Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy where I interview entrepreneurs. And the thing about entrepreneurs is boy, we are proud people.
I, I think that long before being an entrepreneur was cool. Anyone who thought of themselves an entrepreneur thought I can’t be anything else. I can’t get a job. I can’t fail. I can’t just, you have to be an entrepreneur if you’re an entrepreneur. And the reason I say that is because joining me as someone who, um, who did have to go and get a job.
I met Lloyd Lobo back about half a decade ago at dinner guy was super confident. Everything seemed like it was going his way at a dinner for people who are doing well. Um, and I didn’t know this until I started reading up in preparation for this interview. He was working a job to keep his startup going.
He was not in the best place in many ways, the best place of his life, but whole lead did this guy turned things around, dude. All right. Lloyd is the founder of boasts boast.ai. It helps businesses recover their R and D costs from the government. And when we think R and D costs, I think we think a lot more complicated when we think government, we think a lot more complicated.
He’s basically saying, look, if you create anything, it takes you a while to profit from it. You should talk to his people because they’ll get. The government to give you some, some of your money back. We’ll talk about how that works, how he grew up, uh, how he got here, what happened in that difficult transition period, and also how he was able to build this business largely as a consulting company and bootstrap it and impress a lot of his friends.
We can do it. Thanks to two phenomenal sponsors. The first you’ve heard me talk about, if you have a website or need a website, you need good hosting and you’ll get it from HostGator. If you go to hostgator.com/mixergy. The second is if you have a team of people who work for you, whether they’re employees or contractors, I’m going to tell you why you need rippling to manage their payment and your relationship with them.
rippling.com/mixergy Lloyd, man. Good to have you here,
Lloyed: I’m excited. It’s been a while. And thanks for having me on your show
Andrew: dude. Um, let’s first understand what you do. We were talking before we got started, Lloyd that at boast, you recover money for things that most people don’t think about. Give me an example of what the government will help us. We’ll pay for.
Lloyed: Definitely. So the U S government and between us and Canada, over $20 billion is given in research and development tax credits to fund businesses, right? Globally, it’s over 200 billion. Us alone last year gave over 20 billion. The problem is it’s confusing and cumbersome to apply for it because you got to figure out what work qualifies and what doesn’t.
And then you got to wait for the end of the tax year to apply with your taxes. It’s prone to frustrating audits because when the IRS audits you, they want to see documentation trail of all the work you claim, because they want to make sure it’s not vaporware. And the people who worked on it in the expenses actually qualify per their criteria.
And the last thing it takes a long time to get the money. You got to incur a year of expenses, followed with their taxes and then wait for the government to process it and both start AI. We streamline and automate that process to help companies get more money in the door faster for less time and audit risk.
Now, what qualifies is, is fairly simple, right? Um, you’re developing new technology products, processes, or materials for the purposes of sale, right? The second thing is, during this effort, you are faced with uncertainties or challenges that you can’t resolve with publicly available information and public publicly available literally means you can’t Google search the answer.
There’s no open documentation. There’s no open API or it’s not accessible to you. So if the competitor across the street has solved the problem, it’s not accessible to you. If a solution is super expensive and you can’t buy it, you can’t afford it. It’s not accessible to
Andrew: me see if I understand this Lloyd, I started brand new business, build a website, takes me a year to get the website off the ground. And I’m paying two people to do it. Maybe a designer developer to get this off the ground. I don’t know if it’s going to work out. I don’t know if my approach makes sense, but I’m investing a year into this and I’m paying these people.
You’re saying that would qualify for me. Getting money back from the government
Lloyed: There could be depending on what they’re doing. Right? So like, if you’re, if you’re just going and propping up a Shopify store and like using a third party, there’s no uncertainty. There’s no challenge. That is just time. Right. I prop it up, but let’s say you’re building an application or web application.
And that web application now needs to integrate with a third party system. And those two systems are not designed to talk. And you got to write the communication protocol from scratch that qualifies. Let’s say you’re building an application that needs to parse through voice video, text, apply, machine learning, blockchain, all of these technologies.
And there’s a lot of uncertainty that word qualifies. Let’s say you’re trying to build something for a certain speed or accuracy, right? Let’s say you’re automating, you’re, you’re taking transcriptions from these calls, right. And you’re automatically writing white papers and reports from it and eBooks from it.
Andrew: Oh, well, we’ll wait the salary. I pay myself if I’m transcribing calls and writing an ebook that qualifies.
Lloyed: Not doing it manually, but if you build the technology to automate that process.
Andrew: the technology is uncertain. My ability as a human being to write it, it’s proven that I could do it, but if I create got it. Okay. So we do this government pays money. What I like about, about your businesses boast will say, well, you don’t want to get paid unless we get you money. It’s a complicated process.
We get your money. Great. So I asked, I went on Twitter and I said, kid, somebody just helped me get an understanding, not like getting carried away with this and that like, make me, make sure I’m staying on this. Andy Dealey responded back. And he said, look, the IRS form for this fairly simple, Tri-Net handles the filing the reimbursements as part of payroll.
It doesn’t seem like this. This is useful for businesses. Why should they give Lloyd a percentage and still your business based on getting a percentage, your response to that is.
Lloyed: My response to that is this Tri-Net files it once that you have the R and D study the government. So like one simple thing is, and I can, I can send it after the fact, but the government has audit guidelines on what needs to be claimed and what doesn’t need to be claimed. If you’re Willy nilly, just filling out a tax form without an R and D study.
And this is what it’s called the IRS called it an RND study. You need to have an IRD study of the work of the projects you’re working on and the associated time spent on it as it meets. The IRS is four part test for the R and D credit. So the IRS has four part test is, um, a permitted purpose. Are you developing new tech or improving existing tech products, processes, materials for the purposes of sale?
W what are you overcoming uncertainty that you couldn’t resolve with publicly available information? Did you work through a systematic iterative process to get to the end outcome and was it in the field of science or engineering? So yes, you can fill out the simple one page form and say, okay, a hundred percent of my engineers are R and D when the IRS audits you three years from now and they’re dragging to the mud to figure out, okay, show me all those projects.
And I want to, I see contemporaneous documentation, and this is in the tax law. And this isn’t, the IRS is audit guidelines. They want to see contemporaneous documentation and contemporary. And his documentation really means this were you’re. You were documenting the R and D work as you went along through the year.
So yes, like Tri-Net files it and everyone files it. NSE. You can tell them, yeah, a hundred percent, when three years down the road, the IRS audits you. And you’re like, I don’t know, call TriNet. And they’re like, no, you claimed it. Right. And that’s why any company with a legit CFO or a CPA will want to see an R and D study for the work done.
Andrew: That’s one thing. The other thing that I heard is another thing that I understand is if I have a person who’s I’m in San Francisco, I might have somebody who’s living in a small town that I don’t know, I’m paying them in that small town that small town might be encouraging R and D there. And there’s also opportunities for me to claim based on where they work.
Am I right?
Lloyed: Exactly. So you can get state credits, different States have different rules. So like, um, California, all boiled down, it’ll end up being like seven and a half percent in tax credit that you can offset California taxes. Federal, federal RND tax credits can be used to offset your social security tax, which you get as a refund.
And if you’re over 5 million in revenue, then you have to be profitable and you can offset income taxes. New York state has its own tasks that had programs that are refundable. Virginia has refundable. A lot of States are non-refundable meaning. Non-refundable just means that you need to be profitable to take advantage of the R and D credits.
