Episode 56 | Updates on AuditShark and HitTail
[00:00] Mike: This is Startups for the Rest of Us, Episode 56.
[00:11] Mike: Welcome to Startups for the Rest of Us, the podcast that helps developers be awesome at launching software products, whether you’ve built your first product or you’re just thinking about it. I’m Mike.
[00:19] Rob: And I’m Rob.
[00:20] Mike: And we’re here to share our experiences to help you avoid the same mistakes we’ve made. What’s going on, Rob?
[00:24] Rob: I am excited to be back recording again, knowing that we’re actually gonna publish this thing in a week or two. We got so far ahead of ourselves that I’ve had all the stuff to say. There’s been this big agenda building up whether it’s updates for my products or just people, you know, asking us questions on Twitter that they wanted to address on the podcast that I now have this huge bulleted list of stuff and so — I mean, it’s almost been — aside from the business software episode, we haven’t recorded in almost two months.
[00:51] Mike: Mm-hmm.
[00:52] Rob: Mm-hmm. That’s all he can give me.
[00:55] Mike: That’s the only response I could come up with. I’m on short notice here. Mm-hmm.
[00:58] Rob: Nice. I did notice that in our outline, I think I have like 17 bullets, and yours is none.
[01:05] Mike: Yes, well, you know, I lost power this past weekend so, you know, pretty much everything my world has come to a crash and halt. I just got power back yesterday. So it kind of sucked.
[01:18] Rob: Well, like for four days?
[01:19] Mike: Yeah.
[01:20] Rob: That’s brutal, man. I’ve actually have this neck problem, shoulder problem that has kept my productivity severely hampered for almost a month. I really haven’t posted in my blog. I’m having trouble just typing at all. And I’ve been to the chiropractor and, you know, it’s a neck thing ultimately but it’s kind of jacking up my shoulder, the muscles there. And so as of yesterday, I now have a standing desk.
[01:44] Mike: Really.
[01:45] Rob: Yeah. And this is on the recommendation of a chiropractor and, you know, it’s this big movement right now, right, in the tech world. My dad worked in construction and the construction tailors they always have drafting tables which were standing. And he said, yeah, it just keeps you from sitting down all the time which really is not good for us.
[02:02] So I was entertaining the idea of buying a full standing desk. There’s an expensive one but what I’ve heard is one of the best at geekdesk.com and I kept panning back and forth. It’s like 800 bucks plus shipping which wasn’t the end of the world but I have a really nice desk at home that I already like and I don’t really have room for another desk.
[02:20] So instead on the recommendation of a friend, I got ergotron.com. If you go there, it’s just a workstation which is like this big piece of metal that like clamps on the front of the desk and you can mount a monitor and a laptop and a keyboard and a mouse. So I have basically a two-monitor set up going ’cause my laptop is one of them. You can just push it and it goes up or you drop it down and you can sit when you want to.
[02:46] Of course, my legs are sore from standing, you know, last couple of days. But this one was only, gosh, I think it was about 385 bucks. I actually got it on Amazon with prime shipping overnight for 4 bucks. Yeah.
[02:58] Mike: I love that $4 thing.
[03:00] Rob: You know, when I’m buying like low and stuff, it doesn’t make sense but, man, you spent 400 bucks and this thing was a ton. So it’s like 4 bucks for overnight totally. It’s an interesting experiment. Everyone who I’ve talked to who’s done standing desks just swears by them now. You know, they love them and you don’t stand all the time, right? You can go up and down depending on when your legs get tired and stuff. But it just helps to change positions and still be able to work. It is a trip to — I mean, like writing code and writing blog post standing up is very weird.
[03:29] Mike: Yeah. I don’t think I could do that. And I think that’s more because I kind of have the opposite issue where if I’m standing for too long then I have problems and you seem like you’re the other end of the spectrum where if you’re not standing, you have problems.
