Marathon Series: The Intern Group went from zero funding to hitting $15M in revenue in 8 years

How did The Intern Group grow from a horrible looking WordPress site to a company set to hit over 15 million in revenue this year?

David Lloyd is Co-Founder and CEO of The Intern Group which is an international education company that specializes in internship programs.

The Intern Group was born from David’s desire to connect interns with businesses.

The podcast is in all major apps, just search for Mixergy.
You can also use our RSS Feed RSS feed.

David Lloyd

David Lloyd

The Intern Group

David Lloyd is Co-Founder and CEO of The Intern Group which is an international education company that specializes in internship programs.

roll-angle

Full Interview Transcript

Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. You know me. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses, and where I do tend to talk very fast and very loud and I am a little bit pushy.

David Lloyd is a little quieter today than usual. Right?

David: Slightly, feeling a bit under the weather.s

Andrew: And he is surrounded by people who are even quieter than he is and more easygoing than you are, is what you told me about the Chilean culture.

David: I would say that’s accurate.

Andrew: I feel like you’ve been influenced by them a little bit. And I wonder how our energy levels will be in this interview. What I found about myself is, David, I tend to, and this is what makes me a good conversationalist, I tend to mimic where people are and sometimes bring them where I want them to go. And you can go back and listen to interviews where I am quiet all of the sudden, like, “Why is Andrew quiet? Oh, the guest is quiet.” And then there’s like an uptick at some point.

David: It’s good salesmanship. It’s mirroring.

Andrew: It is, right? I don’t do it intentionally. I try not to do it.

So David Lloyd the guy with the fantastic accent and very good looking guy. I told you this when I saw you. He’s the founder of the Intern Group. What they do is, it’s an international education company that places people in internships. And the reason that the way you look stood out for me is you have phenomenal press.

I feel like what you have is, yes, a good business, but also a good way of communicating that business. I mean, communication goes from you, your co-founder, your stories. And because of that when I was researching you, there was a lot to go on, there was a lot of color a lot of other people saying, “He is what he says he is,” and that helped. And helps your business too. Right? He’s nodding.

This interview where we find out how David is doing, and I try to bring down my energy level to his.

David: I’m going to bring it back up again.

Andrew: No, you’ve got to be you. I’m not here to do me. I’m here to like understand who you are.
It’s brought to you guys by two phenomenal companies. The first will host your website right. It’s called HostGator. And the second will help you hire phenomenal developers, it’s called Toptal.

David, good to see you.

David: Nice to be here.

Andrew: The rudest, most New York pushy question I’m going to ask you is, how much revenue is the Intern Group doing?

David: Approximately $15 million a year.

Andrew: Wow. Profit, how much?

David: About 10% net profit.

Andrew: So $1.5 million last year?

David: That’s what it will be this year.

Andrew: That’s what it’ll be this year. What was it last year revenue wise then?

David: About half that.

Andrew: Oh, half that. Okay. All right. And how much funding do you have?

David: Zero.

Andrew: Zero dollars?

David: Start-Up Chile gave us $40.000.

Andrew: And Start-Up Chile did not ask for equity?

David: They didn’t.

Andrew: They just asked you to live here.

David: Yes. I was originally supposed to be here six months, and seven years and three months later I find myself still here.

Andrew: And it was just going to be a thing where they had this vision. You were the vision they had in mind, right?

David: Probably.

Andrew: Why did you hesitate? What am I missing about? I thought what Start-Up Chile wanted was to bring foreigners here to start companies, keep running their companies, maybe take funding, maybe not, but that wasn’t a priority, hire people.

David: The unwritten goal of Start-Up Chile was for them to marry Chileans and stay here therefore forever. That was why probably . . . And that hasn’t happened to me.

Andrew: And you didn’t marry someone from Chile. You’re dating someone from Argentina.

David: Exactly.

Andrew: And you might end . . . Do you think you’d end up in Argentina over Chile? Yes.

David: I think I’ll stay here. I think I’ll stay here, but any hesitation was simply because I think I’ve done most of the things that Start-Up Chile aimed to do, except for getting married to a Chilean.

Andrew: Okay, all right. As successes go, that’s pretty hot. One of the big things in Argentina is the asado culture. You go to your in-laws, and your families’ asado. They’re big barbecues. How is the asado culture here?

David: Asado culture is massive. Absolutely equal to Argentina. So much so that I’ve just had a quincho installed in my apartment.

Andrew: What quincho is?

David: Say that again?

Andrew: What is a quincho?

David: Quincho is a barbecue.

Andrew: And you have like the official one because you have so many people over for barbecue.

David: Exactly.

Andrew: And is it friends, family? Who is it?

David: For me, it’s just friends because I don’t have any family here. But yeah, it’s very normal to have a barbecue at sort of weekly basis.

Andrew: Every Sunday or like everyone has their day?

David: Exactly.

Andrew: What’s your day?

David: I like midweek.

Andrew: Midweek? What day?

David: We break up the week, Wednesday.

Andrew: Ah, today.

David: Exactly.

Andrew: We know each other well enough?

David: Could be.

Andrew: We’ll see if I . . . Well, maybe not after this next question. Here’s what I read. You guys charged the students to get internships. From what I understand, it’s $500 for the application process, which makes sense because what you’re doing is you’re saying, “Hey, look, if you don’t show up, we’re putting in a lot of time and energy in introducing, you don’t show up, it’s bad mark on us, it’s a big time wasters and a money suck, you lose it.” But if they do show up for all the meetings, and they do get a job, why are they paying $4,000 give or take to you guys for a job that doesn’t pay anything?

David: It’s a great question. And I think the key components to answer that is it’s abroad, it’s education rather than employment, and it’s typically contributing to their degree.

Andrew: Meaning, they get college credit for it.

David: Exactly, exactly. So it’s not just the internship, although that’s the core of our program. It’s everything that surrounds it. It’s the reflecting on what they’ve been learning. It’s how it integrates back into their university curriculum. It’s the accommodation. It’s the support in a foreign country, 24/7 support, social and cultural events.

Andrew: I saw that. I saw that. It’s so weird that you’re sitting next to me looking over my shoulder, I’m unprepared for it because I could see that you saw that I took like a big screen shot of . . . I forget what website this is . . . Oh, goabroad.com. I wanted to see anyone say anything negative about the Intern Group. You guys have unbelievable stars.

And then the one person who I saw who had a negative thing to say, I think she didn’t get in New York. Her negativity was, “I asked for my money back because they asked me to do copies and what I wanted to do was social media.” And if I reflected back on when I got my job, my internship on Wall Street as a kid going to NYU, I thought I was going to make all these decisions about what to invest in. I had to make copies. And then you kind of earned the right to be in the room a little bit further and then you earn the right to do more and then they eventually give you a job if you’re good. So I get that. But if you’re seeing that, that’s the only thing that I’ve got on my screen again.

