How a killer Kickstarter campaign and a “Shark Tank” appearance got BetterBack to $3M in year ONE

You might remember hearing about an app years ago called Everest. It was an app for ambitious people and I kept hearing about it. It was designed to give driven people a way to set big goals for themselves and achieve it. Peter Thiel–Peter freaking Thiel–invested in the company and then it shut down.

Well, Katherine Krug is one of the cofounders of that company and she says it’s one of the many failures she’s had in life. But you know what? Her latest company actually is really taking off.

What does it do? Well, it’s a device that helps improve your posture. Frankly, of all the businesses Katherine created, if you told me that’s the one that was going to do it, I would be shocked.

Katherine Krug is the founder of BetterBack, a brace that improves your posture, eases back pain, and improves your health.

Katherine Krug

Katherine Krug


Katherine Krug is the founder of BetterBack, a brace that improves your posture, eases back pain, and improves your health.


Full Interview Transcript

Andrew: Hey, everyone. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of It is, of course, home of the ambitious upstart, which means I’ve got an audience of people who are probably–maybe they should be doing other things but entertaining themselves, listening to music, whatever.

But instead of doing all that, what they’re doing is listening to other entrepreneurs talk about how they built their businesses and the reason they’re doing it is they are so hungry to understand what’s worked for other people and bring it back into our businesses. One little idea can have dramatic impact.

And because we’re hungry, you might have even heard about this app that I remember hearing about years ago. It was called Everest. It was an app for ambitious people and I kept hearing about it from people. It was designed to give driven people a way to set big goals for themselves and achieve it. Peter Thiel–Peter freaking Thiel–invested in the company and then it shut down.

Well, Katherine Krug is one of the cofounders of that company and she says it’s one of the many failures she’s had in life. But you know what? Her latest company actually is really taking off, really taking off. What does it do? Well, it’s a device that helps improve your posture. Frankly, of all the businesses, Katherine, that you’ve created, if you told me that’s the one that was going to do it, I would be shocked. I would tell you no. It would be one of the other ones.

Katherine: Me too.

Andrew: Right?

Katherine: It’s called BetterBack. You wear it around your waist, kind of a thick like weightlifting belt. And then there are these attachments that attach to your knees and the attachments to your knees keep your waist in the right position and she’s going to show it to you. That’s how it keeps your back from hurting and gets you really better posture.

This whole interview is sponsored by the company that will host your website right. It’s called HostGator. And by the company that if you want to meet someone, if you want to get together with them in person or get them on the phone, whoever they are, your customers or whoever, it’s called Acuity Scheduling and they’re going to make it easy for you to do that. But I’ll tell you more about both of them later. First, Katherine, welcome.

Katherine: Thank you so much. Great to be here. How are you, Andrew?

Andrew: You know me well enough to know that one of the first questions I’m going to ask you is what kind of revenues are you doing with BetterBack?

Katherine: Yeah. We’ve been doing great. We just finished year one and we had over $3 million in revenue and it was incredible because it was basically me and a virtual assistant running the business for the past year, and we’re just now starting to build out a really small, focused team, but it was an incredible year out of the gates.

Andrew: $3 million first year?

Katherine: Yes.

Andrew: Killer Kickstarter campaign, “Shark Tank” appearance, good online sales, that’s the thing that got you there?

Katherine: Exactly right.

Andrew: Unbelievable. Let’s show it, in a moment, give people a chance to come back to their screen. Frankly, I know a lot of people listen to the audio version, very few watch the video, so we’ll describe it for everyone. But you are someone who’s super-competitive and I didn’t know that about you. But you are super-competitive. You actually got third place at a gymnastics competition when you were a kid. What did your mom say?

Katherine: Well, let’s start with the fact that normally I won competitions.

Andrew: I like that you had to interrupt that and say, “Hang on, Andrew, I am a winner. I normally won.”

Katherine: So, to frame to this right, I got very badly injured. I was out of the gym for a couple months and convinced my doctor at eight to give me cortisol shots so I could go back and compete at the state meet. I ended up getting third place and I was pissed. In the car on the ride home, my mom was trying to console me and tell me I did great, all things considered, and I looked at her and I said, “Mom, if you don’t want to support me, don’t bother coming at all. There’s only first or last place.” This was as an eight-year old. I was a terror.

Andrew: I like how proud you are of that. Let me ask you this. You and I met at dinner at Jonathan Swanson’s apartment a long time ago, beautiful view. He put together this dinner for local entrepreneurs. He crushed it while you were doing well, right? He was the cofounder of Thumbtack, right? As the competitive instincts in you, did you feel like … you’re nodding. Talk about what you felt in comparison to what he was doing? He built a billion-dollar business.

Katherine: Yeah. Well, when I moved to San Francisco, he was actually my very first friends. I went to SXSW three days before moving to San Francisco and met him out there. We were really tight. He actually was struggling to raise a series A when we were first friends. He was getting rejected by 30 to 40 VCs and thankfully closed the A to keep going. And now a couple of years later, they’re a unicorn, which is amazing.

In the same time span, I was working on Everest, Everest failed and now I launched BetterBack. We also started dating and have now gotten married. S, it’s been this really interesting ride.

Andrew: But at the period where he was on the up and you were struggling, talk about what that feels like.

Katherine: Yeah. I was really proud of him. Also, it was amazing to see and experience second hand what it’s like to scale. One of the biggest takeaways at every stage of the business is it never gets easy. I remember how excited he was when Thumbtack started hiring VPs. So now there’s this layer between the founders and this whole group of people who know what the fuck they’re doing when we’re all just trying to figure it out on the fly. He thought this was going to be the magic wand that makes things easy. And guess what? Life never gets easy.

Andrew: I see. But you never felt competitive in reaction to him. I’ll tell you one of the reasons why I ask is I remember Nir Eyal, the author of “Hooked” was over at my house for dinner where I had lots of people who I interviewed together and he went back the next day about the feelings about being in a room full of people who are super achievers and how you deal with that internally. And you didn’t have any of that?

Katherine: They all deserve their success. For me, I’m very competitive, but when somebody does great, I want to celebrate that. I doesn’t make me feel shitty if someone does great.

Andrew: Strangely, I don’t either.

Katherine: Yeah. I want everybody to do incredibly well. I want to take all the learnings that I can from their experiences and hopefully it makes me successful too.

Andrew: You got into commercial real estate in college. I swear we’re going to get into BetterBack. For anyone who’s listening, this thing is the big hit and I’m going to spend a lot of time on BetterBack. I want to show it and I want to talk about it and I want to see how freaking BetterBack did better than all these other things, but I also want to get to know Katherine and what she’s done.

You got into commercial real estate when you were right out of college and you said to yourself you were going to do what with this?

