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Hey everyone, my name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy.com, home of the ambitious up-start and you know what we do here, I interview entrepreneurs about the hits, the misses, I want to learn everything I can so you can take it, go out there and build incredible business and hopefully come back here and do what today’s guests are doing, share your story with other so they can learn from you.
My big question for this interview is, how do you get 100,000 subscribers in 3-1/2 months? That’s what today’s guest did. He is Bo Fishback, the co-founder of Zaarly, a marketplace that changes the way people buy goods and services locally. Bo, I read that, I understand what Zaarly is, but I’m wondering if the audience gets it. Can you illustrate it with a specific example of what somebody did on Zaarly that couldn’t have been done before?
Bo: Sure. Zaarly is a hyper-local marketplace. It’s driven by the buyer so it’s about what you need and want. An example that we see all the time on Zaarly is people need a caterer for a party today or tomorrow or next week, that ends up being a really opaque market. You go to Zaarly and you say what you want, describe it. You say how much you’re willing to pay for it and how soon you need it and it gets broadcast to the local community around you. On the other side of the market you look at Zaarly and you see dollar signs everywhere. If there’s stuff you can do on there you just go make money doing things and selling things for people around you.
Andrew: I see. By the way, the one thing I’ve been wanting to do on Zaarly is get somebody to shop for me at Trader Joe’s. Can I go on there and say, “I’m willing to pay,” what would I pay, $30 to $40 to have someone do my shopping.
Bo: Yep. You will definitely get offers on that. We see personal shoppers for the holidays, for grocery shopping, we see that kind of stuff on this marketplace all the time.
Andrew: I love it and you guys are here in Washington, D.C. and across the country?
Andrew: All right. I’ve got an understanding of this. I know how much you’ve done, a 100,000 subscribers in 3-1/2 months and when I asked you if you’d do an interview about it, you said, “Absolutely I’ll do an interview,” but you also wanted to be clear with the audience about something, what was that?
Bo: Yeah. We have a pretty a-typical startup. I’ve been involved with a few different startups and worked with, I don’t know, many hundreds of startups probably and we came out of the gates so fast because we had some unique factors in our favor. We had some pretty big personalities, Ashton Kutcher, LeVar Burton, Demi Moore, who within our, honestly before the company even existed, within our first 24-hours of this idea, they started talking about it on the social streams. Since then we just had a set of great events happen where we had some great backers come to the table. We were able to get Meg Whitman to join our board, who built eBay. This is just been one of those things that’s been really noisy in a lot of ways that led to other opportunities and press. I don’t know how much that is replicable, but it has been supper fun for us, for sure.
Andrew: All right. Well the answer that I gave you before and the one that I keep giving my audience is, if you’re coming to Mixergy with the idea that you’re going to scribble down notes and copy exactly what the guests has done and duplicate their success exactly, you’re coming with the illusions that I can’t possibly help you achieve. If you think about it the way that Sam Walton thought about building his businesses when he was starting out and you say, “What did Sam Walton do?” He would go on vacation and look at little Bait and Tackle shops. If he was anywhere and there was any kind of store they could step into, even for a moment, with his notebook, he would step in there with his notebook, scribble down notes and, not duplicate their success, but he would say, ‘Ah, there’s an idea that I could bring back to my business, and not exactly, but something that I can learn and bring back’.
The fact that he went to places that were more exotic there, than Kmart would’ve gone to, or JCPenney, at the time. The fact that he went to places that they wouldn’t go and he’d study the companies that they wouldn’t study, I think, and he said too in his autobiography, gave him an advantage over other people. That’s what I’m hoping to do here, no duplicating, just learning, processing ourselves and then using any way we can going forward.
Bo: One of the hardest parts of being an entrepreneur, but also, maybe, the most important is take advice and input from everybody and synthesize it and turn it into what’s important to you. (?) super-hard job, because, really successful people will tell you things in a way that makes it feel like you have to do it this way because ‘this is how I did it’. The truth is, that is not what building a company is about. I think our experiences been that we have definitely heard advice from very successful people and chosen to do the exact opposite.
Andrews: For example. You don’t have to give name.
Bo: No. I will give a very specific example. Very early on, before we even launched, and this launch happened quickly, we were advised quite strongly that we should only launch in one city and not do anything beyond that city until we really nail a single marketplace, because, by its very nature, launching a new city is a whole new effort, and if you try to turn it on everywhere the risk is getting the chicken and egg problem wrong, and not having enough critical mass.
We thought really hard about doing that actually, and picking one city and only making it available there, and trying to nail it, but after we received so much interest and hype and pre-subscriptions and people who really wanted to make this work, not in one city, but in 50 cities, 100 cities, we basically made the call to say, ‘Hey, we totally understand where you’re coming from but we’re going to take a different tack and when we turn this on, we’re just going to turn it on nationally’.
The truth is, we still don’t quite know if that’s going to be the right answer or not, but so far so good. It was not just one or two people who told us that, but people who built very successful local businesses had told us that trying to go too fast in multiple cities has been the death of more than one company, that had been in related spaces.
Andrew: There are so many other tactics that I wanted to get to, that you and I talked about in the pre-interview, but I’ve got to dig in on this one, because this is one I know comes up in my life and my audience is life a lot. Really well-meaning advisors give suggestions and we want to keep getting more suggestions from them, so we don’t want to say I’m not going to do what you just did, but at the same time, we can’t do what every single person suggests to us. So, how do we say ‘no’ in a way that still encourages the adviser to keep giving us feedback, to keep supporting our project and to be there next time we turn to them for advice again?
Bo: I think it’s a great question. For people who want to build really high growth companies and ones that have a big impact, it becomes more important as you go along. What I have found, with our situation, we take input from people we respect very seriously and we usually have more than one or two or three conversations about it when people think we should do something different than us, than were planning on doing.
So sometimes that means they talk us into eventually, and sometimes, that means that at the end of three or four conversations we are really honest about it with all of our advisors or board members, everyone, to say ‘Hey, we definitely appreciate where you’re coming from here but we think for this reason and that reason this is a unique circumstance and so we’re going to take a slightly different tack’, and so far, we found that to be super-effective. People say, ‘OK, if you need a reminder about what I think, call me again in a month and I’ll say the same thing again’. And, sometimes, we call them a month later and they say, ‘Hey, it looks like you guys pulled that off. Very impressive’.
We found that the difference between advisors we talk to very regularly, board members, the people for whom we really value their input, if we talk about an issue enough, we almost always end up on the same page. But, they’re very sane humans and we are trying to be very calculating as to how we build this company. If it happens three or four times with somebody, you’re probably not going to get more advice from them, but, also, if you are three or four times in a row on different planes, maybe that’s not the right person, anyway, to be advising you.
Andrew: That’s good feedback too, because I tend to want everyone to like me. I tend to want everyone to keep working with me, and if I approach relationships that way, I can’t be genuine with them and I can’t really follow everyone’s advice, so I’m going to destroy all my relationships, possibly.
Bo: I think with startups, it’s more important than anywhere else in the world to be super-candid with people who you’re going to work with and that’s your team members, your advisors, your family. And I think it is hard. All of us want that right? All of us want everyone to like us. And we want to be able to say yes to everyone. But really the start up game, from our experience anyway, has become down to how do we really prioritize and attack the important things? And it could just very well be that people are talking about things that are not currently on your key priority roadmap. And if you can kind of keep it to two or three or four things you’re really trying to do right, people understand right. People want startups to be successful. They want the entrepreneurs building them to be successful.
Andrew: But that’s interesting. That you’re saying there are two or three things, what was it, three or four things…
Andrew: That you are focused on. And that way when someone comes up with an idea that’s outside of that focus, you can say, we have an area of focus right now. We could come back to it later, but you explain what your focus is and drive home that message when you’re turning them away.
Bo: Yes. I think this is a very difficult thing for startups. Especially, you know, we’re trying to be a big platform right. A meta-market place for anything from people around you. That is like a crazy big idea if we get it right. If we try to do everything we’re not going to do anything well. And, you know, when I work with people on my team I truly believe that people can’t do more than probably two things really well at a time. If you start to add three or four or five or six things on there, you just end up with a really dilute focus. And I think if you communicate that with the people who you’re working with, they really do understand.
Andrew: What are the two things or so that you’re doing right now that you’re focusing on. And by the way for the audience, I promise we’re going to get to the hundreds of Twitter accounts and why Zaarly has hundreds of Twitter accounts. There’s a logic behind that. We’re going to talk about how Zaarly’s app got featured in both the Apple and Android marketplace. And as Bo told me in the pre-interview, that’s not an easy thing to do. It was deliberate. It wasn’t happenstance. We’ll talk about how he did that. If Ashton Kutcher is a key reason why he got traffic I want to find out about that too. How did you get Meg Whitman to come on? The idea that hey, Meg Whitman comes on and I get an unfair advantage that other people can’t necessarily duplicate is fine, but I want to know how you got that. We’ll also take all of this in chronological order. I want to tell your story because stories are memorable and we connect with you. And we’ll also understand how this business came about. But that question of, what are the two things that you’re focused on. I’m curious about, and then we’ll go back to the story.
Bo: Yeah, so, the two main things on my personal plate right now are in the zone of product. We just have an enormous amount of work to do to get our product to the right place. So, that means, really tactical things to us if you get down to it. But adding trust into a system, how you increase the ability to share it, part of the product. That’s one bucket that is taking up my life.
Andrew: The product and specifically, how do you get people to share what’s on the product, right? Because we don’t necessarily think of going into Zaarly as a social experience that we have to tell the world about. Is that what you’re saying to me?
Andrew: Okay, and then the other thing?
