Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy, but you already know that. What you don’t know is that I’m talking to my good friend, Noah Kagan who is shirtless. And you know, Noah, as you’ve been walking away from the camera, I’ve been looking at your chest, you’re really well built. I remember you when you were little scrawny guy.
Anyway, that’s not what we’re here to talk about. We’re here because I was feeling a little bit down about what’s going on in the world today. I mean, it’s the virus that is taking people down, but it’s also the economy that is taking businesses down, and then you can’t separate the two. You know, when I think about all the stores on Valencia Street here in San Francisco that are boarded up, I think about all the people who are going out of business there. When I think about people who are listening to my interviews and . . . well, you know where we’re going with this.
The interesting thing is that Noah is so freaking upbeat about this. He’s not just seeing this as a situation where we could get through this. He’s almost excited, almost feels like he’s thriving. And so I wanted to do a set of interviews with people who are doing a little bit better after corona than they were before, after the hit. He’s one of those people who’s doing a little bit better. And I think that I want to understand how and get some hope from that. But the other thing that’s coming through with Noah is that he’s got this pumped up confidence that I’m also hoping we can absorb from him.
Noah Kagan, for those of you don’t know, owns a collection of different companies. He’s most known for owning AppSumo. It’s a marketplace for software deals. A lot of us have gotten really good prices on great software from AppSumo. He also recently came out with something called SendFox. It’s email marketing that you pay for one time instead of having the monthly subscription fee. Haul Drop where you get deals on physical products. We can go on. That’s not what we’re here for. We’re here to understand why his business is doing a little bit better now than it was before this big financial and health impact. And to talk about my two sponsors, which are HostGator for hosting websites, and Toptal for hiring developers.
Noah, how significant is the increase since the since the virus came out?
Noah: So just to give some ideas, on AppSumo.com, our partners, the underdogs that we’re promoting, these lifetime deals that a lot of people are going crazy for now, because everyone’s trying to save money. I think just before . . . the month is not even over, and we’re already up 10% from February, and I think it’s somewhere between 30% and 50% of last year’s sales.
Andrew: Up 30% to 50% from last year. Can you give me a sense of proportion? I know because you’ve told me in private what your revenue is, but just give me something so that people see that it’s not $100,000 business doing another $30 a month.
Noah: No. It’s an eight-figure company.
Andrew: Eight-figure company, over $10 million significantly.
Noah: Over $10 million. And what we’re doing is . . . well, I mean, what pumps me up is that I want people to go help the world. And there’s all these underdogs who create great software. And there’s all these, frankly, big over-profitable companies that have been ripping people off for too long. And so it’s amazing that we can create alternatives and help promote the underdogs.
Andrew: Give me a name.
Noah: MailChimp, ConvertKit, Canva. I have a list of them that I was just like, “I think you guys are charging way too much, and offering way too little.”
Andrew: Why ConvertKit and Canva? Most people think of ConvertKit as the underdog in the email software space competing against MailChimp and Infusionsoft and others.
Noah: If you’re paying a subscription to host . . . they’re the most expensive hosting company I’ve ever seen. You’re paying $60 a month to host some email address? Why do I pay so much for you to host some emails? It doesn’t do anything.
Andrew: If I’m understanding you right, the reason you’re jazzed is you’re the cheaper option in a world where people have been overcharging and getting fat, and you say no one’s paying attention to cheaper option until they need it, until the economy is going into a tailspin. So why you’re thriving is because you’re offering cheaper alternatives to these overpriced products.
Noah: So let me just highlight. One, I hate the word cheap. I think the word cheap shows that it’s lesser quality.
Andrew: I saw I lost you as I said that.
Noah: I just like more affordable and more practical. What gets me excited is not just that there’s discounts but everything is on sale, and everyone is finally waking up and being like, “Why am I paying so much for these things?” So I think there’s two key things which I’m very excited about. Number one is that I think every single business owner starting or running a business is like, “I need to play a little better of defense.” So they’re looking through every single one of their contractors, they’re looking through their rent, they’re looking through their subscriptions. So I think if you’re a SaaS company, your profit is people’s opportunity. If you got this subscription, anything that’s on my bill every month I’m looking to cut.
Andrew: What have you cut?
Noah: We’ve negotiated a lot of our like revenue recognition stuff, like our recurring revenue, like revenue monitoring tools, we’ve negotiated down.
Andrew: Wait. The software that tells you how much revenue you’re making every month, you emailed them back and you say, “Hey, listen, I’m subscribed. Can you reduce my price?” And they do?
Noah: I think you have to do it in a very . . . So there’s two plays that every business owner needs to do. And we can also talk for people starting businesses as well. But if you’re a business owner, defense-offense. On the defense side, and I can tell you exact strategy that we’re doing at Sumo Group, but the number one thing is I’m not trying to fuck people over so that they hate me forever, because we’re eventually going to get out of this and that’s why I feel good. This is just how long is it going to take to get out of it. So I try to do it in a respectful way and saying, “Hey, I know that you guys are crunched. I know I’m crunched, the dominoes are falling. Do you want to be the last person in the domino? Or do you want to make sure that you get out okay?” So I’m going to email you and say, “I think that you should . . . ” Oh, should I record?
Andrew: Yeah, go for it. I didn’t realize it was going to interrupt your flow. Just keep going. Yes, do record.
Noah: It’s fine. My most important thing is that when you’re emailing someone, I think you got to do a few things. Number one, tell them the exact price that you want to do. Number two, say, “Hey, I can’t afford this right now.” Number three, tell them, “Hey, this is what I need for now. We can revisit it in six months if the economy recovers. This is a great way to keep me as a long-term customer.”
Andrew: Okay, so it’s not, “Hey, I need you to lower your price. You’ve been jerking me around for too long by charging too much.” It’s, “I need this right now because we’re going through this tough situation. Here’s how you can keep me as a customer.”
Noah: Yes. So if you have a SaaS . . . like all the Ltd companies that are saying, “I don’t know why you keep paying monthly,” they’re going to [inaudible 00:05:53]. So your best option to defend that is to do some crazy like one, two, three-year sales right now, and hopefully try to capture that cash. So right now, this is, I believe, strong.
Andrew: Okay. All right. So then that’s the offense. The defense is . . .
Noah: No, that’s all . . .
Andrew: This is defense?
Noah: So that’s offense for the SaaS companies.
Andrew: Sorry, we’re talking over each other, because I see the enthusiasm. I think your mic even cut out because you were talking so much and so loudly into it, which is good, keep going. But what you’re saying is, on the defense, cut expenses as much as possible, negotiate with people right now and do it in a friendly way that lets you have a long-term relationship with them. On the offense, it seems like what you’re saying is go out there to your customers and say, “I’m going to give you a hell of a good deal so that I can keep your revenue and maybe even charge you now for three years’ worth of service so that I get more cash infusion.”
Noah: So let’s take a step back. So the phrase I like to think about for everyone right now is stash your cash. You better stash your cash, because if you can sustain and outlast, you’ll gain. That’s what I fully believe in. So what [inaudible 00:06:49] company, I’ll just share this, instead of just doing offense and defense within every [inaudible 00:06:53] the first thing is what’s your plan? Because you, Andrew, you had anxiety. I can’t control some of these things. The markets up today, bitcoin’s down tomorrow.
