Kayak founder sets sights on solving podcast discovery

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Today’s guest sold his company for $2,000,000,000. But he didn’t stop after the exit. He went on to build several other companies including Lola and Moonbeam. I want to find out how he did it.

Joining me is Paul English, the founder of Kayak, the online travel agency and metasearch engine.

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Paul English

Paul English

Kayak

Paul English is the founder of Kayak, an online travel agency and metasearch engine.

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Full Interview Transcript

Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy, where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses. Everybody knows today’s guest kind of for founding kayak, the search engine that lets the, lets us get a good deal on travel. He founded it. He sold it to Priceline.

what we should know you for Paul. I should introduce him as Paul English. We should know you as the founder that you know what I keep hearing about you though. You’re the guy who drove an Uber through Boston.

Paul: Yeah, that is true.

Andrew: I don’t know why you did it. I don’t know what you got out of it, but I do know that that’s the thing that stuck in my mind about you before I even said, oh, I get to interview the guy from kayak.

I said, I get to interview the guy who I read about going in the Uber, then giving people a ride. Anyway, we’re going to find out about kayak launches. We’re going to find out in this interview about how he followed it up with a company called Lola. I’ve been super fascinated by this other company created called get human, which allows, you know how when you call a company, you have to wait on hold forever.

And then when they’re ready to take your call, that’s when you get to talk to them. Well, get human allows you to bypass all that I invested in a competitor. Paul, I’ll be honest with you. I don’t think it did well. I wonder how get human did, and I wonder if, if there’s software solution to this problem. So we’ll talk about that in this interview.

And we’ll talk about Moonbeam Paul’s new app to help us discover podcasts. And as a podcaster, I need this. It’s really hard to get listeners. The hardest part of podcasting is not the mic. It’s not having the guts to ask questions. The hardest part is getting listeners. We’re going to talk about that and so much more in this interview.

Thanks to two phenomenal sponsors. The first will host your website, right? Your host, my site, it’s called HostGator. The second well, we’ll help you grow your traffic to your website. It’s called SEMrush, but first Paul, good to have you here.

Paul: Yeah. Great to meet you, Andrew. Thank you.

Andrew: curious about a bunch of things with you, but maybe we could take it to a happy day. The day that you sold kayak. Was that the happy day for you where you, like you said, we

did

Paul: that’s, yeah, that certainly was a big day for us. We started the company in 2004. We took it public in 2012 and then sold it.

in 2013. Um, certainly taking it public and selling. It were big milestones, but there were other big milestones along the way as well. Like for example, one of my favorites is one day and I forget what year this was, but if You go to Google, you just type the letter K and nothing else.

The first thing that shows up as kayak, and that’s when we got to a certain level of popularity that we became those popular thing on Google that started with letter K. I thought that was like super, super cool, but we had a lot of really fun miles songs along the way. I think, um, you know, I think now this may be a hundred million people that downloaded the kayak app for Android or iPhone.

And that certainly was an exciting milestone.

Andrew: were you the most successful, uh, travel app for a while there in the app store?

Paul: yes. Yes.

Andrew: Yeah. The one that had the nice polished, the one that was featured, the one that was most downloaded. maybe we can go back and understand how you got here. Your very first business I read on Wikipedia was a game that you created on your home computer as a kid. What was the game?

Paul: The game was called Cupid and it’s really, I taught myself to program was on a Commodore computer and it came with a little manual explaining basic. And so my first app was in basic language. I’ve been, went to assembly after that, when I wanted to have more control, but it was a game that, um, Cupid would shoot arrows and you would try to escape the arrows and collect all the hearts on the screen.

And I’m a former musician. I used to be a pretty serious musician in high school and in college. And I was particularly proud of the sound effects I did all the sounds, myself and the music and the graphics. And it was a really fun game?

I sold it for $25,000 plus a dollar royalty per cartridge sold. And that was, uh, I think I was like 16 years old when I sold that.

So that was, that was actually a really huge hit for me.

Andrew: Did you get the 25,000.

Paul: sadly the company that I sold it to went out of business right after we sold it. So all they ever sent me was $5,000 down payment, but it was enough for me to buy a really sick software and hardware development studio from my house.

Andrew: And what’d you make with that?

Paul: I built, I bought a computer that was called an apple two, plus it had 48 K of Ram and had floppy drives. And I bought a prom burner, like a little oven, so I could bake my own crumbs proms. And then from there I could develop video games for other systems, because keep in mind, back in the eighties, all the video games came in cartridges.

You had to plug into a, to a, something like the Atari VCs, et cetera. And so I built a system for that and I actually have a brother I’m one of seven, only one sibling is in the tech industry, my brother ed. And he actually is a pretty famous programmer in the 1980s. His big game was Frogger for the entire platform.

Andrew: I remember Frogger it’s. Uh, it’s legend. What was it like to have Frogger in the family?

Paul: It was pretty cool. I mean, when he was developing it, it wasn’t famous yet. So I was like, kind of doing QA for him during the development, but once it got released, I think he sold, he was working for Parker brothers, and I think they sold 4 million cartridges the first year, which is a pretty big hit, um, back in the eighties. And it was awesome.

Andrew: trying to understand with you, Paul, why did you do that? Why did you decide that you wanted to create cartridges? Why did you make your first game? Was it to be like your brother or were you just a constant tinker? I’m trying to get a sense of who you were before the stakes meant anything.

Paul: I just, um, you know, I, again, I was a pretty serious musician and then when I learned programming, I fell in love with programming. There’s the whole idea of you can take something from concept to customer really rapidly. That was exciting. And I couldn’t imagine any other. Hobby or industry where you could do that.

So like, if I couldn’t make money in engineering in software, I think I would pay money, like to go to camps or program on the weekends for people. It’s just like, it’s that fun for me? So for each app that I developed in high school and beyond it was about designing something and getting at the hands of users and seeing what they thought about it.

And I love that cycle

Andrew: I get that. It is, you’re saying you’d be like those people who are in baseball camps as 50 year old men, where they just want to get to play baseball and they’re playing, they’re playing it and they’re paying for the right to play it. You would be that in love with development.

Paul: a hundred percent.

Andrew: Yeah. Um, do you have any hobbies outside of this outside of software creation?

Paul: I mean, I love travel. So pre COVID, I traveled about a hundred thousand miles a year. So I traveled typically like the last 10 years, a couple of times a month, like one time for maybe a week and another time for a weekend or long weekend. So I’m obsessed with travel and meeting people in different cultures.

I like going to places like Tokyo and Nairobi and just, um, I don’t know, just excited to meet people in different countries and cultures, I guess. That’s my number one hobby. And then I like reading and then recently, and, uh, I’ve never been listening to podcasts for, it seems like 10 years, but really been interested in podcasts in the last year or two, which led to the creative creation of moon beam.