Bo: And then the second part of it is, you know, we have a two sided marketplace, right? We have buyers and then we have people who go and make money and fulfill things on Zaarly. And getting these two marketplaces in sync with each other is a lot of effort actually. We have a team of people that just work on the supply side and the fulfillment engine makes it work so that when you post, hey I’ll pay forty bucks for someone to go to Trader Joes and go grocery shopping for me and get this, this, this and this, making sure that you get somebody who is qualified, who is trustworthy, and who you’re going to have a great experience with, those are the two main things on my personal plate right now. But you could go to the company and talk to anybody and say what are the two main things you’re working on and we’ll all have a pretty crisp answer for that.
Andrew: All right. I’m actually going to write a note on both of those topics because I know of course virality is a big one for my audience but also marketplace balance is a tough one. A lot of people will not touch marketplace, there’s a lot of experienced entrepreneurs, I’m thinking of Heaton Shaw of KISSmetrics who said he would never touch a marketplace again because the need to go after two different markets at the same time and master them is just too tough. Most people can’t even concentrate and win over one market. Marketplace you have to do both. I want to understand how you did that and learn that for my audience.
Bo: Yeah, Neil Patel at KISS is actually one of our advisors who we work with actually quite a lot.
Andrew: Is he the guy who came up with this whole Twitter account strategy?
Bo: No, not that one. That one actually was born out of necessity for the type of company that we are. Like I’d not ever seen anyone do this before and we just (?) a couple of our guys working on social (?) and it just turned into this actually.
Andrew: All right. I’ve got an idea of what we can do here at Mixergy with that. But let me come back to it and learn from you in a moment. Going back to just before this business. I know you have a rich history, you work with entrepreneurs through Kaufman Labs. You were the President of Kaufman Labs, right? Tell me a little bit about that and then we’ll find out where the idea came from.
Bo: Yeah, so I was the Vice-President of Entrepreneurship of the Kaufman Foundation and as we started kind of heading down the path of what the foundation was going to do next, started trying to figure out what a, actually a lab, would look like that hopefully helps people who want to build really high growth companies from pre-idea. So we ran programs with science and engineering post docs who wanted to start companies. People who wanted to build billion dollar companies in the education market, and they were all super competitive. We had about a 1% acceptance rate and we just had amazing people who would help them with their company, kind of figure out what was a good idea and how to translate that into a company and then how to get off on the right foot.
Andrew: And this was an educational environment? Or were you doing more incubating there?
Bo: Yeah, those.
Bo: Yeah, it started out with a lot of education. It ended up looking, depending on the stage of the different companies, a little more incubation-like, but really it depended on who you were dealing with. I do fundamentally believe that every company and every founding team is unique enough. It’s tough to turn it into a factory and we were trying to build a very, very flexible framework that would help educate people if this was the right decision for them and, if so, how to go about attacking it.
Andrew: So, was there a minute where Zaarly was born or was it more of an evolutionary process?
Bo: A moment. I’d never actually seen a company, honestly. So, where Zaarly came from was about a year and a half ago, I was sitting at an airport terminal, talking to my wife and wishing that I could make an offer for someone’s airplane seat so that they would switch seats with me and everyone that I looked at and I was looking at their phone and their was still no mechanism to do that, so I literally just jotted a note in my phone like, “a real-time buyer-driven eBay for people around you” and just left it there in my phone. Didn’t really think twice about it. There’s about 15 other ideas in that same file in my phone.
In February of this year, February 2011, a friend of mine who is on the board at Startup Weekend, and I’m also on the board of Startup Weekend, said, for my birthday this year, I just want you to come to a Startup Weekend with me and we’re going to go and help the other teams, one of us is going to be a judge. We were just going to go and have a good time and on the way out there, I just started thinking about ideas. I listened to about 30 pitches on a Friday night. None of them really resonated with me and so I just decided that as the last person, “Yeah, you know what? I’m just going to pitch something.” And I pitched an idea that I originally called, “GeoBay” for a hyper-local eBay that’s driven by the buyers and about two hours later, with a team of nine other people, that turned into Zaarly and we quit our jobs on Monday and went all-in.
Andrew: And so the idea is, you announce this idea and if other people want to support it and work with you on it over this weekend, then they walk over to you and if they don’t, you get the message that this is probably not the right idea for the moment and the space and you go join somebody else.
Bo: Yep. And I would say, as a footnote there, Startup Weekend is actually like a non-profit organization and it runs these events all over the world. I have found Startup Weekend and AngelList being the two things that I tell every single entrepreneur to go to if they think they want to start a company but they’re not sure what or they’re not sure how or they’re not sure how to find other people who want to do that. It is an unbelievable resource to find other people who want to go build companies. And so, yeah, that’s exactly right, you pitch for one minute, no slides, no rehearsal. If people like your idea, they come up afterwards and they say, “Hey, we like your idea. We want to work on it.”
They usually cut it down to a smaller number of teams. I think there were 10 teams the weekend that we were at in LA and then you spend 54 hours with everything from building a prototype to building a pitch deck, with the idea that on Sunday you can actually demo it. So we actually did that, Friday night, one minute pitch, Sunday night we actually demoed a real working version on an iPhone.
Andrew: Don’t you feel when you’re telling this roomful of people, and here you are a guy from the Kauffman Foundation, so you know your stuff and you have contacts in the space so you must really have an understanding of what would work in the world, when you’re standing up there in front of all these hungry entrepreneurs, who gave up a weekend to work on a project, don’t you feel like, “One of these little bastards is going to steal my great idea that I had at the airport and he’s going to find a way to take it over”?
Bo: Not really. I don’t actually believe in idea theft for startups. I think that that is one of the great falsities in the world of startups. People always say like, “Hey, I got this amazing idea. It’s so amazing I can’t tell you about it.” There’s almost no magic in these ideas, right? It is all about how you execute, the team that you build and how you go make something a reality. If you take Zaarly as an example, this is not just not a new idea, this is older than an old idea. People have wanted to do this and have done this in just a high-friction fashion for thousands of years, right? Buy and sell to people around you.
The way that you can replicate Zaarly in the physical world is write what you want on a sign and what you’re willing to pay for it and walk around in Manhattan and hopefully somebody would see that and be able to do a deal with you. We just make it frictionless and instantaneous and a lot of other things that are the reason that we think that it makes sense. But, you know, anyone could have built the technology here. That’s not what this is about. This is about solving a critical mass problem, the chicken and the egg, getting it on in lots of places and it’s almost like that for every single startup.
Andrew: But a critical mass-based business almost begs for more protection because the truth is, when we take a look at this space, we think, “You know what? I’m going to install Zaarly and I’m going to install TaskRabbit on my phone and I’m going to see which one has the most people locally and then I’ll go with that one. It’s not the one where I met Bo or I know him through this interview and I’m going to go for it. It’s not the one that Ashton Kutcher is a fan of and Meg Whitman is a part of something I’m going to go with. It’s just who’s on there right now and I’m going to jump in. So you do need to be protective, don’t you?
Bo: Not of the idea. What you need to do is build faster and execute better. That’s what we found. This is a space that 1) is humongous, it’s dominated by a few huge players out there today, like Craigslist for example is like the [??] in the space. They’re not going to be the giant one in the space forever. This is what start-ups do, they come in and disrupt models and they bring new innovations that make better experiences and we don’t know yet, is it a winner take all game or not? I don’t know. I’d be hard pressed to believe that it is actually, but we could write this idea on every bathroom stall in the world and very few people can do anything interesting with that.
When we started this company, I didn’t even know there was anyone else in the space to be honest with you. This is not one of those things — to your question of was it an evolution or a moment? We’re not from the mobile world. We’re a very mobile driven, 83-1/2% of our usage is on mobile and like none of us had worked in mobile before. None of us had worked at e-commerce companies before. This was something that was born out of, something we wanted and we knew as we started to play it out would kind of make the world work better. We only learned that anybody else was working on this stuff much later. It wasn’t that we saw another idea and were inspired by it, but for whatever set of reasons we’ve been able to very, very quickly take a real run at this ting.
Andrew: Let me take a step back here and ask you this, I understand that because I’ve heard what you just said come at me from lots of proven entrepreneurs who I have on here because I respect their opinions and I want to learn from them and still when there is something new that I want to add to Mixergy, when there is something new that I want to add to the world, part of me goes, “Shut up about it because you don’t want other people to take it.” So if we know this stuff intellectually, we hear successful entrepreneurs say this is my own experience and we have all this proof and all this knowledge, why do you think we still resist it?
Bo: I think its human nature. I think that you want to believe that there’s so much power in your idea that it’s just that genius. Like if you tell someone else they’re like, “Oh my god, that’s so a great idea I’m going to do the same thing.” Really, whatever ideas you have for Mixergy that you want to go build into this thing, the reason you have a chance to do it is because you have Mixergy. Not everyone has that platform and your presence and all of these things. So you could tell a hundred people about that, maybe one of them would have the wherewithal, the ability, the existing platform to go and do it and then maybe they’ve got other things they’re working on, right? What rings so true to you, that’s what’s amazing to me about start-ups — what rings so true to you as an individual or me as an individual building my company might sound like white noise to someone else because it’s much more about timing and — that’s what I think about Zaarly is at timing thing for example.
This idea is definitely going to work. Someone’s going to build a huge company in this space, hopefully it’s us and eBay was a timing play, eBay was a timing play from the last Internet boom and if Pier had not had built eBay and Meg wouldn’t have come one to scale that company, someone would have built an online auction site. It’s not about the idea. It’s about how they executed it and how they were able to go get close to a hundred million users and it’s the same for you. I could take all of your ideas and put them up on my site right now that are your next ideas for Mixergy and you know what, no one would look at them. So who cares? I care. As soon as you turn them on, even six months later, you would dominate everything that I had done there because it’s not the right context.