So it’s, it’s complex. The rules are complex and, uh, and there’s a few problems, right? The problem is not just. And this is a big education problem. What, what, uh, what your friend has said on Twitter is that I’m just gonna file it. Like, it seems simple. Let me just file it. The art. If you look at the audit guideline for the RND credit, it says specifically not to do that.
It says specifically, prove, make sure you have all the proof of all this work you’ve done in this format before you file it. Because when we ought to do we’re going to ask it.
Andrew: All right. It makes total sense to me that there’d be a company that would handle it for me. I also love the way that, how do you get paid?
Lloyed: So we get paid. We take a percentage of the return when they get it. Typically typically sub uh, it can be as low as 5% can be as high as 15, 18%.
Andrew: All right. I love the idea that somebody says, look, we’re going to take this complicated process that you may not have even thought that you, that you should go through and didn’t know there was a big payoff. We will walk you through the whole thing and only get paid. When we get you to pay off. If we get you to pay off, you came up.
I want to know how you came up with this idea, how you built it and why it didn’t take off. It’s going to make so much fricking sense. It’s just so fricking logical, where you about entrepreneur back then we’ll find out here’s the thing. You started this thing. When you had a job where the work life balance was at a whack, you told our producer, I got an email from my company asking me why I wasn’t in the office at one point.
And you said, well, my wife’s a resident. Um, I need to go home to talk about what’s going on at that period in your life.
Lloyed: Yeah. So, so it’s, it’s funny. Uh, walk through the backstory of boast. My co-founder at boast, a CEO of boast and I are best friends. We went to university together. We studied engineering together and after engineering, he worked at Johnson and Johnson. He got into their engineering leadership program, builds software there.
He did a startup that startup failed felt he needed to study. Accounting, studied accounting ended up at big, big four accounting firms because of his combo of account accounting and engineering. They put them in their R and D tasks for that group. Right. It’s a big, big business or a big four. And, uh, I, after engineering, I moved from Canada to the U S my wife was in, uh, my, my wife was in medical school.
She got into residency and I was working at a startup running sales marketing, and my wife was a resident. So she, the residents work a hundred hours and she was at Drexel in Philly. And I was in the office daily till nine, eight, nine, whatever needed ten one week, I started going home at six and I got an email saying, Hey, I used to like it when you were in the office until eight, nine o’clock this week, you’d been going home at six.
It’s strange your wife’s a resident. What do you need to go home for? Right. I still have that email. The reason I was going home was because my parents are in Toronto and they were visiting me after like a year or so. And Alex called me around the same time. And he’s like, Lloyd. Man globally, over 200 billion has given him these complicated tax credits and it’s broken the way accounting firms do it.
Um, let’s automate, streamline the process and I literally cried to him. I’m like, bro, if I can work with you to build a company that I want to work for I’m and that was it.
Andrew: What was broken, what was broken about the process?
Lloyed: this was what was broken about the RND tax credit process was this, you finish a year of off expenses, then your accountant comes and tells the CTO. We can claim for this RND credits. Most times accountants don’t even inform the company that they already test a success, but in the, in the light in it, when they do, they tell the account, they tell the company, let me talk to your CTO and tell me all the work you did that meets this narrow criteria.
Then let me spend hours doing technical interviews with your engineers on the team, and like going back and forth and grilling them to write all this documentation that goes with it. Then nobody time tracks in the world of agile. Then they put them through the mud of, Hey, give me time for all the people who spend on this time on this.
And then they’re like guesstimating, right? So those are two things that’s broken. The other thing that’s broken is you got to incur like your, of these expenses to then file it with your taxes, to then wait for the government to process it and give you this money. And this third thing. Is a new product we’re launching, we’ve launched, we’ve raised a hundred million for it.
And what we’re saying is we know how much we integrate. So boast integrates with your technical systems, your project management systems, your financial systems. So we integrate with tools like Gusto or like QuickBooks, like JIRA, like GitHub. And we pull your data real time through the year to marry or technical data with your financials to one, identify what work qualifies to figure out who spent how much time on it and how much your R and D is the value of your R and D through the year.
So now we have that and we’ve had a hundred percent success rate over the last several years, across thousands of claims. We’re telling people that why, wait, why wait for your tax season to get it from the government, use boasts and get the money now as you go through the year. So now we’re gone from a company that’s saying, well, automate your paperwork to saying we’re a company that’s going to improve your cashflow.
And that’s why we’re we become all the more indispensable.
Andrew: Uh, you know what I’ve had accountants tell me in the past and I brush it off because I didn’t want to do the work. They brush it off because they didn’t want to do the work. I thought I’m not going to get anything from the government anyway. And there was not enough upside for them to get mired in the issue for me.
And I also thought I’m moving so fast as a little bit of money doesn’t matter, but it is significant. And if someone else could have done it, I would have totally jumped on it. All right. So that’s what you said. Yeah. Two of you decided to get together and you launch boast and auto mass to Sidley. What was the other company?
Lloyed: we started boast as a consulting firm because we didn’t want to raise money. I had worked at other venture back companies before and Alex had been in that space and we were like, you know what happens in venture as you raise money and you’re forced to spend money, and that puts you on this path of sort of profits and revenue and growth before people.
And I was just coming off that experience where I wanted to work and build a company that I wanted to work for. So we decided to bootstrap the company and we came up with this business model that we would charge people when they get the money. So our cash cycle is very narrow. And at the same time, Alex had another idea which, which turned into a company called automatically.
And, uh, and the idea there was a, basically a chat bot for customer service agents. And this was 2013, 14 customer service like Intercom. Nobody knew Intercom back then. And we built this chat bot for customer service agents, uh, and the key mistake and the learning there was. Focus one, we’re focused on two different things too.
Uh, even with, uh, with automatically we did all our customer development research on large enterprises who have lots of data. And so when we ran tests on jet blue with our, with our bot on Twitter, we could respond 90 some odd percent as a, as a, as a real human. So we did all our customer validation, talking to large enterprises.
The issue was large enterprises are using tools like Oracle and Salesforce for customer service. And the process to get integrated in their ecosystem takes a year with security review and so on. So we just pivoted immediately and said, let’s go to. Zendesk. They’re the most known at the time and an app and their marketplace.
We met the API guy and he’s like, yeah, just build something, throw it in their marketplace. So we built an app automatically throw it in the marketplace. The message was simple. You as automatically and intelligently respond to your customers like a real human automatically like automatically respond like a real come on.
Thousands of people were downloading it. And then they were just like yelling at me saying, dude, this thing is spinning off jibberish stop. And then we’d realized that it worked on large enterprises because large enterprises have volume. This data and Zendesk at the time were like average 30, some odd employee companies with less data.
And then we got dis disheartened and time went by and then bolts was also fairly new. And you know, there wasn’t just enough money for both of us to keep our families alive and the opportunity to do speakeasy came along and I’m
Andrew: you get to speakeasy. First of all, I see you are working with desk.com also Baca. That was that little company that was bought by Salesforce. Um, I think also the spelling of the name, I didn’t realize it was, it was meant to be automatically, it’s just spelled a little bit off of the way automatically would be written.
Now I see why I mispronounced it going back then to when both was just a consulting where you just going to do what the big four were doing, but on a smaller scale, or did you have any autumn, uh, any automation and software involved?
Lloyed: So when we just started, we, and this is the way to build software companies. I’ve realized today, customers want an outcome and I’m really working backwards to that. Customers don’t want software. They want an outcome. The outcome we bring customers is a check faster, bigger, better than, you know, a risk-free faster and bigger than what you would do through anyone else.
