VideoFizz, Laura Steward and Eric Goeken

Startup Hustle Episode 5 Video Fizz
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Laura Steward and Eric Goeken of VideoFizz join the hustle to tell us about what they do at VideoFizz. Learn a lot about how and when is a good time for your business to pivot.  Additional topics discussed are funding, hiring, how to find a technical co-founder and why Matt Watson can’t seem to win at rock, paper, scissors.

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Matt DeCoursey:
Hello and welcome back for another episode of Startup Hustle with Matt DeCoursey and Matt Watson. Pretty happy to have special guests today. We've got the folks from VideoFizz here, Laura Steward and Eric Goeken. How are you guys doing today?

Laura Steward:
Awesome, thanks for having us.

Eric Goeken:
Very good.

Matt DeCoursey:
Mr. Watson, how are you?

Matt Watson:
Pretty good, man, how are you doing?

Matt DeCoursey:
I'm tired. Tired.

Matt Watson:
You get tired from being up on top of the roof today?

Matt DeCoursey:
Yeah. I didn't really want to talk about it, but I was definitely threatening to jump off the roof earlier. You know why, right?

Matt Watson:
Nope.

Matt DeCoursey:
Because I'm a startup founder.

Matt Watson:
Oh. How about you guys?

Laura Steward:
It's been a roof kind of week for sure.

Matt Watson:
Yeah? Roof or rough?

Laura Steward:
Rough enough to be on the roof kind of week, for sure.

Matt Watson:
Well thanks for coming to join us. Why don't you guys introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about what VideoFizz does?

Laura Steward:
Awesome. Well I'm Laura Steward and I am the CEO and founder, and VideoFizz is a mobile app that aggregates media. We started out as B2C. We're kind of doing a B2B thing, and I'm sure we'll get in to all of the intricacies of that as we talk.

Eric Goeken:
I'm Eric Goeken, the CTO, and have been with Laura now for almost two years.

Laura Steward:
Jesus. Serious?

Eric Goeken:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Laura Steward:
That's so great.

Matt Watson:
We're all in Kansas City. You guys are based in Kansas City, right?

Laura Steward:
Yup.

Matt Watson:
You started about three years ago.

Laura Steward:
Yes.

Matt Watson:
When you started the company three years ago, what was the original problem you were trying to solve at that time? And then I'm going to guess from your reaction that it's not anything like the problem you're trying to solve today or maybe last week even, and that's kind of what it's like to be an entrepreneur.

Matt DeCoursey:
I would also like to give Laura an award. She just bagged to first live swear.

Laura Steward:
I did?

Matt DeCoursey:
Yeah.

Laura Steward:
Did I say shit?

Matt DeCoursey:
Yeah.

Matt Watson:
Shit.

Matt DeCoursey:
Congratulations.

Laura Steward:
Okay.

Matt Watson:
Ooh.

Laura Steward:
Thank you.

Matt DeCoursey:
All right.

Laura Steward:
Thank you. We talked about this beforehand.

Matt DeCoursey:
Sometimes being first is better than any other.

Matt Watson:
You were first to market. Congratulations.

Matt DeCoursey:
Yeah, congratulations.

Laura Steward:
It's going to happen a lot. I'm going to apologize to those sensitive listeners out there. You're on the wrong channel. You're on the wrong channel.

Matt DeCoursey:
I agree. I really like Laura so far. She's got some great insight and vocabulary. Anyway, back to telling us about VideoFizz, tell us a little more about what it does and why you started it, and maybe what problem you were seeking to solve, if any at all.

Laura Steward:
Well, I think we have to start with where I was when I came up with the idea, right? I had managed two companies for GE. I was in cancer genomics. I had a gene sequencing business in Houston, and an oncology clinical trials business in California, and I commuted out of Kansas City. Every Tuesday, I got up at 3:45 in the morning. I flew to California. I spent Tuesday and Wednesday in California. I came back. I did that three weeks out of the month, and then the fourth week, I went to Houston. I'd been doing it about four and a half years, and pretty much in that industry, I'd gone as far as you could go, other than being CEO of one of the GE businesses, which would have required me to move, and I didn't want to do that. You know, we're Kansas City based. We have a lot of family here.

Somewhere along the way, I noticed every time people get sick, they start recording video messages for their family. They always do it when they look like shit and they're half dead, and that's how they want to be remembered to the people that matter most to them. I thought, "What if there was a way that we could capture and create a mechanism for you to have that kind of communication when you're healthy and not sick? It could be consumed by the people you care about throughout your lifecycle as opposed to when you were dying." Does that make sense? You know sort of I was just trying to figure out how do we do that when we're not on our last legs.

Matt DeCoursey:
Did that all revolve around capturing photos or videos or both?

Laura Steward:
It was video messages, right? so almost like video time capsules. The idea was, at the time, I had a preschooler, and he was graduating from preschool. I recorded this message to him that I wanted him to receive when he graduated high school. It did not mean that I was going to be dead when he graduated high school, but I wanted to have this sort of way you could go back and have video of the people that mattered to you sort of speaking to you. As I validated ... You don't see this, but there are bunny ears around validated.

Matt Watson:
We got air quotes. Cool.

Matt DeCoursey:
Air quotes.

Laura Steward:
Air quotes.

Matt DeCoursey:
Verified air quotes.

Laura Steward:
Am I the first air quote?

Matt DeCoursey:
Yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Laura Steward:
Because these are big, frigging air quotes.

Matt DeCoursey:
Yeah.

Laura Steward:
I validated this idea with you know, "Would you want to do that? Would you want to record a message for someone, and they could go and look at it later?" Everyone thought it was a great idea. so I started this company. I had a lot of my own money in it, almost a quarter of a million dollars. It was a platform where you could record messages and leave them to people in sort of a repository that they could then go and get at the time that they were released, sort of like a ATM for video messages. It was called Live On.

That was my first mistake. The name Live On resonated with everybody as, "This is my death message." Right? Like, "This is my message that lives on after I'm dead." I just thought it was a bad-ass name, but obviously, I'm not very-

Matt Watson:
I was going to ask you if you knew anything about Live On. I didn't know that, because I knew one of the employees that was there.

Laura Steward:
Well, I came up with that name on a white board, and then when I went out to buy the domain, it already existed. It existed in a company that was similarly veined, and so I bought that company, right?

Matt Watson:
Okay.

Laura Steward:
Then I shifted it and started making it into the video time capsule business.

Matt Watson:
I knew somebody who was at the other version.

Laura Steward:
At the other-

Matt Watson:
Yeah.

Laura Steward:
Well, I thought Jesus was involved, right?

Matt Watson:
Interesting. He was.

Laura Steward:
I mean I thought this was divine intervention.

Matt Watson:
It was.