David: But I think that’s an interesting thing. If I was to ask just a random person on the street, “Did you like your first job?” What percentage of people do you think would say, “Yes”?

Andrew: I think most people don’t like their jobs at all. I did a lot of copying and I still loved it, even though I wasn’t a great job.

David: And then, so if I changed the question to, “Did you learn valuable or were there valuable takeaways from your first job?” What percentage of people would say, “Yes”? Were there valuable takeaways from your first job?

Andrew: Got it, right. And you’re saying, “With the first paying job, you don’t really get any takeaways.”

David: No. I’m saying I don’t think 100% of people are going to answer, “Did you like your first internship? Did you like your first job?” But I think unless people are extremely negative, they can find valuable learning experiences. So if somebody for example, you mentioned Wall Street, somebody might do a finance internship and realize finance is not for them. They loathe the internship, but that’s a hugely valuable experience, so they don’t go and spend 30 years miserable.

Andrew: Agreed, right.

David: And I think this is the sort of thing which is so valuable about what we do.

Andrew: The biggest lesson that I got from my internship was, Stephanie Winston, who I worked for said, “You’re doing great. I want you to come to this breakfast with me.” I go to this breakfast. It’s surrounded by people who she wants as clients. She says to me, “Andrew, I want you to have them love us.” Not like tell them what the stock market’s doing or anything like that, love us. I go, “Well, I don’t know how to do that. I’m a shy kid who doesn’t know how to talk to strangers.”

And the whole time while she was just talking to them about their business, talking to them . . . Because what she was trying to do is win their business, she was a broker. I just sat there and pretended to keep having to slowly cut my eggs. Devon, who’s in the room with us, knows I eat superfast. I had to force myself to eat slow, just so I could pretend I couldn’t talk. And as a result of that, I went and I got the book, Dale Carnegie’s book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” I discovered through the book that he had an office in the heart of Manhattan. And when I knocked on the door and I said, like literally, without them knowing I was coming in, said, “I read the book. I learned so much. Can I get a job here as an intern working for free?” And then I got another internship there. And so I that was one big takeaway.

The thing that you said about not liking finance because of it, I looked around I realized not everyone on Wall Street is the same. The people on her floor were the top brokers, but as I looked at their elbows, they had nice shirts like you. The elbows, I swear, had holes in them from working the phones all day long and nobody saw them. So it didn’t matter that they had that on their . . . that their elbows were like that.

David: It’s like the TV presenters who were in their underwear, under the table.

Andrew: Yeah, it was like that, except even worse. It would be almost like the get-rich-quick-guy who the soles of his shoes are worn through and he’s got a hole, but nobody can see. It’s like that. And then they would have a suit that they would have to wear when somebody came in. And these were like top brokers. We’re not talking about guys who were in a basement somewhere. So I get that.

Let’s talk about how you started.

David: Sure.

Andrew: I heard you bootstrapped with a very basic WordPress site.

David: It was horrible, yeah.

Andrew: What was the original idea?

David: For the site?

Andrew: Yeah.

David: The original idea . . . Well, the original idea for the site was basically what we still have now. It’s to attract potential companies and potential participants. That’s what we call our intern. So, simply pure information.

Andrew: It was just so if we could get interns together with businesses, we’d be okay.

David: Exactly. Exactly. So it’s the standard sort of chicken and egg between for anything like that really.

Andrew: Okay. And how did you think you were going to make money from it?

David: We always had in mind that this would be the business model, the charging model to start off with, but we’ve got some interesting plans for the future on how we can monetize company.

Andrew: Where did the idea come from?

David: From my own experience, in South America and Argentina, like you, I lived in Buenos Aries.

Andrew: How you end up in Buenos Aires?

David: I always wanted to become fluent in another language. Being from England, just like from the States, very few people, other than sort of heritage speakers, speak second languages. And I was always obsessed with trying to change that for myself.

I didn’t think I was going to quickly learn Arabic, Russian, Mandarin or any other potentially very useful language. I did a simple tradeoff on times, the ease of learning Spanish versus the reward of learning Spanish.

Andrew: It’s one of the easiest languages in the world to learn.

David: Exactly. That’s what people say. So that’s why I chose it.

Andrew: And Argentina, because?

David: At the university I did a brief back trip . . .

Andrew: Packing.

David: Can’t even speak today I’m so under the weather. Backpacking trip round the world, and Argentina I fell in love with it immediately.

Andrew: What was it about Argentina?

David: Nightlife, food, people. Absolutely sport, spectacular.

Andrew: And so you said, “I think I could live here. I could do an internship-based company, and I’ll charge the interns with a vision that in the future we could do more.”

David: No. This was back in 2008. I thought, “I need to move to Buenos Aries. I need to learn Spanish, and I need to get some work experience.” Fast forward, I sort of wrote to many, many companies massive struggle to get to get my foot in the door, real struggle finding accommodation, real struggle finding a network of friends. Eventually, because I’m just quite proactive person, it all did come into it, it did all fit into place. It took me a long time to find everything. It was a brilliant experience.

And then five years later I’m back in England working in the city, our equivalent of Wall Street for Merrill Lynch, hating it. I should have done a finance internship and realized that wasn’t the career for me and I quit.

People were saying, “You should do this for a minimum of two years. You can’t quit a job before two years. What are you doing?” But I knew that I didn’t want to spend my life in that world after my time doing it. It didn’t feel right. I wasn’t inspired by the business model, the people, the culture. So I quit without having anything to do.

And then I was sat in a Starbucks a few days later thinking, “What on earth am I going to do?” And with a friend we were reflecting on problems we’ve had or brilliant experiences we had. And he said, “Well, you’re always talking about your time abroad and how much that did for you. Is there a way to monetize this?” And it came from that.

Andrew: Okay. And did you give the business a different name in the beginning?

David: Yes.

Andrew: I’m searching in the history to see what it looked like.

David: It was called Intern Latin America.

Andrew: Oh, because you were focused on Latin America, your passion.

David: Exactly. And then we quickly realized that we were already in a niche and that was making a niche within a nation, it wasn’t that advisable.

Andrew: Intern Latin America, okay.

David: But then we realized that very few people want to go to Latin America.

Andrew: I’m surprised. Where do people mostly want to go?

David: I’m going to speak in generalities here. Americans want to go to London, and British people want to go to Australia.

Andrew: Australia, okay. So what came first, the businesses or the interns?

David: Great question. It was a combination. But I would say, to start off with our first ever program, was FIFA.

Andrew: FIFA, the football, soccer.

David: Exactly. The world governing body of soccer, which is now quite disreputable. My co-founder Joanna, amazingly got us 10 places with FIFA at the Under 20 World Cup in Colombia back in 2011. And then suddenly we had these 10 places having promised the world to FIFA about the quality international talent we were going to bring them. We certainly had to paddle very quite fast and make sure we got them.

Andrew: How did you do it?

