LeadPlayer: Have A Software Idea But No Developer? – with Clay Collins

Posted on Oct 1, 2012 - 9:00 AM PST

If you’re not a developer, but you want a developer to help you think through your software idea, how do you do it?

Listen to how today’s guest did it. It’s extremely clever, easy to do, and could help you with your next business idea.

Today’s guest is Clay Collins, the creator LeadPlayer, which lets you set up opt-in boxes in your videos in about 15 seconds. I’ll ask him how giving out software compares to giving out content when it comes to generating leads for your business.

Watch the FULL program


About Clay Collins

Clay Collins is the creator of Welcome Gate, which allows you to ask new visitors of your site to enter their email address before entering your site, and LeadPlayer which lets you set up opt-in boxes in your videos in about 15 seconds.

Raw transcript

Mixergy’s audio transcription is done by Speechpad

Andrew: Coming up in this interview, if you’re not a developer, but you want a developer to help you think through your software idea, how do you do it? Listen to how today’s guest did it. It’s extremely clever, easy to do and could help you with your next business idea. Also, we talk about revenue. I know you like to hear me ask guests about how much revenue there is in each idea that they have. We’ll get into that in this interview and finally, how does giving out software compare to giving out content when it comes to generating leads for your business? All that and so much more coming up.

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Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy.com, home of the ambitious upstart. I’m bringing you a story of an entrepreneur who got into the software business. I want you to see how he did it so that if you’re getting into this business, you can learn from him. I’m doing this interview because I saw a tweet the other day from a guy who said that he shifted from selling info products to selling software because of listening to Mixergy. As a result, after building this up, he kept doubling and doubling his revenue, and what made the statement, to me, even more impressive is that this is a past Mixergy interviewee. A guy who was already doing well, that’s why I invited him here to do an interview months before. If he’s doing even better as a result of Mixergy and he now got into software, I want to find out all about it.

The guy is Clay Collins. He is the creator of two pieces of software that you’ll find out about today and they both help other entrepreneurs build their mailing lists. The first one that he came out with is a product called Welcome Gate. Welcome Gate allows you to ask new visitors of your site to enter their email address before entering your site. The second piece of software, and this is where the real action is, is called LeadPlayer. That lets you take any YouTube video and at any moment in that YouTube video, request an email address from the viewer, or give a big button in that video that users can click and go wherever you want. To a shopping cart, to another site, etc. It super charges videos. I invited him here to talk about how he got into that business. Clay, welcome.

Clay: Andrew, it is a pleasure to be here as a marketing guru, or ex- marketing guru. Everyone in this whole previous space that I’ve been in would crap their pants to be on Mixergy because then they get to be juxtaposed to people like the Dropbox people. I’m very happy to be here for the first time as a co-founder, as a product guy and not as someone who’s here to dispense marketing secrets. It’s an absolute honor and pleasure to be here.

Andrew: Thanks for being here. Last time you were on here you were on here because I admired the way that you sold information. You’re right. I don’t usually have info product guys. I look for people like Dropbox founders, software entrepreneurs. At the end of the interview, after I shut it down, you said, “Andrew, I thought you were going to ask me what my revenue was?” That is a standard question that I ask. Maybe, I should have asked you. I’ll ask you now. What was the revenue back then on that business?

Clay: That business is a seven figure marketing education, marketing training company. Some months we do over six figures, others it’s less, but it’s a seven figure annual company. [??] really proud [??], and proud of where we’ve come with it. Also really excited about what we’re doing now.

Andrew: Over a million in revenue selling info products in 2011. Is that right?

Clay: Somewhere between the middle of 2011, in the middle of 2012.

Andrew: Ah, I see, OK. So over the last 12 months, roughly, roughly a million in sales. What’s your gross margin? How much eventually makes it to the bottom line in your business?

Clay: Oh, man, that’s a great question. I wish I had better reporting, and the truth is, my business partner Tracy could probably say this, or could probably tell you. I’m not avoiding the questions, but I’m in a lot of cases, so ADD that I don’t even check my mail. So I wish I had numbers like that. What I can tell you…

Andrew: Can we say over a quarter million in profit?

Clay: What’s up?

Andrew: Can we say a quarter million in profit in the info business?

Clay: I’d say… I’d say a good chunk that I can take out personally, and a good chunk that we can spend on starting a software company…

Andrew: Right.

Clay: … and being able to afford top developers, yeah. So a bunch of that has left the company through me, through distributions to me, through money that we can give to new projects. My biggest driver is not taking a bunch of money out for myself. It’s really being able to hire amazing people, write an entire WordPress plug in and just give it away for free. We’re creating a WordPress theme just for video bloggers, it’s going to be completely free. This stuff isn’t cheap, so we put a lot of money into that. Quarter of a million? Yeah, I’d say… I don’t know about profit just because that’s not the way our business works as such, like I’d take out distributions and we try to not leave a bunch of money in the company at the end of the year for tax purposes?

Andrew: Ok.

Clay: But I’d say around that, and out of that you’re saying, “And some goes to you, and some goes to starting this new business.”

Andrew: Yep. Gotcha. OK. So fairly strong business, selling information products, it’s growing, there’s room for even more growth, and still you say to yourself, ‘I want to get into software.’ Why?

Clay: I’d say I wanted to get into tools, and into products. There’s a lot of courses out right now on how to create an app business, and how to create a software company, and I don’t see software as a business opportunity. I really see it as something that’s in my DNA. When I was 15 I left home and left high school prematurely to start a software company, and it eventually sold off. At the end of the day though, it did well but I was jaded, and I was jaded because I didn’t understand marketing. I think there was a part of me that, fast forward ten years, was like, “Yeah, this is what I want to do.” But I’m holding back because of this experience of having that flop. I think subconsciously that’s what got me to pour myself into marketing, was that I realized that I wanted to get that handled, although it was never that clear…

Andrew: I see. So marketing, you’re saying, was never going to be your end goal. It was just something you had to master because you felt you weren’t especially good at it.

Clay: Yeah, absolutely.

Andrew: Hey Clay, before I continue with the interview…

Clay: Yeah.

Andrew: …I’m sensing, since I’ve known you now for a little bit, and I’m watching you here in this interview for sure, I’m sensing that you feel a little uncomfortable about the answer you gave to the profit question. You tell me what you feel.

Clay: It’s not the profit question actually. I think it’s really just the shifting of these two roles. This is a long answer to the question but hopefully it’ll make sense at the end of the day. Seth Godin wrote a book called “Purple Cow.” It’s all about how to create remarkable products. The truth is that unless you write a book like “Go the F to Sleep” there’s a couple books that are truly remarkable, but on the whole, information, in and of itself, is not remarkable. Most books are just another book on the shelf, and unless they are consumed and really wrestled with, that’s when they become remarkable. But just off the shelf, most books aren’t remarkable. They just aren’t. And so when you do info-product marketing, because info-products aren’t immediately remarkable, like the way an Aero chair is, or the way a Mac Book Air is, because info-products aren’t that way, the personality needs to become remarkable.

Go look up Frank Kern. Frank Kern is a very colorful, remarkable person. He curses, he surfs, he has these very divisive viewpoints. People love him, they hate him. Call him what you want, the dude’s remarkable. I don’t know him personally so I can’t say anything about his character either way. But he’s remarkable fundamentally. And when you sell information products, your job as the personality that represents that brand is to be remarkable. And so, this is really my first interview. Not as, you know, I’m here to be remarkable so that I can sell information products that are related to the information that I’m selling. Like I’m not here to be that. Like I have some software. This software stands on its own and speaks for itself.