So the first thing that everyone needs to do is a plan. So the plan that we did, and I’ll just share it very openly, is called the 30-5 plan. So the 30-5 is we took our projections of everything we’re doing. And we said, “We’re going to assume immediately that our revenue goes down 30%. And we’re going to assume immediately that our profit margin and net income is only going to be 5%.” So the question is, what changes do we have to do defensively immediately, to be able to run the business?
So we made a list, we paused all bonuses, we reduced some contractors, we negotiated our rent, we’re negotiating software, we pulled back some ad spend that’s undisciplined. And so [inaudible 00:07:39] to the 30-5 numbers and we’re like, “Good. Now that our foundation is solid, and our defense is secured, now is [inaudible 00:07:47] I can go through some of the attack [inaudible 00:07:48] of things that . . .
Andrew: Sorry, your mic keeps cutting in and out as you’re talking, and I’m concerned that it may not be picking up properly. Why don’t you unplug it and we’ll go a little bit rawer. It won’t sound as good, but at least we’ll continue to keep hearing. Can you hear me?
Noah: Yeah, I can hear you perfectly.
Andrew: Okay, great. It’s a little bit of an echo, but it’s a much better situation for us. Okay. And I thought you owned your own . . . your building. The place where you’re running your company, it’s not something that you own?
Noah: So we have small offices that we used to have. We moved into a $40,000 a month office space that is completely empty. The other thing is that I fully believe offices of the future are going to just be small, because the fact that I can’t use them on weekends, the fact that I don’t use them on nights is a complete waste of money. So I think the future is I’m going to pay every one of the teammates that works at our company, and I’m going to pay their mortgage. And we’re just not going to have an office, or we’ll have a very small office that we can congregate in once a while.
Andrew: Interesting. I remember when . . . I like working on my own. I don’t like having people around. And you’ve recommended to me in the past, “Get an office and bring your people together because it creates a communal feeling.” Are you backing away from that now, the need to be with people?
Noah: Yes, the world shifts, and you have to shift with it. So I’ve gone from working alone to office to remote. So I think the hybrid is the best approach. Let people work . . . Find the best people in the world wherever the hell they are. And you know, the online, like, virtual community is nice, like you use Zooms, Slack stuff, but like physically being with the other people really does create a sense of camaraderie. But I don’t think you need to have this expansive space that is, frankly, distracting and expensive, versus more flexible work styles or work locations.
Andrew: Okay, what else on the offense are you doing?
Noah: On the offensive stuff, I’m just pulling up a list of all the things that we’ve been really aggressively attacking. So a lot of people . . . I don’t know about your listeners, Andrew, I’m hoping they’re on the winner side because that’s what’s going to happen. Wealth is just getting redistributed. And so the winner side are the people that are saying, “All right, my defensive good, I’m not worried about my money. How can I attack?” So how can you attack? Let’s just go through things that we’re doing. I’ll just give you specific stuff.
We’re going hard on Haul Drop. We’re saying, “Yo, a lot of you ecommerce stores, you have a lot of inventory, you’re non-essential businesses, like you’re not food, you’re not entertainment, you’re not exercise.” So go put your products on our free listing, it’s kind of like Product Hunt and AppSumo, and we will promote the shit out of your products.” So a lot of store owners on Shopify or Amazon are rushing to put their products on. It’s free. And we go and do our promotion. So that’s one.
Number two, more general for everyone, is advertising. So I think the two things with advertising is, one, go crazy and negotiate with every single person you’ve ever thought of sponsoring or partnering because people like you, Andrew, other podcasters, they’re like, “Holy shit, my advertisers are canceling. Holy shit, I haven’t filled up my slots.” Or if you’re a newsletter, or if you’re a blogger, your ad rates are going down. So everything is on sale. And so . . .
Andrew: Go on, go on.
Noah: For us, we’re going out and saying, “Hey, we worked with you in past. We’ll pay you 50% of what we sponsored you before,” because, guess what, you need someone now and we’ve wanted to work with them. And then we’re also going crazy on just ads in general. But I think the big thing with ads I just want to highlight is two key pieces. And I know I’m going fast and strong because the speed is number one right now. If you’re not moving fast, you’re going to lose out. So the two key pieces with advertising is number one, you’ve got to instill discipline in your ads. So we’ve cut almost all of our retargeting for non-previous buyers. So if you’re previous buyer, we exclude you. And I think retargeting is mostly a waste of money, but if you can exclude those people and just show it to people who’ve never bought, great.
Number two a lot . . . clicks, CPCs are cheaper than ever now. And so people are like, “Yeah, I’m buying ads, it’s so cheap.” You’ve got to be careful because those new buyers may be tighter puckers with their money. So you don’t want to just go out spend like crazy and you’re like, “I can’t believe how cheap it is.” You have to measure it and make sure they’re spending a little bit with your business before you expand like crazy.
Andrew: Okay, so the way that you’re growing right now is you’re getting better deals on the products that you’re selling on . . . what’s Haul Drop’s website?
Noah: hauldrop.com. No, I think the . . .
Andrew: Oh, got it. You know what? I totally missed it. H-A-U-L, like a haul. I was thinking hall like school.
Noah: We also own hauldrop.com. Andrew, can I give two other ideas real fast?
Andrew: Yeah, yeah, go ahead, please.
Noah: [inaudible 00:11:55] people thinking. The number three idea. So number one, negotiate. Number two, your ads. Number three, affiliates. If you have listeners like you, Andrew, if you have customers previously, a), can you go and sell them something new? So let’s say you’re making socks. I’ve been making fun of a lot of sock people because no one’s buying socks. That’s a great shirt, by the way. It’s a GAP shirt, isn’t it?
Andrew: No, it’s not, but it is a great shirt. I took Olivia to go shopping with me, thankfully, before the stores all closed. I’m so proud of the clothes she got me, made me look really good.
Noah: Looks great.
Andrew: Thank you.
Noah: So number three is that if you have previous customers, go and sell them something else. Sell them home meditation, sell them something else that might benefit them. Or, like yourself, and this is what we’re doing very aggressively. Everyone now is looking for money, everyone’s like, “Holy shit, I got to pay rent. Is rent going to get excused? Is my mortgage . . . ” So turn all of your listeners or your customers into your salespeople, because they all need sales. And then the last . . .
Andrew: So turn them into affiliate sales people, they get a commission. Okay, got it.
Noah: Yeah, big time. We emailed our list at SendFox and we said, “Hey, there’s no catch. If you’re struggling or you’re looking for money or things are tough, come here and then apply, name, email, URL, and we’re going to turn on a few people. This is an experiment. And we’ll pay you $10 for every customer you send.” It’s only 50 bucks for a customer to buy from us. And so far, it’s been hundreds and hundreds of people applying, because everyone’s kind of concerned.
Andrew: Okay, you were going to give me another one.