And, um, what we said was we knew the big four process. We knew the accounting firm process. They throw bodies at it and, and they, they optimize for dollars per hour. And so any problem they throw on, they bring a SWAT team of accountants to interview you. And their goal is to just charge the hour. And we said, we’ll never do that.
And. The other thing is accountants coming at the end of the, if I come in at the end of the month and I say, and Andrew, like tell me in a, in the beginning of, uh, February, who did you interview that said, these three things, how are you going to remember? And so they go this end to do this painful process with developers and CTOs build stuff and not, not do this.
So we said the way to do this is we’ll be proactive. We’ll go right regularly, monthly, quarterly, where we told them and manually we’ll dig into their JIRA, their get hub in their project management and financial tool. So we mimicked what software would do. But the reason for doing that is you get the goal the way to build software and a, and a good company is nailed down the process.
Turn that process into workflow, then codify the workflow. Because if you build software on day one, you’re going to be chasing product market fit. So we got to enough customers when our process worked and we’re like, bingo. Now let’s build software. The issue was, we were constantly not having enough money to, to feed ourselves versus build because we bootstrapped right.
Andrew: And so you wanted to bootstrap because you’d seen mistakes at other companies where they were beholden to investors, you were committed to, to go and bootstrap. It was also an, it was also more of a consulting company or a services business, which investors aren’t or to jump in and support. How did you get the clients to come in?
Lloyed: So, uh, and this is, this is a big thing, right? We first started by manually and called out in outreaching people. You call email a bunch of people, you cold called people. People were like, who the hell are you? Like, you know, like, this is, this is 10, almost eight years ago, right? Like, who are you? Um, and, and so I’m like, you know, nobody’s going to respond to us with, it’s funny.
We we’d call people and we’d say things like, Hey, where are your neighborhood? Could you meet with us? And then we’d get ready and run and hop on the train to go and meet with them kind of thing. But quickly realized that people ultimately in software or anything else, service, whatever it is, people buy from people and relationships transcend companies.
And so we said, you know, we were failed dejected founders from being a part of failed outings before. So we said, let’s build a community. And, and so we started doing these pizza nights where we would invite speakers and founders learning from founders, and that started catching on. And the brand value of those pizza nights started getting around where like, Oh, you know, these boasts guys, they host these pizza events and they bring awesome speakers and we learn from each other.
And like those, those events started getting bigger and bigger and bigger, and it turned into a conference and it turned into like evolve into what it is today, the traction cough community, but honestly, the brand and the value of giving people like help. And it becoming, we became successful by enabling the success of others.
So, you know, like our business model is we make money when you make money. And, and our marketing evolved from being cold calling to effectively doing events and community events. So that’s how even we met. We, like, I know, I know, um, I came to North speakeasy and all my network is because we started doing these events, which today is turned into attraction, which has got a hundred thousand subscribers.
And we do two webinars a week, monthly dinners, annual conference and whatnot. Right.
Andrew: Let me, let me take a moment, talk about my first sponsor, and then I want to come back and ask you how, how you got good at events, because even that’s an unexpected. And then what happened to your event? Also unexpected my first sponsors HostGator, let me ask you this. If somebody is thinking, I’d like to start a service business, that potentially could become a software company.
If we get the process, right. And then, and then you software to, to systemize it, how do they come up with an idea for that? So if they have a HostGator account, they could naturally build this landing page and sales process for their service. How do they find the right service? The way that you did a no, sorry, the service that they would do, that they would perform for clients.
And they’d use HostGator to host their, their business site hopefully. But how did, how did they find it? If you didn’t have Alex today and you need to find a, something that you could service, that you can turn into a service and then eventually turn into software, how would you do it?
Lloyed: I would, I would basically, um, try to brainstorm a bunch of ideas and reach out to people. And I would, I would throw something like a simple landing page on HostGator and build a list of people and I’d email them and be like, what resonates with you? Kind of like a smoke screen, right? Like I try to, my philosophy in life is sell stuff before you build it, because honestly the model of build it and they’ll come is mired and failures, lots and lots of
Andrew: what you’re saying though, is start off by asking people what their problems are. So let me ask you this. What takes up a large part of your day that you hate doing or viewer year?
Lloyed: A lot of my year when we were bootstrap and now it’s changing is grunt work. Things like editing videos for the conferences, things like writing blog posts, things like manually reaching out to people, conversation like it’s, it’s a lot of grunt work, right? I still, as a founder, I do a lot of sales, not sales really, but evangelizing the company to partners, to investors, all of that, a lot of that.
So a lot of grunt work takes time. And, um, I think as a founder, you got to only focus on one thing, evangelism evangelizing the company externally and evangelists using the company internally, meaning making sure the people internally are happy and you’ve like unearthed their situation. Like the job of a leader is to build, inspire and motivate a team to deliver and deliver is the lagging indicator.
Like making sure that people are happy and taken care of and externally. You know, um, you’re evangelizing the company. So I could, I literally, if I could free up my time to just speak to people all day, that would be great. But a lot of my day gets spent in like doing grunt work, like, you know, like, like, uh, editing stuff, uh, writing
Andrew: you’re doing editing video editing.
Now it is stopping. Like I edited the last few traction videos on our YouTube
Lloyed: I overdid it. I overdid it. I overdid it. Trust me. I’ve like, I wore the cheap to the core.
Andrew: Work that could be turned into a system and eventually turned into software, video editing. Absolutely. Hire a team of people. There’s a certain process. You could systemize it. I’ve seen people do it. The other thing that I noticed as you’re speaking is that as a CEO, your job is to
Lloyed: I am not see as I’m a founder. I’m I’m the founder president. My co-founder is the CEO when like,
Andrew: as, as the leader, your job is to advance. I’ve noticed that there are a lot of fan freaking tastic leaders who stink at telling their story outside of their service. I’ll tell you what I’m thinking about. Um, the founder of legacy box. They take their photos and they turn it into, into digitized products.
He’s doing, what is it? Tens of millions of dollars in revenue. I talked to him in private. He’s such a good thinker about how to organize businesses, how to lead people. He doesn’t have freaking time to sit and do this. I would love a service that would do what I do. Like these interviews. Imagine someone just called you up and say, Lord, tell me what’s going on in your week.
They picked on a couple of things that made sense recorded the whole thing. Turn it into a blog post, turn it into a podcast where it’s just you speaking to get the voice of the founder out there. It would be brilliant. I bet you have these random thoughts about something that if I just trigger you, all right, people listen to me.
If that becomes a service that you want to run or anything else, and you will need a website to host this, to tell the world about it. I urge you to go to hostgator.com/mixergy. When you use that URL, you’ll get the lowest price available. You’ll also frankly, be me credit for sending you over it. And I appreciate the support and they’ll take good care of you.
They will host you and they will grow with you. If you go to hostgator.com/mixergy.
Lloyed: They’ll host you they’ll never go steal.
Andrew: I like that. you you’ve, you’ve told her for just so you know what, one of the reasons I got good at hosting was, um, and doing events is I had to plan my wedding because my wife refused to do it. You had this random thing. I know we’re going off topic for business, but what happened with you and your wife?
Lloyed: Yeah. So, so what happened was in 2008, now this is probably a story of I’ve not shared much, but the way to save the story is I spend my honeymoon in Thailand with my best man. And then when you unpack that and realize, why did that happen? My wedding got called off, uh, two days before the wedding. And, um, this was 2008.