So I guess those are my hobbies, travel reading. I mean, working out meditation and podcasts.

Andrew: I’m addicted to podcasts too. I walk around the house with them on. I love that I could play them on my speakers all over the house. When you do it. I remember talking to the founder of Gimlet and asking why do people listen to podcasts? And he told me that one of the reasons was they just liked to have companies.

Some people do it for education, some for entertainment, others for company. I get that. I hate silence when you do it. Why do you listen to podcasts?

Paul: it’s mostly for education. I have this weakness that if I’m sitting somewhere and doing nothing, I feel like I’m, I feel guilty doing nothing. Like I’m not learning. I used to feel so pre COVID. I almost never watched TV, maybe like a couple of hours a month, because I felt like if I watched something on TV at the end of that hour or two hours, that I just wasted two hours of my life that I would want back on my death bed.

Um, And for me, you know, like when I’m driving, I like listening to podcasts?

so I can be learning something

Andrew: I do too. I don’t want to undersell the importance of learning through podcasts. It’s just like this. And beyond education, I learned about NFTs on a podcast. Um, the problem then I’m surprised that you didn’t tackle was how do you remember and take notes with, with podcasts and with audio books? Do you have that issue?

That’s why that’s one of my big challenges that the host will say something and I’ll think I should go back and write what she sat down and I never do, and I never follow up or rarely do. And it’s problem for me.

Paul: yeah. One of the things we have done in the Moonbeam map is make it really easy for people to create clips of a podcast and to share that. So sometimes you might listen to an hour long show and maybe the show’s amazing, but the might be something poignant that happens. Eight minutes and 30 seconds in that’s like, whoa, that’s the story that I’m excited about.

I want to tell my friends about that. So we make it easy to do that, to share at the point you’re listening and, um, yeah, I guess that’s, that’s the way we do it in Moonbeam. Anyway.

Andrew: I see you’re saying, if you’re going to do notes anyway, then you might as well turn them into a shareable piece of content so that you can share it with other people notes in your notebook. Aren’t as helpful as notes shared with, with other people. I get that, you know what? I don’t get Paul, you got a full-time business, Lola, this app that I would have in anyone, in anyone else’s hands might’ve died, right?

It, it had to do with, uh, travel at a time when travel was shut down, Lola, then pivoted, I don’t know if you always thought that you were going to do it, but you transitioned into allowing CFOs to control the spending within their companies. That’s a full-time gig. What are you doing? Creating Moonbeam on the side and solving this podcast, or problem of discovery and sharing.

Paul: yeah. I’ve always, um, I started tweet yesterday that, um, I’m embarrassed. I’m forgetting who put this out there, but that they don’t respect people who don’t have side projects. And I know that when I recruit people to join my team at low, uh, I do ask them about side products. I want to make sure that people are passionate enough about things and ideas and action oriented enough that they do something with some of their ideas.

And so for me, like get human that You mentioned earlier that was created as a side project while I was at kayak. And I think get human now has served over 200 million people information about customer service and getting around the evil IVR is. And so for me, Moonbeam, it’s one of these things where I can’t let go of the fact that I love podcasts and I find the apple player and Spotify to be really sub-par.

So it, Spotify and apple doesn’t solve. What’s important to me in podcasting, which is one I want to figure out how can I discover the next great show? And too, if I really like a show, how can I reach through my phone and connect to that podcast? Host, what’s the relationship between the listener and the host?

Like, how does the host know at the end of the show, weren’t proud of the show. Did your fans like, uh, what part of the show did they share when, you know, when did they get inspired? How do you communicate with them? Can you email them? So I’m trying to do discovery and then relationship between hosts and listener.

Andrew: You know what Sam part of the hustle will say go into this new Facebook group that we’ve created. I see how active it is, but it’s still another place to go. And it’s a part from what I’m doing at the moment. And I’ve got to now go back in and find the conversation around this latest episode, around the episode that I’m listening to.

That’s two weeks old. And that just doesn’t, that doesn’t work for me. I agree with you on that. I’ve seen some hosts say, send me a message on Twitter. I’ve said email me. My email address is open andrew@mixergy.com. I do feel that that part has not yet been solved. I agree with you on that. I think Spotify though is getting better at discovery.

They’re watching what I’m listening to. They’re watching what other people like me are listening to. And it’s making these aggressive recommendations. And I say aggressive because it’s no longer recommending music to me anymore now because I listen to podcasts on there. They’re just bombarding me with podcasts and I haven’t discovered music in a long time with them.

What do you think about their methodology?

Paul: I like Spotify, Spotify as a music app. I like discover weekly. I think the two greatest machine learning platforms out there right now are Spotify music discover weekly and tic talk for video and tech talk in particular has been really inspirational to me because the first time you use tech talk for the first week, you see people doing dancing videos or whatever, which is like, great, but the more you use Tik talk, it really nails your interest.

And so for me, tick-tock discovered pretty quickly that I liked dogs. And so it shows me all these amazing, hilarious and poignant videos about dogs and dogs and kids, which I think are amazing. Cause my kids each have dogs. And um, what we’re trying to do with Moonbeam is just like tick tock, tick tock has a user interface, which is designed to guide the machine learning.

So there are certain activities you can do, right on the tick-tock screen. You can share, you can comment, you can mark something as a favorite. You can listen to it twice in a row. You may be listening to something. You watch a video all the way through. Maybe just swipe up and ignore it. And we’re trying to do the same intentional interaction with Moonbeam so that as you listen to the show, if you don’t like it, just swipe up, swipe up, swipe up, we’re going to watch what you don’t like.

And we’re going to watch which things do you listen to all the way through and which ones you interact with. And based on that, our machine learning machine learning is going to predict another episode or another show that you might like. I mean, for me again, Spotify is a great music app. I don’t like mixing my music app with my, um, with my podcasts app.

It’s just like, I, listen, I use audible for books and I’m like having audible as a separate app that does nothing but books on tape. So I want to have my books app. I want to have my video app. My Twitter app. Like I like an app for each reason. And I don’t like mixing, for example. I actually don’t like stories when I like Instagram for what it was created for.

I hate all the stories at the top. Cause it takes me away from what I’m trying to do is just scroll through and see photos of friends and people who inspire me. And I guess I just don’t like mixing media.

Andrew: I think I’m discovering the problem with mixing media. I see why it’s great for Spotify because it shifts me away from music that they have to pay for to podcasts that they don’t have to pay for. And so it’s great for their business model. I’m finding that it’s not wonderful for my experience. The only thing that I do like about Spotify, I like their discovery.