Noah: Yeah. And the last one, this is the one I actually saw yesterday. And there’s so many different things, man, this is like . . . that’s what I’m trying to tell people, get your defenses ready, get a plan and go attack. The last one I’ve seen that’s amazing is cross partnerships. So one guy I saw said, “Hey, I have a lot of customers that are CBD buyers.” And we can make fun of those people after the show. But the point is, he’s like, “If you are a gym, if you are in health, or if you are in food, let me promote your products to them. And I’ll take a cut and then you’ll make a lot more sales.” And I was like, “That is awesome.”
And you start thinking, if you’re a realtor, you could do that. If you’re a SaaS company, you could do that. If you’re a gym, you could do that. And like one other business idea because I know there’s someone out there who’s going to do it because you have good listeners. All these stores are closed. You just said it. The clothing store’s closed. These people are closed, this person lost their job. Go help them get online.
Now is the best time ever to get those businesses online. Call them, “Hey, I see your store’s closed. Let’s get you online, it’s free. I’ll host everything. I’ll do everything. I’ll help you market everything. And whatever it sells, 5%, there’s no risk to you.” Like, this is the kind of people because of these limitations, people are going to be open minded to trying new things.
Andrew: You know, there’s this beautiful . . . there are a couple of beautiful stores on Valencia Street. One sells old radio equipment that’s actually . . . it’s modern, but it looks old. And I kind of miss being able to stare at their stuff because it’s so beautiful. I don’t think they’re online. And you’re saying those types of people would be candidates for us as consultants to call them up and say, “Can I get you online for free? We split the revenue.”
Noah: Hell yeah. I think the problem I have is I don’t like to complain and blame people. The complain and blame is like the, “Government suck. The city shut me down.” I don’t know how long it’s going to last. So I think the things you have to think about is what do you know. I do know that I’m hopefully going to live. I do know that people are still spending money. I do know that there’s a lot of people out there and there’s a lot of things to be grateful for. And I’m like, “Yo, there’s some things we can go do.” And so I think there’s a lot of opportunity around this stuff that people are just putting their heads in the sand, and then waiting for this to end. And by the time this ends, there will be more winners and more losers. And the question people have to ask is when this ends, where do you want to be?
Andrew: Why did you charge just one single payment for a lifetime plan on SendFox? Why aren’t you doing what everyone else in the software as a service space is doing, charge monthly?
Noah: So I think SaaS companies are going to die.
Andrew: All software as a service companies are going to die?
Noah: Yes. And I hope they do.
Noah: So I think they’re going to die for three reasons, but I only think one class of them will stay around. The only class of subscription that’ll stay around is that if you are a critical business component, meaning you are hosting, you are driving a sale, like you were the sale button, or you’re a potential communication like email marketing. I think if you are anything outside of that, everyone is going to look to cut you.
And the problem with some of the businesses that say they’re doing great now, they’re lagging. I’m telling you, the revenue looks good, but in a week or two because their email signups are down, their conversion might be down, in two weeks, they’re like, “Holy shit, I need to start making some changes.” So why I think SaaS businesses are going to be really screwed is number one, they’re on the treadmill of churn. So if you’re in a non-critical business, the treadmill of churn is coming.
Number two, the first thing people do when times are tough and they start having to play a little bit of defense, they look to cut their subscriptions. So I look through my subscriptions, you’re . . . the first one’s gone.
And number three, I think with these SaaS businesses, there was a big rush into it. And I think it’s kind of a complicated business model. And people love the idea of like, “I just don’t like having to worry about my subscription.” The thing to think about this, let me just make it even simpler. What subscriptions now will you never cancel? Like, I’ll open that question for you.
Andrew: Me personally? You know what, there are a handful. For some reason, Spotify is coming to mind. Even though I don’t critically need it, it’s a fun one for me. There are a handful of them.
Noah: No, I think that’s a really good one. So are you going to cancel your cell phone bill?
Andrew: No. Can’t cancel my hosting package, web hosting package. Email, I thought I couldn’t cancel and I kind of assume I won’t cancel. It’s kind of a pain. There are a couple of others. So rent. I’m so in love with the fact that I have an office but since I can’t go to the office, you know, we’re basically being shut out. I started thinking what else could I do? And my brother-in-law suggested, “Get like a shed in the backyard.” And I looked and I said, “I don’t want to shed.” And then I started looking. Dude, there are some places that will build you a beautiful shed for like a couple thousand, $3,000. I thought that’s basically a month’s rent here. I could get rid of that subscription possibly. So you’re right. There’s a handful that I can think of, but not a lot.
Noah: But I think you’re also exactly the point. You even said, “Well, I kind of thought about canceling Shopify or Spotify, and then I kind of thought about an email.” And I think that’s what everyone’s doing. And so I think if you’re not an essential business, you need to figure out how to pivot and adapt into that as quickly as possible. So I think these SaaS companies . . . that’s why I think AppSumo and all the partners, they’re the ones thriving. They’re thriving because people are like, “I want an alternative to this expensive subscription.
Andrew: AppSumo doesn’t do subscriptions, it does lifetimes. That’s exclusively lifetime, I didn’t realize that.
Noah: It’s been a wild ride, man. Ayman, who runs the show over there . . . I’m just kind of the cheerleader. They’ve evolved the business really well. So we used to do maybe like three-month deals, and then one-year deals. And what I found out is that for most businesses, you don’t really need to keep paying monthly. Right? Like unless there’s a real cost for it. The idea of keep paying for it doesn’t . . . unless there’s some significant benefit every month, you can just pay a one-time thing.
Andrew: But it seems unsustainable for a lot of businesses. In fact, let me take a moment to talk about my first sponsor. First sponsor is a company called HostGator. Let me ask you this. Brand new economy, brand new world . . . What?
Noah: I use HostGator.
Andrew: You do? For what?
Noah: I have HostGator for okdork.com, for my blog.
Andrew: Get out. The blog that you’ve had for years, before I ever launched Mixergy, I remember listening to you at one of your conferences talking to Guy Kawasaki, and he said something and he said, like, okdork.com. And I go, “Wow, Guy Kawasaki is mentioning OkDork.” So yes, you had that forever. That’s on HostGator. I didn’t realize. If somebody is now today saying, “I want to start something here.” You know what? I’m going to play offense like Noah Kagan is saying. All I got is HostGator. I could afford to pay them a monthly subscription because it’s a few bucks a month. It’s literally like three or four bucks a month, I think. What would you suggest that they do? Or how would you suggest they think about creating a new business on HostGator?
Noah: Yeah, so a lot of times I would actually personally recommend they try to do sales directly. I just got off the phone with a guy who’s . . . his kids want to sell jewelry. Jewelry. Jewelry. All right. He was like, “Do I create a website and should I go post everything on Instagram all day?” I’m like, “No, go to all the people in your church and say, ‘Here’s jewelry, all the money is going to go to old people.'” And I was like, “That’s great. And if they don’t want to buy it, figure something else out.”