The financial crisis happened. I was in product at a, at a startup in New Jersey and, and they were laying off front and center. Um, within a few weeks was my, my wedding. And it was to happen in India. Or I come from Indian background. My wife does too. And we went to India and before the wedding, the wedding was just called off.
Like my, my wife got into med school and second year of undergrad without M cats. She’s brilliant. Right. And so the mindset, you know, Indian families and things get very stressful. You lost a job like, you know, uh, you don’t know what’s going to happen. And the mindset, I think that was probably one of the lowest points in my life.
If he’s like it’s Christmas and two days is there, there’s your wedding? And the weddings called off.
Andrew: It’s a, why? Why would a bad job market mean that your wedding’s called
Lloyed: It was, it wasn’t bad. It was a bunch of things that got heated and it came to a situation where it’s like, you know, he’s not the right guy for our daughter kind of thing.
Andrew: Oh, because if, look, he doesn’t have good, great prospects.
Lloyed: Yeah. He doesn’t have great prospects. Uh, um, it was a bunch of things that led to that wedding getting called off and it’s just added to a lot of stress. And, and so my wife was in med school at the time. Um, and things, things got just out of whack, right? Like literally here I am saying, uh, um, I’m flying to India to get married.
My whole family from all over the world is coming to India to get married. And, uh, it’s funny, my parents were in Toronto at that time, there was a snow storm in Toronto. Um, and so they missed their flight to Mumbai. And the finally the flight that came to Mumbai, they missed their flight to the Southern India where, where the wedding was to be.
So they had to take bus, the bus broke down, they had to fight and they had to find a car. And so they find a rental car, like six of them in this, like, you know, uh, uh, sort of like Jeep Wrangler looking thing. They get to the house where the wedding is. And like, it’s like the wedding is like in shambles.
So it was
Andrew: No wedding,
Lloyed: no, no wedding, like say the wedding was called off and.
Andrew: how are you not upset with, with your father-in-law?
Lloyed: I mean, uh, God bless his soul. He passed away since, but like, I mean, uh, I was, I was extremely upset. I mean, it almost came to blows between us then because, uh, as soon as my mom entered, they came and they were like, you know what? Um, I think like, you know, I think, uh, the sweating is, you know, the kids are not getting there.
Basically. He basically the words that came out were. I don’t think he’s the right choice for her. And I don’t think she wants to marry him either. And, uh, and so this is off and my mom’s like, Oh, they just came from a long flight. So she fell to the ground and she’s like, Oh, I’m going to die. My mom like got a little dramatic.
So, so, so, so then I, I kinda lost it too. And I’m like, Hey, if something happens to her, like, you know, it’s going to come to a fist fight between us. And then, uh, it just, it just like everything escalated from there. Um, and it was, it was just a bad, bad situation. So what ended up happening was a couple of days, then my cousin was in from Dubai and he says to me, uh, like, you know, they’re all there.
They’re like, you need to like, get out of here to get your mind off of it. And he’s like, do you have those honeymoon tickets to Thailand? Let’s just, let’s just go. Right. Let’s just go. So I go to Thailand, we go, we party and whatnot. I’m trying to get my mind off things. What are the honeymoon suite? The people in the hotel, you know, in, in, in Asia and Thailand, like.
And being gay is taboo. So they were thinking we were like gay because we’re this honeymoon suite. It was, it was all kinds of like house comedy of errors happening. And then I got a call from her saying, she’s not in Southern India, she’s in this sort of the Hawaii of India Goa. And, and so then I go there, I meet her, we spend new year’s together.
And, uh, and literally we had a bridal party of 30. They were all there at a shack in Goa. And I stood on the shack, a bar top and popped a bottle of champagne. And I’m like, Oh, sounds to get married to her a week or so ago. A few days ago. And here I am like, you know, popping a bottle of champagne with her.
So then, um, we went back to the U S and she was stressed. She didn’t, she sort of, you know, it was, it was very tough to make it work because now it’s like, we’re going against the family, her family to make this happen, but we work it all out at the end. And my wife was like, listen, I try to plan one wedding and it didn’t happen.
So. Uh, you know, I’m leaving the other one to you. So I plan my wedding end to end in, in Toronto. Like it was phenomenal. It’s probably the most fun party I’ve ever hosted. And despite that there were 350 people at that wedding. There were two bars. I planned it end to end on an Excel spreadsheet with vendors.
And that’s what made me really good at event planning. So when we started boasts and we’re like, we need another channel because cold calling is not working. I’m like let’s do events and invite people. And, and I kid you not the last time we did traction live, somebody said that traction feels like a wedding with strangers.
Andrew: I can’t believe that, you know what, in some ways I think I would prefer that either I or my wife would have planned the wedding, the combination of the two is just way too many decisions to try to harmonize on. When somebody got to say, I don’t care. And the other person says fine, how did you hold any resentment towards her?
Because she wasn’t, she wasn’t going to get married.
Lloyed: I hope I held a lot of resentment towards her, her family for a long time. Although like, you know, I held it always against the family because, uh, in our culture we always beholden the parents and we, we sort of go with whatever they say kind of thing. Like, although we’re like raised, raised over here and whatnot.
Right. Um, so I held it against the family for a long time. I think over time I’ve had like every two or three years, some major incident where then you value, you know, when you hold on to, to, to, uh, pay, it’s harming you, it’s not harming anyone else. So the best thing is to let go.
Andrew: Do you ever feel like, you know, look at how they raised her? She’s your wife is super bright, super accomplished. You don’t feel like maybe it’s that attitude that got her there. I need to be that way with my family to have kids that know that you’re not marrying somebody unless they produce, and you’re not getting whatever, you’re not getting dinner, unless you get AIDS or something that aggressive
Lloyed: know, I’m, I’m, I’m very different. Uh, than that my parents, uh, have been very flexible, like, you know, um, and, and that’s how I sort of believe in building companies, give people the values and the vision and the metrics, but give them the autonomy be and be an input, not an approver. You can’t, you can’t coddle people for the rest of their life and you can’t decide for them.
Um, I’m not saying either we’re a way is better or worse. I’m seeing what works for me. I think what works for me is hiring and working. It’s basically giving people the value. Like this is, these are our values and this is what good looks like, run with it because it translates across. Right. Um, Sort of like micromanaging people to the nth degree, um, is something that I wouldn’t be able to do very well because it would just add a lot of stress to me.
So a lot, a lot of parents, like they’re just like shove their kid from class to class, to class and it’s, it’s, it’s a hard thing I feel right.
Andrew: Um, do you, um, all right, let’s talk about the conference. I happen to bring this up with another guest attraction conference. There’s someone who worked for you, who took over the social media accounts. Did they take over the business? What happened there?
Lloyed: Yeah. So, so when we were doing this pizza nights, eventually we built enough of a following that we said, we’ll do a conference. And, um, we partnered with a person who was also another conference organizer and he said like, let’s come together and build a bigger conference. So we came up with this event.
It was not called traction at the time it was called cloud factory. And, uh, we did this event. We bring all these awesome speakers. Like we had a LinkedIn’s chief growth officer. We had Jeff Lawson from Twilio. We have VMware CEO, red hat, CEO. This is 2014 and it was phenomenal. And we said, well, we’ll do the conference in Banff.
They all came for free bounce, like a fricking ski resort. It was amazing. And I didn’t know, this person had all this thing going on his mind that he’ll on the day of the conference. I was locked out of the Twitter account. I was locked out of the email account and he blasted the whole database and attendees saying this conference is being rebranded to something else and he launches ticket sales.