Katherine: Well, I always knew my mission is life was to try to help people improve their lives. Yet, I had no money coming out of college, so I sort of made this pact with myself that I would do what I didn’t want to do in order to make money. I thought it would take about 10 years in order to have a savings account, which I could then use for all sorts of entrepreneurial activity where I could effectively multiply my efforts, my time, my money, what I’m working towards.

So I dove into commercial real estate to try to make money. Literally a year and a half out of school, I got this offer to go sell condo hotel investments in Vegas, armpit of America, and I said, “Hell yes, I’m going to go do it.” I thought it would make me a millionaire. I went out. It did not make me a millionaire. The whole Vegas market collapsed. I ended up back in New York a couple of years later. But it was this pursuit of effectively being able to have a little bit of savings to launch entrepreneurial endeavors.

Andrew: I see. And you thought by selling commercial real estate in Vegas you could make enough money that you can actually go to the next step.

Katherine: Exactly.

Andrew: You then went on to … actually, there were a couple of other things. Maybe we should move on to Fundrah.

Katherine: Fundrah, yeah.

Andrew: What was Fundrah?

Katherine: So Fundrah was my very first entrepreneurial endeavor. It was a complete failure. I dove into the nonprofit tech space. For anybody out there doing nonprofit tech, it’s really hard. It’s a little bit like oil and water. The first year I got burned by nine different engineers. I was down in LA just going to every meetup I could, reading every major blogger, trying to understand entrepreneurship. It was a great experience cutting my teeth, making 1,000 mistakes that I would never make again in my career.

But it really didn’t work. It was really highlighted when we were finally ready to launch our beta. We were coming up on the Christmas holiday. I scraped the Charity Navigator website, 10,000 nonprofits I emailed saying, “Hey, I have secured all of the fundraising prizes, including trips to Mexico, the beautiful photography prints, for five special nonprofits. I will do everything for you. All you do is invite your donors and you’re in.” Guess how many responses I got from my 10,000 email blast.

Andrew: As soon as you said is, “All you have to do is get your donors on,” I thought zero.

Katherine: I got seven responses.

Andrew: Seven, impressive. Okay.

Katherine: No. That was nothing. I thought I would have hundreds of people clamoring for like $30,000 in free giveaways that their donor base could have snatched up.

Andrew: What does Fundrah do? What did it do?

Katherine: We were an online fundraising platform.

Andrew: You told them, “Get your fundraisers on here and it will be easy for you to raise money.”

Katherine: Yeah. This was during the whole financial collapse. We had nonprofits shutting their doors. More people than ever needed their services. Yet, people were still putting on these very expensive black-tie fundraisers that only served people in the specific community, they couldn’t access people across the country and here was their online fundraising opportunity to be able to reach not just the people locally but everybody across their networks to do something online but crashed and burned.

Andrew: And the reason that it’s like oil and water when you’re talking about nonprofits and paid software is that they don’t have much money, is that what it is?

Katherine: Most people working there are not very tech-savvy. So just trying to walk them through anything new to learn, there was a lot of push back. One of the really big takeaways that I learned, I spoke to tons of nonprofits while I was developing the technology and what I heard back from people was, “This was so cool. You should talk to my friend at x-nonprofit. Everybody was referring me to somebody else. Here I thought, “This is great. They’re introducing me to their friends.” But in fact what they were saying is, “This is cool. I won’t use it. Let me push you off to someone else and see if they would use it.”

Andrew: I see.

Katherine: But I didn’t know that at the time.

Andrew: That’s a really good thing to notice. You also mentioned that you talked to nine different developers who blew off. I read that in preparation for this interview. Why did they blow you off and what could you have done differently?

Katherine: What I think was the problem was I didn’t know enough about the technology that I needed to build, so I was relying on a developer to effectively teach me what I needed to know. So it was the unknown unknowns that got me every time. I was also bootstrapping this and clearly wasn’t paying market rate. So it was a lot of lessons. It was actually something that I didn’t quite crystallize as I moved into Everest, this idea that you really need a technical cofounder if you’re going to start a tech company.

I cannot emphasize that enough, nor will I ever make that mistake again, because if you hire a contractor or even an employee, especially in Silicon Valley or places where the job market is tight, they will leave. Then you’re left scrambling. You really need a tech partner with you all the way through if that’s what you’re building, if you’re building technology.

Andrew: Okay. You closed that up. I’m imagining that it wasn’t that hard to close up.

Katherine: It wasn’t. It was just me and a handful of contractors and basically an angel investor down in LA who had been mentoring me met who would become my business partner at Everest. I had been talking about my idea that was the formation of Everest and he heard someone else pitch it and connected us.

Andrew: He heard someone else pitch your idea to him?

Katherine: A similar idea, yes. So he connected the two of us and that’s how Everest was born.

Andrew: Who was the angel investor?

Katherine: His name is Amir. He does the TEDx Orange County. Do you know him by any chance? He’s an amazing person.

Andrew: All right. That led to this new business idea. The seed of the business was what? What was the original idea?

Katherine: It’s the same thing that went all the way through. So Everest was a platform that helped unlock human potential as the high-level goal. Tactically speaking, it was a place where you could apply all of the same business tactics that make you successful, the daily steps, the quarterly planning, the support from coworkers, outside investors, advisors, etc., but apply that to your personal life.

So whether you’re trying to run your first marathon, learn a new language or you want to be an amazing father, Everest was an app that you could go on, create your goals and create daily steps for achieving them.

Andrew: That’s from the beginning what you had in mind. I have to tell you that definitely is your biggest failure, but it’s also your big reputation maker, that frankly with me, you could have said, “Andrew, I’m selling socks online. I’ve sold two pairs. Can we come on Mixergy?” If you just mentioned Everest, that’s it. Yes. You can come on and just sing a song if you became a songwriter.

Katherine: So what are you so intrigued about Everest? I’m curious.

Andrew: It was the conversations that it started. It was the excitement that in a group of people it generated. And of course that you got Peter Thiel as an investor didn’t hurt. It was so high-profile. Most people are creating apps and no one is going to find out about them and you did something people did talk about. That’s the amazing thing that kind of builds your reputation even if you don’t do that well.

Like Jason Calacanis, his first business, Silicon Alley, whatever that was called, I forget that magazine, it wasn’t setting the world on fire. He even told me it was like I got a base hit, but it was like getting hit in the head with the ball when you’re trying to hit the ball and they let you on first base, right? But because it was so high profile, because people got to see what he was made of, it built his reputation and allowed him to go on and do the next thing. There are certain failures that are that good, that they’re better than even other people’s successes.

Katherine: Well, here is something interesting. You were talking about the parallels with what Jonathan was doing at Thumbtack. I look at Jonathan, they spent years under the radar tactically building a solid, fantastic business. I actually look at Everest and we took the opposite approach.