Andrew: All right. I’m glad you said that because I’m launching a new local market place on mixergy.com/local.
Bo: Go for it.
Andrew: I’m fascinated Bo by first versions. What was version 1 of Zaarly at the end of that start-up weekend? What was in it? What did it do?
Bo: Yeah. Great question. We had three first versions now of Zaarly, first of all. I would say the very first version at the end of start-up weekend was on the iPhone only. We had a tiny web presence that we needed to make it work, but it was obviously it couldn’t go through the app store or anything like that because you couldn’t wait. It was just built and deployed locally on that device. It was basically a simple set of screens that let you go somewhere, type in something, say the amount that you wanted to pay and hit “Submit” and then we had another screen that [??] running list that let you see anything that was posted there. It was a lot of work for 54 hours but again, we built it in 54 hours.
Andrew: We’re talking then about basically a list like Craigslist, I mean this did not do any location awareness, I did not . . .
Bo: It posted location automatically from the phone at the time and that’s because one of the guys on our startup weekend team had worked with some geolocation software in the past and could just plug it in, because he built it previously. So he kind of hacked his own code to make it work. But, there were no pretty maps. There was not a lot of communication going back and forth. In fact, there was no messaging system in it. It was all, you can launch a call anonymously from the other party and we used Twilio for that, which was like one of these amazing reasons why this could happen so quickly is that we plugged Twilio in 45 minutes, over the course of that weekend. That enabled you to communicate with the counter-party in any offer that you did.
So, what we demoed was one person posting something, one person saying they could deliver it. It was actually to take someone’s Tesla for a test drive because someone, there, had a Tesla in the parking lot. [We launched] an anonymous call, saying, ‘Hello this is me’ etc. ‘I’ll meet you in the back parking lot’. That was a whole demo and everything we built after that weekend.
Two weeks later, we did a one-day test at South by Southwest and we needed something that wasn’t built and deployed locally, because we wanted to see if it would actually work.
So, we built an HTML 5 version, no app, a totally mobile optimized HTML 5 version of Zaarly that would let you go through the entire posting process, let you see a, kind of, relatively, attractive list. A lot of time was spent designing this thing so that was tolerable. So we, pretty much, worked nonstop for two weeks to get that up and going, turned it on just in Austin for one day and that was the day that we thought we might be onto something. We had $10,000 of transactions go through the system in 24 hours and no one had heard of us before we got there.
Andrew: And this is 2009?
Bo: No. This is 2011.
Andrew: This past South by Southwest, I was there. I was parked next to that big bus that had Zaarly on the side of it.
Bo: I was in there.
Andrew: So, how did you get the bus? You were in there?
Bo: We built the first version of Zaarly, basically, in that RV
Andrew: So, I kind of heard that something was going on, but I didn’t believe that I understood it right because, how do you get a bus with Zaarly plastered on the side, that’s so impressive looking that I even remember it when, God knows how many brands were flying at me at the time and how many great sandwiches and food was coming at me from those brands. How did you get the bus?
Bo: We decided we were going to go to South by Southwest about three days before it started. It was kind of a fantasy goal that we had set after startup weekend to see if we could get this ready in two weeks. We were nowhere close to ready three days before South by Southwest, but we were going to just have faith and one of my cofounders, who’s our CTO now, just working heads down getting this thing going. I called my father-in-law, who lives in Dallas and I asked him to go to Austin and find a big RV and a parking spot for it. He negotiated with the guy who was behind the convention center, got us an RV. Eric, my other cofounder and I were literally at Kinko’s at 4:00 in the morning, the day before South by Southwest started, getting that sign printed that you saw that was on the RV. On the roof of it, at about 5:30 in the morning, [we were] hanging both sides of that, getting that thing all situated. We basically turned that into our war room while we were at South by.
Andrew: How much did that cost you?
Bo: I think the RV was $2,500 and the parking spot was about $3,000.
Andrew: That says something about South by Southwest. And the sign were talking about, under a $1,000.
Bo: Oh, yes. We printed signs and cards and had people on the street handing out stuff because we had to figure out how to crack the first version of awareness, so we literally had a street team that was out as people were in lines going into South by, like events, waiting for restaurants. We had a team of people who were handing out flyers and talking to them about it.
Andrew: It was huge for you, South by Southwest, because people ended up talking about you more than any other start up at the time. I can’t think of another but don’t know for sure.
Bo: It was pretty amazing. We did not go there with that expectation. We did not go there to launch at South by Southwest. We didn’t even have a real product. We just had a little mobile web version of it. We went there to do a test, just to do a test. I had a team of people lined up to make both sides of the market work if we needed to do that. It turned out we didn’t need to because the awareness generators did nice enough job. We were helped quite nicely.
We wanted to launch on Friday but weren’t ready. We wanted to want to launch on Saturday but we weren’t ready. We wanted to launch on Sunday and got a call from TechCrunch that said, ‘Hey, if you want to turn this on at South by, we’ll run a little piece on you’. So that coincided with when we turned it on, which helped, especially at South by. We just turned it on and it started working, like immediately, almost.
Andrew: Let me dig into what you just said here. First of all, where did the money come from, the few thousand dollars?
Bo: Our beginning start was weird. We pitched on Friday night and started on the weekend, demoed on Sunday night, at startup weekend, closed $1 million round of seed funding on Tuesday.
Bo: Well, Action [SP] was a judge at Start Up Weekend, because I actually invited him to come by because he had never been to one before. I said, ‘Hey, if you want to see something amazing come by and check’…
Andrew: How did you invite him?
Bo: I had met him through Kaufman.
Andrew: So, through Kaufman you meet him and you take his email address?
Bo: Yes. We’ve been just emailing back and forth for a couple months, about different ideas for startups and what we can do together, like Kaufman/Catalyst, his company. I wasn’t, again, going to pitch or do anything.
Andrew: Kaufman/Catalyst. So here’s a thing also that I’m learning. It would be so cool if I could come out here and say, ‘Hey, never get a job. You need to be an entrepreneur your whole life’, but really, what I find when I shut my mouth and listen to stories is it’s less shocking and much more diverse and in your case, more specifically, working at Kaufman led to this partnership that led to funding and led to an understanding, that led to a great product and funding and interactions with investors.
Bo: You’ve got it. I’ve been asked a couple of times by people, ‘Hey, this thing came out of nowhere. It was so fast. Holy cow’. What I really think is that, me and both of my co-founders have been working in the startup zone for close to 10 years. Ashton funded part of our seed round but the other guys who also were ready to go, two days after start up weekend who were not at start up weekend, so they hadn’t seen it, were well-known people, Ron Conway [SP] from SV Angel [SP] and the Naval Ravikant from Angel List and [sounds like] Idensyncit from (?). We have an amazing group of investors. They were all willing to, basically, commit on the spot when they found out that I was going to leave my job and do this company. I think, actually, that Naval might have (?) on the heels of it [asked], ‘What are you guys doing again? Of course I’m in, but what are you doing again?’
Andrew: That’s it, literally, we’re not exaggerating, [he] wanted to fund and then wanted to know what the product was?
Bo: Yes. I think people will say things a lot like, ‘We back team’, this that and whatever and you’ve got to take it with a grain of salt, because it’s like idea plus, team plus contacts, all the stuff. We had an amazing set of relationships in place, well before we were even planning on starting this company.
Andrew: Let me ask you this. What’s the key to your relationship building? I know this is a tough question to answer about yourself. It’s almost like saying, ‘What makes women fall in love with you?’ You almost admit lack of humility by answering it but, I know, that for some entrepreneurs ‘I’m really diligent about using my CRM and I record the details about people and I’m good about…’ No. You’re shaking your head. What is it?
Bo: I’ll tell you what I think it is, anyway, for me. This is not just me but I think both of my cofounders and, actually, most of our company is now built on this idea. I’m a huge believer in the karma bank and I think that we have all been depositing aggressively in the karma bank for a very long time.
Andrew: Give me an example of positive good stuff in the karma bank of the people who invested in you, not in the universe as a whole.
Bo: I was involved with Naval and Nivi be for an Angel List existed and funding Venture Hacks when I was at Kaufman just because I thought that Venture Hacks was a great resource for entrepreneurs. I found myself sending, a lot like Mixergy, actually, so many people there and saying, ‘Just go learn before you tell me what your stupid idea is’. I had worked with those guys to invest Kaufman money in Venture Hacks at a time when it [took] an enormous effort to make that happen, because Venture Hacks was a for-profit and Kaufman couldn’t fund those, and then ended up, actually, helping them fund Angel List, [of whom] Kaufman is actually an investor, just because I thought it was a good thing for the world of entrepreneurs. I got nothing out of it. If it turns into something or doesn’t turn into something.
That’s why I was at Kaufman, actually. I fundamentally believed that we were making the world a better place by helping entrepreneurs get going. That was more than just what I liked to say, that was my job. My job was to give away money with no personal upside, because it was a great thing to do for startups. One of my cofounders Eric Custer who was a lawyer at Cooley [SP], before we went to do this, actually helped create Start Up Weekend and turned them from a for-profit into nonprofit and actually put that organization together as a legal entity, not because he got paid or anything but because he knew this was a very powerful thing for entrepreneurs. When you put your self into those situations, and there was no expectation by any of us for payback, but when it turns out that, “Hey, we need to raise a seed round of funding”, it makes it so happens in 48 hours instead of four months. And you think, ‘Wow, that was amazing’. I really do think that a lot has happened to this company in nine months but it really has been built on the back of the last 10 years of all of our careers.
Andrew: OK. I had to ask you about that even though you and I agreed on the beginning that we didn’t want to talk about funding. I had to because it explains some of the things that happened here. So you also told me about how you had a street team.