And then after the conference, he tells me, and based on my assumptions, the conference had made like $250,000 at least. And after that, he tells me, he tells me at Alex that this conference, uh, made less than $50,000 and take it, you know, your share is $20,000. Take it or leave it. Imagine we’re not making any money, you know, posters going it’s.
And we got to feed clients and, and, and whatnot. And we’re like really hoping that this thing would pay out and automatically we had just shuttered automatically to, and, and, uh, you know, the, the, the business model of bolsters, we get paid after the customer get paid. So you can’t go back and ask your customers for money.
So there’s that cash cycle issue. So we’re like, Oh man, this is like, I was really holding on for this money. And this happens. The thing is he took that money and he went and paid a few big name speakers, and we’ve never paid anyone at attraction. He paid a few big name speakers to attract them for, for, for his conference, man.
So guess what? In life relationships and passion and transcends companies, they can take your ideas, but they can’t take your passion away. So he did the conference and then he was never done anything after that, because we had to, we, we sued him, we put an injunction on his conference and he had to settle.
But by the time, like the legal fees and everything, the only reason I stuck with that lawsuit was we stuck with it because of the principle of it. Right. Like somebody can’t just come in and swindle you and go, right. And, and we, we ended up, uh, after everything we ended up with probably the same amount, 20, 20,000 for me.
Andrew: he didn’t get away with it. You never got that conference back. You get the email list
Lloyed: I got it. I got all my assets back then. I partnered with a nonprofit launch Academy in Vancouver who are great. Great,
Andrew: are still partnered with now.
Lloyed: Yeah. Who are we still partnered with now? And we, we rebranded to traction and today traction as has become a good enough conference brand where people know traction, right?
Andrew: All right. I’m actually going to tie this into my second sponsor and then we’ll get back into what happened with boast, why it didn’t work out. But my second sponsor is rippling rippling. I’ve always talked about as the way that you pay people, right? You have people who work for you. As contractors, as employees, you need an easy way to pay them, not going to take up too much of your time, make it easy for them to sign up.
The thing that I should mention in relation to this is. Rippling says, yes, we’ll make it easy for you to pay your people and onboard them. But that also means we’ll give them access to the email accounts, to their social accounts, to all the different things that they need to the Slack chat accounts and the Slack channels they need.
And that means also Lloyd, if, if you hire someone, you don’t give them a username password. You just say, look, you’re on rippling. The same service that pays you and you get to see how much you got paid and you go and deal with all the other stuff that has to do with HR. You use that to log into our accounts.
That way, if you say, sorry, we’re not working with you all, if it does go back into rippling, uncheck a few boxes or press some buttons and disconnect them and they don’t have access and then you can move on.
Lloyed: If I, if I, if I use rippling to give them access, probably like I would have add my email account and I wouldn’t have had to, like, he wouldn’t have to be able to do all this.
Andrew: thing. And ideally things never work out that badly. And then in an ideal world, you make it easy for them to onboard. You give them access to all the apps they need. They know exactly where they live. They get paid. You don’t have to spend forever trying to figure out how do I pay this guy?
Because he moved to London last week. He was in San Francisco. Now he’s there. No, it doesn’t matter if they let you pay. Contractors, employees get paid and your team’s software all managed properly from rippling. If you want a demo to see how amazing this is, that’s what turned me on to them and made me say, okay, forget it.
We’re switching over to rippling, go get the demo. Let them walk you through how it works. You’ll be amazed. rippling.com/mixergy is how you get that demo. All right. Both was doing so well, dude. How, why, why didn’t, what was it? That was a problem.
Lloyed: I think, I think in the early days, what was the thing was as a consulting firm, you got to throw bodies at servicing the client. We had this very efficient process, but it required many bodies. And we had to pay for those bodies. Right. Customers want an outcome, they don’t want software. Right. And, and, and we were also doing the conference that took a hit and we did automatically that shattered.
So it’s like, where’s the money, right? Like only like there’s only so much money to go around. And so it got really hard and like, you know, you’re living in the Bay area, your wife’s just finishing fellowship. Um, and so it’s like, it came to a thing where I’m like, you know what, I have to get a job to sustain my lifestyle.
Uh, just paying the bills.
Andrew: your wife said, look, if you’ve got to get a job, she did.
Lloyed: Yeah. She’s like, she’s like, basically, if you don’t get a job, then. You know, we’re going to have to forgo, like household help to take care of the kids. And if we can’t afford that, then, um, you know, either, either you have to sit at home and look after the kids or I have to, and she’s like, that’s not feasible, right.
Uh, for either of us. So the good thing is we did the traction to traction. We got to know so many people that I came across, Byron Deeter, who’s on the Forbes Midas list and he’s the godfather or SAS investor in box and Twilio and whatnot. And he had founded this company and incubating this company at Bessemer ventures called speakeasy.
And you asked if I could join the team and help on the growth and product growth side. And I took that opportunity because it’s like, Oh, I’m going to get money. And it was a fantastic learning experience because they put me on the driver’s seat. Like I was literally driving how we acquired customers, how we made product decisions, the go to market, it was a fantastic experience.
Right. And I could make money. That’s the most important
Andrew: salary. You mean?
Andrew: And, and speakeasy did, um, it allowed groups to stay connected online. Am I right?
Lloyed: So speakeasy, he was a conferencing tool for salespeople. It enabled salespeople to close more deals faster by preparing them for their sales calls, by aggregating information about their clients before the call, by telling them what to say on the call and automatically updating the CRM after the call in generating a set of action items.
Andrew: they using it to host the conference too.
Lloyed: Yes. So that was the fundamental mistake wife speakeasy failed is we were built on top of calling infrastructure. And so the way we launched, which was a little silly was we built a mobile conferencing app and, and, and the company was funded by Bessemer Salesforce and Twilio. And we launched this conferencing app in the app store, and we got tens of thousands of people at signing up.
You remember the Hawaii campaign we were at when you
Andrew: only know it because I saw it in your SIG file to us. Like after the dinner was like, blah, blah, blah. And by the way, hawaii.speakeasy.co.
Lloyed: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. So we did all these campaigns. We got like 15,000 people sign up or some crazy number like that. I was on Eric Sue’s podcast as well, talking about how we got to 10,000 plus customers just post-launch the issue there was, as I profile those users, they were butchers bakers and candlestick makers.
It was everybody under the sun. Bernie Sanders team was using it for election campaigning. There were pastors who were using it for, uh, doing running service, who doesn’t want to freak free calling up.
Andrew: Oh, zoom for free.
Lloyed: Yeah, it’s zoom for free back in the day who doesn’t want it for free? The thing is we didn’t build our own calling infrastructure because we wanted to build sales features on top.
So every free user were costing us 20, $30. What we had hoped was everyone would sign up would be salespeople. They were not, they were like, you know, uh, all kinds of people are taxi. People were using it for dispatch. It was bonkers. The thing though is ads are like a drug, right? And like users are also drug like a vanity metric.
So there was a huge tension around when I was saying let’s shut down free and move to paid because everyone was like, Oh, we’re getting like the Slack, like adoption. But I’m like, they’re not the ideal of users and they’re churning, right? Because as soon as you make them pay it, they’re not going to pay.
We’re not a calling app or a sales tool. And there was a lot of friction. And finally there was agreement. Let’s make it paid. There were 300 people who stuck around. They were all sales people we’ll build the technology just for the salespeople, but honestly, being unfocused as a business, enabled us to waste so much time that when we did get product market fit, we ran out of money, but not enough traction to raise that the next round.
