolling and labeling of each individual shirt.Josh:Yeah, that's worth its weight in gold.Ben:I think it's 50 cents per item.Josh:50 pounds of gold. That's a lot of know, I will say that the amount of air time that we've given Printfection since the start of this podcast, they really should throw us a little bit of a discount.Ben:We have promoted them heavily. Maybe that's why we got the cheap rate for so long.Josh:Yeah.Starr:Oh, maybe.Josh:It could be.Starr:Yeah.Ben:Although if we have listeners who have gone to sign up with Printfection because of our recommendations on the show, they should definitely email us so that we can forward those to Printfection and say, "Hey, look at all these customers we sent you."Starr:Yeah. Yeah, so I don't know, my own personal opinions, yeah it's a lot of money. I wouldn't recommend just not having any kind of service. If there's a different service that would work, cool, but if it's just-Josh:Yeah, we could replace it. It's just, I'm not sure what's going to be cheaper. I haven't researched the options, but I assume... This is a pretty involved business, so I assume it's going... Anyone who's doing that level of service is going to charge for it, something.Ben:It seems like the most direct competitor for our purposes would be I haven't reached out to them yet, so I don't know if they do the one off thing or if they're really focused around the bulk thing, but their pricing would be for us a little cheaper than Printfection because they charge you about... products that are like shirts, they'll charge you one cent per day per product. So per day of storage, per month. So it'd work out to a couple hundred bucks, I think, per month for us. And then of course there's shipping and picking and packing on top of that. So they'd be a little cheaper, maybe half the cost. But again, I don't know if they do the one off mailing like we can do with Printfection.Ben:Then the other complication is we've, for the longest time, wanted to do a store. We wanted to have a store where people can actually buy these shirts. So that's another wrinkle that I've been thinking about. It's like, okay, well go ahead and do that then. Let's get all this inventory, let's send it over to a fulfillment house. But again, I don't know what those prices are on those companies either.Josh:Well, and I know that there are ways to connect services like Printfection to Shopify stores and have them act as the fulfillment so that you can use it for both types of delivery, but I was looking at Printfection, that is one area where they seem to be lacking a little bit. Their documentation is linking to Zapier and stuff. So there may be an option. But I know people that have set up swag stores that have used a backend, I think, like Printfection. I forget what the services are, but I know there are alternatives that have been used, so we could always look into that.Starr:We should just put all of the swag on Amazon and just send it to Amazon fulfillment centers.Josh:Yeah.Ben:Yeah, so the problem with that plan... and I did think about that-Josh:Give us a $1 coupon or something.Ben:Yeah. The problem with that is Amazon is pretty picky about what they will put in their warehouses. They want stuff to move.Starr:Oh, that makes sense, yeah.Ben:Yeah. We don't move inventory-Starr:I was really just joking. We couldn't tell Amazon to send 1,000 shirts to a gigantic conference. It doesn't exist.Josh:Yeah.Ben:Well I mean, I actually thought about it, so. But yeah.Josh:Yeah, well if you go the full eCommerce setting up your own fulfillment and stuff, at some point you're... I mean, I don't know, that seems like you're still doing a lot of work that a service like Printfection should just be doing for you. They're consolidating all of the things that you have to manage still, right?Ben:You talking about the picking, packing and shipping?Josh:I guess, yeah. I mean, it would be more involved to just pick some sort of warehouse that... I don't know, it seems like it would be.Ben:I think-Starr:Yeah, and you also have to deal with the printer then too, right?Josh:Yeah.Ben:Right. Josh:It would be something to manage. Yeah. Logistics, I guess, is what I'm talking about.Ben:Yeah, you have to coordinate all those moving pieces.Josh:Yeah. Exactly.Starr:So here's my business idea for anybody with a warehouse and the ability to write a Rails app, is just yeah, put people's t-shirts in your warehouse and then we can Rails app and you just mail them out for people and you can charge several hundred dollars a month plus shipping, plus individual shipping fees.Josh:Mm-hmm (affirmative).Ben:Now one other option is Printful. That's what our friends over at Tuple use.Josh:I've heard of that one.Ben:Yeah. And I think if you were just starting out that would be a great option because it's print on demand versus Printfection where you have to have a certain amount of inventory. So I haven't looked closely at Printful. Maybe they would actually be a great fit for us. Maybe they can do the warehousing as well. I just, I don't know. I haven't looked yet. But I think if we were to do this over again, I could go down that path rather than printing up a couple hundred shirts at a time.Josh:Yeah.Ben:I remember-Josh:I know some of the print on demand services back in the day that we tried to use, we had some trouble with just because of the quality of our t-shirt designs and the fact that we're kind of perfectionists so we want really nice t-shirts. And not every printer is set up to do really nice graphic tees. I'm not a graphic designer, but there's a lot that goes into that process if you're doing detail in your designs and stuff.Starr:One wrinkle is that our t-shirts are very... the illustrator puts a lot of detail in them and screen printing processes are... The ones that most screen printers use are fine for blocky type things, but if you want a lot of detail, they've got to use special types of screens. You've got to essentially tell them to use that because they won't necessarily notice it and use them by default, and that costs a little extra and all that.Josh:Maybe that was more our problem is that we just didn't know what to ask for initially.Starr:Mm-hmm (affirmative).Josh:Yeah. But anyway, I'm totally happy with the decision to make super detailed awesome t-shirt designs, because it really has set us apart over the years.Ben:Yeah, that's been a good thing.Josh:Yeah.Ben:A plus, would buy again.Josh:Well, we'll figure something out to mail out our-Ben:Speaking of t-shirt designs, it's been a long time since we commissioned one.Josh:Yeah, we should get back on the swag design. Yeah. Well maybe we should do the... We have a couple in the archives I think still. We could bust out some.Ben:True. True. Yeah. Maybe that would be a good trial of another fulfillment house. We could set up with Printful, maybe, and come up with a new design or use one of our designs in the vault and do a trial run.Josh:Well then you'd have somewhere to ship the shirts from the loser that's not your garage.Ben:Exactly. Yeah, I was actually thinking, okay, which address do I want to send them to, my home or the UPS store where we have our mailing address? I was like, well, I don't have room in my house for them so I guess I should send it to the UPS store because I could just take it straight to my office.Josh:Yeah.Ben:All these complications.Starr:So I'm wondering... I'm looking at Printful right now and I'm just wondering... It looks like yes, per shirt, they are more expensive. It's saying $13 a shirt and I think we probably pay... I don't really know at this point, maybe $6, $7, $8, $9? I remember $6 from a long time ago, but that was when I was really trying to get the costs down, so I think they're probably more now. And I was like, well, how many shirts do we send out on a month? If we add up the total costs, I'm wondering if it's similar or less or more.Josh:Yeah. We don't send out a ton usually. Although I think Ben's thinking about sending more, like drop ship type things maybe.Ben:Yup. Yup. I'm looking at the Printful site and they do have warehousing, so apparently you can store a bunch of inventory with them. Their storage fees section is kind of weird though. I mean, for me because I'm not used to inventory. For them I'm sure it makes sense, but for me as a customer that has no experience, it's like, they do it by per cubic foot depending on how many units you have. So if you have... I think we'd fall in the 201-1000 units category. If you have that bucket then it's $1.30 per cubic foot. I'm like, how many cubic feet do our shirts take? I don't know.Josh:Yeah. Shirts are like-Ben:I mean, I know how many shirts we have. Not that many.Josh:This is like how many errors is my app going to generate? Pricing is hard.Starr:I mean, a box of shirts like the boxes that we used to schlepp around the airports, I'm just imagining they were four or five cubic feet? Or wait, no, they're... Yeah, something like that.Ben:Yeah, it's totally like Honeybadger. Like you don't know how much you're going to pay until you get into it. I don't know how many errors my app throws. I guess I'll find out.Josh:Til you ship the boxes. Yeah.Ben:Well, I think what I'll do then is I'll hold off on this drop shipment to myself and maybe give Printful a shot and see if we can get that set up and we can do two at the same time and see which one we like better.Josh:Yeah.Starr:Yeah.Josh:Yeah, I mean if we pay... I don't mind paying $500 a month for a while anyway. It's worth not shipping them to your house to... you know.Starr:Yeah. It's like, whatever we do is probably going to be more than $75 a month, so if it ends up... If Printful ends up being $1000-$2000 a year cheaper, I'm not even sure that it's worth the trouble.Ben:Yeah, true.Josh:Yeah. Yeah see this is the thing, we're not as small as we used to be. We're constantly reaching a different level and it's weird doing things that before you would've just... It would have blown your mind that you're going to pay $500 a month for, just to store some t-shirts. But now it's worth it. Or whatever.Ben:Right. Yeah. Sometimes I'm still in the really scrappy mode.Josh:No, I mean it's not bad to keep that mindset and just adjust it proportionally, maybe. It's still good to be frugal or whatever.Starr:I mean, that's... using third party services is kind of how we're able to keep our headcount low, and headcount is the major expense of a business.Josh:Yeah that's the other thing. These are all expenses that allow us to run a virtual company. If you think about all the expenses that you have, if you were doing things like some other larger companies that are more traditional. I mean there's employees that we don't have. The alternative for a larger competitor might be to hire some lower level employees that don't mind huffing shirts to conferences in suitcases or whatever, showing up to move them around.Ben:If we end up doing whatever, changing with our fulfillment stuff and our swag, we definitely should get some more swag. Like we totally need some socks. Maybe a tie.Josh:Yeah.Ben:Because shirts are cool, but we got to have some variety in there.Josh:Bolo tie?Ben:I'm not going to say we need to do things like, I don't know, USB charging battery things. I don't want to go down that path.Josh:Yeah. No, something unique.Ben:Yeah, something fun.Josh:People love socks. I got to say they do love socks, yeah.Ben:People do love socks.Josh:Yeah. I've also seen lounge... like pants and things. Stuff for work from home leisure wear, I guess is what you'd call it.Ben:COVID survival gear.Josh:Yeah.Starr:I was just sitting here thinking, I was like, if we did hire an admin, how rude would it be to be like, "Here's a box of shirts. Keep it in your garage. Mail them out."Ben:I don't know, they'll probably be like, "I'm getting paid to do this. Okay."Starr:Yeah, but-Ben:"I'll fold shirts for money."Starr:But also, all the labeling and all the rolling up, and... yeah.Ben:It's just work, right? It's like, it's just a job.Starr:That's true. But also, it's... I don't know, it's the sort of thing... It's like, it seems like when you have an employee, you need to be able to tell them what to do, you need to be able to show them and train them so that the next... If they want to go somewhere else, the next person you can do the same thing. And it's just like... I'm just imagining trying to remotely be like, "Okay, now show me how you rolled up the shirts, and how are you securing them so they don't unroll?" It just seems like such a pain in the ass.Josh:Yeah, and then if that person ever wants to leave or move on from the company, it's like, okay, now you have to put in your two weeks and you have to ship six boxes of shirts to someone.Starr:It's like, "Mail us all the shirts."Josh:And where do they send them? Yeah. They send them to Ben. That's the answer, Ben Curtis is where they send them.Ben:Yeah, be like no, you can't quit until you give away all the shirts, so you got to find a way to do a promotion or something. Next thing you know you go down to the high school and every kid there's got like three Honeybadger shirts because they just drove down there and dropped off a box.Starr:Oh my God, this reminds me... I don't know if I shared this online, but when we were first started doing the shirts and I was fulfilling them myself, we ran a ad in Ruby Weekly where we were like, "Hey, come get your free t-shirt." So okay, Ruby Weekly, they're all Rubyists. Sure, I'll send every Rubyist a t-shirt. That sounds like a great option.Starr:but then we got posted somehow on a message board of free stuff where you just fill out a form and people fill you with free stuff and I'm like, "Why am I sending all these... There's a lot of shirts that want to go to India right now. I didn't know Ruby Weekly's audience was so international." I mean, I know it's international but the overwhelming proportion of all the shirt requests we were getting were from places where we didn't have any customers. So yeah, so eventually I think I asked somebody or whatever and they're like, "Yeah, I found you on this thing." I was just like, "Oh, no." So I was kind of a jerk. I was just like, "I'm sorry, no more international orders until this is cleared out." Because it costs a lot of money to send things internationally.Josh:Yeah. Apparently there are boards where people share swag deals.Starr:Yeah, don't do that. Don't do that.Ben:The things you learn when you have no idea what you're doing in marketing.Starr:I know, right? That's great. It's like, these shirts aren't free. I'm not just giving them out to the world because I want to give shirts out to the world.Ben:Well, probably not the most important thing for us to think about as far as business goes but yeah, sometimes you got to just deal with the details.Josh:Yup.Starr:Yeah, this is truly what small business is about.Josh:Well, we got a lot done this week in open source land.Ben:Yeah, we should talk-Starr:Oh, that's right, y'all are rocking and rolling with the contractors.Josh:Onboarded a couple of contractors so far and they're already solving problems for us and it's great, yeah. We shipped a bunch of new releases already this... We did a couple PHP releases. I had a few of my own bug fix typical releases but yeah, making progress so that's exciting. And it's really nice actually just being able to... Because I'd gotten immersed back in the details for a while there over the last year or so, and it's really nice to step back again and just do some higher level management and spend time documenting issues and just have continual progress being made. I realized I'm a lot happier doing that, I think, than getting stuck in a project when I know there's 10 other things that also need to be happening. I need to be better at delegating. So yeah, it feels good.Starr:Good. I kind of feel the same way about the blog stuff. It's nice to have stuff happening when I'm not capable of doing it in the moment. Ben:Well it feels like, too, there are certain personality types that are more inclined towards delegating well than others. Some people have the control freak perfectionist kind of trait where they just want to make sure that everything is just so. And not necessarily "right," but they have a particular opinion about the way something should be and they want it done that way and they don't trust anybody else to do it that way. So they have a hard time delegating. I think I fall into that trap myself. But I think there are other people who are like, "Yeah, I totally see the benefit of having other people help me get my stuff done, so delegate away," and they have no qualms about that.Josh:Yeah.Ben:So I think sometimes you have to check and see where you are on that personality spectrum and see, is this something that I really need to overcome or can I leverage my particular quirks for greater good, for much justice?Starr:Yeah, I definitely feel a pull of both. The light side and the dark side of the force.Josh:Y'all ever read E-Myth?Starr:Oh, a long time ago, yeah.Josh:Back in the day? Yeah. Yeah, same here, a long time ago. I reviewed it again recently because we've been working with a business consultant over at the consulting company, Hint, and it had been a long time since I read it so I just skimmed it again. But they've got the concept of a business owner has three roles that you are constantly having to manage, or maybe they're in conflict to some extent. But it's the manager, the entrepreneur, and the technician. I get stuck in the technician side of things when I'm just... I have the technical knowledge to do this and there's no one else capable of solving this problem except me. And so I'll just dive in and do it. And then I come up, like two weeks later I finally take another breath and realize I'm back in the technician mindset and I need to get out.Ben:I think the trap that I fall into on the technician mindset is not that no one else can do this, but that it's faster for me to do it.Josh:Yeah. Well that too, yeah.Ben:Yeah, and I think parents have this struggle as well. It's like, well I could help my kid learn how to unload the dishwasher, or I could just do it and get it done.Josh:Yeah. They're like, am I going to manage my kid to clean up the living room for two hours, or am I going to just do it myself real quick in 10 or 15 minutes?Ben:Yup. And one approach leads to more growth than the other, so yeah, the struggle is real.Josh:Yeah.Ben:But I appreciate the delegation work that you've been doing lately because it's really motivated me to try and get over my own hesitation to delegate more.Josh:Yeah.Ben:Working on it.Josh:It's a continual... I don't know, it's something that you have to keep working at because it's definitely not a solved problem just because I found some people to do stuff right now. It's like, those people aren't going to be around forever. They might not be interested in this work forever. Also, trying to make sure I manage them effectively and keep the work interesting and not a drag on them. You don't want to burn people out or... You need to manage people still. So that's something I'm learning. Even with one off contractors, you still need to manage people and try to help them be successful. Otherwise they don't like what they're doing and they don't want to work for you anymore.Starr:I think the reason that in the past when I tried to delegate stuff it didn't quite work out like I expected is because I kind of... When I delegated something, I kind of expected the person to be another me. I kind of expected it to be like, "Okay, now clone, go off and just do this thing. And you can do it, right? You know how to do it? I would do it fine if it was me doing it, so you can do it." But that doesn't really work out because people don't really know every single thing that you know. They don't have the same aptitudes that you have or abilities or knowledge.Starr:I think the thing that I've had a little bit more success with is just, yeah, just not being so general in the things that I'm delegating. Just being very specific. Like with these blog posts it's like, I'm asking you to write a blog post about something you know about. So I can find people who can do that and that's very concrete. They know what they need to do, I know what I expect from them. Versus how I used to do things, which is just sort of like, "Okay, just start working. Just write some stuff." I don't know.Josh:Yeah.Ben:Yeah, that's good. Clear expectations and directions are certainly helpful.Starr:Yeah. And also kind of viewing it as a good delegation... Like you're not necessarily giving work to a person, you're setting up a system to which you can give work. Because if you just give work to a person, maybe you find a good person, but eventually that person quits and you have to find the other exactly right person. So it's just stressful because you're always sort of relying on this one person and your success depends on them willingly doing what you want them to do as opposed to, "Well, I can give this. I want to delegate this. I've got this system of several people and I can give this to one of them and if it doesn't work out, I can find somebody else who can do it."Josh:Yeah. I really like that flexible approach that you took. I think I've been trying, as a result of your suggestion, which is like, where you set the expectations is important and how... Yeah. The big thing I've been trying to get across to people is I don't mind... The pace of the work is really flexible. I'm trying to hire a lot of people so that if one person can't do something or doesn't have time or doesn't want to do something, that's totally fine. There'll always be something else in the future. I'm not mad at you if you can't get to something, but don't take something on that you're not going to deliver. So once you actually agree to deliver something, then that's the point where we want consistent communication and some kind of regular progress happening. And then have an off ramp. Because things come up. If you commit to something and then for some reason you can't deliver, then tell us and we'll have some sort of off ramp so that it doesn't burn the bridge there either.Starr:Yeah, I think that's a really important thing so people don't feel trapped. They don't feel like... Yeah, and you don't have these weird emotional things that just kind of creep up where people are worried you're mad at them because they didn't do something on a specific date.Josh:Yeah, and maybe you are a little bit... You get in these weird... Tension can creep into those relationships and there can be small passive aggressions and things and it's like, really it's just you need to be communicating and it needs to be like, okay, obviously you're having trouble with this. Why? The problem isn't that you're having trouble, it's just that I don't know what's happening so that we can figure out what would be a better thing for you to be doing or whatever.Starr:Yeah, that makes sense. You mentioned an off ramp. In the past it seems like I've gone into some situations where the only planned-for outcome was basically everything goes perfectly right. So then if I would... Like if I delegate something and somebody would not do it perfectly right, then there wouldn't be any plan for that. So I would get upset or I would be like, "Oh, this person doesn't know what they're doing," when in fact it's like, sometimes that's going to happen. So yes, it can be a little bit upsetting in the moment but also, I think it's important to be able to say, "Okay, I know how to handle this. It's in our playbook. So, okay, this is what I'm going to do. I don't have to make a decision right now when I'm annoyed." It's just not as personal.Josh:Right. Yeah, and especially if that playbook is shared between you then it's like, it isn't a surprise when whatever outcome... however that's handled because that's the expectation. It's like, you have planning for all the other potential outcomes, or whatever.Starr:You've been listening to Honeybadger. Ben:Yeah, you've been listening to Founder Quest, actually.Starr:Founder Quest? Oh my God. Oh my God. Okay. Okay.Starr:You've been listening to Founder Quest. Please review us on Apple Podcast and just... I just got to go because this is just too much for me.Josh:I think that that was great, Starr. I think that's a wrap.Ben:That's awesome. That's a wrap.