Andrew: Who are these people on the street team, and apart from making a market which I’ll get to in a moment, what did you have them do?
Bo: Yeah. Pretty interesting learning experience for all of us, right. This is not something we were experts in before we did this. So, we knew that if we were going to down and give it a shot we were going to have some people working for us. So a couple of them were just people who were friends of ours who were like, hey I would love to jump on an airplane and fly down and help. We posted a few ads on Craigslist and said, hey we’re looking for some people to help us out while we’re in Austin this year. And we actually ended up having somebody respond and said, hey, I’ll do you one better. Instead of you guys having to go through all of this and find all the, we have tons of resumes for this kind of a thing. Because, you know, it’s college kids who want to make money for a few days on the weekend. A woman actually wrote us back and say, hey, this is pretty much what I do professionally. I organize street teams in cities all over the countries, like around festivals and events. We were like, that sounds pretty interesting. So we started talking to her.
We showed up and on the second day at Southwest by Southwest she had thirty people show up outside of our RV. And we were literally standing on the steps of the RV with her saying, okay, what do you want them to do? They’re all here. And so she ended up organizing it. We paid them daily rates. The hardest part was getting all the printing stuff done because we literally had them out on the street, handing out fliers to people. That same weekend the iPad 2 came out, and so they were just standing in front of the Apple Store telling people, hey, you know, you can pay to get a place in line closer through Zaarly. People were buying iPad ones from the people who were in line to buy iPad’s two through Zaarly, like that very first weekend.
But we honestly just had them out, we had them out for two days before we turned our product on because we thought we were going to be ready two days earlier. And we were already paying them, and so we didn’t really have anything for them to do. And so we just said, well just go out and talk to everybody you can about Zaarly. Tell them we’re going to turn it on this weekend. And they were literally just walking about educating people about this thing that was coming. And that really did help create like a lot of word of mouth buzz and awesome.
Andrew: Okay, so if I were to break down the question that I asked in the intro, which is how do you get 100,000 subscribers in 3.5 months? The first few dozen people.
Andrew: And of course this isn’t a literal breakdown of this process, but, my understanding is the first few dozen people came from friends, came from people who happened to be at startup weekend. Came from family members. That’s how you get to the dozens. How you get into the hundreds and then the low thousands is a street team of men on the street one on one saying this is what Zaarly is, slash, going to be because it didn’t launch, and here’s how it relates to your life at this moment. I’m not going to tell you about how it could get you a pack of cigarettes, because I don’t see you smoking. But since I see you standing here at the Apple Store I’m going to relate it to how it could benefit you here. And that’s how you got the first hundred, few hundred, first thousand people, one on one conversations?
Bo: Yeah, the only, that’s right, the only thing is almost would be an order of magnitude bigger off of those numbers and it’s because we had, I don’t know, we had many thousands of pre-registrations before we even went to South By. Because of the social media love that we had received from Levar Burton who was the dude from Star Trek and Reading Rainbow, and he was Kunta Kinte in the Roots, who was a friend of mine from Kaufman days. From Demi, who had tweeted us about that weekend at a startup weekend.
Andrew: Demi Moore
Andrew: She said her husband basically loves this business. He’s going to invest whether she knew at the time or not didn’t matter. But she tweeted out. So all these people were tweeting out. So here’s the other thing. They tweeted out to what? You had a landing page that collected e-mail addresses?
Bo: Which was, it’s actually a company that does this called Launch Rock. We actually had a Launch Rock page up that lets you put in an e-mail address and share it with other people. And if you share it with enough people then we give you early access kind of a thing. It’s kind of a built in framework for that.
Andrew: I love Launch Rock. I’ve been talking to the founder about finding a way for Mixergy to use it. What I’m curious about with Launch Rock is, and I wonder if you even know the numbers, you’re collecting I guess thousands of people who give you their e-mail address saying, I want early access to this thing. That the guy who I’ve been watching MTV and the woman who I’ve been watching in the movies and so on are all raving about, you collect their e-mail addresses and they are encouraged to share the link with their friends who will hopefully give you their e-mail addresses. Do you know how the organic growth versus the viral growth compared, where you’re getting more people off the back end then off the front? Did they give you stats back then?
Bo: Yeah, they did. I don’t actually know what they are. I do know that because we had such a big footprint on the front end, that was a pretty big number. That said, we ran a couple of promotions around it, like, hey, whoever gets the most people over this time period like to sign up. I think we may have bought somebody like an iPad two or something like that. And, but we excluded like famous people who we had relationships with, because I just assumed like, that was not something they needed.
And so I think like the fourth or fifth person on the list was our number one. And he was just some like random guy, I think he was like a banker in New York or something. But he was able to go get like seventy people to sign up or something.
Andrew: And you just did it by e-mail. Using the viral tools that are in place within Launch Rock.
Bo: Yup. But it’s very different if you’re incenting it, as opposed to just asking for it, I guess, is one thing that I would say. The other thing is, again, our situation may have been unique with 10 million twitter followers listening. With even a 1% conversion, that’s quite a few people signing up.
Andrew: The first dozen I got right, but the first thousand I got wrong. It came from using the prelaunch website that collected email addresses and a system that encouraged virality through [sounds like] lontra and people with big audiences, like those celebrities you mentioned, also.
Bo: But those were, also, not relevant to us until much later, right? Very few of those are relevant to the South by Southwest launch, because you had to be in Austin, Texas for that, right? So I think the group that we collected email addresses on, in the beginning, I’d be surprised if even a handful of them would have been at South by Southwest. So, that first test of whether or not this concept would work, in-person with a hyper-local market, I would guess, 99 % was driven by the street team and [sounds like] Arkas.
Andrew: I see. OK. So the street team creates an environment where there’s a market, where if someone wants to get paid, there’s someone on the other end who wants to pay and vice versa. That’s why you needed such a big street team and such a big local following. The other thing that you told me was that you did have market makers, kind of like the stock market. You know, if you go into the stock market and you want to buy shares of Wal-Mart and there happens to nobody around who is selling Wal-Mart, the New York Stock Exchange will have somebody there to make that market for you. You guys did the same thing. Who did you have to go run out and get cigarettes for me if I happen to want cigarettes or stand in line
Bo: Two things happened. One is, our street team ended up finding out pretty quickly that, ‘Hey, it turns out I can make more money than they’re paying me for the street team thing, doing stuff on Zaarly’. That was a really interesting dynamic for us to see.
Andrew: And you allowed them to do it, even though you were paying them to go where you wanted them to?
Bo: Absolutely. Amazing. [It] helped us make our market, right? So that was one piece. The second piece was I sent two emails the night before we launched to the people who run the pedicab companies in Austin, you know, those dudes who bike around. It turns out that the two biggest ones are about 80% of the bikes in Austin. And I said, ‘Hey if you wouldn’t mind, your guys could make some extra money while they’re out there tomorrow while we’re launching this thing. It would be cool’. And they sent it out to all of those guys, and some of the pedicab guys ended up riding around in between jobs and making money.
Andrew: I’ve got to ask you about that go ahead.
Bo: The third one is, we, with two friends who both, now, work at Zaarly, [dog barks] who said, ‘It would be a fun thing to do, while I’m here’. We thought that they would be [dog barks] super highly utilized and be running around everywhere, doing this stuff. What we found is that they fulfill the first three things, the first three requests and then the market just started taking over.
Andrew: Who were those people? I’m sorry, I missed that. I wasn’t paying attention. I was just listening to the dog barking.
Bo: I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Could you hold on one second?
Andrew: It’s OK. You can keep the dog going. If it becomes a problem we’ll do something about him, otherwise, I think it adds color.
Bo: Yes. One of them was a Michigan State University student who was going to become an intern with us and took his spring break, and instead of going on spring break, flew to South by Southwest and ended up working for Zaarly for free. He now works for us and actually helps run a lot of our supplier-side stuff. The other one was a friend from Seattle who’s actually, now, our CFO, who just said, ‘This sounds like too much fun I don’t want to miss it’. He jumped on an airplane, flew to Austin.
Andrew: And they were standing by, if no one else was there to go and buy. I keep going back to cigarettes, for some odd reason, but let’s say I needed a healthy snack because I was tired of all the great unhealthy food that you were feeding me. I go on Zaarly. If no one else was there to pick it up for me, these guys were there to go do it, and you’re saying that it was really that necessary.
So, going back to the pedicab part, where do you have the guts, the creative brilliance to come up with that and the guts to say to people who are going to be earning their money by faring people back and forth at South by Southwest, ‘Hey, you guys should be coming in signing up on the site’. Where does the idea come from and where do the guts to execute it come from?
Bo: It wasn’t one that we had premeditated. We showed up in Austin. We were working our asses off for the four days leading up to turning us on, because it wasn’t ready, and trying to print stuff and do all this, and as we were walking around downtown Austin, I was like, ‘Man, these guys would be great. If we can get this Army of guys who are out there riding around the city anyway and would be willing to do this, it would be amazing’.
I remember, I was sitting in a hotel lobby and I started searching pedicabs in Austin and I found a list of all the companies and it turns out that there is like a, not a union, but an association of all the pedicab companies. There are only like 10 or 12 of them and I thought, that’s a really manageable list. Then, I thought, I wonder if anybody has, by break down, how many actual pedicabs are in each one of those and, it turned out, the top two were 80% of the market. There are only about 140 pedicabs and about 110 of them were run by these two companies.
So I, literally, just called the guys who owned those companies. I looked it up online, cold-called them and told them what we were doing and said, hey if you wouldn’t mind I’d love to send you an email and if you could forward it out to all of your guys I’d really appreciate it and they both did it. It was by necessity, I didn’t know who else was going to do this stuff and these guys looked like pretty willing participants.