So it’s, it’s helpful. The thing that I. That I can’t live without is the ability to broadcast from my phone or my watch to any speaker in my house. And that is just magic. I’m in a room. And I listening to my earphones while just broadcast it out to the speaker. I’m about to get out of the house and go pick up the kids from somewhere or go for a run it’s on the speaker, put it back in my earphones, that kind of like that smoothness.

They nailed for all for music. And it’s great for podcasts listening.

Paul: Yeah.

I love that. I mean, I use Sonos in my house, but my car is set up for Bluetooth. As most people are these days, I’m actually intrigued. By the way. Have you seen the Spotify device? They’re coming out with the car?

Andrew: Put my name on the wait list on that. I don’t know why I would need it, but I’m curious you too, right?

Paul: It looks wild. I mean, I don’t think I will need it either. Cause my iPhone works just fine in my car, but I’m still intrigued at they’re trying this experiment that I’m going to check it out.

Andrew: Yeah. That’s the only reason that I signed up. I said, let’s just see what can they create? And I do listen to music and podcasts that I drive all the time. So you don’t find yourself, Paul, like now with your attention, instead of being focused on Lola, thinking about this, instead of saying, what can I do to improve my customers’ lives?

Thinking about how can I figure out this podcasting thing? Isn’t it a diversion?

Paul: well, I mean, a lot of people have hobbies, right. And they’re able to successfully do their day job and then do their hobbies. Right? Like some people might be a college professor, but then, and maybe she takes that job very seriously. But at the weekends she might want to play golf. And I don’t think if a professor wants to play golf, that that takes away from her teaching.

And for me, one of my hobbies is, does software design. So if I work really hard at Lola and I do work, I don’t work crazy hours, but I do think about, well the seven days a week, and I do work a little bit. If an idea hits me night of the weekend, I’ll write something up and fire off an email to the people I work most closely with at Lola.

But that being said, I think it’s healthy for you, but I Have hobbies. My hobby just happens to be software design. So it’s not unusual for me to design an app on the side. And I don’t think that it has a conflict at all. I think there’s things I can learn about podcasts apps. So that’s going to help me with Lola.

Andrew: Have you found that with good humor? Get human is, um, I think at its core would get human. Does is it says here’s the phone number for chase and here’s what you have to press to get a human being a chase. And then of course, if you want, I think you also partnered up with someone that if I don’t want to wait on hold, get human will basically call up and wait on hold for me, my right in, summing it up.

Paul: Yeah, you can, you can have get human, make the phone call for you and resolve the issue. If you want to pay a, get human human will do the work for you. You can also do things like we have a patent at get human on. We’re calling chase bank all the time, all day long as someone calls us and says, I want to talk to chest chase bank.

Guess what? Our robot has already been on hold with them for 10 minutes. So we let you in 10 minutes, if no one uses get human to call, chase and chase answers the phone I’ve robot just hangs up immediately. But we’re doing a lot to try to minimize your time on hold and also to avoid the evil IVR integrated voice response system, press one for this press two, for that Those systems are incredibly

Andrew: Those are the words, they’re the worst, because they’re outdated at this point, we all hate them. They’re so outdated. I would much, especially the ones that say, well, if you press this button, we’ll call you back. Well, why didn’t you just do this ahead of time? I think the future has got to be somewhere where I want to talk to a person.

If they don’t have someone available right now. And I have to wait in line, let me do it by text message. Before I come through, let me do it somehow on my phone. Not by dialing in

Paul: Yeah. The real solution, Andrew, it’s going to require participation by apple and Google to do this correctly, but you want to do voice and data as one call. What you want to do is call chase on your iPhone and then instead of an IVR, talking to you and talking really slowly. If you’re looking at this and information about COVID and glob, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Instead of that, you call chase on your iPhone. Why not show me menu right.

there? My iPhone, I can read quicker than I can listen. And I chose click, click, click, click, click, click, hit, button, something iPhone. And then when a human, I need to talk to human, the human comes in line. I can talk to them. So we need as an integration between rich user interface experience, which is works very well and voice when you need voice.

But IVR is in name

Andrew: It’s

Paul: not exist.

Andrew: I feel like it’s them saying we don’t care about customer service enough to care about this. We don’t care enough about customer service to spend money on it. Let them wait. It’s better for us.

Paul: yeah, it makes me crazy. I mean, I’m particularly shocked That with your own phone company, like I paid Verizon a hundred bucks a month, I’m paying a phone company a hundred dollars a month yet. I can’t get them on the phone. It just seems insane.

Andrew: That’s why I’m sticking with T-Mobile. I can get them on the phone and text messages and the works. Otherwise their service is not that great compared to Verizon, but they’ll talk to me, I’m willing to do it. Um, and then there’ll be open with me when there’s a problem. So do you have an example of something that you learned to get human, that you were able to bring back to kayak to Lola, to your full-time business?

Paul: Yeah, sure. So get human. Um, we became really obsessed with trying to understand why are people calling Verizon? Like what, when they’re upset, what are they upset at and how do you provide service and what is good servicing? What is bad service? And we took a lot of those lessons that kayak about why are people calling kayak and why are they upset at kayak?

And how can we solve those issues? So they don’t have to wait on hold at kayak. And so we had this religion where I had a, um, it’s red phone. It looked like a bat phone with a mechanical ringer that sat on my desk at kayak. We had an open office. And I published the phone number to the phone on my desk on cogs website.

If you just went to kayak and you clicked help our contact, and we didn’t show it a hundred percent of the time, because we had literally millions of people, days at kayak, but we showed it enough that I would get 10 or 12 calls a day and people would, um, sometimes get very upset. And I liked talking to them because for every one person that called us is probably a hundred or a thousand people at the same problem, but they didn’t bother to call.

So I actually think talking to people is really useful.

Andrew: I heard you ask the engineers to take turns answering that red phone so that they would get the same experience.

Paul: yeah, and some engineers are better at it than others. Um, I used to have The saying it kayak I’ve seen in prior tech companies, people would make fun of quote unquote, stupid customers. Like you won’t believe what this customer said to me today. And I used to always say at kayak, kayak has no stupid costumers.

Maybe Expedia has stupid customers, but kayak does not conduct might have customers that are not technical. And maybe they’re confused. Maybe they’re busy trying to do 10 things at once. But if we lift up our game and say, we’re going to make our software easy, even for those customers, then it works really well for the customers who happen to be tech savvy.

Andrew: The original idea was to create a search engine for a kayak, a search engine for travel. I think, I don’t know if you used it internally or if it was an article that I read about you at launch that said it’s like Google for travel. Am I right?