So after that incident, I took a couple of months off. Um, I spent so much time with my family, cleared my head, went back to boast, send. I said, let’s double down on, on the vision we had was to automate this. We rebranded boasts from a consulting firm, which was both capital. We rebranded to both States. We launched at Saster as a tech enabled software enabled, and that’s been the journey from 2017 to now.
We got from like zero to eight figures plus in revenue bootstrap. We closed 123 million USD in funding. And, uh, now we’ve gone. We’ve literally, we’re going to be almost a hundred people this year. So it’s been a phenomenal, crazy journey.
Andrew: What’s the automation that you were able to add when you were bootstrapping.
Lloyed: So when we’re bootstrapping, we hired a couple of developers and all the stuff that I said, we were gathering annually. Like, you know, let’s go in and ask for what is their technical, uh, in, uh, typing, going into their JIRA, their GitHub, their, their QuickBooks, and pulling all those data points. All the questions you ask them manually, you would just do integrations with JIRA would get up.
So our software right now, you sign up. Your link, your JIRA, your link, your GitHub, your link, your Gusto for payroll, uh, your link QuickBooks. And we start pulling, ingesting that data in real time through the year. So real time we’re analyzing through the year, what work qualifies for R and D what doesn’t the expenses.
And so we can literally, we know at any given time, in the year, how much you’ve spent on R and D and then by the time the year rolls around, it’s like a couple of conversations and we can file the application. We can automate it.
Andrew: What’s the first part of that, that you were able to build when you had such a small, did you have a small budget? It seems like it in the beginning. Right?
Lloyed: Yeah. We had a smaller budget because we had, we had some customer money and, uh, the first thing we started building was workflows.
Andrew: What does that mean?
Lloyed: like workflows, meaning the stuff that you’re doing manually. Like things like capturing customers, things like reaching out things like integrations, right? Like, so you’d use like get hub or JIRA or QuickBooks or Gustos API to pull the data in automatically into the system, because think about it.
What is software really? It’s enabling some workflows, enabling some process that you’re doing manually. And what is manually manually is like typing and reaching out to people and pulling and moving things from one folder or the other. Right. You know? Yes. Like, I mean, Dropbox and Google drive, they took all that offline stuff or files and cabinets, but it’s still, it’s a lot of moving and shoving and blocking and tackling.
Andrew: was it then saying, look, we’re going to just go into their QuickBooks and pull in only the data that we’re allowed to go into. Right. And then put it in and you knew which data you needed and then put it into what a spreadsheet in the beginning.
Lloyed: Put it into a table in a database and software and then have a UI to manipulate it. Right.
Andrew: Got it. And then a human being would go in and say, okay, I know which developers I need to look at. Let’s go and do a quick search to see what those developers, how much those developers spend time on whatever.
Lloyed: Exactly. And over time in the last year, we’ve added like machine learning engineers are now, like we have been writing programs to then classify and cluster those data points and then tag it automatically, all of that stuff. Right? So the way is over these experiences, speakeasy automatically, and now both will come to realize in a very sort of long, painful way is that the way to automate services is one figure out a process that is real-time that you can do manually run enough customers through it, to, to do, to get, to get the process.
Right, right. Then codify that process into software, and then you’ll have enough data points. Once you have enough data, then you can apply machine learning to intelligently do it. And that’s, if you look at a company like a, you know, you’ve probably heard of you to me, right. Yeah. So you dummies founder launched carbon health, and they’re going to be a billion dollar company.
They are, they’re basically, you would say the new healthcare system and they’re using technology and automation to streamline healthcare services. And it’s the same model he said in the early days, he just had a clinic in his office and people didn’t patients didn’t know that they were test cases, right?
Like they were basically going through a more automated process of whole fulfillment, right. Because it’s not the way to automate services is just not building technology because you need to have humans in the loop. So it’s operational design plus technology automate the grunt work, figure out what the grunt work is and get, try to automate it in the best way possible.
And then have humans in the loop to make it more intelligent, to add the last mile,
Andrew: You know, I feel like you explained Aaron’s business better than he has. I heard him on Axios and I thought he did a great job talking about how he was able to help with COVID-19 and how he did a better job in the government. I sent him a message about it, but I don’t feel that I understood carbon health magic until I heard you talk about it.
If I, if I understand you, right, he’s got actual in-person clinics. It’s just the interaction that is the busy work of the grunt work is more automated and got it. And I’m oversimplifying, but I get what you’re talking about here.
Lloyed: And the thing is he’s got HIPAA and he’s got all these compliance things. So that’s the thing, right? We’re in a similar industry, accounting there’s compliance, there’s IRS. So we can’t just Willy nilly, just do stuff and claim it. If the IRS audits our clients two years, three years down the road, the client is on the hook.
So we need to make sure all the data stitches together it’s compliant. So when the IRS or the Canadian government says audit, we say, Hey, this is the trail. This is the timestamp data. This on this project, these three engineers spent so much time and this is the timestamp. So like it’s, it’s. You’re never going to eliminate humans, talking to humans when it’s a compliance process.
But what you can do is streamline all the busy work you can automate the busy work, right? The work about the work.
Andrew: Were you ever able to? Um, well, all right. Were you ever able to get financing that would give you a loan on the money you were expected to get from your clients after they got the money they were expecting to get from the IRS?
Lloyed: Do you mean like, like
Andrew: Like, yeah. It seems like you waiting a year for your client to get their money before they pay you is just insane. Okay.
Lloyed: it’s insane, but you know what, when you’re two guys running a consulting firm, that’s a new shop? Uh,
Andrew: lending you money. What, at what point were you able to borrow money
Lloyed: I think, I think in that, uh, like, you know, 2017 timeframe we started,
Andrew: you got back from speakeasy?
Lloyed: I think in that, in that timeframe 20, 60, when we started having enough customers as a consulting firm, I think, uh, I think w business started turning around, were able to get loans.
I think, I think even in 2016 ish, 2015 ish, the bank started giving us a little loan and whatnot. Right. Because they already have a customer profile. The business just get healthier over time. It’s just painful because you know, your cash cycle is so long right now. It’s like a non-issue right. Like I think next year we’ll hit.
I think, I think, I think we’ll do more than 40 million in revenue next year. So now it’s a different ball game, right? Like we’re, uh, we’re on a different trajectory and a pace, but, uh, I don’t think I would want it any different man, because the learnings you get from doing it yourself and the pleasure. Um, I think if we raised money and built like this big company, I probably would never value it.
Or maybe it’s different kinds of stress here, or you value it, like everything you look back and you’re like, man, like I really earned this.
Andrew: I read that article where you were, you knew you had COVID-19 you nearly died. Is it where they exaggerating when they said I’m looking here at the photo of you, the caption underneath says, uh, that you were, you were on your deathbed. Was it that dire?
Lloyed: It was very dire. And I think, um, I, you know, I, I told her producer the lowest point in my life was when my wedding was called off, but the scariest point in my life was when I had COVID. So, you know, as founders, you, you always push off. You take your family for granted a lot. Right. And I don’t, I don’t say every founder does, but like at least I did like, you know, I always say like, okay, you know what, uh, businesses, the first baby COVID had doubled down on work, work like crazy.