36:06 03/03/2021
Talking Startups And Pricing Strategies With John Nunemaker
Show Notes:Links:John Nunemaker WebsiteJohn Nunemaker TwitterFlipper CloudSpeaker DeckScientistFull Transcript:Ben:So today we have a special episode of FounderQuest. We have John Nunemaker with us, instead of Starr. Starr was taking a break today. And Josh and I are going to be chatting with John, and talking about the fun things that John's doing. John, I got to start off by saying that I'm a huge fan. I've been following your work since the Harmony days, back at Ordered List, I guess that was ... I don't know when that was, 2000 and something.John:'07, 8, yep.Ben:Yeah. Yeah. So I think I got introduced to you through the Rails community, being back in the early group. So I don't remember how exactly we bumped into each other back then. But I remember Harmony was pretty cool, and the other stuff you did with Ordered List.Josh:Yeah.Josh:I was newer to the Rails world back then. So both of you are Ruby celebrities to me. So yeah, it's cool. It's cool to have you here.John:Thanks so much. Yeah, I'm really excited about it. I feel the same way about you guys. Especially I remember I was at RailsKits.Ben:Yep.John:I remember ... Yeah.Josh:Yeah.John:I remember that. I remember a bunch of the stuff back in the day. And is it Stympy, or something? Website?Ben:Yeah.John:Yep.Ben:Yeah.John:Oh, yeah. That stuff sticks out.Josh:Nice.Ben:Nice. Nice, cool. Fanboys all around. It's awesome. And you're a prolific open-source author. We have in fact two of your gems in our app right now. We have nunes, and we have httparty running in our app. So thank you for those.John:That's awesome.Josh:Yeah.John:That's really cool.Ben:Yeah. I love nunes. And I love the description of it. It's like, "This is the monitoring app I would add to your app if I was working with you."John:Yeah. I feel like stuff like that, I get lucky and it sticks. But it's just this moment where I'm like, "I got to come up with some kind of a description. I really don't want to do this. What should I put?" And then it's like, "This is what I would. I would do this if I were you." So I'm just going to put that as my description and peel out.Ben:It's cool. But I think the ... We're not going to talk about this much today. But I just wanted to toss this in here. And I think one of the projects that you've done that I'm most interested is probably one there is least information out there about. And that's Haystack at GitHub.John:Yeah. Yeah. Hey, I can answer any questions related to that too. On air, off air, whatever you want. Yeah.Ben:Awesome.John:Yeah. I worked on that for a little while. I didn't build it, but I tuned it a bunch.Josh:Remind me what Haystack does.John:It was the exception tracker-Josh:I remember now. Yeah. Cool.John:Yeah. Yep.Josh:I have built a few of those.John:Yeah, I don't know if you guys have heard of exceptions.Ben:Yeah, we did a little bit in that line. But yeah, I remember reading some of your blog posts about Haystack, and I was kind of jealous. I was like, "Oh, man. It'd be cool if we got GitHub as a customer." But yeah, I totally understand why you'd have something totally internal and custom to what you do there at GitHub.John:Yeah. I still always wonder if they still have ... I need to reach out to people who are still there and ask. I'm always curious what technology has lasted and what hasn't, and stuff like that.Josh:Yeah.Ben:Yeah. So how long have you been gone from GitHub?John:I would say ... Hard to remember. I would say 2018 I think is when I left. So it was right when after the Microsoft stuff went through. And it happened to coincide with paternity leave ending for me, and all the ... Just perfect timing. So all the stuff kind of came down at the same time. And so my last day of paternity leave was a Friday. And that Friday was the day they closed the deal. And then that Monday, I resigned and moved on to the next stuff. I love GitHub. You can see behind me.Ben:Yeah.Josh:Yeah.John:No one listening can, but I have an Octocat behind me in my room. It's completely office is stuffed with Octocats. I'm a huge fan still. I just am not a big company person really.Ben:Yeah. Totally can relate to that.Josh:Yep.Ben:I've never thrived in big companies. So yeah, getting acquired by Microsoft would make GitHub a pretty big company.John:Yeah. And it was ... I mean, we were 45 through 50, and then watched it grow over six, seven years to in the thousands.Josh:Wow.John:And it was just totally different than we had started. So it was-Ben:No doubt.John:Yeah. And that's kind of where Flipper and Flipper Cloud and stuff like that even came from was because I was working there. And not to jump ahead or anything like that, but that's ... I was like, "I know I'm not going to be a big company person. So I got to come up with some kind of a runway, because I'm the guy who runs off the clock in the fourth quarter." I'm very safe and conservative in my moves. So yeah.Ben:I love that. So let's talk about that. That's very interesting.Josh:So you're in good company. That sounds a lot like Ben.Ben:Yep.John:Yeah. So basically it was like ... I mean, Flipper itself, I started in 2013 just for fun on the weekend, which was a lot of ... Httparty, a lot of gems like that, that's where they came from, was just hacking around on the weekend or in the evenings. I spent a lot of time doing that kind of stuff. And I have always been interested in feature flags, because I worked on, a long time ago. I don't know if you guys know this or not. But I worked on Words With Friends, the Scrabble game on the backend. So I didn't work on any iOS stuff, but worked on the backend. And every time I tried to roll out, I always joked that that time period in my life, all I did was write caching for a year. Because it was just trying to ... We scaled from 50,000 requests a minute to over a million. It was insane.John:And so we were just trying to keep the service up. And that's where feature flags came in, and it kept going down every time I tried to roll out this new caching. And the new caching was really important, and I couldn't get it to roll out, because every time I added it, the whole site would just screech to a halt due to a cold cache. So that's when ... I was working with Jesse Newland I don't know if you guys remember him from Rails.Josh:Oh, yeah.John:Yeah. So we were working together on it. We were like, "We should do feature flags." He was like, "Check out this thing called Rollout." And so I set it up and got it working. And we slowly rolled it out. And then I was just like, "Wow. This is amazing." So yeah. So then a couple years later though, I didn't love the API. I'm real picky about APIs and the way the code looks, and the way it feels. And their examples used like, dollar rollout equals, or something. And dollar just made scrunch my shoulders and nose, and everything.John:So at that point I was like, "I think I can do it better." And that I feel like how I always end up in open-source is some kind of silly idea like that. It's usually like you change one thing, and then everyone's like, "Why did you make a new project? This is just one small change." But that's how it started. And it didn't get used by me for I don't know how many years. It didn't get used at GitHub even. So I was at GitHub at that time. And it was probably 2015 actually when my son was born, and I was on paternity leave with him. That's when it got added to GitHub. Two guys, Adam Roben and Rob Sanheim added it. And so they were kind of working with me a little bit. But I was obviously kind of off the grid at that point, struggling to find out how to be a parent.John:But yeah, that's kind of how it came about was then, I just kind of played on the weekend and thought it was fun. And a bunch of people started using it. I knew I just wanted to make it not tied to Redis. Because I've had interactions there that weren't fantastic. And I liked the idea in storing it everywhere. And so that's kind of ... I was like, "Let's just make something that can talk to anything." And that time, Rollout didn't. Now they have more of an adapter idea in theirs as well. But yeah, so that's kind of how it started. And then eventually those guys pulled it into GitHub, and I helped tune it a little bit, and help with that. And then from there, it just kept pulling my interest back. And so I just kept kind of playing with it.Ben:It's cool. Yeah, we've used Rollout a little bit in Honeybadger. We don't do feature flags very often. We typically deploy ... If there's something that we feel is kind of dangerous, we will deploy it to our internal instance of Honeybadger first. And so we'll inflict it upon ourselves, and make sure that it's stable and stuff before we unleash it. But every now and then we do have a feature flag. And yeah, Rollout's API, I think we're still using the old-fashioned, activate user, and stuff.Josh:Yeah.Ben:And yeah, it's-John:Yeah.Josh:Maybe that's why we haven't used it as much.Ben:Maybe.Josh:We're afraid to interact with a global variable.Ben:Exactly. Yeah, and now we have Standard running all the time on our ... To lint our code, right? And so now even in VSCode, you can it's like, "Oh, don't use that dollar sign."Josh:Yeah.Ben:" ... man."John:Yeah, and every other instance of life, a dollar sign is good. It's just in Ruby where you're like, "Oh, this makes me feel bad."Ben:Yeah, yeah. But then again, I came to Ruby from Pearl. So sometimes it's like, "Ah, it's a kind of throwback." It makes you feel warm and fuzzy to have all those siggles.John:Yeah.Josh:So it's probably not great if your API is a linter error.Ben:Yeah. It's probably bad news.John:That's neat that you guys have an internal instance. So you use that for Honeybadger itself then?Ben:Mm-hmm (affirmative).Josh:Mm-hmm (affirmative).John:Oh, okay. Cool.Josh:Yeah.John:I mean, it makes sense. I just hadn't really thought about it.Ben:Yeah.Josh:It's pretty handy. It's kind of like a production staging instance. It's live, taking a lot of traffic like live production traffic. But yeah, we can kind of play around with it.John:We did that at Words With Friends. We had, I think it was called a smoke instance. And it's the same idea as a canary or something. It was kind of pre feature flags. It was like we just had one thing that got 5% of the traffic. And so we could roll out to that first. And if it went well, then we would tag it and roll it out to product and stuff.Josh:Oh, yeah. That's a good idea.John:Which is not the same. But kind of the same idea.Ben:Yeah.John:That's cool.Ben:Yeah. One of the benefits has been, now we have ... So it's deployed in a separate region. So we're a 100% AWS. And so our internal instance is in a different region, so it's obviously a different VPC and everything. It's just completely separate from our production stuff. And we're big fans of Ansible and Terraform. And so the nice side effect has been, now we have this good set of scripts in Terraform and Ansible to spin up an entire stack pretty easily. So it's been a lot of fun to play with, kind of geek out on that sort of thing.John:Yeah, that's awesome.Ben:So you said Runway. That was a trigger word for me. Because yeah, it's like Josh said, I'm totally into having backup plans and that sort of thing. So at some point, Flipper went from this fun open-source project to, "Maybe I'm going to do something else with it." So tell us about that.John:Yeah. In 2017, I was ... I think it was 2017. But GitHub had just exploded growth wise, and stuff like that. And I was just kind of feeling the big company. At a big company, and there's nothing wrong with this. This is just kind of the way it is. But I feel like you spend a quarter of your time just telling everyone else what you're doing with the other portion of your time. And that was just starting to wear on me. I just like to get in and make an impact. And it's difficult to make an impact that you feel is substantial at a company that's thousands of people.John:And I think part of it's just a mental issue. Because I see other people who definitely make an impact. And I think they're just maybe well-suited to that. But yeah, for myself, I wasn't. So I was like, "I got to come up with something else." And I didn't really want to go back to consulting. So I was like, "Well, maybe I can come up with some kind of software as a service on the side." I was trying to think of what could possibly ... Because I always have ideas, I have tons of things that I want to build. My problem is not a lack of ideas, it was just which would make sense.John:And then randomly, I think I saw some flashy thing about Mike Perham, and hitting a million on Sidekiq, or something like that. And I was like, "Huh." And it just gave me a little bit of an idea. I was like, "Well, I wonder if I have an open-source project that could do that." Because I have several. They've been moderately successful. But I was like, "No one's going to pay for HTTP requests." That doesn't really make sense. And I couldn't think of anything else that I had that would really warrant that.John:And then I was like, "Oh, Flipper ... " One of the things that you do is, if you use Flipper, you set it up kind of on each project. And it would be really nice. We had a web UI and stuff like that. But that web UI is always per environment, and per project. So if you have eight projects, you got to have it mounted in eight places. And if you have development and then you have staging, and you have production, then the feature data's got to be synced between them. And all these kinds of tedious things. And so I was like, "I wonder if there's a way I could do that."John:And so I kind of started looking around, and I saw maybe within a day. I remember writing all the notes. But within a week for sure, I saw LaunchDarkly. And so they're probably I would assume the powerhouse or pretty close, in feature flags right now. And they got eight million in funding, or something like that. And I was like, "Okay, I don't ... " I mean, they've gotten way more since then. But I was like, "Eight million." I was like, "Wow, okay. That means people are actually interested in this as a hosted thing, not just like a ... "John:So I kind of looked at their model and how they do it. And they open connections. It's almost like long pulling, but it's not pulling. I think it does actually have push. And I was like, "Well, I don't know if I really want to build that. That sounds really complicated." And I don't think people are going to trust me with an HTTP request in their main request thread. That's not Ruby, for sure. I mean, you have a milliseconds just for being in Ruby and doing net HTTP. So I was like, "I don't know. That seems hard to believe." Obviously you guys have a lot of services like that. Because you have clients that are shipping all kinds of things to you, and you have to come up with ways to do it in the background.John:And I'm fairly certain that I've spent a decent amount of time in the Honeybadger gem in the last two years, looking at the thread and stuff. So yeah, I don't know. I was like, "Maybe this would work." And then right after that I saw came out. And they announced seven million in funding. And again, I didn't want to bootstrap ... Or I didn't want to fund, and I didn't want to go big and that kind of stuff. But I was like, "If other people are paying, or giving large sums of money to people doing this, that seems possible." So I kind of started hacking on some stuff. And at the same time, this guy, Alex Wheeler, he started contributing to Flipper and was like, "It'd be really cool if there was an HTTP API."John:And I was like, "That sounds interesting." This was a little bit before the cloud idea. And then he puts a pull request together. And I just was like, "If it was me, I would change these things. But this looks pretty cool." And we had a nice back and forth, and built out a bunch of stuff to just mount a Rack app in Rails or in Sinatra, or whatever. And you just have this HTTP API, and it could do its thing. And I was like, "I bet I could just mount that in a Rails app and then I would have a hosted service." And so it kind of started that way. So it was just for fun. And then one of the other guys that I used to work with at GitHub, John Hoyt. He's John Magic everywhere online. He was like, "I'll built it with you." He was looking just for some fun.John:So we started hacking on it. And then the Microsoft stuff went ... And we built it, and it was working. I started using it on Speaker Deck. In the meantime, I had reacquired Speaker Deck back from GitHub. And so I was like ... We were using it there, and we were just kind of pulling every, I don't know, 60 seconds and memoizing things in memory and stuff like that for performance. And it was like, "I think we could do this. There's more to this." And so we were like, "All right. Let's try and make it happen." And so we brought in a couple other people. And then eventually he and some of the other people around the time, and it ended up back as just myself and Steve Smith, who I was partners with at Ordered List, pre GitHub. So yeah, we were like, "All right. Let's try this."John:But then it just sat, because Microsoft happened. And that was kind of insane. And so I took a little bit of time off after that. And then rejoined Steve at Box Out. And he had started a new company. So I basically rejoined him at his new company. And then pushing that forward, we kind of just left Flipper in the background. And we started using it a bunch, but didn't do anything with it. And then it was like, "Okay, we have this whole thing, and it's working. We should really do something with it." But we actually launched Speaker Deck before that as a paid thing, in November I think it was when we did it.John:And people gave us some money to pay for that pro account. And we were like, "Whoa, this is really fun. We should do this on Flipper. We've had this software that we've been using for two years with no problems. Maybe we should actually slaps some billing on that." So Steve kind of did that over Christmas. And so then we just maybe a month ago released it, so that anybody can sign up-Josh:Nice.John:... and start using it now.Josh:I love that, "Slap some billing on it," by the way.John:So that totally comes-Josh:That's the way.John:Yeah. That comes from Gauges. We actually launched back in the day when we had Harmony, we had CMS. Well, if you have a CMS, you want stats, so we made Gauges.Josh:Yeah.John:And so what was hilarious was we launched Gauges with a seven day free trial, and no billing. And so we were like, "We got seven days. We can slap a billing system in." So that's probably where ... It's not the first time I've said, "Slap a billing system in."Josh:Right on.Ben:Yeah, I love that. I've done that. It's like, "Yeah, I'll just push it out there. And if anybody wants to buy it, then I'll figure out how to get some for it." I mean, and if no one wants it, it saved a lot of time, right?Josh:Yeah. Who wants to build a billing system that no one's going to-Ben:Never gets-Josh:... put money into.Ben:Yeah.Josh:Yeah.John:Well, I remember back in the day using Spreedly, which was great. Because they was mostly just like what-Josh:Yeah, I remember Spreedly.John:Yeah. Webhooks and stuff like that. But then they kind of moved more to being an interface to multiple gateways, rather than the recurring billing stuff. And so I wasn't even sure. And then I went through a seven year entrepreneurial dark period where I worked at a huge company and was focused on that. I didn't pay attention to anything else. But Stripe Billing Portal was awesome. So that actually has covered for Speaker Deck and Flipper, it's made it ... I mean, it's 90% of what we would want. And the other 10% we can live without. So it would just be nice.Ben:Yeah. And eventually Stripe will build that 10%.John:They will. Yeah, they probably already did, and I just haven't seen it yet. Or it's in the works. It'll be out next month at their rate.Ben:Yeah. That's one thing. Over time, I've become much more comfortable with the idea of depending on services for things as opposed to building it myself. And with AWS, it's anything you want, just wait long enough. Eventually it's going to show up. We've been getting more into using DynamoDB, and other services that AWS has. And it's like, "Yeah, I wish had this thing." And then six months later it has that thing now. It's like, "Oh, great."John:And that ecosystem is so ... I mean, the only word is, "Rich." I mean, they just let you do everything, SQS, SNS. All those ... Yeah, they're really great.Ben:So you got this Flipper Cloud going. And you've got paying customers now because of your billing system, right?John:We do, yeah.Ben:Yeah.John:So we have a few. We launched maybe a week ago ... No, a month in all, I think. Yeah, actually we just had our first person who paid us a second time.Ben:Nice.Josh:Nice.John:This morning. I got ... Thank you, thank you. It was very exciting. I got confused for a second, because I was like, "Oh, a new signup." And then I was like, "Oh, no. This is actually ... It's just the same person signing in again." So I think we have ... I was going to look before. I don't remember. It's probably maybe 300 bucks in seats right now. So I'm really okay with that. Speaker Deck we launched maybe end of November. So basically December, which is kind of Christmas time, and nobody's buying Speaker Deck accounts for Christmas for people, for stocking stuffers.Ben:What? Come on.John:Yeah, I wasn't sure how that would do. But it's so far maybe 7,000 in revenue that it's generated. And it's up to almost a 1,000 MRR. Which I was like, "If we can get to ... " The expenses on that are around a 1,000, like 1,200 bucks a month or something like that, for the AWS and Heroku, and all those kinds of things. And I was like, "If we can get to that by the end of the year, that would be amazing. Just by the end of the year, if we get to paying the bills on it." It's kind of just a passion project. I just love Speaker Deck, and I can't get rid of it.John:And so I'm like, "If it makes money, that's great. If it just breaks even, that'd be fine." And we almost break even three months in. So that was kind of I think what got us really excited about Flipper too. We were like, "Shoot, these things ... There are actually people out there that want to pay for software that solves their problems." It's funny that you can forget that. But Box Out Sports pays the bills and is doing really great. So it was kind of easy for us to kind of forget about that, and just kind of focus on that and not really diversify and try other stuff. So yeah, they're going pretty well. I don't have any complaints. So there's definitely, it's brand new. So people are like, "I don't know if I want to do this or not. It's brand new." Or like, "Tell me more about your pricing."John:Because I mean, pricing you guys know is really difficult. That's probably a lot of iterations, yeah, trying to get it right. And so that was a hard one. But I feel like you labor over it and labor over it. And eventually you're like, "The only thing that's going to make a difference is just putting something out there and getting feedback." So that's what we ended up doing. We were like, "You know what? We realize we're putting ourselves out there at half the price of LaunchDarkly and Split, and all these other companies." But we feel like we can make lots of money at this point. So we'll see. We'll just find out. And so far, the feedback has been good. Maybe it's a little bit high for some people. And a little bit, they didn't even notice the price for other people.Ben:That's a good place to be. I mean, if no one's complaining about the price, then you're priced too low, I think. Right?John:Yep. Yeah.Josh:Yeah.John:Definitely.Ben:And it's nice to be the no-brainer option, I think, for the other end of the spectrum too. So that's a pretty sweet spot to be in.Josh:We've found that the pricing project is one that has never ended for us. And I don't think it ever does. I think you always are adjusting your prices to what the current market is, and with competitors and stuff. Yeah.Ben:Yeah.John:How do you guys do that? Id' be super curious. Every time you roll out, do people kind of ... You roll it out for new people? The new pricing? And everybody else-Josh:Yeah.John:... just stays on the current plan? Do you have 800 different plans in Stripe, but you only show two of them on the website? I'm just curious.Josh:Yeah. That one.Ben:All of the above, yeah. Yeah, we try to do right by our customers, right? We don't want to push people into things that ... Like the Comcast thing. Like, "Oh, by the way. Your bill's going up." No one wants that. Right? So yeah, every time we do pricing, we just do it for new people. We typically don't announce it and make a big deal out of it, because we just want to see. Because don't do AB testing on our pricing. So basically, like Josh said, it's basically a full-time thing. Because for months leading up to a change, we're talking about it and thinking about it, and penciling it out. And then we make the change.Ben:And then for months after the change, we're like, "Okay, how'd it go? And how's the revenue curve looking?" And then we have had one round of price changes where we did go back to customers who are on our older plans, and asked them to upgrade. When we switched from basically unlimited to metered based on traffic, they were ... One of the reasons we switched to new pricing was because some customers were using a whole lot of traffic and not paying us very much. And so we did go back in some cases and say, "Look, we just can't continue to service your level of traffic. And here are some options. You can fix your bugs, or you could pay us more. Or you could just deal with some of the traffic going away. Well, cut you off at a certain point."John:Yeah.Ben:And those conversations were great. I think because one, we explained it clearly to people like, "Here's why things are changing." And we reached out, I reached out individually to people. It wasn't this mass thing. It was each account I emailed and said, "Hey, here's your traffic. Here's what we're talking about for new pricing. And here's some ways you can adjust it." And overall, the response was great.Josh:The ones that you actually contacted, especially the ones you contacted first, the way you lay it out, showing them their traffic and showing them how much we're making on them. By the end of it, they're apologizing to you.Ben:Yeah, yeah.John:That's funny.Josh:That was a good email.Ben:And we've just started ... I think we made our last change around May of last year. And now we're thinking again about, "Is that working? Do we need to make some tweaks." On the receiving end, I don't know if you know about Penboard. It's a bookmarking service.John:Yeah, I use it.Ben:Yeah. I love Penboard. I signed up way, way back in the day when he was selling it the one-time fee. And I remember his price went up by a penny for every customer that signed up. And I got in, I think it was $2.36 or whatever. And did you get his ... I just got an email from him this past week. And he's-John:Oh, interesting.Ben:A big, long email. And I was like, "I know what this email is." And yeah, it was like, "Hey, you're a long time supporter. Thank you so much for signing up when I was just charging one-time. But I have ongoing fees, and I need to pay the bills." Et cetera, et cetera. It was a fantastic email. And the pricing, the new pricing is just ridiculously cheap, I'm like, "Sold. Take my money." Right?John:Yeah.Ben:And so I wrote back to him. I'm like, "Hey, great email. Thank you for explaining this. And happy to pay you more." Yeah, I think we kind of get twisted up in knots over those kinds of things. But if you have customers that love you, and you're treating them fairly, I think people get it. Like, "Oh, yeah. I can see that there's an imbalance here. And yeah, we can make a change."Ben:So on pricing, how'd you settle on pricing for Flipper Cloud. What did you consider? Or was it the first thing ... Was it the first thing you thought of we see today? Or did you go through some permutations on that?John:Yeah, we went through a lot of permutations. And Steve and I are the only two in the company. So he does most of the design and stuff like that. I do most of the backend, and we both cross over. We're real big on standards and stuff. So using the same things in all of our apps, so we can work and stuff like that. But business stuff we always do together. Which is good, because we have, like you guys obviously, probably find that you have different things that you bring to the table.John:So I think the goals is, we just want everybody who's using Flipper to use this. Mostly just because it will make your Flipper life better. If you're already using Flipper, it will make your life better. So we want people to use it. We don't want them to not want to use it just because it's paid versus open-source, or something like that. So that's one thing we've factored in.John:And so I think initially, we were like, "Well, what if we just came up with a small plan of some sort. Three plans," like everybody does. Like, whatever, nickel, bronze and gold. Or that kind of idea. On Box Out, we have Basic, Plus and Premium. So I mean again, it's just you make three plans, you bucket people in and move on with life. So we started with that. And the thing we were noticing was, LaunchDarkly, Split, which is not Rollout that we were talking about earlier. But there's several of these that exist and have pricing. And I went down through all of them. I'm sure you also do this. But did a little analysis. And I'm like, "These people charge a lot of money for feature flags." I was like, "It's crazy."John:I mean, it's not crazy. The people who are paying it is totally sane. But I was like ... It's just kind of mind blowing to me. I'm like, "Okay, I ... " I pay whatever, 10, 15 bucks a month, or maybe 25 bucks a month for some of the organizations that I have on GitHub. And I'm like, "If I charge $20 or $40, or $50 for one seat in a feature flag app, are they getting more value from that, or from GitHub?" It's difficult for me to say something that's been around for eight years, acquired by Microsoft and all this stuff that it's almost like how can I charge that? But then I try to remind myself like, "Well, yeah. But they have millions and millions of customers."John:So that was kind of a lot of the analysis was just like, "Well, what price point are people at?" Because you don't want to price super cheap, and then have people be like, "Well, they must be cheap." And you don't want to price super expensive if you don't feel you're delivering that kind of value to people. So I looked at what the market was at, which seems to be somewhere in the 40 to 50 a seat range, with different levels of freemium to get people in. And then after that, Steve and I talk and we were like, "We just want people to use this. So what if we just have a 25 bucks a month plan for some number of two people?"John:And then the value with cloud, I feel like is ... That's the hard thing is it's brand new. So how do you tell what the value is? But for you guys, you can have metered billing, which that makes sense. Because the more I use of your service, the more value I'm getting. And so the more money you should make. And obviously there's other things you probably differentiate on. But for us, we're ... Right now initially what we're offering is everything kind of in one place. And we help keep it all in sync. And some of that kind of stuff. And it really doesn't cost us a lot to do that. We have ideas down the road for analytics and other things that will cost a lot. So we can figure that out later.John:But we didn't really have a good value metric other than the number of developers. So the number of people that are using it, if you have two developers, it is less useful ... Or one developer, it's less useful to have it than if you have 10, 20, whatever. So we were like, "Well, if that's going to be the case, having a $25 plan, and then ... " I don't know, whatever. A $500 plan, or maybe a 250, $300 plan and a five or $600 plan, and then a, "Call us for more," kind of a thing. Where going from 25 to 300 or something just felt like a lot. And we didn't want to have eight different plans in between, and come up with Adamantium, and every other metal.John:So it was like, "Okay. Well, what are we going to do?" Realistically, we've always hated per seat