Paul: we wanted to be a pure search engine. The leader at the time when we credit kayak was Expedia And they were a merchant, they would only show you stuff that they could sell it. Kayak. We don’t like the merchant model. We want it to be a pure search engine. We want to make sure we had every hotel on earth, like every flight, every airline in the low cost airlines.

And when you find the flight, you wanted the hotel you want on kayak, we would show you his five places. You can buy it. You click off to go to that site. And buy directly. And that model worked really well. So we became known for that. We had wider inventory than anyone else. There was no reason to go check prices on five websites because we had all those prices directly within kayak.

Andrew: And then you were making a commission from some of those sales, but not all of them. Right.

Paul: That’s Right.

Exactly.

Andrew: You have any issues with them, uh, being on your site in the early days.

Paul: in the first year or two, we just scraped websites without their permission and people ignored us because we were so small. And then we started growing really rapidly in year two. And we got to the point where I’m not going to name the airline, but there’s a big airline that we took down their website because.

For every search on kayak, we would blow that out too. I mean, a large number of searches. We wanted to get every possible combination and not ever an ECOG was buying. Some of them were just sort of shopping. They weren’t ready to buy, but just want to see what’s available. So there’s something in the industry called looked up a great show about how many books to get one book and kayak pushed that number, really high, like orders of magnitude higher than the airline skirts on websites.

At one point we took one of the airlines down their website down and, um, then they started getting pissed off at us and said, You, cannot scrape our website. So we started this process, which took years of developing API APIs and licensing technology. So we don’t have to hit their website for content, but we can get it through other mechanisms.

Andrew: You, uh, uh, I, I remember, uh, Amazon had that going on for them for a while, where they were getting scraped by other sites and they would have to put up barriers. I think for a long time, they said you can’t see the price until you put it in your shopping cart, that kind of thing. Anyone was that an issue for you too?

Yeah.

Paul: I mean, we had a couple of famous wars, one American airlines, um, refuse to pay us for leads we sent to them. So what we did is say fine, we won’t send anyone to American lens.com. We’ll show you a content and let people buy it on orbit or other sites. We’ll still put a on our website, American airlines didn’t like that.

And they got very aggressive and they were the 800 pound gorilla in the room. And they basically found a way to get almost exactly what they wanted from Cod. They did end up buying display ads from kayak, but they wouldn’t, they had a religion. They wouldn’t pay us for The lead, but they. Found ways to fund us with other mechanisms that in the end it was a win-win it worked for kayak and it worked for a slightly different model than we’d done with some of the other airlines.

Andrew: The deal part of the business. Wasn’t your side, your side of the business was how do I get the data that we need? How do I make the site work? Well, right.

Paul: Yeah. I was in charge of tech and design,

Andrew: Um, we talked a little bit about Amazon. Um, did you ever get to meet, uh, uh, Jeff bayzos back when Amazon was considering buying your previous company?

Paul: met him once at a Ted conference and he was pretty rude. A mutual friend introduced us and, um, bayzos wanted nothing to do with me. And he was, he was actually pretty rude at the time. I met some of the other executives at Amazon early on when I had an e-commerce company. Called Boston light. We ended up selling the company to Intuit, but we, the mission was we wanted to let any small business set up a storefront with as little work as possible.

And they could have an Amazon like experience on their website, just some random small business. And we went to Amazon and we said, so we want to give this ability for Amazon sellers as well to let them sell their own products on your website. So we’re going to create storefronts for anyone who wants on Amazon.

I ran into one of those executives, literally 10 years later. And he told me that part of the vision for my little company, Boston like informed them to what they ended up calling Z shops for letting merchants sell directly on Amazon. And now it’s a massive, massive business for them. We ultimately, Amazon was interested in acquiring my little company.

Ultimately we decided to go with Intuit because. I like the culture at Intuit and I like the values. That’s such a really, really good company. So that was a great experience for me. I served as VP technology for Intuit for almost four years after we sold our e-commerce company to them.

Andrew: It does seem like their philosophy is similar to yours, especially then the idea that they were going to get into the lives of their customers to understand what they were doing. Right. They were ahead of the curve on that.

Paul: Yeah. And, Intuit, I mean,

they’re great, great company. I mean, I worked mostly on QuickBooks and developing an online version of QuickBooks and letting people do invoice payment, QuickBooks, and e-commerce in QuickBooks. And I learned a lot from Scott Cook. He was kind of my mentor add into it. I actually had a few mentors at Intuit, but, um, Scott was incredible in terms of customer research.

He never let us sit. In the lab and pontificate, he always made us talk to customers and it was really a great way. I mean, a lot of engineers are introverts by nature. I think I’m a little introverted by nature. I’m probably a little bit on the spectrum. And, but getting that discipline that I learned at Intuit about talk to customers I’m with every conversation you will learn.

Something has really helped me in all my future businesses.

Andrew: Did he, have you talked to customers back then?

Paul: Okay. It was on the phone or, I mean, in the early days of Intuit Intuit’s first product was Quicken and they literally had the sink called the follow me home. This sounds really creepy way, but they would have Intuit employees go into a store.

Like, I don’t remember what the stores were back then?

I don’t think it was office Depot or staples.

Andrew: No, not staples

Paul: And when someone was buying Quicken, they would be wearing a shirt that said into it. And they would say, oh, I noticed you’re looking at Quicken. I actually am an engineer. I work for Quicken. I’d love to help you with this product.

And they literally would convince us customer to let the engineer go to the customer’s house and look at how they use quick. And I give them advice on it. And, um, again, that’s, it’s amazing. The tool was able to pull that off, but they train their engineers, how to interview people in stores. And two, it is really all about learn from the user in their context, because although into a head formal usability testing with, with a one way glass and it really good usability labs, what Intuit really likes doing is learning when you’re in the environment of the customer and the customer is being distracted and getting phone calls in the middle of using your product and two at one to see to what that looked like.

So I learned to learn about, I learned a lot about that when I was at into it.

Andrew: What’s the weirdest interaction that you had, or the it’s not weird, but what’s the most invasive way that you studied a customer with their permission.

Paul: This wasn’t invasive custom. But the thing that stands out is we were in a design meeting for QuickBooks, trying to decide how to do online invoicing. And we’re trying to build this network effect where, uh, invoice presentment, invoice payment could All happen within the Intuit framework. And we were pontificating about what this might look like and how credit cards would be processing, what the user interface would look like and having an account at Intuit.

Even if you were just a customer of a landscaper, making sure you had an account that you could pay anyone. And I remember we’re sitting around brainstorming and it felt like a really good meeting to me and Scott Cook was there and he had his arms folded. He was kind of looking down at the floor and you could tell he was getting upset.