And the fundraise takes a lot out of you like the diligence and all of this stuff. So told my wife let’s celebrate after COVID is over. I mean, sorry, let’s celebrate that for the fundraisers closed. And we’ll go somewhere where like, you know, where it’s calm and everything else with the family. And we announced the fundraise, the series a December 10th and like my wife’s an ER physician.
So around Christmas time, we’re all not feeling well, we got tested. We all have COVID and I’m like, Jesus Christ. But you know what? You always think that it’s not going to happen to you read all these stories. And the first thing that occurred to me, my family and my wife is like, listen, you guys are like getting carried away.
My parents spend six months with us. Even my parents are like, Oh, this feels like the common cold. This feels like the common
Andrew: parents had a to
Lloyed: Yeah, parents that are too my kids, everyone, and my parents.
Andrew: and how’d your kids do? You’ve got a baby and you’ve got, um,
Lloyed: a two year old and a seven year old. Yeah, yeah,
Andrew: All right. And then, so what happens to them when they have COVID?
Lloyed: They were fine. They’re fine. They just like, it was all flu like symptoms. Right. It was all flu like
Andrew: including your parents,
Lloyed: including my parents, even for me, it was fine. January 2nd, I wake up. I’m able to breathe and I’m like, I felt like on, on January, first on new year’s I was fine.
I was like on the Amanda. I’m like, Oh my God, I’m going to get out. I’m going to go for a run. And like, I just lied down. Everything was fine. And I went to sleep that night, woke up in the middle of the night, unable to breathe in chills in chills. Like literally, like I was going to put my pants and like, it was bad sound like something changed.
I don’t know, like somebody drugged me and this punching me in the chest, something, something crazy happened. And then they started, uh, my wife has a pulse ox off of, um, as a physician. So she checked my. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Pulse oximeter that, so she puts it on me and she’s like, Hey, your oxygen is fluxing.
Let’s monitor it. Somehow got through the day, the next day. I’m like starting to cough and it’s painting. And like, you went from like being fine and thinking like, what the hell? This is all a joke to the next day. It’s like, Jesus Christ. Like, what is, what am I going through the next night? Um, my wife’s like, your oxygen levels are way below normal and it’s not sustain.
It’s not jumping up. So let’s take you to the hospital. So she drives me to Stanford. They check my, they do the x-ray and I got it turned into pneumonia. My lungs were not visible. I could try to try to show you an a on the photo. So it was all white in the x-ray all white.
Andrew: There was liquid in your lungs.
Lloyed: No, the, the, the virus has taken over the lungs. And that’s how, like, what happens is when, when the virus takes over your lungs, you lose your ability to breathe. And that’s why you need to get put on oxygen. And if you can’t sustain, sustain, breathing yourself, then you need to be on a ventilator. So they took, they said, you basically got COVID pneumonia, right?
Like, and then we need to keep you in the hospital. You need to be on breathing support. So they put me on oxygen, starting at a level of 10. And my wife kept saying consistently one thing, whatever it is, make sure he doesn’t go on a ventilator. My wife, despite being a physician at Stanford, they wouldn’t let her in the Haas in the hospital room.
So imagine the situation she’s not allowed in the hospital room. She is the only person I trust with, with medicine and with my medicals. And, um, and they’ve now stuck an IV and they’re giving me steroids, like the dexamethasone via the Ivy and I’m on oxygen. My wife can’t see me. All my wife says is let’s set up a zoom.
And she says, you’re not turning, turning off the zoo. And I’m coughing my lungs out. And I start coughing blood several times, like blood’s coming out. Right. And it’s so painful. Um, and that was a horrible experience. Now I’ve gone from like trying to close a series a and on the up and up popping, like saying let’s pop champagne and let’s go travel and, and, uh, and go like to Hawaii or somewhere too, like in the hospital, literally.
And the pain, so intense, the combination of the chest pain and the, the cough and the body ache. I, I felt like I was going to die. Like I forced myself up a couple of nights and I was literally crying. And I’m like, if I could. Change one thing I would have gone back and spend more time with the kids it’s and I’m seeing her, my wife saying, and I said all the more making you paranoid.
Right? She’s like, I don’t want you to shut off zoom. So now I’m like, she knows something that I, she
Andrew: Oh, like maybe she’s saying goodbye. Whoa. In retrospect, is that what she was doing? Is that her thinking, this is going to be the end for him.
Lloyed: no, but she’s like,
Andrew: just wants to keep an eye on you.
Lloyed: she wants to keep an eye on me in case things get worse. And the doctors, because, because they give you steroids that it makes it like just hype kind of like, imagine you’re in a lot of pain, but the steroids like jacking you up. So the doctors kept coming and checking on me saying, Hey, are you feeling suicidal?
And like, I kid you, not men. Those are the kind of thoughts that go through your brains. It’s like, I just want to take everything off and just die right now. I just want to be done. Right. Um, and that was the thing. And the way it came across in the press was because after the 23 million series a, we announced the a hundred million facility and.
I’ve been the evangelist for the company, as I was talking to the press people, I still had the lingering cough. And so San Francisco business sounds like we should just do a story on this. And I’m like, ah, okay. I’m like fine. You know? Uh, I think, I think it’s a message in there that everyone needs to hear is like wake up and smell the roses.
Uh, it’s not about
Andrew: more attention to your family.
Lloyed: PMR. I get like appreciate things a little bit every day because tomorrow may not come. Right. And I literally, when
Andrew: are you doing now with your family? That’s different.
Lloyed: so I think one of the key things I’ve done is like, One more people die of indigestion than starvation or more companies that it’s not about doing everything at once, but doing a little better every day, putting my kids to bed at night, uh, trying to like, you know, um, make dinner for them, schedule time with them.
Um, uh, as soon as the first weekend after I got up out of the hospital, the first long weekend, I set up a tent in the living room and I said, let’s camp together. Those kinds of things that are like, after thoughts, like forced time spending. Um, before like anytime my kids started getting in the room, I’m like shutting them out.
Now I like embrace them, bring them to the zoom, call those kinds of things. Like just embrace a little, do a little better every day. Um, it’s not the people, it’s not a money in your bank that matters. It’s the people around your tombstone.
Andrew: say it’s not just the money in the bank. Let’s not say it doesn’t matter, but
Lloyed: Yeah. It’s not just the money in your bank and it’s the people around you.
Andrew: Uh, you know, what I’ve been doing is I have this little GoPro. It’s like a GoPro, but GoPro is just never stable enough for me. It’s this DJI action camera. I just keep that running with the kids.
Sometimes they don’t even pay attention to it. And then we capture those random moments in a way that if it was on my phone, I had to take it out. I wouldn’t do it. And that way I remember what we did and they, they get to relive it years later and see dad was there.
Lloyed: Yeah. And I think I should do that. Is that the drone one? The BGI or?
Andrew: You know what DJI is known for drones. They made a GoPro that’s better than GoPro. Look at the reviews on YouTube. It is, it’s so much more stable and it’s rugged. I just put it like when we do lead long drives, which we’re doing now more under COVID. I just put it right there. And so that it could capture them in the backseat, go and do their nonsense.
My, my four year old tried to open the door while we were driving, because he was so angry the other day, I captured it. Let them remember what life was like then. And also the good moments when we’re doing things. Like I taught my, my now six year old, how to tell time with an analog watch. I just kept the camera going, just put it on the desk while we were doing it.
And then I had this quick compilation that I looked at this morning, one minute, and you see him just go, I can’t do it. I’m like, you almost see him thinking I’m so stupid. I can’t do it. And then a second later in the next shot, you see him actually getting it. And I feel like those little memories are good for us and it’s good reminders for them.