pricing. Steve and I both have just kind of ... I remember when GitHub switched over to per seat pricing. And I was like, "I mean, whatever's in the interest of a shareholder. Cool." But I really hate per seat pricing. But I was like, "You know what? It just really actually makes the most sense." It is the thing that gives your organization more value. In this case, more developers using it means more things to keep in sync. And more things to keep track of changes, and stuff for, and more things where permissions matter.John:So I was like, "Okay, that actually makes the most sense. We need to do that. What do we charge?" And so we went back and forth on that for a while. Do we just make it 10 bucks a month? And hopefully everybody's just like, "Well, that's a no-brainer. I'll just do it." Or do we make it 50 bucks a month like everybody else? But we were like, "That just felt like too much." So we were like, "Okay, let's just pick kind of in the middle." So it was really scientific.Josh:Yeah.Ben:Yeah.John:A whole bunch of research. Yeah. See what other people are actually charging for it, what kind of value people you assume they're getting. And find the value metric that makes the most sense. Interestingly, a lot of people for feature flags charge based on a monthly active users in your app. Because they assume you're going to pass that user through every feature flag. And the reason they do that I think is just because of again, the analytics side. If you're actually sending each feature check, that's a lot of data. Because you can have ... I mean, GitHub would have hundreds of feature checks on any page rendering. And some of them were in a loop where you're checking it for every single listed org or issue, or things like that.John:So it's easy to generate a lot of data like maybe an exception app would get. And if that was the case, then yeah, you want to bill based on that. But we're like, "We're not doing anything with that right now. So we're just going to start with what makes sense." It's like, "Here's the cheapest we think it would make sense at. Here's where everybody else is at. And we're just going to kind of go in the middle. And we'll see how adoption goes." And then if it goes well, cool. If it's struggling, then ... We've got a few people who are like, "I don't know if I can quite pay that much." "Okay. Here's your discount." Like, "I just want you using this. Give me feedback. That's fine." And then we'll hammer out the pricing, because we basically just threw a dart after hours of discussion.Ben:Right.Josh:Yeah.Ben:Yeah, we've been there. We've done that. And yeah, I too dislike the per seat pricing. But I agree, it makes a lot of sense in this case. And when you get to that point when you do the analytics stuff, you could ... So as an add-on. It's like, "Oh, you want the data pack too? There you go. All right?" When we started Honeybadger, we were really, I think, turned off by what Airbrake had done with their pricing, and being really limited based on traffic. And so that's why we decided like, "We don't want to do that." And we decided the key limiting factor that we could tier on was number of projects.Ben:We figured bigger teams would have more projects. And so they can pay more. And that worked out, except again, for those people that only had one project and they were sending us all this traffic. What really changed our minds even more than that, because we were just willing to bear that. But what really came down to it was microservices became a thing. And these small teams would all of a sudden have five and 10, and 20 little microservice apps they want to track independently. And our pricing just didn't work for them. Like, "I can't spend that much just for my little two person team," right? And so I was like, "Yeah, that does make sense." And so we flipped that around to that, "Okay. Well, if your overall traffic is low, then you don't have to pay us so much."John:What's funny is I looked at your website for a while last night, and I looked at everything but the pricing. And A, first off, I love it. There's so much good stuff on it. Super fantastic work. I just enjoyed reading it. I'm listening to some previous episodes and looking ... I felt like I completely immersed, I'm full on Honeybadger this morning.Josh:Awesome.John:But yeah. So you are meter based on basically what the traffic that people send to you. That's the ... Okay. I just wanted to confirm that. Cool.Ben:Yeah. Yeah, and it's tough. Because if you're a new Honeybadger customer and you're coming, you're like, "What pricing makes sense for me?" You don't know how much traffic you're sending. And it's hard. With cell phone management, you're like, "Oh, I know how much I talk per month," right? Or with user seat pricing you're like, "Well, I know how many people I have on my team." Right? It's easy.John:Yeah.Ben:But with the traffic it's like, "I don't know." And so that's another reason why we didn't launch with that.Josh:And this was back, whatever, nine years ago when very few people were doing metered billing too. So it was a new concept to everyone.Ben:Yeah.Josh:So yeah.John:I remember talking about that a lot with Gauges, metered billing. We ended up doing three plans and just saying, "Contact us for more." And then we had some hidden plans in Spreedly that didn't show up on our website, but for bigger customers and stuff like that.Josh:Yeah.John:But yeah, metered I feel like works better with some kind of in that instance. Look, it's cool. If you just ... Somebody does this. They do a two month rolling average, or a three month rolling average, which I thought was cool too. Like, "If you use a little more one month, but less the next months, we don't really care." I feel like that's kind of been our approach to billing is like, "Look, we got to charge you something so that it's worth it for us to keep doing it. But we want this to make sense for both of us. We're not going to ... " Not to pun. But we're not going to badger you into higher prices, or whatever.Josh:Got to write that down.John:Exactly. So yeah, I feel like that's kind of how I always have approached it. And so metered pricing is interesting with some kind of forgiveness built into it. I feel I like that idea.Josh:That forgiveness was what was missing with Airbrake I think primarily. Because back then, it was ... If you did metered billing, it was like, "This is the number with whatever events that you get." And then it's like, "I just cut you off," basically. I just remember having those issues where if you hit the limit, then it was like, "You're on your own." And that feels terrible from a user, customer standpoint.Ben:Yeah.John:Yeah. You could hit that with a really bad exception in high traffic.Josh:Yeah.John:I mean, I remember that with everything in Haystack, it was rolled up based on just a super simple algorithm. And if you don't have that, you can have one exception that just blows your entire limit. We had that happen at Box Out. I don't even remember what the exception was. But it literally just ate through our entire Century thing. And I was like, "Oh."Josh:Yeah.John:So then we upgraded the plan so we could get more. I think it was JavaScript tracking. We didn't even care about it. So we just-.Josh:It's always JavaScript.Josh:It's always JavaScript.John:Yeah. I mean-Josh:It's always JavaScript.John:Yes. yes.Josh:It was probably some old legacy version of IE that ... Yeah.John:Yep.Ben:Yeah. The forgiveness is key, I think, to having a great relationship with your customer. And the truth is, we're softies. We have people on a regular basis emailing us and saying, "Hey, I'm sorry I just sent you a million and a half errors yesterday. And my plan limit is a 150,000. But can I just get by for the rest of the month without paying you more?" And it's like, "All right. Fine." And so we flip a little switch that allows them to have the rest of the traffic for the month.John:What's that switch? Is it just you just wrote some code, and you cached the code? Or it's fast enough so it's fine?Ben:Yeah. So our internal admin tool just pushes a ... I guess it's a Redis key.John:Okay.Ben:So we have a daily check. So then we look back at the usage, and say, "Okay. Well, are you past your quota yet?" And if you're past your quota, then we'll add a limit. And so we just have a flag in Redis that says, "Oh, this customer's exempt until such and such time." And so that data check will be like, "Just ignore them."Josh:Yeah.John:Yeah, it works.Josh:We abuse Redis a lot like that.Ben:We do. Quite a lot.John:I mean, everybody does. And pardon me, I feel like that's a huge ... That's where Redis gets a lot of its market share is that kind of easy quick stuff. So I've been thinking about that a lot. And we don't have to talk about it. But in Flipper, I think I've been calling it controls. So there are there's ... So we have it in Speaker Deck. In Speaker Deck we have Quality. And Quality defaults to 90. But some people are like, "These aren't clear enough." And so we're like, "Okay, 100." And before, we couldn't do that. And I was like, "Well, I need some way to just say this is the setting for this person. If it doesn't exist for that, then fall back to a default."John:And I was like, "That would actually fit ... " Flipper has, "Flipper.enabled?," Feature name. And then Actor. That's the same as a config. It's just instead of being a true/false response, you're returning some other typed piece of data. I feel like that would be ... Every app that I've worked on, I wanted that. And Flipper already has ... It's basically just like a key value thing with some Ruby logic on top of it. So now that we have syncing and other stuff, I'm like, "I totally just need to build that in, because I desperately want it."John:On Box Out, I want to say like, "What's your graphic limit? Or what kind of ... " It's not for secrets. It's for configuration. Things that you want to hot reload. You don't want to ... And then you just memoization and caching, and all those layers built in, just like they're built into Flipper or whatever you use. So yeah.Josh:Yeah.John:That was why I asked about the switch, because-Josh:That's cool.John:... I love that idea of controls, and I'm always curious how people do it. And I feel most people do it in Redis. And they do it because it's easy there. But not necessarily that they prefer to have that be the place. Because then you got to remember to clean it up if you ... Otherwise that will just keep growing. But yeah, sorry.Ben:No, that's cool. I love where you're going with that. Because in every billing system I've ever written, there's always this notion of limits per plan. A plan has certain project limit or a user limit, whatever. But you always want to be able to override that and comp something to a customer, right? "Oh, I just need another user." "Okay. Well, you can have another one."John:Yeah.Ben:And so there's always the user limit field on the plans table, let's say. But then there's also a user limit field on the accounts table, so that you can override. So if that's nil, it just falls back to the plan. But if they've got a value, then use that value instead. So you could totally do something like that with Flipper, kind of thing I think.John:Yeah. I definitely, I have it in my mind. I just have to sit down and do it. The only thing that's hard with that is, you have an explosion in your cardinality, because if you can have one setting for all one million users. All the Flipper data is designed to be able to be, basically you can read all your features and all their data in one request. And then the dynamic parts of it go in Ruby. Or the dynamic parts some day will go in whatever other language support we add.John:And so I try to control cardinality just because I've worked on GitHub, and Words With Friends before that. So you work on high traffic things, and you see how things fail. It's, "Well, you don't have a limit." And so you run into that with Amazon services, or anything where you'll have a limit. But you can email them, and then they'll up the limit. And so it's like they try to keep people from hurting themselves. But if they really know what they're doing, they'll know, "Yeah, they'll just turn it up."John:And so I just feel like it's a core part of every app, and there's no library or anything that kind of does it just from scratch in a way to make sure that you're not doing N+1 lookups all over the place for every configuration value, and stuff like that. So I desperately want it, so I feel like I'm going to build it in probably sooner rather than later. And it's a differentiator. There's only one or two other places that are doing that. I think ConfigCat is one that I saw that seems to do something kind of like that. But yeah, so that's why I was curious.Ben:Yeah, cardinality is a killer. Way back in the day when we first attempted to use Elasticsearch to index our customers' exception data, every exception is a unique snowflake, right? And so they all have just ... The union set is very small across all customers. And so Elasticsearch has of course limits on how many items it's going to track. And once you hit that limit, tough, sorry. Because they have to distribute that all around the cluster. So they have to limit that. And so we had to come up with some clever ways to normalize that data, and feed it into Elasticsearch in a way that won't blow up that cardinality.John:That's cool. It's tricky.Ben:Yeah. I should blog about that some day.John:You should. I would read it.Ben:So one more thing on price. So on the ... You got the Flipper open-source thing. And you've got the Flipper Cloud, and you've got the self-hosted option with the cloud on your pricing page. Did you think about other ways ... Could you talk about Mike? Mike was an inspiration. And Mike has a particular licensing scheme, right? There's open-source. And it's basically an open-core model, right? You want more features or you want a different license, then you pay for that, right? So did you think about those kind of alternatives for Flipper? And what made you decide on the hosted thing was right for you?John:Yeah. I definitely did. That's a really good question. I feel like ... I saw Mike's thing, so that was my first thought. And also, Robert, the GraphQL gem, he has the same kind of, I think as Mike. Where you can pay a little bit and get a different license or get more features, resolvers, cachers, all those things. I was trying to think through that with Flipper. And I'm like, "Well, I could definitely do that. But what a thing that's painful with open-source Flipper?" And that's the problem I would want to solve. And I mean, the number one things that people kind of brought up were audit logging, or some kind of audit history. They just want to know who did what, when.John:And then the other pain, a big one is everything is per project and per environment. And so everybody's got rake tasks, and sync scripts, and all these kind of stuff. So it's like ... I mean, especially when it gets like GitHub where you have hundreds of developers. And they're all creating features, and going to town. And you go on your local laptop to do something, and you're like, "I don't even know which feature I need to turn on to make this work, to see the feature." And so then you got to go through the code and figure out where it's hidden, and figure out what features get used, and how they need to be enabled, and all this kind of stuff.John:And I feel like those were the two things that we saw as the biggest pain points were moving feature data through your environments, and having a history of what's going on. Those were the two key things. And then the other thing that I feel like long term is huge, is the analytics on the information side that can be done. I've said it before, but I'm the kind of person that I played NBA Tecmo basketball, and Tecmo football on Nintendo growing up. And Tecmo football didn't track any stats, so I paused after every play and I kept track of passing attempts, rushing attempts, yards, tackles.Ben:It's hard work.John:NBA Basketball ... Yeah, it was better, because they kept track of everything. But they also kept track of rebounds, but they didn't do them correctly. I started noticing problem ... I'm like, "I know I had more than 10 rebounds in this game. This isn't right." And so I started keeping ... And I had my own rebound ledger. So I've always been into stats, I guess. And again-Ben:Apparently.John:Yeah. Thinking through what the problems were with open-source is, well A, you want to know, is a feature being checked or not? And if you set it to 25% of actors, kind of how many people does that mean? And is it actually returning that? And at GitHub, we used StatsD and stuff like that to kind of figure some of that out. And then we also eventually used other things, like Datadog and stuff like that. But I don't necessarily have that on every project that I set up, and stuff.John:But these are things that I want every time I use Flipper. And so if I'm going to want them every time. And probably other people are struggling with them every time, then those probably ... And those are the things that are the hardest to build, because they're unique to the setup. So if you want to have analytics tracking, you got to have some thread in the background that's keeping track of stats and shipping off events, and doing that kind of stuff to some kind of end point. And then that end point is going to have to do a lot of work to store the raw data, crunch up reports.John:Again, you guys, totally familiar with that. But that's not something you just want to solve in open-source. I was just that ... Or for each customer. I don't want to write an analytics roll up adapter to work with Redis and to work with Mongo, and to work with Postgress. There's some things that just make sense to centralize. And so I think that's why I went that route. And also, that was what I had done in the past with Harmony and Gauges was SaaS. I just understood that ... I've never licensed anything. I don't even look at licenses. I mean, other than legality just to make sure I'm not breaking laws. But yeah. I mean, I use MIT, because everybody uses MIT in Ruby. There's probably other licenses, I don't know what they are.Josh:Yeah.John:So I think that's kind of why I didn't go down that route.Josh:Have you thought about AB testing features?John:Yeah. That comes up. I feel like ... I mean, for me where I sit on that is, I don't AB test stuff. Like you guys said, you don't do it either. And I feel like I don't really have the desire. And I kind of alluded to this earlier, but just to sit there and micromanage the revenue or the color of a button, or all these kinds of ... I just don't care about that. So it doesn't interest me. I don't personally do it. I wouldn't know how to solve it right for people. There's other services out there, Optimizely, et cetera that are huge.John:But everybody that uses feature flags immediately is like, "Oh, this is the same thing as AB tests. Why doesn't this do AB tests?" Or I'm already doing AB tests, et cetera. So I've already ... I mean, there's been several people that have asked. And so probably some day. If your customers want something, you build it. I wouldn't know how to build it correctly for them right now. And that would detract from just trying to get people who are using Flipper currently onboard, which is goal number one is just if you're using Flipper, just make it a no-brainer that this is something you use.John:So that's the only reason why I haven't is I'm not sure how much I believe in it. And if people want to do it, that's totally fine. And I could see it being supported at some point. But it just feels, yeah, different. To me, they're different things. And maybe what you do is there's a better way with once you have those raw stats, you use some sort of export Zapier, or whatever it is. You have glue between two disparate systems that they use the data. But I don't know that I want to have an AB testing company. But I actually, a year after I left GitHub, the people who were working on maintaining Flipper internally were like, "Hey, we're looking at doing a lot of AB testing." And they had two different things, which-Josh:Didn't GitHub release a tool that did AB testing in Ruby or something? I feel like there was something back in the day?John:Scientist?Ben:Scientist.Josh:Yeah, Scientist. Yeah. I was going to say five years ago, or within the past five years I saw something.John:It's more for code changes to make sure that you can try-Josh:Okay. Yeah.John:... the old way and the new way, and test the performance-Josh:That's right. Yeah.John:... before they go out. Yep. But it's the same. That I love. And I feel like that's totally up Flipper's alley too is this idea-Josh:Okay. Yeah.John:... of server side tools to help you release software more safely. To me, I love that. I'm just less excited about the AB side.Josh:Gotcha. Okay. Yeah, the Scientist thing was maybe a little bit closer to what I was thinking, versus product-John:Oh, gotcha.Josh:... feature maybe. I don't know. Yeah, I probably could phrased it a little better. It's just you said-John:I didn't know about that at all.Josh:... you love stats. And I thought, "How can I get this guy collecting more stats?"John:What crazy is I've never thought of the Scientist functionality in Flipper. But that makes total sense.Josh:It seems similar-John:Yeah.Josh:... to me.John:I think I owe you a percentage of the company now.Josh:Totally. The first one's free.Ben:Yeah. I got to put a plug in for Scientist. We recently used that, because we were upgrading our elastic search cluster from six to seven. And so we spun up a new cluster, filled it with data, and then we were like, "Okay, let's see. How does it work compared to our old cluster?"Josh:I didn't realize we used Scientist for that. That's cool.Ben:Yeah. It's great.Josh:Nice.Ben:So it really helped me realize, "Oh, okay. I won't blow up the world if I deploy this new thing."Josh:Yeah.Ben:It's quite nice.John:Yeah. And the key thing with that is that I love having the AB execution, and deciding whether or not to run the B. And that was even ... I see that as it's more like A to B down, rather than A or B. We're always going to return A, but sometimes we'll do this other one. And I mean, I've been using that so much. I mean, it's really valuable. And the biggest thing I miss from GitHub honestly, was back when we still had StatsD and Graphite, and metrics whatever. Some magic that all the smarter people made internally just for us, or whatever.John:I miss that. I mean, you could just throw anything in StatsD that you wanted, and you never had to think about ... It was great. Now that I'm outside, I'm like, "I just want to click a button and just have that be on a thing." But not have to worry about, "Do I have a 100 metrics, or 200 metrics? Or 300?" I just want to ... If it fills up the disk, I'll just delete the disk and start over. It's fine. I just want to click a button and have it appear. And so I can just send Scientist stats and all that.Ben:We love that. So we use StatsD and send it out to Librato.John:Oh, nice.Ben:It's wonderful. I don't have to care. I just pay whatever per month, and they keep track of all of the stuff. And I can make nice little charts whenever I want on demand. And it's great.John:I need to check that out in more detail.Ben:I think they've rolled that out now. I don't think they actually sell Librato separately.John:Oh, okay.Ben:I don't know. Have to check that out. But yeah, it's cool stuff. Well, yeah. If Josh just gave you a huge business opportunity there, then yeah, we'll wait for that check in the mail.John:Yep. Just don't hold your breath.Ben:Well, John, thanks so much for joining us. This has been awesome. This has been a lot of fun.Josh:Yeah. A lot of fun.John:Yeah. This was great.Ben:So for everyone who wants to keep track of you, what's the best way? Twitter, your website? What do you like?John:Yeah, either one of those. I mean, anything I put on my website I'll eventually put on Twitter too. So either one of them is fine. And I'm now a proud Ghost user, paying Ghost user.Josh:Nice.Ben:Cool.Josh:What's your Twitter handle, by the way?John:It's @jnunemaker. Which most likely you can't spell. But that's what the show notes are for.Ben:That's right.Josh:Yeah. We'll put it in the show notes.Ben:Well, thanks, John. And best of luck to you with Flipper Cloud. I'm going to go check it out again. And maybe we'll switch from Rollout today.John:Yeah. Hey, if you need somebody to pair with, you know where to go.Ben:All right. It sounds good.Josh:Nice.Ben:Thanks. Well, this has been an episode of FounderQuest. If you want to write for the blog, I'll have to plug that for Star. You know where to go, because you've heard the podcast's outro so many times by now. If you want to check out John, we'll have some links in the show notes to his Twitter and his blog, and Flipper Cloud. And if you want to do some work for Honeybadger, Josh has been hiring like crazy.Josh:Yeah.Ben:And got a whole bunch-Josh:Still could use some more.Ben:... of contractors. Kevin said in Slack the other day, "Yeah, they're like Pokemon. Got to collect them all."Josh:Collect them all.Ben:But thanks so much for listening. And hope you all have a great day.
55:16 02/26/2021
All Your Contractors Are Belong To Us!
Show Notes:Links:The Boys in The BoatFounding SalesAll your base are belong to usWrite for usFull Transcript:Starr:I loved Beavis and Butthead so much in the 90s.Ben:Yeah, it was awesome.Starr:I was prepared not to like it because all I heard was everybody talking about how stupid it was. And then I watched it. I was like, this is amazing. This is just my brand. I was the target demographic. I was, I don't know, 16 17.Josh:Yep.Ben:Yep. That's a great show.Starr:Yeah, so.Ben:There was some picture. I don't remember who it was. It was Josh Hawley and I can't remember who the person was. But they had them as Beavis and Butthead. They did a montage, had them in a picture together and it was pretty funny. Starr:I feel like the children and their deep fried memes are the spiritual successor to the spiritual child of Beavis and Butthead.Ben:Mm-hmm (affirmative).Josh:Could be Yeah.Ben:No doubt.Starr:Because Beavis and Butthead were pretty deep fried. So, this podcast is just all about giving. We all live in the Pacific Northwest. And this podcast is going to be all about giving our readers, I know, what does it feel like a sense of what it feels like to live in the Pacific Northwest because I've got a guy chainsawing right outside my window. They've got a wood chipper going. And it's an extremely Pacific Northwest thing. I've lived all over the country. And I've never lived in place for about a third of the time, you can hear a wood chipper in the background in a residential neighborhood.Josh:Yeah.Ben:I think part of that is due to the trend here that I haven't seen anywhere else, of allowing 90 foot cedar trees to grow right next to the houses, right? And so at some point, someone's like, "You know what? We probably should take that down." And repeat that over and over again in every neighborhood around here.Josh:Speaking of, I have some chainsaw work to do right after this podcast. So we do live in a grove of cedar trees. And one of them fell in my backyard and took out my fence the other week so I've been working on that-Starr:Oh that's good.Josh:Slowly.Starr:So I learned, a what?Ben:You are going to be all set for firewood this winter then.Josh:Yeah, for sure. I've been all set for firewood since we moved in here, trees fall every year, it seems.Starr:One thing I learned when I started the permitting process for my backyard office is that Seattle has a concept of, I forget what exactly it's called, but it's like there is significant trees or important trees. There's an official designation for if a tree is worth living or if you can just kill it with impunity.Ben:Yeah. Kirkland is pretty uptight about that whole tree thing as well. In fact, apparently Kirkland is tree city USA, but there might be, I don't know, 5000 of those in the country. But anyway, for some reason, the people that owned my house before me or maybe the people that owned the house before them, decided to plant a nice Maple right close to the driveway. And that Maple over its lifetime, of course, grew and grew, and its roots grew and grew under the driveway and heading towards the foundation. And I'm like, I got to take this tree out. And the city of Kirkland was not terribly happy with the idea of me taking out this tree that had that designation. I don't know what they call it, substantial tree or something. But yeah, we actually, we have a policy in Kirkland. You can only remove two trees per year from your property. And you have to get special permission if the tree has a particular diameter of trunk. If it's been around long enough kind of thing. So-Starr:Oh, yeah.Ben:Yeah.Starr:That'd be the absolute unit designation.Ben:So I actually sent a Google Earth view of my house, my lot and I had to circle this tree and get permits to be able to remove it.Starr:And they're like, "Sorry sir that tree is a chonk, you can't remove that."Josh:What?Starr:That big boy's an absolute unit. You can't just cut him down.Josh:So Ben, what's it like living under tyranny?Ben:Well, and then tree removal service that, because I didn't want to do it myself. I'm not that manly. They came out and the contract was if you get sued by the city, then it's all you basically, they disclaim any liability of getting in trouble with the law.Starr:Oh, that's funny.Josh:Do they have tree lawyers or do they hire.Ben:They have the tree police that go out every year. And they look for the tress gone missing.Starr:Well, actually, I did, so when I was permitting my shed or my office, I call it the shed, but it's actually a pretty nice office at this point. I was originally going to have it on the other side of the lot, but that was too close to the roots of this special tree, which is good. I don't want to kill the tree. So I'm glad that they told me that. I don't care what side I build it on. But there are actually tree lawyers and tree laws. And it's a whole big deal with forestry. Let me tell you a little bit. This is just going to be the gossip episode where I just tell you all about all my family's dirty laundry. So my sister, my half sister, I've got several siblings and my half sister is 20 years older than me. And she got a little weird there and got a little hostile towards the rest of the family. And essentially, the family owns in common this little plot of land in Mountainburg Arkansas, it's just forest, it's pretty useless. It's not even really flat enough to build on.Starr:You'd really have to go in and clear it out and bulldozer it to make it a decent place for our house or anything. And so, she is not an owner due to some complications, she sold her part or something like that. But anyway, later on, several years ago, she went and hired a forestry company to cut down all the trees on the land and sell them to-Josh:Log it.Starr:Yeah, to log it and give her the money, the proceeds which is a pretty shitty thing to do, right?Josh:Industrious?Starr:Yeah. So anyway-Josh:Just take the initiative.Starr:So of course, we had to sue her. Just because I don't know it is just out of principle. Anyway, it was such a paltry sum of money, but it ended up being a principle of the thing. But yes, there's lots of laws about cutting down other people's trees. This is something people have really dealt with in the past.Josh:Well, if you're going to go into law, tree law seems like a pretty good way to go.Starr:Very stable.Josh:There will probably be trees in the future. Have you all, back to the Pacific Northwest, have you seen the pictures of the trees back before the whole, the Pacific Northwest was logged, back in the day?Starr:It was amazing.Josh:Pictures of entire logging crews sitting on the stumps of these trees. That was 20 people or something.Ben:Yeah, I was just reading actually, the book, The boys in the boat. It's the story of US Olympic team, rowing team in 1936. And they were from the Seattle area. They were the University of Washington crew. And so there's a lot of Seattle area history mixed in with this book. And they followed one of the members of the crew, his name is Joe and followed basically his life story. And he lived out in Sequim for a while. This is during the Depression era and so he had zero money. And he learned from a friend how to do various