Andrew: What other person or other group did you contact and say, hey you guys should be a part of this who said, are you kidding me? Who the hell are you and what do you want us to do? No way.
Bo: You know, this has been a pretty interesting one. Since then we’ve called lots of people to talk about this. I think we’ve got maybe 4000 to 5000 small businesses to sign up to automatically get notified if someone posts something on Zaarly in their area and stuff like that. Pretty much people have just said yes. It’s one of the reasons why I know this idea is going to work for sure, because everyone says, oh wow, that’s a good idea. I would love to be on the other end of you serving me like the most qualified leads in the world.
A person with a description, how much money they’re willing to pay and how soon they need it. This is not like a search result where maybe the click through and maybe do something on your site, this is like the best intent with monetary backing ever. We pretty much get pretty close to like 100% opt-in, like people say, yeah we’d love to be a part of this.
Andrew: And so you’re collecting the money and the intent before? Before you pass it on?
Bo: The amount of money they’re willing to pay. So it description plus the amount you’re willing to pay and someone can counter-offer it, so if you offer too low they can counter you, and then how soon you need it. So it is to say like, this person has demonstrated a willingness to pay right? They want something, it’s got a timeline on it. That level of urgency in context it means the deals get done. If there’s a willing fulfiller or supplier on the other side the deals get done.
Andrew: Going back to the example, and my wife has used Zaarly, and for some reason I haven’t done it myself. Shame on me for not being prepared for this, but I’ve got to ask the question instead of hiding my ignorance. If I went on to do the Trader Joe’s example, I’d have to let Zaarly lock up my $30-$40 before my request went in.
Bo: Yes, I don’t actually lock up your money, you just are advertising that you’re willing to pay that amount of money. If you said you’re willing to pay $500 you would probably get 300 offers. You would be overwhelmed with interest of people who want that. For $40 you would definitely get offers to people who respond to this thing and like some of them go make it happen. You have to decide which of the people applying for your money you want to pay.
So that ends up being very relevant in our context. Like you get 10 offers, how do you decide? However, two other things, one, people could counter-offer, so they would say, hey you know what, I’ll do it for $50, not $40, some people do that. It’s one of the things that we found that’s like a huge challenge for us though. There are lots of things that people buy on Zaarly that they don’t know how much they should offer. I think it’s something we’ll be experimenting with in 2012. What if you could just say, hey make me an offer? What if you wanted to assign your price? What if you wanted to assign a high range and a low range? Should it be visible or invisible?
Andrew: When you’re passing on an opportunity to one of these businesses or individuals, you’re passing them intent with money that’s guaranteed?
Andrew: Got it. OK. So going back to this story. My wife, by the way, has gotten stuff for me off of it. She surprises me with lunch.
Andrew: We work kind of far from each other. My office is in Foggy Bottom, hers in Bethesda. When she wants to surprise me there’s no food around here to have delivered, so she has someone go out and get it. Until recently I didn’t think I could get this Trader Joe’s monkey off my back by passing it on to Zaarly. I love Trader Joe’s food, but I hate the line there with a passion like you wouldn’t believe. Look at me ranting here, but I have to.
When I was in Argentina, I didn’t dream of anything so much as buying Apple products without having to bribe anyone, they wouldn’t even take my bribe, and I dreamed of fresh food from Trader Joe’s. Going back to the story, you are in that RV, you are working away. You told me how the world is being seeded with this idea and how you’re getting new subscribers and I’ve referred to them as subscribers several times and you’ve referred to them as subscribers several times. Why aren’t we talking about users, viewers, visitors, hits?
Bo: It’s really what they are. Users is one way we talk about it. We talk about it in downloads and users and we talk about active users, power users and inactive users, but it’s the subscriber piece is the reason that the language kind of makes sense for us on the fulfiller side today anyway, that maybe didn’t at [??], but is that you get subscriber alerts so you’ll automatically be notified.
Andrew: Sorry, I was loading up your website in the background and it took away some of the bandwidth that should’ve gone to you. So you’re saying, subscriber why?
Bo: That language makes a little sense like on the small business side, on the individuals who make money on our platform because you can subscribe for alerts and then just automatically be notified when people around you want to pay for things that you already have or can do. So you can go to Zaarly and you can say, I want to be notified any time someone says the word food in a post and it’s within 1 mile of me and it’s over $30 and then you don’t go to Zaarly anymore and you just literally get a push notification on your phone any time that you posted for someone to go to Trader Joe’s for you. Hold on, I can’t hear you.
Andrew: Sorry. I’m turning off the tabs so the bandwidth doesn’t go away. But to me this sounds like a brilliant form of marketing. You don’t hope that the person remembers to come back to Zaarly, you know that they’re going to stay in touch. Where did that come from? Most people would’ve said, I’m putting up a search engine, kind of like Craig’s List and people will know to come back.
Bo: Maybe it came from necessity. I don’t know. I think that it’s an extremely high hurdle if you have a marketplace and you just want people to come back to it all the time. I guess it maybe came from a convergence of a few things. One is the mobile nature. I think I might have said this, but 83 or 84 percentage of our usage is mobile. The paradigm shift from web to mobile is huge for something like this because I don’t think that we actually believe at all that the mobile phone experience is an extension of the web, we think it’s a totally different paradigm.
One of the great examples of this is push alerts. You get a push alert when someone sends you a text message. You’re not sitting there looking at your text messages all the time. There’s a reason that there’s been this huge explosion of push-based things. I think about it on the seller side of our market as passive selling. I’m not doing anything and all of a sudden someone 5 blocks away wants to give you $50 for something that you’ve already said you want to do. It’s a really intuitive idea once you start living and breathing mobile that doesn’t actually even make any sense on the web.
I don’t even get it on the web, it’s like what did you do, send me an email? I think it’s that behavior and kind of understanding that behavior change that really led to it. Honestly, I think we had the idea for alerts at start-up weekend when we were 1-day-old. We just deployed them like in the last week and a half because we wanted to make sure people there was already people signed up and we did a lot of manual testing. I think it’s a great exampled of the mobile paradigm shift is more than an extension of the web and that’s where this idea really came from.
Andrew: I see. What seems like clever and unusual marketing is just common on mobile.
Andrew: Of course you’re going to do push. All right. So what’s the next milestone for growth, for getting new subscribers?
Bo: That’s a good question. I think where we are right now is still really working.
Andrew: I’m sorry, I mean in the story. So you’ve just come out of the RV. Do you have more time? I know I’m taking more than we originally agreed to.
Bo: No, hey, I’m yours.
Andrew: OK. Thanks. I should’ve been just zipping through this story, but I’m fascinated by your story Bo. OK. So, you come out of the RV, the product works, people are hailing you. I remember the stories that came out on Tech Crunch and in other places. What happens next?
Bo: Well, because we really tested just in Austin for 24 hours we still had to go build the real product. So at the end of 1 day of this being live it worked much better than we anticipated it was going to work, we turned it off and said wow, we need to build the real product. We need the native experience on IOS and Android, we need a real website, we need all these other things. We pretty much went heads down for about 2 months after that.
While we were heads down getting the first release of our product ready, which was completely different than the South by Southwest launch. We continued turning the machine that was getting pre-registrations turned on. We started talking to potential other investors, figuring out people we were going to go and hire, all of these things that it was actually was going to take to make this company work.
We were pretty heads down for two months, but by the time we got to late May, early June when we actually did our real launch we were well into the tens of thousands of pre-registered people because we’d had so much buzz. I think we probably had 10-20 pretty major press articles about us before we had ever actually launched our product, which is risky and was kind of terrifying on the one hand because that’s a lot of hype for something that no one had ever used.
On the other hand, it was really helpful if you’re trying to instantaneously have two sides of the market, like in a lot of places at once and so we we’re all-in, hoping that if we could create enough noise that would lead to enough users. When we turned this thing on, we basically started sending a bunch of email blasts out. Some interesting things we did in that zone, we actually made personalized video’s for pretty much every group of people who had ever done anything nice for us or that we had ever worked with.
Andrew: What do you mean?
Bo: I sat in front of a computer and recorded a thank you and we appreciate your support video that we sent out to everyone who had ever been to a start-up weekend.
Andrew: Anyone who had ever been to a start-up weekend, one video that says, “Hey, start-up weekend guys, I was building just like you guys. You built this infrastructure that helped me create my site and now it’s ready to launch and I’d appreciate it if you’d help me out by trying the app on launch day, see if I could make you happy, or give me feed back if I can’t” some version of that just in video?
Bo: Yep. Just in video, send an email to — I did a set, Eric did a set, Eon did a set, we had other friends, we literally sent ones to our family, extended family, “Hey 200 people who may be related to me, I love you guys and it would be awesome if you tried this out today.” We locked ourselves up for a weekend and made a bunch of videos that we sent out to people basically saying, “Hey, we’d love it if you would try this thing out.”
We hit it pretty hard early on to try to get as much awareness as possible. One of the things that I think we learned in the process is that we don’t need a 100,000 people in the city for this to work. With hundreds of people in a city this actually starts to work extremely well, with 1,000’s it works even better. With ten’s of 1,000’s it’s an amazing, amazing experience. If we would have needed a 100,000 people in a city for this to work, I’m not sure that would have been a surmountable challenge. We were kind of making a bet that we were not going to need that and so far, so good.
We spent a lot of time in that two months when we were building product, we were recruiting, talking to investors, really figuring out what the experience should be all at the same time we were also trying to turn the press mill so the people would know that we were coming.
Andrew: I’ve got a note here to ask you why it works with hundreds of businesses considering it needs to be a thriving market place, why it works with hundreds of people in a local city or thousands. Let me ask you about this; you’re doing videos for family, you can’t possibly have that much family, I know because you’re white like you instead of dark like me. My people have lots of Latin family members, all kidding aside, you have major TV and movie star supporting you, major investors supporting you. Already the tech media loves you through Tech Crunch and other places, why spend time going after dozens, hundreds, and maybe the small thousands of people who are going to see your video and hopefully go and check out the website when you have so many others?