We launched with huge fanfare. Everybody knew about us, but our product wasn’t ready. It was too soon. People talk about scaling too early. We weren’t talking about scaling downloads. We were just talking about scaling press, right? Scaling awareness, and it was too soon for us, it was all hype. We didn’t have the fundamentals right.

Andrew: I see. And that’s the thing, that you should have spent a little more time building out the product.

Katherine: Yes.

Andrew: Let’s talk about what that could have looked like. But first, I’ve got to tell people about my first of two sponsors. The company is Acuity Scheduling. Do you know these guys or am I about to blow your mind with what they do?

Katherine: Blow my mind.

Andrew: Here it goes. Acuity Scheduling is like this. Imagine back in the Everest days you said, “I want to talk to my customers. I want to understand why they’re using this or why they’re dropping off, etc.” Coordinating all that is such a nightmare that no one ever gets it done. What they do is they say, “I’m going to pick up the phone and call people.” That never works because people don’t pick up the phone anymore.

So what Acuity Scheduling does is they say, “Just get an account with us, connect your calendar to us, mark off on your calendar when you’re ready to have conversations and how long you want to go.” So, you might want to go 30 minutes with people who are customers of yours. And then they give you a link.

You send that link out to people and say, “Hey, I noticed you using my software. Can I get on a call and help you really achieve your goals, free consultation. I’m here to just coach you. I’m not trying to sell you anything. If you’re available, here’s my calendar. Pick the time you want.” People click that calendar link and they pick the time they want.

When one person picks a time, the next person doesn’t have it as an available time. So, you’re not double-booking and actually having to apologize to people constantly. After they book their time, it asks them, “What’s your name? What’s your phone number?” You can ask, “What’s your Skype name?”

If they want to do a screen share or something like that, you can ask them, “Why did you sign up for my software?” whatever you want. They hit submit. That event goes on their calendar, whatever it is–Outlook, Gmail. I don’t know what people use anymore, but whatever it is that they use–actually, I know those are the two big ones, but if they happen to use some third-party one, it will go on there too.

It goes on your calendar. So, you both remember and the day of, they know where to meet you. If you decided to Skype, Acuity Scheduling puts it on their calendar and says it’s on Skype. You have their name. You know what you need to do. They have your name. They know what’s going to happen and when. And of course, you can send email reminders.

And they even get fancy. If you like Zapier and you want to connect it to other apps, they’ve got that. If you want to add everyone to your CRM so you have their contact information, you’ve got that, so many other things that it does. I’m not going to do the whole thing because frankly, they only paid for a small ad and I don’t want to overwhelm this conversation. But Katherine, that’s essentially what it is.

Katherine: That’s very cool.

Andrew: Acuity Scheduling. Speaking of under the radar, there’s a guy, the founder of Acuity Scheduling who’s so under the radar. I think it’s actually hurting him.

Katherine: Yeah. There’s a fine balance. There’s a time for everything.

Andrew: I think he’s at a place where he should get out of his office, stop doing a;; the customer service email himself and just talk about his product and what he does. Let me finalize this by saying if you guys want to sign up for it, you should go to Boy, Katherine, I spoke really fast through that. Did you notice that? I was really ripping.

Katherine: It was really clear.

Andrew: I think so too.

Katherine: Who likes to schedule? No one likes spending time scheduling.

Andrew: Right. I just pity the people who listen to Mixergy on like twice the speed because that’s their habit. They got four times the speed. How did you guys get Peter Thiel as an investor?

Katherine: It was one of those serendipitous San Francisco moments. My partner was at an airport ready to get on a flight. Somebody was peering over his shoulder very aggressively and just asked him, “What are those wireframes you’re checking out?” He told him at Everest and the guy looked at him and said, “Who’s one angel investor you would like to meet?”

The response was Peter Thiel. A couple weeks later, he was at Peter Thiel’s house. January 1st, New Year’s Day, which is of course an amazing goal setting time of the year, Peter Thiel dropped a $50,000 check, our first investor check. It was amazing.

Andrew: Who was that person?

Katherine: His name is Francis Pedraza.

Andrew: Why does Francis have access to him?

Katherine: It was literally a random sitting at an airport–oh, I’m sorry, the person was Peter Thiel’s friend. Sorry.

Andrew: Yeah, Francis is your cofounder.

Katherine: Yeah. I don’t even know who the other person is.

Andrew: You know what? That is one of the cool things about living in San Francisco. People literally will–this one guy who I think was on BuzzFeed literally lives in a box here in San Francisco just so he can have access to that.

Katherine: It’s true. It’s everywhere. There is something about San Francisco where everything is at your fingertips for building a company.

Andrew: I get that. Wow. All right. So, did Peter Thiel do more than that? Did he give you guys any guidance? Did he say, “Hey, you’re on the wrong track?” He did. What did you get out of working with him?

Katherine: Yeah. We were down in the Presidio, Founder’s Fund was just around the corner. So, he was helpful in a few meetings and lots of introductions, which were really helpful.

Andrew: I get it. Yeah. Who’s not going to take an introduction request from Peter Thiel? Is there one that especially stands out or one thing that especially stands out as being helpful?

Katherine: In what regard?

Andrew: From Peter Thiel, is there one connection he made? Is there one insight you got?

Katherine: This was 4 years ago and in entrepreneur time, that’s like 40 years of a normal person’s life. I don’t know remember.

Andrew: I feel like we all need to journey much more to remember all this stuff because eventually the book will get written, right?

Katherine: Yeah.

Andrew: For years I read that Jeff Bezos used to walk around Amazon taking a picture a day. You heard about that?

Katherine: No, that’s amazing.

Andrew: That was his thing. I wonder what happened to those pictures. I know he was trying to remember for later what’s going on, just pay attention to it. You guys got up and running. There were bugs with the software, right? What was that about?

Katherine: It was slow. We had bugs. It was slow. Effectively, this comes back to not having a technical cofounder. So we found somebody who we thought would be great. By the time we realized the code was in shambles, we had invested five months into the development. You have to make the decision: Do we scrap everything and start over with the new developer even though we were supposed to be launching right now, or do we keep going?

It’s the tiny little mistakes that you make in the early days as an entrepreneur that come back and just hit you in such huge ways down the road. So we decided to keep pushing forward rather than scrapping the code and you saw the effects of it when we launched.

Andrew: And you guys were open about it. I’m looking at an article that says, “Pedraza,” that’s your cofounder, “Agrees that Everest did suffer from usability issues at first. Most were addressed by the spring and the app failed for other reasons.” What were those other reasons?

Katherine: There were a number of them. One of the most important things is solving human motivation is really hard. Pitching lots of investors, everyone said we were boiling the ocean. Our ultimate goal was to effectively come up with this dream genome.
So, for anything that you’re trying to achieve, you start out at A–let’s say it’s the running of the marathon. There are all sorts of different ways people can accomplish crossing the finish line at their first marathon and we wanted to be able to have enough data to show, “Okay, actually these are the ten most important steps you should be doing if you want to most successfully achieve this goal.”