things that were handy enough to that someone would want to pay for. And one of the things that was interesting is they would go behind the logging crews who were chopping down these chute cedars and taking what to them was useful like cedar shingles was a thing.Ben:And so they would take the core, the straightest part of the tree and just leave the rest. And so Joe and his friend would go behind them, and get the rest of the tree that was left there on the ground. And then carve it up and sell their own shingles. That's pretty clever. It's a great book, though, check it out. It's so well written. It's so well written that, by the end when they're talking about the Olympics and talking about the race, there's so much drama. I was really engaged. How's this going to go? Even though I already knew the end, Right? But still it was really cool.Josh:Yeah. Well get your affiliate link.Starr:Oh, yeah. Right.Josh:This is how we're monetizing the podcast.Starr:That's going to pay for the second. We're just going to second mortgage, second house, a second mortgage is not a second house, that's a very different thing.Ben:Well, I have anticipated further problems with my tree situation, because my lot has a few more old trees, legacy trees that are going to need to go at some point. And so what I've done to avoid any future problems is I've planted more trees on my lot so that by the time I'm ready to cut down the ones that go down, I have some replacement trees ready to go.Josh:Yeah. There you go.Starr:It's just all trees. There's no place to walk. Well, what happened this week? I didn't do anything this, I did stuff this week but I look back on it. It's like, I didn't get anything done this week. I realized yesterday, Thursday that I ended up with a schedule where I got zoom meetings every day. And I realized also because I've never had a schedule this. I've never done so many freaking calls in my life. In the morning, I get to choose what I do. I can be like, get on calls, social Starr or I can be don't talk to me, I'm looking at my computer Starr. And I can't choose one of those per day to be. And so if I take a call, I fall into the social thing. And then it's just really hard for me to do any work. I don't know why, it's just really hard for me to get in the mindset, the frame of mind.Ben:So it sounds like you did a lot of work this week. It was just all talking work.Starr:I did a lot of calls. That's for sure. But yeah, we're getting some PHP authors. So that's exciting.Ben:Awesome.Josh:Cool.Ben:And Josh, this week got some PHP developers.Josh:Yeah, I've been sending email this week. Not something I normally do. But yeah, we're building out our little contract developer team. And I think we got a few people interested and excited about that.Ben:So the Starr is making calls, Josh is sending emails, I was doing a lot of backfilling. I've had backfilling scripts running all week, and we're now ready to cut over for Dynamo. And by Monday we are ready to cut over for Elastic search.Starr:That's amazing.Josh:Nice.Ben:So I think I'm going to roll the dice. And I'm going to cut over both at the same time on Monday. I can see both of you cringing as I said that.Starr:Why not?Ben:This is funny.Josh:Did I tell you Ben, I'm going to be on vacation Monday.Ben:So we were having dinner last night and I was telling my family about the day and I was mentioning about this cut over thing. And I said, yeah, I've got the code ready. And I was ready to cut over Dynamo but there's a little bit of code that really depends on the new Elasticsearch and I was like, well, I could take that out and just deploy the Dynamo stuff now. But I think I'm just going to deploy it all at once and wait, and my son is like, "That sounds like a bad idea." And I'm like, "I have trained you well."Josh:Smart kid. I just had the picture of Ben's dinner table, by the way, with a white giant whiteboard next to it. So he can get up and diagram all his stuff out. That's it, that's a pretty technical dinner talk, Ben.Ben:I'm picturing myself as that conspiracy guy with the strings on the pictures and stuff-Josh:Yeah.Starr:There you go.Josh:Dad's getting the whiteboard again.Starr:You want to know the first thing that went through my mind when he said that and this requires a little bit of setup, so bear with me, but so last week, I was making jokes about buying call options on GameStop. And I didn't do that, because I learned that so little tip for the readers or the listeners, when they list the price of an option on the internet, that's per share. That's not for the whole contract of 100 shares. So yeah, I was like, this is going be 100 times more expensive than I thought it was. So no, forget that. But I was like okay, this is interesting. So I'll read a book about options and learn about them. And so the second you said that I was just like, got to buy a put option against us. It makes no sense.Josh:Everything.Starr:Yeah, it's just going to be like Wolf of Wall Street in here all day long.Ben:That makes me think we should launch a new product. It should be markets, that way you can bet on your your internal ops team's performance, right, if you know a big release is coming up.Starr:That would be great for morale. We would love that, yeah. We can incorporate it into Honeybadger. People could bet on who caused an error.Josh:There you go.Ben:Hey, I like that. Maybe you'd bet on your competitors.Starr:But backfilling wasn't the only thing I did this week, I also had some bad news. The bad news is that the approach that I took for the Heroku provisioning portion of Hook Relay is not what they would like to see they being Heroku. So I might have to redo that.Starr:That was a shame.Ben:There was some documentation that I missed, and they came back and they're like, "No, we really don't want to approve you, because you're not doing this this way." I'm like, "What are we talking about?" They're like, "See this documentation?" It's like, "Oh man, I did not see that documentation."Josh:And there was documentation?Ben:Well, it's very well hidden in my defense. Yeah, it's like, sub paragraph of a subsection, hidden under a filing cabinet with a lion in front of it saying. But and then also discovered that I thought we had had enough alpha testers test, but in fact, we have not had enough alpha testers test, because the requirement is you have to have 10 Alpha customers who have provisioned the add on. And we have not reached 10 yet, I've invited more than 10 but I guess I didn't keep close enough track as who's actually using the thing. And so yeah, we've got some work to do there so that's a bummer.Ben:Yeah, Heroku would know that that Yeah. But good on them that I asked them to double check, because I thought they were saying, well, you only have X number provisioned. And I'm like, "Well, maybe someone provisioned and then deprovisioned, right? So could you check your logs?" And they came back and they're like "Yeah, we checked the logs, we know what we're talking about." So yeah, I'm going to have to do some work there, I think or maybe hire a contractor to do that work for me.Josh:Yeah.Starr:There you go. This all seems a little bit more rigid than when we started with Heroku. It feels like when we started with Heroku, they were like, sure, just slap the Heroku menu on your app, it's done.Josh:I'm positive that we did not know what we were doing as much as we know now. So we probably made many more mistakes.Ben:Yes. During this process, I thought, I sure hope they don't decide to go look at the Honeybadger add on. Because hopefully, we're grandfathered into the old ways of doing things there.Josh:Yeah, what happened? Why is it gotten harder to-Ben:Yeah, well, you know.Josh:To start a business? Start a SaaS?Ben:They have good reasons. They're a bigger company now, they got bought by Salesforce, what, 10 years ago now. And they have to, they've gone into, and I think since we've launched Honeybadger, they've gone more into supporting bigger enterprises and so they have a better story to tell, like around compliance and private spaces and things like that. So they're pretty touchy when it comes to security issues and making sure that you're all on the up and up.Josh:Makes sense.Ben:For a new add on, well, for coming like Honeybadger who is used to doing that kind of stuff now that we've gone through the compliance thing it's not so surprising, but if Hook Relay was our first go round and I've built this and I got that kind of feedback, I'd be like, "that's hardcore," right? So, yeah, it's getting harder, but I think that's just the nature of the beast. There's so many bad actors out there who want to take advantage of you that you got to be defensive.Starr:So you're saying that when we were initially approved, they didn't quite know what they were doing? And since then they've learned a lot more about what they were doing?Josh:Things change. It was just the Wild West back then.Ben:And it was a kinder, gentler internet.Starr:Yeah. I miss it, I miss the kinder, gentler internet before all the terribleness.Josh:Before the internet was ruined.Ben:But it was good week. I'm excited to have that backfilling stuff done and get the cutover done.Josh:Yeah, well I might still get to some React Native stuff this afternoon. That is my stretch goal. That was, this stuff just keeps getting pushed back and back by this, sometimes I forget how much work we actually have just sitting across all these different repositories and things that I maintain. And the effect that that has on me as just hanging over my head constantly. This week, I've been trying to go through everything and find someone to handle, someone to basically assign to cover all of that stuff. But then in the process, I'm getting distracted by it again. And then, of course, we have issues coming in, new things popping up constantly. So we had a few of those and then we've got the inevitable support requests that come in, we've got some source map, issues and debugging, so little debugging projects popping up here and there.Josh:By the end of the week, I realize, I've pretty much just spent the whole week doing support and pretty much writing and documentation is what I spent, I think, most of my time doing, but sometimes it just feels like you didn't get anything done. But I know I worked a lot. So hopefully all that documentation pays off.Ben:Laying that foundation.Josh:Yeah. But yeah, I'm excited to, I would really love to, because that was my goal, for this week was on Monday, I was going start on testing out this React Native integration that we're trying to roll out. It's Friday, and I haven't even looked at it yet.Starr:Yeah, sorry. My main goal this week was, I'm just going to lay, I've got about 20 blog posts, I need to write descriptions for and that's it. I'm just going to sit down and do it this week. And I haven't done a single one because I just so much stuff has come up in the meantime.Josh:Yeah, I will say that, I think I did really well this week resisting the urge to actually dive in on work that would distract me for, if I kept doing it, it would distract me for months, probably. So my goal is to really finally get serious about delegation. And so instead of actually, when something, when I see an issue that's nagging at me, and I'm like, oh, I could jump in and fix that and that's my instinct, this week, instead of actually just diving in and seeing if it was a quick fix or something, I'm just documenting the process of what I would do to address that issue. And then just putting in an issue for someone else, hopefully soon to take on. So basically spending that time just documenting the problem which will make it easier to pass off to someone.Starr:Yeah, you spent a lot of time writing a document about how this contracting system will work, how we're going to manage contractors going forward. And we had that call on Monday and that was really interesting. That was, I felt like you had a really solid, need to come up with a really solid foundation for building this contracting system on top of.Josh:It's funny, I forgot, as I've been fleshing that out, I forgot how much, I'd actually started on this, a couple years ago. And so, half of this was already completed somewhere or in process, so. I think that's helped. I had been building this out and just never brought it completely into reality. So I'm hoping that this time, it'll actually, we'll be able to make it work and it seems yeah, I'm pretty excited about it.Starr:You shouldn't have told me that because I was impressed. So I was just like it's been two weeks and your made the whole document.Josh:Well, it's still impressive Starr. It's pretty great.Starr:Yeah, it is pretty great. Time is an illusion. The past doesn't exist so you've brought forth this little thing, this document. I'm just going to start talking in hippie words from now on, that's going to be my thing.Josh:The document exists now, but honestly, I think that's probably still the easy part. The hard part is creating some cohesive community around the people that participate in this ultimately. And keeping people engaged, because our problem has always been, we don't always have, we have a lot of ongoing long term work that we'd like to engage people with. But for contractors, it's you get a big job, and you tend to move on, and it's hard to keep people around long enough to, a lot of times people will just get distracted or wander off. And we're trying to create some team. I want a team dynamic that we can rally around or something. So, I want an active Slack channel where we can hang out and -Starr:That'd be really cool.Josh:Actually work together.Starr:So one thing I am curious about, and I imagine that as you move forward in this, you're going to try lots of different things and we'll see what works. I'm curious about whether or not it'll be any easier or harder to get people to do jobs that are very, what's the word I'm looking for? Very finite and well defined and concrete, right? So, I'm curious, because one model of working with a contractor is to be like okay, so we're going to pay you, however many dollars an hour. And here's a list of things, go to town on them. Another way of doing it is be like, okay, you can do this one thing for us, and we'll pay you X dollars, or x hours at your hourly rate. And so, I'm curious, if those will get different responses in terms of interest. Yeah, because that's going to be, like if I was working a full time job, which I'm currently not.Josh:Same.Starr:But no, if I was looking for extra work on top of my normal job, I wouldn't want to do a hourly thing where I'm supposed to go in and pick up tickets, really, but I might be like, okay, I've got five hours, I can do this one project. So I don't know, it'd be interesting to see how that works.Josh:Yeah, like the open source metaphor. And I mean it works here, especially because these projects are open source for the most part. But I think eventually, if we have a group of contractors, we're going to be able to utilize them across the whole company. We could work on our Rails app and do other things eventually, but treating it like an open source project, with those well defined, finite issues and things like I don't know, it seems like people do, like you said people do, who are even employed full time, do still sometimes find time to contribute to an open source project, or knockout an issue that they ran into during their day job or something. So, it seems like, that could translate and I mean you get paid for it with us, which is always a nice plus. So the thing that I worked on this week that I think is important that I had not created before, is coming up with how we're going to actually handle the project management side of this whole thing, because we don't do project management really.Josh:And I want to keep it that way. I want to create an environment where everyone is individually responsible for the work that they sign up for. So, if you take on a job or take on an issue, for instance, if you're submitting a pull request or something to a open source project, you're going to be in charge of figuring it out and submitting it. And you don't have a manager who's trying to keep you on track for that necessarily. So I want it to be, I'm trying to figure out how to have it be up to, everyone feels responsible for the work they're taking on while at the same time creating an environment where it's all about helping each other move forward. So it's not necessarily that oh, well, it's just on your shoulders, and you just have to deliver. But it's like, you're responsible for the ultimate success of this thing happening. And that means that it's your responsibility to ask for help if you're stuck. And once you ask for help, you have more help than you could ever need, basically.Starr:Yeah, as I'm listening to you, I'm thinking about one aspect of the blog contracting, that I don't know, it might play a role in this whole building of a team and fostering that community. And it just might be something that needs to be accounted for but at least for me, I find that most of the people I talked to about doing blog posts, and who were like, yeah, I'll do a blog post, never write a blog post. And I'm not blaming them, right? Life happens. Maybe they got in touch thinking that we want some little 500 word BS, like search engine optimization piece. And we're like, no, you need to do a textbook chapter. And they're just like, okay, forget that. And they just ghost me but one thing I've tried to do is I've tried to foster this sense of, I don't care.Starr:I personally don't care, if you take a month to get back to me, or two months or whatever. People come, you can come you can go, I'm not going to get mad at you, if you take three months to write an article. And I may have to do certain things to keep my project going, right? I may have to flag your article as stale or something and put it in a different category so it's not clogging up the system. But that's not personal and just come back and you can finish the article if you want, sure.Josh:I like that a lot.Starr:So it's less of a dynamic, where it's less of a startup dynamic, where it's like, okay, there's five of us and we're all just living and breathing this stuff. And we're all up each other's butts all the time. And it's more of a, here's a nice little coffee shop, you can come and hang out for a little while, if you want. And then you can leave and we'll see you next month.Josh:Right. And then you're also get paid to be there.Starr:Yeah, exactly. We could buy a literal coffee shop for people to work in, wouldn't it be great?Ben:Once you can actually sit in a coffee shop again. That'll be nice.Starr:Coffee shops are really cheap right now. It's a buyers market.Ben:I got to say that, having the opportunity to do a lot of I'll buy a coffee type meetings via zoom, rather than actually going somewhere to a coffee shop. Love it. And I really appreciate, thank you COVID, for that particular thing, I do appreciate that.Josh:Removing that constraint-Ben:Coffee shops are cool, I got nothing against them. But just to go and chat with someone for 15 minutes, you have drive across town and. I'm happy doing that via zoom.Starr:One thing that occurred to me is that, we've talked about, hiring a salesperson. And in my mind, these high powered enterprise software sales people are always on flights going out to people and stuff. And I wonder, since, pandemic happens, I'm sure that'll come back to some degree, but I also have a feeling people will be much more open to doing things via zoom. And so, it may be possible to have somebody who just stays in the office and does those things. And that's going to be much more acceptable.Ben:Yeah, I was actually reading this week, a book called Founding Sales. And it's about how to go from being a founder to being the salesperson. And so it's exactly for people like me, who need to figure out the sales stuff. And I'm early in the book, but so far it's good. But one of the, a throwaway comment in there was talking about getting outside of the building, going and visiting your customers and you hear about this advice, plenty of places, but just there's something about it struck me as funny as like, oh, yes this was written pre pandemic, because he's talking about, you going and visiting someone in their office, and you've got to have that Facetime. I'm like, yeah those are the days.Josh:That's that's how to save time.Starr:I've got FaceTime? We can do that.Ben:But yeah, I started on that this week. So I read that book. And I have an idea, actually. So I've also been chatting with a couple of mentors and just really smart folk about our current situation and wanting to get into the sales game and had some really good conversations about why do you want to do that? And what are you thinking and stuff? So it's been helpful. And one of the ideas that fell out of those conversations was, and I don't know if this is actually going to work or if I'm actually going to do this, but it's just a thought.Ben:What if I went through our existing customers, and looked at those customers that are parts of larger organizations, and I go to them and say, hey, you are using Honeybadger, you love using Honeybadger. You probably have some other teams at your company that aren't using honey badger. How about you introduce me to them. Or find some way to get more Honeybadger into your business so the land and expand? This is not a new strategy. But I'm just thinking maybe for us, that's a good entryway as opposed to just dialing for dollars, right?Josh:Mm-hmm (affirmative).Starr:Yeah.Josh:Just going with relationships, we already have people like us, and finding ways to get them to help us expand in their works.Starr:That's really cool. I had assumed we would contact you some existing customers, but I assumed that would be like a trying to upsell them thing. But I forget that, big companies have lots of teams inside of them. So you could sell Honeybadger to like 50 teams inside of a company.Ben:Yeah. Yeah. So-Josh:Is that a situation where the other teams would like purchase a new account? Or would it be under the same account of the company, but then it would just result in more usage?Ben:I think both of those scenarios could happen easily. Yeah.Josh:Cool.Ben:So we're going to be doing some queries next week, and pulling out some of our good customers, we, this pro tip to people who are SaaS operators, what we do in our helpdesk system is when we have people give us kudos, we flag that particular response with a testimonial tag. And so we can easily go back to people who we know, love us and had great experiences with us. Because we can just filter on that tag. And so I think I'll be running some query this week and cross referencing our testimonial people, and finding out some good potentials to talk to sending out some emails. One of the things that so one of the early points in this book was this idea that you have to change your mindset, because again he's writing to people who are engineers, or product people or, maybe marketing people, but generally people who have not done sales before. And so the first part of the book is changing your mindset. Like, one of his points was, you're used to thinking things through, and planning things out and being very deliberate about the stuff and he's like, really sales is different, sales is, you just need to be talking to people, you just need to have activity, you just need to be making things happen, likeStarr:Wheeling and dealing.Ben:Not exactly, well, yes. But also why don't we Yeah-Starr:Snapping your fingers a lot.Ben:Exactly. One of the specific points was instead of spending 10 minutes, reviewing the email to make sure that it sounds perfect, just send it right and move on to the next one email.Starr:That explains a lot of sales emails I've received.Ben:Yes it does.Ben:Yeah, very little proofreading going on.Starr:How I sit Yeah. I seriously sometimes I look up and it's like, I've spent an hour editing this like one paragraph email and sending to somebody I don't really care about.Starr:Why do I do that? I don't know.Ben:There's your sales tip for the day, maybe off the main theme, a regular feature of the FounderQuest podcast, come up with a sales Tip of the Week.Josh:A sales tip.Starr:That's cool. I love it when you often talk to people who know what they're doing, and then you come back and tell us what they say I'm pretty bad at that. So it's-Ben:We should do more of that.Starr:I always really enjoy hearing what comes comes out of it.Ben:So yeah, we'll see what happens.Starr:Oh, cool. I'm all up for becoming a hardcore hard driven sales or organization right? Coffee's for closers. Greed is good.Ben:Slap the top of that thing, "you fit so many errors in this."Starr:You can fit so many errors in there. You know how many errors you can fit into the trunk of a Mercedes? I don't know either but it's a lot more than a Honda.Ben:Buy now. Supplies are limited. We only have so many bits.Starr:You've been listening to FounderQuest. And go give us a review at Apple Podcasts or whatever they call it now and yeah if you want to write for us go our blog look for the write for us page and I'm drowning in new authors right now so it I may not be able to get to for a while but contact us and until next week we are the FounderQuest people. I guess.Ben:Beavis and Butthead shall return.Starr:Oh no.Josh:He did it.
36:16 02/19/2021
What Is The Lowest Maintenance Website Imaginable?
Show Notes:Links:HeyaBen Curtis’ Mad Money DreamHost Affiliate Link Write for usFull Transcript:Ben:Thanks to Starr, we are now linked on the Honeybadger site.Josh:Nice.Starr:Oh, yeah. It only took two years to do that.Josh:I saw that on the "about" page.Ben:What made me think about it, I'm just, I don't know, surfing the site for something. I'm like, "You know what? We should probably link to the podcast from our site."Starr:Yeah, thanks for opening that issue.Josh:I thought we had it in the footer or something. Was it not even in the footer?Ben:No.Josh:Oh, man. We're good at marketing.Ben:We are so good at marketing.Starr:Totally.Ben:That was a good thing, so thank you.Starr:No problem. It was good. It's nice to have a tiny, concrete task that I know I can do that doesn't fractally expand into just caverns of uncertainty.Ben:For reals.Ben:Well, speaking of caverns of uncertainty, I was helping a friend with their website, which is a very old, old website, and I can't even admit while recording what versions of various software it's using, because that's how old it is. But basically it needed to make a move, and I was like, "You know, the last time I touched this, which was two years ago or something, even then everything was crusty and old. There's no way we're going to find a new hosting provider that's supporting all this old stuff anymore." So, what to do? What to do? I was just like, "You know what? Let me just run Wget on the site and just mirror the whole site to static pages, and then dump it up somewhere behind Apache and just leave it at that."Josh:Nice.Ben:So, I sent that over to her. I'm like, "Here, you should try this. How about this?" So, we'll see. The problem is there's no search now and the contact form and stuff like that won't work. I'm like, "You know what? Just let it go. Just embrace the simplicity."Starr:Oh my god, yeah.Josh:That's so weird. That is so weird, because yesterday I literally did that with the Heya sales site that was in Rails. I literally saved, I did the "save as webpage" thing, and then edited the CSS paths and just dumped into a GitHub pages branch on the public repository, because we decided not to sell Heya anymore and release it as open source, so we didn't need this fancy Rails app that we were paying to demo it. So, sometimes just "save as webpage" and deploy is the way to go.Starr:When you mentioned a search, that reminded me of this client I used to have. It was a freelancing client, it's a Rails app, it's a very, very old original Rails still. I guess technically they're still my client. I never actually dropped them, because they would get in contact with me once every two years and have me do two hours of work, so I was just like, "Okay, whatever." It's mostly because I like them and I know that they're not going to find somebody who's going to do this for them, so I didn't want to leave them high and dry. But I built an export as PDF feature a long time ago for them, and it used, what was that headless browser? Was it Phantom?Josh:Yeah, Phantom.Starr:I used the headless browser to save as a PDF, or print as a PDF or whatever, and it was all in Heroku. Last year they got in touch with me and was like, "Hey, this PDF thing stopped working," and I'm just like, "Oh my god. Oh my god." Because I haven't touched this in I think it's been almost 10 years, this part of the app. I was just like, "You know, all browsers support print to PDF now. All operating systems, you just press "print" and then you do the PDF. You select "PDF" and it works." I remember trying to get them just to do that-Josh:That's a good fix.Starr:... the first time I built it, but Windows didn't have that feature. You had to have-Ben:Had to get a driver for that.Starr:Yeah, you had to have a special software. But this time I guess Windows added print to PDF, so it was okay.Ben:Nice.Josh:That's amazing. Did it use WK HTML to PDF? Or was it something else? I think I used that graphic-Starr:No, it was a headless browser that would output-Josh:You were doing it, okay.Starr:... to PDF. It was running on Heroku somehow. I don't know how I got it to run on Heroku.Josh:Ben remembers what I'm talking about.Ben:Yeah. Oh, man, that was painful.Josh:On Heroku even, I think. I remember specifically an issue with that where I think we were deploying it to Heroku and it had some PDF function like this, but we weren't paying for multiple dynos or something. The app was having these random failures where it would just not respond to requests, and it turns out that the reason was that it was being blocked by this PDF process in the background, and then it would just block the threads for connections to Unicorn or whatever server it was using, probably WebKit or something, or WEBrick. The solution to that problem was just to pay for hosting.Starr:So, you're saying this wasn't a high-availability, high-scalability setup?Josh:No. But I think it was for our client. They were extremely cheap. I was like, "You just need to put some money into this."Starr:That's a catch-22 with freelancing, because you can be working on a thing and just be like, "This is terrible. I would be embarrassed to show anybody this." But nobody's going to pay you to make it any better, so you're just not, because you've got to make a living.Josh:That's the phase of freelancing where you just need to eat.Ben:Yeah, that's a terrible phase. Much better when you can get to the point where you can be selective in your clients and pick ones that'll actually both pay you and pay for the things that you recommend they do.Josh:One of my last old, old, old clients recently switched their website, like you were talking about, Ben, and I do remember the software versions they were running until within the last couple years I think, they were running a Joomla! 