Bo: I think actually if we had to go back in time and do it again, we would of worked even harder at the dozens and the hundreds as opposed to the giant media stuff. One of the reasons is because we have found — and I would love to find somebody who could tell me this is not the case — but what we have found is that press doesn’t really drive users that well. It drives a lot of interest. It drives a lot of websites, website hits but it’s not nearly as powerful driving users who will evangelize your product, who will talk about it to their friends as much as a really authentic, engagement does.
Zaarly would dominate the entire planet earth if I could go an talk to 7 billion people one-on-one and talk to them why it’s important [??] successful. Can’t quite do that so what’s the next version of that? Well, we talked to as many people as we can, we do really intimate engagement, we build community teams in cities and help make them both understand and also let them be a apart of this amazing ride. This is another thing that I didn’t mention earlier, but part of the building awareness in that two months when we were building product, we built these things called Zaarley Dream Teams in like 30 cities where we would basically say, “If you want to help get this launched in your city, let us know.” We ended up doing road trips, I visited probably eight to ten cities, my co-founders visited another 15 to 20 where we hosted a happy hour. Some of these things we would go to and I thought there would be 10 or 12 people who were excited about having Zaarley in their city, there would be 70 to 80 people there. They all brought a friend.
Andrew: Their incentive was what?
Bo: They just liked . . .
Andrew: Because they wanted you to come to their city and be successful in their city so they could either make money or they could get the services and products?
Bo: Yeah. They wanted to be a part of it. A lot of people on the supply side who were like makeup artists or chefs or whatever who were like, “Oh my god, I would love if there was an easier way for people to find me so I could go and do this.” Then we had a lot of people who were like — I don’t know if you remember Cosmo from the 90’s, it was one of the biggest disasters of all time, they risked $300 million and basically went completely out of business, people were extremely passionate about Cosmo, they loved it, but they didn’t have a business model that could support what they were trying to accomplish.
We had lots of Cosmo users who were like, “Yes” [??]. We just had amazing engagement from people who were excited about what we were doing, and that’s one of those things that I think, we took it as like a good sign, right? It doesn’t mean it’s going to work, it doesn’t mean we have it nailed. It means that people weren’t all … [??] … very, very few people … [??] …like, ‘this is a terrible idea, it’s never going to work’. Instead, we get the opposite, like, ‘this is super interesting. What can I do to make it successful, and I’m not actually worried about what’s in it for me; I just want to be a part of something cool.’ And that’s a pretty powerful sign if you’re working on an early-stage company.
Andrew: And so Bo, what do you have these guys do? They get together for drinks, and they understand the business and they’re ready to evangelize. What do you ask them to do to help bring this about in their city?
Bo: Post something to Zaarly the day we turn it on. If there’s something nearby that you can do, go and fulfill it. Please tell three people about this, and if anything of them think it’s really cool ask them if they’d like to be on the Dream Team. Join our Facebook group as we start to launch certain products; we’ll ask you guys first what you think about it. You know, really we ask them to be a part of building something that we think will be really important, and people love to be a part of building important things. It’s a very… Maybe it’s ego-driven, maybe it’s not, maybe it’s just cool to be a part of something neat. I don’t know. But we had close to 1000 people, who were a member, like, officially a member of one of these teams before we even launched. And we had, like, 5 people at the company then. We had like 1000 volunteers. That was very, very powerful.
Andrew: How do you stay in touch with them?
Bo: Now it’s different than it was at the time. I think in the beginning, it was an area where we probably could have done better, but we were bandwidth-constrained. Now I think we do, with very active Facebook groups that get lots of comments all the time. They’re actually one of my favorite things to read because you hear from people who are having these great Zaarly experiences all the time – the first thing they do is go to their Facebook group and talk about it. They’re organized by city, by university, by power users, we have many, many groups.
Andrew: And there are all these different groups. So if I’m in a city, I would have one for my city where I could be in touch with other people who are doing this, I get assignments through it, I give suggestions for what others could do?
Bo: Yup. It’s a really small group of people at Zaarly that do a pretty amazing job engaging our users, soliciting feedback, criticism, praise, all of that stuff, and making sure that everybody else in the community kind of gets to be a part of it.
Andrew: You answered that just as I wrote a note down to ask you about these teams. You mentioned Facebook … that ties back in to what I mentioned earlier on in the conversation about how you use hundreds of Twitter accounts and Facebook accounts. Let’s start with Twitter. What are you doing on Twitter?
Bo: So, I don’t know the exact number, but I think it actually might be north of 1000 Twitter accounts.
Andrew: Right, in fact I know its north of 1000. I’m pretty sure it’s north of 1000; you and I talked about it before, but … I didn’t even know if the audience would believe it if I said that number; I wanted you to introduce it.
Bo: Yeah, it’s a huge number. Not all of them are super active; some of them are claimed for future use and stuff. But for pretty much every major city in the world, we have a Twitter account that is city-specific. For pretty much every major university, we have one. And we use it – and actually, to be honest with you, two for almost all of these: one is just a feed of all the things that get posted to Zaarly so …[??]… want to make money, they follow that Twitter feed and every time something gets posted in their city, they can go see what it is. But the other is actually an engagement tool.
As we start to get serious about making a given city work, we have dudes who just live and breathe, starting to engage the people who are influential in that city. And really, the motto is not at all like, “I want to be like a spammy Twitter, like, ‘hey come and sign up for Zaarly’, team[??] follow-back or whatever”. It’s not that at all. It is, just start becoming a part of the dialogue in any given city that you’re kind of targeting. And just being helpful.
They end up becoming experts in these cities, and figuring out the best places to go and eat, and when someone says, “Hey, I landed in Des Moines. What’s the best place to go and eat?”. Like, 9 times out of 10 the first response is the Zaarly Des Moines account, that’s like, “Hey, we’ve been talking to this group for a while, and it looks like these three places are the most popular”.
Andrew: Who is that? Who’s on the other end of that who is doing it?
Bo: A guy named Travis, and a guy named Tom Colbeck [SP].
Andrew: And it’s just two guys who are managing all these Twitter accounts? The active ones anyway.
Bo: Yup. They live and breathe this part of Zaarly in a way that is – I’ll say like, it has been a tool for us to learn extremely – when we do stuff that people don’t like, the very first place we hear about it is on Twitter. And we have people who are there immediately to respond. So, it’s Tom, Travis, and then our support. Zaarly support is also really active on it. But the other thing I would say is, our entire company is pretty active on social media, and we’re about 45 people now. You’re just as likely to get a response from like, our Head of Product, as you are the guy who runs our fulfillment side, as you are from one of the founders. We all stay so plugged into that because it lets us really know our users so much faster.
Andrew: I heard Gary Vaynerchuk talk to RE/MAX. He did a keynote speech there and he said to them, ‘Do you guys even know that you can do a search on Twitter for all the conversations that are happening around you? You’re trying to sell real estate, of course, but can you imagine if someone around you said I’m looking for a great sandwich shop and you tweeted back at them, “Hey, I know of a place”, or “I’ll have some delivered over here. Come hang out over here”, what kind of connection you’ll make with your local market?’ And I thought, that’s really tough for these guys to do. How do you scale that? How can my audience scale it? And now I’m seeing in your interview that’s how you do it. You get a couple of people who focus on the stuff.
Bo: And is what we do and I think it really is something that is, one, hugely helpful and it’s also really fun and interesting to see how it happens, but it’s very much in that zone, right? It’s about, be helpful, don’t be annoying and be nice. I said a couple of times, before, our main marketing strategy out on the web is to just be really nice and be really helpful.
Andrew: I’m sorry to interrupt but, here’s one of the challenges with that. I shut down my browser so I can’t reproduce this while we’re talking. I wanted, like I said, full-bandwidth control here on an interview. I went to Zaarly’s DC Twitter account and I saw that there was a link to a DC page on Zaarly and the page is dead. And I thought, maybe they aren’t in DC. At the time, I thought that’s what was going on, you probably tried DC, but it’s a small market and you said ‘We’ve got to get out of here’. But now I’m understanding. Maybe if you have hundreds of accounts it’s hard to manage it all and update the pages they all link to.
Bo: Interesting. I would love to know what that was, in particular.
Andrew: I think it was ZaarlyDC or DCZaarly. I believe it was ZaarlyDC@ZaarlyDC.
Bo: Yes. That should totally work, first of all. Second of all, I wonder if it was a link to a listing, or whatever. Our listings expire when they get fulfilled and stuff.
Andrew: It was in the bio. I don’t mean to beat this to death but the bigger issue is, how do you manage it all and still do it right?
Bo: I think it’s hard. [That’s] the short answer. This is a territory where way more learning [is required], not just by us, but in general. There is much more learning to be done to figure out how to use these tools in a way that are consistently helpful, are not irritating and actually create value, because, if you’re just using them as marketing outreach, to create awareness for yourself, it’s not going to be nearly as helpful as if you’re a valued member of the community that’s a part of it.
But I do wonder, if the future of companies like ours is, do you have 20 people working in that group or does it become one? I don’t know the answer to that. I know that with two guys now and they’re pretty amazing, much more positive than negative feedback that we get, but I, by no means, think that it’s solved one our end yet. I think that things will continue to get better and better out.
Andrew: OK. It’s one of those things that I’m glad we’re finding out about even with the issues as you try to learn it, instead of having you hold back and say, ‘It’s not perfect so I’m not comfortable talking about it’. I want to learn about it while it’s active, while it’s useful, so that we can do the same thing.
