The One Question to Ask as a Product Owner

Colin and Brent discuss continuing to improve what we do best and building out our team of contractors.

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Colin: [00:00:00] Hello. And welcome back. This is Colin Keeley

Brent: [00:00:02] And I'm Brent Sanders.

Colin: [00:00:04] and we are two guys buying and building wonderful internet companies. So one of our wonderful internet companies blink sale. So we kicked off migrations this week. How'd that go? Brent?

Brent: [00:00:13] Yep. Pretty good. Good. Yeah. So we ran into a couple issues with some of these  so to back up, we have two versions of our product. We've talked about this in some prior episodes is we have a. Like ten-year-old code base. That's running. And we still have a lot of customers on it. And we have maybe what two year old code base that's shiny new has all the bells and whistles is great, has everything you'd want from a code and performance perspective.

But ,  we need to get all of our customers moved over at both apps or at feature parody. They do the same thing. They one has a different design. And yeah, so we, we have a way to migrate them, move them over to the new system and it's been pretty smooth, and so the risk here is nobody's really touched the, these scripts for probably eight, nine months.

No, one's been migrated and, but it worked really well. I had never  I did a dry run with a couple and after. Reading the script and understanding what it did and how it would work. It's pretty expansive. Like it, it does move a lot of data and how it does it. It's pretty robust. And so lots of credit to the prior developers, it worked well.

We did run into some issues ,  for one of our customers that has. Again, 10 years of track record and we're trying to debug that one. So some people are caught up and then, we need to get our credit cards migrated. So everybody could be a clickable, but the one curve ball that we just got some feedback on today is one person asked to go back, right?

So one person asked, we migrated them. We basically competent, interstitial up and we. We have a growing list of every day, we get two to three people asking, Hey, I want to be on the new, which is great. And so one person, yeah, I asked and they, again, they, again, another 10 year old client and they, after a day where I'm not feeling it, can I go back and said, sure, that's fine.

We send it right back. And I just said, Hey, can you give us some feedback as to. What you thought. And I haven't gone through it in great detail because it was quite extensive, which I so appreciate someone to take the time, but if I, you read it right. And in short it was aesthetic, it was like, I just don't like the look and feel of this site.

It feels awkward and weird.

Colin: [00:02:15] Yeah, it's the interface and the way it looks ,  it's not the features at all. So it's funny. So we inherited this product, we bought it, we had all these ideas for like amazing new features that we're going to add. Yeah. And so before we started doing that, we talked about, polling, our customers, existing customers.

So I wanted to do. Yeah, I've gone through so many of these like product feedback forums that are really extensive and people don't fill them out. So I just wanted to ask one simple question. So I asked what's the most annoying thing about blink sale, and I did this to the top a hundred customers on the new version.

So in Stripe, it's easy to export all emails based on current subscribers that have paid the most. And we got, I would say 30

questions or so they're all like really thoughtful and it made me smile just seeing not the quantity of the responses as much as like the granularity and like how picky people were.

So a lot of really small and valuable changes. And the big ones. We're not like any of the big features we were, we're actually thinking of it. Wasn't time-tracking integrations. It wasn't price, which assumed people would bitch about the price. So that's probably an indicator that we'd probably raise it at some point.

It wasn't like support was lacking since we stopped answering the phones. It was almost all around little things and design ACH, and then dashboard. We're like the two big themes.

Brent: [00:03:42] Yeah, which is great. I was so relieved. I, I, we to add some reference. We were thinking we needed a time tracking and all these other features, but for our customers, they didn't go with us because they wouldn't have used blink cell. If they, I think we talked about this before, but they wouldn't use this product if they needed time tracking.

And like, why would you sign up for something that doesn't have it and then wish it did. So I think it was a interesting lesson in context. It's Oh, your customers that you have that you've had at your top 100. They don't really care about this stuff that you're lacking. If we want to get more customers, I think adding those features are still important, but this first phase we want to make our current customers happy.