Andrew: I see. And those 10 things might be something like commit to a running buddy, sign up to a half-marathon by a certain date. I don’t know what they are, but that’s the kind of stuff you were looking for as people were using the app. I get it.

Katherine: Exactly.

Andrew: But yeah, when we started, we didn’t focus. Anybody could come on with any goal at all. One of my goals was to be someone’s best man at a wedding. By the way, nailed that.

Katherine: You did?

Andrew: The best man?

Katherine: I am going to be a best man at a wedding next spring, which is a life long goal.

Andrew: Being a best man, by the way, is not about the wedding day, right?

Katherine: The bachelor party.

Andrew: Are you going to do the bachelor party?

Katherine: Yes. I’m already beginning to plan it. Isn’t that great? So, anyway, it’s things like this down to one of my Everests is to do something that’s so nice for someone that they could never repay me. I want to solve a great mystery. I want to learn how to breakdance. You can see these are very different problems to solve.

Andrew: I see.

Katherine: So, building a tool to help people span this huge range of human goals and desires, it’s a big challenge. We dove so far into behavioral change and psychology, but we truly couldn’t come up with a solution that helps people stay motivated every step of the way across all of these goals.

Andrew: Did you find anything that worked at all that we can take away from that experience?

Katherine: There are lots of things, something for anybody who’s trying to create a change in their life. One of the most successful ways to approach it is … actually, why don’t you give me an example? What’s something you’re trying to change in your life?
Andrew: Right now?

Katherine: Sure.

Andrew: You know what, actually? I’ve been eating too much.

Katherine: Okay. So, for you, for this example, the theory behind it is for every action, you want to associate it with a particular trigger that happens and then you need to have a reward at the end of your loop. So, there’s a trigger, there’s action and a reward. Your trigger might be that you feel full. Maybe up to this point you aren’t even aware that you’re getting full. You just only know when you feel sick.

So now any time you start eating, that’s your trigger, you’re going to be conscious of how you’re feeling. The minute your stomach feels you’re the slightest bit full, you stop eating that food. The reward will most likely be that you don’t need to go take a nap when you’re done with the meal.

Andrew: I see. So, the feeling of being stuffed is my trigger.

Katherine: Yeah. The first trigger is, “I’m eating. So now I know I have to be conscious of how I’m feeling.” So your action for you, in fact, is to be conscious of how the food is filling your stomach. Once it’s even the slightest bit full, you know to stop, the reward is that you can get up and still have a crazy amount of energy.

If someone’s goal is to drink a glass of warm water of lemon in the morning because that’s a great way to kick start your metabolism, you might tie that in with the trigger of brushing your teeth. Every morning you’re going to brush your teeth. So, the minute you’re done brushing your teeth, go drink that water with lemon.

Andrew: I see. Connect it with something you’re already doing and have that thing you’re already doing be the trigger.

Katherine: Exactly. And then you want to create a reward. So, maybe for you, the water with lemon isn’t the reward. Maybe you give yourself something to do right afterwards that makes it be this exciting, positive thing in life that you want to do in the mornings.

Andrew: Here’s the other thing I read on TechCrunch in 2014. You cofounder said, “We should have charged.” Do you agree?

Katherine: That was not our problem.

Andrew: Here’s the way that he put it. Where did I put that? I have so many notes on you. “One mistake we made was not making the user pay, either through an upfront purchase, subscription, premium features or some alternative, a clear, direct business model. We pursued brand sponsorships instead.” That’s what you ended up doing later on. So, that wasn’t one of the issues for you, charging.

Katherine: No. Our actual issue, a first principle why we failed, we got people involved in the app, they stopped using the app. We had a leaky bucket problem. If we had insane growth and engagement, we would have been able to continue to raise venture. We would have been able to continue to charge however we wanted to charge. The business model would have shown us where we had problems but it wouldn’t have solved our problem.

Andrew: Okay. And then you ended up creating a model–by the way, that issue you just brought up, so many people have it. I’ve talked to my members. There’s one guy who had a million downloads. I said that is really impressive. He said, “No, it’s not that hard to get a million downloads.” I didn’t realize that. He said, “Yeah, it’s not that hard. You get featured. You’re totally fine.” I said, “Then aren’t you sitting pretty right now?” He goes, “No, we can’t get people to come back.”

Katherine: Exactly.

Andrew: That’s the issue. They install the app and they don’t come back.

Katherine: You know what’s amazing? So, I’ve been out of the app world for a while, but back when Everest was going on, something like 20% of people downloaded an app and never once opened it, one out of every five downloads. That’s amazing, let alone trying to keep somebody involved six months later.

Andrew: I get that. I have apps that I download and then I never go into them. There’s the certain need I have and I say I’m going to download it to remember for later. It’s like downloading is a proxy for bookmarking or the equivalent of bookmarking. I think that’s why people are getting excited about bots. You don’t have the download. Because it lives in Messenger, they are going to see it because they live in Messenger too and Messenger is going to send alerts like they get when their friends message them and that would bring them into the bot.

Katherine: Absolutely.

Andrew: I get it. That’s an ongoing issue. You closed up. Let’s just wrap this up by saying how did it feel to close that one up?

Katherine: Actually, I left before it closed up. I left about a year before it shuttered shop. It was like leaving a baby. The friendships that were formed, people that I’m still so close with to this day. Even more important, the mission of the company is who I am through and through. We talked about gymnastics in my youth. What has made me so successful is the short, medium, long-term goal setting and effectively the systems I build in order to be successful and that is what Everest was. We were trying to give everybody those systems.

Andrew: Sorry. You want to bring it in on camera? I just got a box from someone. We’ll keep it over here.

Katherine: What is it?

Andrew: I’ll wait until after the conversation and I’ll open it up for you on camera. That is weird for me to get this box. It doesn’t say who it’s from. Oh, Zee’s Apparel, a past guest. We’ll open it up. Let me ask you this. Is there something that you could have done differently? I’m asking just so that anyone else who’s in the app business, anyone else who’s building a business who wants to learn from your experience, what could they do differently?

Katherine: Yeah. So, this is actually one of the core learnings–and by the way, I wrote a postmortem on Everest. It’s on Medium. So, anybody who is getting into a behavior change-type app, I highly recommend reading this. It detailed out a lot of the learnings. But the number one thing is to stay in touch constantly with your users, with your customers if you have a physical product. They will make you successful. You can fuck up in 1,000 ways and not let yourself be successful, but the closer you are to your customers and that feedback is how this works.

The other thing is–and this is like the nice to have when I was talking to the people about Fundrah and beta testing. People thought it was nice. But you have to be essential for somebody. We are bombarded constantly by the big, flashy toys and novelties of things. You have to integrate into somebody’s life in a way that makes life better for them and you have to become one of the ten things they rely on.