Bo: I’ll talk about anything, so no worries.
Andrew: Frankly, though, someone in my audience will say, ‘Hey, that’s a really good market. What if I could do this for other businesses, where I could create a way for them to create multiple accounts and manage those accounts, to test those links and do all kinds of tools?’ That would be interesting to look at.
Bo: That would be very interesting.
Andrew: What about Facebook? You also have multiple Facebook accounts. How do you use Facebook?
Bo: Our most active Facebook communities, which I check out a lot, are our ZaarlyU Facebook group which is [made up of] all university students. I think we’re at about 30 campuses right now and it’s super-fun to watch. We have these campus CEOs who are amazing Zaarly evangelists, who actually run events on campus. What has been super-cool to see is that kids who have never met each other, but who are both a part of this, and helping Zaarly get up and running on college campuses, are sharing amazing ideas with each other. When they want to run an event, the first thing they do now is go and say, ‘Hey, I’m thinking about running event for this. Has anybody done it before? Can they help me figure out how to do it?’ So it’s been a great collaboration tool for that group of people.
That one, and our Power Users Group is pretty amazing also. The people who are pretty hard-core Zaarly users, and that can be on the buyer or the fulfiller side, [give us] almost instantaneous and super-clear feedback every time we ask a question. It’s like, ‘Hey, we’re thinking about doing this, so what do you think?’ It’s, ‘Hey, we just rolled this out. Try it out and let us know’. That group, as product feedback… We also have people who live and breathe in-person community engagement, who, literally, sit down and take people to lunch and do long interviews and all that, but you can’t beat a Facebook group for immediate feedback from our Power Users.
Andrew: You mentioned the university students. When they do an event, what kind of event do university students do around Zaarly?
Bo: Super fun ones. They do, we’re still so, it’s only one. This first semester that just ended is the first semester that we’ve done this at all. And we, especially at the beginning we had zero schools, and then I think we had twelve and then kind of grew to thirty over the semester.
Everything from, I saw one at BU that was pretty school where they said, they were handing our flyers all day and they said, hey between these hours today if you request a piece of piece through Zaarly for one dollar, like, we’ll make sure you get it. And they thought they were going to give away like twelve pizzas and they ended up giving away like a hundred pizzas or something like that, because everybody was using it. What it does is it just gets them on there and gets them kind of thinking about how to do it, one, and two both how to buy things and make money. We’ve seen some really cool things. I wish I can remember what it’s called right now but I can’t.
Anyway, where they’ve done like a person like in a basically like a plexi-glass tent for the weekend where they start with absolutely nothing and it’s like in the middle of the quad on campus. And everything they get for the weekend, food, blankets, everything they have to get through Zaarly. And so they end up like hoping that someone’s going to like actually go and fulfill this. And so they’re tweeting at their friends like, dude I really need a jacket, it’s getting cold. And it’s this idea like you can actually like live off this thing.
We had a guy at one of the colleges. I think it was somewhere in the Northeast, but he Zaarly’ed, he was living in this thing for the weekend. And he Zaarly’ed for a lobster dinner and a violinist to come and sit next to him and play while he eats his lobster dinner in his plexi-glass tent. And it was just like a great thing to illustrate, like, ah, we can actually get anything on here from people around you. And everyone on campus sees it, so.
Andrew: Are the students getting paid?
Bo: I think they get paid some nominal amount. I think mostly what they get. I could be wrong, they might not make money actually. They do get some, a budget to spend on kind of hosting this stuff. And I think we’ll hire a few college interns this summer because they’ve just been amazing. And it’s been an amazing thing to see when you put this in the hands of some creative 21 year olds, what they go and do with it. I think we’ve been learning as much from them as they have from us, for sure.
Andrew: I still have just a couple more questions to ask, a couple of big topics to ask about. And I promise I won’t take too much more of your time. But I’ve got to tell you, just to take a pause and go back to the question that I’d raised earlier in the interview which is, what can you learn from some guy who had, so much seems to have just been fortuitous, and dude, if someone in the audience isn’t picking up on what you’re doing with universities and saying, I can bring this back into my world or I can repurpose this into a different part of then world, then I have the wrong audience. But I believe that that and so many of the other things that you’ve done can be learned from and adapted to my audiences business, into their person missions.
Bo: I hope so.
Andrew: Okay. Apple and Android.
Andrew: You mentioned it wasn’t happenstance when you and I talked in the pre-interview. What happened there?
Bo: Yeah. So we got featured in iTunes or, whatever, the app store, early like we were maybe three or four weeks in. I mean, honestly we probably weren’t quite ready for a feature on iPhone. We didn’t have our Android app out at the time. And what happened with that one was we received I think three e-mail introductions to the same person who’s in charge of what gets featured at Apple. And I mean, I’m sure they get thousands of introductions because it’s a pretty healthy thing to be featured. But for whatever reason the three people who introduced us all to the same person made them at least interested enough to pick up the phone and literally they just called me out of the blue one day. And they were like, hey what are you guys up to? And I was like, who is this? And they were like, I run the app store at Apple. I was like, oh, all righty, we should probably have a conversation.
And so we just started talking to them about it and over the course of about two weeks they actually gave us some pretty helpful feedback and they said, hey, we’re interested in maybe featuring this, you know we don’t tell you, they don’t tell you at Apple until you’re already featured. And so it’s like, send us artwork and we may or may not do it, is basically what they said. But they told us some things that were interesting that like improved our changes, like, originally you had to sign up on Zaarly after you downloaded the app before you could see anything. And they said they really don’t, they kind of frown on featuring things that require a sign up before you can use it. And so we actually implemented Lazy Log In as our, in our product.
Andrew: What’s a Lazy Log In?
Bo: It just means that you can go in and browse and look around and do all this before you ever sign up. And we don’t ask you to sign up until you try to take an action on the system.
Bo: And they said, like, with that you know your changes will be better. Maybe we’ll feature you. And after just having a couple of these conversations over a couple of weeks, like, we just showed up in the app store one day. And that was great.
Andrew: I didn’t know that you could do that. That you could get introductions to somebody at the app store. And I’m imagining that multiple introductions might have had some big impact on them. And of course if you act on their feedback then it’s definitely going to have impact. What about Android?
Bo: Android was different. Again we got some introductions and the way the Android and the market place at Google is structured is very, very different than the way the world works at Apple. They’re both app market places but they could not be more different in how they are run and structured. We actually received a couple of introductions to what ended up being the wrong people, in a different part of Google who were interested in helping.
Then I got an email one day from someone who works in the Android market place who just said, “Hey, I heard you mentioned, actually by some VC’s at a party that we were at, it’s not a VC but an investor in [??],” but they heard of us and were interested I guess, and they said, “We’d love to [??] with them.” I asked them as much as they asked me about what is the process there and is there anything you can do to improve your chances. They said, well we eventually got to two people who really make the decisions for our category, which is also interesting with Android like by category different people decide what’s going to be featured and what’s not.
Bo: I can’t remember I think we were in local or maybe we were in shopping or something, I don’t remember what category we were in at the time actually and they basically said, “Hey, we would love to continue talking with you.” I said, “How about this, I’m going to get on an airplane and we’ll go to lunch?” They said, “OK. Come on.” So, I flew to Google, spent a couple hours there having lunch with them and talking really about the vision for Zaarly, much more than about the app. Like if this works, we believe there are some huge implications to how work forces involve and unemployment where it’s only at your option because there’s always a chance to go and make money from people around you. So we really talked about the big vision. About four days later they called and said, “We’re taking you to the Board” so they have an approval process there where they go to a big room of people and they all make the case for the companies they like, and they said, “We’re talking you, let us know if there’s anything we should have to go and make the case.” I said, “Awesome.” They called us the day after and they’re like, “Yeah, you’re going to be featured.”
Andrew: How many users do you get from each of those market places when you’re featured?
Bo: Android, the feature in the Android market place I think day-over-day has probably been the biggest, like the most helpful thing that’s happened. If I could wish for one thing tomorrow, it would be to be re-featured in the Android market place again because of all the thing that we’ve seen that was the most helpful. I think we were maybe between 30,000 – 40,000 Android users alone, just during the time that it was featured which I think was a little less than a week or something like that. For us, this was a few months ago again, those were the biggest five or six days I think we had up to that point.
Andrew: OK and Apple? Can you say that without violating your agreement?
Bo: I could but I obviously don’t know. It wasn’t as many as Android but we were also much less mature, like we didn’t have an Android app at the time and stuff. So it was a notable and important spike for us at the stage of life that we were in, it was well into the 1,000’s a day. It was not into the ten’s of 1,000’s a day.
Andrew: Meg Whitman, how did you get her?
Bo: On purpose and by luck simultaneously. Meg was on the short list of three people who we had said, the very first week that Zaarly existed we could go get three people who we could get involved with this company, Meg was number one on our list. We had eyes peeled, we didn’t know her, we had no relationship, if the opportunity was there and I’m a big believer in the top three to five list of people of who you want to hire, who want on your Board, who you want as an investor, spending the time to figure out who you want on that list is almost as important as getting the people. Because it helps us identify, it turns out we are peer-to-peer market place, here’s where we’re like eBay, here’s where we’re not, here’s where we’re like Amazon, here’s where [??] would be helpful, all that kind of stuff.
So we had eyes peeled and then the second meeting I went to actually at Kleiner Perkins who ended up investing in our last round, Meg was in the room. It was a room of about ten people and Meg was there and we got about 10 – 15 minutes into the conversation and she was just like, “Whoa, this reminds me so much of what happened to us, of how eBay looked in the early days” and she became a conversation point there and we started talking to Kleiner more and more about it, these was before HP happened, we talked to her before the HP thing happened and then she joined our board after the HP thing happened and I wasn’t sure if we were going to lose her actually between there because she has a pretty big job on her hands, but she’s been awesome and stayed really engaged.