This is the way it was used to not know how to tell time you got frustrated and you figured it out used to not know how to, I don’t know, snowboard. You figured it out.
Lloyed: Yeah, I’m going to do that. I’m actually going to take you up on that and set it up and I’ll send you a note in a few months. I think that’s great advice.
Andrew: I’m looking forward to seeing you in person. I don’t know if it’s going to be here or, Oh, Austin, let me close out with this. I told him, I said, I’m going to Austin. What do I do? Sujin I guess lives in Austin, our friend Sujin uh, when a Soojin up. So he’s good. He runs a bunch of companies. I always refer to him as the guy from milkshake.
Cause that’s what he sponsored me with.
Lloyed: He is a serial entrepreneur and he builds and grows companies. Mailshake yeah.
Andrew: Yeah. Right. That’s what he is. And he’s doing phenomenally. Well, I messaged him and I go, look, my wife’s worried about us moving to Austin because of the heat. He goes, yeah, dude, it’s a serious thing. I’m going to get out of here, uh, in the summers. But he’s he and a few other people have helped guide me.
I’m looking at houses. It’s hard to find. They’re very expensive. And many of my friends, I won’t reveal the names in case they don’t want to know. And to be known in public, they’re building a house there. What’s the deal with building a house in Austin instead of just buying one.
Lloyed: Because, so what happened? I think I got lucky. I got crazy last April or may when COVID started and I just couldn’t be bottled in. And like my wife put us on a, the most strict protocol here because she has a healthcare professional. So I got out on a flight. I, and I’m going to go, I’m going to go to Austin.
I have some very close friends, uh, like almost like family people. I grew up with, went there and, and started looking at homes. And there were two homes or three homes. We try to put an offer on because it’s so cheap and they went for overbidding and I said, the last thing I’m going to do is overbid on a house in Austin, because you don’t even think you’re like, dude, I’m coming to Austin to get a deal.
The last thing I’m gonna do is over a bit.
Andrew: And I’m seeing everything. When you say they were, they weren’t expensive. What are you seeing? I’m seeing nothing under 2 million where we’re looking.
Lloyed: Right now. Right. So back then, so I went to Austin, I back then, meaning a year ago I went to a community and I got a lot for $35,000. I just threw down and like, and they said, ah, it’s toll brothers is a house, uh, is a, is a builder. And they said, you know, the lot is 35,000. We’ll build the house. And I think the whole house was like $650,000 for $35,000.
I put down on a 17 and a half thousand square foot lot. That’s half an acre. Right. And the home I’m building is a six bedroom, almost 6,100 square foot house. And I got it all for $650,000 today in that community. My, my, my really close friend who also is building a house there. He tells me that the light next to you when for $350,000 and overbidding so that’s, what’s happening 10 X.
So like I got there, I got lucky, I got it ahead of the curve. And my frustration with COVID made me do an impulse buy and I’m like, dude, it’s just so cheap. $650,000, six bedroom home. It’s massive. And I’m like the best, even if we don’t want to move, we’ll sell it after. But, but now I’m looking at it that it’s jumped, like it’s already two X, three X, right?
The light prices are going like INSEAD Tenex. So
Andrew: And I guess there must be more, I don’t know this. They already, well, I guess there must be enough space to do that. I don’t think you could do that here in the Bay area. It’s not like there’s empty lots somewhere where some guy’s going to sell it to you. And then some cold brother company is going to build it up.
Lloyed: the, the, the community where we’re building, there’s like 8,000 homes, their new homes. new homes. So Austin has a lot of empty space where people are building. Right. So,
Andrew: What about taxes? How much is it when you tell me a real estate taxes are expensive there.
Lloyed: Taxes are high. I think it’s like in the sort of 1.8 or 2.1, 2% range, but there’s no state tax there. Um, there’s, uh, schools are free. They’re good. Schools are free there. So like you make,
Andrew: found that maybe I’m missing the good free schools. We were, we’re doing a, we’re doing a private school there, which still is half the price of private school here. So I guess that’s the one big upside for us.
Lloyed: so you got, you’re moving to Austin as well.
Andrew: just applied to schools there based on feedback from people who I’ve interviewed.
And it’s great. they told me what schools to go to. They’re guiding me. It’s great.
Lloyed: No. So
Andrew: not fully committed, but I’m, I’m committed,
Lloyed: we’re all going to hang out together by where by, by the fall there
Andrew: but it seems like, and hopefully it will be as good as everyone says it is. All right.
Lloyed: I’ll throw a big party and I’ll invite everyone. Sue, Jen, you guys max all Schuler from sales hacker, the whole nine yards. Everyone’s there.
Andrew: you know what? This is the lamest thing, but one of the things I’m going to do is I’m going to look at your muscles. Cause I’m looking at your muscles on the fricking biz journals. I realized, I didn’t realize you were your body builder,
Lloyed: I was jacked before the COVID and now,
Andrew: at, can I see his packs look at his shoulders?
What the hell? I had no idea. I just thought of, he was just like a tech person.
Lloyed: No, no, no. It was just, I could do a hundred burpees at a stretch pre COVID and now I can’t even like fart
Andrew: Are you having trouble breathing,
Lloyed: Like now I’m okay. But like, uh, I think a month ago, going up and down the stairs where I was like making me tired, Washington decision was making me tired. I’m I’m getting okay.
Andrew: you’re back to normal. You think you’ll be able to run
Lloyed: uh, I’m going to give it a try. I said, I said, uh, I’m going to start doing some bands and like hop on the Peloton starting this, this, uh, this weekend. I’m going to try to get, like, I’m going to try to do five sets of 10 burpees. Right? I think burpees is good exercises. And try to build up to that a hundred.
I’m going to start doing that. Start doing some running. I’m going to gradually. You know, and not die of indigestion here, but like do a little better every day.
Andrew: All right. Uh, the website is a boast.ai. It still takes me to boast capital.com. I’m guessing you guys are in the process of transitioning, right?
Lloyed: it’s because boast capital.com has great SEO juice.
Andrew: Uh, Susan will tell you how you can keep that on the new domain. All right. Uh, and I’m guessing people could just go over there and get on a call with someone.
Yeah. That’s the way it works. You just get like on a call with someone and they’ll talk to you and see if it’s a good fit, you know, within a single phone call. If it’s not a good fit, you know, within a single phone call too. And, uh, what a great fricking business, you really nailed it with this one. Don’t you think?
Of course you think
Lloyed: I think so. I think so. I think I hit my definition of success when I was. Uh, sort of just graduating university today. And, uh, and so no regrets. I can swing for the fences right now and nothing to lose.
Andrew: All right. Thanks so much for doing this interview. And I want to thank the two sponsors who made this interview happen. Listen up people. If you want an idea that will start off as surface, but eventually turn into software, go to HostGator, get your website to start building the business.
hostgator.com/mixergy. We’ll get you the lowest price from them. And if you want a service that will handle your bookkeeping properly, your P your payments, your people, and hand to go people and keep them from taking over your social accounts and everything else really rippling is the service. They are HR and all the tools you need to manage your people available at, at rippling.com/mixergy.
Lloyd. Thanks so much for doing this.
Lloyed: Thanks so much. We did use HostGator in the early days. I wish there was rippling back then
Andrew: Are you guys going to you guys going to integrate with rippling yet?
Lloyed: we will. In the next quarter, we will
Andrew: I imagine. All right. Thanks.
Lloyed: thanks so much ticker, Andrew. It was fun.