[03:41] Rob: And that’s weird. Remember I was calling you Darth Vader — this is a suffer ’cause you have the “them” thing. It was like a box that was stimulating your nerves so that –
[03:50] Mike: Oh, yeah. It’s called the TENS unit. If you have muscle problems, you can get a TENS unit. And what a TENS unit does is you put these little pads on either side of the muscle that’s giving you problems. If I remember correctly, my understanding is that it sends electrical signals through the pads and essentially interrupts the pain signals that go to your brain.
[04:08] I mean, don’t get me wrong, it can hurt in that area if you jack it up too high. I only put it on 30% power and if I go to 32 or 33, it really starts to hurt. I’ve talked to people who’ve said, oh, yeah, I put mine in 100. I’m like, I don’t know how you do that.
[04:25] Rob: Yeah, that’s crazy.
[04:29] Rob: Basically, this is the first episode of what we’re gonna call our update episodes where the content is not our typical actionable, instructional stuff. It’s more about updating on the status of our products, what we’ve been working on. We’ve gotten feedback from several people who said they wanted to hear more of that. And since we’ve only been releasing every other week basically every other week, we’ll be on normal format. And then every other week in between, we’ll be kind of an update format that could be shorter. They could be 10 or 15 minutes if we don’t have a lot to update on. Or, frankly they could be a full length if, you know, we just have a lot going on.
[05:03] And I’m sure it’ll lead us down interesting paths. I think there’ll be minimal outlines, so it’ll be a more fluid conversation and it’ll be a lot more focused on what we’ve been working on probably with AuditShark and HitTail and potentially, you know, stiffer blogging about or something like that.
[05:18] This is the first one. So if you’re listening to this and you think, well, I wanted some actionable stuff to play to my app, I don’t know. You can wait around but I wouldn’t guarantee it in an episode like this. We do have, gosh, I think I seriously have like 8 or 10 bullet points here in this outline now that are pretty interesting so stick around.
[05:36] Rob: I listen back to our part one and part two of how we left our jobs and I realized that several times in my story I kept saying I’m risk-averse. And I’ve realized that I might have overstated that, that I’ve kind of realized over the years that I don’t like taking big risks but the more I thought about it, the more I thought I’m not actually risk-averse, I just never wanted to bet so much that it would ruin me since some entrepreneurs do that and I guess since some do and I don’t, I’ve been saying kind of in my own head like, yeah, I’m risk-averse ’cause I’m not willing to basically go bankrupt or to go 100 grand in debt to launch my app.
[06:09] And I guess I just wanted to kind of clarify that. It’s not that I don’t take risks, I definitely would — you know, I’ve risked frankly years of nights and weekends working on stuff. I mean, that’s a risk on to itself and I have risked big chunks of money but it’s money that I essentially can afford to lose. That if I lose it, I don’t lose the house. It’s money that I’ve built up for this kind of purpose.
[06:28] And I think one thing that made me realized it and I was listening to Richard Branson’s book called Business Stripped Bare. I mean, it’s decent. You know, not much applicable for me but one of the points in it, he says that he cashed it — he doesn’t use the term risk-averse but he basically said that he would never bet more than he could afford to lose even with his company.
[06:45] Like his record company was making $10 million a year and he was gonna make this big leap and start like producing artists but he couldn’t bet the company on it and so he had to take it slower and in essence he was kind of saying, yeah, I was risk-averse in the sense that I never wanted a loss to ruin me. And he talks about launching Virgin Air as well doing the same thing. But I’ve been kind mulling that over the last few weeks.
[07:09] Mike: That’s interesting. I hadn’t read that book so I didn’t know how to back up behind it. But I mean it makes sense. I mean, if you have spent all this time and effort building up a business. I mean, you don’t want to risk it all on something that could very well be a pipe dream. It’s not to say that you haven’t done your research or anything behind it but you don’t wanna put all of your eggs in that basket and then have somebody dumped it on you. I mean, there are things that can happen that are completely beyond your control.