Laura Steward:
I'd come up with this name in a group of 12 people, and then we go out to buy the domain name, and it's a company that's for sale, doing something similar to what I'd decided. I thought I was like this was going to be a slam — I almost did the second time — dunk. Beep beep dunk. Spent all my money on it. Had somebody develop the site.

Then I was accepted into this entrepreneurial fellowship program that's here in town. They required me to quit my job in order to be in program. I thought, "You know, if I'm going to do this, I've got to be all in. I'm going to quit my job." I was sick of traveling anyways, but it was very hard to walk away from that amount of money, if you know what I mean.

Matt DeCoursey:
I have a question for you.

Laura Steward:
Yeah.

Matt DeCoursey:
At some point, you have to decide to make this leap of faith. I sometimes say you have to jump and build wings. Now with that, what were some of the things about your business that made you feel comfortable taking that leap from something that was steady and secure, meaning a paycheck, into the world of entrepreneurship, which is certainly not predictable?

Laura Steward:
I was not steady or secure. I was terrified. If I hadn't been forced to by that program — you know, "Make the decision. You're 100% a founder or you're not" — I would have continued to do the paycheck thing and work in the evenings and work when I was traveling. That is a recipe for disaster, because you cannot. You cannot. Founders out there that are still working in your job, it is impossible to give your full energy to both things. This beast requires everything that you have. It absolutely does.

Matt Watson:
You've got to be all in or all out.

Laura Steward:
All in.

Matt DeCoursey:
We've spent some time talking about to in that past, the fact that a little bit of healthy obsession, so with that, when you finally went all in, you probably had to give up a couple of other things. You can't do everything all the time, so what were some of the sacrifices that you made along the way that were worth it or maybe not worth it?

Laura Steward:
Well, I went from managing big teams and having employees and being able to sit in rooms where we talked about ideas and other people's brains were involved to every single thing that happened had to come out of my head. I think I under estimated the toll that that takes on someone, right? When you can't sit and bounce an idea off of somebody, everything you come up with either seems like shit or it seems like it's great. Ah, that's twice. But that was the biggest problem. Then you know-

Matt DeCoursey:
How did you learn how to deal with that, or did you?

Laura Steward:
No, I haven't. That's a daily thing. I mean any time I can get anyone to talk to me about the business, and I can listen to another bit of feedback, whether I act on it or whether I just use it as informative, you take it. Right? That's how Matt and I met. Anytime you can get someone else to look outside of your business and say something about it, it's welcome.

Matt Watson:
Sometimes you just have to take the things under advisement, and they can be terrible ideas.

Laura Steward:
Yeah. Sometimes they're terrible ideas.

Matt Watson:
But sometimes they can be things you never thought of before. Like I had lunch with somebody this week. His biggest struggle ... I think you have the same struggle is building the technology was actually the easiest part of it. It was identifying the go-to-market strategy. "How do I sell this thing? Who do I sell it to? How do I find those people?" is by far the hardest part. As a developer, I've always been the one writing the code, and didn't think much about the business side of it, but you know, especially this second time around with my company, like that part of it is much more clear to me, that that's the big challenge.

But I was having this hard conversation with him about, "You've got to pick. You know, are you going to do this? Are you going to this, or you going to do this?" and your entire business model changes because of those things.

Laura Steward:
In a day.

Matt Watson:
In a day.

Laura Steward:
In a day.

Matt Watson:
For him, he was doing stuff around accounting software. It's like "Do you everything around QuickBooks?" Then you find everybody uses QuickBooks, and you're not going to charge them very much because they don't have a lot of money, or are you going to do something around Oracle Financials? That's a whole different market. Your whole business model changes. The same product, different market. You have sort of the same problem, right? You built it thinking one way, and over time, you've decided to go a completely different direction with your platform, right?

Laura Steward:
Well, I think so. I have to disagree on the what's the hardest part, because for me, I'm a nontechnical founder, so I built it three times. I kept paying people to build it with no way of having rigor around whether or not it was good, whether or not they were qualified, whether or not it was going to work. The first set of 200-plus thousand dollars I spent with an app development company delivered a product that didn't work, so then I had to do it again. You build it the second time and the shit still doesn't work, right?

That's where Eric came into the picture. It's like, "Okay, Laura. You do not possess the ability to have an educated thought process around whether or not it could be a) I'm not communicating what I need in the way that you guys hears it, but you are just wasting time and wasting money. You've got to bring that side of the person into the business so you can move forward." For you, it was probably more the commercial side, which would have been me, and for me, it was definitely the development side, which was Eric.

That was a huge step, because now, I'm responsible for Eric's family. Now I'm responsible for ... You know, I pay Eric more than I pay myself. You know, he's worth every penny of it, but that's a big deal when you're like, "Okay, I don't just have to worry about my own bills. Now I've got to bring a sizable payroll on."

Matt Watson:
Well, I think I would actually argue there's actually a third component to that. You've got the business person that understands the business, hopefully kind of has the vision for the product, right? Then you've got the developer who can write the code. There's actually a huge gap between there. You've got the have somebody in the middle that knows how to translate between there, or otherwise, if you're going to that app-development team, you're like, "Make it do X, Y, and Z." Somebody has to understand why you should do X, Y, Z, and what that means to the product, the technology like.

Laura Steward:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Matt Watson:
That's usually the critical role of like the technical cofounder that's got to have enough experience they can speak both sides.

Matt DeCoursey:
Right.

Matt Watson:
They can speak the business side and the technology side. Those people are hard to find. It's not-

Laura Steward:
Bing. Bing, bing, bing. I found one.

Matt Watson:
Yeah, it's not as easy as just finding somebody who can write code.

Laura Steward:
Yeah, no. No.

Matt Watson:
It's also understanding somebody who can write code, but isn't just following directions like an engineer. Like an engineer, you throw them a hundred-page spec document and they produce it. There's got to be somebody in the middle that knows like what those hundred pages are. Nobody does development that way anyways anymore.

Laura Steward:
Right.

Matt Watson:
It sounds like you found the unicorn. You found Eric over here.

Matt DeCoursey:
I actually have a question for Eric. Eric, what were some of the things that when you came in, you realized needed to be done right away, not at all, or maybe in a real hurry?

Eric Goeken:
I mean I think like every day there's something that has to make that decision. You know, for every dev spec that you get, it's, "Okay, well you told me that I want this, and I want it built in a certain way, so I'm going to go build it in that way." That may take who knows how much amount of time. Being able to have the site and see like, "Well, that's taking too much time. That's not really the important part of this product. We should build it differently or let's change how that feature's built. This is the core piece. Spend your time on that. You know, that's where we need to focus our attention."

I think there was plenty of cases where we would have a feature that we're working on, and then that would be a feature we weren't sure if it was going to be the core piece of functionality, so it was like, "We're testing out something." So then, "Okay, well try it this way." "Oh, that didn't work." "Okay, well then let's change that feature instead of just keep beating our head against the wall until that feature's done," versus sometimes ... You know, we do a lot of video processing. We do video aggregation, edits to video. That's the core piece of our functionality. When we're working on that, it can't be tweaked or altered or hacked in there.