The more and more we pontificated. And Scott said, and I don’t know if I’m exaggerating if he actually said this, but my memory is, he said, it’s interesting. What you guys think about? Can someone pick up a fucking phone and call a customer and ask them what they think. I was like, whoa. So that really taught me, you know, don’t spend too much time in the lab without getting a customer involved in the discussion.

Andrew: All right. Let me talk about my first sponsor. And then come back in here. I want to just make an observation about one of your previous companies. The, the first sponsor is SEMrush. You use SEMrush. How do you SEMrush Paul?

Paul: yeah. SEMrush. I didn’t know it was pronounced SEMrush. I thought it was SEM rush

Andrew: I used to be SCM rush. I mean, now they want to deemphasize the fact that they do. Yeah, they go more than just search engine marketing. Now they do social, they do ops. So search engine optimization and so on. So they want us to pronounce it SEMrush, but you’re right. I was pronouncing it in the early days of my ads for them just a few months ago as SCM rush, but SEMrush, how to use

Paul: Yeah. Okay. Okay. Well, not to overwhelm you and your audience. I have two passion projects right now. One of them.

is moon beam and another one is just a game site. It’s a game that I learned in graduate school. It’s the Chinese version of chess. And we have this website is  dot com. The game’s called Shanghai.

You can also get to the Chinese chess.com and we put a lot of energy into SEL. And I think when we started working on it a year ago, we were, I don’t know, number 30 or 40 in Google search results. We’re currently number three and we’re working the way up the stack to try to get to number two in the number one position.

And so we use a few tools to help us analyze us and our competitors on SEO and SEM. So SEMrush has a report that we use just a great asset versus our competitors.

Andrew: All right. If anyone out there wants to go and try it for themselves, all you have to do is go to SEM, rush.com/mixergy. Um, They’re going to let you use it for free it’s for a limited time, I know that we’ve run out of those free slots in the past. So just use it as fast as possible. semrush.com/mixergy.

Look at this Chinese chess. I had no idea until I researched you that this evening existed.

Paul: yeah, it’s an amazing game. I learned it in graduate school many years ago. It’s sort of a national game of China and in the U S maybe one out of 10 people plays chess. I mean, maybe more than that, since the big Netflix had came out, Queens gambit, um, last year, but in China, it’s like over half the people play chess.

I’ve seen estimates that 600 million people play the Chinese version of chess. It looks similar to the chest that you are probably familiar with. They actually both derive from an ancient Indian game called chaturanga, but, um, it’s different enough that it’s really intriguing. Like there’s no queen, there’s two advisers.

There’s an extra piece called a cannon. That jumps over catapults and lands on the victim. It it’s, it looks a little bit like chess. You have to one on the Chinese characters because it said a little figurines, the little disks with Chinese letters on them in a way it’s an amazing game, really, really fun game.

So

Andrew: Can I learn it on your site?

Paul: you can, yeah. We teach people how to play. If you just go to Chinese chess.com

Andrew: and

then you pair me up with another player to play kind of like chess.com does, right. Where it’s someone within my,

Paul: you can also play against the computer

Andrew: I want to learn how

Paul: and the dev team, that’s a project pretty disciplined with my time. And the Chinese project is something I work on every Saturday morning. So if your listeners log in east coast, time, 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM on Saturday mornings, I’ll be online and debugging the latest software.

We have new software that comes out every Friday. So that’s my Saturday morning passion.

Andrew: Okay. The side projects, how much of them is management versus creation.

Paul: The more creation.

and management.

Andrew: Okay. And do you have a team then working with

Paul: Yes,

Andrew: you do,

Paul: yes.

Andrew: it’s mostly you sitting down and debugging.

Paul: Yes I do. Is I give I’m more of the creative type than a management type. So I give ideas of what features we should build and what those features should look like and what the design should look like. And then I have someone who runs each one. So Moonbeam, for example, is run by this amazing CEO in Boulder, Colorado named Mike Chambers.

And he’s really running a day to day. Really. I would almost say seven days a week. He’s full-time Moonbeam. And I check in with him once or twice a week. I use the product incessantly. I use it all the time. So I’m sending him bug reports and then he manages the engineers.

Andrew: Yeah. All right. I want to make an observation, your company with, uh, Boston light software, which allowed, I guess you started out with the Boston globe, allowed them to sell their merge on their site. And then you developed into software that anyone can use to sell online. You called the Q shop. Amazon called the Z shop.

I wonder if that’s where they got the name, because I never understood where they got Z from. Why wouldn’t they call it a shop or something? You know what Z mean? It’s the random middle letter from their name. Right.

Paul: yeah, we, we called the KeyShot back then 1998, I think, or 1999 maybe. Um, and for us shop man quick shop, it also was fun as part of an, to it that Intuit for awhile did have a product called queue shop that my team built as cool that they had Quicken and QuickBooks and Q shop either. That was fun. Three

Andrew: Uh, finally makes sense. You know, there’s actually a business right now called the Q shop. I think what they allow people to do is sell on Instagram. Like they’re taking the idea, they’re just

Paul: What’s the website.

Andrew: Uh, it’s

like it’s a Nigerian top level domain. So it’s a Q a, here it is. Q

shop

dot N G. Yup. It exists Instagram to e-commerce launch your website and it says two months, but they cross out months and they turn it into two minutes using your Instagram photos.

No techie required. Try for free. just a really smooth idea. Isn’t it?

Paul: I’ll take a look at that.

Andrew: why did you not get scared coming into kayak of the possibility of Google coming in of this is a natural part of their business and it was already from the beginning mentioned.

Paul: My advice to Your listeners who want to start companies is if you’re really passionate about something and you think about it 24 seven. And you’re good at recruiting. You will out execute any company. I remember early on and kayaks first year, maybe we were a year old. I went to visit orbits in Chicago.

They were a big partner of ours because we were not a merchant of it’s was a merchant. In addition, let people buy at hotels, no lines. We had orbits as sort of a backstop that you could buy anything on kayak. You could also buy an over the, not everything, but most things. So I met with their CTO and I said, I want to understand more about your technology.

And I want to give you a demo of kayak. I remember asked him, how many engineers do you have? And he said he had a thousand. I had 20 engineers and I said, a thousand engineers, like, what do they all work on? It was shocking to me. I remember giving him a demo of kayak. And my second meeting with him was maybe a year after that.

And we were in orbits in one browser kayak and another browse. We searched for Boston, San Francisco. And not only was kayak dramatically faster, like answers. In five or eight seconds where Orvis took a minute, we actually showed orbits results before those was all shut up on orbits that’s mind blowing.