[07:36] And even though you may think that you got all your ducks on a row, there are things that just come out of left field and there’s nothing you can do about them. There’s no way you could have foreseen them or change them. You know, like for example, me losing power this weekend. I figured I might lose power but I didn’t realize the extent of it. There’s things you just can’t necessarily plan completely for.
[07:54] Rob: Yeah, and that’s a good point. I think even experienced entrepreneurs, it’s like the more experience you get, the more you –
[08:00] Mike: The more afraid you are.
[08:01] Rob: Yeah. Because you realized that no matter how good you are at the stuff at launching companies, building products, whatever it is, your success rate is still 50-50. You know, if you get really good, are you one in three, one in two? I mean, I think Branson would say that like he launched — I’m trying to think what their failures were. I think maybe Virgin Cola was a failure and I think they have a couple of others. And he’s really damned good at it. And same thing with you and I, we talked about our failures all the time. Even after you’ve had your first success, you don’t necessarily have the string of successes then. I mean, some of them still fail even though you know “know what you’re doing at that point.”
[08:35] Mike: Well, that’s what — honestly, that’s what bugs me about these people who are out there and like, oh, you don’t learn anything from your failures and we don’t make mistakes and it’s like, well, you know, that’s a lot of crap. I mean, everybody makes mistakes and everybody goes through those times where you try something out and it either completely bombs or just does not work out the way that you thought it would and you have to adjust on the fly in order to make things work.
[08:57] And there are times when as I said something comes out of the left field and there’s just no way you’re gonna be able to make it work so you have to be able to — and I hate this word — where you have to pivot to be able to do something else and make things go your way or even just abandon that path completely ’cause you can’t always make it work.
[09:14] Rob: Right.
[09:17] Rob: We got a cool shoutout from english.stackexchange.com. I’m sure everyone’s listening to this podcast knows what Stack Exchange is. Well, it is a network of question and answer sites. And so the English One is English language and usage. And someone asked, well, could the link in the show — but basically someone asked the question, “What does the phrase for the rest of us mean?”
[09:40] I’m coming across this one a lot recently. I Googled to find its meaning but with no luck. For example, from Startups for the Rest of Us and it links over to our website. He has a phrase — it’s our intro, right? Welcome to Startups for the Rest of Us, the podcast that helps developers be awesome at launching software products. I just thought that was cool. Then there’s, yeah, there’s a question and good answer. “For the rest of us” in the context of the above webpages indicates that the author has found other resources explaining what they’re explaining. It can also mean in layman’s term, for the common man, for the average Joe, that kind of stuff.
[10:10] So I thought that was a pretty — not only interesting that, you know, it came upon Google obviously. So it’s kind of neat to see it on the Stack Exchange site but like for the rest of us, I guess I’d always thought that that’s what it meant, right? It’s like for those of us who aren’t doing the mainstream VC funded thing that everyone kind of talks about in the media, right? And what the media talks about it and then we’re doing it for the rest of us, the rest of us who can’t move to Silicon Valley, raise a bunch of funding, you know, work long hours for lower salaries and hopes of stock options panning out.
[10:40] Mike: That’s exactly what I was — I kind of intended by it. I mean, I remember getting the domain name a long time ago and I remember thinking at the time, I’m not quite sure what I’ll use this for but then I just kind of threw it out there and say, hey, what about we use this for the podcast because I had it laying around and I’m like, I wasn’t quite sure what I was gonna do with it. I was thinking of actually using it for a blog or something like that but it really kind of fit in with the podcast.
[11:05] Rob: Yeah, totally. Speaking of the podcast, you and I were just talking the podcast is now pumping 500 gigs of bandwidth per month so that’s half a terabyte for those who’re calculating. That’s just all episodes, you know, whether we have 56 every episode downloaded on October was amounted to about half a terabyte. And if we averaged 35 Megs per episode which is probably a decent average, that’s about 15,000 episodes downloads last month so that’s cool. We’re also up to 49 ratings in iTunes and we really wanna thank people for that.