But I think in terms of ideas, there’s so many ideas that you can be doing. I like doing it manually and then putting it online. But if you want to put on HostGator, I think, one, start blogging content. If you have any unique knowledge that’s relevant and interesting, put that online, use your HostGator account. Number two, people want entertainment. I think there’s only three categories that I would invest a lot of money in right now. It’s entertainment, health, and . . . entertainment for home, so like board games, movies, reviews, anything like that. Health. Right? So people are at home. I saw a guy across the street doing jumping jacks, my friend Joel Runyon from Impossible HQ is doing workouts. And the last thing is food.
So if you can play in those three categories and put some kind of site online to sell something, review something, or do DIY kits around that, I think that’s a great place to go host on HostGator and get a business going.
Andrew: All right, if you’re out there and you’re listening to me and you want to get yourself started, go to hostgator.com/mixergy. Super inexpensive, and frankly, if you’ve been paying for an expensive hosting package, now’s the time to switch over. They will even do the work for you. Just tell them, “Listen, Andrew said you will migrate me.” I think it’s even for free. I just hesitated as I said it because I’m not 100% sure, but I kind of believe that it’s hostgator.com/mixergy. They will migrate you, they’ll make it super simple, and they’ll give you a much lower price. If you want to cut costs, this is a great way to do it. hostgator.com/mixergy.
I keep saying that /mixergy without telling people that the benefit of throwing the /mixergy is they take their already low price and they lower it to the lowest they make available because Sachit Gupta is such a pain in the ass that he kept following up with them and saying, “No, we can’t have you on, we can’t have you on unless you give us the lowest price for our audience. Otherwise, why is anyone going to use hostgator.com/mixergy when they could just go to HostGator?”
All right, AppSumo, the evolution, what happened with that? It’s just kind of running now without you. Ayman is leading it. The evolution [crosstalk 00:21:37]. I thought . . . So I interviewed a couple of people who said that they did deals on AppSumo. They did really well and it gave them a cash infusion for the beginning of their business, right? Because they were just getting started. You got them a bunch of customers. That got people using their software . . . gave them a cash infusion, and then they evolved into subscription.
Andrew: But isn’t that then the antithesis of what you’re predicting or what you’re saying they should do? They’re getting that influx of cash because they need it to get started. But as a way of running a business, you need ongoing revenue, don’t you?
Noah: Yeah. I think you’re exactly right. And so I think there’s two ways of looking at it. I think the question is, what does the future of work look like? And everyone now, if you watch all these YouTube people and all these Instagrams and everybody’s saying remote work is the new thing. It’s like, okay, it’s 2020. We got it.
So the question is, how does the future of work look like? The future of work is that more things are going to be online, more money is going to be made online, and more people are going to need skills to work online. And so we want to be that place that you can learn, or buy and sell the tools you need to actually grow and run an online business. And so I think the part of that future is that you should be buying things one-offs, but potentially there could be some things that you want to subscribe to that is more ala carte. So instead of me subscribing, $200 a month to pay for email marketing, I pay 1 time $50. And if I’m not using all that, I don’t pay anything. But if I use it excessively, I have to just at least pay the cost to the business provider. So we want to provide that full market solution for business and knowledge for the future workers of America.
Andrew: So is SendFox now doing a monthly subscription of any kind?
Noah: So, yes and no. So right now, you can use SendFox totally free. But if you’re a business owner, we have branding, and you’re like, “I want to get rid of the branding. And I want to send more emails.” So then you pay $50. And you can send up to 50,000 emails a month. But what we found is that there’s a few people who are abusing it. And they’re sending hundreds of thousands of emails a month, which costs us money. So they’re just . . . they’re exceeding it. And so we said, “All right, for every . . . if you’re sending it, we need to make a little bit of profit. So we’re going to just charge you a little bit more than our cost to do it. So it’s like 10 bucks a month extra. Plus, you get no ads, plus you get some other perks.”
Andrew: Ten 10 bucks a month extra?
Andrew: So it’s a one-time fee. But if they’re big enough, there’s that ongoing recurring fee.
Noah: I think the way that I like to look at businesses is if you think about it, there’s hobbyists, there’s companies, and then there’s empires. And so I think a hobbyist should never get charged. A hobbyist is going to pay for things because they’re pretending, they’re playing they’re entrepreneur. But a company is making a little money. So for them having some things they can pay a little bit more. And then you get to the higher stages where you’re a large company generating a lot of money, I don’t think you should get punished for making a lot more money, but you should be able to pay a little bit more for the services that you’re getting.
Andrew: So basically, isn’t that what we always were? Like a freemium, but with a different model. MailChimp has a free version for hobbyists, they just cap it at a smaller number than you do. You guys cap it at $30,000. Right?
Noah: I think the problem that I have with them and ConvertKit and all these other SaaS companies is that they have thousands of people working on something that doesn’t need that many people, charging you insanely high multiples that people just have no idea. So to send one email . . . just to give you context, let me show you the number. To send one email is 0.0002, 0.0002. Okay? So most people on average have 3,000 people in their email lists and most people email twice a month. So let’s do the math, that’s 6,000 emails times 0.0002. That’s $1 and 20 cents of cost. So if you’re on ConvertKit, or MailChimp, you’re probably paying between $30 and $50 a month for something that’s costing them $1.
Andrew: And the rest of the money, though, goes to advertising, goes to customer service people who will help you out when that email doesn’t make it through. I don’t know what? Hotmails, whatever, right?
Noah: I’m not saying that everything doesn’t need people. And I always think it’s weird when companies are like, “Look at our great customer support.” I’m like, does it mean that you suck so much that I need to have a lot of help? Like, go make your product better. But I think Jeff Bezos said it right. And I really loved his point is that your margin is my opportunity. And I think there’s a lot of people out there that can build similar, if not better, software in this new economy, and especially as it’s evolving, that doesn’t need 200 people and that will come after your thing. And then we’re seeing now with AppSumo and all the different companies from like . . . I’ll pull up the list, but there’s just so many companies doing this stuff out there now, like Vectera is doing it, SendFox is doing it, [inaudible 00:26:03]
Andrew: Doing email marketing, you mean?
Noah: In all the different categories of every category of online tools.
Andrew: Got it. You’re saying for every piece of software, there’s basically 20 other people out there who are doing the same thing, and their margins are your opportunity to come in. It seems . . . You’re nodding and smiling as I say this.
Noah: I’m just looking over the different companies. There’s RelayThat for Canva, there’s Vectera for online screen sharing, Social Animal instead of BuzzSumo.
Andrew: Oh, you’re saying, for every expensive software, there’s a much, much cheaper alternative, go find it. You’re the one who turned me on to ProfitWell as a way of seeing churn. We sat down at dinner and you said, “Here’s this thing. It’s totally free. Just go sign up. Most people don’t know because the founder isn’t as well-known as his competitors.” So I get that your cheapness helps you go there. My sense is you’re saying now everybody needs to be as cheap as Noah Kagan and you have to assume all your customers are as cheap as Noah Kagan, and just start pricing it for that. And if that means you give up . . . You’re smiling so big as I say it. If that means you give up all . . . Go ahead. What are you going to say?
Noah: Look. So when you say the word cheap, I say the word frugal.
Andrew: Frugal, okay.