1.0 site, which I think the last release of that was 2008 or something.Ben:This was also a Joomla! site.Josh:Yeah, it's got to be a Joomla! site if it was from the late aughts or whatever.Ben:Right.Josh:Good times. I don't know. It must have been hacked 75 different ways. Or I don't know how it wasn't, to be honest. But I advised them to move to Squarespace, which I was looking at for a personal project recently, because I was looking like, "Do I want to build a custom little HTML site or whatever?" I realized for SquareSpace it's $140 a year for just to deploy a basic website. For most small business, like clients that I started out with in the early 2000s or whatever, that job just shouldn't exist anymore. It's just Squarespace or the services like them. You get a decent website that is maintained, and it's an hour of a modern developer's time per year. It just doesn't make sense to roll it myself.Starr:It's a little bit sad because one of my favorite aspects of web development was always just getting some mock-up from a designer or getting a screen from a designer, and then you have to make it somehow work using 2009-era CSS. It sounds very masochistic, but once you get into it, it's just a very Zen-type thing, because it just is what it is. You're just moving pixels from one picture to another, one window to another on the computer. It's just, I don't know.Josh:That was kind of fun, yeah.Ben:I never got into that. That was always for me very frustrating, so I just farmed that out to chop shops would would-Josh:I remember that. Yeah, you did.Ben:That was so awesome. I was so glad to find those services.Josh:Yeah, you give them whatever, a PSD, and they give you-Ben:Give them a PSD and they give you back the CSS and the HTML.Starr:Yeah, but they took no pride in their work Ben.Josh:That's the thing that always got me. I'd always get so mad, like, "This HTML is just garbage."Ben:I just held my nose and ran with it.Starr:I was thinking-Josh:It's all the same to the browser.Starr:I was thinking yesterday about doing just a website for personal stuff that's not related to work, and I was just like, "What would be the easiest for me to do but the least maintenance?" And I was just like, "Maybe I just do an AsciiDoc document, one AsciiDoc document, and publish it on Netlify." You'd have to set up the build to build the AsciiDoc, but that seems like it wouldn't require any maintenance.Ben:I would probably go with GitHub Pages for that instead of Netlify, actually because I'm a little peeved at Netlify today, because yesterday when I was working on this project for my friend, I was like, "Oh, I'll just do it on Netlify." No, no. Because for one, I've got buckets of HTML files that I'm just trying to send over to Netlify, so I just drag and drop like they say you can do. It's fine. Then it's deploying and deploying and deploying. 20 minutes later it's still deploying, and I'm like, "Are you kidding me? It's a few hundred HTML files. Give me a break." So I go into the deploy logs to see what it's doing. It's analyzing each HTML file and spitting out errors about all the references to non-secure assets. I'm like, "I don't care. It's a webpage. Just serve the webpage."Ben:Then I was like, "Well, let me put this on a separate team, because I don't want it on my stuff." Then Netlify is like, "Oh, no. You're already part of a pay team. You can't start a new free thing. Sorry, you're just out of luck." And I'm like, "Fine. I'll just go to DreamHost. I've been with DreamHost for 20 years, they know how to host websites." I just did it SFTP, I whipped out Transmit. I did a copy real quick, and boom, it just works. I'm like, "There you go. That's all I needed. I just needed you to render some stinking webpages." And DreamHost-Josh:It goes very well with SavefromwebBen:Exactly. Exactly.Josh:Or whatever, "save as website."Starr:Could we name this, you've got the LAMP Stack, you've got... What are the other stacks?Josh:I don't know.Ben:Well, there's the JAM Stack.Starr:There's JAM Stack.Ben:There's MEAN Stack, if you're into Mongo, Express, Angular and... I can't remember what the N was now.Starr:So, it's going to be Savefromweb, it's going to be DreamHost, and, I don't know.Ben:We're going to have to put a referral link for DreamHost in the show notes so I can get some mad money credits on this.Josh:Yeah, include your referral code.Starr:It's going to be HTML... Wait, no. DreamHost is going to be running Apache probably, so it's going to be SDA Stack.Josh:SDA?Starr:SDA.Ben:SDA. You can run LAMP stuff on DreamHost. They do PHP, and they have a one-click Wordpress install, so it's so easy. It's four bucks a month.Josh:Can I just say one thing? Control panel.Ben:Control panel, there you go.Josh:Right? What else do you need?Ben:Here's the one problem with DreamHost though, the one thing that really just gets my goat. If they would do this one thing then I would be so happy with them, but because it's a shared hosting model and it's really cheap, of course they oversell it and stuff. Your IP address can change at any time because there are rotating Apache things and all that kind of stuff, so you have to have your DNS hosted with them because they're going to be changing your web server periodically. You can't have your DNS elsewhere. That's just a bummer. But as long as you're okay with having your DNS hosted by DreamHost, it's great. It's four bucks a month, you just throw some webpages up there and it works. I love it.Josh:What about dynamic DNS or something like that? Remember that from back in the day.Ben:Yeah.Josh:All the wacky things? Do you think there are young people that listen to this podcast that have no idea what we've been talking about for the past 10 minutes, like control panel?Ben:Probably.Starr:I just think it's really funny that somebody is waxing poetic about cPanel. This is just such a weird cyclical moment. I feel like we've completed a circle. You start out 10 years ago or 15 years ago being like, "Oh, this sucks. I need terminal access," and you do everything with the terminal. Then you eventually move on and it's like, "Well, I guess I'm using Ansible now. Everything's shifted." Then finally it's just like, "You know what has scripting and things? cPanel. I'm just going to press that button and not worry about it."Ben:You know, "serverless" is just CGI-bin.Starr:Of course.Josh:Yeah.Starr:Oh my gosh.Ben:Now to go back to that pearl, though. CGI-bin was horrible.Starr:You're making me reconsider Netlify, then. So, maybe we'll just go straight to S3. We'll just fill that locally, just I'll-Ben:Totally.Starr:... put it into S3 and be done. I've been really surprised at a couple Netlify things. You would think there would be really just features that they would have, but they don't, I guess. One is you can't just tell it to rebuild my site every day.Josh:Oh, yeah?Starr:Yeah. First of all, maybe that seems like a very specific, weird request, but if you're using Netlify, chances are you're using a static site generator, and if you ever, ever want to schedule posts to be published in the future with a static site generator, you have to rebuild the site. So, rebuilding it once a day just makes sense. I had to do that in setting up a separate trigger for that, which just seemed weird. Then also I was looking into this because my little personal site I was thinking about, which don't worry, it's not a separate business project, I'm not trying to cut you guys out of the huge revenue streams.Josh:With an AsciiDoc?Starr:Yeah, with my AsciiDoc, my huge AsciiDoc revenue. It's just all about Honeybadger sucks. I hate working here. because I'm a whistleblower.Ben:I'm going to short that Honeybadger stock.Josh:Your diary, the Honeybadger diary. It's like you're just publishing the last 10 years of your innermost thoughts about how much you hate Honeybadger.Starr:No, it's not that-Josh:Starr comes clean.Starr:I'm sorry.Ben:That's all right.Starr:Oh, yeah. The other thing, I was like, "This would be an AsciiDoc, but maybe I could make it a little bit fancy by just adding some JavaScript to it and make it appear to be a website." You have a single AsciiDoc that has multiple sections, so maybe each section appears to be a webpage. Really you're just showing and hiding them when you click on links. So, I was like, you still want people to be able to link directly to the page they're on. I'm sure Netlify has some setting that lets it pass through... It basically lets it serve the same HTML page for a variety of paths, and let that page's JavaScript decide what to do based on that path. And it really doesn't. It lets you redirect everything to index, and, I don't know, maybe you could figure out from the refer what page they're on. But that seems pretty janky for something as fundamental as routing for that.Josh:I think what you need is AsciiDoc plus React.Ben:You want a rewrite rule.Starr:You want to rewrite... Do they have that?Josh:And a rewrite rule.Ben:They might. Apache does. DreamHost has got Apache, just DreamHost.Josh:I don't know if they have rewrites. I know they have their redirects file, and they might have-Ben:They do have rewrite.Josh:... some kind of rewrites. I don't know.Starr:The things I was seeing online were people saying, "Well, you should make a redirects file that includes every page on your site," and then somehow redirect... I don't know. It all seemed very just like it was made out of duct tape and twigs.Ben:Yeah, I was thinking about that yesterday when I was working on the site. I was thinking about your GitHub Actions thing that does the scheduled calls to Netlify to build our site so you can have those scheduled posts, and I was thinking, "If you're already going down that path of using GitHub Actions to automate something for your site, just build it there, and then SFTP it over to DreamHost, and you're done, and you can pay four bucks a month instead of 80 bucks a month to Netlify."Starr:Yeah, that's-Ben:We do the same thing for Hook Relay. The main site has documentation built on our OpenSwagger API annotation stuff that's in our app, so we have this YAML file that specifies all our API endpoints, and then we have some Java things that renders that YAML into actual HTML pages, the OpenSwagger renderer or something like that. Well, Netlify doesn't have Java installed, so Kevin found this GitHub Action that just does that. So, now instead of just having Netlify deploy our site like we used to, now we have GitHub Actions build the site and then sync it over to Netlify. It's like, "Well, now we're paying 80 bucks a month or whatever just for static HTML pages. That's kind of silly."Josh:Yeah, you can just deploy to S3.Starr:Yeah. I do like the fact that you can preview branches.Ben:That's nice. That is nice.Starr:And you can probably do that with GitHub too, right? But you'd have to figure it out, right?Ben:Right.Starr:You'd have to deploy it to different S3 buckets or whatever based on the branch name. Then you'd have to remember what that scheme was every time you wanted to build it.Josh:Yeah. If you do everything mostly Netlify's way, it all just works and it's pretty nice from my experience. But if you try to get too-Ben:Get too fancy?Josh:... but then... Yeah, get too fancy.Ben:Then there's friction.Starr:All right. So, you're all ready to launch "Badglify?"Josh:"Badgerfy."Starr:We'll just take-Ben:No.Starr:... them down.Ben:No, I'd rather not.Starr:What?Ben:Because I was working on Hook Relay this week, and I got it submitted to Heroku to be promoted to a beta add-on so that it would actually show up in their marketplace listings, because we've done the alpha thing, we've got our documentation in place, we've got our pricing done. We've got our paying customer that came on site, which, yay, thank you very much. Anyway, I was working on that this week to get it finished off with Heroku, and now I'm basically just waiting for Heroku to do whatever they do to approve the app to go out to be public. That's all great.Ben:But I was thinking, "This is a hassle." Just building the app is one thing, but then you've got to do all these just administrative stuff just to get it out there. Then of course you can't forget about the whole marketing side, and maybe you want to do some sales even. So I'm like, "Man, having another product, it's a lot of work." Josh, you can correct me on this, but I think that's why we just decided to give up on the idea of selling Heya, because it's just too much work to-Josh:It is a lot of work. The payoff has to be worth the effort, or the effort has to be worth the payoff. In the case of Heya, I don't know, I think we tried it. It was an experiment, and we tried it, and we realized that it's probably going to take too much work to actually market it and turn it into something that really makes a difference on the bottom line given our other business. I think it's still, a lot of people like it, they seem to like it, and I think it has a lot of potential to grow as an open source product, because obviously that opens up who can use it. There are definitely benefits of just releasing it for free. And it's a fairly simple, relatively simple project. So, I'm excited to... We haven't even announced that it's... This was yesterday. We changed the license and released it.Starr:Well, we're announcing it now. It's an exclusive.Josh:I guess, yeah, we're announcing that Heya is now free and open source.Starr:We'll link to it in the show notes. Everybody could use Heya. A $59.95 value.Ben:I'm looking forward to growing that. We talked recently about adding some more features for it for doing broadcast emails, and-Josh:I still really want to work on it.Ben:Me too. One of these Saturdays I'm definitely going to, when I'm bored I'm going to crank out the-Josh:Now that it's a true open source project, you're going to contribute some weekend time to it?Ben:Exactly, yeah. Now I'm not any more philosophically opposed to contributing to it.Josh:Nice.Ben:So, I can let my open source purity unleashed on Heya.Josh:Awesome. I think there's a potential there.Ben:I really just want to add a UI to doing the broadcast. We have it now where basically you can hop into the Rails console and you can send a broadcast email to customers, and I've done that, and that's fine. Dump some markdown in there, pick your recipients and you're off to the races. But it would be nice to have just a simple maybe... You know what I was thinking? Is have a web interface like Sidekiq does.Josh:Yeah.Ben:So it's just a Sinatra app embedded in the gem, and you can mount it. Then we could easily mount that on our admin app, and then just have basically a text box with some markdown and have some way to query which users you want it, and hit the "submit" button and off you go.Josh:That's what I want, so you should totally do that UI. This release actually also includes a major scheduler change to the way the scheduler decides what to send next to each user. But that change will actually enable us to I think do a simple stats dashboard on how many emails are being sent and who they're being sent to and some basic reporting; a basic reporting dashboard, basically.Ben:Cool.Josh:So, I'd like to... Eventually I envision having a little reporting dashboard, and then maybe a broadcast email section where we can schedule emails to go out.Ben:Maybe we should hire someone on Upwork to do this for us.Josh:We could, for sure.Ben:I had a really pleasant experience with Upwork this week in hiring some Python contractors, although-Josh:Yeah our first bug fix released.Ben:Already, yes. In one week. We posted the ad, got someone, got a thing published-Josh:Actually, it was within 24 hours I think maybe-Ben:Yeah, super-quick.Josh:... that he, yeah.Starr:What do you all do? Because every time I've hired people from... First of all, a little confession. When I just very first started freelancing, I was a contractor in Upwork for way too little money. But I didn't know what I was doing, so it balanced out. But every time I've tried to hire somebody on Upwork it's always been disappointing. It's always been just people didn't really produce good results. So, what did y'all do? What was I doing wrong?Ben:Well, I created the job ad, and there's this of course helpful little wizard that walks you through setting it up. Josh had written a great description about exactly what we needed, and I just took that markdown and I dumped it into their little text box there. But two of the things I think that were key were one, it asks you a variety of questions, but two of the questions in particular were, "What level experience do you want?" You get to choose between beginner, intermediate and expert, and I chose expert.Ben:It also asks you, "What pay range?" When it asks you what the pay range is, it gives you a suggestion based on other jobs happening on the site right now. For this particular job I had put in I wanted Python, that was the key word, and I wanted someone with back end development, that was another one of the tags, and I want to say it recommended a range of $30 to $50 an hour. I can't remember for sure. But it's like, "Here's what the typical job looks like," and you just choose that as a, "Yeah, just go ahead and do that." So, I chose that. I think those two things just made it, expert level and then choosing a range that's basically the same range as everybody else that's doing.Starr:I'm curious, when you choose an expert level, are people assigned a ranking, or is it self-identification, or self-selection into the rankings?Ben:I don't know.Josh:I'm not sure. We got a lot of responses, and I read through most of them. I will say they were definitely not all equal, so there were definitely some people in there that I wasn't going to hire. But the first couple people, because it recommends who the best match... It has some sort of algorithm that says this is the best match for you, or these people are. There was probably two or three ones at the very top who had already completed a lot of work through Upwork. It shows the dollar amount that they've earned through Upwork too, which helps you see what their success rate is with projects. I picked one that had I think $10,000 or $20,000 already through Upwork. I just picked one of the candidates that it recommended too, which, I don't know, maybe that makes a difference. They have some way of knowing.Ben:There was one little snag, and that was I did select... You can choose do you want to hire one person or multiple people, and if you choose multiple you can say how many you want to hire. I knew that Josh wanted to have some flexibility with picking people to work on a variety of tasks, since we have plenty of things to do, so I chose multiple and I chose two. I was like, "Well, we can't really manage more than two people right now, so let me just choose two."Ben:Josh went ahead and picked one. You mark them as hired in there, but we left the job open because we might need a second person, but we just haven't picked a second person yet. Well, they have this feature in Upwork where you can send out invitations to contractors. You post your ad and that's one thing, so somebody's going to find it and they might apply to it, but you can also proactively reach out to particular contractors who might not just see your ad. I think Upwork charges for this. You get so many invitations, and then you have to start paying. I don't know, I've never used it.Starr:It's just like a dating site.Ben:But they have what they call... Well, I don't know what they call it. It's some sort of assistant, or some sort of specialist or something that helps you with your job ad and helps you find the right candidates. It's like, "I'd never use that. I can pick people. It's not hard." But in our case, what this person did was started inviting candidates, and Josh had already hired a person. The job was still open, but we'd already picked the person and started working with that person, and then we started getting these messages from people like, "Thank you for inviting me to check out your job." I'm like, "I didn't do that," you know?Josh:Yeah.Ben:But I realized that this assistant person was. So, that's not great, because we're not actively at the moment looking for another person. We've got it covered, thank you, so we're not going to be inviting people. So, I contacted the Upwork guy and I'm like, "Hey, look, could you stop doing that? Because we are set. And by the way, could you set a flag on our account that we don't want this automatic invitation thing ever again?"Josh:Nice.Ben:I just guessed that they had that setting, and they do, actually. He wrote back and he's like, "So sorry. Yeah, I'll turn that off for you so you won't have that anymore."Josh:Cool.Ben:That was a win.Josh:All right, cool. I'm excited about the potential for this type of work though, which is basically just open source work. We have all these open source projects to maintain, and we want to pay people to work on them. That might be another... This is just the first success and it's still ongoing, so this whole thing could fall through still, but if this works out, one reason could be that I think this is different from the typical project that I think of Upwork, is you have a self-contained project that you've specced out that you want to hand to someone and have them deliver, like an app or something, or some sort of complete deliverable.Josh:Our job ad is basically like, "You know what open source work looks like. You've probably already contributed to an open source project if you're going to be a good fit for this job, and here's our list of issues that you can go check out before you even apply to this job, and you can see what work is available. And when we hire you, we're just going to literally send you to this list of issues and say, 'Do that one.'" So, it feels a little bit different than like, "I need a web app from scratch," and we have to go through the whole planning process, and I probably have some sort of spec document, and it's all planned out. All the typical failures of software development apply to that scenario, versus this scenario it's like, "Well, if you don't work out we're going to know on the first issue probably, if you don't deliver." And it's no big deal if you don't, because neither of us have really invested much at that point, so we can try someone else, or if you don't like it we'll move on.Starr:I think that's very important that it's no big deal if it doesn't work out, because I feel like a lot of times with our contractors in the past we invest a lot of energy into them, and then eventually they're contractors, so they get a job or flake out or whatever. On our end we call it flaking out, but really they have no obligation to us to-Josh:Yeah, it makes sense.Starr:... do stuff for us. So, why would they just stay with us forever? And with a blog, I've benefited from a very similar attitude. I've got plenty of people writing blog posts, and if this particular one doesn't work out I don't really care. I don't want to spend a lot of time on something that doesn't work out, but if you contact me and you want to write a blog post and then I never hear from you again, that's fine. I wish you luck. It's whatever.Ben:It's like casual dating versus getting engaged.Ben:It's like, "Oh, if we don't like each other that's okay. We can go date somebody else."Starr:I don't know. It's a lot less pressure, and I like it. I really hope the Upwork thing works out, because we talked in our conclave about coming up with an in-house system for managing lots of contractors for jobs like this, and if Upwork can do it, that'll save us a lot of work.Josh:Well, I'm excited about figuring that out now. I think eventually this system, I think we can probably have a system that allows us to work with people through Upwork and allows us to work with people outside of Upwork. We already have a lot of the management pieces in place. We can send people contractor agreements in I think a few minutes at this point, and, you know-Starr:Yeah.Josh:... get that all signed.Starr:I've got a request for our listeners. If you know of a, it's like Upwork, but it's your own personal account and there's no army of freelancers bidding on your stuff, it's just like all the back-end stuff at Upwork that you can just use on your own and put all your contractors in there, and you have personal experience with this tool, could you tweet me at Starr, S-T-A-R-R H-O-R-N-E?Josh:That'd be cool.Ben:Because if you don't, we might have to build that product.Josh:Or I might just build-Starr:Maybe.Josh:... a notion page.Starr:I know that it exists. I know that one of these exists out there. I just don't know how expensive they are.Ben:You just need the universe to bring it to you.Starr:Exactly. This is the next evolution. It's not lazy webbing, it's lazy podcasting.Josh:There you go.Starr:It's just I say I want something.Ben:Well, while we're wishing, I want to hire an excellent VP of sales to come in and sell the heck out of Honeybadger for us. Totally flexible schedule, can spend maybe five hours, maybe 50 hours a week, I don't care, as long as they're selling, bringing in those hot leads. That's what I want. So, all of our audience out there, if you have a fantastic VP of sales that wants to work for us, then-Starr:Just one sitting around on the shelf.Ben:Yeah, just send them our way. And if you have two, even better. Send them both.Starr:There you go.Josh:Keep the job open.Starr:You can put it on Upwork.Ben:Go on Upwork. I'm going to go right now, I'm going to see if Upwork has a sales category. Because I have no idea about how to do sales. I don't mind learning, but I think it'd probably be more effective if we probably had someone who actually knew what they were doing, doing that, and I definitely want to do some outbound sales for Honeybadger. I want us to be like Boiler Room calling everyone on the planet like, "You should buy Honeybadger because we're awesome.Starr:"Coffee is for closers!" I imagine we might also be interested in if there are people out there who just know about this and just want to talk to us, and possibly earn a consulting fee, we might be interested in that too.Josh:For sure. So you're saying this is the year that we figure out sales?Ben:This is the year we figure out sales, yes.Josh:We're ready. We're ready for it.Ben:We're ready.Josh:I'm ready for the next level. I know you are.Ben:I'm not going to say "or die trying," because we're not going to die.Josh:We're not going to die trying, yeah. We're going to do this very conservatively, and if it doesn't work out, that's okay.Ben:Because we still have plenty of revenue.Starr:I've got one idea for y'all for the next level. One word: options.Josh:Were you going to option our future? Is that what you're saying?Starr:No, I got-Ben:Did you see that GME went down to $50 yesterday?Josh:Ooh.Starr:It did, yeah. I have no desire to buy GME. I've been following it a little bit, and some people are predicting that there's going to be this lull, and then it's going to go back up. That's probably bullshit. That's probably completely wrong. But part of me is just like, "I wonder if I spent a hundred dollars on call options," you could probably buy call options for a thousand shares of GME for $100 for six months from now. Just to have a little money in the game.Ben:If you really want to get into gambling on the stock market, call options are the way to go, as opposed to just buying a stock and hoping it goes up, because you can get much more leverage from the call options than you can just from buying and holding.Josh:There was an article in the Wall Street Journal today that was like, "Teenagers are betting all of their savings on GME, and parents are worried."Ben:I like to look for the silver lining. In this case, I think perhaps just maybe a lot of teens and Millennials will get introduced to the stock market through this and maybe stick around and become savvy investors, and, you know?Josh:Yeah, you're actually right. Because I think to really experience the stock market, you have to lose money at some point. You're going to make some mistakes, and it's probably better to make some dumb mistakes in your teens versus when you're older and have more money saved, to lose and all that. I guess there are some investors who just, their entire investing career is just perfect, a perfect record. They've never, ever made a bad trade.Starr:You know what they say about monkeys and typewriters.Ben:Indeed.Starr:All of this has made me realize that I need to... I don't know. My whole approach to investing has always just been dump everything into a Vanguard index fund, and I think that's still correct for most my investing, whereas maybe I need to have a portfolio where 80% is in the mutual funds, 20% or 15% is medium-risk stocks, and then 5% is more high-risk type things. Because I realize that I have no desire to spend all my money on risky investments, but well, if I have almost no risky investments, maybe I'm losing out on upside. I don't know.Ben:My strategy has been somewhere in the high 90s percent of my investing is just index fund or 401(k), which is split with some bonds and things like that, just boring, just put the money in and forget about it kind of thing. But then I always like to keep aside a little bucket of basically I consider it play money, but it's to make those individual bets, like when I bought Apple stock in 2000, and that turned out to be a very good thing after 20 years. So, I like doing that. Well, the way I look at it is, this money, if it all goes to zero I won't miss it, but it could turn into something, and I'm going to make a bet on a particular stock. A while back I bought Shopify, and that worked out really well. I bought some Amazon, and that's worked out really well. So, things that I know and I'm like, "Yeah, I think that's a good company," then I will buy a little bit of it, right?Josh:Mm-hmm (affirmative).Ben:And then just sit on it for a while. And it's been fine. It's been fun, and then I can play like I know what I'm doing, but not risk all my savings.Josh:I've been watching a lot of people do the fractional trading thing on Twitter, and they're investing tiny amounts of money, but into a portfolio that would be... Basically it seems like practice. It's a way to practice making trades and investing without having to spend hundreds of dollars on a share or whatever.Starr:One thing all of this has taught me, this whole GME thing, and I'm not involved, but I just have been following along at home, is that pretty much everyone who talks about stocks on the internet just has no idea what they're talking about, and yet speaks with the most absolute certainty that they know everything about what they're talking about. So, I'm just left with a profound distrust of everyone.Josh:Well, welcome to the club. Welcome to the 21st century.Ben:Since we just happen to be three people on the internet that know nothing about stocks and we're talking about it.Josh:Yeah, with a podcast.Starr:But everything I say is riddled through with a profound uncertainty, so I don't know what I'm talking about.Ben:This is not financial advice. Please consult a lawyer.Starr:I thought the stock market was going to tank when-Ben:For real.Starr:... the economy collapsed. I thought that the economy collapsing would cause the stock market to go down, but it didn't.Ben:Shocker.Starr:It didn't. So I'm like, "Okay, Benjamin Graham. Okay, Mr. Value Investing. Where were you? Where were you in March, Benjamin Graham? This is not how it's supposed to work."Josh:Well, it's detached. It's detached from the economy.Ben:By the way, Upwork does have categories for sales. Don't know how well that work out, but there you go.Starr:Yeah, that could be truly horrifying.Ben:I think the one snag that we have, we couldn't just hire someone off the street because developers don't like to be marketed to in the typical ways. They do not want to answer their phones to people saying, "Hey, you should buy this thing." They don't want to get spam in their inbox and things like that. So, I think you'd have to find someone that's willing to put in a little extra beyond just the dialing for dollars.Starr:I wonder how much technical knowledge the person will need, because it's a pretty technical product.Ben:I would say probably not a lot, because for example, on any in-depth sales call I would be on the call as the technical salesperson, so I would be their support.Josh:And I imagine they're not initially... Are they reaching out to engineering lead, or are they reaching out to more the executive level or project management-type anyway?Ben:Yeah.Josh:How technical is the lead, the first, until they bring in their technical people to evaluate via, "Hey, would this be useful to us?"Ben:Right. I'd imagine the first outreach is just like, "Hey, you should probably be monitoring your apps," you know, and-Josh:Yeah.Ben:... "Let's talk about that."Josh:I have no experience with this, and this is what I want to learn more about. But you always want to leave open the possibility that you have no idea how this actually works, and this is why we need someone to come and tell us for money.Starr:But honor system. You can't just scam us.Ben:Because we have Honeybadgers.Josh:Just come and tell us what we want to hear. Cash is on the table.Ben:So, this is going to be a good year.Starr:Well, you have been listening to FounderQuest. Review us on Apple Podcasts. We're always looking for writers and for blog., go look for the Write for Us page. I actually have a little bit of a backlog right now, so it may take a little time before I can talk with you, but I won't forget you because I love each and every one of you. So, I will let you all go.Ben:Have a good one.Josh:Also, don't forget to buy GME so that Starr's options-Starr:Oh, yeah.Ben:Diamond hands.
43:49 02/12/2021
Is Our Business Model A Hedge On The Internet?