And so, my programming on how to do an interview and just to be really transparent honest. Like this is a first for me. Like I am in new shoes right now. And so, you know, I might tentative throughout this and that’s probably why. And so, you know, I just encourage you to challenge me, you know, on that, you know, if you think maybe something’s not exactly right. But, you know, that’s probably the tentative nester feeling.

Andrew: OK. What about this? I want to get to the how to. How you found your developer? Because I think that’s an interesting useful story. I want to know how you got your users. I want to know those remarkable things that happened when you came out with welcome gate as appose to some other marketing that you did. But I got to ask this one other question. There seems to be this feeling that if you’re selling information, you’re not as special as the people who are creating software. There’s no Dave McClure and 500 startups for the info product business. There’s no Y Combinator thought leader for the info products base. But there is of course for software. And those guys are the new hero of entrepreneurship. And those guys are the ones who are changing the world. And when you look at peoples computer screens, you’ll often see a little drop box logo on the top of their screen because they have drop box on there. Or ever note on the bottom of their screen because they’re running that. Do you feel that? Is that partially the reason why info needs to be left behind and why products are your next thing?

Clay: You know, I think that it has to do with skill and it has to do with how rapidly you can impact people. So someone said like a picture is worth a thousand words. You know, and maybe a tool is worth like a billion, you know. Like I can create an entire course on how to use videos to generate leads. Or I can just create a product that has all these complex concepts built into it.

Andrew: And people don’t have to understand them. They just install it. They do what you tell them to do and boom the video suddenly collects email addresses. They don’t even have to know how to create video. They don’t have to take a course on how to make a video. They can just take that hamster who stairs at the video screen in an odd way, and throw a lead gen form on their using your software. Boom, they’re collecting email addresses. That’s the thing that you’re saying too.

Clay: Yep, yep. And like Welcome Gate, you know. Which we model completely after what you previous version of your little page that people saw when they first came to (?). It just works. People screw it up and it still works. People write with a crappy headline. Like they have a terrible message. And like don’t even have a, you know, a testimonial. And like it just works. And that to me is powerful. And that’s where the scale is. But even within the, you know, even within the tech world, I don’t think we need to divide between products or software versus information. I really think that within that there’s this division of bootstrap and non- bootstrapped. So, you know, we have a word plus plug-in. And, you know, because we’re bootstrapped, we didn’t spend as much time making it look beautiful so we can market ourselves to investors in the tech community.

And, you know, we started out with a minimum viable product. Which is just the word plug-in. So it’s not in the cloud, it’s not software service. It’s a freaking, you know, Word Plus plug-in. And there’s a typical, kind of, it’s not a long form sales letter. But there’s a sales letter on our homepage. This isn’t something that most people in the tech community are going to think are cool. Now hey, you know, companies that get a couple of millions up front I think are spending their money on in a lot of ways that are useful. But we are just not doing those things. So we’re probably not cool neither. So I don’t think software makes us cool. You know, I think that doing a certain very specific set of things that’s trendy at the time. That’s cool and, you know, are we going in some of those directions? Absolutely. But I don’t think it’s software that does that.

Andrew: All right. I got to get now into the how to.

Clay: Got it.

Andrew: I know if I were listening in the audience I’d want to know how you did it.

Clay: Sure.

Andrew: And one of the first things I think that the audience needs to hear. Is how you found your developer and how startup weekend factor into it. Because I think that shows the hustler bootstrapped mentality that we all love.

Clay: I just recently discovered that Minneapolis has a tech community and whatever [??] you want for that, that was awesome for me. I was on Tech.mn, it’s a great website that’s organized the tech community here and I saw, it was the most random thing ever, but I saw that there was a startup weekend. Here’s a bunch of people that got together for 48 hours to create a startup from thin air. Obviously, they’re interested in this kind of thing. One of the people who won that, I saw the video of the winner, the guy who won that was doing something related to email opt-ins. I invited him to have a beer and we had a conversation about it and by the time we were done, we had nailed down the feature set and by the time I woke up in the morning, he had sent not wire frames, but mock ups of the first products.

Andrew: What’s the difference between a wire frame and a mock up? What do you mean?

Clay: Wire frame is, I know you know this but you’re asking on behalf of your community. A wire frame is the lines, whereas a mockup is like, ‘Here is a picture. Here’s a photoshop picture of what the interface is going to be.’ It still needs to be sliced and turned into a working program [??] for it.

Andrew: Complete stranger to you, who you just found because he happened to be working on software over a weekend that was related to your idea and you said, ‘I want to brainstorm with him and create a product together.’ Within hours, the product was done?

Clay: With hours the concept was nailed down and, of course, there’s been iterations and we’re releasing a new product update probably about every seven or eight days, right now. The specs for that first minimum viable product were done.

Andrew: I think that’s brilliant. I want to ask you why you went with him instead of someone in the Philippines, or in India, or someone who you found online, but let’s go back a moment and ask, ‘Where’d you get the idea for LeadPlayer?’

Clay: I’m a video blogger. I have a video blog called The Marketing Show. We wanted functionality in a video player that just wasn’t there, so I knew that I wanted to use YouTube videos because I wanted the view count, when someone watched my videos, I wanted that to count towards YouTube view count. I knew that I wanted [??], which by the way, a lot of people have thought that that has saved us time, but in order to [??] a problem, we had to go to the YouTube developers conference and have them look for our code. YouTube education’s been a little costly and [??] terms of service are really harsh and integration just costs money.

Andrew: I thought it would be easier because of that, too. You knew you wanted to be with YouTube, and I get that.

Clay: We knew we wanted a few things, a handful of initial features that just weren’t available yet. I wanted calls to action to be instantaneously. I wanted to say, “Add this to my AWeber list. Here’s the headline.” For example, here’s the beginning of a Marketing Show episode. “Hello everyone. This episode of the Marketing Show I’m going to show you how to create a logo in five seconds. That’s what you have to look forward to in this episode of the Marketing Show.” Boom. Right then it stops in the middle of that video and an opt-in box comes up and says, “Want to watch this new [??] lesson on creating a logo, opt-in to Enter.” Then it has some text there. I knew I wanted that and nothing else had that. If I wanted to do that with other programs, I had to get some CSS made and put it there. I had to log into my AWeber account and get some form code and then modify that and then drop it. It wasn’t easy. As [??] marketer, it wasn’t functionality that was immediately available to me without having to go through my development team, or without a lot of hassle. I knew I wanted that and I wanted to be able to do that at the beginning of a video, or the end of the video.

Andrew: [??] your spot versus, I think even Wistia only allows you to ask for an email address either at the beginning, or the end, but you can’t say, “Fifty seconds into the video, after I’ve introduced it, that’s when I want to ask for an email address.”

Clay: I can’t speak to you what Wistia does because they’re always changing stuff and we’re always changing stuff, but I wanted that, but I wanted also the ability to have “Skip this step” in it. If someone’s 30 minutes in, I don’t want to be some aggressive marketer. I want to give them the option, but below that it says, “Click here if you don’t want to opt in.” The important thing was I wanted that decision to be salient. I wanted them to make a decision either way about opting in my list. When an opt-in box is on the sidebar, someone can ignore it but when it’s right there, there is a (??) and so I wanted that but I also wanted to be able to do a cost action. Let’s say you have a sales video and let’s say its 15 minutes long and the first ten minutes you know, you are talking generally and in the last five minutes you are like, close.