David: That was good. Now, it looks back very bootstrapping, very scrappy. Set up a . . . No, it was ridiculous. I had a sort of one page PDF saying, “Four weeks marketing internship with FIFA, Spanish school in the mornings in Columbia. Total cost of everything, including accommodation, Spanish classes, all the logistics, £1500. If you’re interested, please, reply to this.” And then I interviewed the people and then it sort of transferred to diamonddave2000@hotmail.com PayPal account.

Andrew: Was that really your thing?

David: It was ridiculous. It was really my name, and it was ridiculous. It was zero credibility, but it was amazing. We got more than 100 applicants. We got some brilliant students applying.

Andrew: How? Where did they come from?

David: We were posting on Facebook groups of university students. The very sort of, which is DIY guerilla or online marketing but sort of refusing to pay a penny, because we don’t have a penny.

Andrew: Was FIFA paying you for them?

David: No.

Andrew: No. The money would just come from the students?

David: Yes.

Andrew: And you were going to take on the accommodations for them too?

David: Yes, organize them.

Andrew: So you were going to help them find their location or organize the location . . .

David: We were going to arrange their accommodation.

Andrew: Collect money from them and then pay their landlord.

David: Yes.

Andrew: Wow. That doesn’t seem like there’d be that much money, if you’re charging, let’s say $4000, and it’s a, what? Six-month internship, four-month?

David: It’s anywhere from four weeks to six months. It’s always at the choice of the students.

Andrew: Let’s say six months, even if it’s a bedroom within a shared house, which is what you do, a shared apartment, that’s still not leaving much money for rent.

David: Yeah. We have competitors who charge far more than this.

Andrew: Did you make money in the beginning?

David: Where we profitable in the beginning? The answer is, no. But because of the way the business model is, it is very positive for cash flow because you get paid for everything upfront. So you can actually be making . . .

Andrew: The students pay upfront and then it takes you a while to pay for the accommodations. Got it.

David: Exactly. So we were able to keep going for a long time with that.

Andrew: Now, can you make money that way, $4000 for a six month internship?

David: The prices change according to the duration and the destination.

Andrew: Got it. So you make sure that pad it . . . Well, that you have enough money to cover their duration, cover the other stuff that you give them.

David: Exactly.

Andrew: What else did they want? Were they excited about the Spanish classes?

David: Again, not as excited as I thought they’d be or as I’d hoped they’d be. Now, we actually don’t include that as standard. We include it as optional.

Andrew: What were they excited about that you didn’t expect?

David: Not expect, I did expect it but the extent to which students today focus on employability even took me by surprise. I experienced firsthand, just how useful this experience was for my own employability. I leveraged my time abroad in Argentina, even though it was marketing with Rolex to get my job in the city. Merrill Lynch was really impressed by that. They’re used to sort of economics majors from Cambridge University, best grades, and this helped me stand out. So I knew the employability was great. But what took me by surprise was just how much focus on the employability. So then we started to incorporate résumé writing workshops, how to leverage international internship experience to do job search.

Andrew: Are you doing that onsite?

David: Onsite.

Andrew: So onsite, whatever city you’re working in, you’ve got somebody who’s going to sit down with your students, with your interns, in person?

David: Yes.

Andrew: And say, “Your resume could use this improvement. Here’s how you could . . . ” How can they leverage an internship to get another job? What’s a good tip?

David: What’s a great tip for that? A quick tip would be, always on the resume make clear city and location where they done the internship, especially when it’s abroad. We were seeing many students make that basic error of sort of . . . It was almost impossible to see that their finance internship they done was in Hong Kong. That was just basic marketing.

Andrew: Yes, that stands out so much, that one name, Hong Kong next to . . . Like you having an internship at Merrill Lynch, wherever you are and whatever city you’re in and the city where you . . .

David: Annapolis, let’s say, Maryland.

Andrew: . . . versus Hong Kong. Got it.

David: Exactly. Things like that which can be very basic. When there’s many things that are very basic such as that, the cumulative effect is massive.

Andrew: I’m going to talk about my sponsor. I got to tell you, I freaking love your business. And then I’ll come back and tell you why I was told not to . . . That I probably didn’t want to interview you.

The first sponsor is a company called HostGator. It’s for hosting websites. WordPress is a one-click install with them. How freaking well-connected is it to your story? You’ve got this business that’s incredibly successful, bootstrapped, profitable growing. I shouldn’t keep banging my hand like this, right, Devon? Every time I talk, I have to hit things.

If you wonder why I have the beads on my wrist, it’s because I can’t sit still. But if I had the beads, I could just lie quietly under the table, move the beads. I won’t hit my . . . I’ll do one more time.

David: There you go. Hit away.

Andrew: It’s so simple. If you go to hostgator.com, frankly, if you go to other WordPress hosting sites, you can with one-click install WordPress, get a theme, super inexpensively or free. Do you remember your theme, what the first one was?

David: No, but it would have been an off-the-shelf one.

Andrew: That’s what I had too. Mine was by Brian . . . I’m blanking on his name . . . Brian Gardner. I thanked him years late. Actually, I thanked him on a footer of the site and then years later, I got to talk to him because he was on Mixergy and he built a really phenomenal business just selling the themes. The first theme was free from him. You don’t have to spend a lot of money. You just have to start and then you can build and build and build, the way that you did.

And so if you’re out there and you’re listening to me and you haven’t started a website, go to HostGator. One-click install, you get WordPress. Forget it, you’re done. Just start working on your business. If you already have a hosting company and you hate it, go to HostGator. This is really good hosting.

Now, inevitably this is what I see from people. They would tweet at me and say, “Andrew, I’ve got this other hosting company. It’s much better.” And the much better is so incrementally different that who gives a rat’s ass except someone who’s playing business, right? Like, who cares? Like you could come in here and say, “Andrew, I like your hotel, it’s a beautiful hotel,” or you could say, “There’s a hotel down the street that’s got free water instead of pay one in the room.” The real business person does give a rat’s ass, stop overthinking it.

Go to HostGator right now. When you go to hostgator.com/mixergy you get the lowest price that they make available. You also get tagged as one of our people, which means my loud mouth, which might be a little overbearing when someone’s under the weather, is really nice when you ever have an issue with the company because we will go to bat for you, hostgator.com/mixergy. Low price, great hosting company, scale your business up. They’ll do great by you. I love them.

All right. The model was starting to come together, at what point? At what point did you know, “This is working. This is my business, it’s my future”?

David: Three years after starting. The first three years I was constantly thinking or having self-doubt, “What on earth am I doing? Is this actually going to work?” It was about three years after starting that I realized, “Yeah, this is going to definitely work.”

Andrew: So three years. I think eight months into your business you got into Start-Up Chile, am I right?

David: Correct.

Andrew: So let’s talk about that and then why that didn’t change the trajectory more dramatically. How did you find out about Start-Up Chile?

David: From my Argentine lawyer.

Andrew: Wait, you had a company in Argentina?