Noah: When you say the word cheap, I say the word practical. And so for me, I think what’s happening nowadays is that, Andrew, maybe not you because you have maybe a little bit more savings and things like that, but a lot of people out there are scared, and they’re afraid. And I’ve seen . . . I’ve talked to a lot of them. They’re like, “I don’t know how I’m going to pay rent the next month or two.” And so they’re looking at what are the things that I can make more affordable?
And so as a business owner, I’m actively looking at saying, “What is non-essential? Or where can I do . . . ?” I think there’s always a question, you know, do you grow through cutting a bunch of money, or do you grow through growing the money? And obviously, it’s through growing the money, but I think people, especially now because things are getting all pulled back, are like, “Let me just at least review all the things I’m spending on.” And if people aren’t doing that, they’re the ones that should be going out of business. Let me make a clear point. You have an iPad right there?
Andrew: I do. I love it.
Noah: I know you love it. Do you tell it you love it every night?
Andrew: I tell my wife I love it every night. She goes, “Dude, I’m sitting right here.”
Noah: It’s awkward. So Apple just announced new Apple shit. Are you going to go buy it if it came out tomorrow?
Andrew: I’m going to buy the keyboard. Yeah, but not the iPad.
Noah: And so why aren’t going to buy the iPad? Brand new.
Andrew: It’s not that much better. I haven’t bought an iPhone, even, the new iPhone. I used to love phones. I haven’t bought the new one in . . . I’m now three years behind. I don’t care.
Noah: I expect for at least until the end of the year, because of all this uncertainty, any non-essential spending will get pulled back.
Andrew: Yeah, yeah, I could use another computer. I’m not buying it.
Noah: And you’re rich.
Andrew: A replacement. My business, it depends on having a good internet connection, a good computer. I said, “I have this laptop I haven’t been using. I’ll just use the laptop.” It’s great.
Noah: And you’re on the high end. So I think if you’re a business owner, and you didn’t set up your defense, you deserve to fail. But then the best thing is, once you set up your defense, no matter what happens, I have a plan that I’m following so that I can spend all of our energy. Like our content team has 4xed the output in the past two weeks.
Noah: Why? We’ve hired more people, we’re actually saying, “Let’s go on the offensive and hire more people and ask the people that are working with us to create even more.” It’s like, “Hey, I know you’re working hard. But this is a once in a lifetime, if not maybe two or three time opportunity to really expand our market share and our business.”
Andrew: That’s the thing. That’s the energy that I’m getting from you. You see this as an opportunity. Look at your eyes bulge out as I said it, I wish people could see it in the podcast. What do you see? What are you seeing?
Noah: The phrase I like is there’s opportunity in the chaos. And I think what I finally realized about myself is that when things are stable, it’s very boring for me and the fact that there’s so much unstableness, the fact that there’s so much uncertainty creates this opportunity. And when people are saying, “Oh, when the market settles down, I’ll buy back in. When things settle down, I’ll buy back in.” By the time that happens, it’s gone.
So right now, people are scared. Right now, people lost jobs. Right now, if you had a clothing store, you’re like, “Huh, this clothing store’s shit. Our doors are closing. I’m not making any money today, and I got to pay some bills.” So what are they going to start thinking, “I need to learn some shit. And I need to start moving my stuff online because that stuff is still happening.” So I’m like, well, AppSumo and all the stuff we’ve been building is all online. It’s the most affordable stuff online. And it helps people actually get their businesses started or growing. I’m like, “We got to get the hell out there, help all these people and do well at the same time with it.
Andrew: Right. Let me take a moment to talk about my second sponsor.
Noah: We’re using your second sponsor too. We’re using Toptal.
Andrew: How? Oh, I love that you’re using it. I’ve been recording all day today, I’m running out of ways to talk about Toptal. What did you use them for?
Noah: So at AppSumo we have a development team. And we want to have more developers to work around the clock because sometimes we sleep so we need people working when we don’t sleep. As well, it’s a really nice . . . it’s kind of like AWS for developers. So if we need a developer, you can bring someone on, they help you out and then go away. The problem with developers and full-time staff is payroll tax, unemployment, health benefits, food, offices, equipment, Slack, complaining. And I love all the people that work at Sumo, but it’s a lot more expensive. So a lot of the times if you just can have a contractor, you can ramp them up, they come to tackle a project and Toptal has really good content, and then you can ramp them down.
So right now, in our 30-5 plan, we’ve paused all of our contractors. So a lot of our non-essential contractors that’s non-content we’ve reduced and that’s the beauty of having contractors. It sucks for them and we could talk about what they can do to survive and thrive. But that is the beauty of a company like Toptal especially for a company like AppSumo.
Andrew: I also like that I’ve got somebody in between me and that contractor when it’s time to like reduce, you know, somebody who has a conversation with the contractor who I can go back to and say, “Hey, you know what, this guy is not good. I need somebody else and here’s why,” and let them make that transition for me. You didn’t use this but if you use the URL toptal.com/mixergy, you would get 80 hours of Toptal developer credit when you pay for your first 80 hours, in addition to a no-risk trial period of up to 2 weeks. Really no risk. Go to toptal.com/mixergy.
Why are you shirtless, by the way? What’s the connection to being here shirtless?
Noah: It’s hot in Texas. I was outside [inaudible 00:31:57]. I’ll tell you two things that have helped me out. People get restless at home. So I think, one, do something physical. So I’ve been using PushFit. It’s a free app you can start with. I got it on my phone. But I’ve been doing a bunch of pushups. I think that’s like kind of a popular thing lately. So I’ve been using PushFit to try to do 150 pushups a day. So it’s hot.
Second thing is I wanted to do physical things. And so I washed my car. And the other thing that I think has actually been the most helpful, especially during these uncertain times, in turbulent times, is quietness. So I put out a podcast, you can search on SoundCloud. It’s called a “Sound Bath” or “Sound Healing.” I put out a podcast in December. It’s called a “Take a Sound Bath with Me.” But just go on SoundCloud, search Tibetan bowls or sound healing or sound bath. And I just went quiet for 30 minutes and I put that on, because I think right now, Andrew, a lot of people, including myself, have a lot of negativity, a lot of opinions, a lot of people shouting, a lot of people afraid. A lot of people are seeing both sides of it.
And so I just need . . . every day I’m taking at least 30 minutes quiet just to be able to process and think about my plans and writing out these plans has really saved my ass. Especially even like my investment thesis. I did an investment thesis. Because the first two days a few weeks ago, I honestly was scared. I was like, “I’m going out of business.” I started updating my LinkedIn resume. I was like . . .
Noah: Not my LinkedIn resume. But I was really scared. I called my stepdad right away. And I was like, “What do I do? I don’t know. I don’t know.” And I went quiet. I came home, I wrote down my plan is specifically for my finances. And I haven’t worried about it in two weeks since and I’m just executing against my plan.
Andrew: Let’s spend a little bit of time on that. When you were scared, what were you scared of? What did you think? Well, I’ll tell you what happened with me. It was like, what happens if I’m too sick? I don’t expect to die. But what happens if I’m too sick to make food for my kids? You know, they’re stuck at home. It’s not like their grandmother can come over because she would have to stay away because she’s in a more vulnerable age group. And that started to worry me and there’s stuff like that. What happens if the business goes away and my kids then have to leave or some . . . ? I don’t know.