[11:37] Mike: 59.
[11:38] Rob: Yup, 59. It helps tremendously, you know, to grow our audience as well just give us motivation to keep doing the podcast. We also got several new reviews. We wanna thank James Montgomery, Fast Alana, KCDStine and Chris Yo for commenting in October. Oh, here’s a cool one. Look it actually mentions –
[11:56] Mike: And D112345, don’t forget him.
[12:01] Rob: Are you making that up?
[12:02] Mike: No, I’m serious.
[12:03] Rob: All right.
[12:04] Mike: October 4th.
[12:05] Rob: One guy, actually James Montgomery says, “I’m still on the Hamster wheel but these guys are helping me map my way to the escape hatch. Keep up the great work.” So that’s cool. I won’t read all of them but there’s some actually really complimentary reviews and we wanna thank folks for doing that.
[12:19] Mike: You mentioned earlier the question about the previous podcast. I actually — if you go to StartupsfortheRestofUs.com and you look at the episode 54 and look at the comments in there, I just got absolutely slammed on my –
[12:33] Rob: Oh, you did.
[12:34] Mike: — my consideration of offering phone support for AuditShark at some point in limited phone support ’cause obviously I said I’ve been toiling with the idea of offering phone support only on a couple of days or joining certain hours kind of like office hours. And we actually got a couple of people who called — two different people who called in within hours of when the podcast went live, wasn’t it? It’s like two calls and then three or four comments, you know, right away.
[12:58] Rob: People are all over it, yeah. This was our most contingent issue ever I think.
[13:04] Mike: Yeah, which is kind of bizarre I think. I think people got the wrong impression about what AuditShark is really meant for because people were really saying you can’t offer no phone support for an enterprise level product and AuditShark is not an enterprise level product. It’s basically the idea of taking an enterprise product and repositioning it for the small business.
[13:24] I have absolutely no intentions of selling it into the enterprise. It’s just not meant for that. Could I do it? I probably could but I have no intentions of going that route because there are other products that are positioned there. So what better way to take an existing product or an idea and grow it than to build something that does kind of the same thing and then just simply reposition it for the small business? I mean, there’s lots of products out there that have done that sort of thing.
[13:50] Rob: Yeah. I actually, you know, when I was at BOS, I was talking — I was sitting next Ruben Gomez of Bidsketch and he actually mentioned it at one point during one of the talks, one of the speakers brought up. Bringing an enterprise product essentially down to the masses, the smaller and medium size businesses is a great strategy if you can pull it off. And Ruben turned to me and he said, that’s a pretty good market opportunity to just look at what enterprise products are out there now that there is not essentially, you know, a SAS version like that $99 a month version of that and could you pull it off as a $49.99, $1.99 version.
[14:26] Mike: Or even just an equivalent in the small business. I mean, if you look at — I’ll use backup software because lots of people will go out and look for backup software for the enterprise and there’s these massive solutions that, you know, they’re designed to handle terabytes of information and be able to back them up on a daily basis. And if you run them — if you just run them, the numbers, the mathematics on, okay, well, how much data can you pump over a gigabyte connection, you know, per hour.
[14:51] It turns out that it’s actually kind of a difficult problem to solve once you start scaling but if you turn that into a SAS product and you target it at smaller businesses and say, look, I can give you, you know, backups or remote backups online for fraction of the cost because some of those products, they cost like $1,000 per server that you wanna backup which is absurd but these enterprise level companies will charge that because they can get away with it. You know, if Ruben kind of have that idea that’s definitely a great strategy. I mean, that’s kind of what I did with AuditShark and you can definitely apply it to a lot of other businesses.