David: No, I didn’t. The company that I worked at in Argentina, the boss of it, I made friends with him and his wife, actually now they’re separated, but his wife at the time was a lawyer, and I was friends with her as well. And when she knew I’d set up this company with friends on Facebook, she said, “Hey, you should check out Start-Up Chile. There’s all of this funding available.” Completely random, but I looked at it and thought, “Hey, is this some sort of con? It looks too good to be true. They just give you $40,000 just to be there.”

And at that time and at that level of resources, that age, everything, $40,000 to me seemed sort of a gigantic amount.

Andrew: Yeah. And then, they also gave you office space, if I’m not mistaken?

David: Office space, visa, mentoring.

Andrew: Connection to other entrepreneurs.

David: Yeah.

Andrew: And they were doing this because they wanted to create an entrepreneurship culture here.

David: Exactly. And I think they also wanted to put Chile on the map as a pro-business environment.

Andrew: Are they pro-business? In some ways not, in some ways yes.

David: In some ways, yes, in some ways, no. But I think what’s relevant for putting Chile on the map is it’s a relative thing. If you look at Chile’s neighbors, Chile is so pro-business on a relative basis, even if an absolute basis, there are many elements where it can improve.

Andrew: I only have a basis for Argentina. Argentina is really harsh. They make it hard to do business with the rest of the world, because they feel like if they’re more protectionist, they will keep the rest of the world from stealing their . . . this is my take on it, from stealing their people, stealing their money, stealing their everything, right?

David: Exactly. So what a brilliant marketing strategy for Chile to suddenly get itself featured in the press relentlessly, top tier press around the world relentlessly. And by this, I mean, it was a very cheap marketing ploy.

Andrew: Do you think that’s why Nathan from Magma ended up here?

David: This is Start-Up Chile?

Andrew: Yeah.

David: Yes.

Andrew: It is, right, right. Because he, I think, was also part of the plan and then he started a VC firm here.

David: Exactly. He was the first generation of people brought to Chile, and I was the second one.

Andrew: And how did you guys met?

David: Playing football, playing soccer.

Andrew: Got it. And so, that’s part of what was in it for you too. The money, the office space, the visa, the cheaper quality of life than you might have in, where for you was in the UK, for others, it would be in their hometown. And the fact that you get to meet other entrepreneurs who are working like you . . .

David: It was extremely motivating in that we were all in one building, all working extremely hard sort of dawn until dusk. But that was extremely exciting to be surrounded by people really committed to pushing their ideas, trying to make the most of their potential. That was amazing.

And one thing that sort of encompasses it all up, which is similar to what I promote now is the sense of adventure. When I did this, I was 26. It couldn’t have been a better age for this.

Andrew: Yeah. I was older and I still thought about it, it was just such an exciting place to be. I love South America. Anyway, so why didn’t that change the business more dramatically?

David: It did. It did change it dramatically. It was in Start-Up Chile that we became cash-flow positive, even if in sort of a formal P&L, we weren’t profitable. It did change it dramatically. But I still wasn’t convinced that this was going to work. It was only at about three years after starting that so many universities started saying, “Hey, we really want to incorporate foreign internships, internships abroad, as part of our degrees but we don’t have the time, resources to do it ourselves.” And I thought, “Hey, this is actually a really great model, because we can be a massive support to universities in doing that.”

Andrew: Oh, that makes a lot of sense. Working business to business is something that we forget about because we’re not business customers. So we think of ourselves as consumers only.

I’ll give you an example. I was just looking to my notes for a moment there and I saw that there few people were talking about how you give your interns three months subscriptions to Talkspace. Talkspace is therapy via your phone. I guess it kind of works to be a desktop, and not very well. I signed up with them. And you talk to a real therapist via video chat or audio chat and you text throughout the week. The fact that you’re paying . . . You’re paying for it, right?

David: Yes.

Andrew: The fact that you pay for that and then give it to people, gives them access to so many more patients who are also customers through you, than they were trying to go after one at a time people. And we don’t think that way.

David: Yeah, and that, I mean, more people should think that way.

Andrew: By the way, it’s a great benefit for you to offer someone. They go to a different city, give him someone to talk to who is not like on your team or like a concierge or something, but who can actually help them think through their issues.

David: It’s crucial. If you look at the statistics of poor mental health incidences, that sounds like a very long-winded way of saying, mental health problems are statistically and percentage wise significantly on the rise amongst college age population. So that’s why we’ve incorporated it. I mean, anyone who suffered mental health problems, I have for the record, you don’t want to be on your own in a foreign country with no one to speak.

Andrew: Can you be open about yours?

David: Yeah, yeah, I went through a period of depression when I was about 19.

Andrew: What was that like?

David: Horrific.

Andrew: What do you mean? Can you be open about it? I feel like when we talk about it, people get impacted by it more than other stuff.

David: Sure. It came to me completely unexpected. It was triggered by very difficult conversations I had with my father at that time and meeting my seven half brothers and sisters in the space of three months.

Andrew: What was the difficult conversation?

David: About why he wasn’t around when I was growing up. And the answer is weren’t very . . . The answer didn’t stack up, basically.

Andrew: And then you eventually discovered he had a family on the side.

David: Well, I knew that he had. I knew that he had.

Andrew: So then why didn’t he stick around in a way that you [needed 00:30:20]?

David: He could have been in touch with me. And that was why his answer didn’t stick up. He focused on the fact that he had another family, who I’m not extremely close to, and now my answer was, “Well, you could have still seen me.” And he reacted very, very badly, obviously, very defensively. That triggered a period in me for about 18 months of extreme loneness.

Andrew: How did you break out of it?

David: How did I break out of it? I went to a therapist a couple of times a week.

Andrew: Did it help?

David: It helped a great deal.

Andrew: What did the therapist do? I haven’t had depression but I’ve had periods in my life where I was depressed, I guess, or I felt stuck. And for me it’s, I had such aspirations to do so much, why am I so low when I want to be so high? And going to a therapist always made me feel like they didn’t get my aspirations. They were belittling them and trying to get me to accept a normal that was lower than I would ever accept. And eventually, I would just break out of it and feel frustrated for having been with them at all.

David: That is very frustrating. I can only speak about my experience. And I think I was very fortunate to have a therapist that didn’t make me feel like that.

Andrew: What did your therapist do?

David: What did they do?

Andrew: What was the approach? Was it just letting you talk it through? Was it helping you accept your dad? Was it helping you forgive or . . . ?

David: It was actually traditional psychoanalysis.

Andrew: Oh, he did psychoanalysis.

David: Yeah.

Andrew: Where you sit and you talk endlessly about anything.

David: Yeah, yeah. It was traditional psychoanalysis. And I found it extremely helpful. And that’s why that’s one of the reasons why I was supportive of Talkspace, because I think for many people it’s extremely helpful, but there’s definitely people who isn’t so hopeful for.

Andrew: I can see how it helped you. I wonder how could you even have the time to do that? The problem with psychoanalysis is most people don’t have the hours.

David: Yeah. This was when I was a university student.