You are telling people what comes at the product, I want it the the called action button to appear then. When the called action button is timed with the offer , we have seen conversion makes double and when the obtain is timed with you know, when you just see an obtain box initially its (??)but when its timed with the content powerful things happen and so we wanted both the things to happen in like just 10 seconds, its just take some tax, turn it on , name the time, boom you are done. Pick a YouTube video put it in. We wanted, basically we thought there was a whole lot of people who had a gold mine of a video content that was already on YouTube. we didn’t want to take way the YouTube (??) in being found in search engines but we wanted to add some additional functionality to that and we are going to… . Andrew: Andrews, (??) want to know , how did you know that there will be other people who were be interested in this because I have been a viewed entrepreneur who said, I have this great idea, of course, the world would want it but they launched and it turns out nobody wants it. It was just perfect for them and was completely useless for everyone else, how do you know others would be interested?

Clay: yeah, so we pre-sold it. We went for audience and we asked them if that’s what they want it and we sold it to them before it was actually available for development. So people were planned for an upfront and that’s how I knew.

Andrew: Where in this process, this was after the markups were developed for you, before software started to getting created or after you started coding.

Clay: Yeah, So the coding process had done so, we had started it but we pre- sold it before we invested at time in software development but where you know if you would (??) people who don’t know about pre-selling is you need to ship within 30 days, if you pre-sell something in order for to be legal. Less you want to (??) selling it in advance but we can no matter how we put it in our heads we couldn’t sell this as an advance and we just didn’t want to sell it as, we could have, we could have been like this the video marketing course comes with a video player and a video player gets in and you get after that two months but before that you get a month of, you know a education con…

Andrew: So you have to develop you felt, enough of it, you were 30 days away from launch before you presale, right? OK. Clay: So we will get back to that in a moment. 1st markup spilled up by this guy whose we met up startup weekend. He sent you the first vision did he coded up? He started coding up the first version, right?

Andrew: And then you went to a job board and you looked for someone to develop the full hour program.

Clay: Yeah, just did with the first guy, because you know I think have been around long enough to know that anything you should do in your business should be done artfully, everything from customer service to website needs to be done artfully and we knew that if we were truly going to be in this business if we knew if we were truly going to be in this business if we were going to commit that (??) guy who works full-time job somewhere and he is doing this on the side, we just can’t have it like, like if our users are having a major problem. We need a fix out that day. It can’t be like 48 hours later or when they get to it and then and fixing that bug he created bunch of hours we needed, we needed technical (??) founder and so we started posting for that and we found someone on man, that most unlikely place that was. Tropical MBA job board forums are something.

Andrew: Tropical MBA job boards forum?

Clay: That’s where we found him. I like that site, I like the guy (??) too. so we posted on that site, how did you, my business partner was just tracing everything like so she went crazy, she did because the guy we found is one of the most brilliant and talented people I have ever met in my entire life. It was about a month before LeadPlayer comes out and he comes to work for us and we were like, you know we need something for you to do and so we saw what you were doing on Mixergy and I e-mailed you and asked for your permission and we created this Welcome Gate WordPress plug-in. He did it in two weeks and he never worked on WordPress plug-in before but I appreciate that plug-in that he did well was he made it simple, he reduced options he made it beautiful, it was just elegant and it just worked and I know that he was right as he peep it fights with us and he won behalf of his position and when we were right you know (??) and when he was right we were like fine but we want it someone passionate like that (SP) the end product was well designed and people loved it and, and, ….

And also when I was 15, I’d go to Ruby On Rails meet-ups here. I had no idea what’s being said but just to talk to developers and I think I have started to develop a little bit of ideas of what it would think like. I think that helped as well.

Andrew: That’s really helpful actually, I know that you go there, I almost feel like we sometimes need permission to go to events for developers, when really if they open everyone then everyone should be, should be free to go in there. I like the idea of picking somebody who is going to pick fights with you. I even love whether you had a tested on product with you. That’s something which is stuck with me from my interview with Heaton Shaw years ago. How were you and your co-founder (??) launching all this software when neither of you is a developer and he told me how he found the developers. He said the key for him was having them do a test project just to see, can we work together, is this guy smart?

And then one other thing that I am going to say that I admire about you is so many other people saw that when they first entered Mixergy, I asked for an email address and I let them skip out back in early days but I asked for an email address and many of them were just complain and this whole nature of complain first learn later of the Internet really just drives me insane because people should be curious first and then angry if you know their curiosity satisfied in a way that warrants anger. You did the opposite of what most angry people would do, you said hey, does this work? this is interesting What anyone else want is, is this you know and then can I create a product around this and I said that’s they way you have to think and so, of course, I was glad that you did it and frankly lot of people my audience saw that too where some people and said hey, I would like to try that on my site. I am not coding it of for them I can’t give my plug-in because (??) created in a way that works for me and we didn’t even think that other people should use it or want to.

I love that you created it and I should say, too, that if anyone wants its welcomegateapp.com if they want to see films, songs what this is about and get it free. One another thing he did this developer I understand from my pre-interview with you he did something, when you interview him you will get to know that this is the guy that I at least want to try a sample project with if not build a new business with. What did he do?

Clay: So, I don’t remember what came out in the pre-interview. I am telling what exactly it happened when I came on and I did the usual do you know Java Script, do you know Ruby On Rails, do you know Jquery do you know and he didn’t even ask any question and he was like it’s irrelevant whether I know those things I am going to just do use the best tools for the job and yeah I know Python, I know blah blah blah, and he lists all this stuff. He was like, but you are not a developer why does this matter to you any way. You know you are just asking this because someone told you that [laugh]. He started pushing back very early on, and people who don’t push back scare me. I really, I am just not interested on people who are going to draw boundaries because it is very easy as a marketer to create a company that can go on a whole lot of different directions, and I need someone who is really going to push back even if the first developer who we did LeadPlayer with, he is like no, no, no you are not going to create our own player, we are going to build this on YouTube because we can do the integration so much faster.

That’s true. What happened later on was faster but that’s true. He is like we are not going to collect email addresses. We are just going to build, we are just going to integrate with all these other things that already exist. He is like, we are not going to let’s not build full screen because that’s something that like a small percentage of people need and it’s a vanity feature but he just came in , he was like we are not going to do this, we are not going to doing some of those things I am like in order to sell we have to do this dude like and in other things you know he is like OK, that’s one feature and yeah, you know I am in a push-back because that’s going to take half of a development time and it, that’s the odd way and its really is so, I have to have that relationship and so that’s what the first guy did is like, he reviewed us and I was like, “Bam!” I don’t know how this is going to go. We still need to test them. We did the welcome gate thing, but that was a characteristic…

Andrew: That’s what I was going for and that’s what you’ve mentioned in the pre-interview. He pushed back, and I get why you’d want somebody that pushes back. In two weeks he built out Welcome Gate for you, you give away for free. Why?

Clay: The reason we gave it away for free was because our business was shifting. We have a lot of people on our list who are really not entrepreneurs, but they want a certain lifestyle. At the end of the day, they’re really not entrepreneurs and they’re not going to be interested in tools. They’re up at thinking about niche they’re in or what product they should start. That’s fine and those people are in that place, but we wanted to attract a group of people who were really interested. They were at a phase in their business where they wanted to build their lists. We gave this away for free to create an incredible value to cost ratio so that we build our list rapidly going into the sale of LeadPlayer. We were like, ‘What’s the cheapest, quickest way to provide a huge amount of value to the target demographic that would also be interested in this video player.’

Andrew: I see. It was a lead gen for you to find people who potentially buy your new software. The one that you really wanted to build.

Clay: Yes.

Andrew: How well did it do? How many email addresses were you able to collect in, say, the first month.

Clay: I’d say about five thousand.

Andrew: Five thousand. Now here’s the thing, a lot of people in the audience would say, “OK. I get giving it away. I get using it as a way to test the developer.” But, this is Clay Collins. The guy has a big list already. He has a following on his blog. Why not just market it to that following instead creating a whole new product and giving it away for free? Why’d you need this new thing?

Clay: Another question probably would have been, “Why only five thousand?” I can tell you why that is true.