[15:27] Rob: Yeah, and I think to get back to the like the listener comments, they were thinking you’re going after enterprise but I would still contend that you figuring after banks because you’re talking about going after small banks, right, to start with. I would say that having no phones support is gonna be better than like 4 or 5 hours a week than essentially having office hour phone support. My guess is they’re gonna look at office hour phone support as being a detriment, kind of like, oh, this guy is a small company. He can’t pull off a full phone support, you know so he’s doing this halfway. The more I thought about if after like really listening to the episode, the more I kind of wanted to express at.
[16:04] Mike: I forget why I even got the idea from it but I remember since then I was on the GinzaMetrics website and they actually have a pricing plan for I think it’s their highest level plan and as part of the support package, it says the founder’s cellphone number or something like that.
[16:21] Rob: Yup, it’s like the CEO cell number. Yeah, I think that’s a great thing. I’ve toyed with putting that in HitTail’s thing but I didn’t — but yeah I think that’s really cool. Yeah, it’s an expensive plan, you know. I think it’s several hundred bucks a month for that one.
[16:33] Mike: Oh, it’s like $2,000 a month or something like that.
[16:34] Rob: Oh, is it?
[16:35] Mike: Yeah. It was not cheap at all. Mine’s priced a little differently where that is based on levels whereas mine is based on per number of computers you have so I suppose I could just say if you’re the largest customer, you get my cellphone number but it’s not like I can take somebody’s cellphone number back, you know.
[16:51] Rob: But you could offer premium support too. You can offer premium support and you could do it with the Google voice number so they don’t get your actual number. And then if they call and they don’t have premium support obviously you can filter them out or whatever.
[17:03] Mike: Yeah. I think right you’re there. Just go on without a phone number of any kind. It’s probably the better way to go.
[17:07] Rob: You’re gonna be better off at least until, you know, they start saying why don’t you have phone support. We won’t buy if you don’t have phone support. Then obviously think about doing it –
[17:15] Mike: Yeah.
[17:15] Rob: — if you wanted some monetary. But I almost feel like I wanna get into hearing a little more about what’s going on with you on AuditShark. I’m gonna try to stay away from getting too technical ’cause I don’t think that our audience really cares about that stuff, right? I don’t wanna talk about — I’m not gonna talk too much about languages or new libraries or anything I’m using. I’m gonna be talking more about the events that are happening and maybe more marketing and just kind of entrepreneurial topics. I guess nothing’s new in the last week because you’ve been down for 4 days but you know, it’s been –
[17:48] Mike: No, that’s not true. That’s not necessarily true ’cause last week was the business and software conference and that was from Monday to Wednesday. And then Thursday and Friday, I actually got a lot of work done ’cause I didn’t lose power until Saturday.
[18:01] Rob: So then where are you? And let this be a warning to you, I am channeling Ted right now. So you better just — you better just come. You better bring it.
[18:09] Mike: Bring it, okay.
[18:10] Rob: Yup. Why haven’t you launched?
[18:11] Mike: ‘Cause I didn’t have power, that’s why.
[18:13] Rob: That’s why you didn’t launch? You’re not excused. What could you have done to get around not having power?
[18:18] Mike: I could have bought a generator.
[18:19] Rob: Yeah, exact –
[18:20] Mike: Unfortunately, they’re all gone. And you needed — and in order to run your computers off of a generator, you actually need to have — I forget what they’re called but they basically smooth out the power.
[18:30] Rob: Power cleaner and inverter.
[18:31] Mike: Yeah, something like that. I forget what it is.
[18:34] Rob: Anyways, let’s not go down that rabbit hole but well, yes. So what’s going on? How close are you to launching and selling? How close are you to selling to your first customer? That’s actually what I wanna hear.
[18:43] Mike: You know, I could probably be ready to sell to a customer today. I have to go through and make sure that certain things are correct. But between Thursday and Friday, I mean, Ted kind of booted me in the tail and really made me think about what needed to be done and what sort of hurdles I needed to overcome before I could start selling it. And I spend Thursday and Friday addressing those things.