Laura Steward:
But I mean [crosstalk 00:15:01]-

Eric Goeken:
You've got to do it right.

Laura Steward:
The first two weeks of him coming onboard, there were eight things that I had been told were impossible that he implemented. I mean, it was night and day. Things like we, in the product, you can invite other people to submit a video, and we automatically stitch that together. Well, we were downloaded in hundreds of different countries. At that point in time, we were matching you by your phone number, and so we couldn't handle any global customers, because the phone number digit number was different than the USA phone number digit number. I was like, "Can't we do like a code? Can't we do like a five-digit code?" "No, that's impossible." Eric comes in and goes, "Why don't we do a five-digit code?" Bli, and it was done.

Matt Watson:
This reminds me of going on a website, and they're real particular when I type a credit card number if I put dashes in or not.

Matt DeCoursey:
Right.

Matt Watson:
I'm like, "Can't some stupid developer remove the damned dashes?" Come on, [inaudible 00:15:57] right?

Laura Steward:
Yeah.

Matt Watson:
Like you and I get that as developers, but I guess like the other developers don't, right? That's the difference between us. Maybe-

Eric Goeken:
Well, and that's just you get a spec, and they say, "We need a credit card entry field, so type it in this way." "Okay, great. That's what I'll build, and that's what comes out." You've got to get somebody that says, "Oh, wait. We don't need to do it that way. We don't need to tell them to put this in or do ... We'll do it this way instead. It'll be much easier." "Okay, great." You know, you got to know what capabilities are out there and be able to mend the solution to fit something that's better.

Matt Watson:
As the nontechnical people in the room and listening, this is the problem, right? When you're dealing with the app development company that you gave all this money to and didn't get what you want is they can be so literal about these things. They just want to bill their time and bill you. They don't care. Software development's so much more difficult.

Laura Steward:
Here's my favorite question: Is it scalable? Right? Is it scalable? Like I really didn't even know what I meant when I was asking it. I just knew we needed to know that it could handle volume. You get, "Yes. It's scalable. We're on Amazon EC2 servers, and it's infinitely scalable." Then the first big campaign that we ran, we had like 8,000 downloads in a day. I mean I was literally in the office drinking Mimosas thinking, "I have done it. Here. Read the ... I have done it. I'm going to buy an island. It's going to be the best thing ever." Then within an hour, here comes the bing, bing, bing customer service emails. "My video isn't processing. How long does it take? How long does it take?"

I'd hired Eric, and he hadn't started yet, so the first, you know, exposure that Eric got to me was me like, "What's happening, Eric? I want my island." He's like, "Let me see what I can do." What was happening is it was processing videos one at a time. Within just two hours of a campaign, we had more videos than we could ever deliver, and we had to kill it. It was like celebration to absolute despair in a hour and a half period.

Matt DeCoursey:
That sounds like a normal day. That's [crosstalk 00:18:02

Laura Steward:
Normal God-forsaken day. Yeah.

Matt DeCoursey:
Laura, I think, and I'm hoping that what I'm about to say is going to make you feel a little better. I'm impressed that you only had to build it three times.

Laura Steward:
No.

Matt DeCoursey:
I'm being serious about that in a lot of ways. You know, building any platform, whether you're a developer or a nontechnical founder, you're never going to end up with what you started with. It's always getting replaced. It's always doing a lot of stuff. I've had to teach myself a lot of things along the way, as well. You know, there's a steep learning curve, and it's hard try to figure out who might take advantage of you, who might not, you know, what's good, what isn't. It sounds like you found a pretty good match with Eric. When you saw what he did right away, how did that make you feel about the future of your platform and your business?

Laura Steward:
I felt stupid that I hadn't spent the money on the talent earlier, right? I really felt like, "Oh, shit. I just wasted a half a million dollars, and if I'd made this hire earlier, we would be a mile, you know, ahead of where we were." I actually saw it as a deficiency of mine in not pulling in the resource soon enough, if that makes sense.

Matt Watson:
I think the problem most people have is not knowing how to find Eric, right? How did you eventually find Eric? That's ...

Laura Steward:
Oh.

Eric Goeken:
I found her.

Laura Steward:
Yeah, that's what's funny. I was like ...

Matt Watson:
Were you using the product and someone mentioned like, "Fix this shit. What the hell's wrong with it?"

Matt DeCoursey:
She was dying and used the old platform to capture that on the short film. For those of you that visit us on our website, it's startuphustle.xyz. You'll have a picture of all of us. You will see that that's kind of absurd, because Eric is clearly younger than Matt and myself.

Laura Steward:
I am the youngest in the room. Just [crosstalk 00:19:55].

Matt DeCoursey:
Without a doubt.

Matt Watson:
Without a doubt. Yeah.

Matt DeCoursey:
Without a doubt.

Eric Goeken:
There was a guy that did video work for VideoFizz, and was just talking about it, and talking about the tech and talking about all the stuff and how it was built and a little bit of the history of the company. I was like, "Well I should talk to Laura and see if you know like maybe I could help with how that tech is going to get built in the future, just as like a consulting kind of thing." Then that turned into, "Hey, I heard you might need some, you know, an opening."

Laura Steward:
I was trying to play it all cool, so he was in, and I was like, "Oh, yeah. I'll have to have you checked out by some people that I know." He left, and I was like, "Oh my God. Again, Jesus is involved. Jesus has sent me Eric." I'm not religious. I'm sorry, and I apologize to all the people I'm offending right now, but you know I had ... You know, when you are a nontechnical person, and you're trying to find a CTO, the people that were applying were awful.

If you're a tech guy, and you're out of work right now, I mean, it's ... I almost said something really bad right there. Can you edit this? But I mean you've got to be like seriously bad. I thought, "I'll use this thing called Spark Hire," where you have to record an interview. I get to see them and take a look at them. There were guys like in lounge chairs with no shirt in their underwear, and like responding to-

Matt DeCoursey:
Applying for jobs?

Laura Steward:
I'm not kidding you.

Matt Watson:
Wait. You were looking on Tinder for developers?

Eric Goeken:
Hey, hey, hey.

Laura Steward:
It wasn't Tinder, but I mean you go to Indeed, and then you go to all these different places. I had like set up a network of people that I wanted to vet them. I remember I flew this one guy in. I flew him in. I believe he was from Kentucky or something. I picked him up at the airport, and we were meeting downtown at ... What's the bar that's across from Think Big? Whatever.

Eric Goeken:
Oh-

Matt DeCoursey:
I don't know.

Eric Goeken:
Isn't it a strip club?

Matt Watson:
Bulldog?

Laura Steward:
No. Whatever.