Andrew: Yeah, why only five thousand?

Clay: It could have been a lot bigger. One, we wanted to train people into the fact that we were a software company. When we sent people to Welcome Gate, we actually sent them to our products page which listed LeadPlayer as coming soon and then Welcome Gate below it. They had to scroll past LeadPlayer to get to Welcome Gate. When they clicked on Welcome Gate and they went to download it, we gave a full order form with a coupon code filled in. We price anchored it. I don’t what we set that to, maybe $27.00. But the coupon code was filled in. The people had to fill out a full order form with name, address, phone number. A bunch of people complained about that. That’s fine. We wanted to take people through this process of going to our products page and then going to a product page and then seeing a full order form and then filling it out. We wanted to engrain in them that we are a product company. We have products. We are going to have something for sale. Please, scroll past LeadPlayer. Please, fill out this order form that’s going to look exactly like the order form…

Andrew: Even though it’s a free product that you only needed an email for, you wanted them to fill out an order form to be trained to fill out order forms with you. To not just give you an email address like it’s another lead gen online.

Clay: Exactly. You said it perfectly. Exactly.

Andrew: OK. How did it compare to the marketing you did on your site.

Clay: It’s very different. It’s very different. What I absolutely detest and hate…I hate it. I don’t just kind of not like it, I hate it with everything that I am. I hate that the info product business is about using information to sell information without giving away too much information that people don’t want to buy your information.

Andrew: [laughs]

Clay: I want to [???] that so much because it keeps you in this way of holding back a little bit. All the marketing that we do now is purely educational based. We actually give away video landing page templates that people can do everything that LeadPlayer does, but they have to hack some code and upload and whatever. We’re like, ‘Do it!’. Here’s what happens. When you give people the option box when they’re a period into the video and tell them a little bit about they’re going to get, they’re more likely to opt in. You can do it with this form, or you can do it with LeadPlayer. It’s all education. There’s no, ‘Oh shoot, I just gave that away. Now I can’t sell my course.’ It was the same with Welcome Gate. It was all education. There was no having to negotiate this line. I love that.

Andrew: You also told me before that you created an eBook to market this upcoming LeadPlayer and you thought this would be a good lead gen, my audience would be a good potential customer base and how did it compare for customers, or leads? How did creating software in Welcome Gate compare to creating content on your site as far as getting new customers?

Clay: That’s a great question. It wasn’t actually for this, it was something that I’ve done in the past, [??] magnet, but we’ve given away entire courses before and we get a decent opt in rate, but in the mar- world there’s this constant testing, especially in the info product world. There’s this constant testing of what’s the best lead magnet. For awhile it was free reports and then [??] video, more people opt in to get video and then it was someone tested on the business plan on a napkin and they’re like, ‘If you just [??] something, it seems more authentic.’ We’re like, ‘You know what? We’re going to try software as our lead magnet.’ To this day, it outperforms anything we’ve ever done, ever. On [??] .com, it has an Alexa ranking below 50,000. It gets a good deal of traffic. [??] kills me, everyday we get more opt ins, this [??] gate [??] plug-in that took a [??] two weeks to create and we [??] maintain updates to it. He was an amazing developer, I don’t think anyone could have just done it, but we still get more opt ins every single day for this Welcome Gate thing than we do for the Marketing Show where I work hard. I work really hard to create content and we give away landing pages and we do all kinds of stuff. [??], just the comment on content marketing, I think people still need to hear from you. They need to learn from you. They need a constant connection and both are good, but purely, just in terms of email addresses, [??] Welcome Gate has outperformed anything we’ve ever done.

Andrew: Welcome Gate, brand new product. Didn’t take as long to build as your other Marketing Show which people can see at marketingshow.com. Even though it’s newer, didn’t take as much time and work, it’s outperforming it. That, to me, is one of the big takeaways of my conversation with you before the interview started. That it’s so powerful.

Clay: We don’t even talk about it anymore and people find it every single day. I used to have a ‘Hello’ bar across the top of The Marketing Show, “Download the WordPress,” we’re not even [??] that anymore and get more opt- ins every single day.

Andrew: Back, now, to the development of it. You now have a guy who you’ve proven can work well with you. Created a great product. It’s out there in the world, it’s time for you to really build your baby, LeadPlayer. What did the first version of it look like?

Clay: I cringe when I look back on how it was then and our current developer, he’s our co-founder. We’re giving him equity, or stock options. [??] wants we’re going to give it to him. We’re having that discussion now, but it was complete and utter, it was ugly, but it got the job done. It was simple, and I think it did what no other video player could do, but there were two things it did well back then. Now it does a whole bunch of stuff, but there were two things then that it did really well and that’s what people bought it for.

Andrew: What were the two things? Button and email collection?

Clay: Yeah. [??] made it more sophisticated. ‘You can skip this step,’ or one cool feature, I don’t want to be one of these product guys that’s talking forever about the intricacies of the thing, but with LeadPlayer across all your videos, if you’re doing a webinar someday and you have 100 videos on your website, you can make it so that halfway through all those videos, it says, “Webinar happening today. Click here to join us.” Or that can be at the end of all your videos. Or let’s say we just came out with Welcome Gate. At the beginning of all our videos it could be like “Opt in to get Welcome Gate.”

Andrew: You don’t have to go back and change all of them?

Clay: You can [??], boom. Globally.

Andrew: Was that in your first version?

Clay: No.

Andrew: How long did it take you to get that first version from mock up to something you can show people?

Clay: About a month.

Andrew: A month?

Clay: Yes.

Andrew: Was there something that you had to wrestle with yourself to leave out? About a month. Frankly, if you even said it took, even if you said a month, but it ended up being two months, that’s fine. I’m just looking to get a sense of how long you allowed yourself to build it before you brought it out into the world. Was there any feature that you had to say to yourself; I’d love that, but I’d have to cut back? What are some of the decisions there?

Clay: A bunch of them. Full screen, integration with a bunch of different e- mail service providers so we launched with like AWeber, iContact, Infusion Soft, I think maybe one more, but there was a bunch of those that we left off. You had to say the number of seconds rather than minutes and seconds. So let’s say that the thing is you want an opt-in box three minutes and twenty-seven seconds into the video. You’d have to get out the calculator and sixty times three plus twenty-seven, like all of these little things like that, that just weren’t there initially. It was ugly, like the time lapsed bar. It was just ugly, it was ugly and there was only, you couldn’t choose your colors on the buttons were only in the colors that converted the (?). We’d test colors so we just made it so it converted well for people we didn’t give them the opportunity to screw it up for themselves. Or to say; hey I don’t care so much about conversion I just want it to look like my site, you say, not in version one.

Andrew: One thing that I noticed about you, in general, especially in this interview, is that you care about design. You didn’t just pop the squat in whatever room you happened to be in and say I’m going to do my interview. You cared enough to make sure there was enough lighting on you for this interview, that the audio would come in clearly, that’s why you’ve got a mic in front of you. You care about being able to improve the product quickly, that’s why you didn’t farm it out to some stranger in India, you wanted someone in house. So how does someone who’s that concerned with doing things right, allow himself to launch something that couldn’t even calculate minutes to seconds. It would force you to pull up a calculator to figure out when they wanted the thing that software’s suppose to do to do it. So how did you allow it to happen?

Clay: Actually, I want to say one more thing that we left out because I think it was significant. The very first thing that we released, and this was the whole reason we did on YouTube in the first place, so people could get their view counts. The very first version, the view counts didn’t show up. So I had to go to Google IO and camp out at the YouTube help desk and beg them to look over my code, in order for us to be, and then there was more back and forth. It’s been a pain. You didn’t even get the view count at first so that really cost us in terms of influence adoption at first, which we’ve been really happy with since we got the view count issue working, that was another thing.