[19:06] So between Thursday and Friday, I finished redoing some of the things on our built server so I can essentially click a few buttons or actually just click one button and it will check out all of my code, recompile it, put in the latest configurations that are for the production system, push everything out to Usher using you know, power shell and then reconfigure all the Usher services so that they are targeted for my particular deployment and then make it live.
[19:35] I mean, I actually had it live for several hours while I was just doing testing and I got all the SSL certificates working as well. That was something else that I had — I knew would probably be — I thought it would be pretty straightforward but it was actually quite a bit more work than I thought it would be just because the web services that I’m using on the back end but I got through that.
[19:54] At this point I could actually probably start selling it. As I’d mentioned to Ted, there’s some things that I don’t have right now which I don’t really need to have in order to get my first customer and there’s one issue that I would need to overcome in order to sign out a second customer but theoretically I could start selling it today.
[20:12] Rob: And so are you gonna make a sales call this week?
[20:15] Mike: I was going to try this week and then some things got in the way in terms of my schedule so I don’t actually have time to try and make a sales call for probably another couple of weeks. But in the meantime, I’ll be able to work on hammering out those last couple of issues. But I can certainly try maybe pet tapping to my e-mail list that I set up a while ago to see if there’s anyone who’s interested in signing on and trying to work through it.
[20:39] Rob: All right. So it sounds like you’re there except for you don’t have time to make sales calls. So that’s interesting then. It’s gonna require obviously to get this thing going since it isn’t just, you know, find me on the internet and buy my $29 product using your credit card while I’m sleeping product. Your first sale actually is gonna hinge on you. It’s gonna be high touch, you’re enough to visit in person and that essentially means you need to have the time to be able to do that in your schedule. Like you need to almost start scheduling that as part of your time.
[21:09] Mike: Sort of, but not necessarily. I’ve been tracking my rankings in Google for various search terms and I’ve actually been doing fairly well. I’m ranked on the first page for I think two or three different search terms. And then on the second page for probably two or three more. And the one would be really, really nice to have is compliance software and I’m finally ranked in Google for it. I’m unfortunately on the 28th page but I’m ranked.
[21:33] Rob: Yeah, yeah. You’ll get there. I mean, that will take 6 to 12 months I would guess even if you’re hitting hard.
[21:38] Mike: Right.
[21:39] Rob: This is just so generic, you know.
[21:40] Mike: Yeah.
[21:41] Rob: But so you can rank in Google for this stuff but I still think you’re not gonna sell $1,000 a month order over the internet. I think you’re gonna have to probably talk to someone on the phone. I mean, jeez, for DotNetInvoice we actually wind up doing at least medium touch sale where people will e-mail us before they’ll buy. Or I’ll have to talk to them on the phone. So I’d imagine that that’s almost gonna have to be a necessity. Do you have that –
[22:02] Mike: I’m not sure we’ll be though because I think DotNetInvoice is a little bit different in that you have to buy it in order for you to actually try and install it in your environment. With mine, you can — I mean, you get a 30-day trial for it and I’m not gonna charge you until after those 30 days are up so you can sign up for an account, you’ll be able to, you know, install that one window service in your environment and then try the software without talking to anybody.
[22:28] Rob: Got it, right. If people are finding your site right now, are they downloading it? Do you have the download available? Is it downloadable and usable or is that the part that’s not –
[22:36] Mike: That’s the part — I haven’t put that stuff live yet.
[22:39] Rob: Got it.
[22:40] Mike: But again, I can only support one customer at the moment because the way certain things are configured, there’s — which there’s nothing I can do about it so I want that for sale to be more of a high touch thing so — but people are coming to my site and they are signing up for the e-mail list.
[22:55] Rob: Okay.
[22:56] Mike: So I’m gonna probably tapped into that e-mail list either later this week or early next week and just put some feelers out there and say, hey, this product is — I don’t wanna say beta ready but I can say it’s basically live and then see who is willing to give it a shot and then work through any issues they have and just kind of do it as a one on one basis for each of them.