And the guy said, that’s technically impossible. He said, you just had an old cash. It’s an accurate, I said, yeah, watch this now click through 10 orbits results on Orbis collected the same 10 orbits, the first 10 orbits results on kayak. What you’ll see is we also have a lower rate than you because not only can we predict your results, we predict your error rate.

And I did it with a really small team And the reason we all executed them was we were really, really passionate. And my team worked really hard. Startups are hard, you know, I mean, if you want a comfortable job, Uh, you shouldn’t work at a startup startups, a hard starts a fun. And if the, if the founders are really great recruiters, you can work with some amazing people.

But our team at kayak just lived and breathed travel, and we innovated the much bigger companies. And I think people can do that against Google, against Facebook against any big company. If you’re truly passionate, you’re a good recruiter and you focus. I think you can out execute any big company.

Andrew: Your team came from the founding team Travelocity, um, from orbits, from Expedia. What was it that you, that you all saw that others hadn’t seen? What

was the opportunity to being inside showed you?

Paul: there’s a very funny story about that. So my co-founder Steve half and who is an extraordinary entrepreneur. He was one of the founders of orbits. So he and I started Cod together and he did the sales and marketing. I did all the technology and design now, early on, we said, we’re entering a crowded market.

The number one competitor spends a billion in internet advertising. We’re just a little company with $7 million in the bank. How can we compete? And I love recruiting. I’ve always focused on it. And so one of the things that Steve had early, as we said, let’s build the best board we possibly can. So people take notice and say, what is this little company cock doing?

How do they get these guys? So we got Greg sling dad who was the original CEO of Expedia. He was many as retired. We got, um, Terry Jones who was the original CEO of Travelocity, many as retired. And that got us noticed. Now, interestingly for the engineers, I see totally refuse to hire someone that’s ever worked in travel before, because I didn’t want my engineers to see the way it was done before, because I didn’t like the way travel was done before.

And one day I remember Terry Jones in a board meeting, I was presenting something about our new user interface and he hated it. And he said, this will never work. You know, we tried this at Travelocity people hated it. Why don’t you hire someone who works at Travelocity, it’s annoying you so many stupid designs.

And I said, I’ll hire someone, the Travelocity, as soon as I can find someone smart who work there, I just haven’t found such a person. Yeah.

Andrew: Said that about his company directly to the chairman or his old, his previous company. Um, why did the company sell, why did kayak, why did kayak sell? It was just months after the IPO.

Paul: Yeah. It was an, it was an unsolicited offer. And, um, it was a good financial outcome. The board were believers in Priceline stock and probably sign them was very aggressive coming after kayak. And they sold a dream about investing in kayak and what they wanted to make kayak become. And Steve was really excited about it.

He liked Jeff Boyd quite a bit, who was the CEO book of, uh, I said, almost said booking.com of Priceline at that point. And it turned out to be really good marriage. I opted out a year into it because I felt like I had been there, done that, done all the work for 10 years at Cod done all the design and I wanted to try something different.

Steve is still there today.

Andrew: I didn’t realize that. Wow. Um, the sale happened almost a decade ago. That’s huge in this space. Lola Lola. Uh, I found an old article. Here’s how they describe Lola just before the launch said, raise $19.7 million. And as of this writing near its launch, we’ll have travel agents create itineraries for consumers who will rate their experience from one to five.

Was that the original idea?

Paul: it was well, the original, original idea wasn’t even a travel company. It was to build a chat app. That let you chat with remote assistant who have access to your calendar, your contacts to credit cards and who could take tasks on for you. And when I pitched that to one of my investors, he said, that’s a brilliant idea?

but do do travel as a, for us vertical.

I never had intended to go back into travel again, but it completely made sense. And we very quickly learned that. Although leisure travelers would like having an assistant, the people who really need an assistant a business travelers, because if you’re late to Puerto Rico, you might be late to get on the beach one afternoon.

If your a flight is delayed, if you’re delayed in a business trip to Chicago, that flight delay might cancel your entire reason for the trip. So business travelers it’s really mission critical that they get placed on time and they do need humans to help them with that. So that was became the original execution plan for Lola was having humans available 24 by seven, that could help his travels with anything that they needed.

Um, since then, as you and I talked about briefly before we went live here, um, last year obviously was just awful for the travel industry and we did a major pivot. And now Lola is really a FinTech company. We focus on employees, spend management and travel with travel is where they spend the most amount of money.

But we’re looking at everything that an employee spends money on and helping the company manage that expense

Andrew: That’s like a brand new business. Right.

Paul: really.

Andrew: It’s and how was that? To turn it around? You have to figure out the new idea. You have to make, you have to start testing it if, to scrap the old one. What was it like internally to do that?

Paul: Change is hard. Humans do not like change. Um, I’m an almost from an evolutionary brain evolution standpoint, humans, like patterns are really good at pattern recognition and they like predictability and they like finding out what works and then sitting on that, you know, keep using that. Uh, but as entrepreneurs, the best entrepreneurs are people who can change and know when to change.

And then the thing, next thing you have to learn. If you’re a scrappy entrepreneur and you are open to learning from customers and learn when you need to change, you need to learn how to lead change. And leading change is its own discipline. And there’s a lot you need to do as a leader to get your company to shift direction and get them excited about it.

So there’s just constant communication, redundant communication, and slack and email on zoom in person. And you have to get people excited about why you’re making a change. And for us, the message is pretty simple to our team. So 2019 was a really rapid growth year for Lola for business travel. And the thing that?

caused us to be so successful is we started selling travel management to CFOs, And the CFOs loved Lola because we could allow them just by clicking a few buttons, set up some rules where like we can tell who flies business class, when, how much do people pay for a hotel in Chicago?

How much did they pay for a hotel in Miami? And, um, that was successful, but the better we got to know these CFOs, we realized that they look at travel, just one category of expense. So they, um, really, we began these conversations in 2019 about can we help them with the other categories of expense that they are trying to manage?

And that began the work for what we now call, spend management.

Andrew: And the way it works now is do you give you give employees a credit card? And a budget and rules. Right? And then the credit card is how you watch what the spending is compared to the, to the expectations. Right.

Paul: it’s not just credit card. We also do invoices and ACH payment. It’s literally, and we do plastic cards as well as virtual cards. What we’re trying to do is look at all the categories of spend. Like we want to take every penny in your company that the specs, whether it’s paying your SEMrush subscription fee monthly, or, um, organizing a caterer to come to your company for the next company meeting, it’s going to present you with an invoice.

Or buying something on Amazon or buying travel, or taking a customer up for meal, any penny of their spending. We want visibility into that and we want it tied to budgets. And if we do this correctly, we can completely eliminate expense reports because we’re capturing everything in real time. At the time you swipe a Lola card and alert, pops up on your iPhone or your Android phone, you attach it to a budget.