So, if you’re building a product or if you’re building an app, that’s a target. How are you one of the most important things in their life? If you’re not, if you’re just a nice to have, it’s not going to work. So, you have to continue developing.

Andrew: All right. I can see how actually now BetterBack does do that. It’s critical for people who need it. All right. One last sponsorship message and then let’s get into BetterBack. The sponsor is a company called HostGator. Let me ask you this. If you had to start a new business with nothing but a website today, what would it be? It can’t be BetterBack.

Katherine: That’s a great question. Well, right now it would probably … does it have to be a good business or just a venture?

Andrew: Either one.

Katherine: Well, right now with the election cycle I would spend the next four months of my life trying to get my candidate elected.

Andrew: I see. Is there one that you want to talk about publicly?

Katherine: Well, I find Trump to be the scariest prospect in …

Andrew: So it’s Hillary Clinton. You’d launch a site to do nothing but promote Hillary Clinton.

Katherine: I don’t even know if I’d be promoting Hillary Clinton as sharing stories of the people that Trump would basically destroy, the stories of real people for whom getting Trump elected would cause catastrophes in their lives. I think one of the problems is Trump often brings us down into a super-relatable level and Hillary is so bright and she’s into policy and she does her homework but she’s not super-relatable. Bernie, the wave of momentum is he was a person who could connect and share stories of people that made us all feel.

Andrew: Yeah.

Katherine: That would be probably what I’d do if I couldn’t keep doing BetterBack right now.

Andrew: I do keep thinking of what’s a website you can start that leads to a business, but a lot of times it’s just a personal passion or a personal mission that you have that you just have to get out there and do.

Katherine: Yes.

Andrew: And especially as businesspeople, we need a place to experiment. I knew this guy who was a longtime Mixergy fan who had a business and he said, “I run this blog on the side.” I said, “Why are you wasting your time running a blog on the side?” He said, “I want to practice SEO skills on a place that’s not my business, where it’s not going to hurt my company. I want to just practice a voice to see what happens. I want to just talk to see what would happen, who would I reach if I did this and then I’d bring back the best stuff and add it to my site.” He ended up having this business that only did well because of the SEO that he learned with this practice site.

Katherine: I love that.

Andrew: That’s it. So let me suggest this. If you already have a business and you want to play around with new ideas, just go to HostGator. For a few bucks a month, you’re going to be able to create a brand new website that’s easy to set up. If you’re on WordPress, it’s one-click install. If you need other popular open source platforms, one-click install. You could get up and running very fast. You could just try out your idea.

Mixergy, I swear, I’m telling you, Katherine and everyone else listening to me, was just like a hobby that started on the side. I had a greeting card, an invitation site. I said, “I’m going to create a blog and see where it goes.” And then the blog added a little bit more and then it became interviews. Frankly, I didn’t know it was going to go to this. It was the thing I would do at the end of the day at the time when many people would just kind of unwind and watch television.

I literally took the seat–my wife and I were just starting to live together and sometimes I needed my own space–I took the seat out of the living room into my office with some beer and I would just sit there on my phone screwing around, installing different themes, trying different approaches, didn’t even like Google search the site. Then it became something I was excited about and proud of. Now look at this, over 1,000 interviews later and so much has come out of it.

If you have a little idea for the side, don’t disregard it because it seems little because you have something else going on. Take it over to HostGator. You can start your site up within minutes. I’m telling you, people have done it. There’s a reason they keep sponsoring Mixergy .They’re getting users who are longtime customers because it’s so easy and because they’re so good. If you go do it right now–yes?

Katherine: I’ve used HostGator in the past.

Andrew: You have, right?

Katherine: Yeah. It was great and easy and cheap.

Andrew: Sorry?

Katherine: Great, easy and cheap.

Andrew: Right. That’s the things. That’s why so many businesses have started on HostGator–great, easy and cheap. It does the job. They’re giving us 50% off because Sachit Gupta, our salesperson said to HostGator, “Look, if you give Andrew a lower price, it will mean more money for you guys down the road because you’re going to get more customers from it.” We’re experimenting. I don’t think this is going to be a lifelong thing for them, but it is an experiment to see what happens.

So go sign up right now, You’ll get 50% off, By the way, when I say 50% off, you can get–right now I’m looking at the site–for $3.48 a month, you can get started with your website, single domain, one-click installs, all that stuff, really good to go. Anyone who is coming to you for advice, send them to HostGator. If you don’t like your website hosting company, switch to HostGator, they’re really good. Here’s the URL, final word–

Katherine: By the way, BetterBack was a side project.

Andrew: It was?

Katherine: Uh-huh.

Andrew: Let’s talk about that. Now you are the $3 million woman. You found this thing that’s getting you so much attention. It was a side project to what? When was it?

Katherine: Yeah. Well, during Everest, while I was hunch round towards my laptop trying to make this company work, the 12 to 14 hour a day grind, I developed really bad sciatica pain.

Andrew: What does sciatica pain mean? I saw you talk about that on Kickstarter.

Katherine: Yeah. It’s a really terrible pain that comes from your low back. For me, I experienced it all the way down to my knee and it’s basically nerve pain. It’s one of the most common forms of low back pain. It’s really, really terrible. It was painful to sit for over a year of life, and BetterBack was actually born from a friend and I just tinkering with any product, any therapy, any kind of doctor we could find to fix this low back pain.

Andrew: Because you were sitting like this, like hunched over like so many of us trolls on our laptops?

Katherine: Exactly. Fourteen hours a day with your laptop, you’re not likely sitting or standing in great posture all the time. Just the excessive wear and strain causes problems.

Andrew: What’s the quirkiest thing that you tried?

Katherine: At one point I was in a doctor’s office sitting in a zipped up red sauna where just my head was popping out, literally sweating 10 gallons and he’s walking around making fun of me. It was crazy. Even the product that really we leaped off the shoulders of to develop BetterBack is in itself a quirky little product.

So one of the things I tried was this product that was made back in the ’80s. It had these loops that went around your knee, this back pad. So it stabilized your pelvis so that when you sat, it held you in great posture. It unfortunately didn’t work for me because it just nailed into my knees and caused me knee pain. I had already had knee surgery. So it didn’t work.

This was the basis of BetterBack. I had a friend who was in industrial design grad school. He came over and we basically looked at this form and said, “How can we make something based on this form that actually works?

Andrew: Let me ask you this, though. Because you had this problem, how did you know this should be a business? How did you know that other people had this problem?

Katherine: It’s a great question. So I ended up wearing this really janky prototype all around San Francisco to meetings, to meals.

Andrew: So if you and I were going to have a meeting, you would say, “Let me take this janky little belt,” and you would sit there and have–okay.

Katherine: I’m wearing it right now.