Show Notes:Links:Amy Hoy - Wall Street BetsBloomberg - How Will the GameStop Game StopClayton Christensen - Theory of Disruptive InnovationArt of The Product Podcast - Does Tuple Ever Crash? Write for HoneybadgerFull Transcript:Ben:Did y'all buy any GameStop this week?Josh:I thought about it yesterday while Robinhood was not allowing buy orders or whatever, because my brokerage, I mean, doesn't shut you out. And I mean, it probably would have been a pretty safe bet given the stock today. But I don't do that kind of shit.Ben:Yeah, yeah. I'm in the same boat. I want to, just for funsies, but at the same time, it's like, "Ah, that's really not a productive use of my time or money."Josh:Yeah. I deleted the Robinhood app after. Because I tried it out just because you got to see what the kids are up to these days. And the last straw with it was when they added this crypto trading interface that looked like a Tron ... Like some kind of arcade game. I was just like, "This is ... Yeah, I don't need a light cycle to buy cryptocurrency."Starr:Yeah, it's a little bit weird. My brother was like, "Hey, do you do stocks or crypto?" And I'm like, "Well, I've got mutual funds. But also, you don't have any money."Josh:This is how you know that the markets about to just evaporate, when your brother asks you if you trade stocks of crypto.Starr:For the past decade, I've just been like ... This is the last straw, global pandemic, 30% unemployment, last straw, market is going to tank. But I guess not.Josh:Yeah, this is new. Yeah, people won't let it fail, so let's just hold it or whatever the meme is. It's the new just thing to live by in general I think. Just hold, always just hold. Just never let go, never let go. Whatever it is, never let go.Ben:Diamond hands.Josh:Yeah.Starr:Explain the diamond hands thing to me, I don't understand that. I saw it, but ...Ben:You have to check out Amy Hoy's thread, Twitter thread, where she went and did a sale safari on Wall Street Bets. So sale safari is her and Alex Hillman's process where you go and discover ... You basically research a community, and you find out what the needs are, right. And so you can use that to help formulate some ideas for businesses or products that you might want to create. Instead of coming up with an idea and saying, "Hey, I wonder if someone will buy this?" You actually go and look for people who are looking for things, and you're like, "Oh, yeah, I could satisfy that need, okay."Starr:That doesn't make any sense.Ben:So that's sale safari. And so she does this just for funsies, right. So she went on Wall Street Bets, and like, "I'm going to do a sale safari and find out what's this community all about." And so she just has this analysis on Twitter. It's a great thread, we'll put it in the show notes. But basically, she went and analyzed what their catchphrases are, and what they're doing in there basically. And diamond hands and paper hands are two of the phrases that show up in there repeatedly. And so if you're not familiar with the whole Reddit thing, which I mean, you must be by now if you're on the internet. But it's all about buying GameStop stock, and watching it go up, and up, and up, and putting the squeeze on short sellers who are just panicking because everyone is just buying this stock and making it go up, right.Josh:Which is hilarious.Ben:So they're all encouraging each other inside of Wall Street Bets, they're all like, "Hey, you got to hold on, you got to buy and hold, you can't sell." So diamond hands is someone who's holding on strong. And paper hands is someone who's chickening out and they're going to sell.Starr:Oh, okay, yeah.Josh:So I'm a paper hands?Starr:You know what this really resembles to me? It kind of resembles a Ponzi scheme in that-Josh:Well that's it, that's the thing, it just resembles a Ponzi scheme.Starr:For the stock price to keep going up more, more people have to keep coming in and buying at the higher price. And then eventually, there's not going to be anymore people, and then the price is going to collapse, and whoever came in last is going to be left holding a bunch of worthless stock.Ben:So Matt Levine had a great article this week. Actually, he's done multiple on this whole thing. Again, put in the show notes. So Matt Levine writes an economics column. But so he talked about the Wall Street Bets. And he was addressing your point exactly about, why would you buy now? Because you're just basically counting on someone who is dumb to come in and buy at some point later, right. Total Ponzi scheme.Ben:But he also provides some alternative exit strategies, as opposed to just depending on someone coming in whose dumber, buying the thing. So we'll post it. But it's a good read. I can't do it justice just to paraphrase it. So I'll link it, and you can read it.Starr:Yeah, I'll check that out. We'll put it in the show notes.Ben:That said, I wouldn't recommend actually buying GameStop right now.Starr:Oh, no, no, no, no.Josh:It does seem, just in general, that the world ... Society is rewarding true believers of all kinds right now. So it just seems to be a thing.Starr:Yeah, I don't know.Ben:It does feel eerily similar to conspiracy theorists and-Josh:Conspiracy theorists, populous politics, and just hold on no matter what. Doesn't matter what reality is, just hold on and we will win.Ben:Yeah, yeah.Starr:One thing that I do enjoy about this is that I've seen a number of people in my Twitter feed that are essentially like ... They're like, "I bought GameStop stock. I'm holding it. I know I'm going to lose this money. I'm doing it specifically to hurt rich people. I just really want to stick it to the hedge funds, so I'm going to put $1,000 into GameStop stock and just sit with it."Josh:Yeah, it seems to me like just another populous revolt.Starr:Yeah, it's like a Boston Tea Party type situation I think.Josh:Yeah.Starr:Only its weird, because it involves people staking their money. It's this really weird, abstract ... It's super cyberpunky. I could totally see all this happening in a William Gibson novel.Ben:Totally.Josh:Yeah. No, it strikes you as a Boston Tea Party, but a real one instead of the ones that people act out on the steps of capitals around the country.Starr:Oh, yeah, the Tea Party has connotations now, doesn't it?Josh:Yeah.Ben:Instead of a LARP, it's IRL.Josh:Yeah, it's IRL. The IRL Tea Party in the 21st century would happen on the internet I the world of finance.Starr:Oh, totally, yeah.Ben:Yeah, my only concern is ... I get the whole ethos of, "Yeah, let's stick it to the man." And, "Those evil capitalists and hedge fund managers." Well, the problem is pensions, and retirement funds, and those kinds of things invest in those hedge funds.Starr:Hush now, don't think about that. We don't think about that, Ben.Ben:If you destroy them, that could affect me.Starr:Yeah, that's true. That's true.Josh:No, anarchy works 100% of the time.Starr:That's why part of me loves to see the chaos unfold, but just at a small scale. Not at a large enough scale where it just jeopardizes my holdings, my Vanguard Total Index Fund holdings.Josh:Exactly.Ben:Yeah, Matt's article, he talked about the potential for GameStop to actually enter the SMP500 because it's market cap is now so large.Starr:That's amazing.Ben:And he's like, "Not really, because there's other things not just market cap." But it's funny to think, can you imagine index funds having to buy GameStop because it got put into the SMP, and they cover the SMP.Josh:Yeah. Well, this seems like the kind of thing that they've been doing with ... That crypto traders have been doing for a while now on telegram channels and stuff where they get a bunch of ... I forget, what do they call that? The operations that they run to the pump and and dump schemes. But yeah, it seems like that on a mass scale. And it's broken through into reality now, and I could see it continuing in the future, unless it's ... I guess that's why they're talking about regulation.Ben:I blame the pandemic, because people just got used to going to the store and buying out all the toilet paper to like, "Hey, let's just go buy all of GameStop."Starr:Yes. So a couple of things. First of all, yes, I think that we've seen a lot of things emerge that are just a result of people just being stuck at home with nothing to do. So this, you've got all the conspiracy theory stuff happening. And then the other thing I just wanted to say is just, I really hope that there are some people who really just work at GameStop, they love GameStop, so they've been like, "I'm just going to invest my meager savings into some GameStop stock, because I really believe in the mission of this company, and then just suddenly they're rich. I really hope that has happened to at least one person.Ben:Yeah, totally. Totally. Yeah, many years ago, my wife worked for a company where they granted stock as part of their compensation. To every employee like, "Here's a little bit of stock, because yay, we're awesome." Right. And we sold that many, many, many years ago. But yeah, that could totally happen where you're that GameStop employee who just happened to get some stock because the company is generous like that, and now you're sitting on a ton of cash. I'd be like, "Sell, sell, sell."Starr:Yeah, exactly. I mean, if I'm being honest, I would definitely want to have a little brokerage account just so I can ... I mean, I know this is just completely irrational, this is totally a lottery thing. It's like when I heard of the Mega Millions was up to a billion dollars, I was like, "I should go buy a lottery ticket." Even though I've never in my life bought a lottery ticket. Yeah, it's that strange irrational thing. But I don't know.Ben:Yeah, I just want to participate in the zeitgeist.Starr:Yeah, there we go.Ben:Be part of the thing, right. I was there, I bought GameStop.Josh:You experience. Yeah.Starr:Yeah.Ben:Yeah. Well, I did not pull the trigger. I don't think I will pull the trigger. I think I'm just going to sit back and watch from the comfort of my couch, and ...Josh:Yeah, I mean it just ... I don't know why you would at this point. It seems like it's at the point where all the suckers pull the trigger. But who knows? I mean-Ben:Who knows?Josh:Reality has been defied week after week for the last how many weeks?Ben:When we record next week, we might be kicking ourselves for not having bought GameStop at $300, right. Be like, "Oh, man, if we only knew."Josh:Yeah.Starr:The thing that, I don't know, one last thing that interested me about this is just, I didn't even realize this until a couple days into this whole saga, but these people ... This isn't an accident. These people basically, the Redditors and everything, they have developed a process now for going in and really messing with hedge funds who have big short positions in companies.Starr:So as far as I know, unless something changes about the environment, there's nothing to stop this from happening from other huge short positions, which seems like a pretty big oversight on the part of hedge funds, for one thing. It seems like you would be like ... I don't know, it seems like something that they should have thought of. People could literally just buy a bunch of stock and put us out of business just because they wanted to. Anyway, I don't know, it's weird. It's got a very ... The barbarians from England going in and taking Rome feel.Josh:Yeah, it seems like that's a common thing that the ruling class overlooks, is the people. The people rising up to overthrow them.Ben:And in a business perspective, Clayton Christianson's theory of disruption, right. Incumbents will be disrupted, and there's not anything they can do about it. Even if they can think, "Oh, yeah, we could be disrupted." But their business depends on what they're doing now. And if they were to really try to avoid being disrupted by disrupting themselves, then they would destroy their own business, right. And they can't win on that. And so I think that's what the hedge funds are like. They're pretty locked into their mode of business. And they just had the blinders on and like, "Oh, I don't know. I don't know what's going on with all these people out there who are actually buying stock but now they're getting disrupted."Starr:I just had a really scary idea. So our business, Honeybadger, is like a hedge fund in the tech industry, right. Most tech companies lose money when their error rates go up. But we make money when their error rates go up. So I just really hope they don't come after us.Ben:So we're actually a hedge then on the internet, right?Starr:Yeah.Ben:If you want to invest in the downside internet, you should buy Honeybadger.Starr:There you go.Ben:Yeah, that is if we had-Josh:Can that be our new tagline?Ben:We're the CDOs of web developers.Starr:Oh my gosh.Ben:Come and get your credit swaps right over here. Oh, yeah, it'll be a fun book anyway, it'll be a fun book next year or whatever when somebody writes the story of Wall Street Bets.Josh:Right, yeah, I'll read the book instead of all the blog posts probably.Ben:Well, we've been having our conclave this week, and it's been fantastic. And one of the things that we talked about is hiring. Well, I was listening to the Art of Product podcast yesterday, the episode that dropped yesterday. And Ben was on the ... Was on Adam Wethen's podcasts, which I can't remember the name of right now. Oh, I'm terrible. Anyway, they had a particular episode where the two of them recorded, about tips for people who are looking to get hired. And they recommended, Ben mentioned in the Art of Product podcast that one of the things they talked about was, you should reach out to owners of small businesses, and say, "Hey, this is what I can do for you, right." Instead of just like, "Hey, I want a job." Like, "Hey, here's a pitch, here's a proposal, here's ..."Josh:I like it when people do that.Ben:Yeah. Totally. So when I heard that yesterday, I thought, "I got to talk about that today?" Because I just wanted to echo that and boost that message, because when we've had people do that, that's been awesome. But when you just like, "Oh, give me something." It's like, "Well, no."Starr:Yeah, it's a little strange. And I would expand on that to say that even if you're applying for a position, tell the people who are hiring you what you're going to do for them, even if it's just repeating back what they told you in the job description. In all the candidates that we interviewed, there was really a big difference between the people who were just like, "Yeah, I am a technical expert. I have all these technical credentials, I know all this technical stuff."Starr:It's like, "Okay, that's great. You obviously know this." Versus the people who were like, "Okay, I understand the situation you're in, and the sort of things you need. And I've done that before. And here's how I can do it for you in the future." That's a very ... It's just much more appealing. Because otherwise, we have to do that work, and we have to be like, "Okay, well, this guy has some technical credentials, but how could that fit into what we're doing?" And stuff. Versus, "Ooh, somebody gift wrapped this nice little package. And look, there's a little thing of bon-bons attached to it." It's a complete different experience from this side of the table.Ben:For sure. Yeah, you don't want to make the hiring person do work, right. You want to do all the work for them.Starr:Yeah. I would go so far to say as, in any writing endeavor ... Because until you get to the interviews, hiring is a writing process. It's a communication via writing, and resumes, and cover letters. And any writing process, you don't want to have people do work, which is literally about ... A lot of my job editing the blog, what I end up doing is making the authors fill in the missing steps so that people don't have to come up with the links themselves in their own minds.Ben:Yeah, connecting the dots is useful. Whether you're writing or pitching something, yeah.Starr:So are we going to ... How many people are we going to hire? 10, 20?Ben:At least.Ben:Yeah. No, we do want to hire someone. And I think that someone is going to be a contractor that knows PHP. I think that's the next hire we want to do, because we need some help there. We've hit a couple of sharp corners when it comes to our PHP support, and it would just be nice to get them resolved. I think we could probably throw a pretty good sized project at someone who knows PHP well. So if you're listening right now, and you want to do some PHP work for Honeybadger, you're welcome to reach out to us and tell us just how awesome you are, and what you're going to do for us to make our PHP support better.Starr:There you go.Josh:Just PHP in general? Or PHP Laravel?Ben:Laravel in particular, yeah. But PHP in general. Yeah.Starr:So yeah, that was one thing we talked about. We also talked about trying out a little bit of a different approach where we throw more small jobs to freelancers and contractors. And essentially have a pool of people. And it was interesting, because this idea came up on its own. And then we were like, "Wait a second, we're already doing that with the blog. We've already got this ... We got a pool of authors who just go in and do these little self contained jobs for us." And I mean, those authors are probably not going to be doing the code for us. But it's interesting to see how the processes for managing those contractors might apply to managing contractors who are doing little, small, self contained projects for us.Ben:Yeah, it'd be interesting to see if we can make that work out. I think one of the concerns is just the overhead of dealing with assigning work out to various people, and making sure that someone is available, and things like that. So I'm sure it's not going to be a cake walk, but it'll be interesting to see if we can make that work out.Starr:Yeah, it'll be interesting. It think there's going to be ... You have this maybe a little bit of a different approach with it, because it's more of a ... Yeah, it's almost like you're doing less vetting for individual contractors, because you can't do a huge interview process for somebody who's going to do a one day project for you, it just doesn't make sense.Josh:It's more like open source.Starr:Yeah. So I don't know. You almost have to be willing to assign the same things to multiple people, or maybe just maybe expect to assign it to two or three people before you finally get one that is decent. And then of course, you hone in on the people who are good. But I don't know, it's a different approach to putting work out to contractors. I think it might be interesting. I don't know.Ben:We could do something really crazy, and we could just shotgun it, right. We can be like, okay, we get five developers to come and do the same task for us, we pay each of them of course. And then we pick whichever solution we like the best, right.Starr:Yeah, I mean, that's crossed my mind to be honest. Yeah, I guess it just depends on how much money we have. And then the other thing we talked about is that there's actually ... We could actually be getting a little bit of extra value out of our blog authors, because what is a blog post, except for its information that somebody has researched, and is providing to readers on a silver platter. And it occurred to us that, well, we've got this system for creating that. Well, what if we just need to know something for our own business purposes, about certain technologies?Josh:Yeah.Starr:Well, you could send that out to an author, and have them write it, do your research for you so then you don't have to do that leg work yourself. There's all sorts of interesting things that I hadn't even considered of when ... I hadn't even considered when I was building this, but it might ... I don't know, it might just be really useful. It'd be interesting to see what happens at least.Ben:Definitely.Ben:Yeah, I don't really want to get in the business of being an agency, and managing a bunch of contractors, and for clients. But I think it's really interesting, the idea of having a bunch of contractors that we have an ongoing relationship with that we can send work to, just for us. So we're the only client, so we don't have to worry about someone being on the bench, because that's not really costing us something, because they're contractors. But I just like the idea of having some more flexibility.Ben:Because we depend a lot on contractors so far to do our libraries in particular, areas that we are weak. And they've been great. And we love working with them. But sometimes, they're just not available, right. They have jobs, or they go on vacation for six months, or whatever. And so I think just increasing the number of people that we have relationships with, like we've done with the authors, I think will help us.Josh:Mm-hmm (affirmative). So what are we looking for in addition to PHP? PHP isn't all we do. I need JavaScript people. That's my biggest need right now to be honest.Starr:Front end or back end?Josh:Both. We've got our universal JavaScript client package now that supports both simultaneously.Starr:Yeah.Josh:So all of this work we're talking about is basically open source, working on open source packages, like most of the repos are public for the most part. So it's essentially getting paid to do open source ... Working on open source projects. Most of the code is MIT license even. And so it's just we really want the work done. So we're going to pay people rather than wait for someone to show up and just do it. So yeah, we've got, yeah, PHP, JavaScript, Python is another one that comes up fairly frequently. And yeah, Java not so much. But whenever it does come up, it costs us the most.Ben:Yeah, so I guess, where should people send their info if they want to get in touch about working for us? Maybe it should be We'll set that up.Starr:That's a good idea.Josh:Sure. We'll put it in the show notes. Well, other than thinking about all that conclave stuff this week, which has been fun, I've had a throwback week, because launching our new Elasticsearch cluster has been working out really well. But I decided that I wanted to change the layout of the nodes. I just went a different way than I originally had. And so I had to blow away all the data. And so that means back filling.Ben:And I was at first hesitant. I was like, "Oh, let me just leave it. So what if it's another month of two where we have to wait to cut over?" And then I was like, "No." But really, I really want a really good back fill script anyway, because sometimes we have to do back fills, just as part of our normal operations. The cluster just decides to go away for a little while, and we have to fill in some data that we missed.Ben:So I was like, "No, I should really just make this a function for me to really come up with a good back fill script that I like." And so I worked on that this week. And came up with a really fun, to me, a fun solution where basically we have all these documents that we need to index in our cluster. And we put them on S3 as a batch. So we maybe have a batch of 100, or 200, whatever, documents that need to be indexed.Ben:And we put them into Elasticsearch, via the bulk indexing API. And so we have, going back for months, we have many, many, many S3 payloads that each contain a couple hundred documents to be indexed. So for a back fill, all we got to do is iterate over all the objects in the bucket, and then push them into Elasticsearch. But of course, you don't want to just do that onesie twosie, right, you want to actually have some parallelism involved.Ben:And so I basically wrote some code that just iterates over all the keys, dumps all the key names into SQS, and then we have a lambda function that then works that SQSQ. So I mean, it's straightforward. It's not rocket science or anything. But it's the first time that I've done something where I'm throwing in a million SQS jobs all at once, right.Ben:And so it's been fun just to ... We use Redis we use Sidekiq as our normal batch. And so you have to worry about, "Well, does have enough RAM? And do we have a backlog that's too big?" And SQS, it's like, "Oh, who cares? Just throw it in there, it'll get done eventually."Josh:That's cool.Ben:So we now have a nice back fill script for doing our Elasticsearch cluster. And I've back filled all the data for several weeks back now, so it's been fun.Starr:That's really fun.Josh:So it really is infinite?Ben:As far as I could tell.Starr:It's just raw power at your fingertips.Josh:Okay. Because I think we're going to put Dynamo to the test next week.Ben:Well, yes. That's actually what I started working on this morning, was back fill script for Dynamo, yeah. Yeah, the main holdup there, aside from money that you have to pay for how may writes you want to do all at once, is getting millions, and millions, and millions of notices out of our Postgres cluster in a way that won't kill us.Starr:So this is a long term project of ours, to move some of the error data from Postgres into Dynamo DB.Ben:Right, right. Yeah, not that we don't love Postgres because we do love Postgres. But we took a look, and 75% of our Postgres data is just error occurrences. And it's like, "Well, maybe we could put that someplace else, and be a little kinder to our Postgres instance." So that's the motivation.Josh:It's basically just a list too. Because the actual data is not there, it's just-Ben:Right. Yeah, it's just pointers. So it's very simple. And it's a great use case for Dynamo, which is again, apparently infinitely scalable. And yeah, I think that'll help us avoid some of those backlogs where we're worried about how much RAM we have in our Redis instance.Starr:Yeah, once you do that, then the Postgres is just ... We've already got a Postgres that can handle ... I guess you'll be running 25% of the data that we used to have. So you could scale that up by four times, and you know that that would work, right.Ben:Exactly, yeah.Starr:Basically you've solved Postgres scaling for the foreseeable future.Ben:Right, right. So yeah, it's felt like old times, like the early years of Honeybadger, when I was having to back fill stuff on a regular basis, because of changing data stores, or whatever. So it's been kind of fun.All right, you have been listening to Founder Quest. Go give us a review at Apple podcasts, or wherever. And if you want to write for us, go to, and there's a write for us link. If you would like to work on our open source projects for cold hard cash in your hands, just send an email to, and let us know what's what. And until then, we will see you next week.
28:05 02/05/2021
The Bootstrapper's Guide to the Ninja Launch
Show Notes:Links:Cobol On CogsSquare Hole TikTok VideoHook RelayUniversal Honeybadger.jsFounderQuest Accounts EpisodeWrite for Honeybadger's BlogFull Transcript:Ben:Did you see that tweet I posted in the channel, the TikTok video about the shape sorter?Josh:It was so good.Starr:So good.Josh:Laughed really hard.Ben:So good. I just loved the voice of the person doing the shapes.Josh:Yeah.Ben:"And where do you think this one goes?"Starr:So it's a shape sorting thing. And they've got all different color blocks, like a kid's toy and you're supposed to match the shape to the hole in the top of the bucket, but it turns out all of the shapes just fit inside the square hole. And so-Josh:That's why there's a hole in there.Starr:Yeah, so it's a reaction video. This woman's watching it and she's just getting more and more dismayed as he just puts everything. She's like, "No, put it in the triangle hole," and he's like, "No, this one goes in the square hole." So I think this is a metaphor for how users as well use Excel for every single task in their business.Ben:Yeah. So I'll have to put the tweet in the show notes, but that was funny that I found.Starr:Yeah, that's really good. I like-Ben:Well, I am... Go ahead.Starr:I was just going to say I like watching TikTok, but I'm like I'm too old to actually watch TikTok, so I just watch video compilations of TikTok that somebody shows me.Josh:Yeah, TikTok on YouTube.Ben:Saying, yeah, I watch TikTok on Twitter.Josh:Twitter. Yeah.Ben:So, yeah.Josh:Yeah. That's an interesting thing about TikTok, because it's like half the people who enjoy the videos aren't even on the platform or whatsoever.Starr:And that's just the internet.Josh:But these are everywhere. They're all over Instagram. I guess, yeah, it is.Starr:I just want to know like how much of... So there's got to be a number out there, like the total traffic on the internet per day, like total bandwidth use. How much of that is just sending around videos and screenshots of other parts of the internet?Josh:Yeah.Ben:Yeah.Josh:Well, I guess like the same thing happened with Vine.Ben:It's like marketing attribution. Right? You never know where your traffic is coming from. Like TikTok, they have no idea where the video is actually being seen.Josh:Yeah.Ben:Like, is it on TikTok? Is it on Twitter? Is it on Reddit? Who knows? It's got to be tough-Josh:They were pretty-Ben:... for their engagement numbers, you know?Josh:They were pretty smart to put their watermark on the videos.Ben:Totally.Starr:So you were about to tell us how great you're feeling, I think, Ben?Ben:Yes. I'm so excited. Today has been a great day so far. I mean it's early. But-Starr:What happened?Ben:Well, I finally, after many, many weeks of having this on my to do this, I finally got it this week and this morning I finished off putting together everything required for the Heroku add-on for Hook Relay.Starr:Oh, awesome.Josh:Nice.Ben:Yes.Starr:So Hook Relay is a product you've been working on that adds sort of like push button reliability to people's implementations of webhooks. Am I right?Ben:That's correct.Starr:Did you pivot?Ben:I haven't pivoted yet. No.Starr:Okay, good.Ben:And as I was writing up that Heroku, for Heroku, of course you have to like put in a description of what your thing does and you have to upload some screenshots and you have to do pricing. And all that stuff was basically done. But the last thing to do, I think I kept on putting off because it's just not my strong suit. And so, you know how that goes, you just do the things you'd like to do over the things you don't like to do. But the last thing was putting together the Dev Center documentation page. So each Heroku add-on needs to have some documentation at Heroku, it tells you how to use the ad-on and how to provision it, things like that. And it's pretty straightforward and simple, but I'm just not a big fan of writing stuff like that.Ben:And so anyway, I kept putting it off. But bonus was Kevin had put a quick-start page together for Hook Relay, like months ago when we launched the product, which is basically like, "Here's how you use it," which is basically the same thing that Heroku wants for this page. So I copied and most of his stuff and just shifted a little bit. But the thing that kind of threw me this morning as I was finishing it off, there's a field on the Dev Center page. There's this big text blog where you put your documentation, and that's fine, but there's a field above it, and it says meta description. And I was like, what's supposed to go in there. I don't know. I mean, because there's a separate spot for doing it like you're marketing blurb. Like, "Hey, give us the one line description of your add-on that's someplace else." And so I'm like, so what is a meta description? I don't know.Starr:Is it like for SEO?Josh:Like a meta tag.Ben:Well, I'm not exactly sure still, but when I saved the content, like the big blurb of text that will make up the page, it took the first line of the content and put that in the meta description. I'm like, okay, so, I'm thinking maybe this is a TLDR. So I tweak that a little bit. And as I was tweaking that, I came up with a tagline for Hook Relay that, "Now, I'm no marketing specialist, I'm no guru. I'm no copywriter either. But-Josh:You're just the guy on podcast.Starr:... we're going to workshop this real time."Ben:But I'm pretty proud of what I came up with here.Starr:Ratings are going to go through the roof.Ben:And so here's the tagline. And Kevin helped me tweak it a little at the end. It is just, "Send a post request and let Hook Relay handle the rest."Starr:Nice.Ben:Yes. And Kevin's suggestion was that rest should be all caps because of course... Yes.Josh:Of course.Ben:Yeah. It's the rest, you know?Josh:There you go. I can see. Yeah.Starr:There you go. Yeah. The catch is that like post and delete requests cost extra, you got to pay more for those.Ben:Right. So there we go. So now I'm feeling pretty good. Like Hook Relay is signed, sealed and delivered. It should be on their Heroku marketplace next week. Somewhat by the time this drops, it should be there.Starr:Awesome. That's great.Josh:That's, yeah, really exciting. And don't we like have a customer or something?Ben:We do. We actually have a paying customer. That's pretty exciting.Starr:That's amazing.Ben:So, that's pretty impressive considering we haven't really done any real marketing or advertising for it. And I've talked about it on the podcast and I tweeted about it a few times, but it's been pretty quiet. We've done that on purpose. We're kind of laying low to do the gradual buildup, make sure things are working before they ship to the masses, but yeah-Josh:We did try to get a customer. That's the point.Ben:Yeah. We did. Yeah.Josh:Yeah. That's how I would've liked to get the first customer.Starr:Yeah. Can we get just trademark the term, like Ninja launch.Ben:Oh!Starr:I'm sure that people have done it. So it's the kind of launch where you just like sneak up on people and they don't see you coming, then you just suddenly jump out and you surprise them and convert them.Ben:I like it.Josh:Is it different? How is it different from the stealth launch? I'll have to figure that out.Starr:Well, it's about Ninjas-Josh:Is it like the bootstrapper version of the stealth launch? Because I feel like if you're a stealth launch, you have to have a bunch of VC funding and like be secretive for at least two years for a stealth launch.Starr:Yeah. I