You take a picture of the receipt when you need to, which you usually don’t need to do that. And there’s no expense reports.

Andrew: Yeah, I didn’t realize how painful expense reports were until I started watching my wife go into this corporate environment where she was photocopying, taped on receipts at a major company

Paul: Terrible. It’s

Andrew: that was her time. And then she had to do the math in her head. Is it worth my time to go do this just for the money that I’m getting for it or not.

And then there’s all this politics involved in if you don’t do it. Um, I should say my second sponsor is HostGator. Let me ask you this. This is a question that my guests, my audience loves. If you, if you had nothing, you had to start over with nothing but hosting. Let’s say from HostGator, what’s a new business.

You would start today. Paul what’s one site that you could say I could put this up and we could get started and I’d be in business. It’s got to be some ideas

Paul: I certainly spent a lot of discussion recently about remote work. Um, now that we’ve proven that your workers could be anywhere in the world, what does that look like? Um, how do you work with remote employees? How you work with remote partners? I’ll tell you something that irritated me today that I want someone to create a company for work.

We have a great outside lawyer at Lola, but when they send us invoices, once a month, I look at it. I see how much time they. Charge us for, for certain thing. And I’m like, are you serious? You spent 40 hours on that simple question. That makes no sense. Now I know every law firm has time tracking software.

Why can’t I see that in real time? So when I hang up with my lawyer, she spends half an hour or an hour or two hours on something. When she hits done recording, why can’t I see that on my dashboard so I can tell them real time, how much time she’s spending working on my behalf.

Andrew: Oh, I would love that. Right. Instead of waiting a few days after the end of the month or a couple of weeks after the end of the month, show it in real time. You know why? Because Paul, you are the person who wants it and they’re the people who pay for it. And what I found in these interviews is that you can solve somebody’s problems and create great a great business, but it has to be solving the problem with a person who’s paying you for the solution.

Right.

Paul: Yeah. Well, how about this? What if, um, so Andrew, you and I are going to go create this company. We’re going to come up with a name for it, and we’re going to modernize, um, hourly billing. We’re going to just revolutionize our billing. Now, the first law firm that deploys this, they’re going to start winning business because when, when I see that my friend uses a law firm that gives full a hundred percent transparency in real-time billing, I’m going to say, send me a contact.

I want to switch to that law firm. I don’t want to use antiquated processes that were developed 20 years ago. I want to use processes have developed in a world where people are remote and there’s is sort of people on your team. This contract is as offshore those vendors. It should be seamless. It should be like one.

Cohesive collaborative environment with full transparency. And someone’s going to build those tools. The people who use those tools are going to win more business

Andrew: What about this? Tell me what you think about this angle on it. Sell it to the client, to the CFOs, like you’re doing, sell it to the clients and then have them require their law firms, put it on so that they could manage expenses. So we’re happy to continue working with you. We are using this new software.

We’d like you to implement it so that our team knows where expenses are, uh, month to month, day to day. What do you make of that?

Paul: Yup. Yep. I like

Andrew: Alright, I like that. You said you like it because you’re a person who I read that you had what? 158 different domains at one point, because each, each ID here it is 2018. You had 115, 158 different entries, I guess, in a book with different ideas. Am I right?

Paul: Recently, it’s actually just over two 50 now in 2021. And the funny thing is I probably have 250 Google documents as well. And with each domain with every time someone comes up with an idea that I get excited about. The first thing I’ll do is I’ll write up a Google document with the idea, do a bit of research, and then I’ll spend hours hunting down names.

I’m obsessed with brand and names, and I’ve actually ended up naming some friends companies and finding domain names for them. Because I think, I think it is important even if you’re just an app. I think having a brand and a name is important. I can’t believe as a company like Peloton, which does not own peloton.com.

Like it’s ridiculous. How no. How can you create a multi-billion dollar company? How can I have a company like zoom that for the longest time didn’t own zoom.com.

Andrew: did.com.

Paul: They did. And they probably paid a huge price for it because they bought it too late. When the owner knew zoom was this wildly successful company and could afford to pay a lot of money for it

Andrew: Hmm. Oh yeah. It’s one peloton.com. What about, um, Lola, you got lola.com. How much did that cost you?

Paul: it was expensive. I mean, the funniest story about lola.com is back in 2004, when Steve and I created what became known as kayak, we incorporated it as travel search company, Inc, as a temporary name. And both of us are really into brand. And we wanted a really great name. We hired an amazing, uh, consultant in New York named Carol Costello.

And we did this brand exploration with her for a good three or four weeks about what did we, what were our aspirations? What do we want the brand to stand for? We came up with a list of like a hundred words and the first choice. Action was lola.com. lola.com is what’s called a portmanteau. It’s two words smashed together.

Longitude latitude is smashed together at Lola. The problem is we couldn’t afford the name was too much money. It was owned by a successful company. So we went with our number two choice, which was kayak, and we bought kayak.com for only $30,000. Anyway, this time when I created a new company, I said, I don’t care if it’s expensive.

I just love that brand. I think there’s an opportunity to create a really great tech company called Lola, and we just paid for it. We paid dearly, but in the end, I think it’s going to be worth it, but

Andrew: Low, uh, hundreds. No, it’s gotta be over a million for that. It’s such a good name. Short, easy to spell.

Paul: yeah, four letters. It was half a million.

Andrew: Wow. That’s a good deal actually,

Paul: Yeah, I think so.

Andrew: you know, I own grab.com for a while. I paid 125,000 for it. It was great though, because people could

remember

grab.com. Now, now look where it went. Yeah. Um, why do you keep coming up with these ideas? Why do you keep writing them down instead of saying, let it go.

Paul: I can’t, I don’t, I can’t explain it, but it’s like an itch has to be scratch. And when someone has an, I mean, I do have shiny object syndrome, which is why for all of my companies, I have a partner who’s very like disciplined business operator. Uh, and I’m more focused on ideation. I just love when someone presents something particular customer that they struggle with.

And I just say, there’s gotta be a way to improve things for this customer. And then I love the iteration that happens. And the discussions that happen, the designs that happen

Andrew: And that’s where it starts for you. Is it here’s the problem? Now, my job is to find the solution.

Paul: yeah, I think coming up with a solution.

is actually the easier part. I think most tech companies fail for one of two reasons. Either the founders end up hating each other and there’s a toxic culture and the company implodes, or they build decent enough technology, but they build technology for problem.