Andrew: Okay.

Katherine: It’s awesome.

Andrew: You are?

Katherine: Yeah. The surprising thing is nobody notices you’re wearing it and then you take it off and then they say, “What is this?” And I would share with them what it was and every single time I wore it, which was on a daily basis, there was at least one other person who said, “I have the most debilitating back pain too. Can I please borrow it?”

And what soon happened, I had friends going to New York beginning to borrow it for three days. I had friends saying, “Oh my god, my back is acting up. I just need it for a day.” I realized, “Let me dive into the numbers more,” and discovered that depending on who you talk to, 8 or 9 out of every 10 people you know will have back pain in our lives. So many of us are in our 20s, 30s, 40s and it’s distracting to say the least.

Andrew: I’m surprised it’s not 10 out of 10. Back pain is an issue, not a lifelong issue for some people, but it’s an issue that comes up at some point in their lives. I see they would try it on and say, “I think I can use this.” You also went to the Ferry Building, which is about two blocks away from my office and you started talking to people. What did you say to them?

Katherine: I plopped my Ikea chair down. I had this janky prototype. I would try and stand in front of people and say, “Do you by any chance have back pain? I’m not selling you anything.” I would have people try it on. I would watch how they tried it on, how hard it was for them to wear, ask them if they thought it was comfortable, asked them, “At what price point would this be absolutely impossible to not buy.” And just doing a ton of customer development.

It was amazing. I was able to tap into age groups that I don’t have in my normal day to day life, even people of really different body sizes and builds and ended up being more, but before the Kickstarter campaign, six different rounds of prototyping based on the feedback we collected from just strangers on the street.

Andrew: It was you and a friend who was in industrial design who you told our producer you had over for a beer.

Katherine: Yeah.

Andrew: How did you have a friend who’s in industrial design? I don’t know anyone who’s in–

Katherine: Just do.

Andrew: You just do?

Katherine: Yeah.

Andrew: And this person was able to do what? Get on a sewing machine and start sewing this up?

Katherine: Yeah.

Andrew: Literally?

Katherine: Literally. He was turning around prototypes. By the time I was doing the user testing on the Embarcadero, on the streets, I had actually hired a professional industrial designer, just networked and networked and got an intro to somebody who was a rock star our of Seattle. So, ultimately got somebody on board who had decades of experience.

Andrew: How could you afford to pay for that?

Katherine: It wasn’t that expensive. Turning around a prototype was about $500 and all in, my cost before launching Kickstarter was around $10,000. I had my friend do the photography, another friend gave me a mate rate on graphic design.

Andrew: What about there’s one shot that stands out to me on Kickstarter where there’s a woman who’s wearing it. She’s got BetterBack on and you’re doing a 360 video of her while she’s spinning around. That isn’t inexpensive.

Katherine: That is my friend sitting in a chair. I am literally holding her foot and moving the chair around with my stomach to the floor. My Kickstarter video was $2,000. A friend helped me shoot it, who’s amazing. So everything about this was done completely bootstrapped. They say there is the tradeoff. You can do things. There’s time, there’s quality, and there’s money. You can sort of maximize on two. You can never get all three. It took me a while to develop it.

Andrew: How long?

Katherine: I started working on it the summer of–I don’t know what year, 2014? And launched the Kickstarter April of 2015.

Andrew: Okay. How did you know there was a real business here, that it would actually make money? I’ll have to be honest with you. If you told me, “I’m giving up an app business to create a belt for people who have back pain,” I would say, “Why are you giving up on yourself? It was hard once. You can do it.”

Katherine: Yeah. So, I had already left Everest. At the time, I was spinning up three small business that were serving me up what I thought would be a little bit of passive revue to come up with my next tech idea. This was one of those three businesses. I never thought this would be a full-time job. I thought I would put it on Kickstarter, hit my minimum order quantity, plop it on Amazon and have effectively passive revenue, knowing that so many people had back pain and knowing that so many people were helped by this, I thought this would be kicking off $5,000 to $6,000 a month.

I put it on Kickstarter and had a $12,500 funding goal by lunch time on the first day we had surpassed it. I went on to become the first solo woman to break the million-dollar mark on Kickstarter. It was this crazy, crazy amazing–

Andrew: How? How did you get so many people who came?

Katherine: I did a lot of things to prepare. So, one of the first things I did is I emailed the top 15 Kickstarter projects where people lived in San Francisco. So, whoever did the most revenue, you got invited to my house for a dinner. I was able to learn from everybody. We all went around the table that said, “What were the things what worked great? What didn’t work great?”

Andrew: I see. So, they all got to meet each other at this dinner and you got to get the benefit of hearing all of them because you didn’t have as much to offer as they did on Kickstarter.

Katherine: I offered dinner.

Andrew: Right. But still, we’ve got dinner here everywhere.

Katherine: Exactly.

Andrew: But the idea that you got to bring them together, that’s the part that anyone has got to copy. How many people did you have together?

Katherine: So, 12 people came.

Andrew: 12 people. And you kept it structured, saying, “What worked for you? What didn’t? What advice do you have for me?” That’s it.

Katherine: Exactly.

Andrew: Who are some of the people or products I might know?

Katherine: Yeah. Peak Design is based in San Francisco. They just went on to raise over $1 million in 24 hours last week for their latest Kickstarter project. I call Peter Dering the godfather because he’s done, I think, six campaigns now. He’s one of the original. Emberlight, which was one of the original smart light bulbs was in there. Victor Matthieux who did Flip Band.

Andrew: By the way, I love that you’re willing to do this. This is your networking thing? That’s one of the ways you network?

Katherine: Yeah.

Andrew: What else do you do to network? I’ll come back to what you learned from them. What else did you do to network beyond dinner?

Katherine: I still do monthly investor and entrepreneur dinners at my house, although right now I’m living in a hotel, but in general.

Andrew: You had a house in San Francisco?

Katherine: An apartment.

Andrew: So, it would just be around dinner, around the table. Okay.

Katherine: Literally cold emailing people, “Hey, you sound amazing.”

Andrew: This is such a petty thing to ask but what does it cost you to buy dinner and what do you have delivered?

Katherine: I use Munchery and it comes out to $18 a head for appetizers, entrees and dessert. Otherwise, I’ve done dinners with Product Hunt before or AngelList.

Andrew: Where you’re partnering up with them?

Katherine: They’ll sponsor.

Andrew: Who are you partnering up with at Product Hunt?

Katherine: Do you know Erik Torenberg?

Andrew: Erik, of course. Erik does dinners all the time, right?

Katherine: Yeah.

Andrew: Okay. So, you partner up with him. You say, “I’m going to invite some of my friends. You invite some of your friends. We’ll all have dinner together.” Do you guys do it at a restaurant or your house?

Katherine: Always at the house.