But how can I bear to do it. I could bear to do it because despite all my idealism, I’ve worked on so many marketing campaigns at this point that the cost of not getting early and constant feedback is just way to high. So we just had to ship, we shipped Welcome Gate in two weeks, we shipped LeadPlayer in two months, and we’re shipping updates every week or so. By the way from a marketing point of view it is so much better to release a new feature, and market that feature, every single week, than it is to come up with a new update every single year. So now we have something to talk about every single week. I’m like here’s a new feature, here’s a new feature, and people can see that we’re responding to other people. We might be responding to other people anyway, but when you drip out these features it’s great from a marketing point of view. People can see it evolve and develop.

Andrew: I see, so you’re saying you’re better off launching with, if there are ten features you can launch with, you’re better off launching with five and then each week launching the next of the five features that you’re holding back, then having a ten feature launch. You want people to notice each feature I guess, and that, I know you do, and that is a good way to let them know that it’s happening. Was there one thing that when you launched surprised you? Because up until now it’s mostly you guessing on behalf of your audience. Was there one thing when you launched surprised you about their reaction?

Clay: You know, I think what surprised me the most is that the way people buy tools is a lot more sophisticated and mature than the way people buy information. So that’s been just amazing. People often don’t buy information because they’re scared, or it’s the wrong time in their life, or you know there’s, you’re selling outcomes and I noticed I just really enjoy selling features. There’s all this talk in marketing about features versus benefits and I really just enjoy what Steve Jobs did, he just sold features. Here, here’s a (?) display. Awesome, everyone wants it.

There was a level of people that just knew about different that I didn’t expect a lot of people in this market I was in to ask about. The conversation just became a lot more just interesting and mature.

Andrew: Like what? Give me an example of what they cared about that you were surprised by.

Clay: They were interested in how beautiful it was because even that first version, I think it was ugly but it looked good, the ease and simplicity. All those conversations were really about features, and I didn’t expect that. I was ready to talk about stats and locked ins and stuff, but really it was about features at that point [??]. And there were amazing stats about Lead Player’s converting and people were getting… We got some just the other day where people were getting four times higher opt-in rate for our videos than our opt-in sign in. We’ve got all kind of cool stuff. Back then we didn’t have any of that. We had no case studies. We had no thought leaders, like Pat Flynn, who had endorsed us.

Andrew: That’s me going into your site. Let me hit pause on it. I wanted to just check it out while we’re talking, and I didn’t have it up on the screen. I was just going into LeadPlayer where you have, of course, LeadPlayer launch right away when I get there. What was it that I want to know? I want to know about pricing. That’s why I came here. How did you figure out how to price it?

Clay: We looked at what other people were doing in the space, and there were some players that were more than us. They were players that were less than us, and we wanted to be on the more expensive end, at least, just initially because those were the users that we wanted to serve, people who were willing to pay for good stuff because although I’m willing to scrimp on design even though it eats at me sometimes, I wasn’t going to scrimp on support, and I wasn’t going to scrimp on hiring good developers. And those things cost money, and so we spent a lot on support, a lot of money on support, and we spent a lot of money on development.

We wanted a sustainable business, and especially in the WordPress plug-in space, which we’re moving to Software as a Service, but there’s a lot of people that offer lifetime support and lifetime upgrades. You can see those businesses drop off, just because they can’t afford to stay in business, and they can’t afford to provide a good product. To get into the nitty gritty, LeadPlayer is $107 for the standard version. We wanted it to be on the other end of $100 because to upgrade to the Pro version, which is $77 more, which puts you at $184, if one of those was on the other end of $100, like if it was $97 versus $184, that would seem like a bigger split. We wanted both of those on the other side of $100 because we wanted more people to go for the $184.

Andrew: I see. You were thinking, hey, if someone already went about $100 to buy the plug-in, and I say to upgrade to the – what was it called, the license to let you use the plug-in in many sites – the multi-site version?

Clay: Yeah. So, the $107 version has the LeadPlayer branding and lets you use it on any site that you own. The $184 version lets you use it on client sites and removes the LeadPlayer branding, and that’s $184 but that’s only $77 more than…

Andrew: I see. Once someone’s willing to go above $100 to upgrade as long as they’re staying below $200 is not so hard.

Clay: Exactly

Andrew: I can actually see that, too. I don’t know why I would buy it with your branding. Maybe, I don’t know. I would definitely pay the extra money to get rid of the branding and to be able to use it on multiple sites. You brought up Software as a Service. Why did you start out by creating a plug- in instead of Software as a Service? It feels like that would bring in more revenue for you, and maybe it would even be easier.

Clay: Yeah. It was really because we wanted to ship. WordPress makes distribution really easy. You don’t have to create an installer. There are a whole lot of things that you don’t have to do when you distribute on WordPress. We didn’t have to deal with this billing scenario where we have like log-ins and got to restrict access when people stop paying, all the things about like, if someone’s credit card expires. There’s just a lot of things where it would have cost a lot more to ship if we had, you know, in the cloud initial so we decided to just ship it as a WordPress plug-in, plug-in. That was an another conversation that I had with that start-up weekend developer that first night he was like (??) you too bring it in as just do it as a WordPress plug-in, we are going to do. You know when I molded that from my, American point of view as well, but those decisions helped us shift so quickly and we are really glad that we did….wow, I have got two questions here, I want to ask about money in a moment but lets quote out mistakes first.

Andrew: what’s the big mistake that you made here?

Clay: Man, that’s, that’s a great question in I wish, I wish I could speak more about that. Andrew: So one thing you regret doing is one thing you want back and had to do it over again, you do it differently.

Clay: I would say and this is probably the standard answer but this is probably like a hundred little thing that may be , I think we could have done better.

Andrew: For example?

Clay: Man, this is why is this so hard for entrepreneurs to do?

Andrew: To come to say their mistakes.

Clay: Yeah, I don’t know. Its not a humility thing like I’m, I’m very new to software like I’m such a beginner it hurts.

Andrew: You will be embarrassed to reveal a mistake, you are saying.

Clay: Yeah, I don’t know I am happy to reveal mistakes and I don’t why my brain isn’t able to supply it something. You know… man, OK. do you know.

Andrew: Are they small ones?

Clay: Yeah, you know I would say… oh yeah this one I mean…(??) at some point during the whole process every time a sale came through, now we can’t do this with every single sale, but every time a sale came through I just saw the order come through and I would just like order person, call them up and ask them why they buy. I wish I did the latter earlier.

Andrew: What did you learn by doing that?

Clay: I learnt that people were buying for whole lot of reasons that I initially didn’t think of, like our initial view was very, kind of like we know what converts, we know what’s going to make the money so we are going to do that and all these other like things that to me in some scenario it seemed after being, ended up being part of biggest reasons people buy. So for example, most people are like fan to YouTube partners, right now they keep on lowering the number but if you get like a million views on YouTube. You can be like a YouTube partner not just the kind of usual ad, where they give you a new feature site and part of that feature site you could add your thumbnail to a video what shows up before somebody hits play, you get to control that.

Oh, yeah, I think I am going to make mistakes now as we go later so, you get to control that and people ask for a while hey, we would love to use (??) user of thumbnail on top of YouTube videos and we are like you know its cosmetic, you know does it really matter and we add it that and we remember the day we published the update that now you have been put your own thumbnail on YouTube without doing some (??) for like the way YouTube works is like these random frames from like the middle of that video and so if you find like the middle frame and you swap that out over the frame you want to be like there, that’s what they were doing to get the thumbnail because they weren’t YouTube partners and you discovered it by, like did you discover it by making phone calls that people who just bought from you?