Oh, I know what it is. I have some money that’s in a safe spot. What happens if what used to be safe is not safe anymore, right? Weren’t they saying in the last economic crisis that even CDs that are supposed to be FDIC insured may not be FDIC insured, because we have to protect the overall system, not individuals who have more money in CDs? So it was like all this stuff going in my head. What was it for you?
Noah: There’s been two times. So one time I landed from LA, and I went back and forth to LA for two weeks in this month. At night, I was drinking some scotch. And I was just like . . . I honestly started having heart palpitations. And I was like, “Man, if I get it, is my body strong enough to handle it?” And it was scary. And I was like, you know, “I’m young-ish. I’m very healthy, you know, I eat healthy,” all this kind of shit. But I was like, “Man, I’m a little scared of getting it.” And that kind of made me a little bit more . . . it’s not to be paranoid, but just be prepared. So it was like, let’s stay away from more people. Let’s keep the house as clean as possible. Let’s try to do as best I can. I can’t make it not happen, but I can do whatever I can in that. And so that alone made me feel more good about that.
And then the financial side, it was like for three days in a row, like everyone else out there who’s in the stock market, I lost $70,000, then $50,000 [inaudible 00:35:09].
Andrew: How much was the last one? You paused when you said it.
Noah: I think overall in the stock market, I’ve gone down around $400,000. And then in bitcoin I lost about $100,000. And so I’m calling my stepdad being like, “This is fucked. I don’t think I’m going to have to fire everyone in the company yet, but like, I’m all over the place. And I’m feeling very uncertain, and I’m feeling very anxious.” And so that’s really what led to the P word, which is the plan. And it was the plan for myself and was a plan for the company.
I think where a lot of people are making mistakes is that besides the plan, they’re doing too many things reactively. They’re like, “If this happens, then I’ll do this.” It’s like no, create your plan, act on it and take charge of the situation because I think right now the biggest thing is people are not feeling control. And so a plan and action puts you in control of your situation.
Andrew: What was in your plan?
Noah: Well, so for my finances, it was shifting, it was basically saying, “What’s my financial . . . What do I care about?” I said, “I don’t want to be distracted with finances, I want to focus on the company. And I want to just do things long term.” So I changed my asset allocation from 60% cash to 75%, and my equity position to 25%. So I reduced some of that, and I said, “I’m just going to buy back in long-term stocks that I believe in, and I’ll just do it slowly over time.”
Andrew: Okay. And then, for the business what’s your plan?
Noah: So that’s what I’ve been doing and then I just stop worrying about it.
Andrew: The plan for the business, what you mentioned before. Assume you’re going to get to 5% net profit margin, assume all those assumptions that you made.
Noah: [inaudible 00:36:37] revenue drops 30%. And so we basically assumed it and we said, “Well, let’s just ballpark.” Let’s say that’s $100,000 that we have to cut in our business immediately. We went through and made a list of everything and then we cut everything immediately on Monday.
Andrew: Was that hard decision or a hard conversation to have with them when you’re not suffering and they are not going to be working?
Noah: Yeah, that’s really interesting, because people are like, “Aren’t we doing well? Aren’t we doing well?” And I think that’s where people are going to get misled. They’re like, revenue looks good. Revenue looks good now. I want to be ahead of it so even if it doesn’t look good, or it does look good, then we can be more successful. And for a lot of the people that we pause, we can bring them back. For some of the people we cut, we hopefully can bring them back. Or maybe we shouldn’t even keep them. And I don’t mean that as a mean thing.
And then the second thing that I actually think is just as important in this, Andrew, is that we have a plan B now, which is our 30-15 plan. So if things get really worse, and we’re checking certain leading indicators every day, and I think I mentioned too and I’m happy to repeat, we’re checking them every single day. If any of those leading indicators go off our certain ratio or our targets, we’re basically going to pull plan B which is going even more aggressive. Because I think people are just [inaudible 00:37:41]
Andrew: What are the leading indicators? Because before we got . . . But what are they?
Noah: So the four leading indicators we’re looking at, and this is what I encourage every business. They might be different than ours. But if you’re a consultant, if you’re a, you know, food product business, if you’re a SaaS business, if you’re a marketplace, what is your conversion rate? So revenue is a lagging thing. And conversion rate, your leads signups, so how many leads or email signups are happening? Your traffic? So is your traffic going up or down? Are people not paying attention to you because they’re worried about their safety? And lastly is the refund rate. And so we are looking at those plus our seven-day rolling revenue window. So over the seven days, what’s our average revenue? So we’re looking at those metrics every single day at night. And if things start dropping dramatically, we’re going to execute plan B. And I think the thing that’s helped us is that we’ve already planned it out ahead of time.
Andrew: And so now everyone knows, and you know, and so it’s reassuring for you, but it also gives them a sense of where we’re going. And it’s not a big surprise when it unfolds.
Noah: Well, I think there’s two components of that. Number one is we haven’t shared that with the entire team. And the second part . . . Because do we want them to be distracted and thinking if they’re losing their job? Because I was . . . well, surprised and not surprised. I’m shocked how many people are worried about losing their job. And a few of the people that we said, “Hey, we just need you have a temporary pay cut.” They were like, “Thank you so much. I’m just glad I have a job.” And it’s not to take advantage of people. I mean, Ray Kroc has a great quote. You ever heard of the Ray Kroc quote?
Andrew: “If my competitor is drowning, I want to shove a lit firehose in their mouth.”
Noah: So if your competitors and people are not your teammates, but this is that chance to go fucking like . . . go on the offensive in a lot of these businesses, but I think you have to show up you’re defensive. So number one, I think it’s distracting and discouraging if we showed, like, all the pay cuts and things we have to do for plan B. But the second thing is we want to keep morale up. Some of the people I’ve talked to at our company, you know, the teammates, they’re more excited than ever. They’re like, “Yo, I’m working my hardest, I think what we’re doing is really going to help change the future of work. And I’m just so excited about having a job and that we get to be able to do this and get paid to do.”
Andrew: I like your energy. How did you tap into this energy?
Noah: You know, I haven’t been excited about our company or work in about three years, I would say.
Noah: I do the podcast, and you know, I check in with the business and I start some things here and there. I think it’s just such a fucking wild . . . you know, it’s uncertain and uncertainty doesn’t last forever. But for some reason that uncertainty and instability give me energy. And it gives me opportunity because I feel like there’s so much opportunity out there. Especially now I feel like a calling like, I’m thinking about Noah’s Ark. I’m like, there’s all these people scared. There’s all these people uncertain. There’s all these people who lost jobs, who now gained some freedom. And I’m like, “Yo, it’s time to make your own damn jobs. It’s time to recession proof your job. It’s not recession proof your business.”