Eric Goeken:
That's actually ... Not that I've been there. I just-

Laura Steward:
The Ruins Pub. The Ruins Pub. Plug for KC. Anyway, so we go to the Ruins Pub, and from the drive from the airport to Ruins Pub, this was not going to work, right? I think he had said something about this was a cute app twice, and that he thought that his wife's friends would really like it. I was like, "Okay, this guy has no concept of what I'm talking about. He's offended me four times." We sat down in the bar and he was getting a drink. I opened the laptop and booked his Southwest flight home, and then you know just let him have his beer. I said, "You know, I think I'm just going to take you back. I don't think we need to spend much more time together." That was a waste. I mean that was a waste of a day. That was a waste of flying someone in. That challenge for nontechnical founders who have ideas is really, that's a mountain that getting over that is just gate one. Right? That's just gate one.

Matt DeCoursey:
I think it's actually a good time to talk about a few of the things related to hiring, because that's a tricky game. So you flew someone in from Kentucky. I'm just curious. Had you had multiple conversations with him before that or-

Laura Steward:
[inaudible 00:23:10].

Matt DeCoursey:
Okay. What was different between a phone conversation or a different conversation as opposed to when he's there in front of you? Like what really changed? Was it just the energy or was it that he's now referring to your app as cute or-

Laura Steward:
Yeah. I mean, it was offensive. I think it was he was in a different mode of professionalism when we were on the phone, and then as soon as it turned to ... Because you know I was really open about what I needed and I really did understand the market and the mistakes that I'd made. Then he kind of came in real cocky, and he was like, "Oh, I built this and I built that." He was an asshole. I mean that's how it was. He was great on the phone, and then he was an asshole when you met him in person. It's not like he was my first hire. I mean I've hired hundreds of people in my business.

Matt DeCoursey:
Right. I was going to ask you that. Right.

Laura Steward:
I usually have a good feel for it, but when you're hiring somebody that you can't assess their skill, I can't assess their skill. He could have been the best developer in the world, and I would not have known it. It was a shit show for a while while I was trying to find somebody. This and Eric coming in, you know, you've got to get lucky one of the times. That was one of those times where I just got lucky.

Matt DeCoursey:
Well, even a well-vetted employee is a dice roll a lot of times. Like I always say, "You don't know what kind of a job someone's going to do until they show up how do the job."

Laura Steward:
Yeah.

Matt DeCoursey:
I've had people that I thought in the past were like just someone that was going to change my life and it just fizzled. As far as hiring goes — and I kind of wanted to share this with our listeners — I have a rule. I won't hire you unless I've met with you three times, and you've talked to at least three different people. I've literally pulled my cleaning guy in, and been like, "I need you to talk to this guy or girl and tell me if they're weird or whatever." It's just because your impression of someone can be completely different from the first meeting to the third-

Laura Steward:
For sure.

Matt DeCoursey:
... kind of like what you went through. Some of them may seem great, and "I'm going to love this person," and by the time you're through that third meeting, you're like, "Man, this person's going to wear me down."

Matt Watson:
Well, and that's definitely true if it's a cofounder, right? As you said before, it's easier to get divorced than it is to split up with a cofounder.

Eric Goeken:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Matt DeCoursey:
It is. While we think about that, let's actually take a quick break. Do you guys want to come back and join us for the second half of the show?

Laura Steward:
Awesome. Sure.

Eric Goeken:
Great.

Laura Steward:
Yeah.

Matt DeCoursey:
Okay. We're going to take about a 30-second break so I can talk to Laura about her language.

Laura Steward:
I won't be coming back, apparently.

Speaker 1:
Startup Hustle with Matt DeCoursey and Matt Watson online at startuphustle.xyz will be right back.

Back to the show. Startup Hustle with Matt DeCoursey and Matt Watson online at startuphustle.xyz.

Matt DeCoursey:
And we're back. I've got good news. Laura made it through the break and so did Eric.

Eric Goeken:
Hello.

Matt DeCoursey:
We were talking about a couple of things right now. First off, because I want to have the facts straight, the bar across the street from Think Big is called Bazooka's.

Laura Steward:
No, not that one. No.

Matt DeCoursey:
I have not been there, but one of the advisors for GigaBook is one of the partners at Think Big Partners.

Matt Watson:
Okay.

Matt DeCoursey:
I've been down there several times, and I've often wondered how difficult would this really be?

Eric Goeken:
To work across the street from the strip club?

Matt DeCoursey:
Yes. Yes, just like on a reasonable level.

Matt Watson:
It would be really easy in Missouri, because they're not really strip clubs in Missouri.

Matt DeCoursey:
Okay. We're going to have to have a separate episode about that. I mean, so-

Matt Watson:
Okay. We'll have to test it out. We'll have to test it out.

Matt DeCoursey:
All right. So we were going to talk a little bit about what's a good idea now, what was a good idea and isn't now.

Matt Watson:
That all sounds like a bad idea.

Matt DeCoursey:
It might have, but I think we should talk about it, because a lot of times we have to change our business model. We have to do things different, and sometimes it's because we realize we need to, and sometimes it's because we're forced to do it. I'd like to kind of get back to that. In the first half of the show, we talked about that a little bit. I think it's important, because hanging onto something for too long can be deadly.

I know that I personally ... Matt and I both are admitted entrepreneurs with ADD. That means I've got a pretty big shipyard of unsailed vessels. While ships are a lot safer in the harbor, they are meant to be at sea, but you know, me personally, I'll try 10 things hoping that one works. When you made your pivot, what was the one determining factor that make you want to do that, and how's that going?

Laura Steward:
Well, you know, we talked about Live On, and I went into that accelerator. The first day, I was the oldest person there. I was for sure I would say the most accomplished, having run a couple businesses. I had the most business experience. I walked in, and I was going to be humble, but I don't know that it was true humbleness. I figured I'd be the smartest person there. You know, I walked in-

Matt DeCoursey:
Were you?

Laura Steward:
Hell, no. As we walked around the room, and they wanted to ask us the question on how we validated our business, by the time the third person spoke, I had that, "Oh my god," moment. I didn't validate this businesses, right? I just asked a couple of people who worked for me what they thought of this idea, and now I have sunk a quarter of a million dollars of my own money, and I quit my job. So tears started to roll out of my eyes and I was sitting there at the table wiping one, and putting the mascara on my black skirt, and wiping one and putting the mascara on my black skirt, and trying to make sure that no one could see it. By the time it came around to me, I was like, "I didn't validate my idea, and that is the explanation why no one has used it at all. I did not. I don't know what to do now."

The group kind of talked about it. When we went to the bathroom, I was hysterical in a bathroom stall. I don't mean you know like, "Oh." I was like, ... I called my husband, and I was like, "Oh my god, I've got to get my job back. I've screwed everything." He knows me, and he laughed and was like, "Suck it up and go back in there. It will be fine." As I tried to identify what was wrong with that first business model, and I really asked people, it was like, okay, Live On made them think it was a death message. It was a one-to-one communication, and that was really scary for people. They didn't know when to leave it, and they didn't know what to say. I mean people who had given me money and invested had never made a time capsule. The only person who ever made a time capsule on the earth was me.