We want to make sure we cut churn. So addressing these things, it was all a list of very like easy. I shouldn't say easy. It was just minor stuff that we can address pretty quickly. And I think that'll. Go a long way to say, Hey, we asked, we heard here's what we're in. Then, our next change log that we have having a bunch of that stuff knocked off the list and deployed.

I think that'll be killer.

Colin: [00:04:42] Yeah, it's interesting. So just like when I first saw the site ,  in the product, my first impression was like, Oh, this design like kind of sucks. It's hard to figure out, the features are killer. This really solves a problem for people. And then we moved away from it. We like, I don't know, got bigger eyes, like all the different potential, segments we could go into.

And it's, this is like a good reminder to, focus on what you do best and just really nail that. And then you could think about expanding.

Brent: [00:05:05] I still think the first feature, once we get through that list, the first feature we should tackle is accepting Bitcoin. I think there's something to that, or at least like converting cash to Bitcoin. So integrating like Coinbase connect or something  I I think that would be great for marketing.

Converting your hard earned invoices to a highly volatile currency is probably not a great idea. So I don't know if we want to do it, but I do think that there are a lot of people that. Want to leg into cryptocurrency and, doing it through their invoices, especially when it's something that's going up regularly is probably really popular.

Colin: [00:05:36] it's pretty clearly a trend. Like I've been sending you these tweets as they come through my feed and more and more people are saying how they are being asked to, pay in cryptocurrency Bitcoin or ye or something, or just be able to receive it. Yeah, I, that to me is less of a question of like our current customers, but an obvious way to market and kind of expand our customer base.

Brent: [00:05:57] yeah. That's killer. Yeah, it was. I mean that, this is part of. The luxury of, I shouldn't say luxury, but the fun part of buying a business versus starting a business is you have all these opinions and you have all this momentum kind of already picked up, which is really nice, frankly, to  get going.

So rather than us, when we were working on avocado, which starting at customer number one, you have one opinion and you build towards that, and then you start to get three to four opinions, and then you're working on building momentum and it, you have less, you have more choices, but in a certain respect you have like less ,  of ,  like a good reason to do certain things.

And it becomes almost like analysis paralysis versus, okay, you got a couple hundred customers that are. Having these opinions and here's generally what you're hearing. So you just, as a much more secure place to make changes from.

Colin: [00:06:47] Yeah. And so I was just going through all his emails, my categorizing them, and then adding them to cello. So that was probably like 30, like high-quality tickets to add that like good little twist to add and, fixing some point in the future.

Brent: [00:07:02] Yeah. And then on the dev side, we're building out our team. So we've got our slowly working through ,  we talked to some agencies, we talked to some individuals. I want to build a small team, one person on the front end, one person on the backend. And as well as myself, I want to be involved in coding.

However, I just don't have a ton of time and I don't want to be the one. Slowing things down because I get pulled into meetings for either another business or another project or whatever else. So excited to, I think we'll be kicking off this next week with some actual development. In start, I'd love to get on a cadence of like once a month for sending an email or every two weeks sending an email like, Hey, here's, what's new.

And  let us know how you're doing and just, I think we can win our customers over a little bit with. Letting them know we're human, letting them know we're people and like introducing ourselves over time. I think sending that email was great. I think the what's the most annoying thing.

It's such a great, like elegant, succinct way to ask, like what can we do better? What's a pain point for you? And lets you know that you're, it has a little like tinge of humor to it by using the term annoying. I feel like you're just letting them know that you're human.

Colin: [00:08:12] Yeah. Threw some emojis in there. So it's pretty clear, I'm hip I'm with it.

Brent: [00:08:18] Yeah. Hello, fellow children. Yeah. It's it's good. On the dev side, I'm excited to, to start pushing ,  I have been, the code base set for, I think, eight to 10 months or so. So I've ,  this week updated all the. Old libraries  we had 40 open pull requests of stuff that was, gets auto, created, closed a lot of those.

I think it's down to 21, but they keep getting created. Cause more stuff gets out of data, our dependencies. So just getting things into a healthier state ,  moving something, some of our. We're going to move off circle CEI and onto Amazon because we have credit there. So hired somebody to do that and he just finished it up.