Clay: Yeah, that was the, yeah.

Andrew: For what they have discovered that problem, that deficiency so really on, I would have founded out sooner if I would called people but would they have time to play with your software enough to understand that doesn’t do this, that doesn’t allow them to do thumbnails, saying this is such a big feature that they wanted it from you before but they discovered that you didn’t have it.

Clay: I am saying that, I am saying that when we release that feature the people who have been asking for that feature for a while, I didn’t do it and then we released it and we didn’t release it soon enough, we should have. Because when we did release it we got a whole bunch of sales and if I had been more responsive to what people were asking for in a fact that people by release the products for whole of reason other than that its going to help them they want to look pretty, they want that first frame to like not be (??). People have ego, like everyone I have ego I don’t want that frame either so, I would have known that sooner if I would have called people and it was actually (SP) he was like people going to love this dude, you need to add it. You know, and then we added it and he was right. So that’s another thing is how we add features has, and I wish we had started doing this earlier, but all our features have been initially been driven by like, thought leaders.

So, my number one goal is, like I have some friends and I’m like, I just want them to use it and I approach them and I don’t care why use it. I’m not offended if they don’t use it. I’m not offended if they don’t [??] with me. I’m not offended at anything. I am offended if they don’t tell me why because I want to know why their not using something and I want to know if they are. So, I wish I had been more thought leader driven and the thought leaders are going to be the ones who break it first because they got like a hundred of WordPress plug-ins installed and you’re going to find the one outdated plug-in that doesn’t work with something and messes everything up so, I wish we had been more thought leader driven, you know, from the beginning. I guess, maybe that’s another mistake that we made.

Andrew: How do you get people who are thought leaders to try out a plug-in? These guys are really busy. They don’t want to add more to their site. They have thousands of plug-ins it feels like already in their sites. How do you get them to try it?

Clay: Well, I mean we were lucky in the sense that it was a beautiful thing that could be demonstrated in less than 45 seconds, that had a feature set that allowed them all the benefits of YouTube, YouTube is the second largest search engine, and gave them all these features that I’d been hearing that they already wanted because I got to conferences and talk to people, so it was pretty easy to do. I mean, I literally just would send quick emails to people and hear back from them like, “Holy crap, dude! I’ve been wanting this. Please shoot me the thing and I’d love to try it out.”

Andrew: But you’d give them a short video that let them see the product?

Clay: Yeah, and what’s cool is I can [??] player to demonstrate LeadPlayer, so I can make a video that says, “Here’s a demo of LeadPlayer. In order to add call of opt-in box…” Here I am. I’m pasting in the YouTube video. In fact, I would do their videos. Like, I would find a video of someone who I wanted to use it and I would take one of their videos that they already had up on YouTube and I would a call to action and an opt-in box to it in a beautiful way that was in line with their content and I’d just be like, “Throw it up and try it on your website. See if it converts better.”

Andrew: But they’d still have to install the plug-in in order to do it?

Clay: Yep. We’d do it all for them like, it doesn’t even matter. We’ll do everything for someone if they want to work with us.

Andrew: I see, I see. I just lost my question. I was so interested in the way you marketed it, I just lost the question I was going to follow up with. Alright then, oh, that’s what it was. Why today are you sending Pat Flynn’s videos explaining your product instead of your video explaining your product?

Clay: A couple of reasons. You know, he does a great job of it! He does a better job of it than I do. I mean, there’s a number of people. There’s this dude, Pat Flynn did a great job at explaining LeadPlayer. James Sheryko [SP], I think is his name, who did a great, great job tutorial on how to use LeadPlayer and there’s this guy, he has this website called Videseo [SP]. He has a small web presence, but he’s like a professional animator. Like, this is what he does for a living is that he gets YouTube to rank for things. Like, that’s what he does all day, everyday and he mailed me out of the blue. He was like, “Lovely player. I totally want to do anything I can”, and he made like a demo video for it and it’s, like, beautiful! Like, he’s got like a little animated character called like, Vidy[SP], that he like, talks to.

Andrew: So, it’s like better than yours, but is it also a credibility thing that if you send me a link of you promoting it then it’s like, “Alright, he wants me to use another one of his products”, but if you send me someone else, I think, “Hey, this guy likes it too and this guy…” I see. Let’s talk money.

Clay: Yep.

Andrew: I asked you before the interview whether you were profitable. You said, “Hey, couple of weeks, we’ll get there.” You are basically breaking even at this point.

Clay: Yep, I would say this week, we became profitable. So, we went from 3 to 4 to 5 sales a day to around 10 sales a day and we are on track, you know, and then there have been days where we’ve gotten like, you know, 60- 70 sales a day. So, we are on track to do 50,000 this month. Between 50- 60,000 this month. Probably 50 fairly easily, so…

Andrew: When did you launch? We’re now in the, just so the audience knows, we’re recording this on September 11, 2012. You launched it when?

Clay: So, we launched it in the middle of May so, May, June, July, August. About 4 months out.

Andrew: Okay, so where do the expenses go then? It doesn’t seem like there are a lot of expenses, but revenue’s growing and growing and growing.

Clay: If we had started from scratch the expenses would be much less and also we would not be as good at this as we are. We have a support team of two people that is already in place. We have my cost. I spend a 100% of my time paying my bills, it is not cheap. Andrew: Are not you bills being paid out of your previous information business?

Clay: Yes, they totally are but, we have not separated out the [??].

Andrew: So you are saying that the reason that it is not is because you are factoring in your own expenses into the cost of putting this business together into the cost of putting, what is the business’ name? It is a business called Lead Bright [SP]?

Clay: Yes. It broke even immediately but, breaking even is that it pays all the expenses of my previous business.

Andrew: Even though the previous business bringing in revenue?

Clay: Yes. The previous business is on auto pilot. The previous business, I work about an hour a week on it and it has paid for all of this. Seven figure education company, an hour a week of my time but, this profitable. It was profitable from day one [??]. To me, it is profitable when the software company can pay for us all to go in this direction. That is an insanely high bar. So, everyone should probably know that. So, profitable probably from day one.

Andrew: Yes, it is. By the way, I did not realize it was taking you that little time now. To put together the marketing show. How often do you publish there? It seems like you keep publishing but, you do not have dates on your homepage, so, I cannot tell.

Clay: Yes. We have been publishing between every week and every two weeks. That I do not include. That is just building an audience and building community. Everyone who comes there now we send them to LeadPlayer. I do not really consider that an expense of the marketing education business since everything we are doing there now is about building an audience and building a list and lead generation, and stuff like that.

Andrew: So, you are shifting towards software?

Clay: We are shifting towards tools.

Andrew: What is the difference between tools and software? I keep saying software for some reason and you keep saying tools and instead of listening to tools I keep repeating software. What is the difference?

Clay: It is purely conceptual. The difference is that a tool is something that builds all this higher level thinking into it. So, we might have a tool at some point where a physical product is a tool; it is from information to product. It is conceptual and I keep saying this because it is in my mind, software is completely valid. So, yes, switching from . . .

Andrew: You are just opening yourself up to things that are not information anymore.

Clay: Right.

Andrew: I see the point of tools also in that. This is the time where I would usually plug Mixergy Premium and then I want to come back and ask you for advice. You just nodded; let me ask you why do you think people should sign up for Mixergy Premium? Can I put you on the spot?

Clay: Absolutely. I come from a boot strapped role in marketing point of view where there are tons of courses and programs on how to build an iPhone app, how to get into this software business. I can name the names like Tray Smith [SP] there is all these books and people. They are not bad, I am not against any of that per se. I have dear friends that teach this stuff, I love them and I think they are doing good stuff. This is not disrespect on them but what I got from Mixergy is something that I couldn’t get anywhere else. I can track it back to the interviews.