think the stealth launch is more VC.Josh:The Ninja launch is like you bootstrap it and like, yeah, you six months bootstrap it and then it's, or maybe a couple months even ship it.Starr:Yeah. I don't know. A stealth launch maybe is like you know that they're out there, but you don't know where they are or what they're doing.Josh:Yeah.Starr:It's like you just have no idea anything's going on.Ben:Yeah. I like the idea that bootstrapper versus a VC, because I think stealth launch, I think like stealth bomber, just coming in and bombing the crud out of something. But a Ninja, like it's much more personal. He'll come up and kill you one on one.Josh:Yeah.Ben:Right?Starr:Exactly. Exactly.Josh:So, it's more about hand-to-hand combat.Ben:Exactly. It's the personal touch.Starr:We don't really assault people.Ben:We're actually pacifists at Honeybadger.Starr:Yeah. That's true. I just feel like I have to... I don't know why. I just imagine there's somebody out there who's taking us literally for every single thing we say, so I just always want to add disclaimers.Ben:Then there's the cat launch. And that cat launch... The cat launch.Starr:That's where you build a trebuchet and the whole internet gets this off at you.Ben:I was thinking more of that's where you go out to your kitchen in the morning to get some coffee and you step on a hairball.Starr:Oh yeah. And that's for SaaS products.Ben:Yeah, it is. Right? It's like, "Oh wow, there's a thing."Starr:That's kind of how we did Honeybadger. Right? It's like, Airbrake was our hairball. We just stepped on when we were trying to do something else. Well, good, I'm glad you're having a good day in that, Hook Relay is doing well. What's the next step on that, do you think?Ben:That's an excellent question. So I was reviewing the competitive landscape again this week and realized that you know what? We should make some tweaks to our pricing. So now that we have our first paying customer, assignment change all the pricing. So that's probably going to be next week. I'm going to be taking a look at that.Josh:Naturally. Yeah.Ben:And then-Starr:I mean, it took us like a year to do that for Honeybadger. So I'm glad that we're just getting that over with quickly.Ben:Right.Josh:I love it. Like this time though, it's like in reverse. It might be in reverse because like we're billing on more usage or like rate right now. And we're thinking maybe it would make more sense to bill on something, some other vertical or whatever.Ben:Yeah. And then also figure out where, how we want to really launch. Like, how are we going to talk to people about Hook Relay? We've got to become the marketing experts.Starr:Yeah. It kind of makes sense maybe to not bill on rate, like because I imagine that a lot of the people who are probably going to be interested in Hook Relay or people who are building new things. I don't know. Maybe people are going to go and retrofit to existing things, but I can imagine it being really useful. It's like, okay, you're building a new product, you want all these features, you don't have time to implement it yourself because you have a million things to do. And so you're just going to bolt this on there and your traffic levels are... You're getting real value, so you should pay for it. But your traffic levels are going to be pretty low to begin with.Ben:Yeah. The contrary view to that is like Amazon, they have generous free tiers on most of their services, if not all. Right?Josh:Hmm.Ben:And so you can start out and get a lot of value for free. And then everything is like strictly usage base on even tiers for the most part. So, everything you do is a transactional fee. So you can go the other way and go from what we have now tiers of transaction levels to just straight old, like per transaction or per 1,000 or whatever. So yeah, a lot of things to think about.Josh:I feel like Amazon can get away with that free, like giving away the farm.Ben:Right.Josh:Like that's kind of part of their model.Ben:Right. Yeah. Well, when you have the biggest infrastructure on the planet, you can afford a little bit of it. Right?Josh:Yeah.Starr:So, speaking of Amazon, I'm wondering there's that ruckus lately about the Elasticsearch licensing. And I'm just wondering if that affects us at all? I think-Josh:Someone should explain that to me by the way, because I started talking about it in chat, but I didn't have time actually to really-Starr:Yeah. Could you explain it, Ben, because I assume you know more about it than I do? I could probably get 80% right.Ben:Well, I'll probably get some of it wrong, but a few years ago Amazon released their Amazon Elasticsearch Service. And it's important to note the name because Elastic, the company, that is the sponsor of Elasticsearch, the product, has a trademark on Elasticsearch. And so one of Elastic's complaints against Amazon and AWS is that they're using the trademark without permission. So, that's one thing. And that's kind of a big thing in my opinion. You're not supposed to be stomping on people's trademarks.Ben:But the thing about trademarks is there's timing involved. And so I don't know exactly the timing was, that they're getting to trademark or AWS is actually using that name, et cetera, et cetera. So I'm not going to get into that, but you also have to defend your trademark. And it's not exceptionally clear just how defending Elastic was back when Amazon launched this because the founder of Elastic, he's been talking about this on Twitter this week and he's like, "Well, we just want to keep our heads down and focus on the product."Ben:I'm like, "Okay, but there are certain legal requirements to defend trademarks," et cetera. Anyway. So, the thing that really triggered all this was that Elastic changed the license of Elasticsearch, the product, this week from the Apache license to a, what some people consider a non-open source license, which is the, is it called a server si- I can't remember what it's called. SSPL, I think. Basically, it's a license, same thing that MongoDB did, and Redis did, basically saying, "Anybody can use us except for companies who want to just resell our product, like by the way, Amazon." So, that just threw a match into the tinderbox of Hacker News. And people are like up in arms about Elasticsearch or Elastic doing this to Elasticsearch and how it's so terrible.Ben:And the internet is going to burn in flames because of this. And I mean, it's their product, they can choose to do whatever license they want. A lot of people are complaining about, "Well, the contributors contributed with a certain understanding and now you're yanking the rug out from under them." It's like, well, Elastic 7.10 is still a Apache licensed, it's still out there. And of course surprising no one, AWS announced yesterday that they are going to your fork Elasticsearch at Apache 7.10 that allows the Apache licensed version and they're going to have their own distribution.Josh:Predictable.Starr:I was wondering if they would do that because we are a customer of AWS Elasticsearch Service. And I just didn't want it to go away because it's been so hard to get a decent search thing that doesn't just like crash all the time. And this isn't I'm not blaming you, Ben, I'm just saying this is like a complicated thing. And it's like you finally found a system that doesn't take just a ton of work to keep alive. And I was just didn't want them to take it away from us.Ben:Yeah, totally. Yeah. And it's funny, because Elastic is really complaining about AWS because Elastic is making money on their cloud version. That's the whole point. And they don't not necessarily make money on their open source version. And the thing is like, we've tried, okay, I should put a disclaimer, this is just one person's experience. Please don't sue us. But we tried the Elastic cloud service, comparing it to the AWS Elasticsearch Service. And frankly the AWS service was better for us. Like it just worked better.Ben:Now, it's it's a little bit behind, like they don't, they don't always have the most recent version. They don't have all the coolest, latest features like Elastic cloud does because, well, I mean, Elastic is the company that runs that, but yeah, it's been rock solid and I haven't had to babysit it. Like we've had other solutions in the past, like you said, so, yeah. I'm certainly glad to have AWS handle that for us. And sorry, Elastic, I mean, you just got to compete, I guess.Josh:What was Elastic's actually, like actual end game with the license change, do you think? Were they trying to get the big customers who are reselling their service to pay them licensing fees or something to use it? Or were they just trying to like cut them off? Or, I mean, they must have seen this coming.Ben:Yeah.Josh:You know?Ben:Yeah. I would guess they're angling for a partnership, some sort of revenue share because that's, I think that's what they're doing with Google Cloud and with Azure.Josh:Okay.Ben:That's what Reddis has done with Google Cloud and Azure. I mean, I don't know the details obviously, but they say the word partnership. And so I assume that means some sort of revenue share. But who knows what? I mean, maybe it's a licensing fee. I don't know. But I'm guessing that was their goal. Like, "Let's get some revenue from AWS using our product."Josh:Do you know if were they like targeting AWS specifically? Or was this just like more general? Like, "We really should get our people to pay when they're going to go ahead going to rebill," or whatever?Ben:Well, they have put in place recently partnerships with Google and Azure.Josh:Okay. So Amazon is like the biggest, I mean, like-Ben:So, it's basically talking about Elastic.Josh:There's no one else really.Ben:Exactly. Yeah.Josh:Like, who else are you going to care about?Ben:Right.Starr:Do you think that this is a result of like talks breaking down with Amazon? It seems like if you wanted to have a partnership, you would approach them before you did anything directly.Josh:Yeah.Ben:That seems like a fair analysis. Yeah.Josh:That's interesting.Ben:Yeah. So I can, I can totally relate about the trademark issue. Like, back to that, as I said in our Slack, if Amazon tomorrow released an AWS Honeybadger service, I'd be a little cranky about that because we do have a trademark on Honeybadger. And so I would be pretty upset I guess, but again, I don't know, like when exactly they got that trademark and if they called up Amazon say, "Hey, by the way, this is bad," they're complaining about it now, but that was like six years ago. So, yeah.Starr:That's true. I may be willing personally to consider licensing the Honeybadger trademark to Amazon, depending upon the agreement we come to. I just want to put that out there, in case JB is listening.Josh:If it was just the trademark thing, they could have just... I mean, because they didn't... Like ElastiCache is Redis under the hood, isn't it?Ben:Yeah. Yeah. And that's-Josh:So they don't call it AWS Redis.Ben:Right. And that's the thing. The AWS has been pretty good about that. Their document database is MongoDB-compatible, right?Josh:Yeah.Ben:And then they use Solar. They have, I can't remember it's called. It's called Cloud Search or something, but that was based on Solar. And then they had, like you mentioned their ElastiCache is based on Redis MemcacheD and now they have a Cassandra compatible thing. Can't remember what it's called, but it's not called Cassandra. It's called something else. Some key spaces or something. So yeah. I mean like product after-Josh:It's called something else.Ben:Yeah. So I don't know. So it seems like maybe there wasn't a trademark issue when Amazon actually initially launched this, because you'd think that they would have done the same thing with this one I did with all their other services that don't use that name. Right?Starr:Yeah. Maybe they figured that Elastic since it's just a word like Mongo isn't really that or like Redis is like this very specific thing.Ben:Yeah, true, yeah, that's a good point. Got to be careful when you trademark because yeah, generic stuff doesn't work.Starr:Yeah. I don't know. I read the legal briefings that Amazon did in the whole when Parler was trying to sue them-Josh:Yeah, it was Parler.Starr:... and I really haven't thought of responses and just like, Holy crap. I never want to be in a legal battle with Amazon because they were not joking around. Like they were not taking prisoners. They just like came and just use a nuclear bomb against this little guy with a slingshot.Josh:For real.Starr:I mean, yeah. Justifiably so, I'm not saying that they shouldn't have, but yeah.Ben:And maybe that's what Elastic figured. Like, there's no point in trying to go legal against AWS. And so we're just going to ignore it and try and build our business. And okay, that's a valid strategy, but then you can't undo that. You can't remake that decision six years later.Josh:Yeah. No, there's like a fork of your product in the world that's backed by the largest company in the market.Ben:So it's interesting times. I should disclose that I am a shareholder in Elastic and I am a shareholder in Amazon. So you know what? I hope they both win.Josh:I'm sure this conversation is definitely going to influence one of their stock prices. Ben Curtis makes disparaging comments about Elastic.Ben:I've been really interested though, as I've been reading on this past week, like thinking about, and we've talked about this before, open source businesses or businesses that try to have an open source component, how does it even going to work? Red Hat was a big success story. And it seems like since then, I mean, Mongo has been, I guess, somewhat successful, but the whole notion of open core, I think is in my humble opinion, it seems like it's not happening. Elastic tried it before they had their cloud, they tried adding additional, like amazingly enough. And I just so disagree with this approach, but they did it. The authentication piece was a sold add-on to Elastic. Like, "If you want to use your name and password, you got paid for that." It's like, what? But anyway I digress. It just seems like open core, not happening. And then suddenly-Starr:I've got to throw it out there, GitLab seems to be doing okay.Ben:Yes. Yes. And that's where I was going next. It seems like the real solution that all these open source companies have landed upon is hosted. Some sort of licensing, whether that's self-hosted licensing or it's a SaaS. And then that's why you see like Mongo and Redis and Elastic and having these licenses that say, "You can't host us because we're hosting us, that's our business," you know? And I don't know. If you're competing against the number one hosting provider in the world, and your only businesses that, and they have 50 other businesses because they have a huge product offering, well, who's going to win in the long-term? I don't know. Anyway, I don't have the answers. It's just interesting thoughts.Starr:Yeah. And just one thing that, correct me if I'm wrong, Ben, but one real advantage that AWS has is that if you use their Elasticsearch Service, it's like, you can put it in your virtual, private cloud, like you can use all these networking tools AWS provides, you can use all these extra services and it's going to be in the right data centers so that transfer between the two things it's fast. Because you don't want your fricking database in a different state than your main application. And it's just, I don't know, that piece is so easy for just stuff to stay inside the AWS ecosphere, and then it's just more work if you don't.Ben:Yeah. True. True.Ben:Yeah. Like the authentication stuff is handled. Most of this stuff has, IM permissions that are baked in. Now, most of the companies like Mongo and Elastic, they do have, you can deploy to whatever region you want. So the latency is typically not a problem. But yeah, the VPC thing is definitely an issue. Like, and for us, for me, in particular, like not having to get another vendor on the approved vendor lists for our GDPR stuff, oh, so nice.Ben:Like dealing with compliance every year, I have to review all of our vendors and make sure they're all doing the security thing. And like you know, AWS is fine. That's just a checkbox. But if you have some other vendor like Mongo, it's like, okay, well, I have to justify them and I have to put them on my approved list, et cetera, et cetera. So, if AWS has a service, I'm going to use it. So we're not going to be launching a database product anytime soon, I guess, is the moral of the story.Josh:No.Ben:No, there will not be a Honeybadger database.Starr:Which one of those... There's one of our competitors that pivoted into a database?Josh:That was Influx.Ben:Yeah, Influx. They made InfluxDB. Which I think that's worked out for them. They seem to be doing well.Josh:They seem to be. Yeah, they do.Ben:Despite my, on again, off again love, hate affair with Influx, as we've tried to use it a variety of times. But you know what I've learned over the years? We've worked together a long time and we worked together back when Mongo in particular was pre-1.0 And we tried using it. I think what I've learned is don't use pre-1.0 Software.Starr:Especially databases.Josh:Yeah.Ben:Especially databases.Josh:You want your database to be like 10 years old.Ben:Right. Yeah, yeah.Josh:Yeah. So now it would be the right time to us to go all in on Influx.Ben:Right.Starr:Oh my God, has it been that long?Ben:Yeah, really?Josh:Not quite that long. It's getting close. Yeah. Because probably getting there.Starr:Honeybadger is going to be coming up on like 10 years old. That's wild.Josh:What is it like next year?Ben:Next year.Josh:Yeah. This will be nine.Starr:Now it's 2012.Ben:Right.Starr:Yeah.Josh:Yeah. Wow.Ben:It's been a long road.Starr:That's wild. Here's to another 20 years because I have no idea how I'm going to apply to jobs if I have to with... It's like, yeah, I was just my own boss for like 15 years. What kind of a reference is that? You can't give that to people. So, we just got to keep this train rolling.Ben:I don't know. Maybe we just go work for Stripe. That worked for Patrick McKinsey, you know?Starr:Oh, there you go.Josh:Yeah.Ben:But yeah, it'd be-Josh:I don't know if I have that much ambition.Ben:He is a bit of an outlier. That's true.Josh:I don't know. Honeybadger's got me hooked pretty much at this point.Starr:I was literally-Josh:I'm just hooked on that recurring revenue.Starr:Hooked on that recurring revenue. Not that I have any plans to do this. And I was like, "If I had just had to get a developer job, it's just like, what if I just learned Java?" Just was like, "I'm just going to put my 40 hours in to Java and I'm just going to make a ton of money and just not care at all about the work." And I was like I don't think I would do it, but for a second it was like that seems viable.Ben:It's definitely a grass is greener kind of situation. I think if I were thinking the same thing instead of Java, because I cannot buy Java for whatever reason. I think it would .NET. And I think I would go find a job at a bank.Starr:Oh there you go. There you go. Yeah. I just know Java devs make like tons of money if they're in the right field, if they're in the right industry.Ben:Well, if you want to go old school, learn COBOL. Right?Starr:I totally would. I totally would. I would totally learn COBOL.Ben:Or become a mainframe programmer.Starr:Yeah. That actually sounds like a lot of fun.Josh:I can see that. I mean, I could see if you wanted to do that, I could see it working out because there's got to be plenty of people that are looking to retire and there's no one to take their place.Ben:Yup.Starr:Yeah, exactly. I wouldn't want to have any deadlines because that would be incredibly stressful. Here's this 50-year-old legacy application written in COBOL and you've got to figure out how to make a major change to it by next week. It's like, that would be hell and just impossible. But-Josh:Do they really make major changes to them though? That's the question?Starr:I don't know. I don't know.Ben:Yeah. I guess like if tax laws change significantly, you might have to or something, but yeah, you think most of it would be like more maintenance work.Josh:Yeah.Starr:Why don't you guys shared this COBOL on cogs?Ben:No.Starr:I assume it's a web or it's a rails inspired. But it's a web framework and it is in COBOL and the site is run by it. So there you go.Ben:Wow. INDEX.HTM, all caps. Nice.Starr:I know.Ben:Nice.Starr:I know. They're not messing around.Ben:Oh, I'm loving it. Wow! Thank you for sharing that.Starr:You're welcome.Ben:I'm going to spend the rest of my day just looking at this website.Starr:You are more than welcome.Ben:So one of the things that's made this week just fantastic, and a call out to the idea of actually having goals, we have our weekly check-in that comes in from Basecamp every Monday morning. It's like, what are you going to do this week? And I try to be pretty vague in that because I'm like, I don't know. But recently I've been trying to be better about that, be more specific and to actually come up with like, okay, there are three things that if I accomplish this week, I will be happy. Even if like, they are small things, if I get them done, I'll be happy.Ben:And so this week I had two things with a third bonus that I didn't share and actually did all three. So I was pretty stinking excited. So one was the Hook Relay stuff which I did. Wrapped it this morning. Two was doing a test of our new Elasticsearch cluster using the scientist Gem from GitHub. So basically allows you to deploy your site with two different code branches. In our case, checking the performance of our existing Elasticsearch cluster versus the new Elasticsearch cluster. And so basically just runs through both branches of code and then tells you which one is faster. So I did that. And then, spoiler alert, the new cluster is faster.Josh:Nice.Ben:And also wanted to move our storage of notices from Postgres to DynamoDB. And I got that started last night. I mean, it's going to take a while to backfill.Josh:I was going to be like, "Ben, that's shipped?"Starr:I know. I was just, yeah, I was just like, you're just going to slide that one in there.Josh:And I finished up the branch and shipped it.Starr:Just migrated to a completely different database system for the most intense part of our application.Ben:Overnight just migrate this terabytes of data, and then we're good. Right?Josh:So you got to start on it at least.Ben:Yes. Yeah. So I felt so good. Because the things I set forth to do this week actually got done. So I'm just I'm pumped.Starr:Good. The tweet I was thinking about sending you last night, but I was too tired. So but so I'll just explain it to you.Ben:Okay.Starr:Anyway, it was the guy quote tweeting an old tweet from 2018 or something. And it was like, "Do yourself a favor if you're making a SaaS product, users and accounts should be separate from the very beginning." And it was a quote tweet yesterday where the guy was just like, "I just finished the refactoring that was a result of two years."Josh:That sounds just like us.Ben:I replied to that tweet. I'm like, "Yep. Amen. Here's our blog post about doing the exact same thing. Yeah. We took longer than two years though." I saw that tweet. So, that's pretty funny. Yeah. I don't even know how many years I had that as a goal, but yeah, that was one of the banner things at 2020 actually like, "Hey, got that done."Josh:Yeah. We forgot to mention that in the last, you don't remember. That was a big chunk of work.Ben:Yeah. So save yourself a lot of hassle, make users separate from accounts. Period. The end. No question about it.Josh:Yeah. We'll have to figure out what episode number that was that we... We did like an entire episode on that late last year, I think.Ben:Well, y'all done some fantastic work this week too. Right? I mean, Starr, you've been nailing the blog stuff. Josh, you got a bunch of JavaScript stuff done.Josh:That blog, we've got a nice blog. I was looking at that. I was showing Kaitlin actually my wife the blog, because she hadn't really looked at it. And she was looking at our author avatars and everything. And yeah, I was like thinking about how much we've actually put into that blog, like money and just all the great people that have written for us. And it's pretty cool.Starr:Yeah. Thank you. Yeah. It's working out well. It's nice to kind of just have it humming along and sort of make it more, just kind of making it work better continuously. One thing I want to work on next week is to, and I got started on it this week, which is to actually have our posts that are... We have a huge backlog of posts that are written for us. And I would like to actually get those set up in a calendar where they're automatically published every week because-Josh:Oh yeah.Starr:... I currently just like prepare one every week and publish it. And so if like something comes up, people try and overthrow the government or anything like that, and I get distracted, then we don't have a blog post that week, which leaves people super bummed out, because now there's two things wrong. The government's being overthrown and they don't have a blog post.Starr:So yeah, this week I started making it so we can automatically publish blog posts and I crashed up against the rocky shore a little bit of trying to get scheduled actions running on GitHub. So I don't know, I need to check and see if it ran. Last time it was supposed to. And hopefully it did. And if not, I will just try random crap over and over again until it finally works.Josh:So wait, so how does the action actually work? Does it prepare the article somehow or does it auto merge the PR or something?Starr:Oh no. No, what it just does is, okay, I should back up and explain. So use a static site generator for a blog, which is great in a lot of ways, but also make certain things just like really bizarrely difficult. And one of these bizarrely difficult things is scheduled posts. So when we publish our blog to Netlify, our blog is built by Netlify and it's like, okay, which posts are published. And those will be the ones that it displays from then on, until we rebuild the blog. And there's no built-in way to periodically rebuild it or rebuild it based on when posts are supposed to go out.Josh:Got you. Okay.Starr:So essentially, how this is going to work is we've got a job that's going to run on GitHub just because that's convenient or was supposed to be convenient. It's going to run every day at midnight or 1:00 AM or whatever. And it's just going to hit a webhook on Netlify and trigger the site to rebuild. And when it rebuilds, well, middleman or static site generator, you can have posts scheduled in the future and it won't publish those. So if there is one that needs to be published, it'll just go ahead and build that one and not the other ones that are still in the future.Josh:Yeah. That's a cool way to do it. I hadn't thought of that. Yeah. That's nice.Starr:Yeah. I mean, honestly, it's not nice. It's terrible. It's really crappy. Why am I writing config files for GitHub just to post this schedule posts on my fricking blog?Josh:In terms of if you're going to have to build that though, just a single job that just hits like a webhook to rebuild it once a day is probably about as simple as you could go.Starr:Oh yeah, yeah. I mean, yeah. And it's nice that GitHub provides actions.Josh:You could just put it in the tab on your personal computer.Starr:Oh, I thought about it.Josh:On your iMac.Starr:I thought about it, but then I've got to make sure it's running. I got to make sure it's open, you know?Josh:Yeah.Starr:I don't know.Josh:You get like a little raspberry pie.Starr:That's my next stop. That's my next stop.Josh:You got to get a blog publishing.Ben:Buy a mainframe, learn COBOL.Starr:Oh, there we go. There we go.Josh:Yeah. So we're switching to WordPress then?Starr:No, no, WordPress is even worse.Josh:Yeah.Starr:There's no blog platform that is perfect, I guess. I don't know. Although, I really don't know why Netlify just doesn't let you say rebuild this every day. It's kind of silly that they don't.Josh:Yeah. That would be cool.Ben:Yeah. There is a forum post where a bunch of people are asking for exactly that.Starr:Yeah. And there's just like use Zapier and it's like, "I'm not going to pay Zapier to hit a webhook once a day. That's ridiculous. You could also have GitHub to do that.Ben:Yeah. You could also use, if GitHub won't cooperate, you could also use the AWS, their events, the cloud events, because they have a scheduled event thing and they could just trigger a Lambda, which could call the event.Starr:Oh, that's a good idea. Yeah. That might actually probably be-Ben:They actually have a GitHub repo for a bunch of Cron jobs that run in Lambda.Starr:What?Ben:Yeah.Starr:What?Ben:Yeah.Starr:Okay. You're just over here living in Jetsons land and I'm living in Flintstone land.Josh:But I used the Cron recently too. The Cron action on GitHub to automatically prepare a release for our JavaScript package once a week. So, if there's like merge dependency updates and stuff or if there are a change log additions, it calculates what the next version should be, and then submits a pull request that I just merge and then it all gets released to NPM and everything. So-Starr:Oh awesome.Josh:... fully automated, which is like that's been my dream for a few years now. So pretty stocked I finally got it working.Starr:Well, I'm glad to have reports that actually it's possible to get the Cron working because I got it working one time. I think the issue with it is I think when you make changes to the file, there's something weird about GitHub picking up those changes. It may not happen immediately or maybe it takes a little while for it to update itself. And so meanwhile, I'm like I told it to run this thing every 10 minutes so I could test it. I uploaded it 20 minutes ago and it hasn't run. So maybe GitHub has a longer term outlook on life than I do.Ben:It's really in Zen mode.Starr:Yeah. But it will work eventually.Ben:Cool.Starr:Yeah. And you Josh, you did a blog post about our new JavaScript library?Josh:Yep. Universal Honeybadger JS NPM packages out, and our documentation is updated. I think I got all the projects that we're depending on the old Honeybadger JS NPM packages are updated and also new releases for them. And I'm happy to have this project hopefully behind me. But I'm sure there will be some bug reports and stuff coming in as there always are. But so far it's been quiet.Ben:Wow, congrats.Josh:Yeah. Thanks.Starr:Congrats on that. It's been a big deal.Josh:Yeah, it was a large chunk of work. And I think it really it will set us up really nicely for the future, I think to have, I mean, we're from a maintenance standpoint, we're going from two packages down to one, but also there's a lot of overhead and having to duplicate code and now the code is all shared and only the environment specific parts are built in when you request it for no JS or for a browser. Which means you can now also use it for server side rendering environments where it's running on both the server and the client, which is still just kind of blows my mind a little bit that people do that, but there you go. It works. So it's a lot nicer now. And it's what you're expecting when you want to do that. So pretty excited.Starr:Yeah. That's amazing. Hopefully, it'd be appealing to people doing more sort of JavaScript as their main thing.Josh:It's just it's hard to stay excited about these projects when I've literally been building the same thing over and over and over again for eight years. These client libraries, it's either building new ones, in different languages, or rebuilding them when a language changes so much that you need to just completely start with something fresh. And after the 10th rewrite, basically, it's you're just on autopilot. So but there were some fun parts. I definitely learned a lot about JavaScript. I learned TypeScript. So I'm a TypeScript developer now.Starr:Oh, nice. I mean-Ben:So we should give you a raise?Josh:I know right?Starr:... lots of developers do cones and your cone is just writing exception notifiers.Josh:Exactly. Yeah.Ben:Next week, COBOL.Josh:I'll let Starr build the COBOL notifier.Starr:Sure. Yeah.Ben:I mean, if there's a web framework for COBOL and now there's got to be a Honeybadger client, right?Starr:Oh, of course.Josh:Mm-hmm (affirmative).Starr:Of course. I'll get right on that. We'll get right on that.Josh:Where we've react native is coming. We have our next focus and then I really do want to, I say this, and then I'm like, "Oh yeah, well, I'm like, now I want to go all into mobile, all the native platform." So, but I'm not going to build it myself. I'm going to hire some genius developer to just whip it up.Ben:Looking forward to that. And next week we have our conclave.Starr:Oh yeah.Ben:Is that time of the quarter? We'll get to plan stuff.Starr:It is. I'm interested in seeing how it sort of pans out.Ben:Yeah. A lot of exciting planning to do. I think our quarterly action plan is going to be full to the gills this time.Starr:Yeah.Josh:Yeah. Will we be coming up on a year since our last in-person conclave? When is that?Starr:I think so, yeah.Josh:It was this quarter? Because we skipped the one for Q2, right?Ben:Yep.Josh:Yeah. It's been a while.Starr:Yeah. I miss going to the bunker with y'all.Josh:Smiling faces across the table, but there's-Ben:The bank vault yeah.Josh:Yeah. We'll get back there eventually.Starr:Hopefully in six months we'll have vaccines and be able to have our in-person conclave or what? Q3? Q4?Ben:Yep. Yep. It's open.Starr:That would be awesome. Starr:Okay. You have been listening to FounderQuest. Give us a review on Apple podcasts or whatever. And we're always looking for authors. If you're interested in writing for us, we're especially looking for PHP authors and Ruby authors and occasionally JavaScript author, where I'm throwing JavaScript in there to see what happens. Go to our blog at and look for the write for us page link at the top. And it's pretty easy. Just get in touch. 