Matt DeCoursey:
So not a single person ever used it.

Laura Steward:
Not a single human ever used them. I'm so proud of that.

Matt DeCoursey:
Including your kids.

Laura Steward:
No, hell. They thought it was terrible. I thought they were just brats. So that's how we got to VideoFizz 1.0. Then I'm like, "Okay, if the problem is we don't know when to do it, let's do it for a special occasion, so let's try this for birthdays, graduations, anniversaries. If one-to-one is the problem, let's do it with a group of people, right? So VideoFizz was designed so that multiple people could participate from wherever they were in the world with a video message to somebody, and we would automatically stitch it together and give it to them.

When I validated that, I made a fake one, and I started showing it around. Within two weeks, I had 70 some odd requests, and I was managing over 800 individual files in different Dropbox folders. I had them putting them together in iMovie. I'm like, "Okay, I'm onto something. I've got to automate this process. The videos were hard to email. They were too big to text. There were all these issues that I had to solve, and an app seemed like the way that we could make that easy.

Matt Watson:
You validated all of that and you could have did it without the $250,000?

Laura Steward:
Oh, god, yeah. You know how much? I spent $5.00 on Fiverr to make the animation for this thing, and then I put it together in iMovie, myself.

Matt DeCoursey:
What I think is a little more important is that we invite Laura to our Founders Club.

Matt Watson:
Yeah?

Laura Steward:
Yes. What is that? Do we drink?

Matt DeCoursey:
If you want to. [inaudible 00:31:45]. Matt and I's Founders Club exists only for the purpose of allowing tech startup founders to cry to each other or to drink-

Laura Steward:
I have no more tears. I don't cry anymore.

Matt DeCoursey:
... or if you just want to curl up in the fetal position in the corner and just be left alone-

Laura Steward:
I just go catatonic.

Matt DeCoursey:
... we will not judge, and we will not ... We just won't be judging.

Matt Watson:
You did ask me for a hug, today.

Matt DeCoursey:
I needed one, buddy. I needed one. You know, that could be like a whole series as to why.

Matt Watson:
All right.

Matt DeCoursey:
By the way, I want to point out, Matt would not give me a hug.

Laura Steward:
That's bullshit, Matt.

Eric Goeken:
I'll give you a hug.

Matt DeCoursey:
Thank you.

Laura Steward:
Eric's ...

Matt DeCoursey:
There we go.

Laura Steward:
"What?" Okay, there was a hug.

Eric Goeken:
Hugs, hugs.

Matt DeCoursey:
That was also our first live hug.

Matt Watson:
First live hug.

Matt DeCoursey:
I feel like we're pioneering.

Laura Steward:
There's going to be a lot. This is a pioneer episode.

Matt DeCoursey:
I feel like we're pioneers right now.

Eric Goeken:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Laura Steward:
What else?

Matt DeCoursey:
Do you accept our invitation?

Laura Steward:
I do.

Matt DeCoursey:
Okay.

Laura Steward:
I thank you warmly from the bottom of my heart for inviting me. Thank you.

Matt DeCoursey:
Great.

Matt Watson:
So you made this pivot, and you started doing ...

Laura Steward:
Yeah.

Matt Watson:
You started doing this for birthday videos, all this stuff, and so that sounds much more exciting.

Laura Steward:
It was really exciting.

Matt Watson:
A lot better than death videos.

Laura Steward:
Sorry.

Matt DeCoursey:
I'm wondering ... When I think about that, too, I'm thinking that if you're setting your business up around the product being used by someone that's about to die, how are you going to get repeat business?

Laura Steward:
It was never supposed to be ... See, look, we'll didn't even get past that. It was never supposed to be for someone who was going to die. Damn it. Live On, guys. Shit. We don't ever have to talk about that again. That's one of those things that can just be left in the corner.

Matt Watson:
How did it go with the consumer side of it? What's really exciting to me about that part is it has a big network effect, right?

Laura Steward:
It does.

Matt Watson:
Like everybody has to download the app. They make the video. They send it to all these people, and then all these people learn about what VideoFizz is, and they're like, "Oh, this is cool. I could use this." How did that go?

Laura Steward:
Well, I think it went a lot better than Live On did. I mean people loved the end product, and people were using the product. Once we got the technology solid so that you could invite people ... I mean we still have 100% satisfaction rate for recipients, and we did that with an outside vendor, so people who receive this thing, this VideoFizz, love it. The issue was how to get to the network, the beginning tipping point of consumers. You know, I thought it would be as easy as a few Facebook ads, and we'd get a few hundred people on, and they would grow, and they would grow. In my early models, that's what it looks like, but that's not really the way things work. Those of you who think you're going to advertise on Facebook and the armies are going to come, it doesn't necessarily work like that.

Matt DeCoursey:
It was a skeleton army for you.

Laura Steward:
Hmm. It's a zombie army coming to take all of your money. What happened to us is we have a great product, but the customer acquisition cost is $39.00. So to get a person to pay on Facebook, then to make one in the correct manner, and then invite enough people that we consider it a viral coefficient cost us $39.00. We were charging $9.99 for a subscription, right? If it was a free product, it would be very different. Then your cost to acquire a customer's different. You don't have those gates to go through, but I'm in the Midwest, and when you pitch to people that you've got a product that you're going to go after consumers with, and you're eventually going to get to the network effect, and there's no revenue involved, it's a very quick conversation, right?

Matt DeCoursey:
I think the whole cost of acquisition mystery is something that a lot of founders just grossly underestimate. I mean I was in that same boat through probably every business that I've ever bought an ad for. I think one of the mistakes you can make is if just 10% of people that needed this would use it, I'd get my island and my jet and all this stuff. The thing is, it's just like that's a pipe dream. Like that's it. That's so ...

Laura Steward:
Those are like the steps of learning this process, right? I mean I laugh at the things that I didn't know two years ago, and I fear the things that I will know two years from now, because if I were to do this again, and this is why serial entrepreneur are revered and loved and funded, is that you understand those mistakes along the way. It doesn't mean you shouldn't make them and you shouldn't learn from them, but you've got to learn quickly. You can't just keep staying so stuck in your own ego that you can't move past the data that's in front of you.

Matt Watson:
So true story. My last business was Successfully Sold It. Never could have told you what our customer acquisition costs were.

Laura Steward:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Matt Watson:
We didn't even do advertising.

Matt DeCoursey:
Right.

Matt Watson:
It was a whole different model, right? It was completely different. We did cold calling, and we knew how many phone calls you had to make, but never thought about it like ... Because we didn't do online advertising, so like cost per click, cost per acquisition like from that perspective, never even thought about it.