Andrew: How does somebody who . . . recession proof if they’re an employee? And so you’re saying, “I want to help them do that. Let’s let them come onto my ark instead of be drowning in this depression.” So if someone now . . . we’ve talked about someone who has a business. Let’s talk consultants and someone who has a job. Someone who has a job, you just mentioned, if they get laid, if they get fired, what do they do to not have their whole family going . . . ?
Noah: First of, they count their blessings. So every curse has a blessing. So I think getting fired is a blessing, right? You now have freedom. And this is the best time ever to be an entrepreneur. So many great companies come out of recessions. And so being recession proofing your job, what does that mean? So there’s two pieces. You asked, if someone’s working at a company, we’ll talk about that. But let’s say a consultant, they got fired. So what do they do? First you go home, you’re like, “Ah, there’s so many things that are still great.”
So number one thing you do is that you make sure that you have money for at least 12 to 24 months, that’s the most important thing, because you can’t go out there and act with confidence. You can’t go on opportunity mode if you’re in panic mode. Change your rent, cut all your SaaS subscriptions, review what you can make money on, and get your home base secured.
Number two, there are so many different business opportunities out there that I’ve just been . . . it’s mind blown. So as a consultant, the first thing I think about is what is my unique skill? What is my unique skill? My unique skill is marketing and kind of evangelizing, right, and starting new businesses. And so I’m like, “All right, how do I parlay that into things going on?” So for me, it’s either sharing these messages with other people, or b), starting new companies.
So if you’re a consultant, let’s give an example. I was talking with this lady Karen Chang today. And Karen is a digital marketing consultant. And so I was like, “Karen, everyone has money.” And people are like, “Oh, the recession, no one’s got money anymore.” Everyone’s got money. Everyone’s got food. Everyone’s still paying Netflix, but they’re prioritizing their money differently now. They’re moving away from non-essentials, you know, Allbirds socks, Casper, those aren’t essentials. Those are luxuries. People are saying, “Bye, bye, bye,” you know, they’re doing little Backstreet Boys on them.
And so with Karen, it’s now you have to think about with all these customers that I have access to that I’ve worked with as a consultant, how can I move higher up in the value chain? And so I said, “If you’re a marketer, can you go and run their ads? Can you bring them partnerships? Can you actually just go do sales for them? Can you go do referrals and run a referral program for them?” And so the key thing there, the key thing that every single person to recession proof your job or recession proof yourself in a business is can you directly generate more revenue?
If you cannot directly generate more revenue or directly save costs, do not do it. So what I mean by that is that if you’re a teammate, like at Sumo Group, and you’re not directly helping us make more money right now, or you’re not directly helping us save a lot of money right now, you’re potentially on the chopping block. And I don’t mean that as a fear thing. I meant that as an empowering thing. You should be saying, “This is my time to go shine. This is my time to go step up and make some big shit happen for whatever company I’m a part of.”
Andrew: Okay, I’m with you on that. And then, so that would be the same for an employee or a consultant. If someone’s laid off and you’re saying is the best time to be an entrepreneur, put cash aside so that you can be safe enough that you’re not going to sleep every night worrying about . . . That’s a tough, by the way, thing to say to somebody, right? If you don’t have a job, it’s really hard to put some money aside, especially if you own your own place. But assuming that there’s a way to find headspace, even in these difficult times, how do you find a business right now? How do you find a thing to launch?
Noah: So, there’s so many . . . I’ll just go over different ideas. Can we just give people ideas of things that you just go?
Andrew: I’m with you.
Noah: All right, let me pull up a list. I’ve just been taking lists of like all these different businesses I’ve seen. So number one, all the different stores that have closed down in your neighborhood, call them up and be like, “Let me get you on Shopify. Or let me just put you for free online and I’ll put a PayPal button. If you don’t have an email list, we’ll get you on SendFox, we’ll get you on Klaviyo, we’ll get you on whatever, and let’s get your stuff going. There’s no cost. And whatever I help you sell, you can pay me a percentage.” Number one.
Number two, everyone’s at home bored as shit. So either a), create date boxes. Andrew, I know you . . . you know, you’re into dates and stuff, create date boxes. Call up your network and say, “Hey, I know you’re at home, you have a date, you want a date, I’m putting together these boxes of chocolate, of wine, and like two sexual activities and some questions that you can do. It’s once a week, it’s $10. Are you interested? Yes or no?” Or you can do stuff for their kids.
So the point I’m saying is that there’s a lot of this stuff, and I’ll go through more ideas. But think about who do you have access to? So do you have a church? Do you have a bunch of . . . If you’re a consultant, who are your previous customers. If you’re a shoe company, this is one of my favorites. If you’re a shoe company, you have 15,000 people who have more things than just shoes. So what else could you help him with?
The other aspect. I’m going through a bunch of ideas. So we have date boxes, board games. People are at home bored as fuck. How can you help create board games? If you’re a promoter? If you’ve been doing events physically, promotion, why can’t you now create online . . . be an online promoter? Be like, “All right, I’ve got Mariah Carey, or I’ve got whoever. Let me set up an online concert. It’s $3 to join and I’m going to bring in a bunch of people to your concert.” And guess what, people would be like, “Holy shit.” Mariah Carey can do a concert from her bed, which is probably . . . I don’t know if she’s still attractive anymore. But I’d pay $3 to maybe consider seeing that. So you can be an online promoter. I think there’s a bunch of other things with these local businesses. Portable cocktails.
Andrew: What’s a portable cocktail? As you’re talking, I’m realizing that . . . What is a portable cocktail? And then I’ll tell you what I’m realizing.
Noah: It just sounds weird, portable cocktail. A portable cocktail is like . . . So I told you. There’s all these stores that are closed, their businesses should be online. All these restaurants and bars, now a lot of them are slowly, as my father would say, “[inaudible 00:46:07].” They’re slowly moving online. But why don’t you go to all the either restaurants or bars or physical stores, help them make their stuff portable locally and globally. If you’ve got a good cocktail drink, all these governments are relaxing their laws. Help them put that drink in a bottle, ship it locally, ship it nationally, ship it globally. Guess what . . .
Andrew: You know what? It sounds . . . Sorry. Go ahead.
Noah: I’ve got more. Dude, go to any one of your friends’ houses, be like, “Give me all your shit. I’m going to sell all your shit now.” That’s one of the stupider ones. Or if you’re on eBay, go to the eBay people, help them do packaging. Like be FBA for eBay. “Ship me all your stuff for eBay. I take care of it. I got all your stuff. Whenever it sells, I manage it for you.”
Andrew: I feel like there’s a bunch of pain that people are experiencing and are willing to pay to relieve them. And a lot of it has to do with, frankly, being at home with your kids. Like I was just thinking, I could have a . . . we should have a tutor. How do we even get like a regular tutor who’s sitting because the kids at some point are going to stop paying attention to me. But it’s basic freaking math that they’re doing. I’d love to find a tutor who can just sit and entertain my kid for 45 minutes and do some math. So how much would that cost?
Noah: I love that. So here’s what you could do. If you’re a tutor or you’re a consultant and you’ve got no work, go on takelessons.com. I just literally, two hours before this, I had an hour-session with a chess coach.
Andrew: Oh, you still do that?