Andrew: That’s a good idea too because it’s cheaper to take five people to dinner at your house than to pay for your own dinner at a restaurant.

Katherine: Totally. It’s also more intimate. Everyone kicks off their shoes when they walk in. They’re able to breathe, relax. It creates more intimacy. Another thing we’ve done is we’ve had chefs on Thumbtack come over, $300, $400 for absolutely insanely delicious meals from Thumbtack. That’s been great too.

Andrew: That’s what Jonathan did. I remember at that dinner, I didn’t know much about Thumbtack. Marco was sitting there talking to me and we were having a conversation and I said, “This is like the shy guy who’s not a partner in the business but someone named him a cofounder.” It wasn’t’ until I went back to look him up that I realized, “Marco, he’s a CEO. He’s really good.” Jonathan was more outgoing and Marco was quieter.

Katherine: Marco is amazing. I think subtly is lost in the Valley, but he’s so bright.

Andrew: I got into the longest conversation with him. I thought he was some guy like hanging around Jonathan because Jonathan was getting more attention. I was invited by Jonathan. That goes to show you have to take everybody seriously. You can’t tell who’s not. What did you pick up, what did you learn at that Kickstarter dinner that you were able to use to create this? It was a $1 million hit on Kickstarter, right?

Katherine: Yeah.

Andrew: What did you learn?

Katherine: I learned a lot more of the things to not do.

Andrew: Like?

Katherine: For example, before that moment, I had no idea that people ran Facebook ads during Kickstarter campaigns. I didn’t know that people did paid marketing, which was perhaps dumb. But one of the consistent themes that came up from people is that when they ran their own ads, it was $1 in, $1 out. So, I wasn’t expecting to do any online marketing and frankly when I did try it, I had the same results, $1 in, $1 out. But I knew to cut off my test a lot earlier because of all of the advice I had heard before.

Andrew: What do you mean? Why cut it off at all? If $1 in, $1 out means you were buying a customer.

Katherine: You’re making no–

Andrew: You’re making no money, but that’s okay. You’re not losing any money and then they might eventually buy more stuff and it builds your credibility.

Katherine: You are losing money. So, if you spend $1 to get somebody and they’re spending $1 on your product but your product costs $0.30, so you’re actually paying for customers in a way that’s not good. And of course, this is Kickstarter, so I didn’t have any funding. I had bootstrapped the shit out of this. I didn’t have a budget to spend for this. So, it had to be ROI positive to make sense. But I did lots of other things. I’m happy to share.

One of the other big takeaways was hearing how critically important it is to get to the most popular category on Kickstarter. That’s the end all, be all. It was shared that basically Kickstarter’s algorithm preferences within a 24 hour period the number of backers you have. It doesn’t matter if you’ve raised $200 or $200,000, it’s if 200 people have contributed to your campaign in the last 24 hours. It’s pretty likely you’re going to be in that popularity category.

So, it’s sort of like my north star as I was preparing for the campaign. It’s how do you get in the popular category every single day knowing that it resets every single day.

Andrew: Every single day you’ve got to get to the top. So, what would you do if you needed to get to the top?

Katherine: One of the things I did knowing $1 mattered the same as $10,000, before my campaign, I exported every single contact from every single source I had, whether it’s cell phone, Gmail, LinkedIn, Facebook and then I categorized everybody into six buckets. Bucket one was my closest people in the world, the people I could email with a one line sentence and they would have my back.

Group two was people I worked with, good relationships with. Group three were influencers, down to group six, which is people whose names I don’t even recognize, but I have their email, so I should probably keep them and maybe use them somehow. So, for my group one people, I emailed them in advance and I said, “Hey, this is what I’ve been working on. I’m launching my Kickstarter campaign on this date. Will you please donate $1 to my campaign the day I launch?”

I used Mixmax, which is a super cool plugin to basically do an online poll and it was like, “Will you give me a $1 on this date?” “Yes, I will. No, I don’t like you enough.” So I’m like trying to do a little social proof, a little twisting turn. I got 120 people to commit to doing the $1 on the day of launch and that helped catapult me into the most popular section right off the bat.

Andrew: I see. So, if I’m understanding it right, it’s based on how many people are backing, not how much money is backing, so you might as well get a person to come in for $1. What else did you get? I love that, actually.

Katherine: For every single one of my buckets, I had a very short and sweet email with a particular call to action. So, one more bucket, I asked for a $1 donation. For everybody else I was asking for a Facebook share. I made it really easy to have content for people to pull to do the share. I would trickle that out as needed whenever there was–if I was unsure that I would be in the popular category for the previous 24 hours. Any time I was dropping from the third or fourth position on the most popular page, I would send out more emails. It worked.

So you have to have a product that is liked by enough people to, of course, stay. It’s not going to be helpful if I tell people, “Go send an email to all of your friends about my new cigarette company,” because they won’t do it and people won’t go buy it. But if you’re delivering something that is of value to the people you’re asking to share with t heir network, then it’s a great way to keep at it.

Andrew: So, if we were friends, deeper closer friends at the time, you would have emailed me and said, “Andrew, can you send this out to a few of your friends and help me out here?”

Katherine: I even emailed strangers. I emailed people. One of the templates was, “Hey, you probably don’t remember me. We probably met on Craigslist, but I’d love to share what I’m working on. I just put my heart and soul for the last eight months into launching this, would love if you could check it out.”

Andrew: I see.

Katherine: The point was to be shameless. It’s a little bit–

Andrew: You really are gutsy that way. You’ll stand in the middle of the Ferry Building where no one wants to talk to anybody and ask people to try this belt on, this thing. I see. So, you’re willing to send out emails to people you never met before and say, “Hey, you probably don’t remember meeting me, but here’s what I’m working on. I thought you would care.”

Katherine: Yeah. It doesn’t feel good. It’s not fun. But it’s what you have to do.

Andrew: Why? Where does this motivation come from for you?

Katherine: I’ve always been very motivated. It might be winning. You talked about winning earlier. This is my Krug Swanson winning trophy. On a daily basis, we judge who’s winning our marriage and we pass this back and forth.

Andrew: Literally? So, what did you do that won your marriage today?

Katherine: We haven’t done the judging yet.

Andrew: What about yesterday?

Katherine: He right now is actually winning.

Andrew: What did one of you do? Give me one thing that gets points?

Katherine: Well, it’s a boring story, but yesterday we’re staying in a hotel. Our living room is the hotel lobby that has a fireplace. I have a group called Startup Think-tank and he vacated working from the library that we call so that my group and I could meet next to the fireplace. So, for that, I gave him the Krug Swanson winner trophy.

Andrew: Do you know what the odds are of somebody like you or him meeting somebody like you or him, like the two of you coming together? Any other relationship that has an actually award like that, if I brought that not my marriage, my wife would kick me out.