Andrew: So you still had that time.

David: I didn’t have a shortage of hours.

Andrew: Let me ask you a personal question, you’re somebody who I love your shoes, your shirt, it’s just very, like it’s simple but I could tell it’s elegant and you picked it out well. I like even like your beard. If I grow my beard, it looks awful. So you’re seeing the way that I’m recording here, is it weird that I have these earphones in?

David: No. Not at all.

Andrew: Give me like feedback. Do you think it takes away from the like calm of the conversation or the more natural conversation, or is it the fact that there’s a tape recorder here in the air?

David: No. I think they’re very slick. I don’t even notice it.

Andrew: They’re okay. They’re not distracting. So, keep them in the package that I go.

David: [Keep the 00:33:34] interview so that you get a pass. I have noticed them.

Andrew: They kind of help me earlier and just when I was thinking I don’t really need them, I don’t know if you noticed it, my lavalier fell off and this was like pointing towards my belly. Did you notice it?

Devon: Yeah.

Andrew: Devon, you did. And it was because, unfortunately it was when I was going on a long talk, because I noticed some rustling here in my earphones, I realized, “Hey, there’s something in my mic. I’ll fix it.” And so I fixed it. So I like it. But I want to know, is it ruining the conversation? It’s definitely not ruining it.

David: Not at all.

Andrew: Is it distracting? I don’t think it is either. Devon, you don’t think so?

David: Not at all. So I think that’s the sort of thing where if your guest doesn’t notice it, you’re doing well and I haven’t even noticed them.

Andrew: Good, good. And I’ve got it kind of hidden behind. All right, I’m happy about that.

Devon: [inaudible 00:34:17] distracting if you missed something because you’re not [inaudible 00:34:19].

Andrew: Right, right. I don’t know if you guys heard that, but is Devon saying, you’re right, if I miss something like the mic is not working well because I can’t hear it here, that would be worse. I’m really enjoying this in-person conversation. I’m really enjoying the whole thing. I want to do more like this.

Let’s continue, then. What was it that three years later allowed you guys to do so well? You’re saying three years after starting was a big period.

David: Yes. I would say, almost purely by luck, about three years after starting, 2014, more and more universities around the world started coming to us saying, “We want to incorporate your program in our degree courses.” Previously, we had spent lots of time knocking on doors of universities, proactively saying, “Hey, incorporate us into the degree program.”

Andrew: When you say knocking on doors, you literally mean that you went to universities and you looked for people or was a lot of cold e-mails and cold calls?

David: Cold e-mails, cold calling.

Andrew: And that was you largely doing it?

David: At the beginning, yeah.

Andrew: And so how would you get through to them and get a partnership with them?

David: So universities have a slow sales cycle, which might not come as a big surprise. So we started having success by attending big education conferences around the world, education abroad conferences. And that remains a key part of our strategy.

Andrew: There are conferences just for educators, for institutions whose students will want to go abroad.

David: Correct. And so I was just at one last week for example, in Denver with a couple of thousand participants, a mixture of universities and companies like me. And all of the universities have the same name. They’re trying to rise up the league tables, the rankings and one of the key components in the rankings is, what percentage of your students are having an abroad experience? What percentage of your students are doing international research? How international is your university?

And so universities, what we suddenly experience, and this is when it goes back to, “When did you realize this was going to work?” universities started coming to us saying, “Hey, we need to improve our figures if you can help . . . ”

Andrew: Because it became a new part of their ranking.

David: Or it was just getting increasing focus in the rankings, increasing weighting in the rankings. So it’s kind of quite linked to globalization in a way, which is I’m not sure if that’s a big risk or as it might be. But yeah.

Andrew: You mean if the world decides, “We don’t care that much about our students going internationally.”

David: That would massively hurt us.

Andrew: That would hurt you.

David: And in other ways, we’re tied massively to globalization. I mean, if visa laws change, we’re extremely hurt. So all of the recent wave that took me by surprise in the last two to three years is sort of anti-immigration, anti-globalist rhetoric. Nothing’s really happened yet. But that’s the sort of risk on the horizon.

Andrew: Right. I didn’t notice much of that either until I started traveling like this. And government shutdown makes it harder to leave. When we were initially, Devon and I were thinking of going to Mexico, there was a government shutdown. Can you get a visa . . . Not a visa. Can you get a passport renewed if there’s a shutdown? No, you have to wait. And so even those little hiccups mean a reduction in people’s ability to move. I get that.

All right. Let me talk about my second sponsor and then come back in and look to see, you can see. I’m checking to see where you’re getting your traffic by looking at SimilarWeb.

David: SimilarWeb, oh, we use them.

Andrew: You do? What you do with SimilarWeb?

David: Yeah. One of my very best friends whose wedding I went to in Israel last year works for them, and he convinced me that it’s a great product compare to our competition. There are a sponsor of you.

Andrew: No. You know what it was? I interviewed someone who sold his company to them. He talked to the founder and he said, “You got to give Andrew a free account.” And they’re not really big on giving free jack. They’re not.

David: They’re certainly not. They didn’t give me a free account.

Andrew: They gave me access to some things that then gave me the ability to go research guests. But until I got it, I didn’t understand why anyone would care. Because in my mind, I was still thinking about the old, I guess I shouldn’t say “Alexa” out loud but that, because now it’s a speaker and every time I say the name, people’s speakers go off in their homes.

But I was comparing it to those piece of garbage analytics companies who don’t give you insight. This does. You have a subscription here because you want to spy on your competitor.

David: Completely. Yeah.

Andrew: And what have you learned from looking at them? Because what you could tell is where are people getting their traffic, what’s the top pages on their site, right?

David: Yeah.

Andrew: What did you learn, without giving a specific competitor?

David: We learned completely new marketing channels.

Andrew: Like what? I saw the smile. You don’t want to tell me. Okay.

David: Yeah. We just learned completely new marketing channels that some of our competitors were using, and no point reinventing the wheel.

Andrew: Right. So if you see this is not true for you, but if you see that your competitors are getting a lot of traffic from LinkedIn and you think of LinkedIn as the place to just post a resume and you realize, “No, now this is . . . ”

David: That’s a marketing channel and how on earth have they spread that and I was not? Let’s get this rolling.

Andrew: Do you ever look at where people’s top pages are and realize, “Oh, yeah.” You do, right?

David: Yeah.

Andrew: Seeing the smile on your face, once you get this you totally get it. And most people don’t.

David: It’s great.

Andrew: I’ve had so many conversations with guests, after I finish an interview they go, “How did you know that?” Thinking I’m like a dick, think I’m a jerk, who went and talked to someone on their team, which sometimes I do. And then they hear about this. I do a screen share and they go, “Oh, this is amazing.”

David: What a great example of Israeli startup scene as well, brilliant.

Andrew: They are. And I can’t even tell you publicly what it is about them that’s a great example of it because I was told in private. But it is, it really is. Like where they get their data. Let’s talk. I don’t have an issue I didn’t promise them confidentiality, not about . . . not specifically.