[23:16] Rob: Right. Okay.
[23:17] Mike: Just to, you know, one on one e-mail discussions instead of just a blanket, hey, this product is live instead of using MailChimp to actually just send them an e-mail. I’ll just go grab their e-mail address and send them a direct e-mail and said, hey, you know, this product is ready. Just want to let you know and by the way, if you’d like some help, I can walk you through it. And then just see what kind of responses I get.
[23:35] Rob: Right. And then in terms of the high touch with the in-person sale you’re gonna make, you kind of have first sale in mind. Were you looking at what, a week out or two weeks out from that?
[23:43] Mike: Probably at least a week if not two. Probably two weeks, yeah.
[23:47] Rob: So maybe two podcasts from now. That’s the next update podcast. You should either have done it or be ready to do it that week. Okay.
[23:58] Rob: Well, cool. I’m gonna move on to HitTail updates. It’s been a couple of months, right, since we’ve updated. And I have been working a lot on this thing. I’ve been — although I’ve had the shoulder issue where it backed me off for about 3 or 4 weeks, before that I worked for the designer. I get a new marketing site design that I’m very pleased with. And I went high end on this one. Either if it’s really cheap I go with the WordPress theme and then if it’s kind of a mid-range, I have a design for my use offshore and they’re good, not out of this world but they’re very good value for the price. And this one I went way high end with the friend of a friend who, you know, is here in the States and he’s just a fantastic designer but he’s very expensive.
[24:35] But as a result I’m just super happy with the design and then I got the HTML, CSS created. I was gonna go with the recommended contractor but she was booked out almost a month. And so I went with PSD2HTML.com. I don’t know if you’ve used them before but they turned out some really solid stuff. I was very impressed with the work. I actually had the designer look it over just to make sure I looked right and he’s like, wow, these guys did a fantastic job. So that URL is PSD2HTML.com. A lot of people probably heard of them but I never realized it’s just getting so freak and complicated, the CSS stuff you can do now.
[00:25:09] And all the options that they have when, you know, in building the stuff out. I mean, it was like, there’s — it’s like mobile compatibility, IE6 compatibility, you want CSS 2, CSS 3, CSS — it was like 2.2, 2.3, all the stuff. I seriously just placed the order, I had to do research. Like it took me an hour to place this thing in order because I — you know, I really just want some PSDs turned into HTML but there’s so many options, so many ways you can SEO optimized it and then, of course, that takes longer so it’s more expensive to do that. But once I got it back, it is fantastic, very impressed with their markup and I don’t know if I just got a really good guy or what. But it took them about 8 days. They also get some jQuery. I mean, they kind of did what I needed to get done and they did it quickly.
[25:52] So now it’s in the hands of developer who I hired on oDesk and he’s an ASP developer, ASP and ASP.net ’cause that’s what the site is written in. And so he’s now integrating it into the marketing site, and marketing sites couple hundred pages so it’s gonna take him a few weeks to kind of get everything working. And then once I push that live, man, I have this 11-page marketing plan that I’ve put together and I don’t want to execute on it yet besides it already gets a decent trunk of traffic. It already gets, you know, several trials a day. But at this point I don’t want to start pushing traffic to it ’cause the site looks like crap and it’s not gonna convert, the funnel is not optimized, you know. I got — I wanna get that stuff down, so that it’ll not send in traffic into this leaky funnel.
[26:32] Mike: Oh, I have a question about it though. How are you going to verify that your new design is actually not a leaky funnel as well?
[26:39] Rob: I am gonna do a split test on some of the pages. The new design doesn’t look like the old one so it’s kind of hard, you know, it’s kind of hard to just split test because it’s a pretty dramatic difference from one to the other but I know right now I can kind of watch people just drop off and wander off, you know, looking at Analytics. I know that the form, it’s all rules of thumb, right? It’s like the registration farm is like 15 form fields and the pricing is confusing. It’s not well presented. There’s a bunch of different lengths. There’s just so many things that take people out of the — kind of out of the flow. And the new design doesn’t have that but it’s purely based on experience at this point because it hasn’t been tested.