Andrew: That’s incredible. I keep hearing about the need to do that list. I think it was the author of Never Eat Alone, Keith [Rosy] who said he does that too and I can now understand how it’s helpful because if you hadn’t done that you might of said, “How do I get her to be an investor? How do I learn from her in this meeting?” You do other positive things but you don’t think wait, I’d like her to be a part of this business if you don’t think of it ahead of time, it’s harder to come up with it on the spot.
Bo: Yeah. I tell people a lot, actually it’s one of the first assignments, I get a lot of — mostly from [??] and stuff, but mostly inquiries around, “Hey, I think I’ve got an idea, where do I go and what do I do next?” I almost always tell people make the top ten people in the world who could be helpful. Forget about if you think they’re totally un-getable or whatever, who are the ten people who could be helpful and why, right? It’s unlikely that it’s Bill Gates just because he’s really rich. There’s a chance that it’s Bill Gates but that’s maybe 1/1,000 [??]. If you go through the reasons why it helps you really start to create the profiles of who you want to get involved.
Andrew: I see.
Bo: It’s amazing what happens actually when you start to build that and make sense out of it and reach out to it. People want entrepreneurs to be super-successful and if they can help them do it, it’s amazing how generous they are with their time.
Andrew: One other item I had on my list here, other businesses. You mentioned earlier that you get other businesses to participate in the Zaarly marketplace. I always thought of it as one-on-one, human-to-human, private individual-to private individual but businesses seem to play a part, what’s the part and how do you do it?
Bo: Yeah. I don’t think we fully anticipated [??]. We very much think of this market place like a peer-to-peer market place but what we started to see was some of the cities where we were starting to get critical mass, we had independent contractors, small businesses like mom and pop shops who were getting on Zaarly and going to fulfill things. People who owned catering companies were like, “If someone’s asking for catering and they’re willing to pay what is a very fair amount, of course I want to do this.”
I think it started to reshape a little bit of how we look at this market place, it is peer-to-peer but it’s also instead of B2C it’s C2B, it’s consumer to business. I think small business and eventually if we get enough scale, large business actually we’ll make a huge amount [??] get plugged into. So especially for services, for personal services, everything from accountants, notaries, chefs all of these kinds of things, these people are really so passionate about something that they went into business for themselves doing it, they are super psyched about Zaarly. It’s one of the warmest receptions we’ve seen is from these small companies that are like, “I am a cater, of course I want to cater for your people who are on your [??] who are asking for that.”
Maid services, all kinds of things like that so I think what we’re going to end up with is an interesting balance, I don’t know what it will be yet, but between individuals who are doing certain things, selling things out of their basement, small businesses who could be doing everything from their core service to doing something that is [??] related to the business that they are individually interested in. I think it’s going to be a very important part of our growth actually in 2012, hugely important. We will have 100’s of 1,000’s of small businesses using Zaarly.
Andrew: How are you getting so many businesses? By the way I can understand it because businesses are dependable, they’re good at what they do, so why wait for somebody to have to earn some money and decide to do catering for one of your customers if there is a catering company that is set up to do this? You want them standing by, how do you get them?
Bo: I want to let the buyer decide, right?
Bo: So you post for something and one person says, “Hey, I owned a catering company for ten years, specialize in what you’re looking for, would be happy to do it” and someone else writes back and says, “Oh,” let’s say you want Indian food someone says, “Oh, I just moved here from India and I love to cook . . . I would love to come and prepare you a home cooked meal.” Now you decide, do you want a cater who does this or do want the individual? [??] that’s what Zaarly is about. The answer is different for different people and like buyers in our economy today should be able to make those decisions and it’s really hard today.
So how do we get them? Two main things, we get them through digital marketing stuff, which just kind of works and we literally have a small group of people who call them and they say, “Hey, we’re a new start-up, this is what we’re doing, if you’re interested let us know and we’ll sign you up automatically for alerts.” They usually ask about cost, “Well is it like this? What about this, what about this, what about this?” At the end of those five questions, pretty much every single one says yes. We probably have the highest conversion to users of any company I’ve ever heard of because there’s really no downside for them. We’re trying to build them into the system to provide a really reliable, robust supply for our buyers and they get money. We don’t really ask for anything.
Andrew: I see. Can I send you guys customers with money and a willingness to give it to you, absolutely.
Bo: Pretty easy, yes.
Andrew: All Right. Let me do a quick plug here and then ask you one final question. The plug is this, usually what I do at this point is I promote Mixergy Premium by using a lot of the tactics that I learned through Mixergy Premium. At Mixergy Premium we have entrepreneurs come on and teach a course on what they do really well. A bunch of them have done sales and they taught me how to use Social Proof to do sales and all these other things and the other day I was listening to someone who has a Podcast sell their own membership and I thought, they’re not doing any of that all they’re doing is saying, “Guys thanks for being a part of our subscription service because of you we’re able to do everything else we do here.” I thought, “Oh these guys are so wrong.” It was Keith and the girl who did this, and I said you guys are so missing this, and missing this and that, and I sat on it for a few days you know, a little bit smug and then a little bit going.
Wait a minute, forget number of sales, the people who really pay for this premium service are in my case, paying for the interviews, they’re paying for an editor in Guatemala now who’s going to stand by now and edit your interview so that it looks right.
They’re paying for us to put that up on blip TV so that it gets served up. They’re paying for a writer to write a little bit of an intro, and to do a transcript. Because I know that a lot of people in your audience or maybe someone who Bo on the way to do a job interview for Zaarly says, I want to study as much as I can about the founding.
I can’t listen to an hour long interview but I can read the whole transcript. I can imagine them reading it because our premium members are paid for membership and that’s where the membership revenue goes.
I thought screw sales, screw everything that I’ve learned I just have to moment here and say guys seriously thank you, you’ve helped build this up in a way that I’m especially proud of. We don’t cater to advertisers, you don’t see popup adds a million places on the site.
You don’t see me shift the conversation toward something that will help me grow my audience, right, I could. I could probably bit you up on something, you’re like, you’re so wrong to have gotten a job and [??] pay attention and that would be good if I was an advertising based CPM based business but, that’s not where my passion is and that’s not where my audience wants and because of the premium members I get to focus on my passion.
I get to focus on what my audience wants, and I get to focus on something that’s, I’m so proud of and I’ve seen the results of. So, if you’re a premium member, thank you so much. If you’re not I’m not going to even promote anything right here, I’m just going to say to the premium members thank you so much for making this happen, thanks so much for bringing this about.
So here’s the final question you now talk to tons of entrepreneurs and you’ve given us a few pieces of advice for them. What’s one thing that we haven’t necessarily mentioned in this well, we’ve spent an hour and a half together including the pre-interview, what’s one thing that to someone who’s listening in on this I want to learn from Bo’s experience so that I can grow, what’s one thing you can pass on to them?
Bo: Without getting like too, too high level and [??], you know, what people say about building companies and all this. I think that what this company has made me like appreciate, different than any other company I’ve worked with. Is that if you really want to build something big that has a huge impact it is damn hard. Like it’s so hard that, please do not try to do it unless you’re really in love with what you’re getting to work on and who you get to work with.
I think that, I’ve got two co-founders in this company and now 40 something people who are all pretty amazing and the rule that we set forth early on was that we only want to work with other people we like to be around and I still don’t know if this company’s going to be successful or not successful.
I know that we have a shot at doing something that could be amazing if we get it right. But it’s way to hard to do with people you don’t love being around. And if we didn’t actually believe that this would have a huge positive impact, we would shut this company down tomorrow.
And so I think a lot of people go into start ups because maybe you can make a lot of money and this that and whatever. None of that is worth it, and what’s really worth it is that we really give a sh** about what we get to do. And that, like you can’t put a price on.
Andrew: Speaking of work really hard, where are you right now?
Bo: Actually, right now I’m in South Carolina at my parents’ house.
Andrew: So even from South Carolina, I imagine you’re there for the holidays, we’re recording this just before Christmas, and even from there you are recording this interview with me talking about Zaarly. Talking about your business, and I imagine on a laptop that you’re on right now you’re doing some work.
Bo: Yeah, we’re working while we’re down here and we’ve got my brothers down here also and we’ve both got new babies and so I’ve got babies and dogs running around making noises and it’s… My brother actually has a start up also that he’s the CEO that he’s been working on for about two years. And so the two of us like to sit over at one house and like work in the dining room and everybody else plays around on the beach.
Andrew: Well, I always at the end of the interview say to the audience that they should say thank you to the guest because as you can see, you’ve done so much for people and it’s paid you back. I believe that the audience if they say thank you and start a conversation with you and find a way to help Zaarly that it’ll come back to them in the future.
But I also want to make sure that I’m the first in line to do that and I’m going to say to you than you. I asked you before the interview started, how can I be of service to you through this interview, what’s a win for you? Which is a question I often ask, and you said, Andrew, I believe in your mission.
I believe in what you’re doing here at Mixergy and I thought first of all, I’m so grateful now that I’m doing something that’s touching Bo’s life. That’s touching so many people’s lives and through Bo I know you’ve introduced me to other people. So thanks for the compliments, thanks for buying into this mission and spending over an hour with me. Almost an hour and a half I think once it’s edited down. Just sharing this with the audience it means a lot, and I hope that whoever’s benefited from it shows their appreciation the way that I am, and I’m just grateful, thank you for doing this.
Bo: I am too, I really do appreciate it and love so much what you do that I wish there was a thousand more of you out there rocking this because I think its just really good for this community.
Andrew: Thank you, thank you so much and thank you all so much and if you’ve watched up to this point you really are addicted to business and achievement and also great stories. Thank you all for watching.