All right. I’ll talk about my second sponsor. My second sponsors is a company called Toptal. Do you know Toptal?

David: Yes.

Andrew: You do. What do you know about that? How do you know them?

David: When you told me earlier. I didn’t know them before.

Andrew: Oh, that’s it. Okay. I thought maybe you had an experience with them. Here’s what they are. They’re a company where you hire developers. I talked to recently Hiten Shah the founder of KISSmetrics. I interviewed him about why KISSmetrics closed up. And it was kind of interesting and then he said, “I hired from Toptal.” I said, “Hiten, you got a killer network of developers who come to you for advice, the people who hire developers who come to you for advice, you could have just gone to your network. Why did you go to Toptal?” He said, “It’s the matcher.” He actually didn’t call the matcher. He gave it some name because he couldn’t remember what it was. They call it internally the matcher.

A matcher is when you go to toptal.com/mixergy, you press that button, you get hooked up with a call with someone who understands the development process and the hiring process. You just talk to them, say, “Here’s what I’m thinking of hiring. Here’s how it works.” And then they help shape who you’re trying to hire and the type of person, the type position. And then they will say, “I’ve got people. Give me a couple of days.” Actually, they always overshoot, I don’t know why, maybe they get rewarded for beating their estimates. So they might say, “Give me two weeks or give me a week.” And a few days later, at least is my experience, you end up with a bunch of developers. Actually a bunch is an exaggeration, you’ll end up with maybe two or three.

They curate them. They come back and say, “Here are the two or three that we think you’re going to like, based on the way you work, based on all this other stuff.” You get on a call with them. They immediately will schedule a call with them. You interview them. If you like, you can often get started within a day or two with those developers. And we’re talking about best of the best developers.

All right. Hiten Shah signed up with them. So many other people I’ve interviewed signed up with them. And if you want to hire the best of the best developers, they really are phenomenal, go to toptal.com/mixergy. You should keep that in mind for yourself.

David: Exactly. Can I ask a question about that?

Andrew: Yes.

David: Where are the developers located?

Andrew: They’re all over the world.

David: Brilliant, because we’re actually precisely looking for that right now.

Andrew: Where? Are you looking for a specific place?

David: We weren’t, but we were . . . Cost is a factor, so we want to select . . .

Andrew: That’s the thing. It’s like Silicon Valley level developers, but they’re in other countries.

David: And that is very appealing.

Andrew: And in fact, even Toptal makes a really big point of the people who work with them on everything to be international. I hired someone to help me with Mixergy who said he got to travel the world while working with Toptal. The only thing is he got to show up for specific phone calls at specific times. So that’s not necessarily true with your company. You might decide you’re all Slack or, whatever. Are you Slack?

David: We’re Slack.

Andrew: Right. So you might decide, “I don’t care when they show up, just be on Slack and be available.” Anyway. So yes, they’re very big on being international.

If you’re looking to hire a developer, go to toptal.com/mixergy. You should keep that URL too because if you use it, you’re going to get 80 hours of Toptal developer credit when you pay for your first 80 hours. You’re also going to get this risk-free trial period. Basically, if you don’t love it, you don’t have to pay. But don’t worry, they’re still going to pay the developer. So they’re not screwing the developer just because you have a bad experience with them.

Go for more details at toptal.com/mixergy. I talk too fast so I’ll spell it, T-O-P-T-A-L.com/M-I-X-E-R-G-Y.

Okay. Look at this. Oh, I see why. Top destination site for you is Hipmunk for planning travel, I’m guessing.

David: Yeah.

Andrew: I’m guessing. That’s according to SimilarWeb. That’s one of the top ones. Instagram is a top destination. A big traffic source for use on Facebook. What are you guys doing on Facebook that’s big?

David: A little Facebook ads, but they’ve become less efficient recently.

Andrew: Meaning cost more money and you’re not getting the same type of person?

David: Yeah.

Andrew: I’m finding that too.

David: If Facebook ads were brilliant, back in about 2015, now we’re pretty unhappy.

Andrew: I still will get numbers, it costs more, which okay. But it’s not the same quality. I wonder why.

David: Yeah, maybe a duplicate, fake accounts.

Andrew: Maybe you think it’s something like that?

David: I think it could be a contributing factor. I mean, there’s a huge amount of controversy about that. Yeah.

Andrew: I thought it was because they weren’t targeting as well because they’re restricting what they could get access to.

David: That sounds also extremely plausible.

Andrew: I also assume that it was a lot of competition. What’s a good channel now that you’re willing to talk about?

David: A good channel now is a third-party review website.

Andrew: Yeah, I was just looking at it right now, goabroad.com is big for you.

David: Which is basically the TripAdvisor of our industry.

Andrew: Yeah. Is it owned by TripAdvisor? It might be.

David: No, no, no. It’s not. They’re privately owned. They’re great traffic sources for us.

Andrew: I see, GoAbroad, LLC, that’s a big one. And the universities, the partnerships with them, that was big. Is there any other partnership that you can think of that helps?

David: Yeah, government partnerships. The New Zealand government, we’re partners with the New Zealand government. They have something called the Prime Minister’s Scholarship where they fully fund dozens of students every year to do our program. And we’re seeing more governments around the world wanting to replicate that.

Andrew: So you go to the governments or the governments come . . . how do you get that relationship?

David: They actually approached us, but now we want to approach other governments leveraging them just like with universities, we’re partners with some really first class universities around the world. It’s always easier to get more universities once you’ve got a couple of good names.

Andrew: You know what, David? I was trying to get a sense of like what your content marketing is like. Do you actually create a lot of content that brings people into your site? I can’t tell.

David: We do. We do to our blog.

Andrew: So the blog then is when people are looking for international internships, that brings traffic to you, gives you credibility. And then if they’re a government, they might partner up with you, a school, they might partner up with you and students sign up.

David: Yes.

Andrew: Those first students who signed up because they wanted to be a part of FIFA, you still collected their contact information. I think you had 14 positions, 100 plus applicants, right?

David: Yeah.

Andrew: So 86+ people didn’t get the job. Did you then use that list as a way of bringing another partnership?

David: Not at that time but in the future we did. We were able to do Facebook ads, which were brilliant at the time, sort of look like audiences, things like that.

Andrew: If you get, not 100, but if you get a few thousand people you can start looking for people who would like them and Facebook was . . .

David: Yeah, it was brilliant, Facebook ads, four years ago were spectacular.

Andrew: Why do you guys have a Skype link on the bottom of your site?

David: That’s just to speak with our admissions team.

Andrew: ou have a team of people who man Skype?

David: We do, it’s our admissions team. We have about 10 full-time people who are 24/5 interviewing students from around the world for our program. And they’re still doing it via Skype.

Andrew: So if somebody wants to . . . I got it. okay. I’m with you on that. All right.