Noah: Yeah. Oh, I’m back on. takelessons.com. So that’s a great one. If you can teach anything on there. Another one is there’s probably all these music marketplaces, teach music. Another one is italki. If you speak a foreign language. Andrew, I know you speak Hebrew. A lot of your listeners probably speak, you know, Hispanic or Mandarin or whatever. Go on italki and teach people around the world. My friend has a hostel in Thailand. He’s a white dude. And no one’s staying at his hostel. So he’s teaching English on italki to survive.
Andrew: How are you not on the iPad? It’s so fucking great to use.
Noah: It’s right next to me.
Andrew: Oh, you’re on iPad too.
Noah: I have [inaudible 00:47:58] so I’m using a notepad while we’re talking.
Andrew: It’s so good especially like . . . I can talk on forever about that, for highlighting things and . . . Ah, forget it. I like it. I see where you’re going with this. I freaking love your energy. I like also that you’ve now started doing this . . . what is it? Every noon?
Noah: “A Noon with Noah.” So every noon we’ve been experimenting, doing these live chats. The two things I would say about them is one, they’re not as leveraged as I think they can be. So I’m not sure how many I’m going to do because . . . I mean, basically the whole goal this week was to try “A Noon with Noah” on every single different platform. So tried Zoom, tried Instagram, tried Twitter, tried Facebook, tried YouTube.
Andrew: I saw you on Instagram. Which one worked best?
Noah: So we’ve tried Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. So far, YouTube I would say was the best in terms of engagement and volume. Twitter got decent volume, but very . . . engagement’s crappy. Instagram actually was better than I expected. The engagement’s really fun and it’s fast, but it’s kind of weird because you have to be on your phone. We’re going to try Zoom. We’re going to try a Facebook group tomorrow. The Facebook one, which was actually pretty good so far. And then we’re doing Zoom, just a Zoom one on Friday.
Andrew: My favorite one of all these, like the people who are doing stuff remotely like you, is Mo Willems. He is a children’s author who is doing every day a different thing with kids, where my kid is now watching him and then he’s drawing with Mo Willems. I never freaking heard of Mo Willems. Now he’s my favorite author ever.
Noah: Who’s Mo Willems?
Andrew: Mo Willems. He’s written a few books that you know that I didn’t realize I knew that he wrote, but kids are just sitting on the floor doing something while they’re at home. It’s not just watching him. They’re doing stuff. And then they get to take it away. My kid keeps showing everyone how he made his own board game.
Noah: I think what’s really interesting about what you highlighted, Andrew, is go try out a lot of different things. Like it’s really interesting. I think what I’m amazed with and what excites me is the creativity by all these limitations. Like I can’t go to my office, I can’t do this. And so I love seeing people doing drawings. I love all the workout people that are doing. All the cooking. Like one of my favorite stories that I’ve heard is this donut shop in Wisconsin called Cranky Al’s. They’ve now been selling DIY kits. So instead of buying doughnuts from them, here’s a DIY kit so you can make doughnuts at home.
Andrew: Go make it.
Noah: So I think that the level of creativity is just mind blowing.
Andrew: Noah, thank you so much for being here. I’m freaking wiped out. I’m recording interviews so that if I get coronavirus, there’re still some published and will still continue. I am doing it because I want to make sure that things continue no matter what, but I find myself getting really optimistic after I do, not just one interview but after I do a day of interviews, if that makes sense. You know what I mean?
It takes me away from reading newspapers. It takes me away from listening to news podcasts like “The Daily.” And it makes me start to . . . my mind will wander to things that I could do that are positive instead of going into . . . I’ll get angry at politicians in my head, I’ll get angry at my dad for taking a political position that’s just annoyingly so terrible. And I’ll fixate on that for 30 minutes because it’s clearly wrong and I could prove it. And that just brings me down. Versus this where now in my head I’ve got like, “All right, I see an opportunity here, I see something, whether I jump on it or not, is the challenge not whether it exists or not.”
Noah: Well, I think you’re literally every single other person in the world right now, which is there’s so much different news, there’s so many different opinions, there’s so much fear and uncertainty. And so I think the number one thing is how do we . . .
Andrew: Oh, no, you just said the number one thing and then Zoom froze on me. I’m going to give it a moment for it to bring back up. There we go. What’s the number one thing? It just froze just as you said it.
Noah: No, the number one thing, you’re feeling the same way I’ve been feeling and every single person out there has been feeling. And so the question is, are people going to be winners or losers and the winners are doing something about it. They’re putting a plan in place and taking control back. And the losers are blaming and reading and spending a bunch of time just avoiding dealing with the situation and thinking everything is outside of their control, which is not.
Andrew: I just want to stand up, Noah. This fucking . . . I shouldn’t be cursing.
Noah: Want to do some pushups?
Noah: Want to do some pushups?
Andrew: I got to 100 pushups in a row and then I hurt my freaking wrist. And what doctor has time now to deal with that? What I’m going to do is run, as I always do. And Zwift. I saw you were Zwifting too. I remember sending you videos of myself in my backyards Zwifting.
Noah: Dude, Zwifting is great. I mean, I think what’s amazing . . . you know, it’s amazing how we adapt. I think that’s one of the most amazing things about humans is that we adapt so damn quickly. Like all these businesses have adapted quickly. All these like online companies are adapting. And I think people can decide where do you want to be a part of this, and how do you want to look back.
One of the guys, Mitchell, on our team. The first week, I was scared. This was a few weeks ago. I was like, “Yo, this is crazy.” And he said this to me . . . And we can end with this. Which really struck me, he said, “I don’t want to look back on this time and feel like I wasted it.” And I was like, “Damn, that’s good.” And I’m spreading that message, is that how do you want to look back because this will eventually end. We’re going to go back to business, maybe not as usual. And people have to decide where they’re going to be.
Andrew: I love you, Noah. Thanks for doing this.
Noah: Love you too.
Andrew: And just even on a personal level, thanks for all the things during the years that I’m not going to get into.
Noah: Dude, you’ve built AppSumo. AppSumo is because of Andrew Warner. I don’t know if people ever know that. I’m going to always say that.
Andrew: I didn’t even know that.
Noah: [inaudible 00:53:18]
Andrew: Thank you.
Noah: You gave me a lot of help.
Andrew: Well, thanks so much. See, this is where you’re going to call me weird because I don’t like . . . I get uncomfortable hearing that. Thank you so much for doing this. If anyone wants to go check out Noah Kagan, he’s everywhere as Noah Kagan. Apparently, he’s pissed off another guy who’s . . . you called him a younger guy. He should respect his elders. He also is Noah Kagan. And poor Noah Kagan number two can’t get any of his own names on any platform because Noah’s got it on Twitter, on Instagram, etc. You can find him on OkDork if you want to read his blog. And of course, I love AppSumo. Especially since apparently I had a hand in helping it get going. So go check out appsumo.com.
Oh, I want to thank my two sponsors hostgator.com/mixergy and toptal.com/mixergy, which Noah just did a fan-freaking-tastic ad for. I got to clip it and use it in every interview. Thank you, everyone. Get out of here. Bye.