Matt DeCoursey:
It's-

Laura Steward:
B2B?

Matt Watson:
It was B2B.

Laura Steward:
Yeah, there's a big difference between B2B and B2C. You know the next iteration of what we're doing now is B2B, and that CAC or customer acquisition cost is completely different. The revenue model is completely different. You know, it's not where we started. It's nothing like where we started, but it's a viable business now.

Matt Watson:
So tell you more about that.

Laura Steward:
I still love the consumer piece. It's still a great product. You know, there's a part of my heart that just doesn't want to let that go, because I know it works, but without a channel partner or a strategic partnership that has millions of users already to expose it to, we can't grow. So what we noticed is that there were people who were using our free video stitching piece of the app for businesses. Specifically, we saw real estate agents that were taking a video of a house, putting three or four pictures in of a house, and creating this stitched video set to music. I was like, "What the hell is that?" You know, "What is this?"

So I went and I was just doing some market research. I went and talked to an acquaintance of mine, thinking he was a real estate agent, and said, "You know, this is how people are using my app. What do your agents do and how would they use this?" It turned out he was the CEO of an 8,500 person real estate agency. I didn't really do my due diligence on who he was. We were just having a talk over coffee. He was like, "I want that. Can you make that for me?"

Within two weeks and such little tweaks ... You know, we moved the Happy Birthday animation out of the beginning, and it became the United Real Estate logo. Instead of you putting the name Tom in, you put your agent name and contact information, and the video stitching worked. We solved a problem for agents who were going home at night and trying to put their movies together themselves in iMovie or paying production companies $400 to go out and create something we could do in minutes with our tech with no changes.

Matt DeCoursey:
I'd like to issue you a challenge, Mr. Watson. I'd like to do a roshambo, and the loser has to do a music video with VideoFizz for the Startup Hustle YouTube channel.

Laura Steward:
Yes.

Matt Watson:
All right. All right. I'll do it.

Matt DeCoursey:
This is a one-out-of-one battle.

Matt Watson:
I'm only going to do it because I've lost every single roshambo. It's got to be my chance to win. I know those statistics aren't actually true, but ready?

Matt DeCoursey:
Ready? Tie. Wait. Stop. Stop.

Laura Steward:
That was two papers. Go.

Matt Watson:
Two papers.

Laura Steward:
I shall ... Two rock. Two rocks. Come on. Be individuals.

Matt Watson:
[inaudible 00:39:25] Oh.

Matt DeCoursey:
DeCoursey wins again. Make sure to turn in to the Startup Hustle YouTube channel where Matt is ... What are you ...

Matt Watson:
I'm not recording this video at Bazooka's. That's for sure.

Matt DeCoursey:
Okay, look. I think we should do another one to see who has to pick the song.

Laura Steward:
Well it doesn't work that way.

Matt DeCoursey:
If you win, you can pick the song. If not I'll pick it.

Matt Watson:
Let's just Laura pick.

Laura Steward:
I'll pick the song. I'll pick the song, and it'll be something already in the app.

Matt DeCoursey:
Actually, I think we should do a user poll. I think all four people here should pick a song, and let's let the visitors vote at the startuphustle.xyz website.

Matt Watson:
All right.

Matt DeCoursey:
I'm going to go with Carly Rae Jepson's — what's that song — Hello, Maybe.

Matt Watson:
All right. Ooh.

Matt DeCoursey:
Yeah.

Laura Steward:
Ooh.

Eric Goeken:
I'm going with Staying Alive.

Matt DeCoursey:
Okay.

Laura Steward:
I'm going to need a second. Ooh, Kajagoogoo, Too Shy.

Matt Watson:
I know even know what that is, [crosstalk 00:40:15] but I hope it wins.

Laura Steward:
It's a bad '80s song, and it'll be epic.

Matt Watson:
The only dance I really know is the one from the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, so I'm going to go with that song.

Matt DeCoursey:
Okay.

Eric Goeken:
Nice.

Laura Steward:
Sweet.

Matt DeCoursey:
You're lucky that you didn't lose a bet that you had to recreate the barn dance from Footloose or something like that-

Matt Watson:
Right.

Matt DeCoursey:
... which we'll keep that in there, so [crosstalk 00:40:33]. I think that our listeners will have a good time watching Matt's music video. I think you have a very bright future in music.

Matt Watson:
All right. [crosstalk 00:40:40].

Matt DeCoursey:
Laura, how can we get more information about VideoFizz? Where can we download the app, and let everyone know where they can film their own music video.

Laura Steward:
Well, you know, first of all, you can't film your own music video with VideoFizz-

Matt DeCoursey:
What?

Laura Steward:
... so it's going to be difficult. What we're doing now is auto-branding for small businesses and real estate, and of course if your parents are having their 50th anniversary, you can absolutely download in either the Apple Store or in Google Play. You can go to our website: www.videofizz.com, and by next week, there'll be a For Enterprises button that will allow you create auto-branded videos. So anything that you post socially can have your logo, your contact information, and you can do it on the fly. We think that's pretty bad-ass and is going to help a lot of businesses.

Matt DeCoursey:
Actually for those of you listening, by the time you hear this, it will be live.

Laura Steward:
Yeah, that's true. That's true. We're in a week delay? Whoa.

Matt DeCoursey:
Maybe. It just depends how long it's going to take Matt to get his act together for the audio.

Eric Goeken:
Oh.

Matt DeCoursey:
As we close this out, I actually would like to give each of you the opportunity to ask one of us a question.

Eric Goeken:
Mmm.

Laura Steward:
That's a good one.

Matt DeCoursey:
This was completely unscripted, much like our entire show.

Laura Steward:
Do you want to go first, Eric?

Eric Goeken:
No.

Laura Steward:
You don't? Oh, I do. I for sure do. Okay, so raising money. Everybody who's listening to this is raising money or in some stage of raising or needing money. How did you handle the absolute despair that that puts you in? I mean, legitimately asking people for money is like begging for food on the street even if you feel like your product is great. I couldn't hate it any worse. Why are you laughing? They're both just like looking at each other and laughing.

Matt DeCoursey:
I'm laughing because it's either episode — was it two — that literally titled Raising Money Sucks, or something like that, and then I think there-

Laura Steward:
Prostituting yourself for fundraising. I'm going to write a book. I will write a book, and it will be called the ... I can't say that out loud. Nevermind. I had to edit that.

Matt Watson:
Have you raised some capital?

Laura Steward:
I have. I've raised a million and a half. I'm raising again, right now. It's the worst thing in the world, so those of you who are doing it, it's never easy. It's never fun. It's always a balance between what you actually need, what you can get, and bringing the right people into your company and screw it up, and you'll be sorry forever. So it's like one of the most challenging things I think you do in your business.

Matt DeCoursey:
I disagree with some of that. I hear a lot of entrepreneurs talking about raising money as if they've fully sold their soul to the devil, and I think Matt, on some level's in agreement with me about the fact that there is a good time to raise capital, and that's at that time where it's going to just put jet fuel on the fire for you.