Let’s talk about looks. Actually, let’s talk about the thing that I mentioned, is more business relevant from looks. You are very good at communicating yourself, your message and your company’s message to the press. Where did you learn that? How did you get good at that? I’m looking here. Yeah, I know I saw it. It’s weird that now you can see what I’m doing. Usually, I would just do this and the guest wouldn’t see it.

But if I go to the press section of your site, it’s just endless scrolling. Right?

David: Yeah.

Andrew: I guess developers call this lazy loading, it just will keep on loading all the time. This is not happenstance.

David: To answer your question, I think quite a bit of it was just naturally, I’m decent at communicating. But I think the most relevant thing is again it’s that idea of domino, after having had a couple of media presences, got experience doing that and then felt much less nervous. The first ever time I was in front of the camera I cringe when I look at it now, because I was so painfully awkward and embarrassing. And that I think is the same for anyone. But once you get used to it, once you feel comfortable, then you improve naturally.

Andrew: Yeah, I got my first one. I even did media training. Media training is good. They show you how to get your message clearly across to people, how to redirect when the question isn’t what you want. They do a lot of that. What they don’t do is, get you comfortable in front of the camera because they don’t put you in front of the camera enough and they put you in front of the camera with polished people, so you always feel inferior.

I actually think going to the worst podcaster imaginable is a really good part of media training because you feel superior, which brings you out as a conversationalist and then you do it a few times, you realize, “Okay, the next one who’s really good, your mind does it know that you’re switching to someone who’s really good.” You just go with what you’ve been trained to do.

David: No, I didn’t do any media training.

Andrew: You didn’t do media training at all?

David: No.

Andrew: I highly recommend it. I don’t know that you need it. But still, you didn’t do any media outreach this USA Weekly . . . I don’t know what USA Weekly is. But this Forbes article was not you going to the writer who might be a friend and asking him to write about you. “The Wall Street Journal” article is, where did this come from?

David: So being completely transparent, the first six years of our existence we never had a PR company or anything. So things like the Financial Times, CNN, that was actually my outreach, personal outreach.

Andrew: Talk to me about how you did it. Now, it’s the PR agency who’s doing it.

David: Sure. And now in the last couple of years we have a PR agency.

Andrew: Tell me how you did that.

David: So I from an early stage thought, “How can I get the word out about my business?” Because, I mean, education is all about credibility and trust. How can you demonstrate credibility and trust? Well, big press names still have a level of trust and credibility, the likes of Financial Times, the likes of CNN. So I was thinking, “How can we get featured in something like this in a bootstrapped way?” And Start-Up Chile was an opportunity. I thought, “Hey, this is an interesting idea. Here is a story about a government, South American government, sounds exotic, giving away $40,000, and just saying all you have to do is live in the South American exotic paradise. Why don’t I try and call a few journalists saying, ‘Exotic South American government looking to fund no-track record entrepreneurs.'”

And I had a friend working in the press, who just like people who work in the press have, they have databases of lots of journalists and I called about 30 of the biggest name newspapers.

Andrew: Dialed.

David: Dialed.

Andrew: And it wasn’t my company.

David: No.

Andrew: It was, “Chile is doing this interesting thing. I want to tell you about it as someone who’s a part of it.”

David: 100%, and I knew, and even now, I knew that the chances of a journalist just wanting to do a story about my, at that stage, zero education company was extremely unexciting. However, this is an interesting story.

Andrew: This is . . .

David: That’s the one. That’s the one.

Andrew: This is the one.

David: That’s the one. It was the back page of the FT.

Andrew: Let me help people who are listening.

David: Sure.

Andrew: I went to the Internet Wayback Machine, and I found your old press page, and sure enough, in the beginning the articles, the brands of the publications you were in were featured higher on your site, I think, than they are today. And yes, I immediately went to this Financial Times article, and this was on the back page of the Financial Times?

David: Yeah.

Andrew: And this is you calling the Financial Times, just randomly, coldly.

David: Exactly, I cold called about 30 of the biggest press in the UK. And my journalist friends, who said, “Hey, the chance of you getting featured in anything is really small. So you should just call all of the ones that you’d love to be featured in and if you get featured, amazing. But it’s going to be quite a crapshoot.” And a bit of luck came off, the one that I most wanted to be featured in was the first ever time I tried. It was beginner’s luck.

Andrew: Did this help you get customers?

David: You know what? I don’t believe . . . It did help us to get customers.

Andrew: But not in the sense that people saw you, called you and said, “I need an internship for my kid.”

David: Exactly. I think it helped us get customers, and precisely what I wanted it from the beginning, which was credibility. So people who were interested in our program, people who were interested in doing an internship abroad thought, “Who are these people? How do I know it’s not a scam?” It’s a question we still get asked a lot, “Are you a scam?” Now we don’t get asked that very much. Why? Because people can look through and see we’ve been featured relentlessly by credible people.

Andrew: Yes. And I’ve got to say, we put down the media in many ways. Here’s where, I mean, I don’t know the Financial Times process much but there’s some top sites and news sources like CNBC. If I interview a guest for CNBC and I ask them before the interview, “Do you have this? Can I confirm that?” And so on, they’ll say, “Yes.” And if they were in CNBC, and the reason I could tell when they were on CNBC is, they have the data fast, they may not show me all of it but they have it fast because CNBC demands that they show it to them, to their producers privately.

The Financial Times didn’t have to verify any of your data, they just had to confirm that you were in Start-Up Chile.

David: Yeah, exactly. But they did, precisely, as you’re saying, the CNBC . . .

Andrew: They called NBC.

David: They did things, they were calling up Start-Up Chile, checking that I wasn’t some charlatan, exactly.

Andrew: Right. That is invaluable.

David: Because they’re trying to be quality journalism.

Andrew: So I do a little bit of that. I would love to do more. I would love to just have a full time person whose whole job is to make sure you are in Start-Up Chile for example. Now, I know because what I do as a shortcut is, I partner with someone like Nathan. You call him Nate?

David: Yeah.

Andrew: I still can’t picture him as a Nate. But does he look like a 14 year old, or a 20? He looks like he’s 22.

David: I mean, I think that’s a very favorable photo he’s still using many years later.

Andrew: You know, when I saw him on video I go, “This guy is a venture capitalist?” I think he grew a little bit of a beard to look older.

David: He’s using a photo shamelessly. He looks about 10 years old.

Andrew: He might need to take a new photo. All right. Okay. That does actually then change the way that I see him. I wonder if that helps him that he’s younger. I think it would help him if he was older. I wasn’t sure about him either. I wasn’t sure because he did look like he was a guy who was just starting a new internet company, you know?

Okay, so I see how you got in here. This is brilliant. And here’s what you did that took me a long time to appreciate. Most people think, “I started this new company. It’s going to change the world. It already has some traction and customers. So the media should cover me.” The media doesn’t give a rat’s ass.

David: Completely not.