42:59 01/29/2021
Bitcoin And Honeybadger's Bold Product Roadmap
Show Notes:Links:DitheringStratecheryPromised LandShape UpNational TreasureFull Transcript:Ben:I was looking through our accounts this morning and just doing some database checking and looking at some accounts that had been in our database for like seven years. Like, "Oh yeah. I remember them." And they're like old friends basically. It's like, "Oh, the memories."Josh:Memories.Starr:Yeah. That's funny. Last week I remember, it just hit me in the middle of the week, I was making jokes about our customers and like squeezing blood from turnips. And I just feel like I should point out that those were jokes, specifically because it's kind of absurd that we would do that because we treat our customers maybe too well, I don't know. But I realized not everybody might know me personally and realize I'm joking.Josh:There are those who will too, yeah.Starr:Yeah, yeah. And they go on to run private equity firms.Josh:Right? My thoughts exactly.Ben:Oh dear.Josh:We won't say who.Ben:No names.Starr:Well, we'll name names for our Patreon supporters. They'll get the special feed where we just like dish on everybody.Ben:This is where we announce we're setting up our Patreon for a minimum contribution of $1000 a month.Josh:That's genius.Starr:Oh, my God. Can you imagine? That would be amazing, like all the secret insider backroom knowledge. We have enough to fill up about like 10 minutes of a show.Ben:Well, it could be the FounderQuest extended edition. Right? So in the normal edition we just cover the percentages, but in the extended edition you have real numbers, right?Starr:Oh, there you go.Josh:That's amazing, actually. Yeah. Yeah. I like that.Ben:Yeah. So I don't know if you know of Ben Thompson, he writes Stratechery. It's fantastic.Starr:Wait, say that again?Ben:Stratechery by Ben Thompson.Josh:I was just listening to the daily update today. Catching up on daily updates.Ben:So he started a paid newsletter back before paid newsletters were cool, fantastic writer, good stuff. Talks about tech and legal and all kinds of fun things that we care about. And he and Gruber of Daring Fireball fame recently started a paid podcast. Recently, I mean, it's been a few months, several months now, but it's still kind of new to me. So I subscribed to that as well, and I love their format. It's 15 minutes, no more, no less, three times a week. And they just talk about the stuff that's currently going on, the same kinds of things that you would find at Gruber's site or at Thompson's site. So tech and legal and society and stuff.Josh:Current events.Ben:Yeah. Paid podcasts, man, that's where it's at.Josh:Yeah. It's awesome. Yeah. They basically like just set a timer and then at the end of when it starts to run out, they play this little time running out stopwatch thing and then it just cuts it off. They have to wrap it up or I think it cuts them off mid sentence.Ben:Yeah. They have some tight editing going on.Josh:They're pretty good.Ben:It's fun.Starr:How much does it cost? I'm curious.Josh:$5 a month, I think.Ben:Yeah. I pay annually, so I don't even remember.Starr:Okay, so it's not like a luxury exclusive type product.Josh:No.Ben:It's not super premium like FounderQuest extended edition.Starr:Exactly.Josh:I imagine with their audience, $5 a month adds up.Ben:Yeah, I imagine it does.Starr:Yeah. But ours is SOC 2 compliant.Ben:Right, right. We've got compliance on our side.Josh:The other thing I found interesting about their format or about how they sell it is that they also bundle, like Ben for instance with Stratechery, you can buy Dithering with your Stratechery subscription. And I think it gives you maybe a bundle discount or something slight. And I don't know if Gruber does the same thing or what, but I think...Starr:Dithering? Is that the name of the...Josh:Yeah, Dithering is the name of the podcast.Starr:Oh, okay. I thought you meant like image dithering. I was really confused there for a second.Josh:Yeah. I guess it would help if we told people what the name is. But I thought that was interesting. So you can buy it through their, I don't know what their website is. Just search Dithering. But yeah, you can subscribe there or you can subscribe to both.Ben:Yeah. I have the bundle and it's so worth it. If you're into tech and you're into modern antitrust and things like that, it's totally worth it.Josh:Yeah. Tech and society.Ben:Yep.Josh:We should get him on the pod.Ben:Yeah. That'd be cool. Actually, it was kind of...Josh:That's what the kids say these days.Starr:You know who we should get on this podcast? I've been saying we should get this person on forever. Barack Hussein Obama.Ben:Oh, speaking of, I've been reading his book, his latest book.Starr:Yeah?Ben:That is an excellent book. You should definitely check it out.Starr:What's it called again?Ben:I don't know. I just read it. I don't look at the cover. But it's great. The writing is just top-notch, the man is a genius. Not that I know him or he owes me any favors or anything, it's just, I mean obviously he's well-spoken, I mean he's got good evidence of that over his eight years of his presidency, but just the book is basically a reflection of his experiences leading up to becoming president and that's as far as I've gotten so far, I've gotten to election night, he just won. But the way that he writes, just the conversational style, and the context that he brings into his experiences running for president, it's just a great read.Starr:Well, cool, I'll have to check it out. We had the weirdest madness of crowds thing happen last night in our household. So I'm just going to tell this story, it's not related to FounderQuest. I mean, I guess you could make it a point...Josh:Everything is related.Starr:Yeah. Everything is related. I can tie it back to marketing, like look at this, look at me. So this friend group texted us last night and was like, "Hey, on the down low there's this clinic that has a bunch of COVID vaccine, it's about to expire and you can just go sign up for an appointment there, and because it's about to expire, they just want whoever." Right? And we heard stories about this happening at various places. And we're like, "Okay. I guess this is fine." So we go on and make an appointment and everything. And then about like an hour later, we're just sitting around being like, "This just seems a little weird, right? Like if it's about to expire, how can I make an appointment for next week? It just seems a little off."Starr:And so we started asking around and it turns out that like everybody, so many different people we knew had gotten a special on the lowdown tip from their friends that there was a batch of vaccine about to expire. And then in a parenting group, somebody in DC posted about like, "Hey, have you heard this thing that's going around? There's this batch of vaccine that's about to expire." And so we canceled our appointments and so did everybody else in that group. And so I was thinking about this and to me, this is just a case of just terrible technical communication. Because not only does each state have their own vaccine tiers and whatever, but Washington State's vaccines tiers are just incredibly complex. And they have a big page-long chart and I could barely follow it. And I'm used to looking at big charts. So no normal sane person's actually going to read this whole thing through.Starr:And so you end up with a situation where people just aren't really clear on the rules. It doesn't really seem like the authority in charge is trustworthy because there's apparently all this vaccine that's going to waste. I mean, I guess that's real, I've heard stories and read articles about it. And then the actual tiers are based on an honor system. So you get in this weird situation where you could, in acting in good faith, end up sort of skipping ahead in line and getting something that you really shouldn't be getting right then. And you haven't really necessarily done anything wrong except convince yourself to not really look too hard at the situation. So like I said, we canceled, so we're not line skippers. Although if I'm at Walgreens picking up my prescription one day and the nurse is just like, "Hey, you want to come back here..."Josh:And then some guy in a trench coat opens up his jacket and is like, "I've got vaccines. They're about to expire."Starr:Yeah, I'm just going to follow that man into his van and get my vaccine and then be safe.Josh:Right.Starr:Yeah.Josh:So for any of our listeners, if you're looking for vaccines, they're about to expire.Starr:But tying it back into marketing, I realized that this thing sort of combined a bunch of marketing type techniques, I guess. There's a time limit first, right? It's like, "Okay, this is expiring by Wednesday," or whenever. There's limited quantities, act now. There's like a big sort of discount situation, right? It's like, you don't have to wait, you don't have to go through all this hassle. You can instead just pay this one low, low price and get this delivered right to your door. And oh yeah, there's social stuff. Yeah, there's social stuff, because like, "Well, these people signed up for an appointment, I guess it's okay. Sure."Josh:Wait, so we're describing a scam, right?Starr:I don't know if it's a scam. I think it's just a chain letter situation.Ben:And there was a clear call to action, right?Starr:Yeah. There's a clear call to action.Ben:Like, "Go, sign up here."Starr:And this isn't really a marketing thing, unless you're... Maybe it's like a multi-level marketing thing. I don't know. Because it seems like you have this source of firsthand, or I guess second hand knowledge. It's like, "Okay, our friend who we trust has a good friend who works in a clinic and has this inside information," and that's not how it was, right? That was our sort of assumptions and perception of the situation based on the limited information we had from some text messages.Starr:I mean, that's kind of what it seemed like they were saying, but in fact, nobody really knows exactly where the original thing came from. And the friend who works in the clinic was actually just like; I don't know. It's possible, like they didn't really know. So yeah. It's just so weird. It's so weird to me how we're seeing, it's almost like a run on the bank situation or just this emergent behavior where a bunch of people acting in good faith reasonably create this the stampede, I guess. But fortunately it's easy to cancel, so I guess hopefully no harm done.Ben:Well, the good news is that that many people want the vaccine that that's effective. So that's a good sign.Josh:In Seattle, at least.Starr:Oh yeah. Totally, totally. Yeah. And I mean, the website was not really being super responsive. It was like it was under heavy load, which it took a minute for that to sink in and be like, "Wait a second, why are all these slots booking up so quickly if this is a special, one-time only situation."Ben:And then on the confirmation page, they ask you for your bank login and you're like, "Wait a minute, why do you need my bank login?"Starr:Oh, no. It was a legit, this was from Swedish. It's a legit clinic. Yeah, it's totally a legit clinic. I think it was just, I don't know. I don't know. Or maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I missed my only chance at survival. We'll never know.Ben:I don't know. I'm thinking there must've been something related to Bitcoin in this whole scenario. I had someone the other day like, "Have you seen the price of Bitcoin?" I'm like, "No." They're like, "It's like $30,000." I'm like, "Wow." They said, "You should totally buy some." I was like, "Why?" "Because it's going to go up." I'm like, "You realize you just described a Ponzi scheme." They're like, "But, but..." I'm like, "No, not going to happen."Starr:Yeah. Bitcoin's so shady. Not going to lie, I wish I had mined some Bitcoins back in the day.Ben:Seriously. Seriously. Yeah.Starr:But it's like, if I ever bought Bitcoin, it would be basically like buying a lottery ticket. It's just like, this is just gambling.Ben:Although I do really feel bad for those individuals that had that problem with the Bitcoin wallet where they have lost their password and now they can't get their million dollars.Starr:Oh my God. That would be so devastating.Ben:I know. That would kill me. So maybe it's good that I didn't do that mining, because I probably would've forgotten the password.Josh:You would've lost it.Starr:Totally, yeah. For me because I used same password for like decades until I realized that was incredibly stupid. Yeah. I mean, those people's grandchildren are going to be really sick of hearing about how their... This wallet's going to be passed down for generations, like some treasure chest in Granddad's attic.Josh:Yeah. Like I just imagine like the movies made about; have you ever seen National Treasure?Ben:I was thinking the same thing. National Treasure Three.Josh:It's like the search, digging through the family records to try to figure out what the password might've been.Ben:Totally. Yeah.Ben:It's like, "Oh, where was Grandpa living at this time?" And they go back and they reconstruct, "Oh, it was the barber shop across the street. And his name was such and such."Josh:Yeah.Starr:So I've got a business idea for somebody, it might be a terrible idea. Okay. So we've got all these people with wallets who can't get into them because they don't know the password. I assume it's really expensive at the moment to crack those passwords, right? I imagine it's one of those situations where it would take a lot of computing power working for hundreds of years or whatever to crack it. Maybe in 50 years though, and we'll have quantum computers and it'll be easy. So you just buy people's locked wallets at a steep discount, like for a hundred bucks I'll buy your... Actually, I'll do this. Yeah. 10 bucks I'll buy your unused Bitcoin wallet. I have to figure out how to verify that it's actually a Bitcoin wallet.Josh:I'll sell you mine.Starr:And honor system that's got to have stuff in it, you can't give me an empty one. And then we'll just hold on to these for 50 years until the quantum computing happens and then we'll just open them and Bitcoin will be worth like a million dollars a coin by then because it's only going up.Josh:This is after you freeze your head, right?Starr:Yes.Josh:Okay. I just want to be clear. It might be a while, but we'll get there.Starr:There you go. Totally. I'll memorize the data for all the wallets. Or I don't know, they can stick a zip disc in with my frozen head.Ben:Yeah. Speaking of obsolescence, that'd be my concern, like 50 years from now we've probably moved on to bytecoin.Starr:Oh. We're going to be at 16 coin.Josh:What a nerd.Ben:Coin 64.Starr:Coin 64.Ben:Well, I did something new this week, in my goal of doing new stuff and getting out of my comfort zone a bit to try and grow the business. I put together the beginnings of a roadmap. And it's kind of new for Honeybadger.Josh:Love it.Starr:I like that. This is intriguing.Ben:Yeah, yeah, yeah. We haven't done roadmaps before ever.Josh:Wait, you mean we're going to have a plan?Ben:We're going to have a plan. Well, maybe. So I sat down and put down some notes on things that I thought I'd like to deliver in 2021. And yeah, I think this is actually the farthest out I've ever in detail, thought about plans, and I'm liking this idea, coming up with things I want to get done and actually putting them on the calendar. That was the novel part for me, it's like, "Oh, and when will I schedule this chunk of work? Oh, I can put it there." So we'll see how that goes. It's early days, we're just getting started, but I'm going to give this a good college try this year.Josh:Yeah. Yeah. I want to get back to setting deadlines better and meeting them.Starr:Y'all are on your own. I work like an artist. There's no rush.Ben:I'm going to do something doubly crazy. We never publicize future plans.Starr:Oh yeah?Ben:I'm going to right now reveal one of the items from our roadmap.Starr:Okay, what's one of the items?Ben:We're going to be deploying support for React Native.Starr:What?Ben:In Q1. Yes.Starr:Awesome.Ben:I'm planting my flag in the sand.Starr:There we go.Ben:Yeah. So Kevin's working on something else right now. But scheduled for like February, I think is when I scheduled it, starting February, Josh and I in particular are going to be working on updates to our pipeline that will allow us to process React Native payloads so we can launch that sometime in March, hopefully, but maybe April.Starr:Well, that will be awesome. I look forward to learning more about that.Ben:Yeah. We're excited. Like this has been something that our customers have been asking for for years. So looking forward to having that.Josh:It's our first foray into anything native, I would say. Right?Ben:Yep. Yeah. Yeah. So I wouldn't be too surprised if following on pretty soon after that there are things like native iOS, SDK support and things like that. So stay tuned, see how that goes.Starr:Oh, that sounds awesome. It's like, I think it was good of us to wait until we're sure that mobile is actually here to stay.Josh:For real. We played that one right.Starr:If we would have jumped on this bandwagon back in 2007, that would've just been too soon. Yes. I did something too that was a little bit outside my comfort area this week. So as I'm sure our listeners are tired of hearing, I've been working on blog stuff and having third-party authors do work for us and everything. And it's been about a year since we started this and when I first started out, I didn't know what I was doing, so we were just sort of building things as we went along, figuring out how this all worked. I wasn't really too concerned about what particular types of articles I wanted. I mean, I had an idea and everything, but if somebody proposed an article and it was a little bit different from what I thought, would be fine. I was like, "Okay, sure." Because I wanted to throw some spaghetti at the wall, see what stuck.Starr:And if I had been very particular about those things, it would have just been my guesses. Right? It would have just been my personal opinion. So I didn't really see why I should. I just wanted to keep things open and see what worked. Well, fast forward, record scratch, a year later we have an idea of sort of what has worked and what has worked less well and everything in terms of article topics and everything, but then also in terms of the back end, like what payment methods we can use for people conveniently, where are our real pain points on the administration side of things. And so I had to essentially write a big letter to our authors and be like, "Hey, here's some changes. We are no longer going to be able to pay by certain payment methods. We are limiting our topics to these languages, and stuff like this."Starr:And I was really worried that I was going to get a lot of angry replies, but I haven't gotten any. So I don't know, the thing that made me a little bit nervous about it was that all of our authors that they're still writing for us have done ranging from a good job to an excellent job. And so I don't know, it feels weird to be like, "Okay, we're doing things different through no fault of yours." I don't want to pull the rug out from anybody. I feel a lot of like compassion for people who are maybe, I don't know, expecting their writing for us to continue going in a certain direction, and then maybe it changes. So I don't know, that made me a little bit nervous, but it's worked out so far and I think going forward, I think it's going to be a lot better for the business. It's going to run a lot more smoothly. And hopefully everybody will just be happy and continue writing great content for us.Ben:Nice.Starr:Oh wait, I should mention, another uncomfortable thing that we're going to be doing is we're really hoping to publish some PHP content soon. So if you're a PHP developer and you want to write for us, go to our blog and look for the Write For Us page and get in touch. I'd love to talk to you. Thanks.Josh:Cool.Ben:Yet another bit of uncomfortableness, it's kind of funny. So I had my one-on-one with Kevin this past week and that's not uncomfortable. That's actually kind of fun. I like chatting with Kevin. But the uncomfortable bit is that this year for Kevin is going to be this first annual review, because we started doing annual reviews late last year with Ben, that was our first one ever for Honeybadger. And now our second one and our first one with Kevin.Starr:Oh, I did our first annual review? I didn't know that.Ben:You totally did. Yeah.Starr:I thought you had been doing them.Ben:No, I'm just a good actor.Starr:You just inherently look like you know what you're doing.Ben:I told Kevin, "So next month we're going to have an annual review, not just a normal one-on-one." And I was like, "But don't worry, it's not going to be all that different. We're not going to be doing like virtual trust falls or anything." So yeah, we're growing up as a company. Honeybadger is getting on up there in years.Starr:Annual reviews, roadmaps.Ben:What's next?Josh:I don't like where this is going.Starr:I know, right? Yeah. I got a little room divider from Ikea to put in front of my desk to just create less visual distraction behind me. And I realized it kind of looks like a cubicle. I mean, it's a very nice cubicle, but it's kind of a cube.Ben:Yeah. It's like you give the ferret its freedom and it comes running back to you because it wants the nice warm, cozy... Not that I've ever given a ferret its freedom before.Starr:Yeah, that's strangely specific.Josh:It's okay if you have, Ben.Starr:It's all right.Ben:I've actually never had ferrets, but I had a cousin that had ferrets and they were fun to play with.Josh:I had a roommate who had one once and yeah, they're pretty mischievous little critters.Starr:We're all about rodents. Are badgers rodents? I don't know.Ben:I don't know.Josh:We really should know that.Starr:We should know that. So what have you done that's uncomfortable, Josh?Ben:This podcast episode.Starr:Discomfort.Josh:I'm doing it now.Starr:Yeah. You're existing in this world today.Josh:Yeah, yeah. I don't know. I don't really have an answer for that.Starr:That's fine. I don't want you to be uncomfortable.Josh:I worked on JavaScript this week.Starr:Oh, that counts.Josh:I guess that counts. But the good news actually is that I think I'm ready to ship that project finally and get it off my plate.Starr:Oh, awesome.Josh:Excited about that.Starr:So that's our unified front end and back end together node package.Josh:Yeah. Universal NPM package for browser and node server side JavaScript. So no more splitting the package like two packages, which is handy. I mean, it's also nice, in the process of combining these libraries, I was able to combine the documentation for them as well. Because JavaScript, before we had two sections, one for node and one for browser JavaScript and everything had its own, it was all split up. But since it's both JavaScript, it was really nice to be able to share a lot more. Basically the packages and the documentation, everything can now share a single core or single base.Starr:I'm curious. Could you tell me under the hood how much of the code is shared?Josh:Most of the code is shared actually. So it's like split up, it's a single package. Some people when they do this, they use a monorepo type design, which basically combines a lot of different packages into a single one. So you might have like a core package and then you have an NPM and a browser package that are all separate. But I opted to just build a single package. NPM actually has a feature where you can deliver different entry points based on the environment that is installing the package into your app. So it knows if you're a client side like a browser application, or if you're a server side application, and it gives you the right, basically entry point into the library.Josh:So basically I just have I guess three namespaces, there's core, server and browser. And most of the stuff is in core and then anything that is environment specific; so like in browsers, anything that depends on window, for instance, which will blow up in a node environment, that has to be in the browser package. So all of the window on error integration and other things we instrument, basically it just loads those and then installs them into the core client package and then the server does the same thing.Starr:Awesome. Yeah. I could see it going either way, but it's really interesting that you didn't really split it into multiple packages and then just combine them.Ben:Speaking of shipping stuff, I had this random thought as I was looking at the roadmap and scheduling things and thinking about time cycles and stuff like that. And the random thought I had was, maybe after every thing we ship, after every; I don't want to call it a sprint because we're not doing like capital A agile, but okay. Lowercase sprint. After every cycle that we do, maybe we should just take a vacation. Like three to five days off after every launch.Josh:Yeah. That's not a bad idea. That kind of lines up with the vacation cycle that I had come up with last year, which was basically based on observing my burnout cycle. So I mean it's good, because I usually have the tendency to put off. Like I always start saying, "Really it's about time to take some time off." And then three months later I'm taking time off out of necessity. So yeah, if we had some sort of cycle that actually prevented that and kept us fresh all the time, that would be great.Starr:Yeah. That's an interesting idea. How long are these cycles do you think?Ben:Well, I don't know yet, but I read the Shape Up book from Base Camp and they have six weeks cycles. They try to; well, maybe not, maybe try is the wrong word. I think they're pretty strict about setting their work so that they will not spend more than six weeks on a particular project. That's their appetite. And so I was thinking, "Well, we could shoot for six weeks and see how that goes." And so I've been thinking of these projects in terms of six week timeframes, but I don't know if I want to be particularly strict about that, but that's just kind of where I'm thinking right now.Starr:Yeah, that could be good. I like the idea of that sort of cadence.Ben:Yeah. If you haven't had a chance to read Shape Up, then you should definitely check it out. It's a quick read and it's good stuff in there. Even if you don't follow their; it might be a bit much to call it a methodology, but I think it's a good approach. I like what they've done. Now, we don't have the 50 or 70 people that they have where we split up multiple teams and doing all this kind of stuff. So it may not apply as well to our scenario, our situation, but I like the idea.Josh:We'd be more like a one or a two team company, right?Ben:Right, right.Josh:Yeah. And I guess what we do, we're all designers here. So they pair designers and developers together, right, on each team.Ben:Yeah. That would be pretty awesome to have a full-time designer dedicated person, that would rock.Josh:Our design would get a lot better.Ben:It definitely would.Starr:Yeah. When you say we're all designers, that means that nobody's really a designer.Josh:Yeah. That's what that means.Ben:So we'll see. If this first quarter goes well, then we'll keep doing it.Starr:Well, cool. We can circle back on the podcast and see how it worked out.Ben:Yeah, yeah. But one of the things that's been rolling around in my brain is just what Josh said, it's been coming back to me a lot, is we did a lot of stuff in 2020, but not a lot of things we can really point to, to tell a customer, "Hey, look at this cool new thing." And so I'm now thinking, "Okay, what are some bigger projects that would have a little more visibility that we can get a little more excited about?" And so trying to reign myself in, but I got a bunch of ideas for things I think would be really cool to work on. And so if we can find a cadence that works, then I have I think at least four or five, maybe six projects that we could throw ourselves up.Josh:Nice. I will say, Kevin did some stuff in 2020.Starr:Yeah, he did.Josh:Did we do Actions? Was Actions 2020?Ben:Yeah, yeah.Starr:Yeah.Josh:So he did some cool stuff, he focused on some user facing stuff.Starr:Was dark mode 2020 too? Or was that...Ben:Oh, it might've been.Starr:Oh my God. I'm so old.Ben:We should really do a recap.Starr:I'm like, "Was that this year or was that five years ago? I don't know."Josh:Anyway, I know we did do some things, but yeah. Personally I felt like I was more just filling in everywhere else and that was all.Starr:Yeah, I think Kevin's been maybe working on the most front end feature, or the most customer visible features. Yeah. Personally, I find that with the work I'm doing lately, I feel like at the end of the day, I'll just be like, "Oh, I've got to finish this thing. I've got to stop slacking off and get some real work done." And then it's just like, "Wait a second. I have been working every minute of today." It's just been all like sending emails and doing stuff like that, which doesn't feel like real work somehow. I don't know. I just have to remind myself that like, "Okay, management stuff is actual work. It takes actual time and it's not me slacking off." Like why does my brain do the thing where it's like, "Okay, Starr, you have been being lazy and slacking off all day because you've only been writing emails to people about the work that they're doing." And yeah, it's just such a weird thing.Ben:I guess it's probably some of that developer background mindset. Like if I'm not seeing code getting ready, then work's not getting done.Starr:Yeah. I think so. And because you don't really see any of your... Like with development, you have a very quick feedback cycle. It's like you type some code, you run it, you see it at work. It's like, "Okay, that bit of code has been typed." But with this, it's just like, "Okay, I've just got to nudge this thing over here and we'll see if that works out in a month." And it's so much more vague.Ben:Yep. Well, I think it's going to be a good year.Starr:Yeah, I think so too. Starr:So this has been another wonderful episode of FounderQuest. Yay. If you want to review us, that's awesome. If you're interested in writing for us, especially if you're a PHP developer, just go to our blog at and look for the Write For Us link. And yeah, until then, stay alive, don't go near the Capitol and that's all I got to say.Josh:I'll try not to.Starr:Okay. Yeah, I'm talking to you Josh, especially.Josh:Yeah. I may have bought ballistic armor this week.Starr:Holy... I think we need to stop and clarify something. This is for your hobby of going and being a photo journalist at different protests. You're not actually the person, like...Josh:I'm not engaged in battle.Starr:Yeah. Okay. Thank you.Josh:Against the government.Starr:We can't just say that and then end the podcast. Because that is just...Ben:Mic drop.Starr:Yes. Yes. We are fans of living in the United States of America, this show. We don't want that to change. So all right. Well, see you guys later and see you next week.
34:45 01/22/2021