Laura Steward:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Matt DeCoursey:
Now you don't always have the option of, "Hey, I'm not going to raise money." I personally haven't done it, but I started going into the process, and it's like you said. I hate it.

Laura Steward:
He hasn't done it. I no longer am listening.

Matt DeCoursey:
Well, that's not the case. I have. I go out. I'm like, "Oh." I just get so frustrated, and then I just start writing checks.

Laura Steward:
Okay. Okay, Matt.

Matt Watson:
Just so [crosstalk 00:44:19].

Matt DeCoursey:
Well, yeah. I think you know something about that as well, sir.

Matt Watson:
Yeah. Well, so for my first business, we never raised any outside capital at all. One of our friends gave us a hundred grand once when we needed it to make payroll, and that's like really the only investor we ever have besides our own VISA and MasterCards. For Stackify, my business now, I've been able to fund it all up until recently. We're getting ready to close our first outside funding round from mostly just angels.

Laura Steward:
Yeah.

Matt Watson:
I had a few angels that were invest like a hundred grand. I had one that's going to invest half a million dollars. They were just individuals. We're at that stage now where it's more about putting fuel on the fire, so you know, it's a lot easier to know what we're going to do with the money. We have a predictable growth, a model and business and all this-

Laura Steward:
You know that's not how it goes for most people, right?

Matt Watson:
Well, it's easy to raise capital at the stage we're in now. Right?

Laura Steward:
Right.

Matt Watson:
It's so much harder at that idea stage of like, "Oh, I want to create videos to do this, and I think people might buy it, but I'm not really sure."

Laura Steward:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Matt Watson:
Where my company is now, like we know to the nth degree like who our customers are, what they look like, what they feel like, how we find them. We know all of those things, so it's easier to scale that. You have to get to that stage. Then that's the really, really hard part is getting to that point. Like to your question. Like, "Oh, we know that it costs $39.00 to get a new customer." Well you had to probably spend a whole lot of money to figure that out, right?

Laura Steward:
Yeah.

Matt Watson:
That's the hard part is trying to convince somebody to give you the money to figure that out.

Laura Steward:
Yeah.

Matt DeCoursey:
Matt, let me ask a question on behalf of our audience, because you sold a company for 150 million bucks, okay? That's a pretty good day for all of us. That's what we're all trying to do. Why are you raising money?

Matt Watson:
Well, first of all, I didn't own all of that company.

Matt DeCoursey:
I understand.

Matt Watson:
I owned a good amount of it, but you know, I've invested a lot of money in my business to this point, and people do ask this question a lot. Part of it was trying to put some other people's money to work, and being able to bring in some outside board members, and things like that. We're actually getting some kind of incredible board members, advisors, and things that we didn't have, which is good. I mean I have still invested ... Like 90% of the money that's been invested has still come from me.

Originally, probably kind of like you, like I went into this thinking like, "Oh, I'm going to invest a couple hundred grand and I'll get through the seed stage of it. I'll figure it out, and then I'll go raise some money." Well for me, that ended up being millions of dollars later. That just goes to show how hard this is. It's so much harder. Even though I had the capital to do it, it was still incredibly hard, but we were just burning capital month after month after month after month for years trying to figure it out.

Laura Steward:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Matt DeCoursey:
And you-

Matt Watson:
Made a lot of mistakes and burning money along the way.

Matt DeCoursey:
While we're on the subject, too, it wasn't super easy at the beginning for you.

Matt Watson:
No. Hell, no. Even though I've done this before, it wasn't easy.

Matt DeCoursey:
Yeah, and I think that that's good for all of us to have a little validation there that even some of the most seasoned and successful entrepreneurs that have businesses in advanced stages can still, well first off, hate that whole process of it, but have difficulty with it. I think it wasn't that it was necessarily difficult. I think to was probably just-

Matt Watson:
The thing is, as an entrepreneur, you don't know what you don't know.

Laura Steward:
Right.

Matt Watson:
Right? With my first company, as I mentioned, we didn't do online advertising. Like back then, I didn't know Facebook was even a thing when we started, right? Like it was just a completely different business model. How we sold the product, all that was different. Then today, my current business is completely different. Like I have customers in over 50 different countries. I've got a whole different host of issues and problems and the business model is just ... Every time is different. Every time is different. Now to your point earlier, now I understand things like cost for acquisition. What is CAC? What's my CAC to LTD ratio?

Laura Steward:
Right.

Matt Watson:
I didn't know any of those things.

Laura Steward:
No.

Matt Watson:
But now when I sit down with another person, those are the things I try and educate them on. I'm like, "Okay, you can build a product. That's cool, but what is your customer acquisition cost going to be? Have you validated the idea? How do you find these people? Those are the things as an early entrepreneur you don't know. That's why you had that moment you know you mentioned earlier about crying in the bathroom.

Laura Steward:
Yeah.

Matt Watson:
The things you just don't know. You don't know what you don't know.

Laura Steward:
But you know, here's what I say about that. It was really embarrassing at the time, but I could have tried to ride that out for two more years, right? and just tried to make it work. It was cry in the bathroom, flush the toilet, go back in, have a little bit of red eye, and then figure out how you're going to solve it. Somebody listening to this did not validate their business and is not been listening since that part. All they're thinking is, "Oh my god, some of my friends told me this is a good idea, and I don't know why it's not working." It doesn't mean it's the end. It means you've got to literally sit down and put your plan together on how you're going to figure out what you didn't do already.

You know, when you talk to people who've done this now ... The first thing I always say, because now you know I've raised a little bit of money, and I'm in my third year now, so that makes me kind of a dinosaur if you can make it to your third year a lot of times. People want to come and have coffee with me, and they want to talk to me about how I raised that money. The first thing I always ask them is, "How did you validate your business?" You know, that's the first question.

Matt Watson:
Right.

Laura Steward:
Generally, it never goes farther than that, right? They have to go back, and they have to go validate it. I would say that two out of the 10 people the to I talk to take the time to go and do that. The other eight just think I'm mean, and never come back.

Matt Watson:
I don't remember what the exact stat is, but I think it's something like 90% of companies never make it past year five.

Laura Steward:
Yeah.

Matt Watson:
I think that's the big hurdle is getting that far.

Laura Steward:
Ooh, two more years.

Matt Watson:
You're on the way, right?

Laura Steward:
We can do it. We can do it, Eric. We can do it.

Matt DeCoursey:
We're going to have a fifth-year GigaBook party in May.

Matt Watson:
Yeah?

Matt DeCoursey:
Yeah.

Matt Watson:
Well, Stackify is, we're finishing out our sixth year. I feel like we're there. We're past those hurdles. Like we're good, but maybe not.

Eric Goeken:
Actually part of my question.

Matt Watson:
All right.