Andrew: But there’s a broader trend. I’m a part of that broader trend. I could illuminate the broader trend, don’t even feel like you have to use me. That’s big. There this big thing going on. Don’t even feel like you have . . . I’m just going to tell you about it, in your case the big thing going on is Start-Up Chile.

David: Spot on. And I later learned journalists call that approach tagging.

Andrew: Tagging on to? Like whatever is big, tag onto that?

David: Exactly, or at least in the UK they call it tagging. That to me was kind of common sense. I thought, “Who is going to be interested in an internship abroad company?” Not that exciting. What is exciting is exotic South American country giving $40,000 to random people with no track record.

Andrew: I feel like I’ve learned a lot from this conversation. I told you that, you said, “Andrew, how do I . . . How do I . . . ” What’s a win for your audience? And I told you, “Don’t preach at us, just tell us your story and we’re going to learn the message from it.”

So here are a couple of messages that I got. You tell me if I missed anything that’s important. Number one, we should always be looking for who has our customers. For Talkspace, you happen to have their potential customers partnering up with you is better than going out for another Facebook ad that would bring just one person.

For you, partnering up with universities and now government, they’ve got your people much better to partner with them, gives you credibility, let them do the marketing. Number one.

The second thing is, if you’re going to promote yourself, don’t be afraid to call up a bunch of journalists, out of the blue. Better, by the way, than just sending mass e-mails, and too many people send mass e-mails. Oh, there’s just one PR person. She totally screwed up. She sent me and a bunch of other journalists. She forgot to BCC us the way the dopey PR people did. She did even dopier. She put us all in the “To” line by accident. It was great.

So it’s okay to do one-on-one, but tag onto something bigger, a bigger movement, a bigger story. If you’re just even illuminating it and you get mentioned as a person who did some part of it, it’s enough. But maybe there’s a chance you get something bigger, like you got, which is the big article basically about you.

What else? Give me one other takeaway that I should get from your story?

David: First of all, just a detail on that second one. Be prepared to be offended by journalists. I can’t tell you how many times I got told to F off or in politer language from journalists. You have a thin skin, just give up.

Andrew: And they will just say fuck off.

David: Exactly. They will.

Andrew: Just leave me alone, why are you calling?

David: Weird story. I’m on a deadline, “Where did you get my number from?” Something like that. If you’re not prepared to take a bit of abuse, then, yeah, probably . . .

Andrew: Yeah, I could see being hurt by that and saying, “That means, I’m never going to get the Financial Times again. The guy just told me to screw off.” Got it.

All right. Any other, like one last thing that you would tell yourself?

David: Third thing I would say is, we’ve grown the company always thinking about things such as talent is global. It’s not just location in extremely high cost areas. So quite similar to what you’re saying about Toptal. We found incredibly talented people all over the world, often in far cheaper locations than London. And I think nowadays, technology enables you to grow amazing global companies without just paying extreme high costs just because you want the comfort of seeing somebody next to you in a high cost location office.

Andrew: Yeah. I also find that it sucks for time zones. That’s the one problem.

David: Yeah.

Andrew: You’re lucky, Chile is in a really good time zone. It’s an hour ahead of New York.

David: Correct.

Andrew: Which means that you’re closer to Europe. It also means that you’re awake before people in New York get to work and before people in California get to work, gives you a big advantage.

David: Chile is a brilliant place for doing business with the U.S. Absolutely brilliant place.

Andrew: Yeah, I agree. I found the same thing about Argentina too. I also like how proper people are. For some reason you must have gotten in here . . . were you escorted in here?

David: No. I certainly wasn’t.

Andrew: Yes, that was kind of weird. But everyone else was escorted in here. I have an issue they don’t just say, “Yeah, you can get water upstairs.” They’ll take care of you. I see people walking around in business suits, even in the heat. I like that proper work environment because it means I’m going to be taken care of. I want other people to take care of this stuff that I need in order to suffer through my work to get to my art. It’s not even art. It’s just like, it does take work. I had to work night to just prepare. I had to do a lot. I don’t want to have to do anything else.

I love it. I loved in Argentina. I’ll give you an example. The internet went out in Argentina. They didn’t say, “Andrew, it’s going to come back up.” The way they freaking did in Washington D.C. when I was there, the same company I rented from. The woman said, “There’s another office that we work with, Andrew. I called ahead because I know that’s important to you. I called ahead and told them to expect you. I know that you don’t speak Spanish very well, Here’s a post-it note with what you should tell the cab driver to go over there.” I go over there. They had the whole thing set up for me. That’s . . . right?

David: Brilliant.

Andrew: That’s what we’re talking about. If you’re thinking about South America and the old like stereotypical way, you’re totally missing out on what South America is like. There are more proper than America.

David: Completely.

Andrew: Right? Okay. The website is, the reason I put it in the intro for you, it didn’t just say Intern Group, it’s the interngroup.com. That is the website, for anyone who wants to go check it out. I highly recommend people go check out your press section, because I think you’ve done a brilliant job with that press section.

David: Thank you. It’s good to hear it from somebody who knows.

Andrew: It helps a lot. It helps a lot. And I want to thank the two sponsors who made this interview happen. The first will host your website right. It’s called HostGator. Check them out at hostgator.com/mixergy. Don’t overthink things, if you have a simple idea, just put it on WordPress and then you could build from there. The nice thing about HostGator is they’re super cheap, we’re talking like a few bucks a month. So most people would then say, “Oh, this is maybe not right for me. I have a bigger . . . ” They will scale up with you. They just lead with a cheap price and then they’ll scale up with you. So go to hostgator.com/mixergy to sign up with them. If you need to hire developers do what so many entrepreneurs do, you’re probably going to do it.

David: Yeah, I’m going to look this afternoon.?

Andrew: Yeah. I’m not even saying go sign up, I’m saying go look at it. Go do the research, include them. There’s nothing like Toptal. Everyone else will place your ad somewhere else or help you cull through all your resumes. That’s not what Toptal is. Toptal will get you on with a developer super-fast and one who will blow your freaking mind. Or don’t sign up with them. If they don’t blow your mind, don’t go for it. Check them out if you want to experience them at toptal.com/mixergy.

And finally, I’m running. I feel like everyone now knows I’m running a marathon. Most people will just go quietly run the freaking marathon. I’m like, “I got a website. I have a marathon. I’ve got a website.” If you want to go see it, yes, it’s hosted on HostGator. And it does make it more of a thing. If you want to go see it and follow along as I travel the world and run marathons on every continent, go to runwithandrew.com.

All right. For a guy who’s feeling under the weather, you did great.

David: Good. Thank you. Are we still recording?

Andrew: We are still recording. Do you want to throw up? It would kill . . . If you threw up right now on camera, think about how many people would watch it.

David: I’ll try and avoid that.

Andrew: All right. Okay. Thank you so much for doing this.

David: Thank you very much.

Andrew: We’re going to hit stop.

David: Cheers.

Andrew: Okay. Cheers, I mean, cheers.

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

x