I saw the interview with the people from Dropbox and it got me thinking about how I wanted to build a business that people bought even when they did not see the sale of letter. How many people see the Dropbox video? Most of the people I have talked to have purchased that and gotten that without seeing the sales video. So, it did not require marketing. That was on huge incident.

Andrew: The product is so good it could sell itself. You don’t have to have big marketing around it to sell it.

Clay: I listened to Shopify interview. I was like, I really want to build a lead generation platform that other people can build apps on top of. Like players just an app on top of a platform that we’re building that isn’t exciting to talk about because it’s not around yet. But I was like, we need this, like stuff would just get stuck in my brain and keep me up at night from Mixergy interviews. And everyone wants, like the human brain, and it’s such a mistake but you can’t fight human psychology. But the human brain wants one cause factor for every success. They’re like, you know, so and so had success because of Y Combinator. Or this person made great videos because they watched the video (?) course. Or this person, you know, learned from this Guru.

Andrew: One quick answer.

Clay: They want one quick answer. But for me, like I downloaded probably twenty plus interviews from the archives that people can’t get for free now. That are in your archives. And I downloaded them on my iPod. And I play them at double speed while driving around (?). While in airplanes. While everywhere I possibly could. I was listening to every single interview I could double speed. And none of the tactics got me to take action ever. What did impact me was you getting access to people who I could never get access to. And then sharing that head space with me. When I otherwise wouldn’t have gotten it. And so, I never bought a course on how to get into the software business. And frankly I’m glad that I didn’t. Because it would have been sold to me as a business opportunity. And, you know, and they would of told me (?) source it. And they would of told me to like to do something and I would of been like all right. Like now I know how to do it. And I didn’t. And I still don’t. And no one who’s ever build a huge company.

I was just talking to the guy from Freshbooks the other day. And he’s like yeah, we still don’t know what hell we’re doing, you know. And obviously he does. They’ve build like, you know, like 8 billion last year in terms of billing. But like this is a perspective that I needed. Not the perspective of some Guru telling me that they have figured it out and over simplifying it for this sake of marketing. And till this day, like I listen to like one to two minutes of Mixergy interviews per day on double speed because I needed to be immersed in the culture of what was going on in a way that I didn’t have access to here in Minneapolis. And I am just so grateful to you. And it’s not like (??).

Andrew: Thank you for saying that. And I’m really lucky. As you’re saying it, I realize how lucky I am. That the founder of Dropbox would come and spend an hour here with me. The founder of Freshbooks and the early days believed enough in the Mixergy interview to come on and spend an hour here. Founder of Shopify. All these guys that you would come in here and spend an hour. And then you also taught a course on Mixergy. Which, you said hey we’re having audio and video issues Andrew, I’ll just give you something that I ordinarily would sell. I believe in the mission so much. So I got to thank you and I got to thank all the other entrepreneurs who come on here to be apart of teaching on Mixergy and to share and sharing their stories. And of course, if anyone wants it, yes.

Clay: It will. And I want to say that the course (?) made available Mixergy is the exact script I followed. I mean, step by step program, you know. But it’s the exact script I followed to launch this software business. Where we like pre-sold it and stuff. So, you know, it’s not fantasy. It’s not to be all, in all. It’s not going to be like, you know, cure cancer and save the world. But it’s what I did.

Andrew: The pre-selling course. And you did sell before you launched.

Clay: Yup.

Andrew: Yeah. Well, that and all of what we talked about is on mixergypremium.com. I urge you to go over and sign up for it right now. And if you do, I know you’ll be happy just as thousands of entrepreneurs have been with it and are with it. And if you’re not of course, give you 100% of your money back. So go to mixergypremium.com. So one thing that I notice is that when I sit down with Heaton Shaw, I ask him for advice. The guy from KISSmetrics. When I sit down with entrepreneurs at conferences. I ask him for advice based on what they just launch. So based on what you’ve launched. If someone else in the audience are saying I’m ready to get into software. What advice would you give them? What guidance would you give us?

Clay: You know, I think I’d say to only do it if you have a burning sensation to do it. Lifestyle is horrible reason to become an entrepreneur in my opinion. Well, lifestyle to me is working my ass off and getting to work with amazing people every single day. And having the money to try this huge experiments that might completely fail. Like, that’s lifestyle to me. But my advice is only do it if you have a burning passion to bring into the world something that does not exist. If you’re willing to work on it and believe in it even when everyone else around you doesn’t. That doesn’t mean don’t pre-sell. That doesn’t mean ignore everything you’ve ever learned about marketing. Only do it if you have a burning passion. If you have a burning passion to do it, don’t let anyone stop you. That’s, maybe, philosophical, but on a low level, don’t spend money on design. Don’t spend money on business cards. Hear a lot of people’s ideas. Don’t believe that one course or one program or one thing is going to do it for you. Get exposed to a lot of ideas.

Also, there are these two worlds. There this marketing world filled with marketing people. Those are great people, but please, please, please read Paul Graham’s essays. Please, listen to what’s going on in the tech world. Please, go to I.O., Google I.O. Please, go to the Apple developers’ conference. Please, talk to product people as well. Don’t get isolated in either of those worlds would be another piece of advice. Listen to books on tape, play them at double speed. Serve yourself a healthy dose of all the information you could ever listen to. If you feel overwhelmed with absolute anxiety because you can’t reconcile different world views and different points of view, that’s a good thing and just sit in the midst of that absolute anxiety until you come out with a direction of your own. That’s the direction that you need to go into. All that anxiety is a beautiful wonderful thing and I hope you get more of it in your life because that’s what’s going to propel…

Andrew: Anxiety, that’s what going to propel?

Clay: Anxiety because you don’t have direction. You can pay for someone to give you that direction, or you come with it on your on. I know I’m getting on a rant.

Andrew: Go for it.

Clay: One rant.

Andrew: [coughs] Meanwhile, I’m coughing anyways. I’ll just hit the cough button.

Clay: So many businesses are essentially franchises. They don’t call themselves franchises, but they are. So many info product businesses have the same word press team, with the same squeeze page, with the same style of pitch, with a person who’s doing the same thing. They’re knock offs of the guru who told them how to do this. There is some soulless thing they did because they want to quit their day job. It’s fine to want to quit your day job, but it doesn’t profit the world to create another one of these franchise companies. The reason why banks are willing to loan money to a laundromat is because it’s a proven business model. You know what to do and you can calculate the risk. It’s the same with a lot of info product companies. But, if you want to do something new, if you want to do something different, then you have to force yourself to let go of all of that. Well, let go of some of that and make something new and creative and different. So, I just say keep a foot in both worlds and as a bootstrapper you will always have to do what’s proven, but try to push that edge of doing as much as you can afford to do that is also new. Give yourself permission to do that. Anyways, that’s my long rant. Thanks for letting me have that, Andrew.

Andrew: [laughs] I’m glad you did. I’m going to tell people, first of all… Actually, I have to say something about this mug. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I got a mug from Alex Champagne, who’s been helping me here at Mixergy. I guess somehow he said, “Hey, Andrew, you need a Mixergy mug.”, so he sent this over. He’s a guy from launchtower.com. Can you hear my stomach rumbling? I guess I just haven’t eaten enough today and I run into work everyday. It’s grumbling like a lion. While it’s grumbling I’ll tell you that Alex is the one that sent this over and I’m really grateful. Alex’s site is launchtower.com, he’s a designer that has been helping me at Mixergy with guests and other ideas. He sent this over and I’m really appreciative.