Katherine: Well, here’s the amazing thing, first of all, you’re absolutely right. We were just friends. I was doing an article club. We did an article on Clayton Christensen’s “How Will You Measure Your Life,” which is an amazing book I highly recommend for everybody. Jonathan had this great idea to form a life board of directors.

The idea behind which is for a business, there are people who help keep you on track, who help you reach your goals, keep you focused in the right direction. He suggested this life board of directors and I immediately was like, “When do we do it? Let’s get this on the books.” It was actually one of the reasons we got together and started dating is we so intimately got to know each other and we were both huge process geeks and system builders and so supportive of one another’s goals and dreams and it was a huge catalyst.

Andrew: Do you know as we’re talking here I realized I basically ignored my notes on you. There’s so much I wanted to bring up. I don’t even know–you got bed bugs in China. I could have spent five minutes on what you were doing in China that got you the bed bugs. Why don’t we get to production, how you found someone just out of my notes, how you found someone to make this thing.

Katherine: I only had Alibaba as a resource. I had never worked in China on a soft goods product. I just built out a huge funnel just like you would for recruiting, for sales, for whatever. I started out–I can’t remember now if it was 30 or 60 factories, but built a process where they had to sort of like do things really well in sequence in order for me to continue to look at them as a potential partner.

Andrew: What are some of the things you would have them do?

Katherine: There’s of course pricing. There’s sampling. There’s, “Will you show up if we set a meeting for 7:00 p.m. PST, do you show up? Am I chasing you for information all the time? Does it feel good to work with you?”

Andrew: But it seems like some of it were tests, like you intentionally pick 7:00. Did they actually hit the mark? If they did, we check that box.

Katherine: Yeah. We had one prototype. So, I only had one. I didn’t want to send it to all of these factories. So, it was based on my drawings. Who can produce the best version as quickly as possible? Who has ideas for improvements? There were a number of factors. It basically boiled down to three different factories and then I jumped over to China to meet with all of them. They ended up picking two different factories to work with because they were better at English and communication, even though the other factory was far superior at sewing. So, I forced them to work together on the project so that I could feel comfortable.

Andrew: I promised people we would show what this was. I’m going to tell you something. I don’t think we should. I think it’s going to look better if they go to your website and see it.

Katherine: Sounds great. Can I tell people what it is?

Andrew: Yeah. How do you describe what it is?

Katherine: Yeah. It’s a posture strap. There is a deliciously comfortable back pad and then loops that go around your knees and it uses your own body weight to stabilize your pelvis, but if you have back pain, it will feel amazing. There is the O-face that every person gets.

Andrew: O-face?

Katherine: The orgasm face that every person gets when they put it on if they have back pain. It’s this feeling of, “Ah,” and relaxation and support that you just don’t get for you aching back without this. It does look dorky, but you would be surprised that nobody notices you’re wearing it if you’re at a desk, if you’re on a plane, nowhere. I keep thinking people will talk to me about it and no one ever does.

Andrew: But they did at first when you were wearing it, only when you take it off, you’re saying.

Katherine: I take it off to pack it up. It’s a portable thing you can zip up and throw in a bag. When I got to the portion of packing it to zip it up, that’s when the conversation would pop up.

Andrew: What about the fact that I’m shifting around in my chair as we’re talking? Would that make it come undone?

Katherine: You wouldn’t shift as much. You can still move around, but you would be moving around with great posture.

Andrew: I see, without slouching like I have been on one side or the other. You also wanted to give people a discount code here.

Katherine: Yes.

Andrew: I’m always hesitant about discount codes because I don’t want to promise you’re going to make a lot of sales here. What I’ve found is you’re going to get way more sales from “Shark Tank.” How much money did you make from being in “Shark Tank?”

Katherine: Over $1 million.

Andrew: Over $1 million in sales from “Shark Tank.” You’re not going to get anywhere near that here. What people do this for is like biz dev to get potential employees to get to know them, potential partners, investors and I know that’s come about a lot.
Katherine: We do have a need in that area. I’m looking for a head of operations right now.

Andrew: What does a head of operations mean for you guys?

Katherine: Looking for somebody who has physical goods experience how feels comfortable overseeing manufacturers, inventory planning.

Andrew: Where do they apply?

Katherine: That’s a great question, my email address,

Andrew: It’s the letter K?

Katherine: Yeah, KK, two K’s.

Andrew: Oh, KK. Right. Makes sense.


Andrew: Okay.

Katherine: Also on AngelList.

Andrew: What’s the discount code you want to give out?

Katherine: Let’s do Mixergy20 for 20% off.

Andrew: Mixergy20 gets them 20% off. I also said I would open this box up. Can people even see this box now on camera?

Katherine: No.

Andrew: If I go like this? Look at this. What do you think of the Mixergy hat he made for us?

Katherine: Woohoo, cute.

Andrew: Right? Let’s see what else he’s got in here. Oh, this is from Zee, my past interviewee. Thank you so much Zee. He also got a jacket, a hoodie with Mixergy. If he sent me a hoodie with his name on it or his company name on it, it would be at the Goodwill. Wow. He did a good job with it too.

Katherine: Yeah, great job. Sharp.

Andrew: I think I’d look a little less handsome with all this gear on right now, but I appreciate it. Zee, thank you so much for sending this over. It’s like the Zee something group. It’s

Katherine: This is a good lesson right here. He’s not repping himself. He’s making you feel great, which makes you love him and want to talk about him.

Andrew: That actually is the big lesson I’ve taken. If you send someone a t-shirt with your company logo on it, they’re not going to wear it. You’re excited about your company logo, that’s why you send it out. But if you send them something with their logo on it or even no logo at all and trust they’re going to be happy with it and they’re going to talk about you, that’s much, much better.

Katherine: Yes.

Andrew: Zee, thank you so much for sending this over. Katherine, I’m blown away by what you’ve done. I can’t believe it. This little side hustle became something so big.

Katherine: It’s been great. We’re just getting started. That’s the most exciting part. We’re building this in such a sustainable way, we’re going to be around for the next decade building things that help people feel better and be better.

Andrew: Anyone who wants to check out should go to–they’ve got to see what this is. What’s this thing that fits in a purse that became a $3 million product. I would go to and skip everything and go directly to the Kickstarter video.

I think you had one of the best Kickstarter videos I’ve seen–short, so I wasn’t afraid of like getting committed to a long ten-minute video and very clear. I actually get to see the product and why it matters. I like the reveal on it also. I like how you also in the video said, “How’s your posture right now?” I actually looked and said, “I am slouching a little bit but it’s not as bad as I thought.”

Thank you so much for doing this interview. Thank you all for being a part of it. My two sponsors, I always tell them I’ll mention them last on the show. They are and All right. Thank you, Katherine. Thank you everyone.

Katherine: Thank you so much. Have a great one.

Who should we feature on Mixergy? Let us know who you think would make a great interviewee.