Eric Goeken:
What-

Laura Steward:
Oh, you came up with one.

Eric Goeken:
Yeah, I got my question.

Laura Steward:
Yeah.

Eric Goeken:
What's some advice for growing a company once you've kind of made it past some of those early stage milestones?

Matt DeCoursey:
Do you have my business plan that I posted earlier on Facebook?

Eric Goeken:
Oh yeah. It's like-

Matt DeCoursey:
It's a pretty genius plan.

Eric Goeken:
Yeah. I don't know if I can find it that quickly.

Matt DeCoursey:
We can probably share that.

Laura Steward:
So this was bro down [bowin 00:50:42]?

Matt DeCoursey:
The startup, cashout, sellout, bro down, repeat.

Eric Goeken:
And buy a bigger jet.

Matt DeCoursey:
And buy a bigger jet, and an island.

Matt Watson:
Yeah, so too, I think the answer to your question is kind of the real tip and takeaway of this whole show is you have to understand your customer. It's important at the very first time, like validating an idea, but it is still important. Like at Stackify, we're six year into this. I've got 600 customers in 50 countries. We're making money. We've raised capital. The still number one important thing to our business is understanding our customers, understanding what they want, how they use our product, what they'll pay for it. It's understanding the market, and who we're trying to sell our product to.

I spend a lot of time these days talking to Gartner, talking to our customers, trying to understand the market. What is the market doing, and how do we service that market? Because the dynamics of it continue to change, right? Like what Stackify does today is not what Stackify did six years ago, and it continues to change. We're sitting here. Like I had a management meeting, today, and we're talking about, "Well, what are we doing in 2018?" We're talking about big changes that will continue to evolve the business. Part of my job as the CEO is to talk to customers in Gartner and the industry about that growth and how we continue to adapt and evolve. It's a never-ending thing.

Laura Steward:
We said the same thing this morning. We were actually talking to a customer this morning, and we hung up the phone. We said, "It is strange that the people who have issues that you talk to and you have to solve end up being the most important customer," because a) you have an opportunity to give them customer service, right? We really excel at that. I mean she was like, "Your customer service is amazing." We just look at that as an opportunity to figure out what it was that was wrong for her. That's so worth gold. It seems like a problem at the time when you get something on your customer service line, but at least one person who experienced it called. The other nine didn't. They just left.

Matt Watson:
You're right.

Laura Steward:
They just left.

Matt DeCoursey:
Yeah, [crosstalk 00:52:45]. At least you got that.

Matt Watson:
The point of contact.

Eric Goeken:
The point of contact. At least you got that.

Matt Watson:
That's what I say all the time. For every one person that tells you, there's probably 10 more that didn't.

Matt DeCoursey:
Or a hundred [crosstalk 00:52:51].

Matt Watson:
You're really lucky that the one dd.

Laura Steward:
That the one person did, yeah.

Matt Watson:
That's one of the hard things is kind of having the Spidey senses of knowing like, "Okay, is this person just complaining. Is this a real problem?" But all that customer feedback is gold. You're absolutely right.

Laura Steward:
I think my response to your question, Eric, is very similar to Matt's. The advice would be get past the whole feature thing.

Eric Goeken:
Yeah.

Laura Steward:
People don't buy a feature. They buy the benefits that the features provide.

Matt Watson:
They're trying to solve a problem.

Eric Goeken:
Yeah.

Matt DeCoursey:
If you've been listening to this series, you've heard me say this multiple times, because I'm very adamant about it. I think that so many people in sales and business and just in life, they're ... You know, go to Best Buy and ask them about the camera that you're looking at. They list a bunch of stuff that you don't even care about. "Is this going to take clear pictures of my kids and do it inside?" or whatever. Like that's all that matters to me, and if someone just literally quit naming features, and told me how it's going to benefit me. Is it going to save me money? Is it going to make me money? Is it going to make me feel cool. Is it going to [crosstalk 00:53:55].

Laura Steward:
Simon Fenwich, right?

Matt DeCoursey:
You know the thing for us at GigaBook, we thought people were really going to be excited to revolutionize their business and to run it a tighter ship. Wrong. They were happy that they got their life back. Like they didn't care about the business being efficient. The number one thing that people say to us is like, "I'm so ... I got like 15 hours a week back. Like wow."

Matt Watson:
One of the challenges that entrepreneurs have is describing what their business is and what they do. You've got to be able to explain the problem you solve, and it's got to be simple. Actually, for Stackify, that's been a hard thing actually over years of time. I think just now, we've sort of figured it out. So for us, it's like, "We help software developers validate that they do a software deployment and it works." That's what we do. Forget all the technical jargon. That's the problem we solve. For you, you help small businesses get their time back. For you, you're helping real estate agents and like what is the problem you solve?

Laura Steward:
I mean, time weeks ago, it was, "We make it easy to create group video greetings for any occasion," right? That's what it literally was three weeks ago. So as we're sitting here trying to come up with how do we smoothly articulate that next piece into businesses, it's like, "We allow you to auto-brand video on the go." For a real estate agent, it's different applications. Understanding that and being able to verbalize that has so many layers underneath it of, "Do you understand who you're talking to, and what they're using it for?"

I mean, we're in a little bit of a flux, because we've had such a major shift in utility in the past few weeks, but we also found people who pay. Because what we used to be charging was 9.99 for a year, and now people are paying us $12.00 a month, and they're thrilled to do it. Right? They're like, like you said, "It's given me my life back. I don't have to go, at the end of the day, and sit down for my flower shop, and put my logo in the corner of iMovie and take my content, and then try and feed it into Dropbox, and then drop it into Facebook." That all happens inside our app. Maybe I'll be back on another episode when that will be short enough to put on a T-shirt, but right now, it's under construction.

Matt DeCoursey:
So as we finalize this episode, I do want — and we've been talking about price and value — I do want to again encourage you to go to the Startup Hustle YouTube channel where completely ad-free, you can witness Matt Watson with his debut music video that you can vote on. You folks get to pick what Matt is going to perform. Apparently we can't do that through VideoFizz, but we're going to figure out how.

Laura Steward:
I'm pretty sure we can do that.

Matt DeCoursey:
We're going to figure out how. I'm going to call Eric.

Laura Steward:
Somehow, I know Eric can make it happen.

Matt DeCoursey:
I'm going to need your contact information after this. Anyway, if you get a chance, go to Facebook. Search startuphustle xyz. We'd like to have you join the hustle along with us. It's a community built by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. Laura and Eric, I want to thank both of you for your time. We know that's valuable.

Eric Goeken:
You're welcome.

Laura Steward:
Thanks for having us. Thanks to the listeners. You guys, stay frosty. Keep at it. You're not alone.

Matt Watson:
All right. Thank you.

Matt DeCoursey:
See you next time.

Laura Steward:
Bye-bye.

VideoFizz on Startup Hustle