All right, back to this interview. I’ll finally just say that I love LeadPlayer. I love what you’ve done with it. I’m not a YouTube person, but I just admire the hell out of the features here. I wish I had these features and I want the audience to go over and check out leadplayer.com. Once they do, they’re going to see immediately what this software can do. Beyond that, I think it’s worth just staying in touch with what Clay is building. You’re seeing the evolution of a software company, of a tools company. To me, I think that’s interesting. I don’t like just seeing the success afterward. I want to figure out how he did it. With a few of my friends, when I can see that things are really going well, I try to check in almost every day, if not every week, just to see ‘What are they at? How did they change it? How did this thing evolve? What can I learn from their progress.’ I do that with you and I urge the audience to do it too. The site is leadplayer.com. Of course, we’ve also been talking about marketingshow.com where you can see the marketing show. Clay, thank you so much for doing this.

Clay: Andrew, thank you so much for what you do. You are rare among info product…I don’t know if you are even an info product person, but you are a prodigal person and I am so grateful for this treasure trove of stuff that you’ve made available to the entrepreneur community. You could have gone high end coaching. You could have gone billion dollar master mind and some crazy ‘I’m going to give you a step by step system to create some thing.’, or whatever. I’m glad you stayed true to the original purpose of Mixergy. I’m really grateful for that.

Andrew: Yeah. Hundreds of interviews. 750 plus interviews now with people who keep blowing up even after the interview. I think I interview them at their height and then there’s another height and another height and another height. Anyways, thank you for doing this interview. Thank you all for being a part of it.

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  • http://www.marketingshow.com Clay Collins

    I agree. Thank you, Andrew.

  • http://www.marketingshow.com Clay Collins

    Regarding question #1: I would (a) find a client and build something for them that might later become a product for mass distribution, or (b) find a very tiny little problem (narrow the scope drastically) and sell that to start out, or (c) start blogging to get an audience, and then presell the product that you’re envisioning to them (I talk about this in an earlier Mixergy interview with Andrew).

    Regarding question #2: I would select two: Ready, Fire, Aim by Michael Masterson (from the info marketing world), and The Lean Startup (from the tech world).

    Hope this helps,

  • http://www.marketingshow.com Clay Collins

    I’m guessing the my techincal co-founder is busy enough with our current products, but if you can build a large online following by blogging, your chances of attracting a great technical co-founder will go up drastically.

    Also, I wouldn’t go to national developer conferences . . . I would find local meetups and startup communities near you and hook into them. Rails Meetup groups, lean startup meetup groups, startup weekend, etc.

    Hope that makes sense,

  • Andrew Case

    This helps a lot @claycollins:disqus I’ve read the Lean Startup by Eric Ries and I’ll get Ready, Fire, Aim by Michael Masterson soon. I really like the idea of finding a client and building something for them that could be used for mass distribution later. My minds racing about the (b) part that you answered too and how I can apply that to my future business. Thanks for answering!

    @AndrewWarner:disqus I liked in the interview when you asked Clay what the difference between a wire frame and a mock up was. Even though you knew the answer (and Clay acknowledged that), you still asked on behalf of the community. I thought that was great and I’ve definitely seen your interviewing skills improve over the time I’ve been watching Mixergy interviews.

  • http://www.marketingshow.com Clay Collins

    So glad this helped. Re: Ready, Fire, Aim . . .I would advise getting that as an audio book and listening at double speed.

    And I agree re: Andrew. Every year he gets better at his craft.


  • Guest

    is a great interview, thanks for putting it together. I would like to hear more
    on the very beginning stages of the business. What was the agreement
    with the initial programmer you met through start-up weekend? What
    was the process to discovering your programming team you have currently?
    What was the first 3 months of the business like and what was the biggest point
    of traction or propulsion well bootstrapping?

  • Guest

    Great interview, thanks for putting it together. I would like to hear more
    on the very beginning stages of the business. What was the agreement
    with the initial programmer you met through start-up weekend? What
    was the process to discovering your programming team you have currently?
    What was the first 3 months of the business like and what was the biggest point
    of traction or propulsion well bootstrapping?

  • Guest

    is a great interview, thanks for putting it together. I would like to hear more
    on the very beginning stages of the business. What was the agreement
    with the initial programmer you met through start-up weekend? What
    was the process to discovering your programming team you have currently?
    What was the first 3 months of the business like and what was the biggest point
    of traction or propulsion while bootstrapping?

  • jr_sci

    You have been more than helpful. Thanks for your heads up.

  • http://www.marketingshow.com Clay Collins

    Totally. And I’m glad that made sense and didn’t just come across as an incoherent rant.

  • http://www.marketingshow.com Clay Collins

    Hi Guest.

    Thanks for the questions. I’ll do my best to answer them.

    The agreement that we had with the initial developer was for a percentage of all sales for a year.

    In the interview we talk about how we found our technical co-founder, and then he brought on a friend that he’s worked with on a lot of projects.

    Probably the biggest point of traction has come through partnerships with video bloggers and prominent thought leaders who’ve decided to use LeadPlayer and tell their audience about it.

    I hope that helps. What’s your name?

    Warm regards,

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Jay, I’m watching your video now. Great edit. Are you just using ScreenFlow?

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Thanks, Jer.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Sounds like you’re looking for a programmer for your project?

    I can ask future interviews about how they found their partners. Let me know if you have any question suggestions beyond this.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Thanks. That’s why I aspire to.

  • Guest

    Can’t take the credit Andrew – it’s a guy called Matt Ballek who runs http://vidiseo.com/
    And I don’t know about the edit software but he list’s screenflow as one of his favourite tools. His videos are just what’s needed these days – cool, quirky lighthearted and entertaining, pretty good animation skills!

  • http://twitter.com/bhaveshdaryani Bhavesh Daryani

    Absolutely! The next one’s in January and I am already stoked about it :) I went for one a few months back and stood 2nd but it’s disheartening to see that most of the companies never actually pursue the startup after the 48 hours (including mine). I consider it a networking event (which is perfect since it fits my need for scouting out talented people)

    Quick question Clay – couldn’t you have just tracked the # of people who clicked on your ‘buy now’ button to validate your idea during the pre-sell process? I am not sure of the legality but collecting the payment and promising the product within a month does not seem like a feasible option for most of the entrepreneurs out there who want to validate their ideas. I’d love to get your opinion on this and learn more about what you did to validate the leadplayer.

    P.S – Already a huge fan of both, LeadPlayer and TheWelcomeGate. Kudos!

  • http://www.marketingshow.com Clay Collins

    Holy crap, @AndrewWarner:disqus the way that you say “all that and so much more” at the end of your intro reminds me so much of Ira Glass. BTW, which I watch this I think of you every time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=BI23U7U2aUY

  • http://www.marketingshow.com Clay Collins

    I agree. Mat Ballek is doing a great job.

  • Mitesh

    I have a software idea that if it works could be quite successful but I’ve just realised that I cannot afford Dane Maxwell’s Foundation. How can I do this on my own? I don’t want to spend the rest of my life working on a cash till…hoping they would promote me.

  • http://www.marketingshow.com Clay Collins

    Hi Bhavesh,

    I couldn’t have counted the number of people who clicked on the “buy now” button, but that would only be training people to think that my stuff really isn’t for sale, when, in fact, it really is.

    Second, shopping cart abandonment rate is so high. On some sites, over 90% of people who “add to cart” don’t buy. Unless you know your shopping cart abandonment rate, there’s no way to use it to predict demand for your product.

    Regarding shipping in a month from the time you take the payment: it is feasible. In most cases . . . if it’s software and it takes more than 2 months to build . . . it’s not an MVP.


  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    I used to copy Ira so much when I started. I didn’t know WTF to do on mic, so without noticing I started doing what Ira did. It wasn’t enough that anyone else noticed, but it was enough for me to realize later on.

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