[27:18] So what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna role it out, well, first I’m just gonna look at how the conversions go based on — I already have the existing number and just take a peak of what the new numbers are and that’s obviously not a true A/B test because, you know, it’s gonna be different traffic, right? It’s gonna be like the last 3 months versus the next month or whatever. So it’s not the same traffic being split, however, I mean, I really can’t do what I’d like to do which is a page by page split test because it would just jar people too much that I think it would ruin the split test.
[27:48] Mike: Yeah, definitely.
[27:49] Rob: You know, ’cause they look different. So yeah. And then I’m gonna look — I’m gonna do traditional. I’m gonna do it as if it’s a normal site, right? As if it’s a brand new website where you roll it out and you watch it, channel it, you could crazy egg and you, you know, watch people baling, watch the high bounds rates and then really pound when people start a trial, then you actually contact them, you know. You send them an e-mail and say, hey, you’re in the middle of the trial and see you haven’t installed the code if that’s the problem.
[28:15] Mike: Right.
[28:15] Rob: It’s not — that is happening as of last night. So I just got that code live that actually e-mails people during their trial. Otherwise, they would just sign up and they would never hear from us again.
[28:26] Mike: Here’s my chance for a hard hitting question. When are you gonna change the copyright notice from 2008 and 2009 on the footer?
[29:00] There’s like 7 CSS files just in the root so as a result you have like two, three hundred files in your root and it’s just a big mass. Also, yeah, they didn’t use service that includes or they kind of wrote their own. I’m not sure why did they did but they did it. It’s kind of confusing. I understand it, but it’s not worth explaining. They just didn’t use this traditional include this footer thing. And as a result I can’t go one place; I have to go to 250 places to replace anything in the footer basically. Anyways, I think the — a couple of the big wins that I’ve gotten over the past couple of months is one — trials now actually end after 30 days and they didn’t use to. I have people when I pick this up, there were — have been on trials for like two years.
[29:42] Mike: Have they been using it the whole time?
[29:44] Rob: Yeah. Some of them have, yeah. Yup, and it just — you know, there was no Cron, there was no script running that ended trials after 30 days. In addition, there were no e-mails being sent during the trial. So again, people could just wander off and they did. So now I’m actually looking in the database saying do they have any referrals coming in and then sending the appropriate e-mail based on what they have installed and how many suggestions they have and stuff.
[30:08] So other than that, man, I mean, my hope is that by the next time we talked about this stuff, that I’m close. I don’t think the new marketing site will be up just ’cause there’s so much to do. Well, you know, I know it won’t be up because I’m not gonna roll it before I can redesign the app because the app is so — again, it’d be jarring to be cruising to this marketing site and then go to the old app design. So the app is being redesigned right now. I just got the final kind of one page design today and now we’re gonna start on the other page. So I do think it’ll be about a month until this is all done but once it’s done I’m gonna turn on the faucet and try to get traffic.
[30:45] Mike: I’ll make sure I bet on you and make you commit to that month then.
[30:48] Rob: Yeah, yeah.
[30:52] Rob: I think we’re about at time, Mike, for this episode. We saw up several kinds of shoutouts and some questions and other stuff to talk about but certainly we can cover them in the next episode.
[31:03] Mike: Yeah, definitely.
[31:04] Rob: If you have a question or comment for us, you can call it into our voicemail number at 888-801-9690 or you can e-mail it to us at Questions@StartupsfortheRestofUs.com. Our theme music is an excerpt from We’re Outta Control by MoOt used under creative comments. Please consider writing a review in iTunes by searching for startups and then you can subscribe to this podcast in iTunes or via RSS, StartupsfortheRestofUs.com. A full transcript is available at our website StartupsfortheRestofUs.com. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next time.