People don’t care about. I don’t care enough about to pay money. So the most important two things you have to do is not ignore. One is be a good recruiter and build a good culture, uh, and sort of like a loving team. And then the second thing is, make sure you’re solving the right problem. Once you get an incredible team focused on the problem, it’s been validated that this is a problem that people like would kill to have a solution to.

Then you start rapidly iterating, just testing, building a prototype testing, just keep iterating as fast as you can, faster than a big company can. And so he came up with the right solution and all great companies. Tech companies started with one and then they iterated. And that’s the skill of an entrepreneur.

Andrew: How do you find the problem, the initial, and then the ongoing ones that you’re supposed to be solving?

Paul: so I, I often lecture on entrepreneurship at a handful of universities. And I’ll tell you about an exercise that I often do with my students. I will email the professor. Let’s say I’m teaching at some university at Wednesday at 4:00 PM. I’ll email the professor on Tuesday at 4:00 PM. So 24 hours before I show up, and I’ll say, please forward this email to your class.

And I will say, students, please take a photo between now and the class of something that annoys you. It cannot be a photo you took yesterday. How’s he photo you take. After receiving this email, it can’t be a photo found on the web. You find something that annoys you would take a photo of it. And then what we do in the class, we display a bunch of these photos in the big screen are now on zoom.

And we talk about irritation as inspiration. And we basically say the most important skill for you as an inventor is to figure out what are the annoyances like? What are the things that are that cause problems with people? And if you hang out with people that are also entrepreneurs and want to improve things, you can find suboptimal experiences anywhere in a restaurant.

I mean, in an Uber anywhere, you can find things that don’t work well. We talked earlier about the IVR, how terrible those are. And if you surround yourself with people who are ideators and like saying, yeah, that is a big problem. It’s I think the easier part is coming up with solutions for it, but we all need to become better problem detectors.

And rather than putting up with something that’s bad service, we just need to take note of it, to say, whoa, that was terrible service.

Andrew: You know, I thought, well, that was terrible service. And also it’s on me to think about a solution instead of just bitching.

Paul: Yeah.

Andrew: Right. You know what? I started, to be honest, I started writing a book on that because that’s the number one thing I took from all my interviews. These entrepreneurs who did it in a disciplined way, were looking for problems.

Sometimes they’d go and be consultants just so they could find a problem. And then I had this sense that maybe this is an idea that’s just too, I don’t know, common or understood, and doesn’t need to be explored beyond that. What do you think.

Paul: when you think.

that an idea is too common and yet it’s something that intrigues you that you might be passionate about, but you’re wearing it can be too common. The thing to Do is to narrow your scope. So maybe you can’t, um, solve e-commerce for all influencers. And maybe you say, okay, we’re not going to help the guys on Tik TOK or YouTube.

But maybe this company Q shop, if they say let’s just focus on Instagram, by narrowing the focus, they might be able to build something that works for certain audience. And then beyond that you can grow to take over more and more audiences, right? I mean, companies start narrow, Amazon just sold books until they had success there.

Then they added more and more and more

Andrew: Do you think Paul, the idea of find a problem and address it? That’s the goal of an entrepreneur? Or do you think that’s commonly understood that that’s just too hard? Yes.

Paul: it’s not, no, it’s not understood well enough, I think most so I’m an engineer by training and most engineers suffer from this thing where you come up with a problem. I immediately jumped to a solution. I fall in love with my solution. I cheat enhancing the solution to the point where I forget about the problem and I’m not no longer validating.

And then when I get conflicting data, I ignore it because I’ve spent so much time on my solution. And I think what we need to do as entrepreneurs and just continue this focus on, is this really a problem for people,

Andrew: Can you tell me how you’re doing that now, how you’re doing it with, um, with Moonbeam, how are you that you found the first problem? How are you understanding what the next problem is? And if you’ve nailed it, if you’ve nailed the

Paul: right? Moonbeam again, there’s two things we’re doing on focus on discovery using this enhanced machine learning technique. I’ve talked about before with these curated clips, and then we’re doing relationship between the listener and the host. And the way we’re learning about that is we’re talking to a lot of hosts.

Like one of my mentors is young name moon. She’s one of the most popular professors at Harvard business school. She has an amazing podcast called HBS after hours. And I talked to her a lot. I’m first of all, I’d love her podcasts. I recommend people check it out, but I, um, I talked with her about how would she like to engage with our audience?

Like, what is she dying to know? She’ll put a lot of work into a show and when the show is produced, it’s like you throw something over the wall and this is nothing coming back. And so we’re helping her come up with a product Moonbeam where she will interact with her listeners through the, directly through the app.

Andrew: I’d love to be able to do that. And I know my audience would prefer to do that. I feel like Spotify dipped its toe into it through some kind of, uh, uh, I guess survey, but they never, I never even saw it as a listener. Um, and I don’t have access to it as a creator. I think that, I think that that is an under appreciated, um, need because everyone’s trying to solve for more revenue.

And I don’t think most of us are, are in a space where revenue is a concern yet. I mean, for me, it’s not a concern because it’s handled for others. It’s not a concern because they don’t have enough of an audience and they don’t have enough of an audience because there’s no mechanism for, for growth and there’s no mechanism for feedback.

And if you find it, when I found people’s problems in the beginning of doing this podcast, it was. Incredibly helpful to then do interviews that address those problems. And then they felt, how do you understand Andrew? Well, I, I do, because I keep talking to people, but all right, you’ve given me access to it.

I don’t even know. I appreciate that you’re here. I don’t even know how we could tell people that they could go and check out Moonbeam. Should they just go to moonbeam.fm and ask for access like I did. All right. And your ideal is to get as many listeners as possible on there. And hopefully can I sign up as a creator and start to get feedback?

All right. I’ll go into the app and do it. Thanks so much for being on here. I really appreciate your time, Paul. Wow. I’ve been looking forward to having a conversation with you for a long time. I want to thank the two sponsors who made this conversation happen. The first is SEMrush tool, both Paul and I use, and both prefer to call SCM rush, but no they’ve rebranded.

It’s called SEMrush. If you want to try it for free and see why we’re so excited about them, go to SEM, rush.com/mixergy. And the second one is if you’ve got an idea, if you’ve got an idea based brain, you keep coming up with ideas. You want a website or a hosting company to launch your site on, go to hostgator.com/mixergy.

They’ll let you try it for free right now. Paul, thanks so much for doing this,

Paul: Thanks a lot. Ender.

Andrew: actually. I’m sorry. They don’t let you try for free. I’m like my, my offers are screwed up my head. No, they’ll give you the lowest price possible. Take good care. It’s practically free a couple bucks. Sorry about that, Paul. I’ve cut you.

Paul: All right. Thanks Andrew.

Andrew: Thanks, bye Ron.

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