So excited to start cutting down on some costs as well, moving our, some of our things to our sort of appliances over to Amazon and yeah, just making it easier to push. Cause I think this is one of those code bases and I don't want to get too technical, but it's it takes 20 to. Or 20 to 25 minutes to push a build.

And if you remember on avocado, I'd like, make a change, push it. It would take a few minutes. And it was important for if not so much if something went wrong, but Hey, we want to make changes or whatever else it's just to move things along. It does have this certain tooling that's in place.

So I'd love to figure that out and make it easier for us to do a weekly build versus a. Monthly or bi-weekly or whatever builds. I just want to see that velocity increase

Colin: [00:09:40] Yeah, that's awesome. And then, so like on the marketing front, the way to grow these niche, SAS businesses, the favorite way is SEO. So I. Put up a job description. And I had, I don't know, I got maybe 30, 40, quality applicants. And I said, nine of them, a trial article to write so thousand words, whatever their rate was per word.

So we'll see how that goes. Hopefully we ended up with two to three high quality writers and then, it's over time. It takes a little, but to get started, we have a high domain authority, so that's a help, but it's like a magical way to get. Customers in the door, almost like CPA free it's, sweat and freelancers, a little work, but it should just be recurring customers in day in and day out going forward.

Brent: [00:10:25] Yeah. I think SEO is so valuable and I think we are leveraging our, one of our best assets, which is the domain authority, keeping that high, keeping that strong and healthy ,  and just growing it as is, it just makes a ton of sense. And then we should think about, I think next, once we start getting that Pat on the only paid, I would really.

Think about to start would just be a retargeting, but I don't even know. I didn't, that's the only thing that I've had on my radar for growth. That's it seems like that's the one page strategy that works really well, but again, it gets expensive. And I don't know that, if we can really run a strong SEO game, we should see a good return.

It's just going to take time, which I think we have  we're good.

Colin: [00:11:09] Yeah. That's why you get started early. So even we've talked with some growth agencies and they try to promise nothing for six months and it's like wink, wink. Maybe it starts at three months, but we're not promising anything for six months, then it will take off from there. So I want to start it early, start as soon as possible.

And then search engine SEM, search engine marketing. So like Google ads ,  there's competition out there, but ,  I've run campaigns in the past and I think there's probably some long tail keywords, so it would be worthwhile and profitable for us to run ads on as well.

Brent: [00:11:39] That's the one thing I heard the prior owner did. So there was a story of, there was an owner that had the company before us that we don't know anything about it. That's not who we bought it from. It got returned to the original owner, but that's what we had heard from them. The individual we bought it from was that they had spent a whole bunch of money on ads, had a huge influx of users and then a huge outflux of users.

And it was just seemed like a big waste of money. So I've fallen into that trap where it's we're just going to use, get a bunch of people in and ,  use discounting or, and I think there was some sort of discount or offer that was being pitched. And it's you're just attracting the wrong people, but, I'm not saying that's not a good idea, but I feel like that is always a knee-jerk reaction.

Just like dive into paid and, see how things convert. And it's just a great way to light a bunch of money on fire. I'm not saying it, it won't have a return. It's probably a Testament to where the product's at. It's like we need to, make some improvements there, finish the things that we, hurt or annoying.

And then I think visually we that's like where my head's at. It's we really need to take another stab at it.

Colin: [00:12:40] Yeah, that's the playbook is first thing, fixed churn, and stop the bleeding and then second thing, grow it. And then when you're growing it, you're not, it's a super leaky bucket if you haven't fixed the churn, which it didn't seem like they, like this design thing is coming up again and again, and they never updated the design.

So I think that's obvious first step for us. Okay.

Brent: [00:13:00] Yeah. Yeah, I dig it. Cool.

Colin: [00:13:02] Yeah. Anything else you wanted to cover?

Brent: [00:13:04] No, I want to go dive into the front end now I want to go fix this stuff.

Colin: [00:13:09] Okay. You're fired up. okay  take care everyone. Happy Easter.

Brent: [00:13:15] Yeah. Happy Easter. Thanks for listening.

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